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

by dhw, Monday, June 19, 2017, 13:22 (885 days ago) @ David Turell

I am transferring this from the cave thread to the big brain thread, as it is more appropriate.

dhw: Have palaeontologists proved that a 200 cc (average) increase occurred BEFORE improved artefacts appeared, as opposed to the appearance of improved artefacts coinciding with a 200 cc (average) increase?
DAVID: What paleontologists find is that with each change in frontal brain size the early homos do more complex things like stone tools, conquering fire, wearing hides, etc. Each step in size works this way.

But what they cannot tell us is whether the expansion took place BEFORE the new concepts or as a RESULT of new concepts requiring expansion before they could be realized (just as the brain rewires itself as a RESULT of new concepts).

dhw:I don’t understand your reference to shrinkage and smaller steps. I thought shrinkage only started to occur 12,000 years ago, when the maximum size had long since been reached, and so densification took over from enlargement.
DAVID: Increasingly intense use over the past 50,000 years resulted in densification and shrinkage when the usage of the plastic brain became intense enough. Early usage was obviously not that intense, and nothing happened except which each new +200cc fossil the obviously had more mental ability, which it then had to learn at that new stage.

“Usage” of the brain could refer to immaterial concepts or to material realization of concepts, so we need to distinguish between them. We could say our earlier ancestors had room for brain expansion, which took place as a RESULT of new concepts and enabled these concepts to be realized, but when there was no more room for expansion, new concepts RESULTED in densification, whose efficiency was such that the maximum size was no longer required - hence shrinkage. Logical?

dhw: We should also be quite clear about your own theory. Are you saying that at regular intervals, your God dabbled with the brain, increasing its volume by 200 cc (average), and only after each increase were humans able to come up with new concepts?
DAVID: Yes
dhw: If so, how does this fit in with your belief that concepts are the product of the conscious self, which is independent of and survives the death of the receiver brain?
DAVID: Because I view the brain as a material computer receiver of the software consciousness, and I am the operator of that setup…….

This does not alter the fact that you believe "you" and your inseparable consciousness ARE the operator and form an inseparable entity that conceptualizes independently of the brain.

DAVID:…just as you sit at your computer and compose thoughts to me. I know the software (consciousness) can separate from me in NDE's, and therefore at fully realized death. It all fits what we know.

You keep agreeing that consciousness is NOT separable from “me”, and now you want to separate it again (until NDEs and death)! If you/your consciousness are a separate entity from the brain and live on after the death of the brain, then you/your consciousness must be capable of conceptualizing without the brain, which at all times according to you is only a RECEIVER. This contradicts the claim that humans were unable to come up with new concepts until the brain expanded.

dhw: I’d better repeat that I am basing these arguments on YOUR beliefs. I remain undecided between dualism and materialism.
DAVID: I understand.
Thank you. I may eventually return to my attempts to find a compromise between the two.


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