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To the Unknown Neuroscientist

F. Frank LeFever flefever at ix.netcom.com
Thu Jul 23 22:43:48 EST 1998

In <35B6C77F.3FA61A9 at papyrus.mhri.edu.au> Stephen Wood
<swood at papyrus.mhri.edu.au> writes: 
>>    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
>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.
>consultants do the same thing (although not relating to the mind, of
>> >>  /^^^^^^^^^^^\ 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
>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
>reasonable arguments!
>Stephen Wood

Thank you!  Besides the problem of undefined terms, there is the
problem I alluded to long, long ago: the lack of any correspondence
between these line and box constructions and KNOWN cerebral
connections, which are far more complex and interesting, and moreover
divide what seem (to the untutored) obvious categories into non-obvious
categories--for example, such "simple" dissections of visual input as
those of Hubel and Wiesel, and dissections further along the visual
stream (e.g. dorsal vs. ventral streams), alternative routes to
phonology as shown by Deep Dyslexia, etc., etc.

F. LeFever
New York Neuropsychology Group

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