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Human-ape common ancestry: A monkey chimes in

Here. we looked at a nineteenth century Christian approach to space aliens, and how they fitted into a Christian idea of life in the universe.

Some of us are pretty sure that the Meynell poem, quoted in part and linked, was actually on the Ontario (province of Canada) school curriculum and appeared in a 1960s textbook.

In those days literacy was taken for granted even in the poorer schools, and was not some big spectacular achievement for politicians to huff about. Political correctness traumas around religion in the public schools were unknown.

And this poem appeared, for sure, and was a favourite of at least one teacher in a southern Ontario school system in the early1960s – The lament of the monkeys over the growth of a disgusting and dreadful popular superstition that man was descended from them:

The Monkeys Disgrace

Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree

Discussing things as they’re said to be.

Said one to another, “Now listen, you two,

There’s a certain rumor that cannot be true,

That man descends from our noble race -

The very idea is a disgrace.

Yes, Man descended, the ornery cuss. . .

But brother he didn’t descend from us!

Sadly, no one seems to know who wrote it. Any light shed, much thanks.

The poem probably postdates the Scopes Trial because it assumes easy familiarity on the part of the reader with the popular presentation of the basic issues around common descent.

Just think, that was in the textbooks too, in the days when literacy was taken for granted.

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3 Responses to Human-ape common ancestry: A monkey chimes in

  1. The “full”? version:

    The Monkeys Disgrace

    Three monkeys sat in a coconut tree
    Discussing things as they’re said to be.
    Said one to another, “Now listen, you two,
    There’s a certain rumor that cannot be true,
    That man descends from our noble race –
    The very idea is a disgrace.

    No monkey ever deserted his wife,
    Starved her babies and ruined her life;
    And you’ve never known a mother monk
    To leave her babies with others to bunk,
    Or pass them on from one to another
    Til they scarcely know who is their mother.

    And another thing you’ll never see –
    A monk build a fence around a coconut tree
    And let the coconuts go to waste,
    Forbidding all other monks to taste.
    Why, if I put a fence around this tree,
    Starvation would force you to steal from me.

    Here’s another thing a monk won’t do –
    Go out at night and get on a stew,
    Or use a gun or club or knife
    To take some other monkey’s life;

    Yes, Man Descended – That ornery cuss –
    But, brother, he didn’t descend from us!”

    The author is allegedly Gilliam S. Weaver- see here

  2. 3

    That’s really funny! Thanks for this.

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