Brain Expansion (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, April 04, 2020, 14:06 (53 days ago)

Our posts on this subject have switched between different threads. Entirely my fault, so I’m starting a new thread. My apologies.

dhw: How can you possibly reject the argument that nobody can know whether the first artefacts were produced by an already enlarged brain, or their design and production were the cause of the brain’s enlargement?

DAVID: Under your weird theory, the earlier homo wishes he had a bigger brain because he wants to throw something, better than a stone, needs to design it, but can't, and his wishes force the brain to grow in size?!!

Where does this “wishes” theory come from? When illiterates want to read, they try to read. They don’t say: “I wish I had a more complex brain so that I could read!” THE BRAIN RESPONDS TO THE EFFORT TO PERFORM NEW TASKS. This is an established fact. Please stop putting up silly straw men. And please answer the bolded question.

DAVID: I absolutely reject the idea that an earlier brain can think itself into a larger size, which is exactly what your theory gives us.

dhw: I note that you have reverted to materialism. As a dualist, do you absolutely reject the idea that the soul can influence the brain to the extent that it can change itself and even add connections?

DAVID: Will you please ignore my short hand! The modern soul/brain complex only tells us about tiny enlargements.

If the brain is responsible for thought (materialism) you might have a case – I tried to resolve the dichotomy with my “Theory of Intelligence” – but if the soul is responsible for thought, you are floundering. Why would the soul be incapable of having an idea based solely on EXISTING information? (We may have to develop this aspect of the subject.) And again you have avoided answering my question.

dhw: Do you honestly believe that every theist accepts your version of evolution and your explanation of brain expansion?

DAVID: i have no idea, but the ID folks are with me.

You say they don’t even mention God, so how can they be with you when you insist that God specially designed 3.X billion years’ worth of non-humans to eat one another until he could design us, and God expanded brains before souls/brains could come up with new ideas?

dhw: Now please tell me what logic and what facts support your theory that your God preprogrammed or dabbled each expansion BEFORE your dualist’s soul could come up with a new idea which did not require any new information?

DAVID: Same weird tale: wishing for some new complex abstract design hard enough grows a bigger brain which then designs it!

Same refusal to answer my question, and same silly insertion of your “wishing” theory.

QUOTE: "However, plant food in general yields considerably less energy and nutritive value than meat. Therefore, being able to hunt for large animals, which was only possible by using tools such as spears, made it possible for humans to sustain larger and more complex brains, which in turn allowed them to develop yet more intelligent and efficient tools." (David’s bold)

Yes, the larger brain would have required more feeding. Yes, once the brain had expanded, it would have been able to design and develop more intelligent and efficient tools. How does this invalidate the proposal that each expansion was triggered by a new concept from the smaller brain? How does it prove that developing and making the FIRST artefacts could not have been the cause of the expansion? See next quote:

QUOTE: "Until about 50,000–40,000 years ago the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise: each phase (habilis, ergaster, neanderthal) started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow.” (dhw’s bold)

Fits in perfectly with my proposal that the trigger for the expansion was a “higher level” of tool which the smaller brain could not design and make. “Further development was slow” is what I referred to as periods of stasis.

QUOTE: “After 50,000 BP, […] human culture apparently started to change at much greater speed….” Followed by lots of examples, which you have bolded. I’m not denying the leap forward!

DAVID: : The bolded statements, especially the first, fit my approach, to which you now seem to agree, that bigger, better brains (remember souls at work) create the better artifacts.

Of course they do. But our subject is what CAUSED each expansion! Not what happened AFTER each expansion.

DAVID: But then you strain credulity by imagining the earlier form absorbing current info thinks a new design might exist, and somehow grows a bigger, better brain to achieve the design. […]

Not “somehow grows”! As proven by modern science, it is the effort to perform a new task (designing, reading, memorizing,playing an instrument) that causes changes to the modern brain. It is not illogical to propose that it also changed earlier brains. Your quotes have offered no explanation for expansion, and nothing contrary to my theory.

DAVID: Note the authors use my approach: we had to learn to use our newly developed brain over the 315.000 +/- years it has existed. We were just like erectus at our start.

I have never denied the “Great Leap”! It followed a period of stasis. How does that prove that the initial expansion was caused by a divine dabble?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 04, 2020, 21:44 (52 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I absolutely reject the idea that an earlier brain can think itself into a larger size, which is exactly what your theory gives us.

dhw: I note that you have reverted to materialism. As a dualist, do you absolutely reject the idea that the soul can influence the brain to the extent that it can change itself and even add connections?

DAVID: Will you please ignore my short hand! The modern soul/brain complex only tells us about tiny enlargements.

dhw: If the brain is responsible for thought (materialism) you might have a case – I tried to resolve the dichotomy with my “Theory of Intelligence” – but if the soul is responsible for thought, you are floundering. Why would the soul be incapable of having an idea based solely on EXISTING information?

Of course the exiting brain/soul knows existing info. It is the conceptualizing of the new design that requires a more complex brain /soul to do the abstract thinking required for the newly visualized concept.

DAVID: Same weird tale: wishing for some new complex abstract design hard enough grows a bigger brain which then designs it!

DAVID: but the ID folks are with me.

dhw: You say they don’t even mention God, so how can they be with you when you insist that God specially designed 3.X billion years’ worth of non-humans to eat one another until he could design us, and God expanded brains before souls/brains could come up with new ideas?

God is always implied when they discuss design in evolution.


QUOTE: "However, plant food in general yields considerably less energy and nutritive value than meat. Therefore, being able to hunt for large animals, which was only possible by using tools such as spears, made it possible for humans to sustain larger and more complex brains, which in turn allowed them to develop yet more intelligent and efficient tools." (David’s bold)

dhw: Yes, the larger brain would have required more feeding. Yes, once the brain had expanded, it would have been able to design and develop more intelligent and efficient tools. How does this invalidate the proposal that each expansion was triggered by a new concept from the smaller brain? How does it prove that developing and making the FIRST artefacts could not have been the cause of the expansion? See next quote:

Total distortion of the meaning of their comment. No one in what I read makes that theoretical jump. They think that evolution caused the enlargement and bigger better brains make bigger better artifacts. We never see a discussion of your lonely theory .

dhw: QUOTE: "Until about 50,000–40,000 years ago the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise: each phase (habilis, ergaster, neanderthal) started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow.” (dhw’s bold)

dhw: Fits in perfectly with my proposal that the trigger for the expansion was a “higher level” of tool which the smaller brain could not design and make. “Further development was slow” is what I referred to as periods of stasis.

QUOTE: “After 50,000 BP, […] human culture apparently started to change at much greater speed….” Followed by lots of examples, which you have bolded. I’m not denying the leap forward!

DAVID: : The bolded statements, especially the first, fit my approach, to which you now seem to agree, that bigger, better brains (remember souls at work) create the better artifacts.

dhw: Of course they do. But our subject is what CAUSED each expansion! Not what happened AFTER each expansion.

I know that. God expanded. But at the natural level I see no one discuss your weird idea., and I've looked.


DAVID: But then you strain credulity by imagining the earlier form absorbing current info thinks a new design might exist, and somehow grows a bigger, better brain to achieve the design. […]

dhw: Not “somehow grows”! As proven by modern science, it is the effort to perform a new task (designing, reading, memorizing,playing an instrument) that causes changes to the modern brain. It is not illogical to propose that it also changed earlier brains. Your quotes have offered no explanation for expansion, and nothing contrary to my theory.

The enlargements are small and involve primarily memory activity, not new abstract concepts, although you have sneaked design in your list of activities, and our only known example is Einstein, with a one centimeter enlarged area, and we cannot know if he was born with it or developed the tiny area from thinking. The quotes observe bigger brain and bigger, better artifacts, nothing more, but the implication is obvious. Except to you as your struggle to defend your weird extrapolation from our very advanced brain with its small logical expansions. My position is God expanded the brains and your natural theory is a non-starter.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, April 05, 2020, 11:29 (52 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why would the soul be incapable of having an idea based solely on EXISTING information?

DAVID: Of course the exiting brain/soul knows existing info. It is the conceptualizing of the new design that requires a more complex brain /soul to do the abstract thinking required for the newly visualized concept.

You still refuse to separate the initial idea, based on existing information, from implementation (= design and making) of the idea. Yet again: It is the effort to design and make the artefact which I propose to be the cause of expansion.

DAVID: but the ID folks are with me.

dhw: You say they don’t even mention God, so...

DAVID: God is always implied when they discuss design in evolution.

… do they insist that their implied God specially designed 3.X billion years’ worth of non-humans to eat one another until he could design us, and God expanded brains before souls/brains could come up with new ideas?

QUOTE: "However, plant food in general yields considerably less energy and nutritive value than meat. Therefore, being able to hunt for large animals, which was only possible by using tools such as spears, made it possible for humans to sustain larger and more complex brains, which in turn allowed them to develop yet more intelligent and efficient tools." (David’s bold)

dhw: Yes, the larger brain would have required more feeding. Yes, once the brain had expanded, it would have been able to design and develop more intelligent and efficient tools. How does this invalidate the proposal that each expansion was triggered by a new concept from the smaller brain? How does it prove that developing and making the FIRST artefacts could not have been the cause of the expansion?

DAVID: Total distortion of the meaning of their comment. No one in what I read makes that theoretical jump. They think that evolution caused the enlargement and bigger better brains make bigger better artifacts. We never see a discussion of your lonely theory.

What distortion? I agree with the quote! But it does not in any way contradict my theory, so why did you quote it?

QUOTE: "Until about 50,000–40,000 years ago the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise: each phase (habilis, ergaster, neanderthal) started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow.” (dhw’s bold)

dhw: Fits in perfectly with my proposal that the trigger for the expansion was a “higher level” of tool which the smaller brain could not design and make. “Further development was slow” is what I referred to as periods of stasis.

No comment from you!

QUOTE: “After 50,000 BP, […] human culture apparently started to change at much greater speed….” Followed by lots of examples, which you have bolded. I’m not denying the leap forward!

DAVID: The bolded statements, especially the first, fit my approach, to which you now seem to agree, that bigger, better brains (remember souls at work) create the better artifacts.

dhw: Of course they do. But our subject is what CAUSED each expansion! Not what happened AFTER each expansion.

DAVID: I know that. God expanded. But at the natural level I see no one discuss your weird idea., and I've looked.

Because they don’t deal with the question of what caused expansion! I don’t suppose any of them say “God caused expansion” either!

dhw: As proven by modern science, it is the effort to perform a new task (designing, reading, memorizing, playing an instrument) that causes changes to the modern brain. It is not illogical to propose that it also changed earlier brains. Your quotes have offered no explanation for expansion, and nothing contrary to my theory.

DAVID: The enlargements are small and involve primarily memory activity, not new abstract concepts, although you have sneaked design in your list of activities, and our only known example is Einstein, with a one centimeter enlarged area, and we cannot know if he was born with it or developed the tiny area from thinking.

If Einstein was born with it, we need to discuss the materialist interpretation of thought. If he developed it, you cannot escape the conclusion that thought can expand the materials of the brain, so the theory can’t be a non-starter, as you claim below.

DAVID: The quotes observe bigger brain and bigger, better artifacts, nothing more, but the implication is obvious. […] My position is God expanded the brains and your natural theory is a non-starter.

I know your position. If “each phase started at a higher level than the previous one”, and if the modern brain changes as a result of new activities, the obvious implication of the two facts combined is that the new phase started at a higher level because new activities had made it change – in this case, expand. Nobody knows what causes expansion, so I don’t know why you think these two facts can’t be used as a possible explanation. Now please tell us what facts you have to support the theory that your God expanded the brain before it could have an idea based on existing information?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 05, 2020, 22:05 (51 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: but the ID folks are with me.

dhw: You say they don’t even mention God, so...

DAVID: God is always implied when they discuss design in evolution.

dhw: do they insist that their implied God specially designed 3.X billion years’ worth of non-humans to eat one another until he could design us, and God expanded brains before souls/brains could come up with new ideas?

They do not discuss my theories. They concentrate totally on the need for design, designer. Why did you ask the question when you should know the answer from my previous discussions


QUOTE: "However, plant food in general yields considerably less energy and nutritive value than meat. Therefore, being able to hunt for large animals, which was only possible by using tools such as spears, made it possible for humans to sustain larger and more complex brains, which in turn allowed them to develop yet more intelligent and efficient tools." (David’s bold)

dhw: Yes, the larger brain would have required more feeding. Yes, once the brain had expanded, it would have been able to design and develop more intelligent and efficient tools. How does this invalidate the proposal that each expansion was triggered by a new concept from the smaller brain? How does it prove that developing and making the FIRST artefacts could not have been the cause of the expansion?

DAVID: Total distortion of the meaning of their comment. No one in what I read makes that theoretical jump. They think that evolution caused the enlargement and bigger better brains make bigger better artifacts. We never see a discussion of your lonely theory.

dhw: What distortion? I agree with the quote! But it does not in any way contradict my theory, so why did you quote it?

That it doesn't disagree means it doesn't support either. Have you every found any third party support? Answer, no. because it is not discussed by anyone except dhw.


QUOTE: "Until about 50,000–40,000 years ago the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise: each phase (habilis, ergaster, neanderthal) started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow.” (dhw’s bold)

dhw: Fits in perfectly with my proposal that the trigger for the expansion was a “higher level” of tool which the smaller brain could not design and make. “Further development was slow” is what I referred to as periods of stasis.

dhw: No comment from you!

You know I totally disagree with your unsupported pipe dream of a theory.


DAVID: God expanded. But at the natural level I see no one discuss your weird idea., and I've looked.

dhw: Because they don’t deal with the question of what caused expansion! I don’t suppose any of them say “God caused expansion” either!

Of course not. Not allowed.


DAVID: The enlargements are small and involve primarily memory activity, not new abstract concepts, although you have sneaked design in your list of activities, and our only known example is Einstein, with a one centimeter enlarged area, and we cannot know if he was born with it or developed the tiny area from thinking.

dhw: If Einstein was born with it, we need to discuss the materialist interpretation of thought. If he developed it, you cannot escape the conclusion that thought can expand the materials of the brain, so the theory can’t be a non-starter, as you claim below.

Contra to your imagined giant early expansions, Einstein's area was one centimeter. His soul could use it. I do not understand how knowing some current info and realizing attack at a distance is good, but not knowing how to do it, grows a brain 200 cc.


DAVID: The quotes observe bigger brain and bigger, better artifacts, nothing more, but the implication is obvious. […] My position is God expanded the brains and your natural theory is a non-starter.

dhw: I know your position. If “each phase started at a higher level than the previous one”, and if the modern brain changes as a result of new activities, the obvious implication of the two facts combined is that the new phase started at a higher level because new activities had made it change – in this case, expand. Nobody knows what causes expansion, so I don’t know why you think these two facts can’t be used as a possible explanation. Now please tell us what facts you have to support the theory that your God expanded the brain before it could have an idea based on existing information?

Simple, I believe in God, based on vast study of the science of evolution and biochemistry. He creates the better brain to allow the soul to abstractly design the new artifact. The issue you totally ignore is the required ability to do advanced abstract thought for new designs. The previous brain cortex was not complex enough to do the job for the soul.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, April 06, 2020, 13:41 (51 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: but the ID folks are with me.

dhw: You say they don’t even mention God, so...

DAVID: God is always implied when they discuss design in evolution.

dhw: do they insist that their implied God specially designed 3.X billion years’ worth of non-humans to eat one another until he could design us, and God expanded brains before souls/brains could come up with new ideas?

DAVID: They do not discuss my theories. They concentrate totally on the need for design, designer. Why did you ask the question when you should know the answer from my previous discussions.

I asked the question because whenever I attack your theory of evolution (but I don’t attack your theory of design), you claim that “the ID folks are with me”. They are not.

I agreed with an article you quoted, and pointed out that it did not in any way contradict my theory.

DAVID: That it doesn't disagree means it doesn't support either. Have you every found any third party support? Answer, no. because it is not discussed by anyone except dhw.

Of course it doesn’t support my theory – it doesn’t deal with the subject! That’s why I asked you why you’d quoted it!

QUOTE: "Until about 50,000–40,000 years ago the use of stone tools seems to have progressed stepwise: each phase (habilis, ergaster, neanderthal) started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow.” (dhw’s bold)

dhw: Fits in perfectly with my proposal that the trigger for the expansion was a “higher level” of tool which the smaller brain could not design and make. “Further development was slow” is what I referred to as periods of stasis.

DAVID: You know I totally disagree with your unsupported pipe dream of a theory.

I do. Now please tell me how the above quote invalidates my theory.

DAVID: God expanded. But at the natural level I see no one discuss your weird idea., and I've looked.

dhw: Because they don’t deal with the question of what caused expansion! I don’t suppose any of them say “God caused expansion” either!

DAVID: Of course not. Not allowed.

So according to you, the fact that nobody discusses my theory must mean that my theory is wrong, but the fact that nobody discusses your theory means…what?

DAVID: The enlargements are small and involve primarily memory activity, not new abstract concepts, although you have sneaked design in your list of activities, and our only known example is Einstein, with a one centimeter enlarged area, and we cannot know if he was born with it or developed the tiny area from thinking.

dhw: If Einstein was born with it, we need to discuss the materialist interpretation of thought. If he developed it, you cannot escape the conclusion that thought can expand the materials of the brain, so the theory can’t be a non-starter, as you claim below.

DAVID: Contra to your imagined giant early expansions, Einstein's area was one centimeter. His soul could use it. I do not understand how knowing some current info and realizing attack at a distance is good, but not knowing how to do it, grows a brain 200 cc.

You constantly gloss over the general principle: the modern brain does not expand (I would say cannot, for anatomical reasons), but earlier brains could and did. We know that brains change when they are made to perform new tasks. It is therefore not unreasonable to propose that they did the same in earlier times, when there was room for expansion. Nobody knows what caused expansion. But we can extrapolate a general principle from what we know. Your summary of the theory is silly. I have told you over and over again that my theory follows the pattern of the modern brain’s behaviour: it is the EFFORT to implement the concept that causes the change.

Dhw: Now please tell us what facts you have to support the theory that your God expanded the brain before it could have an idea based on existing information?

DAVID: Simple, I believe in God, based on vast study of the science of evolution and biochemistry.

No facts yet.

DAVID: He creates the better brain to allow the soul to abstractly design the new artifact. The issue you totally ignore is the required ability to do advanced abstract thought for new designs. The previous brain cortex was not complex enough to do the job for the soul.

“Ignore”? That issue lies at the very core of my theory! In dualist terms the previous, smaller brain was not complex enough to design and make the artefact which – oops, you forgot to mention this - the soul had first conceived and which was based entirely on known information. The dualist’s soul only uses the brain to acquire information and to implement (= design and make) the artefact. The small brain which had the original idea now has to come up with advanced abstract thought for new designs and production, i.e. the brain has to perform new tasks, and so it is the EFFORT to design and make that causes the expansion. You’ve got it, except that you keep forgetting the soul’s original idea which sparks the whole process off.

And you still haven’t produced a single FACT to support your theory.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, April 06, 2020, 21:13 (50 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I asked the question because whenever I attack your theory of evolution (but I don’t attack your theory of design), you claim that “the ID folks are with me”. They are not.

They say God designs by inference, as I do.

DAVID: The enlargements are small and involve primarily memory activity, not new abstract concepts, although you have sneaked design in your list of activities, and our only known example is Einstein, with a one centimeter enlarged area, and we cannot know if he was born with it or developed the tiny area from thinking.

dhw: If Einstein was born with it, we need to discuss the materialist interpretation of thought. If he developed it, you cannot escape the conclusion that thought can expand the materials of the brain, so the theory can’t be a non-starter, as you claim below.

DAVID: Contra to your imagined giant early expansions, Einstein's area was one centimeter. His soul could use it. I do not understand how knowing some current info and realizing attack at a distance is good, but not knowing how to do it, grows a brain 200 cc.

dhw: You constantly gloss over the general principle: the modern brain does not expand (I would say cannot, for anatomical reasons), but earlier brains could and did. We know that brains change when they are made to perform new tasks. It is therefore not unreasonable to propose that they did the same in earlier times, when there was room for expansion.

Please think more completely about Einstein's brain. He was a recognized genius who was able to think differently, using known current info from others and abstractly conceptualize and entirely new theory. My original finding of a one centimeter enlargement is wrong. From Wiki current info:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein%27s_brain

"..further analysis by a team at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario revealed that his parietal operculum region in the inferior frontal gyrus in the frontal lobe of the brain was vacant. Also absent was part of a bordering region called the lateral sulcus (Sylvian fissure). Researchers at McMaster University speculated that the vacancy may have enabled neurons in this part of his brain to communicate better. "This unusual brain anatomy...[missing part of the Sylvian fissure]... may explain why Einstein thought the way he did," said Professor Sandra Witelson who led the research published in The Lancet. This study was based on photographs of the whole brain made at autopsy in 1955.

***

"In the 1980s Dr. Diamond's laboratory made thin sections of Einstein's brain, each 6 micrometers thick. They then used a microscope to count the cells. Einstein's brain had more glial cells relative to neurons in all areas studied, but only in the left inferior parietal area was the difference statistically significant. This area is part of the association cortex, regions of the brain responsible for incorporating and synthesizing information from multiple other brain regions. A stimulating environment can increase the proportion of glial cells and the high ratio could possibly result from Einstein's life studying stimulating scientific problems.[15] [16] The limitation that Diamond admits in her study is that she had only one Einstein to compare with 11 brains of normal intelligence individuals."

Dhw: Now please tell us what facts you have to support the theory that your God expanded the brain before it could have an idea based on existing information?

DAVID: Simple, I believe in God, based on vast study of the science of evolution and biochemistry.

dhw: No facts yet.

I've added the new info about Einstein. Not enlarged, but very different!


DAVID: He creates the better brain to allow the soul to abstractly design the new artifact. The issue you totally ignore is the required ability to do advanced abstract thought for new designs. The previous brain cortex was not complex enough to do the job for the soul.

dhw: “Ignore”? That issue lies at the very core of my theory! In dualist terms the previous, smaller brain was not complex enough to design and make the artefact which – oops, you forgot to mention this - the soul had first conceived and which was based entirely on known information. The dualist’s soul only uses the brain to acquire information and to implement (= design and make) the artefact. The small brain which had the original idea now has to come up with advanced abstract thought for new designs and production, i.e. the brain has to perform new tasks, and so it is the EFFORT to design and make that causes the expansion. You’ve got it, except that you keep forgetting the soul’s original idea which sparks the whole process off.

Entire materialistic thought: Einstein's brain is my proof of a very different type of brain allowing new abstract concepts. Only more advanced brains/soul mechanisms can create the newer advanced concepts as the artifacts show. The bold makes no sense to me: you think desire makes it grow! Based on what? Not growth of tiny areas from new memory issues.

Brain Expansion: new Einstein's brain studies

by David Turell @, Monday, April 06, 2020, 21:33 (50 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Monday, April 06, 2020, 22:11

Certain very different:

https://earthsky.org/human-world/einsteins-brain-was-different-from-other-peoples

"A new study led by Florida State University evolutionary anthropologist Dean Falk has revealed that portions of the brain of Albert Einstein are unlike those of most people. The differences could relate to Einstein’s unique discoveries about the nature of space and time. Falk’s team used photographs of Einstein’s brain, taken shortly after his death, but not previously analyzed in detail. The photographs showed that Einstein’s brain had an unusually complex pattern of convolutions in the prefrontal cortex, which is important for abstract thinking.
In other words, Einsteins’ brain actually looks different from yours or mine. Falk and her team published their work on November 16, 2012 in the journal Brain."

https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/136/4/1304/356614

Abstract of original study:

"Here we describe the external gross neuroanatomy of Einstein’s entire cerebral cortex from 14 recently discovered photographs, most of which were taken from unconventional angles. Two of the photographs reveal sulcal patterns of the medial surfaces of the hemispheres, and another shows the neuroanatomy of the right (exposed) insula. Most of Einstein’s sulci are identified, and sulcal patterns in various parts of the brain are compared with those of 85 human brains that have been described in the literature. To the extent currently possible, unusual features of Einstein’s brain are tentatively interpreted in light of what is known about the evolution of higher cognitive processes in humans. As an aid to future investigators, these (and other) features are correlated with blocks on the roadmap (and therefore histological slides). Einstein’s brain has an extraordinary prefrontal cortex, which may have contributed to the neurological substrates for some of his remarkable cognitive abilities. The primary somatosensory and motor cortices near the regions that typically represent face and tongue are greatly expanded in the left hemisphere. Einstein’s parietal lobes are also unusual and may have provided some of the neurological underpinnings for his visuospatial and mathematical skills, as others have hypothesized. Einstein’s brain has typical frontal and occipital shape asymmetries (petalias) and grossly asymmetrical inferior and superior parietal lobules. Contrary to the literature, Einstein’s brain is not spherical, does not lack parietal opercula and has non-confluent Sylvian and inferior postcentral sulci.

From the summary:

"Einstein’s brain is of unexceptional size and its combination of a relatively wide and forward-projecting right frontal lobe with a relatively wide and posteriorly protruding left occipital lobe is the most prevalent pattern seen in right-handed adult males. We have identified the sulci that delimit expansions of cortex (gyri or convolutions) on the external surfaces of all of the lobes of the brain and on the medial surfaces of both hemispheres. The morphology in some parts of Einstein’s cerebral cortex is highly unusual compared with 25 (Ono et al., 1990) and 60 (Connolly, 1950) human brains for which sulcal patterns have been thoroughly described.

" Nevertheless, our findings are concordant with the earlier suggestion that unusual morphology in Einstein’s parietal lobes may have provided neurological substrates for his visuospatial and mathematical abilities.

"Our results also suggest that Einstein had relatively expanded prefrontal cortices, which may have provided underpinnings for some of his extraordinary cognitive abilities, including his productive use of thought experiments. From an evolutionary perspective, the specific parts of Einstein’s prefrontal cortex that appear to be differentially expanded are of interest because recent findings indicate that these same areas increased differentially in size and became neurologically reorganized at microanatomical levels during hominin evolution in association with the emergence of higher cognitive abilities."

Comment: think about that bold. It all fits my commentary about enlarged brains and the ability for advanced concepts and designs by the brain /soul complex. As Einstein's brain shows a different kind of brain is required for newly advanced thought. My previous note about a one centimeter area, from memory, was in a parietal area and some enlargement is noted there. Note his brain is not in any way totally enlarged beyond nor mal, just not naturally developed in comparison to other human brains of similar age ,to which it was compared..

Brain Expansion: new Einstein's brain studies II

by David Turell @, Monday, April 06, 2020, 22:23 (50 days ago) @ David Turell

Another article on Einstein's brain with another version of the study results:

https://scitechdaily.com/photos-of-einsteins-brain-show-unique-features/


The autopsy revealed that Einstein’s brain was smaller than average, and the analyses showed the normal changes that happen with aging. Nothing more at the time was analyzed and the brain fragments were stored. Decades later, researchers asked Harvey for samples and noticed some unusual features while analyzing them.

In 1985, they showed that two parts of his brain contained an unusually large number of glia for every neuron. Another study showed that the parietal lobe lacks a furrow and operculum. This missing furrow might have enhanced the connections in this region, which is involved in the visual/spatial functions and mathematical skills like arithmetic.

***

Many of the photos were taken from unusual angles, and show structures not visible in photos that were analyzed previously. The most striking observation was the complexity and pattern of convolutions on certain parts of the cerebral cortex, especially in the prefrontal cortex and also the parietal lobes and visual cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is important for abstract thinking. The complex pattern of convolutions probably gave the region an unusual surface area, which might have contributed to his remarkable thought processes.

There was also an unusual feature in the right somatosensory cortex, which receives sensory information from the body. In this part, Einstein’s brain is expanded, which might have contributed to this accomplished violin playing. (my bold...no surprise to us)

According to Sandra Witelson, a behavioral neuroscientist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, who discovered that the parietal operculum is missing from Einstein’s brain, the study’s biggest contribution may be in encouraging further studies. “It makes clear the location and accessibility of photographs and slides of Einstein’s brain,” she says.

Comment: Same point. His brain was unique as he was

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, April 07, 2020, 17:22 (50 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] our only known example is Einstein, with a one centimeter enlarged area, and we cannot know if he was born with it or developed the tiny area from thinking.

dhw: If Einstein was born with it, we need to discuss the materialist interpretation of thought. If he developed it, you cannot escape the conclusion that thought can expand the materials of the brain, so the theory can’t be a non-starter, as you claim below.(dhw: See below re the bold.)

DAVID (under “Human evolution: tool and brain advances correlated”): There is no evidence from this presentation that dhw's theory that a drive for abstract design forced brain enlargement. Lots of new sized brains but not much advancement.

As usual, they do not try to explain why brains enlarged. There is no evidence from their presentation that God did a dabble before each stage of enlargement.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein%27s_brain

QUOTE: ".."This unusual brain anatomy […] may explain why Einstein thought the way he did…"

Already we are confronted with the theory that the brain is responsible for thought (materialism), which I anticipated above. I’m going to have to cherrypick from all the quotes:

QUOTE: " A stimulating environment can increase the proportion of glial cells and the high ratio could possibly result from Einstein's life studying stimulating scientific problems." (dhw’s bold)

This is a highly significant quote: the author regards it as possible that Einstein’s brain changed AS A RESULT of thought - here the EFFORT to solve problems. That is the key to my theory.

Dhw: Now please tell us what facts you have to support the theory that your God expanded the brain before it could have an idea based on existing information?

DAVID: Simple, I believe in God, based on vast study of the science of evolution and biochemistry.

dhw: No facts yet.

DAVID: I've added the new info about Einstein. Not enlarged, but very different!

Still no facts to support your theory. The different brain may have been the cause of his different thoughts (materialism) or the result of his different thoughts (perfectly suited to dualism, but also fits in with materialism if the brain is a community of communities with different functions which may influence one another’s patterns).

dhw: The small brain which had the original idea now has to come up with advanced abstract thought for new designs and production, i.e. the brain has to perform new tasks, and so it is the EFFORT to design and make that causes the expansion. You’ve got it, except that you keep forgetting the soul’s original idea which sparks the whole process off.

DAVID: Entire materialistic thought….

The bold is my fault. I was supposed to be adopting the dualistic approach (as I do at the end). I'll try again: The soul which uses the small brain has the original idea, but the small brain cannot implement the idea, and therefore responds to the soul’s efforts to implement the idea. Similarly, if Einstein had a soul (dualism), or if the thinking section of his brain (materialism) came up with a problem (the initial concept), the effort to solve it may have caused the responses that made his brain different from other people’s.

DAVID: …..Einstein's brain is my proof of a very different type of brain allowing new abstract concepts. Only more advanced brains/soul mechanisms can create the newer advanced concepts as the artifacts show. [...] you think desire makes it grow! Based on what? Not growth of tiny areas from new memory issues.

Not desire, and not wish. Please stop substituting your silly terms for the term I keep using, which is EFFORT. Meanwhile, you’ve gone back to the meaningless term “allow”. Either the brain is responsible for concepts (materialism) or the soul creates the concepts and uses the brain to gather information and to implement them (dualism). No permits necessary. Yes, new concepts demand more advanced brains – but there is no way of knowing whether the FIRST artefacts made by the new species were made AFTER brain expansion or were the cause of brain expansion. Once again you ignore this quote:”each phase (habilis, ergaster, neanderthal) started at a higher level than the previous one, but once the phase had started further development was slow”. This fits the pattern of my theory.

QUOTE " From an evolutionary perspective, the specific parts of Einstein’s prefrontal cortex that appear to be differentially expanded are of interest because recent findings indicate that these same areas increased differentially in size and became neurologically reorganized at microanatomical levels during hominin evolution in association with the emergence of higher cognitive abilities." (David’s bold)

DAVID: […] It all fits my commentary about enlarged brains and the ability for advanced concepts and designs by the brain /soul complex.

There is no mention of a soul, and the association with higher cognitive abilities fits my own theory just as well as it fits yours, since there is no way of knowing whether the reorganization of the brain preceded those cognitive abilities (i.e. caused them, which = materialism, though you don’t seem to realize that) or came about as a result of the effort to perform new tasks or solve problems (see the first Einstein quote).

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 07, 2020, 19:47 (50 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID (under “Human evolution: tool and brain advances correlated”): There is no evidence from this presentation that dhw's theory that a drive for abstract design forced brain enlargement. Lots of new sized brains but not much advancement.

dhw: As usual, they do not try to explain why brains enlarged. There is no evidence from their presentation that God did a dabble before each stage of enlargement.

:A non-answer usual. The point of my comment: 'Lots of new sized brains but not much advancement'. Meaning not much real new thinking, which dhw's theory demands!! Has dhw ever found third-party support for his theory? Not here.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein%27s_brain

QUOTE: ".."This unusual brain anatomy […] may explain why Einstein thought the way he did…"

QUOTE: " A stimulating environment can increase the proportion of glial cells and the high ratio could possibly result from Einstein's life studying stimulating scientific problems." (dhw’s bold)

dhw: This is a highly significant quote: the author regards it as possible that Einstein’s brain changed AS A RESULT of thought - here the EFFORT to solve problems. That is the key to my theory.

A very speculative comment, with no support in the literature I've reviewed today:

https://www.amazon.com/Root-Thought-Unlocking-Sharpen-papeback/dp/0134383036

Selling blurb: "Koob reveals the surprising correlation between intelligence and the brain's percentage of glial cells - and why these cells' unique wavelike communications may be especially conducive to the fluid information processing human beings depend upon."

In the book a reference to my old finding on Einstein:

In the 1950s, scientists studied the brain of Albert Einstein, a man renowned for his imaginative thought, which eventually resulted in arguably the most important discovery in modern physics. As Koob puts it more straightforwardly, "this is the kind of man who used his glia." Not surprisingly, Einstein had significantly greater number of astrocytes in his left parietal cortex, an area associated with higher thought, mathematics, and spatial learning.

Critical review: However, to anyone trained in science or critical analysis, Koob's evidence simply does not fully support his hypothesis, and the book is disappointing as an argument at large.

Comment: Glial cells are support cells and do communicate with neurons. How they contribute to intelligent thought is still unknown. Many papers reviewed.


DAVID: I've added the new info about Einstein. Not enlarged, but very different!

dhw: The soul which uses the small brain has the original idea, but the small brain cannot implement the idea, and therefore responds to the soul’s efforts to implement the idea. Similarly, if Einstein had a soul (dualism), or if the thinking section of his brain (materialism) came up with a problem (the initial concept), the effort to solve it may have caused the responses that made his brain different from other people’s.

Wow: your finally explained concept is the thinking soul forces enlargement, or with Einstein, the thought effort made his brain very different. Either soul or natural thought recognize the current brain is inadequate and must be improved (enlarged), but only by force of effort


DAVID: …..Einstein's brain is my proof of a very different type of brain allowing new abstract concepts. Only more advanced brains/soul mechanisms can create the newer advanced concepts as the artifacts show. [...] you think desire makes it grow! Based on what? Not growth of tiny areas from new memory issues.

QUOTE " From an evolutionary perspective, the specific parts of Einstein’s prefrontal cortex that appear to be differentially expanded are of interest because recent findings indicate that these same areas increased differentially in size and became neurologically reorganized at microanatomical levels during hominin evolution in association with the emergence of higher cognitive abilities." (David’s bold)

DAVID: […] It all fits my commentary about enlarged brains and the ability for advanced concepts and designs by the brain /soul complex.

dhw: There is no mention of a soul, and the association with higher cognitive abilities fits my own theory just as well as it fits yours, since there is no way of knowing whether the reorganization of the brain preceded those cognitive abilities (i.e. caused them, which = materialism, though you don’t seem to realize that) or came about as a result of the effort to perform new tasks or solve problems (see the first Einstein quote).

Another U-turn in your previous thinking. Remember our arguments about the brain as a blank slate. One point we agreed upon was a sizable genetic input. Einstein had a fascinating one based on his early years. See next entry which fully refutes your suppositions about him.

Brain Expansion: Einstein's brain in early years

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 07, 2020, 20:10 (49 days ago) @ David Turell

A strange childhood:

https://www.ducksters.com/biography/scientists/albert_einstein/early-life.php

"As one might expect, Albert Einstein was not the typical child. However, not in the way one might think. He was not a child prodigy who could read at the age of two and do high level math at four, but quite the opposite. Albert appeared to have great difficulty in learning to talk. An older Albert once recalled that his parents became so concerned about his speaking difficulties that they consulted a doctor. Even when he did start talking, Albert had the strange habit of repeating sentences several times to himself. At one point, he earned the nickname "der Depperte," which means "dopey one."

"As he grew older and entered school, Einstein developed a rebellious attitude towards his teachers and authority in general. Perhaps it was a result of being so intelligent, but not being able to communicate it. His first school was a Catholic school where the teachers treated him fairly, but he was constantly picked on by the other students for being Jewish. He eventually began to excel in school and, contrary to some legends about Einstein, he did not flunk out of math, but typically performed at the top of his class.

"Albert would later conjecture that perhaps his ability to think in unique ways and to develop new scientific concepts differently came from his early struggles. He liked to think in pictures, rather than in words.

"Early brilliance: "While there are many stories telling about how Einstein struggled in school and even failed in math, these are not true. He may have not been the ideal student, but he scored high in most subjects, especially math and physics. As an adult, Einstein was asked about his failure in math and he replied "I never failed in mathematics. Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.'"

And it is widely accepted he was dyslectic:

https://www.dyslexia.com/famous/albert-einstein/

Einstein also frequently described his thought process as being nonverbal:
Words or language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play
any role in my mechanism of thought.
(From a letter to mathematician Jacques Hadamard, 1945)

Thoughts did not come in any verbal formulation. I very rarely think in
words at all. A thought comes, and I may try to express it in words
afterwards. (Said to his friend, psychologist Max Wertheimer).
Writing is difficult, and I communicate this way very badly. (Reported by physicist Robert S. Shankland in Conversations with Einstein)

Einstein’s childhood and early education also shows a pattern of strengths and weaknesses commonly seen among very bright dyslexic children:
Childhood Strengths:
special interest and a knack for studying geometry
as a teenager, he thrived while attending a Swiss school based on creative, visual methods of instruction and discouraging memorization

Areas of Weakness:
verbal development was delayed and Einstein did not speak
until the age of three
early speech was described as laborious and searching, persisting to age 7, suggesting difficulties with word retrieval
as a schoolboy, his poor facility for arithmetic and his great difficulty with foreign language let a teacher to predict that “nothing good” would come of him

Comment: There is no question he was born with a strange brain, contra to your attempts to squeeze him into an example of your unsupported theory of brain expansion. Dyslexia is common and often comes with brilliance. My wife is one, and I've worked a small number of others who fit the point.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, April 08, 2020, 10:31 (49 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The point of my comment: 'Lots of new sized brains but not much advancement'. Meaning not much real new thinking, which dhw's theory demands!! Has dhw ever found third-party support for his theory? Not here.

Re “not much advancement”, I pointed out that once expansions had taken place there were long periods of stasis. I quoted: “each phase [...] started at a higher level than the previous one, but once that phase had started further development was slow”. I suggest that it was new thinking that demanded the effort which led to each expansion. Why don’t you concentrate on the arguments instead of looking for other people’s opinions and quoting articles that don’t deal with the subject?

QUOTE: "A stimulating environment can increase the proportion of glial cells and the high ratio could possibly result from Einstein's life studying stimulating scientific problems." (dhw’s bold)

dhw: This is a highly significant quote: the author regards it as possible that Einstein’s brain changed AS A RESULT of thought - here the EFFORT to solve problems. That is the key to my theory.
DAVID: A very speculative comment, with no support in the literature I've reviewed today:

Well, there we are: a comment that supports my theory, and the literature you’ve reviewed does not deal with expansion. You go on to quote two articles which tell us absolutely nothing relevant, so I’ll just quote your conclusion:

DAVID: Glial cells are support cells and do communicate with neurons. How they contribute to intelligent thought is still unknown.

And it is still unknown whether the brain is the source of thought (materialism) or is just used and when necessary changed by the thinking soul (dualism) as it implements the latter’s concepts.

dhw: The soul which uses the small brain has the original idea, but the small brain cannot implement the idea, and therefore responds to the soul’s efforts to implement the idea. Similarly, if Einstein had a soul (dualism), or if the thinking section of his brain (materialism) came up with a problem (the initial concept), the effort to solve it may have caused the responses that made his brain different from other people’s.

DAVID: Wow: your finally explained concept is the thinking soul forces enlargement, or with Einstein, the thought effort made his brain very different. Either soul or natural thought recognize the current brain is inadequate and must be improved (enlarged), but only by force of effort.

What’s the “wow”? I don’t know why you bring in “recognition”, but otherwise you’ve simply tried to rephrase what I wrote in much clearer terms!

QUOTE "From an evolutionary perspective, the specific parts of Einstein’s prefrontal cortex that appear to be differentially expanded are of interest because recent findings indicate that these same areas increased differentially in size and became neurologically reorganized at microanatomical levels during hominin evolution in association with the emergence of higher cognitive abilities." (David’s bold)

DAVID: […] It all fits my commentary about enlarged brains and the ability for advanced concepts and designs by the brain /soul complex.

dhw: There is no mention of a soul, and the association with higher cognitive abilities fits my own theory just as well as it fits yours […]

DAVID: Another U-turn in your previous thinking. Remember our arguments about the brain as a blank slate. One point we agreed upon was a sizable genetic input. Einstein had a fascinating one based on his early years. See next entry which fully refutes your suppositions about him.

It was you who insisted on a blank slate, and I objected vehemently because of the “sizable genetic input”. What is the U-turn? Nobody knows whether the materialist’s brain or the dualist’s soul is the source of thought, but whichever is the truth, it makes no difference to the argument that thought can cause changes to the brain! The article tells us all about Einstein’s struggles as a child. Your comment is as irrelevant to the subject of expansion as the article itself:

DAVID: There is no question he was born with a strange brain, contra to your attempts to squeeze him into an example of your unsupported theory of brain expansion. Dyslexia is common and often comes with brilliance. My wife is one, and I've worked a small number of others who fit the point.

If you think his strange brain was the cause of his brilliance, then please stop pretending to be a dualist. As far as my theory is concerned, it was you who first raised the subject of Einstein, and you’ve since quoted articles that emphasize several peculiarities in his brain. This can be used as evidence for materialism, but it cannot remove the possibility that his thoughts also caused changes to his brain, as speculated in the quote above, and as illustrated by other examples such as the effort to read, to memorize, to play an instrument. I see these examples as support for my theory that the effort to perform new tasks changes the brain and therefore may (it’s a theory) have been the cause of pre-sapiens expansions. There is absolutely nothing in any of your quotes and articles that even deals with the subject, let alone “refutes” my proposal. And I still wait to hear what facts you can come up with in support of your own.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 08, 2020, 22:49 (48 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The soul which uses the small brain has the original idea, but the small brain cannot implement the idea, and therefore responds to the soul’s efforts to implement the idea. Similarly, if Einstein had a soul (dualism), or if the thinking section of his brain (materialism) came up with a problem (the initial concept), the effort to solve it may have caused the responses that made his brain different from other people’s.

DAVID: Wow: your finally explained concept is the thinking soul forces enlargement, or with Einstein, the thought effort made his brain very different. Either soul or natural thought recognize the current brain is inadequate and must be improved (enlarged), but only by force of effort.

dhw: I don’t know why you bring in “recognition”, but otherwise you’ve simply tried to rephrase what I wrote in much clearer terms!

Where is "recognition "? My view of your idea is clearer as i stated it


QUOTE "From an evolutionary perspective, the specific parts of Einstein’s prefrontal cortex that appear to be differentially expanded are of interest because recent findings indicate that these same areas increased differentially in size and became neurologically reorganized at microanatomical levels during hominin evolution in association with the emergence of higher cognitive abilities." (David’s bold)

DAVID: […] It all fits my commentary about enlarged brains and the ability for advanced concepts and designs by the brain /soul complex.

dhw: There is no mention of a soul, and the association with higher cognitive abilities fits my own theory just as well as it fits yours […]

DAVID: Another U-turn in your previous thinking. Remember our arguments about the brain as a blank slate. One point we agreed upon was a sizable genetic input. Einstein had a fascinating one based on his early years. See next entry which fully refutes your suppositions about him.

dhw: It was you who insisted on a blank slate, and I objected vehemently because of the “sizable genetic input”. What is the U-turn? Nobody knows whether the materialist’s brain or the dualist’s soul is the source of thought, but whichever is the truth, it makes no difference to the argument that thought can cause changes to the brain! The article tells us all about Einstein’s struggles as a child. Your comment is as irrelevant to the subject of expansion as the article itself:

DAVID: There is no question he was born with a strange brain, contra to your attempts to squeeze him into an example of your unsupported theory of brain expansion. Dyslexia is common and often comes with brilliance. My wife is one, and I've worked a small number of others who fit the point.

dhw: If you think his strange brain was the cause of his brilliance, then please stop pretending to be a dualist.

Why do you constantly ignore my theory which you have recognized in the past. Never pure materialism: The soul always uses the brain it is given, in terms of capacity for new thought or unclear thought as in mental illness. The soul can change the brain only through brain plasticity. The only enlargements we know about are small.

dhw: As far as my theory is concerned, it was you who first raised the subject of Einstein, and you’ve since quoted articles that emphasize several peculiarities in his brain. This can be used as evidence for materialism, but it cannot remove the possibility that his thoughts also caused changes to his brain, as speculated in the quote above, and as illustrated by other examples such as the effort to read, to memorize, to play an instrument.

I resurrected Einstein because his brain is now well studied. It is very different. And you have studiously ignored Einstein's dyslexia and strange childhood educational development, his trouble with early speech, the fact that he thought in pictures as he theorized. His early difficulties mean his brain was different from birth. And certainly learning and theorizing as an adult made some other modifications upon the original different brain.

dhw: I see these examples as support for my theory that the effort to perform new tasks changes the brain and therefore may (it’s a theory) have been the cause of pre-sapiens expansions. There is absolutely nothing in any of your quotes and articles that even deals with the subject, let alone “refutes” my proposal. And I still wait to hear what facts you can come up with in support of your own.

Why ask me for facts to support my theory? You have no support from anywhere. I theorize from facts we know about the brain as you do. I am the one who searches in the literature for information and opinion. Occasionally you've looked. I prefer my analysis of the known facts as containing much clearer logic. It is based on my dualistic approach as above, that the soul can only produce thought to the complexity level that brain allows. Thus each new homo with a larger, more complex brain working with its soul produces new more complex artifacts. All follows along well from thought step to thought step, and it fits Archaeological literature descriptions of what is found and known. As for your incomplete theory, it is simply a wishful extrapolation of tiny expansions in our brain. Have anything else?

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Thursday, April 09, 2020, 11:37 (48 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Wow: your finally explained concept is the thinking soul forces enlargement, or with Einstein, the thought effort made his brain very different. Either soul or natural thought recognize the current brain is inadequate and must be improved (enlarged), but only by force of effort.

dhw: I don’t know why you bring in “recognition”…

DAVID: Where is "recognition "? My view of your idea is clearer as i stated it.

I have bolded it, and I have no idea what you meant by it, although you claim you are making my thoughts clearer.

DAVID: There is no question [Einstein] was born with a strange brain, contra to your attempts to squeeze him into an example of your unsupported theory of brain expansion. Dyslexia is common and often comes with brilliance.

dhw: If you think his strange brain was the cause of his brilliance, then please stop pretending to be a dualist.

DAVID: Why do you constantly ignore my theory which you have recognized in the past. Never pure materialism: The soul always uses the brain it is given, in terms of capacity for new thought or unclear thought as in mental illness. The soul can change the brain only through brain plasticity. The only enlargements we know about are small.

You agreed that the dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement the soul’s concepts. The soul’s capacity for thought will only be limited by the information at its disposal. Einstein couldn’t have thought up his new theories if he hadn’t known about space and time. The effort to understand the nature of space and time may (it’s only a theory) have caused changes to certain parts of his brain, just as we know for a fact that learning to read, memorizing routes and playing instruments cause changes to the brain. Of course the brain has to be plastic if it is to change. Why “only”? And the small enlargements prove that the brain changes when performing new tasks, so it is not unreasonable to propose that when brains were smaller, they increased their capacity by expanding.

DAVID: His early difficulties mean his brain was different from birth. And certainly learning and theorizing as an adult made some other modifications upon the original different brain.

Yippee! His difficulties would have been caused by the fact that his brain was unable to provide all the information that normal brains provide - one of the two uses the dualist’s soul makes of the brain. Your second comment confirms the reasonableness of my theory – learning, theorizing, implementing concepts “modify” or change the brain. God does not have to step in and change it BEFORE the thinker can start learning, theorizing and implementing.

dhw: I still wait to hear what facts you can come up with in support of your own.

DAVID: Why ask me for facts to support my theory?

Because you keep asking me for facts, and I give them to you. I ask, and you don’t respond.

DAVID: I theorize from facts we know about the brain as you do…

No you don’t. You merely tell me that the facts I offer you only cover minor expansions and not major, and God does the biggies.

DAVID: I prefer my analysis of the known facts as containing much clearer logic. It is based on my dualistic approach as above, that the soul can only produce thought to the complexity level that brain allows.

I have tried to explain this weird use of “allows”. It only applies to the amount of information that the brain makes available to the dualist’s soul. That is why I keep emphasizing that the concept of a weapon to be thrown from a distance arises entirely out of EXISTING information. Expansion was only required when our homo began the task of designing and producing it. Einstein had the information that space and time existed and did certain things: it is his theorizing that would have modified his brain.

DAVID: Thus each new homo with a larger, more complex brain working with its soul produces new more complex artifacts. All follows along well from thought step to thought step, and it fits Archaeological literature descriptions of what is found and known.

Of course it does, but you continue to ignore my point that it is the FIRST set of artefacts which would have required each expansion, and there is no way of knowing whether the FIRST set was produced after the brain had ALREADY expanded, or the expansion resulted from the effort to design and make the artefact.

DAVID: As for your incomplete theory, it is simply a wishful extrapolation of tiny expansions in our brain. Have anything else?

No wish involved. Just looking for a logical explanation. And I consider these known facts ample reason for proposing that if new tasks change brains today, they may well have done so in former times. The idea that your God must dabble with existing brains before the soul can produce new ideas might well be described as “wishful” thinking, since it positively beggars belief that he would have to fiddle with the brain of every human who comes up with a new idea, even though you believe it is the soul that comes up with new ideas.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 09, 2020, 20:50 (47 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Thursday, April 09, 2020, 21:18

DAVID: Where is "recognition "? My view of your idea is clearer as I stated it.

dhw: I have bolded it, and I have no idea what you meant by it, as you claim you are making my thoughts clearer.

