the liver and the brain

Glen M. Sizemore gmsizemore2 at
Wed Sep 1 19:19:48 EST 2004

GS: The modification of behavior by experience is the usual definition
> learning. Of course, operant conditioning is defined by a change in
> frequency of an originally spontaneous (at the level of behavior) response
> (defined by its effect on the environment).

RS: Perfectly true, if you are a behaviorist. But for brain people,
learning is a change in synaptic strength due to neural activity.

GS: No, as usual, Ray, you are totally wrong. Or, at least, very
nearly so. Even if neuroscientists were to point to "synaptic
strength" they wouldn't be likely to call it "learning" unless there
was a correlated change in behavior that fit the usual definition.

RS: The
neural activity may, or may not, rise to the level of motor activity.

GS: Plus, are you talking about "synaptic strength" that changes as a
function of the usual sorts of environmental events that produce
"learning" (as defined by "behavior people")? Or are all changes in
"synaptic strength" (whatever the f that might be) "learning?"

RS: Behavioral science is a lovely discipline, but it is a different
discipline. Neural science must be reducible to molecular biology. I
do not believe that behaviorists accept this stricture. I may be
wrong, of course. I am willing to listen and to learn.

GS: As my pal Longley has stated, no, you are not willing to learn. I
have discussed at length, "with" you, the relation between
neuroscience and behavior analysis. You have ignored what I have said.
You are ignorant, and you are arrogant, and you are an asshole.

> Under vocalization are the phonemes-also
> provided by the DNA.
> GS: I doubt that the last can be backed up. References?

RS: I never, ever, provide references. I would never, ever, think of
asking you to provide references.

GS: Good policy, Ray. Weren't you once a practicing neuroscientist?
You should have kept practicing [rimshot].

> RS: Some synapses in the nervous system can be altered by experience. This
> allows us to string the phonemes together into language.
> GS: This is a hopelessly sophomoric view of verbal operant behavior. But let
's talk about the simpler behavior - but still operant behavior. 

RS: No! Let's not. The subject is the brain, not operant behavior. The
subject is motor program generators. The DNA provides the generators;
we hear them when the infant babbles.

GS: As I have pointed out to you, and you will promptly ignore, if
"learning" is at issue, the prudent scientist will realize that
without measurable change in behavior, the appellation is
inappropriate. A change in a synapse is a change in a synapse; this
might EXPLAIN "learning," but "learning" is, and must remain, a more
macroscopic concept. Think about this, Ray:

Will a successful statistical mechanical (or even quantum mechanical)
description of (macroscopic) chemical and thermodynamic phenomena
argue that entropy is a property of the elements of the system
described at the reductionistic level (either SM or QM)?

rscanlon at (ray scanlon) wrote in message news:<363d693e.0409010606.7b12d802 at>...
> Glen M. Sizemore writes:
> > GS: The modification of behavior by experience is the usual definition of

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