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Human minds so GREAT and yet so HELPLESS!
Plain Truth Magazine
January 1970
Volume: Vol XXXV, No.01
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Human minds so GREAT and yet so HELPLESS!
Herbert W Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: July 31, 1892
Died: January 16, 1986
Member Since: 1928
Ordained: 1931
Office: Apostle

Herbert W. Armstrong founded the Worldwide Church of God in the late 1930s, as well as Ambassador College in 1946, and was an early pioneer of radio and tele-evangelism, originally taking to the airwaves in the 1930s from Eugene, Oregon.

   Personal from Herbert W Armstrong - THE PAST TWO MONTHS, IN my Personal talk with our readers, I have written of how others report the news, describe the world's ills but The PLAIN TRUTH makes plain the meaning, reveals the causes, tells how these evils will be solved!
   Of course, in order to give you the SOLUTIONS, we also must state the problems.
   In the December number I closed my talk saying that in this January issue I should like to explain WHY the truly great minds in the world cannot solve the most important and vexing human problems.
   THINK of this seemingly incredible paradox!
   The mind of man is so stupendously brilliant of such immense capacity- that it can solve the factors of time, space, inertia, gravity, force and energy, and devise the instrumentalities to send men to the moon and back! Yet this same brilliant human mind, in all its complexity, intricacy, and ability, cannot solve man's own problems here on earth!
   The leaders in science, technology, industry, government, education, do have minds marvelous and capable almost beyond belief.
   What a MYSTERY!
   Human minds SO GREAT, and yet so HELPLESS! They do not know THE WAY to PEACE! To happiness! To universal abundant well-being!
   Compared to animal brain, the human mind is infinitely greater, unbelievably more capable! The gap between animal brain and human mind is incredibly VAST!
   But WHY must the human mind be SO HELPLESS?
   There is a REASON! The reason is, man does not understand WHAT HE IS! He doesn't understand WHY he is! He doesn't understand WHAT the human mind is! He doesn't understand the reason for the stupendous gap between animal brain and human mind! Man, unlike animals, is confronted with emotional, moral and spiritual problems. These he doesn't understand, and in six thousand years has proved unable to solve!
   The ANSWER is wrapped up in the mystery of WHAT makes the difference between animal brain and human mind.
   In the November, 1969 PLAIN TRUTH, in my Personal talk, I explained how I, myself, came to understand the CAUSE of all the world's ills, and the source of that understanding. But now I want to explain why the truly great minds DO NOT UNDERSTAND!
   Recently a brilliant young scientist, Dr. Robert Kuhn, joined the Ambassador College faculty, Pasadena campus. Entirely independent of my own study into the question, Dr. Kuhn, by scientific research in the human brain as compared to animal brain, had proved, scientifically, precisely what I had discovered by revelation.
   Can anything be more important than to know WHAT YOU ARE what your mind is and WHY it is so vastly greater than animal brain?
   Subject to my finding time available for the project, Dr. Kuhn and I plan to collaborate in production of a book on this subject.
   Now I want to give you a glimpse into his scientific discoveries, in the field of physical science.
   First, let me give you a brief rundown on Dr. Kuhn. Although a comparatively young man, he has studied at New York University, University of Rochester, Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Medical School, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), Yeshiva University and Ambassador College. He received an A.B. degree in Human Biology (Phi Beta Kappa) from John Hopkins University, a Ph.D. degree in Anatomy-Brain Research (neurophysiology) from the UCLA Department of Anatomy and Brain Research Institute, and a second A.B. degree from Ambassador College. He has conducted research programs in molecular biology and cerebro-cortical electrophysiology. On the faculty of Ambassador College he is presently investigating the inter-relationship between science, theology and the survival of mankind.
   I give you, here, a condensed partial report of his studies in the relative difference between animal brain and human mind. It is, I realize, rather technical and scientific for a magazine of general mass circulation like The PLAIN TRUTH. Therefore it is not complete. I do not want to bore the reader with excessive technical material. But I do want to give evidence that the results of my own researches into this MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION are sound, and in harmony with the latest scientific research.
   WHY is this so important?
   Because it EXPLAINS WHY the human mind can invent the computer, devise means of space travel, do marvelous exploits in the physical and material realm YET IS SO ABYSMALLY IMPOTENT when it comes to solving his own problems here on earth.
   Further, it explains WHY man has these problems.
   Can anything be MORE IMPORTANT? Or more interesting? Or more FASCINATING?
   Following is Dr. Robert Kuhn's report, in part, condensed. His full report will appear in our book.
   "Man thinks. At least he thinks that he thinks. But he knows. And he knows that he knows. Man is indeed unique: No other physical being is creatively self-conscious, nor can any other ponder the transcendental questions of life, death and ultimate purpose.
