My comments indented and in italics
Dear Yehouda Harpaz
Re: Journal of intelligent systems
I have now received reports from three independent referees for your paper entitled "Can the neurons in the brain implement symbolic systems?"
Unfortunately one referee recommend rejection and I am inclined to agree with the comments made. Please find the comments enclosed along with this letter.
What about the other two referees? The editor did not say what they
said, and did not send their reviews.
The nature of the referee's comments are such that the objections cannot be met by simple revisions. I am sorry that I cannot therefore accept the paper for publication. I hope that you will find constructive points from the review process which will help you develop your research.
An impressive statement, considering that the review is mainly
personal insults and demagoguery (see below).
Professor MJ Wright
Editor in Chief
Journal Of Intelligent Systems
Name of paper: Can the neurons in the brain implement symbolic systems?
Author: Yehouda Harpaz
This paper has to be rejected for several reasons.
First of all, the author's knowledge in neurosciences is poor. Although the question he poses is legitimate, he is unaware of the pertinent discussion in progress at least over five decades. As early as in 1943 McCulloch and Pitts developed a neuronal model trying to show that neurons are logical devices operating according to all-or-none logic. This neuronal model requires exactly clocked operations. But the early enthusiasm about its logic and arithmetic capabilities was soon followed by the criticism of its neurophysiological implausibility.
Starts with an insult ("knowledge in neurosciences is poor."), which
is probably based on the "unaware of the pertinent discussion".
However, the only glimpse of this discussion is a theory from 1943 that
nobody takes seriously, and is irrelevant anyway, as it has nothing to
say about symbolic systems (it is about logical operations). The
reviewer does not give any reference which is actually relevant or
newer than 1943, simply because there aren't any.
Until now exact pulse periodicity
has not been observed in neural signals. Therefore, the author is
right that single neurons cannot implement logical functions, but
unfortunately his arguments are not new.
This is a typicial demagogical manuever, based on two implications
which are not stated explicitly:
Considering the quoted "textbooks" or several papers one has the
impression that the author is neither in neuroscience nor in
artificial intelligence up to date. Apparently he does not realize the
complexity of the problem he dealt with.
The double quotes around "textbooks" is another demagogical trick,
intending to imply that the the textbooks that I refer to are not
Continue with some insults without any justifications. Even if these
comments were true, they don't have a place in a review of a paper,
which has to be about the content of the paper itself.
The double quotes around "textbooks" is another demagogical trick, intending to imply that the the textbooks that I refer to are not realy textbooks.
From a neurobiological point of view the neural assembly theory based on many experimental finding is one of the favourite approach to discussing the author's topic.
Realy? The "author's topic" is implementation of symbol tokens in a
system with stochastic connectivity. Where are the discussions of this
in literature of neural assembly?
The recent discovery of stimulus
induced cortical synchronization in the visual system now provides a
basis for bringing neural mechanisms of local and global stimulus
encoding into juxtaposition with connectionist conceptualizations,
with a view of accounting for construction of subsymbolic composites
out of elementary stimulus features, on the way towards creating
It is interesting to think why the reviewer bother to write this
gobbledigook, as anybody with expertise in the area of cognitive
science would easily see through it. Apparently he thought that the
reader of the review (i.e. the editor) will be impressed by it.
Apparently it worked.
If this sentence looks like a gobbledigook, it is because it is. Any
of the terms
It is interesting to think why the reviewer bother to write this gobbledigook, as anybody with expertise in the area of cognitive science would easily see through it. Apparently he thought that the reader of the review (i.e. the editor) will be impressed by it. Apparently it worked.
The author does not refer to this important approach.
Authors who do not see the complexity of a topic or who cannot
estimate if there is something new in their argumentation make
tendentious statements. So this author does.
Continue with some more insults.
In summary, I see no possibility of proposing a revision of the paper.