Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, May 02, 2020, 11:00 (534 days ago) @ David Turell

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

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Hard thinking caused our brain, the only example we have to shrink 150 cc. Because you've decided you must find a natural cause of expansion, you seized on the tiny expansion in our very different advanced brain to invent the theory that hard thought in the past blew up brains to a much bigger size. Pure imagination can invent a cause for anything.

I don’t know why you continually ignore everything I write on this subject. I did not seize on the tiny expansions, and I have explained shrinkage as being due to the efficiency of complexification (and once upon a time, you agreed). What I seized on is the fact that the modern brain CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO NEW IDEAS, TASKS, DEMANDS. It does not change in anticipation of those ideas, tasks, demands. The changes in the modern brain are complexifications and minor expansions, because for some reason (I offered one which you rejected) the modern brain is no longer expanding. The earlier brain did expand. It is therefore perfectly logical to propose that changes in the earlier brain were also IN RESPONSE TO NEW IDEAS, TASKS, DEMANDS, but the change then was expansion. It is not the tiny expansions but the process that I have “seized on”.

I will skip the references to dualism, as they are dealt with on that thread. Here is your answer to the above:

dhw: 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?

DAVID: Absurd!!! Where did 150 cc go? Once we sapiens learned to use our new bigger brain, that happened in the past 35,000 years, while we appeared about 315,000 years ago with the current discoveries. 'Learning' is implied by 280,000 years of a persistent larger size and if hard thinking blew it up to larger size, why the gap in time for learning to use?

I have no idea where the 150 cc went. Tell me. And while you’re at it, if hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, do you expect it eventually to be a dot? If our new brain did not produce anything special for 280,000 years, what was it “learning”? Our pre-sapiens ancestors underwent different stages of expansion. After each one, nothing much happened – i.e. there were long periods of “comparative stasis” which were actually far longer than 280,000 years.There may have been mini-improvements (hence “comparative” stasis), but my theory is that the status quo was broken by what I call the “big idea”, which demanded an increase in capacity. After sapiens acquired the larger brain - we don't know what was the "big idea", but the same applies equally to your own theory! – the process repeats itself: newly expanded brain followed by long period of comparative stasis. We don’t know what triggered the leap forward after 280,000 years, but since for whatever reason the brain no longer expanded, the hard thinking led to complexification instead of expansion. Why do you find this illogical?

dhw: 4)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?

DAVID: The obvious learning periods you call 'stasis' implying nothing was happening in those neurons is totally illogical. At some point in each new stage they invented new artifacts, after an active learning period.

No doubt something was happening in those neurons all the time, unless you think every homo was a robot. But what was happening during those periods of comparative stasis was not major enough to require expansion. That is why I keep suggesting that each expansion would have resulted from some idea, task, demand which required greater capacity. (We took the first spear as a possible example to illustrate the process.)

DAVID: The real stasis is your thought in concrete that hard thought blows up brains to new size. Does anyone support your theory?

It is only a theory, but you have not yet produced a single argument to counter its logic. I have no idea if the theory is original. Now please tell us who supports the theory that the soul was incapable of producing new ideas until God directly expanded the brains of all the different homos who preceded H. sapiens, although the only brain he actually wanted to produce was that of H. sapiens.

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