Einstein’s Brain

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    The news that Albert Einstein’s eye balls were still preserved, in a lock box in New York City, led me on a “wild goose chase.” I ended in an article on npr.org website: “The Long, Strange Journey of Einstein’s Brain,” published in April of 2005. 

    Albert Einstein died in 1955, over 60 years ago. He died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm. A doctor at the hospital where Einstein died, Thomas Harvey, kept the brain and the eye balls, without legal permission. He gave the eye balls to Einstein’s eye doctor. He kept the brain, for almost 40 years.

    Harvey was perplexed by Einstein’s genius and firmly believed that that genius resided somewhere in the gray matter of the brain. So, over that 40 year period, Harvey sent sections of Einstein’s brain to different researchers throughout the world, at least to those who would accept them. He was hoping that the secret of genius could be discovered.

    At least part of the story is told in a book published in 2005 by Brian Burrell named Postcards from the Brain Museum. An excerpt of that book was published on npr.org. The long and short of it, apparently, is that nothing could be discovered from Einstein’s brain.

    The long and short of it is this: the mind is more than just matter. The secret to strength is to understand the muscles, their physiology, nutrition, etc. But the secret to our minds cannot be examined under a microscope. Sure, education plays a large part. Some believe Einstein suffered from dyslexia. If his parents had known the physical condition of his brain when he was a child, perhaps they would have pushed him into service of the state instead of the pursuit of the mind. Where would modern science, especially physics, be if that had happened? But personality and the mind are more than just education.

    The point I’m making is that evolution – macro-evolution – is false to suggest that all of life can be boiled down to just chemistry and biology. There is, to be sure, a part of man (our minds, our personality, etc.) that is more than the physical. If that is the case, then surely it is not a stretch beyond science to suggest there is more to our world than just the physical!

–Paul Holland

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