Brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, July 14, 2020, 14:00 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I agree with you, earlier brains undoubtedly had some degree of plasticity and complexification. Advances in evolution build on previous processes and structures[….] 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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: An exact distortion of what I have previously written about my dualism theory: to repeat, in life the soul MUST use the brain mechanisms to develop thought and concepts. In death it is free and on its own to think.

How is it a distortion? We agree that in life the dualist’s soul MUST use the material brain: its thoughts and concepts depend on the brain for information and for implementation. But the dualist’s soul itself cannot be material if it survives the death of the body/brain! Perhaps it is the term “thought mechanisms” that has caused confusion. Please explain it, please tell us whether the dualist’s soul is or is not material, and please explain why you think the dualist’s soul cannot use existing knowledge to come up with new ideas until the material brain has already provided new knowledge and an enhanced ability to implement the ideas.

DAVID: My concept of dualism is not yours, ever, and would not fit/allow your view of how expansion might happen naturally. You want natural expansion. I see God as the designer.

There is no conflict between “natural expansion” and God the designer, if you assume that God designed Nature! A God who designs a mechanism that enables organs and organisms to design their own development, life style, natural wonder etc. is no less a designer God than one who preprogrammes or dabbles every development etc.

DAVID: Our major difference is I see God as running evolution.

But 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: I've previously stated several times that past smaller less complex brains probably had some form of complexification ability. We cannot know about shrinkage from the fossils.

Not answering my question. If the modern brain controls its complexification and its limited expansion autonomously, why couldn’t the same mechanism have done the same 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.

dhw: Of course the history fits my thoughts! […]

DAVID: We are currently discussing the evidence from sapiens brains and since it doesn't fit your natural theory of expansion you have scurried back to pre-sapiens brains to avoid the problem. Please stick to the subject, sapiens brains and long initial stasis of ideas/artifacts.

You are right – my reply concerned the history generally, and not sapiens’ history. My apologies. But I have already given you the answer umpteen times. We do not know what new requirement resulted in the final expansion. But I propose that the sapiens brain stopped expanding because if it had expanded any further, this would have necessitated major changes to the whole anatomy. Instead, complexification took over, apart from minor expansions in particular sections (thus demonstrating the existence of the cells’ autonomous ability to add to their numbers). Shrinkage – loss of cells – was caused by the increased efficiency of complexification, and took place after a long period of stasis during which – as in all other known stages of pre-sapiens expansion – there were no new “big ideas” which required further changes to the brain.

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

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

DAVID: Answered in that entry. You use programs like a dirty word. You never like the concept of God's implanted instructions/information. IDer's deal with it at great length.

Not answered but even more confused in that entry. I don’t use program as a dirty word, but I simply find it impossible to believe that your God would pack the first cells with programs for every single life form etc. See the other entry.


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