You recognized soul and brain have to work together at the brain's level of thought complexity ability.


DAVID: Why do you constantly ignore my theory which you have recognized in the past. Never pure materialism: The soul always uses the brain it is given, in terms of capacity for new thought or unclear thought in mental illness. The soul can change the brain only through brain plasticity. The only enlargements we know about are small.

dhw: You agreed the dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement the soul’s concepts. The soul’s capacity for thought will only be limited by the information at its disposal.... And the small enlargements prove that the brain changes when performing new tasks, so it is not unreasonable to propose that when brains were smaller, they increased their capacity by expanding.

My thoughts are very different from the bold. The soul learns present info through the brain and can think and develop new concepts only up to the extent the brain's complexity allows.


DAVID: His early difficulties mean his brain was different from birth. And certainly learning and theorizing as an adult made some other modifications upon the original different brain.

dhw: Yippee! His difficulties would have been caused by the fact that his brain was unable to provide all the information that normal brains provide - one of the two uses the dualist’s soul makes of the brain. Your second comment confirms the reasonableness of my theory – learning, theorizing, implementing concepts “modify” or change the brain. God does not have to step in and change it BEFORE the thinker can start learning, theorizing and implementing.

Of course Einstein eventually learned to manage his strange brain, and by fifteen, he had self-taught himself all of calculus. Underlying brilliance, with small growth in areas he was learning and memorizing. So what reasonableness? You still want giant jumps just from thinking. I'll never buy it. God causes the expansions. You know we had to learn to use our new big brain. Pure logic: if intense thinking forced the enlargement of the new brain as it occurred, we would not have to learn how to use it, since the previous intense thinking should have been a continuous process into the new brain. How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't

dhw: I still wait to hear what facts you can come up with in support of your own.

DAVID: Why ask me for facts to support my theory?

dhw: Because you keep asking me for facts, and I give them to you. I ask, and you don’t respond.

DAVID: I theorize from facts we know about the brain as you do…

dhw: No you don’t. You merely tell me that the facts I offer you only cover minor expansions and not major, and God does the biggies.

Exactly. My position is that God expands the brain, and your naturalistic approach is concentrated thought forces the brain to expand 200 cc, while all our brain does is one cc here and there as required under plasticity. Logically earlier brains had the same limited plasticity.


DAVID: I prefer my analysis of the known facts as containing much clearer logic. It is based on my dualistic approach as above, that the soul can only produce thought to the complexity level that brain allows.

dhw: I have tried to explain this weird use of “allows”. It only applies to the amount of information that the brain makes available to the dualist’s soul... Einstein had the information that space and time existed and did certain things: it is his theorizing that would have modified his brain.

Weird: the brain gives the soul all the unlimited information available. Einstein's enlargements are fully compatible with known plasticity in tiny enlargements, starting with his strange early brain.

dhw: you continue to ignore my point that it is the FIRST set of artefacts which would have required each expansion, and there is no way of knowing whether the FIRST set was produced after the brain had ALREADY expanded, or the expansion resulted from the effort to design and make the artefact.

No getting away from fact: Each larger-brained fossil lives with better artifacts it created


DAVID: As for your incomplete theory, it is simply a wishful extrapolation of tiny expansions in our brain. Have anything else?

dhw: no wish involved. Just looking for a logical explanation. And I consider these known facts ample reason for proposing that if new tasks change brains today, they may well have done so in former times. The idea that your God must dabble with existing brains before the soul can produce new ideas might well be described as “wishful” thinking, since it positively beggars belief that he would have to fiddle with the brain of every human who comes up with a new idea, even though you believe it is the soul that comes up with new ideas.

Total twist of my approach: Each larger brain is more complex, can allow the soul to produce more complex concepts. The bold implies God working on millions of brain steps. I'm sure tongue-in-cheek, and not serious thought on your part. God only made several enlargement steps

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Friday, April 10, 2020, 13:25 (47 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You recognized soul and brain have to work together at the brain's level of thought complexity ability.

I recognized no such thing. You claim to be a dualist, so what is the brain’s “level of thought complexity”? I have tried to explain your own dualism to you: the brain does not have any level of thought complexity. Thought is the province of the dualist’s soul, which, as you keep agreeing, uses the brain to gather information and to implement the soul’s concepts.

dhw: The soul’s capacity for thought will only be limited by the information at its disposal....

DAVID: My thoughts are very different from the bold. The soul learns present info through the brain and can think and develop new concepts only up to the extent the brain's complexity allows.

There’s no difference, but as usual you’ve left out my point that the soul can think of new concepts based on PRESENT info (the spear). If existing complexity or capacity does not allow the development of the concept, then it has to be increased. That is the logic behind my theory of complexification (proved) and expansion (not proved) as a result of the effort to perform new tasks.

DAVID: [Einstein’s] early difficulties mean his brain was different from birth. And certainly learning and theorizing as an adult made some other modifications upon the original different brain.

dhw: Yippee! He had difficulties because his brain couldn’t provide all the information that normal brains provide - one of the two uses the dualist’s soul makes of the brain. Your second comment confirms the reasonableness of my theory – learning, theorizing, implementing concepts “modify” or change the brain. […]

DAVID: […] what reasonableness? You still want giant jumps just from thinking.

Nobody knows why there were big jumps, but since we know modern brains change as a result of the above processes, it is not unreasonable to believe that the process might have been the same in the days when expansion was possible.

DAVID: […] God causes the expansions. You know we had to learn to use our new big brain. Pure logic: if intense thinking forced the enlargement of the new brain as it occurred, we would not have to learn how to use it, since the previous intense thinking should have been a continuous process into the new brain. How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't.

I keep explaining it to you. All the new phases have been followed by long periods of stasis. If the new brain is adequate to the needs of its possessors, there is no need for major new concepts or artefacts. (You’ve even mentioned modern indigenous tribes who are content with past ways of living.) We don’t know exactly what new concepts caused the comparative sprint to our sophistications, but there is no “having to learn to use it”. We (H.sapiens) used it as needed until X, Y and Z came up with new ideas – just like my old homo and the spear. But our brains complexified instead of expanding.

DAVID: I theorize from facts we know about the brain as you do…

dhw: No you don’t. You merely tell me that the facts I offer you only cover minor expansions and not major, and God does the biggies.

DAVID: Exactly. My position is that God expands the brain, and your naturalistic approach is concentrated thought forces the brain to expand 200 cc, while all our brain does is one cc here and there as required under plasticity. Logically earlier brains had the same limited plasticity.

But earlier brains had the plasticity to expand, whereas our brain apparently doesn’t, which is why complexity has taken over. Now tell me what facts you have to support your theory that God expands the brain.

dhw: […] there is no way of knowing whether the FIRST set was produced after the brain had ALREADY expanded, or the expansion resulted from the effort to design and make the artefact.

DAVID: No getting away from fact: Each larger-brained fossil lives with better artifacts it created.

Yes, but in my theory the FIRST artefacts would have been the ones that caused the expansion. No getting away from the fact that there is no way of knowing...as bolded. Why do you keep ignoring the bold?

DAVID: Each larger brain is more complex, can allow the soul to produce more complex concepts.

But see comments on each species’ FIRST artefacts, on the role of the brain which only provides info and the ability to implement concepts (but not initiate them), and on stasis.

DAVID: […] God only made several enlargement steps.

If your God only deals with biggies, he must have created a mechanism which enables the brain to complexify and expand naturally, i.e. without his intervention. Good news for my theory. If new ideas and their development through complexification and minor enlargement can occur naturally, through a God-made mechanism, it is perfectly feasible that the unexplained expansions in earlier species could also have happened naturally through the same mechanism. Now please explain why you consider this theistic theory ”weird”.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, April 10, 2020, 22:57 (46 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You recognized soul and brain have to work together at the brain's level of thought complexity ability.

dhw: I recognized no such thing. You claim to be a dualist, so what is the brain’s “level of thought complexity”?'

Why did you leave out the word "complexity"? It belongs to my theory, that the soul must use the brain to think and complexity of soul's thought must rely on the level of brain complexity. You know my theory and then forget?


DAVID: My thoughts are very different from the bold. The soul learns present info through the brain and can think and develop new concepts only up to the extent the brain's complexity allows.

dhw: There’s no difference, but as usual you’ve left out my point that the soul can think of new concepts based on PRESENT info (the spear).

And that is exactly which is counter to what archaeologists present: they assume the bigger brained erectus is only one capable of producing the better artifacts.

DAVID: […] what reasonableness? You still want giant jumps just from thinking.

dhw: Nobody knows why there were big jumps, but since we know modern brains change as a result of the above processes, it is not unreasonable to believe that the process might have been the same in the days when expansion was possible.

Only your body accepts your theory.


DAVID: […] God causes the expansions. You know we had to learn to use our new big brain. Pure logic: if intense thinking forced the enlargement of the new brain as it occurred, we would not have to learn how to use it, since the previous intense thinking should have been a continuous process into the new brain. How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't.

dhw: I keep explaining it to you. All the new phases have been followed by long periods of stasis. If the new brain is adequate to the needs of its possessors, there is no need for major new concepts or artefacts. (You’ve even mentioned modern indigenous tribes who are content with past ways of living.) We don’t know exactly what new concepts caused the comparative sprint to our sophistications, but there is no “having to learn to use it”. We (H.sapiens) used it as needed until X, Y and Z came up with new ideas – just like my old homo and the spear. But our brains complexified instead of expanding.

Which means our brain is a totally different sort of brain from those in the past! Obvious.


DAVID: My position is that God expands the brain, and your naturalistic approach is concentrated thought forces the brain to expand 200 cc, while all our brain does is one cc here and there as required under plasticity. Logically earlier brains had the same limited plasticity.

dhw: But earlier brains had the plasticity to expand, whereas our brain apparently doesn’t, which is why complexity has taken over. Now tell me what facts you have to support your theory that God expands the brain.

I find no other explanation, and you've strained for one no one else ever mentions.


DAVID: No getting away from fact: Each larger-brained fossil lives with better artifacts it created.

dhw: Yes, but in my theory the FIRST artefacts would have been the ones that caused the expansion. No getting away from the fact that there is no way of knowing...as bolded. Why do you keep ignoring the bold?

I don't ignore. I find it unbelievable with no logical support in archaeological studies.


DAVID: Each larger brain is more complex, can allow the soul to produce more complex concepts.

dhw: But see comments on each species’ FIRST artefacts, on the role of the brain which only provides info and the ability to implement concepts (but not initiate them), and on stasis.

I know your illogical convolutions about past brains, which obviously were not like ours. The past brains did not set up a real pattern from which to evolve this very different brain!


DAVID: […] God only made several enlargement steps.

dhw: If your God only deals with biggies, he must have created a mechanism which enables the brain to complexify and expand naturally, i.e. without his intervention. Good news for my theory. If new ideas and their development through complexification and minor enlargement can occur naturally, through a God-made mechanism, it is perfectly feasible that the unexplained expansions in earlier species could also have happened naturally through the same mechanism. Now please explain why you consider this theistic theory ”weird”.

You are back to repeating a version of a humanistic God who gives up control to explain this most unusual brain we have now. Nice try sneaking your weird God into the conversation.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Saturday, April 11, 2020, 12:21 (46 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You recognized soul and brain have to work together at the brain's level of thought complexity ability.

dhw: I recognized no such thing. You claim to be a dualist, so what is the brain’s “level of thought complexity”?'

DAVID: Why did you leave out the word "complexity"?

I did not leave it out. Look, I’ve bolded it for you. I asked what you meant by the brain’s level of thought complexity, since you don’t believe the brain thinks. You agree that the soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its ideas. I agree that the more information the brain has in store, the more complex the brain will be, but the dualist’s soul can use existing information to come up with new concepts (the spear example). But it can’t develop them if the brain does not have the necessary connections or capacity. Hence development of concepts leads to brain complexification (proven) or expansion (proven on a minor scale).
+
DAVID: And that is exactly which is counter to what archaeologists present: they assume the bigger brained erectus is only one capable of producing the better artifacts.

It doesn’t run counter to what they present! They don’t try to explain the expansions, and you keep ignoring the following:
dhw: […] there is no way of knowing whether the FIRST set was produced after the brain had ALREADY expanded, or the expansion resulted from the effort to design and make the artefact.

DAVID: I don't ignore. I find it unbelievable with no logical support in archaeological studies.

You keep admitting that your archaeological studies do not try to explain why the brain expanded! And there is no way of knowing...as bolded.

DAVID: […] You still want giant jumps just from thinking.

dhw: Nobody knows why there were big jumps, but since we know modern brains change as a result of the above processes, it is not unreasonable to believe that the process might have been the same in the days when expansion was possible.

DAVID: Only your body accepts your theory.

My body? You have not explained why the above is unreasonable.

DAVID: […] How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't.

dhw: I keep explaining it to you. All the new phases have been followed by long periods of stasis. If the new brain is adequate to the needs of its possessors, there is no need for major new concepts or artefacts. […] there is no “having to learn to use it”. We (H.sapiens) used it as needed until X, Y and Z came up with new ideas – just like my old homo and the spear. But our brains complexified instead of expanding.

DAVID: Which means our brain is a totally different sort of brain from those in the past! Obvious.

I’ve just explained the time gaps. No comment from you, just a switch of subject. I would say that our brain is far more advanced, vastly more complex, but not “totally different”. Earlier homos would also have used their brains to gather information and implement their concepts.

DAVID: […] all our brain does is one cc here and there as required under plasticity. Logically earlier brains had the same limited plasticity.

dhw: But earlier brains had the plasticity to expand, whereas our brain apparently doesn’t, which is why complexity has taken over. Now tell me what facts you have to support your theory that God expands the brain.

DAVID: I find no other explanation, and you've strained for one no one else ever mentions.

I answered your point on plasticity. No comment from you. You wanted facts from me, and I gave them to you. I asked you for facts, and you can’t provide any. I have no idea whether archaeologists have dealt with my theory or have announced that God did it. Why don’t you just deal with the arguments instead of hunting for what other people have to say?

DAVID: […] God only made several enlargement steps.

dhw:If your God only deals with biggies, he must have created a mechanism which enables the brain to complexify and expand naturally, i.e. without his intervention. […] it is perfectly feasible that the unexplained expansions in earlier species could also have happened naturally through the same mechanism. Now please explain why you consider this theistic theory ”weird”.

DAVID: You are back to repeating a version of a humanistic God who gives up control to explain this most unusual brain we have now. Nice try sneaking your weird God into the conversation.

You have missed the point as usual, so I’ve bolded it now. Your silly “humanistic” argument has already been proved irrelevant by your own statements that he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, and why is it “weird” to propose a God who – while reserving the right to dabble - is interested in creating an ever changing spectacle of autonomous creatures rather than puppets, as actually exemplified by the free will you believe he has given to human beings?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 11, 2020, 15:57 (46 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You agree that the soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its ideas. I agree that the more information the brain has in store, the more complex the brain will be,

Vast conceptual gulf: Only an initially complex brain can store more information.

dhw: but the dualist’s soul can use existing information to come up with new concepts (the spear example). But it can’t develop them if the brain does not have the necessary connections or capacity. Hence development of concepts leads to brain complexification (proven) or expansion (proven on a minor scale).

Totally backwards. What proof except tiny areas of our brain? The bold is your lonely theory only.

dhw: You keep admitting that your archaeological studies do not try to explain why the brain expanded! And there is no way of knowing...as bolded.

DAVID: […] You still want giant jumps just from thinking.

dhw: Nobody knows why there were big jumps, but since we know modern brains change as a result of the above processes, it is not unreasonable to believe that the process might have been the same in the days when expansion was possible.

dhw: You have not explained why the above is unreasonable?

dhw: Our brain is different from all previous brains. It has only tiny expansions. There are no comparisons.

The bold is your previous theory that you have accepted as a mantra, 'our brain can't anatomically enlarge any more'. Our brain could easily expand 200 cc as those previous expansions did. But, and don't you remember, over the recent past our brain is now 150 cc smaller!!! And still highly effective in its work.


DAVID: […] How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't.

dhw: I keep explaining it to you. All the new phases have been followed by long periods of stasis. If the new brain is adequate to the needs of its possessors, there is no need for major new concepts or artefacts. […] there is no “having to learn to use it”. We (H.sapiens) used it as needed until X, Y and Z came up with new ideas – just like my old homo and the spear. But our brains complexified instead of expanding.

DAVID: Which means our brain is a totally different sort of brain from those in the past! Obvious.

dhw: I would say that our brain is far more advanced, vastly more complex, but not “totally different”. Earlier homos would also have used their brains to gather information and implement their concepts.

Of course those minds did it in their lesser way. You've not diminished the vast difference in how our brain works. Which is Adler's point you won't accept to its logical conclusion.

dhw:If your God only deals with biggies, he must have created a mechanism which enables the brain to complexify and expand naturally, i.e. without his intervention. […] it is perfectly feasible that the unexplained expansions in earlier species could also have happened naturally through the same mechanism. Now please explain why you consider this theistic theory ”weird”.

DAVID: You are back to repeating a version of a humanistic God who gives up control to explain this most unusual brain we have now. Nice try sneaking your weird God into the conversation.

dhw: You have missed the point as usual, so I’ve bolded it now. Your silly “humanistic” argument has already been proved irrelevant by your own statements that he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, and why is it “weird” to propose a God who – while reserving the right to dabble - is interested in creating an ever changing spectacle of autonomous creatures rather than puppets, as actually exemplified by the free will you believe he has given to human beings?

Jumping back to previous statements of mine out of the context of that time to avoid the argument, and returning to God-lite as you attempt to really image God as truer theists would. Really: a spectator God who watches all the nutty things folks do?

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, April 12, 2020, 11:57 (45 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You agree that the soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its ideas. I agree that the more information the brain has in store, the more complex the brain will be.

DAVID: Vast conceptual gulf: Only an initially complex brain can store more information.

More information than what? All brains are complex. The more information they store, the more complex they will be.

dhw: ...but the dualist’s soul can use existing information to come up with new concepts (the spear example). But it can’t develop them if the brain does not have the necessary connections or capacity. Hence development of concepts leads to brain complexification (proven) or expansion (proven on a minor scale).

DAVID: Totally backwards. What proof except tiny areas of our brain? The bold is your lonely theory only.

The bold is proven! Learning to read, memorizing maps, playing musical instruments entail mental developments which are known to change the brain by complexification or minor expansions.

DAVID: […] You still want giant jumps just from thinking.

dhw: Nobody knows why there were big jumps, but since we know modern brains change as a result of the above processes, it is not unreasonable to believe that the process might have been the same in the days when expansion was possible.

DAVID: The bold is your previous theory that you have accepted as a mantra, 'our brain can't anatomically enlarge any more'. Our brain could easily expand 200 cc as those previous expansions did. But, and don't you remember, over the recent past our brain is now 150 cc smaller!!! And still highly effective in its work.

This is becoming a cracked record. The human brain reached capacity, but as you keep agreeing, the efficiency of complexification has caused it to shrink, so it doesn’t need to “refill” the 150 cc!

DAVID: […] How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't.

dhw: I keep explaining it to you. All the new phases have been followed by long periods of stasis. If the new brain is adequate to the needs of its possessors, there is no need for major new concepts or artefacts. […] there is no “having to learn to use it”. We (H.sapiens) used it as needed until X, Y and Z came up with new ideas – just like my old homo and the spear. But our brains complexified instead of expanding.

DAVID: Which means our brain is a totally different sort of brain from those in the past! Obvious.

dhw: I would say that our brain is far more advanced, vastly more complex, but not “totally different”. Earlier homos would also have used their brains to gather information and implement their concepts.

DAVID: Of course those minds did it in their lesser way. You've not diminished the vast difference in how our brain works. […]

I have dealt with your time gaps, I have explained the importance of the FIRST artefacts for each new species, and now I’ve shown how our brains are not “totally different”. You ignore all these answers! I have always agreed that there is a vast difference.

dhw:If your God only deals with biggies, he must have created a mechanism which enables the brain to complexify and expand naturally, i.e. without his intervention. […] it is perfectly feasible that the unexplained expansions in earlier species could also have happened naturally through the same mechanism. Now please explain why you consider this theistic theory ”weird”.

DAVID: You are back to repeating a version of a humanistic God who gives up control to explain this most unusual brain we have now. Nice try sneaking your weird God into the conversation.

dhw: You have missed the point as usual, so I’ve bolded it now. Your silly “humanistic” argument has already been proved irrelevant by your own statements that he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, and why is it “weird” to propose a God who – while reserving the right to dabble - is interested in creating an ever changing spectacle of autonomous creatures rather than puppets, as actually exemplified by the free will you believe he has given to human beings?

DAVID: Jumping back to previous statements of mine out of the context of that time to avoid the argument, and returning to God-lite as you attempt to really image God as truer theists would. Really: a spectator God who watches all the nutty things folks do?

1. You have not explained why it is “weird” to suggest that your God’s mechanism enabling the brain to complexify and expand (on a small scale) naturally, could also have been the unknown cause of major brain expansion. 2. Your statements that God could very well think like us, probably has thought patterns etc. similar to ours, are not only perfectly feasible, but can hardly have any context other than the nature of God. Two days ago you wrote: “All I have agreed to is that God thinks logically as we do, nothing more. "Emotions and attributes similar" is a possibility…” You merely reduced probability to possibility. 3. Please answer my questions at the end of my post on your theory of evolution.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 12, 2020, 22:08 (44 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: ...but the dualist’s soul can use existing information to come up with new concepts (the spear example). But it can’t develop them if the brain does not have the necessary connections or capacity. Hence development of concepts leads to brain complexification (proven) or expansion (proven on a minor scale).

DAVID: Totally backwards. What proof except tiny areas of our brain? The bold is your lonely theory only.

dhw: The bold is proven! Learning to read, memorizing maps, playing musical instruments entail mental developments which are known to change the brain by complexification or minor expansions.

Only in our very different specialized brain. Existing artifacts from previous brains i

DAVID: […] How does your theory provide for the time gaps that we know existed? It doesn't.

DAVID: Of course those minds did it in their lesser way. You've not diminished the vast difference in how our brain works. […]

dhw: I have dealt with your time gaps, I have explained the importance of the FIRST artefacts for each new species, and now I’ve shown how our brains are not “totally different”. You ignore all these answers! I have always agreed that there is a vast difference.

I don't ignore your answers. I find then totally unreasonable and unacceptable working with known facts.


dhw: You have missed the point as usual, so I’ve bolded it now. Your silly “humanistic” argument has already been proved irrelevant by your own statements that he probably has thought patterns similar to ours, and why is it “weird” to propose a God who – while reserving the right to dabble - is interested in creating an ever changing spectacle of autonomous creatures rather than puppets, as actually exemplified by the free will you believe he has given to human beings?

DAVID: Jumping back to previous statements of mine out of the context of that time to avoid the argument, and returning to God-lite as you attempt to really image God as truer theists would. Really: a spectator God who watches all the nutty things folks do?

dhw: . You have not explained why it is “weird” to suggest that your God’s mechanism enabling the brain to complexify and expand (on a small scale) naturally, could also have been the unknown cause of major brain expansion.

Just because our very special brain makes tiny enlargements, does not mean it relates at all to the very large previous enlargements. You h ave jumped to a wishful theory with no known support.

2. dhw: Your statements that God could very well think like us, probably has thought patterns etc. similar to ours, are not only perfectly feasible, but can hardly have any context other than the nature of God. Two days ago you wrote: “All I have agreed to is that God thinks logically as we do, nothing more. "Emotions and attributes similar" is a possibility…” You merely reduced probability to possibility.

What I have really thought underlying all this is my God is totally different than your weakly imagined humanized God. My God does not possibly think as you want Him to.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, April 13, 2020, 13:53 (44 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: ... Hence development of concepts leads to brain complexification (proven) or expansion (proven on a minor scale).

DAVID: The bold is your lonely theory only.

dhw: The bold is proven! Learning to read, memorizing maps, playing musical instruments entail mental developments which are known to change the brain by complexification or minor expansions.

DAVID: Only in our very different specialized brain.

You have agreed with me that earlier homos “would also have used their brains to gather information and to implement their concepts.” Once again: if implementation of concepts changes our brains (a proven fact), why is it not possible that the same process applied to earlier brains?

DAVID: I don't ignore your answers. I find then totally unreasonable and unacceptable working with known facts.

The ONLY known facts are that our brains are changed by new activities. You have not offered a single reason why my explanations of time gaps and of FIRST artefacts should be deemed unreasonable. You can only come up with the fact that my theory is not proven!

dhw: You have not explained why it is “weird” to suggest that your God’s mechanism enabling the brain to complexify and expand (on a small scale) naturally, could also have been the unknown cause of major brain expansion.

DAVID: Just because our very special brain makes tiny enlargements, does not mean it relates at all to the very large previous enlargements. You have jumped to a wishful theory with no known support.

No theory has been proven. And you still won’t tell us why as a theist you regard it as unreasonable to suggest that your God’s mechanism to enable the brain to complexify and cause minor expansions could not also have caused major expansions at a time when the brain was able to expand. And what “known” support do you have for your theory that your God caused each brain expansion, and only then could homos’ souls come up with new ideas?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, April 13, 2020, 21:21 (43 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The bold is your lonely theory only.

dhw: The bold is proven! Learning to read, memorizing maps, playing musical instruments entail mental developments which are known to change the brain by complexification or minor expansions.

DAVID: Only in our very different specialized brain.

dhw: You have agreed with me that earlier homos “would also have used their brains to gather information and to implement their concepts.” Once again: if implementation of concepts changes our brains (a proven fact), why is it not possible that the same process applied to earlier brains?

I'm sure a habilis brain or an erectus brain had tiny areas of enlargement as our current brain plasticizes. We evolved from them so that is very logical to conclude.


DAVID: I don't ignore your answers. I find then totally unreasonable and unacceptable working with known facts.

dhw: The ONLY known facts are that our brains are changed by new activities. You have not offered a single reason why my explanations of time gaps and of FIRST artefacts should be deemed unreasonable. You can only come up with the fact that my theory is not proven!

You are hopefully extrapolating from tiny reasonable changes in our very advanced brain. To remind you, as you remind me, our debate is the possible reason for giant expansions. For habilis, activities of daily living were not very complex. Struggling to conceptualize some way to kill at a distance is not going to force a 200 cc enlargement. One can only think of what one is capable to thinking of in a brain/soul cooperation system.


dhw: You have not explained why it is “weird” to suggest that your God’s mechanism enabling the brain to complexify and expand (on a small scale) naturally, could also have been the unknown cause of major brain expansion.

DAVID: Just because our very special brain makes tiny enlargements, does not mean it relates at all to the very large previous enlargements. You have jumped to a wishful theory with no known support.

dhw: No theory has been proven. And you still won’t tell us why as a theist you regard it as unreasonable to suggest that your God’s mechanism to enable the brain to complexify and cause minor expansions could not also have caused major expansions at a time when the brain was able to expand. And what “known” support do you have for your theory that your God caused each brain expansion, and only then could homos’ souls come up with new ideas?

Logic based on artifacts associated with each new brain size, which facts you have twisted beyond all possible belief. The idea that the previous homo knew of a spear concept but had to grow a brain to then manufacture it, is such distorted reasoning when compared to what we know happens today in design and physical creation. You are still pursuing a way to avoid God's activities in evolution. Understandable as an agnostic, but it is much like like atheistic thinking.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 16:20 (43 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The bold is proven! Learning to read, memorizing maps, playing musical instruments entail mental developments which are known to change the brain by complexification or minor expansions.

DAVID: Only in our very different specialized brain.

dhw: You have agreed with me that earlier homos “would also have used their brains to gather information and to implement their concepts.” Once again: if implementation of concepts changes our brains (a proven fact), why is it not possible that the same process applied to earlier brains?

DAVID: I'm sure a habilis brain or an erectus brain had tiny areas of enlargement as our current brain plasticizes. We evolved from them so that is very logical to conclude.

So why do you think it’s not possible that in the days when major expansion was possible, the same mechanisms could not have operated by major expansion instead of the current complexification?

DAVID: I don't ignore your answers. I find then totally unreasonable and unacceptable working with known facts.

dhw: The ONLY known facts are that our brains are changed by new activities. You have not offered a single reason why my explanations of time gaps and of FIRST artefacts should be deemed unreasonable. You can only come up with the fact that my theory is not proven!

DAVID: You are hopefully extrapolating from tiny reasonable changes in our very advanced brain. To remind you, as you remind me, our debate is the possible reason for giant expansions. For habilis, activities of daily living were not very complex. Struggling to conceptualize some way to kill at a distance is not going to force a 200 cc enlargement. One can only think of what one is capable to thinking of in a brain/soul cooperation system.

Not “hopefully”. I am trying to find a reasonable explanation for something nobody has yet explained, and I see no reason why one should not extrapolate a possible procedure based on one that is already proven. We both used the spear example. Why do you think your God expanded the brain by 200 cc if whatever example you choose did not require it? Remember, nothing much happened after that until the next expansion. If the soul exists, then we have a soul/brain cooperation system. That does not mean the brain has to expand before the soul can have new ideas based on the existing information provided by the brain. Hence the vital importance of my argument concerning the FIRST artefacts that accompanied the new brain.

DAVID: You have jumped to a wishful theory with no known support.

dhw: No theory has been proven. […] what “known” support do you have for your theory that your God caused each brain expansion, and only then could homos’ souls come up with new ideas?

DAVID: Logic based on artifacts associated with each new brain size, which facts you have twisted beyond all possible belief. The idea that the previous homo knew of a spear concept but had to grow a brain to then manufacture it, is such distorted reasoning when compared to what we know happens today in design and physical creation.

So do you believe that today’s brain has to complexify BEFORE the designer can have his new idea? It is you who are twisting facts beyond belief. And you are also twisting my description of the process. Initially our homo didn’t “know of” the concept: he had the existing information of meat – danger of close contact with meat supply – better to find way of killing at a distance. That is the new concept using EXISTING information. It is the EFFORT of designing and then making and using the artefact that would have caused the expansion, just as it is the mental EFFORT of reading or memorizing that causes the modern brain to complexify.

DAVID: You are still pursuing a way to avoid God's activities in evolution. Understandable as an agnostic, but it is much like like atheistic thinking.

Please stop assuming that any theory different from yours is a way of avoiding God. We have precisely the same situation as with all evolutionary processes: you think your version of God as a total control freak is the only one possible. You already agree that there must be a mechanism for complexification and minor expansion without your God's intervention. And I see no reason at all why your God should not have designed the mechanism also to engineer major expansion without his intervention. How is that atheistic?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, 20:46 (42 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You have agreed with me that earlier homos “would also have used their brains to gather information and to implement their concepts.” Once again: if implementation of concepts changes our brains (a proven fact), why is it not possible that the same process applied to earlier brains?

DAVID: I'm sure a habilis brain or an erectus brain had tiny areas of enlargement as our current brain plasticizes. We evolved from them so that is very logical to conclude.

dhw: So why do you think it’s not possible that in the days when major expansion was possible, the same mechanisms could not have operated by major expansion instead of the current complexification?

Why if our current brain is admittedly so different as you've previously stated, the past brains should not be very different, evolutionarily immature and incomplete in development, compared to ours.


DAVID: You are hopefully extrapolating from tiny reasonable changes in our very advanced brain. To remind you, as you remind me, our debate is the possible reason for giant expansions. For habilis, activities of daily living were not very complex. Struggling to conceptualize some way to kill at a distance is not going to force a 200 cc enlargement. One can only think of what one is capable to thinking of in a brain/soul cooperation system.

dhw: Not “hopefully”. I am trying to find a reasonable explanation for something nobody has yet explained, and I see no reason why one should not extrapolate a possible procedure based on one that is already proven.

What is proven is nothing like your extrapolated wishful thought.

dhw: We both used the spear example. Why do you think your God expanded the brain by 200 cc if whatever example you choose did not require it?

Not my God. He evolves as He wishes, not to help homos solve their immediate problems. Still your weird view of my God.

dhw: Hence the vital importance of my argument concerning the FIRST artefacts that accompanied the new brain.

Important only to your invention of a theory about artifacts, not supported by any archaeological report I've read. Can you find one?


dhw: So do you believe that today’s brain has to complexify BEFORE the designer can have his new idea?

No. it is set up from 315,000 years ago to handle the immaterial imagination of advanced designs.

dhw: It is the EFFORT of designing and then making and using the artefact that would have caused the expansion, just as it is the mental EFFORT of reading or memorizing that causes the modern brain to complexify.

As usual I totally reject this wildly imagined scenario. An existing evolving brain can only conceptualize at a level its existing complexity allows the soul to use. Nothing more advanced. Why don't you accept current archaeological theory?


DAVID: You are still pursuing a way to avoid God's activities in evolution. Understandable as an agnostic, but it is much like like atheistic thinking.

dhw: Please stop assuming that any theory different from yours is a way of avoiding God. We have precisely the same situation as with all evolutionary processes: you think your version of God as a total control freak is the only one possible. You already agree that there must be a mechanism for complexification and minor expansion without your God's intervention.

Yes, in our current brain He gave us to use.

dhw: And I see no reason at all why your God should not have designed the mechanism also to engineer major expansion without his intervention. How is that atheistic?

it is a God who gives up exact control the process of evolution. I see Him as fully purposeful in managing evolution to reach His goals; giant bush, humans. You deride my version as a control freak. Note another human version of God from you. You cannot think about God without humanizing. Adler warns about your approach. And you deride his advice, claiming I hide behind him. So I can't think; is that it?

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 14:26 (42 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I'm sure a habilis brain or an erectus brain had tiny areas of enlargement as our current brain plasticizes. We evolved from them so that is very logical to conclude.

dhw: So why do you think it’s not possible that in the days when major expansion was possible, the same mechanisms could have operated by major expansion instead of the current complexification?

DAVID: Why if our current brain is admittedly so different as you've previously stated, the past brains should not be very different, evolutionarily immature and incomplete in development, compared to ours.

Of course they are not as “mature” or “developed” as ours. But we are talking about the mechanisms that cause development. So please answer my question. Why do think it’s not POSSIBLE for the same mechanisms to have caused the earlier changes?

dhw: […] I see no reason why one should not extrapolate a possible procedure based on one that is already proven.

DAVID: What is proven is nothing like your extrapolated wishful thought.

What is proven is that the brain changes when it performs new activities, including minor expansions. Major expansions are bigger than minor expansions, but nobody knows how they happened, and so we have different unproven theories. Your God theory has not been “proven” either, and mine is certainly no more “wishful” than yours!

dhw: We both used the spear example. Why do you think your God expanded the brain by 200 cc if whatever example you choose did not require it?

DAVID: Not my God. He evolves as He wishes, not to help homos solve their immediate problems. Still your weird view of my God.

But you keep telling us that he expanded the brain by 200 cc! So why do you think he did it if your chosen example did not require it?

dhw: Hence the vital importance of my argument concerning the FIRST artefacts that accompanied the new brain.

DAVID: Important only to your invention of a theory about artifacts, not supported by any archaeological report I've read. Can you find one?

The archaeological reports do not ask why brains expanded. I know one favourite theory is the discovery of fire (leading to cooked food and a more nutritious diet), and another is bipedalism. I’ve had a quick look at some websites devoted to the subject, all very speculative. I can’t find any mention of my theory or yours. So what? I wish you would deal with the arguments instead of asking for references.

dhw: So do you believe that today’s brain has to complexify BEFORE the designer can have his new idea?

DAVID: No. it is set up from 315,000 years ago to handle the immaterial imagination of advanced designs.

So the designer has his idea before the brain changes (here = complexifies). Thank you. That is the nub of the argument. The initial idea precedes the brain change. It is the “advanced design” or development of the idea that causes change. So once more: It is perfectly logical – even if you don’t believe it – to argue that if the brain only changes AFTER the dualist’s soul (or the thinking part of the materialist’s brain) has had the initial idea, then early brain expansion could have (it’s a hypothesis, just like your own explanation) resulted from the same process: initial idea, development of idea changes brain.

dhw: It is the EFFORT of designing and then making and using the artefact that would have caused the expansion, just as it is the mental EFFORT of reading or memorizing that causes the modern brain to complexify.

DAVID: As usual I totally reject this wildly imagined scenario. An existing evolving brain can only conceptualize at a level its existing complexity allows the soul to use. Nothing more advanced. Why don't you accept current archaeological theory?

According to you, the dualist, it is NOT the brain that conceptualizes! It is the soul that uses the brain to conceptualize, and the brain’s function is to supply information and to implement the concept. If you mean the soul can only conceptualize within the parameters of the information supplied by the brain, then you have your own example of the spear: existing information = bison – meat – close-up killing dangerous – better find way of killing from a distance. THAT is the initial concept within the existing parameters of information. And the rest follows as above (EFFORT - EXPANSION). Now tell me why that is not logical, even if you don’t believe it.

dhw: […] You already agree that there must be a mechanism for complexification and minor expansion without your God's intervention.

DAVID: Yes, in our current brain He gave us to use.

That’s fine with me. So once more: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

The rest of your post repeats matters dealt with under your “theory of evolution”.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 15, 2020, 21:28 (41 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We both used the spear example. Why do you think your God expanded the brain by 200 cc if whatever example you choose did not require it?

You have taken a very narrow view of human evolution, as we discuss a spear. Lucy had a tiny brain, slightly larger than Chimps. Habilis is the very first tool maker, with brain sizes bigger than Lucy: "Their average brain size was about 45% greater than Australopithecus, and 25% greater than Paranthropus. H. habilis appears to have had an expanded cerebrum, unlike australopithecines, specifically the frontal and parietal lobes which govern speech in modern humans."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_habilis

The stone age stopped 10,000 years ago. Habilis had a somewhat developed cortex and frontal lobe which permitted him to learn how to shape sharp stones for scrapping. Some theoretical immaterial analytic thought involved for the first time. What expanded habilis' brain over the million of years from Lucy and intervening species? How much real thinking could Lucy do?

And then you also have a problem of tying artifacts to brain size:

"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."

https://www.britannica.com/science/human-evolution/Increasing-brain-size

We are debating at your level of looking for a natural way to expand hominin brains. Why is the expansion only in the frontal lobe cortical area? Looks like God's purposeful activity to me.


dhw: So do you believe that today’s brain has to complexify BEFORE the designer can have his new idea?

DAVID: No. it is set up from 315,000 years ago to handle the immaterial imagination of advanced designs.

dhw: So the designer has his idea before the brain changes (here = complexifies). Thank you. That is the nub of the argument. The initial idea precedes the brain change. It is the “advanced design” or development of the idea that causes change.

You may have convinced yourself that thinking of abstract concepts cause brain enlargement, but nothing I've written above or copied comports with that. Our present brain enlarges from learning something, and the special Einstein evidence is neutral, and can be easily argued, he was born that way, from all the evidence of his early schoolchild years.

dhw: According to you, the dualist, it is NOT the brain that conceptualizes! It is the soul that uses the brain to conceptualize, and the brain’s function is to supply information and to implement the concept.

Please learn my real concept, which is not changed. It is the advanced complexity of the larger brains neurons and their organization in special circuits in the prefrontal cortex which gives the soul the ability to create advanced conceptualization.

dhw: If you mean the soul can only conceptualize within the parameters of the information supplied by the brain, then you have your own example of the spear: existing information = bison – meat – close-up killing dangerous – better find way of killing from a distance. THAT is the initial concept within the existing parameters of information. And the rest follows as above (EFFORT - EXPANSION). Now tell me why that is not logical, even if you don’t believe

Twisting what I believe offers you no help. Existing information has to be analyzed in immaterial thoughts to then reach a conc ept of how to use that information in a new design.


dhw: […] You already agree that there must be a mechanism for complexification and minor expansion without your God's intervention.

DAVID: Yes, in our current brain He gave us to use.

dhw: That’s fine with me. So once more: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

But my God didn't do that. Our present brain is a marvelous gift from Him way beyond previous evolutionary iterations. Ask Adler!

And remember, any consideration of Darwin's survival theories raises the issue of why are we here at all? The other forms, apes, etc. did just fine until we began to hurt them, recently.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Thursday, April 16, 2020, 12:27 (41 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We both used the spear example. Why do you think your God expanded the brain by 200 cc if whatever example you choose did not require it?

DAVID: You have taken a very narrow view of human evolution, as we discuss a spear.

It’s simply a concrete example, which you also used. You go on to give details of what was expanded and by how much. Then you ask:

DAVID: […] What expanded habilis' brain over the million of years from Lucy and intervening species? […]

You don’t disprove my answer by repeating the question!

DAVID: And then you also have a problem of tying artifacts to 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."

All agreed, but we can’t know whether the FIRST of those artefacts was produced AFTER the brain had already expanded (your theory) or as a result of the smaller brain having expanded through the EFFORT to implement new concepts (my theory). All subsequent artefacts would have been developed by the new-sized brain until the next big idea came along and the process repeated itself. This theory is based on the fact that the modern brain RESPONDS to new activities and does not complexify or expand certain areas BEFORE the new activity.

DAVID: We are debating at your level of looking for a natural way to expand hominin brains. Why is the expansion only in the frontal lobe cortical area? Looks like God's purposeful activity to me.

Because presumably that is the area which needs to expand when the existing area is unable to develop and implement the new concepts.

DAVID: You may have convinced yourself that thinking of abstract concepts cause brain enlargement, but nothing I've written above or copied comports with that.[dhw: None of it attempts to explain brain expansion!] Our present brain enlarges from learning something, and the special Einstein evidence is neutral, and can be easily argued, he was born that way […]

Not “thinking of abstract concepts”. Why do you constantly change my terminology? I propose that it is the EFFORT to develop and implement new abstract concepts that causes the expansion, just as it is the EFFORT to read, memorize, play an instrument that causes complexification and mini-enlargement in the modern brain. As you say, the Einstein evidence – as with the first artefacts – is neutral, so you can’t call on it to discount my theory.

dhw: According to you, the dualist, it is NOT the brain that conceptualizes! It is the soul that uses the brain to conceptualize, and the brain’s function is to supply information and to implement the concept.

DAVID: Please learn my real concept, which is not changed. It is the advanced complexity of the larger brains neurons and their organization in special circuits in the prefrontal cortex which gives the soul the ability to create advanced conceptualization.

Fudge. You have agreed that what I bolded above is correct. The soul does the conceiving, and the “advanced complexity” of the brain enables the soul to develop (another word for “advance”) and implement its concepts.

dhw: If you mean the soul can only conceptualize within the parameters of the information supplied by the brain, then you have your own example of the spear: existing information = bison – meat – close-up killing dangerous – better find way of killing from a distance. THAT is the initial concept within the existing parameters of information. And the rest follows as above (EFFORT - EXPANSION). Now tell me why that is not logical, even if you don’t believe it.

DAVID: Twisting what I believe offers you no help. Existing information has to be analyzed in immaterial thoughts to then reach a conc ept of how to use that information in a new design.

More fudge. Of course once you have the initial concept drawn from existing information you have to continue the process by working out in “immaterial thoughts” how to develop the concept as a new design. And that is what requires the EFFORT which I propose causes expansion. I have offered you a logical step-by-step progression and have asked you why it is not logical. Please answer.

dhw: […] You already agree that there must be a mechanism for complexification and minor expansion without your God's intervention.

DAVID: Yes, in our current brain He gave us to use.

dhw: That’s fine with me. So once more: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: But my God didn't do that. Our present brain is a marvelous gift from Him way beyond previous evolutionary iterations. Ask Adler!

Yes, our brain is way beyond previous brains. Now please answer the bolded question above. It is not an answer just to pretend that you and Adler know “God didn’t do that”!

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 16, 2020, 21:19 (40 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: […] What expanded habilis' brain over the million of years from Lucy and intervening species? […]

dhw: you don’t disprove my answer by repeating the question!

What expanded was the conceptual areas, not the muscular control and autonomic areas: cortex in frontal and prefrontal regions, with some cerebellar changes with development of speech. But the stone age lasted until 10,000 years ago. God's purpose is obvious. He gave it so we could learn to use it.


DAVID: And then you also have a problem of tying artifacts to 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."

dhw: All agreed, but we can’t know whether the FIRST of those artefacts was produced AFTER the brain had already expanded (your theory) or as a result of the smaller brain having expanded through the EFFORT to implement new concepts (my theory).

Exactly counter to the impression given by the quote. You have never explained how your nebulous EFFORT works to greatly expand the mostly unused conceptual area of the new-sized brain

DAVID: We are debating at your level of looking for a natural way to expand hominin brains. Why is the expansion only in the frontal lobe cortical area? Looks like God's purposeful activity to me.

dhw: Because presumably that is the area which needs to expand when the existing area is unable to develop and implement the new concepts.

Not presumably. That area must be present in order develop any new complex immaterial design.


DAVID: You may have convinced yourself that thinking of abstract concepts cause brain enlargement, but nothing I've written above or copied comports with that.[dhw: None of it attempts to explain brain expansion!]

But you have an explanation. It expands by the effort of trying to think!

DAVID: Please learn my real concept, which is not changed. It is the advanced complexity of the larger brains neurons and their organization in special circuits in the prefrontal cortex which gives the soul the ability to create advanced conceptualization.

dhw: Fudge. You have agreed that what I bolded above is correct. The soul does the conceiving, and the “advanced complexity” of the brain enables the soul to develop (another word for “advance”) and implement its concepts.

No fudge. Not my soul/brain concept which you misinterpret: the soul must use the brain to think and develop new concepts. One does not work without the other.


dhw: […] You already agree that there must be a mechanism for complexification and minor expansion without your God's intervention.

DAVID: Yes, in our current brain He gave us to use.

dhw: That’s fine with me. So once more: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: But my God didn't do that. Our present brain is a marvelous gift from Him way beyond previous evolutionary iterations. Ask Adler!

dhw: Yes, our brain is way beyond previous brains. Now please answer the bolded question above. It is not an answer just to pretend that you and Adler know “God didn’t do that”!

The old brains are totally different, given what has been found: bigger brains in bigger thinking areas with better artifacts found with them. Tiny advances until recently. Twist the timing all you want but your twist doesn't fit the facts. Habilis made stone tools. Sapiens used stone tools until 10,000 years ago. We were given advanced brains we had to learn how to use at each stage. In the past 10,000 years we have finally learned to use it fully. God did it and your naturalistic theory makes no sense to me as we argue it.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Friday, April 17, 2020, 11:20 (40 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What expanded was the conceptual areas, not the muscular control and autonomic areas: cortex in frontal and prefrontal regions, with some cerebellar changes with development of speech.

That fits in perfectly with my proposal that the brain expanded through the effort of developing the initial concepts. I presume the same regions now complexify through the effort of learning, memorizing and – quite possibly – theorizing (Einstein). Till now we’ve only talked of the brain in general. If the muscular control areas did not expand, that’s OK with me – in that case the smaller brain did not need to expand in order to master the physical demands of the new artefact.

DAVID: But the stone age lasted until 10,000 years ago. God's purpose is obvious. He gave it so we could learn to use it.

See my final summary.

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."

dhw: All agreed, but we can’t know whether the FIRST of those artefacts was produced AFTER the brain had already expanded (your theory) or as a result of the smaller brain having expanded through the EFFORT to implement new concepts (my theory).

DAVID: Exactly counter to the impression given by the quote. You have never explained how your nebulous EFFORT works to greatly expand the mostly unused conceptual area of the new-sized brain.

Counter? The quote says nothing about the cause of expansion! Of course the size and the artefacts run parallel. See my summary at the end. I don’t understand your second remark. The fact that the conceptual areas expanded fits in with my theory that it is the development of the concept that caused the expansion.

DAVID: You may have convinced yourself that thinking of abstract concepts cause brain enlargement, but nothing I've written above or copied comports with that.[dhw: None of it attempts to explain brain expansion!]

DAVID: But you have an explanation. It expands by the effort of trying to think!

Yes, and the subject is not covered by any of the articles you quoted.

DAVID: Please learn my real concept, which is not changed. It is the advanced complexity of the larger brains neurons and their organization in special circuits in the prefrontal cortex which gives the soul the ability to create advanced conceptualization.

dhw: Fudge. The dualist soul does the conceiving, and the “advanced complexity” of the brain enables the soul to develop (another word for “advance”) and implement its concepts.

DAVID: No fudge. Not my soul/brain concept which you misinterpret: the soul must use the brain to think and develop new concepts. One does not work without the other.

I did not say they did not work without each other! Why do you keep ignoring what we both agreed on – namely, the WAY the dualist’s soul uses the brain: by processing the information provided by the brain, and by getting the brain to implement its concepts. Spear example - initial (dualist) concept: small-brained homo’s soul uses EXISTING information = weapon needed to kill from distance; EFFORT to implement new concept requires expansion of frontal cortex or whatever.

dhw: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: The old brains are totally different, given what has been found: bigger brains in bigger thinking areas with better artifacts found with them.

“Bigger, bigger, better” do not mean totally different.

DAVID: Tiny advances until recently. Twist the timing all you want but your twist doesn't fit the facts. Habilis made stone tools. Sapiens used stone tools until 10,000 years ago. We were given advanced brains we had to learn how to use at each stage. In the past 10,000 years we have finally learned to use it fully. God did it and your naturalistic theory makes no sense to me as we argue it.

I have not twisted the timing, and I have explained the facts! Each phase is accompanied by some kind of improvement (let’s say better artefacts). Theory: the first artefacts were the result of the smaller brained homo implementing his new concept by brain expansion. Long period of stasis or maybe minor advances until next big idea leading to next expansion. Repeat process till H. sapiens. Bigger and far better brain…long period of stasis…big new ideas, but no room for major expansion, so complexification and minor expansion take over. So efficiently that bigger brain shrinks. I keep repeating this logical, step by step process, and you simply ignore the logical progression and keep repeating your “God did it” mantra. So I’d better forestall the next objection: my theory does not in any way exclude God. If God exists, my theory is that he created the mechanisms to allow for this “naturalistic” process.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, April 17, 2020, 20:52 (39 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Exactly counter to the impression given by the quote. You have never explained how your nebulous EFFORT works to greatly expand the mostly unused conceptual area of the new-sized brain.

dhw: counter? The quote says nothing about the cause of expansion! Of course the size and the artefacts run parallel. See my summary at the end. I don’t understand your second remark. The fact that the conceptual areas expanded fits in with my theory that it is the development of the concept that caused the expansion.

