Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 24, 2020, 19:31 (39 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your answer doesn't work. Cell committees are made to be cooperative so life can function. They do not have the ability to design for the future. Just your wishful thinking.

dhw: Yet again: my theory does NOT entail planning for the future, but RESPONDING to new requirements. And despite all the evidence to the contrary (adaptation of all kinds, and the modern brain RESPONDING to new demands) you still cling to the idea that your God steps in to expand brains, skulls and birth canals BEFORE there is any need for expansion.

This is simply an objection to my faith.


dhw: Nobody knows what hard thought can and cannot do.

DAVID: It causes our brain, the only example we have to shrink. That is a fact, not woolly wishes.

dhw: You have agreed over and over again that hard thought causes complexification, and it is the efficiency of complexification that has caused shrinkage:

You are ignoring that the mechanism of complexification must be designed into/be-part-of the new brain brain and I assume some of that same mechanism was in more ancient brains. All we can know of hard thought is the result we see in our brain. Anything else is a theoretical invention without any underlying facts.

dhw: […] why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. […]

DAVID: Ignoring that complexification shrinks brains exactly from hard thought!

dhw: See above. Now please explain what’s wrong with my version of the comparison you initiated.

My point is the changes we see in muscle and kidney are designed-in response mechanisms and wouldn't happen if the mechanism were absent. We do not know of any expansion mechanism in brains.


DAVID: Hierarchy means top down control, not your bottom up.

dhw: Of course it does. My whole theory is based on intelligent cells directing operations and cell communities cooperating accordingly. I have no idea why you called it “bottom up”.

My definition of hierarchy is not yours: "any system of persons or things ranked one above another." https://www.dictionary.com/browse/hierarchy

The cells of organisms are formed from gamete DNA, top down, to act cooperatively. Epigenetics is minimal adaptation from bottom up with messages from the whole organism to the genome of germ cells to make some small phenotypical or physiological changes, bottom up.

DAVID: The basis of your theory is primarily wishful thinking, not based on the facts of the necessity of true mental design activity. Cooperation is not designing!

dhw: Of course it isn’t. The designing is done by intelligence ("top down" as you called it), and many scientists believe that cells are intelligent. Their intelligence guides the cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. Why you call this “wishful thinking” (and “bottom up”) is beyond me, but “natural genetic engineering” remains a theory because we have no proof that this intelligence is powerful enough to create Shapiro’s “evolutionary novelties”. And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

We are discussing at two levels. At the God level, everything appears by design, my belief. At your level you are looking for a reasonable natural cause for brain enlargement, which I might accept. I haven't seen any as yet.


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