Anatomy And Physiology

Brain Size



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People have been trumpeting Terri's brain size as "proof" of her hopeless condition. However the work of Lorber may bring the necessity or importance of brain size into question.

Lorber wrote a provocative article entitled "Do we really need a brain?" He probably did not mean it literally. But the rhetorical question was meant to challenge assumptions about the brain. Is intelligence and the ability of a person simply a matter of size?

The myth that a larger brain meant more intelligence was discredited when Einstein died and it was discovered his brain was normal sized. Lorber found that one of his bright students had a small brain or just a brain stem. This started Lorber on his research. Apparently there are a number of people who live normal lives with a small brain. Brain size may matter, but perhaps it is highly overrated.

The ability of certain people to function with less than average size brains raises the question about the non-material or physical side of a person. If the brain is the only thing that matters in the matter of thinking and reasoning how does one explain the ability of people with little or no brain to function? One person hypothesized the brain was more of a receiver than a central processing unit.

The world is not nice neat and mechanical and naturalistic, as some would have the public believe. There are events and phenomena which defy conventional wisdom. A pastor related the time, as a seminarian, he would go to a hospital to visit an elderly lady who was there. This lady could talk about the weather and what was going on at the hospital. When he asked why the lady was there, the response was the doctors were studying her since she had no brain waves and was technically brain dead. The doctors had no idea why this lady was so responsive.

People may be too hasty in jumping to conclusions saying if A then B. Or to put it another way, someone may think Johnny has a small brain therefore Johnny will not be able to function. Such a conclusion does not always follow, as demonstrated in the work of Lorber.

Contrary to our self-inflated opinion, we are not all knowing. And one must ask why do certain people seem to defy expectations? Why do things not always go according to theory? For the longest time the bumblebee was supposed to be unable to fly from what was known about aerodynamics. But that didn't stop the bumblebee.

If medical technology could have diagnosed Mr. Lorber's student back before birth, the student might have been eliminated on the grounds of his small or nearly non-existent brain. The assumption would erroneously have been that such a person would never be capable of becoming a university student. Fortunately, the student was not eliminated and Mr. Lorber had a chance to study this bright student.

To find articles on this matter do a Google search: lorber brain.

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More about this author: Guy Takamatsu

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