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Author Topic:   Languages and the Creationist account.
Son Goku
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Posts: 1060
From: Ireland
Joined: 07-16-2005
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Message 1 of 32 (633062)
09-12-2011 7:07 AM


Something that has occurred to me recently is the inconsistency between the biblical account and the work of historical linguists.

Most of the languages of Europe, Iran and Northern India trace back to one ancestor group of dialects called Proto-Indo-European. Then Proto-Indo-European and the ancient Anatolian languages such as Hittite trace back to an earlier language commonly known as Archaic-Proto-Indo-European, Indo-Anatolian or similar such names. The most commonly accepted theory is that this collection of languages and dialects labelled Proto-Indo-European was spoken in the Pontic Caspian steppes in the Southern Ukraine, from about 4,000 B.C. until around 2,500 B.C.

It is commonly believed that the reason for the spread of this language is related to the domestication of the horse by its speakers and their expansion following a farming crisis in Neolithic Europe.

In any case the date of 4,000 B.C. is quite close to the creation of the world according to some creationist accounts and certainly prior to the Tower of Babel from which all languages are meant to originate.

I propose that the literal Biblical account cannot be reconciled with the historical picture uncovered by linguists.

In addition to the points mentioned above, we also have the problem that the Indo-European languages alone reach a date of 4,000 B.C. If we try to imagine that there was a single language from which Proto-Afro-Asiatic and Proto-Indo-European originate, for example the Nostratic hypothesis, then we need dates of the order of 9,000 B.C.

Also there is no strong evidence for proposals such as the Nostratic hypothesis, all our information is still consistent with the supposition that language was invented independently in different areas, which would contradict the story of the Tower of Babel.

So Indo-European alone is too old and either of the options concerning the connection between it and other languages present problems for the biblical account.

Edited by Son Goku, : Some moronic (perhaps ironic) grammar errors.


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Message 2 of 32 (633064)
09-12-2011 9:39 AM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Languages and the Creationist account. thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Wollysaurus
Member (Idle past 1873 days)
Posts: 52
From: US
Joined: 08-25-2011


(1)
Message 3 of 32 (633088)
09-12-2011 11:21 AM


where's the beef?
The "evolution" of languages is certainly fascinating.


Genesis 11:1-9

1 Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.
2 As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.
3 They said to each other, Come, lets make bricks and bake them thoroughly. They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar.
4 Then they said, Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.
5 But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower the people were building.
6 The LORD said, If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.
7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.
8 So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.
9 That is why it was called Babelbecause there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

source: biblegateway.com

The scattering at Babel has been used to validate a lot of nonsense as well, such as the Curse of Ham and the African peoples being marked as the "servants of servants". The Creation Museum has a nice little graphic even showing the decedents of Ham migrating to Africa. Not meant to be a race card, but it is interesting that these notions persist.

What would be interesting would be to see a biblical literalist present evidence that, prior to the time period appropriate for Babel, there was only one language among humanity. Of course, since this occurred after the flood, this would mean that they would have to prove that all modern languages started after a confusion somewhere in the neighborhood of, what, 2,000 BCE? Or a bit earlier?

Since we can observe the speciation of language historically (sorry, couldn't resist), maybe Babel just created "kinds" of language which could undergo "micro-linguistic change"; but, of course, I'm sure there is no evidence for "macro-linguistic change" if someone takes Babel literally. Or is there? Unless, of course, one counts languages which started out in mutually intelligible forms but have since diverged to be unintelligible, like the West Germanic tongues, for example.

I'd be very interested to see what evidence might be presented to show that all of mankind started out with a single language some four thousand (and some change) years ago. Of course, the story also demands that we see human migration starting in the middle east at that time and radiating outwards across the span of the globe; good luck with that one.

This bit from ICR's John Morris is priceless:

With the one language, all genetic traits were originally shared among humankind, but once the break-up occurred, ethnic traits began to be expressed, quickly leading to today's "races." Natural selection would match traits to an environment.

The Ice Age was occurring during the centuries following Babel, resulting in harsh climates in Europe, a well-watered Egypt, and a lower sea-level allowing global migration across land bridges such as between Siberia and Alaska.

