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Mark Baker

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Mark c. Baker is a linguist at Rutgers University

Mark Baker's work, The Atoms of Language (2004) presents arguments that there are not only certain "parameters" (as Chomsky called them) that are innate switches in our LAD, but we are very close to the point where these parameters could be put together in a "periodic table of languages" as determined by their parameter features. Baker's work is very controversial, however, because he has argued (1996: 496-515) that principles and parameters do not have biological or sociological origins, but instead were created by God (i.e. creationism). In contrast to Baker's theological creationism, Chomsky, although not a creationist has been described as a magical creationist or a crypto-creationist (e.g. MacFarquhar, 2003: 71) by people who find his scepticism of natural selection troubling. Chomsky does however make it clear in a reply to John Maynard Smith that he does believe that the innate capacity for language can be explained by biology when he states that language "... can be studied in the manner of other biological systems." [1].


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