What the Brain Allows Us to Do

What the Brain Allows Us to Do

Of all of the parts of your body that radiate design and complex structure, the brain is probably the most amazing. When we compare what the brain allows us to do and human efforts to build a computer to duplicate those things, we realize the incredible nature of the brain’s creation. No computer can do everything your brain does and probably never will.

A big question in understanding the brain is what controls intelligence. For example, a blue whale has a giant brain, almost five times as big as ours, but there is no evidence that they have superior intelligence. However, brain size is a factor in how much energy it uses. Our brain is about 2% of our body weight, but it consumes 20% of our energy.

Studies have shown large variations in brain size within the bird family. For example, ravens have bigger brains than the much larger ostriches, and they also demonstrate greater intelligence. On the other hand, some fish have tiny brains. For instance, bony-eared assfish have the smallest brain-to-body mass ratio of any vertebrate, but they require only a few simple functions to survive in their deep ocean environment.

Research has shown that different parts of animal brains are different sizes depending on the animal’s needs. For example, owls have a more extensive section of their brains related to sight than other birds that don’t hunt at night. Crows and parrots have the largest brain size compared to the bodyweight of all birds. They are also considered to be the most intelligent of all birds. It is quite clear, however, that brain size is not a primary factor in intelligence. On average, male human brains are larger than female brains, and no one would suggest that males are more intelligent.

The bottom line is that brains are tailor-made to fit what the individual needs to survive. Also, the critical factor isn’t the size of the brain but the size of the brain section the animal requires for survival. In humans, the ability to create art and music does not seem to be related to the brain. Mentally challenged humans frequently create marvelous works of art and compose beautiful music. The human capacity to worship and to believe there is more to existence than this life do not seem to be related to any brain response.

What the brain allows us to do is an incredible demonstration of God’s wisdom and design. However, it is not our brains but our spiritual make-up that makes humans different from other living things. We are created in the image of God, allowing us to do things and understand things that are beyond all other life on Earth.

— John N. Clayton © 2021

Reference: American Scientist, November/December 2021 pages 352-359.