My great friend from our days at Indiana University, Dr. Walter Jordan, has an eclectic bent and a background in science. Over the years he has patiently striven to exposit for me numerous scientific phenomena. Occasionally I get it. However, even though I began college with the goal of defeating the Soviet Union in the space race, reality sat in during my freshman physics class.
It was not my fault that physics and I fell out of love when I was an eighteen-year-old freshman at Oklahoma State University. It was O.S.U.’s fault for seating the students alphabetically which resulted in my sitting right next to Dana Darlene Reno who was not only a fellow student but also Miss Oklahoma 1961. Somehow my mind never quite focused on the exciting mysteries of space and time. As for Miss Reno, I am fairly certain her ability to concentrate was not similarly impacted.
Regardless, it turned out that the formulation of sentences suited my abilities better than the formation of formulas. English and psychology were substantially less confounding to me than cascading atoms. However, my friend Walt has never given up hope that the light of scientific discovery might seep through my dark layers of linguistics. In fact, his most recent effort to lift the veil from my frontal lobe involved human speech and evolution. For Christmas Dr. Jordan sent me a copy of Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech, which points out that Charles Darwin’s claim that Natural Selection is the cosmogonism for the human race is disputable.
Darwin dearly wanted his theory to be the “Theory of Everything” (that’s the definition of cosmogonism) when it came to Homo sapiens. However, according to Tom Wolfe’s book, not only does Natural Selection not explain everything in Man’s development, Darwin was not even the first to have the idea. Wolfe posits that Darwin usurped the theory of Evolution from Alfred Russell Wallace and then spent the rest of his life, Darwin’s, trying to justify his chicanery.
The real problem for Darwin and numerous others such as the contemporary guru Noam Chomsby, was and is language. If Natural Selection is the total answer to Man’s rise from amoeba to atomic power, there should be gradations of speech such as from apes to humans; there are not says Wolfe.
Well, Gentle Reader, I know you might prefer, as did I, to daydream about things other than the lack of evidence for the progression of speech from specie to specie to us. If so, blame Walt. He is the one who sent me the book. I only read it because Peg threatened to have me clean the attic if she caught me with any idle time.