James Olds, a Professor of Computational Neuroscience, writes in:
Since I was quoted in Carr's piece, I thought it might be useful for me to respond to Scott Esposito's point: no one would dispute that the brain is vastly complex. But similarly we also have the existence proof (patients like President Reagan's press secretary who recovered language function) that this incredibly complex piece of biology is also very plastic. Recent work by a number of investigators (Mike Merzenich at UCSF comes to mind) makes it pretty clear that the adult brain can re-wire on the fly and that the mechanisms are very likely the same ones that allow us to store new memories. In particular, there is a cadre of neuroscientists who believe that software specifically crafted for learning-disabilities can perhaps make a difference in receptive language disorders. From there it's not such a long stretch to Carr's meme.
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