As an intellectual challenge, dear reader, we want you to figure out what was said in a new Discovery Institute blog post. But first we’ll give you some background. PhysOrg recently reported: Monkey speak: Macaques have the anatomy, not the brain, for human speech. That article tells us:
Monkeys known as macaques possess the vocal anatomy to produce “clearly intelligible” human speech but lack the brain circuitry to do so, according to new research.
The findings — which could apply to other African and Asian primates known as Old World monkeys — suggest that human speech stems mainly from the unique evolution and construction of our brains, and is not linked to vocalization-related anatomical differences between humans and primates, the researchers reported Dec. 9 in the journal Science Advances.
This is the published paper they’re talking about: Monkey vocal tracts are speech-ready. You can read it online without a subscription, but we’ll stay with PhysOrg, which says:
Co-corresponding author Asif Ghazanfar, a Princeton University professor of psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute, said that scientists across many disciplines have long debated if — and to what extent — differences between the human and primate vocal anatomy allow people to speak but not monkeys and apes.
“Now nobody can say that it’s something about the vocal anatomy that keeps monkeys from being able to speak — it has to be something in the brain. Even if this finding only applies to macaque monkeys, it would still debunk the idea that it’s the anatomy that limits speech in nonhumans,” Ghazanfar said. “Now, the interesting question is, what is it in the human brain that makes it special?”
At this point you’re probably wondering what a creationist could do with that. You’re about to find out at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog, where Klinghoffer just posted Why Do Monkeys Not Speak? Because They’re Not Human. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
A study in Science Advances indicates that monkeys could speak — they have the anatomic wherewithal, an adequate vocal tract — if only they had the brains to go with it. The miracle of the Darwinian mechanism [Hee hee!] is that it gives to creatures, or rather retains on their behalf, what is adaptive, that is to say, useful. So evolving the sophisticated equipment specially required for a skill your species will never develop seems a bit puzzling.
Klinghoffer is puzzled about why the “miracle” of evolution gave monkeys the physical ability to speak but didn’t provide them with the ability to use that ability. He quotes from an interview with the lead author of the published paper, W. Tecumseh Fitch:
… Fitch and his team believe that most mammals possess flexible, speech-ready vocal tracts. He said, “It seems clear that this type of flexibility evolved early on, for reasons other than vocalization, probably initially for food processing — manipulating and swallowing food.”
What can Klinghoffer do with that? He tells us:
Oh, it evolved for “food processing,” they say. To go with every biological mystery, evolution never fails to puts its finger on a speculative story.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Scientists speculate; but of course the Discoveroids never do. Klinghoffer continues:
[T]he new view underlines what Wesley Smith calls human exceptionalism.
Ah yes — “human exceptionalism.” That’s a recent theme of the Discoveroids. The phrase seems to be a thinly disguised claim that humans aren’t related to other animals, and therefore, as creationists always say: “I ain’t no kin to no monkey.” It also seems to be Discoveroid code for “In His Image,” but they avoid specifically saying that because — cough, cough — they’re scientists, not creationists.
Klinghoffer ends his post with this:
Now that anatomy is removed as an explanation for their reticence, the obvious truth is left as the remainder: Monkey don’t speak because they are not human.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Brilliant! Hey, parrots can talk, and they’re not humans either. And humans don’t fly because they’re not birds. One could go on endlessly like that, describing the differences between species. What’s the point? Does Klinghoffer even have a point?
The Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design informs us that every biological feature was brought forth for a purpose. But what was the purpose of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — in giving monkeys the apparatus for speech? It seems to be an unsolvable problem for the creationists, but Klinghoffer appears to think it’s a point in their favor. We can’t figure it out.
So that’s your challenge, dear reader. Tell us why Klinghoffer even bothered to write his little post.
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