PNAS special issue on evolution and the brain

| 90 Comments

The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science has a special issue consisting of papers from the most recent Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium of the National Academy of Sciences under the general title “In the Light of Evolution VI: Brain and Behavior.” Topics range from the evolution of protosynaptic gene expression networks to “A hierarchical model of the evolution of human brain specializations.” Full texts are available free.

Hat tip to Todd Wood.

90 Comments

Biblical creationism(yec) would undercut the whole idea of the brain being the place of human intelligence. However common to think so and however common to presume the brain machine and its size is relative to human status as the most intelligent being it still is all based on little actual evidence.

We would see that being made in the image of god our thinking/soul is in fact spiritual and not a part of nature. the brain is simply a middle man from our true thinking being to our body. while our soul thinking is not affected by nature only details are affected. So memory is number one and other things can confuse our thinking but only because of a biological interference. its not our actual thinking that ever fails us because its not of nature and so can be broken.

Therefore creationism should predict that creatures have as great a memory as human beings. No prejudice about memory being related to intelligence. i have read about apes with great memory for numbers and many creatures with big ‘brains” (rather memory s probably) like marine mammals or elephants are known for great memory results. in fact most creatures have excellent memory and this is rather behind much of their survival as opposed to thinking.

Memory should be a part of nature and so this is why it breaks down. I also have concluded memory is the origin for retardation, autism spectrum, and old age problems with cognizance.

creationism should predict results due to the segregation of thinking and the machine of our brain. brain size is unrelated to intelligence and another reason evolution pressing brain size in human evolution or animals is a dead end.

Robert Byers said:

Biblical creationism(yec) would undercut the whole idea of the brain being the place of human intelligence. However common to think so and however common to presume the brain machine and its size is relative to human status as the most intelligent being it still is all based on little actual evidence.

Given that the size-intelligence correlation is sooo 19th century, the rest of the post still makes little sense.

We might as well say something on the lines of:

“The hart is simply a middle man from our true pumping being to our body. While our soul pumpiness is not affected by nature, only details are affected etc. etc.”

Why nobody ever called for the need of an abstract idea of an hydraulic pump for the hart to work, yet an ethereal biological computer is required for a brain to work (but only for a human brain, mind you: not a dolphin brain or an elephant brain)?

If souls exist and our conscience will perdure after death, as I sincerely hope, is a matter that has nothing at all to do with the inner workings of a brain.

Robert Byers said:

Memory should be a part of nature and so this is why it breaks down. I also have concluded memory is the origin for retardation, autism spectrum, and old age problems with cognizance.

And my conclusion is that your “memory” stores a model of the universe that your “intelligence”, divinely or biologically generated, will not allow to be refined by any inputs from your senses. It makes sense to me that for a brain evolving to understand a world of necessarily incomplete or even deceitful information, the level of the threshold required to update its memory model would be a parameter affecting its survival chances. However, your brain seems to have a threshold set so high that reality is excluded completely

Robert Byers said: its not our actual thinking that ever fails us because its not of nature and so can be broken.

You demonstrate your broken thinking with every comment you make.

Biblical creationism(yec) would undercut the whole idea of the brain being the place of human intelligence

Your disjointed, uneducated and moronic blathering about biblical creationism undercuts the very idea of human intelligence itself. You’re so far from being an intelligent human that averaging you together with Einstein, Newton and Davinci would result in an organism as cognitively advanced as a really smart banana slug.

If there’s anything you’re not stupid about, which we all strongly doubt, you should go apply yourself to that instead of embarrassing yourself further here.

Robert Byers said:

Biblical creationism(yec) would undercut the whole idea of the brain being the place of human intelligence.

Well this biblical creationist sure does. He finally proved his thesis rather than self-refuting it. Congratulations Robert, a successful late night drive by.

I have to agree with Todd Wood that as interesting as the whole thing looks, the evolution of voltage gated sodium channels jumps out as particularly interesting.

We have a brain because we have behavior. We have behavior because we are motile. Many of the most modern, largest, most complex, and most ingeniously adapted organisms lack those traits - because they’re plants. Plants do respond to the environment and move of course - but overall, on a slower time scale or in a less overall coordinated way.

The basis of biological motion is usually contractility of one sort or another. Contractility is nearly always linked to the fact that cells have a voltage gradient, and gradients of concentration of various ions, relative to the extracellular environment, and ability to transiently change that through selective use of ion channels. This is among the “beyond self-replicating nucleotides” deep questions about early life, along with origin of membranes, and origin of photosynthesis.

One of the papers is a nice review of evo devo in arthropod development, with emphasis on neural development. It has a lot of nice pictures showing expression patterns for hox genes and variations in gene expression in various arthropod groups. It seems that we are beginning to unravel the role of these developmental pathways and the mechanisms by which they change, thus helping to produce the diversity of arthropod body plans that have arisen through ransom mutation and natural selection. It’s a wonderful time to be an evolutionary biologist.

