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Thread: Zuul, you are bang out of order, as we Brit's like to say.

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    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    Default Zuul, you are bang out of order, as we Brit's like to say.

    Why didn't you just ask me to take a break from the thread? Do you think I'm some sort of child that has to be made to stand in the corner, or something?

    This cage stinks of ferret shit! :Shake:
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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Got your attention, didn't it?

    I'll let you out if you can cool off on that thread for a while.

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    Okay, I promise I'll be good.

    But first, would you mind having a look at this link and telling me whether it's relevant to the topic of whether languages evolve?

    http://www.csa.com/discoveryguides/lang/overview.php
    ( The relevant part - in my opinion - appears about two thirds of the page down at Natural Selection And Language)

    Do YOU think it seems to contradict Exy's assertions?

    Okay, you don't have to answer that
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 05 Apr 2010 at 05:07 PM.
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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    That link appears to be about humans evolving the ability to use language. It doesn't speak to whether or not languages themselves evolve.

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    MOON GIRL FIGHTS CRIME Myrnalene's avatar
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    ivan, why are you so invested in proving him wrong? You don't have any particular knowledge on this topic. You seem to be so lacking in any reasoned support to your argument that you are reduced to using google and grabbing the first link that comes up. I'm not saying that you need to accept that everyone on the internet who claims to have studied a subject needs to be trusted implicitly, but damn boy. Why are you being so fucking stubborn?

    Why are you so convinced he's wrong and you are right?
    everything in nature is sort of gross when you look at it too closely. what is an apple? basically the uterus of a tree - terrifel

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    Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
    That link appears to be about humans evolving the ability to use language. It doesn't speak to whether or not languages themselves evolve.
    I've only just posted it! You couldn't have read it that quickly.

    Have you read the bit I just mentioned?
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    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    I've only just posted it! You couldn't have read it that quickly.

    Have you read the bit I just mentioned?
    I skimmed it down to that point:

    Although Pinker asserts that the process of natural selection is more than sufficient to explain the evolution of the entirety of language, the recent research from Giv�n mentioned above shows that a large portion of our language abilities are derived from neural structures that an ancestor of ours probably already had, meaning they were probably exapted.

    ...

    The broad thrust of theorists responding to Pinker and Bloom, then, casts language as a remarkable product of exaptation, leading to the development of a complex lexicon, and natural selection, leading to the development of grammar. If future empirical evidence can provide concrete validation for these theories, not only will evolutionary biology be provided with a marvelous example of how varying evolutionary processes can interact in order to produce complex traits, but we will gain valuable insight into exactly where and how human cognitive capacities have diverged from those of our closest primate relatives.
    It's exploring the actual creation of language and our biological capacity to do so.

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    Quote Originally posted by Myrnalene View post
    ivan, why are you so invested in proving him wrong? You don't have any particular knowledge on this topic. You seem to be so lacking in any reasoned support to your argument that you are reduced to using google and grabbing the first link that comes up. I'm not saying that you need to accept that everyone on the internet who claims to have studied a subject needs to be trusted implicitly, but damn boy. Why are you being so fucking stubborn?

    Why are you so convinced he's wrong and you are right?
    Has he convinced you there is an alternative theory to languages evolving from simple to more elaborate structures? If so, do you want to point out where?
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    Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
    I skimmed it down to that point:



    It's exploring the actual creation of language and our biological capacity to do so.
    The first paragraph in the Natural Selection And Language section.
    Although Pinker asserts that the process of natural selection is more than sufficient to explain the evolution of the entirety of language, the recent research from Giv�n mentioned above shows that a large portion of our language abilities are derived from neural structures that an ancestor of ours probably already had, meaning they were probably exapted.34 However, exaptation cannot account for all of language, and the best evolutionary theory to explain the evolution of the facet of language known as grammar is regular old Darwinian natural selection
    34. Pinker, Stephen 1997. Evolutionary Biology and the Evolution of Language.
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    It's not an "alternative theory" when there was no other theory posited in the first place.

    Link to as many explanations as you want of how different things in the human brain evolved but none of them are relevant. We know humans evolved. Evolution of living organisms is a clear fact. Pointing out over and over that the human faculty for language is thought to have evolved is silly -- every built-in capacity in our brains must have evolved, from balance to face recognition to sexual attraction. That doesn't do anything to even begin to prove the claim that languages themselves (or words or whatever, since you guys were all saying totally different things) "evolve" as though they were biological organisms.

