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Complete the following: "People who disagree with me"
,,,must die! 12%
...are misguided. They must be subjected to merciless and painful torture until they see the error of their ways. 8%
...must be forgiven, as they cannot help being incontinent retards. 45% not exist. Whenever I hear a dissenting voice, I clap my hands over my ears and scream "lalalalala" until that person leaves. 16%
...may have a point. I find rational dialogue with someone holding to a different point of view to be stimulating. I also eat mud. 16%

Votes: 24

 I'm very disappointed with Noam Chomsky

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Feb 23, 2002
I was reading a recent issue of The New York Review Of Books, when I happened upon a written exchange between the Philosophy professor John Searle and famous linguist Noam Chomsky, one which left me shocked and dismayed at the poor quality of Professor Chomsky's thoughts and analysis. I have reprinted a portion of Prof. Searle's arguments, along with the complete text of Chomsky's reply, in order to show what I am talking about.

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From Prof. Searle's comments:
Chomsky insists that the study of language is a branch of natural science, and the key notion in his new conception of language is computation. on his current view, a language consists of a lexicon plus computations. but my objection to this is that computation is not a notion of natural science like force, mass, or photosynthesis. computation is an abstract mathematcal notion that we have found ways to implement in hardware. as such, it is entirely relative to the observer (...) unlike, say, electrical charge, computation is not discovered in nature, rather it is assigned to physical processes. natural processes can be interpreted or described computationally. in this observer relative sense, there cannot be a natural science of computation.

Noam Chomsky replies:
You foul, verminous clod. Your very existence is a disgraceful misuse of valuable carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen that could otherwise be put to use constituting a heap of goat feces, the better to feed a family of hungry shitworms. You are worse than a racist, pedophile serial killer who preys on the disabled. Next to you, Charles Manson looks like Simone Weil. If I ever meet you, I will kick your dishonorable ass so bad that your dog won't recognize the way you smell. Let me just reply to your feeble, dull-witted doodlings, which you so obviously scribbled down in-between bouts of huffing gasoline fumes and sodomizing underage crackwhores, by making three very salient points:

  • You are a douchebag
  • You eat mud
  • You are an ass-clown
    I believe that the foregoing will serve to set the record straight. In conclusion, please wedge "there cannot be a natural science of computation" firmly up your ass, and go piss on a wall, you flaming bag of turds.
    Fuck you,
    Noam Chomsky

    I think what bothers me the most about Chomsky's reply is the lack of rigor to his argument. Chomsky hardly bothers to reply to any of the points Searle makes, instead relying on a series of thinly disguised ad hominem attacks. I am very disappointed in Professor Chomsky's handling of what could have been an enlightening discussion, and hope that his remarks here do not exemplify the quality of his most recent body of work.


    Chomsky is clueless. (none / 0) (#1)
    by dmg on Sat Feb 23rd, 2002 at 07:04:59 PM PST
    Chomsky is clueless. What is it with these so-called "linguists" ?

    time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
    -- MC Hawking

    Gah... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 23rd, 2002 at 09:42:28 PM PST
    That guy was really grasping at strings trying to trash-talk Chomsky. At least Chomsky has a semblance of a clue.

    straws even (NT) (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anonymous Reader on Sat Feb 23rd, 2002 at 09:43:34 PM PST

    Arms and the man (none / 0) (#7)
    by Chocolate Milkshake on Sun Feb 24th, 2002 at 02:13:06 PM PST
    I was intrigued by the critical essay you linked to, especially so by Prof. Chomsky's contention that the US "is not under armed attack" by terrorists. Perhaps this is some sort of linguistographistical doublethink maintaining that since the radicals who attacked on September 11 used civilian airliners as ther chosen method of death-dealing, it does not count as an "armed" attack. Hmm.

    I am not a conspiracy theorist, but.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by dmg on Mon Feb 25th, 2002 at 03:46:05 AM PST
    Professor Chomsky is interesting in that he is Jewish, but not a Zionist. When reading about the war on terrorism in the mainstream media (or US Govt propaganda machine) one would do well not to take everything you read at face value.

    There are plenty of unexplained details about the attacks on the World Trade Center.

    One could put forward a pretty convincing case that the US Govt was behind the Sept 11 attacks. Its not as if they have a squeaky clean record after all.

    This whole war on terrorism thing stinks of a home-brewed conspiracy. Not just a faint aroma or a subtle whiff but a full-on pungent assault on the olfactory system.

