Brain expansion: different theories about rapid expansion (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 30, 2020, 18:39 (22 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The phrase in no way meant God knew specifics of what we humans would invent. You imply I accept the Biblical 'all knowing God". I always said no.

dhw: All-powerful, always in total charge/control, but not all-knowing? Good. That human attribute opens the door to my alternative proposals: experimentation, new ideas, and creating an unpredictable spectacle. Thank you. Back to our subject: if the designer did not tell us how to use our brains but anticipated how the enlargement would be used and what all hominin/homo enlargements might achieve, please tell us what he did anticipate if he didn’t anticipate what we achieved.

God gave us free will, remember? He could not anticipate every invention of activity by our every active souls using our brains.


dhw: The key here, though, is “God does not dictate to use it or how to put our brain to work”. Exactly. What he did (if he exists) is give us and our ancestors the means to do our own independent, autonomous thinking.

DAVID: Exactly.

I'm glad we agree.

DAVID: You ignore our knowledge about our brain. Neurogenesis in our brain is rare, confined primarily to the hippocampus. Reaction by shrinking offers no support. The extra cells allowed us to sculpt our brain to our uses with a God-given mechanism but without His input or understanding as to what we might invent. In the beginning teh sapiens brain was hardly used. Think if Michelangelo creating David.

dhw: You are the one who ignores even your own knowledge about the brain: “Our brain has the adaptability to react to any and all physical and mental and emotional demands we place on it.” These reactions take place without your God’s intervention and would also have taken place in each pre-sapiens brain. Same mechanism, same autonomy. And yet apparently your God had to operate on all pre-sapiens brains to give them more cells that would enable the SAME mechanism to perform the SAME functions as they reacted to new requirements. Do you really think the same autonomous mechanism is incapable of providing itself with more new cells, even though it still does so on a minor scale?

The evidence from our brain is clear. Only a few new cells are made by our extremely accomplished organ. No evidence for your theory.

dhw: We have covered the stasis argument a hundred times. Once the pre-sapiens brain had expanded, there were no major new ideas until about 280,000 years had passed. There were similar periods of stasis after earlier expansions. It appears that our brains began to change again about 35,000 years ago, when there was a sudden burst of innovative activity. That fits in with my theory. The brain REACTS to new requirements, not in anticipation of them.

It reacts only if it large enough and complex enough to allow new thought by the soul.


Under “Jumping genes and rapid expansion”:

dhw: Nobody knows how all these evolutionary processes work, but the component parts of the mechanism - the transposable elements - “have been remodelling our ancestral genome since the dawn of time”, i.e. the same mechanism has shaped the whole of evolution, not just the brain. I agree that chance is very unlikely, and my own proposal (cellular intelligence, which would organize the transposable elements) includes the possibility of God as the designer.

DAVID: And you offer no source of 'cellular intelligence' but jump to inferring God MIGHT have done it. Again you offer a God with no purpose or end point goal. The bold forgets my discussions of molecular errors. In advancing evolution God can not trust a DNA design mechanism totally on its own!

dhw: I offer a possible source, and our subject here is how the brain expanded. I propose that cellular intelligence is the mechanism for this and for the whole of evolution. Our subject is not the existence of God, his possible purposes, molecular errors, or his lack of trust in the mechanism he designed. You agree that the brain reacts to new requirements. See above for all the implications of this observation.

Your interpretation of how a brain reacts does not include any evidence of enlargement. I have bolded my comment about errors. Advances in evolution are so complex only a thinking biological engineer can create them. The brain has never been shown to enlarge itself to the degree seen in fossils.


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