brimstoneSalad wrote:Philosophy is distinct from empirical sciences, once it treads there you can dismantle it based on logic alone.
Well, I don't think philosophical arguments about the empirical world are to be dismissed a-priori. Perhaps something indeed logically follows (or is very probable) from what we observe, but it's very hard to test experimentally. The ontological argument for the existence of God is wrong because it commits the equivocation fallacy (something being conceivable in the sense of being easy to imagine, with something being conceivable in the sense of existing in some possible world), not because it doesn't rely on any empirical data, right?
brimstoneSalad wrote:Otherwise it could have been that empirical theological claims are scientific and tested as such, but you just didn't understand how.
So, when somebody makes claims that seem not to be falsifiable, it's not the right thing to do to be skeptical of those claims?
What about, for example, Christian Science? They claim their beliefs are based on proofs, rather than opinion and dogmas. Is it therefore somehow more reasonable to believe them than it is to believe theology?
brimstoneSalad wrote:Rejecting wave/particle duality would be like flat-Earthism, though.
How exactly? There is nothing like the "Ships appear to sink when going over the horizon."-proof of the Earth being round to prove wave-particle-duality, right? I mean, yeah, there are everyday "proofs" of quantum entanglement such as the one with three polarizing filters, and there are everyday proofs of the Heisenberg's uncertainty principle such as one that the light appears to disperse when going through a small enough slit, but none of that screams that the quantum mechanics is true nearly as much as the sinking-ship illusion screams that the Earth is round. At best, you can put quantum mechanics denial in the same category as denying that Armenian is distantly related to other Indo-European languages: it can be proved, but you need to have some specialized knowledge to understand the proof.
brimstoneSalad wrote:You can look at professional work to give you a better understanding.
Don't you think you are asking a little too much of me?
brimstoneSalad wrote: That's a mathematics issue. You'll have to take more advanced math classes. Are you not in calculus?
Well, yes, I am taking calculus classes. We were also taught some calculus in high-school (I think the last thing we were taught was integration by parts), and I got a C in it. In the first semester, we were taught (among other things) derivatives in our math classes, and I barely got a passing score. I mean, the basics of derivation make some sense to me, but I don't even understand what's the intuition behind the chain rule, yet alone something more. Now, in the second semester, we are being taught integrals, and I must admit I don't really understand anything. Why on Earth would calculating the area below some curve be the opposite of calculating the rate at which that curve goes up or down? What the hell would be the intuition behind the integration by parts?
And think of it this way: I scored 93% on the mathematics part of the maturity test and was among the first 100 in Croatia in my generation. If I cannot evaluate the claims the physics makes, chances are, nobody really can. They are effectively unfalsifiable partly because it takes a very deep understanding of mathematics to actually test them.
brimstoneSalad wrote: Well, linguistics is more intuitive because we have a lot of wetware for it, and we've also spent our lives passively learning it.
I don't think we've spent our lives passively learning about sound laws. What makes you think some parts of our brain evolved specifically for language learning?
brimstoneSalad wrote:English is one of the worst examples, since it has become an international language and the main language of some "melting pot" countries thus many pidgins and diffusion of vocabulary and grammar. As well, it very vigorously adopts words from other languages.
I was actually referring to the Great Vowel Shift, which happened before English became a lingua franca. It's a drastic and a relatively rapid (making the language virtually incomprehensible to a speaker familiar with the language before the vowel shift within a time period of about two centuries) change in English phonology. Even in medieval times, English phonology was changing rather fast despite a relatively high literacy rate (medieval writers often complained about English spelling not matching pronunciation).
brimstoneSalad wrote: I don't think there's much reason to believe the average English speaker is interested in preserving its purity.
OK, let's then ignore English. You realize that the traditional pronunciation of Latin in various countries also changed quite a bit over the centuries? Not as much as the phonology of Romance languages has changed, but still enough that, for example, Croatians can't recognize Latin words in English, and sometimes even in Italian or German, until they see them spelled. Do you have any doubt in your head that those who used Latin were interested in preserving the language?
