Talk:Monkey

From New World Encyclopedia
Unification Aspects:

The ascendancy of evolutionary theory has led to the common view of the closeness of monkeys and humans, and indeed anatomically and genetically they are quite similar. However, there is a tendency to overemphasize the similarity. Human behaviors, such as a sense of fairness, are thought by some to be simply evolved aspects. Scientists have noticed that capuchin monkeys compared rewards they received for their effort, with a grape being more desired than a cucumber slice, and they didn't like getting a lesser award. The issue is often framed as: Is the human behavior evolved or did it arise from the influence of some cultural institution that humans made. In the case of apes, one study even concludes: "We humans appear as only slightly remodeled chimpanzee-like apes," who should be in the same genus.[1]

However, in reality, humans and monkeys (and even humans and apes) are remarkably different when one goes beyond comparison of DNA or anatomical features. Unlike any other primates, humans have complex technologies, complex languages, complex cultural institutions, and even engage in the study of other primates through experimentation. Many diseases suffered by humans, such as malaria or cancer, as well as menopause, are not observed in most monkeys. Humans practice religious traditions, such as prayer and attending church, and many religions hold that humans have an eternal spirit or soul, and humans uniquely deal with moral issues. Indeed, the idea that behaviors are either evolved or come via cultural institutions belie a bias among some scientists, in that it does not yield another option, that humans could have an inborn conscience that deals with issues of morality.

This is not to say that humans have not evolved their physical being from an ancestor common to other primates, and that many instincts are evolved behaviors. However, it leaves open the religious concept that humans may have evolved by design, and thus stand so uniquely apart from other animals.

Notes
  1. J. Pickrell, Chimps Belong on Human Branch of Family Tree, Study Says, National Geographic News, May 20, 2003. Retrieved July 12, 2007.
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