We Don't Have A Clue How The Brain Works

The final article, [in the Scientific America issue from circa September 1979] "Thinking About the Brain," was written by Francis Crick, the codiscoverer of the structure of DNA who had by then turned his talents to studying the brain. Crick argued that in spite of steady accumulation of detailed knowledge about the brain, how the brain worked was still a profound mystery. Scientists usually don't write about what they don't know, but Crick didn't care. He was like the boy pointing to the emperor with no clothes. According to Crick, neuroscience was a lot of data without a theory. His exact words were, "what is conspicuously lacking is a broad framework of ideas." To me this was the British gentleman's way of saying, "We don't have a clue how this thing works." It was true then, and it's still true today.

-- Jeffrey Hawkins

from "On Intelligence"

Quoted on Wed Dec 14th, 2011