Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 12:41 (522 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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!

DAVID: Note the bold. This is my totally consistent theory if you recognize God gave our brain this special property while seeing to the enlargement of all hominin/homo brains.

I have just said that it is your theory, and now you are saying that if I recognize your theory, then it is consistent! What you leave out is the inconsistency of your God giving our brain the ability to complexify itself but NOT giving the homo brain the ability to enlarge itself. So yet again: if he could get our brains to complexify by themselves, why is it unthinkable to you that he could also have got their brains to expand by themselves? […]

DAVID: Your theory is simple. The naturally existing brain boot-straps itself up to a larger more complex form under the pressure of intense concentration. Please tell us about the natural mechanism that performs that task?

After a complete non sequitur concerning language, you now dodge my question by asking me to explain how the brain works! (And please note that "naturally" does not preclude God as the designer of what comes naturally.) If I could tell you that, my name would rank alongside Einstein’s. It is a fact that intense concentration, as exemplified by the illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians, complexifies the brain. Yet again: If it can complexify the brain now, why should it not have enlarged the brain in earlier times?

DAVID: We do not know who or what cause speciation, the true seat of the argument. 'You never seem to get it through your head' that larger brains are always found with improved artifacts. So you cover that by offering a confused timing proposal to fit your unsupported theory. Remember, all archaeologists presume their timing tests prove that all that is found occurred all together in that time period.

We have taken artefacts as a concrete example of what might have triggered an expansion. I agree that the true seat of the argument is speciation, so let’s draw a parallel: pre-sapiens homo has new “big idea” (new weapon), and the effort to implement it causes brain expansion. Of course the weapon exists after the brain has expanded. Pre-whale has new “big idea” (go find food in the sea); the effort to implement it causes legs to change into flippers. The flippers exist after the pre-whale has adapted to the water. All this is of course massively simplified, but I am trying to illustrate how the process proceeds. The immaterial concept precedes the material changes, as opposed to brains and bodies changing in advance of new requirements. You ignored my paragraph about cell communities, which are the key to evolution and speciation. They cooperate and in my theory they change to meet or exploit new requirements or conditions. In your theory, your God preprogrammed them 3.8 billion years ago to cooperate in making all the changes, or he dabbled with them BEFORE the new requirements arose.
Once again I asked the following question:

dhw: 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?

DAVID: You invoke God for our current brain, but when you discuss past enlargements are you also invoking God? I haven't read it.

Still no answer! With my theist’s hat on, I have “invoked” God as the designer of the mechanism that enables our brains to complexify, and I have asked you why you reject the idea that the same mechanism might have enabled earlier brains to expand. Please may we have an answer.

QUOTE FROM “Evolution and humans”: The argument I shall explore as to why more evidence can be extracted from the archaeological record starts by assuming that users, artifacts, practices and tasks have coevolved. Artifacts typically arise to address a need connected with a task.

All agreed.

DAVID: The prevailing view is artifacts represent the cultural time/generation with which they are found.

Also agreed.

DAVID: No one ascribes artifacts to thoughts in a previous species.

Of course they don’t. The first artefacts only exist when the new bigger brain exists. Flippers only exist after adaptation to life in the water.

DAVID: It is either evolution produced larger brained hominins/homos or as ID and I believe, God did it.

Nobody knows how or why the brain expanded! Your comment tells us nothing and nor does the article! You believe your God preprogrammed stages of brain expansion 3.8 billion years ago or did a series of hands-on dabbles. With my theist’s hat on, I propose that he may have invented a mechanism which, as well as enabling the modern brain to complexify in response to new requirements, may also have enabled past brains to expand in response to new requirements. You keep quoting articles that make no attempt to solve the mystery of expansion, as if somehow they support your theory and disprove mine!

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