Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, May 11, 2020, 13:18 (442 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:If brains CHANGE through hard thinking now, why would they not CHANGE through hard thinking in the past? Then they needed to expand. Now they only need to complexify.

DAVID: I know they CHANGE. We know how ours changed and you have twisted that to invent your theory which is not a description of how our brain works, which implies past brains are totally different from ours, denying the concepts of evolutionary change.

Past brains are not “totally” different from ours. Even chimps’ brains are not “totally” different from ours! The twisting here is entirely yours. Even you have suggested that past brains are likely to have complexified and undergone minor expansions. How does this make them “totally” different?

dhw: It seems that the message will never get through. You agreed that shrinkage was due to the efficiency of complexification, and it is not the tiny areas of enlargement that I refer to but the process whereby "hard thinking" CHANGES the brain.

DAVID: I fully get and reject your garbled thinking. All this occurs under our brain's advanced complexification process, which probably came from some earlier processes in earlier brains. Massive enlargement due to hard thinking is your woolly idea from no evidence, just a stretch from a known proven process..

If complexification probably came from earlier processes, it is clearly absurd to argue that our brains are “totally” different. So what do you think would have caused complexification in earlier brains if it was not “hard thinking”? And yes indeed, brain change due to “hard thinking” is a known proven process, so why is it “garbled” and “woolly” to suggest that a known proven process might also have taken place in the past?

DAVID: I have full faith and belief there is a designer who enlarged brain. I have no belief in chance causes which you are consistently trying to find.

dhw: My theory does not involve chance at all, and allows for God as the designer of the mechanism for brain change. Do you believe that your God complexified the relevant areas of the modern brain before people learned to read, memorize maps or play instruments? Or did he design the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to their “hard thinking” by complexifying itself? If you favour the second explanation, why do you think it illogical for the same God-designed mechanism to have enabled the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by expanding itself?

DAVID: Because of another consideration. Each new hominin had much more than just brain expansion. That is just one part of our evolution. Bodies were changed in many ways as part of God's work in producing them. God speciates. Consider just the differences in Neanderthal and sapiens body forms!

Please don’t change the subject, which is brain expansion. If you believe that your God designed the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by complexifying itself, please give me a reason why that same mechanism should not have enabled the earlier brain to respond to ”hard thinking” by expanding itself?

dhw: […] the process of expansion followed by stasis was common to all our ancestors and in many cases for far longer than 280,000 years.

DAVID: Since we weren't there and activities of daily living were quite simple, what stasis are you talking about in the past? We only know our stasis.

No evidence has been found of anything but “simple living”, as with the first 280,000 years of H. sapiens, though each stage has been accompanied by comparatively minor improvements.

dhw: I don’t know either why your all-powerful God would have given us a bigger brain before we needed it, or what you mean by we “had to learn to use it”. We’ve discussed that before. How did we learn to use the brain if we didn’t actually produce anything new for 280,000 years?

DAVID: WE had to learn to use it like a new instrument. It was our job. Not God's to teach us.

It’s you who keep telling us that nothing new was produced for 280,000 years. How do you learn to use something and yet not produce anything? You yourself drew attention to some indigenous tribes who still live like their ancient ancestors. So-called progress comes from new ideas or new demands. For 280,000 years, sapiens was obviously happy with the way things were. What is your point?

DAVID: God gave us a huge brain with the ability to complexify as needed, and to shrink.

Presumably means your God designed a mechanism to enable us to complexify naturally, which again raises the question why the same mechanism should not have enabled the brain to expand naturally. I don’t know why you regard shrinkage as an ability! We have agreed (umpteen times) that it shrank as a result of efficient complexification.

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