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Query: Dendritic Networks

Jan Vorbrueggen jan at neuroinformatik.ruhr-uni-bochum.de
Mon Feb 5 08:27:24 EST 1996

In article <mike.lowndes-0102961103290001 at mac3.anat.ox.ac.uk>
mike.lowndes at anat.ox.ac.uk (Mike Lowndes) writes:

   You can bet yr bottom pound sterling that anything written about it by a
   physicist/mathematition/ modeller is almost bound to turn out WRONG.  The
   only way to get it right is to understand the physiology as a first step
   and we as neurscientists don't even understand that.

Wrong it what sense? I think your statement epitomizes what's wrong with
(neuro)biology: the general unwillingness to take a more or less simplified,
substitute system to try to understand the general features of the system
under study (here: the brain), and to hell with the details. Of course the
brain is a much more complicated case than, say, all those semiconductors,
where this programme has worked very well; but to say that any model must
explain all known data (including the bad and the contradictory, which nobody
is willing to weed out by writing a well-reasoned and opinionated review) is

   On the other hand there is nothing wrong with trying to /mimic/ the brains
   processes- which is what modellers are doing.

Duh. What else than mimic could we possibly do? Or, to phrase the question
differently: where do you draw the line between "mimic" and "understand"?


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