Is your brain really necessry?

Glenn R. Morton (
Sat, 13 Jun 1998 13:17:29 -0500

At 07:32 AM 6/13/98 EDT, wrote:
>In a message dated 6/12/98 10:06:29 PM, you ( wrote:
><<Bob, you have misunderstood what I have said. I am uncertain of what to do
>with the australopithecines. >>
>I know about your uncertainty with the australopithecines. Yet in you book,
>_Adam, Apes and Anthropology_ (p. 185) you wrote, "Five and a half million
>years ago, an ape-like creature gave birth to a child that had a grievous
>genetic defect. This child had 46 chromosomes rather than the normal 48 of
>her species. The child was born dead. God took pity on this creature, fixed
>the defect, and breathed life into it. This was Adam."
>Your account is very imaginative and I admire your ingenuity in trying to
>bring Scripture and science into accord. But you depict God as acting
>opportunistically, on the spur of the moment, out of pity, to correct a
>grievous defect, and from this action emerged Adam. This is a radically
>different account from the one given in Gen. 1: 26-27, where the Godhead
>deliberate council to create humanity in their image, not out of pity, but
>with a grand purpose for them to multiply and have dominion over the earth.

Yes it is different from Genesis 1:26-27. But remember I believe that the
events in Genesis 1 are billions of years prior to Genesis 2. The counsil
was taken before the beginning of the universe. God didn't act
'opportunistically' because the Bible clearly states that Jesus was the
lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If He planned for Jesus, then
He also planned for man!

>Was this resuscitated hominid you describe the Adam of the Bible? The
Adam of
>the Bible had enough brain power and language facility to study and name the
>animals that God brought to him. God wanted to see what Adam would call
>Adam acted in the best traditions of a modern scientist. Does your
>resuscitated hominid possess capabilities that enabled him to do that? Or
>to manage the garden where God placed him? That's stretching my
>beyond the breaking point.

Good question. Given the modern examples of smallbrained but normal folk,
it is not out of the question. You need to know that brain size means
nothing for intelligence. As I have cited here many times but you must have
forgotten, there are numerous examples of normally intelligent people with
practically no brain.

The record for the normal human with the smallest normal brain is in the
Guiness Book of World Records. His brain was 1 lb 8 oz owned by Daniel Lyon
of Ireland who died in 1907 at the age of 46. He was 5 feet tall and
weighed 145 lb. (65 kg) Guiness Book of Records 1996, (New York: Facts on
File, 1995),p. 14

453 g + 8*28 = 680 gram brain. Since brain density is 1.045 this means he
had a 650 cc brain. Let's see, the brain of a gorilla can reach as high as
752 cc.
(Bernard Campbell, Human Evolution, (Chicago: Aldine Publishing Co., 1974),
p. 272)

So we have a man with a brain smaller than a gorilla who spoke and
performed normally. But it gets better. Some children with severe epilepsy
have half their brain removed in order to save the other half, yielding a
brain of only 650 cc or so. Yet many of them obtain college degrees.

"In contrast to the pattern of drastic selective impairment and sparing of
either linguistic and verbal or nonverbal, visual, and ideational functions
in adults with either right or left hemispherectomy for tumor, studies of
initial and long-term effects of 36 infantile hemiplegics with left
hemispherectomy and 28 with right hemispherectomy revealed no evidence of
consistent or significant differences between hemispheres. Although the
overall findings revealed that earlier damage to the remaining hemisphere
limited subsequent developmental potentials in most of the patients, the
remarkable capacities of the intact residual structures were demonstrated
in long-term follow-up studies in two cases. At a 25-year follow-up; each
had obtained a college degree and had enjoyed a successful career as an
executive, following a right hemispherectomy in one case and a left
hemispherectomy in the other. Thus, as Smith noted, the findings
demonstrate that at birth each of the two cerebral hemispheres contains the
neuroanatomical and substrate necessary for the development of normal or
even superior adult language and verbal and nonverbal cognitive functions."
~ Aaron Smith, "Early and Long-Term Recovery from Brain Damage in Children
and Adults: Evolution of Concepts of Localization, Placticity, and
Recovery,", in C.R. Almli and S. Finger, editors, Early Brain Damage:
Research Orientations and Clinical Observations, 1, 299-323, p. 308

But there are some cases of nearly anencephalic children developing normally.

