November 9, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

This Is Your Brain on Intelligent Design

Your brain comes with amazing capabilities. It won’t look like a fried egg unless you abuse it.

Fantastic Journey

As the brain of a baby forms in the womb, how do the neurons grow outward to reach their designated targets? A press release from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York describes the “Fantastic journey: how newborn neurons find their proper place in the brain.” This “orchestrated” process requires multiple virtuoso players.

This week in the Journal of Cell Biology, Professor Linda Van Aelst and colleagues at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) describe for the first time (in mice) how baby neurons—precursors called neuroblasts, generated from a permanent pocket of stem cells in a brain area called the V-SVZ—make an incredible journey from their place of birth through a special tunnel called the RMS to their target destination in the olfactory bulb. They travel as far as 8 mm, “a huge distance, when you consider how tiny the mouse brain is,” Van Aelst says.

The journey is made possible by two forces, one pulling from the front, the other pushing from behind. A single protein called DOCK7 helps to orchestrate these two steps. Ahead of the newborn neuron’s soma, or cell body, is a threadlike projection called a process. It stretches forward through the tunnel, guided by various signals. At the same time, the cell body, lagging behind, is powered forward by the activation of tiny molecular motors that push it from the rear. Multiple cells migrate together, one virtually on top of another, somewhat in the manner of a group of tiny worms inching forward by morphing the shape of their bodies.

Unevolved Circuitry

An article on Science Daily professes evolution only because processes they describe in the brain are found in zebrafish and in mice. This means, however, that the complex circuitry involved in “neuronal basis of brain states” was already present in the common ancestor, if there was one. “This suggests that the human brain is likely similarly wired for this state critical to survival.” In other words, this complex networking of brain circuits has not undergone significant evolutionary change for hundreds of millions of Darwin Years. The unevolved circuits are involved in brain states like alertness and vigilance. Defects cause serious mental disorders like mania, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A paper in Science Magazine by Ann Gibbons seeks to shed light on “how the human brain takes shape” by evolution. The article speculates, “as the human cortex expanded in the course of evolution, it reorganized to allow more complex connections between regions.” Gibbons speaks of “what changed as brains rewired over the course of evolution.” The only cases we know of rewiring and reorganizing things come by intelligent design. These phrases personify evolution as a creative force. That’s opposite what Darwinian evolution teaches.

Innate GPS App

“Aaron Wilber, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Florida State University, discovered new insights about how the brain helps us get around from place to place,” reports Medical Xpress. What he found is that “The brain performs a complex calculation that works a lot like the Global Positioning System.” No satellites required. Here’s how it works:

The parietal cortex is the part of the brain that helps make that happen. It integrates information coming in from various senses and helps a person understand what action to take as a result. The response gets recorded as a memory with help from other parts of the brain, creating a “map” of the location that a person can recall to help get around from place to place.

Then in the future a person can link that same view, or even just a part of it, to the brain’s map and know what action to take.

Materialists Puzzle Over Consciousness

Three international scientists, writing in Science Magazine, review various meanings of ‘consciousness’ and ask whether robots will ever have it. As evolutionists, they apply the “It evolved” explanation, combined with a high perhapsimaybecouldness index, to account for any puzzle. For instance, “Thus, circuits in the prefrontal cortex may have evolved to monitor the performance of other brain processes.”

The explanation makes no sense from a materialist perspective. Nothing made of atoms is capable of deciding “to monitor the performance of other brain processes.” Such language presupposes the ability to know what information is, and to collect it and measure performance according to some objective standard. What else can the authors do? They are limited by their assumptions to consider only naturalistic explanations.

“What we call ‘consciousness’ results from specific types of information-processing computations, physically realized by the hardware of the brain,” they say in the Conclusion section of the paper. They specifically reject dualism, the view that mind and body are both independently required to explain human behavior. “Although centuries of philosophical dualism have led us to consider consciousness as unreducible to physical interactions, the empirical evidence is compatible with the possibility that consciousness arises from nothing more than specific computations.” But this speculative view undercuts their own reasoning, because no objective standard for truth and logic can emerge from mindless matter in motion.

Most of the essay consists of futureware, speculating about what robots will be able to do some day.

CBS News

Science Cannot Explain What You Are About to Hear

In a recent episode on 60 Minutes, host Scott Pelley was almost brought to tears as he heard 12-year-old Alma Deutscher compose a classical piece in the style of Mozart from four random notes he had just selected from a hat. This pre-teen young lady, full of zest and vitality, is already a virtuoso violinist and pianist, but her greatest gift may be her creativity. She has composed a violin concerto and a piano concerto of stunning beauty (and difficulty) that have been performed by symphony orchestras, and at age 10 composed her first opera, having written all the instrumental parts for these works. Alma says that she always has melodies pouring out of her head. “We cannot explain what you are about to hear,” Pelley began. “Science doesn’t know enough about the brain to make sense of Alma.”

Alma imagines her improvisations before playing them on the piano. Do brain waves differ when you listen to music and when you imagine it in your head? Phys.org says, “That music playing in your head is a real conundrum for scientists.” Experiments in France on brains of epileptics (difficult to do) seem to show the same brain wave patterns in both cases.

This is the first time a study has demonstrated that when we imagine music in our heads, the auditory cortex and other parts of the brain process auditory information, such as high and low frequencies, in the same way as they do when stimulated by real sound.

The sounds Alma hears before playing, though, do not exist except in her imagination. Are they real?

Nothing in brain biology makes sense except in the light of intelligent design. There, it not only makes sense, but arouses awe and inspiration. What is the survival value of creating complex works of music that are beautiful? Compare Alma’s lovely work with the sound made by goats (and some humans).

Listen to more from Alma Deutscher on her YouTube channel (try the soft movement from her piano concerto), and read some of the comments. The capabilities God has put into the human brain are beyond comprehension. It makes you wonder what heaven will be like.

 

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