A thought for all those fundamentalists who can’t bear the idea that their Imaginary Friend could have created a world that evolved: what are they to make of the now overpowering evidence of intelligence in non-human species?
The scientific evidence is straightforward: a wide variety of non-human species can use language, make tools, recognise themselves in a mirror, refer to themselves, or even make jokes. These species include chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, orang utans, bottlenose dolphins, African grey parrots, elephants and assorted crows, ravens and other corvids. And we have only just started looking seriously.
So what can we say? That God has given them all souls too – and presumably their own covenant and messiah? Or that he has created creatures that have consciousness and self-consciousness, yet which He has doomed to oblivion and death, without hope of redemption or eternal life? Oops…
Of course, this is just as big a conundrum for evolutionary theory, or at least its more narrow-mindedly Darwinian variants. It looks rather like the intelligence manifested by human beings, dolphins, birds and other primates not only does the same job but it actually of just the same kind – homologous, as evolutionists say. According to conventional Darwinism, such a structural homology can only realistically have occurred if all these species share a common ancestor that also had this intelligence.
Unfortunately, we have not shared a common ancestor with dolphins for 90 million years or with parrots for more than 300 million. And whatever thoseancestors were, they certainly were not intelligent.
There is a Darwinian solution, of course. See my Birth of Reason. I am also currently trying to get a couple of essays out on this topic, though it is proving hard to get them published.