Big brain evolution (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, January 19, 2018, 13:41 (32 days ago) @ David Turell

I am going to juxtapose some of our exchanges for the sake of continuity and clarity.

DAVID: As miraculous as my God doing it. I don't believe the small brain has an idea before expansion. The bigger brain has the new idea and implements it, per artifacts appearing with it. DHW's idea is discontinuous with the earlier brain having the idea which then can't happen until he new brain appears.

dhw: Now you, the dualist, tell us that the bigger brain has the new idea! Dualists believe the self/soul/consciousness has the ideas, but on Wed, 17 January you dispense with your dualistic soul altogether! As for discontinuous: no. Soul of hominin with small brain has idea, and effort to implement idea causes brain to expand, so appearance of artefact and appearance of enlarged brain coincide in one continuous process. The discontinuity lies in your dualistic version, which you have suddenly forgotten about: sudden expansion of BRAIN for no reason, but only then can SOUL come up with new ideas.

DAVID: You have forgotten I write brain and imply s/s/c in action as understood. We've covered this, but you keep editing my writing. Sudden expansion is God in action.

There is no editing. I have reproduced your comment in full and exactly as you wrote it. You have stated categorically and repeatedly that the brain has the idea, just as you have stated in the past that mental activity is biochemical. You unthinkingly keep reverting to materialism whenever you claim that the new concept cannot be conceived without the larger brain. Perhaps that is why you have argued that my hypothesis is discontinuous. What is discontinuous is the dualistic argument that the soul is the source of new ideas, but can only have new ideas when the brain has already expanded - an argument which underpins materialism.

dhw: The soul (if it exists) uses the brain to provide the information it thinks about, and it uses the brain to implement its ideas. You have agreed to this over and over again (see your post under “brain damage”, 13 January at 01.05), as exemplified by your facile computer image, in which the software (soul) provides the idea, and the brain (computer) implements it.
DAVID: Good explanation.

So please bear it in mind when arguing that “the bigger brain has the new idea”, and mental processes are biochemical, and new concepts can only be conceived once the brain has already expanded.

DAVID: There is no reason why the brain could not expand more. It was 150 cc bigger earlier in sapiens existence. If there is no reason for it to expand it supports my contention that this is God's goal/endpoint for evolution.
dhw: So your God decided to stop expansion, whereas you can envisage current humans in current conditions with elephant-sized heads, and you don’t think that would pose problems for the rest of the anatomy. I can’t.
DAVID: We shrunk 150 cc. We can easily add it back anatomically, but I doubt that will happen. Elephant heads on humans will never appear, and you know it. We are at God's endpoint, as you have demonstrated.

Complexification has resulted in shrinkage, so there is room for another 150 cc., but we don’t need it – at least under current conditions. However, if you agree that elephant heads on humans would be anatomically impractical, then physical limit has nothing to do with your God’s endpoint or goal, and everything to do with anatomical practicality.

DAVID: Of course it is God's goal. We survived well with it until 30,000 years ago when concepts and implementation exploded. Proof that our current brain is not needed for survival, but despite Darwin's theory about survivability as a major driving force, it is here.
dhw: I have added improvement to survivability as a major driving force. You are discussing this with me, not with Darwin.
DAVID: Darwin always lurks in the background as we discuss evolution. I think survivability is an overrated concept. I have always felt God created the evolutionary process to create complexity. 99% of species are gone. That is non-survival to prove the point and all the complexity didn't work. Not all 'advances' are improvement as I've shown in the whale series which is just an experiment in complexity.

We’ve discussed this many times. You claimed that the cessation of expansion proved we were God’s “endpoint”, which it doesn’t. Perhaps that is why you switched the discussion to Darwin and survivability?

dhw: Incidentally, I don’t know where your figures come from. Most websites suggest sapiens goes back 200,000 not 300,000 years, but nobody knows for sure, just as nobody knows for sure when erectus became extinct (one website suggests as recently as 20,000 years).
DAVID: You have forgotten the recent finding of a Moroccan sapiens fossil dated at 300,000 years ago.

I had indeed. Thank you.

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