March 30, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Evolution of ABC

Four Caltech scientists have tried to explain the shapes of alphabet letters in evolutionary terms, reported EurekAlert:

In a new study forthcoming in the May 2006 issue of The American Naturalist, Mark A. Changizi and his coauthors, Qiang Zhang, Hao Ye, and Shinsuke Shimojo, from the California Institute of Technology explore the hypothesis that human visual signs have been cross-culturally selected to reflect common contours in natural scenes that humans have evolved to be good at seeing. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)

They believe that the contours of letters tend to correlate with contours in nature.  There’s more.  “The researchers also examined motor and visual skills and the shapes that are easiest to see and form,” the article continues.  “They make a strong case [sic] that the shape signature for human visual signs is primarily selected for reading, at the expense of writing.”

No hint, now, that these skills might have been designed that way?  As usual, evolution is both the premise and the conclusion.  It is the question and the answer, the approach and the justification, the jot and the tittle, the alpha and omega. 

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Categories: Dumb Ideas

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