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Linguist comments on latest Ape speaks! claims

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As in National Geographic: Bonobo peeps point to human language origin (The pop science mind tends to lack practical intelligence. No one even thinks of asking why, if baby bonobo peeping tells us about the roots of human language, it never did anything for the bonobos)

and

Apes close to speaking? No. (In the middle ages, it was implausible miracle stories but today, it is implausible ape achievement stories. )

And further to Bonobos prefigure language?: Agenda so obvious, it stinks like the garbage on a hot summer night before the pickup. (if bonobos “peep,” that shows they are on the verge of speaking. But if Neanderthals did speak (of course they did), that shows it isn’t a big achievement.)

In response to all this, linguist Noel Rude writes to say,

It’s not the medium (gestures, vocalization) but the message. The human faculty of reason allows for an unlimited output of information. Animals have a limited amount of things they can tell us.

But, no, we need not claim that animals are mere stimulus-response robots that lack souls. And we need not say that they have no means of communication and understand nothing that we say. Animals express desires and fears–they want to live–things far beyond any machine or computer.

Animals can learn a finite number of symbolic gestures or sounds which correspond more to sentences than to words. It is the human ability to learn words with generic meaning and then combine those words via logical rules into novel sentences and discourse that is unique. The potential output of any human language is infinite.

How do you compare some finite number with infinity?

Yet animals can respond in novel ways that no machine ever could. Aya Katz, unlike almost all who have worked with apes, is a competent linguist. But she is not committed to the linguists’ claim that human language is completely unique. She truly wants to say that her chimp has a certain facility for language.

http://www.academia.edu/10088561/Standards_of_Proof_in_Ape_Language_Studies_The_Case_of_Bow_and_Literacy

The beasts–maybe especially certain birds–are pretty sharp–so they say:

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43487652/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/brainy-parrots-can-think–year-olds/#.VdASWXlzOUk

http://reliablesignals.blogspot.com/2011/10/crows-can-count.html

http://iscribble.hubpages.com/hub/Nkisi-Talking-Parrot-Genius-and-Psychic

http://www.cappersfarmer.com/humor-and-nostalgia/crows-can-count—at-least-to-16.aspx

But when it comes to computation our machines far outstrip us all. Nevertheless I would wager that a crow “understands” the concept of a number more than any machine ever could. Machines have no understanding whatsoever; animals have a limited degree of understanding; man is the least limited of all when it comes to understanding. Maybe our task is more precisely to differentiate the following:

1. COMPUTATION IN MACHINES

2. AGENCY AND CONSCIOUSNESS IN ANIMALS

3. AGENCY AND CONSCIOUSNESS IN MAN

The human faculty for reason allows for an infinity of thought and expression, yet our understanding is still limited. Listen to the speculations, enigmas and conundrums of the cosmologists and theologians and you’ll know what I mean. They are simply in over their heads.

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3 Replies to “Linguist comments on latest Ape speaks! claims

  1. 1
    cantor says:

    “Listen to the speculations, enigmas and conundrums of the cosmologists and theologians…”

    and evolutionary biologists?

  2. 2
    Robert Byers says:

    Well finally they agree smartness is the actual source for language. Yet they miss a point. People don’t make words. The words themselves are combinations of sounds. Its the sounds that we all memorized that have meaning also. the evidence being our tones of voice are as/more important then our words in normal speech. singing and music uses tones mostly and words very little.
    The words come after agreement with the sounds we use. Then sentences.
    I say we spoke from day one yet a evolutionist should be saying sounds came first and then sentences and then words. The sentences breaking down the tones of voice and the words breaking down the sentence. All for a intelligent agenda. they should be seeing the sentence as the origin of the words. the sentence mean a more controlled tones.
    They don’t get their own stuff right.

  3. 3
    tjguy says:

    if baby bonobo peeping tells us about the roots of human language, it never did anything for the bonobos?

    EXACTLY!

    They’ve had plenty of time to make progress in this area. Plenty of time for evolution to do it’s magic here. If it worked for our ancestors, why doesn’t it work for the bonobos?

    But logic here really doesn’t impress anyone. They can just make up a reason why it doesn’t and no one can prove them wrong. That is the luxury that evolutionists vs real scientists have. They are not accountable for their views.

    No one can test these things! As a result, they are free to imagine all kinds of improbable evolutionary scenarios!

    What a cushy job!

    In fact, a great imagination is a prerequisite if one wants to become a great evolutionary scientist.

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