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To the Unknown Neuroscientist

Stephen Wood swood at papyrus.mhri.edu.au
Thu Jul 23 00:17:51 EST 1998


>    Well, neuroscientists have a problem of "not seeing the forest
> for the trees."  They are so busy using horseradish peroxidase and
> positron emission tomography to trace out barely discernible neural
> connections, that they don't even WANT to hear lofty over-arching
> theories of the mind, ESPECIALLY from non-scientist outsiders.
>

Well, true. Nobody likes being told things about their subject by outsiders.
Especially when they seem to be lofty over-arching theories of the mind which
are made up of collections of long and interesting sounding words. Management
consultants do the same thing (although not relating to the mind, of course).

> >>  /^^^^^^^^^^^\ The Architecture of a Robot Brain /^^^^^^^^^^^\
> >> /visual memory\                    ________     /   auditory  \
> >>|      /--------|-------\          / syntax \   |    memory     |
> >>|      |  recog-|nition |          \________/---|-------------\ |
> >>|   ___|___     |       |              |        |    _______  | |
> >>|  /image  \    |     __V___        ___V___     |   /stored \ | |
> >>| / percept \   |    /deep  \------/lexical\----|--/ phonemes\| |
> >>| \ engrams /---|---/concepts\----/concepts \---|--\ of words/  |
> >>|  \_______/    |   \________/    \_________/   |   \_______/   |

  I know this has lost something in the pasting into this message, but I don't
think it really matters since it doesn't actually mean anything. It's all very
well to connect things together with little lines on a piece of paper (or a
usenet group) but unless you can define what a 'deep concept' is, how that is
translated into something a neuron can represent and why it needs to be
connected to 'percept engrams' you might as well not bother.

This group is interesting. It seems to be made up of two major subtypes. Those
who think that neuroscientists are small-minded, and those (like the
incomparable Dr LeFever) who try to show that they aren't, they just like
reasonable arguments!

Stephen Wood




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