Brain Facts Challenge Materialism
These would not happen if the
brain were mere atoms in motion
In yesterday’s post, Dr Jerry Bergman explained some of the biological requirements for language, including parts of the brain, mouth and neck. These two stories reveal that more is going on in language and reason than mere biology.
Woman with no left temporal lobe developed a language network in the right side of her brain (Medical Xpress, 14 April 2022).
She thought something was strange. Reporter Bob Yirka writes about a woman in her 50s who was living a normal life. When she had an MRI done of her brain, the scientists were shocked to see she had no left temporal lobe. The space was filled with cerebrospinal fluid. To protect her identity, they call her EG.
EG told Fedorenko and her team that she only came to realize she had an unusual brain by accident—her brain was scanned in 1987 for an unrelated reason. Prior to the scan she had no idea she was different. By all accounts she behaved normally and had even earned an advanced degree. She also excelled in languages—she speaks fluent Russian—which is all the more surprising considering the left temporal lobe is the part of the brain most often associated with language processing.
Her sister, oddly, was missing her right temporal lobe, but was also living a normal life. No explanation for this was provided in the article; only suggestions that something genetic had caused strokes in their youth that manifested in these ways. Somehow their brains were able to rewire themselves and move processing centers to other parts of the brain. If the brain were a material lump, would that happen? What told the brain to rewire itself because an essential part was missing?
Brain-inspired computing needs a master plan (Nature, 13 April 2022, by A. Mehonic and A. J. Kenyon).
Computers are intelligently designed. Brains, we are told, are not intelligently designed. And yet these authors want to model futuristic computers on the brain. Could this many components have come together by accident, without foresight and a master plan?
In biology, data storage is not separate from processing. The same elements—principally neurons and synapses—perform both functions in massively parallel and adaptable structures. The 1011 neurons and 1015 synapses contained in the typical human brain expend approximately 20 W of power, whereas a digital simulation of an artificial neural network of approximately the same size consumes 7.9 MW (ref. 6). That six-order-of-magnitude gap poses us a challenge. The brain directly processes with extreme efficiency signals that are noisy. This contrasts with the signal-to-data conversion and high-precision computing in our conventional computer system that produces huge costs in energy and time for even the most powerful digital supercomputers. Brain-inspired, or ‘neuromorphic’, computing systems could therefore transform the way we process signals and data, both in terms of energy efficiency and of their capacity to handle real-world uncertainty.
The brain is a unit, but composed of a fantastically high number of neurons and connections. If engineers are being inspired to design the next generation of computers by following the structures and processes of the brain, how can anyone think that the brain was not designed? Why would the authors think a “master plan” is needed to mimic the brain if the brain was not the product of a master plan?
These stories give more evidence for substance dualism: the brain is not the mind, and the mind is not the brain. The brain is a tool used by an immaterial soul. This fits the Biblical creation model of mankind as beings made in the image of God.