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Message 166 of 240 (230610)
08-06-2005 10:15 PM
Reply to: Message 144 by randman
08-05-2005 2:15 AM

Re: can someone answer?
"Can someone answer John's question on brain size and evolution?"

Brain size has nothing to do with evolution any more than skin color does.

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Posts: 32924
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Message 167 of 240 (230611)
08-06-2005 10:16 PM
Reply to: Message 164 by jcrawford
08-06-2005 10:10 PM

Re: What are you talking about?
What in the world are you talking about?

Aslan is not a Tame Lion

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Message 168 of 240 (230613)
08-06-2005 10:34 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by Chiroptera
08-06-2005 7:08 PM

Re: Discussion of definition
"Few, if any, "evolutionists" consider neanderthals to be "unworthy" in any meaningful sense of the word. So the points you are trying to make are invalid."

Since neo-Darwinists classify our Neandertal ancestors as a different and separate 'species,' they cannot possibly be classified by neo-Darwinists as full and equal members of the human race until neo-Darwinists publically admit that all human species are full and equal members of the human race and are in no way descended from an 'extinct' species or race of African human beings or apes.

Till such a time, you're neo-Darwinist point is invalid.

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Inactive Member

Message 169 of 240 (230615)
08-06-2005 10:43 PM
Reply to: Message 142 by jar
08-04-2005 10:56 PM

Re: What are you talking about?
"John. Enjoy your stay here."

I second the emotion since John is an exemplary model of Homo sapiens intelligence, far superior to any Neandertal who only had to deal with the Ice Age and hunt wooly mammoths for a living.


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Message 170 of 240 (230617)
08-06-2005 10:51 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by Chiroptera
08-06-2005 7:31 PM

Re: Ah, here's your problem!
"Since neither Crawford nor Lubenow have a credible argument, there isn't much merit to the rest of the post."

Why waste your time on the merits of such incredible arguments and posts then, if not for the lack of credibility in neo-Darwinist theories about African people's evolution out of African apes?

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Member (Idle past 36 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004

Message 171 of 240 (230624)
08-06-2005 11:35 PM
Reply to: Message 122 by John Ponce
08-03-2005 11:46 PM

More invalid conclusions & unsubstantiated assertions in place of any real argument
John Ponce, msg 126 writes:

Thanks for responding RAZD. I will give careful consideration to your analysis. You may want to carefully review post 122 as well.

To which I responded:

RAZD, msg 136 writes:

I'll give it the attention it deserves when I see a more complete response promised here. A quick perusal showed it to be one logical howler after another, a house of cards built on false premises, that renders your conclusions invalid.

In formulating your next response you may want to try making one simple logically argument and not running off on tangents based on conclusions based on false premises.

I am responding to Message 122 now seeing as the response promised in Message 126 does not seem to be forthcoming. (Note that I like to consolidate responses to any one individual rather than try to create multiple diversions of the topic).

John Ponce, msg 122 writes:

Apologies - this is rather long - but it should be worth the time.

And you accuse me of ego. LOL. Let's see how worthy your response is.

So how many physical connections and how much code do you suppose were necessary for errors in DNA replication and natural selection to design the human brain from a critter brain, RAZD?

This is in response to the posted Wikipedia article on the definition of Neo-Darwinism and does not address the article at all. The comment is a non-sequitur (another logical fallacy), no big surprise.

The obvious answers are "some" and "enough" -- these kinds of mutations are observed all the time: replications of gene sequences are one of the most common form of mutations and one of the easiest to cause. The exact numbers are irrelevant, for all that is needed is a selection for marginally increased intelligence in each generation.

Does John deny that any such mutations have occurred? If he does deny this then he is ignoring the evidence, and if he does not deny this then this argument is invalid by his own admission.

Did this human brain design happen all at once or was it a slow gradual process as the text above indicates?

As already noted several times, this is a process that occurred by incremental steps over millions of years, as is shown by the fossil evidence. If that is not a "slow gradual process" then John is using a different definition for one or more of those words than is normally used. Or he is willfully ignoring the evidence.

If it were a slow gradual process, how on Earth would natural selection only propagate all the millions (probably orders of magnitude higher) small relatively insignificant brain mutations and - with each mutation - cut off the genetic viability all the other allegedly healthy non-mutated contemporary hominid creatures?

You have been asked several times to substantiate your claim, repeated here, of massive numbers of mutations being needed. Until this is done, repeated claims like this are just more argument from incredulity (another logical fallacy).

This comment also shows continued (willful?) ignorance of the functioning of natural selection.

Each mutation survives (or not) within the host population based on the survival and reproductive selection of the host individuals.

Does John deny that the hominid ancestor(s) that first developed the pointed stick was better equipped to survive and ensure the survival of {his\her} offspring?

Once again John implies some mysterious directed active mechanism to "cut off the genetic viability" of other individuals being caused by the successful mutations. There is no mechanism that suddenly and mysteriously renders "other allegedly healthy non-mutated contemporary hominid creatures" impotent or that kills them off. The only mechanisms are survival (or not) and reproduction (or not). That is what natural selection means.

Each generation carries the gene pool of the individuals from the previous generation that survived and reproduced. Period.

Shucks, all those hominid folks were doing just fine until one gets a brain mutation - and then (poof!) all others manage to eventually eliminate themselves from the gene pool? And this same scenario supposedly happened over how many Mega individual beneficial brain mutations?

Pure argument from incredulity (logical fallacy) and already invalidated in previous posts as well as above. Repeating fallacious arguments does not make them any more valid.

So you believe that intelligence is not a necessary criteria for hominid survival.

Now we have (dishonest) misrepresentation. What I said was:

RAZD, msg 124 writes:

All this shows is that intelligence is not necessarily a guaranteed benefit for either survival or ability to reproduce, as noted before:

RAZD, msg 96 writes:

Intelligence may or may not assist in that endeavor. The overwhelming evidence of all life is that even sub-average human intelligence is not needed.

In other words, the evidence is that all the other species currently in existence do not need to have the level of intelligence displayed by Homo sapiens sapiens in order to survive and reproduce, or that "intelligence is not a necessary criteria for {any species'} survival" for the only "necessary criteria" are survival and reproduction.

Intelligence may enhance the ability of an individual to survive, but it may not guarantee it or that the survivor will be selected for reproduction (the "nerd" factor).

We also do not have any direct evidence of the intelligence of all the species that have gone extinct, and it is possible that some of them had more brain power than humans. Jurassic Park's hollywoodized Velociraptors are a possibility. No amount of raw brain power would enable a species to survive a meteor impact (such as occurred 65 myr ago). We may not survive the excesses of our own behavior, and that would be a direct intellectual failure.

Yet only those with allegedly “gradual” increases in mutated brain size survived? Any logic there?

No, those that survived and reproduced happened to have increased intelligence. That means that it is a feature that was selected, whether by survival or by reproduction is not certain. It does not mean that increased intelligence guarantees {survival\reproductive} success.

There is a fair bit of evidence that the development of the human brain was due at least in part to run-away sexual selection, related to communication and creativity in mating song and dance etc. Notice that even today natural leaders, poets, dancers, artists and musicians are considered more {romantic\desirable} mates than scientists.

Do you wander about mechanisms or do you merely accept it as fact without question?

I've been known to wander about halls ... but the fact is that I have repeatedly discussed how the various mechanism apply and work and interact, and this should be evidence of actively and logically wondering how they work.

This is an ad hominum attack and another logical fallacy, btw, as you are addressing {me} and not the points that I raised.

Let me see if I understand you correctly.
Please indicate if you desagree with any of these statements and indicate precisely what your disagreement is. Don't just say "nope" or "wrong". Be specific please.

1) Supposedly even a slight beneficial some mutations (but not necessarily all) in brain connections and size in an individuals were was selected over and over and over in humans.

2) Every other individual hominid without the “mutation of the day” always eventually died off – their lineage never to be seen again.The genes of any individual that did not have offspring and which are not existent in other individuals were removed from the gene pool upon their (natural or otherwise) deaths.

3) But most all of the other pure non-hominid primates individuals of all of the other species in the world survived long enough, and were successful enough, in having offspring to pass their genes on to the next generation.

4) Intelligence is not necessary for human speciation. Is that correct? um ... as amended.

Edited to correct your errors and add omissions

Do you see some evident logical contradictions in the sequence above?

Oh yes, your #1 was incorrect (invalidating any conclusion), #2 is pure argument from incredulity (and wrong, also invalidating any conclusion), #3 is also incorrect (invalidating any conclusions - btw, there is no "pure" species) and #4 does not logically follow from the precepts erroneously presented, there is nothing "necessary" about natural selection.

This is not a proper logical construction and thus fails as a logical argument even without the erroneous precepts.

