Brain expansion: different theories about rapid expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, August 18, 2020, 10:39 (43 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The changing brain shape is certainly due to complexification. The bony shape change is due in part to simple adaptation. The infant and child skull plates are soft and held together by fibrous material with fusion occurring in late adolescence. God not involved.

dhw: Thank you. My point once again is that if God was not involved in the changing shape of the brain and skull, its complexifications and its minor expansions, there is every reason to believe that the same mechanism for shape-changing, complexification and expansion would have caused the expansion of earlier homo and hominid brains. We can of course allow for God as the inventor of the mechanism, but there was no need for him to dabble: the mechanism was perfectly capable of doing its own restructuring.

DAVID: I would remind, restructuring is not overall enlargement which brings lots of neuron networks yet to be restructured usefully as the brain is used in many new ways.

Restructuring encompasses enlargement, complexification, reshaping, and shrinkage. You are prepared to accept that the last three of these, plus minor enlargements, take place without your God’s involvement. I am proposing that major enlargement could also have taken place without your God’s involvement, though he may have invented the mechanism which directs all the restructurings. I don’t know why you find that so unlikely.

Rapid expansion theory:
https://www.allaboutscience.org/evolution-of-the-human-brain-faq.htm

QUOTES: "The response used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain involves a "fast evolution" scheme. Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute concluded that the human brain evolved very rapidly. Their research led them to believe that there was considerable "selection pressure" to evolve the brain into a larger, stronger unit. As human society became more sophisticated, the advantage of a larger brain became more pronounced. This caused the evolutionary process to accelerate, resulting in a quick progression to modern man. (David’s bold)

Even those dedicated to a random, naturalistic explanation for life cannot avoid using terminology that implies purpose, intent, and intelligence."

dhw: […] in their brief article, they fail to mention the processes of complexification and minor expansion which we know are the brain’s responses to new requirements. The “fast evolution” of the brain they refer to is not so extraordinary if you realize that every new idea or requirement or adaptation to new conditions causes the brain to change. It is not, then, the "fast" complexification or development or evolution of the brain that is so extraordinary, but the number of new ideas etc. that must have caused the changes that took place during the last 35,000 years. The enlargement itself - let’s say 315,000 years ago – remains unexplained.

DAVID: Those new uses over 35,000 years simply shrunk the larger brain, nothing more to be concluded from that fact. All of your 'expansions' were tiny enlargements in specific areas from specific complexifications. As for the bigger brain from 315,0000 years ago, God did it. The point of the article was in main part identifying the DNA changes that drove the rapid expansion.

“Simply shrunk the larger brain”? Those new uses complexified the brain, apparently caused the reshaping of the brain and, as you say, also caused tiny enlargements. The sentence you bolded is misleading. There was no overall expansion 35,000 years ago. The expansion took place 315,000 years ago. From then on, complexification took over, and so the rapid evolutionary process can only refer to this, plus the two sections of the brain that expanded, with the resultant change of shape. And so once more, I propose that 35,000 years ago the rapid evolution was really that of the new ideas and requirements which caused enhanced complexification etc., and this in turn was so efficient that the brain actually shrank.

dhw: As regards the final comment, I think we both agree that “random” is out of the question (apart from when you get lost in your new errors theory), but a naturalistic explanation is perfectly possible if we accept that purpose, intent and intelligence may be involved at the cellular level. And this does not preclude God: if he exists, he would have invented the intelligent cell whose activities enable all organs and organisms to adjust to new requirements and possibly even to provide all the innovations that have led not only to the human brain but also to all the species and econiches and natural wonders that have come and gone throughout life’s history.

DAVID: I will never accept your intelligent cell theory. God simply made them look intelligent. And you are lost in the errors theory which I have worked out, either blinded by your biases or because I've not been clear enough. I'll keep trying, because it is a very important issue to resolve to your satisfaction.

Your refusal to accept that something which looks intelligent and acts intelligently might actually BE intelligent is what I would call bias. See the errors thread for the rest.


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