A Talking Ape Myth From National Geographic TV Claims Which Fly In The Face Of Science (12 April 2003)

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In the documentary "The Cleverest Ape in the World," broadcast by the National Geographic TV channel, it was claimed that monkeys can speak like human beings. Throughout the program, chimpanzee behavior similar to that of man was put forward as a basis proving evolution. It went even further, and maintained that chimps actually think like human beings. In one study cited an orangutan was able to communicate with its trainer by means of signs. It was claimed that this communication was a primitive language. In the commentary section these observations were suggested as sufficient for regarding monkeys as relatives of man. The invalidity of this claim is dealt with below in the light of the scientific literature.

In the documentary "The Cleverest Ape in the World," broadcast by the National Geographic TV channel, it was claimed that monkeys can speak like human beings. Throughout the program, chimpanzee behavior similar to that of man was put forward as a basis proving evolution. It went even further, and maintained that chimps actually think like human beings. In one study cited an orangutan was able to communicate with its trainer by means of signs. It was claimed that this communication was a primitive language. In the commentary section these observations were suggested as sufficient for regarding monkeys as relatives of man. The invalidity of this claim is dealt with below in the light of the scientific literature.

It must first be made clear that human beings" ability to communicate with one another, either orally or using signs, is a characteristic which the theory of evolution cannot account for. For this reason, evolutionists attempt to build a similarity between monkeys and human beings based on methods of communication. Here, a monkey reacting in a similar way to human beings is a sensational piece of news for evolutionists trying to prove the theory of evolution to put before the public.

The fact is, however, that palaeontological research has revealed that no such process as evolution ever happened. The science of genetics has demonstrated that it is impossible for the features possessed by a species to emerge by coming together over time.

 

 It was explained in the program how a monkey used a primitive sign language. However, evolutionists have made a great many attempts to teach chimpanzees to speak but have never succeeded. The famous linguist Philip Lieberman describes the failure of these experiments:

But though animal trainers and investigators have tried since the seventeenth century to teach chimpanzees to talk, no chimpanzee has ever managed it. True, a chimpanzee"s sound-producing anatomy is fundamentally different from our own. But chimpanzees might still produce a muffled approximation of human speech if their brains could only plan and execute the necessary articulate maneuvers. To do this, they would have to have our brains. (1)

As we can see, the problem is not that of producing the appropriate sounds, but the absence of the region, which controls speech in the monkey brain. The Broca region, described as the speech center, has only been defined in the human brain. It is here that the brain processes words and places them in a meaningful order. This is a most complex and difficult task. That is why no language can be classified as simple. Even the simplest known languages possess complex linguistic rules. These rules are complicated mathematical relationships, which put words into order according to their meaning.

It is impossible to speak of language without grammatical rules. It is meaningless to claim that animals, which express their needs by means of individual signs, are actually using language. The monkeys in the National Geographic TV documentary express their needs with signs, but are unable to string these together to make sentences. The problem of syntax, the meaningful stringing together of words, has scientifically demonstrated that unlike human beings, animals do not possess language. In the introduction to the book Symbolic Species by the linguist Terence Deaton, another linguist, Derek Bickerton, states this fact in these terms:

Could language have come directly out of some prehuman trait? No. Does it resemble forms of animal communication? No. . . . no ape, despite intensive training, has yet acquired even the rudiments of syntax… how words emerged, how syntax emerged. But these problems lie at the heart of language evolution. (2)

These results in the linguistic arena have led to evolutionists abandoning their hope of finding a simple language. For that reason, even the prominent British evolutionist biologist Richard Dawkins regards it as impossible to explain the origin of language. According to Dawkins, all languages, even the most primitive tribal ones, are exceedingly complex:

My clear example is language. Nobody knows how it began. . . . Equally obscure is the origin of semantics; of words and their meaning. . . . all the thousands of languages in the world are very complex. I am biased towards thinking it was gradual, but it is not quite obvious that it had to be. Some people think it began suddenly, more or less invented by a single genius in a particular place at a particular time. (3)

Speech is the greatest attribute separating human beings from animals. Monkeys possess to such ability. One of the most eminent linguists of our time, Professor Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, states, despite being an evolutionist himself, that our ability to speak has no counterpart in the animal kingdom:

Human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world. (4)

Of course it is clear that we did not develop the rules of grammar, which we cannot explain yet, which we abide by without even realizing it. We find linguistic rules ready-made, and employ them. The rules of speech are astonishing when one bears in mind the very complex calculations they require. It is for these reasons that it remains a great secret for some people how the ability to speak is acquired. Noam Chomsky comments on this saying there is not much to say on the origination of speech because despite the few elements that can be grasped, speech is quite a great mystery. (5)

The common view of experts in the field of linguistics is that man"s ability to speak did not develop by evolution from the primitive to the complex. Efforts to make animals speak go no further than animals" using signs without making sentences. That is because building sentences by putting words in a specific order depends on exceedingly complex rules, and the presence of a Broca region is necessary to control the process. More importantly, the ability to speak requires consciousness. Of all living things, consciousness is found only in man. For that reason, speech is an ability also peculiar to man.

It is the God, Exalted in Power, Who gives man the ability to speak. God inspires human beings to speak and causes them to do so. It is not possible for anything to speak unless God so desires. This truth is revealed in the Qur"an:

""They will ask their skins, "Why did you testify against us?" and they will reply, "God gave us speech as He has given speech to everything. He created you in the first place and you will be returned to Him.""  (Qur"an, 41: 21)

 

 

 

1 - Philip Lieberman, "Peak Capacity," The Sciences (vol. 37, Nov/Dec 1997), p. 27.
2- Derek Bickerton, "Babel"s Cornerstone," New Scientist (vol. 156, October 4, 1997), p. 42
3- Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow (Boston, Houghton-Miflin Co., 1998), p. 294.
4- Noam Chomsky, Language and Mind (New York: Harvourt, Brace, Jovan-ovich, 1972), p. 67,68.
5- Noam Chomsky, Powers and Prospects, p.16

Human Speech: The Greatest Dilemma For The Theory Of Evolution

2003-04-12 00:00:00

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