Limitless Memory

From Creation-Evolution Headlines’ Brain’s Memory More Powerful Than Thought

You don’t have a limited memory that can be used up. The only limits are on how much you desire to know.

A new PNAS paper by psychologists from Harvard and the University of California at San Diego has an instructive title: “Working memory is not fixed-capacity: More active storage capacity for real-world objects than for simple stimuli” by Brady, Stormer and Alvarez. Unlike computers, which have fixed registers and RAM, the human brain seems to have almost limitless capacity for short-term memory (the kind you use when actively observing and thinking, as opposed to long-term storage). Here’s the significance of their findings:

Visual working memory is the cognitive system that holds visual information in an active state, making it available for cognitive processing and protecting it against interference. Here, we demonstrate that visual working memory has a greater capacity than previously measured. In particular, we use EEG to show that, contrary to existing theories, enhanced performance with real-world objects relative to simple stimuli in short-term memory tasks is reflected in active storage in working memory and is not entirely due to the independent usage of episodic long-term memory systems. These data demonstrate that working memory and its capacity limitations are dependent upon our knowledge. Thus, working memory is not fixed-capacity; instead, its capacity is dependent on exactly what is being remembered.


If there was any “survival value” or “selection pressure” for the emergence of this capability, the authors didn’t say so. In fact, they didn’t mention evolution at all. Their conclusions are consistent, instead, with intelligent design:

By measuring active storage using the CDA [contralateral-delay activity], we found that working memory accumulates information over a greater time scale for real-world objects than has been shown for simple colors and that more real-world objects than simple colors can be stored in working memory. These results demonstrate that working memory capacity is systematically underestimated by using simple stimuli about which we have no existing knowledge. Our findings also raise important questions about the functional role of the visual working memory system. In particular, they raise doubts that the entire function of visual working memory can be to persist information across eye movements, because the system seems to continue to accumulate information on a much longer time scale than typical fixation durations.

From our uniform experience, “systems” that “accumulate information” for a “functional role” are intelligently designed. The design of the memory “system” was underestimated by scientists posing the wrong questions.

The afterward drives the point home:

Here’s another example of biological research that had no need for Charlie’s myths. The operative terms were system, function, and information. Why would blind processes of chance produce an almost unlimited capacity to learn and remember things? The more you learn, the more capacity to learn. A mind is too beautiful a thing to waste.

Remember this paper when facing the real world. Darwin’s Stuff Happens Law is not useful, but design is. Meaningless evolutionary just-so stories, no matter how colorful, deserve to be dropped from memory and replaced by real-world concepts containing useful information. You have more capacity for storing useful information than scientists believed. Don’t let it stand idle. Fill it up! Paul said, “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

Every materialist will insist that there is no purpose for our amazing memories – memories with an infinite capacity, if disease and aging was removed.

Materialism is an aspect of foolishness. Christians are better advised to train their memories well, and put it to work for the Glory of God.

The blog claims that, in the fulness of time, sinless humanity will inherit the stars. Certainly, a joyful, sinless immortality and a permanent connection with God and (to a lesser but very real extent) to our fellow saved brothers and sisters in Christ is a big part of this. But with an immense (if finite) expansion of lawful power and authority (and responsibility before God!) comes the mental ability to handle it all, and handle it all for eternity.

An profound ability to remember, make logical inferences, and  will come in handy here. Especially the flawless manner we will will enjoy in the New Creation!


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