That is on your harebrained theory based on our very different brain and how its plasticity works. I'll repeat: any advanced complex design development requires that the soul uses a brain of enough exact complexity, which then can allow/develop the proper thoughts to contemplate advanced design. Your idea says thinking shoves a brain to enlarge, and I view it as totally wrong and backwards from the facts we have to interpret, i.e. bigger brains are found with better artifacts.


DAVID: You may have convinced yourself that thinking of abstract concepts cause brain enlargement, but nothing I've written above or copied comports with that.[dhw: None of it attempts to explain brain expansion!]

DAVID: But you have an explanation. It expands by the effort of trying to think!

dhw: Yes, and the subject is not covered by any of the articles you quoted.

Of course not! Only you think of the cause of expansion that way, so it is not an issue for anyone else. Do you have any voiced/written support?


DAVID: Please learn my real concept, which is not changed. It is the advanced complexity of the larger brains neurons and their organization in special circuits in the prefrontal cortex which gives the soul the ability to create advanced conceptualization.

dhw: Fudge. The dualist soul does the conceiving, and the “advanced complexity” of the brain enables the soul to develop (another word for “advance”) and implement its concepts.

DAVID: No fudge. Not my soul/brain concept which you misinterpret: the soul must use the brain to think and develop new concepts. One does not work without the other.

dhw: I did not say they did not work without each other! Why do you keep ignoring what we both agreed on – namely, the WAY the dualist’s soul uses the brain: by processing the information provided by the brain, and by getting the brain to implement its concepts.

No full agreement with your summary of my approach; as usual part of my concept is missing. Advanced complexity of brain is required for any advance in thinking ability for the soul which must use the brain it is given to create advanced concepts/designs.

dhw: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: The old brains are totally different, given what has been found: bigger brains in bigger thinking areas with better artifacts found with them.

dhw: “Bigger, bigger, better” do not mean totally different.

Somewhat similar, based on evolution from them.


DAVID: Tiny advances until recently. Twist the timing all you want but your twist doesn't fit the facts. Habilis made stone tools. Sapiens used stone tools until 10,000 years ago. We were given advanced brains we had to learn how to use at each stage. In the past 10,000 years we have finally learned to use it fully. God did it and your naturalistic theory makes no sense to me as we argue it.

dhw: I have not twisted the timing, and I have explained the facts! Each phase is accompanied by some kind of improvement (let’s say better artefacts). Theory: the first artefacts were the result of the smaller brained homo implementing his new concept by brain expansion. Long period of stasis or maybe minor advances until next big idea leading to next expansion. Repeat process till H. sapiens. Bigger and far better brain…long period of stasis…big new ideas, but no room for major expansion, so complexification and minor expansion take over. So efficiently that bigger brain shrinks. I keep repeating this logical, step by step process, and you simply ignore the logical progression and keep repeating your “God did it” mantra. So I’d better forestall the next objection: my theory does not in any way exclude God. If God exists, my theory is that he created the mechanisms to allow for this “naturalistic” process.

Your usual sop to bring in your God-lite image of him. Of course I repeat my mantra, God did it. Surprise, I believe in God. Does anyone support your theory?

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Saturday, April 18, 2020, 13:50 (39 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] The fact that the conceptual areas expanded fits in with my theory that it is the development of the concept that caused the expansion.

DAVID: That is on your harebrained theory based on our very different brain and how its plasticity works. I'll repeat: any advanced complex design development requires that the soul uses a brain of enough exact complexity, which then can allow/develop the proper thoughts to contemplate advanced design. Your idea says thinking shoves a brain to enlarge, and I view it as totally wrong and backwards from the facts we have to interpret, i.e. bigger brains are found with better artifacts.

More fudge. I will have to stick with your dualism for simplicity’s sake. The only concrete examples we have of the way brain plasticity works are those observed in the modern brain, which complexifies and/or enlarges in certain sections IN RESPONSE to the new tasks which the soul asks it to perform. And yes, bigger brains are found with bigger artefacts but, for the umpteenth time, we are asking why the brain got bigger in the first place, and that is why I suggest that the FIRST artefacts of each phase were produced through the EFFORT of the smaller-brained homo to implement his new concept – using the plasticity of the brain as explained above. New concepts would follow till the next big idea demanded expansion.

DAVID: Only you think of the cause of expansion that way, so it is not an issue for anyone else. Do you have any voiced/written support?

Of course expansion is an issue, but you keep choosing articles that don’t deal with it. Nobody knows the cause, but I’ve told you that common theories include the use of fire and cooked food, and bipedalism. I have no idea if my theory is original, but I’m still waiting for you provide a convincing argument against it. Meanwhile, have you found any articles supporting your theory that God directly expanded each phase of pre-sapiens and finally sapiens BEFORE the first new artefact could be conceived?

dhw: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: The old brains are totally different, given what has been found: bigger brains in bigger thinking areas with better artifacts found with them.

dhw: “Bigger, bigger, better” do not mean totally different.

DAVID: Somewhat similar, based on evolution from them.

So not “totally different”. Now please answer the bolded question.

dhw: I’d better forestall the next objection: my theory does not in any way exclude God. If God exists, my theory is that he created the mechanisms to allow for this “naturalistic” process.

DAVID: Your usual sop to bring in your God-lite image of him. Of course I repeat my mantra, God did it. Surprise, I believe in God.

Why a “sop”? Why do you always insist that the only possible God is one who dabbles absolutely every step in evolution apart from the odd one which he preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago? It is perfectly possible for other people to believe in God and not to share your views on his nature, purpose and method.

Under “Human cave art”:
DAVID: H. sapiens traveled all over the world, getting to the Western Hemisphere very late. Note my bold. Sapiens arrived 315,000 years ago according to current knowledge. Look how long it took to learn how to use their new-sized brain. Dhw's theory of forced enlargement can be easily interpreted as meaning the new brain did not need a learning period like this.

You keep bringing this up. What is your point? I keep repeating that ALL phases of brain expansion have been followed by long periods of stasis. So what? Advancements come with new ideas, so 260,000 or so years passed before there were any major new ideas. Then along came the new ideas, and brains complexified, mini-expanded and eventually shrank instead of expanding. We’ve been through all this! What “learning” are you talking about? Do you think your God spent 260,000 years giving sapiens courses in brain use? Or generation after generation practised conceiving non-concepts until at last they learned how to conceive a concept? Please explain why you think your omniscient God expanded the brain to sapiens size 260,000 years before you think it was needed.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 18, 2020, 21:51 (38 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I will have to stick with your dualism for simplicity’s sake. The only concrete examples we have of the way brain plasticity works are those observed in the modern brain, which complexifies and/or enlarges in certain sections IN RESPONSE to the new tasks which the soul asks it to perform. And yes, bigger brains are found with bigger artefacts but, for the umpteenth time, we are asking why the brain got bigger in the first place, and that is why I suggest that the FIRST artefacts of each phase were produced through the EFFORT of the smaller-brained homo to implement his new concept – using the plasticity of the brain as explained above. New concepts would follow till the next big idea demanded expansion.

Exactly backward. All this boils down to is frantic attempts thinking forces a brain to expand by huge amounts and then spending lots of years figuring out how to use the expansion the thinking created. Logic tells us this method logically should not have gaps in time, but the gaps are there. It is much simpler to realize complex ideation by the brain/soul complex can only be achieved as far as the exiting brain allows the soul to work with.


DAVID: Only you think of the cause of expansion that way, so it is not an issue for anyone else. Do you have any voiced/written support?

dhw: Of course expansion is an issue, but you keep choosing articles that don’t deal with it. Nobody knows the cause, but I’ve told you that common theories include the use of fire and cooked food, and bipedalism.

Entirely backwards: fire, cooked food, sharply shaped stone tools are all equated with the size of the brain found when the event happened. Bipedalism and brain size developed concurrently, either created by God or what is your proposal. One did not directly cause the other.

dhw: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: The old brains are totally different, given what has been found: bigger brains in bigger thinking areas with better artifacts found with them.

dhw: “Bigger, bigger, better” do not mean totally different.

DAVID: Somewhat similar, based on evolution from them.

dhw: So not “totally different”. Now please answer the bolded question.

dhw: I’d better forestall the next objection: my theory does not in any way exclude God. If God exists, my theory is that he created the mechanisms to allow for this “naturalistic” process.

DAVID: Your usual sop to bring in your God-lite image of him. Of course I repeat my mantra, God did it. Surprise, I believe in God.

dhw: Why a “sop”? Why do you always insist that the only possible God is one who dabbles absolutely every step in evolution apart from the odd one which he preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago? It is perfectly possible for other people to believe in God and not to share your views on his nature, purpose and method.

As you think you can imagine any sort of God. It is well accepted God is only inferentially known to us.


Under “Human cave art”:
DAVID: H. sapiens traveled all over the world, getting to the Western Hemisphere very late. Note my bold. Sapiens arrived 315,000 years ago according to current knowledge. Look how long it took to learn how to use their new-sized brain. Dhw's theory of forced enlargement can be easily interpreted as meaning the new brain did not need a learning period like this.

dhw: You keep bringing this up. What is your point? I keep repeating that ALL phases of brain expansion have been followed by long periods of stasis. So what? Advancements come with new ideas, so 260,000 or so years passed before there were any major new ideas. Then along came the new ideas, and brains complexified, mini-expanded and eventually shrank instead of expanding. We’ve been through all this! What “learning” are you talking about? Do you think your God spent 260,000 years giving sapiens courses in brain use? Or generation after generation practised conceiving non-concepts until at last they learned how to conceive a concept? Please explain why you think your omniscient God expanded the brain to sapiens size 260,000 years before you think it was needed.

Long stasis of advanced intellectual ability interrupts your thought that thinking drives major brain enlargement. You haven't explained the time gap in conceptual development. Why does new thinking drive brain enlargement with complexity and then everything quits for a long time.

Your usual confusion. As for God's actions, He arranged for each expansion and then the existing hominin, homo group started to learn to use it over time, just as history tells us, repeating my standard theory.

Brain Expansion: current literature is puzzled

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 19, 2020, 01:30 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

Not surprising, they stick to natural processes only:

https://www.allaboutscience.org/evolution-of-the-human-brain-faq.htm

However, the human brain presents some unique challenges that must be answered through slightly different methods. There are aspects of the brain of homo sapiens that do not fit Darwin's usual pattern. The time scale allowed for significant change is shorter. The mental capabilities of humans are far above other organisms. The unique nature of man puts our brain in a class by itself.

***

Scientists have experienced problems when applying the normal methods of evolution to the human brain. Paleontologists and neurologists have noted that there is little to no notable difference between the brains of modern humans and so-called Neanderthals, other than a slight change in size. Given the supposedly significant differences in intelligence, social structure, and physical features, this seems strange. Those studying this field admit as much. The coordination required between the brain and the body is another. The development of the human brain is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries for evolution.

The response used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain involves a "fast evolution" scheme. Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute concluded that the human brain evolved very rapidly. Their research led them to believe that there was considerable "selection pressure" to evolve the brain into a larger, stronger unit. As human society became more sophisticated, the advantage of a larger brain became more pronounced. This caused the evolutionary process to accelerate, resulting in a quick progression to modern man.

There are some unanswered aspects to these theories, however. As with most other evolutionary studies, there are plenty of reasons given for why a larger, stronger brain is useful, yet no actual biological or physical explanation for how it occurred. It is important to realize that modern science has never observed a beneficial, inheritable mutation that causes a permanent change in a species. Variations from a norm have survived a few generations, but then have swung back to the original form. (my bold)

The response used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain involves a "fast evolution" scheme. Researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute concluded that the human brain evolved very rapidly. Their research led them to believe that there was considerable "selection pressure" to evolve the brain into a larger, stronger unit. As human society became more sophisticated, the advantage of a larger brain became more pronounced. This caused the evolutionary process to accelerate, resulting in a quick progression to modern man.

The idea that the usefulness of the brain caused evolution to accelerate also seems improbable. If the advantage was very strong, it would seem more likely to see a very clear, steady, uninterrupted evolution. Just because a feature is useful should not make a mutation more likely. To assume that mutation occurred more frequently because the larger brain was "needed" implies intent and intelligence behind the process. (my bold)

Finally, aligning the development of the brain with the development of the body poses a massive problem for evolutionary scientists. Simply looking at a possible evolutionary event brings the dilemma to light. Imagine a mutation, or series of mutations, that improve the eyesight of an organism. For the brain to be able to process this information, it either must evolve after the eye, before the eye, or at the same time. (my bold)

Evolving the brain after the eye means that the eye's function is not immediately usable, and so cannot be an advantage. Also, the likelihood of a random brain mutation granting use of the new ability is low once, let alone for millions of mutations over billions of years. Evolving before the eye is similar, in that the brain would have wasted time, growth, and resources on something not useable. This would be a disadvantage, which natural selection indicates is a sign of impending extinction.

Evolving the brain at the same time as the eye is the only explanation that allows the function to be an actual advantage. However, simultaneous mutations in the eye and brain that work together to provide an advantage cannot be expected to occur repeatedly in every species on earth. There is no doubt that this would be a useful event, but that is not an explanation for how it could happen.(my bold)

Even the terminology used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain sounds anything but random: The homo sapiens brain evolution was a "special event." Rapid evolution was "needed." The brain evolved "in preparation" for our complex social structure. Even those dedicated to a random, naturalistic explanation for life cannot avoid using terminology that implies purpose, intent, and intelligence. (my bold)

Comment: this is from a religious website I stumbled into. This article have all the reasons I developed from my studies. Natural science cannot explain why we are here from an evolutionary standpoint, considering the need for survival, as apes and monkeys have done just fine for millions of years. It is so much easier to logically reason from the recognition of the complexity of the design of life, an intelligent designer is required.

Brain Expansion: current literature is puzzled

by dhw, Sunday, April 19, 2020, 17:58 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: Imagine a mutation, or series of mutations, that improve the eyesight of an organism. For the brain to be able to process this information, it either must evolve after the eye, before the eye, or at the same time. (DAVID’s bold)

QUOTE: Evolving the brain at the same time as the eye is the only explanation that allows the function to be an actual advantage. .(DAVID’s bold)
Even the terminology used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain sounds anything but random: The homo sapiens brain evolution was a "special event." Rapid evolution was "needed." The brain evolved "in preparation" for our complex social structure. bbbEven those dedicated to a random, naturalistic explanation for life cannot avoid using terminology that implies purpose, intent, and intelligence. (DAVID’s bold)

I’ve cherry-picked your bolds to try and create a coherent argument. Simultaneity is crucial to my own theory (expansion accompanies and is caused by the effort to implement the concept), I do not subscribe to randomness, I agree that the human brain is “special” but would suggest that there is a natural progression from one expansion to another until the brain reaches sapiens size, and finally I also agree that there is “purpose, intent and intelligence” behind its evolution. None of this in any way counters the observation that brain cell communities RESPOND to new demands, and that ALL the expansions may have originated when the existing smaller brain could not develop a new concept without adding to its own capabilities (hence expansion). The – perhaps God-given - intelligence etc. may be that of the cells/cell communities responding to new demands, just as they do in a changed environment to which they must adapt or die.

DAVID: this is from a religious website I stumbled into. This article have all the reasons I developed from my studies. Natural science cannot explain why we are here from an evolutionary standpoint, considering the need for survival, as apes and monkeys have done just fine for millions of years. It is so much easier to logically reason from the recognition of the complexity of the design of life, an intelligent designer is required.

We have dealt with this non-argument many times before. The human branch may well have developed from a localized group or groups of our ancestors confronted with different conditions from those of our other ancestors. The latter may have had no problem surviving, whereas the former may have needed to change their way of life because of local conditions. From an evolutionary standpoint, no multicellular organisms were needed for survival, since unicellular organisms have “done just fine for billions of years”. The complexity of the design of life is indeed a logical reason for belief in a designer, but he doesn’t have to think in the way you make him think.

Brain Expansion: current literature is puzzled

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 19, 2020, 20:33 (37 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: Imagine a mutation, or series of mutations, that improve the eyesight of an organism. For the brain to be able to process this information, it either must evolve after the eye, before the eye, or at the same time. (DAVID’s bold)

QUOTE: Evolving the brain at the same time as the eye is the only explanation that allows the function to be an actual advantage. .(DAVID’s bold)
Even the terminology used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain sounds anything but random: The homo sapiens brain evolution was a "special event." Rapid evolution was "needed." The brain evolved "in preparation" for our complex social structure. bbbEven those dedicated to a random, naturalistic explanation for life cannot avoid using terminology that implies purpose, intent, and intelligence. (DAVID’s bold)

dhw: I’ve cherry-picked your bolds to try and create a coherent argument. Simultaneity is crucial to my own theory (expansion accompanies and is caused by the effort to implement the concept), I do not subscribe to randomness, I agree that the human brain is “special” but would suggest that there is a natural progression from one expansion to another until the brain reaches sapiens size, and finally I also agree that there is “purpose, intent and intelligence” behind its evolution. None of this in any way counters the observation that brain cell communities RESPOND to new demands, and that ALL the expansions may have originated when the existing smaller brain could not develop a new concept without adding to its own capabilities (hence expansion). The – perhaps God-given - intelligence etc. may be that of the cells/cell communities responding to new demands, just as they do in a changed environment to which they must adapt or die.

The bold indicates your usual reversion to Darwin. We have no proof that challenges of nature or species competition drive evolution. The article is a complete opposite of that view.


DAVID: this is from a religious website I stumbled into. This article have all the reasons I developed from my studies. Natural science cannot explain why we are here from an evolutionary standpoint, considering the need for survival, as apes and monkeys have done just fine for millions of years. It is so much easier to logically reason from the recognition of the complexity of the design of life, an intelligent designer is required.

dhw: We have dealt with this non-argument many times before. The human branch may well have developed from a localized group or groups of our ancestors confronted with different conditions from those of our other ancestors. The latter may have had no problem surviving, whereas the former may have needed to change their way of life because of local conditions. From an evolutionary standpoint, no multicellular organisms were needed for survival, since unicellular organisms have “done just fine for billions of years”. The complexity of the design of life is indeed a logical reason for belief in a designer, but he doesn’t have to think in the way you make him think.

My God is described from the way I view Him.

Brain Expansion: current literature is puzzled

by dhw, Monday, April 20, 2020, 15:04 (37 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: Imagine a mutation, or series of mutations, that improve the eyesight of an organism. For the brain to be able to process this information, it either must evolve after the eye, before the eye, or at the same time. (DAVID’s bold)

QUOTE: Evolving the brain at the same time as the eye is the only explanation that allows the function to be an actual advantage. .(DAVID’s bold)
Even the terminology used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain sounds anything but random: The homo sapiens brain evolution was a "special event." Rapid evolution was "needed." The brain evolved "in preparation" for our complex social structure. Even those dedicated to a random, naturalistic explanation for life cannot avoid using terminology that implies purpose, intent, and intelligence. (DAVID’s bold)

dhw: I’ve cherry-picked your bolds to try and create a coherent argument. Simultaneity is crucial to my own theory (expansion accompanies and is caused by the effort to implement the concept), I do not subscribe to randomness, I agree that the human brain is “special” but would suggest that there is a natural progression from one expansion to another until the brain reaches sapiens size, and finally I also agree that there is “purpose, intent and intelligence” behind its evolution. None of this in any way counters the observation that brain cell communities RESPOND to new demands, and that ALL the expansions may have originated when the existing smaller brain could not develop a new concept without adding to its own capabilities (hence expansion). The – perhaps God-given - intelligence etc. may be that of the cells/cell communities responding to new demands, just as they do in a changed environment to which they must adapt or die.

DAVID: The bold indicates your usual reversion to Darwin. We have no proof that challenges of nature or species competition drive evolution. The article is a complete opposite of that view.

The article doesn’t even touch on the subject. I used the reference to “purpose, intent, and intelligence” to point out that this could just as easily refer to cellular intelligence as to God dabbling or preprogramming brain expansion. If you do not believe there is a link between environmental change and evolutionary adaptation and innovation, so be it – I would have thought it was plain common sense. My suggestion here was that the cell communities that make up the brain follow the same procedure: they respond to new demands by changing themselves (in former times, by expansion; today mainly by complexification).

Brain Expansion: current literature is puzzled

by David Turell @, Monday, April 20, 2020, 16:11 (37 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: Imagine a mutation, or series of mutations, that improve the eyesight of an organism. For the brain to be able to process this information, it either must evolve after the eye, before the eye, or at the same time. (DAVID’s bold)

QUOTE: Evolving the brain at the same time as the eye is the only explanation that allows the function to be an actual advantage. .(DAVID’s bold)
Even the terminology used by scientists to explain the evolution of the human brain sounds anything but random: The homo sapiens brain evolution was a "special event." Rapid evolution was "needed." The brain evolved "in preparation" for our complex social structure. Even those dedicated to a random, naturalistic explanation for life cannot avoid using terminology that implies purpose, intent, and intelligence. (DAVID’s bold)

dhw: I’ve cherry-picked your bolds to try and create a coherent argument. Simultaneity is crucial to my own theory (expansion accompanies and is caused by the effort to implement the concept), I do not subscribe to randomness, I agree that the human brain is “special” but would suggest that there is a natural progression from one expansion to another until the brain reaches sapiens size, and finally I also agree that there is “purpose, intent and intelligence” behind its evolution. None of this in any way counters the observation that brain cell communities RESPOND to new demands, and that ALL the expansions may have originated when the existing smaller brain could not develop a new concept without adding to its own capabilities (hence expansion). The – perhaps God-given - intelligence etc. may be that of the cells/cell communities responding to new demands, just as they do in a changed environment to which they must adapt or die.

DAVID: The bold indicates your usual reversion to Darwin. We have no proof that challenges of nature or species competition drive evolution. The article is a complete opposite of that view.

dhw: The article doesn’t even touch on the subject. I used the reference to “purpose, intent, and intelligence” to point out that this could just as easily refer to cellular intelligence as to God dabbling or preprogramming brain expansion. If you do not believe there is a link between environmental change and evolutionary adaptation and innovation, so be it – I would have thought it was plain common sense.

Since when is common sense scientific proof? Common sense tells us the sun revolves about the Earth.

dhw: My suggestion here was that the cell communities that make up the brain follow the same procedure: they respond to new demands by changing themselves (in former times, by expansion; today mainly by complexification).

Answered elsewhere, contra your theory noting our brain shrunk a substantial amount, a result of increasingly serious thought

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, April 19, 2020, 17:53 (38 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I will have to stick with your dualism for simplicity’s sake. The only concrete examples we have of the way brain plasticity works are those observed in the modern brain, which complexifies and/or enlarges in certain sections IN RESPONSE to the new tasks which the soul asks it to perform. And yes, bigger brains are found with bigger artefacts but, for the umpteenth time, we are asking why the brain got bigger in the first place, and that is why I suggest that the FIRST artefacts of each phase were produced through the EFFORT of the smaller-brained homo to implement his new concept – using the plasticity of the brain as explained above. New concepts would follow till the next big idea demanded expansion.

DAVID: Exactly backward.

What is backward? Do you deny that modern brains change in response to new tasks and not before them? Why is it backward to suggest that the first artefacts might have followed the same process: the smaller brain RESPONDED to its new tasks by changing itself – but in this case by major expansion and not by complexification and minor expansion?

DAVID: All this boils down to is frantic attempts thinking forces a brain to expand by huge amounts and then spending lots of years figuring out how to use the expansion the thinking created. Logic tells us this method logically should not have gaps in time, but the gaps are there.

What on earth is this “figuring out”, and learning how to use it etc.? How do you learn to do something? Did God give courses for 260,000 years before anyone could pass the exam? Did he issue an instruction manual 3.8 billion years ago, but no homo thought of switching it on for 260,000 years? You can of course learn to use something by using it and learning from your mistakes, but according to you nobody used it anyway. So what’s your theory? And once again, why do you think your omniscient God expanded it before anyone used it? Ditto every other expansion which was followed by a similar period of stasis. It’s YOUR theory which logically should leave no gaps between any of the expansions. In fact logically your God, who can do whatever he wants whenever he wants, shouldn’t have had to bother with any of these inbetween stages since his one and only purpose was to directly design H. sapiens!

DAVID: Long stasis of advanced intellectual ability interrupts your thought that thinking drives major brain enlargement.

Of course it doesn’t. If there are no new concepts demanding new uses of the brain, then there will be no enlargement! Now please explain (a) how you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain, and why your omniscient God, who must have known it wouldn’t be “used” for 260,000 years, expanded it when he did.

dhw: Of course expansion is an issue, but you keep choosing articles that don’t deal with it. Nobody knows the cause, but I’ve told you that common theories include the use of fire and cooked food, and bipedalism.

DAVID: Entirely backwards: fire, cooked food, sharply shaped stone tools are all equated with the size of the brain found when the event happened. Bipedalism and brain size developed concurrently, either created by God or what is your proposal. One did not directly cause the other.

I keep saying that nobody knows the cause, but unlike you I have quoted articles that try to tackle the issue. Both fire and bipedalism can fit into my theory, as they could lead to new concepts and progressively provide new information and new tasks ultimately leading to expansions. You still don’t seem to have grasped the idea that new concepts can arise out of existing information (held by the smaller brain), and it is the implementation that drives expansion. “Concurrent” is exactly right, since the process of expansion accompanies the development of the concept and does not precede the concept, which is your theory. NB I am referring only to the FIRST artefacts; after them, the new brain would not have expanded until the next big idea.

dhw: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

You have never answered this question.

dhw: I’d better forestall the next objection: my theory does not in any way exclude God. If God exists, my theory is that he created the mechanisms to allow for this “naturalistic” process.

DAVID: Your usual sop to bring in your God-lite image of him. Of course I repeat my mantra, God did it. Surprise, I believe in God.

dhw: Why a “sop”? Why do you always insist that the only possible God is one who dabbles absolutely every step in evolution apart from the odd one which he preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago? It is perfectly possible for other people to believe in God and not to share your views on his nature, purpose and method.

DAVID: As you think you can imagine any sort of God. It is well accepted God is only inferentially known to us.

And that applies to your version just as much as to mine. So why is my different version a “sop”?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 19, 2020, 22:39 (37 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Exactly backward.

dhw: What is backward? Do you deny that modern brains change in response to new tasks and not before them? Why is it backward to suggest that the first artefacts might have followed the same process: the smaller brain RESPONDED to its new tasks by changing itself – but in this case by major expansion and not by complexification and minor expansion?

What is found is advanced artifacts with advanced brain size, all with the same age timing. The standard assumption is those brains caused those artifacts, nothing prior..

dhw: It’s YOUR theory which logically should leave no gaps between any of the expansions. In fact logically your God, who can do whatever he wants whenever he wants, shouldn’t have had to bother with any of these in-between stages since his one and only purpose was to directly design H. sapiens!

Once again, you invoke your strange view of an all-powerful God who shouldn't be so patient as to evolve us over time, but should act impatiently. That is never my view of my God.


DAVID: Long stasis of advanced intellectual ability interrupts your thought that thinking drives major brain enlargement.

dhw: Of course it doesn’t. If there are no new concepts demanding new uses of the brain, then there will be no enlargement! Now please explain (a) how you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain, and why your omniscient God, who must have known it wouldn’t be “used” for 260,000 years, expanded it when he did.

That is what history shows us. We arrived 315,000 years ago as of current dating, and left the stone age 10,000 years ago. We have really learned how to use all parts of our brain in the past 5,000 years. Most of it lay fallow until then, although with some preliminary use it started to shrink.


DAVID: Entirely backwards: fire, cooked food, sharply shaped stone tools are all equated with the size of the brain found when the event happened. Bipedalism and brain size developed concurrently, either created by God or what is your proposal. One did not directly cause the other.

dhw: I keep saying that nobody knows the cause, but unlike you I have quoted articles that try to tackle the issue. Both fire and bipedalism can fit into my theory, as they could lead to new concepts and progressively provide new information and new tasks ultimately leading to expansions. You still don’t seem to have grasped the idea that new concepts can arise out of existing information (held by the smaller brain), and it is the implementation that drives expansion.

Of course existing brain complexity allows the soul to work with the complexity the brain has to achieve concepts allowed by that brain's complexity. You can't get around what is known. New complexity and new brain size are aged the same on all archaeological sites. I know your theory: thought about current info drives expansion. What doesn't fit is intense continuous thought then suddenly stops to allow the gaps in time? Purely inventive and illogical.


dhw: if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

I've answered. Our very different brain can modify tiny areas as necessary for new uses and in fact has shrunk about 150 cc in the past 35,000 years as we've increased use, just the opposite of your thoughts. Your theory demands heavy thought expands brains, just the opposite of the reality of our brain's functional workings.


dhw: I’d better forestall the next objection: my theory does not in any way exclude God. If God exists, my theory is that he created the mechanisms to allow for this “naturalistic” process.

DAVID: Your usual sop to bring in your God-lite image of him. Of course I repeat my mantra, God did it. Surprise, I believe in God.

dhw: Why a “sop”? Why do you always insist that the only possible God is one who dabbles absolutely every step in evolution apart from the odd one which he preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago? It is perfectly possible for other people to believe in God and not to share your views on his nature, purpose and method.

DAVID: As you think you can imagine any sort of God. It is well accepted God is only inferentially known to us.

dhw: And that applies to your version just as much as to mine. So why is my different version a “sop”?

Because you always run back to allow God to do something, when your basic attempt is to find natural ways to explain evolution without Him.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, April 20, 2020, 15:11 (37 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What is found is advanced artifacts with advanced brain size, all with the same age timing. The standard assumption is those brains caused those artifacts, nothing prior.

That does not tell us why the brain expanded! Once more: the FIRST artefacts could not exist until the brain had expanded. What followed would have been produced after the brain had expanded. How can anyone possibly know that producing the FIRST ones was NOT the action which caused the expansion? (See later)

dhw: […] logically your God, who can do whatever he wants whenever he wants, shouldn’t have had to bother with any of these in-between stages since his one and only purpose was to directly design H. sapiens!

DAVID: Once again, you invoke your strange view of an all-powerful God who shouldn't be so patient as to evolve us over time, but should act impatiently. That is never my view of my God.

Nothing to do with patience! Please explain why a God whose only purpose was to produce H. sapiens and who was able to do whatever he wanted whenever and however he wanted, produced gap after gap before, according to you, directly designing the only brain he wanted to design.

DAVID: Long stasis of advanced intellectual ability interrupts your thought that thinking drives major brain enlargement.

dhw: Of course it doesn’t. If there are no new concepts demanding new uses of the brain, then there will be no enlargement! Now please explain (a) how you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain, and why your omniscient God, who must have known it wouldn’t be “used” for 260,000 years, expanded it when he did.

DAVID: That is what history shows us. We arrived 315,000 years ago as of current dating, and left the stone age 10,000 years ago. We have really learned how to use all parts of our brain in the past 5,000 years. Most of it lay fallow until then, although with some preliminary use it started to shrink.

Yes, that is the history, and you wanted to know why it took 260,000 years (more now) for sapiens to make advanced progress, and I explained why, and asked you two questions which you have not answered.

DAVID (numbers inserted by dhw): 1) Of course existing brain complexity allows the soul to work with the complexity the brain has to achieve concepts allowed by that brain's complexity. You can't get around what is known. 2) New complexity and new brain size are aged the same on all archaeological sites.3) I know your theory: thought about current info drives expansion. What doesn't fit is intense continuous thought then suddenly stops to allow the gaps in time? Purely inventive and illogical.

1) Muddle. The soul uses information provided by the brain in order to form concepts. It then uses the brain to implement those concepts, and if the brain is not large (earlier) or complex (current) enough to implement them, it expands (earlier) or complexifies (current). 2) Dealt with over and over again, including today, now bolded with “see later”. 3) Dealt with umpteen times, including today after the paragraph ending “see later”, except that you now introduce “intense continuous thought”. No, it’s not intense and it’s not continuous. That is why there are gaps! After the “big idea” everybody carries on surviving until the next “big idea”. You seem to think that every homo should have been an Einstein! So now please tell us why you think your God had all these different homos hanging around for thousands of years making no progress, and then had homo sapiens do the same.

dhw: [...] if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: I've answered. Our very different brain can modify tiny areas as necessary for new uses and in fact has shrunk about 150 cc in the past 35,000 years as we've increased use, just the opposite of your thoughts. Your theory demands heavy thought expands brains, just the opposite of the reality of our brain's functional workings.

Firstly, I have suggested that our brains had reached a maximum size for anatomical comfort, and so complexification took over, and shrinkage was the result of its efficiency. Secondly, you have not answered my question! You believe your God gave our brains the ability to perform new tasks by complexifying and mini-expanding without his intervention. So why should he not have done the same with earlier brains – enabling them to expand without his intervention?

DAVID: As you think you can imagine any sort of God. It is well accepted God is only inferentially known to us.

dhw: And that applies to your version just as much as to mine. So why is my different version a “sop”?

DAVID: Because you always run back to allow God to do something, when your basic attempt is to find natural ways to explain evolution without Him.

I am an agnostic, not an atheist. I challenge your explanation of your God’s actions and motives, but I also offer alternatives. There is no reason why you should regard my theistic alternatives as less theistic than yours.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, April 20, 2020, 16:47 (37 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] logically your God, who can do whatever he wants whenever he wants, shouldn’t have had to bother with any of these in-between stages since his one and only purpose was to directly design H. sapiens!

DAVID: Once again, you invoke your strange view of an all-powerful God who shouldn't be so patient as to evolve us over time, but should act impatiently. That is never my view of my God.

dhw: Nothing to do with patience! Please explain why a God whose only purpose was to produce H. sapiens and who was able to do whatever he wanted whenever and however he wanted, produced gap after gap before, according to you, directly designing the only brain he wanted to design.

You've simply restated your weird idea God should not have been patient. Repetition proves nothing.


DAVID: Long stasis of advanced intellectual ability interrupts your thought that thinking drives major brain enlargement.

dhw: Of course it doesn’t. If there are no new concepts demanding new uses of the brain, then there will be no enlargement! Now please explain (a) how you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain, and why your omniscient God, who must have known it wouldn’t be “used” for 260,000 years, expanded it when he did.

DAVID: That is what history shows us. We arrived 315,000 years ago as of current dating, and left the stone age 10,000 years ago. We have really learned how to use all parts of our brain in the past 5,000 years. Most of it lay fallow until then, although with some preliminary use it started to shrink.

dhw: Yes, that is the history, and you wanted to know why it took 260,000 years (more now) for sapiens to make advanced progress, and I explained why, and asked you two questions which you have not answered.

Answer one: each early larger brain had to learn to be used. Answer two: God knew it would take time to develop the learning. Can you deny our brain lay primarily fallow until 50,000 years ago creating a delay of 265,000 years, based on current fossil findings? Simple facts to be analyzed

dhw: So now please tell us why you think your God had all these different homos hanging around for thousands of years making no progress, and then had homo sapiens do the same.

Your same 'patient God' problem. God in charge of evolution evolved everything over the time it took. Why do you struggle with that? We are discussing my theory.


dhw: [...] if your God gave us a brain mechanism that now complexifies and expands in certain areas without his intervention, how can you discount the possibility that the same mechanism would have expanded the earlier brain for the same reason: that brains must change in order to perform new tasks?

DAVID: I've answered. Our very different brain can modify tiny areas as necessary for new uses and in fact has shrunk about 150 cc in the past 35,000 years as we've increased use, just the opposite of your thoughts. Your theory demands heavy thought expands brains, just the opposite of the reality of our brain's functional workings.

dhw: Firstly, I have suggested that our brains had reached a maximum size for anatomical comfort, and so complexification took over, and shrinkage was the result of its efficiency.

Your suggestion is not close to fact. I've read a theoretical article I have not presented that theorized the human brain could ideally reach 3,300 cc! Please try to convert to ounces: 2,000 extra cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can't handle that? Back packs are much heavier.

dhw: Secondly, you have not answered my question! You believe your God gave our brains the ability to perform new tasks by complexifying and mini-expanding without his intervention. So why should he not have done the same with earlier brains – enabling them to expand without his intervention?

Obvious. Our current brain shrunk with extensive use, 150 cc, the size of most past enlargements exactly the opposite of your theory about earlier brains, where more extensive use forces large expansions. Now you will reproduce your contorted excuses about this woolly theory. You've made a silk purse out of a sow's ear.

Brain Expansion: basic knowledge

by David Turell @, Monday, April 20, 2020, 18:49 (37 days ago) @ David Turell

We both agree to this statement taken from a review article on development of the human CNS (our whole central nervous system:

"Information about fossil hominin brain evolution is not limited to the hard-tissue fossil record. Natural endocasts are a form of trace fossil that record, often in unusual detail, the endocranial morphology of an individual. Archeologists also claim that artifacts reveal information about the evolution of the hominin CNS. Tools, art, and other artifacts found in association with hominin remains provide direct evidence of the capacity of a species for specific behaviors, something that fossils cannot reveal. The combination of paleontological and archeological evidence provides more insight into the brain function of fossil hominins than either of these two lines of evidence could generate on their own."

https://www.academia.edu/2942385/The_hominin_fossil_record_and_the_emergence_of_the_mod...

We agree the article makes no attempt to tell us how the larger brain arrived. That is never the point of the article or any article like it. Evolution is assumed as the underlying process.

What the quote says is in the bold: the existing brain created the concepts that made those artifacts. There can be no other interpretation. Nowhere in any article like it is an attempt made to equate any of these artifacts with a previous earlier form of hominins.

Anyone can invent a theory from wishful thinking with some slight degree of reference to a logical thought or a tangential fact. dhw's proposal, plain and simple, is a preceding form with a smaller brain uses current info to finally conclude a new concept. This forces a brain enlargement from hard thought, and that enlargement allows the brain to think of how to build the new artifact. It is a totally discontinuous process, in contract to what we all experience with our brains if we have designed and made anything we thought of. If I can think of it I can create it. If our brain carries any attributes as evolved from previous brains, why shouldn't it work in similar fashion. Yes it is different: much more complex, and doesn't need to expand. With dhw theory previous brains recognized a need to expand. Really? I'm still with God did it.

Brain Expansion: basic knowledge

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 19:39 (36 days ago) @ David Turell

David: We both agree to this statement taken from a review article on development of the human CNS (our whole central nervous system:

"Information about fossil hominin brain evolution is not limited to the hard-tissue fossil record. Natural endocasts are a form of trace fossil that record, often in unusual detail, the endocranial morphology of an individual. Archeologists also claim that artifacts reveal information about the evolution of the hominin CNS. Tools, art, and other artifacts found in association with hominin remains provide direct evidence of the capacity of a species for specific behaviors, something that fossils cannot reveal. The combination of paleontological and archeological evidence provides more insight into the brain function of fossil hominins than either of these two lines of evidence could generate on their own."

https://www.academia.edu/2942385/The_hominin_fossil_record_and_the_emergence_of_the_mod...

We agree the article makes no attempt to tell us how the larger brain arrived. That is never the point of the article or any article like it. Evolution is assumed as the underlying process.

What the quote says is in the bold: the existing brain created the concepts that made those artifacts. There can be no other interpretation. Nowhere in any article like it is an attempt made to equate any of these artifacts with a previous earlier form of hominins.

Anyone can invent a theory from wishful thinking with some slight degree of reference to a logical thought or a tangential fact. dhw's proposal, plain and simple, is a preceding form with a smaller brain uses current info to finally conclude a new concept. This forces a brain enlargement from hard thought, and that enlargement allows the brain to think of how to build the new artifact. It is a totally discontinuous process, in contract to what we all experience with our brains if we have designed and made anything we thought of. If I can think of it I can create it. If our brain carries any attributes as evolved from previous brains, why shouldn't it work in similar fashion. Yes it is different: much more complex, and doesn't need to expand. With dhw theory previous brains recognized a need to expand. Really? I'm still with God did it.

Funny. Six views but no one answered!

Brain Expansion: basic knowledge

by dhw, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 11:31 (35 days ago) @ David Turell

My apologies. I wrote a reply, but there are now so many threads that I overlooked it when copying and pasting! However, most of it is a repetition of answers already given umpteen times and ignored by you.

QUOTE: Tools, art, and other artifacts found in association with hominin remains provide direct evidence of the capacity of a species for specific behaviors, something that fossils cannot reveal.[..]."

DAVID: We agree the article makes no attempt to tell us how the larger brain arrived. That is never the point of the article or any article like it. Evolution is assumed as the underlying process.

So please stop quoting this and other articles as if they contradicted my theory!

DAVID: What the quote says is in the bold: the existing brain created the concepts that made those artifacts. There can be no other interpretation. Nowhere in any article like it is an attempt made to equate any of these artifacts with a previous earlier form of hominins.

And there you go again! Of course the products of the expanded brain provide evidence of what the new hominin/homo could do! But that does not tell us why the brain expanded in the first place! As usual you ignore the point that nobody can know if the FIRST artefacts were the product of an already expanded brain or of a brain that expanded because of their making.

DAVID: Anyone can invent a theory from wishful thinking with some slight degree of reference to a logical thought or a tangential fact. dhw's proposal, plain and simple, is a preceding form with a smaller brain uses current info to finally conclude a new concept.

Why have you inserted the word “finally”? There is nothing “final” about the idea of killing from a distance. Please stop twisting my terminology. I always quote your own words, and you should do the same. It is the implementation of the initial concept that causes the expansion.

DAVID: This forces a brain enlargement from hard thought, and that enlargement allows the brain to think of how to build the new artifact.

Yes, hard thought of different kinds is known to cause complexification/enlargement in the human brain (and this may well extend to theoretical thought, as with Einstein). It doesn’t “allow” the brain to think (you claim to be a dualist, which means the brain doesn’t do the thinking anyway) – it is the result of thinking. Nobody knows how it all works, but if the modern brain changes AS A RESULT OF HARD THINKING, there is no reason to suppose that the ancient brain did not do the same.

DAVID: It is a totally discontinuous process, in contract to what we all experience with our brains if we have designed and made anything we thought of. If I can think of it I can create it. If our brain carries any attributes as evolved from previous brains, why shouldn't it work in similar fashion. Yes it is different: much more complex, and doesn't need to expand. With dhw theory previous brains recognized a need to expand. Really? I'm still with God did it.

The process is continuous, but you are not aware that your brain is complexifying or mini-expanding as you do your hard thinking! In my theory, of course the brain didn’t “recognize a need to expand”. It would have happened as spontaneously as your modern brain complexifies.

Brain Expansion: basic knowledge

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 22:43 (34 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What the quote says is in the bold: the existing brain created the concepts that made those artifacts. There can be no other interpretation. Nowhere in any article like it is an attempt made to equate any of these artifacts with a previous earlier form of hominins.

dhw: And there you go again! Of course the products of the expanded brain provide evidence of what the new hominin/homo could do! But that does not tell us why the brain expanded in the first place! As usual you ignore the point that nobody can know if the FIRST artefacts were the product of an already expanded brain or of a brain that expanded because of their making.

Your invention is pure invention. The articles all assume the fossils with the artifacts made them with their bigger brains, and you agree to that much. There is no attempt to explain expansion, as you well recognize, as you push your unsupported creation that thinking of a new concept expands brains; to wit: profound immaterial thinking forces a small brain to gain a much larger size. From habilis to erectus is from 600 cc to 1,200 cc, in roughly 200 cc advances. If habilis goes from 600 to 800, that is an increase of one-third in size for habilis. That is huge to me to answer one of your many complaints as I criticize your idea.

DAVID: This forces a brain enlargement from hard thought, and that enlargement allows the brain to think of how to build the new artifact.

dhw: Yes, hard thought of different kinds is known to cause complexification/enlargement in the human brain (and this may well extend to theoretical thought, as with Einstein). It doesn’t “allow” the brain to think (you claim to be a dualist, which means the brain doesn’t do the thinking anyway) – it is the result of thinking. Nobody knows how it all works, but if the modern brain changes AS A RESULT OF HARD THINKING, there is no reason to suppose that the ancient brain did not do the same.

You love to forget my soul/ brain complex concept. There are lots of reasons to criticize the idea. Our brain is so advanced, it can not be compared to much earlier brains in Lucy or habilis. it obviously has capacities the earlier brains did not have.


DAVID: It is a totally discontinuous process, in contract to what we all experience with our brains if we have designed and made anything we thought of. If I can think of it I can create it. If our brain carries any attributes as evolved from previous brains, why shouldn't it work in similar fashion. Yes it is different: much more complex, and doesn't need to expand. With dhw theory previous brains recognized a need to expand. Really? I'm still with God did it.

dhw: The process is continuous, but you are not aware that your brain is complexifying or mini-expanding as you do your hard thinking! In my theory, of course the brain didn’t “recognize a need to expand”. It would have happened as spontaneously as your modern brain complexifies.

You can tout spontaneous evolution. No need for God then. That is your whole point. Find a way to keep God out of the picture. Your agnostic picket fence tilts atheistically much of the time Time to run back to God might have done this or that, which always gives up tight design control.

Brain Expansion: basic knowledge

by dhw, Thursday, April 23, 2020, 13:32 (34 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What the quote says is in the bold: the existing brain created the concepts that made those artifacts. There can be no other interpretation. Nowhere in any article like it is an attempt made to equate any of these artifacts with a previous earlier form of hominins.

dhw: And there you go again! Of course the products of the expanded brain provide evidence of what the new hominin/homo could do! But that does not tell us why the brain expanded in the first place! As usual you ignore the point that nobody can know if the FIRST artefacts were the product of an already expanded brain or of a brain that expanded because of their making.

DAVID: Your invention is pure invention. The articles all assume the fossils with the artifacts made them with their bigger brains, and you agree to that much. There is no attempt to explain expansion….

So stop pretending that the articles discredit my theory about the cause of expansion!

DAVID:…as you well recognize, as you push your unsupported creation that thinking of a new concept expands brains; to wit: profound immaterial thinking forces a small brain to gain a much larger size.

You keep changing my terminology to suit your scepticism. It is not “thinking of” a new concept but IMPLEMENTING a new concept (i.e. designing, working out details, learning to rectify mistakes, and making the new concept into a material artefact) that demands brain changes. Just as in the modern brain what you previously called “hard thinking” forces complexification. The change to the brain is a response to thought.

DAVID: From habilis to erectus is from 600 cc to 1,200 cc, in roughly 200 cc advances. If habilis goes from 600 to 800, that is an increase of one-third in size for habilis. That is huge to me to answer one of your many complaints as I criticize your idea.

You say how huge it is, and then you swallow the theory that our brains could easily double in size without any effect on our anatomy, because “2000 cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can’t handle that?” 200 cc is huge, but 2000 cc is nothing.

DAVID: This forces a brain enlargement from hard thought, and that enlargement allows the brain to think of how to build the new artifact.

dhw: Yes, hard thought of different kinds is known to cause complexification/enlargement in the human brain (and this may well extend to theoretical thought, as with Einstein). It doesn’t “allow” the brain to think (you claim to be a dualist, which means the brain doesn’t do the thinking anyway) – it is the result of thinking. Nobody knows how it all works, but if the modern brain changes AS A RESULT OF HARD THINKING, there is no reason to suppose that the ancient brain did not do the same.

DAVID: You love to forget my soul/ brain complex concept. There are lots of reasons to criticize the idea. Our brain is so advanced, it can not be compared to much earlier brains in Lucy or habilis. it obviously has capacities the earlier brains did not have.

I never forget your concept. You are the one who forgets it when you talk of enlargement allowing the brain to think, as bolded above. Nobody in his right mind would deny that our brains have capacities that earlier brains do not have. Each brain is an advance on its predecessor. How does that invalidate the proposal that just as the modern brain RESPONDS to hard thought, the earlier brain might have done the same?

dhw: The process is continuous, but you are not aware that your brain is complexifying or mini-expanding as you do your hard thinking! In my theory, of course the brain didn’t “recognize a need to expand”. It would have happened as spontaneously as your modern brain complexifies.

DAVID: You can tout spontaneous evolution. No need for God then. That is your whole point. Find a way to keep God out of the picture. Your agnostic picket fence tilts atheistically much of the time Time to run back to God might have done this or that, which always gives up tight design control.

The subject of how evolution works tells us nothing about the origin of life and the mechanisms. You are getting really desperate if the only argument you can find is to pretend that my theory excludes God. It doesn’t. What it does do is question your personal belief that your God wishes to control everything (see “Seabirds etc.” to show how you already have to concede that he doesn’t always do so.) And your rigidity in your attempts to read his mind have resulted in a theory of evolution which is so illogical that it forces you to protest that we can’t know God’s reasons and we mustn’t think of him in human terms even though he probably/possibly has thought patterns similar to ours. My agnosticism does not lend credence to your theory, and it does not detract from ANY of the different explanations of evolution which you yourself acknowledge to be perfectly logical.

Brain Expansion: basic knowledge

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 23, 2020, 19:59 (34 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The process is continuous, but you are not aware that your brain is complexifying or mini-expanding as you do your hard thinking! In my theory, of course the brain didn’t “recognize a need to expand”. It would have happened as spontaneously as your modern brain complexifies.

DAVID: You can tout spontaneous evolution. No need for God then. That is your whole point. Find a way to keep God out of the picture. Your agnostic picket fence tilts atheistically much of the time Time to run back to God might have done this or that, which always gives up tight design control.

dhw: The subject of how evolution works tells us nothing about the origin of life and the mechanisms.

Origin of life is part and parcel of evolution. It is a logical continuum. Darwin and you try to skip over it because it damages your thinking about the role of God as the creator. He started life and evolved it. It cannot be explained from a natural viewpoint.

dhw: You are getting really desperate if the only argument you can find is to pretend that my theory excludes God. It doesn’t. What it does do is question your personal belief that your God wishes to control everything (see “Seabirds etc.” to show how you already have to concede that he doesn’t always do so.) And your rigidity in your attempts to read his mind have resulted in a theory of evolution which is so illogical that it forces you to protest that we can’t know God’s reasons and we mustn’t think of him in human terms even though he probably/possibly has thought patterns similar to ours.


The usual distortions of my thoughts taken from bits and pieces of some statements I have made in the past. We cannot know why God chose to evolve all of life and end with us. I accept that He simply did it that way.

dhw: My agnosticism does not lend credence to your theory, and it does not detract from ANY of the different explanations of evolution which you yourself acknowledge to be perfectly logical.

Yes, logical in human terms.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 13:05 (36 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: (under "current literature is puzzled") The – perhaps God-given - intelligence etc. may be that of the [brain] cells/cell communities responding to new demands, just as they do in a changed environment to which they must adapt or die.