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    A Groupie Marsilia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    Has he convinced you there is an alternative theory to languages evolving from simple to more elaborate structures? If so, do you want to point out where?
    I came in on the conversation a little late, but I'm pretty sure Exy's not arguing against the idea that languages have changed and developed over time. I think his argument is against what he sees as direct comparisons between biological evolution and linguistic development, as there are marked differences between the two. Y'all (you and at least one other person) seem to be ascribing the traits of biological evolution to linguistic development in a way that Exy finds objectionable.

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    MOON GIRL FIGHTS CRIME Myrnalene's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    Has he convinced you there is an alternative theory to languages evolving from simple to more elaborate structures? If so, do you want to point out where?
    I don't need him to convince me! You have not given me any reason to believe your theory, and in the absence of evidence given on either side, I'm going to trust the opinion of the guy who has a degree in this stuff and loves linguistics like some people love their babbies over some guy who probably just started thinking about this topic yesterday. Sorry. Now, does that mean that it's impossible for Exy to be wrong? Of course not. But for the purposes of a casual internet discussion I'm pretty willing to take his word for it.

    You haven't really answered my question, and frankly ivan, I'm just going to assume that you're being a contrarian in that thread, and don't actually believe or care whether you are right or not.
    everything in nature is sort of gross when you look at it too closely. what is an apple? basically the uterus of a tree - terrifel

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    So, who do you suggest I should be reading to dispel my misconceptions, Exy?

    Obviously not you, because you are too shy to even put a theory forward.
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    Quote Originally posted by Myrnalene View post
    I don't need him to convince me! You have not given me any reason to believe your theory, and in the absence of evidence given on either side, I'm going to trust the opinion of the guy who has a degree in this stuff and loves linguistics like some people love their babbies over some guy who probably just started thinking about this topic yesterday. Sorry. Now, does that mean that it's impossible for Exy to be wrong? Of course not. But for the purposes of a casual internet discussion I'm pretty willing to take his word for it.

    You haven't really answered my question, and frankly ivan, I'm just going to assume that you're being a contrarian in that thread, and don't actually believe or care whether you are right or not.
    Oh, I care all right. I care when someone bombastically asserts I am full of shit, without offering up anything by way of a reason why, other than I'm full of shit. At least I've tried to provide cites that back up my assertions; what has Exy offered other than attempted ridicule?
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 05 Apr 2010 at 05:39 PM.
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    So, who do you suggest I should be reading to dispel my misconceptions, Exy?

    Obviously not you, because you are too shy to even put a theory forward.
    Ivan, even if you legitimately have attempted to understand the issue and failed, at a certain point, shouldn't use assume that the fact that EVERYONE else thinks you're wrong means something?

    As the saying goes, if ten people say you're drunk, go lie down.


    At least I've tried to provide cites that back up my assertions
    Citations that don't have anything to do with your assertions count for zero.
    Last edited by Exy; 05 Apr 2010 at 05:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally posted by Exy View post
    Ivan, even if you legitimately have attempted to understand the issue and failed, at a certain point, shouldn't use assume that the fact that EVERYONE else thinks you're wrong means something?
    If there was only me thinking it, you'd have a point, but you only need to spend a second on Google to see I'm not alone with such thoughts.
    Quote Originally posted by Exy View post
    As the saying goes, if ten people say you're drunk, go lie down.
    So, how many different people on the web do I need to get to disagree with you, before I can tell you to do the same?
    Quote Originally posted by Exy View post
    Citations that don't have anything to do with your assertions count for zero.
    You'd have to be deliberately being obtuse to state that.
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    If there was only me thinking it, you'd have a point, but you only need to spend a second on Google to see I'm not alone with such thoughts.
    If that were true, then why can't you find any examples? And besides, so what? I'm sure there are plenty of other people who feel no compunctions about talking about topics they don't know anything about. Why would you expect anyone to take their opinions seriously?

    Again, Ivan, what the hell do you get out of acting so stubborn in advocating a point you can't even articulate meaningfully about a topic even you admit you don't know anything about?

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    Let's keep it simple. Do you want to explain why this statement is so wrong, Exy?

