neuroscience training?

Doktor DynaSoar targeting at
Sun Mar 7 23:03:30 EST 2004

On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 12:33:15 GMT, "Glen M. Sizemore"
<gmsizemore2 at> wrote:

} GS: Yeah. I admit, I was looking for a fight.......sparring match,
} really.....never get ugly with people you respect......still looking for a
} match, though......but you don't do conceptual, philosophy.
} Tell me, though, Dr. D. what did in the "ether?" Was it really that
} Micholson and Morley experiment? Or was it Einstein's conceptual analysis?

Interesting choice. It's one of my favoritess from The Golem. For
something that's "done in", an awful lot of people keep trying it. I
suspect we'll see it in a new suit coming from M-brane theory. After
all, Einstein's cosmological constant was "done in" until they
discovered dark energy, or what ever it is that causes the effect
they're observing. IIRC, the OPTIS project is an M-M test headed for
the space station.

} Despite psychology's mistrust of all things philosophical, one leg of
} psychology's epistemic triangle (cf, Machado et al) is conceptual analysis.
} Just a thought. I guess the matter-of-fact way that you linked neuroscience
} and cognitive "science" unnerved me. (See below).
} } DD: The TOTE theory (test-operate-test-exit) of Miller, Galantner and
} } Pribram was firmly rooted in both information processing theory, and
} } that of top-down executive control from the frontal lobes.
} }
} } GS: Information as in stuff like "The nucleus accumbens receives
} information
} } from..." This is the way "information" is typically discussed, and it is
} } homunculism. Then, when called on it, they fall back on technical usages
} of
} } "information" as if their explanation was about that all along.
} DD: Informnation as in Shannon's negentropy, but better described using
} Gabor's "logons" than bit, as well as his equations to describe the
} relevant electrical fields and how they relate to the information
} carried. Kapinsky's "information metabolism" would probably serve as
} an even better concept, but Gabor's math would still cover it best.
} GS: So everyone's use of the term "information" in cognitive psychology and
} cognitive neuroscience is like the usage above? 

One thing I am certain of is that not everyone agrees on a particular
theory of information. You appeared to be asking for clarification of
my use of the term above, and I gave that.

} Also BTW, how would
} you get a non-human animal to "tell you it is in pain" without examining
} "pain reflexes," escape, or avoidance (or without measuring physiology that
} has deemed relevant because of its relation to tail-flick, escape, and
} avoidance - mostly tail-flick, though)?

I assume you mean "how could I tell" rather than "how would I get it
to", because in my opinion it'd be expressing it anyway. I couldn't
verify pain, but I could observe distress from its behavior.

} } DD: While there is a great deal being contributed to neuroscience without
} } consideration of cognitive phenomena,[...]
} }
} } GS: Which are what exactly? Subjective experiences? Or are they the
} fanciful
} } processes that are thought to be "behind" experience and behavior? Or do
} you
} } just use "cognitive" as a synonym for "neurophysiological?"
} DD: Like the work the director of NIDCD is doing on taste buds. From the
} molecular conformations of receptors, to receptor action, to the
} complex interconnections between cells, and what signals may be
} combined in what ways and result in the wide assortment of sensations.
} GS: So "cognition" is "physiology?" Or is it that "cognition" is any part of
} the physiology relevant to sensation and perception? Also, isn't the
} question of "...what signals may be combined in what ways and result in the
} wide assortment of sensations" a thinly-veiled reference to the "binding
} problem?" Anyway, I can talk about sensation and perception in the language
} of behavior - because sensation and perception IS behavior. The physiology
} that mediates such behavior is just that. It is not "cognitive processes"
} and it is not "the physiology of cognitive processes;" it is the physiology
} of behavior.
} Dr. D.Or, things that "suggest that the plasticity of neuronal systems inthe
} NAcc related to cocaine self-administration and their response
} following 6-OHDA lesions is more complex than restoration of DAergic
} tone."
} Dr. D.These contribute to neuroscience. They make no use of cognitive
} phenomena.
} GS: Hmmm.....I'm not sure what you are saying now. I have no big problem*
} with either of the two research programs above (yes, I am aware that the
} latter is from Sizemore et al.). But, as I alluded to earlier, the problem
} with cognitive psychology (and the fields it has corrupted) is its
} conceptual leg. Not all important questions can be answered by experiment,
} and that is because the questions pertain to the cogency of the concepts
} (assumptions) that underlie the endeavor, and these are not what is
} "tested."