DAVID: The bold indicates your usual reversion to Darwin. We have no proof that challenges of nature or species competition drive evolution.

dhw: If you do not believe there is a link between environmental change and evolutionary adaptation and innovation, so be it – I would have thought it was plain common sense.

DAVID: Since when is common sense scientific proof? Common sense tells us the sun revolves about the Earth.

As I said, if you don’t believe there’s a link, so be it.

dhw: My suggestion here was that the cell communities that make up the brain follow the same procedure: they respond to new demands by changing themselves (in former times, by expansion; today mainly by complexification).

DAVID: Answered elsewhere, contra your theory noting our brain shrunk a substantial amount, a result of increasingly serious thought.

dhw: I have suggested that our brains had reached a maximum size for anatomical comfort, and so complexification took over, and you have agreed umpteen times that shrinkage was the result of its efficiency.

DAVID: Your suggestion is not close to fact. I've read a theoretical article I have not presented that theorized the human brain could ideally reach 3,300 cc! Please try to convert to ounces: 2,000 extra cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can't handle that? Back packs are much heavier.

So what is your explanation for the non-expansion? And why do you keep telling us that an expansion of 200 cc is too huge to have happened naturally (theistically = your God creating the mechanism for expansion and not having to intervene)? All of a sudden, even 2000 cc is nothing!

dhw: Please explain why a God whose only purpose was to produce H. sapiens and who was able to do whatever he wanted whenever and however he wanted, produced gap after gap before, according to you, directly designing the only brain he wanted to design.

DAVID: You've simply restated your weird idea God should not have been patient. Repetition proves nothing.

So please stop repeating your “patience” mantra, which proves nothing, and explain to me why your God deliberately produced the gaps.

DAVID: Long stasis of advanced intellectual ability interrupts your thought that thinking drives major brain enlargement.

dhw: Of course it doesn’t. If there are no new concepts demanding new uses of the brain, then there will be no enlargement! Now please explain how you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain, and why your omniscient God, who must have known it wouldn’t be “used” for 260,000 years, expanded it when he did.

DAVID: Answer one: each early larger brain had to learn to be used.

A non-answer. I asked: How do you think sapiens “learned” to use his brain? God giving courses or preparing an instruction manual, or sapiens using his brain and messing things up for 260,000 years? The same applies to all pre-sapiens brains. My proposal is that once the expansion had taken place by developing a “big idea”, there was NO NEED for further expansion until the next “big idea”. None of this nebulous “learning”.

DAVID: Answer two: God knew it would take time to develop the learning. Can you deny our brain lay primarily fallow until 50,000 years ago creating a delay of 265,000 years, based on current fossil findings? […]

Of course I’m not denying it. I asked you why you think your God expanded the sapiens brain 260,000 years before it was used. Your answer is to repeat the meaningless “learning” mantra, which you still haven't explained!

dhw: So now please tell us why you think your God had all these different homos hanging around for thousands of years making no progress, and then had homo sapiens do the same.

DAVID: Your same 'patient God' problem. God in charge of evolution evolved everything over the time it took. Why do you struggle with that? We are discussing my theory.

Indeed we are, and clearly you have no idea why your God decided to specially design all these different homos to hang around for millions of years before he specially designed the only homo he wanted to design. Patience has nothing to do with it. Your stock answer is usually that we can’t know his reasons.

dhw: […] You believe your God gave our brains the ability to perform new tasks by complexifying and mini-expanding without his intervention. So why should he not have done the same with earlier brains – enabling them to expand without his intervention?

DAVID: Obvious. Our current brain shrunk with extensive use, 150 cc, the size of most past enlargements exactly the opposite of your theory about earlier brains, where more extensive use forces large expansions. […]

Firstly, what is your explanation for shrinkage, since apparently you now refuse to accept the explanation you have accepted umpteen times before (the efficiency of complexification)? Secondly, you still haven’t answered my question. You have acknowledged that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention. Why should he not have done the same with earlier brains?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 19:16 (36 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your suggestion is not close to fact. I've read a theoretical article I have not presented that theorized the human brain could ideally reach 3,300 cc! Please try to convert to ounces: 2,000 extra cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can't handle that? Back packs are much heavier.

dhw: So what is your explanation for the non-expansion? And why do you keep telling us that an expansion of 200 cc is too huge to have happened naturally (theistically = your God creating the mechanism for expansion and not having to intervene)? All of a sudden, even 2000 cc is nothing!

You invented the size problem, and suddenly it becomes real. It simply never expanded because it was designed to complexify with use and shrink, following real factual history.


DAVID: You've simply restated your weird idea God should not have been patient. Repetition proves nothing.

dhw: So please stop repeating your “patience” mantra, which proves nothing, and explain to me why your God deliberately produced the gaps.

Not contrived gaps, deliberate evolutionary advances. And it is you who keeps complaining about a patient God, who should be impatient. How else to analyze your God mantra?


DAVID: God knew it would take time to develop the learning. Can you deny our brain lay primarily fallow until 50,000 years ago creating a delay of 265,000 years, based on current fossil findings? […]

dhw: Of course I’m not denying it. I asked you why you think your God expanded the sapiens brain 260,000 years before it was used. Your answer is to repeat the meaningless “learning” mantra, which you still haven't explained!

You don't deny the delays in use, so why demand it needs explanation? it is all of a pattern. Each new larger size had to be learned to be used. Do you think erectus or sapiens had bright new thoughts hey fist day they arrived as adult thinkers. My view of evolutionary changes take time.


dhw: So now please tell us why you think your God had all these different homos hanging around for thousands of years making no progress, and then had homo sapiens do the same.

DAVID: Your same 'patient God' problem. God in charge of evolution evolved everything over the time it took. Why do you struggle with that? We are discussing my theory.

dhw: Indeed we are, and clearly you have no idea why your God decided to specially design all these different homos to hang around for millions of years before he specially designed the only homo he wanted to design. Patience has nothing to do with it. Your stock answer is usually that we can’t know his reasons.

Your usual total confusion. My theory is under discussion. God chose to evolve instead of immediate direct creation. We must follow the history of evolution, but we cannot know why He made the choice to evolve. My stock answer is logical following initial assumptions.


dhw: […] You believe your God gave our brains the ability to perform new tasks by complexifying and mini-expanding without his intervention. So why should he not have done the same with earlier brains – enabling them to expand without his intervention?

DAVID: Obvious. Our current brain shrunk with extensive use, 150 cc, the size of most past enlargements exactly the opposite of your theory about earlier brains, where more extensive use forces large expansions. […]

dhw: Firstly, what is your explanation for shrinkage, since apparently you now refuse to accept the explanation you have accepted umpteen times before (the efficiency of complexification)?

Distortion as usual. Of course the 150 cc shrinkage was due to more use and complexification. Note the stock answer I gave above, as usual

dhw: Secondly, you still haven’t answered my question. You have acknowledged that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention. Why should he not have done the same with earlier brains?

Mini-expansion and complexification with shrinkage is not giant enlargement, your pipe dream of an unsupported theory. We all realize we can invent any action by God to satisfy a desire for a desired possibility. Any possibility by definition is possible. So what!

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 11:23 (35 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your suggestion is not close to fact. I've read a theoretical article I have not presented that theorized the human brain could ideally reach 3,300 cc! Please try to convert to ounces: 2,000 extra cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can't handle that? Back packs are much heavier.

My suggestion is not close to fact because you’ve read a theoretical article!

dhw: So what is your explanation for the non-expansion? And why do you keep telling us that an expansion of 200 cc is too huge to have happened naturally…? All of a sudden, even 2000 cc is nothing!

DAVID: You invented the size problem, and suddenly it becomes real. It simply never expanded because it was designed to complexify with use and shrink, following real factual history.

YOU invented the size problem! Later in this post, you’ve even referred to 200 cc as a “giant enlargement” – far too big for my theory – and now suddenly even 2000 cc is nothing! If, as you propose, your God specially designed our brain, and bearing in mind that H. sapiens was the only species he wanted to design, what was the point in his specially designing all the preceding brains?

dhw: [..] explain to me why your God deliberately produced the gaps.

DAVID: Not contrived gaps, deliberate evolutionary advances. And it is you who keeps complaining about a patient God, who should be impatient. How else to analyze your God mantra?

How can a gap be an advance? If your all-powerful God wants a sapiens brain and eventually designs it directly, how do all the gaps advance the process? There is no patience or impatience involved. That is another of your inventions. Now please answer my question.

DAVID: You don't deny the delays in use, so why demand it needs explanation? it is all of a pattern. Each new larger size had to be learned to be used. Do you think erectus or sapiens had bright new thoughts hey fist day they arrived as adult thinkers. My view of evolutionary changes take time.

It’s you who keep demanding an explanation of the gaps. I keep asking you what you mean by “learn to use” (divine lessons, instruction manuals, for sapiens 260,000 years of trial and nothing but error?). Never answered. I propose that once the new brain had formed as a result of a new big idea, life went on – as you rightly pointed out with your earlier reference to indigenous tribes – without any major change until a new “big idea” came along. Gaps explained. In pre-sapiens that led to the next expansion. In sapiens it led to complexification and minor expansion.

dhw: … clearly you have no idea why your God decided to specially design all these different homos to hang around for millions of years before he specially designed the only homo he wanted to design. Patience has nothing to do with it. Your stock answer is usually that we can’t know his reasons.

DAVID: Your usual total confusion. My theory is under discussion. God chose to evolve instead of immediate direct creation.

Another massive contradiction, because according to you there is no phase in evolution that was not directly designed by your always-in-control God. (See post on your theory of evolution.)You reject my expansion theory because according to you even a 200 cc expansion needs God’s intervention.

DAVID: We must follow the history of evolution, but we cannot know why He made the choice to evolve. My stock answer is logical following initial assumptions.

Yes, we should follow the history of evolution, and since we cannot know why he would have directly designed anything but the only thing he wanted to design, we should acknowledge that something is radically wrong with your interpretation of evolution.

dhw: Firstly, what is your explanation for shrinkage, since apparently you now refuse to accept the explanation you have accepted umpteen times before (the efficiency of complexification)?

DAVID: Distortion as usual. Of course the 150 cc shrinkage was due to more use and complexification. Note the stock answer I gave above, as usual.

Your stock answer now relies on the new unproven theory that our brains could double in size with no ill effects on our anatomy, and therefore your God must have stepped in and specially designed our brain. I ask why he needed to go through all the other brain phases if all he wanted was ours. My (unproven) theory is that further expansion would have been deleterious, and so complexification and minor expansion took over.

dhw: You have acknowledged that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention. Why should he not have done the same with earlier brains?

DAVID: Mini-expansion and complexification with shrinkage is not giant enlargement [dhw: 2000 cc is nothing, but 200 cc is “giant”] [..]

Once again you simply refuse to answer the question! It is you who told us that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention! Do you think he was incapable of inventing the means to maxi-expand without his intervention?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, 22:17 (34 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your suggestion is not close to fact. I've read a theoretical article I have not presented that theorized the human brain could ideally reach 3,300 cc! Please try to convert to ounces: 2,000 extra cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can't handle that? Back packs are much heavier.

dhw: My suggestion is not close to fact because you’ve read a theoretical article!

Reminder!! You stated your previous size theory suggestion as fact

dhw: [..] explain to me why your God deliberately produced the gaps.

DAVID: Not contrived gaps, deliberate evolutionary advances. And it is you who keeps complaining about a patient God, who should be impatient. How else to analyze your God mantra?

dhw: How can a gap be an advance? If your all-powerful God wants a sapiens brain and eventually designs it directly, how do all the gaps advance the process? There is no patience or impatience involved. That is another of your inventions. Now please answer my question.

Obvious, why the question? The gap in size is an advance in more neuron networks in the prefrontal area. More ability to think once it is learned to be used, by trading simple ideas, gradually developing more complex ones.

DAVID: You don't deny the delays in use, so why demand it needs explanation? it is all of a pattern. Each new larger size had to be learned to be used. Do you think erectus or sapiens had bright new thoughts the first day they arrived as adult thinkers. My view of evolutionary changes take time.

dhw: I keep asking you what you mean by “learn to use” (divine lessons, instruction manuals, for sapiens 260,000 years of trial and nothing but error?). Never answered.

Why can't you envision self-learning with a new instrument? Developing new info (your mantra) and new simple concepts exchanged with others

dhw: Firstly, what is your explanation for shrinkage, since apparently you now refuse to accept the explanation you have accepted umpteen times before (the efficiency of complexification)?

DAVID: Distortion as usual. Of course the 150 cc shrinkage was due to more use and complexification. Note the stock answer I gave above, as usual.

dhw: I ask why he needed to go through all the other brain phases if all he wanted was ours. My (unproven) theory is that further expansion would have been deleterious, and so complexification and minor expansion took over.

And the scientific proposal I noted about doubling size, wasn't worried about your deleterious imagined concern. I will ask: Why deleterious?


dhw: You have acknowledged that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention. Why should he not have done the same with earlier brains?

DAVID: Mini-expansion and complexification with shrinkage is not giant enlargement

[dhw: 2000 cc is nothing, but 200 cc is “giant”] [..]

Totally off the point of your 'deleterious' enlargement.


dhw: Once again you simply refuse to answer the question! It is you who told us that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention! Do you think he was incapable of inventing the means to maxi-expand without his intervention?

God is capable of whatever you wish to propose, but it would help if you tried to analyze from exactly what God produced as a guide to thoughts about His purpose. From the evidence God is very powerful in his ability to create. What He created is what we see. Of course you can create abilities for God that I don't think He used. My God, to use your words is the 'control freak' you bring up as a supposed derogatory term. Nothing wrong with God firmly in control. Your idea again relinquishes God from carefully designing each step in brain enlargement/complexity. The complexity of our brain is still overwhelming us in trying to understand how it works. Once again you want a weak God who gives up control and allows newly-sized brains to self-invent their new size and networks. That implies they are already as smart as God in engineering brains. Then why do they need any further improvement? You have invented a theory with no substance, just seizing on the fact that our brain, with its massive complexity, well beyond those previous iterations, can have very small areas of enlargement to handle new mental and muscular activities. You are trying to make grapes into pineapples.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Thursday, April 23, 2020, 13:22 (34 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your suggestion is not close to fact. I've read a theoretical article I have not presented that theorized the human brain could ideally reach 3,300 cc! Please try to convert to ounces: 2,000 extra cc are only seventy ounces. You think our muscles can't handle that? Back packs are much heavier.

dhw: My suggestion is not close to fact because you’ve read a theoretical article!

DAVID: Reminder!! You stated your previous size theory suggestion as fact.

I have always stressed that my previous size theory /suggestion is a theory/suggestion. Now please tell us why my theory/suggestion is not close to fact as a result of your reading a theoretical article.

dhw: [..] explain to me why your God deliberately produced the gaps. *
*These are the gaps between a) expansions and b) between H. sapiens’ acquisition of a larger brain and the 260,000-year stasis before the great leap forward.

DAVID: Each new larger size had to be learned to be used.

dhw: I keep asking you what you mean by “learn to use” (divine lessons, instruction manuals, for sapiens 260,000 years of trial and nothing but error?). Never answered.

DAVID: Why can't you envision self-learning with a new instrument? Developing new info (your mantra) and new simple concepts exchanged with others.

I like your explanation. So why do you make such a fuss about the gap between sapiens’ new brain and the great leap forward?It fits in with my proposal and with the pattern of all phases between expansions: I called it stasis, but let’s say comparative stasis – just minor matters for thousands of years until the next big idea causes expansion (earlier phases), and minor matters for 260,000 years before the great leap forward (sapiens), presumably causing complexification and minor expansion, as we know from the modern brain.

dhw: [re the reason why the sapiens brain has not expanded] My (unproven) theory is that further expansion would have been deleterious, and so complexification and minor expansion took over.

DAVID: And the scientific proposal I noted about doubling size, wasn't worried about your deleterious imagined concern. I will ask: Why deleterious?

Because I’d have thought that doubling the size of the brain would require a larger skull, which would require changes to the anatomy. Neanderthals had bigger skulls than ours, which presumably housed bigger brains. There were also differences in their anatomy.

dhw: You have acknowledged that your God gave our brains the ability to complexify and mini-expand without his intervention. Why should he not have done the same with earlier brains?

DAVID: Mini-expansion and complexification with shrinkage is not giant enlargement
[dhw: 2000 cc is nothing, but 200 cc is “giant”]

DAVID: Totally off the point of your 'deleterious' enlargement.

But totally on the point of your claim that 200 cc was too great a leap to have happened spontaneously, and please don’t use the “deleterious” argument as an escape route from answering my bolded question.

DAVID: God is capable of whatever you wish to propose, but it would help if you tried to analyze from exactly what God produced as a guide to thoughts about His purpose. From the evidence God is very powerful in his ability to create. What He created is what we see. Of course you can create abilities for God that I don't think He used.

Stop flannelling. You wrote that he invented a mechanism whereby complexification and mini-expansion take place without his intervention. The fact that you don’t think he invented a mechanism whereby the brain could expand as well as complexify does not invalidate my theory!

DAVID: My God, to use your words is the 'control freak' you bring up as a supposed derogatory term. Nothing wrong with God firmly in control. Your idea again relinquishes God from carefully designing each step in brain enlargement/complexity. […] Once again you want a weak God who gives up control and allows newly-sized brains to self-invent their new size and networks. That implies they are already as smart as God in engineering brains.

Sorry, but this is silly. I propose (theistic version) that he invented a mechanism which allows complexification without his intervention (acknowledged by you) and also expansion. There is “nothing wrong” with God not needing to intervene, it does not make him weak, and if he invented a self-improving brain, that does make the brain into the smart inventor of self-improving brains.

DAVID: Then why do they need any further improvement? You have invented a theory with no substance, just seizing on the fact that our brain, with its massive complexity, well beyond those previous iterations, can have very small areas of enlargement to handle new mental and muscular activities. You are trying to make grapes into pineapples.

I keep proposing that the smaller brains needed further improvement because they could not implement the new big ideas. And I’ve seized on the proven fact that modern brains RESPOND to the demands made on them by what you call “hard thinking”, and do not change in advance of “hard” thoughts. Your theory is the exact opposite of what is known, and also contains a problem for you as a dualist – namely that your God had to dabble changes to the brain before the soul could think of a new idea.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 23, 2020, 19:31 (34 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Thursday, April 23, 2020, 19:45

dhw: I keep asking you what you mean by “learn to use” (divine lessons, instruction manuals, for sapiens 260,000 years of trial and nothing but error?). Never answered.

DAVID: Why can't you envision self-learning with a new instrument? Developing new info (your mantra) and new simple concepts exchanged with others.

Addendum: all that new use and learning from each other adds nothing to size until the next jump.


dhw: I like your explanation. So why do you make such a fuss about the gap between sapiens’ new brain and the great leap forward?It fits in with my proposal and with the pattern of all phases between expansions: I called it stasis, but let’s say comparative stasis – just minor matters for thousands of years until the next big idea causes expansion (earlier phases), and minor matters for 260,000 years before the great leap forward (sapiens)

'Stasis' is like your 'effort' term. Sounds good, really explains nothing, as my discussion above is extremely logical. The size gaps are real, and simple acceptance that new brain size causes new artifacts is seen in all the articles. Soul/brain complex assumed) All you want is a non-God explanation, as atheists do.

DAVID: God is capable of whatever you wish to propose, but it would help if you tried to analyze from exactly what God produced as a guide to thoughts about His purpose. From the evidence God is very powerful in his ability to create. What He created is what we see. Of course you can create abilities for God that I don't think He used.

dhw: Stop flannelling. You wrote that he invented a mechanism whereby complexification and mini-expansion take place without his intervention. The fact that you don’t think he invented a mechanism whereby the brain could expand as well as complexify does not invalidate my theory!

No your imagined theory cannot be invalidated. There are no facts supporting it and none refuting it, because it is all in your imagination. Of course you can present your theory as anything imagined can be possible. There is no refutation for that approach. I'm still with God did it, and at the natural level of argument I view it as totally contrived from our advanced brain, and doesn't fit what archaeological articles present. See below for my thoughts about creating an artifact: thinking of it hard, making it always easy.


DAVID: My God, to use your words is the 'control freak' you bring up as a supposed derogatory term. Nothing wrong with God firmly in control. Your idea again relinquishes God from carefully designing each step in brain enlargement/complexity. […] Once again you want a weak God who gives up control and allows newly-sized brains to self-invent their new size and networks. That implies they are already as smart as God in engineering brains.

dhw: Sorry, but this is silly. I propose (theistic version) that he invented a mechanism which allows complexification without his intervention (acknowledged by you) and also expansion. There is “nothing wrong” with God not needing to intervene, it does not make him weak, and if he invented a self-improving brain, that does make the brain into the smart inventor of self-improving brains.

God not needing to intervene, means God, in your terms, created a perfect brain expansion program of about 200 cc each stage, with perfect pre-programming. That fits my pre-programming proposal. Fine. We are together, finally, that God perfectly pre-planned evolution


DAVID: Then why do they need any further improvement? You have invented a theory with no substance, just seizing on the fact that our brain, with its massive complexity, well beyond those previous iterations, can have very small areas of enlargement to handle new mental and muscular activities. You are trying to make grapes into pineapples.

dhw: I keep proposing that the smaller brains needed further improvement because they could not implement the new big ideas.

dhw from the other expansion thread: "It is not “thinking of” a new concept but IMPLEMENTING a new concept (i.e. designing, working out details, learning to rectify mistakes, and making the new concept into a material artefact) that demands brain changes."

Your concept above is backward. Visualizing the design is always the key.The 'new big idea' requires intense abstract thought, requiring some advance in brain complexity. That is the only hard part. Where you go totally off the rails is in my experience, if I can think if it I can build it. Implementation requires no advanced thought, just manual activity with brain direction. Have you ever imagined something and built it? I have all my life. At about 12 I built a wooden reading lamp for my bed: shaped wooden pieces, painted, lined with the shiny inside of a tin can nailed in place. Socket and cord. At 14 I designed and built a brick fireplace for cooking steaks in our backyard. I'm not a junior Edison, but trial and error not needed. Your theory is totally unacceptable for me.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Friday, April 24, 2020, 13:34 (33 days ago) @ David Turell

Here too, the brain expansion threads can be combined.

dhw: I keep asking you what you mean by “learn to use” (divine lessons, instruction manuals, for sapiens 260,000 years of trial and nothing but error?). Never answered.

DAVID: Why can't you envision self-learning with a new instrument? Developing new info (your mantra) and new simple concepts exchanged with others.
DAVID: Addendum: all that new use and learning from each other adds nothing to size until the next jump.

Precisely – as now bolded below in the reply I gave you:

dhw: I like your explanation. So why do you make such a fuss about the gap between sapiens’ new brain and the great leap forward? It fits in with my proposal and with the pattern of all phases between expansions: I called it stasis, but let’s say comparative stasis – just minor matters for thousands of years until the next big idea causes expansion (earlier phases), and minor matters for 260,000 years before the great leap forward (sapiens)

DAVID: 'Stasis' is like your 'effort' term. Sounds good, really explains nothing, as my discussion above is extremely logical. The size gaps are real, and simple acceptance that new brain size causes new artifacts is seen in all the articles. Soul/brain complex assumed) All you want is a non-God explanation, as atheists do.

It was you who kept harping on about the gap between the final sapiens expansion and the great leap forward. So why all the fuss about a sapiens period of stasis (= no change) when the same applied to all phases between expansions? Yet again: your articles don’t deal with reasons for the expansions, and my theory concerns the FIRST artefacts, which would have entailed the “hard thinking” leading to expansion; nobody can possibly tell whether that took place after the brain had expanded (which according to you was engineered directly by God for no particular reason) or was the cause of the expansion.

dhw: You wrote that he [God] invented a mechanism whereby complexification and mini-expansion take place without his intervention. The fact that you don’t think he invented a mechanism whereby the brain could expand as well as complexify does not invalidate my theory!

DAVID: No your imagined theory cannot be invalidated. There are no facts supporting it and none refuting it, because it is all in your imagination etc. etc.

The ONLY facts we have show that the modern brain changes as a result of “hard thinking”. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to argue that earlier brains might have followed the same process.

DAVID: Once again you want a weak God who gives up control and allows newly-sized brains to self-invent their new size and networks. That implies they are already as smart as God in engineering brains.

Re “weak” see your theory of evolution. I repeat: There is nothing wrong with God not needing to intervene, it does not make him weak, and if he invented a self-improving brain, that does make the brain into the smart inventor of self-improving brains.

DAVID: God not needing to intervene, means God, in your terms, created a perfect brain expansion program of about 200 cc each stage, with perfect pre-programming. That fits my pre-programming proposal. Fine. We are together, finally, that God perfectly pre-planned evolution.

It means no such thing! Three weeks ago (see your theory of evolution) even you rejected preprogramming as “minor”! His not needing to intervene relates to the “third option”: my (theistic) theory – I’m surprised you’ve forgotten it – that he invented a mechanism whereby the intelligent cell communities cooperate to produce the vast variety of life forms, innovations, strategies, natural wonders etc., including the increasing capacity of the brain.

DAVID: […] you push your unsupported creation that thinking of a new concept expands brains […]

dhw: It is not “thinking of” a new concept but IMPLEMENTING a new concept (i.e. designing, working out details, learning to rectify mistakes, and making the new concept into a material artefact) that demands brain changes.

DAVID: Your concept above is backward. Visualizing the design is always the key.The 'new big idea' requires intense abstract thought, requiring some advance in brain complexity. That is the only hard part. Where you go totally off the rails is in my experience, if I can think if it I can build it. Implementation requires no advanced thought, just manual activity with brain direction.

There is nothing backward, but simply your refusal to read what I write. I have defined what I mean by implementation! Do you not know the meaning of i.e.? First comes the small brain and the initial concept of killing from a distance. Now read my i.e. list and tell me the difference between the intense abstract thought of visualizing the design and my “designing, working out the details, learning to rectify mistakes”? All you have seized on is that actually making the artefact is easy. But it’s still part of the process, because making it and trying it out will supply new information for the brain (or the dualist’s soul) to think hard about. You are really clutching at straws if the only way you can dismiss my theory is by ignoring what I write!:-(

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, April 24, 2020, 20:10 (32 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Why can't you envision self-learning with a new instrument? Developing new info (your mantra) and new simple concepts exchanged with others.
DAVID: Addendum: all that new use and learning from each other adds nothing to size until the next jump.

dhw: Precisely – as now bolded below in the reply I gave you:

dhw: I like your explanation. So why do you make such a fuss about the gap between sapiens’ new brain and the great leap forward? It fits in with my proposal and with the pattern of all phases between expansions: I called it stasis, but let’s say comparative stasis – just minor matters for thousands of years until the next big idea causes expansion (earlier phases), and minor matters for 260,000 years before the great leap forward (sapiens)

DAVID: 'Stasis' is like your 'effort' term. Sounds good, really explains nothing, as my discussion above is extremely logical. The size gaps are real, and simple acceptance that new brain size causes new artifacts is seen in all the articles. Soul/brain complex assumed) All you want is a non-God explanation, as atheists do.

dhw: It was you who kept harping on about the gap between the final sapiens expansion and the great leap forward... my theory concerns the FIRST artefacts, which would have entailed the “hard thinking” leading to expansion; nobody can possibly tell whether that took place after the brain had expanded.

The obvious conclusion by all written is the artifacts represent creation by the current brain size found. Your bold is a contortion of reasoning generally accepted. Raising a possibility doesn't prove your theory.


DAVID: No your imagined theory cannot be invalidated. There are no facts supporting it and none refuting it, because it is all in your imagination etc. etc.

dhw: The ONLY facts we have show that the modern brain changes as a result of “hard thinking”. It is therefore perfectly reasonable to argue that earlier brains might have followed the same process.

It is fine to come up with possibilities. A weak theory if that is its only basis, comparing our tiny enlargements in a much more sophisticated brain with much less sophisticated.


DAVID: Once again you want a weak God who gives up control and allows newly-sized brains to self-invent their new size and networks. That implies they are already as smart as God in engineering brains.

Re “weak” see your theory of evolution. I repeat: There is nothing wrong with God not needing to intervene, it does not make him weak, and if he invented a self-improving brain, that does make the brain into the smart inventor of self-improving brains.

DAVID: God not needing to intervene, means God, in your terms, created a perfect brain expansion program of about 200 cc each stage, with perfect pre-programming. That fits my pre-programming proposal. Fine. We are together, finally, that God perfectly pre-planned evolution.

dhw: It means no such thing! Three weeks ago (see your theory of evolution) even you rejected preprogramming as “minor”!

I've explained my muddle about God's handling of evolution above.


DAVID: […] you push your unsupported creation that thinking of a new concept expands brains […]

dhw: It is not “thinking of” a new concept but IMPLEMENTING a new concept (i.e. designing, working out details, learning to rectify mistakes, and making the new concept into a material artefact) that demands brain changes.

DAVID: Your concept above is backward. Visualizing the design is always the key.The 'new big idea' requires intense abstract thought, requiring some advance in brain complexity. That is the only hard part. Where you go totally off the rails is in my experience, if I can think if it I can build it. Implementation requires no advanced thought, just manual activity with brain direction.

dhw: There is nothing backward, but simply your refusal to read what I write. I have defined what I mean by implementation! Do you not know the meaning of i.e.? First comes the small brain and the initial concept of killing from a distance. Now read my i.e. list and tell me the difference between the intense abstract thought of visualizing the design and my “designing, working out the details, learning to rectify mistakes”? All you have seized on is that actually making the artefact is easy. But it’s still part of the process, because making it and trying it out will supply new information for the brain (or the dualist’s soul) to think hard about. You are really clutching at straws if the only way you can dismiss my theory is by ignoring what I write!:-(

As I read your prose, all it tells me is the smaller previous brain immaterially thought of the artifact, which to me means visualized it, and that forced a 200 cc enlargement; the new species waited awhile (your stasis) and then put it together easily because of the new complex enlargement. Thus archaeologists find brain and artifacts timed together. You've innvented a possibility that is not based on any interpretations I've seen or had myself for 50 years. I fully reject it.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Saturday, April 25, 2020, 14:13 (32 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Why can't you envision self-learning with a new instrument? Developing new info (your mantra) and new simple concepts exchanged with others.
DAVID: Addendum: all that new use and learning from each other adds nothing to size until the next jump.

dhw: Precisely – as now bolded below in the reply I gave you:
dhw: I like your explanation. So why do you make such a fuss about the gap between sapiens’ new brain and the great leap forward? It fits in with my proposal and with the pattern of all phases between expansions: I called it stasis, but let’s say comparative stasis*** – just minor matters for thousands of years until the next big idea causes expansion (earlier phases), and minor matters for 260,000 years before the great leap forward (sapiens)

***Note what stasis refers to. Not the absurdity below (marked ***).

DAVID: […] simple acceptance that new brain size causes new artifacts is seen in all the articles. […]

dhw: [...] my theory concerns the FIRST artefacts, which would have entailed the “hard thinking” leading to expansion;bb nobody can possibly tell whether that took place after the brain had expanded.bb

DAVID: The obvious conclusion by all written is the artifacts represent creation by the current brain size found. Your bold is a contortion of reasoning generally accepted. Raising a possibility doesn't prove your theory.

The articles don't deal with the cause of expansion! Do give us a reason for expansion which is “generally accepted”. Your God’s 3.8-billion-year old programme for brain expansion plus the whole of evolution? Or successive divine dabbles? (“Damn, wrong size again!” said God.)

DAVID: No your imagined theory cannot be invalidated. There are no facts supporting it and none refuting it, because it is all in your imagination etc.

dhw: The ONLY facts we have show that the modern brain changes as a result of “hard thinking”. It is therefore reasonable to argue that earlier brains might have followed the same process.

DAVID: It is fine to come up with possibilities. A weak theory if that is its only basis, comparing our tiny enlargements in a much more sophisticated brain with much less sophisticated.

I am not making comparisons. Modern brains change in response to “hard thought”. It is therefore possible that earlier brains did the same, but with their smaller capacity were less complex and needed to expand on a larger scale than ours.

DAVID: God not needing to intervene, means God, in your terms, created a perfect brain expansion program of about 200 cc each stage, with perfect pre-programming. That fits my pre-programming proposal. Fine. We are together, finally, that God perfectly pre-planned evolution.

dhw: It means no such thing! Three weeks ago (see your theory of evolution) even you rejected preprogramming as “minor”!

DAVID: I've explained my muddle about God's handling of evolution above.

I’m afraid your muddle does not add any credence to your own theory, and it continues into your absurd representation of mine, as below (marked ***).

DAVID: Your concept above is backward. Visualizing the design is always the key. […] Implementation requires no advanced thought, just manual activity with brain direction.

dhw: There is nothing backward, but simply your refusal to read what I write.
I went on yet again to present a definition of “implementation” which has been totally ignored..

DAVID: As I read your prose, all it tells me is the smaller previous brain immaterially thought of the artifact, which to me means visualized it, and that forced a 200 cc enlargement…..

Once again you ignore what I write, so let me repeat it with a bit more emphasis: small brained homo’s initial concept: KILLING FROM A DISTANCE. Not visualizing it, and no, no, no, the initial concept does not force an enlargement. What forces the enlargement is the process of DESIGNING, WORKING OUT THE DETAILS, LEARNING TO RECTIFY MISTAKES and also making it, because while our homo is making it and trying it out, there will be NEW INFORMATION which will require MORE of that you call “hard thinking”, and it is the “hard thinking” that causes changes – in this case expansion – to the brain.

DAVID:…. the new species waited awhile (your stasis)*** and then put it together easily because of the new complex enlargement.

Crazy! Once the new artefact is made, we have a newly enlarged brain. There then follows a period of thousands of years when there are only minor developments which, as you said yourself, “add nothing to size until the next jump”. THAT is the STASIS! (You fussed about the gap between the launch of sapiens’ brain and the 260,000 or so years of STASIS that followed. I explained it.)

DAVID: Thus archaeologists find brain and artifacts timed together. You've innvented a possibility that is not based on any interpretations I've seen or had myself for 50 years. I fully reject it.

Of course the brain and artefacts are timed together. The FIRST artefacts could not exist until the brain had finished expanding. I would also fully reject a theory as idiotic as the one you have just invented. Now please explain to me why it is unreasonable to assume that if changes to the modern brain are the RESULT of hard thinking, changes to the ancient brain might also have been the RESULT of hard thinking.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 25, 2020, 22:56 (31 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The obvious conclusion by all written is the artifacts represent creation by the current brain size found. Your bold is a contortion of reasoning generally accepted. Raising a possibility doesn't prove your theory.

dhw: The articles don't deal with the cause of expansion! Do give us a reason for expansion which is “generally accepted”.

Of course they don't. The scientists are limited to their assumption natural evolution caused expansions and the bigger brained hominins made the artifacts found with them. Theists believe God did it.

DAVID: As I read your prose, all it tells me is the smaller previous brain immaterially thought of the artifact, which to me means visualized it, and that forced a 200 cc enlargement…..

dhw: Once again you ignore what I write, so let me repeat it with a bit more emphasis: small brained homo’s initial concept: KILLING FROM A DISTANCE. Not visualizing it, and no, no, no, the initial concept does not force an enlargement. What forces the enlargement is the process of DESIGNING, WORKING OUT THE DETAILS, LEARNING TO RECTIFY MISTAKES and also making it, because while our homo is making it and trying it out, there will be NEW INFORMATION which will require MORE of that you call “hard thinking”, and it is the “hard thinking” that causes changes – in this case expansion – to the brain.

I'm afraid all I can do is analyze what I have done with our very specialized brain. I start recognized need (not a hard part) and then with design as you do. I would remind you design implies visualizing a possible product solution. That is the hard part. I must ask you: tell me about your experiences in conceptualizing a new productive p, and ow difficult is any of it?


DAVID:…. the new species waited awhile (your stasis)*** and then put it together easily because of the new complex enlargement.

dhw: Crazy! Once the new artefact is made, we have a newly enlarged brain. There then follows a period of thousands of years when there are only minor developments which, as you said yourself, “add nothing to size until the next jump”. THAT is the STASIS! (You fussed about the gap between the launch of sapiens’ brain and the 260,000 or so years of STASIS that followed. I explained it.)

A terrible explanation!!! Early sapiens 315,000 years ago lived just like erectus and other following pre-sapiens in a stone age until 12,000 years ago. Yes, they picked up an early form of language and some better hunting artifacts, like the two-foot throwing stick. That is real stasis with a great advanced brain sitting around waiting to be used much more completely.


DAVID: Thus archaeologists find brain and artifacts timed together. You've invented a possibility that is not based on any interpretations I've seen or had myself for 50 years. I fully reject it.

dhw: Of course the brain and artefacts are timed together. The FIRST artefacts could not exist until the brain had finished expanding.

We agree, but n o on the method of expansion. I'm still with God doing it

dhw: Now please explain to me why it is unreasonable to assume that if changes to the modern brain are the RESULT of hard thinking, changes to the ancient brain might also have been the RESULT of hard thinking.

It is obvious our advanced brain is totally different from the early ones, like Lucy's and following. Our brain shrunk 150 cc in the past 35,000 years. How does that factor into your thinking. Just ignore it is mainly what you are doing. You are focused on one change, but not the other. The shrinkage tells us how advanced our brain is and how different from past ones. At the natural level of discussion, which we are doing, you've proven nothing by focusing on only one point of brain function. You must use the whole picture as I do before I'll accept any sort of slim proof of your hopeful very strained conjecture.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, April 26, 2020, 12:07 (31 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The obvious conclusion by all written is the artifacts represent creation by the current brain size found. Your bold is a contortion of reasoning generally accepted. Raising a possibility doesn't prove your theory.

dhw: The articles don't deal with the cause of expansion! Do give us a reason for expansion which is “generally accepted”.

DAVID: Of course they don't. The scientists are limited to their assumption natural evolution caused expansions and the bigger brained hominins made the artifacts found with them. Theists believe God did it.

I know. Now please tell me what reasoning is “generally accepted” and which part of it I have contorted.

DAVID: As I read your prose, all it tells me is the smaller previous brain immaterially thought of the artifact, which to me means visualized it, and that forced a 200 cc enlargement…..

dhw: Once again you ignore what I write, so let me repeat it with a bit more emphasis: small brained homo’s initial concept: KILLING FROM A DISTANCE. Not visualizing it, and no, no, no, the initial concept does not force an enlargement. What forces the enlargement is the process of DESIGNING, WORKING OUT THE DETAILS, LEARNING TO RECTIFY MISTAKES and also making it, because while our homo is making it and trying it out, there will be NEW INFORMATION which will require MORE of that you call “hard thinking”, and it is the “hard thinking” that causes changes – in this case expansion – to the brain.

DAVID: I'm afraid all I can do is analyze what I have done with our very specialized brain. I start recognized need (not a hard part) and then with design as you do. I would remind you design implies visualizing a possible product solution. That is the hard part.

No disagreement here. And as the “hard part” causes the “hard thinking” which changes modern brains, how does this prove that the earlier brain had to change BEFORE it even knew there was a hard part to tackle?!

DAVID: I must ask you: tell me about your experiences in conceptualizing a new productive p, and ow difficult is any of it?

Why “must” you ask me? I am not a designer. We agree that it requires hard thinking to design the initial concept, or in your terms to “visualize a possible product solution”. This raises the crucial question I have asked above. Do please answer it.

DAVID:…. the new species waited awhile (your stasis)*** and then put it together easily because of the new complex enlargement.

dhw: Crazy! Once the new artefact is made, we have a newly enlarged brain. There then follows a period of thousands of years when there are only minor developments which, as you said yourself, “add nothing to size until the next jump”. THAT is the STASIS! (You fussed about the gap between the launch of sapiens’ brain and the 260,000 or so years of STASIS that followed. I explained it.)

DAVID: A terrible explanation!!! Early sapiens 315,000 years ago lived just like erectus and other following pre-sapiens in a stone age until 12,000 years ago. Yes, they picked up an early form of language and some better hunting artifacts, like the two-foot throwing stick. That is real stasis with a great advanced brain sitting around waiting to be used much more completely.

My stasis is not having a pre-sapiens “waiting a while” till his brain has finished expanding, and then putting the artefact together! We have no idea what caused the initial expansion to sapiens size or any of the other expansions, but they were all followed by periods of what I now call comparative stasis. All these pre-homos had bigger brains which “sat around” for thousands of years till whatever caused the the next expansion. We "sat around" for thousands of years till whatever caused the leap forward. So what point are you trying to prove?

dhw: Now please explain to me why it is unreasonable to assume that if changes to the modern brain are the RESULT of hard thinking, changes to the ancient brain might also have been the RESULT of hard thinking.

DAVID: It is obvious our advanced brain is totally different from the early ones, like Lucy's and following. Our brain shrunk 150 cc in the past 35,000 years. How does that factor into your thinking. Just ignore it is mainly what you are doing.

Over and over and over again, you have agreed that shrinkage is the result of efficient complexification!

DAVID: You are focused on one change, but not the other. The shrinkage tells us how advanced our brain is and how different from past ones. […] You must use the whole picture as I do before I'll accept any sort of slim proof of your hopeful very strained conjecture.

It is you who are refusing to consider the whole picture! So here it is again: pre-sapiens brains expanded. Sapiens brains stopped expanding (we don’t know why, and you reject my anatomical explanation), and complexification took over, accompanied by minor expansions. This proved so efficient that the brain shrank. Modern science shows us that the brain changes in response to hard thinking. Therefore it is not unreasonable to propose that earlier brains also changed in response to hard thinking. Your picture skips the modern findings apart from shrinkage (and you agree about the cause) and has God preprogramming each expansion 3.8 billion years ago or dabbling them BEFORE all the hard thinking.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 26, 2020, 21:01 (30 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The articles don't deal with the cause of expansion! Do give us a reason for expansion which is “generally accepted”.

DAVID: Of course they don't. The scientists are limited to their assumption natural evolution caused expansions and the bigger brained hominins made the artifacts found with them. Theists believe God did it.

dhw: I know. Now please tell me what reasoning is “generally accepted” and which part of it I have contorted.

You have contorted the underlying conclusion of all the Archaeological reports with your strained theory


DAVID: I'm afraid all I can do is analyze what I have done with our very specialized brain. I start recognized need (not a hard part) and then with design as you do. I would remind you design implies visualizing a possible product solution. That is the hard part.

dhw: No disagreement here. And as the “hard part” causes the “hard thinking” which changes modern brains, how does this prove that the earlier brain had to change BEFORE it even knew there was a hard part to tackle?!

Because all the new artifacts are timed as appearing with the newly sized-brains, nothing more. Has does an earlier brain know of future artifacts? It has to be able to visualize it beforehand to start a design process which is immaterial thought.


DAVID: I must ask you: tell me about your experiences in conceptualizing a new productive p, and ow difficult is any of it?

dhw: Why “must” you ask me? I am not a designer. We agree that it requires hard thinking to design the initial concept, or in your terms to “visualize a possible product solution”. This raises the crucial question I have asked above. Do please answer it.

Thank you for this honest answer. You've now admitted you are not a designer, and so are theorizing about it. I've answered your question over and over with you never noting any recognition of my points. In my view, you have design and production all confusedly backward.


DAVID:…. the new species waited awhile (your stasis)*** and then put it together easily because of the new complex enlargement.

DAVID: Early sapiens 315,000 years ago lived just like erectus and other following pre-sapiens in a stone age until 12,000 years ago. Yes, they picked up an early form of language and some better hunting artifacts, like the two-foot throwing stick. That is real stasis with a great advanced brain sitting around waiting to be used much more completely.

dhw: We have no idea what caused the initial expansion to sapiens size or any of the other expansions, but they were all followed by periods of what I now call comparative stasis. All these pre-homos had bigger brains which “sat around” for thousands of years till whatever caused the the next expansion. We "sat around" for thousands of years till whatever caused the leap forward. So what point are you trying to prove?

My view is God created each expansion of thought-capable frontal and prefrontal neuron-rich brain, until it reached a critical mass and could reach new levels of conceptualizing, which is required for new design levels. It is obvious our advanced brain is totally different from the early ones, like Lucy's and following. Our brain shrunk 150 cc in the past 35,000 years, because it had a major complexification process not requiring all the prior giant brain mass it was give, all taken from the frontal pre-frontal neuron networks. How does that factor into your thinking? Just ignore the difference is what you are doing.

dhw: It is you who are refusing to consider the whole picture! So here it is again: pre-sapiens brains expanded. Sapiens brains stopped expanding (we don’t know why, and you reject my anatomical explanation), and complexification took over, accompanied by minor expansions. This proved so efficient that the brain shrank. Modern science shows us that the brain changes in response to hard thinking. Therefore it is not unreasonable to propose that earlier brains also changed in response to hard thinking. Your picture skips the modern findings apart from shrinkage (and you agree about the cause) and has God preprogramming each expansion 3.8 billion years ago or dabbling them BEFORE all the hard thinking.

Yes, surprise my God did it! Your so-called natural theory is pure unsupported conjecture based on one fact about our very special final brain that really shrinks with increased hard use. Expand one fact and ignore the other. How illogical wishful thinking! Can you find any support elsewhere?

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, April 27, 2020, 13:34 (30 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Now please tell me what reasoning is “generally accepted” and which part of it I have contorted.

DAVID: You have contorted the underlying conclusion of all the Archaeological reports with your strained theory.

Please tell me what underlying conclusions the reports offer to explain why and how brains expanded.

DAVID: […] I start recognized need (not a hard part) and then with design as you do. I would remind you design implies visualizing a possible product solution. That is the hard part.

dhw: No disagreement here. [...] how does this prove that the earlier brain had to change BEFORE it even knew there was a hard part to tackle?!

DAVID: Because all the new artifacts are timed as appearing with the newly sized-brains, nothing more.

And my proposal is that the first of these artefacts cannot appear until the brain has finished expanding. So of course they appear with the newly sized brains!

DAVID: How does an earlier brain know of future artifacts? It has to be able to visualize it beforehand to start a design process which is immaterial thought.

It doesn’t know of future artefacts! “Me want kill from distance” starts the process of working out HOW he can kill from distance. That is the design process which induces the “hard thinking”. Theory: if the modern brain changes as a result of “hard thinking”, it is possible that the ancient brain did the same. After all, the modern brain evolved from the ancient brain, didn’t it?

DAVID: tell me about your experiences in conceptualizing a new productive p, and how difficult is any of it?

dhw: I am not a designer. […]

DAVID: Thank you for this honest answer. You've now admitted you are not a designer, and so are theorizing about it. I've answered your question over and over with you never noting any recognition of my points. In my view, you have design and production all confusedly backward.

What is backward? I have agreed with you that design is the hard part! That is the hard thinking that changes modern brains. But I have also pointed out that production and design are interwoven because the process of material production may well lead to changes in abstract design (the brain then provides new information during its function of implementation). But firstly, our discussion is not about the difference between design and production. My point is that it is the "hard thinking" that causes the smaller brain to expand as it seeks to make the original concept into something real. And secondly, how does your experience of design even begin to support your claim that the ancient brain changed BEFORE it even knew there was a hard part to tackle?

dhw: […] We "sat around" for thousands of years till whatever caused the leap forward. So what point are you trying to prove?

DAVID: My view is God created each expansion of thought-capable frontal and prefrontal neuron-rich brain, until it reached a critical mass and could reach new levels of conceptualizing, which is required for new design levels.

So what is your point about our brain sitting around for thousands of years before the leap forward? All expansions coincided with new levels of conceptualizing. What do you mean by a “critical mass”? It couldn’t expand any more? That was my point, which you poo-poohed. And you’ve forgotten again that you are a dualist. It’s supposed to be the soul that does the conceptualizing, and the brain informs and implements. If our homo had a soul, he did not need additional information to form his original concept. New information would only have been acquired in the course of the implementation(= design and production).

DAVID: It is obvious our advanced brain is totally different from the early ones, like Lucy's and following.

Not “totally”. You’ve just told us on the other thread: ”God speciates either by modification of the previous, as in hominin brain growth, or […]”.

DAVID: Our brain shrunk 150 cc in the past 35,000 years, because it had a major complexification process not requiring all the prior giant brain mass it was give, all taken from the frontal pre-frontal neuron networks. How does that factor into your thinking? Just ignore the difference is what you are doing.
And
DAVID: Your so-called natural theory is pure unsupported conjecture based on one fact about our very special final brain that really shrinks with increased hard use. Expand one fact and ignore the other. How illogical wishful thinking! Can you find any support elsewhere?

So your God apparently gave us a bigger brain than we needed. What does that prove? Hard use has not shrunk the brain! If it did, we’d have no brain left by now! As you keep agreeing and then forgetting, hard use results in complexification, which is so efficient that it has made certain parts of the brain redundant. Can you find any support for your theory of a divine 3.8 billion-year-old programme of brain expansions culminating in one that was 150 cc bigger than necessary and therefore shrank, and that responded to new demands whereas earlier brains expanded before the new demands even existed?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, April 27, 2020, 20:11 (29 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: tell me about your experiences in conceptualizing a new productive product, and how difficult is any of it?

dhw: I am not a designer. […]

DAVID: Thank you for this honest answer. You've now admitted you are not a designer, and so are theorizing about it. I've answered your question over and over with you never noting any recognition of my points. In my view, you have design and production all confusedly backward.

dhw: What is backward? I have agreed with you that design is the hard part! That is the hard thinking that changes modern brains. But I have also pointed out that production and design are interwoven because the process of material production may well lead to changes in abstract design (the brain then provides new information during its function of implementation).

Once again you have shifted to trial and error. If one can visualize the spear design with wooden shaft and stone tip, that includes the materials to be used. In spear building the only secondary decision, since stone napping was known for the point, is how attach the point to the wooden shaft. Simple production follows.

dhw: But firstly, our discussion is not about the difference between design and production. My point is that it is the "hard thinking" that causes the smaller brain to expand as it seeks to make the original concept into something real.

You've denied this before, when I've previously analyzed your thoughts this way. I believe it is your sole invention to explain brain enlargement.

dhw: And secondly, how does your experience of design even begin to support your claim that the ancient brain changed BEFORE it even knew there was a hard part to tackle?

You know. I believe God did it. As a natural theory, I view it as contrived wishful thinking.


DAVID: My view is God created each expansion of thought-capable frontal and prefrontal neuron-rich brain, until it reached a critical mass and could reach new levels of conceptualizing, which is required for new design levels.

dhw: So what is your point about our brain sitting around for thousands of years before the leap forward? All expansions coincided with new levels of conceptualizing. What do you mean by a “critical mass”?

