Blog powered by Typepad

« "At the going down of the sun ..." | Main | A trivial pursuit! »

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Darwin said that the musical faculty ‘must be ranked amongst the most mysterious with which [man] is endowed’. So it is indeed an interesting question, and no surprise that you cannot imagine the answer.

What you're not entitled to do is appeal to your own ignorance as evidence of anything other than the fact that you are an ignoramus.

I'd refer you to Stephen Pinker's "How the Mind Works" for one view on the matter. His take and others are discussed in this article.

By the way, this:

...we, and every aspect of our being, are subject to the remorseless drive to live longer and breed more...

is wrong. Just in case you care (hah!).

Well, Dr. 'Teabag', I don't wish to appear ungrateful for your contributing reference even if its three pages could be summed up in a single sentence, as follows: Nobody has a clue as to why humans are the only creatures to possess musicality although all sorts of 'loopy-loos' have come up with some daft theories.

It appears, then, that my ignorance, to which you drew attention with your usual civility,is shared by the greatest brains in biology! Well, unlike yourself, I have never laboured under the illusion that scientists have the answer to everything, or even much of anything, so I rest content on the old saying that the more you know the more you realise how little you know.

As for my (very) brief summary of Darwinian natural selection and its operation, I would be happy to read you version of it.

humans are the only creatures to possess musicality

Also false. Leaving aside the obvious example of birds, this paper discusses it with regard to others of the apes.

As for my (very) brief summary of Darwinian natural selection and its operation, I would be happy to read you version of it.

Your version, like all your writings on this subject was a veneer of smart-arsery on top of a chasm of hopeless confusion. I'm not going to point out where it was wrong because I've learnt to my cost that you are totally incurious about this subject, and content simply to crack your 'Loopy-loo! Archbishop!' jokes from your platform of misinformation and misunderstanding. Well good luck to you, but don't expect civility from me.

"Does Dawkins sing in his bath, and if so, why?" - well why not ask him? His email address is:

simonyi.professor (at) oum.ox.ac.uk

You never know, you might even learn something (*shudder*)!

Well, Dr. 'Teabag', you may not be civil to me but I shall be civil to you. Thank you very much for the reference which, on a quick skim, looks fascinating, and I shall read it later with interest. Setting aside, just for a moment, our on-going knock-about act, I do find these sorts of puzzles fascinating, and if, from time to time, I fail to reach your high scholastic standards, remember, I'm self-taught - so what chance do I stand?

'NIB', I'm sure I have mentioned before that I have read several of Dawkins's books and, to my intense embarrassment, I swallowed them whole, and even worse, quoted them at other people in debates. But you see, one of the advantages of not having attended a university is that I have never been inculcated with the orthodoxy. I always approach any dispute in a fairly hard, provocative manner (oh, you've noticed!) but there is always a part of me that retains doubt and when I read something antithetical to my opinion but which is well argued, I am prepared to change my mind. Changing one's mind is a practice that Prof. Dawkins has not yet mastered, I think.

"Changing one's mind is a practice that Prof. Dawkins has not yet mastered, I think."

Well why not e-mail him and find out for sure?

Well David this would be fine: "and if, from time to time, I fail to reach your high scholastic standards, remember, I'm self-taught - so what chance do I stand?"

*if* you showed the slightest humility in discussing this subject. But the central fact, as amply demonstrated in this thread and every post you write on this subject, is this: you do not know what you're talking about. Your misunderstandings are elementary and numerous. I'm not exaggerating here - you really have got the wrong end of the stick entirely.

Now if you were to say "ok I don't really understand this, it sounds interesting, but I have my doubts" then maybe you we get somewhere. But instead you come out strong with your "hard, provocative manner" which means in reality backing up your rotten, ignorant conclusions with personal attacks and basic, honking, emabarrassing scientific mistakes.

Let's take this:

we, and every aspect of our being, are subject to the remorseless drive to live longer and breed more

Grasshoppers live for only a few months. Elephants, penguins, humans, and gannets produce very few offspring (compared to e.g frogs or fish).

I know, I know tell it to Dawkins not to you, after all it's his silly theory, etc. But David, do you *really* believe that almost all the world's scientists are stubbornly clinging to a theory which can be *so easily* refuted? Are you really that much of a fool? Being "self-taught" is no excuse for this degree of blindness.

I wonder who or what is was that first gave David the idea that 'ingnorance' and 'objectivity' are two sides of the same coin?

As I've mentioned before, it's like me, who knows little of Shakespeare's work, going to one of his plays and heckling - then screaming 'CLOSED MINDED NAZIS!!!!!' when I'm chucked out.

I was told just the other day that there are a few tribes in New Guinea who, when discovered, had no music, not even singing. Apparently they are the only such cases "known to science".

They can add James Blunt fans to that list, dearieme.

'DM', that's interesting. Have you any references for it? I ask because all the experts seem to agree that it is inherent in *all* humans. If there are exceptions that would blow a rather large hole!

Sorry, no references; it was a stray remark made by an academic when I said I was working on Palm Oil from PNG. Perhaps he intruded it as the only interesting thing that he knew about PNG, or perhaps as more interesting than Palm Oil (never!, I hear you say). I thought it fascinating. He'd heard it from an anthropologist who'd used it to counter the assertion that music is inherent in *all* humans. So, third hand with all the possibility of error that that implies. But it appealed to me: I am suspicious of Universal claims about human behaviour especially when I know nothing about the purported evidence, and I doubt that my instructor knows much about it either.

In case of unfamiliarity: "PNG" = Papua New Guinea.

I guessed - or is that 'intuited'?

Anyway, if I have an idle moment I might try and Google around. Thanks.

The comments to this entry are closed.