Revisiting language and brain expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Sunday, February 02, 2020, 12:07 (58 days ago)

Switched from the Shapiro thread, as the subject suddenly changed!

dhw: Our human ancestors would certainly have communicated with simpler language structures than our own, and surprise, surprise, languages like our own have undergone enormous changes even in the last few hundred years as the human mind expands its experiences, knowledge, interests, inventions. The process is called evolution... And there are times when evolution moves slowly – even with periods of stasis – and times when it moves fast, depending on conditions and requirements. (1) Our ape ancestors can still make do with comparatively simple language, and there is no reason to suppose that our human ancestors did not find their own comparatively simple language perfectly adequate for their needs until eventually some inventive minds started producing more complex ideas, tools, methods of survival etc. which required an expansion of language. (2) Just like pre-whale legs, I propose that changes in language as well as in body and brain come about in response to new requirements.{David’s numbering and bolding]

DAVID: My usual simple answer: your answer skips neatly over the problem of rapid brain enlargement over 2-3 million years to 1,200 from 400 cc originally, which lays fallow until it doesn't as in your comment, "enormous changes even in the last few hundred years" occurs, and then as you agree, it has some small shrinkage. None of the bolded (1) could have happened if the brain wasn't just lying there waiting to be used. And in bolded (2) what 'requirements' made the brain so large in advance of all the uses you so clearly list appearing after lots of time. Your leg/flipper comparison does not fit the big brain story, does it?

You asked me specifically about language, and now you want to go back over the whole history of brain expansion, which we have covered time and again. Remember our discussion on the invention of the spear? Once again: I propose that instead of your all-powerful, all-knowing God – who can do whatever he wants any way he wants – for some unknown reason dabbling over and over again to expand the brain although all he wanted in the first place was a 1200 cc brain, I propose that our earliest ancestors came up with ideas or were faced with new conditions that required more brain capacity than they already had. We know for a fact (though you prefer to forget it) that implementation of new ideas leads to changes in the brain (the illiterate women, taxi drivers, musicians etc.). Way back when – to give you an example – let’s say some clever clogs got fed up with having to wrestle a bison in order to get some meat, and thought of putting together a sharp piece of stone, a stick, and one of his arms. But this idea required thoughts and deeds never done before, and just as muscles grow with exercise, so the brain expanded with the effort of planning and producing and throwing the first spear. Take it from there. The brain expands. And for a while, the expanded brain can cope with all the demands made on it…until someone else produces - or new conditions demand - new ideas it can no longer cope with. More expansion. But eventually the brain expands to a point at which further expansion would unbalance the whole structure, and that is when complexification takes over. So in answer to 1) No, the 1200cc brain wasn’t just lying there to be used. It was being used all the time, unless our ancestors were zombies, but when new ideas or new conditions came along, instead of expanding, it complexified (and eventually shrunk, presumably because complexification proved so efficient). 2) Unfortunately I wasn’t around at the time to know what new ideas or requirements led to each stage of expansion over 2-3 million years – which is nothing in geological time, but a helluva lot in terms of generations of organisms capable of making changes. But we do know from the way the brain works now that it does not change in advance of new ideas and/or requirements; it responds to them. To our knowledge, every adaptation that has ever happened has been in RESPONSE and not in anticipation. The whale story fits the brain story precisely: flippers replaced legs as a result of the pre-whale adapting itself to marine life, and not in advance of it entering the water: anatomical changes are a RESPONSE to new requirements and do not take place in anticipation of them.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 02, 2020, 16:19 (58 days ago) @ dhw

Switched from the Shapiro thread, as the subject suddenly changed!

DAVID: My usual simple answer: your answer skips neatly over the problem of rapid brain enlargement over 2-3 million years to 1,200 from 400 cc originally, which lays fallow until it doesn't as in your comment, "enormous changes even in the last few hundred years" occurs, and then as you agree, it has some small shrinkage. None of the bolded (1) could have happened if the brain wasn't just lying there waiting to be used. And in bolded (2) what 'requirements' made the brain so large in advance of all the uses you so clearly list appearing after lots of time. Your leg/flipper comparison does not fit the big brain story, does it?

dhw: I propose that our earliest ancestors came up with ideas or were faced with new conditions that required more brain capacity than they already had. We know for a fact (though you prefer to forget it) that implementation of new ideas leads to changes in the brain (the illiterate women, taxi drivers, musicians etc.).

You forget I just mentioned that fact in a recent post. And the modern brain has shown overall shrinking, remember.

dhw: Way back when – to give you an example – let’s say some clever clogs got fed up with having to wrestle a bison in order to get some meat, and thought of putting together a sharp piece of stone, a stick, and one of his arms. But this idea required thoughts and deeds never done before, and just as muscles grow with exercise, so the brain expanded with the effort of planning and producing and throwing the first spear.

The biology of muscles allows them to expand to meet the requirements of more work, built in. The brain, a totally biologically different structure with massive use has shrunk. Your comparison does not hold water; it is like comparing oysters to cows.

dhw: Take it from there. The brain expands. And for a while, the expanded brain can cope with all the demands made on it…until someone else produces - or new conditions demand - new ideas it can no longer cope with. More expansion.

This description is totally Darwinian, since it implies bit by bit growth as new needs appear. It totally ignores the 200 cc jumps in size the fossil record exhibits. And how homo lives improves after each jump, as archaeologists show. This is the key issue you constantly evade.

dhw: But eventually the brain expands to a point at which further expansion would unbalance the whole structure, and that is when complexification takes over. So in answer to 1) No, the 1200cc brain wasn’t just lying there to be used. It was being used all the time, unless our ancestors were zombies, but when new ideas or new conditions came along, instead of expanding, it complexified (and eventually shrunk, presumably because complexification proved so efficient). 2) Unfortunately I wasn’t around at the time to know what new ideas or requirements led to each stage of expansion over 2-3 million years – which is nothing in geological time, but a helluva lot in terms of generations of organisms capable of making changes.

Again pure Darwin, bit by bit.

dhw: But we do know from the way the brain works now that it does not change in advance of new ideas and/or requirements; it responds to them. To our knowledge, every adaptation that has ever happened has been in RESPONSE and not in anticipation. The whale story fits the brain story precisely: flippers replaced legs as a result of the pre-whale adapting itself to marine life, and not in advance of it entering the water: anatomical changes are a RESPONSE to new requirements and do not take place in anticipation of them.

The brain working now is at the end of evolution. It is fully done expanding, based on the shrinkage. The idea that the early brains grew to this size under requirement pressures is totally ass backwards, an inverted Darwinian theory. Your bold is discussing minor needed adaptations within species. The brain expansion IS major speciation, and you mix up the two concepts. You cannot make species adaptation into speciation.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Monday, February 03, 2020, 12:54 (57 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I propose that our earliest ancestors came up with ideas or were faced with new conditions that required more brain capacity than they already had. We know for a fact (though you prefer to forget it) that implementation of new ideas leads to changes in the brain (the illiterate women, taxi drivers, musicians etc.).(David’s bold)

DAVID: You forget I just mentioned that fact in a recent post. [dhw: Yesterday, in response to my mention of it.] And the modern brain has shown overall shrinking, remember.

So the brain responds to new requirements, and does not change in anticipation of them. I explained shrinkage in my post: [the brain] “eventually shrunk, presumably because complexification proved so efficient”. What is your explanation? Did God pop down and say, “Hey, they didn’t need all the capacity I gave ‘em, so I’ll shrink ‘em”?

dhw: […] let’s say some clever clogs got fed up with having to wrestle a bison in order to get some meat, and thought of putting together a sharp piece of stone, a stick, and one of his arms. But this idea required thoughts and deeds never done before, and just as muscles grow with exercise, so the brain expanded with the effort of planning and producing and throwing the first spear.

DAVID: The biology of muscles allows them to expand to meet the requirements of more work, built in. The brain, a totally biologically different structure with massive use has shrunk. Your comparison does not hold water; it is like comparing oysters to cows.

The analogy is that muscles and brains consist of cells, and cells respond to requirements and use. I’ve explained shrinkage above.

dhw: Take it from there. The brain expands. And for a while, the expanded brain can cope with all the demands made on it…until someone else produces - or new conditions demand - new ideas it can no longer cope with. More expansion.

