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

by dhw, Friday, June 09, 2017, 19:07 (283 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We have no proof that thinking concepts enlarges the brain.
dhw: We have no proof that your God fiddled with the brain to enlarge it, or that the enlargement of the brain was the CAUSE of conceptualization, but you seem to believe it. And you may well be right, but that makes you a materialist.
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.

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. 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. 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! And then concepts came BEFORE structural change (densification)! All of this as you describe here:

DAVID: What we have is a little used H. sapiens brain from 200,000 years ago finally being completely used in the past 10-12,000 years of real civilization and the brain densifies and shrinks, all the opposite of your struggling theory to find an internal drive, not an external change by God.

dhw: You make it sound as if your personal belief is somehow the default position! The densifying of the brain is living proof that thought precedes structural change, and so that is quite clearly an internal drive. It may have been devised by your God (the external force), just like the process of thought enlarging the brain. The fact that the brain had reached maximum size 200,000 years ago and thereafter needed to densify rather than expand offers us a seamless process of thought expanding and then densifying the brain. As above, your theory has the brain changing before [consciousness] can conceptualize, and then suddenly you reverse the process and have conceptualization changing the brain. Not much logic in that.

DAVID: A total mischaracterization of my view. See above.

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?

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