Sunday, May 10, 2015

#83 RAS (Reticular Activating System)

This proof is about one of the most important parts of your brain. It may be the answer to the question of why some people cannot accept that there is a God while for others it is as plain as the nose on your face.

In a previous article I wrote about how miraculous and astounding our brains are [1]. This article is about just one part of the brain which is about the size of your finger. It is located at the top of the spinal column at the base of the brain stem.


Its job is like a gatekeeper for the signals that are coming in to your brain. As you can imagine, you have millions upon millions of nerve cells that are reporting every second to your brain about sounds, smells, tastes, touches, or sights from whatever they are connected to, like your fingertips, your stomach, your leg muscles, your bladder, well…everything.

Your conscious brain can only handle about 130 messages per second [2] in any meaningful way, so it absolutely needs some way to sort out what is important and prioritize those millions of messages coming from your body. Your RAS is what limits the messages down to the manageable flow.

That’s the purpose of the RAS, the Reticular Activating System. Most nerves run through the RAS and then get sent out to various other parts of the brain for the interpretation of their signals.

"The ability to filter out information from external sources and focus on one particular fact, detail, or thought is controlled by this brain region. If it weren't for this circuitry, our consciousness would be overwhelmed and flooded with all sensory information, leading to an inability to make decisions." [3]

As a simple example of how the RAS prioritizes, think about when you get pain. It immediately gets sent to the front of the consciousness so it can be analyzed and responded to.

But that’s not all the RAS does. It is able to learn from the conscious mind what to look for in the environment. Look at this picture and see how quickly you can find one of the two letter “L's” in this diagram.



Probably you did not have to look at every single letter one by one. Also, have you ever looked for your spouse or child in a huge crowd of people? You found them quickly by scanning which is what the RAS does.

Thus the RAS it turns out is the major goal seeking mechanism in our brains. We can tell it what to look for and it will help us find it. In fact once your RAS is instructed what to look for, whether told consciously or even unconsciously, your RAS will be seeking without you even knowing it.

I’m sure you have heard of the “Law of Attraction”. The RAS is the brain mechanism that allows it to work. It sorts through all the inputs from your environment and brings to your attention what you are looking for.


You’ve also heard of a “Self Fulfilling Prophecy”. What you are looking for is what you will get because you unconsciously programmed your RAS to find it.

The other thing the RAS does, which we are usually unconscious of, is ignore information and input that we don’t want. We think we are seeing “objective truth”, but it is already filtered before it gets to our conscious brain. The RAS prevents you from “seeing” information that you don’t want to see.

Hence, an evolutionist has set his RAS to reject any information that supports creationism and only perceive “facts” that support evolution. He doesn’t even see evidence contrary to his beliefs because he has told his RAS that he doesn’t want to see it. It becomes a “blind spot”.

One additional comment I want to add, but there is a lot more, is that some researchers believe that whether you are an introvert or an extrovert depends largely on the amount of nerve fibers which are developed in your RAS. [4]

I encourage you to learn more on your own about this amazing part of your brain, the RAS.


So back to the purpose of this article. Is it possible for the RAS to have evolved, or is it clearly evidence of design by God?

According to the Theory of Evolution, in some ancient low level species, totally by random accident, a mechanism developed that could sort out differences between incoming signals from nerves. This mechanism gets passed from generation to generation until another random mutation occurs. This mutation allows the mechanism to recognize a certain signal as really important for survival, i.e. pain for example. And then it somehow is able to prioritize that signal over any others.


This is good so natural selection keeps it going for generation after generation. Then another random mutation somehow recognizes a different nerve signal as hunger. It randomly figures out how to prioritize pain as more important than hunger. This beneficial mutation gets passed down generation after generation.

Eventually this mechanism is able to differentiate millions of nerve signals into which ones are really urgent, which have high priority, and so forth down to low priority. Note that there are about 100 billion neurons in the brain and each one has about 10,000 connections to other neurons. Also each neuron fires about 5 to 50 times per second. [5] Then, the mechanism randomly mutates again, and again, and again so that it lets only 130 signals pass each second.


Then all the other organisms that don’t have this ability die out so that this is the only one that keeps reproducing. Since we all have RAS in our brains, we have to assume we all came from the original ancestor species (even an original couple) that first mutated a fully functioning RAS.

In fact, since most animal species have this RAS ability, the mutations effected all “branches” of the tree of evolution.

Bunk.

No process of mutation over generations has ever produced a viable new species [6], let alone a complex development of differentiation and prioritization of nerve impulses that could result in the RAS.

There must be God.
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[1] Jim Stephens, Proof for God #16, Your Brain, http://101proofsforgod.blogspot.com/2012/08/16-your-brain.html

[2] Reticular Activating System, Posted on January 26, 2015, http://www.reticularactivatingsystem.org/

[3] Omkar Phatak, Reticular Activating System, March 3, 2014, http://www.buzzle.com/articles/reticular-activating-system.html



[6] Jim Stephens, Proof for God #27, The Truth About Mutation, http://101proofsforgod.blogspot.com/2013/02/27-truth-about-mutation.html


[extra] What Is the Reticular Activating System? http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-reticular-activating-system.htm

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