Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
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17-09-2012, 10:00 AM
Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
(17-09-2012 09:13 AM)Chas Wrote:  No educated person denies the evolution of language.

There is a great deal of controversy about memetics being the model/mechanism for the evolution of language, or anything else.

Are you all trying to misunderstand each other?

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17-09-2012, 11:39 AM
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
(17-09-2012 07:53 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Starcrash.

OK. For some reason when people say that "religious people" deny evolution, every one accepts it. But when I say scientists deny something, everyone wants names. Fine:
-Stephen Pinker
-Luis Benitez-Bribiesca
-Deacon and Kull
-Fracchia and Lewontin
-Paul Ehrlich
-Michael Ruse
-Bruce Edmonds
-Adam Kuper
-Tim Lewens

There may actually be one of two philosophers in there but I was going for the shotgun blast to show that criticism of the theory is widespread. Then there's the specific arguments.

There's the controversy of direct comparison.
There's the Lamarckian-Weismannian inheritance controversy.
There's the copying fidelity controversy.
There's the controversy over what the physical structure of the meme is.
There's the semiotics controversy.

And those really are just off the top of my head.

The biggest criticism of memetics is comparing cultural evolution directly to biological evolution. The origin of that comparison is almost entirely attributable to Dawkins and that is exactly what Dawkins is doing when he compares language evolution to biological evolution.

I get this bizarro world feeling like people think I'm against him doing that. I'm not. Not at all. I'm actually more rabid about making that comparison than most. I'm just stating a fact; there is a ton of controversy. Light made comments on that comparison and in doing so strolled, quite inadvertently, right into a minefield. It's not a bad thing that he did so, I'm just trying to point them out so he doesn't step on them, and for some strange reason, I'm being criticised for doing so.

Hey, Light.

No. I haven't read the book. I don't have to have read the book to make comments about what you said. I read your post.

What misled conclusions do you think I'm making? I'm saying something very simple. There's controversy and you done just walked into the middle of it. How is that a misled conclusion?

Rick rolling and Gangam style are examples of Internet memes and viral videos. Yes. Memetics all. But memetics goes way deeper than that. And again, one of the core ideas of memetics is Universal Darwinism, the notion that the mechanics of the evolutionary process that Darwin laid out don't just apply to genetics, but to any replicator anywhere in the universe, the meme being one such replicator. It makes a direct comparison between biological evolutionary processes and cultural evolutionary processes and that comparison has generated a significant amount of controversy.

I am NOT saying that you should not investigate that parallel or not comment on it. I'm saying that your comments placed you right in the middle of a minefield. You said you want to take the ideas for a spin. I salute you. Giv er! I'm just telling you that there are a number of hairpin turns that you have to be careful of especially if you're going to make direct comparisons between language evolution and biological evolution. If you prefer, you can march blindly into the fray, I respect your freedom. Just don't be shocked when some evolutionary biologist tells you that you're full of shit.

Specifically you made comments about why they aren't vocal about denying language evolution, you made comments about the teaching or lack thereof of language evolution, you commented about the counterintuitive nature of language evolution because it occurs over a shorter time span, you talked about the evolution of the English language being a slam dunk example, you spoke of the development of dialects (which, BTW, is a great example of memetic drift), you spoke about Latin and the Romance languages (good example of cladistics), and finally you said:
Quote:As for me, I’ve decided to take this new parallel between language and biology for a spin. I’ll use it as a new approach to illustrating the beauty and reality that is natural selection. It probably won’t work on most believers (especially the older ones) but hopefully it will be another solid weapon in the mind-opening arsenal.

I have ZERO problem with you talking about these things. I think it's great. But if you are going to take it for a spin and use it as an approach to illustrating the beauty and reality that is natural selection, I suggest you do it from a place of authority. To that end, I was trying to tell you that there are certain things you need to be mindful of so you don't inadvertently blow your own leg off. And when you say it probably won't work on certain people, I felt the need to point out that it won't work on many scientists either so beware!

So next time, if you're not interested in what people have to say about what you wrote, don't post what you wrote and ask for opinions. We've been down this road before you and I.

Now you're resorting to straw men?

When did I say I wasn't interested in what you or anyone else has to say? Oh, that's right. I didn't. Therefore, we haven't been down this road before.

What I said is that you were flatly off base on various levels (and it seems like your last response was a rather long-winded approach to admitting that to some extent without actually coming out and saying it).

Language evolution and memetics are not the same thing. They're related but not the same.

The main difference is that one is supported by the body of evidence (e.g. language evolution) and the other one isn't anywhere near as well supported (e.g. memetics).

Had I written an article entitled "why aren't there any memetics deniers" your feedback would have been on point. But I didn't, and that renders the entire premise of your response faulty.

While I enjoy all three topics to a certain extent (biological evolution, linguistics, and memetics) I don't need to be an expert/authority in any of them in order to draw obvious parallels between the absurdity of denying biological evolution (or language evolution) based on ancient religious texts.

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17-09-2012, 11:41 AM
RE: Talking past each other?
(17-09-2012 09:13 AM)Chas Wrote:  No educated person denies the evolution of language.

There is a great deal of controversy about memetics being the model/mechanism for the evolution of language, or anything else.

