Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 14:26 (561 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I'm sure a habilis brain or an erectus brain had tiny areas of enlargement as our current brain plasticizes. We evolved from them so that is very logical to conclude.

dhw: So why do you think it’s not possible that in the days when major expansion was possible, the same mechanisms could have operated by major expansion instead of the current complexification?

DAVID: Why if our current brain is admittedly so different as you've previously stated, the past brains should not be very different, evolutionarily immature and incomplete in development, compared to ours.

Of course they are not as “mature” or “developed” as ours. But we are talking about the mechanisms that cause development. So please answer my question. Why do think it’s not POSSIBLE for the same mechanisms to have caused the earlier changes?

dhw: […] I see no reason why one should not extrapolate a possible procedure based on one that is already proven.

DAVID: What is proven is nothing like your extrapolated wishful thought.

What is proven is that the brain changes when it performs new activities, including minor expansions. Major expansions are bigger than minor expansions, but nobody knows how they happened, and so we have different unproven theories. Your God theory has not been “proven” either, and mine is certainly no more “wishful” than yours!

dhw: We both used the spear example. Why do you think your God expanded the brain by 200 cc if whatever example you choose did not require it?

DAVID: Not my God. He evolves as He wishes, not to help homos solve their immediate problems. Still your weird view of my God.

But you keep telling us that he expanded the brain by 200 cc! So why do you think he did it if your chosen example did not require it?

dhw: Hence the vital importance of my argument concerning the FIRST artefacts that accompanied the new brain.

DAVID: Important only to your invention of a theory about artifacts, not supported by any archaeological report I've read. Can you find one?

The archaeological reports do not ask why brains expanded. I know one favourite theory is the discovery of fire (leading to cooked food and a more nutritious diet), and another is bipedalism. I’ve had a quick look at some websites devoted to the subject, all very speculative. I can’t find any mention of my theory or yours. So what? I wish you would deal with the arguments instead of asking for references.

dhw: So do you believe that today’s brain has to complexify BEFORE the designer can have his new idea?

DAVID: No. it is set up from 315,000 years ago to handle the immaterial imagination of advanced designs.

So the designer has his idea before the brain changes (here = complexifies). Thank you. That is the nub of the argument. The initial idea precedes the brain change. It is the “advanced design” or development of the idea that causes change. So once more: It is perfectly logical – even if you don’t believe it – to argue that if the brain only changes AFTER the dualist’s soul (or the thinking part of the materialist’s brain) has had the initial idea, then early brain expansion could have (it’s a hypothesis, just like your own explanation) resulted from the same process: initial idea, development of idea changes brain.

dhw: It is the EFFORT of designing and then making and using the artefact that would have caused the expansion, just as it is the mental EFFORT of reading or memorizing that causes the modern brain to complexify.

DAVID: As usual I totally reject this wildly imagined scenario. An existing evolving brain can only conceptualize at a level its existing complexity allows the soul to use. Nothing more advanced. Why don't you accept current archaeological theory?

According to you, the dualist, it is NOT the brain that conceptualizes! It is the soul that uses the brain to conceptualize, and the brain’s function is to supply information and to implement the concept. If you mean the soul can only conceptualize within the parameters of the information supplied by the brain, then you have your own example of the spear: existing information = bison – meat – close-up killing dangerous – better find way of killing from a distance. THAT is the initial concept within the existing parameters of information. And the rest follows as above (EFFORT - EXPANSION). Now tell me why that is not logical, even if you don’t believe it.

dhw: […] You already agree that there must be a mechanism for complexification and minor expansion without your God's intervention.

DAVID: Yes, in our current brain He gave us to use.

That’s fine with me. So once more: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

The rest of your post repeats matters dealt with under your “theory of evolution”.

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