What forces accelerate the rate at which sound changes happen is an interesting question, and, from what I've learned by now, it seems to me it has more to do with intralinguistic than with extralinguistic factors. Some languages simply happen to have very unstable phonologies and sound changes are a way for speakers to deal with that. You know, the Late Latin vowels changed drastically but in a relatively similar way in many Romance languages, probably because the vowel system in Late Latin was particularly unstable (after the Sardinian language split off, the vowel length distinction disappeared and there were many words which sounded the same except for a slight difference in vowel quality). Similarly, the sound changes described by the Havlik's law affected all Slavic languages and all their dialects, presumably because the phonology of the ancient Slavic languages begged for something like that to happen (the phonotactics was even more restrictive than modern Japanese phonotactics is, and the short 'i' and short 'u' were disproportionately more common than other vowels were). Also, the Grimm's law appears to describe both the sound changes that happened in Proto-Germanic and the sound changes that happened in Armenian quite accurately, presumably because the sound changes described by the Grimm's law are a natural way to deal with the instabilities of the Proto-Indo-European phonology (the existence of voiced aspirated stops without the corresponding voiceless aspirated stops, not resembling a phonological system of any known language today).
Regardless, that is irrelevant here. Sound changes happen no matter what. Denying that makes you linguistically illiterate, much like denying the law of supply and demand makes you economically illiterate.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Regardless, the "tried and failed" argument isn't a very good one without any hard metrics and control of other variables.
OK, so, what are those other factors? And why do you consider "Before FDA, all you had was snake oil." or "Before the government, the genocides were incredibly common." to be valid arguments, when THOSE arguments scream "There are other factors.".
brimstoneSalad wrote: You still do not understand. It has not been tested a first time.
Just like socialists keep insisting socialism hasn't been tested, when it clearly has been and it failed every time.
brimstoneSalad wrote:You seem to think neuroscientists are idiots who don't understand that random correlations will occur with a limited number of available sounds.
Neuroscientists who talk about linguistics are not to be trusted, they are one of those intellectuals that step outside of their field of expertise, and usually do more harm than good. Natural scientists are not immune to that. Just like Brian Josephson, a Nobel-prize winning theoretical physicists, makes claims about neuroscience, that is about how quantum mechanics makes psychic powers possible. And social sciences are even less related to natural sciences than various natural sciences are related to each other.
You need to learn how to recognize pseudoscience in linguistics. Much like if somebody uses quantum mechanics to explain something about neuroscience, he is most likely wrong, so too is somebody who uses neuroscience to explain something about linguistics probably wrong. You want to tell me that the way synapses work has something to do with quantum mechanics? Fine, that's a plausible assertion. You want to tell me quantum mechanics explains memories and thought? Eh, you immediately lose all your credibility. You want to tell me neuroscience explains why some sound that seems easy to pronounce doesn't occur in languages? Fine, that's a plausible assertion, although it's hard to test. You want to tell me neuroscience has something to say about morphology or syntax? I don't trust you. You want to tell me Chinese language makes people think more with the right hemisphere of their brains, and English makes people think more with the left hemispheres of their brains? Shut the hell up!
brimstoneSalad wrote:To even study the issue and arrive at a p value, you'd need to have a good grasp on linguistics too.
The real question is how it can even be tested. Phonosemantic hypotheses appear to make two implications:
1) You can guess the meanings of the words in unrelated languages by examining the sounds alone, at a rate significantly greater than chance.
This is practically unfalsifiable because it's very hard to quantify how close a guessed meaning is to the real meaning of that word.
2) Word borrowings don't happen between related languages because of the regular sound correspondences.
And this is clearly false. If 'h' meant "color" in English (as in "hue"), how come did English borrow the Latin cognate "color"? And there appears to be no ad-hoc hypothesis around that. If you claim that phonosemantics only applies cross-linguistically, that's basically the same as saying regular sound changes don't happen, yet they clearly do. If you will claim that 't' means something related to finger in all languages, as in English "toe", this is clearly false since English 't' regularly corresponds to German 'z' (Zeh) and to Latin 'd' (digitus).
brimstoneSalad wrote:Like yellowish-blue.
What about it actually? And, by the way, I tried and failed to see that. If I cross my eyes so that the plus sign in the blue square is on the top of the one in the yellow square, I just see a square randomly turning blue and yellow.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Wouldn't a room full of theologians do the same of the suggestion that a god doesn't exist?
Perhaps some would. But theologians studying Buddhism would agree with you. There is no consensus among theologians that a god exists.
brimstoneSalad wrote: "Interesting" meaning ad hoc explanation to vindicate the mistake?
