An article titled “Ape Gestures “show human links”” appeared on the BBC web site on 1 May, 2007. This considered bobo chimpanzees and the arm movements they use, and claimed that these shed light on the imaginary evolution of human speech. It repeated the classic evolutionist scenarios on the subject of the evolution of speech, originated from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and reflected a propaganda technique of the academy.
Not only monkeys, but all animals possess the ability to communicate in one way or another, and have a certain ability to learn. However, there is no great similarity between these abilties of animals and the human capacity for speech. Human speech is a complex phenomenon based on concepts such as grammar, syntax and linguistic structure, very different to the purely indicative communication ability in animals, and one which falls into a category all of its own.
When a human being speaks, he or she arranges words in such a way as to give rise to a specific meaning. The astonishing point here is that there is no need for anything concerning that arrangement to pass through his or her mind. Human beings merely wish to express themselves, and words pour from their mouths, one by one and in exactly the right order. During this process the vocal apparatus, consisting of various muscles and organs, assumes highly specific shapes, so absolute as to be capable of being described as utterly flawless. There are enormous differences between this miraculous ability and animals’ abilities to communicate. That being the case, relating evolutionary tall tales on the basis of animal communication abilities is a completely unscientific, fantastical approach. Indeed, the famous linguist Noam Chomsky writes:
“… human language appears to be a unique phenomenon, without significant analogue in the animal world. … n fact, it is difficult to see what links these stages at all (except for the metaphorical use of the term “language”). There is no reason to suppose that the “gaps” are bridgeable. There is no more of a basis for assuming an evolutionary development of “higher” from “lower” stages, in this case, than there is for assuming an evolutionary development from breathing to walking; the stages have no significant analogy, it appears, and seem to involve entirely different processes and principles.”1
Human language is a highly complex ability which cannot be explained through the imaginary requirements or fictitious mechanisms of the theory of evolution. Despite long years of research, evolutionists have totally failed to come up with any evidence for their claims that speech, a highly complex ability, evolved from simple animal forms of communication. David Premack from Pennsylvania University has said “human speech is an embarrassment for the theory of evolution,” thus clearly revealing this failure (Swisher III, Roger Lewin, “Java Man,” Abacus, London, 2002, p. 205).
Does a lack of scientific research or evidence play a role in that embarrassment? No. In fact, it is obvious that it is the origin of language istelf that represents an embarrassment for evolutionists. Speech is a phenomenon that cannot be reduced to mere matter.
It thus definitively refutes evolution, which is based on naturalist philosophy. A two-year-old child starts speaking without being taught how to do so, and also manages to do this in a manner conforming to grammatical rules. He is able to select the sequence within sentences in order to constitute meaning.
The great majority of linguists agree with Noam Chomsky’s thesis of “universal grammar” with regard to this amazing state of affairs. According to this thesis, human beings are not born with totally empty minds. Their minds contain a special tendency to acquire language and speech. The reason for this is that human beings are “programmed” beforehand, in other words, they possess a special creation.
There is no doubt that speech is a great miracle indicating Allah’s creation. Allah created man and gave him the ability to speak. Human speech is made possible by means of the special knowledge of Allah. Our Lord reveals this fact in a verse from the Qur’an: “He taught Adam the names of all things.” (Surah Al-Baqara, 31)
The human ability to speak constitutes one of the greatest dilemmas facing the theory of evolution. Therefore, unable to explain this subject in any way, Darwinists bring it up from time to time and attempt to show that there is a supposd evolutionary link between ape movements and speech. But this is deceptive. No matter how many arm movements a monkey makes, no matter how much it may learn, it will never possess the human capacity for speech. In order for that to happen, a living thing has to be created with this unique ability. And this is an ability that Allah, our Almighty Lord, has bestowed on human benings alone.
Note: This article also constitutes our response to a report headed “Bonobos and Chimps Speak with Gestures” which appeared on the New Scientist web site on 30 April, 2007.