I received this from several people, and at first thought it was a joke. (This shows how hard it is to distinguish the effusions of the faithful from pure satire.) After exercising due diligence, I have decided it’s real. It’s an article by Vasko Kohlmayer in the Washington Times raising this question: “Is Richard Dawkins an ape?” Kohlmayer’s conclusion, of course, is “no”:
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.
Kohlmayer’s argument, of course, is religious:
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. . .
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.
Blah blah blah. . . the words appear on parade, like a team of well-rehearsed horses. Has Kohlmayer ever looked at the behavior of atheists?
I believe it was William Jennings Bryan who denied during the Scopes trial that man was a mammal. That one statement laid him low, exposing his Bible-ridden ignorance for what it is. Of course we are mammals, and of course Richard is an ape. The Wikipedia definition is as good as any:
Last time I looked, I was also a tailless catarrhine primate, so that makes me an ape as well. The only thing I’d take issue with is Richard’s statement that he’s an African ape. He’s an ape who is descended from African apes, but he’s currently an Oxford ape. (Richard was an African ape when he was growing up in Kenya.)
As for Kohlmayer’s argument that we’re not apes (or animals!) because we can do all sorts of things that other beasts can’t, well, those abilities come from the evolution of our big brains, not from the hand of God. Just because some apes have capacities more advanced than others doesn’t mean they’re not apes. Crows are a lot smarter than ducks, but nobody denies that a crow is a bird.
I doubt that this article is a hoax because here’s the Times profile of Vasko Kohlmayer:
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 discovered that no matter how many places you’ve been, there is always something new to learn wherever you go.
Yeah—maybe he should learn what an “ape” is!
And, of course, the Washington Times is currently owned by the Unification Church (aka “the Moonies”).