Church of God, New World Ministries

Animal Brain Vs. Human Mind - Part 3

We now compare the human brain with various animal brains. Our objective is to determine if there is “something” in the human brain that can adequately explain the human mind.

Human thought is vastly superior to animal thought. But why? What causes the human mind to be so enormously more advanced than the output of animal brain?

To materialism, the answer is obvious: It must be because the human brain is equally more advanced than animal brain.

But is this so? Is materialism right? Can the difference between the human brain and animal brain wholly account for the spectacular difference between human mental activity and animal mental activity? Is human mental activity wholly dependent on the physical human brain?

We find out – in this third article in the series – by comparing the human brain with various animal brains.

But where do we locate unbiased brain researchers? Not on earth – that’ for sure. Therefore, we must fabricate some exotic investigators – physiologists and psychologists from the nth dimension (who arrive on earth through what science-fiction writers have labeled a “space-time warp”)

Their mission? To analyze the mechanism and relative behavior of all intelligent Earth creatures.

The physiologists immediately recognized that the brain was the most intriguing object for study, it was the machinery of behavior. Since animal possessed the most complex brains, the chief physiologists commandeered the investigation of mammals for themselves.

It seemed (at first) that brain weight should be proportional to intelligence. Accordingly, the brains were weighed – with a descending order for whale, elephant, dolphin, man, chimpanzee, cat, rat (seven must be a universal number). Viewed superficially, the large mammalian brains looked pretty much alike.

Comparative anatomical studies disclosed a uniformity of distinct brain structure: spinal cords, medullas, cerebellums, mid-brains, thalami, hypothalamic, caudate nuclei, corpus callosi, cerebral cortices, and on and on – every component was present in every brain, though their absolute and relative sizes varied. Man’s brain was not unique.

Comparative micro anatomical analysis revealed the same startling conclusion. In mammals the neuron is the basic component of each nervous system. Each neuron of the mammals under investigation could be divided into the same three basic sections. All mammalian neurons were seemingly identical to the human neuron in every conceivable respect.

The dendrites were of special significance. These branching matrices of neuronal antennae were of critical importance for comparing mammals. The basic rule for making such a comparison was as follows: The larger the number of dendritic branches, the greater the number of interconnections and pathways associating the billions of neurons – and consequently, as a direct result, the greater the complexity of mental options available to the particular brain.

Man’s dendritic branches were the most complex – though closely followed by chimp and dolphin. The same relative positions among man, chimp and dolphin resulted when the multitudinous “dendrite spines’ were compared.

Comparative biochemical studies yielded precisely the same results – all seven mammals were qualitatively identical The critical space between neurons -the synapse, was traversed by the same basic chemical messenger. The nerve impulse was always generated by the same flow of sodium, potassium and chloride ions. Hallucinogen drugs worked by the same mechanism, inhibiting, short-circuiting, etc. - on all mammalian nerve fibers. The immensely complicated hormonal systems were always controlled by the pituitary gland, which was controlled by the brain. Biochemically, all creatures were identical.

At this point in the investigation a preliminary report was received from a nth dimensional physiologist spy planted in the psychology department.

Apparently, the creature “man” was manifesting surprising mental capabilities. But man didn’t have the largest brain! Neither did he have any unique anatomical structure nor any strange biochemical actions – every characteristic of the human brain was easily found in all other mammalian brains.  

Returning to their labs, the physiologists soon realized their oversight: the brain worked by continuous electro-chemical activity. Electro-physiological studies were required.

Information in all brains was found to be simply the presence or absence of a weak (1/10 volt) electro-chemical discharge – a brief (1/1000 of a second) spark of electricity - at multiple trillions of locations. This was the nerve impulse.

Comparative physiological studies disclosed a profound identity of neurological mechanisms among all creatures. All information in every nervous system was found to be transmitted by the same sequences and trains of nerve impulses. Sensory receptors worked by the same process in all mammals, transducing visual (sight), auditory (sound), somesthetic (touch), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste) and proprioceptive (position) stimuli into neuronal information.

