Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Thursday, July 09, 2020, 11:10 (444 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The Moroccan fossils did not have any newly advanced artifacts, which destroys your theory of expansion by implementation. thank you for the admission.

dhw: For approximately the fourth bolded time, nobody knows what the requirements were. We took artefacts as an example because they are the only material evidence we have. Do you really expect me to know precisely what events, discoveries, concepts preceded each expansion over the last two million-plus years?

DAVID: Right. All we have is timed fossils and timed artifacts. As for your bold, God speciates and our brain is His creation.. I expect nothing from you except to accept the facts about sapiens over the past 315,00 years. Little happened until the past 50-70,000 years. Big brain followed by little new uses (stasis as we have defined it).

Of course I accept the above facts, though I don’t know why you bring in your God's speciating. How do the facts contradict my theory? Brain expands 315,000 years ago – cause of expansion unknown – after which there is a long period of stasis caused by the fact that there are no new “big ideas”. Not for the first time, please tell us what is your point?

dhw: 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: To allow us to develop our own uses on our own, He gave us extra neuron networks and put automatic plasticity and complexification processes in our brain to handle the changes. Common sense interpretation of what God did.

And I suggest that if he exists he gave all cells the intelligence to “develop their own uses on their own”. In the context of the brain, we have agreed that plasticity and complexification did not begin with sapiens! And according to you, God gave us MORE extra neuron networks than we needed because he wanted “us” to get rid of them, although what got rid of them was not “us” (see below) but an autonomous mechanism for expansion, complexification and shrinkage.

DAVID: I agree 'we didn't do it', the brain did it with God's implanted mechanism.

dhw: Excellent. That is the theistic version of my theory: God implanted the mechanism of cellular intelligence, which autonomously engineered/engineers expansion, complexification and shrinkage. Agreement at last. Goodbye to divine dabbling. Except that you insist on continuing the argument as if you hadn’t agreed.

DAVID: I haven't agreed at all. The mechanisms in the brain follow specific informational instructions from God.

If the brain was following his specific instructions, perhaps you should tell us what they relate to, since you have now agreed that all three processes of expansion, complexification and shrinkage take place autonomously in the modern brain.

dhw: 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”.

DAVID: Our brain is the endpoint of evolution. No need for further changes.

Changes are taking place all the time. It is only overall expansion that appears to have stopped and has been replaced by enhanced complexification. Once more, if the modern brain has the autonomous ability to complexify and expand some of its parts, why could it not have done so pre-sapiens?

DAVID: Where did our 'autonomous brain expansion' come from? We can make some new neurons in the hippocampus but our brain has shrunk over time. Never expanded and never will. As above, no further evolution expected.

Our “autonomous brain expansion” would have come from the same source as all autonomous changes in brains and in every other organ and organism throughout life’s history: the perhaps God-given intelligence of the cell communities of which they are all comprised. The alternatives to this theory are random mutations, which we both reject, or a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every single undabbled change in the whole history of evolution. See below.

Under “brain complexity”: QUOTE: "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."

dhw: 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.

DAVID: My counter thought is the cells all perform under God-given instructions.

dhw: So have you now abandoned the divine dabbling theory and gone back to your 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every evolutionary change past, present and future?

DAVID: How God offers the instructions is always debatable. How do you think God does it?

You have only offered us the computer programme and dabbling. If you find these hypotheses as far-fetched as I do, it’s up to you to provide alternatives. Mine is that he does NOT offer instructions for every life form, natural wonder etc. in the history of life, but – theistic version – has created the mechanism (cellular intelligence) that enables all organisms “to develop their own uses on their own”, as you so aptly phrased it.

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