If you’re thinking ‘hey, he totally ignored that other Baldwin” you are correct.
Monday’s discussion reminded me of this piece I had wanted to do a while ago.
It’s kind of a shame…
…because until 30 Rock, Stephen was my favorite Baldwin. (Bio-dome is a seriously underrated comedy folks. They had Kylie Minogue in it, c’mon, gimme that at least. No? ok.) For a while he was in a new sci-fi original movie every week. I enjoyed that (not the movies necessarily, just the fact that he was in all of them). Then I cancelled my cable*.
Despite not being a cable subscriber”** I saw some ads a while ago for some Big Brother type celebrity reality show where Born Again Christian Stephen Baldwin rejected evolution by posing this old chestnut, in all seriousness:
“If we came from apes, why are apes still here? If we evolved from apes, they would have died off.”
Like Monday’s topic, this question often comes up and comes off as trolling. But whenever I hear this on TV, I don’t get frustrated at the questioner, I get frustrated that no one ever answers the question! It’s so easy, it’s so basic, and it’s in the form of a question. What are you waiting for? Let’s cut to Steve Harvey On Larry King to get you in the proper mood.
Two issues here:
The first problem is the assumption that a speciation event necessitates the transformation of the entire species, eradicating the previous phenotype in the process. While there’s no reason that this cannot happen, it would require the entire species to be under the same selective pressures without being geographically isolated. And being separated from each other while under different selective pressures is the most obvious reason a species would undergo an evolutionary process resulting in multiple lineages/branches. So if a group of animals were separated and group B adapted to a new environment while group A stayed put and thrived (just as well as it ever did), you’d have new-species-group-B descended from still-existing-group-A. Of course over geological time so many changes occur that nearly all species undergo significant adaptations***, but if we’re talking about recent history (tens of thousands of years) wolves and dogs come to mind as an everyday, easy to understand example of animals starting to separate from one another. While dogs change rapidly through artificial selection wolves remain mostly intact. Eventually if enough change builds up, they won’t be able to interbreed and BAM wolves would go extinct. Wait, what?
The second problem is the primary area of confusion: We do not come from any modern apes (or monkeys). We share a common ancestor with other apes. That’s not the same thing. And if you go back far enough we share a common ancestor with every living thing on earth. Here’s a cool chart.
One of the best popular resources for this type of information would be, oh where to start, let’s go with anything Richard Dawkins♠, but I suspect folk with hardcore religious inclinations might not click such a link, so here’s a picture of a unicorn riding another unicorn instead!
Being ignorant isn’t the problem here, we’re all ignorant on tons of subjects, and sometimes even basic things can have completely slipped passed us. Sherlock Holmes didn’t know the earth revolved around the Sun for example♠♠. The real issue is being able to say the same misguided thing over and over without ever being corrected, cementing it in your brain through repetition♠♠♠ or even worse, rejecting the evidence when you are corrected. If intellectual honesty is not one of your personality traits, you are living with a constant monkey on your back… and it kinda looks like a transitional formω.
This post was brought to you by Actinum (Ac).
** TV is dead, get over it.
*** though it is possible to still find very primitive modern creatures as well.
♠ The amount of amazing and engaging resources on the subject is… extensive.
♠♠ and before you say it, I know comparing a fictional character to a live one is a bit unfair, but Stephen Baldwin is very real to many people.
♠♠♠ “Every time you read or hear something, your brain makes another copy of it.” -Dennett
ω internet points if you can’t help but point out that all animals, in fact, are transitional forms.