July 6, 2012 | David F. Coppedge

Are You a Musical Animal?

Music continues to be a distinctively human trait, despite evolutionists’ attempts to find its origin in mutation and natural selection.

A new entry in the evolution-of-music genre is “What Makes Us Musical Animals” on Science Daily.  The headline should have included a question mark, because no answer was forthcoming.  All it could say was that researchers at the University of Amsterdam found two traits of musicality that are “conditional to the origin of music,” namely relative pitch (the ability to recognize a melody independent of its pitch) and beat induction (the ability to pick out a beat, even if it varies in tempo).

Necessary conditions, however, are not necessarily sufficient conditions.  The Amsterdam band only tossed out these conditions as candidates: “Both relative pitch and beat induction are suggested as primary candidates for such cognitive traits, musical skills that are considered trivial by most humans, but that turn out to be quite special in the rest of the animal world,” the article said.    Besides, the researchers did not explain where these traits came from.  Mutations?  The article admitted the difficulty of explaining music in evolutionary terms:

While it recently became quite popular to address the study of the origins of music from an evolutionary perspective, there is still little agreement on the idea that music is in fact an adaptation, that it influenced our survival, or that it made us sexually more attractive. Music appears to be of little use. It doesn’t quell our hunger, nor do we live a day longer because of it. So why argue that music is an adaptation? There are even researchers who claim that studying the evolution of cognition is virtually impossible (Lewontin, 1998; Bolhuis & Wynne, 2009).

So the Amsterdam band took a different tack: distinguish music from musicality.  Despite their billboard on Science Daily, though, they still produced no music and no audience.  Maybe, some day, they will put on a concert:  “Once these fundamental cognitive mechanisms are identified, it becomes possible to see how these might have evolved,” the article ended.  “In short: the study of the evolution of music cognition is conditional on a characterisation of the basic mechanisms that make up musicality.

OK, time’s up.  You evolutionists admitted back in 2008 that you had no clues (5/19/2008), and that your bandleader Charlie, who is all suit and no sound, all tux and no tune, all hand-waving but no harmony, was equally baffled by music 153 years ago.  Yet here you remain, hogging the footlights, pretending to be the greatest show on earth.  You are still not in the countdown, let alone the first measure.  We asked back then, how much time should you get before admitting defeat?  You know that monkeys don’t have an ear for music (12/13/2004), but to humans, musicality is so innate, it’s trivial.  After all this time, you still have nothing to say—nothing!  Look at what you said in 2008, and here is the same refrain again: “Once these … mechanisms are identified…”  Good grief.  This is like saying, “Once we find some instruments and some charts in this pile of randomness, and find some animals who accidentally learn how to play the instruments and read music, then we’ll really have a show!”

You admitted back then, “Music’s origins have remained puzzling in the years since [Darwin], although there is no shortage of speculation on the subject.”  You realize that science is not a perpetual license to make up stories.  You’ve had your time, and it’s run out.  Get off the stage and into the balcony.  As imposters posing as scientists, you are hereby sentenced to listening to Handel’s Messiah till you repent.

 

 

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