Sunday, September 16, 2012
Doctor Who is not Doctor Dolittle
This is just a quick rant about last night's Doctor Who. I liked it, but I refuse to believe that the Doctor can speak to horses. Eleven has spoken with babies before as well, which is also impossible.
First of all, I don't think anyone would dispute the statement that neither babies or horses are mentally advanced enough to produce any form of communication that would qualify as a language. There's also no way a horse possesses the degree of self-awareness required to identify itself as transgendered.
Secondly, whenever the Tardis translates a language, the audience always hears it as English. Since we did not hear the babies or the horse speaking in English, this means they were not actually speaking in anything that counts as a language.
The Doctor has claimed to speak five billion languages before, and it's a little unclear if he means he personally knows five billion languages, or the Tardis can translate five billion languages. As smart as the Doctor is, he is still roughly Human in a biological sense, and there is no way a Human brain could hold five billion languages. Even if it could, the Doctor is telepathically linked to the Tardis, so there's no reason it wouldn't know every language he knows, which it would then translate for us. For instance, When Amy was at Demon's Run, all of the aliens and people from thousands of years in the future appeared to be speaking English. Since they obviously weren't, the Tardis must have been translating. So why wouldn't it translate what Melody was saying? Because she wasn't saying anything.
In conclusion, babies and horses cannot and do not have real languages, and if they did the Tardis would translate them. When the Doctor claims to be speaking with babies and animals, he's just being a goofball, or perhaps is genuinely deluded.