New caveman theory explains why humans are musical
|September 25, 2013||Posted by News under Mind, Animal minds, News|
Did we mention earlier ““Sadly, everything can indeed be explained by materialism, if ALL you want from an explanation is that it conform to materialist thinking”? Here’s an evo psych explanation of why humans are musical that helps illustrate the point:
Why don’t apes have musical talent, while humans, parrots, small birds, elephants, whales, and bats do? Matz Larsson, senior physician at the Lung Clinic at Örebro University Hospital, attempts to answer this question in the scientific publication Animal Cognition.
Science historian and Alfred Russel Wallace biographer Michael Flannery comments,
Now in what sense can we honestly say that parrots, small birds, elephants, whales, and bats really have anything approximating “music” and/or “talent” for producing it? To suggest an equivalance with both terms in ordinary parlance with the human productions of a symphony, concerto, or even a country ho-down seems to me to play fast and loose with the term “music” and “talent.” The question should read: Why are humans the only living beings capable of making and appreciating music and evincing talent? So framed Matz Larsson needs to explain the *uniqueness *of these qualities in humans, not why some species do and don’t have it. But I’m not even sure Larsson “explains” it that even that level.
Well, here’s Larsson’s explanation:
A behaviour that has survival value tends to produce dopamine, the “reward molecule.” In dangerous terrain, this could result in the stimulation of rhythmic movements and enhanced listening to surrounding sounds in nature. If that kind of synchronized behaviour was rewarding in dangerous environments it may as well have been rewarding for the brain in relative safety, resulting in activities such as hand- clapping, foot-stamping and yelping around the campfire. From there it is just a short step to dance and rhythm. The hormone dopamine flows when we listen to music.
It isn’t an explanation, only an “it may as well have been” speculation, an a remarkably inept one at best. But hey, it got published.
True. Lots of people enjoy making noise in relative safety (cf party animal), and good rhythm has always gotten noise more favourable notice. But in dangerous terrain, one strives to be inaudible (as well as invisible and hopefully unsensed otherwise). Most life forms, including humans, come by this tendency naturally or learn it quickly. So the point of the paper seems to be merely a naturalistic attempt to put symphony orchestra on a spectrum with parrots and bats, via a caveman story.