    However, exaptation cannot account for all of language, and the best evolutionary theory to explain the evolution of the facet of language known as grammar is regular old Darwinian natural selection
    Why would someone discussing language origins and development* use such wrongful terminology? Is this person arguing from ignorance? If so, why?


    * You agree it develops, don't you?
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 05 Apr 2010 at 06:12 PM.
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    Let's keep it simple. Do you want to explain why this statement is so wrong, Exy?



    Why would someone discussing language origins and development* use such wrongful terminology? Is this person arguing from ignorance? If so, why?


    * You agree it develops, don't you?
    There's nothing wrong with that statement. It's making reference to the evolution of humans -- specifically, our capacity to use language. There's little question that that evolved, like many or all of our mental abilities, and it's easy to see why. People who had a greater ability to communicate with one another would have had a survival advantage against people with less ability to do so. No one knows exactly when that happened, although one frequent guess is around 50,000 years ago, at the time we find archeological evidence for what is termed "behavioral modernity".

    The concept being put forward in that thread, though, was that languages themselves (or words, or whatever -- no one was being very specific) "evolved" as though they were biological organisms. They didn't. That's not a useful way to understand and predict the way languages change over time. Languages are not organisms. They don't reproduce. They don't have "genetics" or "mutations". You can loosely borrow terms from evolution to describe language if you want. I've probably used the term "evolve" myself but only in a loose sense, meaning "change very slowly".

    Languages don't literally "evolve", though, and so references to "fitter" languages are silly. "Survival of the fittest" is only applicable when you're talking about actual biological evolution. There's no reason at all to characterize the fates of languages that way. Taking a concept from one field and just pretending it applies in a totally different field to something that's not really similar or comparable is useless, unless you can demonstrate that for some reason the same principles are at work in totally different circumstances. Since the theory of evolution depends, at the most fundamental level, on reproduction and inheritance of genetic characteristics, and since there's nothing comparable to those things in language, the comparison is a total non-starter.

    I've explained this before. I'm explaining it for the last time. No one else had trouble picking this up earlier. If you still can't understand the distinction then it's because you are unwilling to learn or incapable of it.

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    I'll just leave this here for people to make their own mind up, then.

    The Evolutionary Emergence Of Language (pdf)
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    I'll just leave this here for people to make their own mind up, then.

    The Evolutionary Emergence Of Language (pdf)
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    I'll just leave this here for people to make their own mind up, then.

    The Evolutionary Emergence Of Language (pdf)
    And you do it again. You ask me to explain the difference, I humored you by explaining it yet again, in detail, and you ignore it, and once again you post a cite that doesn't support the question under discussion at all.

    If you're too stupid to learn something pretty simple like this, after multiple people have explained it, or you're too stubborn to try because it would involve admitting you were wrong, then you can't participate meaningfully in debates.

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    Ivan you know I like you, but damn your an idiot about this. The article you linked to is about weather human ability to use language came from our using mental structures we already had in new ways. Or if we developed new structures through natural selection. Its conclusion is both we started using language with what brains we had at the time. And those few who could express them selves better where more able to survive. This has absolutely nothing to do with the topic at hand. Which is how do languages change over time and are any languages inherently better than other languages just because more people speak them.
    Welcome to Mellophant.

    We started with nothing and we still have most of it left.

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    So, we are still left with the question of how we developed from gesticulation to the complex languages we have today. Anyone got any theories that don't involve language evolving from simple formats to more elaborate ones?
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    I've had better days, but I don't care! hatesfreedom's avatar
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    I'm no expert but it's just time i think. I mean we're inventing words all over the place even today, maybe that's all it is. Just a system of constantly mutating words that somehow we understand enough to get along with.

    That or the space ship that colonized earth taught us basic language through the help of AI programs... all of which have sense disappeared

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    i'm a victim of double posting
    Last edited by hatesfreedom; 06 Apr 2010 at 10:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    So, we are still left with the question of how we developed from gesticulation to the complex languages we have today. Anyone got any theories that don't involve language evolving from simple formats to more elaborate ones?
    If there are theories, they're not talked about very much in what I've read on linguistics. The problem is whenever humans moved from basic animal noises to actual language happened so long ago we have no record of how the transition may have occurred. People can guess and back their guesses up with data about the way human brains work but that doesn't mean diddly-poop in regards to how language may have first came to be since the brain has changed since our ancestors first strung words together. There are no primitive languages. It's not like we can go exploring in the Congo and find a tribe of africans that speak a very basic grammar that can be extrapolated to explain the growth of all languages.
    I don't think so, therefore I'm probably not.

