Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, July 10, 2020, 09:16 (29 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Long stasis in sapiens denies your idea that a new idea caused the expansion. Where is the new artifact?

For the umpteenth 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? Stasis followed every expansion, so there could not have been any new event, discovery, concept that exceeded the existing capacity for complexification.

dhw: I am only puzzled ... [why He]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.

dhw: 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's bold)

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: Strange question. Two processes follow implanted instructions. Our brain shrinks, not expands. I realize I misread your answer above. I've told you previously the brain does not expand but it can add some neurons.

You have agreed explicitly that the brain shrank because the efficiency of complexification (an autonomous process) made certain cells redundant. Expansion entails the addition of neurons! The fact that this takes place within the confines of the existing sapiens skull does not alter the fact that the brain can expand itself. Both processes result from the “mechanism” you say your God implanted in the brain (bolded above) – a mechanism which acts autonomously and which I call cellular intelligence.

dhw: 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: I'm sure God does it. Based on our brain the new cortex is somewhat oversized to allow plasticity and complexity from use. I don't think our arrival was that different from the past enlargements.

I like your last thought. It fits in perfectly with my theory.

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

dhw: 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.

DAVID: And, as before, I think God runs a tight ship, and if He allowed self-inventions, they would be under strict guidelines. My view of God is not your view when you attempt to describe Him.

Your strict guidelines entail a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme or direct dabbling for every single life form, natural wonder etc. as above. You have not come up with any alternative, but of course you are free to believe whatever you wish to believe.


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