Robert Byers somewhat unwittingly makes an interesting point about brain evolution.

He is actually somewhat unique in his style of creationism, and that could reflect some issues, but overall, he shows the strong human tendency to fully attend to the most concrete aspects of reality, while allowing emotional biases or ingrained heuristics to create denial of even a fairly low level of abstraction.

That is basically the way the human brain evolved. We have the ability to be much more abstract, time-aware, and compliant with formal logic than other species seem to be, yet it is not our usual tendency to make use of these abilities. We typically rely on heuristics and emotional perceptions.

Robert Byers said:

Biblical creationism(yec) would undercut the whole idea of the brain being the place of human intelligence.

That is possibly the most satisfying thing I’ve read all week.

Learning is a highly important part of mentation that even mice achieve–and Byers does not.

Glen Davidson

https://me.yahoo.com/a/JxVN0eQFqtmg[…]X_Zhn8#57cad said:

Learning is a highly important part of mentation that even mice achieve–and Byers does not.

Glen Davidson

Some learning is seen even in invertebrates with very few neurons.

But the problem with creationists is not that they all have learning problems.

I suppose that Byers, with his grammar issues, is reinforcing the self-serving over-simplification that creationists are “dumb” and science-supporters are “smart”. Yet Todd Wood, a highly intelligent yet intensely persistent creationist, is mentioned above.

Some creationists are dull, and it is surely easier to deny an abstraction that one could only understand with difficulty if one wished to.

But overall, the real issue, and it is an important one, is denial of reality by people who are neurologically normal, due to emotional biases, group identification, and over-reliance on heuristics.

So, did Robert Byers tell us exactly which passage in the Bible the Bible says Neurobiology is a bunch of nonsense? Or, is he too cowardly/stupid to say, and is hoping that we’re all mentally deficient enough to swallow his Bible-bullshit without question or justification?

“I also have concluded memory is the origin for retardation, autism spectrum, and old age problems with cognizance.”

Mr Byers, I conclude you know absolutely zilch about kognitive abilities, retardation or autism.

Niltava said:

I also have concluded memory is the origin for retardation, autism spectrum, and old age problems with cognizance.

Mr Byers, I conclude you know absolutely zilch about kognitive abilities, retardation or autism.

I know that, and you know that, but Robert Byers, The Idiot For Jesus, remains convinced he magically knows more about science than actual scientists.

Apparently because he believes in Jesus Christ.

Byers apparently feigns language problems; or maybe he is showing signs of being off his meds. Or perhaps he is playing the cripple game in an attempt to get some sympathy.

He has a contribution over on Revolution Against Evolution “explaining” post-Flood marsupial migration.

It appears slightly more “articulate” even though his thought processes are just as stupid as we are seeing here.

Mike Elzinga said:

Byers apparently feigns language problems; or maybe he is showing signs of being off his meds. Or perhaps he is playing the cripple game in an attempt to get some sympathy.

He has a contribution over on Revolution Against Evolution “explaining” post-Flood marsupial migration.

It appears slightly more “articulate” even though his thought processes are just as stupid as we are seeing here.

There are other possible explanations.

I wish him good health, including a recovery from his obsession with science denial.

harold said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Byers apparently feigns language problems; or maybe he is showing signs of being off his meds. Or perhaps he is playing the cripple game in an attempt to get some sympathy.

He has a contribution over on Revolution Against Evolution “explaining” post-Flood marsupial migration.

It appears slightly more “articulate” even though his thought processes are just as stupid as we are seeing here.

There are other possible explanations.

I wish him good health, including a recovery from his obsession with science denial.

I also wish him good health, including a speedy recovery from the rare form of written Tourette’s.

harold said:

Mike Elzinga said:

Byers apparently feigns language problems; or maybe he is showing signs of being off his meds. Or perhaps he is playing the cripple game in an attempt to get some sympathy.

He has a contribution over on Revolution Against Evolution “explaining” post-Flood marsupial migration.

It appears slightly more “articulate” even though his thought processes are just as stupid as we are seeing here.

There are other possible explanations.

I wish him good health, including a recovery from his obsession with science denial.

This includes a recovery from being inflicted with “Morton’s Demon” (link here).

harold said:

There are other possible explanations.

I wish him good health, including a recovery from his obsession with science denial.

Yeah; I have suspected some sort of health problem. I wonder if he knows.

The obsession with science denial certainly isn’t helping him.

On the other hand, upon meeting several ID/creationists face-to-face, I have sensed that there are some issues with them as well. It makes me wonder if obsessive science denial is a symptom of deeper issues than simply a “different” world view.

And Dembski often strikes me as a rather tortured, self-pitying individual; as do many of the others at the DI, AiG, and the ICR.

Mike Elzinga said: And Dembski often strikes me as a rather tortured, self-pitying individual; as do many of the others at the DI, AiG, and the ICR.