And again, all other individuals among the entire population without the alleged mutations - which had all survived just fine up to that point – were mysteriously identified by natural selection and systematically eliminated from the gene pool. Right?

So wrong it doesn't bear repeating the errors already addressed. As noted in other posts, you should keep your arguments brief so you don't keep repeating erroneous assertions, especially ones as baldly wrong as this, unless your only purpose is to just keep repeating unfounded, unsubstantiated, blatantly erroneous positions in the hope that others will sooner or later ignore them.

And that is why we have no direct evidence of human evolution among the living today...?!?

Except that the evidence is all around you. You are different from every other individual human on the planet. Even if you were born a genetic twin there were slight differences in fetal development, subsequent nutrition and experiencing of mutations. You have evolved from your parents. This is more than sufficient to explain the diversity of humans across the globe.

I see. And this exclusive systematically gradual progression of beneficial "mistakes in DNA replication" and individual selection ... from critters toward modern humans went through how many estimated cycles? Would you estimate at least a thousand? I would say many orders of magnitude higher to achieve what neoroscientists indicate is possibly trillions of additions in brain circuitry and genetic code.

Once again the same argument from incredulity as presented previously, with the same logical error and the same totally unsubstantiated assertion (I've deleted the totally bogus part, as it is addressed above).

Prove that it needs to be more than, say, 200 (just for fun), eh? You've been asked to substantiate this claim several times now, and it is past time to "put up or shut up" on it. Repeating it without substantiation is just more dishonest debate shuck and jive.

I'm sorry but the heavier bird beaks in dry climates is not an example of "error in DNA replication". This is the same fallacy evolutionists still teach as evidence of Darwinian evolution using the famous peppered moth.

Note that in these last two quotes John Ponce has misrepresented my position by inserting "mistakes in DNA replication" for "differences between individuals" and "an accumulation of non-lethal variations within any population" and that this is just more dishonesty on his part.

This is also the logical fallacy of the part for the whole.

Heavier beaks in some individuals compared to others is nothing more than the result of "an accumulation of non-lethal variations within any population" in the size and strength of the beaks. This is what causes "natural variation" within a species. Some of those variations are caused by "errors in DNA replication" and some by errors in recombination and some by environmental factors during the development of the individual (and which are not genetic, nor inherited).

John goes on to make a totally invalid (self contradictory) statement:

Those moths that were fortunate enough to "inherit" darker colors from pre-existing DNA code were more likely to survive - No Mutations required or present!!!

Think about it carefully RAZD.


The reason that they had the "darker colors from pre-existing DNA code" was because of the pre-existing mutations in the pre-existing DNA code - the mutations were already in the population; otherwise there would have been no color variations for this famous example of natural selection (even admitted as such by ICR in an article that they have since deleted):

FROM: (click)

As the environment changed, the dark variety had greater opportunity to pass on their genetic mix, and percentages changed. All the while, the two types were interfertile. No new genes were produced, and certainly no new species resulted. This is natural selection in action, but not evolution. Adaptation happens, but the changes are limited.

I suggest you think things through much more thoroughly before admonishing me to think.

The point being discussed is natural selection. Both of these instances are examples of natural selection operating on populations with variations due to pre-existing mutations.

And so is the "example" posted next:

Let's suppose the mass of people in a certain North African country, Libya for example, had 0.1% of the population with blue eyes.

Let's further suppose that Hitler invaded the country and the Nazis reigned for ten generations. Hitler decides that all people without blue eyes are sub-human and has them exterminated. What will the population look like after ten generations?

Blue eyes!

Was the subsequent predominantly blue eyed population due to errors in DNA replication? *

Of course not!!!! It is shameful that such errors are dogmatically paraded as science.

A perfect example of a selection mechanism changing the frequency of alleles within a population.

And the fact remains that those original 1% would have existed because of the pre-existing genetic mutations that resulted in the existence blue eyes in the population before the selection process was implemented.

You are obviously confused here about the cause and effect mechanisms, the process of mutation and the timing of mutations and natural selection in the process of evolution.

Back to alleged mutated "Big Headed" hominids. Would you not expect to find any evidence of these supposed Mega beneficial brain mutation processes occurring today within the population of seven billion people?
Absolutely no evidence of these marvelous beneficial individual brain mutations among humans today?

Back to repeating false assertions again. This is the, what, third time you have made this totally unsubstantiated "Mega" mutation claim, and it still carries no validity until it is substantiated: none, zero, zilch, nada, null set.

