META – Now Here’s What a Thread Should Look Like

Here’s a great old thread at Languagehat that the blogger has resurrected. (Languagehat is a old and cherished linguistics blog.) Take a look. People disagree there but are not only almost always civil with each other, but more is more important, and what makes the civility possible, they hold themselves to fairly rigorous standards of data, analysis and discussion.

There’s a lot of in-joking going on that gains by a little translation. The stuff about the connections between Dravidian (a family of languages in south India that various crackpots have tried to link to just about every other language and language family under the sun) and Sumerian, Burushaski, and Basque is a standard joke among historical linguists and in fact has attained the status of a standard dismissal of crackpot porposals or assertions. “Oh, and does he link it to Dravidian too…?”

Since linguistics is a social science, and unlike so many other social sciences, empirically based on physical data – speech behavior – and also one whose analystical methods are rigorous enough to have even adopted by sciences like paleontology and botany, it may by parallel have something to contribute to discussions of gender where it concerns standards of analysis. The gender debate could really benefit from some standard dismissals of crackpot baseless assertions and gender bigotry.

And oh my God, they totally go there! Here is commenter John Emerson:

“We of the faithful do not welcome so-called “critical investigations” of the truths by which we live and thump.”

What does that remind you of in the gender debate?

Oh, and also. Come to think of it, the Circumcellions have parellels in feminism.

 

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