Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, June 05, 2020, 12:48 (503 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Thank you again for agreeing that the mechanism enables the brain to restructure itself. All your nebulous instructions, guidelines, controls etc. simply boil down to there being an autonomous mechanism enabling the brain to restructure itself in response to new requirements. And I suggest there is no reason to reject the proposal that the same autonomous mechanism would have enabled the brain to restructure itself by expansion as well as by complexification in response to new requirements.

DAVID: I recognized awhile ago (especially yesterday) you were planning the bolded 'trap' above, by continuing to misinterpret my meanings. The so called autonomous mechanism is no more than an automatic mechanism God built into the neurons of our brains so they respond properly for to maintain the correct/right form of complexity. (dhw’s bold)

There is no trap and there is no misinterpretation! According to you, your God dabbled each expansion of pre-sapiens brains. I suggest that he did not have to dabble each expansion because the mechanism was already in place, just as it is for complexification. I have no idea what you mean by the “correct” form of complexity. Different parts of the brain complexify according to different requirements, and you have hit the nail on the head: they do so IN RESPONSE to those requirements. The argument here is not automatic versus autonomous, but divine dabble versus autonomous. If the modern brain complexifies in response to new requirements, why do you assume that it did not also expand in response to new requirements, as opposed to your God having to dabble? (NB please note the distinction between the autonomous power of thought and the automatic mechanism for implementation of thought, as below).

DAVID: Please read carefully my new entry of today, noting the high efficiency of our brain. It partially explains real complexification as the author views it.

QUOTE: "Another salient property of the brain, which is clearly at play in the return of service example from tennis, is that the connection strengths between neurons can be modified in response to activity and experience—a process that is widely believed by neuroscientists to be the basis for learning and memory. Repetitive training enables the neuronal circuits to become better configured for the tasks being performed, resulting in greatly improved speed and precision."(David’s comment: note complexification is automatic) (dhw’s bold)

An excellent summary. Of course it’s automatic! It has the cell communities RESPONDING to activities and experiences. I doubt very much if a single return of serve will result in complexification, but the principle is the same: in your dualistic system, the soul will determine whether to move the feet right or left and return the service backhand or forehand, and the neurons will automatically perform the action decided on. What is the mechanism? Decision first, modification second. And yet you persist in arguing that pre-sapiens brains must have worked differently, and the cell communities could not have expanded in response to the demands made on them, but God must have stepped in to expand them in anticipation of the new requirements. In this case it’s the decision to move, but in our earlier example the decision was to implement the concept of the spear: the dualist’s soul or the materialist’s thinking part of the brain comes up with the idea and the implementing part of the brain obeys the instructions / fulfils the requirements of the thinker. Result: complexification (us) - with shrinkage the result of its efficiency - and complexification and finally expansion (pre-sapiens). No dabbling required!

DAVID: As for the many hominin/homo varieties in different climates, as I stated before, as they interbred, they provided/ developed naturally different beneficial attributes to the final sapiens species.

dhw: “Developed naturally”? Are you then saying that your God provided them with an autonomous mechanism that enabled them to develop different attributes? Or are you going to tell us that he twiddled every genome with “instructions” to develop the attributes which presumably he would then transfer to H. sapiens when he eventually got round to directly designing/twiddling the only species of homo he wanted to design/twiddle?

DAVID: Can happen either way. So, take your choice.

If I’ve understood this correctly, you are now agreeing that your God might have provided the many hominins and homos with an autonomous mechanism that enabled them to develop different attributes. Clearly the same mechanism would have enabled other organisms to do the same. If I didn’t know you better, I would say this is a landmark moment in our discussions!

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