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”
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,,
Also see Egnor’s breakdown 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.
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.,,,
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.