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

by dhw, Friday, March 13, 2020, 17:44 (121 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: That is the nub of our disagreement, in the context of both brain and evolution in general. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled all the major adaptations and innovations before they were required. I propose that they came about in response to new conditions.

DAVID: Of course we will always differ. From my standpoint chance never played any role. God created life and ran the entire process of evolution. The complexity disallows any chance for natural events.

How can you possibly equate intelligent responses to new conditions with chance? Your answer is a complete non sequitur.

dhw: If expansion had gone on indefinitely, we would have finished up with elephantine brains, no matter how many ounces or ccs each expansion was!

DAVID: No logic at all. Nothing elephantine needed. Erectus to sapiens is 200 cc. with huge difference in mentation. Another 100 cc would have added slight bulk and how much more mental ability might be very large. But our current brain is obviously quite sufficient to handle all issues. it needs no enlargement. Another wild conclusion from you to confuse the issue.
And later: DAVID: You are the illogical one who takes tiny enlargements in a beautifully functioning brain and blow it up into a theory as to why hominin and homo brains enlarged. All fluff. Nothing factual actually supporting the magical pipe dream.

We are trying to explain why the pre-sapiens brain expanded, but the sapiens brain stopped expanding and has actually shrunk. Of course the modern brain is sufficient, because complexification took over from enlargement and proved so efficient that the brain has actually shrunk. Please explain why it is illogical to suggest that if the brain enlarges on a small scale now, it might have enlarged on a large scale in earlier times. According to you, God preprogrammed or dabbled the whole process, each expansion taking place before it was needed. So please explain without any fluffiness why you think he stopped the expansion and engineered increased complexification (plus mini-enlargements) to take over, and why he then presumably decided that the brain was too big and needed shrinking. And what facts do you have to support your own “magical pipe dream”?

DAVID: Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.

dhw: You have totally missed the point of our whole discussion, which concerns the reason for each expansion. That is why I keep emphasizing that it is the first artefact that would have been the cause. Once the new brain is in place, it continues to produce new things until the next “big idea” requires further capacity. Each new capacity is “barely used” initially, and then it is used until it proves inadequate. Sapiens’ capacity would have arrived in the same way, but when new concepts had to be implemented, it complexified instead of expanding etc., as above.

DAVID: So false an approach. My thought above stands. It is conceiving of concepts that requires the larger brain to be present, not actually making the conceived product. Onc e in mind taht is simple hand work.

But according to you the brain has to be enlarged BEFORE it can conceive the concepts (though as a dualist you claim that the soul does the conceiving and only uses the brain for information and implementation). And you continue to ignore the only fact we actually know, which is that the modern brain shows us complexifications and enlargements as RESPONSES to new ideas, plans, desires, requirements, no matter how simple or complex the tasks may be. You yourself admit that we cannot “know” whether Einstein’s thicker brain sections were the cause or the result of his innovative thinking. See also your dualist’s dilemma in the parenthesis at the start of this paragraph.

dhw: You have no idea why your God would have made it bigger than necessary - “Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.” – whereas I have provided a logical explanation for the whole sequence.

DAVID: Only your illogical naturalism instead of God approach. But I forget, you sometimes throw in a little faux theism in that weird idea of a God, without much purpose, who lets organisms do their own thing.

It is none of the above! You refuse to look for reasons whenever I question the logic of your theories, and you try to divert attention by trivializing or distorting alternative explanations. My naturalism and “do their own thing” is not instead of God but allows for him to be the creator of the mechanisms, is not faux theism, is not “without much purpose”, and is no weirder than the God of your theory of evolution, who can think like us and is logical like us, except that he doesn’t think like us and we can’t understand his logic.


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