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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