   "It is now imperative to seriously revive those old yet still unsolved questions: What is man? Where has man come from? Where is he going? What is man's purpose? How should he live? Our very survival lies in credible answers to these fundamental questions.
   "For the crux of the inquiry, we must resurrect the endlessly rehashed 'mind-body problem'. What is the relationship between man's mental activities and his physical brain? What is "mind" is it different from brain?
   "Materialism postulates that matter is the only reality. Consequently, the mind would be just the brain. And nothing more. 'Mind' is viewed as an epiphenomenon, simply the totality (Gestalt) of physiological brain function. The materialist believes that the term 'mind' itself is unnecessary and confusing, and was invented to superstitiously explain what man could not yet physically comprehend. The scientist, who by definition is concerned exclusively with the physical, epitomizes the materialist.
   "So the lines of combat are clearly drawn: the materialistic scientists, dressed in their laboratory smocks, are barricaded behind their esoteric theories on one side; the spiritualistic religionists, clothed in their preaching frocks, are entrenched behind their philosophical reasonings on the opposite side. In the historic struggle between religion and science, the materialism-mind controversy remains the classic confrontation. In our 'sophisticated' society of wishy-washy noncommitment, each side is usually courteous toward the other at least in public. This uneasy truce is often expressed in popular articles: 'Can a Scientist Believe in God?' or 'A Theologian Looks at Modern Science'. Is man wholly physical or does he have a higher purpose? In our nightmarish age, this question is vital.
   "Now, at this same critical juncture in history, there has emerged a science which can unravel the mystery and direct us toward the sorely needed solution. Just as the 1960's witnessed enormous strides in molecular biology, we are now entering the age of brain research. Brain research is presently evolving into a multi-disciplined study where scientists from two dozen or so diverse fields from physics to physiology, biochemistry to psychiatry combine forces for a frontal attack upon the basic mechanisms of thought.
   "'The brain is a computer,' cries the materialist, pointing out parallel concepts in cybernetics and neurophysiology. Information in the brain is simply the presence or absence of an electro-chemical discharge. This 'presence-absence' is precisely the same as the 'yes-no,' 'flip-flop' of a computer. True enough, the brain is enormously more sophisticated in potential pathways and micro-circuitry. (There are upwards of 10,000 to 50,000 independent nerve cells in every cubic millimeter of cerebral cortex 10 to 15 billion altogether; each nerve cell is able to receive simultaneous information from thousands of cells, integrating and then funneling this new information to many other cells; consequently, the permutations and combinations of circuitry and sequences becomes astronomical)
   "That's the crucial question. And to find the answer, we submit this fundamental issue to the unbiased arbitration of brain research.
   "Representative mammalian brains can be weighed and, in descending order, they are: 'Whale, elephant, dolphin, man, gorilla, chimpanzee, and rat. Comparative anatomical studies reveal a uniformity of distinct brain structures: Each structure is present in every brain, though their relative sizes vary. There is no qualitative difference among all the mammalian brains.
   "Mentally, of course, man is unquestionably supreme. That's obvious. But he doesn't have the largest brain! And that's surprising.
   "However, physiologists can explain this apparent paradox. They realize that only the cerebral cortex is responsible for conscious intelligence. (The cerebral cortex is the thin, 4 mm, outermost layer of the brain it is convoluted [folded and furrowed] in order to compact a large surface area into a small volume) Further investigations reveal two general categories of cortex: 'Specific cortex' subserving direct sensation (visual, auditory, somesthetic) and movements; and 'unspecific-cortex' ('or association-cortex') which has no direct connection with the external environment. Unspecific cortex is composed of two areas: 'Posteriorunspecific-cortex,' involved in sensory associations and problem solving; and 'frontal-unspecific-cortex,' from which thinking in the sphere of time, social awareness and the 'will' originate. Unspecific cortex, then, is the key to human thought. Man has large unspecific cortical areas especially the frontal regions. Consequently, man should be somewhat more advanced than mere brain size suggested.
   'But here again there is a problem: man's cerebral cortex, even his frontal unspecific region, is not as large as the whale's. So maybe the relative proportion of unspecific cortex is critical. Perhaps too much specific cortex 'clutters up' the brain much as numerous local radio stations will limit the range of a super-power radio station thereby not allowing the unspecific cortical areas the 'unjammed freedom' necessary for the generation of abstract, cognitive and symbolic thought. If this is indeed true, the ratio (percentage) of unspecific cortex to total cortex is the critical factor.
   "Our physiological conclusions can now be finalized: Man's brain is the most advanced; chimpanzee (large ratio of unspecific cortex) and whale, dolphin and elephant (large amounts of unspecific cortex) are all a very close second.
