Miscellany (General)

by dhw, Tuesday, September 28, 2021, 11:35 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] how can preparations for survival come to mean that survival is not the purpose of preparations for survival?

DAVID: Of course it is, for reasons I stated above.

dhw: So if the purpose of preparations for survival is survival, are you saying that the changes made for the purpose of survival are NOT the changes that lead to speciation?

DAVID: The survival adaptations made epigenetically do not cause speciation. Survival has nothing to do with the appearance of new species.

Speciation demands major changes to existing structures. Let’s use our favourite example, the whale: do you believe your God performed operations to change legs into flippers, put in a blowhole, reorganize how the whale gives birth etc. so that the whale would become a different species from the pre-whale, or do you believe that these operations were designed to enable the whale to survive more comfortably in a watery habitat?

Reductionism

dhw: […]I cannot choose between the two equally mysterious options, even though one must be nearer the truth than the other.

DAVID: What does 'nearer to the truth mean' to you? For me it is a cut and dried choice, a designer must exist to produce the designs we see, or chance did it. And I view chance as beyond illogical.

But you still can’t see the illogicality of your belief that consciousness (ours) has to be designed, and yet consciousness (God’s) does not have to be designed. Back to the non-explanation of “first cause”, which might just as well be unconscious materials evolving into consciousness. “Nearer to the truth” because of some form of panpsychism that avoids the concept of a single conscious being, while at the same time avoiding the concept of chance finding the magic formula.

Newborn brains
QUOTES: "Humans are born with a part of the brain that is prewired to be receptive to seeing words and letters, setting the stage at birth for people to learn how to read, a new study suggests. Analyzing brain scans of newborns, researchers found that this part of the brain -- called the 'visual word form area' (VWFA) -- is connected to the language network of the brain.

"The VWFA is specialized for reading only in literate individuals.

"'Our study really emphasized the role of already having brain connections at birth to help develop functional specialization, even for an experience-dependent category like reading.'"

DAVID: Was this wiring arrangement present 70,000 years ago when it is thought complex language developed or did the brain circuits evolve quickly since then? I think God had the brains pre-wired and therefore ready to accommodate the new skill.

Here’s a sensational suggestion. We know that the brain changes with new experiences. (Illiterate women’s brains changed when they learned to read.) So maybe the changes to the brain began with the first readers, i.e. resulting from a new activity, not anticipating it. And now the changes are passed on to the babies of literate people through a process called “heredity”. Too simple?


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