What's the ad-hoc explanation there? It's the self-correcting nature of science. The linguists proposed distant relations between understudied languages, not exactly following the scientific methods (which were very difficult to apply to such under-studied languages). Few decades later, when those languages had been studied more, those proposals were proven wrong. They were over-confident because there appeared to be regular sound laws operating between those language families, and they didn't take into account the possibility that those sound laws would disappear once you reconstruct the ancestors of those languages (which was shown to be true decades later).
brimstoneSalad wrote:Look at sociology and opinion surveys.
I thought those surveys almost always give the results that are indistinguishable from guessing, just like animal testing and a few other things that the public views as scientific.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y8cfhQ ... ex=22&t=0s
brimstoneSalad wrote:IF understanding had anything to do with it, sure. But again, it really shouldn't.
Of course it should. If you accept something that you misunderstood as true, your model of reality will be worse because of that, and not better.
brimstoneSalad wrote:So, what does that say about the content of *other* boxes exactly?
I don't understand your analogy here. Again, what do you think the Havlik's law actually says? If you say some claim is unfalsifiable, you should understand, at least superficially, what that claim is. It's at your fingertips
(and you can probably find better explanations in English if you Google for a few minutes). It seems like you are being willfully ignorant about it.
brimstoneSalad wrote:Explaining is not always predicting, is it?
Well, yes. But if all you value are predictions, you can often predict what a word would sound like in some Slavic language by taking a Lithuanian
word and applying the sound laws to it.
brimstoneSalad wrote: It's on the soft side (pretty far on it), I don't know why you find that controversial.
How is linguistics pretty far on it? I don't see how you can say something like that. When has economics ever predicted anything? And when has sociology ever predicted anything? It's a field incredibly polluted by political agendas such as feminism. And social psychology is incredibly polluted by "experiments" and "observations" that are nothing but p-hacking.
brimstoneSalad wrote:I don't think it is when you have so few samples.
You didn't even read what I linked you to, did you? OK, I can copy that here:
FlatAssembler wrote:I have found a simple sound law (that PIE *s corresponds to PAN *q), and there are six examples of that on the Swadesh list. What's the probability of that if they aren't closely related?
.... The probability of finding such a pattern in two truly unrelated languages is 1-(1-0.0031)ˆ20=6%. That's pretty low.
You have calculated the probability of that particular correspondence, which indeed is very unlikely. But you weren't just looking for one particular correspondence. You were looking for any correspondence-- q/s, q/r, q/q, etc., etc. So for 20 consonants, there are 20*20 = 400 possible correspondences. So you must consider what the odds are that ANY of the 400 correspondences would appear.
Let's look at an analogous problem:
What are the odds that you share the same birthday with your friend? 1/365, right? (Or 1/366 or 365.25 to be precise.)
This means it would be surprising if any friends had the same birthday, right? No. Surprising things happen all the time. That's how statistics work.
Imagine a classroom: what are the odds that someone else in the room shares your birthday? If there are 30 other people, then that's 30/365-- low odds, but still possible. But what about any two people sharing that same birthday?
By just 24 people in the room, the odds are that some pair shares a birthday! So finding any correspondence between languages is not unlikely at all.
So assuming .31% is right (it's more complicated than that*), that's roughly 1/322 (.31/100). 322 is close to 365, so we can use the birthday problem by analogy. Let's assume 20 sounds in each language: there's a 41.1% chance of a 'shared birthday' (see Wikipedia), or in our case a chance sound correspondence. Actually, it's a little higher than that (or substantially, because 365-322 is a big difference when multiplied out a lot as fractions), so let's say about 50%. That's very different from the 0.31% you calculated!
(The main problem is starting with the Swadesh list because it's too small: you need systematic correspondences across a wide variety of words. Ideally, the correspondences would be exceptionless, setting aside borrowings, and of course any contextually conditioned words. The Swadesh list gives you a good starting point, but it's far from enough to fully determine linguistic relationship.)
Regardless, that math is irrelevant because it's a more complex problem. Finding a recurring correspondence in different words is actually less likely than the math given by either of us. But I'm certain that if you looked at more vocabulary you would start to find exceptions, so it's again irrelevant anyway. The issue is that you would need to find genuine cognates (not just the same number in the Swadesh list) to start to establish real patterns. It's an interesting coincidence, but coincidences happen all the time. Just think about how the odds are stacked against an American PhD student 'randomly' talking to a Croatian 17 year old online! (But the odds are very high that any two 'random' people would be talking online-- a very different question.)
Having no chance correspondences would actually be surprising. The burden of proof is more than that: it's finding multiple, systematic, widespread correspondences.