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

by dhw, Saturday, May 27, 2017, 12:13 (2585 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: …when you call your God a universal consciousness, do you mean his consciousness is on a level with yours and your dog’s?
David: My level of consciousness is advanced and approaches God's. I don't know why you brought up my dog, which is why I skipped the question before. My dog is consciousness but has no ability for introspection or conceptualization… etc.

On 25 May you wrote: “I am not implying that there are lesser and more advanced levels of consciousness. Consciousness is a single entity, one level.” Now you say your level is advanced and approaches God’s, and clearly your dog has a lower level. So what did you mean by your statement on 25 May?

dhw: Do you (your consciousness) use your brain, or does your brain use you (your consciousness)? Simple question. Please answer directly.
DAVID: I've said it before, my brain receives the mechanism of consciousness for my use of it.

Yes, you keep saying it. I wrote: “If you agree that you are your consciousness, then you should stop trying to separate you from your consciousness when discussing whether the brain uses consciousness or consciousness uses the brain.” Your latest statement means my brain receives the mechanism of my consciousness for my consciousness to use my consciousness. More confusion. Why won’t you answer my simple question?

DAVID: A study of illiterate 30-year-old Indian women has shown they can learn to read quickly and the brain rewires itself in the process, since evolution has not prepared the brain for reading, although there is the preexisting speech area (Broca's):

dhw: The study shows very clearly that conscious effort (here, to read) can change the brain. It is the conscious effort that precedes and therefore causes the changes. However, the brain has, we presume, now reached a size beyond which it cannot go, and so the current changes take place within the already enlarged brain. So yes, the enlargement preceded all the changes that we see taking place NOW, and which would have taken place ever since the brain reached its present size. But the question is what caused the enlargement in the first place... etc.
DAVID: Your puzzlement is because you don't recognize a giant brain grew before lots of its uses hadn't been invented yet! This study is one great example.

There is no puzzlement. You don’t seem to have recognized that this study shows usage influencing the brain, not the other way round. Once the brain had reached its optimum size, the changes had to be to the “wiring”, not to the size. The more “uses” we invent, the more complex the “wiring”. Yes, the large brain preceded all these newer uses, but what enlarged the brain in the first place? If new concepts change the brain NOW, as the study clearly shows, I can only ask as I did before, why would the process be reversed for early humans, with changes preceding concepts?

DAVID: […]The hominin brain received consciousness and as it grew in size it could learn to handle more and more complex ideations and stimuli, recently like reading and writing in the past 3,000 years, but not before. Size and complexity first, use second. (Dhw’s bold)

Yes, the brain learns to handle more and more complex ideas by changing itself in order to accommodate them. It doesn’t create them. The brain did not say to the human: Here are the tools, so now read and write. The human said to the brain: I want to read and write, and THEN the brain changed. That is what the study tells us quite unequivocally, and what YOU tell us when commenting on another study:


QUOTE: "As children grow up – moving through adolescence and into young adulthood – their ability to control their impulses, stay organised and make decisions improves dramatically.”
According to a new study published in Current Biology, those improvements result from the development of distinct networks within the brain.”
(dhw's bold)

DAVID’s comment:This study shows the intimate interconnection of our developing 'self' and how our brain changes to accommodate the integration of experience and responses. These changes are automatic but also cooperative as personality develops. We do develop ourselves. Consciousness and personality are immaterial, but based on the plasticity of the brain to fully develop and experience. (dhw’s bold)

The quote is unequivocal. If psychological improvements RESULT from changes in the brain, you have pure materialism (which may be right – I’m not taking sides). Your own comment suggests the exact opposite: we are our consciousness and personality, and the brain changes in order to accommodate the workings of immaterial consciousness and does not cause them. So why won’t you just have done with it and agree that according to your own scheme of things, consciousness uses and changes the brain, and not the other way round?

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