Are you sure you read what I wrote? I said these things contribute to
neuroscience WIT

} Dr. D. I'm not sure who your argument is with, but it's not me. I'm getting
} some responses from you that are clearly canned, and aimed at what
} you're assuming I mean.
} GS: They are aimed at cognitive "science." And they are "canned," in part,
} because I have thought about these issues for 20 years, and my training is
} behavioristic, and conceptual analysis is second nature to behaviorists. In
} your case, you seem to "endorse" cognitive psychology in a nearly completely
} thoughtless manner. (See below).
} } DD: [...]it either doesn't remain that
} } way as it is picked up and used by those who attempt to put the
} } deconstructed pieces of the puzzle back together,[...]
} }
} } GS: You mean like how the alleged mind or real brain is supposed to create
} } an internal picture of the world?
} Dr. D. Sorry, I don't do movies either. "The world is its own best
} representation."
} GS: Then you are not a cognitivist.

You're wrong on two counts. First, your box isn't big enough to hold
me. Invariably when people pronounce someone to be "a" something,
they're throwing in the baggage that they want to see carried so they
can keep that person pegged, whether on the for or against side. Karl
is a consummate philosophical debater and became so primarily because
all manner of philosophy oriented types tried to fit him in a box for
whatever reasons of their own. He gladly debated tham and proved them
wrong in their assumptions based on both the evidence of his other
opinions and behaviors and on their own assumptions. He always came to
the conclusion that they were simply full of shit. I don't waste my
time developing the philosophical bent to carry on such debates, as
the result sufficies for me.

Second, that quote is from JJ Gibson. His optical flow theory stands
as an oustanding example of a theory of a neurobiological system
supplanting a cognitive construct. It means precisely the opposite of
the "internal representation" that much of menial cognitive psychology
is held sway by. It is itself no more based in cognitive psychology
than was Darwin when he observed earth worms plugging their holes with
pieces of paper that had been cut in the very rough shape of a leaf.
His thoughts resulted in ecological psychology, which to my mind at
least can be summed up as "behaviorism in context". He himself would
probably only accept that as a step in the process, as his most
important work IMO was in outlining neural system which performed the
functions noted.

} Dr. D. I mean that good, low level, hard core reductionist science is great,
} but either someone comes along and tries to put together the big
} picture....
} GS: The "big picture" lies in behavioral phenomena and known behavioral
} processes.

"A year before his death B.F. Skinner wrote that "There are two
unavoidable gaps in any behavioral account: one between the
stimulating action of the environment and the response of the
organism, and one between the consequences and the resulting change in
behavior. Only brain science can fill those gaps. In doing so it
completes the account; it does not give a different account of the
same thing." This declaration ended the epoch of radical behaviorism
to the extent that it was based on the doctrine of the "empty
organism", the doctrine that a behavioral science must be constructed
purely on its own level of investigation.
   However, Skinner was not completely correct in his assessment.
Brain science on its own can no more fill the gaps than can single
level behavioral science. It is the relation between data and
formulations developed in the brain and the behavioral sciences that
is needed."

} } DD: [...]or it tends to serve only as a starting point for yet another
} } adequate lab report.
} } } GS: Sorry, don't know what you're driving at here.
} Dr. D....or someone doesn't, and all that remains for this stuff is to serve
} as a launching point for more of the same. It's adequate science, but
} adequate science doesn't make for much progress. The cognitive science
} I know and follow serves as a good framework to try fit fit the pieces
} together within, and when they don't, we figure out if the pieces are
} incomplete or the theory needs fixed, or both. Or more.
} GS: So-called "cognitive processes" are assumptions. They are interpretive
} and can be overlaid on any data. The hallmark of cognitive "science" is
} representationalism; without that interpretation, "cognitive psychology" has
} no identity. Those who say things like "The world is its own best
} representation" are straying from cognitive "science." But their view of
} behaviorism is so twisted, and entirely composed of what its critics say
} about it (rather than what behaviorists have actually written) that they do
} not see that they are behaviorists and that the behavioral portion of their
} work is better cast in the language of behavior analysis (where it can then
} make contact with the 70 years of research and empirical systematization).
} The "big picture" is composed of response classes, discrimination,
} generalization etc. etc. etc.

It's pretty apparent you know far more about makes you angry than you
do about the field and what it's good for and how to use it as such. I
hope you enjoy your opinion, as I have not intention of trying to
change it. I've already spent far too much time explaining and
re-explaining myself against your assumptions and inaccuracies. You
have some very good points and some solid reasons behind them, but
there's also enough turbulence involved and too little interest on my
part to resolve things.

} GS: OK. BTW, I don't mention the university or universities with which I am
} affiliated - I don't "hide" it (obviously, I use my real name) but I don't
} typically mention them because I don't wish to be censored in this sort of
} forum.


Censored on usenet due to affiliation? Do you mean "criticized"?
Because usenet is one of the few places it's almost entirely
impossible to censor someone. If anyone were to take stuff on the net
seriously, a couple hours of research of my various other activities
would definitely mark me as completely unemployable at best. Of
course, anyone who developed their opinion about a person from usenet
and tried to take action on it in real life would be rather easy to
discredit and humiliate into the ground.

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