Darwinism Intelligent Design

Darwinists, please stop helping the chimp crazies

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Today, I posted on the Travis chimpanzee story – the gruesome results of imagining that chimpanzees are just people like us, only furry – a common theme in pop science mags.

In a comment, tsmith notes that Travis’s mother Suzy had also died after a rampage, in 2001.

That story by Rick Schapiro in New York Daily News (February 21, 2009) is here. More reports here.

Just like us, only furry? – It is an odd belief, when you think of it. But hre is a Times article that fronts the idea.

If we assume that chimps and humans are related on a Tree of Life, it makes no more sense to assume that we can live with chimps than to assume that we can just as safely live with a rattlesnake as with a ribbon snake*.

The assumption that rattlesnakes and ribbon snakes descended from a common ancestor says nothing whatever about the comparative degree of danger that either would represent if you brought one into your home.

You and I are descended from the same common ancestor as many serial killers, which should warn us that common descent is obviously a poor predictor of psychology and behaviour.

So the “chimp champs” have no business relying on arguments from the Tree of Life theory to bolster their case, whether the theory is true or false.

However, last I heard, Darwinian evolutionists were trying to get humans and chimps classified in the same genus.

Such a grossly irresponsible move would only give the chimp crazies a boost – about the last thing that is needed.

A responsible move on the part of biological science societies would be to make clear to the chimp crazies that chimps are not people, and living with people does not change them into people.

Viewing a chimp as a child does not make it one.

However, I fear crickets will be chirping Sweet Adeline before the societies do anything like that. They are fronting too much false knowledge about human origins to risk the obvious questions that would be asked.

(Ribbon snake – small, neither venomous nor a constrictor – lives mainly on frogs)

36 Replies to “Darwinists, please stop helping the chimp crazies

  1. 1
    madsen says:

    So do you actually have examples of Darwinist scientists who recommend keeping chimps as pets? Jane Goodall doesn’t seem to think it’s a good idea:

    Chimpanzees Don’t Make Good Pets

  2. 2
    David Kellogg says:

    I’m confused by the link to the Times Online. Denyse apparently provided it to support the view that “a common theme in pop science mags” is that “chimpanzees are just people like us, only furry.” Two things are wrong with that. First, the Times article doesn’t remotely support that idea. Second, the Times is not a pop science mag.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    David Kellogg, for all practical purposes, when talking about science, the Times IS a pop science mag. It fronts science (= materialist science) to the public.

    Now here is what the article actually says:

    “As our nearest living cousin, Pan troglodytes has long been considered among the animal kingdom’s leading candidates for a sophisticated intellect. Yet the extent to which chimp intelligence has been found to approach that of people has surprised even some primatologists, as has their ability to perform all sorts of skills once thought to be exclusively human.

    In January a chimp named Ayumu performed so well on a memory test that he beat a human, while scientists at the University of St Andrews have shown that chimps better four-year-olds at tasks that involve extracting a reward from a closed box. ”

    Get it! Chimps are almost people. (I have replaced that article with a number of links but relink it here for reader convenience, and will then go and put it up again above.)

    Madsen, in the light of the kind of prattle quoted above, it makes little difference that the Jane Goodall Institute happens to have a Web site that claims that chimps don’t make good pets.

    One does not NEED to endorse keeping chimps as pets if the entire pop science industry claims that they are almost people.

    Instead of trying to score points with me, try to persuade biological science organizations to come out against keeping chimps as pets because they are not enough like humans to be reliable.

    Get back to me with what happens.

  4. 4
    madsen says:

    O’Leary,

    Instead of trying to score points with me, try to persuade biological science organizations to come out against keeping chimps as pets because they are not enough like humans to be reliable.

    Get back to me with what happens.

    The Jane Goodall Institute has, as per the link I provided. Goodall herself wrote an editorial recently on the tragedies, entitled “Sorry—not a pet”

    http://www.startribune.com/opi.....1&c=y

    Note the subtitle: “A chimpanzee can never be fully domesticated (and suffers when we try)”

  5. 5
    David Kellogg says:

    I find the Times article uncontroversial, though many here would disagree even with its first line (“Chimpanzees are humanity’s closest living relatives.”) It reports on findings about chimps with no sentimentality. Nobody would read it and conclude that chimps would make good pets. Many here would say they are no relatives at all.

