This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Higgs’ View: The Real Reason People Doubt Richard Dawkins is an Ape

Higgs’ View: The Real Reason People Doubt Richard Dawkins is an Ape - Comments

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 1 by debonnesnouvelles

that bit towards the end is just priceless...

To back my hypothesis, I’ll paraphrase from a letter we received from a reader: How can other apes be more than 90% genetically identical to us when they’re so inferior in “intrinsic beauty”?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 04:20:44 UTC | #930041

Pigzig's Avatar Comment 2 by Pigzig

Gorillas and Chimps are different than humans all you have to do is use your eyes.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 04:43:09 UTC | #930049

CEVA34's Avatar Comment 3 by CEVA34

Pigzag, your eyes would tell you an Old English Bulldog is not the same as a Chihuahua, but they would be wrong, wouldn't they? Oh, and it's different "to" or "from", not "than".

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 05:04:53 UTC | #930063

S. Gudmundsson's Avatar Comment 4 by S. Gudmundsson

If we shared a common ancestor with cats, perhaps people would be less inclined to turn their nose up at the idea.

I mean, for all the words expended on this "controversy" over the years, it essentially boils down to "apes r smelly n stoopid! How can you possibly say we're related?!"

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 05:44:07 UTC | #930072

ridelo's Avatar Comment 5 by ridelo

Apes are too close for comfort. They remind us too much at disfigured and disabled humans. Some people are all too prone to classify other races with the apes, never their own.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:27:39 UTC | #930081

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 6 by Jos Gibbons

We do share a common ancestor with cats... or bananas, for that matter.
Your point, ridelo, is an intriguing one - it effectively implies that whatever our closest non-human relatives are, we'd end up not finding the answer convincing simply because it's correct. What a shame.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:36:06 UTC | #930085

SelfDTerminator's Avatar Comment 7 by SelfDTerminator

If an ape gained .001 IQ, lost a hair follicle, and stood up just a tad straighter every generation, they'd look alarmingly like humans after a few million years, wouldn't you say?

This demonstrates the pace at which evolution happens. From one generation to the next, it's indistinguishable. However, let it go long enough and you see the difference. A animator should understand the pacing as well. From one frame of a production to another, there's no difference. But put thousands or millions of them together and you have a movie where the final frame is far different from the first.

I wonder if I could catchphrase that.

"Gumby Understand Evolution!"

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 06:40:55 UTC | #930087

sbooder's Avatar Comment 8 by sbooder

I have an aunt I am meant to be closely related to, but for the life of me, I can not believe I share genes with that racist, bigoted snob.

She once gave us insight into her knowledge of genetics, "Upper class people are very tall and working class people are very short" she told us, at which point a friend and compatriot of mine replied, "Yes, the Queen is very tall, is she not?"

Anyway, I am much more pleased with my close relation to other apes than I am to her!

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 07:26:30 UTC | #930096

paulmcuk's Avatar Comment 9 by paulmcuk

I never had the slightest qualm about being related to apes and find it odd that some people do. I'm put in mind of the classic clip from "Life on Earth" where David Attenborough is sitting among the gorillas and wish we were ever so slightly more closely related so we might be able to communicate with them.

I found the following line quite telling:

Why do you characterize orangutans as “hairy” and me as “fuzzy wuzzy”? I suspect judgements have evolutionary roots. Perhaps there’s something about the similarities you share with other apes that triggers a negative attitude toward them.

I think there's some truth in this.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 08:24:56 UTC | #930109

Snowcrash's Avatar Comment 10 by Snowcrash

If an ape gained .001 IQ, lost a hair follicle

I read somewhere that humans have the same number of hairs on their body as our closest cousins the chimps. Ours are just not that visible. :-) http://whozoo.org/Anlife99/sheclark/template2chimps.htm

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 09:59:14 UTC | #930126

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 11 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Maybe it's the same principle that makes me more embarrassed of my dad entertaining guests in his bathrobe than a prime-minister screwing up the national budget?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 11:53:05 UTC | #930142

hemidemisemigod's Avatar Comment 12 by hemidemisemigod

Higgs: While many people have written interesting blog posts here, here, here and here about the ape-hood of Richard Dawkins, I humbly suggest there's one more important point to be made. This episode has helped confirm my suspicion that you humans are embarrassed by your relatives. You don’t like other apes very much. You think they’re ugly and you imagine they’re smelly even though most of you have never sniffed a gorilla.

.

"...He will enter our story in 30 seconds and say, 'Hello, Arthur.'

