Top 3 Things About Evolution That Revolt Creationists The Most

I suspect thereʼs more than just logic behind the way some Christians react to the idea of evolution, thereʼs also a conscious or unconscious revulsion to common ancestry, THREE of them in fact:

Top 3 Things About Evolution That Revolt Creationists The Most

Revulsion #1

“I ainʼt no Monkeyʼs Uncle!”

“1996 presidential contender, Pat Buchanan, said something along the lines of ‘You may believe that youʼre descended from monkeys, but I believe youʼre a creature of God.’ I guess that Buchanan hadnʼt considered that one of the basic tenets of Christianity is that God is the Creator of everything, including ‘monkeys.’ It seems to me that one of the basic reasons behind the so-called ‘creationism’ is the feeling that somehow parts of Godʼs creation are not worthy of being our ancestors.”
Tom Scharle

However, Christians like C. S. Lewis were not threatened by the thought of a species of thinking religious animal:

“When the rationality of the hross tempted you to think of it as a man… it became abominable—a man seven feet high, with a snaky body, covered, face and all, with thick black animal hair, and whiskered like a cat. But starting from the other end you had an animal with everything an animal ought to have… and added to all these, as though Paradise had never been lost… the charm of speech and reason. Nothing could be more disgusting than the one impression; nothing more delightful than the other. It all depended on the point of view.”
C. S. Lewis, Out Of The Silent Planet (a Christian science-fiction novel)

And certain ironies arise from denying so vehemently that one is not a “Monkeyʼs Uncle,” while affirming that humanity was created from the “dust of the earth,” because, isnʼt it just as respectable to be a “modified monkey” as “modified dirt?” Or as Will Rogers put it during the Scopes Monkey Trial in the 1920s:

“The Supreme Court of Tennessee has just ruled that you other states can come from whoever or whatever you want to, but they want it on record that they come from mud only!… William Jennings Bryan tried to prove that we did not descend from the monkey, but he unfortunately picked a time in our history when the actions of the American people proved that we did… Some people certainly are making a fight against the ape. It seems the truth kinder hurts. Now, if a man didnʼt act like a monkey, he wouldnʼt have to be proving that he didnʼt come from one. Personally I like monkeys. If we were half as original as they are, we would never be suspected of coming from something else. They never accuse monkeys of coming from anybody else… You hang an ape and a political ancestry over me, and you will see me taking it into the Supreme Court, to prove that the ape part is O.K., but that the political end is base libel… If a man is a gentleman, he doesnʼt have to announce it; all he has to do is to act like one and let the world decide. No man should have to prove in court what he is, or what he comes from. As far as Scopes teaching children evolution, nobody is going to change the belief of Tennessee children as to their ancestry. It is from the actions of their parents that they will form their opinions.”

Revulsion #2

“If you teach people theyʼre monkeys, theyʼll act like monkeys.”

A second revulsion is related to the question of the origin of ethical values. Ethical values like “forgiveness,” are assumed to be mysterious and sublime ideas that we owe primarily to a few millennia of Judeo-Christianity. However as Frans de Waal pointed out:

“Monkeys, apes, and humans all engage in reconciliation behavior (stretching out a hand, smiling, kissing, embracing, and so on), so such behavior is probably over thirty million years old, preceding the evolutionary divergence of these primates… Reconciliation behavior [is thus] a shared heritage of the primate order… When social animals are involved…antagonists do more than estimate their chances of winning before they engage in a fight; they also take into account how much they need their opponent. The contested resource often is simply not worth putting a valuable relationship at risk. And if aggression does occur, both parties may hurry to repair the damage. Victory is rarely absolute among interdependent competitors, whether animal or human.”
Frans De Waal, Peacemaking Among Primates (see also, Morton Hunt, The Compassionate Beast: What Science is Discovering About the Humane Side of Humankind; and, Alfie Kohn, The Brighter Side of Human Nature: Altruism and Empathy in Everyday Life; and see especially the chapter on “Kindness” in de Waalʼs latest work, Our Inner Ape.)

“When Washoe [the chimpanzee] was about seven or eight years old, I witnessed an event that told about Washoe as a person, as well as causing me to reflect on human nature. [The account proceeds to describe the chimp island at the Institute for Primate Studies]…One day a young female by the name of Cindy could not resist the temptation of the mainland and jumped over the electric fence in an attempt to leap the moat. She hit the water with a great splash which caught my attention. I started running toward the moat intent on diving in to save her. [Chimps cannot swim.] As I approached I saw Washoe running toward the electric fence. Cindy had come to the surface, thrashing and submerging again. Then I witnessed Washoe jumping the electric fence and landing next to the fence on about a foot of bank. She then held on to the long grass at the waterʼs edge and stepped out onto the slippery mud underneath the waterʼs surface. With the reach of her long arm, she grasped one of Cindyʼs flailing arms as she resurfaced and pulled her to the safety of the bank…Washoeʼs act gave me a new perspective on chimpanzees. I was impressed with her heroism in risking her life on the slippery banks. She cared about someone in trouble; someone she didnʼt even know that well.”
Roger Fouts, “Friends Of Washoe” Newsletter