I'm using a term from nuclear bomb theory or social political theory. Build a big enough complex brain and it then can conceive of what it couldn't think of before

dhw: And you’ve forgotten again that you are a dualist. It’s supposed to be the soul that does the conceptualizing, and the brain informs and implements.

Useless space-filling criticism. You know what I mean.


DAVID: It is obvious our advanced brain is totally different from the early ones, like Lucy's and following.

dhw: Not “totally”. You’ve just told us on the other thread: ”God speciates either by modification of the previous, as in hominin brain growth, or […]”.

The modification can make it as a final product, totally different.


dhw: So your God apparently gave us a bigger brain than we needed. What does that prove? Hard use has not shrunk the brain! If it did, we’d have no brain left by now! As you keep agreeing and then forgetting, hard use results in complexification, which is so efficient that it has made certain parts of the brain redundant.

You've simply answered yourself. I don't forget the points of argument.

dhw: Can you find any support for your theory of a divine 3.8 billion-year-old programme of brain expansions culminating in one that was 150 cc bigger than necessary and therefore shrank, and that responded to new demands whereas earlier brains expanded before the new demands even existed?

Remember, I believe God did it, but your question leaves the natural level of debate where I am disputing your natural wishful claim that hard thinking expands brains. You will not ever find any support for it, certainly not from me.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 10:46 (29 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You've now admitted you are not a designer, and so are theorizing about it. I've answered your question over and over with you never noting any recognition of my points. In my view, you have design and production all confusedly backward.

dhw: What is backward? I have agreed with you that design is the hard part! That is the hard thinking that changes modern brains. But I have also pointed out that production and design are interwoven because the process of material production may well lead to changes in abstract design (the brain then provides new information during its function of implementation).

DAVID: Once again you have shifted to trial and error. If one can visualize the spear design with wooden shaft and stone tip, that includes the materials to be used. In spear building the only secondary decision, since stone napping was known for the point, is how attach the point to the wooden shaft. Simple production follows.

You are determined to ignore the all-important distinction between the original concept and its implementation. All you want to focus on is the distinction between different parts of the implementation! I can only repeat: our small-brained homo’s initial idea is to kill from a distance. He has not yet thought of wooden shaft and stone tip or the materials to be used! That is part of the implementation (= design and production) or “hard thinking” which we know changes the modern brain, and which I suggest also changed earlier brains. And of course trial and error will be part of the implementation, as it provides new information to be incorporated into the design. But we are using the first ever spear as a simple illustration of the process – I’m not saying that all brain expansions were caused by inventing and reinventing the spear! We can use two of the current theories if you like: use of fire and bipedalism. Same process: each of these will entail new situations which require “hard thinking”. It is the process of tackling new tasks that changes (complexifies) the modern brain, and I propose that the same process would have changed (expanded) the earlier brains. Now tell me why you find that illogical.

dhw: What do you mean by a “critical mass”?

DAVID: I'm using a term from nuclear bomb theory or social political theory. Build a big enough complex brain and it then can conceive of what it couldn't think of before.

dhw: And you’ve forgotten again that you are a dualist. It’s supposed to be the soul that does the conceptualizing, and the brain informs and implements.

DAVID: Useless space-filling criticism. You know what I mean.

No I don’t. It is the crux of our disagreement! I propose that it is “hard thinking” that causes the brain to expand/complexify. The dualist believes that there is a soul that does the thinking and uses the brain to collect new information. But time and again you tell us that the brain has to change before the “hard thinking” can begin! Why would the thinking soul depend on the non-thinking brain's expansion before it can think of a new idea based on EXISTING information? Your statement above could hardly be more explicit, and it fits in perfectly with materialism, with the brain as the source of thought. This is no problem for my theory, however, since it merely means that whatever may be the material source of thought will undergo exactly the same process of using existing information to come up with the new idea, and THEN changing itself through the effort to implement the idea, just as the modern brain changes itself through the effort to perform new tasks.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 20:17 (28 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You've now admitted you are not a designer, and so are theorizing about it. I've answered your question over and over with you never noting any recognition of my points. In my view, you have design and production all confusedly backward.

dhw: What is backward? I have agreed with you that design is the hard part! That is the hard thinking that changes modern brains. But I have also pointed out that production and design are interwoven because the process of material production may well lead to changes in abstract design (the brain then provides new information during its function of implementation).

DAVID: Once again you have shifted to trial and error. If one can visualize the spear design with wooden shaft and stone tip, that includes the materials to be used. In spear building the only secondary decision, since stone napping was known for the point, is how attach the point to the wooden shaft. Simple production follows.

dhw: You are determined to ignore the all-important distinction between the original concept and its implementation. All you want to focus on is the distinction between different parts of the implementation! ...But we are using the first ever spear as a simple illustration of the process – I’m not saying that all brain expansions were caused by inventing and reinventing the spear! We can use two of the current theories if you like: use of fire and bipedalism. Same process: each of these will entail new situations which require “hard thinking”. It is the process of tackling new tasks that changes (complexifies) the modern brain, and I propose that the same process would have changed (expanded) the earlier brains. Now tell me why you find that illogical.

It is an illogical extension from what we know about our very advanced different brain which shrank from hard thought, with no sign of expansion except in tiny designated areas from its very advanced complexification mechanism. You've seized on the latter because it fits your hopes for a non-god natural expansion. All hope, no support anywhere.

Because I am the experienced one here, having designed and created as previously described. We both agree the hardest part is new design. Putting the design together is easy, but I admit there may have to be a little easy trial and error. I note your theorizing does not fit my practical experience using our current advanced brain, which complexifies easily and shrank 150 cc. We do not know if previous hominin brains had any shrinkage before expanding. My guess is they did not as the drive was always for enlargement as God evolved each step..


dhw: What do you mean by a “critical mass”?

DAVID: I'm using a term from nuclear bomb theory or social political theory. Build a big enough complex brain and it then can conceive of what it couldn't think of before.

dhw: And you’ve forgotten again that you are a dualist. It’s supposed to be the soul that does the conceptualizing, and the brain informs and implements.

DAVID: Useless space-filling criticism. You know what I mean.

dhw: No I don’t. It is the crux of our disagreement! I propose that it is “hard thinking” that causes the brain to expand/complexify. The dualist believes that there is a soul that does the thinking and uses the brain to collect new information. But time and again you tell us that the brain has to change before the “hard thinking” can begin! Why would the thinking soul depend on the non-thinking brain's expansion before it can think of a new idea based on EXISTING information? Your statement above could hardly be more explicit, and it fits in perfectly with materialism, with the brain as the source of thought.

I have never agreed to this distortion of my thoughts. For the last time, hopefully: the soul uses the brain to form thinking and concepts. It can only form advanced concepts if the brain it is given to use allows more advanced concepts than the last smaller brain, which in my view is always the case. That view is based on known history: each brain size advance is in the frontal and prefrontal areas where such thought takes place

dhw: This is no problem for my theory, however, since it merely means that whatever may be the material source of thought will undergo exactly the same process of using existing information to come up with the new idea, and THEN changing itself through the effort to implement the idea, just as the modern brain changes itself through the effort to perform new tasks.

The problem with your theory is it is a lonely thought only in your brain. Leaving the natural level of our discussion, I believe God ran evolution and expanded each brain giving it much improved conceptualization capacity for the soul to work with. Our current brain is not at all like previous brains in its thought capacity and complexification process. Remember our adult brain does not grow new neurons in the cortex but does in the hippocampus. Enlargement is due to more dendrites and synapse connections and more astrocytes, not neurons. How does that fit your 'theory'? In your view the previous brains had to be totally different and ours somehow developed as the oddball!

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 15:49 (28 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It is the process of tackling new tasks that changes (complexifies) the modern brain, and I propose that the same process would have changed (expanded) the earlier brains. Now tell me why you find that illogical.

DAVID: It is an illogical extension from what we know about our very advanced different brain which shrank from hard thought, with no sign of expansion except in tiny designated areas from its very advanced complexification mechanism. You've seized on the latter because it fits your hopes for a non-god natural expansion. All hope, no support anywhere.

Nothing to do with “non-god”, since your God may be the designer of the mechanism. Once more: if hard thought caused shrinkage, we would not have any brain left! Our brain shrank, as you keep agreeing and forgetting, because complexification – which took over when the brain stopped expanding - proved to be so efficient that part of the brain became redundant. I have “seized on” the fact that the brain changes IN RESPONSE to new demands, so try again: why is it illogical to suppose that it did NOT do so in earlier times?

DAVID: We both agree the hardest part is new design. Putting the design together is easy, but I admit there may have to be a little easy trial and error.

If it’s the very first design of its kind, there could be a lot of trial and error. So what? Our disagreement concerns “hard thinking” as the cause of expansion (me) or the result of expansion (you).

DAVID: I note your theorizing does not fit my practical experience using our current advanced brain, which complexifies easily and shrank 150 cc. We do not know if previous hominin brains had any shrinkage before expanding. My guess is they did not as the drive was always for enlargement as God evolved each step.

What has your practical experience taught you that I have not agreed to? Of course there would have been no shrinkage in previous brains. The whole point of my theory is that whatever complexification may have taken place would not have been efficient enough to cope with new demands, and that is why the brain had to expand!

dhw: Why would the thinking soul depend on the non-thinking brain's expansion before it can think of a new idea based on EXISTING information? Your statement above [“Build a big enough complex brain and it can then conceive of what it couldn’t think of before” fits in perfectly with materialism, with the brain as the source of thought.

DAVID: I have never agreed to this distortion of my thoughts. For the last time, hopefully: the soul uses the brain to form thinking and concepts. [dhw: Yes, that is dualism.] It can only form advanced concepts if the brain it is given to use allows more advanced concepts than the last smaller brain, which in my view is always the case. That view is based on known history: each brain size advance is in the frontal and prefrontal areas where such thought takes place.

You constantly resort to the nebulous word “allow”. If by that you mean the brain must be large enough for the initial concept to be developed and produced, we are in agreement. We only disagree on the vital question of timing. You constantly agree that the dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement (= design and produce) its concepts. So why would the brain need to expand if the soul is only using EXISTING information to form its new concept? Small brained homo has new idea: kill from distance. You claim that God has to expand his brain BEFORE his soul can think of this. I propose that this is the thought that triggers the process of hard thinking, which in turn expands the brain. (But once expanded, it can cope with new ideas until the next “big one”, which leads to the next expansion.)

DAVID: The problem with your theory is it is a lonely thought only in your brain. Leaving the natural level of our discussion, I believe God ran evolution and expanded each brain giving it much improved conceptualization capacity for the soul to work with. Our current brain is not at all like previous brains in its thought capacity and complexification process

The dualist’s brain does not have a “conceptualization” or “thought” capacity, as the dualist’s soul does the conceiving and thinking. That’s one of the problems with your theory, remember? But yes the increased amount of information and capacity for implementation will provide lots more material for the soul to use.

DAVID: Remember our adult brain does not grow new neurons in the cortex but does in the hippocampus. Enlargement is due to more dendrites and synapse connections and more astrocytes, not neurons. How does that fit your 'theory'? In your view the previous brains had to be totally different and ours somehow developed as the oddball!

Since the brain stopped expanding and gave way to complexification, of course it had to have more connections and its response process is different! How does that come to mean that the early homo’s frontal and pre-frontal cortex had to expand before his soul could have a new idea based on EXISTING information? And how does it prove that the brain had to change in anticipation of new tasks and not in response to them?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 29, 2020, 20:01 (27 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: It is the process of tackling new tasks that changes (complexifies) the modern brain, and I propose that the same process would have changed (expanded) the earlier brains. Now tell me why you find that illogical.

DAVID: It is an illogical extension from what we know about our very advanced different brain which shrank from hard thought, with no sign of expansion except in tiny designated areas from its very advanced complexification mechanism. You've seized on the latter because it fits your hopes for a non-god natural expansion. All hope, no support anywhere.

dhw: Nothing to do with “non-god”, since your God may be the designer of the mechanism. Once more: if hard thought caused shrinkage, we would not have any brain left! Our brain shrank, as you keep agreeing and forgetting, because complexification – which took over when the brain stopped expanding - proved to be so efficient that part of the brain became redundant.

I forget nothing!!! Your explanation describes our brain as fully different and specialized compared to previous brains and hard thought shrank it a limited degree. We agree to that much. As for your God mechanisms, they are always dragged in when you have no other escape. Current,y we are trying to discuss a 'natural' mechanism of brain growth, according to you from hard thought to come up with a new artifact concept.

dhw: I have “seized on” the fact that the brain changes IN RESPONSE to new demands, so try again: why is it illogical to suppose that it did NOT do so in earlier times?

Not illogical, a total invention since the archaeological article all presume the bigger brains made better artifacts, and you introduce a weird timing for the thought and production that no one discusses, but you.

DAVID: I have never agreed to this distortion of my thoughts. For the last time, hopefully: the soul uses the brain to form thinking and concepts. [dhw: Yes, that is dualism.] It can only form advanced concepts if the brain it is given to use allows more advanced concepts than the last smaller brain, which in my view is always the case. That view is based on known history: each brain size advance is in the frontal and prefrontal areas where such thought takes place.

dhw: You constantly resort to the nebulous word “allow”. If by that you mean the brain must be large enough for the initial concept to be developed and produced, we are in agreement. We only disagree on the vital question of timing. You constantly agree that the dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement (= design and produce) its concepts. So why would the brain need to expand if the soul is only using EXISTING information to form its new concept?

Not my concept of new ideas. It's yours alone. A new-sized brain is built with more neurons in more complex networks allowing the soul to think more complexly to reach new designs while using known present information. Better brain first always.

DAVID: The problem with your theory is it is a lonely thought only in your brain. Leaving the natural level of our discussion, I believe God ran evolution and expanded each brain giving it much improved conceptualization capacity for the soul to work with. Our current brain is not at all like previous brains in its thought capacity and complexification process

dhw: The dualist’s brain does not have a “conceptualization” or “thought” capacity, as the dualist’s soul does the conceiving and thinking. That’s one of the problems with your theory, remember?

Why contort my theory??? The bigger newer more complex brain allows the soul to use it to conceive of the more complex concepts. The soul must use the brain it is given to think with to have any thoughts at all

DAVID: Remember our adult brain does not grow new neurons in the cortex but does in the hippocampus. Enlargement is due to more dendrites and synapse connections and more astrocytes, not neurons. How does that fit your 'theory'? In your view the previous brains had to be totally different and ours somehow developed as the oddball!

dhw: Since the brain stopped expanding and gave way to complexification, of course it had to have more connections and its response process is different! How does that come to mean that the early homo’s frontal and pre-frontal cortex had to expand before his soul could have a new idea based on EXISTING information? And how does it prove that the brain had to change in anticipation of new tasks and not in response to them?

Again the same distortion. It is not the existing information that is the vital point. The new brain knows existing information when it starts to think of a new design, but the conceptualization of the immaterial design requires a neuronal network complex enough to have that new complex thought. The new larger brain provides that neuronal complexity in the newly enlarged frontal and prefrontal lobes for the soul to think of it. Remember all enlargement is in the thinking areas, and no where else.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Thursday, April 30, 2020, 15:30 (27 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] if hard thought caused shrinkage, we would not have any brain left! Our brain shrank, as you keep agreeing and forgetting, because complexification – which took over when the brain stopped expanding - proved to be so efficient that part of the brain became redundant.

DAVID: I forget nothing!!! Your explanation describes our brain as fully different and specialized compared to previous brains and hard thought shrank it a limited degree. We agree to that much.

Not “fully” different, and as regards shrinkage, please reread the bold.

David: As for your God mechanisms, they are always dragged in when you have no other escape. […]

You always “drag in” this silly objection to any theory of evolution that is different from yours. A god who directly controls absolutely everything is no less a guess than a God who invents a mechanism to allow things to occur without his permanent dabbling.

dhw: I have “seized on” the fact that the brain changes IN RESPONSE to new demands, so try again: why is it illogical to suppose that it did NOT do so in earlier times?

DAVID: Not illogical, a total invention since the archaeological article all presume the bigger brains made better artifacts, and you introduce a weird timing for the thought and production that no one discusses, but you.

Of course bigger brains made better artefacts, but the articles don’t discuss how or why the brains got bigger! Please quote an article stating that God expanded pre-sapiens brains before pre-sapiens souls could come up with any new ideas.

dhw: […] You constantly agree that the dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement (= design and produce) its concepts. So why would the brain need to expand if the soul is only using EXISTING information to form its new concept?

DAVID: Not my concept of new ideas. It's yours alone. A new-sized brain is built with more neurons in more complex networks allowing the soul to think more complexly to reach new designs while using known present information. Better brain first always.

Once you have the new size brain, of course it provides more information and implements more new ideas. Again you skip the issue, which is WHY the old size brain becomes the new-size brain! Using our simplified example of a spear: new idea, based on EXISTING information: a means of killing from a distance. Why is this not your concept of a new idea? Now follows the process: how to kill from a distance? This question requires HARD THINKING. And so from that initial idea arises the concept of a sharp tool thrown from a distance etc. until, after more and more HARD THINKING, our homo produces the artefact. HARD THINKING is known to cause changes to the brain. By the time the artefact is made, the brain has expanded. Please tell me why you find this illogical.

I’m going to skip the section dealing with your constant references to the brain’s thinking capacity, because it recurs during the following objection to my theory:

DAVID: It is not the existing information that is the vital point. The new brain knows existing information when it starts to think of a new design….

Stop right there. Our problem is why there is a new brain in the first place! You have skipped to the point at which the new brain already exists! (And dualists don’t believe the brain thinks…)

DAVID: …but the conceptualization of the immaterial design requires a neuronal network complex enough to have that new complex thought…

Once more you the dualist are attributing thought to the neuronal network. (My theory covers both the dualistic and the materialistic view of the source of thought.) According to your belief, it should be the soul that works out the immaterial design, using information supplied by the neuronal network, and the soul will then go on to use the neuronal network to give material form to the immaterial design.

DAVID: …The new larger brain provides that neuronal complexity in the newly enlarged frontal and prefrontal lobes for the soul to think of it

dhw: So the neural network apparently has the thought without which the soul cannot think of the thought!

DAVID: Remember all enlargement is in the thinking areas, and no where else.

But this does not explain why the thinking areas expanded in the first place! Back to the spear example and following your dualism: the soul uses the brain to acquire information. The idea “kill from a distance” arises out of EXISTING information. That IS the vital point. In order for the new idea to be developed/implemented/designed/ produced, it requires NEW information. And that is how it triggers “hard thinking”, and “hard thinking” is a process which we know makes changes to the brain. Once the new brain is there, it will carry on providing information and implementing ideas until a new “big idea” comes along and demands more information than the existing brain can supply, plus new actions which also entail a learning process (a bit like reading or playing an instrument). So long as you ignore the importance of the old brain’s new idea based on existing information, you will continued to miss the point that a new idea or task or demand is the trigger for HARD THINKING,which is known to change the brain, and so long as you the dualist continue to attribute thought to the brain, you will continue to contradict yourself.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 30, 2020, 20:13 (26 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Thursday, April 30, 2020, 20:30

dhw: […] if hard thought caused shrinkage, we would not have any brain left! Our brain shrank, as you keep agreeing and forgetting, because complexification – which took over when the brain stopped expanding - proved to be so efficient that part of the brain became redundant.

DAVID: I forget nothing!!! Your explanation describes our brain as fully different and specialized compared to previous brains and hard thought shrank it a limited degree. We agree to that much.

dhw: Not “fully” different, and as regards shrinkage, please reread the bold.

The bold defines a brain different from its predecessors


dhw: […] You constantly agree that the dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement (= design and produce) its concepts. So why would the brain need to expand if the soul is only using EXISTING information to form its new concept?

DAVID: Not my concept of new ideas. It's yours alone. A new-sized brain is built with more neurons in more complex networks allowing the soul to think more complexly to reach new designs while using known present information. Better brain first always.

dhw: Once you have the new size brain, of course it provides more information and implements more new ideas. Again you skip the issue, which is WHY the old size brain becomes the new-size brain! ... how to kill from a distance? This question requires HARD THINKING. And so from that initial idea arises the concept of a sharp tool thrown from a distance etc. until, after more and more HARD THINKING, our homo produces the artefact. HARD THINKING is known to cause changes to the brain. By the time the artefact is made, the brain has expanded.

In our brain, our only known example, hard thinking shrinks brains. You've invented a theory no one supports, but you on a natural level of discussion. For me the concept of God enlarging brains is the answer.


dhw: I’m going to skip the section dealing with your constant references to the brain’s thinking capacity, because it recurs during the following objection to my theory:

DAVID: It is not the existing information that is the vital point. The new brain knows existing information when it starts to think of a new design….

Stop right there. Our problem is why there is a new brain in the first place! You have skipped to the point at which the new brain already exists!

DAVID: …but the conceptualization of the immaterial design requires a neuronal network complex enough to have that new complex thought…

dhw: (My theory covers both the dualistic and the materialistic view of the source of thought.) According to your belief, it should be the soul that works out the immaterial design, using information supplied by the neuronal network, and the soul will then go on to use the neuronal network to give material form to the immaterial design.

Not my theory: The soul must use the existing brain neuronal network to think. More complex larger network more advanced conceptualization by the soul. If you want to use my theory, please get it correctly!


DAVID: …The new larger brain provides that neuronal complexity in the newly enlarged frontal and prefrontal lobes for the soul to think of it

dhw: So the neural network apparently has the thought without which the soul cannot think of the thought!

Still confused. The soul must use the brain to think, just as I use my brain to think.


DAVID: Remember all enlargement is in the thinking areas, and no where else.

dhw: But this does not explain why the thinking areas expanded in the first place! Back to the spear example and following your dualism: the soul uses the brain to acquire information. The idea “kill from a distance” arises out of EXISTING information.

And the design of the new weapon comes from the soul using that info, then conceptualizes a new design using the more advanced brain neuronal networks

dhw: That IS the vital point. In order for the new idea to be developed/implemented/designed/ produced, it requires NEW information. And that is how it triggers “hard thinking”, and “hard thinking” is a process which we know makes changes to the brain.

Only tiny areas!!! From that You invent a theory with no support anywhere..

dhw: Once the new brain is there, it will carry on providing information and implementing ideas until a new “big idea” comes along and demands more information than the existing brain can supply, plus new actions which also entail a learning process. So long as you ignore the importance of the old brain’s new idea based on existing information, you will continued to miss the point that a new idea or task or demand is the trigger for HARD THINKING,which is known to change the brain, and so long as you the dualist continue to attribute thought to the brain, you will continue to contradict yourself.

No contradiction if you fully understood my dualism. You still don't understand how I view my dualism: REPEAT, the soul must use brain neuronal networks to think. Your theory is based on our brain which is totally different from past brains. All we know is hard thinking shrinks our brain. For me God evolved new-sized brains. We see few evidences of massive conceptualization until we learned to use our brain in the past 50,000 years as language developed

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Friday, May 01, 2020, 11:42 (26 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] if hard thought caused shrinkage, we would not have any brain left! Our brain shrank, as you keep agreeing and forgetting, because complexification – which took over when the brain stopped expanding - proved to be so efficient that part of the brain became redundant.

DAVID: I forget nothing!!! Your explanation describes our brain as fully different and specialized compared to previous brains and hard thought shrank it a limited degree. We agree to that much.

dhw: Not “fully” different, and as regards shrinkage, please reread the bold.

DAVID: The bold defines a brain different from its predecessors.

Of course it’s different! It stopped expanding and complexification took over. But earlier brains also had a frontal and a prefrontal cortex, and they had sections which provided information and enabled the homo to implement his ideas.
[…]
DAVID: Remember all enlargement is in the thinking areas, and no where else.

dhw: But this does not explain why the thinking areas expanded in the first place! Back to the spear example and following your dualism: the soul uses the brain to acquire information. The idea “kill from a distance” arises out of EXISTING information.

DAVID: And the design of the new weapon comes from the soul using that info, then conceptualizes a new design using the more advanced brain neuronal networks.

Once again you ignore the point that in our example small-brain’s new idea “kill from a distance” was the beginning of the process. Yes, the design requires and in my theory causes expansion, but you insist that only the newly expanded brain could have come up with that new idea in the first place although no new information or design was yet needed.

dhw: That IS the vital point. In order for the new idea to be developed/implemented/designed/ produced, it requires NEW information. And that is how it triggers “hard thinking”, and “hard thinking” is a process which we know makes changes to the brain.

DAVID: Only tiny areas!!! From that You invent a theory with no support anywhere.

You keep harping on about the mini-expansions and ignoring the overall process: HARD THINKING causes changes in the brain. In modern brains, which have stopped expanding, those changes are complexifications and minor expansions (with shrinkage the result of efficient complexification). In earlier brains the change would have been expansion. The focal point is that brains change IN RESPONSE to new ideas, tasks, demands.

dhw: Once the new brain is there, it will carry on providing information and implementing ideas until a new “big idea” comes along and demands more information than the existing brain can supply, plus new actions which also entail a learning process. So long as you ignore the importance of the old brain’s new idea based on existing information, you will continued to miss the point that a new idea or task or demand is the trigger for HARD THINKING,which is known to change the brain, and so long as you the dualist continue to attribute thought to the brain, you will continue to contradict yourself.

I am inserting numbers to make it easier to respond to your different points.

DAVID: You still don't understand how I view my dualism: REPEAT,1) the soul must use brain neuronal networks to think. Your theory is based on our brain 2) which is totally different from past brains. 3) All we know is hard thinking shrinks our brain. For me God evolved new-sized brains. 4) We see few evidences of massive conceptualization until we learned to use our brain in the past 50,000 years as language developed.

1)The dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its thoughts. See the new thread on “Dualism”.
2)It is not “totally” different (see above). It is a huge advance, but it performs the same functions as earlier brains, although it no longer expands. Complexification has taken over from expansion (apart from minor expansions). The dualist’s soul will have retained everything that was learned from earlier brains, and will have benefited from the increased capacity for obtaining and storing knowledge and for implementing new ideas.
3)Hard thinking does not shrink brains (see above and about ten earlier posts). What we know is that the brain responds to new tasks, ideas, demands by making changes to itself. Why do keep denying or ignoring this known fact?
4)Irrelevant. All phases of expansions have been followed by long periods of stasis (= nothing much happens). How does a long period of stasis prove that God dabbled with each smaller brain before it could come up with any new ideas?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, May 01, 2020, 21:26 (25 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Only tiny areas!!! From that You invent a theory with no support anywhere.

dhw: You keep harping on about the mini-expansions and ignoring the overall process: HARD THINKING causes changes in the brain. In modern brains, which have stopped expanding, those changes are complexifications and minor expansions (with shrinkage the result of efficient complexification). In earlier brains the change would have been expansion. The focal point is that brains change IN RESPONSE to new ideas, tasks, demands.

Hard thinking caused our brain, the only example we have to shrink 150 cc. Because you've decided you must find a natural cause of expansion, you seized on the tiny expansion in our very different advanced brain to invent the theory that hard thought in the past blew up brains to a much bigger size. Pure imagination can invent a cause for anything.


dhw: Once the new brain is there, it will carry on providing information and implementing ideas until a new “big idea” comes along and demands more information than the existing brain can supply, plus new actions which also entail a learning process. So long as you ignore the importance of the old brain’s new idea based on existing information, you will continued to miss the point that a new idea or task or demand is the trigger for HARD THINKING,which is known to change the brain, and so long as you the dualist continue to attribute thought to the brain, you will continue to contradict yourself.

I am inserting numbers to make it easier to respond to your different points.

DAVID: You still don't understand how I view my dualism: REPEAT,1) the soul must use brain neuronal networks to think. Your theory is based on our brain 2) which is totally different from past brains. 3) All we know is hard thinking shrinks our brain. For me God evolved new-sized brains. 4) We see few evidences of massive conceptualization until we learned to use our brain in the past 50,000 years as language developed.

dhw: 1)The dualist’s soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its thoughts.

Not my theory. The soul must use the brain networks to have thoughts. and of course uses the brain's memory of background information.

dhw: 2)It is not “totally” different (see above). It is a huge advance, but it performs the same functions as earlier brains, although it no longer expands. Complexification has taken over from expansion (apart from minor expansions). The dualist’s soul will have retained everything that was learned from earlier brains, and will have benefited from the increased capacity for obtaining and storing knowledge and for implementing new ideas.

Not exactly my theory, as you present it. The soul works with the brain networks to access the remembered information, and uses the advanced neuronal networks to develop advanced thoughts.

dhw: 3)Hard thinking does not shrink brains (see above and about ten earlier posts). What we know is that the brain responds to new tasks, ideas, demands by making changes to itself. Why do keep denying or ignoring this known fact?

Absurd!!! Where did 150 cc go? Once we sapiens learned to use our new bigger brain, that happened in the past 35,000 years, while we appeared about 315,000 years ago with the current discoveries. 'Learning' is implied by 280,000 years of a persistent larger size and if hard thinking blew it up to larger size, why the gap in time for learning to use?

dhw: 4)Irrelevant. All phases of expansions have been followed by long periods of stasis (= nothing much happens). How does a long period of stasis prove that God dabbled with each smaller brain before it could come up with any new ideas?

The obvious learning periods you call 'stasis' implying nothing was happening in those neurons is totally illogical. At some point in each new stage they invented new artifacts, after an active learning period. The real stasis is your thought in concrete that hard thought blows up brains to new size. Does anyone support your theory?

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Saturday, May 02, 2020, 11:00 (25 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Only tiny areas!!! From that You invent a theory with no support anywhere.

dhw: You keep harping on about the mini-expansions and ignoring the overall process: HARD THINKING causes changes in the brain. In modern brains, which have stopped expanding, those changes are complexifications and minor expansions (with shrinkage the result of efficient complexification). In earlier brains the change would have been expansion. The focal point is that brains change IN RESPONSE to new ideas, tasks, demands.

DAVID: Hard thinking caused our brain, the only example we have to shrink 150 cc. Because you've decided you must find a natural cause of expansion, you seized on the tiny expansion in our very different advanced brain to invent the theory that hard thought in the past blew up brains to a much bigger size. Pure imagination can invent a cause for anything.

I don’t know why you continually ignore everything I write on this subject. I did not seize on the tiny expansions, and I have explained shrinkage as being due to the efficiency of complexification (and once upon a time, you agreed). What I seized on is the fact that the modern brain CHANGES IN RESPONSE TO NEW IDEAS, TASKS, DEMANDS. It does not change in anticipation of those ideas, tasks, demands. The changes in the modern brain are complexifications and minor expansions, because for some reason (I offered one which you rejected) the modern brain is no longer expanding. The earlier brain did expand. It is therefore perfectly logical to propose that changes in the earlier brain were also IN RESPONSE TO NEW IDEAS, TASKS, DEMANDS, but the change then was expansion. It is not the tiny expansions but the process that I have “seized on”.

I will skip the references to dualism, as they are dealt with on that thread. Here is your answer to the above:

dhw: 3)Hard thinking does not shrink brains (see above and about ten earlier posts). What we know is that the brain responds to new tasks, ideas, demands by making changes to itself. Why do keep denying or ignoring this known fact?

DAVID: Absurd!!! Where did 150 cc go? Once we sapiens learned to use our new bigger brain, that happened in the past 35,000 years, while we appeared about 315,000 years ago with the current discoveries. 'Learning' is implied by 280,000 years of a persistent larger size and if hard thinking blew it up to larger size, why the gap in time for learning to use?

I have no idea where the 150 cc went. Tell me. And while you’re at it, if hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, do you expect it eventually to be a dot? If our new brain did not produce anything special for 280,000 years, what was it “learning”? Our pre-sapiens ancestors underwent different stages of expansion. After each one, nothing much happened – i.e. there were long periods of “comparative stasis” which were actually far longer than 280,000 years.There may have been mini-improvements (hence “comparative” stasis), but my theory is that the status quo was broken by what I call the “big idea”, which demanded an increase in capacity. After sapiens acquired the larger brain - we don't know what was the "big idea", but the same applies equally to your own theory! – the process repeats itself: newly expanded brain followed by long period of comparative stasis. We don’t know what triggered the leap forward after 280,000 years, but since for whatever reason the brain no longer expanded, the hard thinking led to complexification instead of expansion. Why do you find this illogical?

dhw: 4)All phases of expansions have been followed by long periods of stasis (= nothing much happens). How does a long period of stasis prove that God dabbled with each smaller brain before it could come up with any new ideas?

DAVID: The obvious learning periods you call 'stasis' implying nothing was happening in those neurons is totally illogical. At some point in each new stage they invented new artifacts, after an active learning period.

No doubt something was happening in those neurons all the time, unless you think every homo was a robot. But what was happening during those periods of comparative stasis was not major enough to require expansion. That is why I keep suggesting that each expansion would have resulted from some idea, task, demand which required greater capacity. (We took the first spear as a possible example to illustrate the process.)

DAVID: The real stasis is your thought in concrete that hard thought blows up brains to new size. Does anyone support your theory?

It is only a theory, but you have not yet produced a single argument to counter its logic. I have no idea if the theory is original. Now please tell us who supports the theory that the soul was incapable of producing new ideas until God directly expanded the brains of all the different homos who preceded H. sapiens, although the only brain he actually wanted to produce was that of H. sapiens.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 02, 2020, 21:02 (24 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I don’t know why you continually ignore everything I write on this subject

Why do you complain? I don't ignore anything you state about expanding brains. I just accept none of it in my explanations.

dhw: The earlier brain did expand. It is therefore perfectly logical to propose that changes in the earlier brain were also IN RESPONSE TO NEW IDEAS, TASKS, DEMANDS, but the change then was expansion. It is not the tiny expansions but the process that I have “seized on”.

Your problem is your need for a natural reason for expansion, but not a God-given one.

dhw: 3)Hard thinking does not shrink brains (see above and about ten earlier posts). What we know is that the brain responds to new tasks, ideas, demands by making changes to itself. Why do keep denying or ignoring this known fact?

DAVID: Absurd!!! Where did 150 cc go? Once we sapiens learned to use our new bigger brain, that happened in the past 35,000 years, while we appeared about 315,000 years ago with the current discoveries. 'Learning' is implied by 280,000 years of a persistent larger size and if hard thinking blew it up to larger size, why the gap in time for learning to use?

dhw: I have no idea where the 150 cc went. Tell me. And while you’re at it, if hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, do you expect it eventually to be a dot?

Ridiculous extension of thought.

dhw: If our new brain did not produce anything special for 280,000 years, what was it “learning”?

How to use it bit by bit. How did you learn your first computer?

dhw: my theory is that the status quo was broken by what I call the “big idea”, which demanded an increase in capacity. After sapiens acquired the larger brain - we don't know what was the "big idea", but the same applies equally to your own theory!

My theory is God did it beforehand. I'm debating the possibility of your totally unsupported natural theory


dhw: 4)All phases of expansions have been followed by long periods of stasis (= nothing much happens). How does a long period of stasis prove that God dabbled with each smaller brain before it could come up with any new ideas?

DAVID: The obvious learning periods you call 'stasis' implying nothing was happening in those neurons is totally illogical. At some point in each new stage they invented new artifacts, after an active learning period.

dhw: No doubt something was happening in those neurons all the time, unless you think every homo was a robot. But what was happening during those periods of comparative stasis was not major enough to require expansion. That is why I keep suggesting that each expansion would have resulted from some idea, task, demand which required greater capacity. (We took the first spear as a possible example to illustrate the process.)

DAVID: The real stasis is your thought in concrete that hard thought blows up brains to new size. Does anyone support your theory?

dhw: It is only a theory, but you have not yet produced a single argument to counter its logic. I have no idea if the theory is original. Now please tell us who supports the theory that the soul was incapable of producing new ideas until God directly expanded the brains of all the different homos who preceded H. sapiens, although the only brain he actually wanted to produce was that of H. sapiens.

All of ID supports the theory that a designer made each advance. Each major advance needs a new sized complex brain. See the next entry re erectus and language. Note the author assumes the new enlargement just appeared, no reason for the enlargement a given.

Brain Expansion: enlargement and language

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 02, 2020, 21:34 (24 days ago) @ David Turell

A very long essay claiming erectus had early language and speech:

https://aeon.co/essays/tools-and-voyages-suggest-that-homo-erectus-invented-language

"we need to travel back in time at least 1.9 million years ago to the birth of Homo erectus, as they emerged from the ancient process of primate evolution. Erectus had nearly double the brain size of any previous hominin, walked habitually upright, were superb hunters, travelled the world, and sailed to ocean islands. And somewhere along the way they got language. Yes, erectus. Not Neanderthals. Not sapiens. And if erectus invented language, this means that Neanderthals, born more than a million years later, entered a world already linguistic.

***

"Erectus was an imposing creature. Males stood between 173 cm and 180 cm. Their immediate ancestors, the Australopithecine males, were only about 137 cm tall (their immediate ancestors might have been Homo habilis, but only if we accept that habilis were not Australopithecines, or that they were a separate species from Homo erectus, neither of which is clear). The brains of these early humans averaged around 950 cubic centimetres in volume, double the size of the Australopithecines, though smaller than those of male Neanderthals (1,450 ccs) and sapiens (1,250-1,300 ccs), but still within the range of modern sapiens females. The vocal apparatus of erectus might not have been much more advanced than that of a modern gorilla or it might have been more similar to ours. But whether their speech sounded different than ours or not, it was nevertheless adequate for language.

"Evidence that erectus had language comes from their settlements, their art, their symbols, their sailing ability and their tools. Erectus settlements are found throughout most of the old world. And, most importantly for the idea that erectus had language, open oceans were not barriers to their travel.

***

"Evidence from the erectus settlement studied at Gesher Benot Ya’aqov in Israel, for example, suggests not only that erectus controlled fire but that their settlements were planned. One area was used for plant-food processing, another for animal-material processing, and yet another for communal life. Erectus, incredibly, also made sea craft. Sea travel is the only way to explain the island settlements of Wallacea (Indonesia), Crete and, in the Arabian Sea, Socotra. None of these were accessible to erectus except by crossing open ocean, then and now. These island cultural sites demonstrate that erectus was capable of constructing seaworthy crafts capable of carrying 20 people or more. According to most archaeologists, 20 individuals would have been the minimum required to found the settlements discovered.

***

"Erectus had relative shortcomings of course, beyond possibly lacking the range of sounds of modern humans. It also lacked the modern form of the important FOXP2 gene that sapiens have. Do the shortcomings of vocal apparatus and primitive genes pose a problem for the idea that erectus had language? Not at all. For example, the evolution of speech was triggered by language – as we developed languages, the modes of expressing them improved over time. Yes, sapiens speech is likely better than erectus speech. But this doesn’t mean that erectus lacked speech. Any mammal could have speech with the sounds they are capable of producing today. They just need the right kind of brain. The sapiens version of FOXP2 helps us to articulate sounds more easily and to think more quickly and efficiently than erectus. But it is not a ‘language gene’. And though erectus might have had, as it were, the ‘Model T’ version of this gene while we possess the ‘Tesla version’, their ‘primitive’ FOXP2 would not have deprived them of language. FOXP2 and other genes adapted partially due to evolutionary pressure from language and culture. (my bold)

***

"Erectus was physically capable of at least as many sounds as a gorilla or my laptop’s binary language. In fact, even with the same vocal apparatus, erectus likely could have made many more sounds than gorillas because of its more advanced brain. Chimps don’t talk because they don’t have the brains to support symbols, not because they lack the right vocal apparatus.

***

"The conclusion that erectus invented language through their higher intelligence and cultural development is strong, as evidenced by the archaeological record. But if language is merely a technology based on symbols and grammar, other creatures could have also discovered it. If they didn’t, it would be because they lack culture. "

Comment: McCrone, my resident expert on early language and speech thought erectus could easily manage five simple words a minute (PG. 128 in SVR book). Note my bold which states your idea and I agree with it: all authors assume the brain simply enlarged, no cause give other than evolution did it. The key thought for me is the bold which makes the point that only a large advanced brain can produce the artifacts such as language. And I think you have the whole process backward. Only an advanced brain can have advanced thoughts. You want the thought before the brain is capable of it. We will never agree on this point. Very long essay, worth reading, since it encapsulates all the amazing things erectus did.

Brain Expansion: enlargement and language

by dhw, Sunday, May 03, 2020, 12:54 (24 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A very long essay claiming erectus had early language and speech:
https://aeon.co/essays/tools-and-voyages-suggest-that-homo-erectus-invented-language

QUOTE bolded by David: Any mammal could have speech with the sounds they are capable of producing today. They just need the right kind of brain.

DAVID: McCrone, my resident expert on early language and speech thought erectus could easily manage five simple words a minute (PG. 128 in SVR book). Note my bold which states your idea and I agree with it: all authors assume the brain simply enlarged, no cause give other than evolution did it. The key thought for me is the bold which makes the point that only a large advanced brain can produce the artifacts such as language. And I think you have the whole process backward. Only an advanced brain can have advanced thoughts. You want the thought before the brain is capable of it. We will never agree on this point.

Thank you for this fascinating article and for editing it for us. First of all, it is absurd to imagine that any mammal or for that matter any life form can continue to exist without some form of “language” (i.e. means of communication), but this will depend on what kind of communication the body allows. The production of sound depends on the brain and its connections with the sound-producing organs. This is all blindingly obvious. The “key thought” that you have extrapolated from your bold ignores the question of how the brain and the organs developed the ability to produce the sounds of human language. And that is what brings us straight back to the discussion under brain expansion. Yet again (my bold), you have the brain having advanced thoughts, and the brain being capable of thought. This may well be so, but I don't want to digress here with the materialistic version of my theory, and will therefore stick to your professed dualism. In dualism it is the soul that does the thinking, while using the brain for information and implementation (you added memory to this). We know that hard thinking changes the modern brain. Thought precedes speech. The soul has something to express, sound is the medium through which it is to be expressed, and the brain and the sound-producing organs are the material means that enable implementation. If we accept the findings relating to the modern brain, then it is the effort to give material expression to the thought that changes the brain and, in this case,I suggest it would change the sound-producing organs as well. In other words, based on processes that govern the only brain we know, you have the whole process backwards: thought precedes brain change.

Brain Expansion: enlargement and language

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 03, 2020, 14:56 (24 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A very long essay claiming erectus had early language and speech:
https://aeon.co/essays/tools-and-voyages-suggest-that-homo-erectus-invented-language

QUOTE bolded by David: Any mammal could have speech with the sounds they are capable of producing today. They just need the right kind of brain.

DAVID: McCrone, my resident expert on early language and speech thought erectus could easily manage five simple words a minute (PG. 128 in SVR book). Note my bold which states your idea and I agree with it: all authors assume the brain simply enlarged, no cause give other than evolution did it. The key thought for me is the bold which makes the point that only a large advanced brain can produce the artifacts such as language. And I think you have the whole process backward. Only an advanced brain can have advanced thoughts. You want the thought before the brain is capable of it. We will never agree on this point.

dhw: Thank you for this fascinating article and for editing it for us. First of all, it is absurd to imagine that any mammal or for that matter any life form can continue to exist without some form of “language” (i.e. means of communication), but this will depend on what kind of communication the body allows. The production of sound depends on the brain and its connections with the sound-producing organs. This is all blindingly obvious. The “key thought” that you have extrapolated from your bold ignores the question of how the brain and the organs developed the ability to produce the sounds of human language. And that is what brings us straight back to the discussion under brain expansion. Yet again (my bold), you have the brain having advanced thoughts, and the brain being capable of thought. This may well be so, but I don't want to digress here with the materialistic version of my theory, and will therefore stick to your professed dualism. In dualism it is the soul that does the thinking, while using the brain for information and implementation (you added memory to this). We know that hard thinking changes the modern brain. Thought precedes speech. The soul has something to express, sound is the medium through which it is to be expressed, and the brain and the sound-producing organs are the material means that enable implementation. If we accept the findings relating to the modern brain, then it is the effort to give material expression to the thought that changes the brain and, in this case,I suggest it would change the sound-producing organs as well. In other words, based on processes that govern the only brain we know, you have the whole process backwards: thought precedes brain change.

In the bold you have given your definition of dualism, which is not mine. Repeated again: My dualism believes my soul is my essence and in life uses my brain to think. The soul can only think by itself when detached from my brain in death. NDE's fit this concept beautifully.

As for your backward approach to the evolution of the brain, I am fully convinced the level of advanced complex thought produced by the soul using the brain is dependent upon the advanced complexity of the brain the soul uses.

Brain Expansion: enlargement and language

by dhw, Monday, May 04, 2020, 10:07 (23 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A very long essay claiming erectus had early language and speech:
https://aeon.co/essays/tools-and-voyages-suggest-that-homo-erectus-invented-language

QUOTE bolded by David: Any mammal could have speech with the sounds they are capable of producing today. They just need the right kind of brain.

DAVID: McCrone, my resident expert on early language and speech thought erectus could easily manage five simple words a minute (PG. 128 in SVR book). Note my bold which states your idea and I agree with it: all authors assume the brain simply enlarged, no cause give other than evolution did it. The key thought for me is the bold which makes the point that only a large advanced brain can produce the artifacts such as language. And I think you have the whole process backward. Only an advanced brain can have advanced thoughts. You want the thought before the brain is capable of it. We will never agree on this point.

dhw: Thank you for this fascinating article and for editing it for us. First of all, it is absurd to imagine that any mammal or for that matter any life form can continue to exist without some form of “language” (i.e. means of communication), but this will depend on what kind of communication the body allows. The production of sound depends on the brain and its connections with the sound-producing organs. This is all blindingly obvious. The “key thought” that you have extrapolated from your bold ignores the question of how the brain and the organs developed the ability to produce the sounds of human language. And that is what brings us straight back to the discussion under brain expansion. Yet again (my bold), you have the brain having advanced thoughts, and the brain being capable of thought. This may well be so, but I don't want to digress here with the materialistic version of my theory, and will therefore stick to your professed dualism. In dualism it is the soul that does the thinking, while using the brain for information and implementation (you added memory to this). We know that hard thinking changes the modern brain. Thought precedes speech. The soul has something to express, sound is the medium through which it is to be expressed, and the brain and the sound-producing organs are the material means that enable implementation. If we accept the findings relating to the modern brain, then it is the effort to give material expression to the thought that changes the brain and, in this case,I suggest it would change the sound-producing organs as well. In other words, based on processes that govern the only brain we know, you have the whole process backwards: thought precedes brain change.

DAVID: In the bold you have given your definition of dualism, which is not mine. Repeated again: My dualism believes my soul is my essence and in life uses my brain to think. The soul can only think by itself when detached from my brain in death. NDE's fit this concept beautifully.

See the thread on dualism.

DAVID: As for your backward approach to the evolution of the brain, I am fully convinced the level of advanced complex thought produced by the soul using the brain is dependent upon the advanced complexity of the brain the soul uses.

See the thread on brain expansion.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, May 03, 2020, 12:40 (24 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The earlier brain did expand. It is therefore perfectly logical to propose that changes in the earlier brain were also IN RESPONSE TO NEW IDEAS, TASKS, DEMANDS, but the change then was expansion. It is not the tiny expansions but the process that I have “seized on”.

DAVID: Your problem is your need for a natural reason for expansion, but not a God-given one.

So you ignore the logic of the above, and also ignore the fact that I have always allowed for the mechanism to be “God-given”. I do not have a fixed agenda but am merely trying to find a logical solution to a mystery.

dhw: 3)Hard thinking does not shrink brains (see above and about ten earlier posts). What we know is that the brain responds to new tasks, ideas, demands by making changes to itself. Why do keep denying or ignoring this known fact?

DAVID: Absurd!!! Where did 150 cc go? Once we sapiens learned to use our new bigger brain, that happened in the past 35,000 years, while we appeared about 315,000 years ago with the current discoveries. 'Learning' is implied by 280,000 years of a persistent larger size and if hard thinking blew it up to larger size, why the gap in time for learning to use?

dhw: I have no idea where the 150 cc went. Tell me. And while you’re at it, if hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, do you expect it eventually to be a dot?

DAVID: Ridiculous extension of thought.

So stop telling us that hard thought shrinks the brain. It doesn’t. Hard thought complexifies the brain, and as a result of the efficiency of complexification, 150 cc disappeared. You asked where it went. Tell us your theory.

dhw: If our new brain did not produce anything special for 280,000 years, what was it “learning”?

DAVID: How to use it bit by bit. How did you learn your first computer?

I learned to use my first computer bit by bit. What do you think early sapiens learned bit by bit for 280,000 years? What are the little bits and pieces that show gradual improvement over 280,000 years? You keep telling us that it was only in the last 35,000 years that we came up with the “current discoveries”! So there was a period of comparative stasis until along came the new “big ideas” – the same process I keep proposing for all the different stages of brain expansion. But in sapiens these ideas would have led to complexification.

dhw: ...my theory is that the status quo was broken by what I call the “big idea”, which demanded an increase in capacity. After sapiens acquired the larger brain - we don't know what was the "big idea", but the same applies equally to your own theory! – the process repeats itself.

DAVID: My theory is God did it beforehand. I'm debating the possibility of your totally unsupported natural theory.

I know your own “totally unsupported theory”. And I am waiting for some logical reason why you should reject the possibility that earlier brains might have changed (by expanding) in response to new ideas, tasks, demands, just as modern brains do (by complexifying and mini-expanding).

dhw: It is only a theory, but you have not yet produced a single argument to counter its logic. I have no idea if the theory is original. Now please tell us who supports [your theory]…see below].

DAVID: All of ID supports the theory that a designer made each advance. Each major advance needs a new sized complex brain. See the next entry re erectus and language. Note the author assumes the new enlargement just appeared, no reason for the enlargement a given.

None of these articles give a reason – that is not their concern. So you can’t use them as an argument against my theory. You say nobody supports my theory. I know ID-ers support the argument for design, but I asked you who supported the theory that the soul was incapable of producing new ideas until God directly expanded the brains of all the different homos who preceded H. sapiens, although the only brain he actually wanted to produce was that of H. sapiens. Even if somebody did, it still wouldn’t alter the fact that you have so far been
unable to produce a single argument against the logic of my theory.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 03, 2020, 15:26 (24 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: So stop telling us that hard thought shrinks the brain. It doesn’t. Hard thought complexifies the brain, and as a result of the efficiency of complexification, 150 cc disappeared. You asked where it went. Tell us your theory.

You've told us. Our special brain can complexify, and by increasing certain networks of neurons remove other areas as now unnecessary.


dhw: If our new brain did not produce anything special for 280,000 years, what was it “learning”?

