“People Evolved From Monkeys”

We here on Skepchick understand that not every one who visits is a hardcore skeptic chock full of everything there is to know about everything. That’s why it’s important to occasionally address the basics. Today is Evolution: What to Say to a Creationist!

I was going to make this a dialog between you and Reverend Jeremiah J. Pulpitbanger III, but let’s be honest, you’re not filming a Dawkins documentary and you’re never going to convince that guy of anything, anyway.

Instead, let’s say you’re at a dinner party and you wind up talking to some friend of a friend who seems kind of cute and single, but then you mention the connection between dinosaurs and chickens (which is normally perfectly appropriate dinner conversation) and he goes a bit pale and says that those proteins were put there by Jesus to test us.

We’ll call him Churchy McThinksalittle and our goal will be to teach him about evolution by the time you’re ready to take him home for further heathen corruption.

Churchy McT: You expect me to believe people evolved from monkeys?

You: No, people and monkeys came from a common evolutionary grandpa. Monkeys are like our cousin (many times removed) — you probably have a lot in common with him, you might even look alike in some ways, and you have the same grandpa who you occasionally visit in the nursing home on holidays and ignore the rest of the year. But your cousin isn’t your dad, right? Right? Oh god, is your cousin your dad? Because I’ll be honest, incest might just be a taboo with relatively scarce health effects but it still really freaks me out.

Churchy McT: So you expect me to believe we’re related to monkeys?

You: Have you even heard of reality TV?

Churchy McT: The fossil record is incomplete.

You: When do you think it will be complete?

Churchy McT: When you can show a fossil of an animal right in between two other very different animals.

You: Like an archaeopteryx?

Churchy McT: What’s that?

Who is this woman and why can't I have her job?You: It’s a thing that looks like what might happen if a bird made sweet sweet love to a velociraptor.

Churchy McT: Well no one’s ever observed evolution.

You: Crap’s evolving all the time! The flu shot I got this year is different from the flu shot I got last year, because the flu virus evolved to be resistant to last year’s. Researchers just found a lizard on an island near Croatia that evolved from a carnivore to a vegetarian in 30 years.

Churchy McT: I find your simple yet informative responses incredibly attractive.

You: I know. Being smart helps me get laid, meaning that eventually when I stop taking my birth control pills I’ll be able to pass along my smart genes to a new generation. They will also get laid more because of their smarts, and eventually this will result in increased intelligence throughout the human race.

Churchy McT: That won’t work.

You: Why not?

Churchy McT: Because stupid people who are pretty can also get laid, meaning that the human race might just get prettier.

You: Congratulations, I think you’ve figured out the basics of natural selection.

Churchy McT: Do me!



monkey pics sent to me by Rav, courtesy of The Daily Mail

related: Darwinian pick-up lines

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. When people tell me that God put fossils on Earth to test our faith, which thankfully is less and less all the time, I like to tell them God put the Bible on Earth to test our ability to reason.

    On a side note: I was also almost tripped up on Science or Fiction by having read about the rapidly evolving lizards.

  2. Does this mean that smart people have to start doing it like rabbits? If so, how can I volunteer? Or become smart?

  3. I haven’t yet read the post, but I just want to be the first to say that a bird could totally take that cute little monkey.

  4. I don’t care how hot Churchy McT is, he would of lost me at Well no one’s ever observed evolution.

    Being stupid is not Hot. At all.

    But your piece made me laugh! Bonus!

  5. There is one danger in these types of conversations, that is the word “so”. There’s just no coming back from it.

    It is generally interjected into the conversation at the point where the… well let’s just say the not so bright person of the two realizes they have been completely outmatched in the wits department and has run out of responses. As happened to me yesterday when trying to explain that the whole vaccinations cause autism has been complete disproved. Her response was “So!”

  6. “God put the Bible on Earth to test our ability to reason”

    HA! I think I hurt myself laughing after reading that. I’m so using that with proper citing of course the next time I come up against a creationist.

  7. So, I’d like to cast my vote for Smart=Sexy.

    Also, there are more than a few smart people who are also extremely physically attractive, the smart making them even sexier and making a kind of hotness feedback loop until my brain melts out of my ear and I’m reduced to a gibbering pile of lust… Frankly, I’m amazed I ever manage to bang out a coherent sentence around here, now that I think about it…

  8. teambanzai: On The Skeptics’ Guide, we call that the “Oh yeah?” defense. Jay does it really well, kind of nasally. Oh YEAH?

    Jason: You are correct, we are all damned, dirty apes.

  9. I’m sorry that the scene had to be at a dinner party. I can’t get rid of the image of McT speaking with his mouth full!

  10. I hope this is not TOO off topic, but it is related to the whole monkey / ape issue.

    Duane Gish, who I’m told gives the same speech and uses the same jokes every time he debates, has a joke where he’s going through his slides, and he feigns surprise when a picture of a baby orang utan shows up as one the slides. Gish jokes, “How did a picture of my grandson get in here?”

    Isn’t that an admission? Come on! Meanwhile Ken Ham is saying that if were weren’t brought up with evolutionary ideas, it would never occur to us that chimps and humans are similar.