   "Consequently, with respect to individual and collective behavior, on the bases of all physical evidence, a diehard materialist would smugly expect the same close relative positions to exist between the 'mental abilities' of man, chimp, whale, dolphin and elephant as does already exist between their respective brains. Such a naive gentleman would be visibly shaken by a study of comparative psychology. The mental attainment of human beings would seem to be utterly impossible as judged by his self-deluded jangle of pompous ideas.
   "Anybody who is even the least bit aware of his environment will surely recognize that man is unique. Man is vastly different producing automobiles and astronauts, bridges and brushes, symphonies and soliloquies, catastrophes and calamities. Man communicates symbolically, he inquires about himself, he delves into his origin, he writes his history, he builds upon his predecessors and he passes on to his descendants. None of these characteristics are remotely shown by chimp, whale or any other animal.
   "The materialist stands stupefied. He cannot account for the cavernous gulf between human mind and animal instinct. The brains are not that different anatomically, biochemically, or electrically.
   "There is no physical explanation.
   "And that frightens the materialist because his whole life-style is now open to question.
   "He knows that there is only one solution to the problem: A unique NON-physical component must exist in the human mind an essence which transforms the human brain into the human mind.
   "Non-physical! There is no other choice. Naturally, the existence of anything non-physical is very depressing to many scientists, since it acknowledges a reality above their own now limited fields of endeavor. Nevertheless, to retain even a shred of their much-professed 'intellectual honesty,' every scientist will have to admit that the human mind contains a NON-physical component.
   "Considering the cosmological significance of such an intimate nonphysical power, we should clearly understand the logical sequence of prerequisite propositions which culminate in this conclusion:

   1. Man does not have the most massive brain, nor the largest cerebral cortex, nor even the greatest unspecific cortical areas. Therefore, brain size cannot be the sole explanation for 'mind' or else whale, elephant and dolphin would dominate the world.
   2. Mammalian brains are qualitatively identical; there are no unique sections in man's brain, every structure is easily found in other brains.
   3. Proportionally, man has the largest unspecific cortex. This critical percentage (unspecific cortex / total cortex x 100) is about 60 percent in man, 40 percent in chimp, and less than 10 percent in rat. About the same relative positions among man, chimp and rat also hold with respect to the micro-anatomical organization of cerebro-cortical nerve cells and the intricate waveform patterns of cerebro-cortical electrical activity. The trend is clear: Chimp brain is enormously more complex than rat brain, while in comparison, human brain is only faintly more complex than chimp brain. Human and chimp brains are similar, rat brain far behind.
   4. Consequently, on the basis of all physical data, chimp should be mentally 'superior' to rat to a far greater degree than man is mentally superior to chimp. The chimp/ rat 'species-IQ' ratio should be significantly above the man/chimp ratio. We would therefore expect the product of brain function (the mental output of man, chimp and rat) the psychological accomplishments of the individuals and the sociological attainments of the species to closely follow the relative positions of their respective brains and be somewhat similar for man and chimp, while much different for chimp and rat. As a result, based on their physical brains alone, humans should 'think' only a bit better than chimp, while chimp should 'think' substantially better than rat.
   5. However, precisely the opposite is true. Chimp and rats 'think' very similarly. Both can learn complex problems involving long sequences of moves; both have similar group activities, maturational processes, etc. True enough, chimp behavior is more intricate and less stereotyped. Nonetheless, chimps and rats differ only quantitatively not qualitatively.
   6. But who could honestly say that man differs only quantitatively from chimp? Who but man possesses the awareness of ecstasy the ecstasy of love, the love of beauty, the beauty of accomplishment, the accomplishment of inspiration, the inspiration of creativity, the creativity of wisdom, the wisdom of humility, the humility of humor, and the humor of himself? Man stands apart a distinct creation.
   7. We can now formulate our conclusion.
   (a) Man's brain is similar to animal brain, merely continuing the gradual increase in complexity evidenced by all mammals from rat to chimpanzee.
   (b) All brain research anatomy, biochemistry, electrophysiology staunchly proclaims that the human brain is just barely superior to chimp brain, whereas chimp brain is substantially superior to rat brain.
   (c) Consequently, if the human mind is entirely the product of the human brain, then the human mind can be no more than just barely superior to chimp brain, whereas chimp brain must be substantially superior to rat brain.
   (d) But chimps and rats have qualitatively the same compulsive 'thought' patterns.
   (e) And the self-conscious human mind is supreme beyond measure unequivocally distinct and irrevocably dissociated from the stereotyped behavior of chimp.
   (f) Obviously, the slim superiority of the physical human brain cannot account for this yawning chasm between the uniquely unrestrained human mind and the instinctively automatic animal brain.
   (g) Therefore, a non-physical addition must unite with and augment the human brain, converting it into the human mind.

   "Now please don't lose points 7f and 7g amidst the verbosity and the rhetoric! The human brain cannot explain the human mind plain and simple. There must be a nonphysical ingredient, beyond our microscopes, test tubes, electrodes and computers.
