Sometimes I get the impression that atheists hide behind a facade of intellectualism, by choosing longer than necessary words and/or sentences. For example we have "discussions" (three syllables) where MySpace has "threads" (one syllable).

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LOVE the sign, LOL!!

I just love words and language. I don't have much in the way of talent, but language is definitely it. I just automatically use the words I know to express exactly what I mean, and sometimes I do use words that others may not understand. I try to be aware of that and tailor my language accordingly, but don't catch it all the time.

If medicine were just the words, and I could have forgotten the science, I would have LOVED to be a doctor, just for the joy of the vocabulary!

Isn't the phrase "excessive wordiness" actually redundant?
BTW...I agree and getcha 100%.
Brevity is the soul of more than just wit.
I believe that 'words' are instruments not just of expression but of the dynamic process of thought itself. Words are the most direct connection to the internal person...they erupt in symbolic expression at the surface of consciousness, are shared as communication but...they then loop back into the ongoing processes of thinking. In other terms, I cannot think without language. Language is analogous to the "operating system" of a computer. Without it there is no higher cognition, no memory (certainly no formatting for retrieval) and no interface with others through symbolic exchanges. So, IMHO, language is essential because it is prior to human thought, memory and history. As such, it has been indispensable to our evolutionary journey.   
For me, that would be tough to explain in monosyllables.

Actually words are not necessary for thinking -- they are only necessary for verbal thinking. There is, however, non-verbal thinking, which is easily demonstrated in dogs, cats, apes, parrots and preverbal babies. Memory is also not dependent on words -- cats certainly remember the sound of the can opener. I once had a cat that had been dropped off a roof as a kitten onto a concrete driveway, and had clearly suffered brain damage. What was interesting was that she did NOT respond to the sound of the can opener, even when the other cats went running into the kitchen. In addition, I know it's not the smell, because they come running even when I'm opening a can of beans, which surely don't smell good like cat food does.

Just a tidbit to complicate the discussion! :-)

Perhaps I didn't express myself clearly. I wasn't speaking of those types of stimulus-response "memory" tasks---like responding to a bell ringing. That's already been explained by Pavlov. I was speaking of higher order thought anyhow. I can assure you that the processing of symbols (words) is a prerequisite for thinking. To have at least an initial command of language is absolutely required in order to think in ways that are human. To generate store and to retrieve thoughts is uniquely gifted to us. Why do you suppose that, although the child is aware and responsive, they don't remember being born or nursed or even learning to talk? Each new child's "memory" is not adequately developed in the early months, so they have no way to store the "snapshots" of very early cogent memories of it. They must begin to manipulate their environment and acquire words in order to form "memories". Also, why do you suppose people who speak a different language often have a different style of thinking. You might say..."Well, it's cultural, of course." But what determines culture at the most fundamental level of its formation? Language, of course.
The human formatting of the infant brain is a prerequisite to language, to high order reasoning and even to culture. That's something no cat has ever done nor had to do.
Larry, you said, "to store and to retrieve thoughts is uniquely gifted to us."  Please, don't use "gift" as a verb.  I hear from xians every day how god gifted them this, and god gifted them that.  It drives me nuts!  Also, by whom were we given this gift of language?
By evolutionary efforting, good luck and, of course, survival success---what else? Relax. I started this journey of mine 60+ years ago and am hobbled by the language of metaphor owing to my youthful years as a poet.
Efforting!  Efforting?
Efforting? Yes...Efforting!

Urban Dictionary has it listed as an awkward (I agree) new expression that has creeped into the language but I don't mean in the common commercial & enterprising sense...U.D. lists 4 definitions; one is:
efforting:  acts of putting forth effort, either in the thinking stage or action stage, in order to sustain a task.

Language expressed and passed on knowledge as oral history before the advent of writing. In Ireland, bards traveled through the countryside sharing stories, songs, and history.
Sure. When I use the term "words", I'm referring to written, spoken, sung...language.



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