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

by dhw, Monday, February 19, 2018, 13:57 (295 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are equating implementation with enlargement, when the only fact we have is shrinkage. I'll stop with that in my theorizing.
dhw: But you don’t stop with that! You propose that your God enlarged the material brain, and only then were pre-sapiens able to think up their new concepts and implement them. And yet in complete contradiction you also hypothesize that the material brain is NOT responsible for thinking up concepts, which are produced by the immaterial self/soul (dualism).
DAVID: My software (s/s/c) hardware (brain) concept makes that issue entirely clear to me.

It makes the second point clear. Dualism involves TWO separate entities that work together. The contradiction is with the first point. If the software (soul/self/consciousness) does the thinking and the hardware (brain) does the implementing, you cannot argue that the soul cannot THINK without the brain. Your prime evidence for your dualism is NDEs, in which the soul THINKS without the brain.

DAVID (later in the post): I am firmly a dualist. My material body can only sense my s/s/c if my brain is functional. You can follow my reasoning if you accept the concept that our consciousness is a quantum state mechanism that is part of God's universal consciousness. In that way consciousness mechanism is material (quanta) construction but its thoughts are immaterial. I'm agreeing with Penrose.

Phew! At least I was able to understand your hardware/software analogy, demonstrating the clear division between thinking soul and implementing hardware. But I have no idea what a “quantum state mechanism” is or how it works in your hypothesis. Please tell us whether you think this quantum state mechanism is part of the brain or part of the soul, and whether it survives the death of the brain in the afterlife you believe in. Do you think God’s consciousness is a quantum state mechanism, or does it exist independently of quanta? Please forgive my ignorance.

dhw: And you also ignore the fact that there is no evidence of the brain modifying itself BEFORE implementation of concepts, whereas we know that it does modify itself as a RESULT of implementation, and enlargement is a form of modification.
DAVID: Again manipulating the word modification to cover over the fact that new use makes the brain shrink.

No manipulation. Nobody knows why the brain expanded, so we hypothesize. We know that sapiens brain has stopped expanding (at least for now), that new use makes the brain complexify, and that sapiens complexification has been accompanied by shrinkage. These two processes are modifications which take place as a RESULT of new uses and not in anticipation of them. Enlargement is also a modification. It is therefore not unreasonable to propose that the so far unexplained enlargement might also have been the RESULT of new uses and not the cause.

dhw: Most innovations would require changes elsewhere to accommodate them, and all changes would have been impossible without plasticity. However, none of them support your hypothesis that your God made all the changes BEFORE circumstances required or allowed them, as opposed to their taking place in RESPONSE to the conditions.

DAVID: You are ignoring the point that a designer can run evolution by his plans for advancement. This removes from the equation 'circumstances required or allowed'. You are still stuck in Darwin and survival of the fittest. I propose God speciates. You are still with speciation from necessity and pressure from nature. I'm not.

I understand your point that your God could do anything he liked. But since you accept Darwin’s theory of common descent, and you cannot decide whether God did or didn’t control every environmental change in the history of the Earth, and since it is sheer common sense that organisms must be able to live in their environment, I humbly suggest to you that it is not unreasonable to suppose that innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders extant and extinct were/are a response to the demands and the opportunities arising from environmental conditions, as opposed to their being created in advance of those demands and opportunities. Please note, necessity and pressure are one of the driving forces – as we know from modern adaptations – but improvement is another, though of course improving chances of survival is one form of improvement.

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