    Why would a biological science organization have anything to say about pets? FASEB, the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, has a statement about preventing pets (such as dogs and cats) from becoming research animals, but they don’t say anything about what animals people should keep. And why should they? That’s not their focus.

    That’s the proper domain of the ASPCA, which has already declared its support for H.R. 80/S. 462—The Captive Primate Safety Act.

    FASEB has no need to declare anything about pet-keeping practices. Is there a specific society you’re thinking of? Otherwise it sounds like another silly ultimatum.

  6. 6
    O'Leary says:

    Madsen, you are not listening.

    I don’t blame you – you are echoing an entire culture, and have a hard time understanding what I am saying.

    But let’s try one more time: I don’t CARE what Jane Goodall thinks.

    Absent the support of science societies, she is just another famous, aging do-gooder in the wilderness, lauded, documentarized, and then of course ignored.

    I said – and you quoted – “Instead of trying to score points with me, try to persuade biological science organizations to come out against keeping chimps as pets because they are not enough like humans to be reliable.”

    So don’t write back to this blog telling me what Jane Goodall says in some newspaper somewhere unless you can demonstrate that biological societies actually “come out against keeping chimps as pets because they are not enough like humans to be reliable.”

    Instead of their usual stance of sponsoring and celebrating 98% chimpanzee stuff that – I assume unintentionally – but nonetheless supports the chimp crazies and the horrible results …

    I would welcome the opportunity to publish anything like that, and I challenge you to provide it.

  7. 7
    O'Leary says:

    David Kellogg,

    The whole point of the swatch I quoted from the Times is that chimps are almost like people.

    That is one of the factors that motivates the chimp crazies, and it is amply supported in the other pop science media.

    I find it fascinating when people tell me administrative reasons why no professional organization needs to care.

    So t hey can go on doing what they are doing and things can go on happening as they are happening.

  8. 8
    David Kellogg says:

    Is there any evidence that people who keep chimps as pets are prompted to do so by what scientists say? Is there anything to connect the person who kept this chimp with, for example, her reading of studies of chimp intelligence or her interest in the debate over where to classify chimps?

  9. 9
    David Kellogg says:

    You are correct, Denyse, that people should not view chimps as cuddly pet-like things. I agree with that entirely, as I think most people do: which is why, like ASPCA (the relevant society), support a ban on chimp trafficking.

    But I don’t think there’s a shred of evidence that people get such a view from science. Where then? Most likely they get such a view from television and the movies, starting with Bedtime for Bonzo through Every Which Way but Loose (well, that was an orangutan) and to George of the Jungle. So who needs to step up? Brendon Fraser, Clint Eastwood, and — hmm, we can’t get Ronald Reagan, but maybe someone in the Reagan family.
    Other influences may include circuses, to the extent anybody goes to circuses any more, and advertisements (chimps working in offices and so forth).

    On the plus side, Planet of the Apes (the original, not the remake) should be watched as a corrective, over and over, to show how bad such practices can turn out.

  10. 10
    madsen says:

    O’Leary,

    How about this blog entry:

    http://scienceblogs.com/inters.....himpan.php

    in which Brian Hare, anthropologist at Duke and Director of 3 Chimps Hominoid Research Group explains why chimps are not pets.

    The blog entry includes a call for readers to support the Captive Primate Safety Act.

  11. 11
    russ says:

    David Kellogg wrote:

    You are correct, Denyse, that people should not view chimps as cuddly pet-like things….

    But I don’t think there’s a shred of evidence that people get such a view from science.

    From “Wired Science” magazine:
    http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience

    Fouts is one of a growing number of scientists and ethicists who believe that chimpanzees — as well as orangutans, bonobos and gorillas, a group colloquially known as great apes — ought to be considered people.

    Perhaps said “scientists and ethicists” should say apes “ought to be considered wild, amoral people”

  12. 12
    madsen says:

    Yet even Fouts’ organization

    http://www.cwu.edu/~cwuchci/faq.html

    has this to say:

    Q. Does anyone ever go into the enclosure with the chimpanzees?

    A. NO! No one is allowed inside the enclosure with the chimpanzees. Humans and chimpanzees do not make good physical companions.

    Presumably she doesn’t recommend them as pets.

