March 26, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Evolutionists Underestimate the Human Brain

To understand human exceptionalism, we will have to first eradicate fake science promulgated by dismissive materialists.

Piaget Was Wrong

A materialist who viewed the brain’s development as an extension of the processes of biological evolution misled psychology for decades. Influential child psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1980) taught that children were incapable of separating cause from effect. He also taught that children were unaware of the thought processes of others. That was wrong, says psychologist Henrike Moll of the University of Southern California (USC). Writing in The Conversation, Moll says that “Children understand far more about other minds than long believed.” She spends much of her article correcting the fake science Piaget taught.

Today, a very different picture of children’s mental development emerges. Psychologists continually reveal new insights into the depth of young children’s knowledge of the world, including their understanding of other minds. Recent studies suggest that even infants are sensitive to others’ perspectives and beliefs.

Moll lets Piaget off the hook with the excuse that he lacked the tools available today. She describes experiments done at USC that seem to indicate a more “nuanced” picture of children’s capabilities. “Consequently, the old view of children’s egocentric nature and intellectual weaknesses has increasingly fallen out of favor and become replaced by a more generous position that sees a budding sense not only of the physical world but also of other minds, even in the ‘youngest young.'” she says. It’s hard to see how or why that would have evolved.

Busy Brain

The cross-town rivals at UCLA made brain headlines, too. Science Daily reports that the human “Brain is 10 times more active than previously measured.” The branching extensions of neurons in the brain, called dendrites, are not just passive conduits for the activity of the somites.

A new UCLA study could change scientists’ understanding of how the brain works — and could lead to new approaches for treating neurological disorders and for developing computers that “think” more like humans….

But the UCLA team discovered that dendrites are not just passive conduits. Their research showed that dendrites are electrically active in animals that are moving around freely, generating nearly 10 times more spikes than somas. The finding challenges the long-held belief that spikes in the soma are the primary way in which perception, learning and memory formation occur.

In order for computers to think more like humans, look at what they will have to master. The biological brain comes with these skills built in:

Amazing Facts“We found that dendrites are hybrids that do both analog and digital computations, which are therefore fundamentally different from purely digital computers, but somewhat similar to quantum computers that are analog,” said Mehta, a UCLA professor of physics and astronomy, of neurology and of neurobiology. “A fundamental belief in neuroscience has been that neurons are digital devices. They either generate a spike or not. These results show that the dendrites do not behave purely like a digital device. Dendrites do generate digital, all-or-none spikes, but they also show large analog fluctuations that are not all or none. This is a major departure from what neuroscientists have believed for about 60 years.”

Because the dendrites are nearly 100 times larger in volume than the neuronal centers, Mehta said, the large number of dendritic spikes taking place could mean that the brain has more than 100 times the computational capacity than was previously thought.

Blind Man’s Compensation

An article on Medical Xpress says that the “Brain ‘rewires’ itself to enhance other senses in blind people.”

The brains of those who are born blind make new connections in the absence of visual information, resulting in enhanced, compensatory abilities such as a heightened sense of hearing, smell and touch, as well as cognitive functions (such as memory and language) according to a new study led by Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers. The report, published online today in PLOS One, describes for the first time the combined structural, functional and anatomical changes in the brain evident in those born with blindness that are not present in normally sighted people.

“Our results demonstrate that the structural and functional neuroplastic brain changes occurring as a result of early ocular blindness may be more widespread than initially thought,” said lead author Corinna M. Bauer, Ph.D., a scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear and an instructor of ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. “We observed significant changes not only in the occipital cortex (where vision is processed), but also areas implicated in memory, language processing, and sensory motor functions.”

One has to wonder how natural selection would favor such rewiring strategies if survival of the fittest is the goal. Is natural selection favoring a trend toward blindness? If the brain were intelligently designed, on the contrary, it would make sense to have backup systems to let intrinsically valuable human beings cope with all kinds of circumstances.

Brain Preparedness

Lastly, consider how quickly your brain can respond. A news item on Science Daily says that the “Brain networks at rest are ready for action.” Your brain is never really at rest. It maintains hair-trigger readiness, even without the morning cup of coffee.

Just as a sprinter’s body and muscles are ready for action as they wait for the starting gun to fire, brain networks at rest appear to be waiting in a state of potentiation to execute even the simplest of behaviors.

A profound mystery of the mind is that we can choose to take these tools inside our skulls and keep them sharp, and even enhance them.

There’s one thing you can do and should do to maintain your brain for the challenges of life. Your brain is well-equipped for responsiveness, learning, and acquiring knowledge, but it takes a choice to gain wisdom. Solomon said it clearly in Proverbs 3:

13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
15 She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, do not lose sight of these—
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

And what is the starting point for wisdom? “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” he said in 1:7. Notice that it’s only the beginning. It will take a lifetime of fearing the Lord and walking in his ways to really gain wisdom, but even a child can outrun an old fool by following Solomon’s memorable words in 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

 

 

 

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