Are brains necessary?

Harlan Harris hharris at
Fri Apr 11 12:55:24 EST 1997

In article <334d755c.25207587 at>,
Silvano D'Orazio <Silvano D'Orazio> wrote:
>Measurments of reaction times of masters in martial arts show that the
>brain would be far to slow to calculate a response and to proceed it.

Top-notch fighter pilots do this too. They respond to actions before the
actions actually occur. 

>At least there must be supplementary centres independent from the
>brain which provide fast information processing in the humen
>physiological system.

That doesn't follow. An easier theory is that years and years of practice
allow martial arts masters and fighter pilots to build a model of their 
opponent in their own brain, which they use to anticipate the actions of
their opponent. They then react to the model, rather than to the actual
actions of the opponent. If the model is good, then so are they.

I fence, and it's long been noted that beginners cause much more trouble for
accomplished fencers than do moderately skilled fencers. I suspect that's 
because it's very difficult to model someone who doesn't know what they're


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