Commentary on the statement: “Studying neurobiology to understand humans…

Commentary on the statement: “Studying neurobiology to understand humans is like studying ink to understand literature.”


When it comes to narratives, the brain seems to be the last province of the theoretician- charlatan. Add neurosomething to a field, and suddenly it rises in respectability and becomes more convincing as people

now have the illusion of a strong causal link— yet the brain is too complex for that; it is both the most complex part of the human anatomy and the one that seems most susceptible to sucker- causation. (<>see my technical Discussion of nonlinearities and high dimensional matrices</>) Christopher

Chabris and Daniel Simons brought to my attention the evidence I had been looking for: whatever theory has a reference in it to brain circuitry seems more “scientific” and more convincing, even when it is just randomized psychoneurobabble.

(Discussion of phenomenology vs theory)

… I do not want to rely on biology beyond

the minimum required (not in the theoretical sense)— and I believe that my strength will lie there. I just want to understand as little as possible to be able to look at regularities of experience. So the modus operandi in every venture is to remain as robust as possible

to changes in theories (let me repeat that my deference to Mother Nature is entirely statistical and risk- management- based, i.e., again, grounded in the notion of fragility). The doctor and medical essayist James Le Fanu showed how our understanding of the biological processes was coupled with a decline of pharmaceutical discoveries, as if rationalistic theories were blinding and somehow a handicap.

In other words, we have in biology a green lumber problem!

via Commentary on the statement: “Studying… – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

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