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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

« Larger Than Ourselves | Main | Symbols Don’t Imply Language? »



There are some rather large flaws with this paper. I don't have the opportunity to point them all out, but I can point you to Mark Lieberman's excellent discussion of them over at Language Log,

Although, I disagree with you, I really like your blog! Keep up the good work; you have challenged me to reevaluate many things.
BLOGGER: Thanks. If you can't learn from the people you disagree with, who can you learn from?


Two questions:
1. WHY should a "new speaking population ... created by a small group tak[e] only part of the language with them..."?
2. WHY should the original small group create a language more complex (phonemically rich) than any subsequent language over 50,000 years of evolution?
I do not believe that there is any significant evidence for this behavior in languages - other than the gradual elision/deprecation of any language over time, which is independent of migration/exodus.
Atkinson's work is fantastically thorough, although much of the MCMC/Bayesian anlysis is beyond my comprehension. However, while the analysis may have delicately teased a needle from the haystack, it may also have conjured a chain of African rabbits from a Bayesian hat.

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