Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh took the tragic injury of a child and killing of Harambe, the Cincinnati’s now-deceased gorilla, as the perfect opportunity to trot out his absurd arguments against evolution, claiming that it must be a hoax because the gorilla never “became one of us.”
The incident, in which a gorilla was killed after a three-year-old child climbed into his enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, has gained considerable media attention and has sparked outrage amongst the American public, with many mourning the killing of the gorilla and expressing anger with the failures of the both the zoo and the child’s parents to prevent the incident.
Limbaugh took the discourse in a new direction, lamenting people who are against animal captivity because they “obviously [have] not read Genesis.”
He argued that humans have an innate interest in animals, saying, “There’s no way human beings are going to not be interested in animals. Gawking at them. Out on safari, hunting them.”
He went on to disparage the claims of the so-called “evolution crowd” that humans are descended from apes, a theory that is supported by the overwhelming majority of scientists.
“A lot of people think that all of us used to be apes.”
“Don’t doubt me on this. A lot of people think that all of us used to be gorillas,” Limbaugh continued.
“If we were the original apes, then how come Harambe is still an ape? And how come he didn’t become one of us?”
Firstly, man did not evolve from modern apes. Man and modern apes share a common ancestor, which is extinct. However, the question comes from a flawed understanding of how evolution works. Evolution is not a straight line, where entire populations change into new species all at the same time.
In spite of what Limbaugh and other creationists would have the public believe, the theory of evolution is strongly supported by scientists (and, you know, facts). As we mourn the death of Harambe and the injuries to the three year old who made his way into the enclosure, Limbaugh’s comments remind us that we should also be mourning the failings of the American school system.
Listen to Limbaugh’s comments in the video below, via Media Matters: