Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, May 23, 2019, 09:29 (88 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: "Really functional language" and "true function" are meant to describe our speech ability starting 50,000 years ago.

dhw: I wish you would make up your mind. According to you and apparently McCrone, all the necessary anatomical changes (i.e. the ability to speak) were already in place, even in our immediate predecessors, but by some mysterious means, he happens to know that they only spoke five or six words a minute. Apparently this did not enable them to use language functionally.

DAVID: mcCrone's description of their speaking ability is based on his knowledge of their anatomy and their presumed ability to produce bursts of air to be formed into intelligible sounds by tongue, lips and a lower larynx. Nothing mysterious. I cannot reproduce all the intelligence in the book for you, but as he presents it, it is very believable. Obviously they did have a simple language, not the sophisticated one like ours from 50,000 years ago. In an example of early language think of the evidence from the Old Testament etc.

I keep saying that language evolves! Once the anatomy was in place, then it evolved from the simple pre-sapiens through to the complex language we know today. What’s the problem?

dhw: Also by some mysterious means he happens to know that they started gabbling away 50,000 years ago. If this is true, there must have been a leap forward in the requirements for an expanded range of vocabulary.

DAVID: Not mysterious, but based on current linguist estimates. What you fail to notice (or to stubbornly) accept is they were given the physical ability to gabble 250,000 years prior to the gabble. Form before function is the simple historical claim.

That is the nature of evolution! One generation builds on the achievements of its predecessors. What is all this meant to prove? My proposal is that pre-sapiens needed a wider range of communication, and the effort to produce new sounds resulted in anatomical changes. Once the changes had taken place, the range of sounds increased in response to ever growing needs. Exactly the same process as yours, except that you think your God performed various operations on pre-sapiens to enable him to make the sounds.

DAVID: God did it, not your cells, which cannot design increasing complexity. Thanks for finally accepting my timeline.

Did you see him operating? Why should he not have given cells the ability to design increasing complexity? The time line is irrelevant. Language evolved from the simple to the more complex – probably with periods of stasis in between, when there was nothing new to communicate.

dhw: Why is a “pure” purpose without any substance more “serious” than a defined purpose? You are trying to present us with a God who has no feelings, no interests, no recognizably human traits. He might as well be a robot. He follows his own single command: “Thou shalt create H. Sapiens”, but for unknown reasons chooses to create H. sapiens by first creating a billion non-sapiens life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders.

DAVID: Same silly mantra: what is so hard in understanding God chose to evolve His creations? He may have 'human traits', but are unknown to us. Why guess at humanizing Him? Just follow His works!
And later: You want me to return to accepting the Genesis version for some really strange reasoning, which cannot be followed.

I have no problem with your God choosing to evolve his creations. The problem is that you have him specially designing EVERY creation in order to specially design us. I don’t want you to return to Genesis; I want you to explain why he specially designed the slingshot spider if his only purpose was to specially design H. sapiens. And what is the point of telling us how purposeful he is if you are not prepared to discuss his possible purposes?


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