March 30, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Brain Evolution Theories Earn Dunce Caps

Evolutionists become illogical when trying Darwin’s method of explaining the exceptional human brain.

“Apes constantly reinvent the wheel.” So reads the headline of a press release from the University of Tübingen. Apes never invented a wheel, of course, else they would be driving Teslas after so many millions of years of supposed evolution. What the university means is that apes cannot seem to pass on their knowledge to others by teaching or imitation. “Unlike humans, apes do not copy each other’s know-how,” the article says, “but reinvent each of their behaviors over and over again in each population and in each generation.” How do evolutionists account for this difference? Here are some recent attempts.

The real reason humans are the dominant species (BBC News). Justin Rowlatt and Laurence Knight try their suggestion for human exceptionalism. It’s energy. They ask us to consider that the human body runs on about 90 watts of energy, the size of a bright incandescent light bulb.

But the average human being in a developed country uses more like 100 times that amount, if you add in the energy needed to get around, build and heat our homes, grow our food and all the other things our species gets up to.

How did a being that runs on 90 watts become a consumer of 10,000 watts? One might think it was human intelligence and creativity that led some to think about new methods of generating energy and using it to operate machines. But that would underestimate the creativity of evolutionists to generate stories that honor Darwin:

“Anything that allows an organism to get energy more efficiently is going to have huge effects on the evolutionary trajectory of that organism,” explains Prof Rachel Carmody of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts….

Prof Carmody and her colleagues believe the extra energy it reliably gave us allowed us to evolve the small colons and relatively large energy-hungry brains that distinguish us from our primate cousins.

Carmody thinks that once the brain started getting bigger, it created “a positive feedback loop.” But what human sat down and said, “I think I will evolve a large energy-hungry brain.” If the human had an ape ancestor, remember, it would have had to reinvent the wheel every time. The project would go nowhere. A committee effort would go nowhere fast.

Mini-brains show why human brains grow larger than those of other apes (New Scientist). Hey, reader; New Scientist just called you an ape! Be offended! Call the writer, Karina Shah, a racist! She’s writing about experiments at a molecular biology lab in Cambridge, UK, where researchers grew brain “organoids” from induced pluripotent stem cells. The human brain organoids grew twice as big as the ape brain organoids within five weeks. Whether such experimentation is ethical is a question for another occasion (see 20 March 2021), but is size the only thing that matters? This is a huge non-sequitur, and an illogical one, too. Elephant brains and whale brains are big but they don’t drive Teslas. Some petite humans have small brains but outperform large people. Surely qualitative differences matter more than quantitative ones. Karina Shah is not even considering spiritual differences; those are outside her material-brain worldview, apparently.

See also the press release from UK Research and Innovation, where Dr Madeline Lancaster says, “It’s remarkable that a relatively simple evolutionary change in cell shape could have major consequences in brain evolution.” (This racist press release called you an ape, too.) But if it were merely size and shape of cells in the brain, one should be able to adjust the size and shape of computer chips to get a supercomputer. Surely software has something to do with it.

Brain evolution may have allowed our cognitive process to extend to technology (CENIEH, Spain). This is a variation on the brain shape theory, focusing on the shape of human skulls during supposed evolution. It sounds like a variation on phrenology (see 4 January 2021).

Emiliano Bruner, a researcher at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has just published a review article on the evolution of the human brain during the Middle Pleistocene offering a perspective on paleoneurology and functional craniology, with a model analyzing the spatial relationships between the anatomical elements of the brain-braincase system.

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

What fueled humans’ big brains? Controversial paper proposes new hypothesis. (Live Science). It wasn’t size or shape, says Stephanie Pappas at Live Science. It was meat. When the elephants ran out, humans had to outrun smaller animals to get meat proteins for their meat computers.

Over the course of the Pleistocene epoch, between 2.6 million years ago and 11,700 years ago, the brains of humans and their relatives grew. Now, scientists from Tel Aviv University have a new hypothesis as to why: As the largest animals on the landscape disappeared, the scientists propose, human brains had to grow to enable the hunting of smaller, swifter prey.

They had to grow, you see. Evolution was forcing them. Otherwise the humans with small brains would have starved to death. Funny that the same thing didn’t happen to cheetahs. When you trust the Stuff Happens Law, whatever happens makes Darwin smile.

Fortunately, Pappas includes opinions of critics of this theory who find it too simplistic and lacking in evidence; the hobbits of Indonesia, for instance, had small brains but hunted elephants and small rodents. The critics have doubts about the story, but their alternatives are still Darwinian. Different stuff happened.

The period over which humans and their relatives experienced this brain expansion is poorly understood, with few fossil records to go on. For example, there are perhaps three or four sites firmly dated to between 300,000 and 400,000 years ago in Africa that are certainly related to humans and their ancestors, said John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison who was not involved in the research and was skeptical of its conclusions. The human family tree was complicated over the course of the Pleistocene, with many branches, and the growth in brain size wasn’t linear. Nor were the declines in large animals, Hawks told Live Science.

The originators of the controversial theory are Dr. Miki Ben-Dor and Prof. Ran Barkai from Tel Aviv University. The press office illustrated the elephant hunt with women hunters in topless outfits shown more active than the male hunters. One must be politically correct. Maybe the males have identified as women and wanted to engage in female sports.

Update 3/31/2021: Researchers at Flinders University (via Phys.org) finally showed a little humility. After studying marsupials, they could find no evidence that brain size correlated with any behaviors or traits. Their results debunk the common notion that large brains, which require require more energy to grow and maintain, are correlated with intelligence.

“This is an exciting indication that we need to pay a lot of attention to the costs of large brains. Unfortunately, it also means that we still have a long way to go in understanding what causes the evolution of larger brains in mammals,” said Mr [Orlin S.] Todorov [grad student at Flinders].

C0-author Dr. Vera Weisbecker added, “In addition, we need to be honest about how little we know about the relationship between brain size and intelligence—to date, there is no real way of confirming that relatively large brains are in all cases smarter.” Their findings are published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, B 31 March 2021.

Regarding the meat computer theory by the guys at Tel Aviv, it’s sad to see illogically-thinking academics in the Promised Land abandoning the God of their fathers for Darwin-Baal. Their fate will likely be the same: peace and safety, then sudden destruction – unless they repent and bow to their promised Messiah.

None of these theories address the real issue: human exceptionalism, characterized by real thinking minds. Humans have foresight to see distant goals. They have dexterous hands that can gather and manipulate materials to reach those goals. Humans use fire (see Fire-Maker by Michael Denton to realize how many things about Earth have to cooperate for that to be possible). Humans use real semantic language. Humans do many things not related to survival, like making musical instruments and art. Humans have a profound spiritual longing and desire for meaning and purpose. It takes more than brain size, brain shape and diet to permit these things. It takes being made in the image of God.

 

 

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