Hey young-earth creationists, why did God make so many different kinds of apes?

You may have seen the news that yet another relative of modern humans was recently found in a cave in South Africa.

No, it wasn't him.

No, it wasn’t him.

If you — as is wont to happen nowadays — caught the announcement through that paragon of clear and effective communication that is known as social media, you were most likely informed that the discovery of Homo naledi (Not sure how to pronounce that? It’s “HOE-moe.” You’re welcome.) is either the latest machination in the never-ending atheistic onslaught against God — because, obviously, the forces of darkness have learned through the eons that there is nothing that terrifies the Lord of All Creation more than scientists finding some old bones in a cave — or a ground-breaking panacea for all the world’s ills, which can and must be celebrated by a display so wild and orgiastic it would make the Bacchanalia look like an afternoon playing pinochle at Grandma’s house.

Shockingly, the truth is a bit more, well, boring and science-y than all that. A lot — and I mean, a lot, like over 1,500 individual specimens — of bones were found by a spelunker in a barely accessible chamber of a cave system near Johannesburg in 2013. The reason you’re just hearing about it now is because good science takes time, and also, because National Geographic is doing a spread on the find in its October issue.

(Or, you know, because the first thing that atheists who are desperate to disprove God with their EVIL-ution “theory” would do with a discovery like this is sit on it for over two years before telling anyone about it. Yeah, that makes sense, too.)

Girl scientist: "At long last, we have the proof of which we have dreamed, which will strike the mortal blow to the Great Enemy of Our Father Below!" Dude scientist: "O praise His Unholy Name! But, uh, yeah, let's at least wait until National Geo has an opening or something."

Girl scientist: “At long last, we have the proof of which we have dreamed, which will strike the mortal blow to the Great Enemy of Our Father Below!”
Dude scientist: “O praise His Unholy Name! But, uh, yeah, let’s at least wait until National Geo has an opening or something.”

In all honesty, I do think this is a fascinating discovery, and at least as compelling as the scientific implications are some of the mysteries still surrounding it, like — for example — why exactly there are all these bones in a cave chamber that is almost impossible to get into, or why scientists have been unable to date the bones because — per PhysOrg — “unusual characteristics of the site.”

Not that kind of dating.

Not that kind of dating.

Of course, our primary interest in this is that it’s the type of thing that gets our friend Ken Ham worked up into a frothy, nearly incoherent rage of self-righteous indignation, which is always humorous.

On Sept. 10, when media outlets began breaking the news everywhere, I received an email from a friend with a link to one of the stories, asking how long I thought it would take Hambone to issue a response. It took less than a day, which is really not surprising considering all he had to do was copy and paste from one of his many previous rants about similar discoveries.

You can click over and read Ham’s early thoughts if you like. He promises much more later, as their “scientists” are “now reviewing the two studies published in eLife journal. (Hmm… That’s strange… I wonder why the employees that he charitably calls “scientists” can’t just get direct access to the actual specimens?) But if you’re strapped for time, or are a person who values his or her precious brain cells and sanity, I’ll sum it up for you: Homo naledi is still an ape.

That’s not exactly a revelation, either, since that is also the fate Ham meted out to Australopithecus afarensis (a.k.a., “Lucy” and all her friends), Australopithecus sediba, the Ledi-Geraru jaw, and pretty much every single other human relative that’s ever been discovered or proposed, except for Neanderthals and — bizarrely — the diminuative Homo floresiensis.

I'm guessing somebody's a "Lord of the Rings" fan!

I’m guessing somebody’s a “Lord of the Rings” fan!

No matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of apes. Which, for me, seems to raise the (sort-of obvious) question: Why did God make so many? Was he deliberately trying to confuse us, making dozens of extremely similar — yet distinct — species of hominoid apes that he knew would never survive into modern day?

Was he maybe a big supporter of Charleton Heston’s work? (Which would make sense, I guess.)

Or did he just really like apes for…some reason?

I mean, can you blame him?

I mean, can you blame him?

Honestly, though, I think there is another factor at play here, besides the screaming, logic-defying train wreck that Ham thinks is great science and the raging Dumpster fire that he calls “theology.”

I submit to you that there is a very specific reason Ham has denied our cousin Homo naledi the place of honor in his esteemed “still a human” pantheon with us other Homos (heh heh).

Quite simply, I think he was just plain irritated by the family resemblance.

homo ham

Just like looking in a mirror, innit? Spooky.

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • Jake Hughes

    See, this is why I grow tired of Hambone. He’s boring. At least Ray Comfort would make something hilariously outlandish, cherry pick some obscure line from a random book of the Bible and say, “See?! God predicted this!”

    Damnit, Hammy, at least entertain me with your nonsense!

    • Yeah, but RayCo has to screw up the caveman comparison joke with his stupid mustache. Grow a beard, man!

      • Jake Hughes

        True. It is a proven scientific fact that beards apply a +7 modifier to credibility.

        • Whereas, these sideburns +9.

          • Jake Hughes

            You’re OP, Tyler. Pls nerf.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          It is a proven scientific fact that beards apply a +7 modifier to credibility.

          Just ask Duck Dynasty.

    • But in response to your point, Isaiah 2:19.

      • re zttop

        I must be in the minority position, because I think Homo Naledi is a human-just a unique branch of early human. The fact that it’s an anatomical mosaic with features from both our subspecies and non human australiopiths intrigue me. What else do you think they did besides store their dead in a near impossible to get to cave with fire for light? Like did they make art? How could they speak?
        Btw, has any DNA been recovered from them? New research shows they lived when the Neanderthals were going good, around 3-200000 years ago.

