Sunday, March 23, 2008

empty thoughts V

as i sit here in class wishing that Miller would become as awesome a professor as he is a person, but accepting that, tragically, this will never be...

5. Oh Steven Pinker, how I treasure you...

Pinker thinks grammar development is a support for non-selectionist theories of language development. He says that grammar is more complicated than it need be for the purposes of hunter gatherer lifestyle, with which I agree. However, I also think that when grammar/language was in initial stages of evolutionary development, it was probably exactly as complicated as it need be for that purpose. I like to think of the late H. s. sapiens as still being hunter-gatherers, and that as our hunting skills evolved to become more complicated, so did our language. This being said, I don’t think that the present complexity of language is an argument against the contribution of natural selection to language development. It’s just as conceivable an idea to me that just as our hunting skills suffer from a severe deficit inflicted by our obsession with making our lives easier and our physical selves more lazy, so has language diverged from being purely a survival tool into… well, Sheharazade on steroids. Then again, some of us have become so exotically lackadaisical with language that it's also become somewhat useless as a tool of any sort.

Monday, March 17, 2008

empty thoughts IV

4. Whyyyyyyy is it obvious that because autistic children have an impairment in only a particular type of reasoning that one type evolved separately from the other? Explain to me how this is in any way a solid framework to make this broad of a conclusion with any certainty.