  13. 13

    This from an endnote in my forthcoming THE END OF CHRISTIANITY:

    For the distinction between a difference in kind and a difference in degree, especially as it applies to human uniqueness, see Mortimer Adler, The Difference of Man and the Difference It Makes (New York: Fordham University Press, 1993). This book, though originally published in 1967, is must-reading for anyone concerned with the problem of human uniqueness. It opens with a thought experiment about what would happen if it were possible to cross a human and an ape.

    Forty years later, Richard Dawkins proposed breaking the species barrier with “a successful hybridization between a human and a chimpanzee.” (See his brief article “Breaking the Species Barrier,” January 2009, at http://www.edge.org/q2009/q09_16.html, last accessed January 17, 2009.) Dawkins continues, “Even if the hybrid were infertile like a mule, the shock waves that would be sent through society would be salutary. This is why a distinguished biologist described this possibility as the most immoral scientific experiment he could imagine: it would change everything!”

    Dawkins views such an experiment not as immoral but, if successful, as liberating: “Our ethics and our politics assume, largely without question or serious discussion, that the division between human and ‘animal’ is absolute.” A “humanzee” would, for Dawkins, refute human uniqueness and thereby destroy the entire Judeo-Christian ethical system based on it — a prospect he relishes. Are theistic evolutionists like Giberson prepared to follow Dawkins down this path? Absent human uniqueness, why not?

  14. 14
    madsen says:

    Please also include the full final paragraph from the article in your book as well:

    I have laid out four possibilities that would, if realised, change everything. I have not said that I hope any of them will be realised. That would require further thought. But I will admit to a frisson of enjoyment whenever we are forced to question the hitherto unquestioned.

  15. 15
    Charlie says:

    Hi Madsen,
    While I’m sure Dr. Dembski values your editorial insights is there any reason you think that last paragraph significant?

  16. 16
    madsen says:

    Hi Charlie,

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful to Dr Dembski. I just feel that it’s only fair to Dawkins to mention that he explicitly states he is not advocating that the experiment actually be carried out (the bolded sentence). A reader of the endnote might come to the opposite conclusion.

  17. 17
    Charlie says:

    Except that Dawkins’ advocacy is not the issue but his opinion about the difference between humans and apes.
    Dawkins is insistent in that article that the difference is, as Demski’s point alludes to, in degree and not in kind. Those who disagree with Dawkins he characterizes as “confused” and have opinions in conflict with what “evolution” (as if it can determine values) tells us. The experiment is irrelevant to Dawkins’ view except insofar as it would provide the practical demonstration of what Dawkins already knows to be true.

    Dembski leaves out no pertinent facts, even though Dawkins tells us that in order for his contemplation to become a hope will require further thought. He also tells us in that article that there are no facts with which to argue against his opinion so it is inevitable that “further thought” will lead to his hope. Notice as well that he did not offer the possibility that further thought might dissuade him. It is a fact of evolution, which accounts for all life’s features that humans are not reproductively isolated historically from apes – therefore, there is no ethical divide either.

  18. 18
    David Kellogg says:

    None of the responses, including russ’s [11] and Dr. Dembski’s [13], provide the evidence I asked for in [9].

  19. 19
    David Kellogg says:

    Not that Dr. Dembski was necessarily replying to me specifically.

  20. 20
    madsen says:

    Charlie,

    Except that Dawkins’ advocacy is not the issue but his opinion about the difference between humans and apes.

    It’s not the topic of this thread, but it would be fair to convey Dawkins’ stance accurately.

    Notice as well that he did not offer the possibility that further thought might dissuade him.

    I understood that to be implicit. Why would he say the matter would require further thought, if there is nothing that could dissuade him?

  21. 21
    Charlie says:

    It’s not the topic of this thread, but it would be fair to convey Dawkins’ stance accurately.

    His stance was accurately conveyed (bearing in mind that we don’t know to what exact point this was an endnote).
    Every issue raised in the endpoint accurately reflects Dawkins’ position for which he was used as an example:
    the difference is seen as one of degree and not of kind; the hybridization of an ape/human would create a beneficial result; it would not be immoral.

    Why would he say the matter would require further thought, if there is nothing that could dissuade him?

