Saturday, April 22, 2006

Are we all crippled ?

I was thinking about dyslexic people today (just random thinking) and thus come to wonder about a few things. As you know, dyslexic people, due to certain properties of their brains, have difficulty comprehending written words. Thus dyslexia is actually a neurological limitation where the reading function is impared.

I then wondered if there exists some sort of 'advanced cognitive function' , but that this function is denied to all humans because of inherent neurological limitations. In other words, our brains are unable to process such 'advanced cognitive functions' much like how a dyslexic person is unable to discern words.

The problem is that even if some humans (maybe 1% of the population) have evolved some neural structure capable of processing the advanced function, we would still have no real evidence that such a function exists, much less being able to comprehend it. Consider an analogy, that of blind people and sighted people. The blind people have no way of verifying sight or even comprehending it (except via analogy).

Are we all crippled ? Maybe, but the frightening part is that we do not know if we are.


Jackson Tan said...

There should be a way to test if people have "advanced cognitive function" or not.

Taking the example of the blind/sighted people, the blind can do a test by setting up some obstacles which they know they would have difficulty in crossing. If the sighted people can complete the obstacle much faster than normal, then it should be concluded by the blind that these sighted people have another method of sensing. And from the accounts of the sighted people, they would name this sense "sight". And of course, they can conduct more experiments to find out what properties this "sight" has. They would have conclusive evidence that "sight" exists in these sighted people.

Similarly, there would be a way to test for "advanced cognitive function". The question is, what is the test?

The Negative Man said...

I see what you mean. I think you are right, that there can be some experiments to test for at least some properties and functions.

However there are many possible complications to the issue. I'll raise some of them later (Friday perhaps, when I am liberated from stress).