“I am an ape. I am an African ape. I am very proud to be an African ape and so you should be,” Dawkins told the bemused cleric.
Even though he did not intend it, Dawkins' statement brings out starkly the intuitive implausibility of evolutionary theory.
When hearing those words, one is immediately struck by the obvious falsity of the claim: No matter what he may choose to call himself, Richard Dawkins is certainly is no African ape.
To give an idea of the distance separating the two creatures, below are some things that Richard Dawkins can do, but which an ape – African or otherwise – could never do:
- Read a novel
- Reflect on his own existence
- Enjoy a Shakespeare play
- Wonder about the meaning of life
- Appreciate a Beethoven symphony
- Think about the theory of evolution
- Dream about his future
- Perceive right and wrong
- Complete a crossword puzzle
- Contemplate the size of the universe
- Form a mental concept of God
Richard Dawkins can do all this and more while even the brightest of apes is incapable of even grasping the point behind these mental activities.
To suggest that there is some kind of fundamental equivalence between Professor Dawkins and an ape is not only demeaning, it is outright incredible. It is also indecent, since there is something almost blasphemous about a person putting himself on the same level as an animal.