[Comp-neuro] Discussion -- time to get back to work :-)
bower at uthscsa.edu
Fri Aug 22 17:41:00 CEST 2008
Thanks all for your willingness to tolerate / participate in this
free wheeling discussion.
It has been very useful for me - as I have already indicated, I am
writing a book around these issues titled:
"What would happen if a graduate student reads this?"
Which, like the pithy quotes at the start of each chapter, was a plea
made to a journal editor (actually the Journal of Computational
Neuroscience ironically enough ;-) )l by an anonymous peer reviewer
(who will remain nameless), after all other excuses to hold back the
publication of one of our papers had been overcome.
I would close with one final comment. Not meaning to sound completely
Kuhn focused, one of the points he makes about pre-paradigmatic
science, which is what I believe biology to be, is that there is a
lack of consensus in the field regarding the methods that are most
appropriate at a particular point in time to best advance the field.
In fact, until a field coalesces into a science, there is a strong
tendency to tolerate a broad range of approaches -- avoiding any
explicit conflict between them. In this discussion I have resisted
the urge to simply say - "yes, to each their own, all approaches are
useful, lets figure out how to work together, each to make their own
contribution". The history of science has clearly shown that, while
humans might naturally tend to reduce conflict by adopting this point
of view, in fact, at particular points in time, some approaches are
more useful than others. The same history has also shown that
scientific revolutions seldom if ever come from the middle of the pack
or even from compromise.
That said, I have a great deal of respect for many of my colleagues
with approaches different from mine and wish them well. We won't know
the answers to many of the questions raised here, probably, for a
number of generations -- but, in my view, it is important that
especially the new generation of scientists interested in this field
recognize the depth of our ignorance, and the challenges they will
face in moving our understanding of the brain forward. This field
represents a great opportunity - if one can avoid the sins of ones
fathers (and mothers), the principle sins probably being arrogance, a
failure to imagine exactly how complex the problem is, and, in my
view, a lack of appropriate respect for the magnificence of the brain
itself - ironically enough.
Dr. James M. Bower Ph.D.
Professor of Computational Neuroscience
Research Imaging Center
University of Texas Health Science Center -
- San Antonio
8403 Floyd Curl Drive
San Antonio Texas 78284-6240
Main Number: 210- 567-8100
Fax: 210 567-8152
The contents of this email and any attachments to it may be privileged
contain privileged and confidential information. This information is
for the viewing or use of the intended recipient. If you have received
e-mail in error or are not the intended recipient, you are hereby
that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of, or the taking of
action in reliance upon, any of the information contained in this e-
any of the attachments to this e-mail, is strictly prohibited and that
e-mail and all of the attachments to this e-mail, if any, must be
immediately returned to the sender or destroyed and, in either case,
e-mail and all attachments to this e-mail must be immediately deleted
your computer without making any copies hereof and any and all hard
made must be destroyed. If you have received this e-mail in error,
notify the sender by e-mail immediately.
More information about the Comp-neuro