Animal minds Culture Intelligent Design language Naturalism News

Yes, this again: Baboons make sounds like those of human speech

Spread the love

From Colin Barras at New Scientist:

The team discovered that male and female baboons each produce four vowel-like sounds. Females produce one that males don’t, and vice versa, so in total there are five distinct vowels. They correspond to the second syllable in “roses”, and the vowel sounds in “you”, “thought”, “trap” and “ah”.

“We believe that one of the major advantages of our study is that we worked on real vocalisations, which were spontaneously produced by baboons in a social context,” says Fagot.

But Philip Lieberman at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, is not convinced. He thinks the researchers have unwittingly processed the baboon calls in a way that accentuates the fundamental frequency of the call and its harmonics.

Johan Bolhuis at Utrecht University in the Netherlands says the results are interesting, but he doubts they will greatly alter our understanding of the origins of human language. “This is, in fact, additional evidence to show that with the ‘speech machinery’ being present, you do not automatically evolve language,” he says. More.

No, you do not “automatically evolve language.” Parrots do a fabulous job of imitating human speech, relative to any primate, and the results are intellectually not far off.

Why is this even under discussion? Why is time wasted on it? If one wants to understand human language it would be far more helpful to intensively catalogue languages that are disappearing due to modern communications. Some, like Everett’s Pirahã, may offer genuine insights. Oh but wait, Everett got blackballed for coming up with stuff no one wanted to hear.

<em>Coffee</em> Tins That won’t happen to New Scientist, be sure of it.

See also: New Scientist: Why don’t monkeys talk? But isn’t the point that the monkey doesn’t have the neural wiring because it has nothing to say that would require a human language?

Human language: After Wolfe on Chomsky, Everett finally speaks for himself Chomsky’s theory of language, as will be evident to the reader of Everett’s piece, is on a par with Darwinism. A theory about nothing but itself about how things happen. We could leave it out and nothing would change except the air would be cleaner. Not that Everett says this, of course.


Breaking: We are not “more evolved” than apes… Actually, a variant tradition of pop science bumf holds that primates are in fact evolving into humans or something like that. Wasn’t 2015 the year that apes were entering the Stone Age?

Follow UD News at Twitter!

One Reply to “Yes, this again: Baboons make sounds like those of human speech

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    One of the key things about humans that drastically separates them from animals is that humans can infuse their sounds with information so as to create speech whereas animals cannot.

    And information, although it can be infused into material substrates, is immaterial and transcendent by its nature.

    “One of the things I do in my classes, to get this idea across to students, is I hold up two computer disks. One is loaded with software, and the other one is blank. And I ask them, ‘what is the difference in mass between these two computer disks, as a result of the difference in the information content that they posses’? And of course the answer is, ‘Zero! None! There is no difference as a result of the information. And that’s because information is a mass-less quantity. Now, if information is not a material entity, then how can any materialistic explanation account for its origin? How can any material cause explain it’s origin?
    And this is the real and fundamental problem that the presence of information in biology has posed. It creates a fundamental challenge to the materialistic, evolutionary scenarios because information is a different kind of entity that matter and energy cannot produce.
    In the nineteenth century we thought that there were two fundamental entities in science; matter, and energy. At the beginning of the twenty first century, we now recognize that there’s a third fundamental entity; and its ‘information’. It’s not reducible to matter. It’s not reducible to energy. But it’s still a very important thing that is real; we buy it, we sell it, we send it down wires.
    Now, what do we make of the fact, that information is present at the very root of all biological function? In biology, we have matter, we have energy, but we also have this third, very important entity; information. I think the biology of the information age, poses a fundamental challenge to any materialistic approach to the origin of life.”
    -Dr. Stephen C. Meyer – Intelligent design: Why can’t biological information originate through a materialistic process? – video

    Recognising Top-Down Causation – George Ellis
    Excerpt: page 5: A:
    Causal Efficacy of Non Physical entities:
    Both the program and the data are non-physical entities, indeed so is all software. A program is not a physical thing you can point to, but by Definition 2 it certainly exists. You can point to a CD or flashdrive where it is stored, but that is not the thing in itself: it is a medium in which it is stored.
    The program itself is an abstract entity, shaped by abstract logic. Is the software “nothing but” its realisation through a specific set of stored electronic states in the computer memory banks? No it is not because it is the precise pattern in those states that matters: a higher level relation that is not apparent at the scale of the electrons themselves. It’s a relational thing (and if you get the relations between the symbols wrong, so you have a syntax error, it will all come to a grinding halt). This abstract nature of software is realised in the concept of virtual machines, which occur at every level in the computer hierarchy except the bottom one [17]. But this tower of virtual machines causes physical effects in the real world, for example when a computer controls a robot in an assembly line to create physical artefacts.
    ,,, The mind is not a physical entity, but it certainly is causally effective: proof is the existence of the computer on which you are reading this text. It could not exist if it had not been designed and manufactured according to someone’s plans, thereby proving the causal efficacy of thoughts, which like computer programs and data are not physical entities.

