Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, April 29, 2014 4 comments

by Steve Risner

Ever put any thought into your brain? Strange question, right? The brain is arguably the most powerful super computer on the planet. It operates at extremely high levels while using relatively very small amounts of energy. The brain, brainstem, and spinal cord coordinate every function of your body every second of the day every day of your life. It doesn’t sleep. In fact, studies show us the brain is more active while we sleep than when we are awake. I thought taking a look at this marvelous structure would not only be interesting but also get you thinking about how amazing our Creator is and how absurd assuming this marvelous piece of anatomy we take for granted came about by random, undirected processes. I hope you find it as fascinating as I do.

The brain weighs about 3 lbs. Your average laptop, which is much less productive than your brain, weighs between 5 and 7 lbs. This small but powerful computer will add 250,000 neurons per minute during early pregnancy and will continue to grow (at a slower rate) until about the age of 18 years. It will likely max out at about 100 billion neurons, each making 1,000 to 10,000 connections to other neurons. This is such an amazing network. Estimates for total brain capacity, in terms we use for hard drives, range from 3 to 100 terabytes of information! To make it a little more confusing, there are approximately 250 quadrillion connections in the brain. To further complicate it, each connection is not just an “on/off” sort of connection. There are different thresholds for different connections and the speed at which neurons fire plays a role, too. There are different cell types, as well, that do different things in the brain. There are different neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, axonal branches and dendritic spines, and that doesn’t include the influences of dendritic geometry, or the approximately 1 trillion glial cells which may or may not be important for neural information processing. Because the brain is nonlinear, and because it is so much larger than nearly all current computers, it seems likely that it functions in a completely different fashion.

This little computer will run your entire body using roughly 10-20 watts of power for the day. The average juice used by your laptop ranges from 15-50 watts per hour. Think about that for a moment! Your brain, which is coordinating digestion, your immune system, your endocrine system, your heart, lung, and vascular systems, your liver and kidneys, interpreting your 5 senses (which you are probably not aware of at the moment), muscle control of the eyes including your pupil and lens operation, interpreting what you’re reading and processing it, as well as thousands of other functions your body is performing right now, runs on hardly enough energy to power the computer you’re viewing this blog on for about 10 minutes—and this will run the brain all day! How amazing is that?

The human brain is, pound for pound, the largest brain of any animal on earth when compared to the rest of the body—accounting for about 2% of its weight and 20% of its oxygen consumption. The elephant’s brain is larger than a human’s but is about .15% of the animal’s body weight. These brains are also not put together the same way, making ours much more capable of complex calculations.

Your brain does not feel pain, but the coverings around it are exceptionally sensitive. On the subject of pain—many pain nerves actually travel more slowly than other nerves. There are different nerve fibers that send different types of information to the brain. Some send pressure sense. Others send temperature sense. Others are vibratory in nature. Some send impulses for proprioception (telling your brain where you are in space). Still others relay pain sensation or touch. There are many different types of nerves that send impulses at different speeds. Ever wonder why you grab, shake, or rub something when it hurts? The sensation of touch, pressure, or vibration will get to your brain first, essentially minimizing the amount of pain sense that can arrive at the brain. This is known as the “Pain Gate” theory. If you shove enough other stuff through the gate, the pain isn’t allowed in.

And this is just how marvelous the human brain is! There are many other organisms that have brains much smaller than ours that do amazing things. Have you ever watched a sparrow fly across your lawn at about 15 mph and stop instantly on the wire of a fence that’s 1/16 of an inch in diameter? How much calculation went into that act? Amazing! Or a cat leaping in the air to catch that sparrow as it darts across your lawn? To predict the speed, height, and trajectory of such a feat is breathtaking—and this happens all the time. If we were aware of ALL the work our brains were doing all the time, we’d be exhausted and wouldn’t be able to do anything else.

I hope this was informative and, if nothing else, interesting for you. The human brain is simply far more complex than could ever been dreamed. Believing it could have developed by some sort of series of accidental mistakes…well, how is that even conceivable?

Where did this amazing computer come from? Check out Psalm 139:13-16.


Tedrick said...

Great post. Accidental brains? I think not in fact people who believe so are out of their brains!!

Steve Risner said...