Special reflexes (e.g., knee-jerk) worked by the same processes in all the creatures under investigation. Sensor and motor relay stations enabled the same kind of progressively more complex integration. Autonomic-metabolic areas, controlling heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion, etc., were located in the same place and worked the same way in all living beings examined. The attention-directing mechanism – the reticular activating system, which also controlled sleep and wakefulness –was likewise present in all brain stems. Emotion and drive-controlling centers were always within the hypothalamus. Coordination of muscles (as for walking) was always a cerebellar function. The thalamus was always a sensory-motor relay station. Sensory awareness always reached its highest level in specific areas of the cerebral cortex. The corpus callosum transferred information back and forth between the cerebral hemispheres. Again, in all creatures – including man.

To the nth dimensional physiologists, the human brain worked like any animal brain. When any sensation (stimulus) occurred in any animal, a large electrical signal was evoked at specific locations in the brain. This electrical “waveform” was recorded by locally implanted electrodes and then displayed on an oscilloscope.

Now the critical question: Was human electrical activity markedly superior to animal electrical activity? NO! It was astonishing – no! The same stimulus (e.g., a pin prick on the toe) triggered similar waveforms in analogous brain locations of all creatures.

Furthermore, the electrical brain patterns (EEG waves) seen in the human brain during alert and relaxed mental states were practically indistinguishable from the similar EEG waves in animal brains during similar mental states.

The surprise evidence of the spy report was now incorporated; all the data were neatly fit together; the jigsaw puzzle was complete – and the physiologists confidently compiled their conclusions.

  1. Human brain was the most advanced.
  2. Chimp brain and dolphin-whale brain were both a very close second.

The physiologists smugly predicted that the psychologists would find man to be only slightly pre-eminent on earth in both individual and collective behavior – but chimp and dolphin would both be a very close second. The rest of the mammals would then follow.

Savoring the expected satisfaction of crushing the psychology profession once and for all, the physiologists received the official report of the psychologists’ conclusions (published simultaneously with their own to avoid additional antagonisms).

They were visibly shaken by what they read. It seemed impossible. The chief psychologists had instantaneously perceived that man was utterly unique. So without hesitation, they appropriated the study of man for themselves. All other animals were relegated to graduate students, who in turn assigned the work to under graduate students as “class projects.”

With all their jangled imaginations, psychologists are a hard bunch to startle. But now they were shocked. Their investigations into human behavior concluded that man was utterly different – in a class by himself – having produced automobiles and astronauts, bridges and brushes, books and buttons, solemnities and societies, symphonies and soliloquies, calumnies and calamites. Man knew that he existed; he communicated symbolically; he inquired about himself; he delved into his origin, his future, his purpose, he was aware of beauty and order; he wrote his history.  None of these characteristics were even rumored to exist in chimp, dolphin, elephant or any other animal.

Flushed with pride, the nth dimensional psychologists had then launched themselves into the realm of physiology. They speculated that the portion of the body which sat upon the neck encased the vital mechanisms underlying behavior.

But it was obvious that the components of the human head would have to vastly excel the components of the animal head in order to account for the human mind. At the very least, a unique anatomical structure or novel functional principle must exist in man.

And so it was a humble group of psychologist and physiologists who met in their first joint symposium. The antagonisms were gone, for both had been humiliated. A reconciliation had occurred, for both shared a common despair.

The physiologist stood stupefied, numbed by man’s astounding mind. The psychologists sat numbed, stupefied by man’s ordinary brain. The physiologists couldn’t explain the cavernous gulf between human mind and animal instinct – the brains were not that different, anatomically, biochemically or electrically.

The psychologists couldn’t comprehend the precise uniformity between human brain and animal brain – the resultant mental productions were so radically different in every area of comparison. There was no physical explanation. All the scientist were frightened. There was only one solution to the problem – and nobody liked it. What was it?

Be watching for the next installment of Animal Brain vs. Human Mind. The solution to the problem will amaze you!

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