    An Interview with David Berlinski – Jonathan Witt
    Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time….
    Interviewer:… Come again(?) …
    Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. 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. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects.

    It is this immaterial, transcendent, nature of information that puts up a fundamentally impenetrable wall in regards to material processes ever being able to explain information’s origination (and not necessarily just the sheer mathematical improbability of material processes ever generating functional information that puts up an impenetrable wall).

    Moreover, it is important to realize that information is not an ’emergent property’ of material substrates as Darwinists hold, but to realize that information is its own distinct physical entity that is separate from matter and energy:

    A few notes on the physical reality of ‘immaterial’ information: (December. 2016)
    Thermodynamic Content, Erasing Classical Information with Quantum Information, Quantum Teleportation

    As well, when looking at sound itself we find some ‘unexpected’ things. For instance, different frequencies of sound make very interesting geometric patterns:

    Evan Grant: Making sound visible through cymatics – video

    More interesting still, biological molecules communicating information to one another, communicating to one another with both light and ‘sound’, is found to play a very important role in molecular biology:

    The Real Bioinformatics Revolution – Proteins and Nucleic Acids ‘Singing’ to One Another?
    Excerpt: the molecules send out specific frequencies of electromagnetic waves which not only enable them to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ each other, as both photon and phonon modes exist for electromagnetic waves, but also to influence each other at a distance and become ineluctably drawn to each other if vibrating out of phase (in a complementary way).,,, More than 1 000 proteins from over 30 functional groups have been analysed. Remarkably, the results showed that proteins with the same biological function share a single frequency peak while there is no significant peak in common for proteins with different functions; furthermore the characteristic peak frequency differs for different biological functions. ,,, The same results were obtained when regulatory DNA sequences were analysed.

    Symphony of Life, Revealed: New Imaging Technique Captures Vibrations of Proteins, Tiny Motions Critical to Human Life – Jan. 16, 2014
    Excerpt: To observe the protein vibrations, Markelz’ team relied on an interesting characteristic of proteins: The fact that they vibrate at the same frequency as the light they absorb.
    This is analogous to the way wine glasses tremble and shatter when a singer hits exactly the right note. Markelz explained: Wine glasses vibrate because they are absorbing the energy of sound waves, and the shape of a glass determines what pitches of sound it can absorb. Similarly, proteins with different structures will absorb and vibrate in response to light of different frequencies.
    So, to study vibrations in lysozyme, Markelz and her colleagues exposed a sample to light of different frequencies and polarizations, and measured the types of light the protein absorbed.
    This technique, , allowed the team to identify which sections of the protein vibrated under normal biological conditions. The researchers were also able to see that the vibrations endured over time, challenging existing assumptions.
    “If you tap on a bell, it rings for some time, and with a sound that is specific to the bell. This is how the proteins behave,” Markelz said. “Many scientists have previously thought a protein is more like a wet sponge than a bell: If you tap on a wet sponge, you don’t get any sustained sound.”

    (“Delocalized” Quantum) Sound-like bubbles whizzing around in DNA essential to life – Jun 1, 2016
    Excerpt: new research in the UK has detected sound-like bubbles in DNA that is essential to life and which will change the fundamental understanding of biochemical reactions inside a cell.
    The research,,, describes how double-stranded DNA splits using delocalized sound waves that are the hallmark of quantum effects.,,,
    Dedicated enzymes responsible for making new proteins read the code by splitting the double strand in order to access the information.
    One of the big outstanding questions of biology has been how these enzymes find the initial hole or “bubble” in the double strand to start reading the code.,,,
    researcher Gopakumar Ramakrishnan said: “It had been proposed by theoreticians that such DNA bubbles might behave like sound waves, bouncing around in DNA like echoes in a cathedral. However, the current paradigm in biology is that such sound-like dynamics are irrelevant to biological function, as interaction of a biomolecule with the surrounding water will almost certainly destroy any of these effects.”,,,
    Researchers in the Ultrafast Chemical Physics group carried out experiments with a laser that produces femtosecond laser pulses about a trillion times shorter than a camera flash.
    This allowed them to succeed in the detection of sound-like bubbles in DNA. They could show that these bubbles whiz around like bullets in a shooting gallery even in an environment very similar to that which can be found in a living cell.
    Thomas Harwood said, a researcher said: “The sound waves in DNA are not your ordinary sound waves. They have a frequency of a few terahertz or a billion times higher than a human or a dog can hear!”
    Professor Klaas Wynne, leader of the research team and Chair in Chemical Physics at the University of Glasgow, said, “The terahertz sound-like bubbles we have seen alter our fundamental understanding of biochemical reactions. There were earlier suggestions for a role of delocalized quantum phenomena in light harvesting, magneto reception, and olfaction.”
    The new results now imply a much more general role for sound-like delocalized phenomena in biomolecular processes.

    To say this extremely sophisticated form of communication in molecular biology, (i.e. communication between molecules with specific frequencies of both light and sound), is unexpected on Darwinian presuppositions would be to put this finding far too mildly in regards to the damage it does to the basic Darwinian thought that everything in biology is merely ‘happenstance’ .

Leave a Reply