Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, May 25, 2020, 09:22 (44 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: 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.

DAVID: This is simply an objection to my faith.[/i]

It is an objection to your use of faith as a means of attacking my theory! A theory extrapolated from known facts seems to me to be far less “wishful” than a theory based on nothing but 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:

DAVID: 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.

So do I. That has nothing to do with your persistent disregard of the agreed cause of shrinkage.

DAVID: 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.

And the result we see in our brain is that it changes in response to hard thought! It does not change in anticipation of hard thought. So why is it “wishful thinking” to propose that the early brain also changed in response to hard thought?

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”. […] Now please explain what’s wrong with my version of the comparison you initiated.

DAVID: 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.

Of course they wouldn’t happen without the mechanism. Nor would brain expansion happen without the mechanism! Your mechanism is God doing a dabble. And I ask you why, if your God designed an autonomously functioning complexification mechanism, he couldn’t have designed an autonomously functioning expansion mechanism? Your answer apparently is that it’s a matter of faith.

dhw: 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”.

DAVID: My definition of hierarchy is not yours: "any system of persons or things ranked one above another."

No disagreement! I think most of us would rank intelligence as being above non-intelligence, and the director being above the directed.

DAVID: 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.

What has the formation of cells got to do with “evolutionary novelty”? Both innovation and adaptation are the result of cell communities being aware of changing conditions. If you want to call that awareness the “bottom” level, it’s OK with me. However, the process of restructuring will come about through intelligence (top) making decisions and passing instructions to the lower levels (bottom), with cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. We know that this process takes place in what you call minimal adaptation and small physiological changes, but nobody knows how maximal adaptation/ innovation takes place. My unproven theory is that it takes place through the same process (with the intelligence possibly having been designed by your God). Your theory is that the same process takes place, but instead of the cells having their own intelligence, God steps in and dabbles with them. […] And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

DAVID: 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.

Your theory is that God directly dabbled or preprogrammed every life form, econiche, strategy, lifestyle, natural wonder in the history of life, including brain expansion. My theistic theory is that God designed the mechanism that enabled every life form etc. to do its own designing and, in the case of the brain, its own expansion and complexification. In both cases, everything appears by design. You objected to my theory (and Shapiro’s) because it was unproven. For the fourth time, please tell us the proof of your theory. Alternatively, please stop pretending that this is a reason for rejecting my theory.

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