Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, April 12, 2020, 11:57 (191 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You agree that the soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its ideas. I agree that the more information the brain has in store, the more complex the brain will be.

DAVID: Vast conceptual gulf: Only an initially complex brain can store more information.

More information than what? All brains are complex. The more information they store, the more complex they will be.

dhw: ...but the dualist’s soul can use existing information to come up with new concepts (the spear example). But it can’t develop them if the brain does not have the necessary connections or capacity. Hence development of concepts leads to brain complexification (proven) or expansion (proven on a minor scale).

DAVID: Totally backwards. What proof except tiny areas of our brain? The bold is your lonely theory only.

The bold is proven! Learning to read, memorizing maps, playing musical instruments entail mental developments which are known to change the brain by complexification or minor expansions.

DAVID: […] You still want giant jumps just from thinking.

dhw: Nobody knows why there were big jumps, but since we know modern brains change as a result of the above processes, it is not unreasonable to believe that the process might have been the same in the days when expansion was possible.

DAVID: The bold is your previous theory that you have accepted as a mantra, 'our brain can't anatomically enlarge any more'. Our brain could easily expand 200 cc as those previous expansions did. But, and don't you remember, over the recent past our brain is now 150 cc smaller!!! And still highly effective in its work.

This is becoming a cracked record. The human brain reached capacity, but as you keep agreeing, the efficiency of complexification has caused it to shrink, so it doesn’t need to “refill” the 150 cc!

DAVID: […] How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't.

dhw: I keep explaining it to you. All the new phases have been followed by long periods of stasis. If the new brain is adequate to the needs of its possessors, there is no need for major new concepts or artefacts. […] there is no “having to learn to use it”. We (H.sapiens) used it as needed until X, Y and Z came up with new ideas – just like my old homo and the spear. But our brains complexified instead of expanding.

DAVID: Which means our brain is a totally different sort of brain from those in the past! Obvious.

dhw: I would say that our brain is far more advanced, vastly more complex, but not “totally different”. Earlier homos would also have used their brains to gather information and implement their concepts.

DAVID: Of course those minds did it in their lesser way. You've not diminished the vast difference in how our brain works. […]

I have dealt with your time gaps, I have explained the importance of the FIRST artefacts for each new species, and now I’ve shown how our brains are not “totally different”. You ignore all these answers! I have always agreed that there is a vast difference.

dhw:If your God only deals with biggies, he must have created a mechanism which enables the brain to complexify and expand naturally, i.e. without his intervention. […] it is perfectly feasible that the unexplained expansions in earlier species could also have happened naturally through the same mechanism. Now please explain why you consider this theistic theory ”weird”.

DAVID: You are back to repeating a version of a humanistic God who gives up control to explain this most unusual brain we have now. Nice try sneaking your weird God into the conversation.

dhw: You have missed the point as usual, so I’ve bolded it now. Your silly “humanistic” argument has already been proved irrelevant by your own statements that he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, and why is it “weird” to propose a God who – while reserving the right to dabble - is interested in creating an ever changing spectacle of autonomous creatures rather than puppets, as actually exemplified by the free will you believe he has given to human beings?

DAVID: Jumping back to previous statements of mine out of the context of that time to avoid the argument, and returning to God-lite as you attempt to really image God as truer theists would. Really: a spectator God who watches all the nutty things folks do?

1. You have not explained why it is “weird” to suggest that your God’s mechanism enabling the brain to complexify and expand (on a small scale) naturally, could also have been the unknown cause of major brain expansion. 2. Your statements that God could very well think like us, probably has thought patterns etc. similar to ours, are not only perfectly feasible, but can hardly have any context other than the nature of God. Two days ago you wrote: “All I have agreed to is that God thinks logically as we do, nothing more. "Emotions and attributes similar" is a possibility…” You merely reduced probability to possibility. 3. Please answer my questions at the end of my post on your theory of evolution.


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