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

by dhw, Sunday, July 02, 2017, 13:59 (2478 days ago) @ David Turell

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.
dhw: 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.
DAVID: I have no idea why you are so confused. Let's use the knowledge we have about our brain and apply it to habilis. His little brain allows new concepts: hammering flint to make sharp hand axes. His brain plasticity allows him to learn how to hammer (apes can't). That is a result of a form of re-wiring: his brain does not enlarge, because it has the plasticity to adapt to his new desired activity. But we find that he doesn't conceive of putting the flint on a stick to throw as a spear. With erectus' bigger brain that concept appears.

You continue to use the word “allow” without telling us where the new concepts come from. (See under “dualism versus materialism”.) You now have habilis’s little brain “allowing” NEW concepts, but erectus has to have a bigger brain to “allow” NEW concepts – and you think I’m confused. If habilis could have NEW concepts through rewiring, why couldn’t erectus? “Appears” is another of your wishy-washy words. In any case, it’s not the concept that “appears” but the material manifestation of the concept – a distinction you keep avoiding because you refuse to say whether the concept originates in the immaterial mind or the material brain.

DAVID: You haven’t accepted my idea that brain/me/consciousness are all fused together in life. As before, a large brain obviously allowed for more advanced conceptualization, better use of the received consciousness.

“Fused together” is a cop-out, unless you believe that the brain is the source of consciousness, with all our thoughts, ideas etc. (which may be so - I remain neutral). The crucial evidence you have for your dualistic belief in an afterlife is NDEs, in which the “soul” is separate from the body. This can only mean that the material brain is NOT the source of your thoughts, since the "soul" returns to the patient and reports its experience to the brain, which gets the body to pass on the information. Under “Dualism versus materialism” I have tried to define the dualistic interaction (not “fusion”) between soul and material brain, and I hope you will give me a straight answer.

dhw: […] 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.
DAVID: I don't, and you know that.

You don’t what? Believe your God is capable of endowing cells with intelligence? Back to his limited powers?

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.
dhw: 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)
DAVID: Complex thought led to densification, as previously shown. We are the end of evolution, and our brain will not grow any more. It doesn't need to. Einstein had a thickened area related to conceptualization, but his hat size was normal.

It doesn’t need to grow, or maybe it can’t, but that hardly proves humans are the end point of evolution.

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