More commentary on why neurobiology is a very soft science…

More commentary on why neurobiology is a very soft science (high dimentionality matrix/nonlinear responses).

From The Black Swan (2007), less aggressive statement (it looks that mathematics leds me to get more aggressive in debunking):

“For an example that justifies skepticism about unconditional reliance on neurobiology, and vindicates the ideas of the empirical school of medicine to which Sextus belonged, let’s consider the intelligence of birds. I kept reading in various texts that the cortex is where animals do their “thinking,” and that the creatures with the largest cortex have the highest intelligence—we humans have the largest cortex, followed by bank executives, dolphins, and our cousins the apes.

Well, it turns out that some birds, such as parrots, have a high level of intelligence, equivalent to that of dolphins, but that the intelligence of birds correlates with the size of another part of the brain, called the hyperstriatum.

So neurobiology with its attribute of “hard science” can sometimes (though not always) fool you

into a Platonified, reductive statement. I am amazed that the “empirics,” skeptical about links between anatomy and function, had such insight— no wonder their school played a very small part in intellectual history. As a skeptical empiricist I prefer the experiments of empirical psychology to the theories-based MRI scans of neurobiologists, even if the former appear less “scientific” to the public.”

via More commentary on why neurobiology is a very… – Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

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