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6 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
Eddie Larry Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Hi Simon, I am wondering why and how you think our > civilization is or will collapse? I would suggest > our collapsing is overwhelming predicted and still > keeps on going. In terms of 'why', I think the two words that cover it best are 'greed' and 'ignorance'. We have the means to deal with almost
Forum: Author of the Month
6 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
greengirl5 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Yes, language has changed everything for us in the > evolution. Will there be enough chimpanses left to > evolve too? We will probably wipe them out. But > they use sign language, some of them, both with > humans and other chimps. Yes, and that only goes to show that they have the intelligence to u
Forum: Author of the Month
6 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
Susan Doris Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Seeing your name at the top of a post has come to > mean a good read to follow! I do hope you manage > to persuade someone to make an audio copy of your > book. Please let me know if ever this happens (my > e-mail is in my profile), and I shall do my best > to remain alive to hear it!! :) >
Forum: Author of the Month
6 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
greengirl5 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > My soul is what I am. Yes indeed, our souls are what we are. But what is 'we'? At the risk of banging my own drum, this is the conundrum I try to address in Chapter 4 of my book. As I have previously said, I believe all living things (and maybe even 'non-living') things have awareness, that comes with the territor
Forum: Author of the Month
7 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
Aine Wrote: > And yet, some of us are still stuck in the > "religion guides all phase". There is a resurgence > of anti-science and anti-intellectualism going on > now worldwide, the cult of ignorance lamented by > Asimov and Sagan. Unfortunately it never goes away, since (again, as I discuss in my book) we are all children of the culture and religion of the her
Forum: Author of the Month
7 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
It would perhaps be more correct to say that religion is an early form of science. In an attempt to understand the world around us, to make sense of what seems to be happening as we experience this mysterious thing we call life, religion (in the broadest sense) is usually our first port of call -- it was God (or the gods) wot dun it. As I detail in my book, this is an inevitable outcome of being
Forum: Author of the Month
7 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
Once again, I'm grateful for the interest people have shown. We all have our particular areas of expertise and special interest, and the great thing about a forum like this is that we get to share and learn from others, even if we don't always agree with them. My area of expertise and special interest happens to be language -- because I see it as the thing that holds the whole show together, the
Forum: Author of the Month
8 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
Susan Doris Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Another super post to round off a most interesting > and rewarding month. I hope your book gets > published in as many languages as possible and > that there is a world-wide extensive discussion of > it Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it -- and I hope so too! If 'Sapiens' can become so popular wi
Forum: Author of the Month
8 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
Thanks, Eddie. Glad you thought so.
Forum: Author of the Month
8 weeks ago
Simon Prentis
I must apologise to everyone for not having responded in the last few days, but I’ve been away from home and found it hard to keep up with all the tangled threads on a mobile handset. But back at base now, let me make a few final points: On the question of evolution and its relevance to homo sapiens, my main argument about language remains the same: that it is essentially a trick, not a trait.
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
drrayeye Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I was suggesting that > experimental results in evolutionary biology have > already led to several rather dramatic paradigm > shifts away from the Darwinian field theory you > have adapted for your work, and that the concept > of gradualism is not on very solid footing any > more. Not quite
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Edmond Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Comparing evolution to science, is misleading. > Doing so in the context of language acquisition, > is doubly misleading. But evolution and science are two completely different things. Evolution is an unconscious process of adaption with the purpose of survival (enabled by mutation), science a conscious meth
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
drrayeye Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Hi Simon, > > This may help you understand a non gradualist > POV--like Dr. CJ's: I have no problem with the idea of 'paradigm shifts' in consciousness in the context of either scientific endeavour or individual psychology. Indeed, the theory I am advancing about the origin of language itself represents
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
But the emergence of writing was not simultaneous, Carl. There's a potential gap of as much as two centuries between the Sumerian and Egyptian scripts -- certainly enough time for the idea of writing (if only using pictures to represent words) to have spread orally from one civilization to the other. And how are we to explain the delay in the emergence of writing in China, which took at least ano
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
greengirl5 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > What about swear words? Some have to do with sex, > others with the devil! Other countries have > different ones as far I I have noticed. Swear words are a very interesting topic, though more from a psychological and cultural perspective than a linguistic one. I don't know of any language that doesn't hav
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Yes, there are many, many theories about the origin of language. They are inevitably speculative, as without a time machine we can't go back and check. However, as far as I am aware, none of them focus on the one thing that we know for certain about language -- the fact that its core structure is digital. I know you have a problem (as do many people) with that word, but let me try to defuse it fu
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
I think the 'abstract thought' thing is a bit of a red herring. Language is the key to thought, as it gives you the ability to 'tag' your awareness with different sounds (or symbols) -- which allows you to hold them in your mind and consider them. Just as maths starts with numbers, thought starts with language. Complex thought, that is. I'm not suggesting animals don't think -- they clearly do --
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
cjcalleman Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > All we know is that the emergence of discreet > phonemes requires a quantum leap of the mind. But you see, Carl, we don't know that. You may 'know' that, but until you can show the rest of us how or why that could possibly happen, it's just a form of words without any meaningful content. By contrast, the e
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Susan Doris Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Thank you for reply. The 'Guns, Germs and Steel' > book is one that I have never been able to find an > accessible copy of, more's the pity. > > Susan It's a great book that attempts to show how and why human history developed the way it did through the spread of ideas and technology (and germs
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Sirius7237 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Okay if what you are saying is true then you have > to define the process of digitalization. First point (to be nit-picky, but it’s important) is that there's a difference between digitization and digitalization. ‘Digitization’ is about transforming the mode of transmission, changing it from analog to digita
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Sirius7237 Wrote: > Just to be clear I'm arguing that it started with > either a biological, cultural or physiological > event that snowballed into more biological, > cultural and physiological events And I'm arguing that it happened independently of that because the initial emergence of language (insofar as it began with the simple -- and gradual -- process of digitization)
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Susan Doris Wrote: > Before this month and the very interesting posts > you have written about your book, I would not have > thought of language simply developing from sounds > being the vital key to human progress, and I don't > remember reading anything which indicated this. If > I had, I think I would have thought, 'Ah, yes, but > what caused the language?' !! How
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
... or is this thread getting too complicated to follow? It's branching into the kind of divergent paths that language naturally leads us down. So I'm taking the liberty of starting a new header to clarify the main issues, as I see them. I am advancing the theory that the origin of language can best be understood as a natural process of digitization of sounds that arose from the existing prac
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
But no-one is talking about "proto-mentality". Language is simply an enabling mechanism, like any technology. My whole point is that if we want to understand the difference between humans and all other species -- whether in terms of our "technological, mental or spiritual evolution" (Carl's phrase) or any other aspect -- our ability to use language is a much better explanation
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
I'm aware of these studies, but my own view is that there is a fundamental problem with the assumption that it must have been changes to the brain that gave rise to language. That's because there'd need to be something that would act as an environmental driver to select for such changes, and although an increased capacity for general intelligence would no doubt be beneficial in any species to a c
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Eddie Larry Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Think of the One and the Many. You gave a great > point, that in terms of genes or brain activity, > language is like everywhere and nowhere. I think > of the meaning of language lies in the > practicalities of communication. We use language > to talk to other people, even animals and the
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Sirius7237 Wrote: > "In addition, the mutations that yield speech > and language impairments can be directly > introduced into cells grown in the laboratory, or > into animal models, to help understand how the > crucial mechanisms and pathways go awry in > disorder. For example, the FOXP2 mutation that > causes a severe speech and language disorder in > the
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
I'm sorry, Carl, you can't keep using the word 'reasonable' as your primary argument without providing the reasons that make it so. As far as I understand it, Darwin's key idea – which has nothing to do with DNA, since it had not been discovered in his lifetime – is simply that as no two individuals are ever born the same, the (random) accidents of birth mean that some are better able than others
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Brian has already covered most of what I would have said myself on this question, which to my mind can be settled by just one word: Tiktaalik. The extraordinary story of the discovery of this fossil -- which, as I point out in my book, was like predicting the position of a needle in a haystack, going looking for it, and then finding it -- is the best possible example of how the 'theory' of evolut
Forum: Author of the Month
2 months ago
Simon Prentis
Edmond Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Archetype is best explained by Plato. No energy, > matter, nature, ecology, species, consciousness or > culture could exist outside its bounds. That's a bold claim. Unless you have bold evidence, is there any reason why Hitchens' razor should not apply? > In Plato's > Cave analogy, experience and c
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