It is also (a) argument from incredulity and (b) argument from ignorance, both logical fallacies.

As for your lack of evidence, your expectations are obviously way out of whack with reality: how do you judge the intellectual capability of humans 200 years ago with sufficient accuracy to show any kind of trend that would be significant given the overall time of existence of even just Homo sapiens at 160,000 years (minimum, according to current fossil information) ... that's 0.125% of the span of time in which there has been little enough change in the fossils for them to be classified as the same species.

Meanwhile you totally ignore the copious fossil evidence of nothing but increase in cranial capacity for 3 million years.

Again, don’t forget the requisite unlikely systematic eradication of all healthy non-mutated individual lineages. If this is not a requirement for the theory, then our human gene pool would not be homogenious and we would have direct evidence today. No?

And this is the third repetition of this previously falsified totally erroneous concept that has nothing to do with evolution, but everything to do with your misunderstanding of the science, evidence and theories.

And who said our gene pool is homogenous? There is obviously a large degree of variability within the human population, or need you be reminded that the original topic is racism?

I think you are mistaking humans sharing 99% of their genetic code when this same degree of sharing would exist for other species, while near cousing species share 95-98% of their genetic code (as we do with chimpanzees). Individual select others of the same species for reproduction or there would be no offspring, and the result is a high degree of homogeneity within the gene pool of any species.

Minor variations – millions (trillions) of them to produce human beings – all added together and somehow exclusively selected with no evidence of the process occurring in the human population today?

Unsubstantiated assertion repetition #4. Evidence ignored again.

So many of those beneficial mutations required to produce humans from critters but all those amazing mutations have stopped and are somehow not working today?

Unsubstantiated assertion repetition #5. Who said they have stopped? Are you the exact same as your parents? Are your kids carbon copies of you? Profound willful ignorance coupled with denial does not make an argument valid.

We should reasonably expect a very smooth transition to be evident and ongoing among at least some distinct groups of mammals today

We do.

There are simply no clear transitional examples among all living mammals for us to actually directly view the process of random beneficial mutations and natural selection.

No living evidence today. All we see today is superficial genetic isolation of certain preexisting genetically coded traits such as skin color – no random beneficial errors in DNA replication among humans or mammals in general.

Absolutely false. Every individual is a transitional, and there have been several instances observed of speciation and natural selection. Profound willful ignorance coupled with denial does not make an argument any more valid when repeated.

Immunity to new diseases is another example of the ongoing process.

Yet the concept clearly has been used in a racial manner via selection by people. Why do you think the Nazis were measuring all those facial features? Of course it is wrong but it stemmed from the idea of a master race.

Another misrepresentation and a totally false argument. You are comparing the actions of {deluded\misinformed\ignorant} people to the actual mechanism of natural selection. They are not the same.

Natural selection is based on temporary fluctuating, individual fitness that only applies at the time involved. Tomorrow different story.

The gallery will judge the validity of that statement.

Logical fallacy already documented, totally invalid and completely irrelevant to the argument. The continued use of such logical fallacies when they have already been pointed out displays either (1) an inability to learn from mistakes or (2) an unwillingness to learn.

You may have a hard time convincing families of dead people how the historical application of the Darwinian theory is a strawman.

Not what I said, another dishonest misrepresentation. The use of the terms "better" and "more highly" as applied to evolved species is a strawman argument.

Eugenics is basically human intervention to improve the human gene pool .... So I don't "fault" Darwinian theory necessarily - I fault the men who use it to justify murder and atrocious behavior such as racism.

Totally irrelevant to the argument. This is totally orthogonal to previous arguments and can only be introduced to try to obscure the fact that you are not answering the points raised nor substantiating your assertions before moving on to new ones.

Also known as a non-sequitur logical fallacy.

But for this thread, we’re discussing the implications and applications of Darwinian views.

WHOOOOOSH ... there go those moving goalposts again. You just introduced that topic and now it is the focus?


(1) Lubenow evidently has a Master of Science degree in Anthropology from Eastern Michigan University.

And what part of {{{a Master's degree (from any institution) is not a doctorate}}} don't you understand? This totally avoids the issue raised. That this was already known means that you are just repeating invalid information rather than addressing the point.

Was Darwin more highly educated or qualified than Lubenow?
The answer is clearly "no".

(1) How so? What is your basis for this claim?

(2) How does this in any way justify misrepresenting Lubenow as a professor?

