Monday, August 23, 2004

"How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Good question," answer Brazilian tribesmen.

According to New Scientist, the researchers experimented with a Brazilian tribe called Pirahc, whose language allows counting only upto [sic] two. They found that when the members of the tribe were shown more objects they were unable to tell the difference between four objects placed in a row and five in the same configuration.

Aside from the neurolinguistic [REDUNDANCY ALERT!] insight these Pirahc pairs give us, realize also that this insight also goes quite some distance in countering the extreme anti-theistic claims God-talk, and therefore God, is meaningless. The claim is that since divinity is ultimately inexpressible (or at least not perfectly coherently expressible), then its very subject -- God -- must be meaningless as well. Balderdash. Try this logic out on a Pirahc villager when he sees more than two wild boars charging at him. The Pirahc inability to formulate higher mathematical concepts hardly renders them meaningless; and it's leagues from suggesting such concepts don't exist. Likewsie, the human inability to express the sum and summits of divine truth do little to prove those peaks are unattainable, and certainly say little about whether they exist.

No comments: