Sunday, September 9, 2007

Osama bin Language

This is probably in really bad taste, but that doesn't usually stop me. The following is reproduced from Mind Hacks, and was far too excellent for me not to post here:

Silent for three years, Osama Bin Laden just released a video tape in which he name drops academic Noam Chomsky, suggesting that while in hiding, he's become familiar with the American researcher's extensive work.

Exclusively, Mind Hacks publishes a deleted section from an earlier draft of Bin Laden's latest speech that lays out his demands for the science of linguistics:

People of America: while the cognitive revolution started within your own shores and changed the face of the world, it seems the lessons of the destruction of behaviourism have not been learnt.

Through the careful analysis of Chomsky, it was clear that language could not be entirely accounted for by the influence of environment and culture on a general learning mechanism. While some heeded the messages, some of your brethren remained unconvinced.

Now that the spector of connectionism has raised its ugly head and has been inappropriately glorified by the power of technological corporations, our understanding of the role of transformational grammars in language development is threatened.

And I tell you, artificial intelligence is a false god that provides correlative and not causal models of language acquisition. The infallible methodologies are the comparative study of world languages and lesion analyses of those who must be treated with mercy owing to their acquired dysphasias.

Those who stray from the path will be doomed to repeated the errors of the empty vessels of strict behaviourism and the Standard Social Science Model. Every just and intelligent one of you who reflect on this will be guided to the truth.

Rumours that Steven Pinker has been taken in for questioning have not been verified.

If you think this is as funny as I do, we should probably talk.

1 comment:

Adam Harris said...

HeHe. I wish people in charge actually talked like that. It would certainly make life infinitely more interesting.

I just had the artificial intelligence debate with Gabe the other day. He is of the opinion that our computers are primitive ai now. The problem with debating with someone who doesn't know what they're talking about is that you have to get them to admit they don't know what they're talking about.