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Friday, November 09, 2007

Theories of brain evolution: Evolving brain or revolving door?

At the end of a long discussion of useless theorizing about how the brain might have evolved, Creation-Evolution Headlines kindly says of The Spiritual Brain:
Given the standoff in evolutionary explanations, how about a radical alternative? It’s not really radical; in fact, it is time-tested, logically coherent and self-evident. It enjoyed epistemic priority throughout the classical, medieval and Enlightenment periods. It is the non-reductionist position that the mind is non-material; the brain is an instrument of a spiritual reality that, while constrained by matter, cannot be reduced to its material components. A new book has dusted off this long-accepted truism and explored it within the findings of modern neurobiology. Written by neuroscientist Mario Beauregard and journalist Denyse O’Leary, The Spiritual Brain is getting lively and enthusiastic reviews on Amazon.com.

Obviously, the brain evolved. We have brains. Stromatolites didn't. But I suspect that many people who are currently enquiring into brain evolution are looking for something that isn't actually there: How intelligence arose without any order, meaning, or purpose in the universe. They will not get real answers because they put all their energy into protecting their kludges.

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