Talk:Jerome Lettvin

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Please Reconsider[edit]

In light of the recent death of Jerome Y Lettvin it seems reasonable to allow fresh first-hand accounts of his ideas and activities in this wikipedia page.

I made substantial and verifiable changes to this page that have been removed subsequently. In particular, the Infobox:scientist has a tag for doctoral students. I added 16 of his students to this tag. Subsequently, the tag and all of the student names were removed. I now understand that URLs are not permitted in infoboxes but the names are verifiable. Why remove them entirely? Why not just remove the link portion and leave the name?

In addition, given the amount of unverified anecdotal information in the wikipedia entry for Timothy Leary, it seems odd to criticize and remove similar material for his equally influential opponent from the 1967 Lettvin-Leary debate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Iapx86 (talkcontribs) 03:54, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

First hand accounts are not permitted in any articles, on any topic, whether animal, vegetable or mineral. They are especially not permitted in biographies, whether the subject is living or dead. In the particular case of living or recently deceased persons, this is for the protection of the person, their families, etc. Not all first-hand accounts are positive. Our neutral point of view policy would require negative anecdotes as well as positive be included. Wikipedia is not a memorial site. Yworo (talk) 06:58, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Having known Jerry, I am sympathetic to those who want to record the many wonderful anecdotes. But wikipedia has rules regarding Wikipedia:Verifiability and Wikipedia:Neutrality and many other rules. Cites of published biographies, from reputable publishers, can be used to include relevant anecdotal material (According to...) Codwiki (talk) 11:35, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Review comments[edit]

Some suggestions for improvement as the article is expanded:

  • Template:Infobox Scientist should be added
  • Some copy editing required to put article into Wikipedia style
  • Section 'Anecdotes/Factoids' should be pruned and sourced
  • Information on research should be expanded and inline references required
  • Sources required for biographical material, quotations etc
  • References should be converted to inline format
  • List of papers might benefit from identification of key papers
  • External links to useful online resources should be added if available

Espresso Addict 22:06, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Unusual Experiments?[edit]

I am having trouble understanding the text quoted under "Unsusual Experiments". The text is organized in line pairs, with each line of the pair offering a different point of view from the other. However, it is not obvious to me which of the pair represents theory and which represents experimental results.

In particular, consider:

  • color constancy derives from boundaries and vertices in motion over the retina;
    color is not related to wavelength

Neither statement makes sense to me, either as potentially valid hypothesis nor as experimental result. Perhaps citations would help, but even better would be just a tiny bit of explanation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:22, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


Some mention needed of Jerry's directorship of Concourse—a not insignificant part of his life. JKeck (talk) 16:54, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

edit war sprouting over sources[edit]

can i ask to stop edit warring and come to the talk page and discuss why the sources they have chose are suitible--Lerdthenerd wiki defender 17:28, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

User:'s material, based on his interpretation of a primary source is, under WP policy, original research and not written from a neutral point of view. I have pointed this out to on his user page and given him/her pointers to WP policy pages. I have reverted twice, which is enough for one person on one day.... I trust other editors will do the right thing. --Macrakis (talk) 20:37, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

MIT's The Tech is a possible source[edit]

Jerry was covered regularly in the pages of

Could be a good source for his involvement at Concourse, Bexley, and elsewhere. Lentower (talk) 18:21, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Headless cat hoax?[edit]

This article has said since this edit in May 2010 that Lettvin showed that a headless cat could do various tasks such as walking on a treadmill. The reference, viewable at [1] does not mention Lettvin, and says that experiments were done by Brown and Sherrington around 1911 on cats with a severed spinal cord, and in the 1960's by Shik, Severin, Orlovsky and Grillner on cats with a cut through part of the brainstem. No "headless cats." No mention of Lettvin. Unless someone can find a ref for the claimed experiment by Lettvin, the whole section should be removed as lacking verifiability or as a hoax. I already removed the claim that the cat later made a full recovery and lived a happy life, which was added January of this year. Edison (talk) 22:06, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for noticing this. When you see clear errors like this in Wikipedia articles, you should document them in the Talk page (as you have), and then go ahead and delete them. In fact, you could just delete passages like this with an Edit summary of "Not in cited reference, not found elsewhere, and not plausible" or something. If your edit is wrong, someone will revert or reply on the Talk page. I have deleted the passage. --Macrakis (talk) 21:21, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Octopus's revenge anecdote[edit]

I tagged an anecdote about Lettvin poking an octopus, and the octopus practicing squirting water at the door then squirting Lettvin when he returned. It was cited to a webpage but I could not find the story there. I tagged it and no ref was provided for a week, so i removed it per WP:V. If a reliable source is provided (and some mirror of Wikipedia does not count) then it can be restored. Edison (talk) 19:24, 26 June 2014 (UTC)

I reverted this good faith edit, as WP:AGF suggests we do. The fact was most probably in the reference at the time the citation was added. In this situation a WP editor, should put extensive time into searching archive web sights to see what the web page said at the time the citation was edited, see WP:Link rot. Second, a week is considered too short a time to ask for citations to be added, before deletion. Third, I heard Lettvin tell this story several times over the years at lectures at Harvard and MIT, It shouldn't be too much of an effort to find another reliable source on it. Lentower (talk) 13:07, 28 June 2014 (UTC)