the liver and the brain

ray scanlon rscanlon at nycap.rr.com
Wed Sep 1 09:06:06 EST 2004

Glen M. Sizemore writes:

> GS: The modification of behavior by experience is the usual definition of
> 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).

Perfectly true, if you are a behaviorist. But for brain people,
learning is a change in synaptic strength due to neural activity. The
neural activity may, or may not, rise to the level of motor activity.

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.

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

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

> 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. 

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.


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