Brain expansion: different theories about rapid expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, September 02, 2020, 11:02 (389 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I’m surprised to hear that each new hominin/homo actually dominated the world, but even if you really meant just sapiens, why couldn’t your God’s crystal ball have given him the same message if he’d designed the autonomous mechanism I keep proposing?

DAVID: Your 'if he designed' doesn't tell us what God could foresee in humans' future activities. Did He see chess or tennis coming? I'm not sure.

You wrote that your God’s expansion meant he anticipated “how that enlargement will be used”. When I said this could only mean he knew we would invent cricket and the piano, you replied: “The phrase in no way meant God knew the specifics of what we would invent.” Now you are not sure! I asked again what he had anticipated, and my reply above was to your next suggestion, which was that he knew “we would dominate the world”. Now you’re complaining that I have not provided an answer to my own question! My point is that he could still have used his crystal ball if, instead of performing operations on groups of hominins and homos, he had left it to the complexification/expansion mechanism to do its own complexifying and expanding.

DAVID: There is no evidence for your theory that the brain learned how to adapt itself on its own.

dhw: But you wrote: bb“our brain has the adaptability to react to any and all physical and mental and emotional demands we place on it”, and you have agreed that it does so without any involvement from God! He gave us free will, remember? So what does your comment mean? That God stepped in and gave all post-operative hominins and homos lessons on how to use their free will?

DaVID: Silly supposition. God's complexification brain program responds to our uses and needs without Him stepping in.

Thank you for once again confirming that the brain did learn how to adapt itself on its own, without any intervention from your God.

DAVID: There is no proof any brain knows how to expand itself, as the only brain we know doesn't.

dhw: Yes it does, but only in specific sections. And for the thousandth time, there is no proof of any theory. The best we can is offer a feasible explanation. Why is not feasible that the past brain functioned in the same way as the present brain, by reacting to “any and all physical and emotional and mental demands made on it” through complexification and expansion?

DAVID: Once again you have our brain inexplicably expanding. Areas in our brain make tiny enlargements for specialized tasks, nothing more. No evidence for your theory.

I have provided a theoretical explanation for the unexplained expansion, and the fact that our brain – which no longer expands – still makes small enlargements may be regarded as evidence that the brain is capable of making enlargements. And the evidence for your divine dabble is….?

DAVID: The brain has never been shown to enlarge itself to the degree seen in fossils.

dhw: Once more: Nobody knows how the brain expanded, and our brain has stopped expanding overall, which is why we have to theorize. See above for the rest of the argument.

DAVID: Our brain stopping enlargement leads only to the conclusion major steps in evolution are over. Theories should fit the facts we know and not contort them.

dhw: We are not discussing whether evolution is over, but your final comment is spot on. Please tell us what facts are contorted by the proposal that just as the modern brain changes itself IN RESPONSE to new requirements by complexifying and sometimes producing a few new cells, earlier brains may have functioned (it’s a theory) through the same process, but produced a lot more new cells than the modern brain, which has now stopped expanding? (Enhanced complexification also led to the redundancy of certain cells.)

DAVID: Your comment precisely ignores a tenet of evolutionary theory that present organs are built upon the attributes of past designs. What our brain does is an example to what past brains did, perhaps without the shrinkage.

Thank you for this very clear support for my theory. Our brain, as you have told us, “has the adaptability to react to any and all physical and mental and emotional demands we place on it.” It even adds a few cells when necessary. (Shrinkage results from the enhanced efficiency of complexification, and would not have occurred if the requirement was for new cells.) According to my theory, present organisms are built upon the attributes of past designs. There is no sudden leap – as if your God had performed an operation to introduce new brains, skulls and pelvises. Our brain does what past brains did, and so past brains would also have complexified and expanded as a REACTION to new requirements, as summarized so perfectly by yourself in the bold above.

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