DAVID: How to use it bit by bit. How did you learn your first computer?

dhw: I learned to use my first computer bit by bit. What do you think early sapiens learned bit by bit for 280,000 years? What are the little bits and pieces that show gradual improvement over 280,000 years? You keep telling us that it was only in the last 35,000 years that we came up with the “current discoveries”! So there was a period of comparative stasis until along came the new “big ideas” – the same process I keep proposing for all the different stages of brain expansion. But in sapiens these ideas would have led to complexification.

So you have again agreed our brain is different from the past. Which makes your seizing on tiny areas of growth in our brain offering no basis for assuming hard thought grew ancient brains in past early forms of hominins.


dhw: ...my theory is that the status quo was broken by what I call the “big idea”, which demanded an increase in capacity. After sapiens acquired the larger brain - we don't know what was the "big idea", but the same applies equally to your own theory! – the process repeats itself.

DAVID: My theory is God did it beforehand. I'm debating the possibility of your totally unsupported natural theory.

dhw: I know your own “totally unsupported theory”. And I am waiting for some logical reason why you should reject the possibility that earlier brains might have changed (by expanding) in response to new ideas, tasks, demands, just as modern brains do (by complexifying and mini-expanding).

We don't know how speciation works, but I'll repeat God does it.


dhw: It is only a theory, but you have not yet produced a single argument to counter its logic. I have no idea if the theory is original. Now please tell us who supports [your theory]…see below].

DAVID: All of ID supports the theory that a designer made each advance. Each major advance needs a new sized complex brain. See the next entry re erectus and language. Note the author assumes the new enlargement just appeared, no reason for the enlargement a given.

dhw: None of these articles give a reason – that is not their concern. So you can’t use them as an argument against my theory. You say nobody supports my theory. I know ID-ers support the argument for design, but I asked you who supported the theory that the soul was incapable of producing new ideas until God directly expanded the brains of all the different homos who preceded H. sapiens, although the only brain he actually wanted to produce was that of H. sapiens. Even if somebody did, it still wouldn’t alter the fact that you have so far been unable to produce a single argument against the logic of my theory.

You theory is not logical. It is wishful thinking, a total invention taken from the fact our special brain enlarges tiny areas as it complexifies.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, May 04, 2020, 10:35 (23 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So stop telling us that hard thought shrinks the brain. It doesn’t. Hard thought complexifies the brain, and as a result of the efficiency of complexification, 150 cc disappeared. You asked where it went. Tell us your theory.

DAVID: You've told us. Our special brain can complexify, and by increasing certain networks of neurons remove other areas as now unnecessary.

So why do you keep harping on about hard thinking being the cause of shrinkage when you agree that it is the result of efficient complexification?

dhw: If our new brain did not produce anything special for 280,000 years, what was it “learning”?

DAVID: How to use it bit by bit. How did you learn your first computer?

dhw: I learned to use my first computer bit by bit. What do you think early sapiens learned bit by bit for 280,000 years? What are the little bits and pieces that show gradual improvement over 280,000 years? You keep telling us that it was only in the last 35,000 years that we came up with the “current discoveries”! So there was a period of comparative stasis until along came the new “big ideas” – the same process I keep proposing for all the different stages of brain expansion. But in sapiens these ideas would have led to complexification.

DAVID: So you have again agreed our brain is different from the past. Which makes your seizing on tiny areas of growth in our brain offering no basis for assuming hard thought grew ancient brains in past early forms of hominins.

Thank you for dropping the silly argument about the brain “learning” for 280,000 years. Now please drop the silly repetition of my “seizing on” tiny areas of growth when I have told you umpteen times that I am seizing on the known PROCESS whereby hard thinking changes the brain. And yes, our brain is different: it no longer expands but complexifies. And it is far more complex than earlier brains.

dhw: ...my theory is that the status quo was broken by what I call the “big idea”, which demanded an increase in capacity. After sapiens acquired the larger brain - we don't know what was the "big idea", but the same applies equally to your own theory! – the process repeats itself.

DAVID: My theory is God did it beforehand. I'm debating the possibility of your totally unsupported natural theory.

dhw: I know your own “totally unsupported theory”. And I am waiting for some logical reason why you should reject the possibility that earlier brains might have changed (by expanding) in response to new ideas, tasks, demands, just as modern brains do (by complexifying and mini-expanding).

DAVID: We don't know how speciation works, but I'll repeat God does it.

You went on to say my theory had no support, you claimed that ID supported your theory but it doesn’t (you ignored that paragraph) and finished with the same erroneous “seize on tiny enlargements”, once again totally ignoring the all-important fact that the modern brain changes IN RESPONSE to hard thinking. I’m sorry, but your repetition of “God does it” does not provide a single logical reason for rejecting my theory!

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, May 04, 2020, 18:29 (23 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: So stop telling us that hard thought shrinks the brain. It doesn’t. Hard thought complexifies the brain, and as a result of the efficiency of complexification, 150 cc disappeared. You asked where it went. Tell us your theory.

DAVID: You've told us. Our special brain can complexify, and by increasing certain networks of neurons remove other areas as now unnecessary.

dhw: So why do you keep harping on about hard thinking being the cause of shrinkage when you agree that it is the result of efficient complexification?

Because it underscores my point that we have a special brain with this remarkable degree of complexification that can cause that much shrinkage, unlike, any previous brain


dhw: If our new brain did not produce anything special for 280,000 years, what was it “learning”?

DAVID: How to use it bit by bit. How did you learn your first computer?

dhw: I learned to use my first computer bit by bit. What do you think early sapiens learned bit by bit for 280,000 years? What are the little bits and pieces that show gradual improvement over 280,000 years? You keep telling us that it was only in the last 35,000 years that we came up with the “current discoveries”! So there was a period of comparative stasis until along came the new “big ideas” – the same process I keep proposing for all the different stages of brain expansion. But in sapiens these ideas would have led to complexification.

DAVID: So you have again agreed our brain is different from the past. Which makes your seizing on tiny areas of growth in our brain offering no basis for assuming hard thought grew ancient brains in past early forms of hominins.

dhw: Thank you for dropping the silly argument about the brain “learning” for 280,000 years. Now please drop the silly repetition of my “seizing on” tiny areas of growth when I have told you umpteen times that I am seizing on the known PROCESS whereby hard thinking changes the brain. And yes, our brain is different: it no longer expands but complexifies. And it is far more complex than earlier brains.

Thank you. then way seize upon tiny enlargements as allowing you to invent a major growth ability from hard thinking in earlier primitive brains? It simply shows a desperation for a natural cause for large brain evolution.


dhw: ...my theory is that the status quo was broken by what I call the “big idea”, which demanded an increase in capacity. After sapiens acquired the larger brain - we don't know what was the "big idea", but the same applies equally to your own theory! – the process repeats itself.

DAVID: My theory is God did it beforehand. I'm debating the possibility of your totally unsupported natural theory.

dhw: I know your own “totally unsupported theory”. And I am waiting for some logical reason why you should reject the possibility that earlier brains might have changed (by expanding) in response to new ideas, tasks, demands, just as modern brains do (by complexifying and mini-expanding).

DAVID: We don't know how speciation works, but I'll repeat God does it.

dhw: You went on to say my theory had no support, you claimed that ID supported your theory but it doesn’t (you ignored that paragraph) and finished with the same erroneous “seize on tiny enlargements”, once again totally ignoring the all-important fact that the modern brain changes IN RESPONSE to hard thinking. I’m sorry, but your repetition of “God does it” does not provide a single logical reason for rejecting my theory!

I view it as a total invention based on our very special advanced brain that is nothing like previous additions. Any way you describe it, I think it is a total pipe dream. I'll stick with God running evolution to the point of this brain appearing.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, May 05, 2020, 10:53 (22 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So stop telling us that hard thought shrinks the brain. It doesn’t. Hard thought complexifies the brain, and as a result of the efficiency of complexification, 150 cc disappeared. You asked where it went. Tell us your theory.

DAVID: You've told us. Our special brain can complexify, and by increasing certain networks of neurons remove other areas as now unnecessary.

dhw: So why do you keep harping on about hard thinking being the cause of shrinkage when you agree that it is the result of efficient complexification?

DAVID: Because it underscores my point that we have a special brain with this remarkable degree of complexification that can cause that much shrinkage, unlike, any previous brain.

Yes, it is special, and yes it has a remarkable degree of complexification. That does not mean hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, and it does not mean that if hard thinking CAUSES changes to the modern brain, it could not have CAUSED changes to the earlier brain.

dhw: Thank you for dropping the silly argument about the brain “learning” for 280,000 years. Now please drop the silly repetition of my “seizing on” tiny areas of growth when I have told you umpteen times that I am seizing on the known PROCESS whereby hard thinking changes the brain. And yes, our brain is different: it no longer expands but complexifies. And it is far more complex than earlier brains.

DAVID: Thank you. then way seize upon tiny enlargements as allowing you to invent a major growth ability from hard thinking in earlier primitive brains? It simply shows a desperation for a natural cause for large brain evolution.

As bolded above and repeated umpteen times, I have not seized upon tiny enlargements. I have seized upon the known PROCESS whereby hard thinking changes the brain. I see no logical reason why the process should have been the exact opposite in earlier brains. Your constant misrepresentation of what I keep bolding is a sign, I’m afraid, of your “desperation” to ignore the possibility that your God might have organized evolution in a different way from the way you want him to.

DAVID: We don't know how speciation works, but I'll repeat God does it.

dhw: I’m sorry, but your repetition of “God does it” does not provide a single logical reason for rejecting my theory!

DAVID: I view it as a total invention based on our very special advanced brain that is nothing like previous additions. Any way you describe it, I think it is a total pipe dream. I'll stick with God running evolution to the point of this brain appearing.

And still the only fault you can find with my theory is that it is a different pipe dream from yours.

DAVID (under “Dualism”): As for you comment about brain enlargement, my position still is God did it. Your convoluted twist about the archaeological articles dating brain size and artifacts and not really knowing when each aspect occurred is pure sophistry. The assumption in the articles is obvious.

If my theory is correct, each expansion is preceded by something that requires expansion. If the “something” is an artefact, let’s say the very first spear, then the very first spear will exist when the brain has finished expanding. Is this too convoluted for you? And why do you think the argument is designed to deceive you? As for the articles, they assume nothing. They simply do not deal with the subject. Nobody, including yourself, has yet come up with a generally accepted explanation for the series of expansions.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 05, 2020, 19:18 (22 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Because it underscores my point that we have a special brain with this remarkable degree of complexification that can cause that much shrinkage, unlike, any previous brain.

dhw: Yes, it is special, and yes it has a remarkable degree of complexification. That does not mean hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, and it does not mean that if hard thinking CAUSES changes to the modern brain, it could not have CAUSED changes to the earlier brain.

This is at a level of anything is possible. Yours is pure invention.


dhw: As bolded above and repeated umpteen times, I have not seized upon tiny enlargements. I have seized upon the known PROCESS whereby hard thinking changes the brain. I see no logical reason why the process should have been the exact opposite in earlier brains. Your constant misrepresentation of what I keep bolding is a sign, I’m afraid, of your “desperation” to ignore the possibility that your God might have organized evolution in a different way from the way you want him to.

I'm not desperate. I see evolution as a production by God. I don't invent the impression everyone has that larger brains/souls produce better artifacts. You idea is a total distortion of what is generally accepted.


DAVID: I view it as a total invention based on our very special advanced brain that is nothing like previous additions. Any way you describe it, I think it is a total pipe dream. I'll stick with God running evolution to the point of this brain appearing.

dhw: And still the only fault you can find with my theory is that it is a different pipe dream from yours.

My faith in God is not a pipe dream


DAVID (under “Dualism”): As for you comment about brain enlargement, my position still is God did it. Your convoluted twist about the archaeological articles dating brain size and artifacts and not really knowing when each aspect occurred is pure sophistry. The assumption in the articles is obvious.

dhw: If my theory is correct, each expansion is preceded by something that requires expansion. If the “something” is an artefact, let’s say the very first spear, then the very first spear will exist when the brain has finished expanding. Is this too convoluted for you? And why do you think the argument is designed to deceive you? As for the articles, they assume nothing. They simply do not deal with the subject. Nobody, including yourself, has yet come up with a generally accepted explanation for the series of expansions.

The articles assume evolution provided the expansion. You convoluted explanation is your imagination at work, with the premise that any proposal is possible. Can you find some one else to convince? It won't be me.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, May 06, 2020, 12:23 (21 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: ... it underscores my point that we have a special brain with this remarkable degree of complexification that can cause that much shrinkage, unlike, any previous brain.

dhw: Yes, it is special, and yes it has a remarkable degree of complexification. That does not mean hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, and it does not mean that if hard thinking CAUSES changes to the modern brain, it could not have CAUSED changes to the earlier brain.

DAVID: This is at a level of anything is possible. Yours is pure invention.

If it is a known fact that hard thinking causes changes to the modern brain, why is not possible that hard thinking also caused changes to the ancient brain? And why is this on a different “level” to ancient souls being incapable of having new thoughts until God enlarged their brains?

dhw: As bolded above and repeated umpteen times, I have not seized upon tiny enlargements. I have seized upon the known PROCESS whereby hard thinking changes the brain. I see no logical reason why the process should have been the exact opposite in earlier brains. Your constant misrepresentation of what I keep bolding is a sign, I’m afraid, of your “desperation” to ignore the possibility that your God might have organized evolution in a different way from the way you want him to.

DAVID: I'm not desperate. I see evolution as a production by God. I don't invent the impression everyone has that larger brains/souls produce better artifacts. You idea is a total distortion of what is generally accepted. And later: The articles assume evolution provided the expansion. You convoluted explanation is your imagination at work, with the premise that any proposal is possible. Can you find some one else to convince? It won't be me.

I didn’t know souls also expanded. That’s a new twist. Of course larger brains produce better artefacts! But nobody knows why brains expanded in the first place! There is no “generally accepted” theory. Yours is that God did it, and only then could the soul think new thoughts. Is this “generally accepted”? Evolution “providing the expansion” does not explain what might have been the cause. But I suppose I had better repeat for the umpteenth time that once each brain had expanded, the bigger brain would have continued to produce better artefacts than the previous brain until the next “big idea” required further expansion.

DAVID: I view it as a total invention based on our very special advanced brain that is nothing like previous additions. Any way you describe it, I think it is a total pipe dream. I'll stick with God running evolution to the point of this brain appearing.

dhw: And still the only fault you can find with my theory is that it is a different pipe dream from yours.

DAVID: My faith in God is not a pipe dream.

I didn’t say it was. It is your rigid faith in your subjective interpretation of your God’s thoughts, intentions and methods that produce theories which are certainly no less of a pipe dream than my alternative theories about his possible thoughts, intentions and methods.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 06, 2020, 21:09 (20 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: ... it underscores my point that we have a special brain with this remarkable degree of complexification that can cause that much shrinkage, unlike, any previous brain.

dhw: Yes, it is special, and yes it has a remarkable degree of complexification. That does not mean hard thinking causes the brain to shrink, and it does not mean that if hard thinking CAUSES changes to the modern brain, it could not have CAUSED changes to the earlier brain.

DAVID: This is at a level of anything is possible. Yours is pure invention.

dhw: If it is a known fact that hard thinking causes changes to the modern brain, why is not possible that hard thinking also caused changes to the ancient brain? And why is this on a different “level” to ancient souls being incapable of having new thoughts until God enlarged their brains?

As antecedent brains, the ancient ones may have had some tiny growth areas from complexification as ours does currently. I'll stick with the declaration that an ancient brain/soul could only think to the level that its complexity allowed.


DAVID: I'm not desperate. I see evolution as a production by God. I don't invent the impression everyone has that larger brains/souls produce better artifacts. You idea is a total distortion of what is generally accepted. And later: The articles assume evolution provided the expansion. You convoluted explanation is your imagination at work, with the premise that any proposal is possible. Can you find some one else to convince? It won't be me.

dhw: I didn’t know souls also expanded. That’s a new twist. Of course larger brains produce better artefacts! But nobody knows why brains expanded in the first place! There is no “generally accepted” theory. Yours is that God did it, and only then could the soul think new thoughts. Is this “generally accepted”? Evolution “providing the expansion” does not explain what might have been the cause. But I suppose I had better repeat for the umpteenth time that once each brain had expanded, the bigger brain would have continued to produce better artefacts than the previous brain until the next “big idea” required further expansion.

I can accept that much bolded of your hopeful wishful theory. As for souls expanding, I included the brain/soul complex so you refrain from pouncing.


DAVID: I view it as a total invention based on our very special advanced brain that is nothing like previous additions. Any way you describe it, I think it is a total pipe dream. I'll stick with God running evolution to the point of this brain appearing.

dhw: And still the only fault you can find with my theory is that it is a different pipe dream from yours.

DAVID: My faith in God is not a pipe dream.

dhw: I didn’t say it was. It is your rigid faith in your subjective interpretation of your God’s thoughts, intentions and methods that produce theories which are certainly no less of a pipe dream than my alternative theories about his possible thoughts, intentions and methods.

I wish we could go before a jury of our clear thinking peers to see who would win this debate. Of course I favor me.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Thursday, May 07, 2020, 11:48 (20 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If it is a known fact that hard thinking causes changes to the modern brain, why is not possible that hard thinking also caused changes to the ancient brain? And why is this on a different “level” to ancient souls being incapable of having new thoughts until God enlarged their brains?[/i]

DAVID: As antecedent brains, the ancient ones may have had some tiny growth areas from complexification as ours does currently. I'll stick with the declaration that an ancient brain/soul could only think to the level that its complexity allowed.

It is not “tiny growth areas” we are discussing, but the process that leads to brain change! Sticking to your beliefs does not provide any answer to my two questions, now bolded.

dhw: […] I suppose I had better repeat for the umpteenth time that once each brain had expanded, the bigger brain would have continued to produce better artefacts than the previous brain until the next “big idea” required further expansion.

DAVID: I can accept that much bolded of your hopeful wishful theory.

Thank you. I only repeated it because of your continued refusal to focus on the process whereby the initial thought (“kill from distance”) would come from the smaller brain, and the implementation of the initial thought would expand the brain, so that the FIRST artefacts would only appear once the brain had finished expanding. You only focus on the fact that artefacts and bigger brains are found together.

dhw: And still the only fault you can find with my theory is that it is a different pipe dream from yours.

DAVID: My faith in God is not a pipe dream.

dhw: I didn’t say it was. It is your rigid faith in your subjective interpretation of your God’s thoughts, intentions and methods that produce theories which are certainly no less of a pipe dream than my alternative theories about his possible thoughts, intentions and methods.

DAVID: I wish we could go before a jury of our clear thinking peers to see who would win this debate. Of course I favor me.

You still haven’t explained why my theory, extrapolated from known facts, is more of a pipe dream than yours, which is based on no facts at all.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 07, 2020, 20:25 (19 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] I suppose I had better repeat for the umpteenth time that once each brain had expanded, the bigger brain would have continued to produce better artefacts than the previous brain until the next “big idea” required further expansion.

DAVID: I can accept that much bolded of your hopeful wishful theory.

dhw: Thank you. I only repeated it because of your continued refusal to focus on the process whereby the initial thought (“kill from distance”) would come from the smaller brain, and the implementation of the initial thought would expand the brain, so that the FIRST artefacts would only appear once the brain had finished expanding. You only focus on the fact that artefacts and bigger brains are found together.

The bold is the only fact we have. You have totally invented a wishful thought that the previous smaller brain was able to conceive of the design of a new artifact but had to wait for or force the expansion of a bigger brain to get it manufactured. A very inventive tortured inventionof a theory, allowed to appear by you only because the actual cause of brain expansion is never discussed in archaeological articles, and you hide behind that. What archaeologists accept/think is obvious. Bigger brain =s better artifacts.


dhw: And still the only fault you can find with my theory is that it is a different pipe dream from yours.

DAVID: My faith in God is not a pipe dream.

dhw: I didn’t say it was. It is your rigid faith in your subjective interpretation of your God’s thoughts, intentions and methods that produce theories which are certainly no less of a pipe dream than my alternative theories about his possible thoughts, intentions and methods.

DAVID: I wish we could go before a jury of our clear thinking peers to see who would win this debate. Of course I favor me.

dhw: You still haven’t explained why my theory, extrapolated from known facts, is more of a pipe dream than yours, which is based on no facts at all.

Remember, I still have faith in God who ran evolution.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Friday, May 08, 2020, 11:18 (19 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] I suppose I had better repeat for the umpteenth time that once each brain had expanded, the bigger brain would have continued to produce better artefacts than the previous brain until the next “big idea” required further expansion.

DAVID: I can accept that much bolded of your hopeful wishful theory.

dhw: Thank you. I only repeated it because of your continued refusal to focus on the process whereby the initial thought (“kill from distance”) would come from the smaller brain, and the implementation of the initial thought would expand the brain, so that the FIRST artefacts would only appear once the brain had finished expanding. You only focus on the fact that artefacts and bigger brains are found together.

DAVID: The bold is the only fact we have. You have totally invented a wishful thought that the previous smaller brain was able to conceive of the design of a new artifact but had to wait for or force the expansion of a bigger brain to get it manufactured.

The bold fact does not explain why the brain expanded! I am not wishing; I am looking for an explanation. We have another fact: the modern brain changes in response to “hard thinking”. You never answer my next question: why is it illogical to propose that the ancient brain may also have changed in response to “hard thinking”? Your attempt to reproduce my theory is off the mark as usual. A dualist would say that the soul of the homo with the smaller brain (the materialist could say the thinking part of the brain) was able to conceive – not the design but the basic idea of a new artefact (our example: some means or other of killing from a distance). The brain doesn’t wait for or force an expansion to get it manufactured. The soul (or thinking part of the brain) then begins the process of developing the idea, the design, and the manufacture.This process CAUSES the brain to expand. And we know that in the modern brain, hard thinking CAUSES the brain to respond by complexifying.

DAVID: A very inventive tortured invention of a theory, allowed to appear by you only because the actual cause of brain expansion is never discussed in archaeological articles, and you hide behind that. What archaeologists accept/think is obvious. Bigger brain =s better artifacts.

I don’t hide behind anything. The cause of expansion is not known, and the articles don’t offer an explanation. For the umpteenth time, yes bigger brain = better artefacts. But that doesn’t tell us why the brain got bigger in the first place! I shan’t repeat the point about the FIRST artefacts being the cause, because you will simply go on ignoring it, while you also distort the process I keep describing (as bolded above).

dhw: You still haven’t explained why my theory, extrapolated from known facts, is more of a pipe dream than yours, which is based on no facts at all.

DAVID: Remember, I still have faith in God who ran evolution.

Even if I put on my theist’s hat, God dabbling brain expansions before necessary is no less of a pipe dream than God providing brains with the means of expanding themselves when necessary.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, May 08, 2020, 19:39 (19 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I only repeated it because of your continued refusal to focus on the process whereby the initial thought (“kill from distance”) would come from the smaller brain, and the implementation of the initial thought would expand the brain, so that the FIRST artefacts would only appear once the brain had finished expanding. You only focus on the fact that artefacts and bigger brains are found together.

DAVID: The bold is the only fact we have. You have totally invented a wishful thought that the previous smaller brain was able to conceive of the design of a new artifact but had to wait for or force the expansion of a bigger brain to get it manufactured.

dhw: The bold fact does not explain why the brain expanded! I am not wishing; I am looking for an explanation. We have another fact: the modern brain changes in response to “hard thinking”. You never answer my next question: why is it illogical to propose that the ancient brain may also have changed in response to “hard thinking”?

I have answered without you responding that I can remember. Older brains are the antecedent forms and may well have some complexification ability resulting in slight enlargement of designated areas as our very special advanced brain does.

dhw: Your attempt to reproduce my theory is off the mark as usual. A dualist would say that the soul of the homo with the smaller brain (the materialist could say the thinking part of the brain) was able to conceive – not the design but the basic idea of a new artefact (our example: some means or other of killing from a distance). The brain doesn’t wait for or force an expansion to get it manufactured. The soul (or thinking part of the brain) then begins the process of developing the idea, the design, and the manufacture.This process CAUSES the brain to expand. And we know that in the modern brain, hard thinking CAUSES the brain to respond by complexifying.

A complete distortion of how our brain reacts to deep thought. First we know it shrank 150 cc from more concentrated thought as we learned how to use our brain over the past 35,000 years. And we know that the complexification mechanism causes that shrinkage by enlarging tiny special highly efficient areas to handle the new concepts. Applying this, to invent a way that ancient brains enlarged, in not only wishful thinking, it is a distinct distortion of what we know as fact, and enters the woolly area of supposing 'anything suggested is possible'. Remember the comment above. Our special brain undoubtedly represents similar processes from the past.


DAVID: A very inventive tortured invention of a theory, allowed to appear by you only because the actual cause of brain expansion is never discussed in archaeological articles, and you hide behind that. What archaeologists accept/think is obvious. Bigger brain =s better artifacts.

dhw: I don’t hide behind anything. The cause of expansion is not known, and the articles don’t offer an explanation. For the umpteenth time, yes bigger brain = better artefacts. But that doesn’t tell us why the brain got bigger in the first place! I shan’t repeat the point about the FIRST artefacts being the cause, because you will simply go on ignoring it, while you also distort the process I keep describing (as bolded above).

I ignore nothing. Your contorted imagination is seeking a natural way for brains to enlarge without God having anything to do with it. Your distorted mechanism is an invention not supported by any factual evidence. And your frantic complaints that I ignore your theory are untrue frantic complaints. I fully understand how wrong it is and have explained my reasons over and over. You are simply stating 'anything I can think of can be true'. That can apply to anyone who thinks!!! Proof??? Remember, your strange position of recognizing design exists and avoiding a designer. Try leaving it at that, accepting a designer, without identifying him, as ID does. You are a perfect ID candidate

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Saturday, May 09, 2020, 10:58 (18 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] the modern brain changes in response to “hard thinking”. You never answer my next question: why is it illogical to propose that the ancient brain may also have changed in response to “hard thinking”?

DAVID: I have answered without you responding that I can remember. Older brains are the antecedent forms and may well have some complexification ability resulting in slight enlargement of designated areas as our very special advanced brain does.

That is not an answer! Nobody knows why brains expanded. I am offering a theory. You have merely stated your assumption of what older brains could and couldn’t do. I am asking for a logical reason why, if brain changes are known to be caused by “hard thinking” now, they could not also have been changed by “hard thinking” then. I am focusing on the process of thought changing the brain, not on comparing the forms of change.

dhw: Your attempt to reproduce my theory is off the mark as usual. bbbA dualist would say that the soul of the homo with the smaller brain (the materialist could say the thinking part of the brain) was able to conceive – not the design but the basic idea of a new artefact (our example: some means or other of killing from a distance). The brain doesn’t wait for or force an expansion to get it manufactured. The soul (or thinking part of the brain) then begins the process of developing the idea, the design, and the manufacture.This process CAUSES the brain to expand. And we know that in the modern brain, hard thinking CAUSES the brain to respond by complexifying.

DAVID: A complete distortion of how our brain reacts to deep thought. First we know it shrank 150 cc from more concentrated thought as we learned how to use our brain over the past 35,000 years. And we know that the complexification mechanism causes that shrinkage by enlarging tiny special highly efficient areas to handle the new concepts.

Shrinkage is irrelevant, as are the past 35,000 years, to the question of WHY brains expanded! How can shrinkage be caused by expansion anyway? We agreed that the efficiency of complexification made part of the brain redundant. Stop dodging the point that our brains CHANGE IN RESPONSE TO "HARD THINKING"!

DAVID: Applying this, to invent a way that ancient brains enlarged, in not only wishful thinking, it is a distinct distortion of what we know as fact, and enters the woolly area of supposing 'anything suggested is possible'.

How can it be a woolly distortion of fact to propose that the same process whereby thought changes modern brains may also have applied to former brains?

DAVID: Our special brain undoubtedly represents similar processes from the past.

Thank heavens for this accidental admission of the logic of my theory: if our brain represents similar processes from the past, and our brain changes in response to “hard thinking”, it follows that past brains may also have changed in response to “hard thinking”.

DAVID: Your contorted imagination is seeking a natural way for brains to enlarge without God having anything to do with it.

Once again: God may have invented the mechanism.

DAVID: Your distorted mechanism is an invention not supported by any factual evidence.

No “distortion”, as repeatedly explained above. Your own theory is supported only by your faith in it (not to be confused with your faith in God).

DAVID: You are simply stating 'anything I can think of can be true'. That can apply to anyone who thinks!!! Proof???

If there was proof, my theory would be a fact and not a theory. What proof have you for your own theory that your God dabbled or preprogrammed all the expansions before they were needed?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 09, 2020, 18:51 (18 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have answered without you responding that I can remember. Older brains are the antecedent forms and may well have some complexification ability resulting in slight enlargement of designated areas as our very special advanced brain does.

dhw: That is not an answer! Nobody knows why brains expanded. I am offering a theory. You have merely stated your assumption of what older brains could and couldn’t do. I am asking for a logical reason why, if brain changes are known to be caused by “hard thinking” now, they could not also have been changed by “hard thinking” then. I am focusing on the process of thought changing the brain, not on comparing the forms of change.

You are simply insisting without any logical thought extending from the facts we know that hard thought expanded brains up to 200 cc at a time. What we know is evolution builds upon past processes as organism complexify. It is reasonable, as I've stated, to assume that ancient brains did do some complexification with tiny areas enlarging and perhaps with some shrinkage as in ours. That makes more sense.


dhw: Your attempt to reproduce my theory is off the mark as usual. bbbA dualist would say that the soul of the homo with the smaller brain (the materialist could say the thinking part of the brain) was able to conceive – not the design but the basic idea of a new artefact (our example: some means or other of killing from a distance). The brain doesn’t wait for or force an expansion to get it manufactured. The soul (or thinking part of the brain) then begins the process of developing the idea, the design, and the manufacture.This process CAUSES the brain to expand. And we know that in the modern brain, hard thinking CAUSES the brain to respond by complexifying.

DAVID: A complete distortion of how our brain reacts to deep thought. First we know it shrank 150 cc from more concentrated thought as we learned how to use our brain over the past 35,000 years. And we know that the complexification mechanism causes that shrinkage by enlarging tiny special highly efficient areas to handle the new concepts.

dhw: Shrinkage is irrelevant, as are the past 35,000 years, to the question of WHY brains expanded! How can shrinkage be caused by expansion anyway? We agreed that the efficiency of complexification made part of the brain redundant. Stop dodging the point that our brains CHANGE IN RESPONSE TO "HARD THINKING"!

I'm not avoiding your inventions. The evidence we have is, as we learned use our big new brain by hard thinking, is that it shrank. You want to ignore that major point to championing that our tiny areas of enlargement must lead to a wild theory that hard thinking can expand brains by 200 cc.


DAVID: Applying this, to invent a way that ancient brains enlarged, in not only wishful thinking, it is a distinct distortion of what we know as fact, and enters the woolly area of supposing 'anything suggested is possible'.

dhw: How can it be a woolly distortion of fact to propose that the same process whereby thought changes modern brains may also have applied to former brains?

You've just admitted the process in our brain occurs under an advanced complexification process and I've pointed out previous brains may have had simple versions of the same process as evolutionary theory would imply. Therefore I can accept that ancient brains may have had tiny expansion areas as ours does. That is consistent thought.


DAVID: Your contorted imagination is seeking a natural way for brains to enlarge without God having anything to do with it.

dhw: Once again: God may have invented the mechanism.

DAVID: Your distorted mechanism is an invention not supported by any factual evidence.

dhw: No “distortion”, as repeatedly explained above. Your own theory is supported only by your faith in it (not to be confused with your faith in God).

DAVID: You are simply stating 'anything I can think of can be true'. That can apply to anyone who thinks!!! Proof???

dhw: If there was proof, my theory would be a fact and not a theory. What proof have you for your own theory that your God dabbled or preprogrammed all the expansions before they were needed?

I have full faith and belief there is a designer who enlarged brain. I have no belief in chance causes which you are consistently trying to find.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, May 10, 2020, 11:57 (17 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I am asking for a logical reason why, if brain changes are known to be caused by “hard thinking” now, they could not also have been changed by “hard thinking” then. I am focusing on the process of thought changing the brain, not on comparing the forms of change.

DAVID: You are simply insisting without any logical thought extending from the facts we know that hard thought expanded brains up to 200 cc at a time. What we know is evolution builds upon past processes as organism complexify. It is reasonable, as I've stated, to assume that ancient brains did do some complexification with tiny areas enlarging and perhaps with some shrinkage as in ours. That makes more sense.

The logical thought concerns the one word you constantly avoid. If brains CHANGE through hard thinking now, why would they not CHANGE through hard thinking in the past? Then they needed to expand. Now they only need to complexify.

dhw: Shrinkage is irrelevant, as are the past 35,000 years, to the question of WHY brains expanded! How can shrinkage be caused by expansion anyway? We agreed that the efficiency of complexification made part of the brain redundant. Stop dodging the point that our brains CHANGE IN RESPONSE TO "HARD THINKING"!

DAVID: I'm not avoiding your inventions. The evidence we have is, as we learned use our big new brain by hard thinking, is that it shrank. You want to ignore that major point to championing that our tiny areas of enlargement must lead to a wild theory that hard thinking can expand brains by 200 cc.

It seems that the message will never get through. You agreed that shrinkage was due to the efficiency of complexification, and it is not the tiny areas of enlargement that I refer to but the process whereby "hard thinking" CHANGES the brain.

DAVID: You've just admitted the process in our brain occurs under an advanced complexification process and I've pointed out previous brains may have had simple versions of the same process as evolutionary theory would imply. Therefore I can accept that ancient brains may have had tiny expansion areas as ours does. That is consistent thought.

But it does not explain why ancient brains expanded! Hence the theory I am proposing.

DAVID: […] Proof???

dhw: What proof have you for your own theory that your God dabbled or preprogrammed all the expansions before they were needed?
DAVID: I have full faith and belief there is a designer who enlarged brain. I have no belief in chance causes which you are consistently trying to find.

My theory does not involve chance at all, and allows for God as the designer of the mechanism for brain change. Do you believe that your God complexified the relevant areas of the modern brain before people learned to read, memorize maps or play instruments? Or did he design the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to their “hard thinking” by complexifying itself? If you favour the second explanation, why do you think it illogical for the same God-designed mechanism to have enabled the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by expanding itself?

Transferred from “dualism”:
dhw: each successive expansion was caused by “hard thinking”, leading to increased knowledge and skills. Erectus was more advanced than australopithecus. We are more advanced than erectus. And so of course the increased knowledge and skills coincide with the bigger or vastly more complex brain (complexification having replaced expansion).

DAVID: In the bold I don't understand the use of the word 'coincide'. The larger brain allowed the development of our very advanced concepts, such as grammatical language 50-70,000 years ago, while erectus had very simple communication skills, and we didn't come out of erectus' stone age until 10-12,000 years ago. I view the stasis as proof we were given a brain we didn't know how use and had to learn to use it.

“Coincide” in the sense that the two go together, but as with the artefacts, I am proposing that it was not the larger brain that allowed our advanced concepts; it was our effort to give material expression to more advanced concepts that caused the brain and other related organs to change - the same process we observe today, when the brain changes in response to new tasks. As I was not around at the time, I can’t tell you what “big idea” would have expanded erectus’s brain to sapiens size, but the process of expansion followed by stasis was common to all our ancestors and in many cases for far longer than 280,000 years. I don’t know either why your all-powerful God would have given us a bigger brain before we needed it, or what you mean by we “had to learn to use it”. We’ve discussed that before. How did we learn to use the brain if we didn’t actually produce anything new for 280,000 years? It makes far more sense to me that the brain would have expanded because of a particular new need, and then life went on virtually unchanged (as for previous homos) until the next “big idea” required new uses of the brain. Immediately after expansion this would not have been anywhere near as complex as it is now, because "hard thinking" is what complexified it, and the efficiency of all the new complexifications is what made it shrink.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 10, 2020, 16:24 (17 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are simply insisting without any logical thought extending from the facts we know that hard thought expanded brains up to 200 cc at a time. What we know is evolution builds upon past processes as organism complexify. It is reasonable, as I've stated, to assume that ancient brains did do some complexification with tiny areas enlarging and perhaps with some shrinkage as in ours. That makes more sense.

dhw: The logical thought concerns the one word you constantly avoid. If brains CHANGE through hard thinking now, why would they not CHANGE through hard thinking in the past? Then they needed to expand. Now they only need to complexify.

I know they CHANGE. We know how ours changed and you have twisted that to invent your theory which is not a description of how our brain works, which implies past brains are totally different from ours, denying the concepts of evolutionary change.


dhw: It seems that the message will never get through. You agreed that shrinkage was due to the efficiency of complexification, and it is not the tiny areas of enlargement that I refer to but the process whereby "hard thinking" CHANGES the brain.

I fully get and reject your garbled thinking. All this occurs under our brain's advanced complexification process, which probably came from some earlier processes in earlier brains. Massive enlargement due to hard thinking is your woolly idea from no evidence, just a stretch from a known proven process..


DAVID: You've just admitted the process in our brain occurs under an advanced complexification process and I've pointed out previous brains may have had simple versions of the same process as evolutionary theory would imply. Therefore I can accept that ancient brains may have had tiny expansion areas as ours does. That is consistent thought.

dhw: But it does not explain why ancient brains expanded! Hence the theory I am proposing.

Propose all you want. It has no basis in any facts we have.


DAVID: I have full faith and belief there is a designer who enlarged brain. I have no belief in chance causes which you are consistently trying to find.

dhw: My theory does not involve chance at all, and allows for God as the designer of the mechanism for brain change. Do you believe that your God complexified the relevant areas of the modern brain before people learned to read, memorize maps or play instruments? Or did he design the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to their “hard thinking” by complexifying itself? If you favour the second explanation, why do you think it illogical for the same God-designed mechanism to have enabled the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by expanding itself?

Because of another consideration. Each new hominin had much more than just brain expansion. That is just one part of our evolution. Bodies were changed in many ways as part of God's work in producing them. God speciates. Consider just the differences in Neanderthal and sapiens body forms!


Transferred from “dualism”:

DAVID: In the bold I don't understand the use of the word 'coincide'. The larger brain allowed the development of our very advanced concepts, such as grammatical language 50-70,000 years ago, while erectus had very simple communication skills, and we didn't come out of erectus' stone age until 10-12,000 years ago. I view the stasis as proof we were given a brain we didn't know how use and had to learn to use it.

dhw: “Coincide” in the sense that the two go together, but as with the artefacts, I am proposing that it was not the larger brain that allowed our advanced concepts; it was our effort to give material expression to more advanced concepts that caused the brain and other related organs to change - the same process we observe today, when the brain changes in response to new tasks. As I was not around at the time, I can’t tell you what “big idea” would have expanded erectus’s brain to sapiens size, but the process of expansion followed by stasis was common to all our ancestors and in many cases for far longer than 280,000 years.

Since we weren't there and activities of daily living were quite simple, what stasis are you talking about in the past? We only know our stasis.

dhw: I don’t know either why your all-powerful God would have given us a bigger brain before we needed it, or what you mean by we “had to learn to use it”. We’ve discussed that before. How did we learn to use the brain if we didn’t actually produce anything new for 280,000 years?

WE had to learn to use it like a new instrument. It was our job. Not God's to teach us.

dhw: It makes far more sense to me that the brain would have expanded because of a particular new need, and then life went on virtually unchanged (as for previous homos) until the next “big idea” required new uses of the brain. Immediately after expansion this would not have been anywhere near as complex as it is now, because "hard thinking" is what complexified it, and the efficiency of all the new complexifications is what made it shrink.

How distorted! God gave us a huge brain with the ability to complexify ass needed, and to shrink.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, May 11, 2020, 13:18 (16 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:If brains CHANGE through hard thinking now, why would they not CHANGE through hard thinking in the past? Then they needed to expand. Now they only need to complexify.

DAVID: I know they CHANGE. We know how ours changed and you have twisted that to invent your theory which is not a description of how our brain works, which implies past brains are totally different from ours, denying the concepts of evolutionary change.

Past brains are not “totally” different from ours. Even chimps’ brains are not “totally” different from ours! The twisting here is entirely yours. Even you have suggested that past brains are likely to have complexified and undergone minor expansions. How does this make them “totally” different?

dhw: It seems that the message will never get through. You agreed that shrinkage was due to the efficiency of complexification, and it is not the tiny areas of enlargement that I refer to but the process whereby "hard thinking" CHANGES the brain.

DAVID: I fully get and reject your garbled thinking. All this occurs under our brain's advanced complexification process, which probably came from some earlier processes in earlier brains. Massive enlargement due to hard thinking is your woolly idea from no evidence, just a stretch from a known proven process..

If complexification probably came from earlier processes, it is clearly absurd to argue that our brains are “totally” different. So what do you think would have caused complexification in earlier brains if it was not “hard thinking”? And yes indeed, brain change due to “hard thinking” is a known proven process, so why is it “garbled” and “woolly” to suggest that a known proven process might also have taken place in the past?

DAVID: I have full faith and belief there is a designer who enlarged brain. I have no belief in chance causes which you are consistently trying to find.

dhw: My theory does not involve chance at all, and allows for God as the designer of the mechanism for brain change. Do you believe that your God complexified the relevant areas of the modern brain before people learned to read, memorize maps or play instruments? Or did he design the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to their “hard thinking” by complexifying itself? If you favour the second explanation, why do you think it illogical for the same God-designed mechanism to have enabled the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by expanding itself?

DAVID: Because of another consideration. Each new hominin had much more than just brain expansion. That is just one part of our evolution. Bodies were changed in many ways as part of God's work in producing them. God speciates. Consider just the differences in Neanderthal and sapiens body forms!

Please don’t change the subject, which is brain expansion. If you believe that your God designed the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by complexifying itself, please give me a reason why that same mechanism should not have enabled the earlier brain to respond to ”hard thinking” by expanding itself?

dhw: […] the process of expansion followed by stasis was common to all our ancestors and in many cases for far longer than 280,000 years.

DAVID: Since we weren't there and activities of daily living were quite simple, what stasis are you talking about in the past? We only know our stasis.

No evidence has been found of anything but “simple living”, as with the first 280,000 years of H. sapiens, though each stage has been accompanied by comparatively minor improvements.

dhw: I don’t know either why your all-powerful God would have given us a bigger brain before we needed it, or what you mean by we “had to learn to use it”. We’ve discussed that before. How did we learn to use the brain if we didn’t actually produce anything new for 280,000 years?

DAVID: WE had to learn to use it like a new instrument. It was our job. Not God's to teach us.

It’s you who keep telling us that nothing new was produced for 280,000 years. How do you learn to use something and yet not produce anything? You yourself drew attention to some indigenous tribes who still live like their ancient ancestors. So-called progress comes from new ideas or new demands. For 280,000 years, sapiens was obviously happy with the way things were. What is your point?

DAVID: God gave us a huge brain with the ability to complexify as needed, and to shrink.

Presumably means your God designed a mechanism to enable us to complexify naturally, which again raises the question why the same mechanism should not have enabled the brain to expand naturally. I don’t know why you regard shrinkage as an ability! We have agreed (umpteen times) that it shrank as a result of efficient complexification.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, May 11, 2020, 18:15 (16 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I know they CHANGE. We know how ours changed and you have twisted that to invent your theory which is not a description of how our brain works, which implies past brains are totally different from ours, denying the concepts of evolutionary change.

dhw: Past brains are not “totally” different from ours. Even chimps’ brains are not “totally” different from ours! The twisting here is entirely yours. Even you have suggested that past brains are likely to have complexified and undergone minor expansions. How does this make them “totally” different?

Read above!!! I said you implied past brains are totally different. I didn't promote the idea

dhw: If complexification probably came from earlier processes, it is clearly absurd to argue that our brains are “totally” different. So what do you think would have caused complexification in earlier brains if it was not “hard thinking”? And yes indeed, brain change due to “hard thinking” is a known proven process, so why is it “garbled” and “woolly” to suggest that a known proven process might also have taken place in the past?

Fallacy in you basic theory: How do you do 'hard thinking' with only a very basic set of words in your minimal language? Don't you use language to think? So you use visualization of a possible object. How hard is that?

DAVID: Each new hominin had much more than just brain expansion. That is just one part of our evolution. Bodies were changed in many ways as part of God's work in producing them. God speciates. Consider just the differences in Neanderthal and sapiens body forms!

dhw: Please don’t change the subject, which is brain expansion. If you believe that your God designed the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by complexifying itself, please give me a reason why that same mechanism should not have enabled the earlier brain to respond to ”hard thinking” by expanding itself?

The same 'anything is possible' under God or without Him approach. Of course it is. And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!


dhw: […] the process of expansion followed by stasis was common to all our ancestors and in many cases for far longer than 280,000 years.

DAVID: Since we weren't there and activities of daily living were quite simple, what stasis are you talking about in the past? We only know our stasis.

No evidence has been found of anything but “simple living”, as with the first 280,000 years of H. sapiens, though each stage has been accompanied by comparatively minor improvements.

dhw: I don’t know either why your all-powerful God would have given us a bigger brain before we needed it, or what you mean by we “had to learn to use it”. We’ve discussed that before. How did we learn to use the brain if we didn’t actually produce anything new for 280,000 years?

DAVID: WE had to learn to use it like a new instrument. It was our job. Not God's to teach us.

dhw: It’s you who keep telling us that nothing new was produced for 280,000 years. How do you learn to use something and yet not produce anything? You yourself drew attention to some indigenous tribes who still live like their ancient ancestors. So-called progress comes from new ideas or new demands. For 280,000 years, sapiens was obviously happy with the way things were. What is your point?

As above quite clearly: it was there to use when the particular group decided to do it. Some did sooner than others or barely at all.


DAVID: God gave us a huge brain with the ability to complexify as needed, and to shrink.

dhw: Presumably means your God designed a mechanism to enable us to complexify naturally, which again raises the question why the same mechanism should not have enabled the brain to expand naturally. I don’t know why you regard shrinkage as an ability! We have agreed (umpteen times) that it shrank as a result of efficient complexification.

You argue in circles. Our overly large brain came with a very active complexification process that is an obvious attribute. With active use, certain areas became more complex and enlarge slightly, and other areas were not needed and disappeared as we learned to use our brain and refine its functions. God did not do these brain changes. He left it up to us, expecting it to happen. And you seize on these tiny enlarged areas to invent a pipe dream

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 12:29 (15 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:bbb If brains CHANGE through hard thinking now, why would they not CHANGE through hard thinking in the past? Then they needed to expand. Now they only need to complexify.

DAVID: I know they CHANGE. We know how ours changed and you have twisted that to invent your theory which is not a description of how our brain works, which implies past brains are totally different from ours, denying the concepts of evolutionary change.

dhw: Past brains are not “totally” different from ours. Even chimps’ brains are not “totally” different from ours! The twisting here is entirely yours. Even you have suggested that past brains are likely to have complexified and undergone minor expansions. How does this make them “totally” different?

DAVID: Read above!!! I said you implied past brains are totally different. I didn't promote the idea.

Since my whole theory is based on the bolded argument to which you were replying – namely, that the SAME process would have taken place in past and present brains – how can you possibly say this implies “total” difference? It is you who insist that the process of change is totally different: the modern brain changes itself (complexification), whereas the ancient brain had to be changed by your God! Although of course I agree that our brains are vastly more complex and advanced than those of our ancestors, “difference in kind” is paramount to your theory. Look at your heading and comment in another of your posts:
Introducing the brain: our brain is so different
Comment: our current [brain] is very different in kind from previous brains.


dhw: […] brain change due to “hard thinking” is a known proven process, so why is it “garbled” and “woolly” to suggest that a known proven process might also have taken place in the past?

DAVID: Fallacy in you basic theory: How do you do 'hard thinking' with only a very basic set of words in your minimal language? Don't you use language to think? So you use visualization of a possible object. How hard is that?

Again you refuse to answer a straight question. “Hard thinking” is just a term to denote more intense concentration than ordinary thinking, and it’s the extra effort that changes the modern brain. Our fellow animals don't need words to think, and I don’t believe for one second that our taxi drivers and musicians lecture themselves verbally while memorizing their maps or playing their instruments. Our pre-sapiens hunter would not have needed a verbal analysis to know that close-up killing was dangerous and killing from a distance would be safer. But when he’d come up with a strategy and an artefact, he would almost certainly have wanted to invent a sound that would denote the new weapon. That’s how language evolves and, in my theory, how the brain changes: as a response to new requirements, not in anticipation of them.

dhw: If you believe that your God designed the mechanism enabling the brain to respond to “hard thinking” by complexifying itself, please give me a reason why that same mechanism should not have enabled the earlier brain to respond to ”hard thinking” by expanding itself?

DAVID: The same 'anything is possible' under God or without Him approach. Of course it is. And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!

Hard thinking applies to the brain, because the brain is the seat of thought, whether there is a soul or not. You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling, and whether cells are intelligent or not. Your human examples have their parallel in all adaptations and innovations. Now will you please at last answer my bolded question.

dhw: It’s you who keep telling us that nothing new was produced for 280,000 years. How do you learn to use something and yet not produce anything? You yourself drew attention to some indigenous tribes who still live like their ancient ancestors. So-called progress comes from new ideas or new demands. For 280,000 years, sapiens was obviously happy with the way things were. What is your point?

DAVID: As above quite clearly: it was there to use when the particular group decided to do it. Some did sooner than others or barely at all.

Which is true whether we follow your theory or mine. So what does it prove?

DAVID: Our overly large brain came with a very active complexification process that is an obvious attribute. With active use, certain areas became more complex and enlarge slightly, and other areas were not needed and disappeared as we learned to use our brain and refine its functions. God did not do these brain changes. He left it up to us, expecting it to happen. And you seize on these tiny enlarged areas to invent a pipe dream.

All fine, except that for the umpteenth time, it is the process I seize on, not the tiny enlargements. Now tell us whether you believe your God designed the mechanism which enables the brain to complexify without his direction. If he did, why should the same mechanism not have enabled the brain to expand?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 15:49 (15 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Since my whole theory is based on the bolded argument to which you were replying – namely, that the SAME process would have taken place in past and present brains – how can you possibly say this implies “total” difference? It is you who insist that the process of change is totally different: the modern brain changes itself (complexification), whereas the ancient brain had to be changed by your God! Although of course I agree that our brains are vastly more complex and advanced than those of our ancestors, “difference in kind” is paramount to your theory.

Note the bold. This is my totally consistent theory if you recognize God gave our brain this special property while seeing to the enlargement of all hominin/homo brains.

dhw: Look at your heading and comment in another of your posts:
Introducing the brain: our brain is so different
Comment: our current [brain] is very different in kind from previous brains.>

dhw: […] brain change due to “hard thinking” is a known proven process, so why is it “garbled” and “woolly” to suggest that a known proven process might also have taken place in the past?

