Brain expansion: different theories about rapid expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Wednesday, September 30, 2020, 11:10 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If one believes in common descent, new advances must mirror past processes. For me our brain acts as old brains did. Which means new neurons added only to the hippocampus. Your thought is just wishful thinking.

dhw: We know that various sections of the brain expanded in the past. We know that one section has expanded in the modern brain. Somehow this proves to you that other sections could not have done the same in the past, and therefore God stepped in and added the new cells. Perhaps we should leave it at that.

DAVID: Yes, as we fully disagree. I have God and you want nature.

Where does nature come into it? My proposal is that an existing mechanism, possibly designed by your God, may have performed the same function in the past as in the present. Nothing to do with nature!

DAVID: Your 'unknown requirement' is pure invention. All pre-Homo sapiens species fossils are aged with new artifacts, but not us!!! Fact, not imagination.

dhw: […] As regards fossils and artefacts, here is a website that may interest you.
https://www.britannica.com/science/human-evolution/Increasing-brain-size

QUOTE: Because more complete fossil heads than hands are available, it is easier to model increased brain size in parallel with the rich record of artifacts from the Paleolithic Period (c. 3.3 million to 10,000 years ago), popularly known as the Old Stone Age. […] Hominin brain expansion tracks so closely with refinements in tool technology that some scholars ignore other factors that may have contributed to the brain’s increasing size, such as social complexity, foraging strategies, symbolic communication, and capabilities for other culture-mediated behaviours that left no or few archaeological traces.

dhw: Please note the reference to contribution to brain size – as opposed to the idea that the brain expanded in anticipation of these new uses.

DAVID: I've read that Britannica section long ago. Of course it is a non-God interpretation in which again natural adaptive activities enlarge the brain. Not news to me.

So why do you insist on restricting my possible causes of expansion to the production of artefacts? I keep repeating that other causes are possible. The fact that you already know that is hardly a reason for rejecting it. Nor is the fact that somebody in the field appears to support my proposal. We know that the brain changes in RESPONSE to new requirements. Where is your evidence that it changes in ANTICIPATION of them? And finally, back we go to my bolded proposal above: why is not feasible? And please stop pretending that it excludes God.


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