Savants with exceptional brain power

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rov1100 | 12:21 Mon 27th Feb 2012 | Science
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If they possess such amazing brain power why has evolution denied the general population of such a gift?


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I don`t think evolution has denied the general population of such a gift. I think everyone has it but other parts of the brain supress it. That`s why some people who have had brain damage develop amazing abilities such as painting from memory etc.
Savant syndrome often comes at a huge cost - many are very autistic and incapable of functioning in the everyday world.

Danniel Tammet is an interesting exception - as well as holding the UK record for memorising Pi he's very high functioning and able to work with researchers - and run his own company.

Many Savants have had desperately sad and solitary childhoods - if you can't communicate with others and the world is a frightening and strange place and you spend your life studying maths books then you are going to develop what seem to "normal" people almost magical skills.

They often gravitate to Maths - Gauss was one like that - Tammet's quite unusual I think in developing a flair for language.

This is his website
Natural Evolution does not work that way. A change needs to be beneficial to the organism so it has a better chance of replicating/breeding.
Incidentally, I read on your link:

"Tell him a date, and Kim can tell you what day of the week it is."

This is a common party trick and one that anyone can do with a bit of practice. You only need to memorise about 12 or so numbers.
The question seems to imply an intent by an intelligence called 'evolution', and a desire of 'evolution' to ensure many do not have it's gifts. It is the wrong place to start from.

Evolution, by definition, works on random changes from parent to offspring and has the affect of retaining that which just so happen to be beneficial by virtue of the fact hat tan advantage makes having surviving offspring more likely.

Being a savant hardly increases your chance of offspring; on the contrary I suspect it lessens the chance given that the usual image of a savant is one who has mental issues of one sort or another, but who also seems to excel at a small number of things beyond what most would have even thought possible.

Does this sound a sexually attractive partner ? Is it going to help care for any offspring that may arise for an relationship ? Evolution is likely to work against this, and it would end up occuring by random again and again if it is to be seen at all.
"hat tan" ?!?!? where the hell did that come from? Clearly I wrote "that an"
Kim Peak was an exceptional case - Unlike most savants he had different Brain physiology. His Brain was not seperated into two hemispheres.

He could do a lot more than "party tricks" for example he could read two books at the same time one with each eye and had I belive 90% recall of what he had read.
I just checked on Kim Peak (Rain Man) and the hemispheres of his brain were indeed separate! -he could recall the content of at least 12,000 books from memory. Yet required assistance from his father to get dressed....
Kims surname IS,of course PEEK. Which even further increases my feelings of inferiority to such a great mind!

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