Culture Darwinism Intelligent Design language

Language could not have evolved in a Darwinian social world

Spread the love

daily%20schedule%20clipart From a 2016 paper by University College’s Chris Knight:


• 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 to its evolution. Could it be that language simply cannot evolve in a Darwinian world? Reviewing the insights of Noam Chomsky, Amotz Zahavi and Dan Sperber, this article shows how and why each apparently depicts language’s emergence as theoretically impossible. Chomsky shuns evolutionary arguments, asserting simply that language was instantaneously installed. Zahavi argues that language entails reliance on low cost conventional signals whose evolutionary emergence would contradict basic Darwinian theory. Sperber argues that a symbolic expression is, literally, a falsehood, adding to the difficulty of explaining how – in a Darwinan world – systematic reliance on language could ever have evolved. It is concluded that language exists, but for reasons which no currently accepted theoretical paradigm can explain. (paywall), Chris Knight, Puzzles and mysteries in the origins of language, Language & Communication Volume 50, September 2016, Pages 12-21 More.

Knight is described as radical (Times Higher). Is that why he is permitted to ask: “Could it be that language simply cannot evolve in a Darwinian world?” It’s not like that is a normal question these days.

The obvious reason language evolved only in humans is that only humans have ever had anything to say that requires it. Human consciousness is symbiotic with language. But, what, specifically, are we conscious of that requires language?

See also: Linguist Daniel Everett: Homo erectus must have been able to speak, to get to Flores. Others dispute his claims, to be sure. But, you know, those hominins get smarter every time we research them.


Can we talk? Language as the business end of consciousness

4 Replies to “Language could not have evolved in a Darwinian social world

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    The simple reason why language, or information in general for that matter, cannot evolve in a “Darwinian world” is that Darwinism is based on a reductive materialism. Whereas language, and information in particular, exists in a immaterial, beyond space and time, realm that will forever be beyond the power of material explanations to account for.

    As David Berlinski noted,,

    “The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds.”

    Also see Egnor’s breakdown of material particular thought and immaterial abstract thought.

    The Representation Problem and the Immateriality of the Mind – Michael Egnor – February 5, 2018
    Thoughts about universals are abstract thoughts, and are thoughts about concepts. Justice, mercy, logic, mathematics, etc., are abstract thoughts.,,,
    Succinctly, mental representation of abstract thought presupposes abstract thought, and cannot explain it. It is on abstract thought that materialism, as a theory of mind, flounders. Abstract thought, classically understood as intellect and will, are inherently immaterial. Any representation in the brain of abstract thought (while it may exist) necessarily presupposes abstract thought itself, which must, by its nature, be an immaterial power of the mind.
    The human mind is a composite of material particular thought and immaterial abstract thought.

    And although Darwinists hold that immaterial information is ’emergent’ from a material basis and information is therefore not physically real independent of matter and energy, it has now been shown that immaterial information has a thermodynamic content and that immaterial information is its own distinct entity that is separate from matter and energy. A distinct physical entity that, in spite of being immaterial, does indeed have the power to interact with matter and energy. Here are a few references that drive this point home.

    Information is Physical (but not how Rolf Landauer meant) – video

    Demonic device converts information to energy – 2010
    Excerpt: “This is a beautiful experimental demonstration that information has a thermodynamic content,” says Christopher Jarzynski, a statistical chemist at the University of Maryland in College Park. In 1997, Jarzynski formulated an equation to define the amount of energy that could theoretically be converted from a unit of information2; the work by Sano and his team has now confirmed this equation. “This tells us something new about how the laws of thermodynamics work on the microscopic scale,” says Jarzynski.
    per Scientific American

    Information: From Maxwell’s demon to Landauer’s eraser – Lutz and Ciliberto – Oct. 25, 2015 – Physics Today
    Excerpt: The above examples of gedanken-turned-real experiments provide a firm empirical foundation for the physics of information and tangible evidence of the intimate connection between information and energy. They have been followed by additional experiments and simulations along similar lines.12 (See, for example, Physics Today, August 2014, page 60.) Collectively, that body of experimental work further demonstrates the equivalence of information and thermodynamic entropies at thermal equilibrium.,,,
    (2008) Sagawa and Ueda’s (theoretical) result extends the second law to explicitly incorporate information; it shows that information, entropy, and energy should be treated on equal footings.
    J. Parrondo, J. Horowitz, and T. Sagawa. Thermodynamics of information.
    Nature Physics, 11:131-139, 2015.

    Matter, energy… knowledge: – May 11, 2016
    Running a brain-twisting thought experiment for real shows that information is a physical thing – so can we now harness the most elusive entity in the cosmos?

    New Scientist astounds: Information is physical – May 13, 2016
    Excerpt: Recently came the most startling demonstration yet: a tiny machine powered purely by information, which chilled metal through the power of its knowledge. This seemingly magical device could put us on the road to new, more efficient nanoscale machines, a better understanding of the workings of life, and a more complete picture of perhaps our most fundamental theory of the physical world.