"Grant. Born June 13, 1963. Birthweight 7 lb. First son of an unmarried
mother. Uneventful pregnancy and labour. Referred on account of rapidly
enlarging head at 10 weeks of age.
"At this stage he was well and he reached the usual milestones at the
right time. He had no abnormal neurological signs but his head
circumference was 17 1/2 in. (42.5 cm.). His anterior fontanelle was very
wide but not under great tension. A right sided tap at his anterior
fontanelle produced clear normal cerebrospinal fluid at a depth of only a
few millimetres from the skin. The pressure was 180 mm. of water After
injection of air, a radiograph showed no evidence of cerebral cortex--the
air collecting immediately below the inner table of the skull and moving
freely in all directions. No brain was encountered during needling the
skull on this occasion. But for the absence of symptoms and the fact that
the CSF was fully normal at this stage, this could have been a case of
gross subdural effusion.
. . .
"His head circumference at 17 weeks of age reached 19 1/2 in. (50.0 cm.).
Nevertheless his physical and mental health remained good. He laughed
readily, could lift his head off the couch both in the prone and the supine
position, went for objects placed in front of him and grasped them.
"A further anterior fontanelle tap again encountered CSF within a few
millimetres of the skin and on advancing the needle to a depth of 5.5 cm no
brain could be encountered. After injection of air, this cavity showed no
evidence of brain but the falx and the tentorium were clearly outlined. His
shunt was re-explored and the upper catheter was found to be blocked and
was replaced." ~ John Lorber, "Hydranecephaly with Normal Development,"
Develop. Med. Child Neurol. 1965, 7, pp 628-633, p. 629-630
Grant Born June 13, 1963
"At 21 months of age, he was an alert, playful boy, able to say many words,
like to look at picture books, pretended to 'read', and named some
pictures. He liked playing with toy cars and building toys. He could feed
himself with spoon and fork. He was running about all day, with occasional
falls. He was toilet trained during the day but had occasional accidents.
Apart from his large head he had no abnormal signs. He was again filmed at
18 months and at 21 months of age to record his progress." ~ John Lorber,
"Hydranecephaly with Normal Development," Develop. Med. Child Neurol. 1965,
7, pp 628-633, p. 630-631.

And here is a man, if I calculated correctly has a brain the size of a
rhesus monkey, about 100 cc. Yet he has a math degree.

"'There's a young student at this university," says Lorber, 'who has an IQ
of 126, has gained a first-class honors degree in mathematics, and is
socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain.' The
student's physician at the university noticed that the youth had a slightly
larger than normal head, and so referred him to Lorber, simply out of
interest. 'When we did a brain scan on him,' Lorber recalls, 'we saw that
instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the
ventricles and the cortical surface, there was just a thin layer of mantle
measuring a millimeter or so. His cranium is filled mainly with
cerebrospinal fluid."~Roger Lewin, "Is Your Brain Really Necessary,"
Science, Dec. 12,1980, p. 1232.
"Lorber divides the subjects into four categories: those with minimally
enlarged ventricles; those whose ventricles fill 50 to 70 percent of the
cranium; those in which the ventricles fill between 70 and 90 percent of
the intracranial space; and the most severe group, in which ventricle
expansion fills 95 percent of the cranium. Many individuals in this last
group, which forms less than 10 percent of the total sample are severely
diabled, but half of them have IQ's greater than 100. This group provides
some of the most dramatic examples of apparently normal function against
all odds."~Roger Lewin, "Is Your Brain Really Necessary," Science, Dec.
12,1980, p. 1232.

Given these modern examples of small brained but normal people would you
chose to think that brainsize has anything to do with anything. It is
organization of the brain that is the important parameter and frankly
neither you nor I have much info on the organization of the earliest
hominid brains. But I do know that the nuclear genetic data demonstrates
that the original humans had to have lived prior to 2 million years, and I
know that there is much normal behavior prior to 500,000 years ago. And I
also know that there brains were smaller.


Adam, Apes and Anthropology
Foundation, Fall and Flood
& lots of creation/evolution information