Friday, February 26, 2021

Homo erectus already had language - says you, Daniel Everett!

Creation vs. Evolution: The other day I saw an article on "pre-human" language capacity · Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere: Neanderthals Spoke · Φιλολoγικά/Philologica: Homo erectus already had language - says you, Daniel Everett!

I will be answering very shortly this video, agreeing with the main finding and disagreeing with one other thing, here it is, thank you for your talk at Harvard Science Book Talks and Research Lectures about a year ago:

Daniel Everett, "Homo Erectus and the Invention of Human Language"
31st March 2020 | Harvard Science Book Talks and Research Lectures

In fact, the title is misleading.

It is not about the invention of human language. After hearing you out to 59:35, when applause breaks out, you have very clearly concluded Homo erectus very certainly (or "nearly certainly") already had language. Let me resume your lines of evidence:

  • Levallois tools, or rather larger but same process, have been dated to erectus only (no Neanderthals yet) time periods.
  • Levallois tools per se could possibly also be from pre-Neanderthal ages.
  • The process of Levellois tools is too complex to be transferred by imitation only.
  • They had settlements, with diversified places.
  • They had fire.
  • They used ochre to colour tools.
  • A tool buried by a skeleton suggests deliberate burial.
  • They are there on all continents, which needs sailing.
  • And this is impossible without some kind of human language.

It is very difficult to see why we would withhold the judgement that they likely had language. And what they had to have had was more than simply grunts and squeals. They had to have something that was able to communicate actual content about the world around them, the kind of thing that would have been essential and been discovered in symbols.

Thank you very much, Daniel Everett. I wholeheartedly agree.

I was back in 2005 in Sarlat or somewhere and read a Frenchman attributing to Homo erectus a proto-language of 10 + 10 "phonemes" (but "ad" being another one than "da"), each of which had some kind of abstract or emotional meaning and their combinations resurging in modern words, like Adam and Aden showing two things meaning, I recall, "earth + harmonious" or something. Ah, no. It has to have been more than that.

But how much more?

Well, here I think, Daniel Everett, you shoehorn your conclusions into an Evolutionist shoe that doesn't fit.

Once we take off the burden of languages looking like modern languages, and we realise that a language is the transfer of transfer of information by the discovery and use of symbols and elaboration of those symbols over time, then we see a gradual evolution of language.

No, in fact we don't. In historic linguistics, we see gradual (somewhat) evolutionS of languageS, we can state that between "adiuvare" with its more relevant iterative "adiutare" in Latin and the French "aider" we can place "ayudhar" of Strassburg oaths, which is closely resembling to Spanish "ayudar" (especially as in Spanish "d" is pronounced "dh").

But in Homo erectus we don't see any single gradual evolution of language as phenomenon. We see language already there. In their supposed ancestor, Australopithecus, we see language very clearly not yet there. There is no clear case for toolmaking and neither ear nor hyoid is more human than simian. For hyoid, it is simian. For ear, the external auditory tract and malleus are more human than simian, but the incus and stapes are more simian than human. Not a good starting point to hear consonants the latter, nor to pronounce vowels the former. Even in Solo man, arguably the least human version of erectus preserved, or the least anatomically modern human, all four are more human than simian.

We have no reason not believing the language of Homo erectus looked like a "modern" language. Modern in the sense that everything from Sumerian to Cockney are modern ... and Piraha (from Amazonian jungle) too.

  • talking of concepts that are absent (mentioned, definition of symbol)
  • using recursivity
  • talking of the type of absence (negation, distance, time distance)
  • and ... necessary to get to many symbols ... double articulation.

A simian vocal message is one not so much symbol as icon of emotion or whatever, in one sound. And one gesture. It means one thing, often an emotion (fear, contentment) or enjoinment (come play with me). Look at the work of Dr Katja Liebal here:

Parlez-vous le chimpanzé ?*| Extraordinary Animals | BBC Earth
9th May 2014 | BBC Earth

Nothing in Homo erectus suggests this state. In any "modern language" (your special sense), you have messages divided into one or usually more than one morphemes, each meaning something on its own, each being a symbol more often than icon or index, and you have morphemes divided into one or usually more than one phonemes, each of which has no meaning on its own (obviously, a phoneme in a one-phoneme morpheme has a meaning, while used in that morpheme, which is contextually different from when that same phoneme is part of other morphemes).

