Evolution and humans: big brain size uses energy (Evolution)

by dhw, Tuesday, November 07, 2017, 13:36 (35 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Are you saying that 23 million years ago your God personally dabbled or preprogrammed a slight change in one lumbar vertebra for absolutely no reason? Or to “prepare the way” for Lucy some 20 million years later? If not, what is your point?
DAVID: Obviously to prepare the way for Lucy.

And why do you think your always purposeful God, who is in full control, needed to change one lumbar vertebra which, according to you served no purpose whatsoever, so that 20 million years later he would be able to make much bigger changes to Lucy?

dhw: Why do you think every species of ape should have turned into humans? They have managed perfectly well as apes (at least till we came along), or they would have died out. Common descent means all species have branched out from earlier forms. It doesn’t mean every other form had to go extinct or to change into an ape and then into a human.

DAVID: Of course common descent means branching. I'm raising the issue of why this branch appeared at all. We see no driving force, but I see purpose in the giant brain.

Same old story. Why did ANY branch of ANY species other than bacteria appear at all? What do you reckon was the driving force behind the appearance of the duckbilled platypus?

DAVID: They [early hominins] could conceptualize to a certain level of compexity at each stage. The artifacts show what they could think of, and artifacts advance with jump in brain size.
dhw: Yes, they could conceptualize, i.e. they could think (not “try to think”) of things that had not yet existed, i.e. were not yet known, so the artefacts do indeed show what they could think of. It is the implementation, not the concept that requires the jump in brain size. Concept first, then expansion if the brain is not already able to accomplish the implementation. Just as later the Indian women’s brains had to rewire in order to implement the concept of reading, instead of your God doing the rewiring first.
DAVID: You have again equating epigenetic change with full speciation.

Once again: if brains can rewire themselves, why can't they expand themselves? I never “equate” epigenetic change with full speciation, of which nobody knows the cause. But epigenetic change proves the existence of an autonomous mechanism which may also be responsible for full speciation. (In any case, a hominin with a bigger brain is still a hominin, not a totally new form of being.)

dhw: If God created the universe, life and the mechanisms of evolution, that does not mean he had to direct every step of evolution, every lifestyle, every natural wonder. Just as – according to you – he gave humans free will, he could have given organisms the means of inventing new forms for themselves, i.e. deliberately sacrificing control, though he could take it again if he wished.
DAVID: The problem with your last sentence "sacrificing control, though he could take it again if he wished" at its basis assumes God does what He wants. God is therefore in full control.

You are clutching at semantic straws. Being able to do what he wants, and choosing to sacrifice control most of the time (i.e. allow a free-for-all) is a million miles away from being able to do what he wants and controlling every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of evolution.

Dhw: As a matter of interest, do your ID friends insist that their God fiddled with ape anatomy before apes left the trees, designed eight stages of pre-whales before they entered the water, and planned weaverbird’s nests, toxin-swallowing snakes and skull shrinking shrews in order to keep life going until he could produce Homo sapiens’ brain? A simple yes or no will do.
DAVID: Of course, yes.

It would have saved us half a dozen entries if you had said so straight away. I shan’t ask you for references.


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