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

by dhw, Saturday, June 10, 2017, 11:53 (165 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your statement is wrong as to my view. A larger brain allowed a more complex use of consciousness and therefore allowed complex conceptualizations to appear, if desired by the human using his brain. Not a cause, not required.
dhw: What do you mean by “allow”? If, as you believe, consciousness and the self are entities that are independent of the brain, you cannot possibly mean that consciousness and the self are incapable of conceptualization without the brain. What the brain does “allow” is for concept to be translated into action, but this means the concept must come first.
DAVID: I view the brain as my tool to use consciousness. I invent my concepts in my brain using my consciousness. In the NDE, the non-functional brain releases the consciousness which then has experiences, and when the consciousness return to the brain, the brain is able to transmit to me what happened during the NDE.

But you are as usual ignoring your own professed belief that there is an afterlife, and when you die, your self and your consciousness will survive the death of your brain! This means that you and your consciousness are an entity, as you keep admitting and then somehow forgetting. So it is you/your consciousness that invent your concepts and use your brain as a tool. And in the NDE it can only be you/your consciousness that transmit to your brain what happened to you during the NDE so that you/your consciousness can instruct your brain to perform the actions needed in order to tell other people about it.

dhw: The illiterate women desired the complex concept of reading, and this RESULTED in their using and restructuring their brain. You are now saying that the big brain does not cause conceptualization, so what DOES it do? With all your references to the mysterious gap of 190,000 years (possibly now increased to 290,000 years), the answer seems to be that it does precious little.
DAVID: For some reason you are not following what I write. Read my first statement as an answer to your comment:

You are right, I cannot follow at all. Read my first statement in answer to your first statement.

DAVID: The use of the big brain had to learned and its use in conceptualization exloded in the past 12,000 years, and only then did the brain shrink.

I agree: consciousness/the self learns to use the brain. And so I would start with the brain, not the big brain. As consciousness increased, pre-humans and then humans learned to use their brains, which expanded in accordance with new demands (= concepts conceived by consciousness). 200,000 years ago, the brain reached its big brain maximum. An explosion of concepts 12,000 years ago required restructuring of the brain, but as it could not expand, the restructuring had to be internal complexification (rewiring), which actually reduced the necessity for “size”.

dhw: …It is simply there. And presumably the brain saltations in pre-humans also served little or no purpose. Just God expanding the brain clump by clump up to the 200,000-year mark so that eventually, after another 190,000 years, homo sapiens would “learn to use” the final biggie, by which time it was inadequate!
DAVID: What was inadequate? It is perfectly adequate for us.

The brain cannot expand any more, and so in order to accommodate new concepts it has to keep rewiring itself.

dhw: Is the rewiring not an internal drive (though perhaps the process was designed by your God)? Does conceptualizing not precede the rewiring? Is it not a reversal of this known process to say that enlargement must precede conceptualization?
DAVID: The rewiring is recent once the brain is under much more complex use. 190,000 years of hunter-gatherer use and 12,000 years of much more complex use and then it shrinks. Why do you extrapolate backwards?

You claim that brain enlargement preceded conceptualization, but shrinkage denotes that rewiring replaced enlargement, and we know rewiring follows on from conceptualization. Your scenario therefore has restructuring (enlargement) followed by conceptualization; then you have conceptualization followed by restructuring (rewiring) – a reversal of the process.


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