For any who missed it, NOVA's documentary last week--Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial--has been reviled by Christians of many flavors for its evident bias toward Darwin's theory of evolution. (I thought that PBS was simply illustrating the reasons for Republican, Bush-appointed Judge John E. Jones III's difficult verdict, but I'm pretty gullible, that way.) Conversely, the Darwinists were furious with PBS in 2006, after it had aired a documentary on a book called The Privileged Planet, a book too supportive of Intelligent Design. The debate is both violent and ongoing, kind of like the species in question is. Poor PBS. You can't win, gentlemen.
It's quite a quandary, actually. Scientific sympathizers proselytizing that we're hairless, gentrified apes tend to be so insufferably passive-aggressive, despite the humility intrinsic to their theories. One resists an urge to punch their lights out just for the pleasure of it, from time to time. And they can be so depressing! Mercy! There are even some Darwinists on ethyl who have gone on to say that Extraterrestials aren't "extras" at all, but are actually "us" in an advanced form and dimension. They expound upon their findings in those terse, monotoned utterances that sound all sciency...
Yet those who insist that we magically appeared As Is, with the wave of a celestial wand, obviously have serious reality-check issues (not that we blame them). One yearns to coddle the Faithful on a couch with a cozy book of Grimm's, offering comfort to those unfulfilled childhood cravings for magical, faraway wonders, where Good still glistens and Evil still looms darkly. Most of all, it has to be far away. Of course, Faithful schnozzes invite a bit of bashing too, once their eyes light up with that zealous fire of brittle, lecturn-thundering righteousness that inspires masses to commit acts both fine and--more often--unconscionable. We are an emotional species, needing sustenance and a sense of purpose. And we're often so famished that we'll ingest most anything that gratifies that hunger (and prevents us from committing suicide, as the Scientists would prefer).
Now, I realize that I am at risk of arousing not only the wrath of both constituents, but the enthusiasm of a few less-than-desirable animal-cultists as well, here. But allow me to offer an alternative to this very silly war.
I discovered it quite inadvertently the other day. It's right here, on p. 157 of Bodo W. Jaxtheimer's How to Paint and Draw (Thames & Hudson 1962), which has been sitting in my library ever since I plucked it from a sale table at B.Dalton's, back in 1975. Mr. Jaxtheimer is ostensibly just illustrating how to conceptualize the anatomies of various animals, of course, but the implications are entirely obvious. Only an artist could get to the bottom of things, in the end. But there it is. Our insatiable appetite for More & Bigger identifies us beyond refutation as immediate relatives of the creature that now runs around in such Lilliputian form, chastened once and forever by its glorious, gluttonous past.