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How do creationists answer these questions: Are you an Ape? A Mammal? A Vertebrate?

Discussion in 'Creation & Evolution' started by verysincere, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. verysincere

    verysincere Exegete/Linguist

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    A QUESTION OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO CREATIONISTS

    Richard Dawkins' "I am an ape" video on Youtube delivers a strong message. Dr. Dawkins tells a clergyman, "I am an ape. Are you an ape?" The pastor says, "No. I am absolutely NOT an ape."

    As a disciple of Jesus Christ, how would you reply to Richard Dawkins' question? Why? And how would you apply the same reasoning to the following questions?

    Am I a Mammal?
    Am I a Vertebrate?
    Am I an animal?

    Carl Linnaeus is widely praised as the one of the greatest biologists of all time and the father of modern ecology. But more than anything else he is revered as the founder of modern taxonomy. His genus+species naming system remains with us today as well the classifications of kingdom, phylum, class, order, and subspecies. And creationist Christians proudly point to him as one of our own, whose exploration and categorization of living things expressed his praise for a Creator who designed a richly diverse and complex tree of life. Linnaeus considered his lifelong taxonomy work an extension of the naming which began with Adam himself. And it was Linnaeus who first called humans Homo sapiens.

    The Christ-honoring Carl Linnaeus classified God's ultimate creation, humans, as:

    Kingdom: Animal
    Class: Mammal
    Phylum: Vertebrate
    Order: Primate
    SubOrder: Anthropoidea ["human-like", Simians/monkeys]
    InfraOrder: Catarrhini ["downward-nosed" Anthropoids have similar-pointing noses; humans and Old World monkeys]

    Linnaeus had no "family" taxonomic category in his day; that was added to the Linnaean system after his death. He struggled to figure out just how to express the many similarities between monkeys, apes, and humans. The Hominidae family, also known as the Great Apes, includes chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orangutans, and the Homo genus where Linnaeus placed humans.

    So, more than a CENTURY BEFORE DARWIN Carl Linnaeus had no concept of the theory of evolution but used the similarities and differences between organisms to create a classification system for all life, including humans. And in that naming/categorization system, Linnaeus called me as a member of the human race:

    an ANIMAL,
    a mammal,
    a vertebrate,
    a primate,
    an Anthropoid of the Catarrhine type,
    and a Homonid (also known as among the Great Apes.)

    So was Linnaeus wrong? Would any rational persons deny that humans are animals? And if they DO deny that we are animals, are they just playing word games, as in an Equivocation Fallacy?

    Does it make sense to deny that we are vertebrates, seeing how we have a spinal column? And if we are not a PRIMATE, what are we? And are we going to deny that we are made of "the dust of the ground" just as the Bible says of all the animals he created?

    In the Dawkins video, the reverend emphatically denies being an ape. Why? Any literate person with a dictionary knows that there are multiple definitions for the English word "ape", and as with so many words in our language, the zoological term used by scientists is not the same as its popular definition used by the general public. Indeed, the same can be said for the word "animal". If someone in a wretched prison cells protests, "I am not an animal!", we understand what he means. But when a scientist studies zoonotic disease transmission, he MUST consider humans to be animals if he is going to protect public health!

    So if Carl Linnaeus joined my church today and happened to see the Dawkins video, what do you think he would say? Would he agree with Dr. Dawkins that humans are vertebrate animals? Would Linnaeus agree that we are primates? Do you think he would agree that I am a catarrhine Anthropoid? How about a Hominid of the Great Apes?

    Now remember, Carl Linnaeus lived a century before Charles Darwin and knew nothing of the Theory of Evolution.

    What do you think? What/which biological descriptions can be admitted by a Bible-believing disciple of Jesus Christ?

    (C) 2011. Bible.and.Science.Forum (Professor Tertius)
    Used by permission. Email through Gmail.com
     
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  2. verysincere

    verysincere Exegete/Linguist

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    Several CF participants have asked for some of the more popular back-issues of the Bible.and.Science.Forum series authored by Professor Tertius. (He was known as Verysincere during the time he was collecting data for a Young Earth Creationism research project here on CF)

    So the OP is a result of those requests and in this case the article was already well suited for a discussion forum format.

    If you have any particular topics or questions you would like to see posted, just send a private message to Verysincere here on CF and we may be able to find a relevant article in the BSF Archives.

    We are also considering posting these articles in the CF blog area. But we've heard that nobody would find them there.

    Saito Singh
    Assistant to the Director
    IGAT (Bible.and.Science.Forum)
     
  3. Notedstrangeperson

    Notedstrangeperson Well-Known Member

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    Did you forget to log out of your husband's account again MrsLurking? Or has verysincere started referring to himself in the third person? ;)

    I know your question isn't directed at me since I am not a creationist, but there are a couple of points I'd like to add:

    The first is that from a religious point of view, while theistic evolutionists may accept that we are animals, most of them not do accept that they are "just" apes. The church has maintained for centuries that we are animals - but we are the only animal endowed with an immortal soul. That's what makes us special. Maybe that's what the clergyman in Dawkin's video meant. Many atheists on the other hand try to use the "humans are apes" line to try and anthropomorphize animals and accuse people who think humans are special of being arrogant and "speciesist".

    The second point is that John Hawks - professor of anthropology at the university of Wisconsin- also maintains that humans are not apes. His main arguments are that humans are not apes for the same reason chimps are not monkeys, and that terms such as "ape" and "monkey" are colloquial ones, not scientific ones:

    Humans aren't monkeys. We aren't apes, either. | john hawks weblog

    But of course, his arguments semantic ones rather than a religious or scientific ones.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  4. Notedstrangeperson

    Notedstrangeperson Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, just one more last thing I'd like to add -

    The problem with this kind of classification system is that it is very human-centered. During the 1970s for example, all apes were placed in the Pongoid category, distinct from humans.

    However when genetics proved just how closely related to apes we really are the category names were changed: hominin, hominid, and hominoidea are all variations of the phrase "human-like" (the root for all of these words being Homo, the category humans belong to).

    Indeed Hominid was originally defined as "family of mammals represented by man". It came from the word Homunculus, which meant "little person" (Online Etymology Dictionary).

    If we were being really technical, human phylogeny doesn't reflect how ape-like humans are, it reflects how human-like apes are. But then, why should apes which have been around longer than we have be "represented" by us?
     
  5. Strathos

    Strathos No one important

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    If someone denies all of this, you then might want to ask them if they are a form of matter. After all, if it's dehumanizing to consider oneself to be an ape or animal, it must be even more so to consider oneself just a clump of atoms, the same as a rock, right?
     
  6. RickG

    RickG Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I wonder if they would be opposed to affe, singe, or scimmia? Different words, but the same thing.
     
  7. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    :blush: -- I am honored that you would devote so much of your time to wanting to learn how creationists think.
    Yay! Pastor:1; Dawkins:0.
    No. I am absolutely NOT an ape.
    Why what?

    Why would I reply NO?

    Because I am absolutely NOT an ape.
    The same way I would tell my child to respond, if he had that question on a test.

    I would say: I understand that, according to scientists, we are labeled as such.
     
  8. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    Yes ... we are forms of matter.
    Nice try, but the doctrine of ontological reductionism covers that nicely.

    God made us in His image, and he (evidently) made apes in our image.
     
  9. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    Don't we have antibiotics for those?
     
  10. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    Yes, you absolutely are. Reality does not kowtow to your opinion.
     
  11. ThouShaltNotPoe

    ThouShaltNotPoe Learn whatever I can.

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    I don't understand this remark you made in responding to the OP. The office staffer who posted the Professor's article clearly identified himself:

    Saito Singh
    Assistant to the Director
    IGAT (Bible.and.Science.Forum)
    So why would it seem strange to you that Mr. Singh would refer to Professor Tertius in the third person?

    Is it not obvious that when the professor's secretary or assistant or whoever processes his mail/email, they use the PROJECT's username? Mr. Saito clearly stated that he was posting the article in the OP on the professor's behalf. The article was written by VerySincere so it made complete sense that it would be posted under VerySincere's username.

    I don't understand your confusion. People like me who have been asking for them to post more of the professor's articles expect to find them under the username VerySincere, not the private/individual username of the secretary. That would make no sense.

    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2013
  12. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    I'm sorry.

    I thought the OP was phrasing it as a question.

    For some reason, I felt I had the option of saying either YES or NO.
     
  13. Naraoia

    Naraoia Apprentice Biologist

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    This is all so confusing...

    I think the entire issue is about semantics. Like you said, "ape", "animal" etc. obviously mean different things to different people. To me they aren't loaded terms, they simply describe aspects of our biology*. They are separate from the question of humans being special (or not). But if I call a creationist - or, to be fair, a large number of non-creationists too - an animal, they'll perceive it as an insult because the word carries other connotations in their eyes.

    AV is a prime example - he acknowledges the scientific classification and if we ask whether humans possess whatever biological property of animals, vertebrates, apes or whatever, I'm sure he'll agree that we do. He just refuses to call himself an ape because for him the word has spiritual as well as biological implications.

    (AV, did I get that about right?)

    *Well, I lie. In this particular context, they are loaded terms, because I really don't like people looking down on "just animals". (Especially when their feelings are based on ignorance of real animal behaviour.) I'm not totally decided on whether I consider humans "special" (or what that even means to me), but if you come and insult non-humans, I'm bloody well gonna stand up for them! :)
     
  14. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    You did indeed, Naraoia -- thank you! :)

    Are you available for hire as an interpreter? :)
     
  15. Naraoia

    Naraoia Apprentice Biologist

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    :blush:

    We'll talk when my funding runs out :p
     
  16. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    ^_^ -- Fair enough!
     
  17. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    Not just spiritual and biological implications, but--if Dawkins' point is to erase every distinction between man and other primates--then legal and moral implications as well.

    What's the distinction between a man and a chimpanzee that we count humans for representation in Congress and don't count chimpanzees? Dawkins apparently sees no distinction.
     
  18. Mr. Pedantic

    Mr. Pedantic Newbie

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    That doesn't mean that you're right. It just means you have the option of answering wrong. And you did.

    Depending, of course, on the definition of "ape".
     
  19. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    The definition of ape can take a hike.

    The question that was asked was:
    I would reply: NO.

    If that's wrong, please tell me how you think I would reply then?
     
  20. Naraoia

    Naraoia Apprentice Biologist

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    That's a bit of a slippery slope argument. It's possible to believe humans are apes without going to that sort of extreme. Being apes doesn't necessarily imply that we are no different from chimps or orangs. Border collies and chihuahuas are both dogs, but there are very good reasons you wouldn't want the latter herding your sheep.
     
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