Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, May 01, 2020, 11:42 (539 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] if hard thought caused shrinkage, we would not have any brain left! Our brain shrank, as you keep agreeing and forgetting, because complexification – which took over when the brain stopped expanding - proved to be so efficient that part of the brain became redundant.

DAVID: I forget nothing!!! Your explanation describes our brain as fully different and specialized compared to previous brains and hard thought shrank it a limited degree. We agree to that much.

dhw: Not “fully” different, and as regards shrinkage, please reread the bold.

DAVID: The bold defines a brain different from its predecessors.

Of course it’s different! It stopped expanding and complexification took over. But earlier brains also had a frontal and a prefrontal cortex, and they had sections which provided information and enabled the homo to implement his ideas.
DAVID: Remember all enlargement is in the thinking areas, and no where else.

dhw: But this does not explain why the thinking areas expanded in the first place! Back to the spear example and following your dualism: the soul uses the brain to acquire information. The idea “kill from a distance” arises out of EXISTING information.

DAVID: And the design of the new weapon comes from the soul using that info, then conceptualizes a new design using the more advanced brain neuronal networks.

Once again you ignore the point that in our example small-brain’s new idea “kill from a distance” was the beginning of the process. Yes, the design requires and in my theory causes expansion, but you insist that only the newly expanded brain could have come up with that new idea in the first place although no new information or design was yet needed.

dhw: That IS the vital point. In order for the new idea to be developed/implemented/designed/ produced, it requires NEW information. And that is how it triggers “hard thinking”, and “hard thinking” is a process which we know makes changes to the brain.

DAVID: Only tiny areas!!! From that You invent a theory with no support anywhere.

You keep harping on about the mini-expansions and ignoring the overall process: HARD THINKING causes changes in the brain. In modern brains, which have stopped expanding, those changes are complexifications and minor expansions (with shrinkage the result of efficient complexification). In earlier brains the change would have been expansion. The focal point is that brains change IN RESPONSE to new ideas, tasks, demands.

dhw: Once the new brain is there, it will carry on providing information and implementing ideas until a new “big idea” comes along and demands more information than the existing brain can supply, plus new actions which also entail a learning process. So long as you ignore the importance of the old brain’s new idea based on existing information, you will continued to miss the point that a new idea or task or demand is the trigger for HARD THINKING,which is known to change the brain, and so long as you the dualist continue to attribute thought to the brain, you will continue to contradict yourself.

I am inserting numbers to make it easier to respond to your different points.

DAVID: You still don't understand how I view my dualism: REPEAT,1) the soul must use brain neuronal networks to think. Your theory is based on our brain 2) which is totally different from past brains. 3) All we know is hard thinking shrinks our brain. For me God evolved new-sized brains. 4) We see few evidences of massive conceptualization until we learned to use our brain in the past 50,000 years as language developed.

1)The dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its thoughts. See the new thread on “Dualism”.
2)It is not “totally” different (see above). It is a huge advance, but it performs the same functions as earlier brains, although it no longer expands. Complexification has taken over from expansion (apart from minor expansions). The dualist’s soul will have retained everything that was learned from earlier brains, and will have benefited from the increased capacity for obtaining and storing knowledge and for implementing new ideas.
3)Hard thinking does not shrink brains (see above and about ten earlier posts). What we know is that the brain responds to new tasks, ideas, demands by making changes to itself. Why do keep denying or ignoring this known fact?
4)Irrelevant. All phases of expansions have been followed by long periods of stasis (= nothing much happens). How does a long period of stasis prove that God dabbled with each smaller brain before it could come up with any new ideas?

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