Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Thursday, September 02, 2021, 12:25 (349 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: All animals have a “mechanism” that enables them to copy the forms of behaviour and communication to which they are exposed. It is clear from the cases of feral children that once this mechanism has been used in one way, it becomes increasingly difficult for the child to adapt to another way. Are you suggesting, then, that the feral child’s brain is “hard-wired” for wolf language? Of course you’re not. The child copies, and once the brain has adjusted to what it copies, it becomes increasingly difficult to copy something else. Good, solid evidence that the brain is NOT hard-wired for syntax.

DAVID: If you are correct, it is counter to today's linguist theories. I can only read the opinions along with yours.

It is obvious from the article I quoted that there are different theories. I do wish you would tell us why you disagree with the above observations instead of suggesting that today’s linguists are all Chomsky fans. Have you done a survey?

QUOTES: "Some wild cockatoos whittle tree branches into utensils that they use to open and dig into the seed-laden pits, or stones, of tropical fruit.” “
“They definitely knew the fruit, and they knew what to do with it,” says O’Hara.

dhw: Thank you yet again for another natural wonder. It’s always fascinating to learn just how intelligent our fellow creatures are as they seek or even invent different means of survival. And it’s easy to see how we humans once followed in their footsteps, although of course we have now raced infinitely far ahead of them.

DAVID: Because our amazing brains appeared for no good natural reason. Cockatoos are like corvids and why not?

I don’t know why you began with “because”. Are you really saying that our brains have raced infinitely far ahead of all other brains because you can’t think of any reason why they should? How about the idea that our greater intelligence initially gave us better chances of survival? And are you suggesting that our brains “appeared” out of nowhere, or do you accept the theory of common descent, i.e. that our brains developed from earlier brains?

Junk DNA
DAVID: The argument about the importance Of 'junk' is that chance mutations in evolution should produce lots of junk. That is not true from this evidence, so that suggests DNA may be designed as I believe.

I don’t have a problem with the argument that DNA may be designed. But every time you mention “junk”, I have to point out that if all of DNA is useful, it simply provides a demonstration of natural selection at work, since NS would remove anything that wasn’t useful.

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