Brain expansion: different theories about rapid expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, September 14, 2020, 13:26 (11 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: No, stasis is my main point and you haven't refuted my objection to your theory that a nebulous demand enlarges the brain.

dhw: I’m glad stasis is your main point. In my theory, the brain complexifies and/or expands in order to meet new requirements. It ceases to complexify/expand if there are no new requirements, and so there is stasis. In your theory, your God expanded the Moroccans’ brains 315,000 years ago, and they did nothing with them for the next 280,000 years. What nebulous reason can you come up with for this premature operation, if there were no new requirements? Please don’t say “anticipation”, or “learning how to use them”. Anticipation does not explain why the Moroccans didn’t do anything, and you can’t learn how to do something without doing something, and your whole point is they did nothing.

DAVID: They didn't do nothing. They went on living on the level of sophistication they were born into. Bit by bit new concepts appeared and sapiens developing them at an exponential rate because the capacity of their brain was prepared to do it.

If they went on living in the manner they were born into, there was stasis, which for some reason is your main point. But hey presto, now you’re saying that bit by bit new concepts appeared. Please tell us what these new concepts were, prior to the sudden burst of new ideas (and apparently a slight reshaping of the brain) approx. 35,000 years ago. And please remember that in your own words, our brains REACT to the demands we place on them. They do not anticipate demands.

DAVID: That is because the brains contain a complexification mechanism which is also a reorganization mechanism in small interconnected areas.

Precisely: a mechanism which complexifies, reorganizes and even adds new cells, and does so without any intervention from your God. So why do you insist that the mechanism could not have complexified, reorganized and added more new cells in earlier brains?

dhw: As for your objection to my own theory, I can only repeat that NOBODY knows what caused the different enlargements. I have suggested “new ideas, ways of life, changes of environment” – and you very kindly suggested a change of climate, though you didn’t mean to.

DAVID: I said the climate was pleasant: "no new advances in life-style in a pleasant climate."

How do you know what the climate was like 314, 999 years ago, before your God stepped in and performed his operation? Or even whether the Moroccans originally came from the place where their fossils were found? No problem with no advances, since my proposal is that the enlargement was CAUSED by an unknown requirement, but was followed by no new requirements, though now you tell us above that there were new requirements. Even that is no problem for me: the brain would have complexified, but I don’t know why you told us there was stasis if in fact there were new “bit by bit” concepts. All very confusing.

DAVID: My answer is God enlarged the brain and had the complexification mechanism built in.

dhw: But we have agreed that the autonomous complexification mechanism must already have existed in pre-sapiens brains, and since modern brains are known to add a few cells to meet specific requirements, why do you exclude the possibility that in former times the same mechanism could have added lots of cells to meet specific requirements? […] Your only answer to this question so far has been that God did it.

DAVID: Of course God did it. That is my position. All brains, pre-sapiens and sapiens had the complexification mechanism given by God. The required complexity of design requires God's designing mind.

This is amazing. With my theist hat on, that is also my position! ALL brains, pre-sapiens and sapiens, had the same complexification mechanism, and since the modern brain also adds cells when needed, I see no reason why the same mechanism (which changes the brain in response to new requirements) should not have done the same. We must bear in mind that the mechanism in the modern brain functions without your God’s involvement, and since it’s the same mechanism as in all the other brains, it would also have functioned in earlier brains without your God’s involvement. No need for that overnight operation. But we mustn’t forget the skull and the pelvis, must we? I reckon if your God could design a mechanism that enabled the brain to complexify and expand autonomously in response to new requirements, he could have done the same for the skull and pelvis. Don’t you?


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