Brain Expansion: enlargement and language (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, May 03, 2020, 12:54 (450 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A very long essay claiming erectus had early language and speech:

QUOTE bolded by David: Any mammal could have speech with the sounds they are capable of producing today. They just need the right kind of brain.

DAVID: McCrone, my resident expert on early language and speech thought erectus could easily manage five simple words a minute (PG. 128 in SVR book). Note my bold which states your idea and I agree with it: all authors assume the brain simply enlarged, no cause give other than evolution did it. The key thought for me is the bold which makes the point that only a large advanced brain can produce the artifacts such as language. And I think you have the whole process backward. Only an advanced brain can have advanced thoughts. You want the thought before the brain is capable of it. We will never agree on this point.

Thank you for this fascinating article and for editing it for us. First of all, it is absurd to imagine that any mammal or for that matter any life form can continue to exist without some form of “language” (i.e. means of communication), but this will depend on what kind of communication the body allows. The production of sound depends on the brain and its connections with the sound-producing organs. This is all blindingly obvious. The “key thought” that you have extrapolated from your bold ignores the question of how the brain and the organs developed the ability to produce the sounds of human language. And that is what brings us straight back to the discussion under brain expansion. Yet again (my bold), you have the brain having advanced thoughts, and the brain being capable of thought. This may well be so, but I don't want to digress here with the materialistic version of my theory, and will therefore stick to your professed dualism. In dualism it is the soul that does the thinking, while using the brain for information and implementation (you added memory to this). We know that hard thinking changes the modern brain. Thought precedes speech. The soul has something to express, sound is the medium through which it is to be expressed, and the brain and the sound-producing organs are the material means that enable implementation. If we accept the findings relating to the modern brain, then it is the effort to give material expression to the thought that changes the brain and, in this case,I suggest it would change the sound-producing organs as well. In other words, based on processes that govern the only brain we know, you have the whole process backwards: thought precedes brain change.

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