Uncommon Sense

August 26, 2016

Oh, No … Ape Gods?

Filed under: Morality,Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 2:13 pm
Tags: , ,

In an article on Scientific American Online (“Like Humans, Chimps Reward Cooperation and Punish Freeloaders” by Bret Stetka, August 22, 2016) the following comments were made:

Although the study only looked at a small number of individuals, the results were telling. In 94 hour-long test sessions, the chimps cooperated with one another 3,565 times—five times more often than they were in competition. In addition, the animals used a variety of strategies to punish competitive behaviors, such as preferentially working with their more communal and tolerant fellow animals.

When aggression did occur, it was often used to subdue the overly competitive or prevent freeloading, perhaps an even greater affront to the chimpanzee honor code. Attempted thefts by those who did not put in the work were not well received. In fact, the researchers even observed 14 instances in which a third-party chimp—typically one of the more dominant of the bunch— intervened to punish freeloaders. ‘It has become a popular claim in the [scientific] literature that human cooperation is unique,’ study co-author Frans de Waal, a primatologist at Yerkes, said in a statement. ‘Our study is the first to show that our closest relatives know very well how to discourage competition and freeloading.’”

But, wait as minute. That sounds like a moral code being enforced. How can chimps have a moral code without a god to authorize and enforce it?

OMG, you heard it here first! Chimpanzees have their own god!

We know it is not the god of the Jews, Christians, or Muslims because that god has been quoted as saying “I ain’t no relative of no monkey!” So, we can assume that chimps were made in the image of their god and further we can imagine their god, in all of its glory, as an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-beneficent chimp.


  1. Absolutely. 30 years of research has put any questions to bed.

    In case you’ve never seen this, it’s pretty good


    Comment by john zande — August 26, 2016 @ 3:17 pm | Reply

    • I made a little side bet that you would be the first to comment. Cha-ching!

      On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 3:17 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 26, 2016 @ 9:09 pm | Reply

      • Well, I ain’t called the Superstitious Naked Ape for nothing, my good man. You put monkey and god in the same sentence and I’ll hear it on Mars 🙂


        Comment by john zande — August 26, 2016 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

        • Would that more theists recognized a naked ape when they saw one. The overlap between ape behaviors is consequential, but such topics are avoided in school because they may “trigger” a negative response in our youngins. Yes, U.S. universities have policies about saying things that might disturb our younger citizen’s thoughts. These same people, I believe, are in favor of disruption as a positive force in business and society. Ah, neoliberalism, I know ye well!

          On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 9:35 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          Comment by Steve Ruis — August 27, 2016 @ 9:18 am | Reply

          • Isn’t one of the purposes of going to a university to be shocked?

            Is it true that kids sports there in the US don’t have winners or losers anymore? They get an award, instead, for participating, or something like that?


            Comment by john zande — August 27, 2016 @ 10:29 am | Reply

            • Yeah, we keep turning the world upside down thinking that things will be different somehow. (Yeah, they’ll be upside down!)

              I understand that some students have experienced traumas that can be triggered into panic attacks, etc. but is it easier to treat the individual or the whole society? And, shouldn’t we go toclass each day hoping against hope that something would astonish and shock us? Most students complain about the humdrum routines of classes, not that “something shocking came up in class today.”

              On Sat, Aug 27, 2016 at 10:29 AM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


              Liked by 1 person

              Comment by Steve Ruis — August 27, 2016 @ 11:50 am | Reply

    • PS I am aware of a great deal of animal morality and was striving for a hint of irony. The theist argument is that we couldn’t create our own moral system because we are just incapable … but chimpanzees are, was just to precious to bypass.

      On Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 3:17 PM, Class Warfare Blog wrote:


      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 26, 2016 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

      • I know you’re aware. i just found that video the other day (had read the study before) and found it interesting from a moving pictures perspective.


        Comment by john zande — August 26, 2016 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

  2. OMCG! (Oh My Chimpanze God)


    Comment by shelldigger — August 26, 2016 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  3. Not too surprising I suppose. Humans are one of the seven surviving species of great ape. Chimps are another. We probably frame our thinking in ways that are quite alike – differences of quantity and degree rather than of fundamental nature. My own experience meeting an orang-utan was salutary – they are a much more distant relative but there’s no doubting the self-aware intelligence (it was probably thinking ‘Humans again! Boring! Where’s my breakfast?’).

    A few months back there was a widely reported discovery of a ‘chimp altar’ – a hollow tree in which they were collecting stones: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/mysterious-chimpanzee-behaviour-could-be-sacred-rituals-and-show-that-chimps-believe-in-god-a6911301.html


    Comment by Matthew Wright — August 27, 2016 @ 10:37 pm | Reply

    • As it is “not too surprising” to many of us, it is anathema to others. Go figure.


      Comment by Steve Ruis — August 28, 2016 @ 9:15 am | Reply

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