Sunday, March 21, 2010

Human Evolution

Jerry Coyne states on page 193 that "all creationists draw the line at humans. The gap between us and other primates, they say, was unbridgeable by evolution, and must therefore have involved an act of special creation." There has been myriad evidence discovered linking humans to apes (with a common ancestor) and that humans have evolved from an ape-like species, yet many still deny that humans have evolved from an ancestor that was very different. What are their reasonings and are they justified? or is it just the "natural solpsism that accompanies a self-conscious brain" (192)?


  1. Many people who refuse to accept that humans evolved do so because they don't want to believe that humans are simply organisms that evolved from lower forms of animals. Coyne claims that creationists think "the gap and between us and other primates [...]was unbridgeable by evolution, and must therefore have involved an act of special creation (193)." Humans like to consider themselves so special that they could not have simply been created by such a simple process as evolution. Creationists often use this morality defense to claim that some creator must have created humans to have a special brain which allows us to make decisions about what we do and how we live our lives. It does not seem possible to these people that such a special creature could form from an animal like the ape. According to Answers in Genesis, creationists cite the passage in genesis that states God made animals on the sixth day while also making man seperately as evidence evolution doesn't hold true. Creationists claim that since man was created seperately to rule the world, there is no animal that is man's equal or ancestor. People who deny humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor also cite the fact that only a fraction of .1% of the fossils humans have found are primates. These people claim that the small amount of primate fossils found have a hard time showing the link between man and an ape-like ancestor. Creationists also claim that most who study the fossils of primates are not studying the orginal fossils, but instead casts of the original fossils which makes their findings on the fossils not credible since they were not working on the original fossils.
    Why Evolution is True

  2. Similar to what Feldman said, there are many dispute between creationists and evolutionists. However, Coyne does an excellent job in explaining what the fact tells the readers. Creationists think that people was made to "rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth," (Gen. 1:26 New International Version). This gives the religious beings a right to have superiority over other organisms. Further more, in the bible, new international version, in Genesis chapter 1, it also states that God made "man in His own image." These two clear evidences from the religous text, and probably other sources, give a clear understanding of the creationist view. On the other hand, the evolutionists believe that humans are the "[product] of the blind and mindless process of natural evolution." (Coyne 192). These two view points are bound to clash as creationist and evolutionist have a different mindset in the origin of human beings.
    First, because creationists have a viewpoint that people are of a higher being than any other organisms, it is hard for the biologists to prove that humans and apes have a common ancestor. Even Darwin withdrew on the issue of human evolution in "The Origin" and restated the issue a decade later with "The Descent of Man." Because religion has been a part of people's lives for more than 2000 years, it is hard to break the notion that people came from a common ancestor of animals. However, it is understood that people usually believe the theory of evolution on animals but not on people. For example, they would believe that the fish and the shark have a common ancestor. This shows that creationists, rather than trying to prove that their hypothesis is true, is trying to disprove the theory of evolution by pointing out the weaknesses. One weakness is the linkage fossils. One of the crucial reason why the evolutionists cannot fully look triumphant in their theory is because much of the fossil that proves the connection between an ape-like ancestor and humans have been destroyed or not found. Although there are some linkage fossils found, like the ones metioned in page 190 of Why Evolution is True, the creationists continuously demand a more detail oriented evidence of evolution. Another weakness that the creationists pick on is the point that people like Hitler, in a evolutionary view, could be deemed as "uncompromising evolutionist," ("Creation Vs. Evolution." par. 4). This view was stated and defended by evolutionary anthropologist and anatomist Sir Arthur Keith. It is hard to believe that such a immoral being is only following the rules of nature. These perspectives are enabling the creationists to raise their chins up and chain themselves on the tree of ultimate origin theory. All in all, the young theory of evolution, although increasing in evidence, is standing on toe to toe with old traditional creationism. To many people who believe in logical and reasoning, they may believe that creationists are ignorant of all the new scientific evidences. However, without a solid, concrete theory to disprove them, creationists will spread their seed onto countless others. Maybe in time, the theory of evolution may become strong, however, it is hard to say that it will be as concrete as 1 + 1 = 2. (Even though one could make a formula stating that 1+1= 12).


    Coyne, Jerry A.. Why Evolution Is True. Boston: Penguin (Non-Classics), 2010.

    "Creation Vs. Evolution." Philosophy - (accessed March 24, 2010).

    NIV Bible. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2010.