Willful Neglect: Intellectual Suicide

By L. ALfred James

In the spirit of the old game show What’s My Line? I have a mystery-guest I would like to you to think about. I would like you to figure out if this mystery guest is a relatively good and decent person, or if he is a relatively bad person. That is, if you had to pick, would you say he is good or would you say he is bad? Moreover, I want you to base your decision solely on the information that I provide here. Don’t let anything you’ve heard about this person cloud your judgement here. (And don’t cheat by peeking ahead!) So, let’s begin. Here are the facts (and they are all true) about this mystery-man:

  1. He was a gifted artist: In fact, much of his artwork is in the public domain. Here are four pictures he painted. (And he painted hundreds more.) Click on any of the four to get a closer view. Notice the amazing level of detail, shading, and versatility of color usage.
  2. He loved children: He was very affectionate towards little ones. He had the nickname “Wolf” so some of his friends’ children endearingly called him “Uncle Wolf.” At night, he could often be found tucking these sweet children into bed and giving them goodnight kisses.
  3. He was a sensitive and gifted writer: This man wrote literature that profoundly moved millions of people. His writing touched people’s souls in a profound way. He inspired them to make heroic sacrifices for their country, to have immense courage, and to believe in themselves. He had a strong grasp of human nature, allowing him to tap into his readers’ empathy, dreams, and sense of dignity. Indeed, one of his books sold millions of copies, and it is still selling strong today.
  4. Puppy

  5. He was an animal lover: He was very attached to his dogs. As a young man he rescued a stray white Fox Terrier, and throughout his life he had numerous pet dogs that he deeply loved (especially German Shepherds). He was such an animal lover that he was a vegetarian and—when he was in office—he made animal abuse a serious crime, punishable by time in prison.
  6. He cared about human health and the environment: He not only implemented the world’s first anti-animal-cruelty laws, he also implemented the world’s first anti-pollution laws and banned cigarette smoking in hospitals, schools, and many public facilities.
  7. He was passionate about music: He had an extensive record collection filled with the works of Beethoven, Wagner and other great composers. Moreover, he attended the opera very often (sometimes on a daily basis).
  8. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize: Erik Gottfrid Christian Brandt (a member of the Swedish parliament) formally nominated this man for a Nobel Peace Prize, calling him “a God-given fighter for peace” and referring to his bestselling book as “the best and most popular piece of literature in the world.”
  9. Nobel

  10. He was loved and admired by his people: As proof of how much he was admired, just consider the fact that in an election he won more than 95% of the public vote!

So, what do you think? If you had to guess, just based on the information I’ve given you, wouldn’t you say this mystery man is a pretty good guy? He was very artistic, child-loving, animal-loving, a sensitive writer, admired by many, and a nominee for the Noble Peace Prize.

He sounds like a hero, someone for all of us to emulate, a role model . . . if you only focus on these facts.

However, the situation changes dramatically if you also consider some other facts. Namely, that he tried to take over the world and he murdered more than 6 million Jewish people.

That’s right. I’m referring to none other than Adolf Hitler. And my point in this bizarre exercise is to demonstrate how persuasive a bad theory can sound if you willfully neglect information that does not fit your theory. The theory that Hitler was a good man actually sounds pretty plausible if you ignore the fact that he was a murderous dictator bent on world conquest. Willful neglect of counter-evidence can make any theory, even if it is totally ridiculous, sound plausible.

And that, my friends, is exactly what advocates of human evolutionary theory do all the time. They will tell you about all of the positive things that fit their theory, things that make it seem like humans really evolved from ape-like creatures in the distant past. But they will usually neglect to mention those things that don’t fit with their theory.

For example, they often mention the similarities between human beings and chimpanzees. And the list of similarities sounds very impressive. Among other things, they mention that chimps exhibit similar emotions, that they communicate, use tools, and engage in social behavior like humans; they mention that chimp hemoglobin is identical to human hemoglobin, that chimps and humans have similar anatomies, that chimp chromosomes show the same banding patterns as humans, and that chimp DNA is 98% identical to human DNA.

It sounds really persuasive. In light of these facts, the theory that humans and chimps share a common ancestor seems quite plausible, doesn’t it? Yes it does…if you only focus on these facts. But the situation changes dramatically if you consider some other facts:

  1. Human beings have numerous genes (“orphan genes”) that are not found in chimps (or any other primate).
  2. Human Y chromosomes are radically different from chimp Y chromosomes.
  3. Human females experience menopause. Chimp females do not.
  4. Human beings sweat. Chimps do not.
  5. Human beings weep when they are sad. Chimps do not.
  6. Human beings domesticate other animals. Chimps do not.
  7. Human beings produce artwork. Chimps do not.
  8. Human beings worship, pray, and engage in other spiritual practices. Chimps do not.
  9. Human beings have relatively little hair on most of their bodies. Chimps have thick hair on most of their bodies.
  10. Human beings have a chin. Chimps do not.
  11. Human beings have a protruding nose. Chimps do not.
  12. Human beings stand and walk on two legs. Chimps do not.
  13. Human beings exhibit romantic infatuations. Chimps do not.
  14. Human beings wear clothes. Chimps do not.
  15. Human beings have an aversion to foul odors. Chimps do not.
  16. Humans have an average brain size that is three times larger than chimps.
  17. Chimps communicate with grunts and gestures, but they certainly don’t use words (or even signs) like human beings.

I could literally fill your screen with a much longer list. This is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg. (For a much longer list see all of the “absolute differences” at https://carta.anthropogeny.org/moca/topics.) Moreover, each one of the items in this list could be greatly expanded in detail, showing that the problem it presents for evolution is much worse than this list shows.

For instance, consider the language problem: Humans use words to talk about abstract concepts (such as justice of love) or to talk about things they observe in their environment. No ape does anything remotely like that. In fact Nim Chimpsky, the most famous ape involved in any language study, miserably failed to use sign language even on a par with a two-year old human child.

When you consider all of these differences, and how problematic they are to human evolutionary theory, you start to get a clearer picture of just how much willful neglect is happening here. Failing to account for all of these differences is one thing. But failing to address them (or to publicly mention that they exist) is intellectual suicide. It is like the girl who told her parents about her new boyfriend:

“Hey Mom and Dad, my new boyfriend’s name is John Smith. He’s really a great guy. He works hard. He loves to cook, and he is a great musician. I can’t wait for you to meet him!”

“Um . . . Honey. Isn’t John Smith the young man who was just sentenced to prison for kidnapping, money-laundering, and trying to overthrow the government?”

“Well, yes, I guess I forgot to mention that. . . . But, anyways, he’s really a swell guy!”

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