[FRIAM] sensitive, aren't we?

Nick Thompson nickthompson at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 21 10:32:18 EDT 2019


Can somebody forward this on to Mike Daly, whose email I can NEVER recover?

I was taught this fascinating trope in graduate school... yes, THAT long ago.  There is a second shoe, however.  Yes the retina (cochlea, etc.) is that sensitive BUT the neural noise is much louder than that.  So ... I think this is the right language ... even though the elements are sensitive to the smallest stimuli possible, the whole system cannot resolve stimuli that small ... anywhere near.   To do what it does, it needs to weed out its own noise.  So accuracy in vision is not a question of accuracy of the elements, but of the ingenuity of construction.  Note, for instance that we wear our retinas "backwards": we actually see THOUGH the many layers of the retina because the light sensitive elements ... the rods and cones ... are at the back of the retina.  So all that sensitivity of light sensing elements is rudely cast away in the organization of the retina.  It's like we are a football players who wear our jerseys inside out but boast about the precision, detail, and color of our logos.    

Hope you are well.  Where are you well?  

All my Peirce books were lost in the mail coming here, so I have been focusing on my garden.  Mild, calm June.  May be the best garden ever.  But my mind?  Not so sure about that. 


Nicholas S. Thompson
Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Biology
Clark University

-----Original Message-----
From: Friam [mailto:friam-bounces at redfish.com] On Behalf Of Prof David West
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2019 4:15 AM
To: friam at redfish.com
Subject: [FRIAM] sensitive, aren't we?

Doing some reading on quantum consciousness and embodied mind and came across these items:



(A Rebecca Holmes from Los Alamos Natl. Labs is part of the Scientific American reported research.)

not only can the human eye perceive individual photons (and perhaps quanta level phenomena) "The healthy human cochlea is so sensitive that it can detect vibration with amplitude less than the diameter of an atom, and it can resolve time intervals down to 10µs [i.e., microseconds, or millionths of a second]. It has been calculated that the human ear detects energy levels 10- fold lower than the energy of a single photon in the green wavelength…” Regarding human tactile and related senses (haptic, proprioceptive), it has recently been determined that “human tactile discrimination extends to the nanoscale [ie, within billionths of a meter],” this research having been published in the journal, Scientific Reports (Skedung et al 2013)"

interesting stuff
dave west

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