Gravity Waves, Continued

gravitywaves

Gravity Waves

Some further thoughts regarding yesterday’s post

[This will not be on the final. Just to illustrate how very complex a single proton is. You don’t have to watch the whole thing.]

  • There is no obvious reason why nature — science — should be describable mathematically. I mean, why would a universe created at random choose for its laws to be expressed as mathematical equations? It’s not as though all true things must be expressed in math! Indeed, until the publication of Isaac Newton’s Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica in 1687 no one had even attempted to use math to describe the behavior of the universe.
    • The point is subtler and deeper and harder to express. Let me try to explain. We tend to assume that the reason the force of gravity, for example, can be described using a fairly simple equation is that gravity somehow follows the math. But in reality, gravity just happens, and math describes it but doesn’t cause it. The universe couldn’t hold enough computers to do the gravitational math for the entire universe, much less the energy math, the momentum math, the electromagnetism math, etc.
    • This is not immediately obvious, but it’s true. Consider the contents of a single hydrogen atom — the simplest atom. It has a proton and an electron and that’s all. The proton is made up of three quarks. The three quarks are in constant flux, shifting as each reacts with the other. The electron is not a particle — not really — but more of a wave constantly in flux around the proton.
    • The mathematics of the quarks and electrons are understood pretty well by the experts but extremely complex. To compute the velocity and position of a quark or electron exactly is impossible, because they exist as (believe it or not) probability waves. That is, the existence of each is smeared out in the shape of a constantly shifting wave — which represents the probability of the particle being at point X or moving at velocity V (and even this is a simplification).
    • And so, in addition to all the complexities of interactions among the quarks and the movement of the electron, you have to do statistics just to calculate the waves that are moving. Obviously, a computer capable of doing this math (which is well understood) would require much more than a single proton and electron. Even the theoretically smallest computer — a quantum computer — would require many millions of atoms to do the math.
    • And all these atoms built into the smallest theoretically possible computer would only do the math for the behavior of a single atom. Imagine the size of a computer that could run the entire universe!
    • So the math doesn’t make gravity happen. Gravity happens — but always in strict accord with the math. And so the math is a result of what the universe does — not the reason.
    • Science offers not even a hypothesis for why this is so. It just is. For an answer, you might turn to philosophy. Which has no answers. You don’t find answers until you get to Christianity — as we considered in yesterday’s post.
    • (Which means that science is a subset of philosophy, which is a subset of Christianity — quite the opposite of the usual approach. Scientists want to reduce Christianity to a product of evolution and hence a subset of science. It just isn’t true.)
  • Cave paintingThere’s even less reason for the universe to be comprehensible to the human mind. What is it about the need to spear a woolly mammoth that requires a brain that can comprehend the General Theory of Relativity or gravity waves?
    • It seems that evolution has grossly over-equipped us in our ability to think. But there is the law of diminishing returns. Being smart would be an evolutionary advantage because smart people are better able to kill woolly mammoths. But you only have to be so smart to outsmart a mammoth. And all that extra brain matter requires energy and the consumption of food and water to operate — an obvious evolutionary disadvantage.
    • Beyond that, well, no one has demonstrated that the ability to do higher math or talk theoretical physics helps one find a mate, reproduce, and feed a family. If that were the case, university math and physics departments would be turning away applicants!

Where gravity waves are detected

  • And then there are the tools. It’s often been suggested that it’s man ability to build tools that separates him from the animals. I’m not sure that’s exactly the answer, but it’s certainly an important difference.
    • Now, what is it about the need to build spears and traps and such to catch, butcher, and eat a mammoth that requires us to have the ability to measure a gravity wave?
    • Remember: we measured a gravity wave from over 1 billion light-years away that perturbed time-space by less than 1 thousandth of the width of a proton!
    • Why should evolution have given us the ability to do that — if we don’t have to be that incredibly clever to survive, mate, and pass our genes to the next generation?
    • Again, we seem to be grossly over-qualified for the job of hunter-gatherer — which is what we were when most hominid evolution presumably occurred.

It seems that God has gone out of his way to make the universe understandable by us higher hominids — and to give us the ability to understand what he’s telling us about himself through his creation.

And perhaps the message is as simple as “I am here” or, as the scriptures say,

(1 Chr. 28:9b ESV)  If you seek him, he will be found by you …

(Heb. 11:6b ESV) … whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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19 Responses to Gravity Waves, Continued

  1. David says:

    I will have to say that this is the first time I have seen this argument advanced. Good point:That man ( alone among all other creatures? ) is grossly over-equipped for evolution on earth. The only answer for that I could think of would be that man was made to evolve to a different person and body, to survive on a different earth, Those who don’t follow this evolutionary path will cease to exist. Again, we are back to Christianity.

  2. Charles says:

    1. Evolution does not give us just/exactly/only what we need to be good hunter-gatherers. For example, we still have tailbones, which are of no benefit for hunting or gathering. See

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php#b2

    and scroll down or click “MISCONCEPTION: Natural selection gives organisms what they need.”

    Also see

    http://io9.gizmodo.com/5829687/10-vestigial-traits-you-didnt-know-you-had

    2. The big brain that lets us think about gravity waves also let us think about how to survive when there was no food to gather. This ability to think of abstractions also gave rise to language, which led to greater ability to cooperate for survival.

  3. Charlie M. says:

    Thought I would never say this, Jay, but after these last two posts on gravitational waves, I kind of miss your series on Revelation.

  4. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charlie M,

    The series returns tomorrow.

  5. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charles (Readers, this is not Charles/Charlie M but another reader) wrote,

    Evolution does not give us just/exactly/only what we need to be good hunter-gatherers. For example, we still have tailbones, which are of no benefit for hunting or gathering.