DAVID: This description is totally Darwinian, since it implies bit by bit growth as new needs appear. It totally ignores the 200 cc jumps in size the fossil record exhibits. And how homo lives improves after each jump, as archaeologists show. This is the key issue you constantly evade.

You quote me and ignore what you quote! I did not say the brain expands with each new need. “The brain expands”(= the jump). “And for a while, the expanded brain can cope with all the demands made on it….” until it can no longer cope. Cue for more expansion (= the next jump).

dhw: To our knowledge, every adaptation that has ever happened has been in RESPONSE and not in anticipation. (David’s bold […]

DAVID: The brain working now is at the end of evolution. It is fully done expanding, based on the shrinkage. The idea that the early brains grew to this size under requirement pressures is totally ass backwards, an inverted Darwinian theory.

What “inversion”? The jumps are progressive as new requirements eventually require greater capacity. I made the point that expansion was over (“the brain expands to a point at which further expansion would unbalance the whole structure, and that is when complexification takes over.”) Why is this so hard to understand? Shrinkage explained above.

DAVID: Your bold is discussing minor needed adaptations within species. The brain expansion IS major speciation, and you mix up the two concepts. You cannot make species adaptation into speciation.

We do not know the extent to which adaptation leads to speciation, but expansion and complexification are not innovations, and the human brain was not a new organ! Unique though it is in its complexities, it started out virtually the same size as the chimp brain. Dogs’ noses are far more complex than ours, but would you call their noses an innovation? However, NOBODY knows how speciation takes place. All the above is theoretical, as is your proposal that an unknown, eternal mind preprogrammed or dabbled every change before it was required.

DAVID (Under “Introducing the brain”): […] this applies to our discussion about which came first large brain or from dhw a necessity telling the brain to enlarge and complexify. The dhw approach demands to know how did the brain learn to make itself function better by enlarging and complexifying?

I propose: In the same manner that ALL evolutionary innovations and adaptations stem from the intelligence, sentience, cooperation, communication and decision-making of cell communities responding to the requirements or opportunities offered by changing conditions. I’m surprised that you have forgotten this theory.

DAVID: Only a designer could have created that mechanism, a mechanism dhw awards to evolving organisms by his suggesting God gave such a mechanism so they could do it themselves.

And why do you consider that to be an argument against the proposed mechanism?

DAVID: In evolution doesn't the present build from the past? We know local brain areas enlarge, when required (London cabbies, illiterate women). Why a limited capacity now?

Thank you for acknowledging that changes in the brain are responses to requirements. And yes, evolution builds from the past.The human brain built on the brain of its primate predecessors. That is precisely the process I have described. Limited capacity because we'd have had trouble with an elephant-sized head, and so complexification took over, as explained above (including shrinkage).

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, February 03, 2020, 17:30 (57 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Monday, February 03, 2020, 17:52

DAVID: And the modern brain has shown overall shrinking, remember.

dhw: So the brain responds to new requirements, and does not change in anticipation of them. I explained shrinkage in my post: [the brain] “eventually shrunk, presumably because complexification proved so efficient”. What is your explanation? Did God pop down and say, “Hey, they didn’t need all the capacity I gave ‘em, so I’ll shrink ‘em”?

You are confusing two different events: 200 cc jumps in brain size before the new species uses them to full capacity and the completed modern brain which can enlarge small areas when necessary. Note the entry yesterday about brain complexity ( Sunday, February 02, 2020, 19:29)


dhw: Take it from there. The brain expands. And for a while, the expanded brain can cope with all the demands made on it…until someone else produces - or new conditions demand - new ideas it can no longer cope with. More expansion.

DAVID: This description is totally Darwinian, since it implies bit by bit growth as new needs appear. It totally ignores the 200 cc jumps in size the fossil record exhibits. And how homo lives improves after each jump, as archaeologists show. This is the key issue you constantly evade.

dhw: You quote me and ignore what you quote! I did not say the brain expands with each new need. “The brain expands”(= the jump). “And for a while, the expanded brain can cope with all the demands made on it….” until it can no longer cope. Cue for more expansion (= the next jump).

You are pointing to a possible cause but have no answer as to how the brain suddenly enlarges. For me God does it when needed.


dhw: To our knowledge, every adaptation that has ever happened has been in RESPONSE and not in anticipation. (David’s bold […]

Only minor, within a species, adaptations fit your statement. There are no known reasons for true speciation.

DAVID: Your bold is discussing minor needed adaptations within species. The brain expansion IS major speciation, and you mix up the two concepts. You cannot make species adaptation into speciation.

dhw: We do not know the extent to which adaptation leads to speciation, but expansion and complexification are not innovations, and the human brain was not a new organ! However, NOBODY knows how speciation takes place. All the above is theoretical, as is your proposal that an unknown, eternal mind preprogrammed or dabbled every change before it was required.

Yes, adaptations are not speciation. My proposal is based on the logical need for a designer.


DAVID (Under “Introducing the brain”): […] this applies to our discussion about which came first large brain or from dhw a necessity telling the brain to enlarge and complexify. The dhw approach demands to know how did the brain learn to make itself function better by enlarging and complexifying?

dhw: I propose: In the same manner that ALL evolutionary innovations and adaptations stem from the intelligence, sentience, cooperation, communication and decision-making of cell communities responding to the requirements or opportunities offered by changing conditions. I’m surprised that you have forgotten this theory.

Not forgotten, considered unreasonable, based on free living bacterial abilities


DAVID: Only a designer could have created that mechanism, a mechanism dhw awards to evolving organisms by his suggesting God gave such a mechanism so they could do it themselves.

dhw: And why do you consider that to be an argument against the proposed mechanism?

I don't. Note it requires God! And my God would design it with guidelines to achive His specific purposes.


DAVID: In evolution doesn't the present build from the past? We know local brain areas enlarge, when required (London cabbies, illiterate women). Why a limited capacity now?

dhw: Thank you for acknowledging that changes in the brain are responses to requirements. And yes, evolution builds from the past.The human brain built on the brain of its primate predecessors. That is precisely the process I have described. Limited capacity because we'd have had trouble with an elephant-sized head, and so complexification took over, as explained above (including shrinkage).

Don't thank me! You are again erroneously comparing two very different processes, a small area of the current modern brain modifying to handle a new task, vs. 200 cc jumps in brain size in speciation. Again reverting to and apples and oranges argument.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, February 04, 2020, 11:24 (56 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: And the modern brain has shown overall shrinking, remember.

dhw: So the brain responds to new requirements, and does not change in anticipation of them. I explained shrinkage in my post: [the brain] “eventually shrunk, presumably because complexification proved so efficient”. What is your explanation? Did God pop down and say, “Hey, they didn’t need all the capacity I gave ‘em, so I’ll shrink ‘em”?

DAVID: You are confusing two different events: 200 cc jumps in brain size before the new species uses them to full capacity and the completed modern brain which can enlarge small areas when necessary. Note the entry yesterday about brain complexity ( Sunday, February 02, 2020, 19:29)

There is no confusion. You are simply ignoring my explanation of the jumps, and refusing to answer my question about shrinkage.

dhw: You quote me and ignore what you quote! I did not say the brain expands with each new need. “The brain expands”(= the jump). “And for a while, the expanded brain can cope with all the demands made on it….” until it can no longer cope. Cue for more expansion (= the next jump).

DAVID: You are pointing to a possible cause but have no answer as to how the brain suddenly enlarges. For me God does it when needed.

An interesting volte face by you. Previously you told us he enlarged the brain before the enlargement was needed. As for how the brain enlarges, I’m surprised you don’t recall the theory that cell communities are intelligent and have the ability to change their structure (which would include expansion) to meet with new requirements and/or exploit new opportunities.

dhw: To our knowledge, every adaptation that has ever happened has been in RESPONSE and not in anticipation. (David’s bold […]

DAVID: Only minor, within a species, adaptations fit your statement. There are no known reasons for true speciation. [..] Yes, adaptations are not speciation. My proposal is based on the logical need for a designer.

Once more: Nobody knows, and so we propose theories. Once more: we do not know the extent to which adaptation may lead to speciation (think of the whale). Once more: my proposal is that intelligent cells restructure themselves autonomously. Once more: they may have been designed by your God.

