Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 01, 2020, 19:21 (205 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] why is it illogical to claim that in the past the brain may have changed (either through complexification or enlargement) in the course of implementing new ideas, when we know for a fact that this is true of the modern brain?

DAVID: And I'm pointing out the current brain is, yes, a reflection of past brain development, but please remember our brain has shrunk 125 cc in 30,000 years, so it has very different more advanced set of attributes, and cannot be specifically applied to past brains and how the past brains might have worked and changed.

dhw: You keep agreeing that shrinkage must have been due to the efficiency of complexification, which took over when the maximum capacity had been reached. There is absolutely no reason why the current known process should NOT be applied to the past: more advanced sets of attributes would apply to every expansion and every complexification resulting from the implementation of new ideas. Nobody “knows” why or how past brains expanded – the only knowledge we have comes from our observation of the modern brain, so what is the rest of the “knowledge” you are referring to?

You are, as usual, ignoring the gaps in brain size, 150 cc each time with new artifacts.


dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!

Exactly, but your backwards interpretation is not mine: big newer brain appears and the artifacts demonstrate the new brains' new abilities. That is how all archaeological articles I read interpret them. In your weird approach I can image the artifacts came first and then the brain enlarged from its efforts. How do you timeline the separate events?

DAVID: Your concept: The habilis brain thinks of a new tool but cannot conceive of how to make it so it expands itself to have a brain that can adequately make the new tool.

dhw: No! Habilis thinks of a new tool (no matter whether you believe it is the soul or the brain that does the thinking), and the effort to design and make it CAUSES the brain to expand, just as the effort to read, memorize etc. CAUSES the modern brain to complexify or expand in particular areas.

Again, confusing our modern brain and its different capacities from the past brains. Our brain has shrunk 150 cc in 30,000 years as we learned many new concepts while enlarging small specific areas


DAVID: I find that totally illogical. An earlier brain cannot think about what it needs in future. It can't see the future which is why we naturally think if it as a smaller more primitive brain.

dhw: The earlier homo doesn’t think about what it needs in future! It thinks about how it can improve its responses to the needs of the present! We think of it as a smaller brain because it WAS a smaller brain, and we think of it as more primitive because the improvements only became visible once the brain had expanded!

But it is limited to only what its soul can conceive of, using a less complex brain.


DAVID: Again a strained concept to have natural evolution, no God, or with lip service to theism, have God give them a mechanism to do it on their own, giving up His control of evolution. Total contortions.

dhw: There is no contortion. If God exists, he would have created the mechanism. Why is it a contortion to hypothesize that God might have WANTED to give evolution free rein as opposed to his WANTING to control everything? It is simply an interpretation of his actions and wishes that differs from yours, which you seem to think is the objective truth about something that nobody can possibly know.

We each discuss our viewpoints about God from how we conceive of God. Adler has guided me as to how to do it properly.


DAVID (under “cerebellar contributions"): the development of language has caused our cerebellum to assume new functions beyond the usual sensory-motor functions that were well understood.

dhw: Yes, an example of how new demands cause changes to the brain. The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.

But as usual you forget. In anticipation of our newer developing functions, such as grammatical language our complex brain has been given excellent plasticity to make all the necessary adaptations and still shrink 150 cc in 30-35,000 years.


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