Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, July 01, 2020, 10:48 (90 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We know that for hundreds of thousands of years, australopithecus, habilis, erectus & Co hung around without making much progress with their bigger brains. If we don’t know precisely when the artefacts were produced, then it is perfectly possible that the very first of them was the CAUSE of the expanded brain (i.e. marked their beginning). Then of course they would have continued to produce them from that moment onwards.

DAVID: The usual 'anything is possible' interpretation, but a change from the past approach in a way. Your past thought was that a design/ concept originated in a smaller brain which then enlarged only when the concept was manufactured using the new brain. But you are now accepting a bigger brain appears first followed by long stasis. So I raise the same question I've had. If the idea exists, why the stasis?

There is no change, but simply a continued muddling of my theory on your part. Once more: small brain comes up with new big idea. Brain expands through implementation of idea. Artefact and expanded brain appear simultaneously because it was the process of designing and manufacturing the original concept that CAUSED the bigger brain! After that, plenty more artefacts but no more “big ideas” whose implementation demands greater capacity, and so there is a period of stasis. I don’t know why you find this so difficult to understand.

DAVID: What I state is the soul must use the brain's neuronal networks in order to have/create thoughts while in life and attached to/part of the living person.

dhw: Yes, we agree! And I have explained how the soul uses the brain, and you have agreed. But you added “brain capacity for complex thought”. If you now wish to withdraw that, please say so and we can shake hands.

DAVID: My position: Advanced thought by the soul requires the brain to have advanced neuronal webs.

dhw: Agreed. Otherwise, the soul would not have the information needed for its thoughts and would not be able to implement its thoughts. This does not mean that the brain has a capacity for thought, complex or otherwise.

DAVID: The bold is your misunderstanding. We both agree, The brain cannot think without the soul.

We emphatically disagree! The dualist’s brain does not do the thinking! The soul does the thinking, and uses the brain, as above.

DAVID: As for 315,000 years ago, they were using it at a simple level and bit by bit learned to use it for more complex activities.

dhw: So were there 280,000 years of “stasis” or not?

DAVID: The has been a recent explosion, starting with more complete language, but socializing and other concepts were added slowly before that.

As I understood it, your theory was that your God expanded the sapiens brain, but it took sapiens 280,000 years to “learn to use it”. Please tell us how early sapiens differed in socializing and "other concepts" from erectus, and also what you think caused the recent explosion. And please tell us what is the point you are trying to make.

dhw: […] this still doesn’t solve the mystery of why your God gave sapiens his big brain BEFORE it was needed, and how sapiens was able to learn to use it by doing nothing.

DAVID: You've just agreed we didn't 'do nothing' but slowly added some concepts until the language developed and concepts exploded.

No I haven’t. You just told us that!

DAVID: We know the brain was oversized, but my explanation is that the extra neuron circuits allowed for a well-designed complexification.

The extra neurons proved to be unnecessary! Complexification worked without them, which is why they disappeared.

DAVID: God gave us free will and I don't think He knew exactly how we would develop our use of the brain. As an example, we invented our complex language. He did not give it to us, but all the parts of the brain we use in speaking, reading, and writing were there for us to incorporate them.

I’m quite happy with the concept of a God who doesn’t know what’s coming. It actually forms part of my own theory of evolution generally, if you remember. And it fits in nicely with your perfect God who can’t create a perfect system, or with my God who deliberately creates an imperfect system. All rather “humanizing”, but as you rightly say, God probably has patterns of thought similar to ours. I don’t know how this explains his giving us more neurons than we needed. And how about when he expanded the brains of all our predecessors? Do you think he knew or didn’t know they would produce their various tools and weapons? I must say I've lost the thread of this discussion, so I eagerly await an explanation of the point you are trying to make.


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