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

by dhw, Tuesday, June 20, 2017, 13:19 (880 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What paleontologists find is that with each change in frontal brain size the early homos do more complex things like stone tools, conquering fire, wearing hides, etc. Each step in size works this way.
dhw: But what they cannot tell us is whether the expansion took place BEFORE the new concepts or as a RESULT of new concepts requiring expansion before they could be realized (just as the brain rewires itself as a RESULT of new concepts).
DAVID: They can tell us indirectly. At each larger stage they study all the artifacts the new brain sized fossil produced as they survived. The newly invented stuff is always with the larger size, never before. Logically the bigger size produces the advances.

Of course it’s with the larger size. In your dualistic world, it was only by increasing the size that hominins and homos were able to REALIZE their concepts, i.e. produce the artefacts. As with rewiring (concept of reading…then rewire…then able to read) you have concept of artefact…expand brain…make artefact. This entry (under “fire and brain size”) epitomizes the dichotomy in your thinking:

QUOTE: Understanding when people mastered fire could help archaeologists figure out if and how it contributed to these major events in the evolution of the human body and mind. For example, did it really coincide with a jump in brain size, which would indicate it may have helped make us deep thinkers? (David’s bold)
David’s comment: Note that fire appears to be related to larger brains: how to control it and also, at the same time, how to feed a bigger brain. There is no getting around the fact that with larger brains hominins found better ways to support. With each size better ways. Size first use second, always.

The starting point here is the assumption that large brains make us into deep thinkers. You have even put it in bold. And it may well be true – I am not in a position to choose between dualism and materialism. But it is YOUR belief that the brain is NOT the source of our deep-thinking consciousness! This can only mean that the bigger brain is the TOOL of a separate entity of consciousness/self, and so each new size is the result of finding “better ways” which can only be implemented by changes to the brain (here, enlargement). If you believe that the mind/conscious self is a separate entity from the body and will survive the death of the body, you cannot at the same time claim that our deep thinking is impossible without our enlarged brain. In YOUR dualistic world it is the material realization/communication of our thoughts that requires the enlarged brain, not the enlarged brain that enables us to have our thoughts.

dhw: This does not alter the fact that you believe "you" and your inseparable consciousness ARE the operator and form an inseparable entity that conceptualizes independently of the brain.
DAVID: You keep missing the point. I have to use my brain directly as a physical part of me to operate with my consciousness which I view as software I receive and can reprogram to fit my personality, etc. I program my consciousness/software using my brain. It all must work together seamlessly.

I don’t know why you have decided to muddy the waters with all this talk of software and programming. You have agreed that you and your consciousness are an inseparable entity. Yes, you/your consciousness operate the brain. No, “you” do not “receive” your consciousness – according to you, it is the brain that receives the messages from you/your consciousness.

DAVID: The brain has plasticity to mold itself to my needs as I use my consciousness which it receives. I can only mold the contents of my consciousness through the operation of my brain as I think. No contradiction about size vs. use.

Yes, the brain has plasticity to mold itself to your needs, but if you/your consciousness are a separate entity which survives the death of the brain, you do not need the brain in order to develop your thoughts (mold the content of your consciousness). You only need it in order to communicate or realize your concepts in the material world of this life.


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