DAVID: Only a designer could have created that mechanism, a mechanism dhw awards to evolving organisms by his suggesting God gave such a mechanism so they could do it themselves.

dhw: And why do you consider that to be an argument against the proposed mechanism?

DAVID: I don't. Note it requires God! And my God would design it with guidelines to achive His specific purposes.

I have no objections to the argument that it may have been designed by your God. It is your theory of evolution that is under fire, not your belief in God. Once more: your “guidelines” only consist of divine preprogramming and/or dabbling, the exact opposite of autonomous intelligence.

DAVID: In evolution doesn't the present build from the past? We know local brain areas enlarge, when required (London cabbies, illiterate women). Why a limited capacity now?

dhw: […] yes, evolution builds from the past. The human brain built on the brain of its primate predecessors. That is precisely the process I have described. Limited capacity because we'd have had trouble with an elephant-sized head, and so complexification took over, as explained above (including shrinkage).

DAVID: […] You are again erroneously comparing two very different processes, a small area of the current modern brain modifying to handle a new task, vs. 200 cc jumps in brain size in speciation. Again reverting to and apples and oranges argument.

I have explained the jumps as being the result of the same process: namely, that the cells of the brain RESPOND to new requirements and do not anticipate them. I also answered your question: “why a limited capacity now?” Any other questions to which you wish to ignore the answers?;-)

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 04, 2020, 21:38 (55 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are confusing two different events: 200 cc jumps in brain size before the new species uses them to full capacity and the completed modern brain which can enlarge small areas when necessary. Note the entry yesterday about brain complexity ( Sunday, February 02, 2020, 19:29)

dhw: There is no confusion. You are simply ignoring my explanation of the jumps, and refusing to answer my question about shrinkage.

I totally do not accept your explanation of the gaps. I've bolded my shrinkage answer above.

dhw: […] yes, evolution builds from the past. The human brain built on the brain of its primate predecessors. That is precisely the process I have described. Limited capacity because we'd have had trouble with an elephant-sized head, and so complexification took over, as explained above (including shrinkage).

DAVID: […] You are again erroneously comparing two very different processes, a small area of the current modern brain modifying to handle a new task, vs. 200 cc jumps in brain size in speciation. Again reverting to and apples and oranges argument.

dhw; I have explained the jumps as being the result of the same process: namely, that the cells of the brain RESPOND to new requirements and do not anticipate them. I also answered your question: “why a limited capacity now?” Any other questions to which you wish to ignore the answers?;-)

I view evolution as requiring a designer to supply new additions to organismal capabilities. I compare to our modern appliances and autos which keep evolving with new designed parts and abilities. Why don't you see that all living biological beings are simply biological machines operating a somewhat different way while alive and in reproduction. You cannot ask your auto to change to a more modern one with new abilities. You have go buy one which someone else's mind designed for you. I completely reject chance to do this and the recognized gaps in evolution cannot be explained by your thinking cells. There is evidence they have design capacity, only epigenetic minor modifications within the same species. My firm explanation for speciation is a designer. I accept nothing else.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, February 05, 2020, 12:47 (55 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are confusing two different events: 200 cc jumps in brain size before the new species uses them to full capacity and the completed modern brain which can enlarge small areas when necessary. Note the entry yesterday about brain complexity ( Sunday, February 02, 2020, 19:29)

dhw: There is no confusion. You are simply ignoring my explanation of the jumps, and refusing to answer my question about shrinkage.

DAVID: I totally do not accept your explanation of the gaps. I've bolded my shrinkage answer above.

My question about shrinkage concerned your view that only God could have caused the expansions, and only God could have provided the ultimate brain, so presumably God caused the shrinkage. Why? “Oops, I gave ‘em too much brain. Let’s do a shrink!” Enlarging small areas when necessary does not explain shrinkage, which I suggest is due to the efficiency of complexification. You have ignored this explanation. I know you don’t accept my explanation of the gaps as being filled by the intelligence of the cell communities. You cling to the belief that your God kept dabbling, or preprogrammed the gaps 3.8 billion years ago, along with every other evolutionary change.

DAVID: I view evolution as requiring a designer to supply new additions to organismal capabilities.

I know you do. So do I. And I suggest that the designer is the intelligent cell/cell community, which in turn may have been designed by your God. Why do we need to keep repeating this?

DAVID: I compare to our modern appliances and autos which keep evolving with new designed parts and abilities. Why don't you see that all living biological beings are simply biological machines operating a somewhat different way while alive and in reproduction. You cannot ask your auto to change to a more modern one with new abilities. You have go buy one which someone else's mind designed for you. I completely reject chance to do this and the recognized gaps in evolution cannot be explained by your thinking cells.

I don’t know how often I have to explain that I too reject chance, and NOBODY can explain the gaps but the theory of thinking cells is one possible explanation. Your analogy of modern appliances and autos is way off the mark. The analogy should be with the thinking humans who create the appliances. But instead of creating objects outside themselves, thinking cells restructure themselves. You say they can’t, but we know they can and do (through adaptation), as you acknowledge below. We just don’t know how far that ability extends.

DAVID: There is evidence they have design capacity, only epigenetic minor modifications within the same species. My firm explanation for speciation is a designer. I accept nothing else.

I know you have made up your mind. And I keep asking you questions about your explanations (not about design but about the motives, abilities and methods you impose on your designer), and the only answers I get are that you have no idea, we can’t “know”, why bother?:-(

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 05, 2020, 20:21 (54 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: There is no confusion. You are simply ignoring my explanation of the jumps, and refusing to answer my question about shrinkage.

DAVID: I totally do not accept your explanation of the gaps. I've bolded my shrinkage answer above.

dhw: My question about shrinkage concerned your view that only God could have caused the expansions, and only God could have provided the ultimate brain, so presumably God caused the shrinkage. Why? “Oops, I gave ‘em too much brain. Let’s do a shrink!” Enlarging small areas when necessary does not explain shrinkage, which I suggest is due to the efficiency of complexification. You have ignored this explanation.'

I've not ignored your unreasonable thinking. Overall shrinkage is not large, but is a definite result of complexification. Enlargement of very special areas (cabbies, reading) is a very special plasticity of the brain, both processes part of the plasticity process give to the brain by God, as He managed the evolution of the unique human brain.

DAVID: I view evolution as requiring a designer to supply new additions to organismal capabilities.

dhw: I know you do. So do I. And I suggest that the designer is the intelligent cell/cell community, which in turn may have been designed by your God. Why do we need to keep repeating this?

You keep bringing up your cellular committee system of evolutionary design, denying God his right to keep fu ll control. Your view of God is strange, to say the least.


DAVID: I compare to our modern appliances and autos which keep evolving with new designed parts and abilities. Why don't you see that all living biological beings are simply biological machines operating a somewhat different way while alive and in reproduction. You cannot ask your auto to change to a more modern one with new abilities. You have go buy one which someone else's mind designed for you. I completely reject chance to do this and the recognized gaps in evolution cannot be explained by your thinking cells.

dhw: I don’t know how often I have to explain that I too reject chance, and NOBODY can explain the gaps but the theory of thinking cells is one possible explanation.

No it isn't. Cells don't plan design for the future requirements

dhw: Your analogy of modern appliances and autos is way off the mark. The analogy should be with the thinking humans who create the appliances .

Off the mark? Exactly my point you are finally recognizing. It takes brains to create new design!!!

dhw: But instead of creating objects outside themselves, thinking cells restructure themselves. You say they can’t, but we know they can and do (through adaptation), as you acknowledge below. We just don’t know how far that ability extends.

No scientist has ever seen a cell reconstruct, except in embryology or stem cell studies. The bacteria Shapiro studied are still the same species, even as they edit their DNA!.


DAVID: There is evidence they have design capacity, only epigenetic minor modifications within the same species. My firm explanation for speciation is a designer. I accept nothing else.

dhw: I know you have made up your mind. And I keep asking you questions about your explanations (not about design but about the motives, abilities and methods you impose on your designer), and the only answers I get are that you have no idea, we can’t “know”, why bother?:-(

The usual distortion of my views. I cannot know God's reasoning about how He arrived at his motives. But I know what He did. And you always want to know and guess at His reasoning as you make humanizing proposals. Its fun to guess, you believe. Stop. it goes nowhere.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Thursday, February 06, 2020, 15:05 (54 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There is no confusion. You are simply ignoring my explanation of the jumps, and refusing to answer my question about shrinkage.

