“This system works great as a model, therefore everything is exactly like the model”. It’s like mistaking a painting for the real thing.

Beta fish is a real thing. Beta male is a personality type convoluted in the 1970s by a new field called “evolutionary psychology” – made up stories to explain modern behaviors. It got popular in the 1980s.

Honestly can’t believe it’s still around.

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I have. And don’t get me started on Pinker. ugh. I liked some of his Language Instinct – read it cover-to-cover in the mid 90s, but he was too fixed… too Chomsky for my taste.

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and Dawkins suffers from field bias. He was trained in evolutionary biology and when he stayed within his field it was fine.

But when he started seeing EVERYTHING as evolutionary biology, he went off track. And then… he got political and all old-man fighty. Kooky old brit. Couldn’t take him seriously after that.

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It’s a non-field to me. We’re speculating about untestable behaviors of people we have no records of in order to explain what we see around people today, neglecting far more well-studied causes. It’s too simplistic, too fantastical.

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Oh I wasn’t talking about Chomsky’s politics: he turned into another kook like Dawkins, which is fine. I expect to become one too someday. Working on it now.

What I mean is their take on language. Language modules, computational models of the brain being mistaken for actual brain.. it’s backwards, not supported by actual people.

The finger that points to the moon isn’t the moon. Computers are based on brains. Brains are not based on computers. We can use computers as analogies for brains as a helpful tool, but when we cross over the line and ignore the biology as it exists, we engage in fantasy.

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Granted, I do it myself. I tend toward Connectionism as a basic model. Neural networks and stuff. Chaotic systems that peak to create new systems which are visible, hiding their chaotic origins. Has its own bit of fantasy element: I take it with a grain of salt, lest I end up like Kurzweil or Wolfram. Wolfram almost had me though but they both suffer from something engineers tend towards: “This system works great as a model, therefore everything is exactly like the model”. It’s like mistaking a painting for the real thing. Easy mistake. Engineers can get cocky sometimes.

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