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PUBLIC OPINION > Atheists Think Apes Can Outthink Humans; Christians, Not So Much

News 2012/06/26 15:00:00
Scientists are investing an increasing amount of time and money into the study of animal cognition, and with nearly every new investment comes a new discovery. More and more, it's becoming apparent that we've been underestimating animals, and that's especially true with apes. Recently, studies have shown that there is only a 1.3% difference between human DNA and the DNA of a bonobo ape. We asked the public if apes could possibly outthink humans.



Believe it or not, this was a split decision. Maybe apes can outthink humans, after all. Some respondents did take this as an opportunity to joke about specific types of people, but there were plenty of serious believers. In fact, some suggested maybe other animals can outthink humans, too. Of course, it depends on the person as much as the animal. As many respondents were adamant that it's just not plausible.

Drinkers Don't Think So

Drinkers were a good 16% less likely to believe that apes can outthink humans. Interestingly enough, alcohol is one thing apes have in common with humans. Some species of monkey that have been exposed to alcohol not only enjoy the substance, but express as many attitudes toward alcohol as humans. Some just drink to relax, some become addicted, and some won't touch the stuff.

Atheists Are Convinced

In some ways, this poll is predisposed to intrigue some people, and turn others off. A major tenet of some religions, particularly western religions, is that humans were created special. On the other hand, a major tenet of science is that humans evolved directly from apes. Where you stand on that paradigm is likely to affect how you respond to the question.

Men Have No Faith in Monkeys

Men were a bit more reluctant to agree that apes could ever outthink humans, while women were a bit more willing. It could be that men have a little more pride in human achievement, or it could be that women can better see the flaws in human achievement. It's not a huge difference, though, so whatever the reason, it's of marginal value.

If you'd like to vote on this question, dig deeper into the demographics, or engage in existing discussion about the topic, visit our poll about apes. We'd love to hear from you!
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  • BlackJack 2012/07/27 02:30:38
    BlackJack
    Apes can outthink Athiests obviously.
  • JFukov 2012/07/13 23:04:14
    JFukov
    I can spot plenty of people below who could easily be outsmarted by the most primitive of beasts.
  • santa6642 2012/07/08 22:31:39
    santa6642
    smarter then any liberal socialist dumocrat.
  • Merryl santa6642 2012/12/30 16:18:16
    Merryl
    Oh yea,we know how intelligent the right-wingnut,t-party,neo-cons are...Sarah Palin,Michelle Bachman,Donald the Duck Trump,John Boner,Mitch McConnell,Karl Rove,and the rest of the idiots. We know how much they REALLY care about regular American folks!
  • ScatterJoy! 2012/07/04 05:21:01
    ScatterJoy!
    Great post! I'm agnostic and I definitely think Apes could give us a run for our money in some forms of cognitive reasoning. However, I would argue our frontal lobe and verbal communication skills (although, with the way language is deteriorating, I reserve the right to change this opinion) will keep us as front-runners in the intellectual realm!
  • jdemme 2012/07/01 00:28:37
    jdemme
    +1
    In some instances, they could. They might posses the cognitive ability to perceive the electro-magnetic field of the earth, for example.
  • JDreDaC... jdemme 2012/07/11 13:36:38
    JDreDaCookieMonster
    I like this idea, I do think that their are some abilities that not only apes have, that humans are blind to. For instance many animals can sense a storm or a drought well before it even happens, without using technology or expensive equipment. If you ask me this is smart on a level that we could't even imagine (at least in these times!)
  • jdemme JDreDaC... 2012/07/11 17:14:17
    jdemme
    Exactly. Glad to see someone gets it.
  • Anthony 2012/06/30 12:41:41
    Anthony
    An adult chimp can rip my arms off with little effort, so I'll let it think what it likes as long as it leaves me alone!
  • redhorse29 2012/06/30 04:45:59
    redhorse29
    Atheists would since they have never qualified as part of the human race because they lack a soul.
  • Ben redhorse29 2012/07/06 12:57:45
    Ben
    According to Christianity, every human has a soul.
  • MindaBrown redhorse29 2012/07/09 22:36:29
    MindaBrown
    It just shows you how stupid Atheists are.
  • Delete 2012/06/29 21:57:23
  • rw 2012/06/29 00:25:10
    rw
    I'm an Atheist and I'm pretty sure that apes can't out think humans. I also think that many of the respondents were maybe joking when they said that they believe apes can out think humans, or this study isn't valid in some way, or this study was taken out of context somehow.
  • dallasjoe 2012/06/28 16:45:32
    dallasjoe
    NO but close since we evolved from Apes/primates
  • Bill 2012/06/28 12:23:42
    Bill
    Of course they can. Apes developed "The Calculus". Ooops, sorry, that was 17th-century mathematicians Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz: humans.

