in 1906 Sir Francis Galton went to the county fair. It was mostly likely held at Birmingham England, where he was born and went to school but I cannot confirm it. While wandering the fair eating a deep fat fried turkey leg (ok, that’s actually not true) Francis stumbled upon a guessing contest. Guess the weight of the ox! He didn’t play but he observed carefully. Sir Francis was the founder of the term Eugenics and believed that the crowd of ordinary folk who were buying tickets and making guesses were his social and intellectual inferiors. Not one of the nearly 700 entrants guessed the exact weight of 1180 pounds. No surprise to Galton that the uneducated rabble would be unable. ( No record that Galton did any better.) He asked the man running the contest if he could have the entries once the event was finished. To his amazement, the average (mean) of all the entries was 1,179! The mob was smarter than any one individual. ( I once guessed when our airplane would cross the equator. I won a bottle of Scotch. Gee, thanks.)
The same is true of the ant. Any single ant is dumb. It follows chemical signals and does simple tasks without intelligent variation. As one researcher put it, the individual ant is “surprisingly inept.” But an entire colony of ants can defend itself, enslave other ants, tend crops, rebuild the nest after a storm, attack and destroy an intruder significantly larger than many hundreds of single ants and show something called swarm intelligence. The colony is brilliant. What makes this fascinating is there is no boss ant. No one ant who is smarter than the rest. Even the Queen is merely an egg laying machine. Any drone who dares to mate with her, dies shortly afterward. (That’s dumb.)
Then we come to the human brain. It has an estimated 86 billion discrete individual neurons which are the basic cells of the central nervous system. Combine those with 100 trillion synapses and we have thought, movement, reaction, etc. There are a few other processes to consider but this will do for today’s biology lecture. So far, science has not detected a control structure. Who or what makes decisions? What coordinates and commands all these discrete little neurons and forms the will power, thoughts and actions of the human body? Where does the personality reside? What is the Boss of the brain? Swarm intelligence can’t explain the complexity of a single human being. It works for ants and guesses but not for brains.
Science cannot create a living cell nor duplicate the conditions they believe existed when life spontaneously erupted into being. Science cannot demonstrate how the laws of Thermodynamics were turned backwards in order to create the diversity of life. Science cannot explain how the brain works to produce the complex character and personality of a human being. Don’t be fooled. There are limits to human intelligence and accomplishment.
When I listened to the lecture about the search for the unknown command and control center for the human brain, I shouted at my radio “It’s the Soul! Haven’t you ever heard of it? You’ve gotten so smart you’ve become dumb….as an ant.”
Job 38 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
5 Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
6 “On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars sang together
And all the sons of God shouted for joy?