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Author Topic:   Language and the Tower of Babel
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 4022 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 1 of 95 (427231)
10-10-2007 2:35 PM


This has been touched on in previous areas but there doesn't seem to be a topic about it yet.

How do you (anybody) think language and the diversity of language came about?

If humans just had big enough brains to figure out how to use their digestive and respiratory systems to convert grunts into complex communication, how do you handle the creationist attack that says this seemingly came out of nowhere?

If humans (and language) were created by God, did language naturally evolve over the course of thousands of years, or did God suddenly poof all of linguistic diversity into existence in order to thwart the pesky humans who were trying to build a skyscraper and getting too close to his front door?

If God created linguistic diversity, how do you account for the fact that language continues to evolve today and modern English is less than 1000 years old? And does that mean "universal" languages like Esperanto that try to unite people are sinful since they would be contrary to God's will?


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by simple, posted 10-10-2007 5:33 PM bernerbits has responded
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 Message 7 by Jon, posted 10-10-2007 6:25 PM bernerbits has responded
 Message 13 by ringo, posted 10-10-2007 7:29 PM bernerbits has not yet responded

    
AdminPhat
Administrator
Posts: 1907
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-03-2004


Message 2 of 95 (427254)
10-10-2007 4:57 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
    
simple 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 3 of 95 (427261)
10-10-2007 5:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by bernerbits
10-10-2007 2:35 PM


quote:
If humans (and language) were created by God, did language naturally evolve over the course of thousands of years, or did God suddenly poof all of linguistic diversity into existence in order to thwart the pesky humans who were trying to build a skyscraper and getting too close to his front door?

Why not?

quote:
If God created linguistic diversity, how do you account for the fact that language continues to evolve today and modern English is less than 1000 years old? And does that mean "universal" languages like Esperanto that try to unite people are sinful since they would be contrary to God's will?

Like anything else, once things are created, and rolling along, they evolve.
I think that the universal language we had was more than just another language. I think it may have involved a different way of thinking, almost like another side of the brain. Not just that, however, but as I recall, there still was a spiritual element at that time. Angels marrying women, etc.

Since the tower of Babel you refer to comes right from the bible, we should note also, from that book a few other things relating to the idea.
One key thing is that when the spirit is ADDED, as we see in the new testament, all people understand the speaker. In other words, adding the spiritual is what makes the common language.

Conversely, if there was an added component back at the time of the same language, the way to lose it would be to take away, or separate the spiritual component!
A simple formula, and no long ages needed to evolve a common language.

That is my take.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by bernerbits, posted 10-10-2007 2:35 PM bernerbits has responded

Replies to this message:
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Taz
Member (Idle past 1369 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 4 of 95 (427264)
10-10-2007 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by bernerbits
10-10-2007 2:35 PM


I am reminded of what Hovind once said... If you think what he said makes sense, you need to go back to school...

quote:
"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." - Hovind


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by bernerbits, posted 10-10-2007 2:35 PM bernerbits has responded

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bernerbits
Member (Idle past 4022 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 5 of 95 (427268)
10-10-2007 5:50 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by simple
10-10-2007 5:33 PM


Why not?
Lack of substantiary evidence comes to mind. Also, that we now know God's front door isn't somewhere in Earth's atmosphere. Also, why this hasn't happened any time modern society has built skyscrapers.

One key thing is that when the spirit is ADDED, as we see in the new testament, all people understand the speaker. In other words, adding the spiritual is what makes the common language.
Hrm. Using Acts to justify Genesis via Holy Ghost Babel Fish seems suspect to me. But if you accept a priori that the whole Bible is inerrant truth given to man by God, you can probably infer internal consistency from it. For the sake of argument... otay.

I think that the universal language we had was more than just another language. I think it may have involved a different way of thinking, almost like another side of the brain. Not just that, however, but as I recall, there still was a spiritual element at that time. Angels marrying women, etc.
So, would you argue that had humanity never tried to build the tower of babel, everyone today would speak the exact same universal language that was imparted to Adam by God? What ramifications would that have on something like written word if language were partially spiritual?

Like anything else, once things are created, and rolling along, they evolve.
Except life?

Edited by bernerbits, : today

Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.

Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.

Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by simple, posted 10-10-2007 5:33 PM simple has responded

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bernerbits
Member (Idle past 4022 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 6 of 95 (427270)
10-10-2007 6:07 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Taz
10-10-2007 5:41 PM


Haha
LOL well... Hovind's always good for a laugh :D I wonder if he really is that crazy or if maybe he just thinks deception is a means to an end vis-a-vis saving souls.

Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.