“We are told by those who assume authority in these matters, that the belief in the unity of origin of man and brutes involves the brutalization and degradation of the former. But is this really so? Could not a sensible child confute by obvious arguments, the shallow rhetoricians who would force this conclusion upon us? Is it, indeed, true, that the Poet, or the Philosopher, or the Artist whose genius is the glory of his age, is degraded from his high estate by the undoubted historical probability, not to say certainty, that he is the direct descendant of some naked and bestial savage, whose intelligence was just sufficient to make him a little more cunning than the Fox, and by so much more dangerous than the Tiger? Or is he bound to howl and grovel on all fours because of the wholly unquestionable fact, that he was once a fertilized egg cell, which no ordinary power of discrimination could distinguish from that of the fertilized egg cell of a Dog? Or is the philanthropist, or the saint, to give up his endeavors to lead a noble life, because the simplest study of manʼs nature reveals, at its foundation, all the selfish passions, and fierce appetites of the merest quadruped? Is mother-love vile because a hen shows it, or fidelity base because dogs possess it? [As Mark Twain wrote, “Heaven goes by favor; if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.”] The common sense of the mass of mankind will answer these questions without a momentʼs hesitation. Healthy humanity, finding itself hard pressed to escape from real sin and degradation, will leave the brooding over speculative pollution to the cynics and the “righteous overmuch.”
T. H. Huxley, Evidence As To Manʼs Place In Nature

Question: “If we think that we are just animals, wonʼt we behave like animals?”

Answer: “What animal species are you thinking of? Porpoises are gregarious, intelligent, and fun-loving. Baboons are protective of the young. They show cooperative group behavior. Gorillas are docile, family-oriented, and vegetarian. Chimpanzees form ‘bands’ of more than one family, while orangutans live alone. From an evolutionary viewpoint, natural selection has produced people who behave like people. Humans, like all other species, are unique. There is no reason why we should behave as if we were some other species… We are a highly social species. Most of our behavior is learned, not genetically determined. [Compare the behavior of a child who is raised by human beings, with one who is not raised by human beings, i.e., during the first few months or years of the childʼs life. Then you begin to realize how near to animals we really are, and what a large proportion of human behavior is learned during a long socialization process, which is itself the result of millions of years of cultural, merely biological evolution. [See Douglas K. Candlandʼs Feral Children and Clever Animals: Reflections on Human Nature.] We can learn behavior that will contribute to group well-being and our long-term survival as a species. We can even ‘unlearn’ whatever traces of instinctive behavior we may have inherited. Even if war between tribes is ‘natural’ human behavior, we can learn not to make war. Systems of morals and ethics serve, in part, to channel our behavior away from behavior that is socially and biologically destructive.”
William Thwaites, “Would We All Behave Like Animals?”

One irony of this particular revulsion is pointed out below:

“Creationists criticize evolutionists for the demeaning idea of ‘coming from apes’ and say that man is more noble than that, and then have sermons where man is called a miserable worm worthy to be burned eternally in hell.”
William Bagley

Also see The Moral Question and, How Atheists Ground Morality

Revulsion #3

“Do we have an eternal soul, or not? Animals donʼt.”

A third revulsion is related to the fact that animals die and we assume they never rise again, so if we are directly related to animals then maybe our lives will also cease with death:

“We do not like to be reminded of the ways in which we resemble animals. We sinners like to think our motives are more holy than those of animals. And since we generally assume animals cannot have eternal life with God, thinking about animal deaths and about our own place in nature frightens us.”

Ed Friedlander, Christian Perspectives On Evolution

A similar doubt is given expression within the pages of the Bible:

“I said to myself concerning the sons of men, God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts. For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath [‘…all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life’ Gen. 6:17; 7:15,22, both man and beasts] and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust [‘…till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return’ Gen. 3:19]. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth?”
Ecclesiastes 3:18-21

And an irony of this revulsion is pointed out below:

“A preacher thundering from his pulpit about the uniqueness of human beings with their God-given souls would not like to realize that his very gestures, the hairs that rose on his neck, the deepened tones of his outraged voice, and the perspiration that probably ran down his skin under clerical vestments are all manifestations of anger in mammals. If he was sneering at Darwin a bit (one does not need a mirror to know that one sneers), did he remember uncomfortably that a sneer is derived from an animalʼs lifting its lip to remind an enemy of its fangs? Even while he was denying the principle of evolution, how could a vehement man doubt such intimate evidence?”
Sally Carrighar, Wild Heritage

Comment using Google

Comment using Disqus

Comment using Facebook