Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, April 17, 2020, 11:20 (466 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What expanded was the conceptual areas, not the muscular control and autonomic areas: cortex in frontal and prefrontal regions, with some cerebellar changes with development of speech.

That fits in perfectly with my proposal that the brain expanded through the effort of developing the initial concepts. I presume the same regions now complexify through the effort of learning, memorizing and – quite possibly – theorizing (Einstein). Till now we’ve only talked of the brain in general. If the muscular control areas did not expand, that’s OK with me – in that case the smaller brain did not need to expand in order to master the physical demands of the new artefact.

DAVID: But the stone age lasted until 10,000 years ago. God's purpose is obvious. He gave it so we could learn to use it.

See my final summary.

QUOTE: "Because more complete fossil heads than hands are available, it is easier to model increased brain size in parallel with the rich record of artifacts from the Paleolithic Period (c. 3.3 million to 10,000 years ago), popularly known as the Old Stone Age."

dhw: All agreed, but we can’t know whether the FIRST of those artefacts was produced AFTER the brain had already expanded (your theory) or as a result of the smaller brain having expanded through the EFFORT to implement new concepts (my theory).

DAVID: Exactly counter to the impression given by the quote. You have never explained how your nebulous EFFORT works to greatly expand the mostly unused conceptual area of the new-sized brain.

Counter? The quote says nothing about the cause of expansion! Of course the size and the artefacts run parallel. See my summary at the end. I don’t understand your second remark. The fact that the conceptual areas expanded fits in with my theory that it is the development of the concept that caused the expansion.

DAVID: You may have convinced yourself that thinking of abstract concepts cause brain enlargement, but nothing I've written above or copied comports with that.[dhw: None of it attempts to explain brain expansion!]

DAVID: But you have an explanation. It expands by the effort of trying to think!

Yes, and the subject is not covered by any of the articles you quoted.

DAVID: Please learn my real concept, which is not changed. It is the advanced complexity of the larger brains neurons and their organization in special circuits in the prefrontal cortex which gives the soul the ability to create advanced conceptualization.

dhw: Fudge. The dualist soul does the conceiving, and the “advanced complexity” of the brain enables the soul to develop (another word for “advance”) and implement its concepts.

DAVID: No fudge. Not my soul/brain concept which you misinterpret: the soul must use the brain to think and develop new concepts. One does not work without the other.

I did not say they did not work without each other! Why do you keep ignoring what we both agreed on – namely, the WAY the dualist’s soul uses the brain: by processing the information provided by the brain, and by getting the brain to implement its concepts. Spear example - initial (dualist) concept: small-brained homo’s soul uses EXISTING information = weapon needed to kill from distance; EFFORT to implement new concept requires expansion of frontal cortex or whatever.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: The old brains are totally different, given what has been found: bigger brains in bigger thinking areas with better artifacts found with them.

“Bigger, bigger, better” do not mean totally different.

DAVID: Tiny advances until recently. Twist the timing all you want but your twist doesn't fit the facts. Habilis made stone tools. Sapiens used stone tools until 10,000 years ago. We were given advanced brains we had to learn how to use at each stage. In the past 10,000 years we have finally learned to use it fully. God did it and your naturalistic theory makes no sense to me as we argue it.

I have not twisted the timing, and I have explained the facts! Each phase is accompanied by some kind of improvement (let’s say better artefacts). Theory: the first artefacts were the result of the smaller brained homo implementing his new concept by brain expansion. Long period of stasis or maybe minor advances until next big idea leading to next expansion. Repeat process till H. sapiens. Bigger and far better brain…long period of stasis…big new ideas, but no room for major expansion, so complexification and minor expansion take over. So efficiently that bigger brain shrinks. I keep repeating this logical, step by step process, and you simply ignore the logical progression and keep repeating your “God did it” mantra. So I’d better forestall the next objection: my theory does not in any way exclude God. If God exists, my theory is that he created the mechanisms to allow for this “naturalistic” process.

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