Creation, Evolution, and Linguistic Relativity

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

The first part of this article will be short and, I think, amusing. I wrote "Artificial Intelligence and Evolving Morality" and then followed up with "Artificial Psychotic Intelligence". These addressed how some scientists and others want to use AI to discern morality, but AI is determined by the programmers, their biases, and the quality of the programming itself.

Robots and other forms of artificial intelligence lack creativity. A couple of researchers at Google attempted to make a machine that would generate lyrics. The results were unimpressive, perhaps only suitable for the hands at the Darwin Ranch after boozing it up on payday or for 21st century pop songs. Not only do machines lack creativity, they don't properly deal with language itself.

Language is an essential part of human communication, and it changes over time.
Language books, Freeimages / dog madic
Now we're coming to the main part of this here article. Language evolves. Yes, you heard me right. But I used the word evolves very deliberately. Language changes over time, but that has nothing to do with Darwinian cogitations. I use some cowboy lingo, which came out West with people that originally lived in the South. Some of those expressions, in turn, can be traced to England. A more dramatic example of changes in the English language can be seen by taking a gander at the original and more current reading of the Canterbury Tales. Or maybe Beowulf. If you study on it, you may notice language changes in various regions or within your own lifetime. Language is an essential part of human communication, and it changes.

I came across an article on Grammar Girl written by Neal Whitman, "Does Your Language Influence How You Think?" It discussed several things, including linguistic relativity. Simply put, your language may affect how you think. There may be some merit to that. Whitman discussed how a German court that officials cannot assume there are only two genders (a concept that denies both science and the Bible). German, like other languages, has gender-specific words. To make a gender-neutral society, the language itself would have to change. While languages evolve, it's a mite difficult to force everyone to discard what has been built for many years for the sake of a few confused folks. It seemed to me that the author was in favor of making people accept such drastic changes. This could possibly change the way people think — at least, according to some secularist viewpoints.

There are times I have seen where language influences my own thinking. It happened when I was learning computer programming languages and I had to learn to think about how a computer would accept my code. Also, I have read older books where the authors had richer vocabularies, and it seemed to influence my thinking for a while. You may want to try that little experiment yourselves.

Christians, are you spending time reading God's Word and learning to think the way a Christian should think? Maybe you're spending your time watching movies and reading things that you cannot imagine joyfully sharing with Jesus. You should want the Bible to influence your thoughts, not the things of the world. Just something to consider for your spiritual lives.

Language is something that is a gift from our Creator — minerals-to-minion evolution had nothing to do with it. Yes, languages changed over time (especially after Babel), but that is not Darwinian evolution. Language, creativity, and creative language set us apart from the critters. We communicate on a higher level than the animals. There are limits to language changes. Relatively speaking.