DAVID: I totally do not accept your explanation of the gaps. I've bolded my shrinkage answer above.

dhw: My question about shrinkage concerned your view that only God could have caused the expansions, and only God could have provided the ultimate brain, so presumably God caused the shrinkage. Why? “Oops, I gave ‘em too much brain. Let’s do a shrink!” Enlarging small areas when necessary does not explain shrinkage, which I suggest is due to the efficiency of complexification. You have ignored this explanation.'

DAVID: I've not ignored your unreasonable thinking. Overall shrinkage is not large, but is a definite result of complexification.

Thank you for agreeing with me. Nothing to do with your God fiddling, then. So the cells might have decided for themselves on shrinkage.

DAVID: Enlargement of very special areas (cabbies, reading) is a very special plasticity of the brain, both processes part of the plasticity process give to the brain by God, as He managed the evolution of the unique human brain.

Yes, the brain is plastic. So too are all the other cell communities to the extent that they are capable of making changes to themselves in response to new demands, as is proved over and over again by adaptation. What do you mean by “managed the evolution of the brain”? If the brain responds to new demands now, why do you think it was incapable of responding to new demands through its earlier phases of development? Initially perhaps it coped through complexification until it required a greater capacity, hence expansion…Repeat the process until expansion is no longer practical, and then complexity takes over completely. Why is this “unreasonable”?

DAVID: You keep bringing up your cellular committee system of evolutionary design, denying God his right to keep full control. Your view of God is strange, to say the least.

This is one your weirder distortions. How is it a denial of God’s “rights” to suggest that he DID NOT WANT full control, but that he WANTED precisely what history shows us…a constantly changing variety of life forms, including humans – not, as you rigidly maintain, one single life form which for unknown reasons leaves him designing anything but the one life form he wants?

DAVID: […] the recognized gaps in evolution cannot be explained by your thinking cells.
dhw: NOBODY can explain the gaps but the theory of thinking cells is one possible explanation.

DAVID: No it isn't. Cells don't plan design for the future requirements.

IN MY THEORY CELLS DO NOT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, THEY RESPOND TO PRESENT DEMANDS. THEY DO NOT PLAN. THEY RESPOND. THERE IS NO FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE. Next time I shall fill a whole page with this, in the hope that you will remember it.

dhw: Your analogy of modern appliances and autos is way off the mark. The analogy should be with the thinking humans who create the appliances .

DAVID: Off the mark? Exactly my point you are finally recognizing. It takes brains to create new design!!!

No, it takes intelligence. Cells do not have brains but they may have an equivalent. Engineers restructure their cars…continued in next comment:
dhw: But instead of creating objects outside themselves, thinking cells restructure themselves. You say they can’t, but we know they can and do (through adaptation), as you acknowledge below. We just don’t know how far that ability extends.

DAVID: No scientist has ever seen a cell reconstruct, except in embryology or stem cell studies. The bacteria Shapiro studied are still the same species, even as they edit their DNA!.

And nobody has ever seen your 3.8-billion-year-old programme or your God dabbling. They are theories. But it is a known fact that cells can reconstruct themselves. As above: We just don’t know the extent of this ability.

DAVID: There is evidence they have design capacity, only epigenetic minor modifications within the same species. My firm explanation for speciation is a designer. I accept nothing else.

dhw: I know you have made up your mind. And I keep asking you questions about your explanations (not about design but about the motives, abilities and methods you impose on your designer), and the only answers I get are that you have no idea, we can’t “know”, why bother?

DAVID: The usual distortion of my views. I cannot know God's reasoning about how He arrived at his motives.

You cannot know his motives, and his motives are his reasons, and you have specified them in your illogical theory, repeated below. Please stop messing about with language.

DAVID: But I know what He did.

What you “know” is what the rest of us “know”: if he exists, he somehow produced the great changing bush of life, with humans as the latest branch. That is all we “know”. But you pretend you “know” that humans were his only motive/reason, and you have no idea why, with his total powers, he produced the great changing bush as an “interim goal” to keep life going and to cover the time till he produced the only thing he wanted to produce.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, February 07, 2020, 02:03 (53 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I've not ignored your unreasonable thinking. Overall shrinkage is not large, but is a definite result of complexification.

dhw: Thank you for agreeing with me. Nothing to do with your God fiddling, then. So the cells might have decided for themselves on shrinkage.

God gave the local enlargement mechanism as part of the complexification mechanism


DAVID: Enlargement of very special areas (cabbies, reading) is a very special plasticity of the brain, both processes part of the plasticity process give to the brain by God, as He managed the evolution of the unique human brain.

dhw: Yes, the brain is plastic. So too are all the other cell communities to the extent that they are capable of making changes to themselves in response to new demands, as is proved over and over again by adaptation. What do you mean by “managed the evolution of the brain”? Why is this “unreasonable”?

Simple. I accept that God designed these mechanisms. Your cells magically replacing God is what I object to.


DAVID: You keep bringing up your cellular committee system of evolutionary design, denying God his right to keep full control. Your view of God is strange, to say the least.

dhw: This is one your weirder distortions. How is it a denial of God’s “rights” to suggest that he DID NOT WANT full control, but that he WANTED precisely what history shows us

You forget, my view of God is that He is fully purposeful. No distortion. My God does not have humanized sugestions like yours.

dhw: IN MY THEORY CELLS DO NOT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, THEY RESPOND TO PRESENT DEMANDS. THEY DO NOT PLAN. THEY RESPOND. THERE IS NO FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE.

I know that is your theory, which does not explain the gaps, which require design.

DAVID: There is evidence they have design capacity, only epigenetic minor modifications within the same species. My firm explanation for speciation is a designer. I accept nothing else.

dhw: I know you have made up your mind. And I keep asking you questions about your explanations (not about design but about the motives, abilities and methods you impose on your designer), and the only answers I get are that you have no idea, we can’t “know”, why bother?

DAVID: The usual distortion of my views. I cannot know God's reasoning about how He arrived at his motives.

dhw: You cannot know his motives, and his motives are his reasons, and you have specified them in your illogical theory, repeated below. Please stop messing about with language.

DAVID: But I know what He did.

dhw: What you “know” is what the rest of us “know”: if he exists, he somehow produced the great changing bush of life, with humans as the latest branch. That is all we “know”. But you pretend you “know” that humans were his only motive/reason, and you have no idea why, with his total powers, he produced the great changing bush as an “interim goal” to keep life going and to cover the time till he produced the only thing he wanted to produce.

Like Adler, I can reason that our unusual status allows us to accept us logically as His purpose. "The difference of Man and the Difference it Makes".

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Friday, February 07, 2020, 13:24 (53 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I've not ignored your unreasonable thinking. Overall shrinkage is not large, but is a definite result of complexification.

dhw: Thank you for agreeing with me. Nothing to do with your God fiddling, then. So the cells might have decided for themselves on shrinkage.

DAVID: God gave the local enlargement mechanism as part of the complexification mechanism.

And the shrinkage? Please clarify: Did God decide he’d given us too much capacity?

DAVID: Enlargement of very special areas (cabbies, reading) is a very special plasticity of the brain, both processes part of the plasticity process give to the brain by God, as He managed the evolution of the unique human brain.

dhw: Yes, the brain is plastic. So too are all the other cell communities to the extent that they are capable of making changes to themselves in response to new demands, as is proved over and over again by adaptation. [...] Why is this “unreasonable”?

DAVID: Simple. I accept that God designed these mechanisms. Your cells magically replacing God is what I object to.

You do not “accept”, you believe. Cells do not “magically replace” God. Instead of your God directly preprogramming or dabbling every change in the brain (not to mention every change in the history of evolution) I have him designing a mechanism enabling organisms to do their own designing. Why is this “magic” and why is it “unreasonable”?

