Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, June 06, 2020, 12:50 (32 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: 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)

dhw: […] 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). (dhw's bolds)

DAVID: See today's entry on introducing design in the brain, for object recognition. This has to be a designed mechanism, and cannot be handled autonomously without conceptual analysis before the temporal cortex brain area is created. The brain cannot organize itself. It can only reorganize an excess of neurons as our brain does. And later:
DAVID: As above, how does an earlier brain know how to expand purposely modified regions for exact reproduction of images, as in today's entry? Only conceptual planning can accomplish this advance.

You have ignored my now bolded parenthesis, though that should also have included the information-gathering parts of the brain, to which object recognition belongs. Why have you narrowed the discussion to this one feature? Of course it doesn’t “know” how to expand. It is the thinking part of the brain (or the dualist’s “soul”) that gives the instructions, and the relevant cells will automatically obey. Your example was dealt with by the quote in your previous post, which you now prefer to ignore, as well as ignoring my commentary on 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)

I shan’t repeat my commentary, except to say once more that both complexification and expansion take place IN RESPONSE to new requirements, and your single example of expanding object-recognition cells fits in perfectly with the bolds (as do the undabbled changes in the modern brains of illiterate people, taxi drivers and musicians). I would like to know why you think your God had to dabble again and again with the object-recognizing parts of the brain and why you don’t think he could have devised a mechanism which would enable them to develop automatically in response to the changing needs of the thinking parts (or “soul”), as they do now.

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.

dhw: 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!

DAVID: Your usual wishful purposeful misunderstanding. Denisovans adapted to high altitude though attributes they had, and Neanderthals provided certain immunity characteristics, all covered before quite clearly. These autonomous mechanisms worked in highly controlled fashion.

Your usual effort to dodge the question. What do you mean by “they had”? Did your God dabble them or not? If he didn’t, then those attributes would have developed through an autonomous mechanism. I asked which you thought it was, and you answered “can happen either way”. Which two ways were you referring to? An autonomous mechanism that produces a functioning attribute will of course work in highly controlled fashion, but if it is autonomous, it is not controlled by anything other than its own intelligence – i.e. without your God dabbling!


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