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    Prehistoric Bitchslapper Sarahfeena's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by hatesfreedom View post
    i'm a victim of double posting
    I think that's caused by aliens, as well.

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    I suppose I'm going to be told that this link says nothing about languages evolving?

    http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/5/2/4.html

    The mentioning of the evolution of grammar and syntax are just figures of speech, I imagine!

    Or what about this Wikipedia page? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_linguistics
    Evolutionary linguistics as a field is rapidly evolving as a result of developments in neighboring disciplines. Some of these developments are:

    1. Studies of (human) genetics have started to make an impact on theories of language evolution. The discovery of the FoxP2-gene in an English family with a heritable disorder has led to a series of discoveries of versions of the gene in mice, songbirds, predators, great apes and even Neandertals, and reconstructions of the evolutionary history of the gene. Although the interpretation of these results is still contentious, it is clear that genetics will sooner or later start providing constraints on plausible theories of language origins.
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    I have pies and rotten fruit to toss at the one in the cage. Cheap.

    Also a deal on Lawn Chairs, who wants one?


    Wait, too late?

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    Yup, Jim. I'm free to roam again now.
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    I suppose I'm going to be told that this link says nothing about languages evolving?

    http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/5/2/4.html

    The mentioning of the evolution of grammar and syntax are just figures of speech, I imagine!

    Or what about this Wikipedia page? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_linguistics
    Why do you act like this hasn't already been explained to you a dozen times?

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    The Apostabulous Inner Stickler's avatar
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    Ivan, again, what you are posting are cites on how humans evolved to use language, which is very much not a point under discussion. Your cites say nothing about the evolution of a language in and of itself, which is the argument you appeared to be putting forth in the dialectical thread.
    I don't think so, therefore I'm probably not.

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    Quote Originally posted by Marsilia View post
    I came in on the conversation a little late, but I'm pretty sure Exy's not arguing against the idea that languages have changed and developed over time. I think his argument is against what he sees as direct comparisons between biological evolution and linguistic development, as there are marked differences between the two. Y'all (you and at least one other person) seem to be ascribing the traits of biological evolution to linguistic development in a way that Exy finds objectionable.
    Not really. It was Exy who brought up the idea that words were like rats and rabbits, and then used it as a strawman against those of us who were just saying that language kind of evolves. A ridiculous idea, I know, but hey, we can't all be linguistics experts.
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    Quote Originally posted by Inner Stickler View post
    Ivan, again, what you are posting are cites on how humans evolved to use language, which is very much not a point under discussion. Your cites say nothing about the evolution of a language in and of itself, which is the argument you appeared to be putting forth in the dialectical thread.
    What are the sections on the evolution of syntax discussing then?

    What about the wiki article?

    Why do so many discussions on linguistics mention the idea that languages have evolved, if the concept is of no use?
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    What are the sections on the evolution of syntax discussing then?

    What about the wiki article?

    Why do so many discussions on linguistics mention the idea that languages have evolved, if the concept is of no use?
    Why do you act like this hasn't already been explained to you a dozen times?

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    A quick reminder - I am and have always been talking about this kind of evolution.

    ev·o·lu·tion (v-lshn, v-)
    n.
    1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.
    2.
    a. The process of developing.
    b. Gradual development.


    and not this one

    3. Biology
    a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
    b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.


    as Exy is trying to claim. Although from what I've been reading, there might well be a genetic component to it. You see, linguistics is still a big mystery and nobody has all the answers, despite what Exy would have you believe.
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    A quick reminder - I am and have always been talking about this kind of evolution.

    ev·o·lu·tion (v-lshn, v-)
    n.
    1. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form. See Synonyms at development.
    2.
    a. The process of developing.
    b. Gradual development.


    and not this one

    3. Biology
    a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
    b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.


    as Exy is trying to claim. Although from what I've been reading, there might well be a genetic component to it. You see, linguistics is still a big mystery and nobody has all the answers, despite what Exy would have you believe.
    Why do you act like this hasn't already been explained to you a dozen times?

