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The Magic Of The 100-billion-computer Organ


In his 1987 seminal work entitled Impossibility In Medicine  the American psychiatrist Jean Goodwin presented to the world the following acutely insightful vista of the brain:

“Despite many assertions to the contrary, the brain is not “like a computer.” Yes, the brain has many electrical connections, just like a computer. But at each point in a computer only a binary decision can be made—yes or no, on or off, 0 or 1. Each point in the brain, each brain cell, contains all the genetic information necessary to reproduce the entire organism. A brain cell is not a switch. It has a memory; it can be subtle. Each brain cell is like a computer. The brain is like a hundred billion computers all connected together. It is impossible to understand because it is too complex. As Emerson Pugh wrote, “If the human brain was so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.”” (1)

In so doing he hinted at an aspect of the brain that tied in well with a philosophical thought-chain expounded by ID philosopher Bill Dembski in his book No Free Lunch:

“Humans have designed all sorts of engineering marvels, everything from Cray supercomputers to Gothic cathedrals.  But that means, if we are to believe Melvin Kooner, that a blind evolutionary process…cobbled together human neuro-anatomy which in turn gave rise to human consciousness, which in turn produces artifacts like supercomputers which in turn are not cobbled together at all but instead are carefully designed.  Out pop purpose, intelligence, and design from a process that started with no purpose, intelligence, or design.  This is magic” (2)

In my most recent essay Lessons From A Broken Brain I provide a high-level overview of key medical moments that helped define the hundred-billion-computer organ housed atop our bodies.  The design inference shines through in the brief details I present.

Further Reading  

1. No Way: The Nature of the Impossible, edited by Philip Davis and David Park.  Cited in Inside The Mind Of God- Images And Words Of Inner Space, edited by Michael Reagan, Templeton Foundation Press, New York, p.61
2. William Dembski (2002) No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc, Lanham, Maryland, p.369





In his 1987 magnum opus Impossibility In Medicine: The Nature Of The Impossible, the American psychiatrist Jean Goodwin presented to the world the following acutely insightful vista of the brain:
Just a very slight correction. I believe the book is No Way: The Nature of the Impossible edited by Philip Davis and David Park. The "Impossibility in Medicine" piece by Jean Goodwin is part of the book. Thanks for the rest of your nice post including your other post.Patrick Chan
February 26, 2011
12:04 AM

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