Did We “Inherit Our Dark Evil Side” from Chimps?

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An article appeared recently in the Mirror, a UK news site, featuring an interview with Jane Goodall, the famous evolutionary primatologist who studied chimpanzees in Tanzania. Dr. Goodall was discussing her early days working with wild chimps. She shares that she originally thought chimps were nice, only to later learn they can “rip your face off.”

Are We Evil Because of Our Ape-like Ancestors?

Apparently, the chimpanzees were so dangerous that once Dr. Goodall had a baby, the baby had to live in a cage so the chimps wouldn’t steal him and kill him. Eventually she watched a war erupt between two groups that lasted for years, only to end when one group was totally annihilated. She says,

It was a very dark time for me. . . . I thought they were like us, only nicer. I’d no idea of the brutality they could show. War always seemed to me to be a purely human behaviour. I’ve come to accept that the dark, evil side of human nature is deeply embedded in our genes, inherited from our primate ancestors. [emphasis added]

Because she began with the wrong starting point—naturalistic evolutionary ideas—she reached the wrong conclusion. We don’t have a “dark, evil side” because we inherited it from some ape-like ancestors; we are sinful because we are descendants of Adam. You see, Adam, the first man, rebelled against God and brought sin and death into creation (1 Corinthians 15:22). The Bible tells us we all sin because we sinned in Adam and continue to sin (Romans 5:12).

And Adam’s sin is the reason chimps can be brutal and engage in “war.” Adam’s rebellion broke creation and now everything groans, including animals such as chimps (Romans 8:22). Our world isn’t the way God made it! Creation, in the beginning, was “very good” (Genesis 1:31), but, because of sin, it isn’t any more.

Do Tools Make Us Human?

Dr. Goodall discovered that chimpanzees use simple tools, like twigs, to assist them in getting food. Apparently, this was the first time researchers realized creatures other than humans could make and use tools. Dr. Louis Leakey, her mentor, realized the significance of her finding and declared, “We must now redefine man or accept chimpanzees as human.”

According to evolutionary ideas, we’re just animals, and chimpanzees are our evolutionary cousins. But God’s Word gives us a very different perspective on who we are.

While the finding of animals using tools was important, the redefining of chimps as human is, of course, ridiculous. Further research has revealed many other creatures use tools, such as elephants, sea otters, and crows, but no one would argue that they are human. Most importantly, we aren’t human because we use tools—we’re human because we’re made distinct and unique by God, in his image (Genesis 1:27).

According to evolutionary ideas, we’re just animals, and chimpanzees are our evolutionary cousins. But God’s Word gives us a very different perspective on who we are. Genesis tells us organisms were created according to their kinds (mostly the family level of classification)—that means the different kinds are not related to each other, and we’re not related to them either.

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed on Answers News today with regular cohosts Bodie Hodge and Dr. Georgia Purdom, and guest AiG staff writer Avery Foley. Answers News is our twice-weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast over my Facebook page. We also discussed the following topics:

  • “Black and white” twins will make you “rethink race.”
  • Scientists discover a “super-colony” of 1.5 million penguins.
  • Are termites and cockroaches taxonomically similar?
  • And more!

Be sure to join us each Monday and Thursday at 2 p.m. (EDT) on my Facebook page for Answers News. You won’t want to miss this unique news program that gives science and culture news from a distinctly biblical and Christian perspective.

Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
Ken

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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