Thursday, January 15, 2004

Evolution as a Thinker...

In How humans got the gift of gab: Why do other primates lag behind in language?, per MSNBC, we read about research into the ability humans have to use language and whether other primates have any corresponding ability. The findings are intriguing and point to a unique aspect of human nature. They also point towards the work of a Creator. By noting that monkey's were not able to differentiate between the sound patterns within a type of grammar referred to as "phase structure grammar" (PSG). The common "if... then" construction is an example of this type of structure. In commenting on how the human brain accomplishes this understanding, the article states, "The human brain’s specialized language machinery thus seems to kick in right around this junction between the two grammar types. If further research shows that monkeys, as well as other nonhuman species, can’t process these and other PSGs, “then there is strong evidence that humans had to pass through a fundamental bottleneck in their capacity to generate a virtually limitless variety of meaningful expressions to tell others what they think and feel,” Hauser said. “When this occurred is anyone’s guess, but when it happened, it transformed the mind,” he added." (emphasis added) Note that this "bottleneck" event "transformed the mind." This is along the lines of what other scientists refer to as "the Mind's Big Bang." It is a time when, without any known catalyst, the essence of humanity begins, and we find the distinctive characteristics of what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom... language, contemplation, imagination, spirit worship. The Imago Dei. But what is really intriquing in this article is its closer... that last sentence or paragraph that the reporter writes as a clincher. The reporter, Kathleen Wren, closes with a quote from one of the scientists involved in the study: "“Human intelligence and evolution are the only flexible processes on Earth capable of producing endless solutions to the problems confronted by living creatures,” Premack writes." Get that? Evolution - properly defined as a mindless process - is being equated with Human intelligence in terms of its capacity to produce solutions to problems. Solutions to problems come not from a mindless process... but through the process of a mind.

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