Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Monday, January 29, 2018, 18:02 (324 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If the soul does the thinking, it does not depend on complexification or expansion of the brain to do its thinking!
DAVID: The s/s/c uses the brain to think in the living human. I view the s/s/c as software using the brain as computer. Sorry you won't accept this theory. The s/s/c using the brain sees to the implementation which obviously requires extensive planning or physical practice: throw the spear, learn to read, etc. I'm not sure what your concept of brain implementation implies, as compared to mine of 'putting into practice'.

dhw: Almost identical to my hypothesis, except that the s/s/c does not USE the brain to think. The s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and it uses the brain (computer) to give material form or expression to its thoughts/concepts (or “put them into practice”). And that is why it is topsy-turvy for you to claim that the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not think of its new concepts until the brain had already expanded.

What is not topsy-turvy is advanced thought requires a more complex cortex, as I've explained and you will not accept in the computer analogy and shown by level of artifact complexity. Otherwise we agree.


dhw: You keep agreeing that the soul does the thinking, and that new thoughts cause complexification: for a dualist it cannot be complexification of the brain that CAUSES thought.
DAVID: Sorry. The s/s/c uses the brain as a computer and it is use of the brain which causes it to ADD complexity and shrink from new uses.

dhw: Why “sorry”? Complexification means adding complexity! The “soul” has the idea, it uses the brain to implement the idea, and yes, yes, yes at last, this CAUSES the complexification, and when the pre-sapiens brain capacity was no longer adequate, implementation CAUSED the addition of new cells, as you explain below. (Shrinkage in sapiens results from the efficiency of complexification, which has made some cells and connections redundant.)

New uses add to existing complexity. And ALSO adds some neurons and many new connections while some become redundant. And the brain size shrinks!


DAVID: See my definition of implementation above. I disagree with your theory. S/s/c software uses brain as a computer. Implementation is the brain learning to handle a new process, throwing, reading, etc., by a few new neurons and lots of connective branching.

dhw: Precisely. When the pre-sapiens brain had exhausted its capacity for complexification, it implemented the soul’s new concepts (knapping flint, binding stone to shaft, throwing etc.) by adding NEW neurons and connections, and the addition of NEW cells led to expansion. You’ve got it!

You've misgotten it! Complexification shrinks the brain, is the only evidence we have!

DAVID: Why couldn't the erctus brain have some erectus geniuses around like we have to advance as quickly as we have? Your theory can't answer that, because the rapid advance like sapiens history requires a sapiens brain to do it. You have a theory which is entirely backwards.

dhw: And why did your God leave Homo erectus hanging around for one or two million years, when all he wanted was Homo sapiens? Mind the gap, indeed. However, my hypothesis answers all your questions. Organisms are autonomous, and every evolutionary advance originates with individuals/groups of individuals. So long as they survive, there is no need for change, but evolution also advances through a drive for improvement. After one or two million years of comparative zilch, genius erectus conceived some sort of improvement (we don’t know what) which required NEW neurons and connections, as a result of which the brain expanded to sapiens size.

Don't ignore artifactual evidence. Erectus didn't think of much because they couldn't.

dhw: Sapiens also survived perfectly well for a mere 270,000 years, but then some genius came up with new ideas for improvement. The rest, as they say, is history – improvement builds on improvement. Sapiens brain couldn’t expand any more, so implementing any more new ideas now led only to further complexification of the brain (so efficiently that the brain has shrunk). A logical chain of cause and effect, and if your God exists, he set it all in motion by endowing cells/cell communities – including hominids, hominins and sapiens – with their autonomous intelligence. Now tell me what part of the history is not explained by this hypothesis.

Your fairy tale of cell committees having so much autonomous intellgence, which is only seen at the single cell level, and is most probably automaticity of molecular actions.


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