electromagnetic/brain waves

Dave Seaman ds005c at UHURA.CC.ROCHESTER.EDU
Sat Mar 30 16:43:14 EST 1996

> Paul,
> 	Of course it (an electromagnetic account of nervous function) has
> no meaning for you, because you have no understanding of it, nor do you
> want any, which is why you reject it out of hand. The essentially hosti=
> nature of your postings is clear. The phrase =93electromagnetic account=
,=94 as
> the words clearly imply, refers to an explanation of the nervous system
> that is based on the principles of electromagnetic field theory. If you
> want to understand something with which you have had no prior experienc=
> you need to start asking questions, rather than throwing out a lot of o=
> or two line barbs. Given the nature of your education, it is possible t=
> you are incapable of giving serious consideration to anything other tha=
> that with which you have been previously indoctrinated.
> 	Your opinion, that any theory which is consistent with the idea
> that there is an =93inner self=94 within each of us =93is in trouble,=94=
 is the
> conventional attitude of neuroscience. It has nothing to do with the
> scientific facts that have been accumulated to this date. It has to do
> with the dogma with which the facts have been interpreted. It is
> metaphysics, pure and simple. The real question, the one that should
> concern true scientists, is how well can such a theory explain the
> empirical evidence. If you will bother to actually study the theory and
> see how well it does in this regard, you will find that it does a far
> better job than anything else now available. But of course, if all you
> ever do is continue with your Abbot and Costello routine, you will neve=
> find that out. So be it.

I quite agree that the facts presented ought to be taken seriously.=20
However, what "facts" or empirical data do you really have to say that
consciousness even exists as anything but a physiological level of
alertness?  Haven't you ignored the incredible chemical mechanisms of the
brain?  What's to say that consciousness, or the self you would like to
show, is not really an electrochemical one?  And why, if in the presence =
a huge magnet, don't we go unconscious or some similar thing?  What you s=
to be disregarding is that the electrical phenomena in the brain are a
convenient method for effecting chemical changes throughout the body, on =
minute level.  This emf theory is really just a revamping of
epiphenomenalism - the concept that physical substances have a
"non-physical" property, and that consciousness is a "by-product" of the
brain.  This is even more ridiculous, however, because you're talking abo=
a force that effects every physical substance.  Why, in fact, does a rock
not have consciousness?  Or, if you would rather have a more complex
example, how about the sea?  Or a computer?  Shouldn't a computer be
conscious, then, merely because of the complex emf's?

> 	The concept of an =93inner self=94 has never been defined in terms
> that are acceptable to science, til now. That is what an electromagneti=
> account of mind and brain is all about. If you truly want clarification=
> stop the barbs and start communicating. Ask questions about the things =
> don=92t understand, rather than making continual accusations about
> vagueness. Your vagueness is not the problem of the theory, it is becau=
> you don=92t understand the theory, and seemingly will make no effort to
> understand it.
> 	If you bother to make an effort to understand, you will know that
> the well know fact =93that PSPs rather than spikes contribute to the
> generation of the EEG=94 is not contested, rather it is one of the
> elementary facts that the theory is founded on.
> 	You say you have no knowledge of, therefore no taste for, one way
> or the other, Verzeano=92s work. It obviously is true that you have no
> knowledge of his work, but the rest of your statement is simply not tru=
> That is clear from your earlier statement regarding the impossibility o=
> explaining the complex relations between the EEG and the generating cel=
> Verzeano=92s research is telling us that such an explanation in fact is
> possible. So the idea that you can consider his work without bias is
> nonsense.

Sure, it may be the case that there is something called a "self" that
science Proper has never accepted the possibility of.  Unfortunately, the
concept of the self is a "squishy" one - it is difficult to define becaus=
it means different things to different people, and usually a set of
senstations and thoughts of a sort.  But that's no reason to say that, we=
this guy did some really neat emf experiments, and it may explain
consciousness and the self and say it's all pat.  Many, many versions of
this kind of hopeful theory have been seen before.  In the end, the only
thing that really works for sure is to have empirical evidence. =20

> 	I have already briefly stated what the statistical relationship is
> between multiunit axon discharge and the EEG wave. If you want more
> detailed information regarding this relationship I refer you to (1)
> Verzeano=92s work, which I am sure you can find in the library, (2) my =
> which will be available soon. The first gives the experimental evidence=
> this relationship, and the second will give for the first time a
> description of a mechanism that can account for the relationship.
> 	Most things are simple once understood. I can explain things
> forever, but if you do not want to understand, then the simplicity will
> never be apparent.
> 	The field of Neuroscience is not entirely deluded. Check the
> research of Verzeano for a first step in the reduction of the =93comple=
> relations=94 between the EEG and the generating cells to a simpler mode=
l. A
> further simplification, and even greater generalization, will be found =
> an electromagnetic account of his work. Interested? I=92ll bet not. You=
> main interest seems to be suppressing any possible outbreak of inspirat=
> in neuroscience theory.
> 	As you have indicated, there indeed is a clear relationship
> between the probabality of axon spike discharge and the amplitude of th=
> extracellular potential. Fox and Obrien made that very clear in 1965.
> Verzeano also made it even more clear, in several decades of research,
> that there also is a relationship between the probablity of axon spike
> discharge and the slope or rate-of-change of the extracellular potentia=
> So how does one resolve what seems to be an irreconcilable contradictio=
> in the research. Your approach, and that of the so-called =93deluded
> Neuroscience=94 (your term, not mine), has been to simply ignore Verzea=
> research. WRONG! NOT ACCEPTABLE! Scientists, those that are true
> scientists, do not ignore contradictory evidence. They seek to explain =
> to reconcile the data. That is what an electrodynamic approach to nervo=
> function can do. Again, you seem to think that, even though you have no
> knowledge of Verzeano=92s work, you can engage in intelligent criticism
> concerning a theory that explains his work. WRONG! Your confusion is th=
> result of your presuming to understand far more than you do.
> 	It seems unlikely that you will ever be grateful for anything that
> invalidates what you presently hold to be true.
> 	My insulting remarks are simply a reply in kind to your insulting
> remarks. Any time you want to drop the hostile attitude and start
> communicating on a more friendly basis, I will be more than willing to
> reciprocate. Otherwise, I guess we can continue on the present basis.
> 	My view of sociology is far more complex and detailed than you can
> imagine. Again, another of your assumptions of knowledge that far exeed=
> reality.

You can talk all day long about how similar neuron discharge is to EEG's,
about sine waves and such, but it still doesn't say much about the "self"=
or consciousness, or what have you.  Neuroscientists are quite aware of m=
of these things, and so are many other people in many other fields who tr=
to explain how these things work.  Someone who was studying artificial
intelligence might say that any EEG's were a measure of the cyclic
back-propagation circuits in use, for example. =20
	This wouldn't be the first attempt to take a simple, physical law
and apply it mundanely to all sorts of abstract human constructs.  Take s=
philosophy, and you will see a history of this sort of thing.  The irony =
that even though you cry on about how you're not being taken seriously, i=
really hard to see any PROOF in the things you propose.  Tell everyone on=
extremely convincing fact that is NOT merely abstract, and that has been
proven in a laboratory.  Maybe this scientific process is elitist, but it
has worked.  Trying to discount theories is a large part of science.  And=
have to say, to the both of you, it's really a lousy debating tactic to
insult each other, if in fact both of you are doing so. =20


ds005c at uhura.cc.rochester.edu

There's More Than One Way To Do It.

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