Noam Chomsky recently appeared on the Skeptically Speaking podcast to discuss the evolution of language. This got me thinking about the relationship, or lack thereof, between 'scepticism', 'new atheism' and radical politics which will follow in another blog post.
Skeptically Speaking's Desiree Schell had Chomsky on to discuss language evolution He outlines Universal Grammar and briefly responds to some challenges, contending that criticisms of his ideas often come from misunderstandings. Chomsky outlines his reluctance to engage in 'just-so' storytelling:
I prefer to keep to what is actually understood about evolutionary biology and not indulge in what evolutionary biologists dismiss as 'just-so' stories... stories we invent... 'maybe it happened this way, maybe it happened that way'. [I'm] not interested in that. But first of all let's clarify the question. There is no such topic as 'evolution of language'. Languages don't evolve, they change, but they don't evolve. What evolves is the 'language capacity'. That's part of our biological nature.