Evolution and humans: more on learning to read (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Thursday, November 08, 2018, 18:11 (394 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Stepping in for a bit of medical education. The sympathetic nervous system is part of the autonomic nervous system:
"The sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are both components of the autonomic nervous system of the brain. They act in collaboration with each other to sustain the body’s homeostatic state."
http://www.differencebetween.net/science/difference-between-sympathetic-and-parasympath...
Obviously the sympathetic system knows what is happening.

dhw: Thank you, but the context of this was my contention that the brain changes in response to new concepts and not in anticipation. I still don’t understand how the “sympathetic nervous system” can prepare for something it knows nothing about.

The sympathetic system works on its own and knows what its body is doing, separate from the brain, except that it informs the brain which can respond and influence the sympathetic.


DAVID: The brain areas that assumed new duties already existed and were given the ability to change as necessary when they were created. Why do you interpret that fact differently?


DAVID: You stay blind to the fact that a big brain appeared before all the new concepts were developed.

dhw: As you well know, pre-sapiens brains gradually increased in size, and I’m sorry, but the H. sapiens brain (if that’s what you mean by a “big brain”) did not appear before such new concepts as tools, weapons, use of fire etc.

You have forgotten that the fossils we have show the brain size jumped 200 cc at a time with each new homo ancestor. You're back to your Darwinism looking for itty -bitty changes.

dhw: As regards the new concepts which appeared after the arrival of the “big brain”, why have you ignored the answer I already gave you? “In order to avoid repeating our past discussions on the subject, I’d better add that once the brain/skull had reached its optimum size, new uses were implemented through complexification, not expansion, and the efficiency of this has even resulted in a degree of shrinkage.”

Not ignored, understood and agreed. What were you trying to prove?.


DAVID: See my entry today on how fungus changed the Earth, and was prepared to do so in advance!
Note my bold: the algal ancestors of land plants, a group called ‘charophytes’, were equipped to communicate with fungi well before they encountered them.

dhw: Thank you for this intriguing article (and for all the others you posted yesterday). As usual, you prefer to ignore the fact that living organisms are composed of cells, and the whole point of my hypothesis is that cells from the very beginning were “equipped” with their own form of intelligence. You cannot have any kind of cooperation, including symbiosis, without some means of communicating. So of course the algae and fungi were equipped to communicate. Every form of multicellular life depends on the ability of its cells to communicate, and that ability must have existed before the cells cooperated.

Did the communication evolve by chance or was it designed?


dhw: The point could hardly be clearer. It is “exercise” that changes the brain, even to the extent of enlarging some parts and developing new neurons. If we go back into the past, the same process must have taken place in pre-humans – namely, that “exercise” in the form of implementing new concepts would have changed the brain, and the resultant increase in volume would have required a larger skull to house the larger brain. Can you fault the logic?

DAVID: Perfectly logical, with one huge exception: we have no idea why the brain grew so large from its smaller size before it was used as in today's humans. The mice did not have exploding skulls in this study, only plastic alteration of the brain that already existed. And we know that plasticity shrinks existing brains

dhw: That is precisely what I am trying to explain: “exercise”, as in the implementation of new concepts, changes the brain. In pre-humans, I propose that the capacity of the brain was not large enough to cope with whatever those concepts were, and so it had to expand (just as it does now in certain areas of the brain when they become the main area of activity). The rest of the explanation – including shrinkage – is contained in the paragraph which you ignored.

Ignored nothing that we did not already agree upon. In each stage expansion allowed the development of new concepts within the larger size as those individuals learned how to use the larger size and complexity.


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