Did we descend from apes?
DaveScot at uncommondescent blogs (Feb 10, 2007):
You know for many years I’ve been taking care
to avoid saying men evolved from apes because the pedant dominated science
establishment is quick to point out that we and apes descend from a common
ancestor and anyone who thinks we evolved from apes clearly doesn’t understand evolution. So now we
have arguably the most recognized living name in paleontology, Richard Leakey, blurting
out the proverbial “I’m so stupid I don’t know what common ancestry means”. What
are we to make of that?
I’m sure our good pedant friends in the science establishment, through Panda’s
Thumb or some member blog, will let us know upon reading this.
What are we to make of this. Is it true that when someone claims that we descended from apes, then that someone doesn't understand evolution? Can we therefore claim that Richard Leaky does not understand it? The answer to both question would be no. The common ancestor of humans and chimps/bonobos would have been an ape-like creature, just as the common ancestor of humans/chimps/boobos and gorillas would have been. Saying that we descended from apes would, therefore, not really be wrong. (HOWEVER, if you were to claim that we descended from a chimp, you would be saying that we descended from a modern(ish) animal and THEN you would be wrong and your understanding of evolution would be sub-par - The only example I think I have seen of ID creationists claiming that we descended from a modern organism is when the odd fellow claims that we descended from amoeba.) I think that the problem here is that, when an ID creationist says these things, "evolutionists" automatically assume that the ID-folk refer to modern apes as being our ancestors.
I don't think that I have ever seen anyone actually protest when it is claimed that our ancestor was an ape. What I HAVE seen is some "evolutionists" complain when the ID creationist claims that we descended from monkeys. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with this either. The common ancestor with humans and monkeys would most likely have been "something like a monkey". You could also claim that we descended from fish, since the last common ancestor we had with a fish would probably have been "something like a fish". The same thing applies here as in the ape example above - as long as the claim is NOT that we descended from a modern animal (say a spider monkey or a flounder respectively), there is nothing terribly wrong in these claims.