Human evolution; our complex speech mechanism (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, May 24, 2019, 10:11 (33 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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?

DAVID: The problem is getting you to realize each pre-human had stepwise advances from ape throat and larynx anatomy to finally our human anatomy which allowed rapid speech, which then led us to learn to use it and develop our modern language ability , over recent history. Anatomy first, use second.

Of course there were stepwise advances, and of course we used them to develop new sounds that have led to our modern language. The disagreement is your contention that your God specially designed (= preprogrammed or personally dabbled) each successive anatomical change, though he alone knows why he had to conduct so many different operations and specially design so many hominins and hominids and homos – let alone the billions of other life forms, natural wonders etc. – before finally specially designing his only desire, which was H. sapiens.

dhw: […] 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: The nuances of language phonemes required the anatomy appeared first. I'll never agree that your pre-humans efforts to communicate caused the complex anatomic and brain changes required.

I know you won’t. And yet you know from modern research that the effort to implement ideas affects the structure of the brain. I suspect that most people would accept the idea that anatomical changes such as legs turning into flippers are a RESPONSE to new demands, as opposed to being the result of your God conducting an operation in anticipation of them. (You can multiply the example by thousands.) But as you keep pointing out, nothing is proven either way.

dhw: […] what is the point of telling us how purposeful he is if you are not prepared to discuss his possible purposes?

DAVID: I've discussed his possible purposes over and over. The discussions are all just logical guesswork, proving nothing. And again, if God controls evolution, then He produced everything.

All our discussions are guesswork with greater or lesser degrees of logic. Your “if” is the point at issue: maybe he deliberately set up a system whereby he sacrificed control, and allowed the environment to keep changing, and organisms to keep adapting to or exploiting the environmental changes (though also allowing himself the occasional dabble). This provides a logical explanation for slingshot spiders and whale flippers and weaverbirds’ nests, all of which according to your own guesswork were specially designed so that the organisms could eat or not eat one another until he specially designed H. sapiens.

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