August 4, 2018 | David F. Coppedge

The Evolution of Language and The Language of Evolution

Ask a Darwinian how humans evolved language, and you are likely to hear gibberish.

Language—real, syntactically-rich, grammatical, semantically-meaningful language—is one of the most distinctive traits of human beings. Evolutionists have long struggled to explain how and when this beneficial trait emerged in the human population. Other animals communicate, but they don’t ponder abstract concepts beyond the need for procreation or protection. One scientist is not even sure that humpback whales use their famous songs for anything beyond sonar (Science Daily). Animal signaling can bring pleasure, social cohesion, or stress relief, but human language is different. How did it evolve? Evolutionists don’t even know what they thought they knew, our first news item says.

Diverse genome study upends understanding of how language evolved (Nature). Evolutionists got all excited in 2002 when one team found that mutations to a gene called FOXP2 disrupted speaking in humans. It appeared at the time, also, that the great apes lacked the particular human form of this gene. Was a mutation in FOXP2 the long-lost key to the evolution of language? No; it wasn’t. “Research casts doubt on the idea that the FOXP2 gene — linked to language evolution — is special to modern humans,” writes Matthew Warren in Nature this week. Warren recalls how evolutionists boasted about the discovery for years, only to backtrack now:

The evolution of human language was once thought to have hinged on changes to a single gene that were so beneficial that they raced through ancient human populations. But an analysis now suggests that this gene, FOXP2, did not undergo changes in Homo sapiens’ recent history after all — and that previous findings might simply have been false signals.

“The situation’s a lot more complicated than the very clean story that has been making it into textbooks all this time,” says Elizabeth Atkinson, a population geneticist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a co-author of the paper, which was published on 2 August in Cell1.

Originally discovered in a family who had a history of profound speech and language disorders, FOXP2 was the first gene found to be involved in language production. Later research touted its importance to the evolution of human language.

Now, it appears that the human version of FOXP2 is older than expected. A re-analysis also shows that the scientists behind the 2002 study did shoddy work. Crack this “solution” up to careless, fake science. Evolutionists feel silly about it now. “Language is complicated, and was never going to be explained by a single mutation in modern humans,” one remarked. Oh, that readers between 2002 and 2018 could have known “the rest of the story” that was yet to come. See also Science Daily‘s account of this humiliating retraction.

The dynamics of norm change in the cultural evolution of language (PNAS). These four evolutionists think that study of linguistic changes over merely two centuries can inform studies of human evolution! They looked at English and Spanish books for clues. What can that possibly say about how humans acquired language in the first place? Very little. In fact, they end up restricting the implications of their study significantly in the ending discussion, and defer other conclusions to “future work.” And yet they use the word evolution copiously, overlooking the obvious contributions of the human mind and choice in the processes of change. That is not Darwinian evolution. The e-word in this paper gives a false impression that evolutionary theory can somehow shed light on the origin of this most unique human capability.

Did kindness prime our species for language? (Science Magazine). Two evolutionists look to Bengalese finches for clues to how humans learned to speak. Prepare for a just-so story that started with Darwin:

All this makes the domesticated and wild birds a perfect natural experiment to help explore an upstart proposal about human evolution: that the building blocks of language are a byproduct of brain alterations that arose when natural selection favored cooperation among early humans. According to this hypothesis, skills such as learning complex calls, combining vocalizations, and simply knowing when another creature wants to communicate all came about as a consequence of pro-social traits like kindness. If so, domesticated animals, which are bred to be good-natured, might exhibit such communication skills too.

The idea is rooted in a much older one: that humans tamed themselves. This self-domestication hypothesis, which got its start with Charles Darwin, says that when early humans started to prefer cooperative friends and mates to aggressive ones, they essentially domesticated themselves (Science, 24 October 2014, p. 405). Along with tameness came evolutionary changes seen in other domesticated mammals—smoother brows, shorter faces, and more feminized features—thanks in part to lower levels of circulating androgens (such as testosterone) that tend to promote aggression.

You can ignore most of this speculative storytelling, because Michael Erard and Catherine Matacic take most of it back in the last paragraph. They can’t connect genes to changes in communication in the birds, for one thing, and end with a caution about misinterpreting the data: “Tomasello also cautions against trying to explain human language solely from animal models.” None of the fact-free stories in the article have anything to do with semantics, anyway. It’s all about vocalization without meaning. If this just-so story is to believed, clownfish should have written sea anemone dictionaries by now, and microbes in bacterial films should be holding science conferences together.

Like so many Darwinian explanations, this one is self-refuting. The evolutionary scientists are using language to say that language arose by chance, without meaning. It only served a purpose so that species could propagate themselves. We can conclude, therefore, that all these scientists really just have sex on their mind. They don’t “mean” anything they say.

The harm that Charlie did to science and the world is nearly incalculable. World empires fought genocidal wars over his notions. Science entered the era of Just-So Storytelling. And Darwinians cast out of the Darwin Castle the true scientists who respect empiricism, who employ necessary and sufficient causes—like intelligence—for phenomena bearing hallmarks of design, instead of endlessly appealing to the Stuff Happens Law. Darwin bigots continue to punish anyone who criticizes the Bearded Buddha. This idol must be toppled before it causes even more harm with its amoral, fitness-centric outlook.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • Buho says:

    Why isn’t this new news about the FOXP2 gene rocketing around the media like it did in 2002? The clear trend over the decades is pro-evolution science trumpeted loudly, followed by a near-silent complete retraction a few years later. The result in the public’s eye is an endless march of pro-evolution news.

    “Language…was never going to be explained by a single mutation.” Creationists said that on day one but were laughed at.

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