    But apes did develop and write the 3 volumes of "Principia Mathematica". Ooops, sorry. That was Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell: humans.

    But apes did develop philosophical empiricism and skepticism. Ooops. sorry. That was David Hume, John Locke and George Berkeley; humans.

    But apes developed the concept of ordinality and cardinality. Ooops, sorry. That was humans again. Damn.

    I guess I proved my point: apes are smarter than humans. They've out-thought us all the way down the line. We humans are so dumb.

    If there are any apes out there that have read this, kindly click on the reply icon and tell me what you think. Please use links and footnotes in that reply. Thanks.
  • Ben Bill 2012/07/06 12:58:35
    Ben
    Oook


    (A reply for the Terry Pratchet fans out there!)
  • Bill Ben 2012/07/06 14:24:52
    Bill
    Maybe Terry Pratchet created this poll. Seems so.
  • BILL 2012/06/28 00:09:17
    BILL
    If OHBOBO counts as human then you bet
  • Rusty 2012/06/27 23:19:07 (edited)
    Rusty
    Why of course apes are more intelligent than humans. Isn't it obvious. Apes only choose to live in trees because they have figured out the grand picture of existence.....to live in harmony with nature.............Hmmmmmmmmm... Ommmmmmmmmmmm.

    I think they must be very selfish creatures though because they won't share their vast knowledge of the universe with US.
  • Jane Rusty 2012/07/15 19:04:30
    Jane
    This question is bogus, of course apes aren't more intelligent than humans, even evangelical christians have figured this out. So obviously atheist know better.
  • Tom Camfield 2012/06/27 22:15:23
    Tom Camfield
    +1
    I'm sure that when it comes to things important to apes, they have a much better mental grasp. Comparing us to them is a bit of apples and oranges. I think mere survival would lead them to learn and adapt quickly--and to remember well.
  • Mark 2012/06/27 22:01:53
    Mark
    +3
    I missed this one, and I suppose it might be possible, especially if you pit the apes against the intelligence of cults like the Westboro Baptist Church.
  • Lina Blub 2012/06/27 21:51:16
    Lina Blub
    ehm... crows btw 2 they've done experiments, and... some apes can outthink men... or britney spears (am an atheist)
  • Bill Lina Blub 2012/06/28 12:26:16
    Bill
    They can out-think some of the humans I've communicated with on SH. Q.E.D.
  • madsam 2012/06/27 21:09:07
    madsam
    Would you get on a plane that was being flown by an ape? If your answer is no, then you don't think apes can out think humans.
  • -(*PeacE4LovE*)- 2012/06/27 19:45:58 (edited)
    -(*PeacE4LovE*)-
    even if its 100% yes or No ... It has nothing to do with Evolution .

    There is not a Single live or Dead being today , on which we can see or say ... is passing through any SINGLE Phase of Evolution ?...

    Can any one See Half Monkey or Half Man ?
    Can anyone see Half Fish & Half Bird ?
    Can anyone see A iron coin evolved to GOLD ?


    from O.1 % to 50.51.52....1OO % - in between no LIVING or NON-LIVING Being is under the phase of EVOLUTION today in WORLD & can be seen OPENLY ...

    " Every Creation is Perfect and no chain Links inter-connected with one an other - just like from Egg to Living - they have links connected and can be seen & ITS REALITY & Science ,

    Its just a Waste of Time , and please DIS-CARD it as Science either . Religion & Atheism both are Not Science . Religion is Book of SIGNS !! - Atheism neither SCIENCE or SIGNS or neither RELIGION at all !
  • -(*Peac... -(*Peac... 2012/06/27 19:50:40
    -(*PeacE4LovE*)-
    They ask me - " WHERE IS GOD " - & i ask them " WHERE IS EVOLUTION "

    A man who can not see the SUN challenge to see GOD who the CREATOR of SUN . A eye which can not see Micro Organisms , want to see THE ALMIGHTY ONE GOD !

    Let me laugh ... BUW AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH .

    THANKS GOD I DO believe you .

