"The brain becomes both much larger and still more complex as we move to vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, and reptiles. The spinal cord, now protected within the vertebrae of the backbone, has become primarily a servant of the brain, a busy two-way highway of communication with fibers segregated into descending motor pathways and ascending sensory ones. The brain itself is now composed of a series of swellings of the anterior end of the spinal cord (the brain stem), the three major ones making up the three major parts of the vertebrate brain: the hindbrain, midbrain, and forebrain. From the hindbrain sprouts a distinctive structure, the "cerebellum" (Latin for "little brain").
Among mammals, the brain keeps its three major components, but with two new structures. The neocerebellum ("new cerebellum") is added to the cerebellum, looking much like a fungal growth at the base of the brain, and the neocortex ("new cortex") grows out of the front of the forebrain. In most mammals, these new additions are not particularly large relative to the brain stem. In primates they are much larger, and in the human they are so large that the original brain stem is almost completely hidden by this large convoluted mass of grey neural matter. American evolutionary paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould provided a term for this phenomenon--exaptation. He made a major contribution to our understanding of evolution by insisting that we distinguish adaptation, the evolutionary process through which adaptedly complex structures and behaviors are progressively fine-tuned by natural selection with no marked change in the structure's or behavior's function, from exaptation, through which structures and behaviors originally selected for one function become involved in another, possibly quite unrelated, function. Exaptation makes it difficult if not impossible to understand why our brain evolved as it did. Although the brain allows us to speak, sing, dance, laugh, design computers, and solve differential equations, these and other abilities may well be accidental side effects of its evolution."
"Few people have the imagination for reality." -Goethe
"Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination." - Edward Abbey
"I always have to think too of a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he's five years old. And I reply and say, "Well, presumably the God you speak about created the worm as well," and now, I find that baffling to credit a merciful God with that action." David Attenborough
The immense time of the evolution of life and the Cosmos is overwhelming to our evolved brains on Planet Earth. If we can combine imagination and science that is Einsteinian nobility. Religious stories are easier for the human mind to process because the stories revolve around the human and its limited history. The Scientific story is overwhelming because it challenges human solipsism and demands a more expansive perspective on the long and diverse history of natural and cosmic evolution.
Montaigne believed animals had something to teach humans and along that line I too think that animals past and present have something to teach in terms of theology. Sir Francis Bacon stated, "A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth man's minds about to religion." But in the light of modern science( the size and age of the Universe, and the age and evolutionary drama of planet earth) I would like to counter that quote. Now it is a problem of coping with what we have found out in the scope of geological time. A little imagination leads one to religion but when one really thinks and imagines with depth the Universe and Earth's evolutionary drama surely any typical religious concept of god becomes exposed as petty, provincial and limited.
One of the most resourceful and lasting species has been crocodiles and sharks and one thinks of the millions of years of their survival and how much depends on a vicious cycle of consumption. I knew a boy years ago who was taken down by a crocodile in front of his father. In a world such as this that existed before the evolution of modern humans one wonders what pleasure the christian god got out of the elemental evolutionary drama. A God who watches the sparrow fall has no problem overseeing this blood sport. His eye is on T-Rex and I know he is watching me? Not so comforting a thought is it. In the light of geological time the christian god makes no sense. It did not make sense even in the blink of an eye of human written history much less in evolutionary time. The created gods of the human mind are too small and petty for the grandeur of the stars and universe. Human gods do not even cover the scale of the earth and its history much less the universe. It used to be said that a little philosophy would lead to atheism but much philosophy would lead to religion. Again in the the light of modern science and natural history I would counter by saying a little knowledge and imagination leads to religion but greater knowledge and greater imagination leads to wonder and skepticism.
"A general problem with much of Western theology in my view is that the god portrayed is too small. It is a god of a tiny world and not a god of a galaxy much less of a universe." - Carl Sagan
"That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Which is more likely, that pain and evil are the result of an all-powerful and good God, or the product of uncaring natural forces? The presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection." Charles Darwin
"Our lives begin to end the day we are silent about things that matter" Dr. Martin Luther King
Author of Blog
Born in the United States of America. Spent my Childhood in Kenya, East Africa. Graduate of George Mason University in Global Affairs with a concentration in Africa and the Middle East. What I desire is not total agreement but thoughtful people. To share ideas and expand knowledge in the era of globalization.