The neuron as an analog NOT digital system

Mike Taffe mtaffe at
Thu Aug 10 01:07:01 EST 1995

In article <409s5a$2he at>,
Marc Anton <ma2 at> wrote:
>the world.   All I'm saying is the neuron, intelligence, humanity,
>the world, the universe, etc...all the objects of study
>in sciences, are all "reduced" as a show of the measure
>and limit of our own analytical understanding; we are
>far from engendering levels of understanding and intelligence
>anywhere near what we're capable of were we to let go of
>our stubborn insistance on this reductionism.

You might be correct.  The beauty of the search for truth, however, is that
many routes are pursued by humanity at all times.  Yes, science tends to be
reductionist.  However there are plenty of philosophers, thinkers and
scientists-on-their-lunch-hour (so to speak) who entertain all sorts of levels
of understanding of intelligence, humanity, the universe et cetera.  Are you
so certain that the reductionist approach is *not* helping?  Personally, I see
value in pursuing investigation of the natural world at a number of levels of
inquiry.  This is not to say that I am personally responsible for all
levels..I happen to work with whole organisms.  Nevertheless, I can see 
value in people who work with, say, receptor binding as well as with, on a
larger scale, groups of organisms (e.g. social psychologists, anthropologists)
It depends on what question you wish to ask, to some extent.

>We have to realize that, though digital models are clean and 
>neat, they leave out a lot, all the perceived trash, the 
>randomness, and convoluted information pouring out of analog
>systems, are part and parcel of the complex world we live in.
>To over-simplify this is to delude ourselves, it's to not admit

Wrong.  To model complex systems simplistically is science.  To *forget that
you have constructed an analogue*, is to delude yourself.  I find it is the
rare scientist who doesn't *really* know that models are not perfectly
equivalent to the system being studied, despite the manner in which they speak
to colleagues who all accept a certain communication shorthand..

Michael Taffe   *
mtaffe at *

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