DAVID: Fallacy in you basic theory: How do you do 'hard thinking' with only a very basic set of words in your minimal language? Don't you use language to think? So you use visualization of a possible object. How hard is that?

dhw: Again you refuse to answer a straight question. “Hard thinking” is just a term to denote more intense concentration than ordinary thinking, and it’s the extra effort that changes the modern brain. Our fellow animals don't need words to think, ...Our pre-sapiens hunter would not have needed a verbal analysis to know that close-up killing was dangerous and killing from a distance would be safer. But when he’d come up with a strategy and an artefact, he would almost certainly have wanted to invent a sound that would denote the new weapon. That’s how language evolves and, in my theory, how the brain changes: as a response to new requirements, not in anticipation of them.

Your theory is simple. The naturally existing brain boot-straps itself up to a larger more complex form under the pressure of intense concentration. Please tell us about the natural mechanism that performs that task?


dhw: You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling, and whether cells are intelligent or not. Your human examples have their parallel in all adaptations and innovations. Now will you please at last answer my bolded question: If brains CHANGE through hard thinking now, why would they not CHANGE through hard thinking in the past? Then they needed to expand. Now they only need to complexify.

You've asked me my question above to you. We do not know who or what cause speciation, the true seat of the argument. 'You never seem to get it through your head' that larger brains are always found with improved artifacts. So you cover that by offering a confused timing proposal to fit your unsupported theory. Remember, all archaeologists presume their timing tests prove that all that is found occurred all together in that time period


dhw: It’s you who keep telling us that nothing new was produced for 280,000 years. How do you learn to use something and yet not produce anything? You yourself drew attention to some indigenous tribes who still live like their ancient ancestors. So-called progress comes from new ideas or new demands. For 280,000 years, sapiens was obviously happy with the way things were. What is your point?

DAVID: As above quite clearly: it was there to use when the particular group decided to do it. Some did sooner than others or barely at all.

Which is true whether we follow your theory or mine. So what does it prove?

DAVID: Our overly large brain came with a very active complexification process that is an obvious attribute. With active use, certain areas became more complex and enlarge slightly, and other areas were not needed and disappeared as we learned to use our brain and refine its functions. God did not do these brain changes. He left it up to us, expecting it to happen. And you seize on these tiny enlarged areas to invent a pipe dream.

dhw: All fine, except that for the umpteenth time, it is the process I seize on, not the tiny enlargements. Now tell us whether you believe your God designed the mechanism which enables the brain to complexify without his direction. If he did, why should the same mechanism not have enabled the brain to expand?

You invoke God for our current brain, but when you discuss past enlargements are you also invoking God? I haven't read it.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 12:41 (14 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Since my whole theory is based on the bolded argument to which you were replying – namely, that the SAME process would have taken place in past and present brains – how can you possibly say this implies “total” difference? It is you who insist that the process of change is totally different: the modern brain changes itself (complexification), whereas the ancient brain had to be changed by your God!

DAVID: Note the bold. This is my totally consistent theory if you recognize God gave our brain this special property while seeing to the enlargement of all hominin/homo brains.

I have just said that it is your theory, and now you are saying that if I recognize your theory, then it is consistent! What you leave out is the inconsistency of your God giving our brain the ability to complexify itself but NOT giving the homo brain the ability to enlarge itself. So yet again: if he could get our brains to complexify by themselves, why is it unthinkable to you that he could also have got their brains to expand by themselves? […]

DAVID: Your theory is simple. The naturally existing brain boot-straps itself up to a larger more complex form under the pressure of intense concentration. Please tell us about the natural mechanism that performs that task?

After a complete non sequitur concerning language, you now dodge my question by asking me to explain how the brain works! (And please note that "naturally" does not preclude God as the designer of what comes naturally.) If I could tell you that, my name would rank alongside Einstein’s. It is a fact that intense concentration, as exemplified by the illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians, complexifies the brain. Yet again: If it can complexify the brain now, why should it not have enlarged the brain in earlier times?

DAVID: We do not know who or what cause speciation, the true seat of the argument. 'You never seem to get it through your head' that larger brains are always found with improved artifacts. So you cover that by offering a confused timing proposal to fit your unsupported theory. Remember, all archaeologists presume their timing tests prove that all that is found occurred all together in that time period.

We have taken artefacts as a concrete example of what might have triggered an expansion. I agree that the true seat of the argument is speciation, so let’s draw a parallel: pre-sapiens homo has new “big idea” (new weapon), and the effort to implement it causes brain expansion. Of course the weapon exists after the brain has expanded. Pre-whale has new “big idea” (go find food in the sea); the effort to implement it causes legs to change into flippers. The flippers exist after the pre-whale has adapted to the water. All this is of course massively simplified, but I am trying to illustrate how the process proceeds. The immaterial concept precedes the material changes, as opposed to brains and bodies changing in advance of new requirements. You ignored my paragraph about cell communities, which are the key to evolution and speciation. They cooperate and in my theory they change to meet or exploit new requirements or conditions. In your theory, your God preprogrammed them 3.8 billion years ago to cooperate in making all the changes, or he dabbled with them BEFORE the new requirements arose.
Once again I asked the following question:

dhw: Now tell us whether you believe your God designed the mechanism which enables the brain to complexify without his direction. If he did, why should the same mechanism not have enabled the brain to expand?

DAVID: You invoke God for our current brain, but when you discuss past enlargements are you also invoking God? I haven't read it.

Still no answer! With my theist’s hat on, I have “invoked” God as the designer of the mechanism that enables our brains to complexify, and I have asked you why you reject the idea that the same mechanism might have enabled earlier brains to expand. Please may we have an answer.

QUOTE FROM “Evolution and humans”: The argument I shall explore as to why more evidence can be extracted from the archaeological record starts by assuming that users, artifacts, practices and tasks have coevolved. Artifacts typically arise to address a need connected with a task.

All agreed.

DAVID: The prevailing view is artifacts represent the cultural time/generation with which they are found.

Also agreed.

DAVID: No one ascribes artifacts to thoughts in a previous species.

Of course they don’t. The first artefacts only exist when the new bigger brain exists. Flippers only exist after adaptation to life in the water.

DAVID: It is either evolution produced larger brained hominins/homos or as ID and I believe, God did it.

Nobody knows how or why the brain expanded! Your comment tells us nothing and nor does the article! You believe your God preprogrammed stages of brain expansion 3.8 billion years ago or did a series of hands-on dabbles. With my theist’s hat on, I propose that he may have invented a mechanism which, as well as enabling the modern brain to complexify in response to new requirements, may also have enabled past brains to expand in response to new requirements. You keep quoting articles that make no attempt to solve the mystery of expansion, as if somehow they support your theory and disprove mine!

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 15:49 (14 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: So yet again: if he could get our brains to complexify by themselves, why is it unthinkable to you that he could also have got their brains to expand by themselves? […]

You have ignored my comments in my recent series of introducing the brain':

Introducing the brain: fast evolution explanation (Introduction)
by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 00:56

"my point is more important to consider, that the brain enlargement has to coordinate with bigger skull (bone) size and a necessary enlargement change in the female birth canal (pelvic bone) to accommodate the bigger baby skull (bone). "

Giving the brain the ability to expand itself does not explain how it all must happen. Please explain for us how your theory does all of this.

dhw: All this is of course massively simplified, but I am trying to illustrate how the process proceeds. The immaterial concept precedes the material changes, as opposed to brains and bodies changing in advance of new requirements. You ignored my paragraph about cell communities, which are the key to evolution and speciation. They cooperate and in my theory they change to meet or exploit new requirements or conditions. In your theory, your God preprogrammed them 3.8 billion years ago to cooperate in making all the changes, or he dabbled with them BEFORE the new requirements arose.

Of course I ignored your cell committees as totally off the mark.

dhw: Once again I asked the following question:

dhw: Now tell us whether you believe your God designed the mechanism which enables the brain to complexify without his direction. If he did, why should the same mechanism not have enabled the brain to expand?

Total confusion of facts: complexification results in overall shrinkage! And how about the bony problems?

QUOTE FROM “Evolution and humans”: The argument I shall explore as to why more evidence can be extracted from the archaeological record starts by assuming that users, artifacts, practices and tasks have coevolved. Artifacts typically arise to address a need connected with a task.

dhw: All agreed.

DAVID: The prevailing view is artifacts represent the cultural time/generation with which they are found.

dhw: Also agreed.

DAVID: No one ascribes artifacts to thoughts in a previous species.

dhw: Of course they don’t. The first artefacts only exist when the new bigger brain exists. Flippers only exist after adaptation to life in the water.

DAVID: It is either evolution produced larger brained hominins/homos or as ID and I believe, God did it.

dhw: Nobody knows how or why the brain expanded! Your comment tells us nothing and nor does the article! You believe your God preprogrammed stages of brain expansion 3.8 billion years ago or did a series of hands-on dabbles. With my theist’s hat on, I propose that he may have invented a mechanism which, as well as enabling the modern brain to complexify in response to new requirements, may also have enabled past brains to expand in response to new requirements. You keep quoting articles that make no attempt to solve the mystery of expansion, as if somehow they support your theory and disprove mine!

My quotes simply show most folks thinking about brain size and artifacts simply assume the bigger brains did it. We both also agree. Your theory is your theory no one else's. And you have never answered the 'bony problem' which involved separate organs than brain.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Thursday, May 14, 2020, 12:51 (13 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So yet again: if he could get our brains to complexify by themselves, why is it unthinkable to you that he could also have got their brains to expand by themselves? […]

DAVID: You have ignored my comments in my recent series of introducing the brain':
Introducing the brain: fast evolution explanation (Introduction)
by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 00:56
"my point is more important to consider, that the brain enlargement has to coordinate with bigger skull (bone) size and a necessary enlargement change in the female birth canal (pelvic bone) to accommodate the bigger baby skull (bone). "

In your continued desperation to avoid answering my straightforward question, you repeated your question on this thread, which I answered on Tuesday at 12.29:
DAVID: And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!

dhw: Hard thinking applies to the brain, because the brain is the seat of thought, whether there is a soul or not. You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling. Any anatomical change will involve different cell communities cooperating.

I repeated this yesterday, accused you of ignoring my answer, and now you say:

DAVID: Of course I ignored your cell committees as totally off the mark.

I gave you an answer which you ignored, and now you tell me I ignored your question. The fact that you dismiss cellular intelligence (= Shapiro’s “natural genetic engineering”) as an explanation for adaptations and innovations (including skull and birth canal expansion) is no reason for pretending that I have not given you an answer. Dismissing the answer as “off the mark” presupposes that you know the mark, which you don’t.
Meanwhile:

dhw: Once again I asked the following question:
dhw: Now tell us whether you believe your God designed the mechanism which enables the brain to complexify without his direction. If he did, why should the same mechanism not have enabled the brain to expand?

DAVID: Total confusion of facts: complexification results in overall shrinkage! And how about the bony problems?

Total non sequitur plus continued attempt at digression. Once more: if as you believe, your God invented a mechanism which enabled the brain to complexify itself autonomously in response to new requirements (with shrinkage simply the result of its efficiency), why should his invention not also have enabled the earlier brain to expand autonomously for the same reason? If he was happy to leave the modern brain to do its own thing (complexify), why would he not have been happy to let the ancient brain do its own thing (expand) as well?

dhw: You keep quoting articles that make no attempt to solve the mystery of expansion, as if somehow they support your theory and disprove mine!

DAVID: My quotes simply show most folks thinking about brain size and artifacts simply assume the bigger brains did it. We both also agree. Your theory is your theory no one else's. And you have never answered the 'bony problem' which involved separate organs than brain.

Yes, they don’t deal with the possible cause of brain expansion, which nobody has yet explained. My apparently original explanation calls for rational discussion, which so far you have not yet provided. Attempted diversion through “bony problem” now dealt with three times.

Under “Introducing the brain”:
"Senior author of the study, Dr. Penny Spikins, from the Department of Archaeology said: "More sophisticated tools like the Boxgrove handaxes start to appear around the same time as our hominin ancestors were developing much bigger brains. (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: Note the bold once again associating the advances in technique with brain size. It is known that erectus brain size increased from the time they first appeared. This also fits my idea that the bigger brain allows for thought advances, that is, learning to use it as knowledge builds and is passed on.

Your bold in no way contradicts my theory that the first handaxes would have been the cause of the expansion. Three cheers for homo erectus, who clearly began with a smaller brain but went on expanding it through his thought advances (or “hard thinking”). Or are you now saying that your God must have kept “stepping in” and dabbling erectus’ continued brain expansion to enable him to think more advanced thoughts as time passed? And this in spite of the fact that as a dualist you believe that only the soul does the thinking?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 14, 2020, 22:52 (12 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Once again I asked the following question:
dhw: Now tell us whether you believe your God designed the mechanism which enables the brain to complexify without his direction. If he did, why should the same mechanism not have enabled the brain to expand?

DAVID: Total confusion of facts: complexification results in overall shrinkage! And how about the bony problems?

dhw: Total non sequitur plus continued attempt at digression. Once more: if as you believe, your God invented a mechanism which enabled the brain to complexify itself autonomously in response to new requirements (with shrinkage simply the result of its efficiency), why should his invention not also have enabled the earlier brain to expand autonomously for the same reason? If he was happy to leave the modern brain to do its own thing (complexify), why would he not have been happy to let the ancient brain do its own thing (expand) as well?

It is possible to ascribe any actions to God as you wish. My position remains God runs evolution, and your invented theory is not based on any factual material. I doubt if this was an issue of God's happiness. Using this brain as a model of past brains, it IS logical to assume they also complexified a little. Nothing more can be logically assumed from present evidence. But imagination can run wild.


dhw: You keep quoting articles that make no attempt to solve the mystery of expansion, as if somehow they support your theory and disprove mine!

DAVID: My quotes simply show most folks thinking about brain size and artifacts simply assume the bigger brains did it. We both also agree. Your theory is your theory no one else's. And you have never answered the 'bony problem' which involved separate organs than brain.

dhw: Yes, they don’t deal with the possible cause of brain expansion, which nobody has yet explained. My apparently original explanation calls for rational discussion, which so far you have not yet provided. Attempted diversion through “bony problem” now dealt with three times.

Bony problems are not a diversion. They represent a major problem for your theory. I don't remember your answer, so please repeat it. As for expansion, God did it. As for rational discussion, see above, which states it is just vivid imagination, not based on current facts.


Under “Introducing the brain”:
"Senior author of the study, Dr. Penny Spikins, from the Department of Archaeology said: "More sophisticated tools like the Boxgrove handaxes start to appear around the same time as our hominin ancestors were developing much bigger brains. (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: Note the bold once again associating the advances in technique with brain size. It is known that erectus brain size increased from the time they first appeared. This also fits my idea that the bigger brain allows for thought advances, that is, learning to use it as knowledge builds and is passed on.

dhw: Your bold in no way contradicts my theory that the first handaxes would have been the cause of the expansion. Three cheers for homo erectus, who clearly began with a smaller brain but went on expanding it through his thought advances (or “hard thinking”). Or are you now saying that your God must have kept “stepping in” and dabbling erectus’ continued brain expansion to enable him to think more advanced thoughts as time passed? And this in spite of the fact that as a dualist you believe that only the soul does the thinking?

My approach never changes. God enlarged the erectus brain during its time on Earth, and the soul, using the more advanced brain size and possibly more complex networks used them for more advanced designs of artifacts.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Friday, May 15, 2020, 11:51 (12 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Once more: if as you believe, your God invented a mechanism which enabled the brain to complexify itself autonomously in response to new requirements (with shrinkage simply the result of its efficiency), why should his invention not also have enabled the earlier brain to expand autonomously for the same reason? If he was happy to leave the modern brain to do its own thing (complexify), why would he not have been happy to let the ancient brain do its own thing (expand) as well?

DAVID: It is possible to ascribe any actions to God as you wish. My position remains God runs evolution, and your invented theory is not based on any factual material. I doubt if this was an issue of God's happiness. Using this brain as a model of past brains, it IS logical to assume they also complexified a little. Nothing more can be logically assumed from present evidence. But imagination can run wild.

Your theory ascribes to your God the actions you wish. My theory is based on the fact that the modern brain changes in response to new requirements, and you cannot find a single reason why the same process should not have applied to the ancient brain. Your invented theory is not based on any facts. “Happy to” was not meant to lead to a discussion on happiness. If God invented a mechanism for the modern brain to complexify independently, why do you assume that the same mechanism would not have enabled the ancient brain to expand independently? My theory is not an assumption but a theory based on the only facts we have. Your theory is an assumption based on nothing but faith in your own personal belief in God and in your personal reading of his purpose and method.

dhw: Attempted diversion through “bony problem” now dealt with three times.

DAVID: Bony problems are not a diversion. They represent a major problem for your theory. I don't remember your answer, so please repeat it. As for expansion, God did it. As for rational discussion, see above, which states it is just vivid imagination, not based on current facts.

“God did it” is not my idea of rational discussion, and your claim that a theory extrapolated from current facts is “vivid imagination” is not my idea of rational discussion either. I have dealt with the bony problem three times, the last being yesterday (bolded), and I include your irrational comment (bolded) as follows:

DAVID: And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!

dhw: Hard thinking applies to the brain, because the brain is the seat of thought, whether there is a soul or not. You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling. Any anatomical change will involve different cell communities cooperating.

DAVID: Of course I ignored your cell committees as totally off the mark.

First you accuse me of not answering, then you dismiss my answer (as if you alone knew “the mark”), and now you have forgotten my answer!

dhw: Three cheers for homo erectus, who clearly began with a smaller brain but went on expanding it through his thought advances (or “hard thinking”). Or are you now saying that your God must have kept “stepping in” and dabbling erectus’ continued brain expansion to enable him to think more advanced thoughts as time passed? And this in spite of the fact that as a dualist you believe that only the soul does the thinking?

DAVID: My approach never changes. God enlarged the erectus brain during its time on Earth, and the soul, using the more advanced brain size and possibly more complex networks used them for more advanced designs of artifacts.

So your God carried on dabbling to make the erectus brain bigger and bigger (and possibly more and more complex), because it couldn’t change by itself, whereas he’s now stopped dabbling because sapiens’s brain can change by itself. (And all he ever wanted was sapiens’ complexification.)

An article in today’s Times discusses the importance of highly sophisticated axes believed to have been created about 600,000 years ago by Homo heidelbergensis. “Researchers said these advances in craftsmanship suggest individuals were acquiring multiple characteristics of self-control, such as forward-planning, concentration and frustration tolerance. This happened across a broad area over a period of about 100,000 years, coinciding closely in time with evidence of increases in brain size and social collaboration.”

I like the 100,000 years reference, which lessens the drama of brains suddenly “exploding”. A materialist might claim the brain expansion (cause unknown - maybe chance mutations) led to the advances. My favourite dualist would presumably claim God stepped in with dabbles, and the soul used the bigger brain to advance skills and its own self-awareness. My proposal would be that it was the other way round – new ideas required hard thinking (concentration), and as with the modern brain, this resulted in the changes (first, expansion - probably when complexification could no longer cope within existing dimensions - then sapiens complexification).

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, May 15, 2020, 21:37 (11 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Your theory ascribes to your God the actions you wish. My theory is based on the fact that the modern brain changes in response to new requirements, and you cannot find a single reason why the same process should not have applied to the ancient brain. Your invented theory is not based on any facts. “Happy to” was not meant to lead to a discussion on happiness. If God invented a mechanism for the modern brain to complexify independently, why do you assume that the same mechanism would not have enabled the ancient brain to expand independently? My theory is not an assumption but a theory based on the only facts we have.

The only facts we have is complexification causes shrinkage. See today's entry for a logical extrapolation of what our brain demonstrates: May 15, 2020, 16:17

"Our brain did not enlarge from this strenuous effort. It shrunk. Our evolved brain came from previous ancient brains an should reflect what they did as a result of thought, develop slightly complex neuronal networks with small regions of enlargement. Logical, involving no new theory."

DAVID: And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!

dhw: Hard thinking applies to the brain, because the brain is the seat of thought, whether there is a soul or not. You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling. Any anatomical change will involve different cell communities cooperating.

DAVID: Of course I ignored your cell committees as totally off the mark.

dhw: First you accuse me of not answering, then you dismiss my answer (as if you alone knew “the mark”), and now you have forgotten my answer!

I find it so unreasonable I didn't concentrate on it, and apologize for forgetting. Please explain how the comment in red works. I understand organs cooperating in life, but not evolution, in which an active positive change in the DNA of germ cells must be required. You have so far proposed nothing supported by facts in evolution.

dhw: An article in today’s Times discusses the importance of highly sophisticated axes believed to have been created about 600,000 years ago by Homo heidelbergensis. “Researchers said these advances in craftsmanship suggest individuals were acquiring multiple characteristics of self-control, such as forward-planning, concentration and frustration tolerance. This happened across a broad area over a period of about 100,000 years, coinciding closely in time with evidence of increases in brain size and social collaboration.”

I like the 100,000 years reference, which lessens the drama of brains suddenly “exploding”. A materialist might claim the brain expansion (cause unknown - maybe chance mutations) led to the advances. My favourite dualist would presumably claim God stepped in with dabbles, and the soul used the bigger brain to advance skills and its own self-awareness. My proposal would be that it was the other way round – new ideas required hard thinking (concentration), and as with the modern brain, this resulted in the changes (first, expansion - probably when complexification could no longer cope within existing dimensions - then sapiens complexification).

Heidelbergensis is just an erectus branch. I covered this without receiving comment. I was aware of the scientific research presented two -three days ago. And entered it here:

Introducing the brain:new skills require developing patience (Introduction)
by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 13, 2020, 19:12 with this comment:

"Comment: Note the bold once again associating the advances in technique with brain size. It is known that erectus brain size increased from the time they first appeared. This also fits my idea that the bigger brain allows for thought advances, that is, learning to use it as knowledge builds and is passed on."

My objections to your theory just restated are above.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Saturday, May 16, 2020, 10:52 (11 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID:(from "B.E.: Learning how to use it") This shows a series of observations that finally led to a usable wheel, but using our brain to think and conceive. Our brain did not enlarge from this strenuous effort. It shrunk. Our evolved brain came from previous ancient brains an should reflect what they did as a result of thought, develop slightly complex neuronal networks with small regions of enlargement. Logical involving no new theory.

By the time the actual wheel hit the ground rolling, H. sapiens’ brain had ALREADY expanded, and we know that strenuous hard thinking complexifies the sapiens brain. The H. sapiens brain did not expand any more. It complexified. And as you have agreed over and over again, complexification was so efficient that parts of the brain became redundant and so the brain shrank. You keep agreeing and then ignoring what you have agreed. We also agree that our brains should reflect the processes undergone by ancient brains. Our brains CHANGE as a result of what you aptly called “hard thinking” and the evolutionary change was from expansion to complexification because for some reason (I offered you a logical one, which you rejected, but you have never offered one of your own) sapiens brain STOPPED expanding. If you refuse to take into account what we have agreed over and over again on shrinkage, we shall continue to go round and round like a wheel in a rut.

DAVID: And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!

dhw: Hard thinking applies to the brain, because the brain is the seat of thought, whether there is a soul or not. You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling. Any anatomical change will involve different cell communities cooperating.

DAVID: I understand organs cooperating in life, but not evolution, in which an active positive change in the DNA of germ cells must be required. You have so far proposed nothing supported by facts in evolution.

Why are you questioning the point you highlighted in red? The changes take place! Do you or do you not agree that every organ comprises a community of cells? Do you or do you not agree that these cell communities (organs) must cooperate (i.e. work together) in any body, including the human body, regardless of whether God dabbles with them or not? If you do, then why can’t you see that if there is a change in one organ, it won’t work unless it can continue to cooperate with the cell communities that comprise the rest of the body? If the cell communities that make up the brain grow larger but the cell communities that make up the skull don't cooperate by also expanding, pop goes the upper weasel. If the birth canal doesn’t expand, pop goes the lower weasel. Nothing whatsoever to do with “hard thinking”. The changes are a fact. How they took place requires a theory. Your theory is that your hands-on God stepped in to dabble with the cell communities of the brain and the skull and the birth canal so that they would cooperate. My theistic proposal is that he gave the cells the intelligence to do it without his interference.

Under “Roles of the cerebellum”:

QUOTE: These results confirm that the effective connectivity between the posterior cerebellum and mentalizing areas in the cerebral cortex play a critical role in the understanding and construction of the correct order of social and non-social action sequences."

DAVID: The cerebellum is used primarily to coordinate muscular activities, but in humans it has developed other activities.

I have always been very reluctant to say that there is a rigid division between the functions of the cell communities that make up the brain, as you seem to imply in your post on "Dualism". I prefer to think of the different cell communities within the brain as cooperating and interacting with one another. The article seems to confirm this view.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 16, 2020, 15:37 (11 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Saturday, May 16, 2020, 15:43

DAVID:(from "B.E.: Learning how to use it") This shows a series of observations that finally led to a usable wheel, but using our brain to think and conceive. Our brain did not enlarge from this strenuous effort. It shrunk. Our evolved brain came from previous ancient brains an should reflect what they did as a result of thought, develop slightly complex neuronal networks with small regions of enlargement. Logical involving no new theory.

dhw: By the time the actual wheel hit the ground rolling, H. sapiens’ brain had ALREADY expanded, and we know that strenuous hard thinking complexifies the sapiens brain. The H. sapiens brain did not expand any more. It complexified. And as you have agreed over and over again, complexification was so efficient that parts of the brain became redundant and so the brain shrank. You keep agreeing and then ignoring what you have agreed. We also agree that our brains should reflect the processes undergone by ancient brains. Our brains CHANGE as a result of what you aptly called “hard thinking” and the evolutionary change was from expansion to complexification because for some reason (I offered you a logical one, which you rejected, but you have never offered one of your own) sapiens brain STOPPED expanding.

None of the above confusion tells us why the sapiens brain was so large. It was not due to the wheel appearing 5,500 years ago. What I have rejected is the nonsensical perversion that ancient brains acted differently than ours. They each were expanded in stages. They may have had some complexification like ours. That is what I have proposed. You seem to agree. As for the bold, the cause of enlargement, I have said God did it.

DAVID: And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head? The subject is the same as I raised above. Phenotypic changes all apply. Hard thinking must trigger all!!!

dhw: Hard thinking applies to the brain, because the brain is the seat of thought, whether there is a soul or not. You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling. Any anatomical change will involve different cell communities cooperating.

DAVID: I understand organs cooperating in life, but not evolution, in which an active positive change in the DNA of germ cells must be required. You have so far proposed nothing supported by facts in evolution.

dhw: Why are you questioning the point you highlighted in red? The changes take place! Do you or do you not agree that every organ comprises a community of cells? Do you or do you not agree that these cell communities (organs) must cooperate (i.e. work together) in any body, including the human body, regardless of whether God dabbles with them or not? If you do, then why can’t you see that if there is a change in one organ, it won’t work unless it can continue to cooperate with the cell communities that comprise the rest of the body? If the cell communities that make up the brain grow larger but the cell communities that make up the skull don't cooperate by also expanding, pop goes the upper weasel. If the birth canal doesn’t expand, pop goes the lower weasel. Nothing whatsoever to do with “hard thinking”. The changes are a fact. How they took place requires a theory. Your theory is that your hands-on God stepped in to dabble with the cell communities of the brain and the skull and the birth canal so that they would cooperate. My theistic proposal is that he gave the cells the intelligence to do it without his interference.

The red sentence is totally off the point in evolutionary changes. your paragraph is verbiage about what? The sentence I've now bolded above in my last reply is the key point about your cooperation theory, and you've totally ignored it or more likely have no answer. Those germ cell's genomes run the show for every expansion of the brain and must be changed to handle all the bony problems I've mentioned attendant to brain enlargement. It is NEVER cell committees cooperation. They are developed from the germ cells instructions to stem cells. Cooperating organs come as a result. Your problem is not recognizing this prior requirement in evolution.


Under “Roles of the cerebellum”:

QUOTE: These results confirm that the effective connectivity between the posterior cerebellum and mentalizing areas in the cerebral cortex play a critical role in the understanding and construction of the correct order of social and non-social action sequences."

DAVID: The cerebellum is used primarily to coordinate muscular activities, but in humans it has developed other activities.

dhw: I have always been very reluctant to say that there is a rigid division between the functions of the cell communities that make up the brain, as you seem to imply in your post on "Dualism". I prefer to think of the different cell communities within the brain as cooperating and interacting with one another. The article seems to confirm this view.

The brain does have different functions in different parts connected by networks of fibers.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, May 17, 2020, 10:27 (10 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: By the time the actual wheel hit the ground rolling, H. sapiens’ brain had ALREADY expanded, and we know that strenuous hard thinking complexifies the sapiens brain. […] We also agree that our brains should reflect the processes undergone by ancient brains. Our brains CHANGE as a result of what you aptly called “hard thinking” and the evolutionary change was from expansion to complexification because for some reason (I offered you a logical one, which you rejected, but you have never offered one of your own)sapiens brain STOPPED expanding.

DAVID: None of the above confusion tells us why the sapiens brain was so large. It was not due to the wheel appearing 5,500 years ago.

At least you have now stopped harping on about shrinkage! There are two unanswered questions: why did brains expand, and why did they stop expanding? I didn’t say expansion was due to the wheel! I said the brain had ALREADY expanded – with ALREADY in block capitals.

DAVID: What I have rejected is the nonsensical perversion that ancient brains acted differently than ours. They each were expanded in stages. They may have had some complexification like ours. That is what I have proposed. You seem to agree. As for the bold, the cause of enlargement, I have said God did it.

My theory simply proposes a continuous line from modern back to ancient: brain CHANGE in response to new requirements. Why is that perverse?

The bold does not relate to the cause of enlargement! It relates to the reason why the brain STOPPED expanding (also in block capitals). So please tell us why you think your God switched from dabbling expansion after expansion to dabbling non-expansion and the complexification takeover.

DAVID: And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head?

dhw: You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling. Any anatomical change will involve different cell communities cooperating. (David’s red)

DAVID: I understand organs cooperating in life, but not evolution, in which an active positive change in the DNA of germ cells must be required.

Dhw: […] The changes are a fact. How they took place requires a theory. Your theory is that your hands-on God stepped in to dabble with the cell communities of the brain and the skull and the birth canal so that they would cooperate. My theistic proposal is that he gave the cells the intelligence to do it without his interference.

DAVID: The red sentence is totally off the point in evolutionary changes. […] The sentence I've now bolded above in my last reply is the key point about your cooperation theory, and you've totally ignored it or more likely have no answer. Those germ cell's genomes run the show for every expansion of the brain and must be changed to handle all the bony problems I've mentioned attendant to brain enlargement. It is NEVER cell committees cooperation. They are developed from the germ cells instructions to stem cells. Cooperating organs come as a result. Your problem is not recognizing this prior requirement in evolution.

Your problem is that you continue to ignore the fact that organs are cell communities! Of course the genomes must be changed if the organ is to change! You claim your God stepped in to dabble the changes in the genome. I propose that the intelligent cells themselves made the changes. If they did so through germ cells instructing stem cells, then that is how the cooperation took place! How can you have cells giving or obeying instructions without cooperation? Intelligent cell communities within organs cooperate to make the changes through which the organs can cooperate with one another. It’s what Shapiro calls “natural genetic engineering”.

DAVID: The cerebellum is used primarily to coordinate muscular activities, but in humans it has developed other activities.

dhw: I have always been very reluctant to say that there is a rigid division between the functions of the cell communities that make up the brain, as you seem to imply in your post on "Dualism". I prefer to think of the different cell communities within the brain as cooperating and interacting with one another. The article seems to confirm this view.

DAVID: The brain does have different functions in different parts connected by networks of fibers.

Of course. But the example of the cerebellum shows that we cannot necessarily restrict each section to a specific function: e.g. the cerebellum is not confined to muscular activities. Clearly there is interaction and cooperation between the different cell communities within the brain. This has nothing to do with our discussion on dualism, and so I take it we can close that thread, at least for the time being.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 17, 2020, 15:57 (10 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: By the time the actual wheel hit the ground rolling, H. sapiens’ brain had ALREADY expanded, and we know that strenuous hard thinking complexifies the sapiens brain. […] We also agree that our brains should reflect the processes undergone by ancient brains. Our brains CHANGE as a result of what you aptly called “hard thinking” and the evolutionary change was from expansion to complexification because for some reason (I offered you a logical one, which you rejected, but you have never offered one of your own)sapiens brain STOPPED expanding.

DAVID: None of the above confusion tells us why the sapiens brain was so large. It was not due to the wheel appearing 5,500 years ago.

dhw: At least you have now stopped harping on about shrinkage! There are two unanswered questions: why did brains expand, and why did they stop expanding? I didn’t say expansion was due to the wheel! I said the brain had ALREADY expanded – with ALREADY in block capitals.

Remember, my God expands brains. Your theories are no more logical than that.


dhw: The bold does not relate to the cause of enlargement! It relates to the reason why the brain STOPPED expanding (also in block capitals). So please tell us why you think your God switched from dabbling expansion after expansion to dabbling non-expansion and the complexification takeover.

Obvious, He reached his goal.


DAVID: And how does hard thinking get the skull to expand to allow the newly required fit, and the mother's birth canal accommodate the newborn's bigger head?

dhw: You can never seem to get your head round the fact that the body consists of multiple cell communities which cooperate with one another, with or without your God’s 3.8-billion-year computer programme or personal dabbling. Any anatomical change will involve different cell communities cooperating. (David’s red)

DAVID: I understand organs cooperating in life, but not evolution, in which an active positive change in the DNA of germ cells must be required.

Dhw: […] The changes are a fact. How they took place requires a theory. Your theory is that your hands-on God stepped in to dabble with the cell communities of the brain and the skull and the birth canal so that they would cooperate. My theistic proposal is that he gave the cells the intelligence to do it without his interference.

DAVID: The red sentence is totally off the point in evolutionary changes. […] The sentence I've now bolded above in my last reply is the key point about your cooperation theory, and you've totally ignored it or more likely have no answer. Those germ cell's genomes run the show for every expansion of the brain and must be changed to handle all the bony problems I've mentioned attendant to brain enlargement. It is NEVER cell committees cooperation. They are developed from the germ cells instructions to stem cells. Cooperating organs come as a result. Your problem is not recognizing this prior requirement in evolution.

dhw: Your problem is that you continue to ignore the fact that organs are cell communities! Of course the genomes must be changed if the organ is to change! You claim your God stepped in to dabble the changes in the genome. I propose that the intelligent cells themselves made the changes. If they did so through germ cells instructing stem cells, then that is how the cooperation took place! How can you have cells giving or obeying instructions without cooperation? Intelligent cell communities within organs cooperate to make the changes through which the organs can cooperate with one another. It’s what Shapiro calls “natural genetic engineering”.

Genetics and embryology tell us that a new organism is reproduced from the combined DNA of male and female gametes. That combination runs the show. Your bold is bottom up control whereas the fact is genetics runs top down. You have made up a conglomeration that makes no sense at all. There is no evidence beyond Shapiro in bacteria of bottom up. In fact today I will show how complex bacteria really are. Please reread my last comment above which is a recitation of scientific fact. Simply ignoring it doesn't negate the points.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, May 18, 2020, 13:25 (9 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There are two unanswered questions: why did brains expand, and why did they stop expanding?

DAVID: Remember, my God expands brains. Your theories are no more logical than that.

That is not an answer to the two questions.

dhw: […] please tell us why you think your God switched from dabbling expansion after expansion to dabbling non-expansion and the complexification takeover.

DAVID: Obvious, He reached his goal.

If his goal was a brain of a certain size, which would complexify in response to new requirements, why do you think he found it necessary to specially design all the different hominins and homos and expansions? You believe in common descent and in a God who perhaps might set processes in motion and watch them simply evolve,so isn't it possible that the mechanism he invented might have spontaneously produced all the progressions? After all, you believe complexification works “naturally” without a dabble. So why not expansion?

DAVID:I understand organs cooperating in life, but not evolution, in which an active positive change in the DNA of germ cells must be required.

DAVID: […] The sentence I've now bolded above in my last reply is the key point about your cooperation theory, and you've totally ignored it or more likely have no answer. Those germ cell's genomes run the show for every expansion of the brain and must be changed to handle all the bony problems I've mentioned attendant to brain enlargement. It is NEVER cell committees cooperation. They are developed from the germ cells instructions to stem cells. Cooperating organs come as a result. Your problem is not recognizing this prior requirement in evolution.

dhw: Your problem is that you continue to ignore the fact that organs are cell communities! Of course the genomes must be changed if the organ is to change! You claim your God stepped in to dabble the changes in the genome. I propose that the intelligent cells themselves made the changes. If they did so through germ cells instructing stem cells, then that is how the cooperation took place! How can you have cells giving or obeying instructions without cooperation? Intelligent cell communities within organs cooperate to make the changes through which the organs can cooperate with one another. It’s what Shapiro calls “natural genetic engineering”.

DAVID: Genetics and embryology tell us that a new organism is reproduced from the combined DNA of male and female gametes. That combination runs the show […] Please reread my last comment above which is a recitation of scientific fact. Simply ignoring it doesn't negate the points.

Not ignored but answered directly! Your comment above tells us the germ cell’s genomes run the show and issue instructions to the sperm cells. Are you saying that cells instructing other cells does not constitute cooperation? What is your theory? That God delivers lectures to the germ cells before they can pass on his instructions? Of course the male and female must cooperate. If the brain has expanded and new babies have bigger heads, the cell communities of the birth canal must respond by also expanding! The whole system works by cell communities cooperating to cope with new requirements. I suppose you now want fossils of burst birth canals and dead babies before you’ll accept the logic. You say God dabbles every change (usually before needed – do you think he expanded the birth canal before brains expanded?), whereas I propose that all changes occur in a natural sequence as intelligent cells (with your God as the possible source of their intelligence) respond to new conditions.

DAVID: Your bold is bottom up control whereas the fact is genetics runs top down. You have made up a conglomeration that makes no sense at all. There is no evidence beyond Shapiro in bacteria of bottom up. In fact today I will show how complex bacteria really are.

I don’t understand your bottom-up versus top down. We agree that intelligence runs the show. You think your intelligent God dabbles every genome change in every organ/organism. I propose that the changes are made by the intelligent genome itself (which your God may have designed with the capability of changing itself). I don’t know why you’ve suddenly brought in bacteria, other than to snipe at Shapiro and all the other scientists who are convinced that cells are intelligent.

QUOTE: "No one knows whether the structures seen in bacteria represent primitive, intermediate steps in the evolution of eukaryotic organelles, or separate innovations that evolved independently of those of eukaryotes. It’s possible that the answer varies with each organelle. But even if the bacterial and eukaryotic organelles did evolve completely independently, the prokaryotic structures may be useful for understanding the eukaryotic ones. (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: My bold represents the key point: the evolutionary jump to eukaryote cells may have been much smaller than previously thought, and therefore original bacteria at/after the start of life may have been much more complex than previously realized, implying even more the necessity that a designer was/is required.

Nothing to do with why the brain expanded and then stopped expanding to let complexification take over. But I accept your argument that the greater the complexity, the stronger the case for design.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, May 18, 2020, 19:17 (9 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: There are two unanswered questions: why did brains expand, and why did they stop expanding?

DAVID: Remember, my God expands brains. Your theories are no more logical than that.

dhw: That is not an answer to the two questions.

It is my answer. You want natural causes. We still discuss at two different levels which cannot meet. God does it as you theistic question below:


dhw: […] please tell us why you think your God switched from dabbling expansion after expansion to dabbling non-expansion and the complexification takeover.

DAVID: Obvious, He reached his goal.

dhw: If his goal was a brain of a certain size, which would complexify in response to new requirements, why do you think he found it necessary to specially design all the different hominins and homos and expansions? ...So why not expansion?

Because He evolved us from bacteria. And reached an end point which was His goal.


DAVID:I understand organs cooperating in life, but not evolution, in which an active positive change in the DNA of germ cells must be required.

DAVID: […] The sentence I've now bolded above in my last reply is the key point about your cooperation theory, and you've totally ignored it or more likely have no answer. Those germ cell's genomes run the show for every expansion of the brain and must be changed to handle all the bony problems I've mentioned attendant to brain enlargement. It is NEVER cell committees cooperation. They are developed from the germ cells instructions to stem cells. Cooperating organs come as a result. Your problem is not recognizing this prior requirement in evolution.

dhw: Your problem is that you continue to ignore the fact that organs are cell communities! Of course the genomes must be changed if the organ is to change! You claim your God stepped in to dabble the changes in the genome. I propose that the intelligent cells themselves made the changes. If they did so through germ cells instructing stem cells, then that is how the cooperation took place! How can you have cells giving or obeying instructions without cooperation? Intelligent cell communities within organs cooperate to make the changes through which the organs can cooperate with one another. It’s what Shapiro calls “natural genetic engineering”.

DAVID: Genetics and embryology tell us that a new organism is reproduced from the combined DNA of male and female gametes. That combination runs the show […] Please reread my last comment above which is a recitation of scientific fact. Simply ignoring it doesn't negate the points.

dhw: Not ignored but answered directly! Your comment above tells us the germ cell’s genomes run the show and issue instructions to the sperm cells. Are you saying that cells instructing other cells does not constitute cooperation? What is your theory? That God delivers lectures to the germ cells before they can pass on his instructions? Of course the male and female must cooperate.

To save your weird cooperation theory you are ignoring the science I'm presenting. Each new individual is formed from top down instructions in gamete DNA from embryo to newborn. Cooperating organs and cells in organs result. Epigenetic coding changes do not speciate, only slightly modify reactions.


DAVID: Your bold is bottom up control whereas the fact is genetics runs top down. You have made up a conglomeration that makes no sense at all. There is no evidence beyond Shapiro in bacteria of bottom up. In fact today I will show how complex bacteria really are.

dhw: I don’t understand your bottom-up versus top down. We agree that intelligence runs the show. You think your intelligent God dabbles every genome change in every organ/organism. I propose that the changes are made by the intelligent genome itself (which your God may have designed with the capability of changing itself).

You do understand my point based on your reply. The genome has to change, and the theoretical Darwin proposed mechanisms are all chance! (Drift, mistake, gamma rays damage, etc.) I"ll stick with God. Do Darwinists accept intelligent DNA? No way. You are on your own as a third way.

QUOTE: "No one knows whether the structures seen in bacteria represent primitive, intermediate steps in the evolution of eukaryotic organelles, or separate innovations that evolved independently of those of eukaryotes. It’s possible that the answer varies with each organelle. But even if the bacterial and eukaryotic organelles did evolve completely independently, the prokaryotic structures may be useful for understanding the eukaryotic ones. (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID: My bold represents the key point: the evolutionary jump to eukaryote cells may have been much smaller than previously thought, and therefore original bacteria at/after the start of life may have been much more complex than previously realized, implying even more the necessity that a designer was/is required.

dhw: Nothing to do with why the brain expanded and then stopped expanding to let complexification take over. But I accept your argument that the greater the complexity, the stronger the case for design.

Shows God's good pre-planning

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 10:47 (8 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There are two unanswered questions: why did brains expand, and why did they stop expanding?

DAVID: Remember, my God expands brains. Your theories are no more logical than that.

dhw: That is not an answer to the two questions.

DAVID: It is my answer. You want natural causes. […]

These do not exclude God as the possible designer of the mechanisms that enable organs and organisms to evolve “naturally”.

dhw: If his goal was a brain of a certain size, which would complexify in response to new requirements, why do you think he found it necessary to specially design all the different hominins and homos and expansions? ...So why not expansion?

DAVID: Because He evolved us from bacteria. And reached an end point which was His goal.

This does not tell us why, if he was capable of hands-on designing H. sapiens brain, he hands-on designed all the preceding brains, kept dabbling expansions, then stopped dabbling expansions and left the sapiens brain to do all its own complexifications. You left out my question: “After all, you believe complexification works “naturally” without a dabble. So why not expansion?” Perhaps you will answer now.

DAVID: […] Those germ cell's genomes run the show for every expansion of the brain and must be changed to handle all the bony problems I've mentioned attendant to brain enlargement. It is NEVER cell committees cooperation. They are developed from the germ cells instructions to stem cells.

dhw: Of course the genomes must be changed if the organ is to change! You claim your God stepped in to dabble the changes in the genome. I propose that the intelligent cells themselves made the changes. If they did so through germ cells instructing stem cells, then that is how the cooperation took place! How can you have cells giving or obeying instructions without cooperation? […] What is your theory? That God delivers lectures to the germ cells before they can pass on his instructions? Of course the male and female must cooperate.

DAVID: To save your weird cooperation theory you are ignoring the science I'm presenting. Each new individual is formed from top down instructions in gamete DNA from embryo to newborn. Cooperating organs and cells in organs result. Epigenetic coding changes do not speciate, only slightly modify reactions.

You really are determined to dodge the brain expansion issue. First it was the expansion of the skull and the birth canal. Now that I’ve answered that (and you have completely ignored my answer, which I shan’t repeat here) you want to switch to the whole process of how the embryo is formed and turns into the newborn! ALL processes depend on cell communities cooperating. Instruction from cells to cells constitute cooperation. But once a process is established, I would suggest that the cooperation is automatic until new conditions may require a change (as with the skull and the birth canal). Of course the end product of the reproduction process is a community of cell communities that cooperate with one another. How does that mean that the processes leading to the end product do NOT require cooperation? And we are not discussing speciation on this thread. We are discussing brain expansion.

DAVID: You do understand my point based on your reply. The genome has to change, and the theoretical Darwin proposed mechanisms are all chance! (Drift, mistake, gamma rays damage, etc.) I"ll stick with God. Do Darwinists accept intelligent DNA? No way. You are on your own as a third way.

Now all of a sudden the subject switches to Darwin and chance, which we have both long ago rejected. Once again, yes, the genome has to change. You think your God dabbles it. I propose that the cells are intelligent. So does Shapiro, and I am not on my own. And his research is based on the findings of many others who firmly believe in the cellular intelligence which you acknowledge to be 50/50 but reject all the same. May we please return to the subject of brain expansion?

**********

Under "Genome complexity":
QUOTE: The gene system must have the physical freedom to specify itself, as well as any variation of itself.

This article is too technical for me to follow, but as always I accept the logic of the design argument. I’d be grateful, though, if you would explain the implications of the above quote, which seems to me to confirm that the gene system has the potential to vary itself.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 19, 2020, 19:24 (8 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It is my answer. You want natural causes. […]

dhw: These do not exclude God as the possible designer of the mechanisms that enable organs and organisms to evolve “naturally”.

I'll accept that if you allow guidelines, which you won't. Your weak proposals of God are not the God I envision.

DAVID: Because He evolved us from bacteria. And reached an end point which was His goal.

dhw: This does not tell us why, if he was capable of hands-on designing H. sapiens brain, he hands-on designed all the preceding brains, kept dabbling expansions, then stopped dabbling expansions and left the sapiens brain to do all its own complexifications. You left out my question: “After all, you believe complexification works “naturally” without a dabble. So why not expansion?” Perhaps you will answer now.

I've answered many times. Previous brains undoubtedly had some degree of complexification, and is part of the brain-design God gave them and us. No different than enlarging muscles with repeated exercise. Lose one kidney and the other enlarges to handle the load. Many organs have built-in adaptability, no dabble required. Expansion is by God's design.


DAVID: To save your weird cooperation theory you are ignoring the science I'm presenting. Each new individual is formed from top down instructions in gamete DNA from embryo to newborn. Cooperating organs and cells in organs result. Epigenetic coding changes do not speciate, only slightly modify reactions.

dhw: You really are determined to dodge the brain expansion issue. First it was the expansion of the skull and the birth canal. Now that I’ve answered that (and you have completely ignored my answer, which I shan’t repeat here) you want to switch to the whole process of how the embryo is formed and turns into the newborn! ALL processes depend on cell communities cooperating.

I don't dodge. You are ignoring the science. Those cooperating cells in different organs were forced to be that way by DNA instructions. Cells don't cooperate with DNA. They are specifically told what to do in forming their organs and you haven't gotten rid of the bony issues. It is the DNA which tells what changes are required by all groups of cells. No cooperation, just commands. For a new species to appear, DNA must be changed beyond epigenetics, which cells might suggest. As I stated before, you are mixing up what is really happening to fit your ideas. It is top down control, not bottom up.

dhw: Instruction from cells to cells constitute cooperation. But once a process is established, I would suggest that the cooperation is automatic until new conditions may require a change (as with the skull and the birth canal). Of course the end product of the reproduction process is a community of cell communities that cooperate with one another. How does that mean that the processes leading to the end product do NOT require cooperation? And we are not discussing speciation on this thread. We are discussing brain expansion.

Of course we are discussing speciation. Every new individual with a bigger brain is a new species. Again, untrue bottom up controls is what you present.


DAVID: You do understand my point based on your reply. The genome has to change, and the theoretical Darwin proposed mechanisms are all chance! (Drift, mistake, gamma rays damage, etc.) I"ll stick with God. Do Darwinists accept intelligent DNA? No way. You are on your own as a third way.

dhw: Now all of a sudden the subject switches to Darwin and chance, which we have both long ago rejected. Once again, yes, the genome has to change. You think your God dabbles it. I propose that the cells are intelligent. So does Shapiro, and I am not on my own. And his research is based on the findings of many others who firmly believe in the cellular intelligence which you acknowledge to be 50/50 but reject all the same. May we please return to the subject of brain expansion?

Your imagined degree of cell intelligence is a gross extrapolation from what Shapiro proposed with no advances in that area since his book.

**********

Under "Genome complexity":
QUOTE: The gene system must have the physical freedom to specify itself, as well as any variation of itself.

dhw: This article is too technical for me to follow, but as always I accept the logic of the design argument. I’d be grateful, though, if you would explain the implications of the above quote, which seems to me to confirm that the gene system has the potential to vary itself.

He uses it in this sense to fit the discussion in biochemical terms: From the dictionary

"specialised, specialized
developed or designed for a special activity or function". DNA is very specific in what it does and maintains it unless changed.

Note this quote: "to specify itself among alternatives." Means it selects a specific function in the process among other possibilities.

My comment should guide you: "This means the molecular reactions go on under precise coordination but each stepwise molecule does not know the end point to which it is directing a process. This demands design, because the chemicals do not get arranged this way on their own, with purposeful results all the time. Note Polanyi uses the concept of guidance by information."

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 13:13 (7 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Why did brains expand, and why did they stop expanding?

