Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, July 02, 2020, 10:57 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

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?

dhw: 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: I've understood your fantasy. The brain expands with no stasis, makes its new idea and then goes to sleep for some time for a delayed stasis. The only problem for you is the history we know of sapiens. The Moroccan 315,000 yo fossils did not come with new artifacts. Then nothing for 250,000 years.

I really don’t know what you mean now by stasis. We agreed that it was a period in which there were no new developments. What on earth is a “delayed stasis”? Every expansion has been followed by a period in which there were no new developments. Why is that so difficult to understand? The spear (artefact) was a simplified example merely to illustrate how I think the process might work. In general terms: just as the modern brain complexifies IN RESPONSE to new requirements, the earlier brain would have expanded IN RESPONSE to new requirements. I have no idea what these requirements might have been, and I have no idea how long the process would have taken. Nor have you and nor has anyone. But artefacts are the only solid evidence of progress that we have. I’m afraid I still find this more convincing than your own theory that one night your God stepped in and a particular group of homos woke up next morning to find they’d got bigger brains, skulls and pelvises.

DAVID: ... We both agree, The brain cannot think without the soul.

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

DAVID: I've said the same thing in different words. Brain 'thinking' is soul driven. Brain cannot think without the soul using it.

You have said the opposite using the same words. I say the dualist’s brain does not think, but the dualist’s soul cannot think without using the brain. (We’d better not start delving into the problem of the afterlife here.)

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: 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.

dhw: […] 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.

DAVID: You seem to have forgotten free will. I don't, as above, think God knows exactly what we will come up with as time passes.

Yet more limitations to this once all-powerful, all-knowing and perfect God of yours. But I’m pleased at your conversion to the possibility of a God who doesn’t know it all. In my theory he deliberately created a life system that would be unpredictable. How boring it would all be if he knew exactly what was coming! You now have a choice: he didn’t know what was coming because he has limitations or he didn’t know what was coming because he didn’t WANT to know what was coming.

DAVID: God thinks logically as we do, but nothing more in terms of humanized desires on His part.

See your theory of evolution, and the fact that you don’t know why he chose the method you impose on him for achieving the purpose you impose on him. So how do you know he thinks logically as we do? (But you have agreed that in all my alternatives, he DOES think logically as we do, but according to you, that "humanizes him", and although according to you he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, we mustn't think he does.)

DAVID: Complexification, as a brain plasticity process, needed extra neuron networks for careful tailoring as sapiens developed various uses and concepts. Allows for unexpected use developments.

Yes, complexification replaced expansion in response to new uses and concepts. But according to you, 315,000 years ago your God gave us extra neural networks that were NOT needed, and so we autonomously got rid of them. What is your point?


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