the liver and the brain

r norman rsn_ at _comcast.net
Wed Sep 1 10:47:47 EST 2004

On 1 Sep 2004 07:06:06 -0700, rscanlon at nycap.rr.com (ray scanlon)

>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.

This is a fine example of the problem I wrote about in another posting
on this thread.  I did agree that it is quite likely that there are
genetically programmed circuits in the human brain that you call
"motor program generators" and that you claim "DNA provides".  Fine,
lets not quibble about these details.

However I also said that "There are enormous technical problems in
trying to determine to what extent, if any, that any specific
behavioral act in humans is controlled by or even initially produced
by the genetically determined systems you describe".  Now you make an
enormous leap to simply declare that infant babbling is an example of
just such a thing. You have absolutely no experimental evidence to
indicate that this is true.  You cite no references even to the point
of saying "I never, ever, provide references".   Why should we take
your idle notions seriously.  It is easy to make up very imaginative
stories about how the brain might work. lt is quite another thing to
find evidence that the brain, indeed, does actually work that way.

If you want to talk about the cellular and subcellular mechanisms of
brain function, including mechanisms of synaptic plasticity and of DNA
determination of function, we all want hard experimental work.  That
means citations of peer-reviewed studies.  Nothing less will do. 

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