RE: Shaggy Dog vs. Psychic Dog

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 11:49:45 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Shaggy Dog vs. Psychic Dog
    Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 11:49:45 +0100
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            <You don't really believe brains have calculators in them, do you?
    If birds
    > had to compute the necessary equations needed to maintain the flock, their
    > brains would blot out the sky. We can't even design a robot that can walk
    > down a hallway without bumping into the walls. Are you claiming that
    > brains, which evolved unconsciously, are vastly superior to current
    > computing technology?>
            Check out New Scientist, 25/08/01, pp: 38-42, 'Electric Eye' by
    Douglas Fox. It's about studies on bees by scientists hoping to model
    future flying microrobots for both military and exploratory uses. Remember
    nature has had hundreds of millions of years to produce computational
    systems of immense skill. We've been building computers for, what, less
    than a century. The brain of a honey bee is about as big as a sesame seed,
    less than a millionth the size of the human brain, and yet is it able to
    navigate (using a process called optic flow- useful also in discussions
    about swarming insects) in flight far more ably than any robot we've
    produced thus far. Given that kind of context, I would easily state human
    brains are vastly superior to computing technology in terms of the range of
    capabilities human brains have (unless you know any sentient computers?).

    >> BTW it occured to me over the
    >> weekend another way in which movement in flocks of birds can be
    > than
    >> one might expect- and something that certainly wasn't known back
    in the
    >> 1930s- the capacity of many birds to be able to detect the
    >> field (which helps migratory birds for instance).

            <Sheldrake was quoting research from the 70s.>

            Was the sensitivity of some species of birds to Earth's magnetic
    field known in the 1970s, anyone?

            <I don't deny the importance of chemical reactions. The body does
    > at a chemcial and mechanical level. But this tells us nothing about
    > repeating, organic structures, from proteins on up. It doesn't tell us
    > anything about the organism as a whole or why the damn thing lives.>
            I think Joe's right- you're looking for the kinds of answers that
    science can't give- the 'whys' and 'what fors'.


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