While I was digging into the question of who this Gilbert Ling character was, I ran into lots of sources that didn’t make the final cut. Unfortunately, most of those sources were from fringe or unsavory places — I did check my collection of textbooks, too, and nowhere does he get any mention. So it’s down into the sewers after all! Like this article on Less Wrong.
The Association-Induction hypothesis formulated by Gilbert Ling is an alternate view of cell function, which suggests a distinct functional role of energy within the cell. I won’t review it in detail here, but you can find an easy to understand and comprehensive introduction to this hypothesis in the book “Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life” by Gerald H. Pollack. This idea has a long history with considerable experimental evidence, which is too extensive to review in this article.
No, it has a 70 year history all centered on the long-winded writings of a single crackpot. There is no experimental evidence for any of it other than the willful distortions of one Gilbert Ling. Pollack is utterly batty, and not a credible source.
Worse still, this guy is using Ling’s theories as a starting point for discussing how we can use this information to potentially increase IQ.
So this suggests a ‘systems biology’ approach to cognitive enhancement. It’s necessary to consider how metabolism is regulated, and what substrates it requires. To raise intelligence in a safe and effective way, all of these substrates must have increased availability to the neuron, in appropriate ratios.
I am always leery of drawing analogies between brains and computers but this approach to cognitive enhancement is very loosely analogous to over-clocking a CPU. Over-clocking requires raising both the clock rate, and the energy availability (voltage). In the case of the brain, the effective ‘clock rate’ is controlled by hormones (primarily triiodothyronine aka T3), and energy availability is provided by glucose and other nutrients.
Oh god. Nerds discussing overly simplistic analogies between brains and computers always makes me leery, too, so just stop already. Especially when your ‘over-clocking’ idea is built on a bogus model of cellular metabolism that has been known to be wrong for the entirety of its “long history”.
I know I started this by dissing the Less Wrong forum, but I will say that, to their credit, most of the commenters were tearing that article apart.