Now, I am very much a fan of Steven Pinker, I enjoy reading him very much, my problem is with one particular chapter in his book THE LANGUAGE INSTINCT. The problem revolves around the fact that I am a soft linguistic determinist, and he argues completely against linguistic determinism being flippant and sarcastic, and bias mining to look only at how Linguistic Determinism is wrong, and not how it is right. I am going to call him out on his bias and expose some of his obfuscations and bifurcations. Linguistic Determinism doesn’t have to be a hard yes or no…
First of all, we see that the Democrats and the Obama Regime are using this strategy right now, and it is having an effect on the majority of human beings. Steven ignores emergent properties in his analysis.
Now I would like to point out that Pinker is not making an assertion here. He is asking a leading question. If he were making an assertion he would have to support it with proofs. Instead he is making a tacit emotional appeal. There is a rule in psychology that states, “Psychopaths don’t reform, they just become more manipulative.” The example might be a psychopath. To use Bertrand Russel’s Reductio ad absurdum on Pinker I might point out that he doesn’t examine how much time much pass before a person is not himself which suggests that I could say something and then immediately change my mind, because time has passed and now I am a different person. Ludwig Wittgenstein is often studied as Wittgenstein 1 and 2 but that is because he disagreed later in life with some of his theories earlier in life, so there was an actual difference.
Next he Bashes Sapir-Worf for their proofs about the Hopi Indians used to support linguistic determinism. He asserts that they didn’t actually study the language, which might be true, but then he argues that Hopi’s don’t have a different perspective on time. What he is actually doing is making the Argument from fallacy Fallacy, just because there was an error made doesn’t mean the conclusion is wrong. And if he had studied the religious beliefs like I have he would know that Hopi’s do indeed have a different perspective on time.
This is called Prophecy Rock, and it shows that the Hopi believe that we can actually change the future by our actions in the present and that there are divergent timelines. And that there are worlds that mark the end of time. We are currently in the 4th world and will be entering the 5th world.
It is said that if the True White Brother is successful in finding those who still follow the true Hopi way of life, the world will be created anew and all the faithful will be saved from destruction. However, the Hopi mythology also details an alternate version of the prophecy, one in which the True White Brother fails in his mission and is unable to find uncorrupted men and women. Then it is said that the earth will be completely destroyed and none will be spared. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Star_Kachina#The_final_sign
The argument that he is falsifying is that language and thought are ONLY, ALWAYS, IDENTICAL and he uses the lack of evidence as the proof. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and I am going to show the flaws in his argument. Every language predisposes itself to a certain type of thought. English has become the lingua franca of Science. Every action, or thought creates neural myelination which is then passed on to the next generation via epigenetics. Research shows that German babies cry differently from French babies. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/music-matters/201201/german-babies-cry-differently-french-babies-research-shows)
If we examine what words are we find that it is like taking a lasso and throwing it around a bunch of random things and describing the relationship between them. Pinker is essentially arguing for a blank slate, which Chomsky falsified, and then he later quotes Chomsky to support his argument. There is in words and languages certain emotional data that is communicated, and relational data. Let’s do a test on Arab or Persian people that haven’t learned their own language and find out how many of them hate Jews, sympathize with ISIS, and want Israel removed from the map. Boko Haram means western knowledge is forbidden. The word “Harem” means forbidden, it is also the place where you keep your wives, daughters, and your sex slaves, as well as your child brides. That’s right, in Islam “wife” can mean a 6 year old girl. Also, in the Harem, your “family members” are allowed to enter. So Steven Pinker, Who is forebidden? Who is family? and Who is sexual property?
Next he attacks sapir whorf for suggesting that Apache’s think differently. Well Mr. Pinker, perhaps you have never heard of Tom Brown Jr.
According to Brown, he grew up in New Jersey being trained by his adopted grandfather (a Lipan Apache) until he was 17. For the next decade, Tom traveled and lived primitively in various places across North and South America. Returning to New Jersey, he became a professional tracker, which in turn led to him forming the “Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival School” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brown,_Jr.
I don’t know how many languages predispose themselves to the ability to track people through the wilderness, but I am assuming that they might be similar. Now, yes, Tom Brown knows English and that was the medium through which the ideas were conveyed. But the ideas were similar expressed and understood more naturally in Apache.
He suggests that babies have an innate understanding of mathematics and uses this again to support that Language and thought are completely different. However, again he forgets about neural myelination. Babies are not mathemeticians because they have object permanence, and they wouldn’t acquire higher math skills without being Taught new words/ideas (thought tools).
He uses arguments to suggest what sounds like Wittgenstein’s picture theory of language of language.
He says that Language is not like, math. I disagree, higher math such as calculus is very much like language. A word is an empty set for the definition of the word.
I suggested that people actually use syllogisms to slip logical errors past themselves.
Richard Nixon, “What I am saying is, if the president does it, it’s not a crime.?
The president = virtuous.
I = the president.
I = virtuous.
The paint sprayed sam onto the wall. 3:})
NEW WORDS, NEW WORLDS
Here is the thing. In order to say that Language and Thought are completely different, you are suggesting that every person is equally smart. I have included several neologisms that I have made.
How many people make neologisms? How many of those new words are adopted by others? How many of those new words are useful? How many of those new words are about something real?
How many people are linguistic philosophers? How many people know what a morpheme is? Is Steven Pinker an expert on phlogiston? Until you know the word, your brain can’t move in that direction or make that association. What Pinker is tacitly suggesting is that everybody is equally as smart as everybody else, which is patently false. It presupposes that every person can recognize every pattern in the world around them and come up with all solutions and sciences by themselves. It presupposes that the individual has an infinite capacity, infinite time, and/or infinite intelligence.
Most people don’t do science themselves, most people don’t do higher philosophy, most people don’t create their own neologisms. Most people know what they know because of received knowledge. In order to come up with a new word, or to recognize a new pattern, something nobody else has ever become aware of before, or to change the way you yourself think or act. You have to be a different kind of person. You have to be a wizard, a sage, a lunatic, an idiot savant, or a drug addict.
Languages were created by the people that were part of that culture, and those cultures predisposed themselves to certain types of individuals who concerned themselves with certain things and thought about them. They created words. It is not just knowing the word, it is understanding what the word is a symbol of. To be initiated into the correct understanding and use of that word. In order to make a new word, or to disagree you have to be capable of breaking pattern. People are acquisitively mimetic. The majority of people don’t create their own patterns they copy patterns that were created by other people.
When I was a little boy I had a recurring dream of myself on a roller coaster, it was a great frustration for me that I couldn’t visualize myself on a roller coaster ride without seeing myself holding onto the seat as my legs dangled behind me cartoon style. I puzzled over this for years. I would try to physically pull myself into the carriage, but no sooner had I done so than the force of the roller coaster pulled me back out again.
I propose an experiment by which my Theory on Epigenetics and Neural Myelination can be tested. Take a female bonobo baby & raise her with chimpanzees, at the same time take a male chimpanzee baby & raise him with the bonobo. See how well each assimilates and whether they have the behaviors of the Primate Group from which they descend…