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

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 20:39 (130 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Firstly, your attempt to “debunk” my theory does not tell us what other “knowledge“ you were referring to. Please identify it. Secondly, learning to read is not a matter of learning words but of learning a process (implementing a concept) that was new to the women themselves, and it proves that the brain responds to the demands made on it.

DAVID: Learning a concept of reading is not the same as originally creating a concept of reading, which is the difference in our thoughts about our argument about how the brain enlarges.

dhw: Of course it’s not the same, but that is not the difference between us! Our starting point is that nobody knows how or why the brain expanded. Your theory is that God preprogrammed or dabbled each expansion, and only then were our ancestors able to come up with new concepts. (We’ll ignore the dualism versus materialism debate.) I propose that it was the act of implementing new concepts that CAUSED the expansion. That is the difference between us, and my point is that the ONLY definite knowledge we have is of the modern brain, in which new activities complexify or enlarge part of the brain:

We are arguing the same point in at least two threads, I have the same problem is each thread. Nebulous implementation causes the brain to enlarge. Tell me your idea as to how that makes a brain enlarge 200 cc in each gap in the fossils we deal with

dhw: the illiterate women’s brains do not change in advance of their learning to read (something new for them) but because of it. From this known fact I have extrapolated the theory that the same process would have caused earlier expansions. You don’t believe that the smaller brain can come up with new concepts, but you admit that we don’t know whether Einstein’s new concepts arose from an existing thicker brain area, or his thinking was the cause of the thickening. I opt for the latter, on the grounds that we know for a fact that activity changes the brain. (This would be true regardless of materialism versus dualism.) The problem is exactly the same: was the inventor of the new concept – say, the spear – born with the bigger brain, or was the bigger brain developed by his/her thinking (designing and implementing). Answer: we don’t know. Once again: The only concrete evidence we have is that new activities change the modern brain through complexification and/or localized enlargement. We have no evidence that the expansion preceded the concept that led to its design and implementation (although of course new concepts would have continued to arise once the new brain was in place - until once more expansion became necessary.)

The factual evidence we have is a 200 cc jump in brain size comes with newly complex artifacts. You contort this into an old brain jumps in size from the strain of trying to think and imagine a new invention. Einstein is of no help as you admit. Geniuses are born that way, not created by their thinking enlarging their brain. As far as I am concerned you have a barren concept for brain enlargement. I think God enlarges/complexifies the brain for the soul to use. All your examples are the brain learning to use/ memorize a concept they are taught, nothing more.


dhw: Your post is merely distinguishing between different categories of new concept.

DAVID: Your categories are blatantly wrong. Creating a new concept is NOT the same as learning an existing concept. You can't twist out if it. Creating a new concept involves much new analysis and finally a design.

dhw: Agreed (apart from “blatantly wrong”!). In my theory, new analysis and design (invention) and theorizing (Einstein) are activities that cause changes to the brain, just as learning to implement the existing concept of reading, or acquiring additional knowledge (taxi-drivers) or skills (musicians) change the brain. But only the last three examples have been proven to be true, and it is from these that I have extrapolated my theory. You wrote: “Please use all our knowledge. Don't just pick out part of what we know to further your argument.” Now please tell us what further knowledge you have to support your own theory and to “debunk” mine.

Same lame examples of the brain learning a new task, no concepts invented which is the real issue about fossil brain gaps and artifacts found. Your so-called concept of brain enlargement is a dead end using tiny areas of enlargement as an excuse for the consideration. Small areas of the brain enlarge from use in learning a new ability, the only enlargement we can actually track. Tiny compared to 200 cc. jumps. The brain went from 400 cc (chimp) to over 1,400+ cc 35,000 years ago and then lost 150 cc. It is not just size but also complexity and plasticity. Earlier brains had some plasticity, if we assume evolution builds on past attributes.


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