Why is the human mind so vastly superior to the animal brain? The heated debate about the human mind rages on. Some scientists firmly say the debate is over, yet it appears that each new decade brings on another theory. The human effort spent to know the secret of the human mind is nearly immeasurable.
The question is as old as human history. Western philosophers have been writing and talking about the human mind since the 18th century. Modern psychology and its separate branches were brought to birth by the quest to know the human mind. Beginning in the mid-20th century and still today, millions of dollars are spent on scientific research to answer this seemingly unanswerable question. Biologists, geneticists and even astronomers and mathematicians have entered the dispute. And for all of this, still there is not an answer that satisfies. The question remains unanswered. Why cant science unlock the secret of the human mind?
We are not saying that the struggle to understand the human mind has not borne fruits. Scientific research has added to our fund of knowledge about the human brain. Science knows that it is of an incredible design.
Technologys challenge to build human-like robots has taught software and computer engineers that the taken-for-granted functions of the human brain are nearly impossible to duplicate. It is a relatively simple technology to build a robot that works well on an assembly line. It has been proven that robots can successfully paint cars and do other such routine tasks. Some very sophisticated robots can even perform surgery on the human body. However, it is an overwhelming task to build a robot with a humanlike brain. There are incredibly huge hurdles to overcome in order to give a robot the ability to see as a human sees, to hear as a human hears or to have the common sense human beings use every day. While science fiction would like us to believe that it is possible to recreate ourselves into robots like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, experts know that it is highly unlikely well meet a Data in this 21st century.
Steven Pinker, professor of psychology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has written several extremely popular books discussing recent research on the human brain. In his national bestseller How the Mind Works, he writes, The reason there are no humanlike robots is not that the very idea of a mechanical mind is misguided. It is that the engineering problems we humans solve as we see and walk and plan and make it through the day are far more challenging than landing on the moon or sequencing the human genome. Humans navigate through living spaces and around furniture without even thinking about it. It is automatic. Our brains give us that ability. But it is a major mechanical and computer software feat to build a robot to make such maneuvers.
Pinker continues, No database could list all the facts we tacitly know, and no one ever taught them to us. Brain scientists know that there are trillions of bits of information that we draw upon unconsciously every day to live and survive. Yet, no one taught them to uswe just seem to know them. Why? It is human to know so. For example, if our cat is in the yard, we know that it is not in the house. If we go to the grocery store and buy a gallon of milk and then carry it home in the car, we can instruct a helper to get the gallon of milk out of the car. Generally speaking, our helper wouldnt even question our request. Going to the car and retrieving the gallon of milk would be a simple task. It is not simple to program a robot to know about cats, yards, houses or how to retrieve a gallon of milk out of a car.
Of course, if our brains become damaged by accident or through stroke, then we often lose these abilities so generously bestowed upon us. In fact, much of our knowledge about the human brain has come about through the study of such calamities. Stroke often impairs our ability to walk, see, hear or speak. Brain injury often destroys our memories.
To gain a better knowledge of the human brain, researchers have studied animal brains as well. But instead of actually learning more about the human brain, science has hit a quagmire of uncertainty. Neuroscientists have discovered that there is no vastly significant difference when the human brain is compared to the animal brain.
Mr. Pinker admits this fact. Neuroscientists like to point out that all parts of the cerebral cortex look pretty much alikenot only the different parts of the human brain, but the brains of different animals. In other words, when we crack open the skull of a human or an animal we see pretty much the same material. Of course there are some differences. The human brain is only slightly larger than a chimpanzees. But it is much smaller than an elephants brain. However, the output of the human brain is immensely superior to both a chimps and an elephants. The output of the human brain can simply not be accounted for because of size, or more cells, or improved design. That is the unexplained riddle with which science wrestles.
There are certain brain functions that are solely humanno animal can do them. Language is a prime example. Although animals communicate with sounds and movements, only human beings can talk and write. Only humans can build a fund of knowledge and teach it to future generations. Animals cannot grasp abstract concepts such as the highly developed system of mathematics or physics. Animals cannot appreciate art, music or architecture.
Human beings can think, reason and make choices. Animals can only do such things in a limited way based on either instinct or repetitive training. For example, animals cannot decide to go and visit a sick friend. But humans can choose to serve, share or cooperate. In a similar vein, humans can choose to be jealous or hateful. Animals have no such choice. These are functions exclusively bestowed upon humans and are attitudes of mind.
To date, no scientist has been able to explain why the human brain gives us the functions of mind that we so obviously possess. Of course, scientists want to convince us that they knowbut the truth is, they simply do not know.
Pinker states early in his book, I will try to explain what the mind is, where it came from, and how it lets us see, think, feel, interact and pursue higher callings like art, religion and philosophy. On the way I will try to throw light on distinctively human quirks. The most important word in these two sentences is the word try! The author uses it twice and spends nearly 600 pages doing so. But all of his arguments never explain why the human mind is so vastly different. He explains how the human mind is different, but never why! Here is why he cannot.
Evolution vs. God
Scientists, with few exceptions, will not even consider the likelihood of a nonphysical part of the human brain. Scientists cannot explain the human mind because they will not admit that anything other than the physical exists. All the latest research on the human brain is based on what can be seen, observed, or subjected to experimentation. Current human brain research, known as cognitive science, has limited itself to evolutionary biology and genetics. Man is reduced to matteralone.
Mr. Pinker is one of the leaders of cognitive science. He admits to his readers, I want to convince you that our minds are not animated by some godly vapor . He also states that previous to this time of advanced scientific research, we have been victims of an illusion: that our psychology comes from some divine force or mysterious essence or almighty principle. His answer to why the human mind is the way it is may astound you: The mind is a system of organs of computation, designed by natural selection to solve the kinds of problems our ancestors faced in their foraging way of life, in particular, understanding and outmaneuvering objects, animals, plants and other people. The mind is organized into modules or mental organs, each with a specialized design . The modules basic logic is specified by our genetic program. In other words, man is only physical, and his thinkingeven his emotions, such as love, anger, joy and frustrationcan only be explained by biology or genetics.
Isnt it truly incredible that on one hand he can recognize that the human mind is utterly fantastic, an instrument of incredible designyet, on the other hand, he states that a mindless process called natural selection brought it into being? Why cannot such a brilliant thinker admit that God could have had something to do with the design of the human mind?
The brightest minds in science are the victims of the illusion known as evolution. The theory of evolution, which is the explanation of a creation without a Creator, severely limits science. Belief in evolution is a faith that blinds human minds to truth that only God can reveal.
No matter how detailed the investigation, science will never come to understand the human mind, because it will not recognize God as Creator.
Source: Philadelphia Church of God
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