    Forgive me, I have a lot of rage.

  11. Re: Damned, dirty apes.

    Yes, I am one, and proud of it. I can’t even begin to articuate how useful I find it to have auxiliary hands on the end of my legs… Although I think I’m in the minority when I advocate a return to the trees just because I wish I could brachiate and want to give my great-great-etc-grandchildren the opportunity. You can’t tell me there’s a cooler way to get around that doesn’t involve cybernetic zombie dino-tanks.

  12. “The flu shot I got this year is different from the flu shot I got last year, because the flu virus evolved to be resistant to last year’s.”

    Haha, lovely example! But I don’t believe you until you can show me photographic evidence of the flu working out, beefing up, and building a resistance to last year’s flu shot. [/ end sarcasm]

  13. “Meanwhile Ken Ham is saying that if were weren’t brought up with evolutionary ideas, it would never occur to us that chimps and humans are similar.”

    Ken Haim needs (among other things) to read something written before 1950. When Europeans first encountered apes in various parts of the world, they debated a great deal about whether they were people. These encounters were in the 1600s and 1700s – before Chuckie D and his crazy theory of the origin of species. The Indonesian words that make up “orangutan” mean “forest MAN.” Does Haim think that the Indonesians came up with the idea of evolution independently?

    Rage away, Jason!

  14. On the creationist website to which I put a link above, they cite a C. Schwabe, arguing in a journal (Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology) that gene mutations are not a viable mechanism for evolution. I got a copy of the paper and read through it, and at least he does say what they quote him as saying. I’ll have to show this to some of my biologist friends and see what they say about it.

    However: Schwabe not only believes that macro-evolution occurs (via a different mechanism), he even says in the paper itself that “Debating creationists is senseless”! So I doubt that he’d be too thrilled that his work is being cited on a creationist webpage!

  15. “When people tell me that God put fossils on Earth to test our faith,”

    My response is generally: “I thought you just told me god isn’t a liar.” That usually goes over well.

    But yeah. We’re apes, apes, apes. APES! COMMENCE THROWING OF POO apes.

    “I’ll have to show this to some of my biologist friends and see what they say about it.”

    *coughs. holds out hand expectantly.*

  16. Thanks, I live to give…

    …and by give, I mean seduce pretty smart chicks…

    …and by seduce, I mean be seduced by…

    …maybe I should quit before I dig myself a hole…

  17. Nice… but I usually snicker allot and tell them that their lack of smarts is related directly to their monkey brain… How else are they so prone to fantasy thinking? If they are good at thinking like that I invite them to my bi-weekly D&D game lol

  18. “We’ll call him Churchy McThinksalittle and our goal will be to teach him about evolution by the time you’re ready to take him home for further heathen corruption.”

    Why the hell would you want to do that when the world is full of attractive, skeptical, geekalicious men who already understand evolution? Remember, it’s a scientific fact that people who don’t believe that extramarital sex is inherently sinful are much, much better at it. :)

  19. Fundy: “Those fossils were put there to test our fate.”

    Reply: “So … your God lies to us then, by falsifying the fossil record?”

    Fundy: “Satan put them there.”

    Reply:”Your Satan sounds like he is more powerful than God … Are you sure all fossils are the work of Satan?”

    He didn’t want tobother with me after that exchange …

  20. Well, in any case, at least one important figure in evolutionary biology says that the guy is cracked. I’m still waiting for the verdict from someone else. But apparently the journal is (was?) a respectable one.

  21. So, all I need to do is pose as a creationist and all the smart, cute, sexy skepchicks will try to seduce me?


    <————– Is letting his evolutionary drives reach his brain. So sad. :P

  22. This is really disturbing to me. I’m worried now that all of the smart women out there who I wanna doink will have seduced Mr. McThinksalittle, and I’m just not gonna follow that kinda stupid in the sack. What if their stupidity evolves into some kind of STD and I catch a case of the creationism from some skep-nookie.

  23. Anthony: Stupidity often IS an STD. Bad genes are transmitted sexually.

    Genetics is one of the three causes of stupidity, along with environment, and bad memes ( parenting ).

  24. Just a note about the flu example, I used a similar example (except I used the HIV virus), the persons response was that a virus is not technically alive, therefore can not evolve. Decent response, however you can respond with two points, first of which, scientists are still debating if viruses are alive or not, the second of which is that viruses have DNA (or RNA at least) and therefore are put under the same pressure as we are, they just don’t have sex like we do (poor them) or undergo binary fission, basically its a null point.

    I like the HIV example better or at least used with the flu example. Mostly because during my evolution class we spent the first month of the course talking about how the HIV virus is able to out mutate any of the cures we have been able to come up with, which is unfortunate. It also leads in to another nice support for evolution, which is the existence of a delta 32 allele. Basically there are people in the world who do not become HIV positive even though they have been exposed to the virus many times. They have a 32 base deletion in a part of their genome that codes for a receptor on t cells. Unfortunately the gene is common in people who descend from old world Europe nations, and not people of African descent…

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