Brain expansion: different theories about rapid expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, September 22, 2020, 12:27 (33 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The issue is that you have a fixed notion of God’s role, and I offer an alternative. If God exists, then you propose direct design and I propose self-help mechanisms which he designed. There is no “masquerade”. Meanwhile, once more: you have agreed that the modern brain complexifies and also adds cells without any intervention by God. So why is not feasible that the same process applied to earlier brains?[/b]

DAVID: Again a twist to the facts. Our brain started out extra large and shrunk during complexification. In that process highly used areas enlarged a little. Perhaps that is what happened in earlier brains.

There is no twist. You keep bringing up shrinkage, and we keep agreeing that it resulted from the enhanced efficiency of complexification. Redundancy of cells is irrelevant to expansion caused by the need for more cells. Clearly the modern hippocampus couldn’t complexify sufficiently to cope with new requirements, and so it had to expand. And “perhaps" that was the situation with all or most sections of earlier brains when new requirements could only be met by the addition of cells. Why is this not feasible?

DAVID: your thought avoids all the discussion of the issue of stasis after enlargements.

dhw: We have dealt with stasis over and over again. It is not an issue. In my theory, after new requirements had necessitated the initial expansion, there was a period when there were no more new requirements. […]

DAVID: We only have fossil history to analyze, and stasis is an issue based on our species. It is clear enlargement always led to advances and I assume stasis at each stage of human evolution, by a process I call learning to use it.

We are going round in circles because of your determination to avoid answering my bolded question above concerning feasibility. It is not clear that enlargement LED TO advances. The modern brain shows that it RESPONDS to new needs; it does not anticipate them. Advances therefore would have accompanied enlargement, although of course further advances could be made with the new-sized brain before the next expansion became necessary. Stasis is IRRELEVANT, because it means nothing new happens, there is no change or development or advance. It is only relevant to your theory, in so far as you need to explain why your God operated on the Moroccan brains 280,000 years before they made any advances. If they "learned to use it" by producing something new that couldn’t be fossilized for us to analyse, then there was no stasis.This does not make the slightest difference to my theory.

dhw: […] since the history of the brain is that of an organ whose cell communities complexified and expanded to their present state of complexification and minor expansion, which you agree functions without your God’s intervention, I see no reason to assume that earlier cell communities did not do the same. And yes again, their intelligence may well have come from your God.

DAVID: Once again we disagree about the qualities of God's personality. God will not do it through the agency of cells own actions.

How do you know?

DAVID: You have forgotten the error discussion.

dhw: I wish I could.

DAVID: The problem for me is simple. Cells make molecular errors. Therefore God has to have hands-on control of each step in evolution.

Errors are mistakes, i.e. something goes wrong. This is self-evident when we talk about disease-causing errors. But if the behaviour of cells deviates from established behaviour in evolution, either the behaviour is an “error”, in which case goodbye to the organism, or it will produce something different and functional (hence speciation), in which case it is not an “error”. We know that cells respond to changing conditions. These responses are not errors. This is why you got into such a muddle initially, when you kept harping on about “errors” (chance mutations) that changed the course of evolution, and all God could do was allow them to happen. Totally against all your own beliefs! In my theory, these changes are designed by an intelligence which your God may have designed at the beginning of the whole process. They are not "errors"!

DAVID: Do your intelligent cells know when they made an error? Is it your cells that set up editing systems to correct themselves? Before or after they realized errors could happen?

What “errors” are you talking about now? If cells change in order to cope with new requirements (the brain being one example), there is no “error”! And no correction is required. That, I suggest, is how evolution advanced. Recognizing and correcting is the process with disease-causing errors, and yes, intelligent cells will know when something is wrong, and they will try to correct the errors when they happen (not before they happen!). That is how the body builds up its defences. They don’t always succeed, of course. That is because, as you point out, cells have the freedom to do their own thing, and so sometimes the “baddies” win. And to anticipate another of your objections, if God exists, he would have designed the intelligent cell.

And now perhaps you will answer the bolded and repeated question concerning feasibility.


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