Laughing at the Evolution of Humor

Humor can be fascinating when you step back and look at it, wondering why something is funny. We often laugh because we were taken by surprise. For that matter, sometimes we laugh when something is not all that funny but because we want to, and it helps us bond with others.

There is a huge variety in what people consider humorous. I dislike those video collections of people falling and getting hurt, but the audiences are roaring with delight. Although I do not get feedback on it, I put humor in many posts that is often very subtle.

The Laughing Cavalier / Frans Hals, 1624
People may "get" jokes because of their knowledge and experiences, and some may appeal to those who are more intellectually inclined. Also note that humor changes in individuals and cultures. F'rinstance, slapstick comedy was extremely popular in the early 20th century, but is seldom used now. I am known at my workplace for using quick plays on words. One reason is that there is seldom time to stand around making chin music. And yet, we like different styles of humor.


People seldom appreciate being laughed at, and want to "wipe that smile off " someone's face. Others are more tolerant and even laugh along when they realize they fouled up. Atheists and other Darwinian acolytes visit creationist social media to say, "Creationists are hilarious!" A laughing emoji 😂 is pretty much ubiquitous, and it tells me that they lack intellectual and emotional maturity to be dealing with thinking people. Turn it around and laugh at them, and yee haw boy howdy! Fury ensues.

Evolutionary scientists have noticed that apes indulge in playful teasing, and even appear to be laughing. Of course, their humor is not multi-faceted like that of humans. (Did any get angry? How about if humor styles changed over time? Asking for a friend.) By assuming evolution, researchers say there must have been humor way back yonder in the sands of time when an ancestor common to apes and humans had it. Evidence, please? No, just storytelling. They are serious, but biblical creationists can see the absurdity in what they are presenting as "scientific research" and laugh at it.
You’ll cry over this story. If you are a creationist, you’ll double over with tears laughing at how stupid it is. If an evolutionist, you’ll cry over the loss of one of humanity’s most pleasurable activities: comedy.

Do apes have humor? (Max Planck Institute, 14 Feb 2024). Two gorillas having a good grin begin this story. Maybe they’re telling a knock-knock joke. “Great apes playfully tease each other,” reads the subtitle. So what does that imply?

. . .

The joke’s on the humans, however. If humor is just a behavior that emerged by a blind, uncaring, humorless process of natural selection, it’s not funny, is it? Our selfish genes are manipulating our behaviors, making us marionettes under mindless controls, wobbling and jostling for no good reason.

You can read it all by following the link to "Not Funny: The Evolution of Humor." Another article of interest is "Evolution, God, and Humor."