The "evolution" of languages is certainly fascinating.
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, let’s 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 Babel—because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.
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.
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.
Well it proves that one language isnt just a crazy biblical myth. But can be found all over the world.
But there is *much* more to the myth than the simple assertion that there was, at some time in human history, a single language. Who knows? Maybe there was. Maybe in the depths of history, there was a unified proto-language of some kind spoken by a human ancestor. I'm not a linguist, so I won't speculate beyond the myth.
However, the myth also specifies that the entire human population was concentrated in one specific location and that, through divine interference, was given different languages and forced to migrate throughout the world (from that specific point). This brings up several key points:
1. Languages were divinely created and directly implanted into humanity 2. The entire human population was concentrated (very recently, say 2,000 BCE give or take if you read the literalists) in one specific location in the middle east 3. At a point, the divinity becomes alarmed (threatened?) by the potential of humanity if they all work together (seriously, how is this not evil?) 4. The divinity creates a plethora of languages, forces the living humans to forget their old language in the process (see #1) and scatter across the land. They go on to colonize the entire world in very short order, simultaneously founding all of the cultures and civilizations which actual evidence shows us predate this supposed event.
You can regard the story as allegory or myth, intended to explain something about our world, or perhaps very vaguely rooted in an actual event, or maybe regard it as simple fiction; or you can take it literally and assign the event a time period. If you take it literally, you have a hefty burden of proof to show that these things actually did happen.
The more I think about it, the more the "Global Flood" debate ties directly into this topic, since they are absolutely interconnected.
I also find it interesting that, after reading through the Flood threads and some of the (imaginative) evidence presented there, no-one has come forward on the creationist side to attempt to seriously defend this myth.