Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Noone Expects the Language Inquisition
The Idea that we can fix our energy problems by drilling more holes is foolish. The concentration of Carbon molecules that lead to greenhouse problems in the atmosphere is already too high. Unless we stop burning fossil fuels and alter our consumption patterns we are already at the point where the next generation is boned.
I have been studying some philosophers of late. Looking for answers to big questions is one of the ways I distract myself from my pain. In the end this would seem to be a pointless endeavor as the big answer always comes up there are no big answers. I have a question for the philosophers that never seems to get answered and that is why they never seem to discard those that get falsified? Why the guys that are on about god are still given credence?
I have been listening to Peter Singer talk about Hegel and his ideas are interesting but the religion aspect confuses me. I am also listening to an Ipod U lecture series on him so I will report back when I have spent a little more time. He is the thesis, antithesis, synthesis guy and very influential. He had a lot of followers not the least among them Karl Marx. I have found him confusing and my bad German skills don’t help. That is one of the problems with philosophers in foreign language that the translation make a huge difference as to what the meaning is. I read the Three Musketeers in the original French and found that the story takes on subtle differences when the original language is translated. Wish I had spent more time keeping up with language both foreign and domestic.
The meaning of language is the line that I am off on today. I really like the mimetic explanation of this phenomenon. The Idea that our higher brain functions evolved as the result of service to language as opposed to other evolutionary pressures is intriguing. Once you get past the advantage of tool use it is hard to find the evolutionary basis for the higher brain functions. That and there appears to be a correlation between lower birth rates and more education. Not a perfect indicator of intelligence but I feel better than IQ tests. It would almost seem that things like theoretical physics have a negative impact on fitness by virtue of the fact that studying Quantum Mechanics makes you freaking weird. This has opened up the debate over group evolution and brought back into the discussion the Neanderthal and did they have language? When I was attending the cutting edge seminars at Evergreen they had not yet found a skull with a hyoid bone so the thinking was no speaking for the Neanderthals but that is no longer the case. They had the physiology but it is unlikely we will ever know one way or the other. With the increase in brain size and skull capacity it has actually gotten harder to give birth so will we be getting smaller brains in the future when we no longer have the economic capacity to maintain C-section births? I find it much easier to come up with odd questions than answers these days but I am trying hard not to fall into despair.
In the end am I nothing more than a habitat for microbes with a head full of viral memes? That is an unsatisfactory hypothesis but it fits all the available data. On that note I think I will take my illusion of free will and make some reservations at the Grizzly Creek State Park for Friday night and check my camping gear. After all one fantasy is as valid as another in the many worlds of the Radmul universe.