"Seeing people in a different environment, among other animals ... teaches members of the public that the human is just another primate." -- London Zoo spokeswoman Polly Wills.
That's right. The London Zoo has begun a display of Humans. A sign reads: "Warning: Humans in their Natural Environment." Their point? As their spokeswoman said -- humans are just another type of animal. In other words, we're nothing special. For most people, this is just comical, farsical, even downright stupid. But for Christians, such as myself, this is insulting.
"In the beginning, God..." is how the Biblical narrative kicks off. On the seventh day of creation, God created mankind -- Adam and Eve. Man was special because, among other things, God had to breathe into man the "breath of life." Nowhere else does God so invigorate any other portion of creation. God also said, in reviewing His creation of mankind, that it was "very good." God spends significantly more time developing man's character and developing a relationship with man. There is no doubt that, in the Bible, God sets man apart from the rest of creation. In fact, God makes the earth in order to give mankind a habitat -- a place to live and a place to interact with God.
But what if you're not a Christian? How can we tell man is more than just another animal? Try opening your eyes! So many people make the "just another animal" claim based on similarities in behavior. So many of man's actions have been likened to those observed in the wild. But, as my statistics professors have always told me, "correlation is not causation." In other words, just because there are similarities in behavior does not mean that behavior has been maintained through an evolutionary process. You never see anyone making evolutionary arguments about humanity's higher functions. Give me an evolutionary argument for philosophy, music, art. Someone once said that, given enough time and a typewriter, a pack of monkeys could turn out the collected works of Shakespeare. I'm still waiting for a first rough draft. Where is it? Did Jane Goodall happen upon any chimpanzees browsing through Jean-Paul Sartre? Did she observe any primate trying to scrawl out Rene Descartes' dictum -- cogito ergo sum -- on a piece of bark? I don't think so.
They only humans who are "just animals" are those who have no desire to discipline themselves. Without impulse control, without personal discipline, without the forestalling of personal pleasure in the pursuit of a greater good, we are all animal-like. But despite a lack of self-control or self-discipline, we humans have the capacity for higher cognitive function that animals do not have. And, unfortunately, these days a significant number of humans have very little desire to reason or use intellect. The London Zoo staff, for example.
UPDATE: Al Mohler chimes in on this.