Charles Darwin defined evolution as a process; he never claimed that humans originated from monkeys

Charles Darwin defined evolution as a process; he never claimed that humans originated from monkeys.

Two Moderators I ask for your blessing and to help me with this thread.
@Christy @jpm

Reasons why I need your help are: I’m slow, and it’s a challenge for me to reference and articulate. Also, I make mistakes. I welcome those to continue with their fast pace; however, it takes me at a slower pace to catch up. Will you help me with this thread?

I’m for understanding evolution because I understand processes.

Recently, I learned that Charles Darwin never claimed that humans came from monkeys. Have you heard anything about this?

Of course he didn’t – no scientist ever has.


You are correct, but it gets confusing as monkeys and humans have a common ancestor. Much like the USA government did not come from Canada, but both arose from the British.


Darwin wrote an entire book describing the evidence for man descending from an earlier ape. It’s called (full title) " The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex".

“If the anthropomorphous apes be admitted to form a natural sub-group, then as man agrees with them, not only in all those characters which he possesses in common with the whole Catarrhine group, but in other peculiar characters, such as the absence of a tail and of callosities, and in general appearance, we may infer that some ancient member of the anthropomorphous sub-group gave birth to man. It is not probable that, through the law of analogous variation, a member of one of the other lower sub-groups should have given rise to a man-like creature, resembling the higher anthropomorphous apes in so many respects.”–Charles Darwin, “The Descent of Man”

“The Catarrhine and Platyrrhine monkeys agree in a multitude of characters, as is shewn by their unquestionably belonging to one and the same Order. The many characters which they possess in common can hardly have been independently acquired by so many distinct species; so that these characters must have been inherited. But a naturalist would undoubtedly have ranked as an ape or a monkey, an ancient form which possessed many characters common to the Catarrhine and Platyrrhine monkeys, other characters in an intermediate condition, and some few, perhaps, distinct from those now found in either group. And as man from a genealogical point of view belongs to the Catarrhine or Old World stock, we must conclude, however much the conclusion may revolt our pride, that our early progenitors would have been properly thus designated.”–Charles Darwin, “The Descent of Man”

Also, Darwin described TWO processes: natural selection and common descent. He stated that man was the product of both these processes.


It gets confusing because commonly used names for groups of species are paraphyletic whereas common descent is monophyletic.

Instead of “monkey” it would be more accurate to use “primate”. This includes the common ancestor of all primates and all its descendants.


After reading the original post I suspect that @riversea may have been thrown off by the specificity that biologists look for in serious discussions.

Let’s look at the actual evolutionary relationships (from


Humans are in the Catarrhini group (which means “dry nose” if memory serves). Within Catarrhini we have:


So there are a few issues here. First, the term “monkeys” is actually polyphyletic because it refers to separate branches (see diagram in post above). If we stick with just “old world monkeys” then that is a paraphyletic group. More importantly, what we call “monkeys” in the present are our cousins, not our ancestors.

At the same time, if we were to travel back in time to observe the common ancestor of the Catarrhini or Strepsirrhini groups I think most people would describe them as monkeys.

Needless to say, it gets a bit confusing. I suspect that the main point others were trying to make is that modern species don’t evolve from each other. There is no monkey species alive today that was our ancestor. Even saying that we evolved from apes is a bit of a misnomer because ape is a paraphyletic group if it excludes human. Many people will say that we are apes, which I think is the best solution. The most accurate term to use is a monophyletic name, a name that encompasses an ancestor and all of its descendants. If an ancestor of humans could be described as a monkey then we are still monkeys. This is why humans are often described as primates because that includes the first primate species and all of its descendants.


^This^ I have no hesitation in saying that we descended from monkeys and that Darwin thought so, too.


Okay, explain how the groups E and G in the Taxon 2 diagram can be a single taxon.


They may be given the same name due to convergence and thus have a taxonomic name, but be a polyphyletic taxon–for example (one that I happen to know of) Turbinelloidea as recently defined includes Volutomitridae, Costellariidae, Turbinellidae, Vasidae, Ptychatractidae, and Columbariidae. However, Volutomitridae appears not to actually be closely related to the others (same order, but not very close within the order), and thus Turbinelloidea sensu latu (“in the recent sense”) is a polyphyletic taxon.


In actuality, scientists do think humans descended from monkeys. Not modern monkeys, but primates (anthropoids) that anatomically strongly resemble what you would call monkeys.

This is not the same, of course, as saying humans descended from squirrel monkeys or baboons. These are modern species that descended from the same “monkey” ancestors as humans and other apes.


This is a good explanation and gets at why it can be difficult to explain to non-evolutionary biologists.

We refer to the last common ancestor of extant monkeys and apes as an anthropoid, but for all practical purposes we think they looked like monkeys. But if we say to people “humans descended from anthropoids that were anatomically similar to extant monkeys”, I’m sure that would not be helpful for people trying to learn about this subject!


I decided the simplest answer to this question is to google evolution of man.

Then select the images tab in your web browser.

If the images below are not indicative of what the vast majority believe…then pigs fly!



The reality is, does it matter whether we wish to call the first indvidual in the series of images (which are just a handful of thousands of similar images) a monkey? It is in most peoples minds same same…monkey, ape, or similar creature.

The point is, we apparently came from all fours to walking upright. The rest is nothing more than hot air…it makes no difference.

The real questions i have for evolution are these:

  1. If we evolved from primitive to what we are now, why are we unable to breed with apes…surely there must at least be some still alive we could breed with? We cant even survive on a baboons heart (as Loma Linda University found out decades ago when they implanted one into a human…and the human died soon after)

  2. If we evolved from primitive, and for this forum where it is claimed the Christian God is our creator, is salvation only available for those modern humans who have the capacity to think rationallly?

  3. How do we explain that Christ was born a modern human…is the parable of the good samaritan supposed to represent us being charitable and neighbourly to apes? Are apes saved?

  4. If we evolved from primative, it appears that Christ at his second coming will be exactly the same as he was when he enterred heaven at the time of his ascention. In the evolutionary experiements with single celled organisms that have been running for about 30 years now, it appears that the process slows down as the organisms mutate. Given we have obviously evolved into what appears to be quite intelligent and capable beings, does that mean that mankind, having been made in Gods image, will not evolve further?

  5. How do evolutionists explain “survival of the fittest” as a driving force of racism? Why would God initiate a process such as evolution knowing that evolutionary racism would be significant issue for the entire world wide population?

To illustrate, a news story regarding two Australian Rugby League teams that played a game in Las Vagas a few days ago hit the racism headlines when one islander complained to the match referee…that another islander called him a “monkey”! NRL Las Vegas: Broncos, Spencer Leniu involved in hotel argument over ‘monkey’ slur

That isnt the first time this has happened, however, in this case I thought it a bit unusual because it was two black players involved.

How do two individuals whom have heritage basically from third-world countries manage to call each other racist unless they firmly believe they both evolved from monkeys (or apes, whatever)?

Whilst evolution might sound like it works, i find significant issues for Christians where fundamentally, it simply does not work at all. There are huge problems…starting with the fact that it has been shown quite conclusively that Homo Erectus, Neanderthals, and modern humans all coexisted and indeed probably even copulated and produced offspring.

Why don’t you spend some time googling the definition of species and then it should be obvious why Homo sapiens can only have offspring with other Homo sapiens,

Do you mean primates?

Why do you think it is somehow a logical necessity that if humans are created to be God’s image, it follows that all members of their taxonomic class are also created to bear God’s image?

Apes is a taxonomic class to which Homo sapiens belong. So the answer is, yes, some of them. And Christians should be kind to animals, especially intelligent animals, because humans are empathetic creatures with power, resources, and responsibility to impact other creatures’ flourishing. As Christians we strive to be instruments of peace and justice in creation.

You mean bactera experiments? Are you expecting us to extrapolate that time frames for bacteria evolution apply to humans? Come on, Adam. You know natural selection works through reproduction and generations in modern humans are 20-30 years apart.

They don’t, because it’s not. Race is a social construct, it’s explained with reference to sociology, psychology and enculturation, not biology.

Some people call each other dogs or pigs or rats or cockroaches as insults. This has nothing to do with evolutionary biological relationships. What are you even talking about?


It seems to matter to some young Earth creationists because they think if you can call two species by the same name then it indicates microevolution. It’s the whole “created kinds” thing. A lot of creationism/ID boils down to semantics instead of actual data.