    This is a good question.
    Dawkins says that his discussion is not an expression of his hope. But what else does he say? For one, he clearly does not say that he hopes the experiments/discoveries do not happen. The shockwaves resulting from the experiment that would indicate the greatest of immorality to one biological professor would, in Dawkins’ opinion, be beneficial, not immoral. He says that if the experiments are realized (and at least one he repeats likely will be realized) they will change everything. This includes forcing us to ask questions – and this excites him with enjoyment. Notice that this excitement requires the actual fulfillment of the experiment in question, because, theoretically we already know what the experiment would force us to face in practical terms. We are not being forced to ask these questions currently, by our theory, but would (will) be by the realization of the experiment – to his enjoyment.
    And he has removed the ethical barrier already by allusion to the facts told to us by evolution– that which fully explains our existence; nature has already ruled on the cross-breeding, mixing and genomic fulfillment of a hybrid. It has already shown us that there is no difference in kind and those who disagree are confused. There are no more facts to be weighed – evolution has spoken, ethics are mute, and Dawkins has admitted the enjoyment he would/will feel at the practical demonstration of what he already knows.
    Why the reference to further thought? I can only guess he’s being disingenuous in an attempt to deflect criticism, or he hasn’t really followed through intellectually on his own pronouncements.

    In any case, he is in no way misrepresented in the note in question and his position is as fully presented with or without his disclaimer.

  22. 22
    Charlie says:

    To sum, Dr. Dembski’s reference to Dr, Dawkins no more suggests Dawkins’ advocacy of the experiment than do Dawkins’ own words, and Dawkin’s disclaimer adds no clarification to his own article nor would it to Dembski’s endnote.
    The addition requested by Madsen is insignificant.

  23. 23
    djmullen says:

    Regarding chimps and humans in the same genus: genus is the next classification above species. As an example, dogs, wolves, coyotes and jackels are all part of the genus Canis.

    Is anybody aware that Richard Owen, probably the greatest biologist of his day, and Thomas Huxley spent most of the last half of the 19th century arguing about whether there was ANY organ that chimps and humans did not share? Owen thought there was, but he lost. And nobody has found one to this day.

    So why not put humans and chimps into the same genus? They are our closest relatives, in many ways they are about as intelligent as a human child, and they have many of the same wants and fears as a human. Humans are essentially chimps with bigger chimp brains and modified chimp bodies. (Regardless of whether you think we all got that way via an Intelligent Designer or evolution.)

    Dawkins point about cross breeding a chimp and a human is to try to break the “us vs them” mindset that causes us to put people who kidnap human babies from their mothers in jail for life while paying people who kidnap infant chimps from their mothers cold cash for the “service”.

    Dawkins (and many others, including myself) believe that when it comes to pain, pleasure, fear and just about any other emotion, chimps are equal to men. A chimp that is kidnapped and put in a cage for fifty years hurts as badly as a human subjected to the same treatment.

    The Christian morality he is speaking of is the one in Genesis 1:26 and 1:28, where mankind is given dominion “…over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” He wants to give chimps some of the same rights we give children, infants and mentally retarded people. What’s wrong with that?

  24. 24
    Kevin says:

    The chimp and the rattlesnake share a common ancestor too, remember.

  25. 25
    madsen says:

    Charlie,

    He also tells us in that article that there are no facts with which to argue against his opinion so it is inevitable that “further thought” will lead to his hope.

    If that does become the case and Dawkins announces his support for carrying out the experiment, then I will congratulate you on a successful prediction.

    Notice that this excitement requires the actual fulfillment of the experiment in question, because, theoretically we already know what the experiment would force us to face in practical terms. We are not being forced to ask these questions currently, by our theory, but would (will) be by the realization of the experiment – to his enjoyment.

    Dawkins’ actual statement is:

    But I will admit to a frisson of enjoyment whenever we are forced to question the hitherto unquestioned.

    Please note that the frisson of enjoyment he refers to is a result of contemplating the thought experiment and does not require that a human/chimpanzee hybrid actually be produced.

  26. 26
    Scot.David says:

    Thank you Dr. Dembski, you are absolutly right in my opinion. I am looking forward to the End Of Christianity, and will buy it as soon as it comes out. Please kkep us posted.

  27. 27
    Charlie says:

    Hi Madsen,
    I’m pretty sure you’ve missed it there. We are not “forced” to contemplate the thought experiment – “Our ethics and our politics assume, largely without question or serious discussion, that the division between human and ‘animal’ is absolute.” Our theoretical knowledge of the “fact of evolution” does not so force us.
    We will be forced to “question the hitherto unquestioned” – the difference by degree and not by kind between man and ape – upon the realization of one or more of these experiments; which will happen, and by which everything will be changed, and because of which salutary shock waves (causing the question of that which has been assumed) will be sent throughout society.
    A fair reading of Dawkins here will not change the impression one would get from the endnote. By a cursory read, however, one might be fooled by his hedge.

