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

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 07, 2017, 18:09 (2503 days ago) @ dhw

No, no, no, no! The expansion is the result of mental exercise, just as muscle expansion is the result of physical exercise. Pre-sapiens conceptualized the spear, and this required new skills which could only be implemented by an addition to the brain (expansion). You drew attention to the following: “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….” The women said: “I want to read,” not: “I want to rewire my brain.” The “concept” was reading, and in implementing the concept, they changed the structure of the brain. Concept first, rewiring second.

Concept first, rewiring second is correct,

dhw: I am proposing that the same process resulted in the expansion of the brain, as in the spear example, with someone thinking: “I want to make a weapon,” not: “I want to enlarge my brain.” And when the brain had reached its maximum size, rewiring/complexification/ densification was the new way forward.

We have no proof that thinking concepts enlarges the brain. What we have is a little used H. sapiens brain from 200,000 years ago finally being completely used in the past 10-12,000 years of real civilization and the brain densifies and shrinks, all the opposite of your struggling theory to find an internal drive, not an external change by God.

DAVID: You have continued to completely misunderstand my theory. A larger brain as a receiver developed an expanded use of the consciousness mechanism (immaterial) because of its size and increased complexity. A smaller earlier brain could only use a smaller amount of consciousness.

We are both wrestling with something immensely complex, and we are only dealing with one side of the materialism versus dualism debate! The basic question here is: do you believe the brain uses you/your consciousness, or do you/your consciousness use the brain? “You”, according to your beliefs, are your consciousness and not your brain, because the conscious “you” survives the death of the brain. This can only mean that you/your consciousness use your brain.

Yes, my brain receives a consciousness mechanism and I, through use of my brain, mold my consciousness to resemble and become my personality, me. It is all seamless once it begins as an infant.

DAVID: Use of consciousness is a learned process. Logical thinking is a learned process:

dhw: Agreed, but according to your beliefs, it is not the brain that does the learning. That is done by “you”/your consciousness. How else could your consciousness survive the death of the brain along with everything that you/your consciousness have learned?


DAVID: The brain receives consciousness as a mechanism and learns to use it. Consciousness is barely present in a newborn. The 25 year old has a fully developed use of consciousness. The pattern is the same as in the appearance of H. sapiens 200,000 years ago. Look at your twins. The pattern is right in front of you.

dhw: Consciousness has to be conscious of something. A baby is born with a minimum of information – you might say that its consciousness is confined to its mother’s breast and its own bodily needs.

All the original conscious actions by a baby are automatic instinct, which it then learns to take charge of and control.

dhw: As the brain matures, it provides more and more information (e.g. through the senses) which consciousness processes and uses, and consciousness in turn uses the brain to implement communication, decisions, actions resulting from its processing of the information. A 25-year-old has a fully developed brain, but I would question whether anyone in this wide world has a fully developed “use of consciousness”. The students in your example (too long to quote again) were incapable of critical thinking because their consciousness was not sufficiently developed, and not because their brains were not large enough. Had they learned to think critically, perhaps their brains would have undergone some rewiring, as with the illiterate women (whose rewiring was the result of their reading, not the cause).

All true. There may be conceptual areas not yet explored by humans.

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