You could ask the same of gibbons, orangutans, gorillas, chimps, and bonobos. Far as I know, there is no interbreeding between any of the ape species. Of course, this is what we would expect from common ancestry and evolution. We would expect genetic divergence to result in an inability to interbreed at some point.

The same way we explain how every modern human is born.

I have no doubt that changes in bacteria slow down when they have been kept in the same environment. This is known as a local fitness peak.

Every human is born with 50 to 100 mutations, so I see no reason why this process would stop entirely.

It isn’t a driving force. The driving force behind racism is human prejudice.

That’s like saying Heliocentrism doesn’t work for Christians. Humans sharing a common ancestor with other species is as much a fact as the Earth moving about the Sun. If demonstrable facts don’t work for Christian theology then it is Christian theology that has problems.


Before the scientific revolution common names for species groups weren’t mean to reflect common ancestry. For example, both whales and tuna would have been described as fish in the Bible. I don’t think this was ever meant to describe a phylogeny, and using a label for all the things that swim in the water isn’t that crazy. A lot of these terms started before the scientific revolution and are still used today, so it isn’t surprising that they fail to accurately describe what they were never really meant to describe.

@Paraleptopecten also gives a good description of why even modern scientists can create incorrect polyphyletic taxa. Sometimes it is difficult to suss out specific, fine detailed relationships based on limited morphological data.


There’s a term I haven’t seen before; I’m going to have to remember it. It makes a lot of sense and the concept probably isn’t restricted to evolution.

BTW, does it get abbreviated as “LFP”?

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the answer to that question should be quite obvious to any christian with any decent theological understanding of scripture. Given scripture is the only thing that you have that explains God to you, you are included in that group if you are christian.

The point is quite simple…

If God created adam in His own image…is the image below what you think God made Adam look like? note the complete lack of cranial volume which is indicative of a creature that doesnt have the capacity to use tools or tend to a garden, think rationally, or name other animals!


I think this produces a conflict in the “new heavens and new earth” as illustrated in Revelation 21.

There wont be any further environmental changes in heaven…because everything will be perfect. That means no evolution!

Note Isaiah 11:6

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

The bible quite clearly describes that the fundamental evolutionary element of survival of the fittest will not exist in heaven or on the new earth. To me that is indicative of the entire idea of evolution coming about as a direct result of sin…hence the problem with Adam evolving from a primitive species. (this is a significant reason why as a Christian i am bound to disagree with Theistic Evolutionary views).

One of the fundamental questions that Theistic Evolutionist need to ask themselves is why would God initiate evolution in a sinless world in the first place? What is the point exactly? And before one spits out a wives tale answer to that question, assess the following…why does the apostle John in Revelation describe a world where there will not be any more pain, suffering, sorrow, or death?

I would argue that anyone who suscribes to the evolutionary model of creation is making the claim that God, when he created the universe and the earth wasnt smart enough to recognise how to do it properly and that he is going to finally fix that mistake at the end of time. This poses another dilemma…

If God wasnt smart enough to create a perfect world with predefined species in it, and if Lucifers sin in heaven and temptation of Adam and Eve on earth, and the subsequent fall of man is an evolutionary process, what is the point of Christs crucifixion as atonement for the wages of sin is death? How does that even fit?

The question is why would God initiate evolution. The question is why did God initiate evolution.

People don’t subscribe to the evolutionary model any more than they subscribe to the Heliocentric model. Mountains of evidence demonstrate that evolution happened. That is the starting point.

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Adam…I think you sometimes raise some good questions on these boards. Some of what you are asking here seems perhaps a bit overbaked. When God created us in His own image—I don’t suppose that the image (cranial skeleton) you presented has anything to do with the meaning of God creating “in His own image”. There is a reason why God told humanity (long ago) not to create images of Himself. That is because doing such a thing gives us crazy ideas about Who God is. The image you presented does seem to “lack” cranial volume, and that is an interesting thing. On the one hand it is far afield from the point Christy was trying to make. And scripturally even — whatever image you or Christy come up with could have a cranium the size of the average fully inflated Goodyear blimp — and that would not make it in God’s image…

Not sure where you are going here.

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