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

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 03, 2017, 18:55 (2578 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: World's Oldest Spears - Archaeology Magazine Archive
QUOTE: “The spears show design and construction skills previously attributed only to modern humans. "They are really high tech," says Hartmut Thieme of the Institut für Denkmalpflege in Hannover, who discovered them while excavating in advance of a rotary shovel digger used in the mine. "They are made of very tough Picea [spruce] trunk and are similarly carved." Their frontal center of gravity suggests they were used as javelins, says Thieme.

I'm sure these spears developed by trial and error and our ancestors could do a bit of thinking and experimenting. This is practical conceptualization, n ot terribly advanced like the past 10,000 years.

dhw: This is why you keep contradicting yourself. It was consciousness and not the big brain that devised calculus, and I'll bet the brain densified as a result, just as it would have expanded as a result of consciousness wanting to produce sophisticated weapons.

You keep contradicting me by changing my concept of brain/consciousness interface. My brain and my thinking uses the mechanism of consciousness to develop calculus. My consciousness did not do it on its own.

DAVID: How does a physical object like a brain create a drive for improvement without envisioning what the new brain would look like in advance, to jump the gap in size. You want some type of internal drive, and all I logically see is external drive, God.

dhw: I did not say the brain created the drive for improvement! The drive for improvement or survival is what underlies all adaptations and innovations, including the brain and its evolution, just as you argue that the drive for complexity does the same thing. See also my comment under “whale changes”.

Again you push for an internal drive and I insist it is external, God.

DAVID: Obvious. They had to learn how to use the big brain they were given. And once used more thoroughly, then it recently densified, as I said. Density indicates new intense use.

dhw: So your question is why it took 180,000 years for homo sapiens to use and densify his brain once it had reached its then optimum size. I don’t know, and nor do you, but I have speculated in the passage you have quoted. We know that thought densifies the brain, and you believe that thought is the product of consciousness, not of the brain. And so we have a logical progression: thought changes the size of the brain as it makes more and more demands. The brain reaches a size beyond which the head and body would not be able to cope. The fact that it then took 180,000 or 190,000 years for consciousness to require more changes does not mean that until then all thought was engendered by the brain! At each stage of increased volume, you still have consciousness using and changing the brain and not the brain using and changing consciousness. “Learning to use it” in your dualistic framework can therefore only refer to the process whereby consciousness acquires more and more information from experience and from the brain (through our perceptions), and so makes more and more demands on the brain, which initially responds by expanding, and recently responds by densifying. For 180-190,000 years the brain size was adequate for the needs of homo sapiens, but for reasons unknown his consciousness then came up with new ideas and new demands, and so instead of the brain responding by enlargement, it responded by densifying. This all fits in perfectly with the dualistic belief that it is the mind that uses the body/brain and not the other way round. And it is no problem for those who believe in God, because they can say it was God who designed the process and the apparatus in the first place.

None of this fits my view of the brain/consciousness relationship as explained above. Whatever is your previously learned philosophic interpretation of dualism is getting in the way of understanding my concept, based on the brain as a receiver of a mechanism called consciousness, which none of us understand what it is or how it works, but we work with it constantly. It doesn't forcefully run my thoughts, I do.

200,000 yeaers ago H sapiens arrived with a brain perfectly capable of running their physical athletic affairs, handling a basic language and growing a cooperative society of hunter-gatherers in small groups. 50,000 years ago we think more complex language, 10,000 years ago agriculture, habitations not caves. 20,000 years ago the brain began to densify from the increasing use. It is completely obvious, size first and use second. And size came from God since it wasn't needed or used 200,000 years ago, but came to be used as we learned how to. Learning how to use it came naturally but took a long time. It was a process of discovery of what was available in planning and conceptualizing.

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