Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, July 05, 2020, 09:48 (448 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The only evidence I do have for my theory is that the sapiens brain has stopped expanding and RESPONDS to new requirements by complexifying. It does not complexify in anticipation of new requirements. I see no reason why earlier brains should not have done the same, but when the capacity for complexification proved inadequate, the cell communities responded by adding to their number. The same process of RESPONSE to new requirements, just as organisms in general RESPOND to new requirements, as opposed to being fiddled with in anticpation of new requirements.

DAVID: An excellent presentation of your natural materialistic theory. My faith tells me God expanded the brains at each stage of homo evolution.

Thank you for the praise. My theory does not exclude God, and the fact that you have faith in your own explanation (God changes organisms in anticipation of new requirements, and steps in to expand particular groups of brains, skulls and pelvises overnight) offers neither logic nor evidence to back it up.

dhw: The dualist’s brain does not think. It is the soul that thinks. Please stop messing around with words.

DAVID: Finally clearly stated. Which implies my rule: brain complexity level allows soul thought complexity level.

dhw: At least you have finally dropped your insistence that the brain thinks. I cannot for the life of me understand why you don’t just accept that the dualist’s soul does the thinking and uses the brain for information and for implementation of its thoughts...Your “rule” leaves out half of the process – and it is the half that takes us back to the possible cause of brain expansion: namely, the fact that the brain RESPONDS to new requirements.

DAVID: I am at totally different poles apart from you. Restated for the umpteenth time. The soul uses the brain to think.

I am the one who has restated that umpteen times. You are the one who makes the dualist’s brain think: “the brain cannot think without the soul using it”, “the brain’s capacity for complex thought”, “the thought quality of brain”.

DAVID: The brain is just a mechanism for thought, which means the level of the soul's complexity of thought depends on the complexity of neuronal networks in the physical brain. The bold is a limitation you place on the soul/brain working relationship, which I do not accept. Yes, the brain offers information, but production of complex thought depends upon what the brain offers for use.

What does this mean? The dualist’s brain offers information for the soul to use, and so of course the soul’s thoughts depend on what information it has. That does not mean the brain thinks or has a capacity for thought. And the soul also depends on the brain for implementation of its thoughts. What else does the dualist’s brain do? Please tell us.

DAVID: (re brain shrinkage) No weakness. Your confusion. The plasticity system is perfectly designed to make use of the extra networks to end up with a tailored brain that fits exactly the uses we find to put it to.

dhw: But according to you, your God plonked the extra, superfluous networks into sapiens’ brain! They were NOT used, and that is why they disappeared and the brain shrank!
DAVID: This again shows you have forgotten we have free will and God doesn't know exactly how we will use it. I don't view this as a defect in my God.

dhw: So he just didn’t know he was giving us too many networks. Oops!

DAVID: Same distortion. Quit it!! I've said God knew we would put it into multiple uses and wanted us to do the modification ourselves by the plasticity mechanism He gave our brain.

I get it now. He deliberately gave us more new networks than we required, so that we would say to ourselves: “I don’t need these extra networks, so I’ll get rid of them”. God testing us, perhaps? But actually “we” don’t consciously, of our own free will, complexify or expand or shrink our brains. That is done by the cell communities of which our brains consist. And apparently they are able to complexify themselves and reduce their numbers autonomously, but for some unknown reason your God did not give them the power to autonomously add to their numbers.


Under “energy requirements”:

DAVID: It can be assumed each expansion of the brain was accompanied by a proportionate increase in caloric requirement. This means not only had there to be several simultaneous bony changes but also an adjustment in the division of caloric energy usage and an increase in calorie intake. I doubt this all could be naturally coordinated by chance evolution and had to be designed.

I would suggest that since cells are living organisms that require sustenance, the larger the community, the more sustenance would be required. I really don’t know why this should be regarded as a special problem or how chance versus design enters the argument, but I agree that the complexities of the cell provide the best possible evidence for design

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