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

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 06, 2017, 17:41 (169 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My thoughts come from the fact that chimps are conscious with their 400cc brain, but do not show evidence of consciousness. Consciousness appeared as brain size grew, and more complex use of the brain (based on demonstrated activities of daily living) appeared with each jump in brain size. In H sapiens full use appears to have taken place over 200,000 years, and caused the brain size to densify and shrink a little.

dhw: You could hardly make it clearer that you believe the (expanded) brain was the source of (expanded) consciousness. It may well have been. Congratulations on your decisive embrace of materialism. Unfortunately, this totally contradicts your other belief that consciousness is an entity separate from the brain and the body, comes from God (not from the brain, which is only a receiver), and returns to God complete with your identity once the brain and body are dead.

You have continued to completely misunderstand my theory. A larger brain as a receiver developed an expanded use of the consciousness mechanism (immaterial) because of its size and increased complexity. A smaller earlier brain could only use a smaller amount of consciousness. Use of consciousness is a learned process. Logical thinking is a learned process:


"Freshmen and seniors at about 200 colleges across the U.S. take a little-known test every year to measure how much better they get at learning to think. The results are discouraging.
At more than half of schools, at least a third of seniors were unable to make a cohesive argument, assess the quality of evidence in a document or interpret data in a table, The Wall Street Journal found after reviewing the latest results from dozens of public colleges and universities that gave the exam between 2013 and 2016. (See full results.)
At some of the most prestigious flagship universities, test results indicate the average graduate shows little or no improvement in critical thinking over four years."

dhw: You can only remove this contradiction if you argue that the jumps and complexities were the result and not the cause of increased consciousness.

Opposite to my belief. Larger brain receives more consciousness and learns to use it more extensively all through human evolution.

DAVID: Of course there was a degree of complexification during the first 189,000 years of H sapiens, but a critical mass of complexity to cause densification only came 11,700 years ago. And since then the brain has been used in massive new ways. Civilization as we know it is less than 10,000 years old!

dhw: Thank you. The brain reached its maximum size 200,000 years ago, and apparently there was a degree of densification/complexification for 188,300 years, then an unexplained intensification of densification/complexification 11,700 years ago. (Wonderful language, this, and amazing mathematical precision!) Having already hung around for 188,300 years doing a “degree” of complexifying, the big brain can hardly have been the cause of the sudden intensification, so this can only have come about through an increase in consciousness which caused complexification because the brain could no longer expand in response to the uses which consciousness demanded of it. Ergo, increased consciousness does not depend on increased size of the brain. Go back to the beginning: just as increased consciousness causes complexification, it must also have caused expansion.

Totally backward. The brain receives consciousness as a mechanism and learns to use it. Consciousness is barely present in a newborn. The 25 year old has a fully developed use of consciousness. The pattern is the same as in the appearance of H. sapiens 200,000 years ago. Look at your twins. The pattern is right in front of you.

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