Re: Secrets of The Mind [ie, brain]

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Fri Oct 26 2001 - 08:34:22 MDT

From: "Anders Sandberg" <>
> I know, I have listened to Ramachandran's lectures and they are very fun
> (last time he got into a debate with last year's nobel laureate Eric
> Kandel about art theory). I have not yet read his books, but if they are
> half as fun as his lectures they are really worth checking out.

Dunno about his books either, but his Nova show was more than fun. His theory
about neural wiring and pathways is verified by experiment. The implication is
that our brains are not "hard-wired" from birth, but rather grow connections
that map reality (and our bodies) onto the cerebral cortex. So, the brain is
not a computer registering sensory input, but rather an emulation-in-progress
as the sensory inputs actually define and direct the architecture of the
Especially interesting is his idea of awareness as a concentration of
deliberate attention rather than an epiphenomenon of cognitive interaction
with the environment. The best part of all was when he described the neural
pathways between vision and emotional salience, in the segment about David,
the man with a condition called Capgras Delusion. He knew who and where he
was, but he was sure that the people who said they were his parents were
imposters. Dr. Ramachandran says David's injury destroyed pathways for
emotional information, and since he didn't feel the appropriate emotions
toward his parents, he concluded that they were lying look-alikes. (Reminder
to uploaders: Don't forget to include the enteric nervous system.)
Another file concerned John, who has temporal lobe epilepsy, and his seizures
leave him with the absolute conviction that he is God. The doctor suggests
that the seizures may have disrupted a part of the brain "whose activity is
somehow conducive to religious belief," and that such a receptive region may
have evolved because "it's conducive to stability of society."
The doctor failed, however, to mention that it may also be conducive to the
emergence of suicide bombers, but then, the show was created way before Sept.
Conclusion: The cognitive significance of sensations makes experience the most
valuable part of human knowledge.

To buy the video:

See also:
MIRROR NEURONS and imitation learning as the driving force behind "the great
leap forward" in human evolution

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment

We move into a better future in proportion as science displaces superstition.

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