Evolution and humans: big brain size or use (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, June 02, 2017, 20:34 (192 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: According to you, body and mind are separate, and the mind is a piece of God’s consciousness which does all our thinking and which returns to God when the body dies, retaining its individual identity. This means that it is consciousness/the self that does the thinking and the brain is the receiver. We know that the brain changes its structure (densifying) in order to accommodate thought, and not the other way round. However, despite all of this, you believe that the enlargement of the receiver led to the complexification of thought, instead of complexified thought requiring and therefore producing the enlargement. I find this illogical in the context of the above beliefs.

DAVID: The evidence I use is related to H. sapiens and its brain. The stone age only disappeared recently yet our brain was huge 200,000 years ago. We had to learn to use it. Not a great deal of mentation went on until recently. Not much internal drive to make it big in the earlier forms either. From their activities not much internal drive to make each size jump. They received a consciousness to work with, but had to learn how to develop it and use it. You are positing complex thought when none existed to drive the enlargement.

How on earth do you know what our ancestors were thinking? The very fact that they used tools denotes highly complex thought. The earliest known throwing spears are 300,000 years old – long before the huge brain. But in any case, you continue to ignore your own beliefs which I have summarized above. Once more: how can you tell us that your God gave us a bit of his consciousness, that this consciousness/the self/you/me uses the brain and survives the death of the brain, is known to alter the density of the brain, and yet depends for its “mentation” on the size of the brain?

dhw: How do you know that the tools they used were not the products of thoughts that demanded new activities which in turn enlarged the brain?
DAVID: Their tools were simple and their use lasted until 10,000 years ago. Where is the drive for enlargement?

What do you mean by the “drive for enlargement”? The drive is for improvement, though you prefer complexity. Enlargement is the result of the drive for improvement, which requires recognition of the need or opportunity for change and the decision to act accordingly.
If I accepted dualism, I could not possibly argue that the large brain says to the self/consciousness “Find a use for me.” The self/consciousness would have to say to the brain, “I need/want to do this. Make it possible.” That is clearly shown by the process of densifying, and I am proposing that exactly the same process caused enlargement until the brain reached its (then) optimum size 200,000 years ago, after which consciousness used the brain by densifying it. As for homo sapiens not doing much for 190,000 years, I don’t know what they were thinking, or how much denser their brains became, or why they didn’t write books, invent computers, or mass produce chocolate. Perhaps they were too busy finding different ways to cope with their different environments. Or perhaps it just needed a few bright individuals with a bit of time on their hands to start asking questions nobody had ever asked before. What is your theory for the “delay”? “We had to learn to use it.” Yes, according to your beliefs, we use it and it does not use us. As the self/consciousness acquires more and more information (i.e. learns more and more), it demands more and more of the brain, and that is why the brain changes – initially in size, then for the last 200,000 years in density, as demonstrated.

dhw: Your other objection is that enlargement proceeded by saltations. We have agreed that this applies to many innovations throughout evolution, and nobody has yet explained them. Your hypothesis is a divine 3.8-billion-year programme or direct dabbling, and mine is a perhaps God-given intelligence which enables cell communities to cooperate in forming new structures. There is no proof for any of these hypotheses.
DAVID: Mine is much more logical. There has to be an external drive for evolution to proceed.

In my hypothesis, the drive is for improvement, and it is internal, and your God may have implanted it.


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