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Language Origin

Discussion in 'Christianity and World Religion' started by humblemuslim, Aug 9, 2009.

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  1. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    Source - How was Language Originated?

    Language has no known origins.

    Language is assumed to have originated from a single source.

    Language today is acquired both at young and old ages alike. The common element in language acquisition is a teacher. Whether a personal teacher face to face or a digital teacher on electronic media or a mute teacher in text. Someone is responsible for every word one learns.

    People are capable of making up words and codes. One can call anything by any name of one's choosing. Yet what we find is a dependence on an original language to formulate a new one. For if a new language is formulated independent of all other languages no one will understand the creator except the creator. This is the very basis for secret code languages. Their ultimate downfall is they must be translated back to a known language, thus an opening for spies to gather intelligence. Thereby making every secret form of communication vulnerable to eavesdropping.

    Note ancient languages are complex, and in some circumstances even more complex than the languages we use today. Complexity is based on the grammatical structure of the language, the vastness of the alphabet, and the vastness of the vocabulary available.

    Although vocabulary of languages grow with time with the advent of new concepts, the grammatical structure of ancient languages can be far more complicated than modern languages.

    So who taught the first language? The scientific response, although uncertain, attempts to attribute this to the first humans themselves. The claim revolves around the ability to produce sound indicative of sounds for languages known today. But is ability enough?

    Note the interesting presence of feral children:

    Note - Victor lived till he was 40 and was found when he was 12.

    Source - FeralChildren.com | Language acquisition in feral children

    It appears the human race is a race of imitators. What then were we imitating when we adopted the worlds various languages? What in nature produces such sounds? Nothing that I have ever heard...

    So where is the origin? Where is the one we all so happily imitate?

    In both the Bible and Qur'an this original origin of imitation is God.

    Language itself is evidence of God.

    Now please be aware that evidence of God is not evidence of God's attributes. It is not evidence of a specific religion. It is not evidence of any one Scripture.

    So bringing up points that God might be an alien is irrelevant. Whatever you personally want to consider this being is irrelevant to evidence for this being's existence. If one is one comfortable thinking God is an alien, the universe itself, or a personal being with a specific set of attributes, that is fine. But it is not the core of the discussion here.
     
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  2. awitch

    awitch Well-Known Member

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    Who assumes that? If that's what science says, there must be sufficient evidence. Can you provide it?

    What "scientist" made this claim?

    Animals have been using language long before humans have been around. We imitated them.
     
  3. Wicked Willow

    Wicked Willow Well-Known Member

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    This whole thread merits a giant facepalm from anybody even remotely familiar with historical linguistics.

    It's almost as bad as "because people speak different languages today, God must have put a curse on the construction site workers at the tower of Babel".
     
  4. wlajoie74

    wlajoie74 Member

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    so then, since both of those are bad, what is your theory from someone remotely familiar with historical linguistics
     
  5. Bushmaster78FS

    Bushmaster78FS Senior Contributor

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    I like this claim. :thumbsup: I'm interested in seeing how you are going to defend it against atheists/agnostics.
     
  6. Bushmaster78FS

    Bushmaster78FS Senior Contributor

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    I don't believe that. Our capability is much further. Is it because of our brain size? Because if we imitated them, why aren't we simply moaning and howling and etc? If we learned to use language, how come they didn't? If they do have a language, how come we can't understand it?
     
  7. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    Well if you are desiring specific names and titles of texts concerning the topic here is one source what can accommodate that desire:

    The Mystery of Human Language

    My attribution of statements to scientists is based on the sources I have located. If the sources are either misleading or dishonest, let me know. But of course that needs to be demonstrated, not just alluded to.


    How then do you explain Feral Children? They imitate animals. The result of this imitation does not lead to the path you are suggesting it leads to. Victor, even after being among humans for the remaining 18 years of his life, was still unable to speak. The beginning 12 years of his life dominated his ability to speak. The first years of intellectual development are invaluable to humans.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2009
  8. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    Well I am here with open ears (Or rather eyes ^_^).

    If you have something to add relating to the historical linguistics I am eager to read it.


    I don't understand this comparison. Perhaps you can explain?
     
