Now for some criticism. Here Steven Pinker makes interesting criticisms of Chomsky’s politics and his views of human nature. For Pinker, we need the leviathan state, and anarchism is an absurd utopian fantasy – and he is right. Also, badly missing here is the reality that religions cause terrible conflicts between human beings and cultural beliefs people hold can be vehemently opposed.
A related point here is Chomsky’s view of the human language system. In standard neo-Darwinian theory not everything biological and innate is a direct adaptation, but evolution can be caused by multiple processes:
(1) direct adaptation;Chomsky has suggested that the human language faculty is (3), while Pinker and others argue it is (1) (see Pinker and Bloom 1990). So, despite appearances, the debate here has nothing to with denying the general truth of Darwinian evolution at all, but merely about what specific evolutionary or biological processes were at work. But it seems here too Pinker is right, and Chomsky is wrong. There is a fine discussion of this issue in Daniel Dennett’s book Darwin’s Dangerous Idea (London), pp. 384–400.
(2) exaptation (some prior adaptation then “re-designed” to solve a different adaptive problem);
(3) as a by-product (or spandrel);
(4) sexual selection, or
(5) genetic drift.
Dennett, D. C. 1996. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life. Penguin Books, London.
Pinker, Steven and Paul Bloom, 1990. “Natural Language and Natural Selection,” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13.4: 707–784.