Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 10:46 (541 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You've now admitted you are not a designer, and so are theorizing about it. I've answered your question over and over with you never noting any recognition of my points. In my view, you have design and production all confusedly backward.

dhw: What is backward? I have agreed with you that design is the hard part! That is the hard thinking that changes modern brains. But I have also pointed out that production and design are interwoven because the process of material production may well lead to changes in abstract design (the brain then provides new information during its function of implementation).

DAVID: Once again you have shifted to trial and error. If one can visualize the spear design with wooden shaft and stone tip, that includes the materials to be used. In spear building the only secondary decision, since stone napping was known for the point, is how attach the point to the wooden shaft. Simple production follows.

You are determined to ignore the all-important distinction between the original concept and its implementation. All you want to focus on is the distinction between different parts of the implementation! I can only repeat: our small-brained homo’s initial idea is to kill from a distance. He has not yet thought of wooden shaft and stone tip or the materials to be used! That is part of the implementation (= design and production) or “hard thinking” which we know changes the modern brain, and which I suggest also changed earlier brains. And of course trial and error will be part of the implementation, as it provides new information to be incorporated into the design. But we are using the first ever spear as a simple illustration of the process – I’m not saying that all brain expansions were caused by inventing and reinventing the spear! We can use two of the current theories if you like: use of fire and bipedalism. Same process: each of these will entail new situations which require “hard thinking”. It is the process of tackling new tasks that changes (complexifies) the modern brain, and I propose that the same process would have changed (expanded) the earlier brains. Now tell me why you find that illogical.

dhw: What do you mean by a “critical mass”?

DAVID: I'm using a term from nuclear bomb theory or social political theory. Build a big enough complex brain and it then can conceive of what it couldn't think of before.

dhw: And you’ve forgotten again that you are a dualist. It’s supposed to be the soul that does the conceptualizing, and the brain informs and implements.

DAVID: Useless space-filling criticism. You know what I mean.

No I don’t. It is the crux of our disagreement! I propose that it is “hard thinking” that causes the brain to expand/complexify. The dualist believes that there is a soul that does the thinking and uses the brain to collect new information. But time and again you tell us that the brain has to change before the “hard thinking” can begin! Why would the thinking soul depend on the non-thinking brain's expansion before it can think of a new idea based on EXISTING information? Your statement above could hardly be more explicit, and it fits in perfectly with materialism, with the brain as the source of thought. This is no problem for my theory, however, since it merely means that whatever may be the material source of thought will undergo exactly the same process of using existing information to come up with the new idea, and THEN changing itself through the effort to implement the idea, just as the modern brain changes itself through the effort to perform new tasks.

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