November 27, 2006

From David Ewing:

Re: Molecules may “anchor” memories in the brain (Nov. 21): Your article asserts that:

“Bressloff said the big debate on consciousness is, ‘can it be explained simply in terms of a bunch of nerve impulses in the brain? In my opinion, the answer has to be yes’—and his findings reinforce that.”

This is the equivalent of claiming that the behavior of quantum particles explains General Relativity. Granted, you couldn’t have General Relativity without the existence and behavior of quantum particles, but it is a great leap to say that they explain the behavior of the larger phenomena, which appear to operate on a different set of principles. Likewise with Bressloff’s claim; certainly there could be no consciousness without the underlying material, but that doesn’t describe, let alone explain consciousness itself. Crick seems to have indulged in a similar conflation.

David Ewing
Venice, CA


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