the liver and the brain

David Longley David at longley.demon.co.uk
Thu Sep 2 12:39:36 EST 2004

In article <363d693e.0409020856.18d4f7a7 at posting.google.com>, ray 
scanlon <rscanlon at nycap.rr.com> writes
>To me, your reference to experience and synaptic modification is
>unfortunate. It opens the floodgates to all the people who run rats
>through mazes.

You surprise me.

I'll say it again - you are neglecting what research in neuroscience is 
and always has been dependent upon - the careful management and 
measurement of *behaviour*. It's there in the methods sections of papers 
- sometimes described badly, sometimes not. It's frequently glossed over 
by many of those looking for "baubles". However, in my experience, the 
technology you keep making disparaging remarks about is fundamental to a 
very good part of what's popularly referred to when people talk of 
"neuroscience" - which makes what people like you say look even more 
ridiculous in my view.

Have a closer look at Kandel's work, and look carefully at what's 
actually done and not just what's said in his introductions, discussions 
and summaries. Look more critically at other people's work too.

I acknowledge that it's not always obvious to people who read or refer 
to research in "neuroscience", but a lot of people reading about it have 
little or no first hand experience of what they're reading about, and so 
naturally miss critical methodological details, can't critically 
evaluate them. These details just isn't available to them for one reason 
or another. There's nothing cryptic or mysterious about this. It's true 
of any science. When these details are assumed people communicate in 
short-hand - the problems arise when people who don't see this start 
maligning the very work which has been taken as read!

That appears to be what you and others (in c.a.p at least) are doing.

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