RAZD, which book are you thinking of - "Origin of Species", or "Bones of Contention"?
Evidently, neither was peer reviewed.
So what is the relative significance?

Neither were peer reviewed. So? The science of evolution is not based on "the book of Darwin" but on the evidence that has been substantiated since the book was published, evidence that has validated parts of the book and invalidated other parts. Theories have been added that were not part of the book, because the science is based on the peer reviewed evidence, the scientific replication of results and the intense scrutiny of critics of each new concept.

I doubt "Bones of Contention" will hold up anywhere near as well, particularly as it seems to be based on false premises from the start.

I wander if the study and practice of eugenics was/is peer reviewed?
Current evolutionary scientist John Sulston is an advocate today: "I don't think one ought to bring a clearly disabled child into the world".

You're wandering again.

How is that eugenics when it is possible to be severely disabled due to {chemical\environmental\nutritional} factors that have nothing to do with genetics?

Also RAZD, are you aware of any scientific advances that have been made outside of the peer review process?

Irrelevant. There have been many theories and discoveries made outside of peer reviewed process, but they are not validated as science until the process is involved. This has to do with verification of results, repetition by others.

It is part of science whether you like it or not.

Really? Would that include Origin of Species? I agree that peer review is generally good practice but it has inherent potential conflicts and has suffered many black eyes.

Of course it would. If evolution were based solely on Darwin's book it would not be science. Conflicts and black eyes are only temporary, mostly due to human arrogance and ego and not to science.

The gallery can determine the validity of your claim.

You keep trying, but this is still a logically invalid argument. I have now waded through this post and shown that, indeed it is one logical howler after another, a string of invalid arguments and totally unsubstantiated assertions that amount to nothing more than twaddle "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

John Ponce, msg 149 writes:

Personally, I would give RAZD an A+ for self-esteem but a considerably lower grade for logical analysis

Given that John has not demonstrated a single logical fallacy of mine, but has instead engaged in multiple repeated fallacies, unsubstantiated wild assertions and failed arguments this comment is a laughable attempt at self-aggrandizement.

Does - anyone - agree with RAZD that he has refuted the argument as Javaman has described above.

Trying to find that "gallery" John? The point you fail to realize is that when your argument is logically invalid it does not matter what people think of it. If the argument is false it cannot be resurrected by voting on it. It is like saying:

(1) two plus three is five
(2) two plus two is seven
therefore five times seven is twenty.

Or like deciding that pi should equal 3.0

If so, my time is probably better spent elsewhere.

I could suggest some classes in logic at the local college. You might try exercising brevity so you don't go so far overboard with invalid conclusions based on wrong information.

You might try actually substantiating assertions you have made.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Member (Idle past 36 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004

Message 172 of 240 (230626)
08-06-2005 11:46 PM
Reply to: Message 156 by jcrawford
08-06-2005 6:55 PM

Re: Discussion of definition
Lubenow considers all people to equally share in the common gene pool of all of our human ancestors who didn't descend from African apes,

It is logically impossible for descendants of one branch to be related to species on another branch.

All humans share in the common gene pool back to their respective common ancestors, whether immediate or distant.

Apes and humans descended from a common ancestor that was neither human nor one of the african ape species.

Your post is gibberish at best.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 177 by jcrawford, posted 08-07-2005 1:22 PM RAZD has responded

Member (Idle past 36 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004

Message 173 of 240 (230628)
08-06-2005 11:49 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by Chiroptera
08-06-2005 7:31 PM

Re: Ah, here's your problem!
and he's elevated himself to lubenow exhaulted status, no ... my mistake, he puts himself first ....


This message is a reply to:
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Member (Idle past 36 days)
Posts: 20714
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004

Message 174 of 240 (230629)
08-06-2005 11:51 PM
Reply to: Message 161 by jcrawford
08-06-2005 8:53 PM

Re: How human were H. neanderthalensis and H. habilis?
jcrawford writes:

Since the original African people didn't originate or evolve from apes at all, creationists are hard pressed to believe in and follow neo-Darwinist racial theories of sub-human evolution in Africa.

Prove it.

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

{{{Buddha walks off laughing with joy}}}

This message is a reply to:
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Inactive Member

Message 175 of 240 (230633)
08-07-2005 1:04 AM
Reply to: Message 163 by jcrawford
08-06-2005 9:56 PM

Re: Discussion of definition
jcrawford writes:

Since when do creationists or other people who believe in the Bible or Koran have to take the racist theories of neo-Darwinist geneticists at their word? Wake up and smell the God-given creationist coffee or go down with the sinking ship of neo-Darwinist racism.

