Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 04, 2020, 21:44 (571 days ago) @ dhw

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.

dhw: 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?

Of course the exiting brain/soul knows existing info. It is the conceptualizing of the new design that requires a more complex brain /soul to do the abstract thinking required for the newly visualized concept.

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

DAVID: but the ID folks are with me.

dhw: 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?

God is always implied when they discuss design in evolution.

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)

dhw: 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:

Total distortion of the meaning of their comment. No one in what I read makes that theoretical jump. They think that evolution caused the enlargement and bigger better brains make bigger better artifacts. We never see a discussion of your lonely theory .

dhw: 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)

dhw: 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.

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

I know that. God expanded. But at the natural level I see no one discuss your weird idea., and I've looked.

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. […]

dhw: 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.

The enlargements are small and involve primarily memory activity, not new abstract concepts, although you have sneaked design in your list of activities, and our only known example is Einstein, with a one centimeter enlarged area, and we cannot know if he was born with it or developed the tiny area from thinking. The quotes observe bigger brain and bigger, better artifacts, nothing more, but the implication is obvious. Except to you as your struggle to defend your weird extrapolation from our very advanced brain with its small logical expansions. My position is God expanded the brains and your natural theory is a non-starter.

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