Thanks for the link, Mike. It contains a wonderful comment from Dembski: “The intelligent-design position has become increasingly unwelcome at science-religion events where Darwinian evolution is presupposed and intelligent design is assumed to have been tried and failed.”

I wonder how long it took Dembski to admit that, considering that intelligent design creationism crashed and burned spectacularly in Dover over six years ago.

Mike Elzinga said:

harold said:

There are other possible explanations.

I wish him good health, including a recovery from his obsession with science denial.

Yeah; I have suspected some sort of health problem. I wonder if he knows.

The obsession with science denial certainly isn’t helping him.

On the other hand, upon meeting several ID/creationists face-to-face, I have sensed that there are some issues with them as well. It makes me wonder if obsessive science denial is a symptom of deeper issues than simply a “different” world view.

And Dembski often strikes me as a rather tortured, self-pitying individual; as do many of the others at the DI, AiG, and the ICR.

Dembski’s father, according to Wikipedia, held a DSc from a German University and was (or is) some kind of biology lecturer. He was presumably also a religious Catholic, as that is how Dembski was raised. I have not been able to find any internet mention of the senior Professor Dembski; of course, if he retired before the nineties and was not widely published, that’s not surprising. I don’t even know whether Dembski’s father was an immigrant or a US citizen who studied in Germany, whether Dembski speaks German, etc. Not that shocking; you wouldn’t find anything on my mother on the internet unless I, or some other younger relative, put it there.

Almost everything Dembski writes is a venal attack on other people, or else a whine claiming that someone who treats him decently is attacking him.

I do believe Dembski here, though -

In response, let me just say: (1) The public interest law firm that represented the Dover School Board and that had hired me, namely, the Thomas More Law Center, never received or accepted a withdrawal for the case from me. The simple fact is that they fired me

I’ve stated many times my belief that someone from TMLC had at least the level of competency to see that Dembski would turn the court room and jury against him. He’s notorious for the backfiring nature of his public debates back in the early 2000’s, when whatever prestige he had was at its peak.

Mike Elzinga said:

And Dembski often strikes me as a rather tortured, self-pitying individual; as do many of the others at the DI, AiG, and the ICR.

I’ve seen some videos of Dembski doing lectures and debates, including the Firing Line debates during the 90s. As others have touched on, he’s no Henry Morris or Duane “Galloping” Gish.

BTW, Dembski mentions he’s now in Iowa. Did he get a new job there? A quick dirty search of the net didn’t come up with any info. It was known that his days at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft Worth were numbered due to his old-earth/local flood views rubbing his YEC bosses wrong. But I understood he was going back to the DI full-time, so I presumed he would go to Seattle.

Tenncrain said:

It was known that his days at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft Worth were numbered due to his old-earth/local flood views rubbing his YEC bosses wrong.

I was under the impression that Dembski still worked the RLCCE. Maybe I’m not keeping up on these things very well though.

harold said: Dembski’s father, according to Wikipedia, held a DSc from a German University and was (or is) some kind of biology lecturer. He was presumably also a religious Catholic, as that is how Dembski was raised.

“In my own case, I was raised in a home where my father had a D.Sc. in biology (from the University of Erlangen in Germany), taught evolutionary biology at the college level, and never questioned Darwinian orthodoxy during my years growing up.” - W.A. Dembski, “Intelligent Design Coming Clean”

Paul Burnett said:

“In my own case, I was raised in a home where my father had a D.Sc. in biology (from the University of Erlangen in Germany), taught evolutionary biology at the college level, and never questioned Darwinian orthodoxy during my years growing up.” - W.A. Dembski, “Intelligent Design Coming Clean”

I began reading “Coming Clean” just slightly before reading that quote

“Biologists Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, and Dean Kenyon all started out adhering to Darwinism and felt no religious pull to renounce it. In Behe’s case, as a Roman Catholic, there was simply no religious reason to question Darwin. In so many of our cases, what led us out of Darwinism was its inadequacies as a scientific theory as well as the prospect of making design scientifically tractable.” - W. A. Dembski

terenzioiltroll said:

Robert Byers said:

Biblical creationism(yec) would undercut the whole idea of the brain being the place of human intelligence. However common to think so and however common to presume the brain machine and its size is relative to human status as the most intelligent being it still is all based on little actual evidence.

Given that the size-intelligence correlation is sooo 19th century, the rest of the post still makes little sense.

We might as well say something on the lines of:

“The hart is simply a middle man from our true pumping being to our body. While our soul pumpiness is not affected by nature, only details are affected etc. etc.”

Why nobody ever called for the need of an abstract idea of an hydraulic pump for the hart to work, yet an ethereal biological computer is required for a brain to work (but only for a human brain, mind you: not a dolphin brain or an elephant brain)?

If souls exist and our conscience will perdure after death, as I sincerely hope, is a matter that has nothing at all to do with the inner workings of a brain.

It seems to me brain size rules in how intelligent beings are. Science fiction picks up on this and always brain size in hominids is factor one in defining how smart they were. More then this also.