Dear Anonymous,
First, I want to sincerely thank you for taking the time to read my blog on the brain. It seems obvious you don’t agree with me on much of it, yet you took the time to see what I had to say. That’s great. Second, I would like to inform folks that this comment is in response to a comment made by someone named “Anonymous” who posted and later removed their remarks.

So, Anonymous said: “Going from "complexity" to "creator" is a non sequitur”---
Perhaps for you it is. For me, it is clearly not even close. We are not simply going from “complexity” but from extraordinarily complex—unimaginably in many cases—to then conclude such complexity cannot possibly come from a random set of accidents. A super computer we cannot rival that weighs 3 lbs and runs on 10 watts of power cannot possibly be from mistakes. The rest of your statement seemed disconnected from the beginning of it.
“you didn't even touch on the quirkiness of our brains.”---
True. I did not. But you went on to give an example of the “quirkiness” that was not an example of it at all.
I say this because you said, “For example, they are built like one "computer" on top of another on top of another, reusing primitive parts.”---while it is true there are multiple parts to our brains (as there are for many organisms with such structures) you are falling very quickly into an interpretative trap. This is clearly interpretation and not directly observable fact. You are using an evolutionary phylogenetic relationship to then say that there are evolutionary phylogenetic relationships. In other words, you assume beforehand that there are multiple layers of less and less primitive computers built on one another and then saying, “Look! That’s the way it is.” When the truth is, there are different parts and nothing more.
What is highly interesting is that you used the term “built” which is a term that would indicate design rather than the produce of evolution. You also said “computer.” If you found a computer buried 50 feet deep in the ground, would you assume it was made or the product of natural processes?

Steve Risner said...

“An engineer, improving on his design, would not retrofit old tech with new if he could help it, especially if he had limitless resources and power.”---
Now we see that you have moved from science to theology or, at the very least, philosophy. You are disagreeing with the idea of a Creator because you think He would have done things differently. However, His design is marvelous. Why would He be required to do something any way but the way He did it? Any time man criticizes how God did something, I wonder why we’re not doing it better than He did. We’ve been trying to build something like an eye or a brain or a heart or a lung for a very long time. It’s only when we design such things after their natural prototypes that we get them working as well as we can—which is a far cry from the way the natural product operates.
You then say, “By the way, evolution is not a totally random process, like you allude to.”
This is only ½ correct. You went further to explain:
“Mutations, as far as we can tell, are random, but natural selection is not random.”---
Your problem here is you want me to miss the fact that you said the process by which change occurs is random. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The first half of the process is purely random, hence, the process as a whole is random. And NS cannot select at the genotype level, only the phenotype level. This means NS cannot see any genetic changes which do not immediately express a difference at the phenotypic level; it is powerless to select for or against, and the vast majority of random genetic changes are neutral, that is, no immediate phenotypic change. Natural selection doesn’t help the evolutionist at all. It weeds out change. Let’s look at genetic change for a moment. It is the crux of the Darwinist argument. In regards to changes and complexity (and regulation and structures and functions and information, etc.) there are only three possibilities:

1) Status quo...changes are made but nothing really happens
2) Downhill...decreases in complexity, structures, functions, regulation, etc.
3) Uphill...increases in complexity, structures, functions, regulation, information, etc.

The issue is that whenever #1 or #2 are observed then #3 is said to be true! That is simply the fallacy of equivocation and immediately makes the argument bunk. When what they really should be doing is finding on the smallest of levels any sort of #3 example at all! Thus far, it has not been done. Oh, there are claims, to be sure, but when the actual results and papers are read, they are merely #2 with benefit and no actual increases in anything.
What is even MORE interesting is that the creation model predicts #1 and #2 and those are exactly what we see happening in the real world. The Darwinist is hanging onto #3 which has never been observed yet he/she will claim that the creationist is not scientific. What we observe is what we have predicted. What you need to happen has not been seen. Who’s scientific now?

Steve Risner said...

You go on “if you are going to argue against something, you should take great care in accurately representing it, lest you lose any credability you might have.”---
You seem to believe you’re not under the same rules here. I have not misrepresented anything. Mutation is, according to the religion of Darwinism, random. Hence, the process is a random one. It is undirected and mindless.
Concerning your “quibble.” ---
My apologies for not inserting enough links. Sometimes, I have so many to throw it that I miss them or put them in the wrong places. Thank you for pointing that out.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these things, Mr/Miss Anonymous.