Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Something to think about


10 comments:

ExPatMatt said...

Trish,

My mum used to call me a little monkey all the time - it wasn't insulting, it was a very apt description of how I would caper around as a kid!

Of course, calling someone with dark skin a monkey is intended as an insult because the intent is to dehumanize them based on the general perception that animals are somehow of 'less' worth than humans. This viewpoint is (thankfully) gradually being relegated to the historic garbage heap where it belongs.

Now, both of these expressions are colloquial, non-technical terms. In the same way that calling your girlfriend a beautiful rose does not imply that you actually think she is a plant, people who call other people 'monkey' generally aren't trying to make some sort of taxonomic statement.

However, they are right. You heard me - we're monkeys.

In the same way that humans are apes, apes are monkeys, monkeys are primates, primates are mammals, mammals are vertebrates and vertebrates are animals [very abridged taxonomy there!]

That's just how the classification of life works and it was all started by a Christian who was attempting to order God's creations by their morphology!

So, not only did we come from monkeys, we are monkeys and all our descendants will be too.

See AronRa's excellent Youtube videos on the subject for more information.

Regards,

PS. I know a lot of non-Creationists may quibble semantics about Old World / New World monkeys and so on, but for all intents and purposes this description is in line with the latest understandings of our lineage.

ExPatMatt said...

Nothing?

Dawkwin said...

ExPatMatt said...

"So, not only did we come from monkeys, we are monkeys and all our descendants will be too."

>>So why didn't you just say that YOU are a monkey Matt?

>>I say I am a Christian and you say you are a monkey.

>>Faith is a difficult thing to deny as anyone who believes strongly in any ideology.

Fish with Trish said...

Been at a conference...sorry that I was just able to release these comments right now.

Whateverman said...

It's the intent of the comment that determines whether it's insulting or not, not the words actually used. I can use the word nigger in a sentence and have it be offensive or not, based only on what I'm trying to say.

So, when your Mum calls you a monkey, it's probably not offensive. Scientists use the term differently, but in a way that's not meant to insult people (though depending on your religious belief, it might be taken as a slur anyway).

I've come across Christian humor that's honestly funny, but this particular comic doesn't fit the bill; it seems nothing more than dogma in a format we usually associate with humor.

ExPatMatt said...

No worries Trish, I hope you enjoyed the conference!

Dawkwin,

Honestly, I would respond to your comment if I had the slightest idea of what your point was.

Cheers,

ExPatMatt said...

So, we're all good with the whole monkey --> human thing?

Cool.

Melanie said...

This viewpoint is (thankfully) gradually being relegated to the historic garbage heap where it belongs.

So why did people flip out about the cartoon that showed Obama as a monkey that was in a mainstream publication? Or at least that was the interpretation. I think the whole idea of a monkey writing a stimulus bill is ridiculous, but apparently you think not only is it okay, the whole uproar over the cartoon is ridiculous because after all, we ARE all monkeys.

ExPatMatt said...

Melanie,

That's some interesting selective reading you've got going on there!

You quoted me as saying;

"This viewpoint is (thankfully) gradually being relegated to the historic garbage heap where it belongs".

And then asked;

"So why did people flip out about the cartoon that showed Obama as a monkey that was in a mainstream publication? Or at least that was the interpretation".

Now, I could answer you, again, but it would be much easier for me to simply copy/paste the first half of the paragraph that you quoted;

"Of course, calling someone with dark skin a monkey is intended as an insult because the intent is to dehumanize them based on the general perception that animals are somehow of 'less' worth than humans".

Now, I don't believe for a second that you actually need someone to explain to you why calling a person of colour a 'monkey' is a bad thing, nor do you need someone to tell you that the fact that this still happens does not alter the general trend of decreasing overt racism.

So I wonder why you felt the need to ask at all?

You go on to say;

"I think the whole idea of a monkey writing a stimulus bill is ridiculous, but apparently you think not only is it okay, the whole uproar over the cartoon is ridiculous because after all, we ARE all monkeys".

Apparently you do have selective reading skills. The point I was making was that 'monkey' is a biological classification, no different to 'mammal'. Try it out, insert the word 'mammal' into your quote in place of 'monkey' - see what it sounds like? Ridiculous right?

But once again, the 'uproar' happened because people weren't making a point about biological classification, they were being racist. I know that you know the difference and I can't see the point in you being so obtuse about it.

If you think we are not monkeys, then tell me one physical feature that monkeys have, that we don't have.....then, once you've done that, tell me what physical feature 'apes' have that we don't have.

I look forward to hearing your reply.

Regards,

ExPatMatt said...

Melanie?