Profile

Cover photo
Melody Dye
Worked at Scientific American
Attends Indiana University Bloomington
Lives in Bloomington, IN
2,453 followers|69,150 views
AboutPostsPhotosVideos

Stream

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
‘That’s what we both hate about fiction, or at least crappy fiction,’ Nelson muses... ‘It purports to provide occasions for thinking through complex issues, but really it has predetermined the positions, stuffed a narrative full of false choices’
4
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"What had, to a large extent, begun as a modern, liberal minded attempt at the imposition of universal values had turned into something more sinister. And when, in time, the Nazi state implemented its Final Solution, “the closed list of Jewish patronyms made the task of genocide terrifyingly simple.”"
Boiling a frog In 1781, Christian Wilhelm von Dohm, a civil servant, political writer and historian in what was then Prussia published a two volume work entitled Über die Bürgerliche Verbesserung d...
2
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"'Linguistics has not in general been one of the sciences in which the relevance and correctness of statements are determined by controlled methods of observation and argumentation. It is therefore desirable to consider what methods are relevant in linguistics, in the hope of establishing criteria for investigation and analysis. Choice of method is not less important than responsibility in data, and the choice should be determined not by personal preference or current custom but by the nature and the problems of the data." -Zellig Harris, "A Theory of Language and Information"
4
Avery Andrews's profile photo
 
Yes, and, interestingly, many Minimalist syntacticians have taken fairly avidly to magnitude estimation tasks, etc.  E.g. Akis Kechagias' 2011 PhD thesis at http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uclyake/.

I conjecture that the reason is that the conventional 'can you say this?' method is much more self-evidently hopeless when word order is highly flexible than with other topics, such as case-marking patterns.
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
There's a striking parallel between arguments for intelligent design and arguments for linguistic nativism: Both are arguments from ignorance. In one instance, a supernatural creator is the explanatory placeholder; in the other, it's our supposed "innate endowment".

Here's Jerry Coyne on intelligent design:
"ID is unscientific, for it consists largely of untestable claims. How, for example, can we determine whether mutations were mere accidents in DNA replication or were willed into being by a creator? But we can still ask if there are adaptations that could not have been built by selection, and therefore require us to think of another mechanism. Advocates of ID have suggested several such adaptations, such as the bacterial flagellum... and the mechanism of blood clotting. [...] IDers argue that such traits, involving many parts that must cooperate for that trait to function at all, defy Darwinian explanation. Therefore, by default, they must have been designed by a supernatural agent. This is commonly called the "God of the gaps" argument, and it is an argument from ignorance. What it really says is that if we don't understand everything about how natural selection build a trait, that lack of understanding itself is evidence for supernatural creation." (2009, p. 139). 

Compare this to the language mad-libs version:
"Linguistic nativism is unscientific, for it consists largely of untestable claims. Yet we can still ask if there are facets of language that could not have been learned, and therefore require us to think of another mechanism. Advocates of nativism have suggested several such puzzles, such as early patterns of nominal overregularization. Nativists argue that such phenomena defy a learning theoretic explanation. Therefore, by default, they must be specified by some innate developmental program. This is commonly called a "poverty of the stimulus" argument, and it is an argument from ignorance. What it really says is that if we don't understand everything about how learning can explain some phenomena, then that lack of understanding itself is evidence for nativism."
3
Jeff Hoon's profile photoAvery Andrews's profile photo
4 comments
 
At any point in time, vast numbers of events are not  fully explicable (predictable, either outright or with a useful probability) by any scientific hypothesis.  At the moment this includes full learning of language and also everything else, except under carefully delimited circumstances, as well as the origin of the universe.  But some programs can push the frontier back and explain a bit more, whereas others are inherently incapable of advancing.

According to me, Chomsky's UG idea has potential merit, that is, is inherently capable of advancing,  but its more ardent backers grossly underestimate the amount of work they need to do to prove it (they act as if they think it's already done, but I think it's about as far away as humans establishing semi-viable settlements around Saturn, and maybe even further away than that).  The ideas that Melody is backing are in a similar situation (except that the people working on them seem to be more focussed on making progress, and less on repeating the same old gee-whiz arguments).

