Human evolution Intelligent Design language Mind

Rob Sheldon: Did humans see the color blue before modern times?

Perhaps we should say, we cannot discriminate “blue” without a word for it? For sure. This is the property of language. As linguists will say, a word excludes more than it includes. And if we don’t have a word, we lack the ability to discriminate (or, as Aristotle shows us, we make up a word on the spot, we “categorize”.)

Design inference Evolution Intelligent Design language

Gull wing stability prompts talk of “design” in nature

One wonders how the proper authorities are coming with Darwinizing our language, so as to take out all suggestion of design or agency in nature and in humans. Not far, it seems. Maybe, instead of following Dawkins and insisting that design in nature is an illusion, researchers should just be agnostic about it for discussion purposes, given that that is how they routinely talk about it anyway.

Human evolution Intelligent Design language

No one evolved faster than the Neanderthal

Look how smart he got in the last few decades: This from a discussion of whether Neanderthals had language: Based on these results, most researchers agree Neanderthals were capable of emitting and hearing complex vocalizations. However, they disagree over the implications. While some consider the findings indicative of speech-based language in Neanderthals, others propose these […]

Human evolution Intelligent Design language Mind

Did the ancient Incas leave behind writing after all?

People have often wondered how the Incas could have built such a complex civilization without writing anything down. Maybe they did write it down: The Incas may not have bequeathed any written records, but they did have colourful knotted cords. Each of these devices was called a khipu (pronounced key-poo). We know these intricate cords […]

Animal minds language Naturalism

Astonishing conclusion: Chimpanzees can’t speak because they don’t have the mental status

Can you believe a typical science site coming to a conclusion that is so evidence-based? We all know that parrots can talk. Some people may have even seen elephants, seals, or whales mimicking speech sounds. So why can’t our closest primate relatives speak like us? Our new research suggests they have the right vocal anatomy […]

Animal minds Intelligent Design language Mind Neuroscience

Researchers: Primates vary in speech capability. (But none speak.)

From ScienceDaily: The vocal tract and larynx is similar in form and function amongst virtually all terrestrial mammals, including humans. However, relative to humans, non-human primates produce an extremely limited range of vocalisations. Published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, the new research investigates whether the reason primates are incapable of producing speech is because […]

Genetics Human evolution Intelligent Design language

Researchers: FOXP2 is not the “language” gene

From ScienceDaily: “A paper published in 2002 (Enard et al., Nature 418, 869-872) claimed there was a selective sweep relatively recently in human evolutionary history that could largely account for our linguistic abilities and even help explain how modern humans were able to flourish so rapidly in Africa within the last 50-100,000 years,” says senior […]

Animal minds language Naturalism

Linguist: Koko the gorilla’s language skills were largely media-friendly myth

From Geoffrey Pullum at Chronicle of Higher Education: Plenty of linguists have expertise in the analysis of sign languages, and none of them have ever independently confirmed Koko’s incipient linguistic competence. Koko never said anything: never made a definite truth claim, or expressed a specific opinion, or asked a clearly identifiable question. Producing occasional context-related […]

Human evolution Intelligent Design language Mind Neuroscience

Linguists skeptical of Darwinian theory that toolmaking “paved the way” for human language

Should young ID theorists study language origins, as retired linguist suggests below? From Ben James at The Atlantic: Oren Kolodny, a biologist at Stanford University, puts the question in more scientific terms: “What kind of evolutionary pressures could have given rise to this really weird and surprising phenomenon that is so critical to the essence […]

Animal minds Intelligent Design language Mind Naturalism

Surprise!: Chimpanzee sounds not much help in understanding human language

From ScienceDaily: It’s very difficult to determine when, how and why human language began. While fossil primates provide important clues about human evolution, the sounds they made and the soft tissue involved in making those sounds weren’t preserved. But chimpanzees — one of our closest living relatives — provide important points of comparison for inferring […]

Human evolution Intelligent Design language Mind

Linguist Daniel Everett: Language was invented two million years ago

From linguist Daniel Everett at Aeon: What is the greatest human technological innovation? Fire? The wheel? Penicillin? Clothes? Google? None of these come close. As you read this, you are using the winning technology. The greatest tool in the world is language. Without it there would be no culture, no literature, no science, no history, […]

Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design language

Language could not have evolved in a Darwinian social world

From a 2016 paper by University College’s Chris Knight: Highlights • Language emerged in only one species, H. sapiens. • Such a system cannot evolve in a Darwinian social world. • Language emerged for reasons which no currently accepted theoretical framework can explain. Abstract: Language evolved in no species other than humans, suggesting a deep-going obstacle […]

Culture Darwinism Human evolution Intelligent Design language Mind

Linguist Daniel Everett: Homo erectus must have been able to speak, to get to Flores

From Nicola Davis at the Guardian: “Erectus needed language when they were sailing to the island of Flores. They couldn’t have simply caught a ride on a floating log because then they would have been washed out to sea when they hit the current,” said Everett, presenting his thesis at the meeting of the American […]

brains and computation vs contemplation Computing, AI, Cybernetics and Mechatronics Humor knowledge language Medicine Science, worldview issues/foundations and society UD's Sci-Tech watch

Robo-Doctor? In China, it seems Robot Xiao-Yi has passed the written medical licensing exams

Robo-Doc will see you? Maybe, but not just now. This item popped up from the usual suspect tabloid paper sites while searching on AI and memristors. I have tracked down a couple of more reputable sources so, here goes from China Daily (which is also on the spot): >>A robot has passed the written test […]