It never fails. Whenever I hear people debating the veracity of religion, someone always brings up the apes, as in But how could something as intelligent and spiritual have come from apes? or even less intelligently, If humans are supposed to have come from apes, then how come there's still apes? Normally at this point, I'm trying not to get involved in the conversation and saving my groans for later when I can utter them in private, but frequently such remarks are followed by the evolutionary proponent's reply, in which (s)he explains, sometimes in great detail, how it is a proven fact that humans come from apes. At this point I always lose my self-restraint and interject with my oft-repeated spiel about humans, apes, and evolution:
Humans did not come from apes. No qualified person in the scientific community has ever made that claim, including Darwin. All apes and humans are desceneded from a single proto-ape species that lived millions of years ago and no longer exists. Thus humans can be said to be closely related to the other apes, but we are certainly not descended from them. Actually, we are apes, no less so than chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans and gibbons. Whether or not you choose to subscribe to evolutionary theory, there is no doubt that all human beings, including Jesus Christ himself, are classified, both genetically and morphologically as an ape species.
Despite many arguments by people to the contrary, I'd never seriously questioned the fact that humans are apes. After all, I acquired that particular tidbit of knowledge from my father, who is an anthropologist and therefore should know. However, it was disquieting that the CNN article I referenced in my previous post seemed to imply otherwise, as have several other sources I've encountered over the years, so I decided to do some checking. The best explanation I found (under response #6) states in a nutshell that the term ape is sometimes employed to include all species in the superfamily Hominoidea (chimps, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons and humans) and sometimes to only include the nonhuman species, although traditionally, usage of the word has often not included humans. Therefore, I am completely correct when I state that humans are apes. Unfortunately, those who argue against me and say that humans are not apes are just as correct. Don't you just love the English language?; it's so free of ambiguity. Anyway, perhaps I should try to be a little less self-righteous in the future.