The problem with ID is that the only possible explanation it suggests for a problem is that God did it, which is no explanation at all, since God can do anything He/She/It wants to.  UG otoh has to be one collection of learning biasses that work for all languages, and are demonstrably different from the biasses required for learning other things, such as how to tie your shoes.  We are nowhere near having anything of the kind.
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"Complete irony and the complete absence of irony ultimately meet in the same place."
“Leave nothing out” is one of the perverse rules of diary-keeping. Credit BARRY BLITT
2
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard." -Rev. Martin Luther King, 1968
1
Add a comment...
In her circles
84 people
Have her in circles
2,453 people
Dr.M.A. Padmanabha Rao's profile photo
ballu M's profile photo
Beth Johnson's profile photo
Andrew Hill's profile photo
Suvigya Trivedi's profile photo
Jeff Geiger's profile photo
David Adler's profile photo
Erich Feldmeier's profile photo
Waqas iqbal's profile photo

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"Many women have aspired to ‘conquer’ men. Some have sought to be muses, under the impression that enabling a man’s creative work is itself a form of genius. It takes a strange personality indeed to see it as her mission to inspire powerful Jewish men to worship her in order that she could then liberate them from their Jewishness."
Alma Mahler Werfel celebrated her 70th birthday at home in Beverly Hills on the last day of August 1949. A brass band played as guests chose from a Mitteleuropean selection of drinks: champagne, black coffee or Alma’s favourite, Bénédictine (by the end of her life, she was drinking a . . .
1
Avery Andrews's profile photo
 
I wonder if one motivation for the conquest syndrome might be frustration at having trouble being taken seriously for your actual contributions.  Since that is I think less the case today, although clearly far from perfect, the prediction would be less conquest syndrome.
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
 "There is no art or discipline for which the nature of reality is a matter of indifference, so one ontology or another is always being assumed if not articulated."
Why we shouldn’t let neuroscience banish mystery from human life.
3
Joe Repka's profile photo‫الاشقر الخال‬‎'s profile photo
2 comments
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
“The mind, once expanded to the dimensions of larger ideas, never returns to its original size.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes
5
Jack Cougar's profile photo
 
Size meaning not physical yes?
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"...even the sheets of paper on which one endeavors to put together a few words and sentences seem covered in mildew. For days and weeks on end one racks one's brains to no avail, and if asked, one could not say whether one goes on writing purely out of habit, or a craving for admiration, or because one knows not how to do anything other, or out of sheer wonderment, despair or outrage, any more than one could say whether writing renders one more perceptive or insane. Perhaps we all lose our sense of reality to the precise degree to which we are engrossed in our own work, and perhaps this is why we see in the increasing complexity of our mental constructs a means for greater understanding, even while intuitively we know that we shall never be able to fathom the imponderables that govern our course through life." -W.G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn
2
1
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality."
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu
3
michel prins's profile photo
 
what if the mouse stood on the tail of the elephant? Or some philosofer made you believe size is irelevant :P
Add a comment...

Melody Dye

Shared publicly  - 
 
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. "
2
Add a comment...
People
In her circles
84 people
Have her in circles
2,453 people
Dr.M.A. Padmanabha Rao's profile photo
ballu M's profile photo
Beth Johnson's profile photo
Andrew Hill's profile photo
Suvigya Trivedi's profile photo
Jeff Geiger's profile photo
David Adler's profile photo
Erich Feldmeier's profile photo
Waqas iqbal's profile photo
Education
  • Indiana University Bloomington
    PhD Cognitive Science & Computational Linguistics, 2011 - present
  • Stanford University
    Philosophy & Literature, 2003 - 2007
Basic Information
Gender
Female
Work
Employment
  • Scientific American
    2016
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Bloomington, IN
Previously
Tubingen, Germany