religion and the brain

Paul Bramscher brams006_nospam at tc.umn.edu
Mon Oct 25 12:43:20 EST 2004


Wolf Kirchmeir wrote:

> Richard F Hall wrote:
> 
>> On 11 Oct 2004 13:14:48 -0700, rscanlon at nycap.rr.com (ray scanlon)
>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> There is a continual attempt by the religionists to show that the
>>> brain is other than the expression of the DNA. The DNA constructs a
>>> precisely connected brain and sets the rules for synaptic growth and
>>> strengthening. These rules provide the structure with which the brain
>>> alters itself to adjust to the exterior world. 
>>
>>
>> It's true, the dog's brain is a different basic design than a human
>> brain and each of these designs carry out different functions. [....]
> 
> 
> Nope.
> 
> The main functions of a dog's brain and a human's brain are exactly the 
> same: to control the animal's movements, to seek food and sex, to react 
> to and control fellow members of the pack, etc.
> 
> Humans have a few bits that are more complex than the corresponding bits 
> in a dog, but the converse is true also. There's is no basic difference. 
> The differences are all on the surface - literally, for once.

I recall reading Nagel's "What is it like to be a bat?" paper and 
imagine that bats probably construct a map of the world from auditory 
signals (and dogs probably do to a great extent through smell).

So the DNA does differ and, expectedly, functionality is somewhat different.

So it's a scoping thing.  Is the function to build a memory map of the 
world, and contain predisposition toward particular sorts of behavior in 
relation to it (the map) or do you want to get more specific?  Our map 
is visual, and we place no tresspassing signs.  Most other mammals 
urinate to mark territory.  And so there clearly are functional 
differences at narrower scopes.



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