It came to my attention today that whether or not the brain is important to the human organism is still an open question. No, really.
Denyse O'Leary, a frequent intelligent design advocate at Uncommon Descent writes in her post entitled Brain: Do you really need a brain?:
Recent research has cast doubt on just how neurons transmit information in the brain, and some wonder just what role the brain as a whole plays in thinking.Beg pardon? What role the brain plays in thinking? I thought this problem had been solved quite some time ago... But no, she presents this anecdote from Richard Milton:
In 1970, a New Yorker died at the age of 35. He had left school with no academic achievements, but had worked at manual jobs such as building janitor, and was a popular figure in his neighbourhood. Tenants of the building where he worked described him as passing the days performing his routine chores, such as tending the boiler, and reading the tabloid newspapers. When an autopsy was performed to determine the cause of his premature death he, too, was found to have practically no brain at all.What, no data? Watch, I can do that too. I knew a guy in college. He doesn't have a liver. Or a heart. Nice guy. I wonder what role the heart plays in pumping blood... Apparently not an important one. (hint: I'm lying).
But wait, Mr. Milton has more to contribute to this important topic:
what on earth is the brain for? And where is the seat of human intelligence? Where is the mind?Watch for it. Next you'll be hearing demands for medical schools to teach the controversy.
Update: Thanks to Paul for pointing me towards the original proprietor of this anecdote: John Lorber. An brief news report was published about him in Science over 20 years ago. Nonetheless, in the intervening period, apparently he has never published proof of his brainless wonder.