If we have a soul, and its what goes to the afterlife thinking all the way, then the brain is not relevant to human intelligence. Save in minor details. A creationist model must conclude this. Its just a presumption that the brain is the source of our thinking. I say its not and so brain size is irrelevant relative to intelligence. Therefore animals with big brains means nothing. Elephants, whales have big brains because the brain is simply needs more room to run a big body and also a bigger memory. they are not smarter creatures but simply have better memory’s. Trying to turn them into thinking people is in vain no matter how much they can remember.

harold said:

Robert Byers somewhat unwittingly makes an interesting point about brain evolution.

He is actually somewhat unique in his style of creationism, and that could reflect some issues, but overall, he shows the strong human tendency to fully attend to the most concrete aspects of reality, while allowing emotional biases or ingrained heuristics to create denial of even a fairly low level of abstraction.

That is basically the way the human brain evolved. We have the ability to be much more abstract, time-aware, and compliant with formal logic than other species seem to be, yet it is not our usual tendency to make use of these abilities. We typically rely on heuristics and emotional perceptions.

I don’t agree there is any such thing as emotions. There is just thoughts in human beings. emotions are just thoughts even if more quick and unreflective. Our brain didn;t evolve and again our brain is unrelated to our thinking. its just a middleman between our actual thinking being and our body which is connected to the natural world. I just watched today a British show (Mind over matter , I think) about a guy tumor being taken out with part of his brain etc. they said it made him less feeling. yet i say it just, like pills , deadened his impulses from his thoughts to his body. Anyways Brain ideas is founded on a wrong and too quick conclusion that all our thinking or any of it comes from our head. There is no evidence for this but a simple hunch.

Robert Byers said:

always brain size in hominids is factor one in defining how smart they were

Slightly better: we at least circumscribed the field to hominids…

Its just a presumption that the brain is the source of our thinking.

“It is just a presumption that the hart is the source of our pumping.”

they are not smarter creatures but simply have better memory’s.

Any evidence to support that? That they have better memory (than us, I suppose)?

Trying to turn them into thinking people is in vain no matter how much they can remember.

Who ever suggested that?

Oh, wait a moment: Brin, The Uplift Trilogy. You are right, after all: science fiction threads this path. I stress fiction.

harold said:

Dembski’s father, according to Wikipedia, held a DSc from a German University and was (or is) some kind of biology lecturer. He was presumably also a religious Catholic, as that is how Dembski was raised. I have not been able to find any internet mention of the senior Professor Dembski; of course, if he retired before the nineties and was not widely published, that’s not surprising. I don’t even know whether Dembski’s father was an immigrant or a US citizen who studied in Germany, whether Dembski speaks German, etc. Not that shocking; you wouldn’t find anything on my mother on the internet unless I, or some other younger relative, put it there.

Science Citation Index has one paper by William Joseph Dembski from the Zoology Department of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. It is published in Zeitschrift für Zellforschung 89 (1968) 151-179 and is about the sperm of a freshwater snail. From the first name I find it probable that the author was an American. There are no other scientific publications by him that I can see.

With Google I find that William J. Dembski worked as an instructor at the biology department of the University of Illinois in the 50’s and early 60’s. He was on leave without pay in 1957-58, and he taught at the Chicago undergraduate division of UI in the summer of 1962. At the end of the 1968 paper the author’s mailing address is given as Biology Department, Chicago City College, Wilson Campus.

The name of Dembski’s mother, Ursula Dembski, may be of German origin.

harold said:

Henry J said:

My two cents on relationship between brain size and intelligence:

Size is one factor, but then efficiency of the interconnections is also a factor. Also the effectiveness of the particular pattern of connections is a third factor. Bird brains presumably have a much different pattern than that in mammal brains (consider parrots, for example). Mollusk brains would be yet another pattern (octopi have been known to analyze problems, e.g., getting a jar open).

Plus the minor (or major?) detail that individuals can be more intelligent than average in some subjects (or applications), and less so in others, so overall intelligence is not a linear quantity.

Henry

I should have mentioned the apparent parallel evolution of features of what we call intelligence in cephalopods. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephal[…]nd_behaviour

Of particular interest, invertebrates don’t have extensive myelination; which all vertebrates do. Axons and dendrites can reasonably be modeled as wires conducting current for some types of analysis. Myelin is an extremely efficient insulator. It allows axons with small diameter to have high conduction velocity. Although some invertebrates do have some limited myelin like features, one “parallel evolutionary strategy” that compensates for lack of insulation is just to have key axons with very wide diameters. And this was incredibly important for human understanding of basic neurobiology, because we could stick electrodes directly into very large axons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squid_giant_axon

Are you saying that invertebrates are unintelligently designed? Imagine that.

