If Humans Evolved from Apes, Why Do Apes Exist Today?

by Dr. Tommy Mitchell on September 21, 2010

Many creationists today, sadly, demonstrate their lack of understanding of the evolutionists’ position when they ask this question.

Many creationists today, sadly, demonstrate their lack of understanding of the evolutionists’ position when they ask this question.

Here is how their misguided thinking goes: “If evolution were true, then modern humans descended from apes. (After all, we’ve seen many scientific charts showing apes as man’s ancestors.)  So, since apes still exist, they didn’t turn into humans, and evolutionists are being silly when they say apes evolved into humans. Case closed!” People who think this way (and I have met many, but not within Answers in Genesis ministries) sincerely believe that the present-day existence of apes discredits evolution.

Well then, why don’t we ask the obvious question: If humans evolved from apes, then why do apes still exist today? If they evolved into humans, the apes should naturally be gone . . . right?

Well, no, not really.

This argument shows a misunderstanding of what evolutionists actually believe about human evolution. The evolutionary concept of the origin of humans is not based on humans descending from modern apes but, rather, argues that humans and modern apes share a common ancestor.

According to the evolutionary worldview, several million years ago there existed a group of creatures that would ultimately give rise to both modern apes and modern humans. At some point, a small group of creatures became reproductively isolated from the main group. These two groups then followed different evolutionary pathways, resulting in the modern apes and modern humans. So, in reality, there is nothing about the existence of modern apes that would trouble an evolutionist. In fact, raising this issue only shows a lack of understanding on the part of those believing that the existence of modern apes is a stumbling block for evolution. This argument also seems to imply that creationists are deliberately committing a straw-man fallacy (misrepresentation of an opponent’s position), but in reality, creationists who use this argument simply misunderstand what evolutionists believe.

This is another argument the Christian should not use.

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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.