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    Quote Originally posted by Exy View post
    Why do you act like this hasn't already been explained to you a dozen times?
    How the fuck could that be if I have only just posted those links and particular questions? You might have an argument in calling me a stubborn swine, but you are coming over as a right arrogant bastard.

    I take it you don't teach linguistics? Don't bother; you'd be shit.
    Last edited by ivan astikov; 06 Apr 2010 at 12:10 PM.
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    How the fuck could that be if I have only just posted those links and particular questions? You might have an argument in calling me a stubborn swine, but you are coming over as a right arrogant bastard.
    No matter how many links you post unrelated to what was being discussed in the thread, you will still be wrong. I'm already very familiar with the academic discussion of how the capacity to use language evolved. It's not like this is something new and unfamiliar to me.


    I take it you don't teach linguistics? Don't bother; you'd be shit.
    I wouldn't worry. I don't think there's much risk in running into students like you at a university.

  41. #41
    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    Still, you'd have to tell them something or point to some reputable sources. You couldn't just keep going "No, that's wrong!", "Nope, you're talking shit!", or "What a ridiculous proposition!"

    Now and again you'd have to teach them something.
    To sleep, perchance to experience amygdalocortical activation and prefrontal deactivation.

  42. #42
    The Apostabulous Inner Stickler's avatar
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    Ivan, the usage of evolution that you are pointing to implies that language moves from simple to complex structure. That's not true and in fact languages can very easily move from complex structures to simpler forms. See, for example the loss of noun case endings in many modern languages.
    I don't think so, therefore I'm probably not.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    Still, you'd have to tell them something or point to some reputable sources. You couldn't just keep going "No, that's wrong!", "Nope, you're talking shit!", or "What a ridiculous proposition!"

    Now and again you'd have to teach them something.
    I have explained it several times. I've tried my best -- over and over. So have a bunch of other people.

    If you're just too stupid to understand a simple concept, or you're just too stubborn to listen to what other people are telling you, then what's the point of me bothering? And what's the point of you stepping into a discussion of a topic you even admit to not knowing anything about? One would think you'd be doing it in order to learn, but you are unwilling to or incapable of doing so. So what's the point?

    Given how consistently you do this whenever you step into the Crucible, really, you should be thanking me for patiently trying, over and over, to teach you. And, well, it's not something that only I have noticed. I've gotten a bunch of sympathetic messages from a bunch of different posters who've also noticed how useless it is to try to have a discussion with you about anything.

    I don't know why some people are like you. Maybe for you it's just more comfortable somehow to be stubbornly, relentlessly stupid than to actually learn something new, since that requires admitting you don't know everything. Or, in this case, anything.

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    aka ivan the not-quite-as-terrible ivan astikov's avatar
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    I'm not gonna go through this and the "Dialectic" thread to copy + paste all your examples of positive criticism to mine and others thoughts, and your abundant cites to back up your non-stated position.

    People are sympathetic towards you, are they? Well boo hoo you. It must be so difficult being forced to interact with someone whose intellect is so inferior. I really feel for you, Exy.
    To sleep, perchance to experience amygdalocortical activation and prefrontal deactivation.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally posted by ivan astikov View post
    I'm not gonna go through this and the "Dialectic" thread to copy + paste all your examples of positive criticism to mine and others thoughts, and your abundant cites to back up your non-stated position.

    People are sympathetic towards you, are they? Well boo hoo you. It must be so difficult being forced to interact with someone whose intellect is so inferior. I really feel for you, Exy.
    Ivan, once again, cites that don't back up your position count for zero.

    And don't feel sorry for me. The person who's so bound and determined to be stupid is the one who deserves the pity.

  46. #46
    I've had better days, but I don't care! hatesfreedom's avatar
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    Eh, you're both acting pretty dumb.

  47. #47
    Oliphaunt jali's avatar
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    ::dances through thread, singing::

    Shake shake shake...shake your bootie...
    They weren't singing....they were just honking.
    Glee 2009

  48. #48
    The Apostabulous Inner Stickler's avatar
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    *gets in line behind Jali shaking his moneymaker*
    I don't think so, therefore I'm probably not.

  49. #49
    The Queen Zuul's avatar
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    Shake your groove thang!

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally posted by Zuul View post
    Shake your groove thang!
    ZUUL, YOU ARE BANG OUT OF ORDER

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