Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Attica

The Kingdom of Speech

2 posts in this topic

This might be worth digging into.

 

 

"In this mettlesome, slyly funny takedown, Wolfe spotlights two key scientific rivalries, each pitting a scrappy outsider against the academy....Wolfe's pithy and stirring play-by-play coverage of compelling lives and demanding science transforms our perception of speech....As always, white-suited Wolfe will be all over the media...stirring things up and sending readers to the shelves."―Donna Seaman, Booklist

"A fresh look at an old controversy, as a master provocateur suggests that human language renders the theory of evolution more like a fable than scientific fact....Wolfe throws a Molotov cocktail at conventional wisdom in a book that won't settle any argument but is sure to start some."―Kirkus Reviews

"In lively, irreverent, and witty prose, Wolfe argues that speech, not evolution, sets humans apart from animals and is responsible for all of humankind's complex achievements....Wolfe's vibrant study manages to be clever, funny, serious, satirical, and instructive."―Publishers Weekly

"Tom Wolfe aims his unparalleled wit at evolution, arguing that complex language is the singular superpower that allows humans to rule the planet."
Harper's Bazaar


"This being Tom Wolfe, the ponderous debate over language and evolution takes on a kind of pop-art pizzazz....A curiously entertaining little book."
James Sullivan, Boston Globe

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barbara King:

Quote

It's devastatingly easy to undermine Wolfe's breezy dismissive statements — both about Darwin and about the great gulf that divides humans from other animals.

Wolfe repeatedly claims that Darwin had no evidence for his statements about the connectedness of life or the change over time in species. A response could begin by citing Darwin's extensive collection of evidence on his five-year Beagle voyage.

And remember that quote from Wolfe above, about how speech enabled us to make the crudest clubs and to remember for five minutes ahead? Wild chimpanzees and birds (among other animals) make and use tools without speech or other forms of language, and they surely think ahead to do it.

Jerry Coyne:

Wolfe doesn’t even understand the theory he so despises. Evolution, he argues, isn’t a “scientific hypothesis” because nobody’s seen it happen, there’s no observation that could falsify it, it yields no predictions and it doesn’t “illuminate hitherto unknown or baffling areas of science.” Wrong — four times over. We’ve seen evolution via real-time observations and ordered series of fossils; evolution could be falsified by finding fossils out of place, such as that of a rabbit in 400 million-year-old sediments; and evolution certainly makes predictions (Darwin predicted, correctly, that human ancestors evolved in Africa). As for evolution’s supposed failure to solve biological puzzles, Wolfe might revisit Darwin’s description of how evolution not only unlocks enigmas about embryology and vestigial organs, but clarifies some perplexing geographic ranges of animals and plants. Or he could rouse himself to read recent biology journals, which describe multitudes of evolutionary riddles being solved.

Edited by NBooth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0