Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, June 07, 2020, 10:48 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

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, bbresulting 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.

DAVID: 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.

What you have described applies to all brains, not just human, and you have cleverly switched the subject from the mechanism for the expansion of the human brain to the origin of the brain itself. So God must have dabbled with every brain that ever existed, in order to ensure that one part was devoted to memory and other parts to defining visual objects. The question is important, though, so I’ll follow your attempt to divert attention away from our subject. I suggest – theistic version – that the whole process began with your God’s creation of intelligent single cells (e.g. bacteria). Memory is just one example:

Bacteria have memory, like brain neurons - The Limited Times
newsrnd.com/tech/2020-05-07-bacteria-have-memory--like-brain-neurons--.Sk7K9V-…

QUOTE: Bacteria also have memory: those that form the very thin films adhering to surfaces called biofilms can in fact keep for hours the 'memory' of a light stimulus to which they have been exposed. The mechanism, which has striking parallels with the more sophisticated brain neurons, could open up the development of living computers made of cells.

My proposal, then: As single intelligent cells joined together in intelligent cell communities, they produced ever more “sophisticated” forms of memory, object recognition etc., much as scientists today build on the discoveries of yesterday’s scientists.

Now please tell us why a God who can organize autonomous complexification is incapable of organizing autonomous expansion.

DAVID: […] 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: 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!

DAVID: 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.

God has provided what? You have chosen this example, which according to you proves that the adaptations which were passed on from pre-sapiens to sapiens were not dabbled but were the product of an autonomous mechanism. If God created a mechanism for the autonomous production of different attributes, and you yourself have insisted that these attributes account for there being different species, then perhaps we have a blueprint for all speciation: cell communities respond to, adapt to, cope with, and perhaps even exploit different conditions and thus develop different attributes.


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