Bourgeois Science-How about Darwinism?

Greg Schofield g_schofield at
Sun Dec 2 22:30:24 MST 2001

John you have read too much into what I said.

My statement was precise - basic speech and grammar - not language as such. Apes appear to have the rudiments of gramatical understanding, at least, when taught signs they initiate the same sorts of mistakes as children do (that is following some inner logic of grammer which does not always match our social use of it).

Language is a social invention, but communication, even complex communications is not unknown in nature. It is not uncommon for many types of animals to have hard-wired recognition patterns - birds for instance.

The other source of proof cames from brain disfunctions, that is about different levels of hard wiring and nodes of association within the brain box. Birth defects show a lot about the placement and functions of these, just as strokes take out vital parts in language enabled adults - Chomsky's work I think is only controversial in its detail, there is enough comparative biology and neuro-science about to etsablish brain predispositions for various sets of associations and some form of primary pattern based gramar which can order them.

Again none of this is needs to be explained outside Darwinist processes.

Lanugage is a different thing altogether, reliant on these biological foundations it lays at a different order of magnitude and complexity - not reducible to Darwinist principles. I used the illustration of speech and grammar for this precise reason, language pressuposes it, but is not reducible to it.

In fact I have found the attempts to teach Apes languages a very rewarding experiement in illustrating the social dependence of language even when there is plenty of free grey-matter and a pre-existing base grammar amongst these cousins of ours.

Speech itself is not language, no matter how complex the sounds may become, language is necessarily a self-associated function of the brian, speech only requires a stimulus and filtered effect in order to be useful. For this to fall back upon itself, to freely process associations which are no more than associations (speech elements) requires a social context which makes such "pre-processing" necessary - at that point we have language.

I by the way do not object to the Apes once having been taught language becoming also conscious by it.

Greg Schofield
Perth Australia

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Subject: Re: Bourgeois Science-How about Darwinism?

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