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Author Topic: Is the problem with understanding evolution in the wording?  (Read 2760 times)

Offline srollings

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This makes its way around the joke emails periodically: IF MAN EVOLVED FROM MONKEYS AND APES, WHY DO WE STILL HAVE MONKEYS AND APES?

I have also seen news articles that use wording to the effect that man evolved from apes.  Some people are really put off by this.

Since man didn’t evolve from the monkeys and apes we have today, wouldn't it be more correct to say that apes are the animals to which humans are most closely related,... that there is a prehistoric animal, neither a man nor a modern ape, that is a common ancestor to both?  (We’re related to slime mold, too, but the common ancestor is much further back in time.)
« Last Edit: 19/10/2010 09:26:12 by chris »


 

Offline Geezer

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I agree. We share a common ancestor, just as we share common ancestors with lots of other creatures. However, I don't think that will appease the many people who want to believe that humans were somehow exempt from evolution.
 

Offline Don_1

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Quite so, we did not evolve from chimps or any other modern ape. We evolved alongside them from some distant common ancestor.

I think this concept of 'Man evolved from Apes' may have been used as one which could be easier understood than 'Man and Apes evolved from X Species'. But it seems to have backfired. It may have been better to use the latter to avoid the confusion and ridicule suffered by Darwin & Co.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Biologically, men are apes.
Even if you don't believe in evolution, we are still apes.
 

Offline Geezer

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Biologically, men are apes.

What are women then?
 

Offline Don_1

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Offline Mazurka

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Biologically, men are apes.


As, I have woken up to find that it is "pedant Monday", could I correct the statement to say:
Taxonomically, Homo sapiens are within the Hominidae family, which is also known as the "Great Apes"...  

 

Offline BenV

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I think it's become a sort of shorthand - the people who do understand evolution know that you mean "man has a common ancestor with chimps".  But you're quite right, using this lazy way of writing/speaking can become a barrier to understanding.
 

Offline Geezer

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I think it's become a sort of shorthand - the people who do understand evolution know that you mean "man has a common ancestor with chimps".  But you're quite right, using this lazy way of writing/speaking can become a barrier to understanding.

When debating evolution with those who prefer a more literal biblical interpretation (and there are many in these parts, let me tell you), I've found it tends to present a slightly lower barrier to understanding by suggesting that we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees rather than saying,

"You friggin ape!"

(although admittedly, it has sometimes crossed my mind.)  ;D
« Last Edit: 04/10/2010 20:23:32 by Geezer »
 

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