Evolution and humans: big brain size or use (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, May 26, 2017, 13:56 (178 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: “Our use" once again separates identity from consciousness, which is not possible if you believe in an afterlife that preserves your conscious self. One level? Is your consciousness on the same level as your dog’s? What happened to self-awareness? And when you call your God a universal consciousness, do you mean his consciousness is on a level with yours and your dog’s?
DAVID: Your confusion about my concepts is due to the fact that I have had no philosophic training in dualism or any other approach to consciousness. I am my consciousness, I'm not separate, but I view consciousness as a mechanism I use while I am within it.

The confusion is not mine. If you agree that you are your consciousness, then you should stop trying to separate you from your consciousness when discussing whether the brain uses consciousness or consciousness uses the brain.
You said last time that there are no degrees or levels of consciousness, so do please answer the questions above.

dhw: If you think the cause of our enhanced ability to use the information is the complexity of our brains, that’s fine, but then you are a materialist. If you think it is due to our enhanced consciousness, you are a dualist.
DAVID: My concept is that it is the complexity of our brain that allows us to receive a complex consciousness for our use:

You have just agreed that you are your consciousness. So our complex brain allows our consciousness to receive our consciousness for our consciousness to use our consciousness. And you think I am confused about your concepts. Do you (your consciousness) use your brain, or does your brain use you (your consciousness)? Simple question. Please answer directly.

DAVID: A study of illiterate 30-year-old Indian women has shown they can learn to read quickly and the brain rewires itself in the process, since evolution has not prepared the brain for reading, although there is the preexisting speech area (Boca's):
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2132589-learning-to-read-and-write-rewires-adult-b...

QUOTE: "By the end of the study, the team saw significant changes in the brains of the people who had learned to read and write".
DAVID’s comment: It is obvious from this study that size and complexity come first and learned use is second, just as I hypothesize in the hominin brain development I've discussed. This study clearly shows brain size and complexity first, then learned use.

QUOTE: "The relatively young phenomenon of human literacy therefore changes brain regions that are very old in evolutionary terms and already core parts of mice and other mammalian brains." (David’s bold)
DAVID’s comment: Obviously I consider this a very important bit of evidence in deciding whether enlargement first and use second is the correct interpretation. Note my bolded area which indicates a very old evolutionary part of the brain is brought into play for a new use. The brain's ability to re-coordinate its connections is part of its plasticity. The neurologic abilities are there for the finding. Enlargement first!

The study shows very clearly that conscious effort (here, to read) can change the brain. It is the conscious effort that precedes and therefore causes the changes. However, the brain has, we presume, now reached a size beyond which it cannot go, and so the current changes take place within the already enlarged brain. So yes, the enlargement preceded all the changes that we see taking place NOW, and which would have taken place ever since the brain reached its present size. But the question is what caused the enlargement in the first place. The experiments show that it is not the brain which gives rise to new ideas (reading), but new ideas (reading) which change the brain. In other words, the brain changes in response to the new demands of consciousness. Why, then, if you believe that the brain is a RECEIVER and not a generator of consciousness, would the whole process be reversed in early humans and the brain change itself before consciousness makes its new demands? The experiments could hardly be clearer: demands come first, and they change the brain. Now it’s the “wiring”, but then it was the size.


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