Richard Dawkins: The “African Ape”

In an awkward and embarrassing confrontation with a Christian (who happens to be African), atheist Richard Dawkins maintains with all the unabashed fervor of a religious fanatic that he is an “African Ape” and “proud” and insists that the Christian should feel the same way.

And they say evolution is not a religion.

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18 comments

  1. M. A. Melby

    There is evidence and there is evidence that requires that you incorrporate it into your theories. Pictures of creatures with no physical evidence to back them up, artistically recreated from accounts of sailors who were unable to directly study the creatures close-up might be really intersting, but is not the same as physical evidence that you can independently verify and study. If you’re getting your knowledge of the field of evolutionary biology and phylogeny from magazines and documentaries, they tend to give the public a great deal of conjecture. However, any sort of conjecture is brought is (ideally) brought in line with observation – and observations are still being made – constantly. Of course, all of our ideas are not based JUST on Lucy or JUST on any other hominid skeletons found. Old beasteraries might be interesting – and certainly if we found physical evidence that is consistent with them that would be interesting and explain those observations more thoroughly – eye-witness testimony is always suspect and generally too vague to draw firm conclusions even in the here and now.

    • synapticcohesion

      You don’t think the supposed “scientists” suppress or completely ignore the evidence that would be too embarrassing to them? Evidence that would completely contradict their claims and “studies?” I think they do. Whenever there appears to be dinosaur remains washing up on shore or being caught by fishermen, the “scientist” are amazingly lacking in scientific curiosity. They ignore the creatures’ long necks and insist they are “sharks” because DNA test shows they share 95% of genes with sharks. If this is how the pseudoscientific establishment does their “research” then of course they can never be wrong, can they?

  2. M. A. Melby

    Reblogged this on SINMANTYX and commented:
    [I know this is an old one, but it seems to be an on-going discussion.] Humans are classified as animals, as vertebrates, as mammals, and yes, as apes. There is evidence that homo-sapiens originated in Africa and migrated from that region to various other regions of the world. It is incredibly unfortunate that the term “animal” and “monkey” and “ape” has been used so often to de-humanize other people – notably black people. The fact that Africans, in the recent past, have been treated like zoo animals in the United States is absolutely reprehensible. However, to a scientist the term “ape” does not have that connotation. It is not a means of putting someone down – any more than mentioning that we are mammals or vertebrates. It is terrible that the hurt caused by Social Darwinists, eugenicists and others – who misused and distorted evolutionary biology (in ways Charles Darwin, even as a product of his day, rejected) – is still so raw that essentially stating an observation as scientifically straight-forward as mentioning that we need to eat to sustain ourselves, we have a spine, we don’t lay eggs, and we walk on two legs, is cause for so much “awkwardness”.

  3. M. A. Melby

    Humans are classified as animals, as vertebrates, as mammals, and yes, as apes. There is evidence that homo-sapiens originated in Africa and migrated from that region to various other regions of the world. It is incredibly unfortunate that the term “animal” and “monkey” and “ape” has been used so often to de-humanize other people – notably black people. The fact that Africans, in the recent past, have been treated like zoo animals in the United States is absolutely reprehensible. However, to a scientist the term “ape” does not have that connotation. It is not a means of putting someone down – any more than mentioning that we are mammals or vertebrates. It is terrible that the hurt caused by Social Darwinists, eugenicists and others – who misused and distorted evolutionary biology (in ways Charles Darwin, even as a product of his day, rejected) – is still so raw that essentially stating an observation as scientifically straight-forward as mentioning that we need to eat to sustain ourselves, we have a spine, we don’t lay eggs, and we walk on two legs, is cause for so much “awkwardness”.

      • synapticcohesion

        From Wikipedia:

        “Biologists have used the term “ape” to mean a member of the superfamily Hominoidea other than humans,[3]”

        That’s how I’ve always understood it.

        “…or more recently to mean all members of the superfamily Hominoidea, so that “ape” becomes another word for “hominoid””

        This just demonstrates that pseudoscience is always changing arbitrarily. Real science does not change frequently at a whim because it cannot; it is factual. Beware of taking a recent classification changes too seriously because it is likely to change again. In other words, we are dealing with social decisions of categorization/classification, not scientific or mathematical absolutes. Your field of study, on the other hand, does deal with proven facts.

      • synapticcohesion

        Mice and men share 99% of genes:
        http://articles.cnn.com/2002-12-04/tech/coolsc.coolsc.mousegenome_1_human-genome-new-human-genes-genes-that-cause-disease?_s=PM:TECH

        Chimps and men share 96%:
        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/0831_050831_chimp_genes.html

        So does that mean that mice our closer “relatives?” Atheists have use the chimp-human DNA percentage argument all the time to support our supposed relationship to apes yet fail to mention the greater mouse-human similarity.

      • M. A. Melby

        Exactly – Dawkins is using the word “ape” in the current way that it is being used. What part of that is confusing? And yeah – classification are “arbitrary” because classification systems are decided upon based on convenience and how useful they are. You don’t understand science at all. Facts/observations do not change frequently because we’re usually pretty good about NOT making stuff up or really messing up publicly before we figure out that some gizmo wasn’t calibrated correctly – however, models (and sometimes classifications) DO change – constantly – based on new observations. Science is in constant flux – being revised and built upon ALL THE TIME. For example, our idea of exactly *where* in Africa the common ancestors of humankind evolved shifts occasionally due to new archeological digs and gene mapping, etc.

        Also – we’ve been well beyond “percentages” when it comes to phylogeny. We map specific mutations now – working on figuring out what type of mutation happened, in what population, and where. (Not to mention the world of gene expression.) So…..yeah, that would be why we talk about our common ancestors with other apes more than we talk about our common ancestors with mice.

