You think we came from monkeys?

What is your best come back to "you think we came from monkeys?"
Atheist Answer: 

Well, in response to the OP, when people say such things in that manner, it usually means that they are unfamiliar with evolution in its entirety, and are employing intuitive and naive notions in order to attempt to discuss complex scientific theories. Since our intuition is often at odds with said complex scientific theories, they will run into some problems doing this. Several days ago I decided to read the mission statement of the Flat Earth Society. It was only a few paragraphs, not enough time for me to vomit, and the spelling and grammar were, um...different. Anyway, they railed on for a bit about the evil scientific conspiracy and the supposed dogmatic, quasi-religious nature of science, and then presented their argument for the Flat Earth (if the Earth is round then how come Australians stand upright? They should be upside down).

Obviously this is complete nonsense. There are no "directions" in space. The notions of "up" and "down" are meaningless. They are applied in daily life only relative to the ground on which one is standing. It is a non sequitur to say that people on the North pole should stand upright and those on the south one upside, and everyone else should stand at some slanted angle. Yet intuition tells us so. I wouldn't listen to intuition however, it's useless. Relative to the ground on which an Australian is standing, he is upright. Relative to the ground on which an American is standing, he is also upright. So is everyone else, because that is all motion and position are, they are relative concepts that are only judged in a frame of reference relative to other bodies. The argument the FES put forth above is identical to arguing that if the Earth was moving relative to the Sun at thousands of miles per second, why we do not feel this. The answer is obvious, because if we are standing on the Earth, we are travelling at precisely the same speed, and hence relative to the Earth, are not moving at all.

I picked the most ludicrous example I could find to illustrate a point. When people use intuition to try and understand scientific ideas, they will fail, and this will usually result in using childish language to attempt to mock something regarding which they have precisely zero understanding. In the irritating moving Expelled, Michael Ruse and Richard Dawins explained, in simple language that even someone with cognizance deficiences on the order of magnitude that Ben Stein possesses could understand, which is impressive. They were explaining how elaborate molecular synthesis could form on the backs of rocks, and how piezoelectricity could allow for the assembly of small scale elabore metabolism. They also explained Autocatalysis and clay theory, and the possibility of the synthesis of organic molecules in mud, or water, because of the dipole effect and the high concentrations of organic molecules. Of course, Ben Stein, who knew precisely nothing about primordial biochemistry, electrical organometallic chemistry, or molecular biology , laughed and returned to the point throughout the movie. "MUD"!! (Laughing) "ROCKS"! It was all very Hovindesque in delivery. Of course, this ridicule was all the man could muster, because he was relying on intuition and childish language to try and understand (actually, that's not true. He obviously wasn't trying to understand at all. He was trying to ridicule) something that clearly shot straight over his head. How can one present a serious critique of that which their sum knowledge total is negative (in addition to no knowledge, being in possession of disinformation)? It is incredibly easy to try and fuck up when trying to understand complicated scientific concepts. ("If Relativity is true, how come I can't go and visit my dead relatives?" ).

With respect to evolution, the problem is in some cases greatly exacerbated. There is a lot of potential for complete misunderstanding here. An equally stupid argument could be concocted by reversing the currently employed "Second Law of Thermodynamics" argument to become "If SLOT is true, how come we have all these ordered systems like biology"? One way I find that misunderstanding often springs forth is when people try to use metaphorical ideas and concepts to try and explain ideas. If the laws of thermodynamic are to be understoon in terms of "progressing towards disorder" and evolution, which despite having no implicit direction has, as a general rule of thumb, constructed more complex entities as a function of time, is creating "order", then someone naive can imagine that there is a problem. Such explanations rely on childish and metaphorical understanding of thermodynamics concepts that cannot be understood in any way whatsoever without complete familiarity with the equations. My point is, when people either try to rely on intuition, or a very meager amount of knowledge, the idea that they can "critique" a concept based on this foundation is ludicrous. THe brutal and undeniable fact is that the number of creationists who can give me a single sentence, working, accepted scientific definition of biological evolution, without consulting wikipedia, is utterly negligible.

- Deluded God
Rational Response Squad (more responses posted here)


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Good answer :P My best come

Good answer :P

My best come back would be something along the lines of "well maybe YOUR parents were monkeys, and siblings at that, but mine simply shared a common ancestor millions of years ago with what are now modern monkeys"

Followed by

"Learn to read and then apply that new skill to learning about evolution before you make yourself seem any more stupid".

leave the 'straw men' to the

leave the 'straw men' to the other side, OK? your analogy to flat earth is reasonably accurate, but not so close as to be really compelling on its intellectual merit, and the emotional component ('if you don't believe in evolution then you must believe the world is flat') is clear, if unintended.