  9. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    I will try my best. This is one of the fundamental pieces of evidence I personal have for God's existence. :) Let's see how well it stands against the criticism of disbelievers. :bigeye:
     
  10. Fear

    Fear Guest

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    Some information can be found here: Origin of language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Supposing we had no way what-so-ever to explain the origin of language, it would still not constitute evidence for God. I don't understand how X happened, therefore an invisible, undetectable, all-knowing, all-powerful being must have done it!

    For me, it's not too much of a leap to imagine vocal cords and the brain evolving the ability to use language. Living creatures are amazing.
     
  11. awitch

    awitch Well-Known Member

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    Not because of brain size, there are animals that have much bigger brains than us. It has to do with the way our brains work - we can process more, and our language has developed to become more efficient than moaning and howling. Moaning and howling are not sufficient to represent the physical and abstract things that we want to communicate, but I expect it probably started out that way.
     
  12. Danhalen

    Danhalen Healing

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    Human language can be linked to genetic mutation. FOXP2 seems to be responsible for, at least, our ability to communicate differently from our ape cousins. The first link is when the mainstream media picked up on it in 2002. I like the second link for the addendum that pushes the emergence of the mutation to 300,000 years and the experimental work done on mice in which the gene produced extra neural connections. While it is true there are many different genes involved in human speech, the work done on FOXP2 shows how a naturalistic explanation is possible. Natural selection is quite the powerful tool.

    CNN.com - Study: Apes lack gene for speech - August 15, 2002

    Neanderthals had key speech gene, researchers say ? The Register
     
  13. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    That is not what I am claiming. Notice you are focused on attributes of said God.

    1. Invisible
    2. Undetectable
    3. All Knowing
    4. All Powerful

    This evidence is for the existence of a God, not for a God with certain attributes.

    Generally speaking, the evidence provided shows an interaction by an outside intelligent being(s). You could consider this outside being(s) an alien race if you wanted, though the term God(s) might not appeal to the majority opinion of what it means to be God(s).

    This thread is a baby step towards proving the God of Abraham. Jumping straight to the conclusion of an all powerful, all knowing, etc. single God is a leap to do all at once. We need to take baby steps towards this end.
     
  14. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    How does it show this?

    And how is it that modern day humans, with the correct genetic make-up, when left in the wild (Feral Children), exhibit a lack of an ability to speak and communicate as we do? They can teach an chimp sign language, why could they not teach a 12 year old Victor how to communicate as we do in 18 years? Granted I would not expect Victor to obtain a mastery of language starting off as he did, but if genes are the key then at the least I would expect Victor to have achieved basic speech in 18 years of human interaction.
     
  15. Isambard

    Isambard Nihilist Extrodinaire

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    ^Language is a social/socializing process.
     
  16. Wicked Willow

    Wicked Willow Well-Known Member

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    No, it really doesn't. Not by a far stretch. I don't even know where to start refuting this, as there are so many factors to consider.

    1) At the end of the day, your "explanation" is still an appeal to the supernatural: "We don't fully understand the phenomenon (yet), therefore "an outside intelligent being" (a.k.a. God) did it." It's what people used to do with regards to floods, lightning, plagues, congenital diseases, even monetary fluctuations such as inflations. Whenever mankind encountered a phenomenon that was beyond its grasp at the time, some people ended up attributing it to a supernatural source. Mythical origins of language are but one additional point on a long list of equally false attributions.

    2) The supernatural explanation fails to address the actual problem, which is to understand how language evolves to begin with. By claiming that it must have come in its full-fledged form from some outside source is just shifting the problem to another instance: how did that source acquire language, and how did it come to be? Now, naturalistic observations can give us a much better idea of that:

    3) Although other species lack the mental faculties to process language on the same level as ourselves, they are not completely deaf-mute: they do communicate by means of body language, sounds, facial expressions and so forth. This kind of communication is a requirement for social interaction, and serves a multitude of purposes - and we may safely conclude that our ancestors possessed this kind of capability before full-fledged languages appeared on the stage of history: they could warn each other of approaching predators or prey, communicate their feelings, announce their status and so forth. From there, it's really not that far to the emergence of language. I suppose the earliest linguistic signs were stuff like "you - left, me - right". Must have come in handy during hunts.

