the liver and the brain
David at longley.demon.co.uk
Tue Aug 31 04:42:23 EST 2004
In article <363d693e.0408301514.1d155bb7 at posting.google.com>, ray
scanlon <rscanlon at nycap.rr.com> writes
>I find it interesting that we can have a discussion of how the cells
>in the liver work together without any bitter attacks on a persons
>parentage. But when a similar discussion on how the interneurons are
>connected and how they work is broached there is nothing but
>What is wrong?
A personal view (posted from comp.ai.philosophy and addressed to readers
of that group):
Perhaps it's because when people talk about the liver they aren't (these
days) likely to use its structure and function as a foil (Cartesian
projection screen) upon which to project their pet folk psychological
metaphysical prejudices of "mind" or "self". Most people "talking about
the brain" aren't, in my experience, talking about the brain at all.
They don't actually know enough about it (despite decades of experience
in some cases!). If they knew more, paradoxically, they wouldn't dare
write the popular nonsense they do. What they're actually doing is
writing metaphysics or science fiction, using "the brain" as their
excuse for writing metaphysics and fiction, thinking the odd over
simplified reference to bits of the brain and their connections renders
what they're saying a less metaphysical and fictitious and a more
physical and presumably true as a function of doing so. Most readers
can't tell. It really is, in the main, naive commercial nonsense as most
people with a sound grounding in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry
would tell you.
On the rare occasions that I draw on my neuroscience background (most
folk here wouldn't know what the NIMR is, or what I did anyway), I've
tried to ensure that what I've had to say about the CNS is consistent
with basic, sound anatomy and neurophysiology (the cranial nerves, the
*basic* structure of the paleo and neo striatum and cortex etc - the
supposed role of monoamines and peptides in "regulating" behaviour).
What I've said has been simple because that's I need refer to in order
to make the "simple" points about the priority of behaviour analysis
that I wish to make. I purposely don't elaborate (although my training
probably equips me to do so as well as some of the celebrity
neuroprattlers) as I think that it's largely be sleight-of-hand and
doesn't really contribute much anyway even if the details could be
reliably spelled out.
Don't you think slight-of-hand and metaphysics deserves derision?
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