Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Steven Pinker is a Jerkwad

By request. Audience participation encouraged.

Art works because it appeals to certain faculties of the mind. Music depends on details of the auditory system, painting and sculpture on the visual system. Poetry and literature depend on language.
—Steven Pinker, asplainin'
Evolutionarily speaking, there is seldom any mystery in why we seek the goals we seek — why, for example, people would rather make love with an attractive partner than get a slap on the belly with a wet fish.
—Steven Pinker, no fun at the dungeon
We cannot hold ten thousand words in short-term memory. We cannot see in ultraviolet light. We cannot mentally rotate an object in the fourth dimension. And perhaps we cannot solve conundrums like free will and sentience.
—Steven Pinker being uncharacteristically modest, because he's talking about the limitations of other scientists rather than himself.














OMG Blogger's stupid image preview has broken drag and drop. Let me see if I can fix this.

I can. Solution here.

27 comments:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Wilson suffers from Harvard disease.

HARVARD SUX!!!!

(And I'm sure BBBB will agree.)
~

fish said...

I would appreciate it if you could turn a pilup upsidedown so we can have him sending the poop stream properly.

Substance McGravitas said...

Done.

fish said...

NICE!

Smut Clyde said...

Much obliged. Looking up prime Pinkerisms. BRB.

Substance McGravitas said...

Contributions welcome.

fish said...

"Art works because it appeals to certain faculties of the mind. Music depends on details of the auditory system, painting and sculpture on the visual system. Poetry and literature depend on language."

This is known as deep analysis.

fish said...

"Evolutionarily speaking, there is seldom any mystery in why we seek the goals we seek — why, for example, people would rather make love with an attractive partner than get a slap on the belly with a wet fish."

Apparently Pinker has not seen Tampopo.

Substance McGravitas said...

Added and thank you for doing my work for me.

vacuumslayer said...

people would rather make love with an attractive partner than get a slap on the belly with a wet fish

What does he mean rather?

slap on the belly with a wet fish

This is how I got pregnant!

vacuumslayer said...

w/v is now "holimp." Honestly I thought ho's limped just like everybody else. Is there a pimplimp too?

Smut Clyde said...

"We cannot hold ten thousand words in short-term memory. We cannot see in ultraviolet light. We cannot mentally rotate an object in the fourth dimension. And perhaps we cannot solve conundrums like free will and sentience."
-- Pinker being uncharacteristically modest, because he's talking about the limitations of other scientists rather than himself.

So #1 on his list of examples is a re-statement of the definition of "short-term memory" rather than a fact; items #2 and #3 are demonstrably wrong. You'd think he could get at least one right.

tigris said...

Is there a pimplimp too?

Why else would they need a pimp cane?

Smut Clyde said...

My client, Mr 'Bojangles' Carruthers, would prefer you to use the correct title "Human resources facilitator" rather than 'pimp'. Also any further allegations about his impotence will result in legal sanctions.

vacuumslayer said...

"Why else would they need a pimp cane?"

OF COURSE!

mikey said...

I'd sure like to know why he glued a walnut to his cheek.

But pretty much everybody seems to avert their eyes and only notice that he's a flippin' idiot.

Hokay, sure.

But those dawgs are a dime a dozen.

RARE are the ones with walnuts glued to their faces...

M. Bouffant said...

Is there a pimplimp too?

There is most certainly a pimp walk, or strut, even.

Not a walnut, a hideous wart, placed there by an intelligent designer to prevent reproduction.

fish said...

A pimplimp is what the piplup evolves into.

Smut Clyde said...

There were some highly quotable Pinker moments from the argument that raged from about 1995 to 2005 about the gene FOXP2. Right now I can't be arsed finding my copies of the texts.

Basically, Pinker was all "Look, this is the grammar gene! It specifically encodes for the extensions to the brain that allow us to use grammar! People can have damaged versions of the gene and have impaired grammar while otherwise they're normal!"

And Vargha-Khadem said "No, that's not true; I've been studying members of the KE family in London who have the damaged version, and they're not normal; as well as poor grammar they have intellectual deficits and poor control over their facial muscles, so they have terrible diction* and low speech productivity so few opportunities to practice grammar."

And Pinker was all "See, Vargha-Khadem agrees with me that the deficit from a damaged FOXP2 gene is limited to grammar!"

The consensus now seems to be that Pinker was flat wrong, but the good thing about being an evolutionary psychologist is that you can stake your reputation on something and be wrong and still keep your reputation.

* Even by London standards.

Smut Clyde said...

I'd sure like to know why he glued a walnut to his cheek.

Do not query the ways of the ORBs. It is safest not to notice them.

fish said...

It is extremely gratifying to use the upside down piplup.

Substance McGravitas said...

The mousetache is nice too because it goes under the poop stream.

Smut Clyde said...

Pinker needs a haircut.
From scythe-wielding devils.

Substance McGravitas said...

Hmm, the devils don't actually swing it, they kinda run. Not much time to change that, but there they are.

Smut Clyde said...

"According to Chomsky, a visiting Martian scientist would surely conclude that aside from their mutually unintelligible vocabularies, Earthlings speak a single language."

"Knowing a language, then, is knowing how to translate mentalese into strings of words and vice versa. People without a language would still have mentalese, and babies and many nonhuman animals presumably have simpler dialects."

Evidently knowing no languages other than English is no barrier to a career in linguistics.

Jennifer said...

people would rather make love with an attractive partner than get a slap on the belly with a wet fish.

But what if it's an attractive fish?

I am, however, glad to know why music and art appeal to me. I was at a loss up till now.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Don't get fish all excited now.
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