MOSCOW, March 17, 2012—In an interview with a black African bishop, the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins identified himself as an African ape.
“I am an ape. I am an African ape. I am very proud to be an African ape and so you should be,” Dawkins told the bemused cleric.
Even though he did not intend it, Dawkins’ statement brings out starkly the intuitive implausibility of evolutionary theory.
When hearing those words, one is immediately struck by the obvious falsity of the claim: No matter what he may choose to call himself, Richard Dawkins is certainly is no African ape.
To give an idea of the distance separating the two creatures, below are some things that Richard Dawkins can do, but which an ape – African or otherwise – could never do:
- Read a novel
- Reflect on his own existence
- Enjoy a Shakespeare play
- Wonder about the meaning of life
- Appreciate a Beethoven symphony
- Think about the theory of evolution
- Dream about his future
- Perceive right and wrong
- Complete a crossword puzzle
- Contemplate the size of the universe
- Form a mental concept of God
Richard Dawkins can do all this and more while even the brightest of apes is incapable of even grasping the point behind these mental activities.
To suggest that there is some kind of fundamental equivalence between Professor Dawkins and an ape is not only demeaning, it is outright incredible. It is also indecent, since there is something almost blasphemous about a person putting himself on the same level as an animal.
Some people may think that Dawkins’ self-description is a sign of humility, but the opposite may well be the case. Dawkins is a man who has been generously endowed with considerable abilities but who stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the source of gifts.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights,” we read in the first chapter of James’ epistle.
John Calvin elaborates on this in the first chapter of his Institutes: “No man can survey himself without forthwith turning his thoughts towards the God in whom he lives and moves; because it is perfectly obvious, that the endowments which we possess cannot possibly be from ourselves; nay, that our very being is nothing else than subsistence in God alone.”
The truth is that we have all been created in God’s image. Fallen though we are, we still bear the divine stamp in our being. We must never forget that. Above all, we must not teach our children that they come from animals. Not only is this untrue, but if we tell them that they are animals they will eventually start acting like animals. We need to teach them there is something more to human than the physical nature we share with the animal world. We must explain to them that those yearnings for goodness, for love, for immortality and transcendence that sometimes stir in their souls have been implanted there by God. Most importantly, we need to teach them love and respect for our creator who gives us all good things, not only in this life but also in the one to come.
Richard Dawkins’ intelligence and the ability to speak and reason did not come from apes. Neither are they a product of chance. They are gifts from above. He should not be using these gifts to demean himself or the One who gifted him so liberally.
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Born and raised under communism, Vasko Kohlmayer is a naturalized American citizen. He has lived in several countries under various forms of government, but he still marvels at the goodness of God and the wonder of life.
He has written for a number of newspapers, magazines and internet journals. Vasko currently lives in Europe with his long-suffering wife and two beautiful daughters. He is the founder of The Christian Writers Foundation.
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