There is a considerable academic and scientific community that holds a belief that “thought” is determined by our vocabulary and understanding of the language, where people just can’t think “right” without linguistic ability to describe a given thought. Such people may quote a tribe in Africa that doesn’t have a word for “watch” or “time”, therefore they can’t think in terms of time. Without the concept of present, past, or future that African tribe somehow managed to survive for thousands of years in one of the harshest environments on the planet, while that academic advisor would have great difficulty in surviving such environment without help from others for more than few days without food and water. That African tribe seems to have more “consciousness” than that Western College Professor “teaching” English language with words that include “respect” and “decency.”
Not clear on the point. If the professor saw that there was a language deficiency that would make an education in a language driven field too difficult, then it makes sense to recommend something else. It would not be a matter of whether one language is the one true sign of intelligent life; it would simply be a practical necessity. One like myself would be ill equipped to manage affairs in, say, an African tribal environment, and it would be reasonable for the tribal leader to deny me a place their beyond my capacity. I don't see the issue here. It's not a matter of one being better than the other, it's about simply being able to function well enough in a given language environment.
However, before logic there was self-aware thought in ability to learn through observation that can be easily seen in animals without the ability to communicate through mutually understood language between different species.
I don't think there was self aware thought prior to logic. What could this be? To be self aware, one has to bring a prior awareness into question, and a question has a logical form, that is, questions stand in relation to other grammatical/logical forms and produce logical dialectic. A question is inherently logical. Thus, self awareness is inherently logical.
And animal language doesn't amount to much, does it? Animals don't take up the world "as" like we do; they don't, that is, interpret.
Hence observation is the fundamental tool of all knowledge that is greatly supplemented by the reasoning of logic.
Not quite right, I would say. To say that knowledge is supplemented by logic would imply a kind of knowledge that is void of logic. I am willing to admit my cat knows where the food bowl is, but has no concept of bowl or spatial position. The same could be said of an infant child. But is this knowing absent of logic? My thought is that there is a kind of proto-logic in the mind of a cat; or a cow that knows there is no grass beyond the fence because it was just there and ate it all, and while not explicitly thinking gee I think I'll try somewhere else because I know there is nothing to eat there, having a logical form of the conditional if....then dimly present at the time.
Actually, in modern science we often get into trouble attempting to supplement logic with observation of the experimental data, such as statistical analysis of human population data that makes sense to economists but doesn’t seem to reflect the economic reality of the population. There are many brilliant minds that ask questions with greater concern for enjoyment of the sound of their voice rather than actual answer. There is nothing wrong in catering to one’s own motives in the debate, where it be to show one’s point of view or simply to appear smart, there is always an opportunity to learn something new, even from those who ask the wrong questions. However, such polemics can be frustrating when the debate involves a topic of “what could be the main course for dinner today”, while the Titanic is sinking. This is why I refuse to entertain such silly term as a "zombie meme"
Here it sounds like you have an ax to grind with presumptuous professors. But I am reminded that your original complaint was
"I hope that what you meant to say: was that what we are able to communicate to others, knowledge, is tainted by the language of the observer and not that the language of the observer controls what one can learn"
Now this has to be wrong. Knowledge is tainted by language? We are not int he primitive world of my cat, who's one word vocabulary pretty much means "hey you!." I can see that if the cat were among it own kind, other cats in a community of cats, there would be some greater intuitive body of intersubjective possibilities. In fact, I can see this in the purring, the hissing and so on. But to think this is somehow primary, I can't even begin to understand. It sounds like you're saying all these words we use to build spaceships and conceive of forms of government just "taint" the original grunts and bellows.
Similarly, we can "strip" the human brain to its basic components and the physiology of transmission of the electrical impulses with all the complexity in interaction of the neurotransmitters controlled by the electrolyte levels influenced by the enzymes, medication, or hormones and pH. All this can be learned and understood, except for the actual "message" of the "radio wave" picked up by the supra-consciousness. It may become a cliche by now, in how often "Love" is cited as such abstract concept that is no more "tangible" even if reduced to the basic biochemical reactions. I wish that I could accept knowledge of the unconscious experience as a driving motive for the consciousness, yet this doesn't explain the supra-consciousness of youth without experience. There are simply some things that can't be adequately "dressed in words", similar to love.
With this, I am going to have to aggravate your pet peeve a little. Apologies.
You account above is, I am sure, reasonable, given added context in theory. But i would point out the whole thing is done with words, as is the observational grounding of any empirical datum. I do sympathize with your position here, though: Language is not an emotion nor is it any particular "presence" of the world, if we mean by presence what is on the intuitive side of a perceptual event. Such a presence is entirely transcendental. It is ineffable, yet it sits there before us, Presence as such is the most profound thing a person can acknowledge, every occasion a burning bush.
But knowing, human knowing requires language to be taken up by a knowing agent. UNLESS, that is, you want to count as knowledge the meows and bow wows; or rather, the "knowing" that lies beneath the perceptual skin, deep, intuitive, the kind of thing that stirs an animal to bark or chirp. Yes, there is a matrix of animal "qualia" that possesses the imprint of instinct embracing the world . But to say this, we are saying very little indeed. Not that there is no rich stream of experience within the psyche of an animal--this I am reasonably sure there is; but to call this knowledge and belief, the kind of thing thought is constructed out of, that discloses the world to us in such profound nuance and complexity, gathering it together in metaphor and imagery, in poetry, rhetoric, and essay. I think not.
-- Updated September 13th, 2017, 10:03 pm to add the following --
One can't "disprove atheism", as much as one can disprove irrationality.
Just That?? Come now. Screw your courage to the sticking place! You'll not fail. I will help.