Re: talking apes

Paul Arveson (
Mon, 6 May 96 12:25:20 EDT

In message <> "Sweitzer, Dennis" writes:
> I presume that under a theistic evolution scenario, God seeded our
> voiceboxes & directed our evolution there after. Does this imply that the
> degree of communication abilities is the distinction between human and
> animal?
It seems to me that there is a connection between language (by speech or
whatever means) and morality.

That is, in order for there to be morality, there have to be laws or commands
defining what is sinful (e.g. Thou shalt not eat from such and such a tree).
The existence of laws presupposes that the recipient understands the meaning of
the behavior that is condemned, *without having yet experienced it*.

For this reason, sin is meaningless for animals, and meaningful for all humans
who have the ability to communicate and understand. For this reason, the law is
relaxed somewhat in the case of insanity.

So the advent of language -- that is, communication that is complex enough to
describe a hypothetical event, and be understood as such -- seems to be what is
occurring in the story of Adam and Eve.

Any comments?

Paul Arveson, Research Physicist
(301) 227-3831 (W) (301) 227-1914 (FAX) (301) 816-9459 (H)
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