Mary H said:

While not an expert on the subject I have read quite a bit about cephalopod intelligence and behavior and a fact we have to take into acount and it also deals with bias a little is this: the octopus nervous system has large ganglia on the tentacles that act as subprocessors to allow the main brain to control input to areas that need greater attention without totally shutting off or over riding the other inputs. We do the same thing with a central processing unit. So when you talk about octopus brain size are you including the subprocessors as part ot the total unit or are you falling prey to the central processor bias? Food for thought (especially when you eat octopus).

That is a very good point. (We do have a lot of reflexes and fine tuning of motor control that takes place at the spinal cord level, although of course the brain is completely required to be consciously aware of sensations or to initiate voluntary motion in humans.)

DS said:

harold said:

Henry J said:

My two cents on relationship between brain size and intelligence:

Size is one factor, but then efficiency of the interconnections is also a factor. Also the effectiveness of the particular pattern of connections is a third factor. Bird brains presumably have a much different pattern than that in mammal brains (consider parrots, for example). Mollusk brains would be yet another pattern (octopi have been known to analyze problems, e.g., getting a jar open).

Plus the minor (or major?) detail that individuals can be more intelligent than average in some subjects (or applications), and less so in others, so overall intelligence is not a linear quantity.

Henry

I should have mentioned the apparent parallel evolution of features of what we call intelligence in cephalopods. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephal[…]nd_behaviour

Of particular interest, invertebrates don’t have extensive myelination; which all vertebrates do. Axons and dendrites can reasonably be modeled as wires conducting current for some types of analysis. Myelin is an extremely efficient insulator. It allows axons with small diameter to have high conduction velocity. Although some invertebrates do have some limited myelin like features, one “parallel evolutionary strategy” that compensates for lack of insulation is just to have key axons with very wide diameters. And this was incredibly important for human understanding of basic neurobiology, because we could stick electrodes directly into very large axons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squid_giant_axon

Are you saying that invertebrates are unintelligently designed? Imagine that.

Weird, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s “common design”, otherwise “parallel design” of analogous functions via quite different mechanisms.

I think the evolution of what we routinely refer to as voluntary behavior, especially its apparent parallel evolution in lineages that probably don’t have a common ancestor since at best the early Cambrian, has some other, more interesting philosophical implications as well. I couldn’t care less whether I have “free will”, since I have no choice but to behave as if I do (not a paradox, since I also know that I don’t have unlimited free will).

However, it is hard to square hard core determinism (popular among some scientists) with the evolution of nervous systems that essentially choose between multiple possible complex, flexible behaviors. Why would such nervous systems have been selected for, if the choices themselves are actually rigidly pre-determined?

harold said:

DS said:

harold said:

Henry J said:

My two cents on relationship between brain size and intelligence:

Size is one factor, but then efficiency of the interconnections is also a factor. Also the effectiveness of the particular pattern of connections is a third factor. Bird brains presumably have a much different pattern than that in mammal brains (consider parrots, for example). Mollusk brains would be yet another pattern (octopi have been known to analyze problems, e.g., getting a jar open).

Plus the minor (or major?) detail that individuals can be more intelligent than average in some subjects (or applications), and less so in others, so overall intelligence is not a linear quantity.

Henry

I should have mentioned the apparent parallel evolution of features of what we call intelligence in cephalopods. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cephal[…]nd_behaviour

Of particular interest, invertebrates don’t have extensive myelination; which all vertebrates do. Axons and dendrites can reasonably be modeled as wires conducting current for some types of analysis. Myelin is an extremely efficient insulator. It allows axons with small diameter to have high conduction velocity. Although some invertebrates do have some limited myelin like features, one “parallel evolutionary strategy” that compensates for lack of insulation is just to have key axons with very wide diameters. And this was incredibly important for human understanding of basic neurobiology, because we could stick electrodes directly into very large axons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squid_giant_axon

Are you saying that invertebrates are unintelligently designed? Imagine that.

Weird, isn’t it? Sometimes it’s “common design”, otherwise “parallel design” of analogous functions via quite different mechanisms.

I think the evolution of what we routinely refer to as voluntary behavior, especially its apparent parallel evolution in lineages that probably don’t have a common ancestor since at best the early Cambrian, has some other, more interesting philosophical implications as well. I couldn’t care less whether I have “free will”, since I have no choice but to behave as if I do (not a paradox, since I also know that I don’t have unlimited free will).

However, it is hard to square hard core determinism (popular among some scientists) with the evolution of nervous systems that essentially choose between multiple possible complex, flexible behaviors. Why would such nervous systems have been selected for, if the choices themselves are actually rigidly pre-determined?

To answer myself, I guess one can think of two answers, neither totally satisfying to me.

One would be that all nervous systems are involuntary and reflexive although modified by feedback-driven learning (which does not imply choice), but that more complicated systems with greater variety and fine tuned discernment of sensory input, more individual and nuanced (although involuntary) output, and more modification of subsequent responses by feedback mechanisms, have been selected for, and an illusion of conscious choice is an irrelevant emergent property of such systems. This could be correct, would be pretty disprovable, and is popular, but is really just a rationalization of the unequivocal sensation of choice in the face of a philosophical desire to deny the possibility of choice.

