Big brain evolution: learning new tasks (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, April 30, 2018, 12:47 (231 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We know that the implementation of concepts causes brain changes in sapiens: complexification and limited expansion (with shrinkage probably as a result of efficient complexification). There is no reason to suppose that the same processes did not take place in pre-sapiens, with the brain and skull expanding when their capacity had been exceeded (as in the computer analogy below).

DAVID: Note you are still ignoring the bigger picture. The Mother's pelvis has to change at the same tine for all of this to work.

Any major change will require changes to the rest of the body! That is why I emphasize that the body is a community of cell communities which cooperate. Meanwhile, to stick to the subject of this thread, your belief that God had to engineer every single mutation himself does not alter the fact that we know implementation of thought changes the brain.

dhw: Your software/hardware analogy has the s/s/c doing the thinking and the hardware doing the implementing. When the software presents new concepts, you need to update your hardware. You do not stop producing new software because your computer can’t cope with new ideas. You wrote: “More complexity [of the brain] gives more complex concepts.” More complex hardware does not “give” more complex software.

DAVID: But you haven't recognized that human effort in computers upgrades software and hardware all at once in coordination. God speciates larger brains in the same way.

According to you, God provided the complex hardware (brain) and only then could pre-sapiens produce his new thoughts (software) – a clear sequence. We should stop faffing around with this unnecessary analogy. I suggest that the pre-sapiens s/s/c produced the concept and needed new brain capacity to implement it. You insist that the new capacity had to come first and only then could the s/s/c think of the new concept. The latter argument is pure materialism, whereas you claim to be a dualist.

dhw: You have just agreed that speciation can be the result of new levels of thought and implementation (= a new step) and now you say that is not what we see in evolution!
DAVID: The central theme of evolution is that tiny improvements in fitness can steadily accumulate resulting in a new species.
dhw: And now you scuttle back to the small-step gradualism that we have both rejected.
DAVID: And you want a giant jump in brain complexity and size due to the force of thought that may not exist in a brain not capable of handling that level of thought, all without remembering the Mother's pelvis has to change simultaneously, something you carefully never comment about.

Yet another switch of subject! I don’t comment on the pelvis when the discussion is about the brain, but see above for your answer. And yes, my hypothesis is that the pre-sapiens s/s/c was capable of new thoughts, the implementation of which required an increase in brain capacity, just as the sapiens s/s/c is capable of new thoughts, the implementation of which requires an increase in complexity.

dhw: I have stated that evolution proceeds through the drive for survival and/or improvement. A land animal may enter the water because that environment may offer improved chances of survival. But its mates may stay on the land and still survive. If it likes the new environment, it may improve its ability to live there by transforming its legs into fins. I don’t know why you find this logical progression so difficult to accept.

DAVID: Because of the enormous difficult to achieve physiological changes required that I have pointed out continuously. They require a tremendous number of coordinated mutations. Only design can do this. You have animals transforming their own limbs by force of wishing it so!

Not quite: I do not think a pre-whale says to itself: “I must change my legs to fins”, any more than the illiterate person says to himself/herself: “In order to read and write I must complexify my brain.” The s/s/c provides the thought, and the cell communities get to work to implement it. But I have always accepted your first objection: we know that the cell communities can achieve smaller changes (adaptations), but we don’t know the extent of their talents, which is why my hypothesis is a hypothesis and not a fact.


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