Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, April 04, 2020, 14:06 (207 days ago)

Our posts on this subject have switched between different threads. Entirely my fault, so I’m starting a new thread. My apologies.

dhw: How can you possibly reject the argument that nobody can know whether the first artefacts were produced by an already enlarged brain, or their design and production were the cause of the brain’s enlargement?

DAVID: Under your weird theory, the earlier homo wishes he had a bigger brain because he wants to throw something, better than a stone, needs to design it, but can't, and his wishes force the brain to grow in size?!!

Where does this “wishes” theory come from? When illiterates want to read, they try to read. They don’t say: “I wish I had a more complex brain so that I could read!” THE BRAIN RESPONDS TO THE EFFORT TO PERFORM NEW TASKS. This is an established fact. Please stop putting up silly straw men. And please answer the bolded question.

DAVID: I absolutely reject the idea that an earlier brain can think itself into a larger size, which is exactly what your theory gives us.

dhw: I note that you have reverted to materialism. As a dualist, do you absolutely reject the idea that the soul can influence the brain to the extent that it can change itself and even add connections?

DAVID: Will you please ignore my short hand! The modern soul/brain complex only tells us about tiny enlargements.

If the brain is responsible for thought (materialism) you might have a case – I tried to resolve the dichotomy with my “Theory of Intelligence” – but if the soul is responsible for thought, you are floundering. Why would the soul be incapable of having an idea based solely on EXISTING information? (We may have to develop this aspect of the subject.) And again you have avoided answering my question.

dhw: Do you honestly believe that every theist accepts your version of evolution and your explanation of brain expansion?

DAVID: i have no idea, but the ID folks are with me.

You say they don’t even mention God, so how can they be with you when you insist that God specially designed 3.X billion years’ worth of non-humans to eat one another until he could design us, and God expanded brains before souls/brains could come up with new ideas?

dhw: Now please tell me what logic and what facts support your theory that your God preprogrammed or dabbled each expansion BEFORE your dualist’s soul could come up with a new idea which did not require any new information?

DAVID: Same weird tale: wishing for some new complex abstract design hard enough grows a bigger brain which then designs it!

Same refusal to answer my question, and same silly insertion of your “wishing” theory.

QUOTE: "However, plant food in general yields considerably less energy and nutritive value than meat. Therefore, being able to hunt for large animals, which was only possible by using tools such as spears, made it possible for humans to sustain larger and more complex brains, which in turn allowed them to develop yet more intelligent and efficient tools." (David’s bold)

Yes, the larger brain would have required more feeding. Yes, once the brain had expanded, it would have been able to design and develop more intelligent and efficient tools. How does this invalidate the proposal that each expansion was triggered by a new concept from the smaller brain? How does it prove that developing and making the FIRST artefacts could not have been the cause of the expansion? See next quote:

QUOTE: "Until about 50,000–40,000 years ago the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise: each phase (habilis, ergaster, neanderthal) started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow.” (dhw’s bold)

Fits in perfectly with my proposal that the trigger for the expansion was a “higher level” of tool which the smaller brain could not design and make. “Further development was slow” is what I referred to as periods of stasis.

QUOTE: “After 50,000 BP, […] human culture apparently started to change at much greater speed….” Followed by lots of examples, which you have bolded. I’m not denying the leap forward!

DAVID: : The bolded statements, especially the first, fit my approach, to which you now seem to agree, that bigger, better brains (remember souls at work) create the better artifacts.

Of course they do. But our subject is what CAUSED each expansion! Not what happened AFTER each expansion.

DAVID: But then you strain credulity by imagining the earlier form absorbing current info thinks a new design might exist, and somehow grows a bigger, better brain to achieve the design. […]

Not “somehow grows”! As proven by modern science, it is the effort to perform a new task (designing, reading, memorizing,playing an instrument) that causes changes to the modern brain. It is not illogical to propose that it also changed earlier brains. Your quotes have offered no explanation for expansion, and nothing contrary to my theory.

DAVID: Note the authors use my approach: we had to learn to use our newly developed brain over the 315.000 +/- years it has existed. We were just like erectus at our start.

I have never denied the “Great Leap”! It followed a period of stasis. How does that prove that the initial expansion was caused by a divine dabble?


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