Thursday, September 08, 2005

Scientists believe human brain still evolving

When I was young, my father used to tell me the older I got, the stupider I got, but I think his conclusion was more emotional than scientific. Now we have scientific proof that my father was wrong.

For many years, it was thought that the human brain had evolved as far as it could. More intelligent scientists now believe they have found this to be incorrect. The old gang of scientists that reported the earlier belief seem to have not evolved to the point that the new scientists have. In a study of their own brain development, scientists with highly developed and newly mutated brains have discovered new mutations in two brain related genes that they believe may cause enhanced brain activity or new personality characteristics. One of these characteristics, they believe to be increased modesty.

Scientists report this news simply as a new benefit of evolution. This leaves me puzzled. Shouldn't we be concerned about why this is occuring? For example, if beneficial gene mutation is the result of evolutionary adaptation to adversity, does this finding mean that our brains are telling us that we need to think differently? Humans are already the most intelligent species of all living creatures. Most of us don't use the brains that we have. Why else would our brains be trying to change?

Maybe these genes are really the morality genes that we all seem to be lacking lately. Maybe they are the empathy genes that we seem to be short of. Maybe they are the common sense genes that are getting more sensible. Maybe they will specialize to conform to our professions. I'd love to see an honest used car salesman. A reasonable judge. A business owner that can be trusted. A movie producer or media mogul that doesn't contribute to the perversion of society.

So to the future reader I say, if this blog stays posted for the next 10,000 years, let me know how it turns out in 12005, by leaving a comment!
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