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

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 15:31 (761 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: And so consciousness cannot simply be a mechanism: it is the seat of all the attributes that make us ourselves - our memories, emotions, ideas etc. – and if you believe in free will, it must also be the decision-maker. So when you say “we are free etc.” what is this “we”? It can’t be the brain, if “we” survive the death of the brain. The implication of this whole scenario is that the brain provides information to consciousness, and then obeys the instructions of consciousness, and “we” are our consciousness with all the above information contained in it. In other words, the exact opposite of your opening statement: consciousness “employs” the brain and not the other way round.

Consciousness allows us to form a sense of self. That is obvious. We use consciousness. It doesn't dictate to us. We dictate to ourselves. The brain stores memories which consciousness allows us to create. A brain in a jar is not conscious. You are missing the back and forth between the human and his brain. They are a team. The baby experiences and is able to learn from them as he lives infancy and form opinions, ideas, personality. Consciousness allows all of this activity and its coalescence as self.

dhw: This has implications for the problem of which came first: brain enlargement allowing function, or function enlarging the brain, but let’s go one step at a time.

All of the evidence from studies of our ancestor fossils is brain enlargement allows certain levels of anthropologic activity. Each enlargement allowed more complex activity. 200,000 years ago sapiens activity was not what it is today , but the brain had arrived!

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