Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Difference Between Humans and Animals, Part XVI

Yesterday I mentioned that giving cash to panhandlers is more harmful than helpful. Here's a biological explanation of the drug addiction that often leads to real homelessness. From Physician Dr. Gabor Maté:
Well, the human brain, unlike any other mammal, for the most part develops under the influence of the environment. And that’s because, from the evolutionary point of view, we developed these large heads, large fore-brains, and to walk on two legs we have a narrow pelvis. That means—large head, narrow pelvis—we have to be born prematurely. Otherwise, we would never get born. The head already is the biggest part of the body. Now, the horse can run on the first day of life. Human beings aren’t that developed for two years. That means much of our brain development, that in other animals occurs safely in the uterus, for us has to occur out there in the environment. And which circuits develop and which don’t depend very much on environmental input. When people are mistreated, stressed or abused, their brains don’t develop the way they ought to.
That's a small portion of a fantastic interview with Democracy Now! about drug addiction and decriminalization. It seems to balance out my earlier post on letting parents relax about their responsibility and my earlier posts on the legalization of drugs. I recommended the whole video.

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