The knowledge of where we’ve come from as a species
inspires me to attempt to influence where we will
head in the future, it gives me a responsibility
to do my best to rectify harmful beliefs.
This is a response to one of those beliefs.
Gorillas in the Midst
A poetic friend of mine
admonished theists to let those
who believe we came from monkeys,
act like monkeys,
but facts are a faith free institution,
and a poor competitor in the market place of ideas,
so I’m going to act as facts advertiser.
We share about 98.5% of our genetic make up with Chimps,
and while we have not yet isolated the essentials of humanity,
we can see some things throughout history
that separates us from other apes.
Contained in that 1.5% are major things, like fire,
which gave us the ability to cook our kills,
the ability to kill off bacteria
that may have killed us in the past,
cooking aids in digestion by breaking down vital nutrients
which allowed evolution to shorten our intestines,
it has even been postulated by scientists
that cooking our food may have
enabled our brains to attain their current abilities.
The wheel exists in that 1.5%
which gave us the ability to make simple machines,
which enabled us to ease our load,
to share the work
among a community of individuals
farming exists in that 1.5%
allowing a select few people to feed multitudes,
allowing the multitudes to focus
their energy on other pursuits
also located in that top 1.5%,
pursuits like reason,
science, art, math, poetry, mechanical ability,
reading, writing, contemplating death, walking upright
ascribing a meaning to life beyond survival and procreation
That 1.5% is an immense difference
when looked at from the bias of human exceptionalism
but also located in that 1.5%
is the irrational hate of the other,
is the holocaust and the slave trade,
racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia,
are weapons of mass destruction,
is the ability to alter the earth, for good or for ill,
is religion, is the ability to fore-go empathy
based on the words of authority,
is shame for acts that in any other species
are only seen as natural, like sex & nudity,
Located in the lower 98.5% that we share
with other hominids is empathy and compassion,
monkey’s in experimental conditions
have chosen to starve
when they think that the option to give themselves
food will also harm one of their own.
Somewhere buried in the base
of the 88% of genes we share with rodents is laughter,
scientists have made lab rats laugh when tickled.
In our tribal communities,
a trait shared with wolves
who share 75% of our genes,
we used to hunt in packs
lacking any discernible offensive
or defensive advantage
our willingness to work together
allowed us to bring down prey
much larger and faster than ourselves.
our bird brained genes, 60% shared between the two,
contain the ability to problem solve,
fashion tools and propagate languages,
Located in the lower 40% is yellow,
because that is the percentage of genes
we share with bananas…
yes Ray Comfort, bananas.
So you can believe an ancient myth if you wish,
that we, and every other creature on earth were
created fully formed by an intangible creator,
or follow where the evidence leads,
as for me, I’ll take Terry Pratchett’s point of view,
I’d rather be a rising ape, than a fallen angel.
Victor R. Harris Jr. © 2011
Outstanding, really well done. The ever-widening comparisons were spot on, and it was warmly amusing, too.