Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 13:05 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: (under "current literature is puzzled") The – perhaps God-given - intelligence etc. may be that of the [brain] cells/cell communities responding to new demands, just as they do in a changed environment to which they must adapt or die.

DAVID: The bold indicates your usual reversion to Darwin. We have no proof that challenges of nature or species competition drive evolution.

dhw: If you do not believe there is a link between environmental change and evolutionary adaptation and innovation, so be it – I would have thought it was plain common sense.

DAVID: Since when is common sense scientific proof? Common sense tells us the sun revolves about the Earth.

As I said, if you don’t believe there’s a link, so be it.

dhw: My suggestion here was that the cell communities that make up the brain follow the same procedure: they respond to new demands by changing themselves (in former times, by expansion; today mainly by complexification).

DAVID: Answered elsewhere, contra your theory noting our brain shrunk a substantial amount, a result of increasingly serious thought.

dhw: I have suggested that our brains had reached a maximum size for anatomical comfort, and so complexification took over, and you have agreed umpteen times that shrinkage was the result of its efficiency.

DAVID: Your suggestion is not close to fact. I've read a theoretical article I have not presented that theorized the human brain could ideally reach 3,300 cc! Please try to convert to ounces: 2,000 extra cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can't handle that? Back packs are much heavier.

So what is your explanation for the non-expansion? And why do you keep telling us that an expansion of 200 cc is too huge to have happened naturally (theistically = your God creating the mechanism for expansion and not having to intervene)? All of a sudden, even 2000 cc is nothing!

dhw: Please explain why a God whose only purpose was to produce H. sapiens and who was able to do whatever he wanted whenever and however he wanted, produced gap after gap before, according to you, directly designing the only brain he wanted to design.

DAVID: You've simply restated your weird idea God should not have been patient. Repetition proves nothing.

So please stop repeating your “patience” mantra, which proves nothing, and explain to me why your God deliberately produced the gaps.

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 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.

DAVID: Answer one: each early larger brain had to learn to be used.

A non-answer. I asked: How do you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain? God giving courses or preparing an instruction manual, or sapiens using his brain and messing things up for 260,000 years? The same applies to all pre-sapiens brains. My proposal is that once the expansion had taken place by developing a “big idea”, there was NO NEED for further expansion until the next “big idea”. None of this nebulous “learning”.

DAVID: Answer two: God knew it would take time to develop the learning. Can you deny our brain lay primarily fallow until 50,000 years ago creating a delay of 265,000 years, based on current fossil findings? […]

Of course I’m not denying it. I asked you why you think your God expanded the sapiens brain 260,000 years before it was used. Your answer is to repeat the meaningless “learning” mantra, which you still haven't explained!

dhw: So now please tell us why you think your God had all these different homos hanging around for thousands of years making no progress, and then had homo sapiens do the same.

DAVID: Your same 'patient God' problem. God in charge of evolution evolved everything over the time it took. Why do you struggle with that? We are discussing my theory.

Indeed we are, and clearly you have no idea why your God decided to specially design all these different homos to hang around for millions of years before he specially designed the only homo he wanted to design. Patience has nothing to do with it. Your stock answer is usually that we can’t know his reasons.

dhw: […] You believe your God gave our brains the ability to perform new tasks by complexifying and mini-expanding without his intervention. So why should he not have done the same with earlier brains – enabling them to expand without his intervention?

DAVID: Obvious. Our current brain shrunk with extensive use, 150 cc, the size of most past enlargements exactly the opposite of your theory about earlier brains, where more extensive use forces large expansions. […]

Firstly, what is your explanation for shrinkage, since apparently you now refuse to accept the explanation you have accepted umpteen times before (the efficiency of complexification)? Secondly, you still haven’t answered my question. You have acknowledged that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention. Why should he not have done the same with earlier brains?


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