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

by David Turell @, Monday, June 26, 2017, 14:10 (2521 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Here you have the brain learning to use and shape consciousness, although the brain is only a receiver.
DAVID: It shapes the areas and facility of use and the content of experiences and memory. Seamless.

dhw:We have agreed that “use” means the implementation of ideas, and it is clear that the brain is needed for this purpose. But I don’t know how the RECEIVER brain can be said to “shape” the ideas or the consciousness that provides the ideas, or the “content of experiences and memory”, if these exist independently of the brain, as you believe to be the case in a conscious afterlife.

The living brain/me/consciousness is seamless in life, but after death is a total different issue. Only me/consciousness exists in that circumstance. Why do you try to assume life and death are the same circumstance for the brain? In life material brain, immaterial me/consciousness; in death immaterial me/consciousness.

DAVID: My brain uses my consciousness to think. I view it as a seamless mechanism of my brain, in a way a computer, using the software of consciousness which I control as I am part of my brain physically and also mentally.

dhw: Another convoluted answer to a simple question. Let me try again (though I am not taking sides on this myself). You believe in an afterlife without brain or body, in which the conscious self continues to exist with its capacity to think. Yes or no?


dhw: If the answer is yes, this means that the capacity to think must be independent of the brain. Yes or no?

No. Same conflation. Life and death are different circumstances. See above.

DAVID: You are confusing the issue. The early hominins had a degree of consciousness. They could think, but not to the degree we can with our more complex larger frontal lobes.

dhw: No confusion. The question is whether our more complex larger frontal lobes are the source or the consequence of our increased degree of thought (the increase being necessary to cope with the demands of new concepts).

Bigger more complex pre-frontal and frontal lobes bring much more capacity for thoughts and concepts. Size first, mental use and concepts second.

DAVID: With each enlargement they could conceive of more options for survival. Why are you mixing language and spears? Erectus had spears, but a high larynx with slight chance of much speech. Neanderthal and sapiens had fully dropped larynxes for full speech. There are combinations of physical and mental developments that proceed together with each new appearance of a Homo.

dhw: I am not mixing them. I am repeating the examples of new concepts that you used in your post. Each one required changes to the brain and the rest of the anatomy. You say the changes to brain and anatomy PRECEDED the manufacture of spears and the use of language, whereas if the capacity for thought (consciousness) is independent of the brain, as is indicated by the NDEs you believe in, it would be thought that engendered the changes to brain and anatomy, just as the illiterate women’s attempt to read engendered changes to their brain.

An other mixed conflation. The women already had a large complex brain. The plasticity of the brain allowed them to modify it with learning to read. With enough new uses by humans the brain shrinks, not grows!

DAVID: Consciousness appears as the brain enlarges. The brain receives consciousness to think, as before.

dhw: I think you mean increased consciousness appears as the brain enlarge


dhw: But which comes first? I am not taking sides, but with your belief that your brainless conscious self will live on after death, and your belief that increased consciousness is impossible without brain enlargement, you are trying to take both sides.

No, life and death are different, as above.

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