No, many creationists seem to rely on some rubbish about Noah's flood and sons of Ham being condemned to subservience and this being the justification for enslaving black Africans. Sounds like rationalisation of racist slavery to me.

This message is a reply to:
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Inactive Member

Message 176 of 240 (230634)
08-07-2005 1:12 AM
Reply to: Message 164 by jcrawford
08-06-2005 10:10 PM

Re: What are you talking about?
jcrawford, you keep repeating this crap:
H. neandertalis descendants are being denied their common human ancestry and social heritage by neo-Darwinist biologists, psychologists and sociologists in public institutions which may be more culturally relevant and important than their getting a job with some neo-Darwinist corporation or Homo sapiens government institution.

Where are the descendents of H. neanderthalis?

This message is a reply to:
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Inactive Member

Message 177 of 240 (230696)
08-07-2005 1:22 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by RAZD
08-06-2005 11:46 PM

Re: Discussion of definition
"It is logically impossible for descendants of one branch to be related to species on another branch."

That's just what creationists would say!

"All humans share in the common gene pool back to their respective common ancestors, whether immediate or distant."

Agreed, as long as their common ancestors were human.

"Apes and humans descended from a common ancestor that was neither human nor one of the african ape species."

Since there is no evidence of that, such beliefs must stem from neo-Darwinist racial theories about the origin and evolution of African people from non-humans.

"Your post is gibberish at best."

At least I don't associate African people with the common ancestor of gibbons.


I am, thank-you. Hope you are too.

This message is a reply to:
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Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003

Message 178 of 240 (230697)
08-07-2005 1:26 PM
Reply to: Message 177 by jcrawford
08-07-2005 1:22 PM

A rest for jcrawford
It seems I am a bit too slow to be able to follow the logic that you wish to use. From my simple viewpoint you do, indeed, post gibberish. I think that we could all use a rest in the science threads while you figure out our to tie the reasoning together in a way that more of us can understand.

You can come back to the science forums in 24 hours. Meanwhile rethink how you will present your viewpoints -- you know, actual facts and logic that makes sense.

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John Ponce
Inactive Member

Message 179 of 240 (230741)
08-07-2005 5:19 PM
Reply to: Message 178 by AdminNosy
08-07-2005 1:26 PM

Re: A rest for jcrawford

Any forum rule violations in Jcrawford's last post that evolution proponents have not committed in this thread?

He's gotta go because you are a bit too slow?

Why not counter his statements and point out logical errors or specific forum violations rather than verbally kick him in the butt?

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Member (Idle past 950 days)
Posts: 475
From: York, England
Joined: 08-05-2005

Message 180 of 240 (230763)
08-07-2005 6:33 PM
Reply to: Message 152 by John Ponce
08-06-2005 3:38 PM

Re: Summary of your argument
Would you agree?


I think it would be very surprising if the development of intelligence weren't a factor in increasing hominid brain size.

The controversy you have been alluding to in your previous posts is about making simplistic correlations between brain size and intelligence within extant human populations. Racist and sexist anthropologists in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were very fond of saying things like 'women have smaller brains than men, therefore they're less intelligent' or 'Aryans have larger brain sizes than other races, therefore they have superior intelligence'. These ideas have been villified for the last 50 years or so, partly because of their appalling social consequences, and partly because they're scientifically naive.

What makes a human brain different from a chimpanzee brain, for example, is less overall size and more a change in the way the neurons are organized. So a small-brained human, with brain size close to that of a chimpanzee, still has a characteristically human rather than chimpanzee intelligence.

That being said, I don't see how rejecting these simplistic ideas about brain size and intelligence necessarily leads one to the conclusion that there isn't any relationship between brain size and intelligence. In fact, the alternative theory you quoted in one of your posts suggests that the development of expertise may have been a factor in causing the increase in brain size during hominid evolution. Expertise, of course, is an example of intelligent behaviour.

(You may be interested to know that another theory suggests that it was the development of an increasingly sophisticated social life that drove the devlopment of the human brain rather than the evolutionary advantage of greater problem solving skills. This has led to the suggestion that we should think of ourselves as the gossiping ape rather than the intelligent ape.)

The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible

This message is a reply to:
 Message 152 by John Ponce, posted 08-06-2005 3:38 PM John Ponce has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 181 by John Ponce, posted 08-07-2005 7:48 PM JavaMan has not yet responded

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