Without Babel and the dispersion, in our thinking, we would be hard pressed to devise a coherent view of human history. With it the facts fall into place and our appreciation for Scripture increases.

http://www.icr.org/article/what-happened-at-tower-babel/


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nwr
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From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 5.9


(4)
Message 4 of 32 (633099)
09-12-2011 12:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-12-2011 7:07 AM


I propose that the literal Biblical account cannot be reconciled with the historical picture uncovered by linguists.

Yes, this is very clear.

It is my understanding, that it also cannot be reconciled with other contemporary evidence. It seems pretty well supported that languages will develop spontaneously if there is none already available. Children of deaf mute parents who are isolated from the speaking community invent their own languages. Sign languages develop spontaneously in communities of deaf children. Identical twins often develop language extensions that they use between themselves.

I see the Tower of Babel story as a "Just So" story that was invented in an attempt to explain the existence of foreign languages.


Fundamentalism - the anti-American, anti-Christian branch of American Christianity

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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6230
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


(3)
Message 5 of 32 (633102)
09-12-2011 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-12-2011 7:07 AM


Good heavens, Son Goku!
I propose that the literal Biblical account cannot be reconciled with the historical picture uncovered by linguists.

Well, creationists have rejected the findings of biologists and geneticists and geologists and astrophysicists and cosmologists. Does anyone really think that linguistics are going to fare any better in their gentle hands?


You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. -- Abbie Hoffman

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Chiroptera
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Posts: 6230
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


(1)
Message 6 of 32 (633107)
09-12-2011 1:32 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Wollysaurus
09-12-2011 11:21 AM


Re: where's the beef?
The scattering at Babel has been used to validate a lot of nonsense as well, such as the Curse of Ham and the African peoples being marked as the "servants of servants". The Creation Museum has a nice little graphic even showing the decedents of Ham migrating to Africa. Not meant to be a race card, but it is interesting that these notions persist.

Something I never noticed before. The Babel fiasco occurred many generations after the flood. That means that not only was there very little if any interbreeding between the descendants of Ham, Shem, and Japheth (meaning that the post-flood population of humans is even more interbred that I realized), but when God confounded the languages, he more or less grouped similar languages according to descendants.

That's assuming that the Iranians and Indians aren't actually Semites, but good ol' Japhethite aryans who later invaded Asia. If not, then it's interesting that the language given to the Semite Iranians are so close to the language given to the totally unrelated Japhethite Greeks and Celts.

Gah! The mess creationists make of linguistics is even worse than the one they make of geology!


You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists. -- Abbie Hoffman

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Dr Adequate
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Message 7 of 32 (633138)
09-12-2011 6:31 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Son Goku
09-12-2011 7:07 AM


Well, let Kent Hovind explain it to you:

Probably, after the Flood, the Tower of Babel took place. God put them into different language groups. They spread out. Those that spoke French went one way. Those that spoke German went a different way. Those that spoke Spanish went a different way.

Then there's these guys, who are, if anything, worse.


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Jon
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 8 of 32 (633197)
09-13-2011 12:22 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Adequate
09-12-2011 6:31 PM


I have trouble finding much distinction between the Creationist crazies that try to trace all modern languages to a common ancestral tongue and the pseudo-science cranks who attempt the exact same thing.

They generally have different goals in mind, but they are really the same kind of stupid.


Love your enemies!

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Larni
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Posts: 3941
From: UK
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 9 of 32 (633210)
09-13-2011 4:12 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Adequate
09-12-2011 6:31 PM


Those that spoke French went one way. Those that spoke German went a different way. Those that spoke Spanish went a different way.

Don't forget that that would be modern French, German and Spanish.


The above ontological example models the zero premise to BB theory. It does so by applying the relative uniformity assumption that the alleged zero event eventually ontologically progressed from the compressed alleged sub-microscopic chaos to bloom/expand into all of the present observable order, more than it models the Biblical record evidence for the existence of Jehovah, the maximal Biblical god designer.

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bluescat48
Member (Idle past 1571 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 10 of 32 (633286)
09-13-2011 1:03 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Larni
09-13-2011 4:12 AM


Don't forget that that would be modern French, German and Spanish.

Obviously, Kent Hovind could not accept anyting that could "evolve."


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


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Wollysaurus
Member (Idle past 1873 days)
Posts: 52
From: US
Joined: 08-25-2011


(1)
Message 11 of 32 (633340)
09-13-2011 4:55 PM


A friend pointed out that, back in the day, God thought mankind was achieving too much by getting together and building a tower, getting a little too close to God, but has since rethought his position and allowed spaceflight. I got a chuckle out of it.

