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

by dhw, Friday, May 19, 2017, 12:53 (2472 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In a nutshell: if you believe that our identity/”we”/the self, in the form of consciousness without body and brain, continues after death (as apparently experienced by NDE patients), then it can only be consciousness/”we”/the self that uses the brain, and not the other way round.
DAVID: In NDE our consciousness which is our 'self' continues as an entity and returns to the brain when the brain returns to a physical living state to receive it.

The return is irrelevant. You have always used NDEs to support your belief in dualism and in an afterlife in which you will retain your identity. Without brain and body that identity can only be your consciousness.

DAVID: I am in control of my consciousness. I have free will. You are arguing that I don't. I use my consciousness. It does not use me as I am free to form my conscious self any way I want.

I did not say your consciousness used you! You keep telling us that your brain uses your consciousness instead of the other way round. You are ignoring the point I keep making over and over again: if you believe there is an afterlife in which your identity survives (as reported by NDE patients), the “I” you keep talking about IS your consciousness. And if consciousness is not produced by the brain (= materialism), then it is your consciousness (you) that uses the brain (which provides information to and obeys instructions from your consciousness).

DAVID: This thought follows from the fact that the gaps from Lucy to habilis to erectus to us are huge with gaps from 400cc to 1,200cc with no itty bitty changes. Please remember 200,000 years ago we had 1,200cc, but how much did we use it back then? Obvious.
dhw: I’m not sure how your question supports your claim that the brain uses us/our consciousness. As regards itty bitty changes, like you, I can only rely on what the experts tell us about the evolution of the human brain. Wikipedia disagrees with you:
Evolution of the brain - Wikipedia

"The evolutionary history of the human brain shows primarily a gradually bigger brain relative to body size during the evolutionary path from early primates to hominids and finally to Homo sapiens. […] The male brain has decreased from 1,500 cm3 to 1,350 cm3 while the female brain has shrunk by the same relative proportion." (My bold)
dhw: Apparently this shrinkage may be accounted for by more efficient arrangement and wiring, which I would suggest offers an answer to your last question. Clearly the brain cannot go on growing indefinitely, and so in order to accommodate the increasing demands of consciousness (I’m still following your dualist NDE line of thinking) it has to complexify its inner workings.

DAVID: I don't see that Wiki disagrees with me. The size of brain statements are correct and your final statement is quite correct. I'm saying size first, use second, and your paragraph above supports that concept.

Firstly, it contradicts your claim that development of brain size was NOT gradual (no “itty bitty changes”). Secondly, my statement could hardly be clearer: the brain grows in order to accommodate the increasing demands of consciousness, i.e. the demands come first, and then the brain grows in order to fulfil them. But you are perhaps missing one stage in the process I am proposing as a logical outcome of your dualism: 1) consciousness/you/your “self” makes the demands; 2) the brain expands to meet the demands; 3) the demands are met. Demands are the cause, and expansion is the effect. Your proposal, if I have understood it correctly, is that the brain expands first (God doing a dabble?) and then…what? It tells consciousness/you/your “self” that you can do something you never did before? Expansion is then the cause and new ideas are the effect. As above, that would work with the materialist view that consciousness is engendered by the brain, which would mean (part of) the brain tells (part of) the brain what do to. But I don’t see how it can possibly work with your dualist view as epitomized by your belief in an afterlife without brain and body.

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