Evolution and humans:big brain size and food supply (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, June 22, 2017, 18:43 (389 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: He thinks the larger brains resulted from larger social groups. Dhw would agree. And I would state the opposite. The origin of a bigger brain allowed the larger social structures….
dhw: I would not agree. If I adopted your dualistic approach to the source of consciousness, I would argue that new concepts demanded the larger brain for their realization, and these new concepts contributed to the success of the group, which therefore itself grew larger and larger. Concepts first, large brains second, realization of concepts third, large groups fourth.
DAVID: Again missing the obvious point. To use simple examples: H. habilis made simple tools and lived simply. H. erectus with a larger brain made more complex tools. Your claim is that habilis had concepts that forced enlargement, but the new tools are with erectus! Size first, use second. Your thoughts are totally backwards.

Again missing the obvious point that before habilis MADE his simple tools, he had to have the desire to make them. This is made perfectly clear by the next exchange:
DAVID’s comment: Once again, big brain first, use second.
dhw: But you say our unique cognitive ability is not caused by our large brain, which we/our consciousness use only to give material expression to the results of our deep thinking. You keep restricting the discussion to two stages of "brain and use" without defining use.
DAVID:You've forgotten I have defined use as survival activities. Tool making, etc.

Thank you. In the context of enlargement, that is the clarification I have been waiting for. We agree that brain enlargement precedes survival activities such as tool making. My point is that the CONCEPT of the tool must precede the making, and conceptualization according to you is independent of the brain. Therefore, just as the concept of reading demanded a rewiring of the illiterate women’s brains in order to be implemented, earlier concepts demanded enlargement for the same reason. So why assume that the process was reversed in earlier times, and the means of implementing the concept preceded the concept? In answer to the habilis and erectus comment: habilis’s simple tools required the first enlargement so that he could implement his simple but brand new concepts, and erectus’s new tools (plus use of fire, engravings and other more sophisticated advances) demanded another enlargement. Once more, we both want enlargement before realization, but you also want it before thought, although you believe that thought does not depend on the brain. (Of course the archaeological remains can’t tell us anything about the sequence.)

dhw: If you/your consciousness do not need the brain to do your thinking (as you have agreed), once more the sequence is: 1) concept; 2) big brain; 3)realization of concept (= use of brain).
DAVID: I don't know how you can describe my use of brain this way. My brain is my gateway to my consciousness.

As you keep agreeing and forgetting, you/your consciousness are an inseparable entity, and as explained above, your brain is the gateway through which you/your consciousness get your body to realize new concepts.

DAVID: Only the recent development of the H. sapiens brain, starting 350,000 years ago allowed the complexity that required densification. Your sequence is backwards. Our current modern brain is filled with concepts and shrinking. Why isn't it enlarging per your hypothesis?

Because there has to be a limit to enlargement, or you will end up with an elephant’s head on an ape’s body. Once the maximum size was reached, the only way new concepts could be implemented by the brain was through densification. Shrinkage is merely a by-product of the efficiency of densification.


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