The secret to good science writing today is never to ask the obvious questions …
|November 13, 2011||Posted by News under Animal minds, Human evolution, language, Media, News|
… and dump on anyone who does.
In “Selling Confabulation as Science” (November 11, 2011), Creation-Evolution Headlines reports on a number of classic examples, including,
1. Baby apes’ arm waving hints at origins of language: New Scientist had no problem with the suggestion that arm waving by chimpanzees led to the Sermon on the Mount and every other great work of moral or conceptual communication. “Actions speak louder than words,” wrote Nora Schultz cheerfully, as if that justifies scientifically what she is about to say. “Baby chimps, bonobos, gorillas and orang-utans – our four closest living relatives – quickly learn to use visual gestures to get their message across, providing the latest evidence that hand waving may have been a vital first step in the development of human language.”
Indeed. Then why didn’t they go on to learn a language? Why do human infants learn a language even if they are born without hands?
Michael Corballis (U of Auckland) came to the rescue with this confabulation: “I suspect apes have evolved their own idiosyncratic gestures since they diverged from hominins.”
In short, it’s not an explanation. But admitting that would lead to embarrassing questions like: Just what has materialism achieved in understanding these matters? The other examples are also interesting.
See also: When Bedtime for Bonzo was not a comedy