Sunday, August 12, 2012

How long it is going to take?

"It’s also worth noting that Shereshevsky is not an isolated instance of apparently natural exceptional memory (which strategies can enhance further, but which aren’t the entire explanation for), linked to some abnormal condition, such as synaesthesia or autism. For instance, I have published a descriptive/behavioural and an fMRI paper on one modern equivalent, Daniel Tammet, who has synaesthesia and autism, as well as an exceptional memory."

- British neuroscientist and author Dr Daniel Bor, August 9th 2012

Dr Bor has a pop neuroscience book due out later this month, and it looks like Tammet is discussed at length without a scrap of skepticism within it. Sometimes I wonder why I bother....


Anonymous said...

I look forward to reading Daniel Bor's book with interest.

In the meantime, I still have to finish reading Daniel Tammet's new book, "Thinking by Numbers".

There's an interview with Daniel Tammet here:

“I was always interested in writing something that’s as close to fiction as possible,” he says.

Lili Marlene said...

You can see parts of Bor's upcoming book thru Amazon. I've only glanced at two snippets from it about Tammet, and already I've spotted a grammatical error and inconsistent spelling of "Shereshevskii". Dr Bor has quite a bit of work to do before the release date, I'd say. For a start, he'll have to completely revise his treatment of Tammet and explain why and how he was taken in by Tammet, for the book to have any credibility. I'm not holding my breath for that.

"I was always interested in writing something that’s as close to fiction as possible,”

Ha ha. Tammet's not the first writer to write between the genres of fiction and non-fiction, and he won't be the last. Just look at the works of Amanda Baggs, Donna Williams, Helen Demidenko, Bob Ellis, Bruno Grosjean, Laura Grabowski/Lauren Stratford/Laurel Rose Willson, Monique De Wael, Margaret Seltzer and James Frey.

Daniel Tammet is a mathematician? In which parallel universe?

Anonymous said...

I've been enjoying Daniel Tammet's new book more than I expected. He writes well.

I gather his next book is going to be a work of fiction. I suspect that he may have found where his true talent lies.


Anonymous said...

A citation of Tammet, this time not as a savant, but an expert on rational thinking.


Lili Marlene said...

Thanks for the tip, Tomas. I haven't yet had time to take a close look at the paper, but I see that it is interesting for a number of reasons: it is about a controversial and emotive question in medical science, in some ways the author seems wary of bad science, but in others seems like a bit of a goose, it is an editorial, it was written by a single author who is an "independent researcher" from Israel who has written from a quite contentious point of view, and it cites Daniel Tammet and Robin Dunbar as authorities, which I wouldn't do.

One needs to ask whether the main point of the paper is correct, that homebirth is more dangerous than a hospital birth for low-risk cases. I'd look to the Cochrane Library for an answer to that question.

One also needs to ask whether Tammet's second book could conceivably be cited as a review of the latest knowledge in the psychology of decision-making. It should be clear to anyone that any of Tammet's books don't meet the standard of a text that could be cited by any serious scientific researcher or in any medical or scientific journal paper. Tammet's books are for a popular readership ONLY. They are not scholarly or objective studies of science. They are not written by any qualified researcher or academic or mathematician or scientist or psychologist. Tammet is none of these things. Tammet should also not be taken on face value as a genuinely interesting case for scientific study, unless your area of study is memory techniques and/or ppl who have demonstrated superior memory in memory sport or memory competition.

I've regrettably been too busy to read any of the new books out at the moment, including ones by Tammet, Bor, Sacks and Ben Goldacre. I'd love to know what your thoughts might be on any of these, Tomas.