I described the problem of transition in terms of a telegraph evolving to a computer inventing ASCII from Morse. But Morse has more in common with ASCII than chimp with human. And both Morse and ASCII were invented by actual people intelligently designing things far less complicated than human language is. How do you get a first morpheme that is composed of at least two phonemes in a communication world which has only one phoneme (including scream) per sentence? How do you get a first sentence of three morphemes making subject verb and object, in a communication world where you usually don't talk of absent subjects, and where you may at best have one pointing at a present object to represent object and one sound or other gesture to represent suggested action in the imperative? How do you get a combination of these two?

Now, the problem of transition, supposing there were an evolution, is not solved by claiming the transition happened further back then previously thought.

And on a smaller note, there is no material evidence for the language of Solo man differing from modern languages or even from each one of them. On a creationist view, they would have been speaking Hebrew before the Flood, if possibly with some deafness due to the slightly less than normal human tinge on the form of incus and stapes. At least some kind of Hebrew. If Moses spoke Proto-Sinatic, of which there are traces in the extant form of the Torah, the pre-Flood Hebrew would have been slightly less like Biblical Hebrew than proto-Sinaitic. There is nothing we know of Homo erectus - as opposed to datings**, which are inflated by the K-Ar faults, probably all from volcanism in the Flood - that precludes this.

So, Daniel, thank you for highlighting that Homo erectus were fully human, but be a bit careful about how you throw about allegations of evolutionary gradualism without any evidence!

If you like to take a look at my view on K-Ar dating (most relevant for Homo erectus), see here:

Creation vs. Evolution : Water Temperature, K-Ar Dating, Temperatures around the Ark, and Heating

Thank you, in advance, for your attention!

Hans Georg Lundahl
Ember Friday of Lent

* I view the video in France, and its title is automatically translated for this channel. It means "do you speak chimpanzee?". ** If the "latest" Homo erectus were from a bit more than 100 000 years ago, and if generations never were as long as those of pre-Flood patriarchs, it would be a miracle of coincidence if their language coincided with any one that we know even partially.

Monday, February 15, 2021

Adrienne et Gilbert

La Fayette vs Wilberforce · Adrienne et Gilbert

Entre femme et mari, on ne pose pas un vs.

Par contre, ayant lu le livre de Maurois sur Adrienne Noailles La Fayette, je dois dire que je la valorise davantage. Vu qu'il était un franc-maçon, vu qu'elle était une des pionnières pour la résistance liturgique contre le clergé constitutionnel, ainsi partageant, sinon le sort au moins les convictions de Marie Antoinette et de Louis XVI, ce n'est pas étonnant que j'ai davantage en commun avec elle.

Elle est éduquée comme Catholique, avec un brin de Jansénisme, il me semble, ce qui explique sa dévotion au devoir au mépris direct d'amusements, et ce qui explique aussi peut-être un optimisme non partagé par tous les Catholiques au sujet d'eux qui meurent en n'ayant pas fait leur paix avec Dieu par l'Église catholique (elle croyait à l'illumination finale, et sans doute espérait une telle pour son mari). Elle épouse un homme presque aussi adolescent qu'elle quand elle a 14 ans, cinq mois, neuf jours. Elle reste fidèle et pardonne ses infidélités. Elle demande et obtient de partager la prison de son mari quand il est en captivité externe plutôt qu'exile, et ceci après d'avoir très bien arrangé les choses pour les proches à La Grange.

Et malade depuis le séjour à Olomouc ou Olmütz, elle se bât pour rassembler ce qui lui appartient et de payer les dettes. Elle va aussi mourir épuisée à l'âge de 48. Mais ses filles vont survivre ce séjour sans trop de sequelles.

Elle est une des bienfaitrices du cimitière Picpus, et obtient d'être inhumée à côté des martyrs, dont les moniales fidèles à leurs vœux et son mari va être inhumé à côté d'elle ... probablement le principal geste qu'il fit pour la tradition catholique.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Sts Faustin et Jovite

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Entre Champlain et Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil

Cette fois, j'avais un peu de html pour donner les liens à chacun des Gouverneurs et Gouverneurs généraux de la Nouvelle-France. Pour certains une année de mort ou plus souvent naissance est donnée comme "vers ..." et l'année a été retenue. D'autres fois, il y a d'années alternatives, et ça divise la série montante en deux versions, une ayant les minima et l'autre les maxima dans ces cas. Pour certains, une année ou les deux a été totalement omise et donnés par noms ils sont omis des séries.

Samuel de Champlain 1567/1574 - 1635
Émery de Caen ???
Marc Antoine Jacques Bras-de-fer de Châteaufort ???
Charles Jacques Huault de Montmagny 1583 - 1657
Louis d'Ailleboust de Coulonge 1612 - 1660
Jean de Lauson (père) 1584 - 16 février 1666
Charles de Lauzon de Charney 9 novembre 1632 - 1690
Pierre de Voyer d'Argenson 19 novembre 1625 - 1709
Pierre du Bois d'Avaugour ? - 24 juillet 1664
François de Montmorency-Laval 30 avril 1623 - 6 mai 1708
Augustin de Saffray de Mézy ? - 6 mai 1665
Alexandre de Prouville de Tracy 1596/1603 - 1670
Daniel de Rémy de Courcelles 3 mai 1626 - 24 octobre 1698
Louis de Buade de Frontenac 12 mai 1622 - 28 novembre 1698
Joseph-Antoine Le Febvre de La Barre 21 février 1622 - 4 mai 1688
Jacques de Meulles 1650 - mai 1703
Jacques-René de Brisay 10 décembre 1637 - 22 septembre 1710
Louis-Hector de Callière 12 novembre 1648 - 26 mai 1703
Philippe de Rigaud de Vaudreuil bapt. 13 août 1650 - 10 octobre 1725
Claude de Ramezay 1659-1724
Charles II Le Moyne 10 décembre 1656 - 7 juin 1729
Charles de La Boische 12 octobre 1671 (baptême) - 12 juillet 1749
Rolland-Michel Barrin 10 novembre 1693 - 26 octobre 1756
Jacques-Pierre de Taffanel de La Jonquière 18 avril 1685 - 17 mars 1752
Charles III Le Moyne 18 octobre 1687 - 17 janvier 1755
Michel-Ange Duquesne de Menneville 1702 - 17 septembre 1778
Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil 22 novembre 1698 - 4 août 1778

48 52 54 57 61 62 65 66 66 67 67 72 72 72 74 75 76 76 77 81 83 85 89
48 53 54 57 62 65 66 66 67 68 72 72 72 74 74 75 76 76 77 81 83 85 89
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23

Minimum : 48 ans
Quartile basse : entre 62 et 65 ou entre 65 et 66 ans
Médiane : 72 ans
Quartile haute : 76 (des deux côtés, des deux versions)
Maximum : 89 ans.

Donc, cette souvent haute noblesse de l'Ancient régime avait nettement une expectance de vie plus haute que la royauté.

Hans Georg Lundahl
St. Andrée Corsini

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Gustave Thibon - du Vivarais?

Alors, il a dû connaître l'abbé Houghton.

L'accélération continue se trouve plus souvent dans la chute libre que dans l'ascension, disait-il, et être dans le vent est le rêve d'une feuille morte.

Ah, un antiprogressiste en mon goût ... surtout que j'ai vérifié, qu'il n'était pas Jean Guitton, l'ami de "Paul VI" ... les noms se ressemblent, d'où un doute.

Je remercie Rivarol de l'avoir signalé à propos ses 20 ans de disparition.

Qu'il a collaboré à Itineraires, ça me plaît aussi ... sauf le côté Jean Ousset./HGL