Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, May 28, 2020, 11:59 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Since your God is all-powerful and all-knowing, I’m sure he would have known what particular thoughts and activities would result in his mechanism expanding the relevant bits of the brain that were needed to give material expression to the thoughts – just as he would have known how his complexification mechanism would have responded to those thoughts.

DAVID: I don't know if God can predict each of my thoughts. Stop imagining my God's abilities. But I'm sure He fully understands how His mechanisms would work.

I don’t know where you have found any mention of God predicting your thoughts! Different types of thought will affect different parts of the brain, as evidenced by the illiterate women, the taxi drivers and the musicians. And why should you be the only one allowed to imagine God’s abilities? You finally agreed that he could have invented an autonomous mechanism for expansion, but he would “have careful guidelines”. Perhaps you’d be kind enough to define these guidelines for us.

DAVID: I can't accept inventions from nothing. What we know is, that on the way to humans brains, resulted from provided expansions especially in the area that can conceive of complex concepts, when the soul wishes to do that.

dhw: I’m sorry, but I can’t follow your syntax or your argument. If we accept your dualism, we have agreed that the soul conceives of concepts, using the brain for information and material expression.

DAVID: All I said was the capable brain areas have to be there for the soul to use.

I don’t think any dualist would disagree with that. And any materialist would agree that the capable brain areas would have to be there for the rest of the brain to use.

dhw: You have rejected the expansion part of this theory on the grounds that it is not proven, and I have asked you not to use that as a reason for rejection.

DAVID: We only can point to shrinkage as fact. Enlargement has its own mechanism. I chose God as agent.

Complexification is fact, shrinkage is fact, and we have agreed that shrinkage is the result of the efficiency of complexification. Enlargement is fact and is certainly different from complexification, but both processes could be run by the perhaps God-given intelligence of the brain cells which in both cases must be restructured in response to new requirements. You have rejected this theory because it is unproven. Your theory that God did it with multiple dabbles is also unproven.

dhw: Both theories allow for God as the designer. Thank you for now agreeing that he could have provided an expansion mechanism, instead of dabbling each and every expansion. Your sudden agreement is suddenly accompanied by nebulous guidelines, and I have answered that point above. Your all-knowing God would have known what his mechanism would produce

DAVID: My God would not allow a mechanism that produces changes on its own. If He knows what will happen, it has guidelines, which fits your bolded sentence.

Far too vague. My theistic proposal is clear: God gave cells intelligence. Those parts of the brain (cell communities) involved in acquiring information, producing thought and giving physical expression to thought, responded to new requirements by complexifying and, when greater capacity was needed, by expanding. You say he is all-knowing, so he would have known how the cells would work. (Not the individual thoughts of every hominin and homo!) Again, please tell us what these “guidelines” of yours consist of.

dhw: I see no reason at all why your God should not have invented a system whereby every effect had a natural cause, e.g. brains expanded and/or complexified, and skulls and birth canals expanded, and pre-whales' legs turned into flippers, IN RESPONSE to new requirements, and bees bite leaves and ants build cities and weaverbirds construct nests using their natural (God-given?) intelligence rather than being preprogrammed or constantly having their genomes dabbled with.

DAVID: It is not my God you are describing. And, as usual , you have no idea how natural intelligence develops so you sneak in a possible God, as you continue to try it both ways as if you have an argument. Both ways is no way.

There are no “both ways” and there is no sneaking. I am an agnostic, so of course I have to allow for God. But that does not mean I must stick to YOUR God. Nobody knows the origin of intelligence, and it presents a strong case for the existence of your God, but the theory that it develops as organisms learn to cope with or exploit new conditions seems to me perfectly feasible – and indeed considerably more so than the theory that your God preprogrammed or personally dabbled all the examples listed above.


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