You Can Read, Therefore Oogity Boogity!

It always amazes us the way creationists keep finding new evidence for creationism. The latest example is found at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Their post is titled Babies Are Born Ready to Read, and it was written by one of their most brilliant creationists, Brian Thomas, about whom we’re told: “Dr. Thomas is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Dogs don’t read the words on a page. Neither did Coco, the famous gorilla that learned to communicate using simple hand signs. So what affords humans the unique ability to read and write, and why do we do it? [Ooooooooooooh!] These kinds of questions drive Zeynep Saygin’s research at Ohio State. Her team’s recent discovery sets the stage for some answers.

Later in his post, Brian gives us a footnote linking to the research. It’s titled Innate connectivity patterns drive the development of the visual word form area, published in Scientific Report. You can read it on-line, without a subscription. Okay, back to Brian. He says:

Brain experts already knew about the visual cortex — an area of the brain where neurons fire as we interpret faces, shapes, and words. But Saygin’s group seeks to understand what happens in our brains as we learn to read. The team compared functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data sets from 40 newborns to similar scans of 40 adults. fMRI shows neuron activity within the brain, so the comparison would indicate if baby brains come into the world already equipped with the wiring necessary to perceive and process letters later in life.

And the research shows that baby brains have the inherent capacity to perceive writing. Brian finds that astonishing. He tells us:

Saygin, the senior author of the study, told Ohio State News, “Even at birth, the VWFA [visual word form area] is more connected functionally to the language network of the brain than it is to other areas. It is an incredibly exciting finding.”

Are you excited, dear reader? Brian then asks a brilliant question which demonstrates why he’s a great creation scientist and you aren’t:

From a Darwinian perspective, our brains’ functional modules would have incrementally developed over eons for our survival. But in what scenario would our ancestors have been forced to read or die? [Wowie!] For that matter, how could such pressures reach into and rewire our brains?

He doesn’t just ask the question — he answers it:

On the other hand, if humans came from supernatural creation instead of mere nature [Gasp!], then the possibility opens for God to have intentionally prewired our brains “to see words.” And why would a Creator do that?

That quotation has a footnote which links to this article at Ohio State about the research. Humans are born with brains ‘prewired’ to see words. Brian continues:

Reading is the key to understanding the most important information for time and eternity found in the Bible. [Yes, that’s the reason!] Scripture says we were created for God, that our sins have driven a wedge between us and God, but that God sent His Son to take our sins upon Himself in order to restore our relationship with Him.

Now you know why we were born with our brains already wired to read. Brian hammers the point home in his final paragraph:

So, it makes sense that a God who has invested so much into us would also have endowed us with the prewiring needed to see letters. That way each can learn to read, take up the Bible, and discover the way back to Him.

Our brains are also “prewired” to see faces, trees, clouds, and the Moon. What do you make of it, dear reader?

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

19 responses to “You Can Read, Therefore Oogity Boogity!

  1. Theodore J Lawry

    We learn about the Lord because of “pre-wiring” as discovered by science? Whatever happened to the soul? Has Brian Thomas been seduced by atheistic wiring? Is science only anti-religious when a creationist says it is?

  2. Michael Fugate

    I am sure the University of Liverpool regrets awarding that PhD every time they see another Brian Thomas article. But for the rest of us, it is a great source of laughter. Boy do we need some. Thanks ICR!

    I still think it was a big mistake in the long run for religions to write this stuff down if they wanted us to continue believing it is true. Not to mention not allowing editing or amending.

  3. One is impressed by the way that creationist scientists make their discoveries. They do it just the same way that I do. I didn’t go through all those years of schooling, lab work, writing up results for critique until I learned to make discoveries on my own and in teams. No, I don’t call myself a scientist. I just read about real scientists.

  4. 10,000 years ago, people didn’t read words, but they read footprints and plenty of other signs

  5. I think that there are examples of counting marks, perhaps of phases of the moon. And, of course Paleolithic art.

  6. Erik Hardrada

    No one has more contempt for creationism than I do, but if I was a creationist I think I would find the Curmodge’s sarcasm & the comments here to be pretty lame. I see what Brian is saying & it deserves more considered responses than these.

  7. Erik has a point, though I maintain that both TomS and I were indeed addressing Brian’s argument

  8. Michael Fugate

    What part of the argument is worth considering?

  9. We need to be able to recognise small cues in our environment: shape, colour, outline, this line, that angle. As Paul Braterman remarks, we were doing it with spoor long before we ever wrote a word, and we also read one another’s faces. It’s a survival trait in a social animal, like atruism. Our immediate ancestors needed the same – we’ve been social animals for a long time. Why would it be surprising that our visual cortexes are usually “wired” to recognise small differences? Why would you think that a beneficial trait like that could not evolve.

    “Usually”, I said. Some people suffer from dyslexia, which appears to be at least in some cases caused by an inability in the visual cortex to recognise differences between letters. I suppose Thomas would explain that imperfection by invoking Man’s sinfulness, broken world, etcetera.

    And did you see the squib?

    “But in what scenario would our ancestors have been forced to read or die?”

    Thomas is trying to slip a lie past you, by simply assuming it. The lie is that if an advantageous subtle advantage is not inherited, the organism will die. Reword the question in real terms, and you might get:

    “In what scenario would our ancestors have been afforded an advantage by an ability to learn to read – ie the ability to recognise and differentiate between small changes?”

    The answer is, in practically every scenario. Thomas is merely misrepresenting evolution, as they all do.

  10. There are countless puzzles in the world. What is the origin of language? What is the origin of writing? The research paper actually makes a step toward understanding writing. On the other hand, to say “it’s a mystery to me, so god did it” does not even try.

  11. Some years ago, there was the puzzle of the number of Solar nutrinos. I recall getting onto a private conversation with a YEC about the number. The YEC said that the number observed did not agree with the astrophysics of billions of years, therefore YEC. I said that that is a bizarre argument.
    Now it is these decades later. There was a discovery of nutrino oscillation, which not only accounted for the solar nutrino numbers, but was confirmed by other experiments and fits well with the theory of nuttinos, and won a Nobel Prize.
    I suggest that pointing out a puzzle can be a good way of advancing understanding. Perhaps, after some decades, the puzzle of writing will be understood. Perhaps this current study will be part of the understanding.

  12. @ErikH “it deserves more considered responses than these.”
    There is a Dutch proverb saying that one creationist can produce more foolish stuff than ten scientists can answer (I adapted the actual proverb a bit). “Considered responses” are a total waste when meant as a serious rebuttal of creacrap”. Creacrappers won’t accept them anyway or they would have ceased to be a creacrapper. However creacrap can be and sometimes is a motive to study what science actually says and share the results for our own benefit and those of other regulars.
    If you think a “considered response” necessary, why don’t you produce one yourself? Be sure that we’ll welcome it. Or do you think merely reproaching others much, much easier? Now that would be what I call lame.

    As for Brawny Brian, I’d be curious what his take is on the topic chimps number test (google it – our relatives beat us humans).

  13. Oops, Great Hand from Above, I botched up a tag once again. Could you please demonstrate your benevolence once again and stop the italics after “…. of creacrap” ?

    [Voice from above:] Behold! My benevolence extends even to one such as you.

  14. Just think of the big. real, difficult problems in science. For each of them it could be said, “Secular science has no answer, so the only possibility is that God did it.”
    High temperature superconditivity.
    Incompatibility of quantum and relativity.
    Dark matter and dark energy.

  15. TomS omits many other deep conundrums for which secular science has no answer, viz.:

    [1] Is Certs a breath mint or a candy mint?

    [2] Is it true blondes have more fun?

    [3] Got milk?

    –and many other cosmic mysteries!

  16. Oh, the list is infinite.

    [4] Mozart or Haydn?
    [5] The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?
    [6] Should we pour sprinkles on peanut butter or on margarine?

    Secular science can’t answer, but experts like Ol’Hambo and Brawny Brian undoubtedly can.

  17. Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?
    Why is a “fat chance” the same as a “slim chance”?
    When we look in a mirror, things are reversed, right and left, but not up and down!

  18. Michael Fugate

    If God’s purpose for reading was to know the Bible, why wasn’t it written in every language? If God’s purpose for Jesus was to save the world, why did he appear in the Middle East?

  19. Indeed, why didn’t God make sure that all cultures have a written language?