Are you all trying to misunderstand each other?

That's actually my main point when addressing, Ghost.

No misunderstanding here.

I just wish that Ghost would just fess up to missing the mark and move on. He knows a lot about memetics. Fantastic for him, really. But that has little/nothing to do with this thread.

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17-09-2012, 05:14 PM
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
Oh. Sorry, Light. You don't want anyone's opinion. You just want to post your external blog articles, have us read it and we'll just keep any comments to ourselves. That's much better.

Also, history doesn't begin on page one of this thread. You have linked to your blog many times before.

You know what? March on, righteous soldier. Nothing to see here. I clearly have nothing to offer. I know that what I've said must be valueless because it's quite obvious that you haven't read it. I should have known better than to challenge the great "nope" defense. Have fun comparing language evolution to biological evolution. Your path should be problem free.
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17-09-2012, 09:08 PM
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
I see decafe in your future.

Comparing language evolution to biological evolution?

There is actually a strong correlation between the migration of people out of Africa traced by language evolution and genetics.
Quite impressive just how accurate the linguists were before genetics verified their findings.

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17-09-2012, 10:03 PM (This post was last modified: 17-09-2012 10:22 PM by Starcrash.)
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
(17-09-2012 07:53 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Hey, Starcrash.

OK. For some reason when people say that "religious people" deny evolution, every one accepts it. But when I say scientists deny something, everyone wants names. Fine:
-Stephen Pinker
-Luis Benitez-Bribiesca
-Deacon and Kull
-Fracchia and Lewontin
-Paul Ehrlich
-Michael Ruse
-Bruce Edmonds
-Adam Kuper
-Tim Lewens

You may not specifically be saying "Starcrash automatically accepts that religious people deny evolution" (and I don't, because I'm always careful not to stereotype), but it's implied, otherwise the sentence after that doesn't follow (because I'm the one specifically asking for names). Please stop representing me with claims I haven't made. That's three times in one argument. You don't always do this. Why are you doing it so much here?

I'm not just asking for names. A list of names of scientists doesn't make your point. Chas is suggesting that they aren't really arguing against language evolution but rather against specific ideas about memetics, and I have no way of knowing whether either of you are right because I still have no sources. I'd like to read the argument made by any one of these guys above against the evolution of language. Could you please cite a source?

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18-09-2012, 10:20 PM
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
(17-09-2012 05:14 PM)Ghost Wrote:  Oh. Sorry, Light. You don't want anyone's opinion. You just want to post your external blog articles, have us read it and we'll just keep any comments to ourselves. That's much better.

Also, history doesn't begin on page one of this thread. You have linked to your blog many times before.

You know what? March on, righteous soldier. Nothing to see here. I clearly have nothing to offer. I know that what I've said must be valueless because it's quite obvious that you haven't read it. I should have known better than to challenge the great "nope" defense. Have fun comparing language evolution to biological evolution. Your path should be problem free.

Your main problem, as I see it, is that you think you're smarter and more well-educated than everyone else.

As I've already explained countless times, I'm perfectly ok with opinions - including differing opinions or contradictory opinions. But I'm also going to call you or anyone else out when said opinions are completely off base.

Simplifying my response to a "nope" defense doesn't take away from the validity of the point being made. There's biological evolution and it's biblical mythology counterpart (e.g. the garden of Eden) language evolution and it's biblical mythology counterpart (e.g. the tower of Babel) and memetics which has it's bibilcal mytho...

Oh wait, there is no counterpart to memetics in the bible, which would make it impossible to draw a parallel between it and biological and language evolution.

In other words, you have plenty to offer, particular when and if threads deal specifically with memetics (and biblical parallels). But this isn't one of those times.

P.S. Bringing up the fact that I link to my blog posts is referred to as an ad homonym attack. It doesn't help your cause. It just reveals that despite your education, you've still got a ways to go...

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18-09-2012, 10:22 PM
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
(17-09-2012 09:08 PM)Thomas Wrote:  I see decafe in your future.

Comparing language evolution to biological evolution?

There is actually a strong correlation between the migration of people out of Africa traced by language evolution and genetics.
Quite impressive just how accurate the linguists were before genetics verified their findings.

Do you also see decaf in Dawkins' future?

Just sayin'

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19-09-2012, 04:48 AM
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
There aren't any language evolution deniers?
"Secular linguists are puzzled by the existence of twenty or so language families in the world today. The languages within each family (and the people that speak them) have been shown to be genetically related, but few genetic links have been observed between families. This is a problem for secular linguists. If, as they believe, man evolved from an ape-like ancestor, man would at some point have gained the ability to speak. This process of change would actually be superbly dangerous, as they admit. But still, if speech did evolve somewhere, somehow, we would expect to find that all languages are genetically related. They clearly are not. Some have therefore suggested that man evolved speech simultaneously in more than one place. This suggestion is beyond belief, considering the dangers involved in the supposed evolution of speech. So how did the language families come into existence?"
http://creation.com/the-tower-of-babel-a...inguistics

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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19-09-2012, 06:23 AM
RE: Why aren't there any language evolution deniers?
Speaking of memes, poor Ghost seems to always appear with a subliminal "kick me" sign on his back. Do some of you just start swinging on arrival? Big Grin

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