In the 70s, Columbia University began an extended study on language acquisition by having a family raise a baby Chimpanzee. He was given the name Nim Chimpsky, a play on the name of the world famous linguist Noam Chomsky whose theory of language was being tested with their research. The idea was to teach Nim sign language and to test the thesis put forward by Chomsky that human language was a distinctly human faculty, hardwired into the brain from birth.
The story that follows is the classic tale of unfettered hope dashed by the disappointment of reality. Nim was able to sign but never developed the ability to build syntactic structures or compose anything resembling fully realized language. Despite the deepest wishes of everyone involved, and the love and affection that few human children experience, Nim was unable to transcend his own violent, chimpanzee nature.
The story illustrates a simple point that everyone intuitively understands—Nature does not kneel before our good intentions.
This website will host a range of content, some of it dealing with uncomfortable truths that people understandably don’t like to talk about. The language acquisition of animals will probably not be among them, sad to say.
Our hope is to eventually pave a way to think and engage these truths in a way that is not self-defeating and not at odds with liberalism.
We are also very interested in pictures of Chimps doing human things because they are funny.