Jim, of course you're right -- but I don't think I'm making myself entirely clear here.
I used to build robotic systems. The simple task of picking up your foot and pressing on the brake of your car to stop at a redlight is a phenomenally complex problem to solve with an electro-mechanical device. The controls are cumbersome and the software would be extremely expensive.... yet we can do it with our brains very easily -- and without langauge -- it is just congition of a different type.
I also don't use langauge when I'm solving an engineering problem that involves geometry -- I'm thinking spatially.
The brain is not a monolithic processor -- it is more like a network of specialized, distributed systems (which includes the spinal chord and central nervous system -- we often try to think of the brain as the football shaped thing inside our skull). Different parts of it control language and speech, vision, motor control, autonomic function, etc.
That's why stroke victims have many different kinds of problems depending upon the specific damage to the brain. I had one friend who was an accountant until he had a stroke and the specific area of the brain that allowed him to do math was wiped out -- language still worked -- as did everything else -- but he couldn't even count to three.
A study of neurolinguistic programming reveals that different people favor different processing centers and there are three main types of people -- visuals (that's me) -- audios (that's probably Brad) -- and Tactiles -- not sure we have one here.
Interestingly too -- I read a study six or eight months ago that compared MRI scans adults with children who were processing different kinds of problems -- and the children (even geniuses and gifted) only used the primitive portion of the brain that is considered to be responsible for emotion -- it isn't until adulthood that we start using the higher functioning levels.
[This message has been edited by Local Rebel (12-14-2002 07:35 PM).]