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John H. johnh at faraway.com.au
Fri Nov 21 00:15:45 EST 2003

Would someone please explain to me this persistent tendency to describe the
nervous system as having electricity? Electricity involves the movement of
electrons, nervous transmission involves the movement of ions. I don't

John H>
"Matthew Kirkcaldie" <Matthew.Kirkcaldie at removethis.newcastle.edu.au> wrote
in message
news:Matthew.Kirkcaldie-2675DD.16384320112003 at seagoon.newcastle.edu.au...
> In article <68f44414.0311192119.6f67c2bb at posting.google.com>,
>  Monsieur_Lynx at brown.edu (pavan03) wrote:
> > What if the nervous system is nothing more than an electrical supply
> > for the body? The way the heart provides the necessary blood for the
> > body to function, the brain provides the necessary electricity for the
> > muscles in the body to contract, etc.?
> No "electricity" passes between the nervous system and the rest of the
> body; it is entirely linked via locally released chemicals.  The
> electrical events of muscles are generated by the muscles themselves, as
> you can see if you drip acetyl choline onto their neuromuscular
> junctions when the neurons are removed.
> >    In this Information Age, we like to attribute electricity with
> > these incredible abilities, like representing information, etc. If we
> > analyze a computer, the circuitry is designed in such a way that
> > certain sequences of on and off wires trigger the functioning of
> > certain parts of the computer
> ....
> > Again, they seem to be putting "magical" properties onto the nervous
> > system. All that's there is just electricity. If you're not going to
> > look at electrical patterns in the world around us and say it's
> > consciousness/thinking/whatever other inexplicable phenomena, why say
> > the brain does that?
> If you believe the activity of the nervous system is characterised by
> "electricity" then it's clear you haven't taken the trouble to learn
> even the simplest facts of the matter.  Your argument collapses to
> pointless sophistry, and attacks only straw men.
> I suggest you gain a basic familiarity with what science actually knows
> about the nervous system, before wading in with your opinion.  Otherwise
> you simply make a fool of yourself.  Sorry to put it that bluntly, but
> you appear to be very confident of opinions based on near-complete
> ignorance.
>          Matthew.

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