An even less satisfying answer would be something like sexual selection for bigger head-body ratio, with heads filling up with big, emergently self-deluded brains that weren’t even selected for in the first place.

I will point out that I’m not religious, completely reject the supernatural, would reject the idea that choice might exist so that some people can be supernaturally tortured for their choice even if I did accept the supernatural, and that pre-determination is not a required concept for science but is for some religious sects.

Robert Byers said:

terenzioiltroll said:

Robert Byers said:

Biblical creationism(yec) would undercut the whole idea of the brain being the place of human intelligence. However common to think so and however common to presume the brain machine and its size is relative to human status as the most intelligent being it still is all based on little actual evidence.

Given that the size-intelligence correlation is sooo 19th century, the rest of the post still makes little sense.

We might as well say something on the lines of:

“The hart is simply a middle man from our true pumping being to our body. While our soul pumpiness is not affected by nature, only details are affected etc. etc.”

Why nobody ever called for the need of an abstract idea of an hydraulic pump for the hart to work, yet an ethereal biological computer is required for a brain to work (but only for a human brain, mind you: not a dolphin brain or an elephant brain)?

If souls exist and our conscience will perdure after death, as I sincerely hope, is a matter that has nothing at all to do with the inner workings of a brain.

It seems to me brain size rules in how intelligent beings are. Science fiction picks up on this and always brain size in hominids is factor one in defining how smart they were. More then this also.

So Bobby the brain, what does your wife think about that statement?

However, it is hard to square hard core determinism (popular among some scientists) with the evolution of nervous systems that essentially choose between multiple possible complex, flexible behaviors. Why would such nervous systems have been selected for, if the choices themselves are actually rigidly pre-determined?

May not the human brain being built on the top of a reptilian brain account for a dichotomy between “basic instinct” and cognizant/cognisant behaviour?

Sinjari said:

Dave Lovell said:

Harold drew:

…the obvious conclusions from the effects of brain damage:

Cue Robert claiming the Brain is just the conduit for a Soul into this material world. He will claim it is no more unreasonable for a Soul to have its capabilities temporarily constrained by a damaged brain than it is for a “Top Gun” to be grounded by a damaged plane or a racing driver to come last because of a faulty car. He will just make something up that is not even wrong.

A race car driver operates his/her machine by grasping the wheel with his hands and applying pressure to the pedals with his feet. I would like to inquire as to how the ‘intelligent soul’ operates its human machine. Is contact made between the soul and the brain? If so, where, and how? Can it be measured? And because everyone has different mental capacities, does that mean some souls are ‘dumber’ than others? Byers?

The soul is meshed to our physical body so profoundly that indeed the body, the brain, affects and is affected by the thoughts of our soul. I recently saw Spider man three. In it there is a meshing of some being to spiderman. this affecting his thoughts. In like image there is no reason to see the brain as anything other then a complex middleman. Very tight but still segregated. so we can have breakdown of the physical part of the body/brain but no breakdown of the soul/thinking being we are. Medical problems or alcohol can only block flow of thought but not affect it at its origins. our thinking, like God, is always perfect and unlike animals.

Niltava said:

Well, if emotions are just “thoughts”, then dolphins, dogs and rats are “thinking” creatures. Because they clearly have emotions. I don’t know why I bother, but still: Byers, buy yourself a good textbook, like Neurosciene: Exploring the brain. Not too advance really, but then you might get some basic understanding of what emotion, thinking, memory, speech, spatial ability, thought process etc actually is.

Also. Do update yourself on, for exampe, autism. Frontal lobe damage, schizophrenia, and SSRI are also interesting, as they can dramatically change the way people THINK and, in the case of at least the two first ones mentioned, their personalities. I do wonder how this fits into Byers fantasy world.…

Animals do have thoughts. Emotions are just thoughts. Thats all there is. people just want other words to describe intimate or fast or confusing thoughts by some other concept of flow in our thinking. Yet emotions, feelings are simple thoughts and nothing more.

Animals do not think or rather have complex thinking as humans do.

I don’t agree therefore anything can affect our thinking truly however being connected to the physical world by the middleman of a brain , does lead to problems of our thinking affecting the world through our body/brain.

I’m very sure retardation is just a memory triggering problem and it seems to me autisms are just likewise minor interference with memory triggers. The spectrum of autisms is probably one issue. Memory is misunderstood for the great power that it has and is used in all our thinking. Fix that and one would fix a lot.

Rolf said:

I don’t agree there is any such thing as emotions. There is just thoughts in human beings. emotions are just thoughts even if more quick and unreflective. Our brain didn;t evolve and again our brain is unrelated to our thinking.

Good grief. Emotions are quick and non-reflective. Tell that to a mother at the funeral of her children.

