Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 19, 2020, 22:39 (115 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Exactly backward.

dhw: What is backward? Do you deny that modern brains change in response to new tasks and not before them? Why is it backward to suggest that the first artefacts might have followed the same process: the smaller brain RESPONDED to its new tasks by changing itself – but in this case by major expansion and not by complexification and minor expansion?

What is found is advanced artifacts with advanced brain size, all with the same age timing. The standard assumption is those brains caused those artifacts, nothing prior..

dhw: It’s YOUR theory which logically should leave no gaps between any of the expansions. In fact logically your God, who can do whatever he wants whenever he wants, shouldn’t have had to bother with any of these in-between stages since his one and only purpose was to directly design H. sapiens!

Once again, you invoke your strange view of an all-powerful God who shouldn't be so patient as to evolve us over time, but should act impatiently. That is never my view of my God.


DAVID: Long stasis of advanced intellectual ability interrupts your thought that thinking drives major brain enlargement.

dhw: Of course it doesn’t. If there are no new concepts demanding new uses of the brain, then there will be no enlargement! Now please explain (a) how you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain, and why your omniscient God, who must have known it wouldn’t be “used” for 260,000 years, expanded it when he did.

That is what history shows us. We arrived 315,000 years ago as of current dating, and left the stone age 10,000 years ago. We have really learned how to use all parts of our brain in the past 5,000 years. Most of it lay fallow until then, although with some preliminary use it started to shrink.


DAVID: Entirely backwards: fire, cooked food, sharply shaped stone tools are all equated with the size of the brain found when the event happened. Bipedalism and brain size developed concurrently, either created by God or what is your proposal. One did not directly cause the other.

dhw: I keep saying that nobody knows the cause, but unlike you I have quoted articles that try to tackle the issue. Both fire and bipedalism can fit into my theory, as they could lead to new concepts and progressively provide new information and new tasks ultimately leading to expansions. You still don’t seem to have grasped the idea that new concepts can arise out of existing information (held by the smaller brain), and it is the implementation that drives expansion.

Of course existing brain complexity allows the soul to work with the complexity the brain has to achieve concepts allowed by that brain's complexity. You can't get around what is known. New complexity and new brain size are aged the same on all archaeological sites. I know your theory: thought about current info drives expansion. What doesn't fit is intense continuous thought then suddenly stops to allow the gaps in time? Purely inventive and illogical.


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?

I've answered. Our very different brain can modify tiny areas as necessary for new uses and in fact has shrunk about 150 cc in the past 35,000 years as we've increased use, just the opposite of your thoughts. Your theory demands heavy thought expands brains, just the opposite of the reality of our brain's functional workings.


dhw: 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.

DAVID: Your usual sop to bring in your God-lite image of him. Of course I repeat my mantra, God did it. Surprise, I believe in God.

dhw: Why a “sop”? Why do you always insist that the only possible God is one who dabbles absolutely every step in evolution apart from the odd one which he preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago? It is perfectly possible for other people to believe in God and not to share your views on his nature, purpose and method.

DAVID: As you think you can imagine any sort of God. It is well accepted God is only inferentially known to us.

dhw: And that applies to your version just as much as to mine. So why is my different version a “sop”?

Because you always run back to allow God to do something, when your basic attempt is to find natural ways to explain evolution without Him.


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