The Celebral Code - is it still reliable ?

Lance Sherman lancesherman at
Tue Oct 16 12:09:39 EST 2001

Hi Brian...

Thanks for your thoughts on The Cerebral Code. I looked at it (the entire
text, along w/most of Calvin's writings are available @his web site, .)  I certainly commend him for
making this science freely available.

I see a lot of provocative ideas in his work, esp'ly the application of
Darwinian principles.

The ideas re the triangle and hexagon structures he finds in each layer of
the cortex, excited me the most.

However, IMHO, he doesn't give enough importance to temporal issues - I
think Hebb built on processing of sequences. Not just cell assemblies but
"phase sequences".  And I still think this is the best bet for modeling the
operation of the brain.

I'll confess: tho i think Moby is somewhat in his own little world (like,
I'm not?) I admire and agree with his commitment to processing temporal
information. And Ron Blue, he is closer to my thinking, at least in his
commitment to balance - as he calls it, "correlation opponent processing".
Too bad these guys don't write as clearly as Calvin. Too bad I don't,

So, for those who think there is something to these time based ideas, try
Peter Cariani's site,  Neural timing nets - there's a big

And thanks to Dieter for pointing me there! (couple months ago)

"Brian" <zhil at> wrote in message
news:ZqIx7.585$wF1.20564 at
> Hi,
> Today I finished "The Celebral Code" by William.Calvin.
> It was an interesting read, but I have a question; is the theory still
> reliable ?
> (it evolves around this Darwin Machine).
> The book in it self was lighthearted and fun, and it was (for me) an easy
> read, although I had to stretch my mind a bit to see it from several
> But I think it doesn't just explains Hebb's cell-assembly, but also
> consciousness, which I think is _the_ most important part of the book (for
> me).
> And I didn't even searched for an answer to the question of consciousness
> either.
> To Yin;
> I was asked why the feedback to the Thalamus was much less extensive than
> the strait-ahead neuro-gateway through the Thalamus.
> Now, I think I know why.
> There is no need for much feedback as the brain processes the incoming
> sensory information (and long time memory - internally), just enough to
> filter away whath the brain doesn't find particularily interesting.
> BTW I don't think the Thalamus is the first filter either, but it might be
> the first _combined area_-filter (an active filter).
> And long term memory is NOT directly by itself connected to short term
> memory, no - it (LTM) is established in another domain directly and
> indirectly (through the Corpus Callosum, aka the Faux Fax of Calvin) were
> the data will imprint itself onto an area.
> The bigger the area, the greater is the chance that this particular memory
> will survive.
> When ideas compete (in our brains) for attention, they occupy hexagonal
> areas (Hebb's cell-assembly), and the one with the greatest area usually
> wins.
> William called it his Darwin Machine, and all I can say is that I'm awed
> over his intelligence.
> But alas, I still have to study more - so I'm going to read "Memory - From
> Mind to Molecules" by Larry R.Squire and Eric R.Kandel.
> I think I'll have to spend some time on this one.
> Brian

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