The ape descendant will greet him in return but, in deference to a million years of human evolution, he will not attempt to pick fleas off him. Earthmen are not proud of their ancestors and never invite them round to dinner."

from THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 12:27:48 UTC | #930148

HappyPrimate's Avatar Comment 13 by HappyPrimate

When I was a child of 7 yrs old (I'm 60 now), I visited the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans with my family one summer. We had a great time. However, when we visited what was called the chimp island exhibit, I observed them for a few minutes and the most amazing thing I saw was just how much they resembled humans. It took me aback and I knew at that moment we had to be related. Of course when I told my parents what I had concluded, that the chimps looked and acted so much like us, I was admonished, told I was absolutely wrong. I never forgot that feeling of kinship with those chimps that I had felt so deeply. It wasn't until I was an adult that I learned just how right I was about it. It made me very happy. While chimps and others in the great ape family are not precisely the same, one can see, especially with unprejudiced eyes of a child, the obvious connections.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 13:35:16 UTC | #930158

dloubet's Avatar Comment 14 by dloubet

It's especially obnoxious when the religious alternative is to be an artificial construct. A contraption, a gizmo, a product.

If you believe the bible, we're only dust golems.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 14:33:35 UTC | #930163

Bishopess's Avatar Comment 15 by Bishopess

"Can you imagine the Cleveland Gorillas playing the Chicago Baboons? Not going to happen." Higgs, you´re cute and your comments about "the ape-hood of Richard Dawkins" and everyone else were hilarious and spot-on.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 15:18:59 UTC | #930179

Red Dog's Avatar Comment 16 by Red Dog

Comment 4 by S. Gudmundsson :

If we shared a common ancestor with cats, perhaps people would be less inclined to turn their nose up at the idea.

I mean, for all the words expended on this "controversy" over the years, it essentially boils down to "apes r smelly n stoopid! How can you possibly say we're related?!"

We do share a common ancestor with cats, you just need to go far enough up the tree of life. At some point we share a common ancestor with all living things. Kind of poetic actually.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 15:21:10 UTC | #930180

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 17 by Tyler Durden

Comment 2 by Pigzig :

Gorillas and Chimps are different than humans all you have to do is use your eyes.

Try using a microscope, or a DNA sequencer - or an enlightened, unbiased mind.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 17:27:32 UTC | #930194

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 18 by Mee Peestevone

Or at least spend some time with a chimp or gorilla to see what is not so different.

Comment 17 by Tyler Durden :

Comment 2 by Pigzig :

Gorillas and Chimps are different than humans all you have to do is use your eyes.

Try using a microscope, or a DNA sequencer - or an enlightened, unbiased mind.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 17:32:46 UTC | #930196

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 19 by Tyler Durden

Comment 2 by Pigzig :

Gorillas and Chimps are different than humans all you have to do is use your eyes.

The chimpanzee and human genomes are more than 98% identical, but there are a few short DNA sequences that have changed significantly in humans since the two species diverged about 5 million years ago (see Pollard et al.)

Forces Shaping the Fastest Evolving Regions in the Human Genome - Public Library of Science (PLoS) Genetics Journal.

The chimpanzees are our closest relatives in the tree of life. Recent sequencing and assembly of the genome of the common chimp (Pan troglodytes) offers an unprecedented opportunity to understand primate evolution and to identify those changes in the ancestral hominoid genome which gave rise to the modern human species

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 17:51:24 UTC | #930198

Chris Roberts's Avatar Comment 20 by Chris Roberts

A very well written piece.

Kind of puts it into perspective when a cat (clever or not, Higgs is still feline) is clearly more intelligent than nearly half of the US population.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 19:28:30 UTC | #930220

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 21 by QuestioningKat

Higgs looks like a kitty on a serious mission. I must say that I look cuter, near sighted though I am.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 20:25:05 UTC | #930236

debonnesnouvelles's Avatar Comment 22 by debonnesnouvelles

Comment 21 by QuestioningKat :

Higgs looks like a kitty on a serious mission. I must say that I look cuter, near sighted though I am.

No need to compare yourselves - all cats are superior to apes, that's just a fact. Too bad your felinity couldn't make it to the Reason Rally today - is that because cats don't like rain? I didn't make it cause I don't like crossing oceans, but thanks to drumdaddy's link I managed to see Richard and other speakers live, what a treat.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 21:39:37 UTC | #930255

SelfDTerminator's Avatar Comment 23 by SelfDTerminator

Comment 10 by Snowcrash :

If an ape gained .001 IQ, lost a hair follicle

I read somewhere that humans have the same number of hairs on their body as our closest cousins the chimps. Ours are just not that visible. :-) http://whozoo.org/Anlife99/sheclark/template2chimps.htm

Yes, we look hairless because our hair is much more fine than an apes. However, to demonstrate the point of incremental change, it was more vivid to say that an ape loses a hair follicle. Otherwise, I'd have to say that its hair would thin down at a rate of a nanometer in diameter per generation. Much less demonstrative.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 22:15:06 UTC | #930260

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 24 by QuestioningKat

Comment 22 by debonnesnouvelles :

Comment 21 by QuestioningKat :

Higgs looks like a kitty on a serious mission. I must say that I look cuter, near sighted though I am.

