Brain expansion (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 06, 2020, 20:24 (113 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: 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)

dhw: 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.

The problem for you autonomous method is the required planning needed to provide special areas for special tasks, such as Hippocampus for memory and then specialized tracks to the temporal area with specialized regions for defining visual objects. I don't think these areas an tracts were placed by chance. Autonomous would have had to know exactly what it was doing in advance.


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.

dhw: our 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!

Adaptation to high altitude involves increasing primarily the population of red blood cells by adding methylation to the genome as an epigenetic modification, an attribute we all have. God has provided this so He didn't dabble high altitude adaptations.


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