ME: You slept 14 hours!
TEENAGE DAUGHTER: I’m up, I’m up, see?
* Moves from bedroom doorway to sofa and lies down*
I’m telling you, this kid has life SORTED.
Conscious awareness is over-rated. No, really. It’s science.
Scientists just discovered a snail which can make decisions using only two brain cells, a report from the UK’s University of Sussex says.
I read that and I thought: So what? Male humans can make decisions after performing COMPLETE lobotomies on themselves using only cans of cold beer. (Mind you, the decisions tend to be uniformly bad ones, such as the ordering of more cans of cold beer.)
But that UK science report reminded me of the famous 2012 experiment when scientists taught a splodge of slime mold to navigate a tabletop maze despite having no brain, no eyes, no legs and no wi-fi access to Google Maps.
That also left me unimpressed: I can do mazes myself, usually. If I get one of the kids to help.
The scientists’ message is that conscious brain activity is not needed for most activities.
Welcome to real life, boffins. Any adult who has tried to get a child (or let’s be brutally honest, a husband) dressed and breakfasted and loaded onto a 7.15 a.m. bus knows that the absence of intelligent awareness is not a factor one way or the other.
All this is a blow to the materialist “you are your brain” school of thought and a bonus for the “announcer is not in the radio” school of thought, whose scientists say consciousness is a quantum phenomenon.
The piece of evidence that raised my eyebrows the highest was the recent discovery that plants have memories and can even count, despite having no brain of any kind.
Researchers confirmed that Venus fly traps know the difference between bits of tasteless dust and yummy visiting bugs by counting three footsteps before they snap shut.
Considering the astonishingly inability to count that staff at my local fruit and veg shop regularly demonstrate, I am tempted to suggest to the manager that he replace the somnambulant cashiers with a selection of plants.
The plants’ math will be better and the levels of politeness and conversation will surely rise too.
The findings also lend weight to scientists who say high IQs are an anti-evolutionary trait.
One of my evangelical atheist friends last week showed his spiritual sister a study “proving” that his type had higher IQs than her type.
She responded with a much bigger study showing that his type was more likely to be childless and die earlier.
Given his predilection for self-lobotomy-by-application-of-Carlsberg, that’s probably true.
A recent book by scientist Bob Nease explains why.
Humans process 10 million bits of information a second, but only 50 bits, which is 0.0005 percent, are devoted to logical thought.
In other words, hearts rule heads, and people who let this happen are more likely to survive and reproduce. Evolution, ironically, favors the sister.