        However, at some point, I’m just going to refer you to the Talk Origins website – which was compiled nicely and with reasonable vigor so that people like me (who only have a passing knowledge of biological evolution) can send people like you (who seem to deny it) there to read up.

      • synapticcohesion

        “Facts/observations do not change frequently because we’re usually pretty good about NOT making stuff up”

        Many findings have been made up–and was used by trusted (psuedo)scientists as proof of evolution. Mixing and matching chimp and human bones and saying that it is our “ancestor;” a link that proves evolution had happened–a common occurrence that was accepted to be “real” science at the time. Even if there was a possibility of apes in the past with some human qualities not seen in apes today does not prove evolution. It only proves that there were creatures that are extinct today that we know little about. Medieval illustrations depict sea creatures that were not only larger than any that we see today–they had faces that resembled land animals such as dogs and horses. Again, it does prove any evolutionary connection, just the fact that there were animals that existed that we do not see today.

      • M. A. Melby

        Yeah – which is why I said *usually* – because there is fraud in science. It does happen. However, I suppose that if someone told me that they have a girlfriend in Canada and I found out that wasn’t true, I should conclude that Canada does not exist? The half-a-dozen frauds (some of which were NOT taken seriously by scientists ever and certainly aren’t now – and a few are actually not actually frauds) that are brought up constantly by Creation Science proponents really don’t matter in the scheme of things, much less somehow “disprove” evolution. For example, there are a few illustrations called the Haeckel embryos that were found to not be as accurate as they should have been. Now, he drew these illustrations in the 19th century – and his illustrations have shown up in text books for a long time and that is bad, and that should be fixed. However, his ideas that he was trying to illustrate with the embryos (that they had very similar development early on – and that this development mirrored evolutionary development) has since been discounted ANYWAY and animal embryos have been studied in great detail since then – over and over again by various scientists. It has nothing to do with modern evolutionary theory at all. I haven’t heard of mix-and-matching human bones except for an extreme case where someone used exceptional forgery techniques to make a fossil bone and a more modern bone to look similarly aged. This was not the least bit common and the forgery eventually was debunked with more modern dating techniques. Piltdown Man was not a boon to evolutionary theory – it was a huge waste of time and energy and didn’t make sense with other observations that were being made. Eventually, it was shown as a fake and our models of evolutionary biology made MORE sense once it was gone.

      • synapticcohesion

        As I said, even if we are to assume that such fossils exist and were not tampered with, it does not prove that these are “transitional fossils.” They only prove that there were many interesting varieties of animals that no longer exist today–as far as we know. Not that I am accusing you of doing so, but critical thinking means not simply accepting (and regurgitating) everything that you are inculcated with in school. Sometimes it is wise to think outside of the box and reject the assertions of mainstream “authorities.”

        It is obvious that we are both set in our views and perhaps we should just agree to disagree.

      • M. A. Melby

        Yes, you could also come to the conclusion that every creature existed apart from other creatures that were very similar – and that mutations happen, but that mutations don’t result in species, and instead a supernatural creature popped that particular species into existence. If you assumed that, you’d also have to assume that whoever is popping creatures into existence thinks it’s hilarious to make each of these “kinds” of creatures have genetic codes that can be traced to see how they could be related to one another.

        Yes, sometimes it is very good to reject the assertions of the mainstream “authorities” – but not without good reason and a great deal of understanding. Science is not some monolithic top-down organization where one guy just decides what the case is. I mean, there are politics and there are biases, but to pretend as though evolutionary theory is not a successful and valid theory makes LESS sense than denying our current ideas about gravity. There is a lot we don’t understand about gravity. We’ve dealt with a huge paradigm shift in how we view gravity recently. Really – I’m not kidding here – Newtons’ Law of Universal Gravitation is arguably a less successful model than evolutionary biology; yet where is the outrage at authority for inculcating gravitational models and regurgitating the inverse square law? We teach it because it makes sense with our observations and it is predictive of future observations. The fundamental ideas of the theory have remained solid, but the over-all theory is revised constantly based on new evidence. That’s what science is. The reason I have some trust in science is that I tend to trust people who actually are knowledgeable about something regarding that knowledge. I don’t take it on faith, but I don’t reject it for trumped up reasons because I have faith in something else.

        As far as evolutionary biology and creationism (in the general sense) being compatible, I would suggest reading “Finding Darwin’s God”. I have yet to read it myself, but I have listened to the author lecture and have listened to interviews with him and I suspect you might find that book interesting especially since it is written from a theistic perspective.

        And by the way – Medieval illustrations of serpents with dog-heads or whatever isn’t evidence of how nature works. I was actually joking with some friends the other day that I should be wearing wings to re-creationist events because the people in the artwork I was looking at had wings. I have no idea what you meant by that.

      • synapticcohesion

        Not just medieval illustrations but illustrations accounts throughout the 19th century by sailors and even by British Royal Navy personnel. I doubt the sea creatures literally had giant dog heads, but their heads were said to resemble these animals according to witnesses. And many off these illustrations and descriptions matched what other people had described. The arrogance of many “scientists” is that if they have not seen evidence of such creatures themselves in their specific place and time period, these creatures did not really exist. Yet amazingly, they have a lot of imagination when it comes to scant ape remains such as “Lucy.”

      • synapticcohesion

        There were many illustrations of these creatures (I believe it was from the 16th century) and they were documented, categorized, and named as real animals; which is strange if these were just mythical creatures. It is fascinating; I wish I remembered the link with all of these illustrations.

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