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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 95 (427273)
10-10-2007 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by bernerbits
10-10-2007 2:35 PM


My 'theory'...
How do you (anybody) think language and the diversity of language came about?

I think that language first developed inside of the mind as a means of thinking, and that it later became put to use for communication. At first, it was probably a form of sign language, since I think that language came about long before the physical features were in place to 'speak'.

There is no means to think without language. I believe that during the early periods of our evolution, those critters born with a more advanced concept of this 'language', would be able to think better. At some point, the better 'thinking' (through the generations) would become advanced-enough to where it was able to out-do the meagre brain of the early creatures; that is, the use of the thoughts would begin pushing at the limits of the brain's capacity. At this point, then, it would seem that we would get the beginnings of ‘higher functioning’ brain selection through evolution. In other words, selective advantage for the bigger¹ brain would begin at this point, because thought itself would give rise to a need for the bigger brain in order to supply the higher processing power required for thought itself.

Try this neat test: Close off your brain and stop all the words that are running through your head. Remove yourself to an environment where there is no language entering into you. Remove all language completely from your life for just a few minutes.

If you do the test I mentioned above and remove language from your world for just a few minutes, you will see that most of your brain goes completely unused without language. It would seem to me, then, that the larger brain would not be selected for if it were not also able to be fully utilized. This is because evolution tends to work things down, especially things like brain and head size. As it is, our brains require massive amounts of energy, and before modern medicine, the passing of the large head was the major risk in childbirth, and many women died as a result. So, there has to be a reason for selecting the larger brain. Since we see that all that extra brain has no purpose and is useless without language, it would seem that there had to be a language present that was the driving force behind larger brain selection. Evolution doesn't select for larger non-functioning organs, it usually reduces them. So, we need to assume that it was functioning, and the only way we know of for the additional capacity of the brain to actually function is on language. Otherwise, you have a mostly non-functioning organ that just keeps increasing for no reason until one day: BAM, language... seems silly. Now, at what point the 'internal' language actually became externally used for communication, I haven't a clue.

As for the story about Babel: simple fairytale.

Jon
__________
¹ Note, I use 'bigger', but technically, I mean 'higher powered', since that's what really counts.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by bernerbits, posted 10-10-2007 2:35 PM bernerbits has responded

Replies to this message:
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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 95 (427274)
10-10-2007 6:28 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by bernerbits
10-10-2007 6:07 PM


Re: Haha
...maybe he just thinks deception is a means to an end vis-a-vis saving souls.

...more like vis-à-vis making money... :D


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by bernerbits, posted 10-10-2007 6:07 PM bernerbits has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by bernerbits, posted 10-10-2007 7:11 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
bernerbits
Member (Idle past 4022 days)
Posts: 73
Joined: 10-09-2007


Message 9 of 95 (427275)
10-10-2007 6:31 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Jon
10-10-2007 6:25 PM


Re: My 'theory'...
I think that language first developed inside of the mind as a means of thinking, and that it later became put to use for communication. At first, it was probably a form of sign language, since I think that language came about long before the physical features were in place to 'speak'.
Interesting. But all known languages rely on phonemes which rely on sounds. Does this mean that proto-hominids used imagined sounds to represent thought in their heads even before they were able to produce such sounds?

If you do the test I mentioned above and remove language from your world for just a few minutes, you will see that most of your brain goes completely unused without language.
Not at all. I've tried this experiment many many times and it gets easier the more you practice. It gets easy to substitute word-thought with images, colors, tastes, smells, sensations, and nonverbal sounds.

As for the story about Babel: simple fairytale.
No doubt in my mind, but there are enough biblical literalists here that it's interesting to see how the sane ones resolve their beliefs with their reality.

Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.

Edited by bernerbits, : No reason given.


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 Message 7 by Jon, posted 10-10-2007 6:25 PM Jon has responded

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Vacate
Member (Idle past 2678 days)
Posts: 565
Joined: 10-01-2006


Message 10 of 95 (427276)
10-10-2007 6:33 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by simple
10-10-2007 5:33 PM


quote:
If humans (and language) were created by God, did language naturally evolve over the course of thousands of years, or did God suddenly poof all of linguistic diversity into existence in order to thwart the pesky humans who were trying to build a skyscraper and getting too close to his front door?

simple writes:

Why not?

A group of people decide to build a bridge to the moon. You have a few choices at your disposal.

  • Tell them they will fail
  • Split them up and make them unable to communicate
  • Pull up a lawn chair and watch the show

    Given that we know heaven is not just outside the atmosphere and the construction project was doomed to failure why would God bother to do what he did? Since man has been able to overcome the language barrier what point did the punishment serve?

    Like anything else, once things are created, and rolling along, they evolve.