DAVID: You keep bringing up your cellular committee system of evolutionary design, denying God his right to keep full control. Your view of God is strange, to say the least.

dhw: This is one your weirder distortions. How is it a denial of God’s “rights” to suggest that he DID NOT WANT full control, but that he WANTED precisely what history shows us

DAVID: You forget, my view of God is that He is fully purposeful. No distortion. My God does not have humanized sugestions like yours.

You forget, I also have him fully purposeful, but I dispute your version of his purpose and of his methods of achieving that purpose. Your God is a humanized control freak; one version of mine (I have others, all of whom fit in logically with the actual history) is a humanized “let’s-see-what-happens-if” creative artist. Following on from your silly talk of “rights”, why do you deny him the right to experiment, to watch and enjoy, to learn as he goes along….?

dhw: IN MY THEORY CELLS DO NOT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, THEY RESPOND TO PRESENT DEMANDS. THEY DO NOT PLAN. THEY RESPOND. THERE IS NO FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE.

DAVID: I know that is your theory, which does not explain the gaps, which require design.

Of course it explains the gaps. Intelligence does the designing, in the form of cells restructuring themselves instead of God having to restructure them. (See also Shapiro thread, but worth repeating since you keep ignoring my replies.)

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, February 07, 2020, 22:46 (52 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: And the shrinkage? Please clarify: Did God decide he’d given us too much capacity?

Some shrinkage makes way for some lesser enlargement, sensibly .


dhw: You do not “accept”, you believe. Cells do not “magically replace” God. Instead of your God directly preprogramming or dabbling every change in the brain (not to mention every change in the history of evolution) I have him designing a mechanism enabling organisms to do their own designing. Why is this “magic” and why is it “unreasonable”?

Repeat: loss of full control! My God is purposeful, not your wishy-washy type.

DAVID: You forget, my view of God is that He is fully purposeful. No distortion. My God does not have humanized sugestions like yours.

dhw: You forget, I also have him fully purposeful, but I dispute your version of his purpose and of his methods of achieving that purpose. Your God is a humanized control freak; one version of mine (I have others, all of whom fit in logically with the actual history) is a humanized “let’s-see-what-happens-if” creative artist. Following on from your silly talk of “rights”, why do you deny him the right to experiment, to watch and enjoy, to learn as he goes along….?

Again a bumbling God. Stop humanizing.


dhw: IN MY THEORY CELLS DO NOT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, THEY RESPOND TO PRESENT DEMANDS. THEY DO NOT PLAN. THEY RESPOND. THERE IS NO FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE.

DAVID: I know that is your theory, which does not explain the gaps, which require design.

dhw: Of course it explains the gaps. Intelligence does the designing, in the form of cells restructuring themselves instead of God having to restructure them. (See also Shapiro thread, but worth repeating since you keep ignoring my replies.)

Reminder: Shapiro's theory extrapolates from what live-alone bacteria can do in editing DNA which is needed for their survival, not a species changer. And as I've reminder you only germ cells can speciate. Whale-to-be legs have to become flippers. What do they say to the germ cells? Change my joints for different movements, change my muscle attachments, change my skin over all to hairless, and have this all done with the next species to appear that has flippers. and just do it. Don't bother with the required design changes as you can do it without thinking, just jump this obviously great gap in form and function by adapting. Sounds simple, bot no anywhere need logical. Just hopeful organisms can do it without help. Oh, I forgot. You think God will let them do it on their own, with no guiding control by God to make sure evolution has the endpoint He desires. Your humanized God all over again.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Saturday, February 08, 2020, 15:45 (52 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: And the shrinkage? Please clarify: Did God decide he’d given us too much capacity?

DAVID: Some shrinkage makes way for some lesser enlargement, sensibly.

So did your God give us too much capacity? And does he dabble in order to give us our modern enlargements, or are the cells able to expand themselves?

dhw: Cells do not “magically replace” God. Instead of your God directly preprogramming or dabbling every change in the brain (not to mention every change in the history of evolution) I have him designing a mechanism enabling organisms to do their own designing. Why is this “magic” and why is it “unreasonable”?

DAVID: Repeat: loss of full control! My God is purposeful, not your wishy-washy type.

Repeat: why is deliberate sacrifice of control (as with “human free will”) wishy-washy? Why is the creation of cellular intelligence magic and unreasonable, whereas divine dabbles and a 3.8-billion-year-old programme are not magic or unreasonable?

dhw: Following on from your silly talk of “rights”, why do you deny him the right to experiment, to watch and enjoy, to learn as he goes along….?

DAVID: Again a bumbling God. Stop humanizing.

Why do you see experimenting, watching, enjoying and learning as “bumbling”? And since you agree that your God probably has “similar thought patterns and emotions” to yours, why do you now “deny him the right” to have them?

dhw: IN MY THEORY CELLS DO NOT PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, THEY RESPOND TO PRESENT DEMANDS. THEY DO NOT PLAN. THEY RESPOND. THERE IS NO FORETELLING OF THE FUTURE.

DAVID: I know that is your theory, which does not explain the gaps, which require design.

dhw: Of course it explains the gaps. Intelligence does the designing, in the form of cells restructuring themselves instead of God having to restructure them. (See also Shapiro thread, but worth repeating since you keep ignoring my replies.)

DAVID: Reminder: Shapiro's theory extrapolates from what live-alone bacteria can do in editing DNA which is needed for their survival, not a species changer.

Reminder: it is a theory. How often must I repeat that the extrapolation is from known processes of adaptation, the argument being that if cells have the intelligent ability to adapt, the same mechanism may be applied to the major adaptations and innovations that lead to speciation. Please stop pretending that just because it’s a theory it has no value. The same reservations apply to your own theory – except that in yours, we do not have ANY known observations to extrapolate from.

DAVID: And as I've reminder you only germ cells can speciate. Whale-to-be legs have to become flippers. What do they say to the germ cells? Change my joints for different movements, change my muscle attachments, change my skin over all to hairless, and have this all done with the next species to appear that has flippers. and just do it. Don't bother with the required design changes as you can do it without thinking….

The legs don’t say anything. They attempt to do the work required, but this proves difficult. This is the point at which the cells (I don’t care which ones they are, because ALL of them are involved in the process of change) respond to the unnaturalness of the movements under the new conditions. Of course they think, or some of them do and then direct the others. That is the whole point of the theory. And they think: “This isn’t working very well”, so they adapt to the sort of movement the pre-whale is trying to perform. This is an extension of precisely the same process observed in the brains of illiterate women, taxidrivers, musicians, and in thousands and thousands of other known changes, as when some fish adapt to polluted waters, and some animals (and humans) adapt to high altitudes, to cold or hot climates, and to any other change in their conditions. The cells respond to the new requirements. They do not anticipate, and the organism does not give orders. It is the attempt to cope that gives rise to the activity of the cells.

David: Oh, I forgot. You think God will let them do it on their own, with no guiding control by God to make sure evolution has the endpoint He desires. Your humanized God all over again.

Of course I think God would let them do it on their own. He wouldn’t, though, if from the very beginning of life he ONLY had the endpoint YOU desire! This is your control freak, human-obsessed God all over again. Why should your reading of your God’s mind and character be any more authentic than any of the alternatives I offer? Especially when, in the case of yours, it leads to a theory which can only be applied to the actual history if we turn our backs on human reason.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 08, 2020, 19:49 (51 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Some shrinkage makes way for some lesser enlargement, sensibly.

dhw: So did your God give us too much capacity? And does he dabble in order to give us our modern enlargements, or are the cells able to expand themselves?

God gave the brain the ability to make changes called plasticity. As we learn small areas can enlarge to handle new knowledge. Touting 'cells' doesn't change the concept.


dhw: Repeat: why is deliberate sacrifice of control (as with “human free will”) wishy-washy? Why is the creation of cellular intelligence magic and unreasonable, whereas divine dabbles and a 3.8-billion-year-old programme are not magic or unreasonable?

It all revolved about God's tight control of evolution to achieve humans as the result with free will given. God obviously didn't care to precisely control us. Your view of God is not mine, in any sense.

dhw: Why do you see experimenting, watching, enjoying and learning as “bumbling”? And since you agree that your God probably has “similar thought patterns and emotions” to yours, why do you now “deny him the right” to have them?

You are mixing and matching my statements to distort my view of God and his purposes as clearly stated, and you ignore.


