Apes wearing pants

August 31, 2006 | By | 7 Replies More

Christians who declare their belief in Biblical creationism leave all sorts of unanswered questions in their wake.  Here are a few.

Question 1:  Why are there so many near-human animals?

Let’s say Darwinian evolution is “just a theory” and that one of the Bible’s two creation stories (yes, there are two in Genesis) correctly explains the origin of life on earth.  Why, then, do apes and monkeys exist?  Why did God create animals — especially chimps and bonobos — that are almost genetically identical to humans?  If God created us in his image, wouldn’t it have made a lot more sense for no other animal on earth to be even remotely similar to us?  Why would God create so many other primates — ANIMALS — that share over 95% of our DNA?  Moreover, why would God give them social behaviors nearly the same as ours; language skills nearly the same as ours; emotions, the ability to use tools, even bipedalism, compassion and self-awareness all nearly the same as ours?  Indeed, if we look at virtually any metric of mental ability, the average rhesus monkey behaves more human-like than did the brain damaged Terri Schiavo, whom President Bush and many Republican Members of Congress rushed to “save” because they believed she displayed human consciousness.  Assuming that no species on our planet arose from evolution, but from instantaneous creation by God, why are there so many near-human animals?  Why would God do this?

Question 2:  Why are there so many dissimilar “intelligent designs” of the same animal?

Again, let’s assume Darwinian evolution is “just a theory” and that the creation stories in Genesis correctly explain the origin of life on earth.  Why, then, are there so many different versions of each animal?  Wouldn’t “intelligent design” require God to create the one perfect design of each species and to populate the entire planet with that one perfect design?  Why are there, instead, so many different species of the same animal?  Our planet has two species of alligators, more than 140 species of sparrows, over 360 species of sharks…and even 260+ species of primates, and this doesn’t include the species that have gone extinct.  How do creationists square their idea of “intelligent design” with the fact that God couldn’t even figure out whether camels should have one hump or two?

Question 3:  Why do invasive species exist?

Here’s another question about God’s so-called “intelligent design:”  why did God create so many inferior designs?  “Intelligent” design would suggest that each species would be the best possible “design” for the environment in which it lives, yet how many times have we heard of invasive species taking over a new environment and displacing the native species?   Examples abound:  zebra muscles have invaded the Great Lakes and displaced other aquatic life; Africanized honeybees have invaded southern U.S. border states and displaced the tamer European honeybees; European gypsy moths have invaded America and threaten to defoliate vast areas of the country.  Many more examples exist.  Why do these invaders thrive so well compared to the “intelligently designed” indigenous species?  What is “intelligent” about designing plants and animals that can’t survive as well as the invaders, which were presumably “designed” to live someplace else and should, therefore, be less able to survive than the native species that were supposedly “designed” to live there?

Question 4:  Where did human variations come from?

Here’s yet another question about God’s “intelligent design:”  exactly where did all the different species of human come from?  Regardless of which color skin and which type of facial features Adam and Eve had (religious artwork in America and Europe invariably show them as having white skin and Western facial features), why don’t all people on our planet have the same skin color and facial features?  If Adam and Eve were Caucasion (for example), then from whom did Africans, Asians, Native Americans, etc., get their genes for non-white skin and non-Western traits?  And what about the pygmies in central Africa and on the islands of Indonesia — from whom did they descend?

Question 5:  Where did glacial valleys come from?

Deep river valleys — the Grand Canyon in Arizona, for example — are believed to have been created by slow water erosion over millions of years.  Nevertheless, Young Earth Creationists have another explanation for how such valleys were formed:  rapid erosion (i.e., over a few days or weeks) caused by a huge flood of fast-moving water.  This isn’t necessarily unscientific.  Reputable geologists have theorized that a huge flood might cause rapid erosion and large geologic features — the Toutle River badlands in the state of Washington is one leading candidate for this theory.  (Even so, no reputable scientist believes the Grand Canyon was formed this way, but this doesn’t, of course, prevent YEC folks from suggesting that it was.)

However, even if the YEC folks can convince themselves that all of our planet’s deep river valleys were formed by massive flood waters (namely, the Great Flood described in the Bible), their “theory” cannot explain deep glacial valleys.  Unlike river valleys, which are V-shaped, glacial valleys are distinctively U-shaped, so we know they were not created by rivers, and, unlike rivers, glaciers simply cannot move rapidly enough to carve out deep valleys in a matter of days or weeks.  So, where did deep glacial valleys come from, such as the ones that now form the deep fiords of Norway? 

