Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Creationism in Linguistics?

Over at the Language Log, there is a post about this insane book, I kid you not, The Origin of Speeches: Intelligent Design in Language (Paperback) . Now, I must say, centuries of linguists haven't been able to trace language relationships back more than several thousand years. Proto Indo-European seems to have been spoken between 5,000 and 9,000 years ago, although those error bars could extend back farther into time.

You might ask, "Why is that a problem?", to which I would have to explain that the thesis appears to be that in the garden of Eden, we all spoke the same language, and that languages diverged due to the tower of Babel. We have no estimates for the time when PIE merged with Hebrew, but it would certainly have been more than 10,000 years ago. However, the Creationists put the date of the garden of Eden much more recently than that.

Let me cite some reviews, "Origin of Speeches is a great way to learn about language, any language. You also learn alot about history and how academic fads or theories, like Darwinism can obscure important and accessible information." Ignoring the obvious misunderstanding of what constitutes a "theory", this reviewer refers to Darwinism (by which they mean evolutionary biology and related fields) as an "academic fad". When I write my first book, I'll make sure to have my mother be the first one to review to.

I may have to find this book at a library (since I won't be purchasing it) and carefully examine all of the arguments.

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