DAVID: Reminder: Shapiro's theory extrapolates from what live-alone bacteria can do in editing DNA which is needed for their survival, not a species changer.

dhw: Reminder: it is a theory. How often must I repeat that the extrapolation is from known processes of adaptation, the argument being that if cells have the intelligent ability to adapt, the same mechanism may be applied to the major adaptations and innovations that lead to speciation. Please stop pretending that just because it’s a theory it has no value. The same reservations apply to your own theory – except that in yours, we do not have ANY known observations to extrapolate from.

You constantly avoid "The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes". We have known observations on our uniqueness. I haven't forgotten in the brain thread how complex you think dinosaurs were as compared to viviparous mice and metamorphosing butterflies. We end evolution with unexpected complexity.


DAVID: And as I've reminder you only germ cells can speciate. Whale-to-be legs have to become flippers. What do they say to the germ cells? Change my joints for different movements, change my muscle attachments, change my skin over all to hairless, and have this all done with the next species to appear that has flippers. and just do it. Don't bother with the required design changes as you can do it without thinking….

dhw: The legs don’t say anything. They attempt to do the work required, but this proves difficult. This is the point at which the cells (I don’t care which ones they are, because ALL of them are involved in the process of change) respond to the unnaturalness of the movements under the new conditions. Of course they think, or some of them do and then direct the others. That is the whole point of the theory. And they think: “This isn’t working very well”, so they adapt to the sort of movement the pre-whale is trying to perform. This is an extension of precisely the same process observed in the brains of illiterate women, taxidrivers, musicians, and in thousands and thousands of other known changes, as when some fish adapt to polluted waters, and some animals (and humans) adapt to high altitudes, to cold or hot climates, and to any other change in their conditions. The cells respond to the new requirements. They do not anticipate, and the organism does not give orders. It is the attempt to cope that gives rise to the activity of the cells.

The bold above is silly. Only germ cells can do the changes. The legs have to tell the germ cells. Let's stick to real biology, please, not lala land.


David: Oh, I forgot. You think God will let them do it on their own, with no guiding control by God to make sure evolution has the endpoint He desires. Your humanized God all over again.

dhw: Of course I think God would let them do it on their own. He wouldn’t, though, if from the very beginning of life he ONLY had the endpoint YOU desire! This is your control freak, human-obsessed God all over again. Why should your reading of your God’s mind and character be any more authentic than any of the alternatives I offer? Especially when, in the case of yours, it leads to a theory which can only be applied to the actual history if we turn our backs on human reason.

I've reasoned along with Adler. Perfectly sensible, very precisely reasoned in a great book.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Sunday, February 09, 2020, 11:43 (51 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God gave the brain the ability to make changes called plasticity. As we learn small areas can enlarge to handle new knowledge. Touting 'cells' doesn't change the concept.

If your God gave brain cells the ability to enlarge small areas without his preprogramming and/or dabbling, is it not possible that the same ability was used earlier in evolution when large areas were expanded, with the resultant expansion of the whole brain? And if your God gave cells/cell communities the ability to make changes to the brain – call it plasticity – why is it not possible that he gave the same ability to other cell communities in all bodies?

dhw: Repeat: why is deliberate sacrifice of control (as with “human free will”) wishy-washy? Why is the creation of cellular intelligence magic and unreasonable, whereas divine dabbles and a 3.8-billion-year-old programme are not magic or unreasonable?

DAVID: It all revolved about God's tight control of evolution to achieve humans as the result with free will given. God obviously didn't care to precisely control us.

You simply refuse to answer the above questions, and to realize that free will is an EXAMPLE of your God deliberately sacrificing control.

dhw: Why do you see experimenting, watching, enjoying and learning as “bumbling”? And since you agree that your God probably has “similar thought patterns and emotions” to yours, why do you now “deny him the right” to have them?

DAVID: You are mixing and matching my statements to distort my view of God and his purposes as clearly stated, and you ignore.

This has nothing to do with your view of God and his purposes. I asked you why you considered my alternatives “bumbling” and why you denied him the right to experiment, watch, enjoy etc. even though he probably has thoughts and emotions in common with us. These alternatives are mine, not yours. They do not “distort your view of God and his purposes”!

DAVID: You constantly avoid "The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes". We have known observations on our uniqueness. […]

I have reminded you that Shapiro’s theory is an extrapolation from known processes, whereas yours cannot call on any known processes from which to extrapolate. The uniqueness of H.sapiens is not a process! And it is no argument to dismiss Shapiro’s theory because nobody has actually witnessed speciation. Your whole reply (I’ve left out the dinosaur bit) is a non sequitur.

dhw: The [pre-whale] legs don’t say anything. They attempt to do the work required, but this proves difficult. This is the point at which the cells (I don’t care which ones they are, because ALL of them are involved in the process of change) respond to the unnaturalness of the movements under the new conditions. Of course they think, or some of them do and then direct the others. That is the whole point of the theory. […] This is an extension of precisely the same process observed in the brains of illiterate women, taxidrivers, musicians, and in thousands and thousands of other known changes [I gave more examples]. The cells respond to the new requirements. They do not anticipate, and the organism does not give orders. It is the attempt to cope that gives rise to the activity of the cells.

DAVID: The bold above is silly. Only germ cells can do the changes. The legs have to tell the germ cells. Let's stick to real biology, please, not lala land.

I couldn’t care less which cells do the actual thinking and directing, so long as you acknowledge that thinking and directing take place within the cell community. Why don’t you focus on the rest of the paragraph which vividly illustrates exactly the same process you are trying to ignore: cells RESPOND to new requirements and do not change in advance of them.

From “magic embryology” (the rest of which is dealt with elsewhere)

dhw: Epigenetics does not explain how cells adapt! My proposal is that the cells themselves have the intelligent autonomous ability to adapt. Why did you raise the subject of epigenetics in the first place?

DAVID: To answer, epigenetics is the only proven mechanism we know. As you seem to point out, we don't know how the mechanism is managed with the organisms, but, as I view it, it must be germ cells changing the next generations through reproduction. At your theory level they receive pleading messages from somatic cells to please fix things.

Reproduction doesn’t make the changes – it ensures that the changes are passed on. I wish I knew more about stem cells, as they might be the thinkers that make the changes in the first place. What is clear is that there has to be intelligent communication between all the cells involved in any change. Are you not aware of messages from cell communities within your body when you do things they don’t like? They don’t have to speak Texan to make themselves understood. Fortunately, in many cases other cell communities hear the messages and leap into action. I’d have thought doctors would know about such things.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 09, 2020, 22:07 (50 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: God gave the brain the ability to make changes called plasticity. As we learn small areas can enlarge to handle new knowledge. Touting 'cells' doesn't change the concept.

dhw: If your God gave brain cells the ability to enlarge small areas without his preprogramming and/or dabbling, is it not possible that the same ability was used earlier in evolution when large areas were expanded, with the resultant expansion of the whole brain?

Any woolly theory is possible. I think brain changes are specific to the brain which requires that special ability to handle how we use our brain.


dhw: You simply refuse to answer the above questions, and to realize that free will is an EXAMPLE of your God deliberately sacrificing control.

Control over the activities of one desired species to which He purposely gave consciousness and the right of choice in managing their lives. That is all the issue entails. God knew when He decided to produce us what our attributes would be. Please let Him the right to choose.


DAVID: You are mixing and matching my statements to distort my view of God and his purposes as clearly stated, and you ignore.

dhw: This has nothing to do with your view of God and his purposes. I asked you why you considered my alternatives “bumbling” and why you denied him the right to experiment, watch, enjoy etc. even though he probably has thoughts and emotions in common with us. These alternatives are mine, not yours. They do not “distort your view of God and his purposes”!

What you list are your humanizing views of God. No they do not describe your distortions, which I have listed previously and elsewhere.

DAVID: The bold above is silly. Only germ cells can do the changes. The legs have to tell the germ cells. Let's stick to real biology, please, not lala land.

dhw: I couldn’t care less which cells do the actual thinking and directing, so long as you acknowledge that thinking and directing take place within the cell community. Why don’t you focus on the rest of the paragraph which vividly illustrates exactly the same process you are trying to ignore: cells RESPOND to new requirements and do not change in advance of them.

