Human Cerebration--- a cause for celebration.

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  1. A.Villarasa profile image60
    A.Villarasaposted 7 years ago

    The  human brain in all its complexities is now just being unraveled, however slowly, via various research modalities at various/multiple research centers across the country.  The team of Ed Lein (a neurobiologist) and Mike Hawrylycz (an applied mathematician) at the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle, specifically are involved in combining the tools of genetics with those of classic neuroscience, thus actually mapping which parts of the genome are active and which are dormant throughout the entire volume of the  human brain  as compared to that of the rhesus monkey.. In the process, they have discovered that genetic activity in human and monkey brains is so fundamentally similar (with variance at only 5%), which points to the wiring among the neurons of our brains, rather than genetic activity within the cells, as the likely source of our distinctiveness as a specie.
    Empiricists and non-empiricists alike have accepted the Darwinian evolutionary theory via natural selection as  scientific fact. The hominid specie (of which Homo Sapiens is a member) and the simian specie ( of which the monkey and our closest relative the Bonobo chimp are members ) as per Darwinian evolutionary tree  shared a common ancestral (truncal)   background, with the simian branch bifurcating early on.

    So what operative factors exactly were involved on why, via natural selection, Homo Sapiens developed a superiorly interconnected/integrated brain structure, that did not happen in the simian line?

    Divine providence ? or as per  our atheist friends... pure  serendipity. Should humans then  be celebrating their luck, or  again as per our atheist friends... heck NO.

    1. wilderness profile image94
      wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly what factors?  We will never know for sure.  Could be anything from an excess of lions in the local area to more rainfall to a single gamma ray. 

      Or you can declare that you KNOW the answer, and it is god.  Whereupon you will be asked to produce said god and will again fail miserably.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image60
        A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        Wilderness: I am assuming the hominid and simian line lived side by side (interacting, but not intermingling) in similar geographic environmental milieu, so again I am assuming that both lines were subjected to the same environmental  proddings  natural selections imposed on them so as to evolve and develop skills for survival. Are  there empiric data (from the evolutionary biologists perspective) or  reasons  that my assumptions are wrong? If none, then the question needs to be asked...if both the simian and hominid lines were exposed to the same "natural selection" process, why did the hominids develop superior brain power, that left the simian line in the dust?

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          No, no.  The scientific method of gaining knowledge does not allow for unwarranted assumptions.  And in fact, we KNOW that the hominids and simians did NOT have the same environmental pressures; hominids were moving north into cold climates while simians did not.  Nor do we know that intelligence did not begin in a small valley or island, isolated from simians completely.

          Your assumptions may be right, but that is unknown and therefore the assumption cannot be used. 

          But even if the environment pressures were identical (impossible with two different species) that absolutely would not mean that they would evolve the same. Mutations do not "play fair", giving one species everything another has.  If nothing else, hominids (living in close proximity to simians) had simians as competition while simians had hominids.

        2. A.Villarasa profile image60
          A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          According to recent archaeological  and paleontological assumptions,  over the course of millions of years, evolution transformed our mostly vegetarian ancestors into a singularly deadly primate, so that instead of being preyed upon, we became the ultimate predator. Many of the characteristics that set us apart from our closest living relatives, the great apes,--from our ability to run long distances to our oversize brains--may have arisen at least in part as adaptations to hunting. Recent discoveries, showed among other things the earliest known evidence of big game hunting, thus researchers now have a more detailed picture yet of the emergence of the traits that honed our hunting prowess--and in so doing made us humans.
          Thus your assumption  that mutations may have played a part in the evolution of the human brain may be an overstatement if not an oversimplification.

          1. wilderness profile image94
            wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            And they may not.  If it wasn't a god that reached down and changed the DNA producing our brain then it was a mutation.  There is no other choice.

            We know mutations happen, even though we cannot point to the exact specimen, date or gamete that was changed in this matter.

            We have no idea at all if there is a god out there or not; thousands of years of searching has produced no definitive proof.

            It seems far more likely, then, that it was a mutation rather than the finger of a god.

            1. A.Villarasa profile image60
              A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

              From the perspective of a medical practitioner, mutations in most cases result not in "elevation" of the organism but its degradation. In medicine,  I am not aware of any identifiable mutation that has resulted in any kind of positive influence from the cellular/molecular level up to the organ systems that compose the human body.

              1. wilderness profile image94
                wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                Does this mean that you have at least some understanding of evolution?  Because nowhere in your post do you indicate that good mutations cannot or do not happen.  Just that you are ignorant of any, which of course we all are.

                We know they happened, somewhere between a single cell and a horse or cow (or human) but not when, where or to which gamete.  So technically no one knows of any specific mutation that did good.

                That's with the caveat, of course, that a horse is superior to an amoeba.  In evolutionary terms, the amoeba is far superior (been around much longer) but most of us have a different definition.

