Science and the Bible
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by Bolton Davidheiser, Ph.D. Chairman, Science Division, Biola College A s REPORTED on a television pro gram, Professor L.S.B. Leakey
man again. Certainly this would be preferable to the alternative of de claring termite-eating chimpanzees to be men. If chimps suddenly be came men by courtesy of a definition, it seems that consistency would de mand that the other anthropoid apes — gorillas, orangutans, and gibbons — also would have to be counted as men. Actually this is much ado about nothing, or at least some ado about not very much, for all it shows is that these definitions of man are not valid and never were. The discovery that chimps in the wild state make “ tools” was made by an English girl named Jane Goodall, now the Baroness van Lawick-Good- all. She went to their native habitat in Africa and spent months seeking and then following them until they finally accepted her and she could observe them close at hand. This was a brave thing to do and a very in teresting experience. The motivation for it was a belief that a study of the natural habits of chimpanzees could throw some light upon the ori gin of some of our human social practices, assuming that theirs and ours had a common origin. This as sumption is the one which is com monly accepted today, but it is not according to Scripture. For all their cleverness in fishing for termites, these apes are too stupid to take advantage of natural shelters, and they suffer miserably in the rain. In the eighth Psalm we read: “What is man, that Thou art mind ful of him . . . for Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou hast made him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands. Thou hast put all things Un der his feet. . . .” This does not apply to chimpan zees.
(noted for finding the remains of a creature he named Zinjanthropus, which was declared to be human and one and three-quarter million years old) says that either the word man must be redefined or else chimpan zees must be called men. The occa sion for this statement was the dis covery that these apes in their nat ural habitat make “tools.” They strip leaves from stems and then probe into termite nests with the stems. Having done this, they pull the stems out again and eat the termites which cling to them. If it is assumed that man may be distinguished from other crea tures by his ability to make tools, and if such a defoliated stem is de fined as a tool, it follows that either a new criterion for man must be employed, or else chimpanzees must be included under the term man. A few years ago a Christian man of science took a similar point of view when he wrote that the “ South African ape-men” really were men because they manufactured and used tools. This was unfortunate, particu larly since some non-Christian an thropologists believe that the alleged tools were used on them instead of by them. Benjamin Franklin said that man is a tool-using animal. This view of man was altered when it was ob served that apes in captivity use sticks as levers to pry and that they use poles to obtain things they can not reach. It was also observed that elephants use small branches to chase flies, and a bird of the Galapagos Islands uses a twig or thorn to probe out insects from cracks in the bark of trees. Thus by defining man as a tool-wser, there would be real bird- men. This obviously would not do, and therefore man was redefined as a tool-maker. As Professor Leakey suggests, it may be time to redefine
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