My standard come back...

I tend to say, "No, I trace my ancestry back to primordial ooze." And then walk away, leaving them with their mouths hanging open.

You've said what you're

You've said what you're suppose to.

Who is saying that we are

Who is saying that we are not STILL monkeys. I mean, come on, look at us... A monkey in a tie driving a car is still a fu**ing monkey.

I like how it takes you two paragraghs to get to the answer

But the simplest answer is thus:
No, I don't believe I came from monkeys. I know I came from my mother. I believe I came from my father, but, as there has never been a DNA test to prove this, all I can say is that it is a belief, taken on faith and familial resemblance, both of which can be flawed.
I know the universe was formed by the time I got here, and that's good enough for me.

Best reply to "you came from monkeys"

When dealing with judeo-christians, it's helpful to remind them that their version of the story is that they came from dirt that their deity breathed into. This is hardly more glamorous than being related to the other living things on the planet. The whole "came from mud" argument gets odd when you remind them that the book of genesis claims a dirt origin for mankind.

Yes, but...

"Yes, along with apes and modern monkeys. They're all distant cousins. But it took millions of years just to get from apes to humans, even though over 95% of the DNA is the same. So it was really tiny changes all the way."

That's my best one. Pre-empts "Then why are monkeys still here?", denies the Young Earth hypothesis, presents an undisputed scientific factoid and makes the whole thing sound quite reasonable.

'What is your best come back

'What is your best come back to "you think we came from monkeys?"'

Apparently something to do with intuition. If i'm not mistaken, this was a textbook strawmen answer. The first person asked a legitimate answer and the responder responded to an entreily different question. Granted, it was used as an example, but it just went on to say intuition is stupid when applied to science. Which I don't disagree with. But the only "brutal and undeniable fact" is that the question was completely avoided.


Here's another one which could start off a very interesting conversation, if delivered absolutely seriously and expecting a response:

"What's so silly about that?"

"So you think we came from

"So you think we came from dirt?"

the common ancestor of humans and monkeys


Surely the answer to that statement would be to point out that the theory of evolution does not suggest that humans evolved from monkeys, but that it predicts that humans and the great apes share a common ancestor with monkeys. And that the early ancestors of the hominids migrated from Africa before the continent was separated by plate movement, and that this took place somewhere between 17 and 25 million years ago.


Remember your audience.

Nice, Tolland. To your audience, though, "monkey" might mean any primate, big or small, from the early pre-apes to a stupid human being. Whatever apelike ancestor you present would scream "monkey" to them.

So in their terminology, it's correct that we came from monkeys. They were just different monkeys from the ones swinging around today, and they came from other things that weren't monkeys.

There are benefits to using the opposition's own terms, but use your own discretion.

ok, I take your point. But

ok, I take your point. But in that sense I have to conceed that we, and the great apes are all monkey-like to the tune of about 93% of our genes, and that we are chimp-like to about 98%.
So a technically correct response might be, no I don't think we came from monkeys, but we share a monkey-like common ancestor. (but clarify that this common ancestor would be very different from modern monkeys given 20-ish million years of adaption)

ah, I missed this post.

ah, I missed this post. makes my comment below a little redundant

inaccurate timeline

The first half of your comment is correct, but Africa was disconnected from Pangea long before there were any primates. In fact the most prominent theory on how the new world monkeys arrived in South America is that they floated across the Atlantic ocean. This took place long before the old world monkeys evolved into apes and eventually modern humans. The modern human last shared a common ancestor with modern apes approximately 7 million years ago, and has been in its modern form for about 150,000 years. Africa has been in about the same position for that entire time.

Ah, there is a paragraph in

Ah, there is a paragraph in the wikipedia article on Human Evolution;
"The discoveries suggest that the early ancestors of the hominids (the family of great apes and humans) migrated to Eurasia from Africa about 17 million years ago, just before these two continents were cut off from each other by an expansion of the Mediterranean Sea."
I read that as a plate movement effect (probably my own subconcious desire to stick in a few concepts requiring more than 6000 years to take place).

do we come from monkeys

"So you think we come from monkeys?"

Answer: "After meeting you, to say such a thing would be an insult to all monkeys."

So, the Bible's not that far

So, the Bible's not that far off then?