Big brain evolution (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Friday, January 19, 2018, 19:50 (32 days ago) @ dhw

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.

dhw: There is no editing.... 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.

In my concept, the s/s/c can only use the capacity the brain presents. I still view he brain as compared to a computer and the s/s/c as the running software. I'm sure you know computers have an operating system. Windows One is much less complex than Windows Ten, because our current computers are complex enough to handle it.

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.

dhw: 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.

I will. Note the issue of brain development being required for baby learning:

"So, the experiment was simple: take a bunch of six-month-olds (28, in this case) and bring them into the lab monthly to perform the Piaget test while having their brain activity mapped using an EEG.

"The task the babies performed involved a researcher hiding a toy in one of two wells in a cardboard box set in front of the infant. If the toy was then successfully retrieved by the infant, showing that they remembered that the toy existed and where it was despite not being able to directly see it, the test was considered successful.

"How babies perform in this task tells us a lot about their development because it's a coordination of multiple skills,” explains co-author Leigha MacNeill. (my bold)

“'They have to remember where the ball was moved, which is working memory. They have to know an object exists even though it's out of sight, and they need to track objects moving in space from one place to another. All of this also required them to pay attention. So there's a lot going on.”

"The EEG took baseline readings while the babies watched spinning balls in a bingo wheel before measuring brain activity as the babies performed the A-not-B test.

"The results mapped neatly as a sigmoid curve: flat at six months, with barely any of the children passing the test, and a gentle curve flattening again at 12 months with most of the children reaching the milestone. The experimenters noted that there was also a lot of variation in development both between the different babies and in individual children over different testing sessions.

"In other words, science backs up your intuition. These results indicate that babies learn in punctuated bursts, not at a steady linear rate over time, and the timing of those bursts are as idiosyncratic as the children themselves. "

Comment: the main issue here is how fast the brain develops its cortical skills. The newborn does not have a fuctional cortex. All it has is the automatic functions necesary for life. The cortex is finally fully functional at 25 years of age! What the researchers are showing us is the punctuated rate at which the brain adds complexdity of the cortex. The same point fits the development of the homo brain in 150/200 cc burst during evolution. A brain can only produce through control by the s/s/c only as much as its complexity allows. Complexity first, artifacts second.

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