    Information engine operates with nearly perfect efficiency – Lisa Zyga – January 19, 2018
    Excerpt: Physicists have experimentally demonstrated an information engine—a device that converts information into work—with an efficiency that exceeds the conventional second law of thermodynamics. Instead, the engine’s efficiency is bounded by a recently proposed generalized second law of thermodynamics, and it is the first information engine to approach this new bound.,,,
    The generalized second law of thermodynamics states that the work extracted from an information engine is limited by the sum of two components: the first is the free energy difference between the final and initial states (this is the sole limit placed on conventional engines by the conventional second law), and the other is the amount of available information (this part sets an upper bound on the extra work that can be extracted from information).
    To achieve the maximum efficiency set by the generalized second law, the researchers in the new study designed and implemented an information engine made of a particle trapped by light at room temperature. Random thermal fluctuations cause the tiny particle to move slightly due to Brownian motion, and a photodiode tracks the particle’s changing position with a spatial accuracy of 1 nanometer. If the particle moves more than a certain distance away from its starting point in a certain direction, the light trap quickly shifts in the direction of the particle. This process repeats, so that over time the engine transports the particle in a desired direction simply by extracting work from the information it obtains from the system’s random thermal fluctuations (the free energy component here is zero, so it does not contribute to the work extracted).
    One of the most important features of this system is its nearly instantaneous feedback response: the trap shifts in just a fraction of a millisecond, giving the particle no time to move further and dissipate energy. As a result, almost none of the energy gained by the shift is lost to heat, but rather nearly all of it is converted into work. By avoiding practically any information loss, the information-to-energy conversion of this process reaches approximately 98.5% of the bound set by the generalized second law. The results lend support for this bound, and illustrate the possibility of extracting the maximum amount of work possible from information.

    What is information? – animated video (May 2016)
    Quote: “If information is not (physically) real then neither are we”

    Although the preceding evidence is certainly very strong evidence for the physical reality of immaterial information, the coup de grace for demonstrating that immaterial information is its own distinct physical entity that is separate from matter and energy, is Quantum Teleportation where it is shown that the photons aren’t disappearing from one place and appearing in another. Instead, it’s the information that’s being teleported through quantum entanglement.,,,

    Quantum Teleportation Enters the Real World – September 19, 2016
    Excerpt: Two separate teams of scientists have taken quantum teleportation from the lab into the real world.
    Researchers working in Calgary, Canada and Hefei, China, used existing fiber optics networks to transmit small units of information across cities via quantum entanglement — Einstein’s “spooky action at a distance.”,,,
    This isn’t teleportation in the “Star Trek” sense — the photons aren’t disappearing from one place and appearing in another. Instead, it’s the information that’s being teleported through quantum entanglement.,,,
    ,,, it is only the information that gets teleported from one place to another.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, instead of matter and energy being the foundational basis of life, and even of the universe itself, as Darwinists hold, it is now found that both life and the universe are instead information theoretic in their foundational basis.

    Information Enigma (Where did the information in life come from?) – – Stephen Meyer – Doug Axe – video

    Complex grammar of the genomic language – November 9, 2015
    Excerpt: The ‘grammar’ of the human genetic code is more complex than that of even the most intricately constructed spoken languages in the world. The findings explain why the human genome is so difficult to decipher –,,,
    ,,, in their recent study in Nature, the Taipale team examines the binding preferences of pairs of transcription factors, and systematically maps the compound DNA words they bind to.
    Their analysis reveals that the grammar of the genetic code is much more complex than that of even the most complex human languages. Instead of simply joining two words together by deleting a space, the individual words that are joined together in compound DNA words are altered, leading to a large number of completely new words.

    Darwinian Materialism vs Quantum Biology

    “it from bit” Every “it”— every particle, every field of force, even the space-time continuum itself derives its function, its meaning, its very existence entirely—even if in some contexts indirectly—from the apparatus-elicited answers to yes-or-no questions, binary choices, bits. “It from bit” symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has a bottom—a very deep bottom, in most instances, an immaterial source and explanation, that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment—evoked responses, in short all matter and all things physical are information-theoretic in origin and this is a participatory universe.”
    – Princeton University physicist John Wheeler (1911–2008) (Wheeler, John A. (1990), “Information, physics, quantum: The search for links”, in W. Zurek, Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information (Redwood City, California: Addison-Wesley))

    It is hard to imagine a more convincing scientific proof that we are made ‘in the image of God’ than finding both the universe, and life itself, are both ‘information theoretic’ in their foundational basis, and that we, of all the creatures on earth, uniquely possess an ability to understand and create information, and, moreover, have come to ‘master the planet’ precisely because of our unique ability infuse information into material substrates.


    Genesis 1:26
    And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and that life was the Light of men.

    Perhaps a more convincing piece of evidence that we are made in the image of God could be if God Himself became a man, defeated death on a cross, and then rose from the dead to prove that He was indeed God.

    But who has ever heard of such a thing as that?

    “Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth — truth about the whole of reality.”
    – Francis Schaeffer –

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words “The Lamb”

    Gödel, Infinity, and Jesus Christ as the Theory of Everything

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

  3. 3
    Origenes says:

    No persons no language. But, given materialism, persons do not exist. Indeed, in a world consisting of blind particles in motion, where are persons?
    Moreover matter is not interested in meaning. One clump of matter cannot be about another clump of matter.
    To the materialist, these lines of text are not language but letters generated by a random process.

  4. 4
    critical rationalist says:

    News, did you actually read the paper?

    The author suggests language couldn’t have evolved because it should be impossible. Specifically, because it is unreliable and untrustworthy.

    Is that what you think?

    This seems to be yet another example of where you’ve merely homed in on the word, “Darwinism” without actual taking the time to understand if it supports your position.

Leave a Reply