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Re: HC selectivity ... was Re: Physiological models of cochlea activity - alternatives to the travelling wave

Laszlo Toth wrote:

I would like to emphasize this section:
"They however are not as important as the ability to understand the
underlying dynamics of a complex system. These insights are needed to assess
whether the assumptions of a model are correct and complete."

Probably the whole discussion boils down to terminological differences. It seems to me that you use the term "model" in a more restricted sense. As Dick Lyon wrote, "Martin has his own models, but he doesn't want to call them that." Your quotation uses the word "understand", and maybe we mean slightly different things on that. For an engineer the most natural way of representing knowledge is by creating mathematical formulae of computer simulations - that is, for them understanding practically equals being able to create proper models. I don't know what is the meaning of "understand" for you.

I understand the quoted part from the Wikipedia article "Scientific Modeling" without any mathematical formulae, even though I have not written it and even though I do not even know who has written it.

You need meta-knowledge to be able to asses if a model is correct and useful. In science this meta-knowledge is: All Relevant Data.

For example, because a wealth of data proves that the basilar membrane BM) in the mammalian cochlea does not respond to sound levels below about 60 dB, once the outer hairs cells (OHC) have been made temporally or ultimately non-functional, I reject all models of cochlear mechanics that state that the BM triggers the OHCs at ALL sound levels. However beautiful these models are!

False models of mammalian cochlear functions have seriously impeded basic research and medical research for decades - and up to this very day. For a recent striking misinterpretation of experimental data by the publishing authors themselves, see this example:



Martin Braun
Neuroscience of Music
S-671 95 Klässbol
web site: http://w1.570.telia.com/~u57011259/index.htm