  28. 28
    tsmith says:

    to me the end result of ‘evolutionary thinking’ is exhibited in the following:

    Spain is to become the first country to extend legal rights to apes, wrongfooting animal rights activists who have long campaigned against bullfighting in the country.

    In what is thought to be the first time a national legislature has granted such rights to animals, the Spanish parliament’s environmental committee voted to approve resolutions committing the country to the Great Apes Project, designed by scientists and philosophers who say that humans’ closest biological relatives also deserve rights.

    link

    when you remove God, and man as being created in His image, then were are just one more animal among many. Why should we have special rights that other animals do not have? why are we special? When you remove God from the picture, anything goes…and what spain did is crazy, nuts, fruitloops…

  29. 29
    SaintMartinoftheFields says:

    People who think that chimps are people are wacky. Let’s be charitable though… they probably mean well.

  30. 30
    JT says:

    I don’t see why someone should be threatened by humanzees if they don’t think such a thing is actually possible. And if it were possible, what would that imply about the uniqueness of humans?

    Of course not everything that can be done should be done (e.g. pedophilia.)

    Incidentally, Revelations 4:8 talks about human-animal combinations (which BTW happen to be in Heaven).

    The Bible also says animals will be in Hell (“where the worm never dies”). But there are other mentions of animals in Hell as well.

    So hopefully that clears everything up.

  31. 31
    AmerikanInKananaskis says:

    Darwinists are crazy.

    So what, we’re supposed to treat chimps as furry “equals”, but black people are NOT our “equals”?

    How do they keep this stuff straight in their minds?

  32. 32
    djmullen says:

    tsmith @ 28 The animal rights movement is not based on evolution, it’s based on the simple observation that non-human animals suffer just as much as we do and deserve protection from pain and suffering just as much as humans.

    This is nothing knew, people have been campaigning against animal cruelty since at least the Victorian era and more power to them.

    Ask your self, “What would Jesus do,” if he observed a dog being beaten to death? What would you do? Remember, the dog is just one more animal and he wasn’t made in God’s image. Would you give it a vicious kick and feel you were a good representative of Jesus Christ, doing His will?

    P.S. Bravo to the Spanish Parliament and please pass another bill protecting bulls too!

  33. 33
    eintown says:

    I completely agree with O’Leary, Darwinists are to blame for people keeping chimps as pets. I mean, people are led to think that chimps are real smart, almost human… so how can a person not want a pet chimp?!

    Really, the Darwinist establishment MUST come out with official statements dissuading people from chimp ownership. And while they are talking they MUST divorce themselves from Darwin’s racist remarks!

  34. 34
    Vladimir Krondan says:

    Here’s an interesting Darwinian quote about chimps. It’s from Paul Erhlich’s The Process of Evolution.

    “There is a considerable body of literature on the reasoning power of chimpanzees. On certain types of tests designed primarily to evaluate human reasoning power, some “chimps” score higher than many human adults. Indeed, as Harlow succinctly puts it, if man is defined as the possessor of mental abilities that occur in other animals only in the most rudimentary forms, if at all, we “must of necessity disenfranchise many millions . . . from the society of Homo sapiens.” Chimpanzees may lack culture not because of any great lack of reasoning power but because of some other factor that inhibited the development of speech or the regular utilization of tools, or the reduction of inter-male aggressiveness. ”

    Souce is here: Darwinian world-view, in quotes

  35. 35
    David Kellogg says:

    I would like to ask again the question I posed above, which has not been answered:

    Is there any evidence that people who keep chimps as pets are prompted to do so by what scientists say? Is there anything to connect the person who kept this chimp with, for example, her reading of studies of chimp intelligence or her interest in the debate over where to classify chimps?

    If not, this whole post is a red herring.

  36. 36
    AmerikanInKananaskis says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bubbles_(chimpanzee)

    “They (chimpanzees) are very smart.” Jackson then stated that, “Their DNA is literally identical to humans when you look under a microscope.”

    And he got the chimp from a clinic. Filled with SCIENTISTS.

    Yeah, no science-based beliefs there.

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