    " but evolution cant be justified "
  • bennett... -(*Peac... 2012/06/27 19:54:49
    bennett.dunn1
    +3
    You wouldn't see a half-fish, half-bird, because evolution does not happen in systematic jumps. It is a slow process of mutation over millennia. You would never see evolution 'in progress' because your life is a spark in time. I suggest you go and do a bit of research before coming out with such absurd claims.
  • -(*Peac... bennett... 2012/06/27 20:12:03 (edited)
    -(*PeacE4LovE*)-
    Million years had already passed okey . more than Millions and Millions . i am asking to show a " SINGLE BEING who is IN-BETWEEN the process ... like I EVOLVED okey and i am HUMAN but at the mean time Some may not ( due to different birth rates ) ... they would be in between ... so is there any HALF-MONKEY - HALF MAN for your evidence in the WHOLE WORLD ?


    You have Faith :) that we evolved from APES ..so is there any APE in-between *HALF APE HALF HUMAN " form because MILLION MILLION years already passed so ANY APE inbetween --> half human or near to full human or just got started to speak ?
  • michael -(*Peac... 2012/06/27 20:31:39
    michael
    Look at a gentic mutation and see if becomes the common trait of a species. But here's a thought: God designed everything with free will. Even genetics. To take over and see what works in nature. Just a thought.
  • Bill -(*Peac... 2012/06/28 12:43:00 (edited)
    Bill
    +2
    {You have Faith :) that we evolved from APES ..so is there any APE in-between *HALF APE HALF HUMAN " form...}
    WOW. You have a complete misunderstanding of evolution and what is entailed in it. No one ever claimed that people evolved FROM apes. As depicted below, one can see that there was a common ancestry, a lineage, connected to the lower ape. We evolved, unique as a species, from that lineage, but not "in line" with it. Humans branched off and developed other lineages along the way (to put it simply). There is no, and never was, a transitional species (i.e. man-ape) nor could there be one today. Over time, there were species of humans that played a role in the development of what we are today (see below) thus, in a sense transitional, but not in the way you think of it; some kind of Big-Foot creature.

    http://www.globalchange.umich...
    EvolutionaryTreeOfHumans
  • -(*Peac... Bill 2012/06/28 18:35:04 (edited)
    -(*PeacE4LovE*)-
    My Friend . I read and i have some questions . Its not a Debate to win or lose something but to know what we dnt or share is the purpose . I have made a Chart for you . and i hope you will give answers of ..... --> ? <--- .

    http://images.sodahead.com/pr...

    Dude , the Forest Ape is still alive today but where are the ---> ? <----
    its strange the Father is yet alive but we cant find its living branches today
    after Million years , the root is alive but the tree is Dead .

    branches


    I pray God he gave you Mind to understand , what i actually mean . it not need Brain to think but need Heart to Feel . Hope you get my Point Friend


    nmk
  • Bill -(*Peac... 2012/06/28 23:58:01
    Bill
    Not quite following you on that one. Sorry
  • Bill -(*Peac... 2012/06/29 19:30:09 (edited)
    Bill
    I think I get your point. Why do we not see the other beings that contributed to our evolutionary development in the present. Well, they died off? They became extinct. They were contributors to our evolutionary development but there was no guarantee that they would continue to exist. I am sorry that you don't understand "natural selection" or "genetic mutations" and that not all evolutionary development is favorable to the evolving species. Some devolve, such as the Eohippus (small horse-like creature.) The evolutionary tree is not in the shape of, say, a palm tree. It is the shape of a great oak with many limbs and branches. Some leaves die, some branches or great limbs fall off, NEVER to be seen again. So is it with evolution. Eventually, the lesser species could not survive, were not smart enough to compete or run away from or ward off predators. We developed due to "chance" and those mutations helped us to survive. Lamarkian evolution would hold that we needed a prehensile hand to better survive so we developed them. He was WRONG. The mutations that brought about the hand were by chance were an adaptive mutation that helped us to survive. This is commensurate with natural selection; the more adaptive species live.
  • -(*Peac... Bill 2012/06/30 09:44:38 (edited)
    -(*PeacE4LovE*)-
    First of All thanks for Understanding my Point ... Evolutionary Development undergoes with the process of " Genetic Mutations " or " Natural Selections " - so lets wrap the whole chapter in One Molecule which evolved to today Mirco to Macro Animals ,Insects , Birds , Humans .

    My Friend , hope you know Newton 2nd Law of Motion dats

    F = ma

    As you know the " Genetic Mutation " on its own without the Force " F " is totally "Un-scientific" and if there is no force than

    F = 0 so
    a = o
    and m = m ( after million billion trillion years )

    The m = m , no matter how many Billion Billion Million Trillion years passed , the Mass will still remain THE MASS because there is no "Force" , hence No Genetic Mutation & Natural selection is faaar away to exist at that time ...



