Evolution and humans: big brain or concept first? (Evolution)

by dhw, Saturday, July 01, 2017, 12:00 (779 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We know the brain has plasticity. The first advanced hominin brains undoubtedly had that property. What is plasticity but rewiring as in the illiterate women. No enlargement from plasticity. The brain can accommodate new ideas without enlarging. Happens to all H. sapiens whose brains have shrunk. Obvious concept.
dhw: So why do you think your God kept on enlarging the human brain if rewiring is all that is required to produce and implement new ideas?
DAVID: Rewiring is what happens at each size change, but size of the frontal lobes is what allows for the advanced ideation of each new species on the way to humans. The capacity of each new hominin is shown by the artifacts found from their time of existence.

This is getting more and more confusing. “The brain can accommodate new ideas without enlarging” – i.e. by rewiring – now apparently means rewiring happens when the brain enlarges. I thought rewiring happened when there were new ideas. You keep saying the brain “allows for” new ideas, but this still doesn’t tell us where the new ideas come from. Once more, as under “dualism versus materialism”, please tell us (a) whether you think new ideas come from the brain or from the soul, and (b) why you think your God bothered to enlarge the brain if it could accommodate new ideas without enlarging. But yes, the artefacts tell us what ideas each hominin was capable of conceiving (= thought) and then implementing (= the material realization of the thought).

dhw: Yes, I am proposing that the effort to implement new concepts and new ways of life causes organisms to change themselves. Instead of God transforming a leg into a flipper and then plonking the pre-whale in the water, I am proposing that the pre-whale for whatever reason decided to enter the water, and the effort of adapting itself to life in the water resulted in the anatomical changes we know took place. (I have a strange feeling that this may not be an original idea. )

DAVID: Again, your concept skips the idea that a planning mind must imagine the future phenotypic changes and form that are required and plan for them in advance. DNA must be mutated appropriately in a coordinated pattern to achieve those changes. Takes a brain/mind to do it, nothing less.

Dealt with yet again under “gaps are very real”, but yes indeed the cell communities that make up every organism must coordinate, and this requires intelligence. Only apparently you do not believe your God is capable of endowing cell communities with the intelligence to do it themselves.

dhw: The effort to read caused rewiring because the brain had already long since reached its optimum size. There has to be a limit to brain growth. Before it reached its optimum size, the brain expanded in response to the effort to implement new concepts.
DAVID: If our brain is 'optimum' humans are the end point of evolution. Thanks.
dhw: A total non sequitur. The suggestion that the human head could not expand any more without causing problems for the rest of the human anatomy does not mean that evolution is over.
DAVID: I didn't imply any of your suggestion. You have a great imagination. I suggest there is no need for enlargement because the brain is as complex as it needs to be for all future concepts.

I thought it was densification that led to complexity, and future concepts would lead to further densification, i.e. further complexity. As for my imagination, I didn’t realize that “humans are the end point of evolution” meant their brains didn’t need to expand any more. I thought it meant humans were the end point of evolution. “"We have really everything in common with America nowadays except, of course, language." (Oscar Wilde)


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