Plato also believed that concepts are more real than reality.
I recently watched a long YouTube video of Chomsky speaking pretty familiar stuff. The part on language origins was especially trite; it left me unsure whether to laugh or shake my head. So much for that old man, thought I.
Then Christina Behme posted a comment on this blog with a link to her book review denouncing Noam Chomsky's The Science of Language. For a moment I thought perhaps the linguistics world had come full circle. Chomsky's stardom had begun with a take-down book review, so it might end. Of course the review does not satisfy those anticipations. I suppose it could not. Chomsky was reviewing a book that set forth a theory that, as Chomsky demonstrated, was inadequate to account for the facts of language. One of Behme's complaints is that Chomsky does not set forth a theory, so it couldn't be knocked down.
Really, the opposition to natural selection by so many orthodox linguists is a scandal. The latest example is in Biolinguistics (here) in which the authors seek to refute Derick Bickerton's paper (PDF here), which I discussed in Biology Without Darwin? Bickerton's point was that even if a process is self-organizing rather than genetic, it becomes fixed in the species only through selection.
I have often thought that if I could just get a grip on the reason Chomskyans have such a distaste for natural selection, I would have a much clearer grasp of what at lies at the root of our disagreement. Chomsky is making an assumption; I hold a counter-assumption. They are so basic that I can stare them in the face and not see their radicalism. So I was relieved to find a paper by Francesco Ferretti and Ines Adornetti titled "Against Linguistic Cartesianism" (abstract here) that at last made the obvious pop out at me.