Of Chimps and Men

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The
latest
claim that chimpanzees are closer to humans
than other primates
will undoubtedly warm the hearts of evolutionists everywhere. But
they shouldn't start swinging from the trees for joy just yet.

It
doesn't mean much, for other animals also share the same genes as
Homo Sapiens.

In
short, it isn't as if we've learned anything new. More importantly,
the news says nothing of the chasm between mankind and chimpdom.

The
Latest Science

"We
humans appear as only slightly remodeled chimpanzee-like apes,"
the Associated Press quotes Wayne State University’s Morris Goodman,
who notes that chimps and men share 99.4 percent of their DNA.

Thus
would Goodman put chimps under the genus Homo. Now Homo Sapiens,
or humans, is the only species in the genus. Goodman would add two,
Homo troglodytes and Homo paniscus, the common and bonobo chimpanzees.

In
sum, the chimpologists say, Tarzan's Cheetah was more closely related
to the Lord of the Apes than to the gorillas in the mist.

For
the record, in some ways fruit flies are "close" to men,
but flyologists do not suggest adding Drosophila melanogaster to
genus Homo.

Man's
Signature

This
alleged revelation about chimps does not mean what the evolutionists
so desperately wish.

It
matters not, G.K. Chesterton wrote, whether man evolved from monkey,
and he would say today that it doesn't matter how "close"
chimpanzees are to man. What matters is that man is a substantially
different creature.

Chesterton
used the famous prehistoric cave drawings in France to make the
point.

"It
is the simple truth," he wrote, "that man does differ
from the brutes in kind and not in degree; and the proof of it is
[in the cave]; that it sounds like a truism to say that the most
primitive man drew a picture of a monkey and that it sounds like
a joke to say that the most intelligent monkey drew a picture of
a man. Something of division and disproportion has appeared; and
it is unique. Art is the signature of man….

"Monkeys
did not begin pictures and men finish them…. The higher animals
did not draw better and better portraits; the dog did not paint
better in his best period than in his early bad manner as a jackal….

"A
monkey does not draw clumsily and a man cleverly; a monkey does
not begin the art of representation and a man carry it to perfection.
A monkey does not do it at all; he does not begin to do it at all;
he does not begin to begin to do it at all. A line of some kind
is crossed before the first faint line can begin."

Man
is a creator, Chesterton wrote, not merely a creature.

Monkeys
do not write novels or poetry, erect statues, contemplate history
and mathematics, or most importantly, worship God.

Monkeys
do not look in the mirror and ask, "why am I here?"

A
Monkey Is What He Is

With
a chimp, you get what you see, an insensate brute. With man, you
get something unseen: a being aware of himself and his mortality.

Chimpanzees
are not dumbed-down hairy men; men are not souped-up simians.

Perhaps
chimps belong to genus Homo because of some abstract zoological
construct of which the unschooled are unaware. But the unschooled
are keenly aware of something else.

A
monkey is not a man, and man is not a monkey.

May
21, 2003

Syndicated
columnist R. Cort Kirkwood [send
him mail
] is managing editor of the Daily News-Record
in Harrisonburg, Va.

R.
Cort Kirkwood Archives


     

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