Human evolution Intelligent Design Neuroscience

Researchers expected the human brain to be a tangled mess and found a street map instead

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The connectome— the white matter of long axons of neurons—has turned out to be surprisingly important and unexpected:

The surprise? The brain is quite orderly, not the haphazard accumulations of aeons of evolution that the researchers expected:

“LONDON’S STREETS ARE a mess. Roads bend sharply, end abruptly, and meet each other at unlikely angles. Intuitively, you might think that the cells of our brain are arranged in a similarly haphazard pattern, forming connections in random places and angles. But a new study suggests that our mental circuitry is more like Manhattan’s organised grid than London’s chaotic tangle. It consists of sheets of fibres that intersect at right angles, with no diagonals anywhere to be seen.”

“Van Wedeen from Massachusetts General Hospital, who led the study, says that his results came as a complete shock. “I was expecting it to be a pure mess,” he says. Instead, he found a regular criss-cross pattern like the interlocking fibres of a piece of cloth. …” – Ed Yong, “The Brain is Full of Manhattan-like Grids” At National Geographic (March 29, 2012)

News, “The human brain has given researchers a big surprise” at Mind Matters News

Funny that the brain would be organized just as if it were the work of a skilled programmer or something …

See also:

Why the brain can’t be understood simply in terms of particles For the same reasons as a basketball cannot be understood wholly as a “sphere,” the brain is more than particle physics in action.

Why the mind can’t just be the brain Thinking it through carefully, the idea doesn’t even make sense. (Michael Egnor)

and

Why the mind cannot just emerge from the brain: The mind cannot emerge from the brain if the two have no qualities in common

4 Replies to “Researchers expected the human brain to be a tangled mess and found a street map instead

  1. 1
    polistra says:

    Well, I’m not sure who expected it to be tangled. Those associative fibers have been well-mapped for a LONG time. See 1918 Gray’s Anatomy.

    https://www.bartleby.com/107/pages/page843.html

    The perpendicularity has always been clear.

    On the other side, NYC is actually a better example of random mutation and selection. There are dozens of layers from bedrock to skyscraper, from 1620 to 2020, and most of them had to be built by trial and error because the existing tunnels and pipes were unrecorded and unmapped, with random abandonments and additions caused by stock booms and busts.

  2. 2
    AaronS1978 says:

    @polistra
    I have been noticing that quite a bit, stop me if I’m wrong but I frequent a site called neuroscience news, quite often, and I’ve noticed that they always will post some huge neuroscientific discovery that to be honest with you has been out for quite some time but they make it sound like they just found it

  3. 3
    polistra says:

    Speaking of brains and maps, here’s a new item that shows yet another innate design in our ability to read the “maps” of faces.

    https://www.pnas.org/content/117/37/23011

    Researchers had several congenitally blind people read 3d pictures of faces by finger. The facial recognition part of the brain (fusiform gyrus) was activated in exactly the same way that it does when eyes are the input. Blind people couldn’t have acquired info about faces by experience, so the template had to be there by design.

    Just as with speech/hearing and writing/reading, the output system and input system are designed to work together perfectly. If faces, or the muscles of expression, had mutated significantly, the template in the fusiform gyrus wouldn’t have worked. Both ends of the channel had to be matched by design.

  4. 4
    martin_r says:

    Darwinian clowns always surprised…

    What did you Darwinian clowns expect ?

    It is always the same with Darwinian clowns … when they look closer, everything
    seems to be “different than thought”, “surprising”, “intriguing” and “unexpected”
    …and, mainly, when they look closer, then everything seems to be designed :))))

    Darwinians, please, just keep looking closer and stop telling just-so-stories…

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