    " Like a Car can not run by itself , so there is no chance of the MOLECULE at all UNTIL there is no Outside Force to do so . That 1 Force feeded all the Data which helped the Molecule need to Evolve to Today Beings including Speak , emotions , life ( which differ us from Non-living things ) ...

    " Big Bang Theory is the Force , which have All the Data , THE MAIN DATA which spl...&






    First of All thanks for Understanding my Point ... Evolutionary Development undergoes with the process of " Genetic Mutations " or " Natural Selections " - so lets wrap the whole chapter in One Molecule which evolved to today Mirco to Macro Animals ,Insects , Birds , Humans .

    My Friend , hope you know Newton 2nd Law of Motion dats

    F = ma

    As you know the " Genetic Mutation " on its own without the Force " F " is totally "Un-scientific" and if there is no force than

    F = 0 so
    a = o
    and m = m ( after million billion trillion years )

    The m = m , no matter how many Billion Billion Million Trillion years passed , the Mass will still remain THE MASS because there is no "Force" , hence No Genetic Mutation & Natural selection is faaar away to exist at that time ...

    big big

    " Like a Car can not run by itself , so there is no chance of the MOLECULE at all UNTIL there is no Outside Force to do so . That 1 Force feeded all the Data which helped the Molecule need to Evolve to Today Beings including Speak , emotions , life ( which differ us from Non-living things ) ...

    " Big Bang Theory is the Force , which have All the Data , THE MAIN DATA which split up into Living & Non living things -

    That Force is not generated on Its OWN "TOO" according to Newton 2nd law so its TOTALLY Un-scientific . The Force generated from Source which we in Scientific Terminology Say Allah the One GOD -

    ( The force is 1 , the source is 1 hence only 1 GOD )


    Hope you get My Point .
    (more)
  • Bill -(*Peac... 2012/06/30 12:28:25 (edited)
    Bill
    +1
    I am quite familiar with it. Along with Calculus, Differential Equations and Chemistry, I also took Physics.
    In the x direction, Newton's second law tells us that F = ma = m.d2x/dt2,
    This has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with what you are talking about. Your F=0, a=0 and m=m makes no sense. You're trying to apply physic (in this case) to chemical reactions. Newton said that an object of mass m, accelerated at the rate a=d2x/dt2, will generate a force, F. That's all. Evolution does not require what you stated at all.

    {"TOO" according to Newton 2nd law so its TOTALLY Un-scientific .}
    I don't believe Newton EVER said that nor any scientist in the past or present (or future). Physics is BUILT on Newtonian mechanics.

    {the Mass will still remain THE MASS because there is no "Force" , }
    You're putting the cart before the horse. If there is no force (F) it is either due to either: 1) there is no mass (m) or 2) there is no acceleration (a). Mass doesn't "change" when it is accelerated (unless one is talking about E=mC**2), thus you have a complete misunderstanding of Newton's 2nd Law. Molecular biology/evolution, while under the guidance of physics, does not necessitate the Law you say is necessary.
  • Scatter... Bill 2012/07/04 05:26:20 (edited)
    ScatterJoy!
    I got lost during this discussion - how is there no "force"? - Earth is not an isolated environment and it's entirely plausible that an external force (nature, weather, etc) could have precipitated the need/catalyst behind evolutionary adaptations. ....isn't that the basis of Darwinian theory: the animal best suited to its environment will be the animal that survives long enough to reproduce? Natural selection (NATURE's selection) is thus the Force...
    Sorry if I'm way off topic, but you guys had a good conversation going there!
  • Bill Scatter... 2012/07/04 12:53:30
    Bill
    +1
    It's only a "force" in the most abstract sense. It has nothing to do with F=ma, the way he is trying to apply it. There are "forces" (molecular, biological, external) that accompany evolution but those should not be confused with F=ma. Distance from the sun is a major factor (force) as well as the earth's rotation (400 days per year down to 365), polar wandering which allowed cosmic radiation to penetrate to the earth's surface and many other things. They were all contributors to evolution but accelerating some kind of mass to generate a "force" was not one of them.
    He was reaching and his analysis is more typical of the Institute for Creation Research rather than science. They postulate that the Second Law of Thermodynamics (entropy) disproves evolution. Their arguments are ridiculous. Even a high school physics student can see through it.
  • Scatter... Bill 2012/07/04 16:12:51
    ScatterJoy!
    +1
    Cool - thank you for responding!
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