‘Have you been talking behind my back?

‘Have you been talking behind my back?

REGARDING LANGUAGE PRODUCTION: A snapshot of two distinguished professors: ‘Finding the Words’ to describe language as a product of naturally selective processes—and as a ‘recent’ phenomenon.

“As already noted, there is very strong evidence that there have been no relevant evolution of the language faculty since the exodus from Africa some 60,000 years ago, though undoubtedly there has been a great deal of change, even invention of modes of externalization (as in sign language)…In some completely unknown way. Our ancestors developed human concepts. At some time in the very recent past ,apparently some time before 80,000 years ago, if we can judge from associated symbolic proxies, individuals in a small group of hominids in East Africa underwent a minor change that provided the operation Merge—an operation that takes human concepts as computational atoms and yields structured expressions that, systematically interpreted by the conceptual system, provide a rich language of thought. These processes might be computationally perfect, or close to it, hence the result of physical laws independent of humans. The innovation had obvious [advantages] and took over the small group. At some later stage, the internal language of thought was connected to the sensorimotor system, a complex task that can be solved in many different ways and at different times. In the course of these events, the human capacity took shape,yielding a good part of our moral and intellectual nature,…”

‘Why Only Us: Language And Evolution’ Berwick Robert C. & Chomsky N.  2016,Pages 83 & 87  (DW italics)

why-only-us-qI am pleased to recommend professors Berwick & Chomsky’s excellent book.

PS.Whilst it is a strong possibility that an evolutionary process of creation was the means through which [God] brought about the biosphere; it is most unlikely that the ‘process’—most certainly that of language acquisition (universal grammar potentiality)—was left to ‘random’ (none-directed) ‘natural’ forces.

The problem is though that the ‘divine foot in the door’ notion is not a scientifically verifiable option and, therefore, considered to be an example of ‘a god of the gaps’. But is it necessarily the case? As Berwick and Chomsky have observed—language is a phenomenon that, in all honesty, does not fit neatly into the ‘just-so-story’ of a naturally selected product of chance—even of the genius of ‘Natural Selection’.  Derek J.White (12/16)

The Goal of Creation



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