    This sounds familiar. Are there any barriers to this rolling along and evolving theory of yours?

    A simple formula, and no long ages needed to evolve a common language.

    If what you are after is simplicity - It all started last tuesday. Takes a bite out of textbook sales though.


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     Message 3 by simple, posted 10-10-2007 5:33 PM simple has responded

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  • bernerbits
    Member (Idle past 4022 days)
    Posts: 73
    Joined: 10-09-2007


    Message 11 of 95 (427281)
    10-10-2007 7:11 PM
    Reply to: Message 8 by Jon
    10-10-2007 6:28 PM


    Re: Haha
    vis-à-vis making money
    How can you say that! Don't you know he's offering a million dollars to the first person who can disprove creationism? How selfless can you get? He's like a biblical James Randi! OK, sorry for the sarcasm. Might be some Hovind supporters on here. But he makes it so damn easy to make fun. Though that's not exactly stimulating of fruitful debate so I'll knock it off.
    This message is a reply to:
     Message 8 by Jon, posted 10-10-2007 6:28 PM Jon has not yet responded

        
    bernerbits
    Member (Idle past 4022 days)
    Posts: 73
    Joined: 10-09-2007


    Message 12 of 95 (427282)
    10-10-2007 7:13 PM
    Reply to: Message 10 by Vacate
    10-10-2007 6:33 PM


    Takes a bite out of textbook sales though.
    Those textbooks were put there by God and/or Satan to test your faith that the universe has only been around for oh say 30 seconds. Dammit, there I go with the sarcasm again.
    This message is a reply to:
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    ringo
    Member
    Posts: 16237
    From: frozen wasteland
    Joined: 03-23-2005
    Member Rating: 1.9


    Message 13 of 95 (427284)
    10-10-2007 7:29 PM
    Reply to: Message 1 by bernerbits
    10-10-2007 2:35 PM


    If God created linguistic diversity, how do you account for the fact that language continues to evolve today and modern English is less than 1000 years old?

    The fundy/creo answer would probably be that mankind's let's-get-to-heaven-on-our-own attitude hasn't changed, so God is still trying to divide us. (That would also explain why He's against the UN.)

    I'm sure the current trend toward English as a universal language, especially on the Interent, has Him plenty worried.

    And does that mean "universal" languages like Esperanto that try to unite people are sinful since they would be contrary to God's will?

    If Esperanto was successful, it would be part of the on-going divine plan for division. However, a couple of million speakers is effectively zero.

    Imperialism seems to be a more efficient strategy for spreading universal languages. That's why God is against imperialism.... Hmm.... Who'da thunk fundy logic would trip itself up?


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    -- Joseph Goebbels
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    This message is a reply to:
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    Jon
    Inactive Member


    Message 14 of 95 (427285)
    10-10-2007 7:44 PM
    Reply to: Message 9 by bernerbits
    10-10-2007 6:31 PM


    Re: My 'theory'...
    But all known languages rely on phonemes which rely on sounds.

    Right you are: ASL.

    ;)


    This message is a reply to:
     Message 9 by bernerbits, posted 10-10-2007 6:31 PM bernerbits has responded

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    simple 
    Inactive Suspended Member


    Message 15 of 95 (427310)
    10-11-2007 1:52 AM
    Reply to: Message 5 by bernerbits
    10-10-2007 5:50 PM


    quote:
    Lack of substantiary evidence comes to mind. Also, that we now know God's front door isn't somewhere in Earth's atmosphere. Also, why this hasn't happened any time modern society has built skyscrapers.
    There was a level for the spirits not too high above back at the time of Babel. Why else would they build up to it? The angesls, as mentioned had sex and babies with earth girls even. Obviously there is no longer that level.

    quote:
    Hrm. Using Acts to justify Genesis via Holy Ghost Babel Fish seems suspect to me. But if you accept a priori that the whole Bible is inerrant truth given to man by God, you can probably infer internal consistency from it. For the sake of argument... otay.
    Yes I can.

    quote:
    So, would you argue that had humanity never tried to build the tower of babel, everyone today would speak the exact same universal language that was imparted to Adam by God? What ramifications would that have on something like written word if language were partially spiritual?

    Well, no. I happen to be of the opinion that Babel just happened to be at the time of a big change in the universe, I won't go into here. This also was the eime of the ice age, continental separation, mountain building, lifespan shortening, slowing of evolution speeds, plant growth. and etc etc.

    If there was no change, then, yes, we would still have one language.

    Oh, and for your last point, I include life. Yes. I believe we were endowed with the ability to evolve at creation, but the change at the time of Babel reduced that to a crawl as well.

    Edited by simple, : No reason given.


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