Quick and reflective is just fast thinking. All we have are thoughts and all we think can be seen as coming from thoughts. We think like God and not like dumb animals. Animals only think from a natural impulse. people from a spiritual one.

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said: [emphasis added]

It seems to me brain size rules in how intelligent beings are.

If we have a soul, and its what goes to the afterlife thinking all the way, then the brain is not relevant to human intelligence. … A creationist model must conclude this. Its just a presumption that the brain is the source of our thinking. I say its not and so brain size is irrelevant relative to intelligence.

Dear Robert. You have managed to contradict yourself in the same post. So, which is it? Does “brain size rule[] in how intelligent beings are.”? Or, is “brain size … irrelevant relative to intelligence”? You seem to hold totally opposite opinions on the subject at the same time, yet your head hasn’t exploded. More importantly, why should we believe one unsupported vague statement from you over another unsupported vague statement from you?

I miswrote. I mean the world out there says intelligence is relative to brain size. I’m saying our brain is unrelated to intelligence. Our intelligence is from being made in the image of god. We think like him . Our brain is just a middleman of our thinking and intimate connection to our bodies. so close it causes problems. In explaining our thinking is always perfect then I explain problems as coming from mechanical breakdown in memory. I think this accounts for most problems.

Robert Byers said:

Sinjari said:

Dave Lovell said:

Harold drew:

…the obvious conclusions from the effects of brain damage:

Cue Robert claiming the Brain is just the conduit for a Soul into this material world. He will claim it is no more unreasonable for a Soul to have its capabilities temporarily constrained by a damaged brain than it is for a “Top Gun” to be grounded by a damaged plane or a racing driver to come last because of a faulty car. He will just make something up that is not even wrong.

A race car driver operates his/her machine by grasping the wheel with his hands and applying pressure to the pedals with his feet. I would like to inquire as to how the ‘intelligent soul’ operates its human machine. Is contact made between the soul and the brain? If so, where, and how? Can it be measured? And because everyone has different mental capacities, does that mean some souls are ‘dumber’ than others? Byers?

The soul is meshed to our physical body so profoundly that indeed the body, the brain, affects and is affected by the thoughts of our soul. I recently saw Spider man three. In it there is a meshing of some being to spiderman. this affecting his thoughts. In like image there is no reason to see the brain as anything other then a complex middleman. Very tight but still segregated. so we can have breakdown of the physical part of the body/brain but no breakdown of the soul/thinking being we are. Medical problems or alcohol can only block flow of thought but not affect it at its origins. our thinking, like God, is always perfect and unlike animals.

So if a brain injury turns a previously loving and caring man seemingly destined for canonisation into a sadistic sociopath who makes a point of breaking every commandment before breakfast, is his innocent soul saved? If so, it seems blaming the inadequacies of the brain one is saddled with is a universal cop out for any level of sinning.

and said:

Our intelligence is from being made in the image of god. We think like him

You appear to be elevating yourself to be God’s equal. I cannot even begin to imagine how to think like a God capable of simultaneously monitoring the thoughts of six billion people.

PS Spider-Man is not a good source for scientific enlightenment, but for a man like you it is probably better than the Bible in that at least the story teller knows the latest buzz words.

More mindless blubbering by the king of late night drive by. If you can’t ban him, ignore him. He is worthless. Perhaps if he had actually read the articles someone might be interested in his opinions. At least he demonstrates that his thesis - the brain has nothing to do with intelligence - is true in his case. people don’t form a spiritual one.

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three. In it there is a meshing of some being to spiderman. this affecting his thoughts.

Did you read any of the PNAS articles referred to in this Panda’s Thumb thread? Or did you base your deranged comment entirely on the Spiderman movie? Which of the two (PNAS versus Spiderman) do you think have more credibility in the real world?

Robert Byers said: We think like God and not like dumb animals. Animals only think from a natural impulse. people from a spiritual one.

What religion makes this claim? Zoroastrianism? Manichaeism? I know you can’t handle quotes from the scientific literature, but can you give us some quotes from any religious authorities which support this concept? Or did you just make it up?

Dave Lovell said:

So if a brain injury turns a previously loving and caring man seemingly destined for canonisation into a sadistic sociopath who makes a point of breaking every commandment before breakfast, is his innocent soul saved? If so, it seems blaming the inadequacies of the brain one is saddled with is a universal cop out for any level of sinning.

I have witnessed this myself in a friend of mine who suffered a head injury in a serious car crash. Early in his recovery, he was like a different person…surly, belligerent, sometimes violent…not at all like the loving and dear college friend who served as best man at my wedding a few years earlier. Thankfully, he gradually got better, but the doctors were very clear with his wife that his behavior was the result of the physical damage to his brain and that he was not fully responsible for his own behavior.

At the time it never occurred to me how this would square with my own beliefs about the relationship between soul and body. Now, it raises all sorts of questions.