                1. A.Villarasa profile image60
                  A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                  Your are obviously correct in saying that  evolutionary mutation is part and parcel of natural selection... some would even go to the extent of saying that without mutation, evolution would not be a scientific fact.

                  What I am specifically pointing out is the fact that according to empiricists that I quoted above, genetics (mutation et al) did not play an important or decisive role in the evolution of the human brain. Experiential exposure to the  environmental demands for survival did...allowing the sublimely delicate and intricate, neuronal interconnections and integrations that we now find in the human brain.
                  Now you mentioned the amoeba/horse  pseudo-enigma. The amoeba from its creation was never meant to evolve into a more sophisticated life form; the horse developed and  evolved ENOUGH for it to find its rightful place in the animal kingdom, but not quite to the level of you and me. There in lies the role of whoever/whatever  initiated the process of creation.

                  1. wilderness profile image94
                    wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                    No, "some" (familiar with evolution) would not say mutation is necessary for evolution; "all" (familiar with the concept) will say so.  It is not necessary for natural selection of course; mutation does not play a part in deciding which organism will reproduce.  By the time that question is posed, mutation has already either happened or not.

                    Strange that people depending on observation and fact think DNA changes all by itself, without mutating.  I really think that you are either grossly mistaken or are radically changing the definition of empiricism.

                    You're right - the amoeba was never meant to become a horse; it was never "meant" to change at all as there was no "meaning" at all.  Nor do you know the amoeba (more precisely "an" amoeba) did not evolve into a horse; certainly some single celled animal did even if not an amoeba.

                    As nothing initiated the process of creation, there is no "role" to be considered at all.  Or, more precisely, we don't know if a god, natural process or nothing at all initiated the big bang, but there is no reason to think there was either a "creator" OR "role".  Only the theists, pretending they know a god created everything, are willing to assign a "role" (without having a clue what it might be) but they can only pretend to know as there is zero evidence of such a thing actually existing.

              2. profile image0
                calculus-geometryposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                Good mutations aren't so easy to identify because people don't go to the doctor  when things are going well.  But a beneficial mutation will assert itself by giving its bearer a longer life and higher rate of  reproduction, which means the good mutation can persist through the generations.  If more studies were done on healthy, fecund people, they'd probably find some mutations they could classify as positive. 

                Anyway, your title word play made me smile.

                1. A.Villarasa profile image60
                  A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

                  Smiling is good isn't it?

        3. Quilligrapher profile image80
          Quilligrapherposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          Hi there, Dr. Villarasa. It has been a long time.

          If I may be permitted in interject one point about rational debate. You are attempting to shift the burden of proof! The standard Burden of Proof rule in argumentation states “he who asserts must prove.” Wilderness is correct in saying you bear the full responsibility to prove that your claims and assumptions are true. It is a fallacious argument to insist that others must prove your assumptions are false. {1}

          Sorry to interrupt, Dr. V.. Please resume.

          {1} … burden.htm

          1. A.Villarasa profile image60
            A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

            Thanks for dropping by, and reminding me of  what rational debate means.

            1. Quilligrapher profile image80
              Quilligrapherposted 7 years agoin reply to this

              You are welcome. big_smile

    2. psycheskinner profile image82
      psycheskinnerposted 7 years agoin reply to this

      As we have mentioned before natural selection is not serendipity.  The ability to form complex plans across time and space (not just relating to the current moment) has a lot of survival value.

      1. A.Villarasa profile image60
        A.Villarasaposted 7 years agoin reply to this

        My impression and understanding of Darwinian evolution via natural selection is that it is mediated mostly by mutation... and mutation is 100% random.... irregardless   of whether that mutation has survival value or not. Most of the mutations that I am aware of, medically speaking  in fact  degrade instead of elevate our cellular/molecular functioning that ultimately leads to diseases. As I have explained to wilderness, the human brain is not so much affected by genetic/chromosomal changes, as it is by experiential environmental factors that allows the neurons to form layers upon layer of connections with each other. The  supreme  degree neuronal interconnections and integrations are what makes us cerebrate a lot better than our nearest genetic relative, the bonobo chimp.

        1. wilderness profile image94
          wildernessposted 7 years agoin reply to this

          "Mediate"?  No, mutation does not "mediate" in evolutionary terms.  If there is "mediation" going on it would be in natural selection, although even that is stretching the meaning of the world badly.

          What "experiential environmental factors" allow (don't you mean encourage?) additional layers of connections?  And aren't you forgetting such things as pure size, folding, different allocations to different areas, and perhaps strongest of all, a throat/mouth arrangement that can make language coupled with a brain that can decipher it?

  2. Zelkiiro profile image91
    Zelkiiroposted 7 years ago

    More feeble ancestors realized they needed to rely on tools to survive. Smarter members made better tools. Their genes took notes and made better versions of these better brains. Repeat ad nauseam until Homo genus appears.


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