On a recent post (IGNORANCE IS NOT BLISS ) I briefly discussed my views of evolution. Though my Atheist friend disagreed with me on most of what I said on this topic, what really seemed to bother him were the following remarks: "And of the many matters for which it cannot account, the greatest is the humanity of man – our uniqueness. We are God’s unique creation.”
My friend took me to task for this statement; the discussion can be found in the comments following that post. Not satisfied with that however, he published a post on his blog a few days later, The Need to Feel Superior to Other Forms of Life.
He begins with a picture of a couple of cute monkeys and the statement, "I find it strange when people need to feel superior to other forms of life. I recently had a mini-discussion with a Christian who posted a rather interesting blog post." He follows with my whole brief paragraph on evolution. After a brief disagreement with the paragraph, he homes in on the final sentence quoted above.
" -- the idea that really struck me is the part about how we’re supposedly ‘unique’.
Of course, Bill isn’t the first one to voice such a sentiment. In fact, he voiced it in a very polite way. I’ve often run into theists who say something similar. Some seem to get rather offended because they think evolution means they’re nothing more than a monkey. A few have said this with a sneer, as if monkey’s are beneath them.
And that’s the problem, I think, with some religious thought. It teaches we’re above the other animals on this planet – that we’re somehow more beloved of a creator God and are here to use or safe-guard this planet, which we’re doing a horrendous job of, by the way."
He then follows with a rather interesting set of data showing our similarities with other creatures, most of which is well-known by those who read popular journals or watch PBS.· We share a similar genetic makeup with chimpanzees - "a minuscule 1.2%" difference.
· We share much of our genetic makeup with other (dare I say "lower"?) forms of animal life.
· It "isn't even necessarily true" that we are "more intelligent" than other animals. This claim and the data supporting it compose most of the post.
· Monkeys may even "wonder" and "process ideas about self".
The data is interspersed with a few gotcha remarks and the blog concludes:
"I think we need to put aside our selfish, egotistical wish to be superior to other forms of life. We’ve caused enough harm by putting it to use. Even if we think in terms of sheer dominance, bacteria has us beat hands down.
It’s just one more thing the Bible (and other religions) have gotten wrong.
And if you’re going to insist that we’re unique, special and even made in the image of some omnipotent deity, at least don’t pretend you’re being humble."
So has my friend refuted my "selfish, egotistical wish" which I stated above? Somehow I don't see how he has. As a matter of fact, I believe that he has confirmed my point. Whatever we make of the idea of evolution, it cannot account for the vast differences between humans and other creatures which are composed of the same material.
If we take the position that the material and physically observable accounts for all of reality, we are left with matters that cannot be explained - the uniqueness of the human race being one of those matters. So for the materialist the simple solution to this dilemma is simply to deny that these inexplicable matters really exist. The materialist is forced to deny the humanity of man.
Yes, I do believe that we human beings "are beloved of a creator God" and that "we're unique, special and even made in the image of some (the) omnipotent Deity." I also believe that "we are here to use and safeguard this planet." (I suspect that my friend believes that too.) And I hope I will be forgiven for those times I "pretend (I'm) being humble."
"When I observe Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and stars that You set in place --
What is man, that You take thought of him?
And the son of man, that You care about him?"
Psalm 8:3, 4