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

by dhw, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, 11:23 (281 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: No separation: My consciousness (me) returned to my now functional brain after an NDE and my brain using my consciousness told me what happened during the NDE, which the brain was unaware of until the reconnection. This is where you get confused about how I look at this:
dhw: "Your brain did not inform you/your consciousness of what you/your consciousness had experienced!"

You keep agreeing that you and your consciousness are inseparable, and then you separate them again, with your brain “using” your consciousness (which is you) to tell you/your consciousness what you/your consciousness already know! It is you/your consciousness that know what happened, and it is you/your consciousness that inform the brain (so that it can organize passing on the information to other people's brains). The brain is unaware of what happened until it is informed by you/your consciousness.

dhw:. Concepts first, size second, use of size third, new concepts fourth, new size fifth, new use sixth etc. until maximum size, use of maximum size, new concepts, densification and shrinkage. A direct chain of cause and effect.
DAVID: I view this as completely confused. Neanderthal brain size (slightly larger) appeared 350,000 ago or so. Their 'civilized behavior' is recent, not at that time. Cave art is 40,000 years ago, not 200,000 years ago. My reference to 12,000 years is an accepted time of real civilization with agriculture starting, followed by settlements, pictographs (Egyptian) alphabets, numerals and math, etc. Size first, use second.

Yes, of course “use” (by which I mean the translation of concepts into material reality) follows size, but you are omitting concept and hence reducing three stages to two: concept, size, “use”. The big question is whether conceptualization precedes and therefore causes size, or size precedes and therefore causes conceptualization (but see below). The fact that conceptualization causes rewiring, and not the other way round, gives credence to your own belief that the mind (consciousness/the self) is separate from the brain, but it also gives credence to the proposal that conceptualization caused expansion, as opposed to expansion preceding conceptualization. I shan’t repeat the rest of the argument, except to say that my reference to the Neanderthals and to cave paintings was in response to your claim that brain growth “was not actively used until recently”. You have said that “recently” means 12,000 years (though the figure seems to vary with each post), but it is abundantly clear that the large brain was used long before that.

dhw: However, none of this explains the origin of consciousness, and so the conflict between dualism and materialism remains unresolved.
DAVID: Bigger brains, more useful consciousness, with each increase in frontal size, which was the major thrust of enlargement.

Back we go to the meaning of “use”. If you mean bigger brains gave rise to more complex concepts, then you are a materialist, but earlier you rejected this and said bigger brains “allowed” more complex concepts. This too was ambiguous, and I tried in vain to pin you down, so I’ll try once more. Your belief that consciousness and the self are inseparable and live on after death can only mean that conceptualization does not depend on the brain or its size. Yes or no? Consciousness/you therefore use the brain to translate concept into action. Yes or no?

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