    4) Citing feral children is not really that much help. Yes, Man is a master of observational learning (although other species do that, too) - so if you place a baby in an environment that consists solely of another species, it will grow up imitating that one. It's just our way of transmitting acquired (as opposed to genetical) traits from one generation to the next. As I said, other species are capable of the same: koalas teach their young not to eat the immature, poisonous leaves of the eucalyptus tree; chimpanzees transfer the knowledge of specific tools from one generation to the next, and so on and so forth. Social learning is (and was) a requirement for the transmission of culture - yet it is hardly supernatural, nor does it imply that people had to have contact with an "outside intelligence" in order to learn to communicate. You might just as well claim that our ancestors must have been taught to walk upright by an "outside intelligence", as it is an acquired trait as well.
     
  17. Danhalen

    Danhalen Healing

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    It shows the arrival of language coincides with the mutation of specific genes and that without the mutation of these specific genes language would not be possible.

    Since language is a social behavior it cannot be learned once the plasticity of the brain starts to solidify. That is, the neural pathways which are present because of the FOXP2 gene are not wired in the proper formation for speech if a child is not indoctrinated. Genes do not act in a vacuum. Environmental factors do have an effect on gene activity. Some genes even remain dormant--do not express themselves phenotypically--unless certain environmental factors are not present. This fits perfectly with the lack of language acquisition for feral children.
     
  18. Fear

    Fear Guest

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    I just threw those attributes out there to emphasize the flaws in making arguments from ignorance. However, at the very least, the god whose existence you proport to demonstrate must have the ability to make creatures talk to eachother.

    I disagree, you'd need to have other evidence for this intelligent being. Critters being able to talk to eachother and us not understanding how they started talking doesn't point to an outside intelligence.
     
  19. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    1) Baby steps people. Baby steps. Let's try not to focus on jumping to final conclusions. Those examples are great, but they are unrelated to language. Scientists attempt to explain how the universe was created, yet they show an unwillingness to do likewise for language. There is no big bang when it comes to language ^_^

    2) I never claimed "
    it must have come in its full-fledged form from some outside source". I claimed an outside being(s) was the source of the first language. Form was never mentioned.

    My observations are based on the capabilities of humans. It would be fallacious to just assume all beings have our same shortcomings. We would need to observe the being(s) in order to draw any conclusions of where that being(s) learned language from, or whether this being(s) was the original creator of language. Based on my observations of humans, humans do not appear to have the capacity to form language from scratch.

    3) Comparing our language to the simplistic communication found in the animal kingdom is like comparing an on/off switch to the binary code used to create computer programs. I can agree early humans could communicate like animals. The animals they were imitating. The question is, how did they break away from this? Considering humans at older ages exhibit a lessening ability to acquire language (Look at
    Danhalen's post after yours), we have a situation where there is a lack of explanation as to how language spawned from animal communication.

    As can be seen in Feral Children, even modern day children can be left in a state whether they are unable to learn language if they are subjugated to an environment void of language. What we find is these children, as expected, imitate animal communication instead. Where is the opportunity to break away from this vicious cycle?

    Humans are evolved from chimps --> Chimps and other animals are what are interacting with the first humans --> They imitate the chimps and animals --> At advanced age when they at child bearing age, roughly 10-13 years of age, they are past the point of "
    plasticity of the brain" as our friend Danhalen brought up --> The humans have children and continue to pass on the animal imitations they have learned in their youth and the entire cycle repeats.

    Where does language introduce itself in this cycle?

    4) If it is not much help why has no one here been able to respond to it? ^_^ This portion of your post agrees with what I am saying about human imitation. What I still do not see is where the cycle gets broken and where language emerges. :confused:

    You again are focusing on a supernatural end to this argument, which is jumping to the final conclusion. Baby steps. We must move with baby steps. Continuing to bring up supernatural references is a Straw-man in terms of what is being argued in this thread.


     
  20. humblemuslim

    humblemuslim I am busy currently. Will be less active soon.

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    Having the ability does not mean it will happen. The Feral Children confirm this. I might have the "Genetic" ability to fly for all I know. Does not mean I am going to fly. Especially if I am not aware of it.

    I am in agreement here. The plasticity of the brain raises another key problem with the mutation theory. How would humans of child bearing age teach their offspring something they now lack the capacity for due to the "Wiring" of their brains by this point in time?
     
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