Evolution and humans: brain plasticity ; learning to read (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 06, 2018, 15:40 (1967 days ago) @ dhw

TONY: Well, actually, I disagreed with the idea that 'reading' was pre-programmed, not the language centers. I have no reason, scientific or otherwise, to think that our early ancestors were incapable of spoken language.

dhw: I agree completely. The point is that the brain responds to needs; it does not change in anticipation of needs. This has been a major subject of disagreement between David and myself, who believes that his God changes organs and organisms in anticipation of - rather than their changing in response to - new needs and concepts.

DAVID: The article does not say that reading was pre-programmed. The brain was given the ability to change called plasticity. Humans developed language when the larynx was dropped, the roof of the mouth arched and the tongue provided with different use of its muscles, long before reading and writing.

dhw: You wrote that “our brains had to be designed with plasticity in anticipation of the requirement the addition of language would bring.” The example under discussion was the new brain connections established through reading and writing (not the anatomical changes required for oral language, which we have already discussed in detail elsewhere). Once more: It is not the argument for design that is under discussion, but the argument that the brain changes described in the article were “developed” in anticipation of the new concept and not in response to it.

Without the ability to apply plasticity, the brain would not have rearranged its connections to handle reading and writing. Plasticity existed in advance, and therefore was in place for any anticipated need.

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