Evolution and humans: more on learning to read (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, November 11, 2018, 17:40 (32 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We know that exercise, in the form of implementing new concepts, changes the sapiens brain, even to the extent of expanding certain sections of it, and so I don’t know why you think it is a non-answer to propose that exercise, in the form of implementation of new concepts, also changed the brain, even to the extent of expansion, in the past. I suggest that apes stayed as they were because they did not have the new concepts which required expansion of the brain. The split between apes and pre-humans may have occurred when, for whatever reason, a particular group or groups descended from the trees. This entailed a new way of life, which inevitably would have entailed new concepts, and hence changes to the brain. You seem to think that because some apes left the trees, all apes should have left the trees. Once the brain had expanded, yes, it may well have come up with more new concepts before these in turn required greater capacity and so on until the brain reached its optimum size in sapiens, and then complexification took over.

DAVID: Once again you have successfully ignored the gaps in skull size in the fossil record. Of course exercise affected changes in the brains of any given size at any point in human evolution. Based on Lucy evidence, what left the trees, to some degree was something different than the species of apes that did not experience any morphological changes and stayed in the trees. Lucy was definitely transitional. What you don't seem to realize is Lucy was the beginning of leaving because she was different, as were her type. Of course all apes didn't leave because they weren't changed! Evolution drives the future for species as their phenotype changes. I say God made the changes in Lucy's group, because logically the unchanged apes who stayed in the trees had no need to leave. I say God drives evolution, and you have natural theories as to what made evolution happen.

dhw: You say your God preprogrammes or dabbles evolutionary change in advance of need, and I say evolutionary change happens in response to need (and/or opportunity). I have not ignored the gaps; I have tried to explain them, although in fairness we can hardly expect to find a complete line of fossils from 3 million years ago onwards. We were incredibly lucky to to find Lucy. And of course she was different from the apes who stayed in the trees, and of course she was transitional. That is the whole point! A tree-dweller that left the trees would still have tree-dwelling characteristics as well as ground-dwelling characteristics. “Logically the unchanged apes who stayed in the trees had no need to leave” seems to be the key to your thinking. We don’t know why Lucy and her ilk left the trees. She didn’t keep a diary. But, as explained above, it is not unreasonable to suppose that in a particular location a particular group of apes DID need to leave the trees. Or some apes decided to leave the trees and seek a new life, while the others decided to stay as they were. Your version also focuses on a particular group of apes up in the trees, but has your God fiddling with some bits of their anatomy (leaving the rest), and saying to them: “Now you lot will leave the trees, while the rest can stay where they are, because although I can design whatever I want to design, and I actually want to design H. sapiens, I want to design you as the first of a whole bunch of transitional forms.” Yes, I find my hypothesis more natural, whether your God exists or not. Meanwhile, since you agree that exercise changes the brain, why can’t you agree that the new way of life, i.e. the implementation of new concepts, would have changed the brain (and the body) of Lucy and all the other pre-sapiens?

Taking on your last sentence, I've agreed above that exercise changes the existing brain, just as the study shows. That doesn't explain the gap in brain size in the fossils we have. Darwin's hope is now expressed by you: gaps hopefully will be filled. And since Darwin died the gaps have not been filled but made to look much worse, especially with the new finds in China re' the Cambrian. Basically the findings have refuted all of Darwin's hopes of tiny steps. There is no question but that evolution is punctuated, not a step by step continuous process. Accepting that point, the issue between us remains: did Lucy come down from the trees and then change or was she changed so she could come down from the trees? We have no way of knowing, so each of us has a preferred view. I do not see a meeting point of minds.


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