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Selected Books by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Galileo's Commandment: 2500 Years of Great Science Writing
  • The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age
  • Einstein Defiant: Genius vs Genius in the Quantum Revolution

« Simulation Suggests Steps to Speaking of the Unseen | Main | Elephants Take Warning »



Deaf adults who grow up with no exposure to language constitute a near ideal group for comparison, differing from normal subjects only in the one parameter of not having language, and they are anything but rare. Why are they not sought out and studied more?

Slawomir Wacewicz

I think the issue is more complex with the word 'language' being the tricky part here (again). There may be deaf adults with minimal exposure to *language*, but with lifelong history of functioning (also communicateively) within a modern symbolic culture, which is a powerful 'corrupting' factor.

As to simulations, in my (nonexpert) opinion the biggest problem is that pointed out by Bickerton, i.e. sensitivity to initial conditions. In most cases it is impossible to know if your model is good or is missing one subtle confounding factor that when added would totally mix up the results. The way I see it is that simulations are extremely valuable but only in those rare cases when you know for sure there is a limited number of parametres. Still, what it shows best is not a specific result but rather *general conditions* for something taking place, like some behaviour being an ESS or some language form propagating faster than others.

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