Needless to say, if God had an issue with what mankind was threatening to achieve in the Babel story, he must not have been paying very close attention to our shennanigans for the last few centuries.


  
Portillo
Member (Idle past 1542 days)
Posts: 258
Joined: 11-14-2010


Message 12 of 32 (633890)
09-17-2011 12:56 AM


Many cultures have stories of a tower and one language.

quote:
North America

A legend of the Maidu Indians of California says that everybody spoke the same language until during preparations for a special burning ceremony, when suddenly in the night everybody began to speak in a different tongue except that each husband and wife talked the same language.

Then, according to the legend, God instructed a leader named Kuksu, who could speak all the languages, to summon all the people together and teach them the names of the different animals and so forth in their various dialects. . . Then he called each tribe by name, and sent them off in different directions, telling them where they were to dwell.

Central America

An Aztec legend claimed,

Humanity was wiped out by a flood, but one man Coxcoxtli and one woman Xochiquetzal escaped in a boat, and reached a mountain called Colhuacan. They had many children, who were dumb until the time when a dove on top of a tree made them the gift of languages; but these differed so much that the children could not understand each other.

Guatemala

The Quiches of Guatemala told of a time when the tribes multiplied and left their old home to a place called Tulan. Here the language changed, and the people sought new homes in various parts of the world as a result of not being able to understand each other.

Africa

A legend of the Wa-Sania tribe in East Africa says

that of old all the tribes of the earth knew only one language, but that during a severe famine the people went mad and wandered in all directions, jabbering strange words, and so the different languages arose.

India

The Mikir tribe in northeastern India tells of the descendants of Ram who were strong men and were growing dissatisfied with earth and aspired to conquer heaven. They began to build a tower.

Higher and higher rose the building, till at last the gods and demons feared lest these giants should become the masters of heaven, as they already were of earth. So they confounded their speech, and scattered them to the four corners of the world. Hence arose all the various tongues of mankind.

Europe

The Greeks had a legend that

for many ages men lived at peace, without cities and without laws, speaking one language, and ruled by Zeus alone. . . At last Hermes introduced diversities of speech and divided mankind into separate nations.

Polynesia

Polynesians on the island of Hao said that Rata and his three sons survived a great flood. Then

they made an attempt to erect a building by which they could reach the sky, and see the creator god Vatea [Atea]; but the god in anger chased the builders away, broke down the building, and changed their language, so that they spoke diverse tongues.

Middle East

Sumerians believed that all people spoke one language, as claimed in the poem Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta:

In those days . . . the whole universe, the people in unison, . . .

Enki, the Lord of abundance, . . .

Changed the speech in their mouths, and [brought?] contention into it,

Into the speech of man that [until then] had been one.

Southeast Asia

A legend of the Gaikho tribe of Burma (Myanmar) says,

In the days of Pan-dan-man, the people determined to build a pagoda that should reach up to heaven. . . When the pagoda was half way up to heaven, God came down and confounded the language of the people, so that they could not understand each other. Then the people scattered, and Than-mau-rai, the father of the Gaikho tribe, came west, with eight chiefs, and settled in the valley of the Sitang.



And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually - 2 Samuel 15:12

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Panda
Member (Idle past 1094 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 13 of 32 (633931)
09-17-2011 8:06 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Portillo
09-17-2011 12:56 AM


Nice cognitive bias.

I would ask you to list the religious myths that don't describe a vague language+migration event - but that would probably be as off-topic as your post was.


Always remember: QUIDQUID LATINE DICTUM SIT ALTUM VIDITUR

Science flies you into space; religion flies you into buildings.


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 32 (633934)
09-17-2011 9:48 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Portillo
09-17-2011 12:56 AM


Evidence of What?
I'm not sure I see how this is related.

How does this address the issue of the dates for PIE alone being incompatible with the Genesis YEC account? How does this address the issue that there is not a shred of evidence suggesting there was ever a single world language, most especially any time within even a few thousand years of the YEC creation?

Jon


Love your enemies!

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Portillo
Member (Idle past 1542 days)
Posts: 258
Joined: 11-14-2010


Message 15 of 32 (633990)
09-17-2011 8:49 PM


Well it proves that one language isnt just a crazy biblical myth. But can be found all over the world.

And the conspiracy was strong, for the people increased continually - 2 Samuel 15:12

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