Also, glaciologists tell us that periods of glaciation lasted 40,000 to 100,000 years, and we know from moraine deposits that our planet has had many such periods…yet there is no natural way for ice to create such formations quickly (i.e., in 6,000 years), so where did these glacial features come from?  God would need to be the Great Deceiver to create glacial valleys and moraines that fool us into thinking the earth is older than it is, but the Bible tells us that Satan is the Great Deceiver.  For more information about ice ages, see here and for more information about glacial valleys, see here.

These are just a few of the many questions that the Bible’s creation stories raise in my mind.  What questions do they raise in yours?

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Category: Evolution, Religion, Science

About the Author ()

Grumpypilgrim is a writer and management consultant living in Madison, WI. He has several scientific degrees, including a recent master’s degree from MIT. He has also held several professional career positions, none of which has been in a field in which he ever took a university course. Grumps is an avid cyclist and, for many years now, has traveled more annual miles by bicycle than by car…and he wishes more people (for the health of both themselves and our planet) would do the same. Grumps is an enthusiastic advocate of life-long learning, healthy living and political awareness. He is single, and provides a loving home for abused and abandoned bicycles. Grumpy’s email: grumpypilgrim(AT)@gmail(DOT).com [Erich’s note: Grumpy asked that his email be encrypted this way to deter spam. If you want to write to him, drop out the parentheticals in the above address].

Comments (7)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    According to a National Geographic article, when only the important (functional) portions of DNA are compared, there is 99.4 identity between chimpanzees and humans (click here). I recently watched a National Geographic video that explained that human and chimp blood are so similar that the one species can be a donor for the other.

    Here's another thing supporting what you've written. According to Jerry Coyne (Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago), "over time, nearly every species that ever lived (more than 99 percent of them) has gone extinct without leaving descendants." See here.

    As for the different skin colors of people, I'd have to conclude that, if there really is a God, He is a sadist. He equipped us to make us highly visual, made people various colors, then sat back to see if we'd be dumb enought to fight each other over skin color.

    What question does your post raise for me? I wonder why so many people are so willing to rely on the alleged facts of a dusty old book that clearly got so many facts wrong.

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Check out the Tree of Life web page for the links regarding our primate cousins: http://tolweb.org/Primates/15963

  3. Dan Klarmann says:

    Don't forget the 2 mainstays of YEC:

    God created the universe and its rules, and is free to suspend them for any reason at any time: Miracles

    God created the universe with all the evidence of a past before creation already embedded within, such as photons on their way from distant stars, nucleides half decayed, multi-layered fluorite granules, etc).

    Given these, one cannot argue from the Laws of Nature. Faking glacial canyons is nothing big, in this light.

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    Further to Dan's comment, I tried to anticipate both of these YEC objections by pointing out that God cannot be dishonest or deceptive, because that would be incompatible wth the nature of God. Only the Evil One is allowed to deceive humans. Thus, even if God can perform miracles, God cannot create a universe that is deliberately misleading.

  5. Randy says:

    I actually once asked a creationist a form of question number 2 (Why are there so many dissimilar “intelligent designs” of the same animal?). His anwer was to angrily berate me for telling God how He should do his designs!

    I next asked him if he had ever heard the expression, "Begging the question".

  6. Neal says:

    1. Why are there so many cars that look the same? Why can't the auto companies only make models that are completely unique? Why did Dodge use Neon engines in the PT Cruiser?

    2. Strawman argument. Who said that creationist's don't believe in any variation? Why do some cars come in both a sport and sedan version?

    3. Some creatures that can survive in similar conditions are more aggressive than others when placed together. Invasive species are normally the result of mankind transplating the species over great distances.

    4. You have got to be kidding. Facial features and skin color are minor genetic variations. Genetics has proven all humans are very similar and share a common ancestor. Early Darwinists made this argument, but you won't hear this from Evolutionists anymore. The Bible was proven to be true, we are all of one blood.

    5. There are many creationist who believe the "days" of Genesis one are long periods of time, not just 24 hours.

  7. Mindy Carney says:

    Neal: Are you really comparing God to automakers? Wow. You're giving a lot of credence to some mere human manufacturers. Sounds to me like you are insinuating that God behaved like a capitalist human while creating the earth. Really? That's rather odd.

    I find the concept of creationism being taught anywhere other than a church (and even there, highly inappropriate) utterly insulting to humankind. Again, one of those situations in which I believe God is banging his forehead on the proverbial wall, wondering where he went wrong in the wiring of the brains of so many of his humans that they cannot accept the intellectual development that has taught the difference between myth, fable, parable and FACT.

    As for #4, please do share your sources for this "proof" that the Bible's one pair of ancestors is true.

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