Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, July 13, 2020, 11:56 (299 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We know that the modern brain stopped expanding (I suggest that this was because further expansion would have required major adjustments to the anatomy), complexifies in response to thought, certain areas expand in response to thought – but not enough to require overall expansion – and certain areas have shrunk because of the enhanced efficiency of complexification, which made those areas redundant. It is therefore perfectly feasible that in former times brains also complexified in response to thought and expanded in response to thought. They would not have shrunk, because the existing capacity for complexification was inadequate to cope with the new thoughts which required implementation.

DAVID: I agree with you, earlier brains undoubtedly had some degree of plasticity and complexification. Advances in evolution build on previous processes and structures, and the bold is straight from my thinking. In contrast, I view the thought mechanisms for the soul to use for new ideas must appear in a new-sized brain, and then implementation can occur.

Your last sentence implies that the dualist’s soul uses material mechanisms to do its thinking, but I was under the impression that the dualist’s soul – while dependent on the material brain for information and the ability to implement its thoughts – was something immaterial (hence its ability to survive the death of the body). If that is correct, it would not need the new-sized brain until the existing (and autonomous) capacity for complexification proved to be inadequate to implement the new thought. Hence expansion through the process of implementation. Once the new brain existed, then the same process would repeat itself if the soul came up with new ideas that exceeded the existing capacity.

dhw: I still don’t know why you think your God could not have given earlier brains the same mechanism for autonomous complexification and expansion as the one you recognize as being present in the modern brain, although you refuse to countenance the possibility that the mechanism might be cellular intelligence.

DAVID: I've not changed my ideas and theories. Our major difference is I see God as running evolution.

By “running” you mean controlling every phase of evolution through preprogramming or direct dabbling. That does not answer my question, since you have agreed that the modern brain autonomously “runs” its own system of complexification, minor enlargement and shrinkage. Why could it not have done so (without shrinkage) in former times?

DAVID: None of sapiens' brain history fits your thoughts. Remember the sapiens brain only began to shrink in the very recent past as we/souls started to use the brain in its full available capacity. The stasis in use becomes very obvious when viewed this way.

Of course the history fits my thoughts! Pre-sapiens brains expanded. Nobody knows why. The idea that they expanded because new concepts, discoveries, experiences required a greater capacity for implementation of the resultant new ideas does not contradict the history – it offers an explanation of the history! Shrinkage (loss of cells) resulted from the increased efficiency of complexification in dealing with new ideas, whereas in the past when complexification was not so efficient, the brain would have required MORE cells – hence expansion. Stasis simply relates to the absence of new ideas and hence of new expansions/complexifications.

DAVID: As for cell intelligence, my view is not changed. They appear to react intelligently because of God's intelligent instructional information they contain.

“Intelligent instructional information” being an impressive-sounding term for programmes - a view which has led you ultimately to the absurd suitcase analogy discussed elsewhere.

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