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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Did Adam have a belly button?

The answer, of course, is that we don't know.

I just read a photo (on Facebook) of what appears to be a pamphlet or magazine article, claiming that Adam and Eve didn't have navels, because they didn't go through embryonic development. (The navel, or belly button, of course, is where the umbilical cord is attached.) Perhaps they didn't. On the other hand, perhaps they did.

Even if Adam and Eve were created as mature adults, they might have had navels. Presumably, they began life as able to converse in whatever language they used. (NOT English, I think!) If they began life as mature adults, with language skills, they must have had all the neural connections necessary for these skills, even though they didn't experience the language learning through which the rest of us set up those connections, which enable us to speak and understand language. So, just as their brains were created as if they had gone through normal development, their abdomens might have also been created in that way, with navels. (Innies? outies?)

See here for Wikipedia article on neuroplasticity. The notion that neural connections are formed, or altered, by learning, is, as I understand it, firmly believed by almost all neuroscientists, but is not backed up by a tremendous amount of experimental evidence. Experimental work of this type is very difficult to do, as it would mean working, on a biochemical and/or microscopic level, in a living brain, and it wouldn't be ethical to do such research in humans at all. Here's a report on some actual experimental evidence for the idea. It is hard to imagine that learning would take place without altering the physical and chemical structure of the brain.

Thanks for reading. Check your navel.


Keetha Broyles said...


George said...

If they had navels, I'm sure they probably asked God about it one day. Wonder what He would have said?

I'm with Keetha... innie.

Martin LaBar said...

An interesting thought, George.

Thanks, both of you. I'm an innie, too.

atlibertytosay said...

I believe it's a part of the beautiful symmetry of the human body. I believe they had belly buttons because they had nipples - which weren't technically needed by Adam (or have ever been needed by a male) but symmetry is God's artistic expression.

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks, atlibertytosay. I think you are right about the symmetry, and I'm sure you are right about the beauty.

Also, it's just normal to have a navel. What would have happened if Seth, say, would have said, "Mom, how come I have one of these, and you don't?"