Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 13:13 (12 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Why did brains expand, and why did they stop expanding?

DAVID: Remember, my God expands brains.

dhw: That is not an answer to the two questions.

DAVID: It is my answer. You want natural causes. […]

dhw: These do not exclude God as the possible designer of the mechanisms that enable organs and organisms to evolve “naturally”.

DAVID: I'll accept that if you allow guidelines, which you won't. Your weak proposals of God are not the God I envision.

Your guidelines are a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme (now abandoned) and hands-on dabbling – the opposite of my theory. Why is it “weak” for God to invent a mechanism for natural expansion but not for natural complexification?

DAVID: Previous brains undoubtedly had some degree of complexification, and is part of the brain-design God gave them and us. No different than enlarging muscles with repeated exercise. Lose one kidney and the other enlarges to handle the load. Many organs have built-in adaptability, no dabble required. Expansion is by God's design.

The modern brain does not enlarge with repeated exercise but complexifies. I propose that earlier brains enlarged with hard thinking, just as muscles enlarge with repeated exercise and the kidney responds to new requirements by enlarging itself. In my theistic theory, God would have designed the mechanism whereby brains adapt themselves to new requirements, either by enlarging themselves (pre-sapiens) or by complexifying themselves (sapiens). Thank you for supporting it with your excellent examples.

DAVID: Each new individual is formed from top down instructions in gamete DNA from embryo to newborn. Cooperating organs and cells in organs result. Epigenetic coding changes do not speciate, only slightly modify reactions.

dhw: You really are determined to dodge the brain expansion issue. First it was the expansion of the skull and the birth canal. Now that I’ve answered that [...] you want to switch to the whole process of how the embryo is formed and turns into the newborn! ALL processes depend on cell communities cooperating.

DAVID: I don't dodge. You are ignoring the science. Those cooperating cells in different organs were forced to be that way by DNA instructions. Cells don't cooperate with DNA. They are specifically told what to do in forming their organs and you haven't gotten rid of the bony issues[…]. For a new species to appear, DNA must be changed beyond epigenetics, which cells might suggest. […]

First you had germ cells instructing stem cells, and now you have DNA issuing instructions, as if DNA was not part of the cell! And you want to switch from brain expansion to speciation and epigenetics. Back to basics: Do you deny that the brain consists of cell communities which cooperate with one another, that the cell community of the skull must expand – like muscles expanding through exercise – to accommodate the enlarged brain, and the cell community of the birth canal must expand to accommodate the enlarged skull? And in your theory, do you think your God DOESN’T reorganize the cell communities in such a way that they work together?

dhw: And we are not discussing speciation on this thread.

DAVID: Of course we are discussing speciation. Every new individual with a bigger brain is a new species. […]

On the ant thread you said the giant kangaroo was not a new species, but now the giant brain is a new species. Why are we arguing about what constitutes a species? Please answer the above questions concerning brain expansion and cooperation.

DAVID: The genome has to change, and the theoretical Darwin proposed mechanisms are all chance! (Drift, mistake, gamma rays damage, etc.) I"ll stick with God. Do Darwinists accept intelligent DNA? No way. You are on your own as a third way.

dhw: Now all of a sudden the subject switches to Darwin and chance, which we have both long ago rejected. Once again, yes, the genome has to change. You think your God dabbles it. I propose that the cells are intelligent. So does Shapiro, and I am not on my own.

DAVID: Your imagined degree of cell intelligence is a gross extrapolation from what Shapiro proposed with no advances in that area since his book.

There is no gross extrapolation. You’ve forgotten the list of quotes from your own book, which calls Shapiro’s “an amazing documentation of all the work in the epigenetic field” (p. 146): CELLS are cognitive, sentient beings with “sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities”, and “Evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification functions and cell fusions.” Please note the word “novelty”.

QUOTE: "The gene system must have the physical freedom to specify itself, as well as any variation of itself."

dhw: I’d be grateful...if you would explain the implications of the above quote, which seems to me to confirm that the gene system has the potential to vary itself.

You have kindly defined “specialised”, and emphasized design and information. Thank you. But please tell me if I’m right to interpret this as a proposal that the gene system can autonomously change its own structure? (I know you will disagree – I‘m only asking for clarification of the statement itself.)

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