   "Evolutionary theorists enjoy pointing out the overt similarities between human and ape brains in order to corroborate their belief that both evolved from the same primeval source. It is extremely ironic that what they have actually stumbled upon is the most significant scientific observation in history, irrefutably attesting to the necessary existence of a non-physical essence in the human mind. Without this non-physical factor, man could be nothing more than a 'super-chimp,' more intelligent than a 'normal' chimp to the same limited degree that a 'normal' chimp is more intelligent than a slightly less complex mammal.
   "Can there be any doubt? The human mind infinitely outclasses animal brain. But why? How is the human mind generated? If the human brain exhibited a credible physiological explanation a structure, function or capacity not seen in animal brain wouldn't materialistic scientists have immediately publicized the data to support their contention that the human mind is 100% physical? Of course they would have but they have not because they cannot.
   "Think about it.
   "To the truly open-minded individual, it is fruitless to physically rationalize the uniqueness of the human mind.
   "There must be a non-physical essence a 'spirit' in man."
   In Dr. Kuhn's report, he next refers to the possible arguments the materialist has left, examines and refutes the arguments. This phase of his report is even more technical, and would be tedious and probably incomprehensible to the reader untrained in these branches of the physical sciences. Space does not allow their presentation here.
   But I feel that what I have given, in condensed form, should prove interesting not only, but also conclusive to the unprejudiced mind.
   I have touched briefly and superficially on this subject heretofore in these columns. Revelation makes plain what this new science finally discovers, the fact of the presence of SPIRIT in man. But that spirit, peculiar to humans, is emphatically Not an immortal soul. Biblical revelation decisively refutes the pagan belief in an "immortal soul," reveals the "soul" as the living, breathing MAN composed wholly and solely of physical material substance from the ground. The soul, therefore, is revealed as being composed of matter not spirit. Twice it is written, "the soul that sinneth, it shall DIE."
   Rather this spirit is IN the soul which is wholly mortal.
   The function of this human spirit is to impart the power of intellect to the human brain. It is not a spirit being, but spirit essence. This spirit, of itself, cannot see, hear, feel, think or know. Of itself it has no consciousness independent of the brain.
   It is the physical brain that sees, through the eye. It hears through the ear. It is the BRAIN that KNOWS that, empowered by the human spirit, thinks, reasons, comes to conscious understanding. The knowledge is in the brain, not the spirit independent of the brain.
   The spirit in man, I repeat, merely imparts the power of intellect the power to THINK, to REASON, to make decisions to the physical brain. This human spirit has no consciousness of itself, independent of the brain.
   There is not space here to give you all the Biblical FACTS. They will appear in the forthcoming book, which will be offered gratis as a public service. I warn you, however, it will be an eye-opening book, and with the FACTS will shatter many errors which have received a considerable public acceptance.
   The BIG POINT IS this:
   The presence of this SPIRIT content IN man presents man with an emotional, moral and spiritual nature. It confronts him with SPIRITUAL PROBLEMS which he CANNOT UNDERSTAND.
   And WHY can't even the great minds understand?
   Because the human MIND is LIMITED to knowledge of the physical and material. Knowledge can enter the mind, naturally, only through the eye, ear, sense of smell, touch or feel, and taste. The spirit does not see, as stated above. The physical brain sees, through the eye.
   Man, due to this spirit within him, finds himself confronted by spiritual problems. But he is incapable of spiritual KNOWLEDGE. For he cannot SEE spirit. Nor hear, nor taste, nor smell nor feel spirit.
   And where does this lead us?
   The human MIND was made INCOMPLETE and for a very great reason by an all-wise Creator. Man was made to NEED another Spirit! Not a human spirit but the Spirit of the living God! This has been available to him for many centuries but man has spurned it. Only by the addition of this Holy Spirit of the living God can the human mind comprehend spiritual knowledge and spiritual REALITY! And he must receive it by revelation, which the educated of this world have rejected.
   I have said that ALL human ills and woes and sufferings have come from transgressing of the inexorable law of LOVE the way of outgoing concern of selflessness of giving and sharing of serving and helping. That Law is summed up, in principle, in the Ten Commandments. But that inexorable living Law is a SPIRITUAL Law, against which the carnal mind is hostile!
   Every ill and woe and evil suffered by man has come through transgression of that WAY that Law!
   Many of my readers will not understand this. Some will resent it I hope not YOU! But, accept, reject, love or hate, or simply wonder IT Is THE TRUTH, which, in due time not now far off, ALL will come to understand!
   This is going to be a very important book. It will be announced in The PLAIN TRUTH when available. But, knowing how difficult it is for me to crowd such writing into my very busy schedule, I cannot promise when that will be. I will do my best. Please be patient.

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Plain Truth MagazineJanuary 1970Vol XXXV, No.01
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