Re: understanding neuroscience

From: Clint O'Dell (
Date: Mon Apr 03 2000 - 20:10:41 MDT

Hi Robert,

Thank you for your reply and advise (though I think we had
this discussion before months ago:-) Lately I've been
swamped with work and really don't have any time to do
anything so I apologize for the very late response (or any
messages I have not read at all). Perhaps some day I can
participate more in discussion.

Until then.

Clint O'Dell

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert J. Bradbury
Sent: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 07:10 PST
Subject: Re: understanding neuroscience

**** Byegones for the delayed response and/or if previously
posted ****

On Thu, 2 Sep 1999, Clint O'Dell wrote:

> Are you talking about Calvin as in the comic strip?

No, William Calvin, a neuroscientist at the Univ. of

He has written several books, "The Cerebral Code", and "How
Brains think". These are very educational as to one
suggestion as to how thoughts "work".

> Is Crick the guys last name? I'm at the school library
right now. So if
> you could clarify a bit who I should look up, I would love
to read them.

Francis Crick, "The Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific
for the Soul". A fascinating discsussion as to how parts of
brain work and how specific parts of the brain generate
we thing are "magical".

> Wow! If you define a person by what they read (not saying
you do)
> then we are radically different.

No, absolutely not. But what you have read [input]
to a strong degree how you think, and for the people who
to understand that, understanding the history is useful.

> I've read a lot of fantasy, and a little bit of
> science fiction, but for the last few years I had only
read books on
> programming, networking, and hardware.

I think my list runs across all of the above at various
points in
my life.

> I lost interest with my computer geekness and
> started studying government, mathematical logic, and

Attempt to merge computer "geekness" and "biology". It is
cross-pollination between the divisions that is necessary
advancement at this point. The biologists don't understand
that genomes are programs. That observation is highly
and empowering.

Re: neuroscience/medicine, etc.

I would not encourage you to go too far in that direction.
We do
not really have the tools yet to do really understand
At the same time we do have the tools to understand how
programs create "organisms" (with thousands of unknown genes
in the equations). If you are computer comfortable, for the
next 10+ years, the application of principles of computer
to understanding genomes will be a very lucrative field with
many interesting opportunities.

> Again, wow! It is interesting to meet someone who has
thought at one time
> the same basic way I did when I was younger.

I suspect we may not be alone.

> I truly didn't believe that genius is something you're
born with.

Unfortunately we live in a country that wants to perpetuate
we are all equal. That is hogwash. We all have distinct
and individual
*advantages* and *disadvantages*, and the "masters" are the
people who
learn to utilise the former and overcome the latter.

> I still just can't throw away my idea of genius being
taught as a point
> of view. My suggestion of why that gene does what it does
> is that it allows the brain to perform more
efficient/quickly. This allows
> someone to "catch on" easier than others.

My perspective is that a great deal of it has to do with
 (a) rate of acquiring information -- the faster you can lay
     down the memories, the more intelligent you *appear* to
be. That
     says nothing about how intelligent you really are,
since the
     person with discipline and perserverence may put down
     as many memories as the person who reads something once

 (b) The abilities to both (a) concentrate to the exclusion
     everything else (hunger, thirst, etc.); and (b) hold in
     mind simultaneously many thoughts allowing them to
     with each other; these are both quite interesting
     abilities that have distinct advantages for some mental
There is a saying I'm fond of from Eastern philosophy that
relates to (b[b]) -- "The barriers to enlightenment are the
ability to hold both confusion and paradox in the mind".
Most of the time the mind strives for a dominant
the ability to postpone that and allow more time for things
to cross-fertilize is probably a key feature of creativity.

I suspect (a) & (b[a] and (b[b]) are highly genetic in
Time will tell.


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