Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 12:52 (949 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I have already agreed that a brainless self will function differently from a self with a brain, and material life must be different from immaterial life. But that is not what we are discussing! You claim that your God had to expand the pre-sapiens brain before it was able to come up with new thoughts. Our discussion therefore concerns the relationship between s/s/c and brain during life, not possible differences between soul in life and soul in death. NDEs are only relevant insofar as they appear to provide evidence for dualism – namely, that the mind and body are separate entities. IF they are (please note the block capitals), the immaterial mind does the thinking and the material body/brain provides information and implements the thoughts. Information: “Me hungry, me see living meat, me often get hurt when get too close.” New thought: “Maybe make sharp weapon to throw from distance.” Makes sharp weapon, which requires new skills and therefore causes new changes to brain (pre-sapiens: probable complexification plus major expansion; whereas sapiens: complexification, limited minor expansion, but also shrinkage as some cells/connections no longer required). Concept first, brain change as a consequence. This dualistic hypothesis contradicts the materialistic hypothesis that the material brain is responsible for thought, and conforms to modern scientific research on how we change our brains (illiterates, taxi-drivers, musicians). As a dualist, why do you object?

DAVID: Your cute caveman dialogue befits your ability as an author of plays and Children's books but in no way offers an explanation of how pre-sapiens brains suddenly grew by 200 cc with each jump in the fossils. The only evidence we have is advanced artifacts related to larger fossil brains, indicating a larger brain has better conceptualization, nothing more. Since methods of operation in evolution uses previously developed operations, the only thing we can assume is that brain plasticity existed in the pre-sapiens and their brains responded like ours does so there is plasticity and specific brain area growth, but no change in brain/skull size. All we show is shrinkage since we arrived on the scene. I'll stick with God creating the growth.

Apparently we also show complexification and enlargement of specific areas, and if specific areas can expand now, clearly we cannot rule out expansion then – but simply on a greater scale, which required skull expansion as well. But nobody knows why pre-sapiens brains expanded.That’s why we have different hypotheses. “God did it” is yours, but if God had to do it before pre-sapiens could think up new concepts, that means the brain is the source of thought (conceptualization being a mental process). Welcome to materialism. The appearance of artefacts alongside expanded brains fits in with BOTH hypotheses: 1) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to implement the concept (mine, which fits in with dualism and materialism, as I hope eventually to explain); 2) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to think up the concept (yours, which = pure materialism). That is not to say that materialism is wrong. It simply contradicts your claim to be a dualist.

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