Guest Blog – Neuroscience: The Path Forward

Steve Spiegel is a natural scientist and independent neuroscientist who had an epiphany about human psychology after experiencing trauma in early adulthood. The revelation initiated nearly five decades of independent, obsessed research into the science underlying human psychology. Steve is now promoting a simple new path forward for neuroscience to explain human psychology.

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In his classical dissertation on scientific paradigms, eminent philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn describes the difficulty in understanding social influences that skew science theory [1].  Popular neuroscience theory is a classical paradigm; it is a complete world view that is supported by terms with interrelated connotations and contexts that reinforce the status quo.  Scientific paradigms are homogeneous; it is difficult to recognize a false assumption of a paradigm from within.  In the arduous challenge (and valiant effort) to understand our behavior, it is far easier to theorize about behavior science and neuroscience, and their relationship, than to theorize about theoretical problems underlying the established paradigm.  Eminent philosopher of science Karl Popper understood the difficulty of identifying false assumptions when he advocated the accepted Philosophy of Science principle of “falsifiability” [2].  Philosophy of Science advocates that real science theories can be differentiated from ad hoc theories by falsifying them — explaining how to disprove them.  The process of describing how to disprove a theory identifies assumptions that are potential sources of error.  Unfortunately, although popular neuroscience theories are admirable endeavors, they are not falsified to identify assumptions for critical consideration. 

Current neuroscience research focuses on complex principles of molecular neuroscience, cellular neuroscience, and systems neuroscience; in contrast, the philosophy of informing sciences implores consideration of simple principles of tissue neuroscience and systems neuroscience.  Scientific logic, the philosophy of science, a philosophy of natural science, and the philosophy of physiology beg for consideration of simple binary tissue neuroscience.  The philosophy of a science is the science’s most fundamental principle; it defines and frames a science with an unprovable underlying assumption.  An anomaly of the philosophy of a science taints all of the science that is built upon it; as information technologists advocate, “garbage in, garbage out.” [3, 4].  In the following three sections, this thesis addresses scientific anomalies hidden in the foundation of the current neuroscience paradigm.  The following sections advocate that popular neuroscience theory contradicts:

  1. basic science logic when it assumes complex brain principles and ignores simple binary science,
  2. the philosophy of (general) science and a philosophy of natural science when it assumes complex brain principles and ignores simple binary science, and
  3. the philosophy of physiology when it ignores the interaction of whole, entire nervous tissues.  Basic science logic and accepted science tenets implore consideration of beautifully simple binary tissue neuroscience to understand neuroscience and human psychology. 

First, popular neuroscience research contradicts basic science logic while continuing a long tradition of assuming complex brain principles while brain principles are unknown; full stop. 

Moreover, popular neuroscience investigations continue to contradict basic science logic while they assume complex brain principles while modeling the brain with computers that operate on the simplest principle of binary science; again, full stop.

It may appear that simple brain principles would be obvious to scholars but appearances are often deceiving. It is extremely difficult to reverse-engineer a system that produces a complex product based on a simple principle especially when the simple principle is not sought. 

The first sentence of the recent PBS series on the brain (The Brain with David Eagleman) advocates the common assumption of complex brain principles but scientific logic demands consideration of gloriously simple binary neuroscience.

Second, besides contradicting scientific logic, current neuroscience research also continues to contradict the philosophy of science and a philosophy of natural science when assuming complex brain principles and ignoring simple binary neuroscience.  All science theory is based on the principle of parsimony — Occam’s razor:  “All other things being equal, simpler theories are better science”, or more accurately, “Fewer assumptions make better science.”  Unfortunately, accepted neuroscience investigations are comfortable with increasing complexity and a related increase in unidentified assumptions; parsimony and falsifiability are not considerations.  Popular neuroscience research contradicts the philosophy of science while embracing complexity and failing to consider beautifully simple binary neuroscience.

Besides contradicting the philosophy of science while assuming complex brain principles, popular neuroscience research also contradicts a philosophy of natural science.  The philosophy of natural science advocates that our environment is best understood with a singular focus on the physical (material) world, but there is a secondary philosophy of natural science.  Our most eminent natural scientists (Einstein, Brian Greene, Steven Weinberg, Walter Lewin) also advocate that human nature is based on eloquently simple principles hidden beneath an appearance of complexity [5, 6, 7].  Natural scientists contend that simple principles produce the complex manifestations of nature; consistently, neuroscientists must consider human nature as a function of binary neuroscience beyond binary neurons.  One hundred trillion neural connections produce complex thinking and complex behavior but do not prove a complex brain principle.  Eminent natural scientists advocate simple brain principles; assuming complex brain principles and ignoring gloriously simple binary science is pseudo natural science.  

Regardless of a long, painful history of problematic oversimplification in science, the philosophy of science and a philosophy of natural science implore consideration of a simple principle of binary neuroscience. 

Third, besides contradicting basic science logic, the philosophy of science and a philosophy of natural science, popular neuroscience research also contradicts the philosophy of physiology.  Current theory contradicts the philosophy of physiology when failing to focus on whole nervous tissues and simple systems neuroscience.  The philosophy of physiology explains organisms at different organizational levels of the body with each organizational level explaining the entire organism.  Anatomy and physiology texts explain humans at different organizational levels of descending sizes and ascending complexity; they explain organisms at organizational levels of body systems, tissues, cells, and molecules [8, 9, 10].  Physiology texts explain organs with body systems, explain body systems (including organs) with tissue physiology, explain tissue physiology with cellular physiology, and explain cellular physiology (theoretically) with molecular physiology.  The philosophy of physiology completely explains organisms at different organizational levels and explains organs with the organizational levels of body systems (or “organ systems”) and tissues.  Considering the physiology of simple systems neuroscience and the interaction of entire nervous tissues may seem confusingly abstract but the philosophy of physiology implores the focus. 

