electromagnetic/brain waves

Paul Bush paul at phy.ucsf.edu
Fri Mar 29 20:11:26 EST 1996

In article <4jcvum$pi7 at newsbf02.news.aol.com>, zamanlf at aol.com (Zamanlf) writes:

|> 	Neuroscientists generally, as you obviously do also, reject
|> apriori the possibility of an electromagnetic account of nervous function.

Speaking for myself, not at all. 'an electromagnetic account of nervous function'
is so vague that it has no real meaning. I think I reject your theory though.

|> 	Your statement to the effect that any account of  nervous system
|> function which is consistent with the concept of  an inner self  “is a bad
|> sign” truly is a bad sign, but only for those who are intent on forcing
|> their preconceived doctrines on neuroscience.

I believe the phrase was 'little men or women in the brain'. Any theory involving
such a concept, beyond the sensorimotor homunculus, is in trouble in my opinion.

|> Only dogmatists will try to
|> enforce a particular metaphysics (such as the doctrine that the “inner
|> self“ cannot physically exist), as you do.

Again, 'the inner self' is too vague to have meaning. Please clarify.

|> 	Now, regarding the scientific evidence on which my thinking is
|> based, you seem to think that the introductory textbooks on neuroscience
|> are the repository of all knowledge about what research on the nervous
|> system has shown or not shown.

No, I believe that the introductory textbooks on neuroscience contain the
well known fact that PSPs rather than spikes contribute to the generation of the

|> with Marcel Verzeano’s research on the “flow of multiunit spike activity”
|> (spanning the years 1953-1981), which you also obviously have a great
|> personal distaste for.

I have no knowledge of, therefore no taste for, one way or the other, this work.

|> The evidence is there, however; a statistical
|> relationship between axon spike discharge and the slope or rate-of-change
|> of  the locally-generated gross potential clearly exists

Sounds like a local field potential to me. I thought you were talking about the
EEG and MEG. Please post the exact statistical relationship.

|> <conspiracy theory deleted>

|> 	You say that the relationship between the gross potential and the
|> generating cells is “extremely complex,” but complexity is often, and
|> perhaps generally, in the mind of the researcher.

Most things are simple once explained.

|> The extreme complexity
|> you see regarding the gross potential and the firing of nerve cells
|> actually is a manifestation of  your extreme ignorance concerning the
|> fundamental principles of nervous system dynamics.

Indeed? Let's see, I wrote: 'The relationship between the gross potential 
and the position of the generating cells is extremely complex'. I'm sure the
deluded field of Neuroscience will be grateful for your simple explanation.
Please summarise in a few sentences in your reply.

|> These researchers found a
|> different relationship, between the probability of axon spike discharge
|> and the amplitude of the extracellular gross potential; 

Again, I thought we were talking about the EEG and MEG? I would expect a
clear relationship between the probability of axon spike discharge and the 
amplitude of the extracellular potential.

|> 	Paul, although I do not agree with your point of view, I
|> appreciate your effort to communicate on this very important subject.

That must be why you included so many insulting remarks in your post. Or do you
have Tourette's?

|> Do not interpret this reply as an attempt to silence all opposition.

Don't worry, this is the internet. Free and open global exchange of ideas and
all that. No one would try to censor the internet, would they?

|> I believe that a truly scientific theory of the brain that can stand
|> independent of EVERY metaphysical interpretation of life (Christian,
|> Hindu, Buddist, Platonistic, atheistic, etc.) is rapidly becoming an
|> absolute necessity--if our modern “scientific civilization” is to avoid
|> degenerating into a pluralistic society in which everything that man
|> desires to do is acceptable, for good or evil. In such a society it simply
|> will be undemocratic to criticize or limit the freedom of those who love
|> evil, because evil itself will longer exist--everything that can be
|> thought, said or done will be good.

I think you have a somewhat simplistic view of sociology.


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