No need to compare yourselves - all cats are superior to apes, that's just a fact. Too bad your felinity couldn't make it to the Reason Rally today - is that because cats don't like rain? I didn't make it cause I don't like crossing oceans, but thanks to drumdaddy's link I managed to see Richard and other speakers live, what a treat.

It's raining here too. No complaints, we usually have a foot of snow or a severe blizzard. Trees are blossoming several weeks, maybe a month early.(Roses were blooming in December.) (Hello, global warming deniers!) Actually I have been wanting to see the cherry blossoms for two years now. I figured this would be an ideal time to see the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian... and go to the rally. Unfortunately, my job is very busy right now. I ended up working until 7:30 pm yesterday and need to go in early Monday. I guess I could have drove 365 miles all night to get there, but there is also a part of me that would rather wander the streets of DC solo. I slept most of today taking a nap. Oh well, that's the way it goes.

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 23:29:42 UTC | #930271

Anaximander's Avatar Comment 25 by Anaximander

Gorillas and Chimps are different than humans all you have to do is use your eyes.

A sparrow and a swallow went into a bar. Which one was a bird?

Sat, 24 Mar 2012 23:44:21 UTC | #930274

brighterstill's Avatar Comment 26 by brighterstill

I can understand why people are uncomfortable around apes: they're in the uncanny valley [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mori_Uncanny_Valley.svg]. Cats are cute because they look nothing like humans and are compared to a different standard. Apes are a little too close to being human without being human altogether. I would not be at all surprised if a popular unease with apes was an evolutionary holdover which we gained to protect us from breeding (or mixing socially) with species which were similar enough to compete but not quite compatible for mating.

On the other hand, apes are awesome!

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 01:19:57 UTC | #930297

Bishopess's Avatar Comment 27 by Bishopess

QuestioningKat, you are indeed supercute! I have always thought that cats with glasses are adorable.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 09:01:28 UTC | #930339

achromat666's Avatar Comment 28 by achromat666

Gorillas and Chimps are different than humans all you have to do is use your eyes.

And you are different from your next door neighbor in appearance despite possessing all the same parts of someone of the same gender. The statement itself is meaningless.

What is important is the lack of knowledge concerning both human origin and the what it Dawkins is indicating by calling himself an ape.

Examine for example the fact that all the species that are commonly associated with this discourse (humans, apes, Chimps, Gorillas, etc) are hominids, all possessing similar strands of DNA, marked similarities in appearance and common ancestry (Australopithecus).

But it goes far deeper than that, if you base things on the level of similarity we possess much of the same DNA as much of life on this planet, which makes perfect sense considering we all exist in the same environment as varied species that have adapted to living in it in different ways.

So to properly amend the statement: Gorillas and Chimps are different than humans but not so much as you think as they possess much in common with humans as well. All you have to do is open your eyes.

Humans are not exalted above other creatures, we can barely coexist with ourselves.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 11:26:34 UTC | #930351

SuedeStonn's Avatar Comment 29 by SuedeStonn

Dude (chick) has got a point... most people don't like evolution because of they think chimpanzees (and gorillas, and orangutans, etc) are ugly. We think they're cool, and can do amazing things physically, but in the end being so far removed from us... and hairy... they're thought of as ugly. Of course the people who buy into evolution (like me) say yes, I see why evolution is a fact, that baboon looks like my aunt... I can see where the evolutionary scientists get their ideas. Humor aside, it's only partly because of psychology why people don't buy evolution, but still mostly because religion takes a huge hit to the jaw if accepted. Won't happen.

non est deus

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 11:34:07 UTC | #930354

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 30 by QuestioningKat

"...He will enter our story in 30 seconds and say, 'Hello, Arthur.' The ape descendant will greet him in return but, in deference to a million years of human evolution, he will not attempt to pick fleas off him. Earthmen are not proud of their ancestors and never invite them round to dinner." from THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Douglas Adams

Yes, but given the opportunity they might pick fleas off us.

Sun, 25 Mar 2012 12:05:53 UTC | #930357