Yes, in a new environment there are new demands that require major design and physiological changes. Let's look: the legged mammal jumps in the watery environment and major changes MUST happen because that is what the fossil record tells us. You want your beloved cells to design the major changes, without any interim minor modifications. A designing mind is required. The
cells of yours don't have it as there is no evidence they are that smart.


From “magic embryology” (the rest of which is dealt with elsewhere)

dhw: Epigenetics does not explain how cells adapt! My proposal is that the cells themselves have the intelligent autonomous ability to adapt. Why did you raise the subject of epigenetics in the first place?

DAVID: To answer, epigenetics is the only proven mechanism we know. As you seem to point out, we don't know how the mechanism is managed with the organisms, but, as I view it, it must be germ cells changing the next generations through reproduction. At your theory level they receive pleading messages from somatic cells to please fix things.

dhw: Reproduction doesn’t make the changes – it ensures that the changes are passed on. I wish I knew more about stem cells, as they might be the thinkers that make the changes in the first place. What is clear is that there has to be intelligent communication between all the cells involved in any change. Are you not aware of messages from cell communities within your body when you do things they don’t like? They don’t have to speak Texan to make themselves understood. Fortunately, in many cases other cell communities hear the messages and leap into action. I’d have thought doctors would know about such things.

Those miracle living cells, designed by God, produce and receive all sorts of myriad molecular signals, responding automatically and in so doing living beings appear! Those are you cell communities, not the magical cell committees which can design anything as you conjure ways to avoid God designing when He has to.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Monday, February 10, 2020, 17:02 (50 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Any woolly theory is possible. I think brain changes are specific to the brain which requires that special ability to handle how we use our brain.

I doubt if anyone would disagree with you that brain changes are specific to the brain. I don’t know what the rest of your sentence means. We are talking about brain expansion. If your God can enable the brain to expand small areas without his interference, why is it woolly to suggest that in the past he might have enabled the brain to expand large areas without his interference?

dhw: You simply refuse to answer the above questions, and to realize that free will is an EXAMPLE of your God deliberately sacrificing control.

DAVID: Control over the activities of one desired species to which He purposely gave consciousness and the right of choice in managing their lives. That is all the issue entails. God knew when He decided to produce us what our attributes would be. Please let Him the right to choose.

You keep refusing to see the point. You object to my suggestion that your God might willingly have sacrificed control over evolution itself, as if somehow this belittles him. If he is willing to sacrifice control in one area of life (free will), why do you discount the possibility that he might have been willing to sacrifice control in other areas, and why do you refuse to give him the right to choose uncontrolled evolution rather than controlled?

DAVID: You are mixing and matching my statements to distort my view of God and his purposes as clearly stated, and you ignore.

dhw: This has nothing to do with your view of God and his purposes. I asked you why you considered my alternatives “bumbling” and why you denied him the right to experiment, watch, enjoy etc. even though he probably has thoughts and emotions in common with us. These alternatives are mine, not yours. They do not “distort your view of God and his purposes”!

DAVID: What you list are your humanizing views of God. No they do not describe your distortions, which I have listed previously and elsewhere.

Humanizing views of God cannot be discounted if God “probably has thought patterns and emotions” similar to ours. I have constantly asked you to pinpoint the distortions, and you have never yet succeeded in doing so.

dhw: Why don’t you focus on the rest of the paragraph which vividly illustrates exactly the same process you are trying to ignore: cells RESPOND to new requirements and do not change in advance of them.

DAVID: Yes, in a new environment there are new demands that require major design and physiological changes. Let's look: the legged mammal jumps in the watery environment and major changes MUST happen because that is what the fossil record tells us.

Exactly. You've got it!

DAVID: You want your beloved cells to design the major changes, without any interim minor modifications. A designing mind is required. The cells of yours don't have it as there is no evidence they are that smart.

I have no idea just how many minor modifications might have taken place, but yes, my theory is that the cell communities did all the designing. I’m glad you’ve understood it. And it is a THEORY. See the Shapiro thread.

DAVID: […] it must be germ cells changing the next generations through reproduction. At your theory level they receive pleading messages from somatic cells to please fix things.

dhw: Reproduction doesn’t make the changes – it ensures that the changes are passed on. I wish I knew more about stem cells, as they might be the thinkers that make the changes in the first place. What is clear is that there has to be intelligent communication between all the cells involved in any change. […]

DAVID: Those miracle living cells, designed by God, produce and receive all sorts of myriad molecular signals, responding automatically and in so doing living beings appear! Those are you cell communities, not the magical cell committees which can design anything as you conjure ways to avoid God designing when He has to

The appearance of living beings in the form of intelligent cells may well be the work of your God. And there is no question that once we have life, there are automatic processes at work. But automatic processes do not explain variation from the original life form. Hence evolution from single cells to sharks, eagles, ants, elephants, the duckbilled platypus and humans. I do not regard it as beyond your God’s powers to have created an autonomous intelligence that enabled the original cells to evolve as they have done. You may call it magic if you like, but I would suggest it is scientific, whether your God created every species individually or created the mechanism enabling organisms to adapt and innovate autonomously.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, February 10, 2020, 20:38 (49 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Control over the activities of one desired species to which He purposely gave consciousness and the right of choice in managing their lives. That is all the issue entails. God knew when He decided to produce us what our attributes would be. Please let Him the right to choose.

dhw: You keep refusing to see the point. You object to my suggestion that your God might willingly have sacrificed control over evolution itself, as if somehow this belittles him. If he is willing to sacrifice control in one area of life (free will), why do you discount the possibility that he might have been willing to sacrifice control in other areas, and why do you refuse to give him the right to choose uncontrolled evolution rather than controlled?

Because my God is not the God you constantly humanize. My God has specific purposes. He has created the universe and extremely advanced humans. I view Him as knowing exactly what He wants.


dhw: Why don’t you focus on the rest of the paragraph which vividly illustrates exactly the same process you are trying to ignore: cells RESPOND to new requirements and do not change in advance of them.

DAVID: Yes, in a new environment there are new demands that require major design and physiological changes. Let's look: the legged mammal jumps in the watery environment and major changes MUST happen because that is what the fossil record tells us.

dhw: Exactly. You've got it!

But I don't buy your theory about it.

DAVID: […] it must be germ cells changing the next generations through reproduction. At your theory level they receive pleading messages from somatic cells to please fix things.

dhw: Reproduction doesn’t make the changes – it ensures that the changes are passed on. I wish I knew more about stem cells, as they might be the thinkers that make the changes in the first place. What is clear is that there has to be intelligent communication between all the cells involved in any change. […]

DAVID: Those miracle living cells, designed by God, produce and receive all sorts of myriad molecular signals, responding automatically and in so doing living beings appear! Those are you cell communities, not the magical cell committees which can design anything as you conjure ways to avoid God designing when He has to

dhw: The appearance of living beings in the form of intelligent cells may well be the work of your God. And there is no question that once we have life, there are automatic processes at work. But automatic processes do not explain variation from the original life form. Hence evolution from single cells to sharks, eagles, ants, elephants, the duckbilled platypus and humans. I do not regard it as beyond your God’s powers to have created an autonomous intelligence that enabled the original cells to evolve as they have done. You may call it magic if you like, but I would suggest it is scientific, whether your God created every species individually or created the mechanism enabling organisms to adapt and innovate autonomously.

As usual I am sure He would not give up control to a process that did not have guidelines. My God is purposeful, not like yours.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 21, 2020, 15:21 (10 days ago) @ David Turell

The human brain uses the cerebellum for handling language. This is in addition to the usual function of coordinating muscle functions and movement of the body in all physical activities:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014976341730622X?via%3Dihub

"The current review made systematic attempts to evaluate the cerebellar deficit hypothesis, which claims that the cerebellum contributes to dyslexia and normal reading development. We first reviewed neurobiological evidence implicating the cerebellum as a region associated with both normal and dyslexic reading. Based upon the accumulated findings, we concluded that there is compelling evidence linking individual differences in cerebellar structure and function with individual differences in reading ability. However, considerable speculation remains as to the specific nature of cerebellar contributions to reading development.

