Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 12:29 (170 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:bbb 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.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: Read above!!! I said you implied past brains are totally different. I didn't promote the idea.

Since my whole theory is based on the bolded argument to which you were replying – namely, that the SAME process would have taken place in past and present brains – how can you possibly say this implies “total” difference? It is you who insist that the process of change is totally different: the modern brain changes itself (complexification), whereas the ancient brain had to be changed by your God! Although of course I agree that our brains are vastly more complex and advanced than those of our ancestors, “difference in kind” is paramount to your theory. Look at your heading and comment in another of your posts:
Introducing the brain: our brain is so different
Comment: our current [brain] is very different in kind from previous brains.


dhw: […] 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: Fallacy in you basic theory: How do you do 'hard thinking' with only a very basic set of words in your minimal language? Don't you use language to think? So you use visualization of a possible object. How hard is that?

Again you refuse to answer a straight question. “Hard thinking” is just a term to denote more intense concentration than ordinary thinking, and it’s the extra effort that changes the modern brain. Our fellow animals don't need words to think, and I don’t believe for one second that our taxi drivers and musicians lecture themselves verbally while memorizing their maps or playing their instruments. Our pre-sapiens hunter would not have needed a verbal analysis to know that close-up killing was dangerous and killing from a distance would be safer. But when he’d come up with a strategy and an artefact, he would almost certainly have wanted to invent a sound that would denote the new weapon. That’s how language evolves and, in my theory, how the brain changes: as a response to new requirements, not in anticipation of them.

dhw: 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?

DAVID: The same 'anything is possible' under God or without Him approach. Of course it is. And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!

Hard thinking applies to the brain, because the brain is the seat of thought, whether there is a soul or not. You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling, and whether cells are intelligent or not. Your human examples have their parallel in all adaptations and innovations. Now will you please at last answer my bolded question.

dhw: 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: As above quite clearly: it was there to use when the particular group decided to do it. Some did sooner than others or barely at all.

Which is true whether we follow your theory or mine. So what does it prove?

DAVID: Our overly large brain came with a very active complexification process that is an obvious attribute. With active use, certain areas became more complex and enlarge slightly, and other areas were not needed and disappeared as we learned to use our brain and refine its functions. God did not do these brain changes. He left it up to us, expecting it to happen. And you seize on these tiny enlarged areas to invent a pipe dream.

All fine, except that for the umpteenth time, it is the process I seize on, not the tiny enlargements. Now tell us whether you believe your God designed the mechanism which enables the brain to complexify without his direction. If he did, why should the same mechanism not have enabled the brain to expand?


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