    You don't have to be a wacko on the outer fringes of sanity to wonder just exactly what is going on here. Just ask yourself the question - who stands to gain from the war on 'terrorism' ?

    time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
    -- MC Hawking

    Worth thinking about (none / 0) (#10)
    by Chocolate Milkshake on Mon Feb 25th, 2002 at 09:25:05 PM PST
    That's definitely something worth keeping in mind. 9/11 does seem a little too convenient, seeing how it simultaneously boosted Bush's lowly approval ratings, provided Ashcroft & co. an excuse for an authoritarian clampdown, and gave the defense industry a huge monetary shot in the arm... you can't be too careful about those Feds, what with the fake moon landing and all.

    Indeed. (none / 0) (#11)
    by dmg on Tue Feb 26th, 2002 at 04:00:52 AM PST
    Of course, scientists, journalists, and politicians are not known for considering things in the philosophical light of transcendental knowledge

    Ain't that the truth ?

    time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
    -- MC Hawking

    Chomsky is losing it (more than he has before) (none / 0) (#4)
    by CorporateRepublic on Sat Feb 23rd, 2002 at 09:46:55 PM PST
    Chomsky is really losing his mind (or at least what is left it after all of those drugs). He forgot to use his standard insult of calling someone who disagrees with him an evil Zionist that wants to nuke Mecca.

    True (none / 0) (#8)
    by Chocolate Milkshake on Sun Feb 24th, 2002 at 03:02:25 PM PST
    Come to think of it, Chomsky does seem a little more restrained than usual. Possible because this exchange did not involve overtly politcal issues.

    I'm shocked, but not for what you think. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by elenchos on Sun Feb 24th, 2002 at 12:44:30 AM PST
    I think everyone needs to realize that Chomsky and Searle have been colleagues for many years, and have squared off in debate of professional questions more times than anyone can count. So we forget when jumping in the middle of of one of their discussions that they take quite a bit for granted. Many of the points they make are based on prior discussions, or refer to previous work that those who are current in the field are aware of.

    While no serious scientific enterprise can boast total agreement on all things, there are a number of well-established theories that can generally be assumed to be true. So when you hear Chomsky making what seem like baseless personal attacks, in fact he is staying well within standard assumptions.

    Some examples: Hopkins [1993] has shown to the satisfaction of nearly everone that John Searle is an ass-munch. No one believed it at first, but after answering the initial objections [Pele 1994], the Searle is an ass-munch theory has been universally accepted. Chomsky merely takes a small, and probably safe, step from ass-much to ass-clown. Most of the public probably couldn't give a definition of an ass-clown or an ass-munch that made a meaningful distinction. Chomsky is a bit of a radical, but it is not unlikely that time will show that Searle is both an ass-munch and an ass-clown.

    Similarly, Searle's own students will affirm that his practice of sodomizing crack whores and huffing gas is virtually a given. Once you understand Searle's work, even a little, you realize that he must be both a crack whore sodomizer and a gas huffer. Searle's theories become nonsense without these facts to explain them.

    What has me worried is the "flaming bag of turds" accusation. Considering that Chomsky himself acknowledges that Searle is worth less than goat feces [Spears 1988], how can he then want to claim he is a flaming bag of turds? Unless Chomsky is prepared to show evidence that Searle's value has increased to something greater than goat poop, he is going to have to back away from the entire "bag" thesis. Especially a flaming bag! A festering bag maybe, but we are still left asking what kind of turds Searle is full of that he can still be of less worth than the shit of a common goat.

    Be that as it may, we should all realize that Chomsky's major argument is nothing more or less than the opinion of the entire scientific community. Searle is everything Chomsky says and more [see Song, et al 1991 for why Searle is a douchebag, and Laplante 1980 and 1983 for Searle eating mud]. Chomsky is showing his age, however, in suggesting that Searle can be called a flaming bag of anything, turds in particular.

    I do, I do, I do
    --Bikini Kill

    Ahhh. (none / 0) (#6)
    by Chocolate Milkshake on Sun Feb 24th, 2002 at 02:04:37 PM PST
    Thank you for the helpful scholarly references, especially as regards the always bewildering protocol governing the proper use of ass-munch and ass-clown. Chomsky's remarks make much more sense once set in the proper context.

    Comments out of place (none / 0) (#12)
    by NoahVale on Mon Mar 18th, 2002 at 09:21:14 PM PST
    It is unfortunate that Chomsky misdirected his argument in this way. He should have reserved statements like this for a critique of Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment.


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