The greatest computer of all
To the editor:
In my Feb 9 issue of ‘Science’ I read where our next big computer will work at the exaflop level. (picture a switch being monitored and turned off and on, a billion-billion times per second.) Power to run it will require the equivalent ofabout a dozen large Buffalo Ridge wind turbines. Isn’t technology amazing? Now let’s look at that computer between your ears.
Memory: a human brain has memory storage capacity of a petabyte, (a million-billion bits of information). That’s about what the World Wide Web holds.
Energy consumption: Our brain only requires about 10 watts of power. A man made computer trying to simulate a human brain would require 10 million watts.
The human brain has over 100 billion nerve cells (neurons), which have to make wiring contact with other neurons via synapse connections. Each synapse wiring connector contains about 1000 molecular-scale switches; there are over 100 trillion synapses. They figure that the human brain has more information processing units than all the computers, routers and internet connections on earth. The total length of all that wiring (axons) is over 110,000 miles in a young male brain, a young female brain is about 93,000 miles.That mileage is only for wires that get insulating tape (myelin) wrapped around them by special machines (Schwann cells); the non-insulated wires were not counted. By the time you reach 80, about 45 percent of that mileage will be lost.
Each cell in your body has up to 10 million factories, which are very complex called ribosomes. Little trucks enter and leave each factory several times per second as they deliver amino acid cargo for manufacturing a wide variety of parts and machines for cell construction, communications and maintenance; including a machine that has two rotary motors in it to make ATP fuel pellets to power other machines and itself, And when your body is starving, your cells can select which ribosomes are going to the scrap yard (autophagosome) for recycling in the shredder (lysosome) where parts can be re-used for nutrients. All cells rely on extremely complex networks for application of input sensing, logic processing and firing of outputs.
Question: Does all this look to you like something that got it’s start in a primordial soup with no intellectual input? Why do educators leave the Creator out of science? This is not an issue of separation of Church and State. It’s an issue of separation of fantasy and reality. American science education seems to have sided with fantasy rather than truth, (I am referring to Holt Biology 2004 & 2012 high school textbooks) Why not just tell students that all life on earth was designed and therefore points to an infinitely powerful and intelligent Creator?. It may just have a positive effect on dysfunctional attitudes.
Unfortunately, as Arthur Schopenhauer stated: “Truth passes through three stages: 1st, it is ridiculed. 2nd it is violently opposed. 3rd, it is accepted as being self-evident.”