    • Alan Christensen

      Comfort might say something funny about bananas too.

      • LOL. Maybe the fact that monkeys like bananas so much proves they are made in the image of God, too.

  • Darrin Hunter

    It shows that YEC outlets are not doing science, in that they issue taxonomic identity, within a day or two, without any direct observation. I thought they insisted that true science is based on direct observation? Oh my, I guess they are doing historical science, then.
    The various YEC outlets also completely disagree, some say Naledi is homo and some say ape. Even Fuz Rana was immediately dismissive on this one, though he admitted to me that he doesn’t think Neanderthal’s are homo sapiens. At least he can be honest (unlike others) when two complete genomes with different mtDNA are screaming observational science at him.

  • I think most YEC orgs have long since abandoned the idea that they would actually do science and, instead, comment on the research of others, pointing out what findings are acceptable or not. It’s way easier, really. Much more viable business model.

    • That’s awful generous of you to call what they do a “business model.” Sort of like describing vultures eating roadkill as “gourmet food critics at work.”

      • Alan Christensen

        “Business model” is a more accurate term than “ministry model.”

      • Good point! It is a business model, though. Ken Ham would have been in a real bind if he didn’t immediately get something out there to settle the minds of his customers.

        • I wonder if the AiG headquarters has a big red light that flashes and sounds an alarm whenever news of something like Homo naledi starts hitting the ol’ Interwebs.

  • ashleyhr

    Though they don’t appear to have found ancestors of today’s great apes ie the ape-like creatures are somewhere on OUR lineage.

    • ashleyhr

      Of course the YEC science deniers don’t believe in such lineages. Thus they casually claim “it’s another extinct ape” even though it is not remotely an ancestor of eg today’s gorillas (as far as I know).

      • ashleyhr

        Or at least they don’t believe in any HUMAN lineage.

  • I think I found evidence of intelligent design in skull sample D. How is having blue bones an evolutionary advantage?

    • Duh. Obviously because the bone vampires of Doohan 6 can’t eat bones that are mixed in with blue plaster.

  • ashleyhr

    I commented here on 16 September (after being unavoidably offline for several days): http://forums.bcseweb.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=3703

  • Peter

    This is one of those zingers Tyler…it relates to the question of why would God make humans so similar to apes, but whenever I’ve asked people who don’t accept evolution it seems that they don’t even see the similarities between humans and apes in the first place, which I find weird. Asked someone recently:
    “Why are apes and humans physically so similar?”
    “What, you mean we have two eyes and a nose?”

    • Reminds me of the old article I wrote about Ray Comfort being the world’s worst scientist (http://www.godofevolution.com/christian-review-of-evolution-vs-god-ray-comfort-is-the-worlds-worst-scientist/ ):

      I’d hate for a laboratory seeking new medical breakthroughs to ever have someone like RayCo in charge. I can see it now: “Well yeah, the patient has been cured of cancer, but he’s still going to die at some point, for some reason or another. There’s no real change here. Back to the drawing board.”

      It’s deliberate ignorance, plain and simple. God gave them intellects and reason and the ability to make connections and analyze concepts on a deep level, and they simply refuse to use any of it — at least when it comes to science that they disagree with.

  • Greg Carlet

    I really enjoyed the PBS/Nova documentary Dawn of Humanity. It was done really well.

    • Their science stuff usually is, at least in my experience.

  • Reuben H

    Here’s a question for you – why is it that when people put a picture of an ape next to a white man, they are insulting his intelligence, but when it’s next to a black man, they are a racist?

  • Cindy Sheets

    I thought that “scientifically” speaking… pigs had the most in common with humans. brings new meaning to “homo-ham.” Has anyone asked an ape why we are so much alike? Maybe they could rationally explain it so that we could understand, but I doubt it because they are so highly evolved, having been around so much longer. We probably couldn’t grasp their explanation. Next time I see an ape driving down the road, I’ll flag one down & ask how they manage a career, jungle life, family life, home schooling the young apes, etc. I think I would also ask, why they haven’t made weapons to fend off the hunters. I mean come on… shouldn’t we be seeing some progress about now? Learn ape! Learn! Evolution sure is funny. I mean… we lose all our fur right when an ice age is going on? What? Are we going to start growing fur again now that the earth is warming? Geez get it together evolution, you are so Bi-polar!

    • Matthew Funke

      It’s possible that your post was entirely tongue-in-cheek, but I couldn’t tell for sure. So, just in case you’re serious and are actually curious…

      I thought that “scientifically” speaking… pigs had the most in common with humans.

      That depends on what metric you’re using. I mean, we have similar skin to one another, and we both have heavy eyelashes. So, you know, similarity is where you find it.

      Maybe they could rationally explain it so that we could understand, but I doubt it because they are so highly evolved, having been around so much longer.

      Evolution has no concept of “higher” or “lower” — just better or worse adapted. Length of time being around also really has nothing whatsoever to do with cleverness; see, for example, the horseshoe crab.

      Learn ape! Learn!

      Evolution also doesn’t tell us what an organism will learn. In fact, if the ability to learn comes at the expense of other traits that are more useful to secure reproduction, it won’t gain the ability to learn at all.

      we lose all our fur right when an ice age is going on?

      Well, where humans evolved, they didn’t have to worry much about where the ice sheets were in a different part of the planet. There’s some thought out there that we lost our fur as an adaptation to lessen the chance of infection by some particularly nasty parasites.