Animal minds Intelligent Design language Mind

Michael Egnor: The Real Reason Why Only Human Beings Speak

Dr. Egnor explains, “Language is a tool for abstract thinking—a necessary tool for abstraction—and humans are the only animals who think abstractly”: In his discussion of why only humans have language, science writer Tom Siegfried gets a lot right, but he misses the crucial reason. … Siegfried is right that many non-human animals have the […]

Evolution Intelligent Design language

Why speech is unique to humans

Even if nothing else about this article were interesting, its title would be: Vocal communication is a central feature, but language encompasses much more, as linguist and neuropsychologist Angela Friederici pointed out at a recent meeting of the Society for Neuroscience. “Language is more than speech,” said Friederici, director of the Max Planck Institute for […]

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 […]