Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Stuffed Thought

I am always astounded when a marginal intellectual like Stephen Pinker (author of The Stuff of Thought) is highlighted by PW. Why is his nonsense even worth quoting. “Language developed by Darwinian natural selection?” This sounds impressive--a stuffed thought--as it were but on what basis would such a goofy statement be made? One might as well say that the development of mathematics was a result of Darwinian natural selection. The fact is that this kind of shallow reductionism explains nothing but does illustrate how desperately liberals seem to want everything that might require a bit of causality (danger, danger Will Rogers, God on the horizon) to have just accidentally developed out of random chaos. I grow tired of this sort of reductionism spouted by pin-headed, telegenic intellectuals who wouldn’t know what truth was if it came and bit them on their collective backsides. What sort of simpleton could make the bald-headed assertion that the historical decline in violence leads to the flowering of the novel and other creative endeavors? This is so patently obvious that to associate the flowering of the arts with the decline of social violence is a truism of almost monumental proportions. Is Mr. Pinkert making a career of celebrating the obvious? Perhaps his name should be MO Pinkert—master of the obvious.

The most glaring piece of stupidity quoted in the article, The Stuff of Language by Wendy Smith was this boner: “Is abortion a woman controlling her body or terminating a human life?” These are not mutually exclusive terms as much as the politically correct and morally insensitive might protest. In any abortion a woman is taking control of her body by terminating a human life—regardless of what she may or may not think about that life. If I murder my neighbor, for example, because he plays loud music every night of the week until 3:00 AM, and his friends trash my yard daily, what I think about my neighbor, how I have experienced him is largely irrelevant, if I decide to kill him and follow through on that decision. Instead of first degree murder it might be considered second or third-degree murder but it is not called terminating his social activities, although that would in fact be a consequence of ending his life. In the old days, the definition that would have been handed to Pinkert and his ilk, accompanied by a swift boot kick, was “sophist”. As Cicero used to say in a similar vein: “The philosophers entertain opinions that even a common farm hand would not hesitate to dismiss.”

I am reminded of the stunningly silly ad that US West used to run a few years ago in Phoenix. “Life is better here”—as if they had much of anything to do with that fact. As if as they say, as if…

If I’ve done any unfair violence to Mr. Pinkert who is, I am sure, a decent individual, it is due in no small part to the rather lopsided presentation by Ms. Smith. A bit of advice for Ms. Smith: never review someone just because you think they are cute.

No comments: