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machine brains

ray scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Fri Sep 26 11:10:11 EST 1997

The word spinner starts off his criticism of a serious attempt to
explain the brain with the words, "We don't know enough about the
brain to ...". The neuroscientists know far, far too much about
the brain. The real problem is to get the trees down so I can see
the forest.

They confuse knowledge of the mind with knowledge of the brain.
The assumption is that a mental image of the brain as a pair of
cerebral hemispheres is sufficient when the mind is known so well.
I think it helps to know that the cerebrum is only a portion of
the brain and a relatively unimportant one from the viewpoint of
brain action.

This opening gambit is followed by a reference to how a brain
explanation is always given in sentences of the latest technology.
"Descartes thought of pneumatic tubes ...", etc. This complaint
has become standard.

Let us look at what Ian C. Whitfield (a man who knew what he was
talking about) said.

"While it may be true that the nervous system operates muscles
analogously to a hydraulic engine, communicates somewhat like a
telephone exchange, seeks it goals like a missile and calculates
like a computer, none of these mechanisms are adequate models for
a description of the neural mechanism. Each has provided the drive
to experiment with the tools then available, and the results have
improved our understanding."

So I will go ahead and attempt to attempt to understand the brain
as a neural net with the neurons as electrical constructs.



email: rscanlon at wsg.net

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