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

by dhw, Saturday, June 17, 2017, 12:37 (1119 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes, But until my brain and consciousness reconnect, I have no knowledge of the episode.
dhw: Of course you do! It was you and your inseparable consciousness that consciously lived through and remember the episode. That is the whole basis of your belief in an afterlife in which the brainless you is still you! But until the reconnection with the brain, you and your inseparable consciousness have no way of communicating your knowledge of the episode to other people.
DAVID: Yes to your version. Or become aware of it to my wakened self.

No, your self was always awake, because otherwise it couldn’t have had the experience or instructed your wakened brain to communicate the episode to others.

dhw: And if you/your consciousness are a separate entity from your brain, as you believe, and you/your consciousness do the thinking, the activity of the brain can only be in response to the thinking, because according to you the brain is the RECEIVER of consciousness.
DAVID: Yes to your version.

Thank you. This must always be borne in mind during our discussion of conceptualization.

dhw: Either the brain creates all concepts or it doesn’t. If concepts depend on the brain, do you believe that in your afterlife you will be incapable of conceptualization? Yes or no.
DAVID: I use my brain to create concepts. Probably my self/consciousness is static, unchanging in afterlife, but following the NDE findings, has experiences.
dhw: Conceptualizing means forming ideas. Some NDE patients return with a totally different attitude towards life, and if experiences change attitudes, then clearly they are the trigger for new ideas.
DAVID: But only after the NDE is over and subject to wakeful analysis.

The wakeful analysis is done by your conscious self, which never slept. Once again: according to you, the awakened brain is only the receiver of the analysis.

dhw: Do you think you will have experiences in your afterlife without responding to them? How can you still be you and yet be a zombie?
DAVID: Once settled into afterlife I don't think there are any new experiences, just some telepathic communication with others, without advancing concepts.

I shudder to think of the unutterable boredom of an afterlife in which nothing new ever happens, but that is not the issue here. During the NDE, the patient did have new experiences which led to new concepts, and the brain played no role whatsoever in forming these because it was dead and knew nothing about them until it was resuscitated and informed by your conscious self.

dhw: In other words, the larger brain was needed in order to realize the concepts, just as rewiring is needed for more modern concepts. But rewiring is the result of the need, whereas you claim that enlargement is preparation for the need. It’s precisely the same argument as your claim that pre-whales and pre-humans underwent divine surgery before entering the water or descending from the trees, instead of responding to the demands or opportunities resulting from changes in the environment.
DAVID: Right. All an external drive from God.

The external drive would be your dabbling. What happened to preprogramming, which is an internal “drive” implanted by your God? Unless you think he personally reaches down and presses each individual switch in each individual organism for each individual change. An internal inventive intelligence (possibly designed by your God) is my equivalent of the internal preprogramming drive, but it is autonomous and not automated. It responds adaptively or creatively to current conditions, but does not look into a crystal ball.

dhw: God has his role in both scenarios. In my proposal, he would have invented the mechanism through which organisms are able to change themselves by adaptation and/or invention according to need or opportunity. Legs to flippers/bent to upright AFTER entering the water/descending from the trees, until they reach their final form; larger brains AFTER new concepts until they reach their final size. Then densification when size is no longer adequate.
DAVID: So we are back to chance or design, only in your version God provides a magical inventive system that does all the amazing modifications by itself. Bigger brains BEFORE concepts from IM foresight. So design still must come from God by proxy.

Chance versus design is not the issue, and the inventive system is not magical – it entails deliberate and calculated action, as organisms work out their own methods of coping with or exploiting the environment. And there is no foresight involved: organismal changes take place in response to the needs or opportunities that arise, e.g. bigger brains RESULTING from new concepts. But yes, the hypothesis allows for God being the designer of the whole system whereby cellular communities (including the brain) are able to restructure themselves in order to realize those new concepts.

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