How Little We Know About How We Know
They found that the brain’s complexity is beyond anything they’d imagined, almost to the point of being beyond belief, says Stephen Smith, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and senior author of the paper describing the study:
One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.
Our understanding will expand, of course, but at each step, there will be another mystery, another surprise at the intricacy of reality. It’s speculative to suggest that, one day, we’ll reach a point at which mathematics simply can’t describe what’s happening and science can’t replicate it, but we’re already able to see, if we allow ourselves to do so, that science can never adequately describe the totality of reality; such an accomplishment is simply not within the scope of its language. Indeed, much of what’s regrettable, even horrific, in recent history has derived from attempts to reduce life to terms that science can accommodate.
Our brains are able to tap into ranges of knowledge that are wholly unscientific, yet no less true or accurate.