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Is a human being really the connections between the neurons in his or her brain?

By Ezra Klein  | September 30, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

It ain't the meat it's the commotion

Posted by: bdballard | September 30, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I watched this whole thing and nothing on how we're engineering mice with human brains.

I was very disappointed.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 30, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Haven't watched the video yet but, if he didn't recommend reading "I am a Strange Loop", by Douglas Hofstader (author of "Godel, Escher, Bach"), he should have.

Posted by: mudlock | September 30, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Just as a cake or car or computer is more than the sum of its parts, so is a human being. How the parts of the brain — and the rest of the body — fit together is the great mystery. The concept of a connectome is one more part of the puzzle, not its solution.

The more we discover, the more we realize how much more there is still to be discovered. That's the fun part of being human. And happily what motivates people like Dr. Seung.

Posted by: tomcammarata | September 30, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

tomcammarata, the argument about humans being more than the sum of their parts aside, aren't cars, computers, and cakes exactly the sum of their parts? There's no ineffable magic that happens when a bunch of car parts click together, or when a SATA hard drive clicks into a motherboard. They perform just as you'd expect them to based on the components of which they're made, and the quality of components directly impacts, and is the only impact, on the qualities they exhibit when they are assembled.

The argument that humans are more than the sum of their parts is that we're *not* like something you can assemble on a factory floor. There's something magical about an individual that couldn't be captured by a Dr. Frankenstein. I'm not sure I buy that argument, but I don't see how someone that believes it thinks that we're the same as a computer.

Posted by: MosBen | September 30, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Dunno 'bout the rest of you, but this woman is a whole lot more than some neuron connections.

Posted by: bgmma50 | September 30, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

@bgmma50: Hahaha, I'm just going to assume you're less, since you don't seem to be using all of it.

Posted by: HerooftheBeach | October 1, 2010 2:04 AM | Report abuse

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