Accepted physiology theory investigates organisms at different organizational levels of the body and can explain the function of all organs at the largest level — the level of body systems (organ systems).  The brain and nervous system at the organizational level of body systems is “systems neuroscience”; however, current systems neuroscience theory also incorporates the organizational level of tissues — tissue neurophysiology.  Popular systems neuroscience theory combines body systems physiology and tissue (neuro)physiology into the popular micro focus on tissue neurophysiology.   Unfortunately, the current micro perspective of tissue neurophysiology obscures a macro focus on whole (nervous) tissues and their interactions that explains every other organ of the body.  Nevertheless, combining tissue neurophysiology with systems neuroscience and embracing complexity obscure how accepted neuroscience can explain the brain and nervous system consistent with how physiology explains all other body systems.  Systems neuroscience is explained with simplicity: the brain receives information about the environment through the peripheral nervous system, processes the information, and sends related information back through the peripheral nervous system to affect behavior towards species survival.  Physiology theory investigates the human organism at different organizational levels and can explain all organs at the largest organizational level of body systems — organ systems.  

Besides explaining all organs at the organizational level of body systems, physiologists currently explain all organs besides the brain at the level of body tissues.  All other organs are explained by an overview of the function of four kinds of whole tissues: muscle tissues, connective tissues, epithelial tissues and nervous tissues.  For example, after explaining the heart at the organizational level of body systems (as a pump that shoots nourishment and draws waste), physiologists explain the function of the heart with the increased specifics of tissue physiology.  Physiologists explain the heart with the interaction of whole tissues as:

  1. muscle tissues create the general structure of a pump while flexed muscle tissues push nourishment throughout the body and pull waste,
  2. nervous tissues create a periodic electric spark to flex heart muscle tissues,
  3. connective tissues create valves in the pump structure to produce directional flow, and
  4. epithelial tissues encase muscle tissues and create pipes to carry nourishment and waste.

Physiologists currently explain all other organs with a “big picture” perspective of tissues (and their interaction) that is more detailed than the organizational level of body systems that also completely explains organs.

Cellular physiology explains tissue physiology that explains organs, but cellular physiology cannot skip a “generation” of information about tissues to directly inform about organs.  Fortunately, neuroscientists have sufficient information about cellular neurophysiology to explain tissue neurophysiology and thereby explain the brain and nervous system. 

Molecular physiology theoretically explains cellular physiology, but with a basic understanding of cellular neurophysiology, molecular neurophysiology is superfluous for understanding the brain and nervous system.  Molecular physiology can explain much about cellular pathology (that explains tissue pathology and thereby organ pathology), but molecular physiology cannot yet explain cellular physiology (to better explain a tissue and thereby an organ).  Investigating molecular neuroscience to understand the brain is analogous to investigating the molecular structure of steel to understand the purpose (function) of an automobile engine.  Investigating cellular and molecular neurophysiology to understand brain science contradicts the philosophy of physiology that explains organs with whole tissues. 

Popular neuroscience research contradicts the philosophy of physiology when it fails to theorize about whole tissue neurophysiology.    

In conclusion, scientific logic dictates that the tenets of a science are the most important guidelines to follow since everything emanates from foundational principles.  Unfortunately, the distinguished endeavor to understand neuroscience is hindered by critical, long-established scientific anomalies hidden within accepted theory.  Popular neuroscience research continues to contradict basic scientific logic and the philosophy of (general) science, a philosophy of natural science and the philosophy of physiology.  It is illogical and unscientific for popular neuroscience theory to ignore magnificently simple binary science when: 1) brain principles are unknown, 2) eminent natural scientists advocate simple brain principles, and 3) neuroscientists model the brain with computers that operate through binary science.  Moreover, binary neuroscience unifies “western natural science” with the “eastern natural science” duality of yin and yang.  Equally problematic as ignoring binary neuroscience, it is unscientific for popular neuroscience theory to ignore the physiology of whole (nervous) tissues consistent with how physiology explains all other organs.

Science logic and the tenets of informing sciences implore consideration of binary whole-tissue neuroscience to understand the brain and behavior.  Consistently, neuroscientists should consider the binary science of “motivated-thinking” wherein a nervous tissue structured for motivation (the limbic system) directs a nervous tissue structured for thinking (the cerebral cortex).  Scientific truth improves community health; the binary tissue neuroscience of motivated-thinking is the foundation of insight into human psychology.

2 responses to “Guest Blog – Neuroscience: The Path Forward

  1. I consider the limbic system to be a whole nervous tissue (technically a set of tissues) structured for motivation and the cerebral cortex to be a whole nervous tissue structured for thinking. “Binary whole-tissue neuroscience” describes the binary interaction of these two whole nervous tissues. The empirical binary neuroscience of a nervous tissue structured for motivation (the limbic system) directing a nervous tissue structured for thinking (the cerebral cortex) explains “motivated-thinking” that explains all human psychology (as explained through a link in the last sentence). If physiologists explain every other organ of the body with whole tissues, shouldn’t neurophysiologists consider a theory of whole nervous tissues?

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