Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Two links..

Two interesting posts from Uncommon Descent:
Berlinski on Chomsky, Ideological Orthodoxy, and Peer Review

Breaking the Peer-Review Barrier

On Chomsky, this is the sort of thing that he's said at times:
It is perfectly safe to attribute [innate mental structures] to 'natural selection', so long as we realize that there is no substance to this assertion, that it amounts to nothing more than a belief that there is some naturalistic explanation for these phenomena. . . . In the case of such systems as language and wings it is not easy even to imagine a course of selection that might have given rise to them.
--Noam Chomsky (emphasis added)

Unfortunately, those with the urge to merge view evidence against their imaginings as a challenge to begin citing their own imaginations as evidence against the actual evidence, yet again.* Trying to get them to realize that there is no substance to their imaginings unless they model and test them is like sticking your hand in a mud puddle, they and their hypothetical goo will just fit to it. It seems that they can also easily imagine that their own imagination is a conceptual model or defined statement that is testable and falsifiable. Perhaps all that is what comes of their mind existing only in their imagination.

Our pre-language ancestors may have simply been missing one thing: the Merge operation.
Carl Zimmer

Zimmer is one with quite the urge to merge, as I've noted before. I wish he'd keep his Merge operation to himself, though. It's good material, but a bit embarrassing.

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