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

According to visionary prophet Ed Wood, reanimation of the body by any agency other than Christ causes the loss of our God-given free will and the urge to murder. Even the “more advanced” secular aliens (with their names taken from pagan gods) are unable to perform a perfect resurrection. This is obviously because the revived bodies are merely operated by the use of inferior computers via the nearly useless brains, instead of being driven by a true soul. What more proof do you need? :)

Robert Byers said:

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said: [emphasis added]

It seems to me brain size rules in how intelligent beings are.

If we have a soul, and its what goes to the afterlife thinking all the way, then the brain is not relevant to human intelligence. … A creationist model must conclude this. Its just a presumption that the brain is the source of our thinking. I say its not and so brain size is irrelevant relative to intelligence.

Dear Robert. You have managed to contradict yourself in the same post. So, which is it? Does “brain size rule[] in how intelligent beings are.”? Or, is “brain size … irrelevant relative to intelligence”? You seem to hold totally opposite opinions on the subject at the same time, yet your head hasn’t exploded. More importantly, why should we believe one unsupported vague statement from you over another unsupported vague statement from you?

I miswrote. I mean the world out there says intelligence is relative to brain size. I’m saying our brain is unrelated to intelligence. Our intelligence is from being made in the image of god. We think like him . Our brain is just a middleman of our thinking and intimate connection to our bodies. so close it causes problems. In explaining our thinking is always perfect then I explain problems as coming from mechanical breakdown in memory. I think this accounts for most problems.

Everyone should notice that “it seems to me” was supposed to be interpreted as “the world out there says”. Seems perfectly clear to me. This guy can’t even keep his made up stuff straight. Now if he would just try to claim that he actually read the papers, I’m sure he would appear much more coherent. Maybe he was too busy going to the movies.

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

I have to have a go at this. I’ve just seen Prometheus and learnt a lot about how species can be related.

Marilyn said:

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

I have to have a go at this. I’ve just seen Prometheus and learnt a lot about how species can be related.

I watched the trailer; can I be your research assistant? I’ve also seen Alien at least 15 times if that helps.

Marilyn said:

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

I have to have a go at this. I’ve just seen Prometheus and learnt a lot about how species can be related.

I learnt from Star Trek that a retrovirus reverses the effects of a regular virus.

ksplawn said:

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

According to visionary prophet Ed Wood, reanimation of the body by any agency other than Christ causes the loss of our God-given free will and the urge to murder. Even the “more advanced” secular aliens (with their names taken from pagan gods) are unable to perform a perfect resurrection. This is obviously because the revived bodies are merely operated by the use of inferior computers via the nearly useless brains, instead of being driven by a true soul. What more proof do you need? :)

At first I misread “proof” in your last line as poof; I think we’ve coined a new IDiot motto:

Intelligent Design: What More Poof Do You Need?

bbennett1968 said:

Marilyn said:

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

I have to have a go at this. I’ve just seen Prometheus and learnt a lot about how species can be related.

I watched the trailer; can I be your research assistant? I’ve also seen Alien at least 15 times if that helps.

If you’ve got mind over matter and a strong spine I’ll consider it.

DS said:

Marilyn said:

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

I have to have a go at this. I’ve just seen Prometheus and learnt a lot about how species can be related.

I learnt from Star Trek that a retrovirus reverses the effects of a regular virus.

I also learned from Star Trek that a virus can grow to the size of a basketball and fly around and kill people.

DS said:

Marilyn said:

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

I have to have a go at this. I’ve just seen Prometheus and learnt a lot about how species can be related.

I learnt from Star Trek that a retrovirus reverses the effects of a regular virus.

I thought that was a dude who was a fixture at disco night.

bigdakine said:

DS said:

Marilyn said:

bbennett1968 said:

Robert Byers said: I recently saw Spider man three…[snip]

I’ll give $50,000 to anyone who can come up with a thought more inane than this.

I’m only making the bet because everyone [except Robert Byers] can see that the challenge is impossible.

I have to have a go at this. I’ve just seen Prometheus and learnt a lot about how species can be related.

I learnt from Star Trek that a retrovirus reverses the effects of a regular virus.

I thought that was a dude who was a fixture at disco night.

No, you’re thinking of Disco Stu.

ksplawn said: According to visionary prophet Ed Wood,…

MAN OLDER THAN COAL!!!eleventyone!!!

The evolution of human cognition. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.[…]367/1599.toc

Richard B. Hoppe said:

ksplawn said: According to visionary prophet Ed Wood,…

MAN OLDER THAN COAL!!!eleventyone!!!

Wrong Ed. The one I’m thinking of wore women’s clothes and savaged test footage of Bela Lugosi.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

ksplawn said: According to visionary prophet Ed Wood,…

MAN OLDER THAN COAL!!!eleventyone!!!

Wrong Ed. The one I’m thinking of wore women’s clothes and savaged test footage of Bela Lugosi.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on June 27, 2012 6:52 PM.

Lygaeus kalmii was the previous entry in this blog.

Darwin, Darwinism, and Uncertainty: book review is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.38

Site Meter