National Geographic TV"s ""Monkey-Brain"" Myths

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On April 4, 2003, National Geographic TV broadcast a documentary called "The Cleverest Ape in the World." The documentary represented one of the elements of the recently accelerated evolutionist propaganda focusing on monkeys.

On April 4, 2003, National Geographic TV broadcast a documentary called "The Cleverest Ape in the World." The documentary represented one of the elements of the recently accelerated evolutionist propaganda focusing on monkeys.

The documentary describes three different monkeys" abilities, and attempts to draw parallels between some intelligent forms of behavior and human intelligence. The program was hosted by a well-known atheist and Darwinist, Susan Blackmore, an Oxford University graduate and psychologist. It was also full of errors.

The first of the monkeys portrayed was a chimpanzee called Sheba from the Ohio University laboratory in the United States. The keeper showed the visiting Blackmore some of the animal"s abilities in a special room. The room contained a variety of toys and seemed to have been set up as a playroom for Sheba. A tiny model could be seen in the middle of the room. This was a model of the room itself. Everything in the room had been placed into the model in miniature. A largish red bucket standing upside down on the floor of the room had been reproduced in the scale model. The keeper took Sheba to the model of the room and placed a small object into the bucket in the model, in such a way that Sheba could see it. The keeper repeatedly showed Sheba the bucket in the model and then said "Find, Sheba!" commanding her to find the object in the room which had been shown to her in the model. Sheba went straight to the bucket, which was in any case right beside her, and lifted it up to find the object underneath.

It appeared from Blackmore"s statements that she was astounded by Sheba"s success:

You think that an animal living in the forest and constantly climbing trees can immediately perceive a three-dimensional image. Yet the ability to use this is in a small box requires intelligence. To tell the truth, I was not expecting it to do it this easily, but it did it!

The fact is, however, that Sheba is not an animal that lives in the jungle and frequently climbs trees, as Blackmore made out. Sheba is a monkey, which was born in a zoo and was later taken to the laboratory, and never knew a natural habitat. If a monkey living in the wild had successfully performed such a task, first time round, in the laboratory, that might have been surprising. (Yet even that would have provided no evidence of evolution, as National Geographic implied.) Blackmore"s comments showed that she was exaggerating the success of the behavior in question.

In fact, such displays may be deceptive. The viewers witness this behavior of Sheba"s for the first time. A person might thus form the impression that Sheba had solved a problem she had encountered for the first time thanks to her possession of judgment, in other words a capacity for abstract thought. Yet that behavior emerges as the result of a process based on punishment and reward. It is very simple to make such behavior routine by placing a banana under the bucket next to the object in question. The playroom and the bucket are indications that this experiment has been performed many times before.

Yet even if Sheba had encountered such a situation for the first time and solved the problem, there would still be no realistic share in that to support Darwinism, the claim that there is a kinship between apes and human beings. That is because different living things possess similar abilities. For instance, one species of crow living on the island of New Caledonia is known to make tools for specific purposes from materials it has never encountered before. In a laboratory, a crow called Betty made a special hook out of thin wire in order to extract food from a deep cup, and indeed succeeded in retrieving the food. Furthermore, the fact that she did this nine times out of 10 removes the possibility of coincidence being at work. This produces a situation which Darwinists seeking to portray intelligent ape behavior as proof of so-called human evolution are unable to explain. A living thing far further removed from man than the chimpanzee on the imaginary evolutionary family tree has displayed far more intelligent behavior than any chimpanzee ever could. The BBC reported the story by saying "The crow is putting our closest cousins to shame." (1) Nobody, of course, could possibly stand up and maintain that because she makes tools, the crow Betty is a relative of man.

The second monkey dealt with in the program was an orangutan called Shantek. Shantek and his keeper of 20 years communicate by means of sign language. Shantek replies to his keeper, who indicates various objects and uses signs to ask specific questions, by means of various signs. He is able to play "Simon says" with his keeper, who is able to request Shantek to perform certain actions in the tunes he sings. The keeper recites tunes for hold your head, stamp your feet, clap etc., and Shantek duly holds his head, stamps his feet and claps. Yet the keeper in any case shows the animal what to do. In other words, Shantek does not actually understand the words "Hold your head." He sees that his keeper, who is telling Shantek to hold his head, is holding his own head, and imitates him. He is then rewarded by his keeper with fruit. Monkeys" imitative abilities have been known for hundreds of years. Shantek has learned over long years and in return for a great many bananas to express certain objects in certain ways.

Blackmore, National Geographic"s commentator, emits cries of amazement as Shantek makes his signs, and gives viewers the impression that he is actually speaking. As she leaves Shantek, Blackmore says: "One doesn"t get the chance to talk to an orangutan every day. I"m sorry, I"m going."

The third ape used as a tool for Darwinist propaganda is called "Moon." Moon is kept at a research institution in Japan and is used in research into the ability to indicate and order numbers. Moon was first introduced to numbers and taught to count from 0 to 9. For example, as a result of long years of giving the animal six pens and showing the number 6, it acquired the ability to put these numbers in order. In the documentary, the researchers show Moon groups of numbers that suddenly appear on a computer screen. These numbers appear in groups of four and five and are randomly dotted around the screen, and disappear when touched. Moon extinguishes the numbers by touching them in order, from smallest to largest. Moon"s behavior is intelligent. But this is the result of long conditioning. In other words, neither Sheba, nor Shantek nor Moon actually possess mental capacity, in other words, they cannot think. No matter how complex what they do seems, these abilities have been acquired by long years of methods such as imitation and reward and punishment. Moreover, as we saw in the example of the crow Betty, even the solution of a never-before encountered problem does not indicate that chimpanzees and man are related.

Yet National Geographic TV refuses to accept this fact and closes the program with the following Darwinist interpretation of monkey behavior:

Thanks to the research into chimpanzees, carried out because they are our closest relatives, we are convinced that man is not a special and distinct species and furthermore that we shared common ancestors in the past and have many points in common when it comes to intelligence and share a great deal with them.

As we have seen, although it is unable to provide any evidence for the theory of evolution National Geographic TV distorts monkey behavior and uses it to engage in Darwinist propaganda. Yet this propaganda is baseless. As we made clear at the beginning, monkeys" intelligence is exaggerated, and the animal world contains creatures which display much more intelligent behavior (such as bees, dolphins and termites), and with which it is impossible to claim any kind of evolutionary link to man. Evolutionists take only those data they need according to their theories, bring these to the fore and thus put forward misleading interpretations. Someone who believes in an evolutionary link between human beings and birds might make similar interpretations by drawing attention to "linguistic similarity." This is just as unscientific and superficial as National Geographic"s own "monkey business."

The truth that National Geographic is quite unable to grasp is that of creation: God has created human beings, monkeys and all other living things separately, but has only breathed a soul into man. That is why the behavior of monkeys or any other animal cannot be compared with that of man. As the possessor of a mind and soul, man is different and superior to all other living things.



(1) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2178920.stm  

 

2003-04-04 00:00:00

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