Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, July 07, 2020, 12:49 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: After at last dropping your insistence that the brain thinks, you insist on a proviso which ignores the subject of this thread, the brain’s expansion! I explained all this in my post of last Saturday: “Thought and complexification are an ongoing, interactive process. Implementation of the dualist’s soul’s thought causes complexification of the brain. The new complexifications will now contain new information which may lead to the soul having new 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”... It does not change in anticipation of new requirements.

DAVID: Once again you are describing a complexification process that shrinks the brain, to justify a 'natural expansion' process. The only facts we have is larger brains produce improved artifacts. But in sapiens the improved artifacts appear many, many centuries after the larger brain appears. The sapiens brain demonstrates delayed implementation. No timing fits your theory.

At least three times now I have drawn your attention in bold to my statement: “nobody knows what requirements the pre-sapiens brain was responding to…The 315,000-year old Moroccan fossils were accompanied by their artefacts, but I can’t insist that it was their implementation that caused the expansion.”

DAVID (re shrinkage): 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: I get it now. He deliberately gave us more new networks than we required,...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.[/i

DAVID: [i]Our brain has adding ability especially in the hippocampus areas. You've forgotten recent entries of recent discoveries. Are you inventing another God error, to denigrate God? Of course our neurons know how to complexify. God gave astrocytes and neurons the ability.

dhw: Thank you. We now have the modern brain autonomously complexifying and expanding (= “with adding ability”), so why do you insist that past expansions had to be dabbled by your God? As regards “errors”, it is you who insist that your God gave us more new networks than we needed! I merely asked why, and you came up with the idea that he wanted us to do the shrinking. I’m amazed at your insights into your God’s mind.

DAVID: You obviously don't try to think clearly about God's work. I look at the facts and interpret what I see as logical reasons."We" didn't do the shrinking. God gave us a brain that had the designed-in mechanism for shrinkage by plasticity, thus allowing us to tailor our brains for every new use.

You have conveniently left out your own comment: that God “wanted us to do the modification ourselves by the plasticity mechanism He gave our brain”. It was I who told you that “we” didn’t do the shrinking, and yes the brain has a possibly God-given mechanism (I call it cellular intelligence) for changing itself, whether by expansion, complexification or shrinkage, as you’ve explained above – now bolded.

DAVID: That concept neatly explains what happened, but all you do is end up puzzled.

My concept certainly does, and I don’t find it puzzling at all. I am only puzzled by your idea that God fiddles with brains, skulls and pelvises overnight, and also gave us more neural networks than we needed.

DAVID: Do our brains have plasticity or not? I view the design as clever, anticipating use by free-will humans with consciousness. I know I cannot get into God's mind, but a little reasonable thought arrives at reasonable reasons. Sorry you are blind to them.

Yes, our brains have plasticity. And I have no idea what free will has to do with the expansion of the brain, since “we” do not consciously organize complexification, expansion or shrinkage. I don’t know what reasonable thought has led you to conclude that God did a dabble for each expansion although he gave the modern brain its own autonomous mechanism for complexification and shrinkage and adding ability.

Under “brain complexity”: "A lot of people don't realize that the brain is made up not just of nerve cells, but also cells that keep the brain healthy, and even the space in between cells is packed with fascinating interactions."

A nice way of describing the cooperation of cell communities which lies at the heart of Shapiro’s and Talbott’s and my own proposal concerning how evolution works, including that of the brain.


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