The Singularity is NOT Near

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We are not on the path that will inevitably lead to the Singularity.

“There is a specific game plan for achieving human level intelligence in a machine. Reverse engineer the parallel, chaotic, self-organizing, and fractal methods used in the human brain, and apply these methods to modern computational hardware.”

Futurist, inventor, and author Ray Kurzweil from his book, The Singularity is Near

“If intelligence is just a matter of information processing, and we improve our machines, we will produce some form of superintelligence.”

Sam Harris, in his TED Talk

Let’s summarize their logic:

  1. If human brains are the cause of our intelligence;
  2. And we can reverse engineer the human brain;
  3. We can build super-intelligence to match and exceed human intelligence.

If 1, the premise, is false, so is 3, the conclusion.

The idea that we can reverse engineer the human brain, 2, seems reasonable, so we won’t address that.

Of course, science has already proven their premise is false.

Our intelligence is much more than the brain’s synapses, neural connections, processing power, and data storage.

Hydrocephalus and terminal lucidity are two phenomena that disprove this reductionist view of intelligence.

Hydrocephalus, also called water on the brain, is a condition where some portion of your brain is replaced by cerebrospinal fluid. In extreme cases, the brain is more than 95% fluid instead of gray matter.

Many people who have 95% of their brain replaced with fluid are severely disabled but, according to Professor John Lorber, a British Neurologist who studies hydrocephalus, about half of these patients have an IQ greater than 100.

“There’s a young student at this university who has an IQ of 126, has gained a first-class honors degree in mathematics, and is socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain.”

Professor and Neurologist John Lorber

Lorber points out that instead of the normal 45 mm thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and cortical surface, this young man has just a thin layer of mantle measuring a millimeter or so thick. That means his brain is 1/45th the thickness of a normal brain.

If you do the math, he only has 2.2% of a brain. The rest is cerebrospinal fluid. 

If Harris and Kurzweil’s belief that the human brain is the only key to human intelligence, all hydrocephalic patients would be severely disabled.

None would have an IQ of 126.

Terminal lucidity, sometimes called paradoxical lucidity, is a phenomenon where dementia, cancer, or other patients with years of brain dysfunction suddenly “snap out of it” for the last few days or hours of their lives. Their loved ones report they are back to their normal selves even though their physical brains are still too damaged to allow for the lucid conversations they can carry on.

What is the reason for high-IQ patients with water on the brain and lucid conversations with Alzheimer patients before death?

Scientifically, we don’t know.

Could it be proof of a soul that occupies our physical body and that our true intellect is our immortal, immaterial soul, as the Catholic Church has defined dogmatically for millennia?


The answer doesn’t matter concerning the singularity.

We have well-documented, scientific examples of how our intelligence exists beyond the structure of our brains, so any attempt to recreate our intelligence based only on our brain function is doomed to failure.

It would be like watching David Beckham play soccer and assuming his tattoos must lead to his great soccer skills while ignoring all the great players without tattoos (admittedly, there aren’t many left these days).

Their premise is false, so we are not on the path to the singularity.

This does NOT mean we will never achieve the singularity. This simply proves that our current strategy for getting to it is flawed.

There are many other examples of how humans, animals, and even cellular intelligence is more than the brain or genetic code that we’ll discuss in the book.

A few examples include:

  • Memory Transference during heart transplants, including a case where a young girl received the heart from a murder victim, and her vivid dreams led to his arrest and conviction.
  • Caterpillars retaining memories as butterflies after their brain is completely rebuilt during metamorphosis.
  • Newt tubules doubling and then quadrupling in size, and yet, by communicating with each other, the enlarged cells build a tubule of the same diameter (this one is amazing).

Terminal lucidity and hydrocephalus alone demonstrate that our intelligence is not solely derived from the processing power of our brains.

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