Friday, July 27, 2018

Are we primates?

i) A prima facie evidence for human evolution is the fact that some apes/monkeys have a humanoid appearance. So it may seem like special pleading for Christians to deny the connection. 

ii) The comparison suffers from sample selection bias. For instance, baboons and mandrils look decidedly inhuman. 

iii) Gen 1-2 indicates that humans do have a basic affinity with the animal world. Up to a point, comparisons aren't contrary to Scripture. 

iv) However, comparative anatomy isn't the only way or best way to approach the issue. If God designed human beings to have the abilities that Scripture ascribes to human beings, could we have a fundamentally different body plan, or is this roughly the kind of body plan we have to have? 

v) Bipedalism frees up the hands. That enables us to have hands designed for manuel dexterity rather than locomotion or weaponry.  

vi) Forward-facing eyes are necessary for eye-hand coordination. They go together. 

vii) We have flat faces because our tongues, lips, dentation, &c., are designed for speech. A fringe benefit is kissing!

viii) By contrast, animals use their snouts to reach/grasp food. In humans, our hands replace that function. 

ix) In predators, the muzzle is a weapon. The jaws are serrated knives. But that's a quadruped design. In humans, we use hands and reason to make tools, shelter, weapons. 

x) Likewise, snouts enhance the sense of smell. In humans, by contrast, the visual sense is dominant. 

xi) Our flat, fairly hairless faces contribute to facial communication. We have expressive faces. A natural kind of sign language.  

xii) It's not clear to me how well a head with a muzzle and human-sized cranium is suited to an upright posture and bipedal locomotion. Flat-faces and bipedalism may be allometrically interrelated to facilitate stability and balance. Consider horror flicks with humanoid werewolves (e.g. The Howling, Dog Soldiers). They look pretty ungainly. 

xiii) Bipedal design facilitates a variety of sex positions. Face-to-face intercourse promotes emotional intimacy. 

xiv) Manual dexterity and hairless bodies enhance the sense of touch, which promotes social bonding (e.g. stroking, caressing, holding hands). Likewise, hairless bodies make wading, bathing, and swimming more enjoyable. 

xv) Upright posture and manual dexterity facilitate hugging, holding children, and riding piggyback–which promote social bonding. 

xvi) Hairless bodies make sense if we originated in a hot climate like the Middle East. 

xvii) Permanent breasts contribute to sex appeal, which promotes social bonding. 

In general, the human body plan is pretty much what we'd expect if the Biblical doctrine of man's special creation is true. If we originated in the Middle East. 

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