Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, April 08, 2020, 10:31 (480 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The point of my comment: 'Lots of new sized brains but not much advancement'. Meaning not much real new thinking, which dhw's theory demands!! Has dhw ever found third-party support for his theory? Not here.

Re “not much advancement”, I pointed out that once expansions had taken place there were long periods of stasis. I quoted: “each phase [...] started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow”. I suggest that it was new thinking that demanded the effort which led to each expansion. Why don’t you concentrate on the arguments instead of looking for other people’s opinions and quoting articles that don’t deal with the subject?

QUOTE: "A stimulating environment can increase the proportion of glial cells and the high ratio could possibly result from Einstein's life studying stimulating scientific problems." (dhw’s bold)

dhw: This is a highly significant quote: the author regards it as possible that Einstein’s brain changed AS A RESULT of thought - here the EFFORT to solve problems. That is the key to my theory.
DAVID: A very speculative comment, with no support in the literature I've reviewed today:

Well, there we are: a comment that supports my theory, and the literature you’ve reviewed does not deal with expansion. You go on to quote two articles which tell us absolutely nothing relevant, so I’ll just quote your conclusion:

DAVID: Glial cells are support cells and do communicate with neurons. How they contribute to intelligent thought is still unknown.

And it is still unknown whether the brain is the source of thought (materialism) or is just used and when necessary changed by the thinking soul (dualism) as it implements the latter’s concepts.

dhw: The soul which uses the small brain has the original idea, but the small brain cannot implement the idea, and therefore responds to the soul’s efforts to implement the idea. Similarly, if Einstein had a soul (dualism), or if the thinking section of his brain (materialism) came up with a problem (the initial concept), the effort to solve it may have caused the responses that made his brain different from other people’s.

DAVID: Wow: your finally explained concept is the thinking soul forces enlargement, or with Einstein, the thought effort made his brain very different. Either soul or natural thought recognize the current brain is inadequate and must be improved (enlarged), but only by force of effort.

What’s the “wow”? I don’t know why you bring in “recognition”, but otherwise you’ve simply tried to rephrase what I wrote in much clearer terms!

QUOTE "From an evolutionary perspective, the specific parts of Einstein’s prefrontal cortex that appear to be differentially expanded are of interest because recent findings indicate that these same areas increased differentially in size and became neurologically reorganized at microanatomical levels during hominin evolution in association with the emergence of higher cognitive abilities." (David’s bold)

DAVID: […] It all fits my commentary about enlarged brains and the ability for advanced concepts and designs by the brain /soul complex.

dhw: There is no mention of a soul, and the association with higher cognitive abilities fits my own theory just as well as it fits yours […]

DAVID: Another U-turn in your previous thinking. Remember our arguments about the brain as a blank slate. One point we agreed upon was a sizable genetic input. Einstein had a fascinating one based on his early years. See next entry which fully refutes your suppositions about him.

It was you who insisted on a blank slate, and I objected vehemently because of the “sizable genetic input”. What is the U-turn? Nobody knows whether the materialist’s brain or the dualist’s soul is the source of thought, but whichever is the truth, it makes no difference to the argument that thought can cause changes to the brain! The article tells us all about Einstein’s struggles as a child. Your comment is as irrelevant to the subject of expansion as the article itself:

DAVID: There is no question he was born with a strange brain, contra to your attempts to squeeze him into an example of your unsupported theory of brain expansion. Dyslexia is common and often comes with brilliance. My wife is one, and I've worked a small number of others who fit the point.

If you think his strange brain was the cause of his brilliance, then please stop pretending to be a dualist. As far as my theory is concerned, it was you who first raised the subject of Einstein, and you’ve since quoted articles that emphasize several peculiarities in his brain. This can be used as evidence for materialism, but it cannot remove the possibility that his thoughts also caused changes to his brain, as speculated in the quote above, and as illustrated by other examples such as the effort to read, to memorize, to play an instrument. I see these examples as support for my theory that the effort to perform new tasks changes the brain and therefore may (it’s a theory) have been the cause of pre-sapiens expansions. There is absolutely nothing in any of your quotes and articles that even deals with the subject, let alone “refutes” my proposal. And I still wait to hear what facts you can come up with in support of your own.

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