DAVID: Remember, my God expands brains.

dhw: That is not an answer to the two questions.

DAVID: It is my answer. You want natural causes. […]

dhw: These do not exclude God as the possible designer of the mechanisms that enable organs and organisms to evolve “naturally”.

DAVID: I'll accept that if you allow guidelines, which you won't. Your weak proposals of God are not the God I envision.

Your guidelines are a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme (now abandoned) and hands-on dabbling – the opposite of my theory. Why is it “weak” for God to invent a mechanism for natural expansion but not for natural complexification?

DAVID: Previous brains undoubtedly had some degree of complexification, and is part of the brain-design God gave them and us. No different than enlarging muscles with repeated exercise. Lose one kidney and the other enlarges to handle the load. Many organs have built-in adaptability, no dabble required. Expansion is by God's design.

The modern brain does not enlarge with repeated exercise but complexifies. I propose that earlier brains enlarged with hard thinking, just as muscles enlarge with repeated exercise and the kidney responds to new requirements by enlarging itself. In my theistic theory, God would have designed the mechanism whereby brains adapt themselves to new requirements, either by enlarging themselves (pre-sapiens) or by complexifying themselves (sapiens). Thank you for supporting it with your excellent examples.

DAVID: Each new individual is formed from top down instructions in gamete DNA from embryo to newborn. Cooperating organs and cells in organs result. Epigenetic coding changes do not speciate, only slightly modify reactions.

dhw: You really are determined to dodge the brain expansion issue. First it was the expansion of the skull and the birth canal. Now that I’ve answered that [...] you want to switch to the whole process of how the embryo is formed and turns into the newborn! ALL processes depend on cell communities cooperating.

DAVID: I don't dodge. You are ignoring the science. Those cooperating cells in different organs were forced to be that way by DNA instructions. Cells don't cooperate with DNA. They are specifically told what to do in forming their organs and you haven't gotten rid of the bony issues[…]. For a new species to appear, DNA must be changed beyond epigenetics, which cells might suggest. […]

First you had germ cells instructing stem cells, and now you have DNA issuing instructions, as if DNA was not part of the cell! And you want to switch from brain expansion to speciation and epigenetics. Back to basics: Do you deny that the brain consists of cell communities which cooperate with one another, that the cell community of the skull must expand – like muscles expanding through exercise – to accommodate the enlarged brain, and the cell community of the birth canal must expand to accommodate the enlarged skull? And in your theory, do you think your God DOESN’T reorganize the cell communities in such a way that they work together?

dhw: And we are not discussing speciation on this thread.

DAVID: Of course we are discussing speciation. Every new individual with a bigger brain is a new species. […]

On the ant thread you said the giant kangaroo was not a new species, but now the giant brain is a new species. Why are we arguing about what constitutes a species? Please answer the above questions concerning brain expansion and cooperation.

DAVID: The genome has to change, and the theoretical Darwin proposed mechanisms are all chance! (Drift, mistake, gamma rays damage, etc.) I"ll stick with God. Do Darwinists accept intelligent DNA? No way. You are on your own as a third way.

dhw: Now all of a sudden the subject switches to Darwin and chance, which we have both long ago rejected. Once again, yes, the genome has to change. You think your God dabbles it. I propose that the cells are intelligent. So does Shapiro, and I am not on my own.

DAVID: Your imagined degree of cell intelligence is a gross extrapolation from what Shapiro proposed with no advances in that area since his book.

There is no gross extrapolation. You’ve forgotten the list of quotes from your own book, which calls Shapiro’s “an amazing documentation of all the work in the epigenetic field” (p. 146): CELLS are cognitive, sentient beings with “sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities”, and “Evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification functions and cell fusions.” Please note the word “novelty”.

**********
QUOTE: "The gene system must have the physical freedom to specify itself, as well as any variation of itself."

dhw: I’d be grateful...if you would explain the implications of the above quote, which seems to me to confirm that the gene system has the potential to vary itself.

You have kindly defined “specialised”, and emphasized design and information. Thank you. But please tell me if I’m right to interpret this as a proposal that the gene system can autonomously change its own structure? (I know you will disagree – I‘m only asking for clarification of the statement itself.)

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 18:17 (7 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Wednesday, May 20, 2020, 18:28

DAVID: I'll accept that if you allow guidelines, which you won't. Your weak proposals of God are not the God I envision.

dhw: Your guidelines are a 3.8-billion-year old computer programme (now abandoned) and hands-on dabbling – the opposite of my theory. Why is it “weak” for God to invent a mechanism for natural expansion but not for natural complexification?

Apples and eggs. Complexification does not change a species as brain expansion does. God speciates each step. You can't seem to tell the difference. Complexification is a process given to each stage of brain in hominin/homo evolution, previously stated by me over and over. Pre-programming and dabbling are not abandoned, just guesses as to how God works, always under reconsideration. Haven't you noticed the multiple entries on pre-planning?

DAVID: You are ignoring the science. Those cooperating cells in different organs were forced to be that way by DNA instructions. Cells don't cooperate with DNA. They are specifically told what to do in forming their organs and you haven't gotten rid of the bony issues[…]. For a new species to appear, DNA must be changed beyond epigenetics, which cells might suggest. […]

dhw: Back to basics: Do you deny that the brain consists of cell communities which cooperate with one another, that the cell community of the skull must expand – like muscles expanding through exercise – to accommodate the enlarged brain, and the cell community of the birth canal must expand to accommodate the enlarged skull? And in your theory, do you think your God DOESN’T reorganize the cell communities in such a way that they work together?

How do the various bony cell committees know what to do on their own? Answer, they don't. Newly instructed DNA/stem cells tell them how and what to form. Your overwhelming desire for brilliant cells to get rid of God doesn't fit the science. But, thank you. Of course God instructs every part of a body in new species through changes in DNA.
Nothing natural.


dhw: And we are not discussing speciation on this thread.

DAVID: Of course we are discussing speciation. Every new individual with a bigger brain is a new species. […]

On the ant thread you said the giant kangaroo was not a new species, but now the giant brain is a new species. Why are we arguing about what constitutes a species? Please answer the above questions concerning brain expansion and cooperation.

Answered above . Of course you recognize species differences. Don't fudge.


DAVID: The genome has to change, and the theoretical Darwin proposed mechanisms are all chance! (Drift, mistake, gamma rays damage, etc.) I"ll stick with God. Do Darwinists accept intelligent DNA? No way. You are on your own as a third way.

dhw: Now all of a sudden the subject switches to Darwin and chance, which we have both long ago rejected. Once again, yes, the genome has to change. You think your God dabbles it. I propose that the cells are intelligent. So does Shapiro, and I am not on my own.

DAVID: Your imagined degree of cell intelligence is a gross extrapolation from what Shapiro proposed with no advances in that area since his book.

dhw: There is no gross extrapolation. You’ve forgotten the list of quotes from your own book, which calls Shapiro’s “an amazing documentation of all the work in the epigenetic field” (p. 146): CELLS are cognitive, sentient beings with “sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities”, and “Evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification functions and cell fusions.” Please note the word “novelty”.

I fully respect Shapiro and his theory as a great contribution. In this website I quoted his careful presentation to the Royal society which is not as stretched as you constantly want it to be. Your desires are not the truth of where evolutionary theory sits as of now. Invent all you want. I will constantly reject it.


**********
QUOTE: "The gene system must have the physical freedom to specify itself, as well as any variation of itself."

dhw: I’d be grateful...if you would explain the implications of the above quote, which seems to me to confirm that the gene system has the potential to vary itself.

You have kindly defined “specialised”, and emphasized design and information. Thank you. But please tell me if I’m right to interpret this as a proposal that the gene system can autonomously change its own structure? (I know you will disagree – I‘m only asking for clarification of the statement itself.)

I've clarified the statement and you hopefully keep trying to subvert it to your unreal realm of thought. DNA does not change itself other than epigenetic marks for adaptations within species. I know what the author meant and described it by definitions. And please accept the concept of information behind or organizing all processes of life. I know you fight it because of the implications for a designing mind.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 14:13 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why is it “weak” for God to invent a mechanism for natural expansion but not for natural complexification?

DAVID: Apples and eggs. Complexification does not change a species as brain expansion does. God speciates each step. You can't seem to tell the difference. Complexification is a process given to each stage of brain in hominin/homo evolution, previously stated by me over and over.

We are not talking about speciation but about two different processes: enlargement and complexification (usually a potent argument for design, but not here apparently). I’m still wearing my theist’s hat: do you think that the brain’s ability to complexify all by itself came about spontaneously through natural processes, or through God’s hands-on design? If it’s the latter, why could he not also have hands-on-designed the brain to expand all by itself? You told us complexification was “no different than enlarging muscles with repeated exercise” and also gave us the kidney example. Why do you think complexification can be compared to muscles expanding with repeated exercise, but expanding brains can’t?

DAVID: You are ignoring the science. Those cooperating cells in different organs were forced to be that way by DNA instructions. Cells don't cooperate with DNA. They are specifically told what to do in forming their organs and you haven't gotten rid of the bony issues[…]. For a new species to appear, DNA must be changed beyond epigenetics, which cells might suggest. […]

dhw: Back to basics: Do you deny that the brain consists of cell communities which cooperate with one another, that the cell community of the skull must expand – like muscles expanding through exercise – to accommodate the enlarged brain, and the cell community of the birth canal must expand to accommodate the enlarged skull? And in your theory, do you think your God DOESN’T reorganize the cell communities in such a way that they work together?

DAVID: How do the various bony cell committees know what to do on their own? Answer, they don't. Newly instructed DNA/stem cells tell them how and what to form. Your overwhelming desire for brilliant cells to get rid of God doesn't fit the science. But, thank you. Of course God instructs every part of a body in new species through changes in DNA. Nothing natural.

My bolded question remains unanswered. The various bony cell communities contain DNA! What do you mean by DNA/stem cells being newly instructed? Three days ago it was the germ cells instructing the stem cells, then it was DNA issuing instructions, and now DNA and stem cells are being instructed. By what? I don't know which part of the cell community runs which, but I suggest that the bony cells know what to do is because – as many scientists believe – cells are intelligent.

DAVID: Your imagined degree of cell intelligence is a gross extrapolation from what Shapiro proposed with no advances in that area since his book.

dhw: There is no gross extrapolation. You’ve forgotten the list of quotes from your own book, which calls Shapiro’s “an amazing documentation of all the work in the epigenetic field” (p. 146): CELLS are cognitive, sentient beings with “sensory, communication, information-processing and decision-making capabilities”, and “Evolutionary novelty arises from the production of new cell and multicellular structures as a result of cellular self-modification functions and cell fusions.” Please note the word “novelty”.

DAVID: I fully respect Shapiro and his theory as a great contribution. In this website I quoted his careful presentation to the Royal society which is not as stretched as you constantly want it to be.

The address did not contradict the quotes above. And the above is not a “stretch” – those are his words!

DAVID: Your desires are not the truth of where evolutionary theory sits as of now. Invent all you want. I will constantly reject it.

Do you think evolutionary theory as of now sits with your God preprogramming or dabbling every past and present “evolutionary novelty” plus lifestyles and natural wonders in order to design us? Does it as of now sit with chance mutations? I couldn’t care less where it “sits of now”. Please stick to the logic of the arguments.

**********
QUOTE: "The gene system must have the physical freedom to specify itself, as well as any variation of itself."

dhw: I’d be grateful...if you would explain the implications of the above quote, which seems to me to confirm that the gene system has the potential to vary itself.

DAVID: I've clarified the statement and you hopefully keep trying to subvert it to your unreal realm of thought. DNA does not change itself other than epigenetic marks for adaptations within species. I know what the author meant and described it by definitions.

I merely asked for clarification, not for your views on what DNA can and can’t do. But if it actually means that the gene system can’t vary itself, then of course I shall forbear from quoting it!

DAVID: And please accept the concept of information behind or organizing all processes of life. I know you fight it because of the implications for a designing mind.

No need to reopen this thread, except to say that my objection has absolutely nothing to do with design and everything to do with inadequate and totally misleading and confusing use of language.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 21, 2020, 15:35 (6 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Why is it “weak” for God to invent a mechanism for natural expansion but not for natural complexification?

DAVID: Apples and eggs. Complexification does not change a species as brain expansion does. God speciates each step. You can't seem to tell the difference. Complexification is a process given to each stage of brain in hominin/homo evolution, previously stated by me over and over.

dhw: We are not talking about speciation but about two different processes: enlargement and complexification (usually a potent argument for design, but not here apparently).

Of course we are discussing speciation. Each enlarged-brain Hominin is a new species.

dhw: I’m still wearing my theist’s hat: do you think that the brain’s ability to complexify all by itself came about spontaneously through natural processes, or through God’s hands-on design?

God designed each new brain with the ability to complexify'

dhw: If it’s the latter, why could he not also have hands-on-designed the brain to expand all by itself? You told us complexification was “no different than enlarging muscles with repeated exercise” and also gave us the kidney example. Why do you think complexification can be compared to muscles expanding with repeated exercise, but expanding brains can’t?

Brains are not muscles and complexification is simply a characteristic of the brain, as expansion is a characteristic of muscles. You again have misunderstood or twisted what I give as examples.


DAVID: How do the various bony cell committees know what to do on their own? Answer, they don't. Newly instructed DNA/stem cells tell them how and what to form. Your overwhelming desire for brilliant cells to get rid of God doesn't fit the science. But, thank you. Of course God instructs every part of a body in new species through changes in DNA. Nothing natural.

dhw: My bolded question remains unanswered. The various bony cell communities contain DNA! What do you mean by DNA/stem cells being newly instructed? Three days ago it was the germ cells instructing the stem cells, then it was DNA issuing instructions, and now DNA and stem cells are being instructed. By what? I don't know which part of the cell community runs which, but I suggest that the bony cells know what to do is because – as many scientists believe – cells are intelligent.

Pure wishful thinking. Cells are instructed from above.

DAVID: I fully respect Shapiro and his theory as a great contribution. In this website I quoted his careful presentation to the Royal society which is not as stretched as you constantly want it to be.

dhw: The address did not contradict the quotes above. And the above is not a “stretch” – those are his words!

Agreed. But they are pure unproved theory as to how evolution might advance naturally. You have extrapolated as the bold above. You now have cells running everything in bottom up control.

**********

QUOTE: "The gene system must have the physical freedom to specify itself, as well as any variation of itself."

dhw: I’d be grateful...if you would explain the implications of the above quote, which seems to me to confirm that the gene system has the potential to vary itself.

DAVID: I've clarified the statement and you hopefully keep trying to subvert it to your unreal realm of thought. DNA does not change itself other than epigenetic marks for adaptations within species. I know what the author meant and described it by definitions.

dhw: I merely asked for clarification, not for your views on what DNA can and can’t do. But if it actually means that the gene system can’t vary itself, then of course I shall forbear from quoting it!

DAVID: And please accept the concept of information behind or organizing all processes of life. I know you fight it because of the implications for a designing mind.

dhw: No need to reopen this thread, except to say that my objection has absolutely nothing to do with design and everything to do with inadequate and totally misleading and confusing use of language.

The folks who use the word information know what they mean as I do. The basis of life's processes is information it follows.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Friday, May 22, 2020, 11:33 (5 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Why is it “weak” for God to invent a mechanism for natural expansion but not for natural complexification?

DAVID: Apples and eggs. Complexification does not change a species as brain expansion does. God speciates each step. You can't seem to tell the difference. Complexification is a process given to each stage of brain in hominin/homo evolution, previously stated by me over and over.

dhw: We are not talking about speciation but about two different processes: enlargement and complexification (usually a potent argument for design, but not here apparently).

DAVID: Of course we are discussing speciation. Each enlarged-brain Hominin is a new species.

How does that prove that your God had to dabble enlargement but doesn’t have to dabble complexification?

dhw: I’m still wearing my theist’s hat: do you think that the brain’s ability to complexify all by itself came about spontaneously through natural processes, or through God’s hands-on design?

DAVID: God designed each new brain with the ability to complexify.

Which it does autonomously. So he designed a mechanism allowing autonomous complexification. Why then could he not have designed a mechanism allowing for autonomous enlargement?

dhw: […] You told us complexification was “no different than enlarging muscles with repeated exercise” and also gave us the kidney example. Why do you think complexification can be compared to muscles expanding with repeated exercise, but expanding brains can’t?

DAVID: Brains are not muscles and complexification is simply a characteristic of the brain, as expansion is a characteristic of muscles. You again have misunderstood or twisted what I give as examples.

So why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. Now how’s that for a comparison? And I’d still like an answer to the bolded question above.

DAVID: How do the various bony cell committees know what to do on their own?

DAVID: I suggest that the bony cells know what to do is because – as many scientists believe – cells are intelligent.

DAVID: Pure wishful thinking. Cells are instructed from above.

I really don’t think you should be accusing scientists like Shapiro, McClintock, Margulis, Buehler and the many others I listed some time back, of basing their conclusions on wishful thinking. I accept that there is no proof that cellular intelligence is advanced enough to have engineered what Shapiro calls “evolutionary novelty” – which is why his “natural genetic engineering” is a theory and not a fact. As for your own theory, what is “above”? First it was germ cells, then it was DNA – all part of the cell community – but presumably what you really mean is a 3.8-billion-year computer programme for every “evolutionary” novelty in life’s history, including brain expansion, or direct hands-on divine dabbling, or a mixture of both.

DAVID: But they [Shapiro’s words] are pure unproved theory as to how evolution might advance naturally.

And the proof of your theory is…..?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Friday, May 22, 2020, 20:37 (4 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We are not talking about speciation but about two different processes: enlargement and complexification (usually a potent argument for design, but not here apparently).

DAVID: Of course we are discussing speciation. Each enlarged-brain Hominin is a new species.

dhw: How does that prove that your God had to dabble enlargement but doesn’t have to dabble complexification?

You keep forgetting, as God creates a new larger brain it already contains the ability to complexify, as I'v e stated many times.


dhw: I’m still wearing my theist’s hat: do you think that the brain’s ability to complexify all by itself came about spontaneously through natural processes, or through God’s hands-on design?

DAVID: God designed each new brain with the ability to complexify.

dhw: Which it does autonomously. So he designed a mechanism allowing autonomous complexification. Why then could he not have designed a mechanism allowing for autonomous enlargement?

Your constant wish. You can have God doing anything you can imagine. As I've reminded you, your autonomous brain enlargement has to include different bony parts to change also in baby skull, adult skull and Mother's pelvis. All without guidance. And how about telling me what specifies which parts of the brain are to be enlarged? Not autonomous if there are specifications to be followed..


dhw: […] You told us complexification was “no different than enlarging muscles with repeated exercise” and also gave us the kidney example. Why do you think complexification can be compared to muscles expanding with repeated exercise, but expanding brains can’t?

DAVID: Brains are not muscles and complexification is simply a characteristic of the brain, as expansion is a characteristic of muscles. You again have misunderstood or twisted what I give as examples.

dhw: So why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. Now how’s that for a comparison?

Forgetting, as usual, complexifying brains shrink!


DAVID: How do the various bony cell committees know what to do on their own?

dhw: I suggest that the bony cells know what to do is because – as many scientists believe – cells are intelligent.

DAVID: Pure wishful thinking. Cells are instructed from above.

dhw: I accept that there is no proof that cellular intelligence is advanced enough to have engineered what Shapiro calls “evolutionary novelty” – which is why his “natural genetic engineering” is a theory and not a fact. As for your own theory, what is “above”? First it was germ cells, then it was DNA – all part of the cell community – but presumably what you really mean is a 3.8-billion-year computer programme for every “evolutionary” novelty in life’s history, including brain expansion, or direct hands-on divine dabbling, or a mixture of both.

The bold is something you don't seem to understand from the science which I carefully follow. Have you forgotten the zygote carries all the information for the new individual? The zygote comes from the junction of germ cells. From there stem cells take over and modify their DNA directing it into different states for different kinds of cooperating cells in the various organs. All top down creation! The genome is its own special directive community running the others. Where we recognize feedback, repeating myself for the umpteenth time, is in the appearance of methylation for minor epigenetic adaptive changes in the same species. Speciation, itself, must involve a totally different massive DNA alteration. Not by chance. And various cell committees don't have the mental design power to accomplish it. The last of your statement alludes to my guesses about how God does it. Thanks for recognizing them in your off-hand way.

DAVID: But they [Shapiro’s words] are pure unproved theory as to how evolution might advance naturally.

dhw: And the proof of your theory is…..?

You sure resent my obvious down grade of Shapiro to force you to admit, it is pure theory that has not added to any new advance in understanding evolution.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Saturday, May 23, 2020, 11:39 (4 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Of course we are discussing speciation. Each enlarged-brain Hominin is a new species.

dhw: How does that prove that your God had to dabble enlargement but doesn’t have to dabble complexification?

DAVID: You keep forgetting, as God creates a new larger brain it already contains the ability to complexify, as I'v e stated many times.

You keep forgetting that your God must have designed the mechanism for complexification in the first place. And if so, what makes you think he could not also have designed the mechanism for expansion in the first place?

DAVID: Your constant wish. You can have God doing anything you can imagine.

It is not a wish but a theory, and no less fanciful than your divine, 3.8-billion-year-old computer programmes and/or dabbling.

DAVID: As I've reminded you, your autonomous brain enlargement has to include different bony parts to change also in baby skull, adult skull and Mother's pelvis. All without guidance.

Must I remind you that I gave you a full answer? But you don’t believe in cell communities that respond to changing requirements and so you ignore my answer.

DAVID: And how about telling me what specifies which parts of the brain are to be enlarged? Not autonomous if there are specifications to be followed.

More questions, instead of answering my own (now bolded)! The parts of the brain to be enlarged will be determined by the nature of the requirement. For instance, you commented on the human cerebellum:

DAVID: ...the human brain contains the ability for the cerebellum to help with language[…]. This further supports my approach to brain enlargement, that it has to be specially designed for the new processes of which it is capable. Hard thought is not capable of this result, which requires special design.

Nobody knows what hard thought can and cannot do. If the requirement was for improved communication, the effort to achieve this would have resulted in changes to the cerebellum, just as reading, memorizing and playing an instrument change the relevant parts of the modern brain. I find this more likely than the theories that God dabbled, or there was a chance mutation, and only then did humans discover they could improve their language.

dhw: […] why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. Now how’s that for a comparison?

DAVID: Forgetting, as usual, complexifying brains shrink!

Forgetting as usual that it is the efficiency of complexification that causes shrinkage – not hard thinking. Now please explain what’s wrong with my version of the comparison you initiated?

dhw: I accept that there is no proof that cellular intelligence is advanced enough to have engineered what Shapiro calls “evolutionary novelty”[…]. As for your own theory, what is “above”? First it was germ cells, then it was DNA – all part of the cell community – but presumably what you really mean is a 3.8-billion-year computer programme for every “evolutionary” novelty in life’s history, including brain expansion, or direct hands-on divine dabbling, or a mixture of both.

DAVID: The bold is something you don't seem to understand from the science which I carefully follow. Have you forgotten the zygote carries all the information for the new individual? The zygote comes from the junction of germ cells. From there stem cells take over and modify their DNA directing it into different states for different kinds of cooperating cells in the various organs. All top down creation! The genome is its own special directive community running the others.

It’s clear that whatever the process, there is a hierarchy within cell communities, and intelligent levels issue instructions to the rest, who cooperate in producing the required result. If the genome runs all the other cooperating communities, that's fine with me. Thank you for providing a more detailed analysis of the roles played by the different members of the different cooperating cell communities, as outlined in my theory.

DAVID: Where we recognize feedback, repeating myself for the umpteenth time, is in the appearance of methylation for minor epigenetic adaptive changes in the same species. Speciation, itself, must involve a totally different massive DNA alteration. Not by chance. And various cell committees don't have the mental design power to accomplish it.

Now guesswork takes over from science. I keep repeating that my theory is a theory. Your authoritative claim that cells don’t have the ability to design their own “evolutionary novelties” (Shapiro) is as theoretical as the claim that they do.

DAVID: But they [Shapiro’s words] are pure unproved theory as to how evolution might advance naturally.

dhw: And the proof of your theory is…?

DAVID: You sure resent my obvious down grade of Shapiro to force you to admit, it is pure theory that has not added to any new advance in understanding evolution.

I have never ever at any point in any sentence in any thread claimed that it is more than a theory. And the proof of your theory is….?

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 23, 2020, 21:08 (3 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You keep forgetting, as God creates a new larger brain it already contains the ability to complexify, as I'v e stated many times.

dhw: You keep forgetting that your God must have designed the mechanism for complexification in the first place. And if so, what makes you think he could not also have designed the mechanism for expansion in the first place?

Because I fully believe only God speciates.


DAVID: As I've reminded you, your autonomous brain enlargement has to include different bony parts to change also in baby skull, adult skull and Mother's pelvis. All without guidance.

dhw: Must I remind you that I gave you a full answer? But you don’t believe in cell communities that respond to changing requirements and so you ignore my answer.

Your answer doesn't work. Cell committees are made to be cooperative so life can function. They do not have the ability to design for the future. Just your wishful thinking.


DAVID: And how about telling me what specifies which parts of the brain are to be enlarged? Not autonomous if there are specifications to be followed.

dhw: More questions, instead of answering my own (now bolded)! The parts of the brain to be enlarged will be determined by the nature of the requirement. For instance, you commented on the human cerebellum:

DAVID: ...the human brain contains the ability for the cerebellum to help with language[…]. This further supports my approach to brain enlargement, that it has to be specially designed for the new processes of which it is capable. Hard thought is not capable of this result, which requires special design.

dhw: Nobody knows what hard thought can and cannot do.

It causes our brain , the only example we have to shrink. That is a fact, not woolly wishes.

dhw: […] why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. Now how’s that for a comparison?

DAVID: Forgetting, as usual, complexifying brains shrink!

dhw; Forgetting as usual that it is the efficiency of complexification that causes shrinkage – not hard thinking. Now please explain what’s wrong with my version of the comparison you initiated?

Ignoring that complexification shrinks brains exactly from hard thought!

DAVID: Have you forgotten the zygote carries all the information for the new individual? The zygote comes from the junction of germ cells. From there stem cells take over and modify their DNA directing it into different states for different kinds of cooperating cells in the various organs. All top down creation! The genome is its own special directive community running the others.

dhw: It’s clear that whatever the process, there is a hierarchy within cell communities, and intelligent levels issue instructions to the rest, who cooperate in producing the required result. If the genome runs all the other cooperating communities, that's fine with me.

Hierarchy means top down control, not your bottom up.


DAVID: Where we recognize feedback, repeating myself for the umpteenth time, is in the appearance of methylation for minor epigenetic adaptive changes in the same species. Speciation, itself, must involve a totally different massive DNA alteration. Not by chance. And various cell committees don't have the mental design power to accomplish it.

dhw: Now guesswork takes over from science. I keep repeating that my theory is a theory. Your authoritative claim that cells don’t have the ability to design their own “evolutionary novelties” (Shapiro) is as theoretical as the claim that they do.

DAVID: But they [Shapiro’s words] are pure unproved theory as to how evolution might advance naturally.

dhw: And the proof of your theory is…?

DAVID: You sure resent my obvious down grade of Shapiro to force you to admit, it is pure theory that has not added to any new advance in understanding evolution.

dhw: I have never ever at any point in any sentence in any thread claimed that it is more than a theory. And the proof of your theory is….?

The basis of your theory is primarily wishful thinking, not based on the facts of the necessity of true mental design activity. Cooperation is not designing!

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Sunday, May 24, 2020, 09:08 (3 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You keep forgetting, as God creates a new larger brain it already contains the ability to complexify, as I'v e stated many times.

dhw: You keep forgetting that your God must have designed the mechanism for complexification in the first place. And if so, what makes you think he could not also have designed the mechanism for expansion in the first place?

DAVID: Because I fully believe only God speciates.

Your “full beliefs” are not an answer to my question! You are merely saying you fully believe he didn’t!

DAVID: As I've reminded you, your autonomous brain enlargement has to include different bony parts to change also in baby skull, adult skull and Mother's pelvis. All without guidance.

dhw: Must I remind you that I gave you a full answer? But you don’t believe in cell communities that respond to changing requirements and so you ignore my answer.

DAVID: Your answer doesn't work. Cell committees are made to be cooperative so life can function. They do not have the ability to design for the future. Just your wishful thinking.

Yet again: my theory does NOT entail planning for the future, but RESPONDING to new requirements. And despite all the evidence to the contrary (adaptation of all kinds, and the modern brain RESPONDING to new demands) you still cling to the idea that your God steps in to expand brains, skulls and birth canals BEFORE there is any need for expansion.

DAVID: And how about telling me what specifies which parts of the brain are to be enlarged? Not autonomous if there are specifications to be followed.

dhw: […] The parts of the brain to be enlarged will be determined by the nature of the requirement. For instance, you commented on the human cerebellum:

DAVID: ...the human brain contains the ability for the cerebellum to help with language[…]. This further supports my approach to brain enlargement, that it has to be specially designed for the new processes of which it is capable. Hard thought is not capable of this result, which requires special design.

dhw: Nobody knows what hard thought can and cannot do.

DAVID: It causes our brain, the only example we have to shrink. That is a fact, not woolly wishes.

You have agreed over and over again that hard thought causes complexification, and it is the efficiency of complexification that has caused shrinkage: “Our special brain can complexify, and by increasing certain networks of neurons remove other areas as now unnecessary […] We have a special brain with this remarkable degree of complexification that can cause that much shrinkage, unlike any previous brain”. (Quoted by me on May 5 at 10.53.) Elsewhere I pointed out that if hard thought caused brains to shrink, we would finish up with a dot.

dhw: […] why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. […]

DAVID: Ignoring that complexification shrinks brains exactly from hard thought!

See above. Now please explain what’s wrong with my version of the comparison you initiated.

DAVID: Have you forgotten the zygote carries all the information for the new individual? The zygote comes from the junction of germ cells. From there stem cells take over and modify their DNA directing it into different states for different kinds of cooperating cells in the various organs. All top down creation! The genome is its own special directive community running the others.

dhw: It’s clear that whatever the process, there is a hierarchy within cell communities, and intelligent levels issue instructions to the rest, who cooperate in producing the required result. If the genome runs all the other cooperating communities, that's fine with me.

DAVID: Hierarchy means top down control, not your bottom up.

Of course it does. My whole theory is based on intelligent cells directing operations and cell communities cooperating accordingly. I have no idea why you called it “bottom up”. Once again, thank you for confirming my theory and explaining how it works.

DAVID: You sure resent my obvious down grade of Shapiro to force you to admit, it is pure theory that has not added to any new advance in understanding evolution.

dhw: I have never ever at any point in any sentence in any thread claimed that it is more than a theory. And the proof of your theory is….?

DAVID: The basis of your theory is primarily wishful thinking, not based on the facts of the necessity of true mental design activity. Cooperation is not designing!

Of course it isn’t. The designing is done by intelligence ("top down" as you called it), and many scientists believe that cells are intelligent. Their intelligence guides the cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. Why you call this “wishful thinking” (and “bottom up”) is beyond me, but “natural genetic engineering” remains a theory because we have no proof that this intelligence is powerful enough to create Shapiro’s “evolutionary novelties”. And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

Brain Expansion

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 24, 2020, 19:31 (3 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your answer doesn't work. Cell committees are made to be cooperative so life can function. They do not have the ability to design for the future. Just your wishful thinking.

dhw: Yet again: my theory does NOT entail planning for the future, but RESPONDING to new requirements. And despite all the evidence to the contrary (adaptation of all kinds, and the modern brain RESPONDING to new demands) you still cling to the idea that your God steps in to expand brains, skulls and birth canals BEFORE there is any need for expansion.

This is simply an objection to my faith.


dhw: Nobody knows what hard thought can and cannot do.

DAVID: It causes our brain, the only example we have to shrink. That is a fact, not woolly wishes.

dhw: You have agreed over and over again that hard thought causes complexification, and it is the efficiency of complexification that has caused shrinkage:

You are ignoring that the mechanism of complexification must be designed into/be-part-of the new brain brain and I assume some of that same mechanism was in more ancient brains. All we can know of hard thought is the result we see in our brain. Anything else is a theoretical invention without any underlying facts.

dhw: […] why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. […]

DAVID: Ignoring that complexification shrinks brains exactly from hard thought!

dhw: See above. Now please explain what’s wrong with my version of the comparison you initiated.

My point is the changes we see in muscle and kidney are designed-in response mechanisms and wouldn't happen if the mechanism were absent. We do not know of any expansion mechanism in brains.


DAVID: Hierarchy means top down control, not your bottom up.

dhw: Of course it does. My whole theory is based on intelligent cells directing operations and cell communities cooperating accordingly. I have no idea why you called it “bottom up”.

My definition of hierarchy is not yours: "any system of persons or things ranked one above another." https://www.dictionary.com/browse/hierarchy

The cells of organisms are formed from gamete DNA, top down, to act cooperatively. Epigenetics is minimal adaptation from bottom up with messages from the whole organism to the genome of germ cells to make some small phenotypical or physiological changes, bottom up.

DAVID: The basis of your theory is primarily wishful thinking, not based on the facts of the necessity of true mental design activity. Cooperation is not designing!

dhw: Of course it isn’t. The designing is done by intelligence ("top down" as you called it), and many scientists believe that cells are intelligent. Their intelligence guides the cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. Why you call this “wishful thinking” (and “bottom up”) is beyond me, but “natural genetic engineering” remains a theory because we have no proof that this intelligence is powerful enough to create Shapiro’s “evolutionary novelties”. And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

We are discussing at two levels. At the God level, everything appears by design, my belief. At your level you are looking for a reasonable natural cause for brain enlargement, which I might accept. I haven't seen any as yet.

Brain Expansion

by dhw, Monday, May 25, 2020, 09:22 (1 day, 23 hours, 39 min. ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Cell committees are made to be cooperative so life can function. They do not have the ability to design for the future. Just your wishful thinking.

dhw: Yet again: my theory does NOT entail planning for the future, but RESPONDING to new requirements. And despite all the evidence to the contrary (adaptation of all kinds, and the modern brain RESPONDING to new demands) you still cling to the idea that your God steps in to expand brains, skulls and birth canals BEFORE there is any need for expansion.

DAVID: This is simply an objection to my faith.[/i]

It is an objection to your use of faith as a means of attacking my theory! A theory extrapolated from known facts seems to me to be far less “wishful” than a theory based on nothing but faith.

dhw: Nobody knows what hard thought can and cannot do.

DAVID: It causes our brain, the only example we have to shrink. That is a fact, not woolly wishes.

dhw: You have agreed over and over again that hard thought causes complexification, and it is the efficiency of complexification that has caused shrinkage:

DAVID: You are ignoring that the mechanism of complexification must be designed into/be-part-of the new brain brain and I assume some of that same mechanism was in more ancient brains.

So do I. That has nothing to do with your persistent disregard of the agreed cause of shrinkage.

DAVID: All we can know of hard thought is the result we see in our brain. Anything else is a theoretical invention without any underlying facts.

And the result we see in our brain is that it changes in response to hard thought! It does not change in anticipation of hard thought. So why is it “wishful thinking” to propose that the early brain also changed in response to hard thought?

dhw: […] why did you compare complexification of the brain to expansion of the muscles? Muscles don’t complexify, and the complexifying brain doesn’t expand! But I’ll tell you what: muscles (which are also cell communities) expand with repeated exercise, and I have proposed that brains expanded with the mental equivalent of repeated exercise in the form of “hard thinking”. […] Now please explain what’s wrong with my version of the comparison you initiated.

DAVID: My point is the changes we see in muscle and kidney are designed-in response mechanisms and wouldn't happen if the mechanism were absent. We do not know of any expansion mechanism in brains.

Of course they wouldn’t happen without the mechanism. Nor would brain expansion happen without the mechanism! Your mechanism is God doing a dabble. And I ask you why, if your God designed an autonomously functioning complexification mechanism, he couldn’t have designed an autonomously functioning expansion mechanism? Your answer apparently is that it’s a matter of faith.

dhw: My whole theory is based on intelligent cells directing operations and cell communities cooperating accordingly. I have no idea why you called it “bottom up”.

DAVID: My definition of hierarchy is not yours: "any system of persons or things ranked one above another." https://www.dictionary.com/browse/hierarchy

No disagreement! I think most of us would rank intelligence as being above non-intelligence, and the director being above the directed.

DAVID: The cells of organisms are formed from gamete DNA, top down, to act cooperatively. Epigenetics is minimal adaptation from bottom up with messages from the whole organism to the genome of germ cells to make some small phenotypical or physiological changes, bottom up.

What has the formation of cells got to do with “evolutionary novelty”? Both innovation and adaptation are the result of cell communities being aware of changing conditions. If you want to call that awareness the “bottom” level, it’s OK with me. However, the process of restructuring will come about through intelligence (top) making decisions and passing instructions to the lower levels (bottom), with cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. We know that this process takes place in what you call minimal adaptation and small physiological changes, but nobody knows how maximal adaptation/ innovation takes place. My unproven theory is that it takes place through the same process (with the intelligence possibly having been designed by your God). Your theory is that the same process takes place, but instead of the cells having their own intelligence, God steps in and dabbles with them. […] And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

DAVID: We are discussing at two levels. At the God level, everything appears by design, my belief. At your level you are looking for a reasonable natural cause for brain enlargement, which I might accept. I haven't seen any as yet.

Your theory is that God directly dabbled or preprogrammed every life form, econiche, strategy, lifestyle, natural wonder in the history of life, including brain expansion. My theistic theory is that God designed the mechanism that enabled every life form etc. to do its own designing and, in the case of the brain, its own expansion and complexification. In both cases, everything appears by design. You objected to my theory (and Shapiro’s) because it was unproven. For the fourth time, please tell us the proof of your theory. Alternatively, please stop pretending that this is a reason for rejecting my theory.

Brain expansion

by David Turell @, Monday, May 25, 2020, 15:41 (1 day, 17 hours, 19 min. ago) @ dhw

dhw: Of course they wouldn’t happen without the mechanism. Nor would brain expansion happen without the mechanism! Your mechanism is God doing a dabble. And I ask you why, if your God designed an autonomously functioning complexification mechanism, he couldn’t have designed an autonomously functioning expansion mechanism? Your answer apparently is that it’s a matter of faith.

Simple: expansion requires advanced design for the new attributes of thought and contemplation. It involves decision as which areas need to be enlarged for the new functions. Complexification is neuronal instructions in their DNA for new networking. You call it intelligent cooperating cells, all an integral part of neurons as the brain is designed.


dhw: My whole theory is based on intelligent cells directing operations and cell communities cooperating accordingly. I have no idea why you called it “bottom up”.

DAVID: My definition of hierarchy is not yours: "any system of persons or things ranked one above another." https://www.dictionary.com/browse/hierarchy

dhw: No disagreement! I think most of us would rank intelligence as being above non-intelligence, and the director being above the directed.

DAVID: The cells of organisms are formed from gamete DNA, top down, to act cooperatively. Epigenetics is minimal adaptation from bottom up with messages from the whole organism to the genome of germ cells to make some small phenotypical or physiological changes, bottom up.

dhw: What has the formation of cells got to do with “evolutionary novelty”? Both innovation and adaptation are the result of cell communities being aware of changing conditions. If you want to call that awareness the “bottom” level, it’s OK with me. However, the process of restructuring will come about through intelligence (top) making decisions and passing instructions to the lower levels (bottom), with cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. We know that this process takes place in what you call minimal adaptation and small physiological changes, but nobody knows how maximal adaptation/ innovation takes place. My unproven theory is that it takes place through the same process (with the intelligence possibly having been designed by your God). Your theory is that the same process takes place, but instead of the cells having their own intelligence, God steps in and dabbles with them. […] And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

For the umpteenth time I can't prove God to you, nor have I over 12 years. But my belief in Him came from logical conclusions from my research. You've seen my reasoning. You recognize design but won't allow yourself to get to the issue of the source of the design. IT MUST have one.


DAVID: We are discussing at two levels. At the God level, everything appears by design, my belief. At your level you are looking for a reasonable natural cause for brain enlargement, which I might accept. I haven't seen any as yet.

dhw: Your theory is that God directly dabbled or preprogrammed every life form, econiche, strategy, lifestyle, natural wonder in the history of life, including brain expansion. My theistic theory is that God designed the mechanism that enabled every life form etc. to do its own designing and, in the case of the brain, its own expansion and complexification. In both cases, everything appears by design. You objected to my theory (and Shapiro’s) because it was unproven. For the fourth time, please tell us the proof of your theory. Alternatively, please stop pretending that this is a reason for rejecting my theory.

As above, a designer is absolutely required. A designer who is in absolute control of the processes. I will accept your IM if it contains rigid guidelines to control an absolute directional purpose for the goal, humans.

Brain expansion

by dhw, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 12:18 (20 hours, 42 minutes ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Of course they [muscle and kidney changes] wouldn’t happen without the mechanism. Nor would brain expansion happen without the mechanism! Your mechanism is God doing a dabble. And I ask you why, if your God designed an autonomously functioning complexification mechanism, he couldn’t have designed an autonomously functioning expansion mechanism? Your answer apparently is that it’s a matter of faith.

DAVID: Simple: expansion requires advanced design for the new attributes of thought and contemplation. It involves decision as which areas need to be enlarged for the new functions. Complexification is neuronal instructions in their DNA for new networking. You call it intelligent cooperating cells, all an integral part of neurons as the brain is designed.

I know that expansion means enlargement and complexification means new networking. But if your God was able to design an autonomous mechanism for new networking as and when required, why was he incapable of designing an autonomous mechanism for enlargement as and when required?

dhw: […] the process of restructuring will come about through intelligence (top) making decisions and passing instructions to the lower levels (bottom), with cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. We know that this process takes place in what you call minimal adaptation and small physiological changes, but nobody knows how maximal adaptation/ innovation takes place. My unproven theory is that it takes place through the same process (with the intelligence possibly having been designed by your God). Your theory is that the same process takes place, but instead of the cells having their own intelligence, God steps in and dabbles with them. […] And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

DAVID: For the umpteenth time I can't prove God to you, nor have I over 12 years. But my belief in Him came from logical conclusions from my research. You've seen my reasoning. You recognize design but won't allow yourself to get to the issue of the source of the design. IT MUST have one.

I have not asked you to prove God! We are discussing two different theistic theories about how evolution works. We agree on the hierarchy and top-down process, but you say God preprogrammed or dabbled it all, and I propose that (theistic version) he gave cells the intelligence to do it themselves. You have repeatedly dismissed my theory (and Shapiro’s) on the grounds that it is unproven. What proof do you have for your own theory?

DAVID: As above, a designer is absolutely required. A designer who is in absolute control of the processes. I will accept your IM if it contains rigid guidelines to control an absolute directional purpose for the goal, humans.

Back we go to your theory of evolution and your three rigid and irreconcilable beliefs: (1) all-knowing, all-powerful God, 2) only purpose H. sapiens, 3) designs millions of non-human life forms, natural wonders etc. before designing only species he wants to design. You will only accept autonomous cellular intelligence (possibly invented by your God) as the driving force of evolution if I agree that it is neither autonomous nor intelligent but is dependent on your God’s preprogramming or dabbling. Meanwhile, do you or do you not accept that your theory concerning both brain expansion in particular and evolution in general (God preprogrammed or dabbled it all) is as unproven as mine? If you accept this, please stop using “unproven” as a reason for rejecting my theory.

Brain expansion

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, 20:08 (12 hours, 53 minutes ago) @ dhw

dhw: I know that expansion means enlargement and complexification means new networking. But if your God was able to design an autonomous mechanism for new networking as and when required, why was he incapable of designing an autonomous mechanism for enlargement as and when required?

God could but He would have careful guidelines for the advances ment to fit His directional purposes.


dhw: […] the process of restructuring will come about through intelligence (top) making decisions and passing instructions to the lower levels (bottom), with cooperation between individual cells and between cell communities. We know that this process takes place in what you call minimal adaptation and small physiological changes, but nobody knows how maximal adaptation/ innovation takes place. My unproven theory is that it takes place through the same process (with the intelligence possibly having been designed by your God). Your theory is that the same process takes place, but instead of the cells having their own intelligence, God steps in and dabbles with them. […] And now, for the third time, please tell us the proof of your theory.

DAVID: For the umpteenth time I can't prove God to you, nor have I over 12 years. But my belief in Him came from logical conclusions from my research. You've seen my reasoning. You recognize design but won't allow yourself to get to the issue of the source of the design. IT MUST have one.

dhw: I have not asked you to prove God! We are discussing two different theistic theories about how evolution works. We agree on the hierarchy and top-down process, but you say God preprogrammed or dabbled it all, and I propose that (theistic version) he gave cells the intelligence to do it themselves. You have repeatedly dismissed my theory (and Shapiro’s) on the grounds that it is unproven. What proof do you have for your own theory?

DAVID: As above, a designer is absolutely required. A designer who is in absolute control of the processes. I will accept your IM if it contains rigid guidelines to control an absolute directional purpose for the goal, humans.

dhw: Back we go to your theory of evolution and your three rigid and irreconcilable beliefs: (1) all-knowing, all-powerful God, 2) only purpose H. sapiens, 3) designs millions of non-human life forms, natural wonders etc. before designing only species he wants to design.

Not irreconcilable to me. God chose to evolve from bacteria and you've stated He could chose that approach, so what is your problem? Obviously you don't like His choice.

dhw: You will only accept autonomous cellular intelligence (possibly invented by your God) as the driving force of evolution if I agree that it is neither autonomous nor intelligent but is dependent on your God’s preprogramming or dabbling. Meanwhile, do you or do you not accept that your theory concerning both brain expansion in particular and evolution in general (God preprogrammed or dabbled it all) is as unproven as mine? If you accept this, please stop using “unproven” as a reason for rejecting my theory.

I can't accept inventions from nothing. What we know is, that on the way to humans brains, resulted from provided expansions especially in the area that can conceive of complex concepts, when the soul wishes to do that. That shows underlying purpose in the process. We can assume previous brains could complexify a bit. You've agreed. We know in our brain, learning and complex thinking by the soul, results in complexification which shrinks the brain, which apparently is somewhat oversized to allow this process to occur. These are the only facts we have to work with. These facts can only lead me to God as the designer. There is no natural evidence for a method of expansion. So you introduce your version of God providing the brain with its own expansion mechanism. Fine. We are now somewhat is agreement, until I add that my purposeful God will have guidelines in the expansion process to be sure of the directionality of His guided evolutionary process. And you balk. That your God shouldn't be in that much control makes no sense to me.

The real problem is only yours. Design keeps you agnostic. You recognize the need for a designing source. A disembodied mind that has always been around is the only possible answer, because we are here to debate the issue. That mind must exist. We don't need to call it God. Something must be a first cause. These are proven points. We disagree on the attributes only because you inexplicably want natural causes while ignoring the chain of reasoning just presented. You have a problem you don't know how to answer. It is not my problem. I'm with a designing mind always existing, an inescapable thought.

Brain Expansion : learning to use it

by David Turell @, Friday, May 15, 2020, 16:17 (12 days ago) @ David Turell

Only recent sapiens had wheels. Why didn't it appear earlier? An example of an idea just like spears:

http://click.aaas.sciencepubs.org/?qs=40e233fa578911634b1209df76d437f0bd30f02b4854a9484...

"Hundreds of thousands of years before the invention of the wheel, some unlucky hominin stepped on a loose rock or unstable log and—just before they cracked their skull—discovered that a round object reduces friction with the ground.

"The inevitability of this moment of clarity explains the ancient ubiquity of rollers, which are simply logs put underneath heavy objects. The Egyptians and the Mesopotamians used them to build their pyramids and roll their heavy equipment, and the Polynesians to move the stone moai statues on Easter Island. But rollers aren’t terribly efficient, because they have to be replaced as they roll forward, and even if they’re pinned underneath, friction makes them horribly difficult to move. The solution—and the stroke of brilliance—was the axle. Yet despite the roller’s antiquity, it doesn’t appear that anyone, anywhere, discovered the wheel and axle until an ingenious potter approximately 6,000 years ago.

"The oldest axle ever discovered is not on a wagon or cart, but instead on a potter’s wheel in Mesopotamia. These may seem like simple machines, but they’re the first evidence that anyone anywhere recognized the center of a spinning disk is stationary and used it to their mechanical advantage. It’s a completely ingenious observation and so novel that it’s unclear where the idea came from—perhaps from a bead spinning on string?—as it has no obvious corollary in nature. The pole is called an axle, and many scholars consider it the greatest mechanical insight in the history of humankind.

***

"The full wheel set appears to have first been invented by a mother or father potter, because the world’s oldest axles are made of clay, are about two inches long, and sit beneath rolling animal figurines.

"The first wheeled vehicle, in other words, was a toy.

"In July 1880, the archaeologist Désiré Charnay discovered the first pre‑Columbian wheel set in the Americas. It was on a small coyote figure mounted on four wheels, and Charnay found it in the tomb of an Aztec child buried south of Mexico City.

***

"The full‑size wagon first appeared approximately 5,400 years ago, and it may be one of the the first inventions in history to go viral. Archaeologists have discovered full‑size carts from southern Iraq to Germany within a few hundred years of each other at a time when cultural barriers were particularly impermeable. The wagon, it seems, was irresistibly useful.

***

"Because the two oldest wheels archaeologists have found vary significantly in design—one has an axle fixed to the wheel as it does on a modern train, the other spins freely on the axle like on a modern car—Anthony suggests that at least some wagon builders copied what they saw from afar without being able to inspect it closely.

***
"The first and most critical component of the wheel, writes Steven Vogel, author of Why the Wheel Is Round, is the fit with the axle. Too tight and the wagon is hopelessly inefficient, too loose and the wheel wobbles and breaks apart.

***

"Then there would have been the matter of the wheel itself, which is a deceivingly complex device. If Kay had cut a fallen tree salami‑style for his wheel, it would have quickly failed. The problem, according to Vogel, is the direction of the grain, which in a salami‑style slice of wood cannot support weight on its edge. Under strain, it would quickly deform. Kay’s solution—as is evident from early wheel design—was to build a composite wheel out of multiple vertically cut planks. Kay would have had to carefully dowel these cuts together, and then shape them into a perfectly round wheel." (Kay is the author's inventor)

Comment: This shows a series of observations that finally led to a usable wheel, but using our brain to think and conceive. Our brain did not enlarge from this strenuous effort. It shrunk. Our evolved brain came from previous ancient brains an should reflect what they did as a result of thought, develop slightly complex neuronal networks with small regions of enlargement. Logical involving no new theory.

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