Evolution and humans: brain plasticity ; learning to read (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, October 05, 2018, 09:33 (45 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This explains why we developed complex spoken language perhaps 50,000 years ago and written and read language only 5,000 years ago. We had to develop the connections in different functioning parts of our brains. It means our brains had to be designed with plasticity in anticipation of the requirements the addition of language would bring. I see God the designer at work. We still haven't found written records for the Aztecs, but knotted cords of a partially deciphered code.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23931972-600-we-thought-the-incas-couldnt-write-...

TONY: Both these networks have always existed, these networks are able to build a correlation between sight and sound in less than 5 years, yet we are expected to believe that this took 45k years to develop? I find that highly suspicious. I would wager money that circumstance, not biology, prevented writing from being developed. Small communities with a strong oral tradition would have little need for it, honestly, and necessity is the mother of invention.

dhw: I agree. The brain’s plasticity was always there, and it is not new connections that enabled humans to invent reading and writing, but the invention of reading and writing that demanded new connections. However, David generally seems to think his God changes brains and bodies in advance of requirements instead of in response to them.

DAVID: No! God gave the brain the plasticity in advance to respond exactly as the article describes. Clever design.

What I (and I think Tony too) objected to was plasticity “in anticipation of the requirements the addition of language would bring” and the suggestion that it took 45,000 years for the brain to make the new connections which would enable humans to read and write. Plasticity is essential for the implementation of every single new concept, but as the article shows, it is the implementation that causes the new connections – not new connections giving rise to new concepts. However, if all you intended to say was that the plasticity of the brain must have been designed, I’m sure Tony would agree, and I shan’t disagree, but will leave open my options as to what did the designing.
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