Friday, January 02, 2009

Neuroscience: We know nothing of brain evolution

Well, that's according to Harvard's Richard Lewontin, in an article posted by James Randerson of the Guardian (February 19, 2008)
We know nothing about brain evolution

Scientists are still completely in the dark about why the human brain evolved to be so big, according to Richard Lewontin

[ ... ]

All in all, despite thousands of scientific papers and countless National Geographic front covers, we have not made much progress in understanding how our most complicated and mysterious organ came about.

"We are in very serious difficulties in trying to reconstruct the evolution of cognition," said Lewontin. "I'm not even sure what we mean by the problem."
The main thing to see - from a layperson's perspective, is that countless National Geographic front covers do not add up to an ounce more certainty.

My own view is that the subject is not very important anyway. The important question for today is how to make the best of what we have. We may discover how we have it - or maybe not. But if we don't make the best of it, we are just plain losers, and that's all.

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