Category: language

Human language depends on bent vocal tract?

Hadn’t heard that one. And anyway, … more

Can we trace individual words back to the Ice Age?

The basic idea, true in general, is that some words don’t change much because they are in constant use and thus can’t get lost. more

Is there evidence that we have free will?

Random Brain Waves Save Free Will? The debate continues with a new publication. But the new study by Han-Gue Jo and colleagues of Freiburg makes a strong case that the “RP” is not really a ‘thing’ at all. They say that, in the two seconds before a button press, you see both negative and positive […] more

Language evolved from chimp-like call signals, not hand gestures?

But it is not clear why such a system would develop into a language. more

Nature article: Tut. Tut. Mustn’t use engineering metaphors to describe life.

Basically, engineering metaphors make life sound designed. Mustn’t be allowed. Oversight is recommended. more

Open Mike: Cornell OBI Conference—Chapter Four: Pragmatic Information

The goal of this paper is to define pragmatic information with a view toward measuring it. more

On pulling a cosmos out of a non-existent hat . . .

This morning, CH has by implication raised the issue that has been hotly debated recently: getting a cosmos out of “nothing.” I thought it would be helpful to headline my comment: ______________ >>  . . . “Something from nothing” is always problematic. Now, I know I know, here is Ethan Siegel of Science Blogs in […] more

NOTICE: On the “Gish Gallop” false accusation tactic and fallacious dodge

In a recent comment clipped by GP in the Jerad thread, Keiths has used the rhetorically dismissive term “Gish Gallop.” Let me cite: KS: . . . with gpuccio it is sometimes possible to zero in on the crux of a disagreement. You can’t do that with Gish Gallopers. Now, as I will shortly show, […] more

The wrong way to understand the origin of human language

This theory gets us somewhere only if we redefine the problem. That is, if we focus away from complexity of human thought and language and toward which techniques were chosen first. more

Semantics: Did Francis Bacon ever use the term “critical thinking”?

It pays to ask: Our fearless readers traced the term “intelligent design” back to the mid-1760s more

Is the dismissal by asserting “fallacy of personal incredulity” itself a fallacy?

Yesterday, UD’s News announced a free chart of fallacies. I thought, oh, yay, let’s download. But, once I began to look at the chart, I noticed that it presented Plato, Socrates and Aristotle in a way that seemed to mock the orthodox Christian triune concept of God. (Did it ever strike the creator of the […] more

Was Anders Breivik “not-insane”?

Other psychiatrists now find Norway massacre gunman Anders Behring Breivik ‘not insane’ – prison now possible “The experts’ main conclusion is that the accused, Anders Behring Breivik, is not considered to have been psychotic at the time of the actions on July 22, 2011,” the Oslo district court said in a statement which reopens the […] more

Reader traces term “intelligent Designer” to 1765

The author of 250 years ago follows the older practice of capitalizing all nouns. more

Human evolution: Why can everyone learn Portuguese?

“It’s perfectly obvious that there is some genetic factor that distinguishes humans from other animals and that it is language-specific.” more

Language: The Power of Babel

When it comes to understanding language, evolutionary biology is apparently a waste of time. The Tower of Babel is more useful. more

Difference between humans and animals has been identified?

And then there is the question of whether to believe Everett on the evidence and many colleagues clearly do not. more

From The Best Schools: US prez hopeful Rick Santorum’s religious language

“Why, then, as an atheist, am I not offended?” more

Human evolution: Evolution of language is mind, not biology, linguist writes

“The native languages here in the Pacific Northwest (USA and British Columbia) may have the second most complex sound systems and they also are very far from South Africa.” more

Evolution of language study savaged in Science: “suboptimal data, biased methodology, and unjustified assumptions.”

The analogy from language to biology is flawed anyway. Biology runs on the many life or death rules of biochemistry; language doesn’t operate under such severe constraints. more

Tom Bethell on Noam Chomsky’s dissent from Darwin

“Others within the academy who must deal with Darwinism may find themselves in the same position but less willing to say so openly.” more

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