July 25, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Brain Secrets Seen Through a Glass Darkly

The brain drain, the importance of forgetting, and other secrets of the “supremely complex organ” come to light.

The Apostle Paul compared the promises to the reality of what we will be like in heaven as “seeing through a glass, darkly” (I Corinthians 13:12, KJV). What are neuroscientists to make of a three-pound mass of tissue inside our skulls? Nature published a special issue on the brain this week. Here’s what the lead-up article says:

In the hand, the human brain is a jelly-like mass, easily deformed by touch. However, its unassuming appearance belies the complexity within. The brain’s inner workings are mysterious. But our understanding of them is improving, as is our ability to apply that knowledge elsewhere.

The journal Nature always puts a materialistic spin on its science, expecting to believe that this complex organ arose by mistakes because of the Stuff Happens Law. The actual data behind the science, however, speaks for itself, and gives brain users glimpses of the powers granted to them.

Meningeal lymphatic vessels at the skull base drain cerebrospinal fluid (Nature). This paper by Ahn et al. describes newly-identified pipelines out of the base of the skull that regulate cerebrospinal fluid. “Basal mLVs [meningeal lymphatic vessels] have distinct morphologic features and an anatomic location that is more suitable for CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] uptake and drainage than dorsal mLVs,” they say. So how did these “specialized morphologic features” arise? They don’t say. As Marcos Eberlin, author of Foresight, would say, the specialized features had to be planned for this function from the beginning.

The forgotten part of memory (Nature). You should be glad you forget things, says Lauren Gravitz in this Outlook article for the series. “Long thought to be a glitch of memory, researchers are coming to realize that the ability to forget is crucial to how the brain works.” Gravitz summarizes recent findings that show that forgetting is not a mistake or a defect, but a feature. The brain actively works to forget. This is important, or else we would remember irrelevant details about events. We know that in embryonic development of hands, certain enzymes cut away the webbing between fingers by causing cell death, so that the final hand forms properly. Just as non-webbed fingers have more mobility and flexibility, perhaps something like that occurs in memory formation. Specialized neurons and neurotransmitters prune away non-essential details, allowing the brain to form generalized memories that will be useful in novel situations.

In a similar way, if a person were to remember every detail from an event such as a dog attack — that is, not just the sudden movement that scared the dog at the park, causing it to snarl and bite, but also the dog’s floppy ears, the colour of its owner’s T-shirt and the angle of the Sun — it might be more difficult for them to generalize across experiences to prevent themselves being bitten again in the future. “If you wash out a few details but retain the gist, it helps you to use it in novel situations,” Richards says. “It’s entirely possible that our brain engages in a bit of controlled forgetting in order to prevent us from overfitting to our experiences.

So who or what wrote the software to give our brains this automatic pruning ability that helps us understand the world? Unfortunately, because intelligent design thinking is forbidden in Nature, somebody comes up with just-so stories to justify the ideology, “If it exists, it must have evolved.”

In the past decade, researchers have begun to view forgetting as an important part of a whole. “Why do we have memory at all? As humans, we entertain this fantasy that it’s important to have autobiographical details,” [Oliver] Hardt [McGill University] says. “And that’s probably completely wrong. Memory, first and foremost, is there to serve an adaptive purpose. It endows us with knowledge about the world, and then updates that knowledge.” Forgetting enables us as individuals, and as a species, to move forwards.

“Evolution has achieved a graceful balance between the virtues of remembering and the virtues of forgetting,” [Michael] Anderson [Cambridge] says. “It’s dedicated to both permanence and resilience, but also to getting rid of things that get in the way.”

But what is knowledge, if it only has an adaptive purpose? Does Hardt believe in the evolutionary myth of progress, when he says something “enables us as individuals, and as a species, to move forwards”? Forwards to what? Who is the spirit of Evolution that, to Michael Anderson, achieves a balance, and thinks it is graceful? What is virtue? Hardt and Anderson need to forget Darwin and think more clearly.

It’s not the skull shape that matters. It’s the contents.

Neanderthal clues to brain evolution in humans (Nature). A scan for actual facts supported by data in this article shows that modern humans and Neanderthals are the same in terms of brain power. But urged on by Darwinian myths of progress, Sedeer el-Showk is determined to find evolution anyway. “As close relatives, Neanderthals offer an unequalled opportunity to uncover how modern humans probably evolved.” Probably? Has el-Showk calculated the probability for a mass of 100 billion neurons with a trillion connections organized to think and control a complex body to emerge by the Stuff Happens Law? Obviously not. Are there any facts to support his faith? No; only questions.

Researchers cannot study the brains of Neanderthals directly — the species is thought to have been extinct for around 40,000 years, and soft tissue doesn’t fossilize well. But from preserved skulls, scientists have been able to infer that adult Neanderthals had brains of a similar volume to those of modern humans, but with a more elongated, less globular shape. Finding out when this anatomical difference becomes apparent during brain development could provide a clue as to which aspects of brain development are unique to humans. “We’re trying to find out what evolved last,” says Gunz. “What is the most recent innovation in our brain?

Chuck-in-the-Box pops up in unexpected places.

Evolution, evolution, evolution. Another Darwinist named Ponce de Leon tries to find the fountain of youth in Neanderthal brains. “Many features of the human brain and its development have deep evolutionary roots and are shared with Neanderthals,” says Ponce de Leόn. With that deep, deep thought, does he elevate Neanderthals to human-hood? No; he demotes us to Neanderthal-hood. “Humans are not as exceptional as they perceive themselves to be.” Except for evolutionists, with their Yoda complex.

The brain makes no sense in evolutionary terms (even if the Stuff Happens Law, natural selection, worked), because it would only build the minimum necessary for survival. In an interview with Marvin Olasky aired on World Radio July 25th, Dr Ben Carson made this comment:

I’ll tell you as a neuroscientist you cannot overload your brain. It is absolutely impossible. Your brain can easily contain all the information from all the volumes ever written since the beginning of the world and have plenty of room left over. So it’s just not an issue.

Why would evolution build such a superlative organ with vastly more capability than it would ever need? Only intelligent design by an awesome God can explain such wonders. We are “over-designed” for survival, and wonderfully designed for fellowship with our Maker.

Can we please just enjoy our God-given brains without having to drag Darwin into the scene? These Darwinians need a little more of Darwin’s horrid doubt (i.e., that if our brains are evolved from monkeys, they would not be reliable).

The rest of us can marvel at all the foresight and planning that went into the most complex piece of matter in the known universe.


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