***

"From this effort emerged evidence for two circuits in which there is functional connectivity between specific sectors of the cerebellum, and dorsal and ventral cerebral reading pathways. Based upon the term overlap across the regions within the circuits and the extent literature, we propose that the dorsal circuit supports orthographic-phonological decoding at the sub-lexical level, with the cerebellum playing a modulatory role that improves phonological processing and thus decoding performance. We also propose that the ventral circuit supports lexicalized decoding, in which the pronunciation of unfamiliar words is based upon analogy to previously learned words. Although sparse, a literature on cued-word retrieval tasks suggests the cerebellum may play a modulatory role that improves the retrieval of word knowledge from semantic memory, and thus decoding performance. Because successful decoding is linked to the acquisition of orthographic knowledge, the interconnection of the cerebellum with dorsal and ventral reading pathways may thus indirectly support the automatisation of visual word recognition.

***

"Continued efforts to integrate the cerebellum – a brain structure with an enormous computation power that drives learning – into neuroanatomical models of reading and dyslexia is important for understanding the neural mechanisms that underlie reading development and which contribute to individual differences in reading ability."

Comment: With these findings it indicates our cerebellum is a part of the brain far advanced from the cerebellum in other primates. The circuits described show how our cerebellum is integrated with the cerebrum. Once again our most unusual brain is demonstrated in new studies. The Difference of Man and The Difference it Makes still is a major point in the proof of God.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Sunday, March 22, 2020, 09:18 (9 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: With these findings it indicates our cerebellum is a part of the brain far advanced from the cerebellum in other primates. The circuits described show how our cerebellum is integrated with the cerebrum. Once again our most unusual brain is demonstrated in new studies. The Difference of Man and The Difference it Makes still is a major point in the proof of God.

All agreed. These findings also support the materialist view of consciousness, and as we have seen throughout the history of this forum, the complexity of all life forms, including the single cell, is a major point in the argument for God’s existence. But just in case any casual reader should interpret this as a renunciation of the AgnosticWeb’s agnosticism, there are equally major points in the argument against the existence of the unknown, hidden, sourceless, omnipotent, omniscient, immaterial being that David believes in.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 22, 2020, 14:54 (9 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: With these findings it indicates our cerebellum is a part of the brain far advanced from the cerebellum in other primates. The circuits described show how our cerebellum is integrated with the cerebrum. Once again our most unusual brain is demonstrated in new studies. The Difference of Man and The Difference it Makes still is a major point in the proof of God.

dhw: All agreed. These findings also support the materialist view of consciousness, and as we have seen throughout the history of this forum, the complexity of all life forms, including the single cell, is a major point in the argument for God’s existence. But just in case any casual reader should interpret this as a renunciation of the AgnosticWeb’s agnosticism, there are equally major points in the argument against the existence of the unknown, hidden, sourceless, omnipotent, omniscient, immaterial being that David believes in.

Same retort: if design keeps you agnostic, who/what is your designer?

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Monday, March 23, 2020, 10:02 (8 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: With these findings it indicates our cerebellum is a part of the brain far advanced from the cerebellum in other primates. The circuits described show how our cerebellum is integrated with the cerebrum. Once again our most unusual brain is demonstrated in new studies. The Difference of Man and The Difference it Makes still is a major point in the proof of God.

dhw: All agreed. These findings also support the materialist view of consciousness, and as we have seen throughout the history of this forum, the complexity of all life forms, including the single cell, is a major point in the argument for God’s existence. But just in case any casual reader should interpret this as a renunciation of the AgnosticWeb’s agnosticism, there are equally major points in the argument against the existence of the unknown, hidden, sourceless, omnipotent, omniscient, immaterial being that David believes in.

DAVID: Same retort: if design keeps you agnostic, who/what is your designer?

Same answer: if you can believe that a supreme, conscious mind can simply exist without any source, you might as well believe that conscious minds can evolve spontaneously from material sources. I find these two beliefs equally unbelievable.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, March 23, 2020, 19:17 (7 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: With these findings it indicates our cerebellum is a part of the brain far advanced from the cerebellum in other primates. The circuits described show how our cerebellum is integrated with the cerebrum. Once again our most unusual brain is demonstrated in new studies. The Difference of Man and The Difference it Makes still is a major point in the proof of God.

dhw: All agreed. These findings also support the materialist view of consciousness, and as we have seen throughout the history of this forum, the complexity of all life forms, including the single cell, is a major point in the argument for God’s existence. But just in case any casual reader should interpret this as a renunciation of the AgnosticWeb’s agnosticism, there are equally major points in the argument against the existence of the unknown, hidden, sourceless, omnipotent, omniscient, immaterial being that David believes in.

DAVID: Same retort: if design keeps you agnostic, who/what is your designer?

dhw: Same answer: if you can believe that a supreme, conscious mind can simply exist without any source, you might as well believe that conscious minds can evolve spontaneously from material sources. I find these two beliefs equally unbelievable.

I know, but something designs and it is not chance.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 14:03 (7 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Same retort: if design keeps you agnostic, who/what is your designer?

dhw: Same answer: if you can believe that a supreme, conscious mind can simply exist without any source, you might as well believe that conscious minds can evolve spontaneously from material sources. I find these two beliefs equally unbelievable.

DAVID: I know, but something designs and it is not chance.

Agreed. In the context of evolution, I suggest it is the intelligent cell. In the context of the source of the intelligent cell, I can only adopt the same approach you use when I ask you awkward questions about your God and evolution: nobody knows, and we can only guess.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 15:51 (7 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Same retort: if design keeps you agnostic, who/what is your designer?

dhw: Same answer: if you can believe that a supreme, conscious mind can simply exist without any source, you might as well believe that conscious minds can evolve spontaneously from material sources. I find these two beliefs equally unbelievable.

DAVID: I know, but something designs and it is not chance.

dhw: Agreed. In the context of evolution, I suggest it is the intelligent cell. In the context of the source of the intelligent cell, I can only adopt the same approach you use when I ask you awkward questions about your God and evolution: nobody knows, and we can only guess.

Your answer brings back the obvious question, how did cells find that intelligence which implies the ability for abstract thought?

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 11:11 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Same retort: if design keeps you agnostic, who/what is your designer?

dhw: Same answer: if you can believe that a supreme, conscious mind can simply exist without any source, you might as well believe that conscious minds can evolve spontaneously from material sources. I find these two beliefs equally unbelievable.

DAVID: I know, but something designs and it is not chance.

dhw: Agreed. In the context of evolution, I suggest it is the intelligent cell. In the context of the source of the intelligent cell, I can only adopt the same approach you use when I ask you awkward questions about your God and evolution: nobody knows, and we can only guess.

DAVID: Your answer brings back the obvious question, how did cells find that intelligence which implies the ability for abstract thought?

I have just given you the answer: in the context of the source of the intelligent cell….nobody knows, and we can only guess. One guess is a mysterious, unknown being you call God. How did God find that intelligence which implies the ability for abstract thought, not to mention the knowledge and power to create a whole universe and life itself? Oh, “first cause” – intelligent cells must have a source, but an unknown and almighty intelligence doesn’t have to have a source.

Revisiting language and brain expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 15:20 (6 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Same retort: if design keeps you agnostic, who/what is your designer?

dhw: Same answer: if you can believe that a supreme, conscious mind can simply exist without any source, you might as well believe that conscious minds can evolve spontaneously from material sources. I find these two beliefs equally unbelievable.

DAVID: I know, but something designs and it is not chance.

dhw: Agreed. In the context of evolution, I suggest it is the intelligent cell. In the context of the source of the intelligent cell, I can only adopt the same approach you use when I ask you awkward questions about your God and evolution: nobody knows, and we can only guess.

DAVID: Your answer brings back the obvious question, how did cells find that intelligence which implies the ability for abstract thought?

dhw: I have just given you the answer: in the context of the source of the intelligent cell….nobody knows, and we can only guess. One guess is a mysterious, unknown being you call God. How did God find that intelligence which implies the ability for abstract thought, not to mention the knowledge and power to create a whole universe and life itself? Oh, “first cause” – intelligent cells must have a source, but an unknown and almighty intelligence doesn’t have to have a source.

Same old response. We exist. There is something. It cannot have come from nothing. Something has to be first cause which is eternal ..

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