    True enough, although we are finding that many organs once thought vestigial actually matter quite a lot. Nonetheless, I agree that evolution can give things we no longer need. But —

    (a) Vestigial organs is a poor example, as those had a very real purpose sometime in the past. And so this hardly explains why humans have far more brain matter than they need to be effective hunter-gatherers.

    (b) Vestigial organs only last as vestigial (rather than being repurposed to something that helps pass genes to the next generation) if they have low cost in terms of survivability. But our big brains have a huge cost. They forced human women to give birth about 6 months earlier than for similar species because after 9 months, the baby’s head is just to big to pass through the birth canal (read this in Discover magazine many years ago). They are given a high priority for oxygen and nutrition in times of scarcity, meaning our bodies will sacrifice muscle and other organs to protect our big brains. They require extra food to grow and extra parental care because it takes humans so much longer to mature than other mammals. And we’re so slow to mature to the point that we can survive without our parents. And on it goes …

    Charles also wrote,

    2. The big brain that lets us think about gravity waves also let us think about how to survive when there was no food to gather. This ability to think of abstractions also gave rise to language, which led to greater ability to cooperate for survival.

    Really, it’s not as though one abstraction is as easy for a brain to accomplish as another. A two-year old can understand some abstractions but not the Riemannian mathematics of the GTR.

    Yes, language would sure help kill woolly mammoths, but my three-year old grandson (who is quite bright) has language skills sufficient to hunt and scavenge — even to coordinate a hunt. But he can’t do algebra, much less the mathematics of relativity. His brain is far too small at his age. In fact, there are pack animals that manage to bring down bigger animals with much smaller brains and much weaker language skills than my grandson.

    You don’t have to be able to solve differential equations to survive as a human society. We didn’t even invent calculus until Newton, but we’ve had the brain capacity to do calculus for as long back as we have history. In fact, it’s enough to be able to learn by trial and error and pass that knowledge to the next generation by the parents and the pack demonstrating how it’s done. (Michael Crichton’s sequel to Jurassic Park explains the evolution of acquired knowledge among pack animals quite nicely.) That is, social skills, such as how to bring down an elephant as a pack of animals, “evolve” not necessarily genetically but by the ability of some species to learn from experience and pass that experience to the next generation by example. Thus, an animal raised apart from its parents and pack might not be able to survive in the wild because it didn’t learn the necessary skills.

    The point being that a species can learn essential survival skills much more quickly by trial and error than through the vastly slower process of evolving an unnecessarily big brain. Hence, the big brain not only isn’t needed to hunt and gather, it’s an evolutionary disadvantage until humans developed agriculture and begin to live in city-states, form governments, and otherwise take on tasks far more challenging than finding food. And that was far too recent to explain our big brains.

    (Then again, I take back the part about forming government. I’m not sure government requires any extra brain power at all. 😉 )

  6. Dwight says:

    The brain is a systemic redundant system, meaning that there is a lot that goes unused, but there is a lot that could be used depending on the situation. The brain is amazing in its ability to rewire itself connection wise and the ability to make jumps spatially. This is why we can come to a conclusion before we have gone through the progress. We can read such things as ‘2 b 0R nyet 2 bee” and ndrstnd 1t. The Hebrew language is amazing in that you can have a language without vowels and still retain the vowel signature. And then there is abstract thought which is very unique in the animal world. Most animals cannot perceive an object once it goes out of sight and even children are amazed at this, but as we grow we achieve the ability to see past something not seen and even to the point of conceptualizing something before it can be seen or may not be seen. The brain therefore is very wired towards the spiritual nature and even faith in many ways. In the neurological field I am amazed at its simplicity and complexity.

  7. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Dwight wrote,

    The brain therefore is very wired towards the spiritual nature and even faith in many ways. In the neurological field I am amazed at its simplicity and complexity.

    Very well said.

  8. laymond says:

    “So the math doesn’t make gravity happen. Gravity happens — but always in strict accord with the math. And so the math is a result of what the universe does — not the reason.”

    A very true statement, But man strives to know how God does what he does, so they can claim intelligence equal, or just closing in on being equal to that of God. Even if man came up with the equation, the elements are not under man’s control , we cannot command obedience of the universe and watch it dance to our tune. so what good does it do to spend countless hours studying such nonsense. I believe it was Paul that described what God thought of man’s intelligence compared to his own.
    I respect those who use their time here looking for cures for devastating illnesses much more than those who spend it looking for UFOs.

  9. laymond says:

    UFOs useless fanciful objectives. such as travel to and populating other planets. Maybe we can find the highway to Heaven and just build a machine to travel there knock on the door and say we’re here you got to let us in. If that was the way to salvation God would tell us how to build the machine, as he did Noah.Man is actually more ignorant than we like to admit .

  10. Charles says:

    Jay, if your three-year-old grandson had no further intellectual development do you really believe that he would be able to survive as a hunter-gatherer?

    But seriously:

    “Our larger brains allowed us to become better at hunting, scavenging, and making tools to help us hunt and scavenge. This positive feedback loop allowed our brains to grow from perhaps 400cc (‘Lucy’), Australopithecus afarensis) to over 1500cc (late Pleistocene hunters).”
    (http://www.gnolls.org/2754/big-brains-require-an-explanation-part-i-why-did-humans-become-smarter-not-just-more-numerous/)

    Paralleling what I said concerning the advantage of being able to plan ahead is the following:

    “The climate idea proposes that dealing with unpredictable weather and major climate shifts may have increased the ability of our ancestors to think ahead and prepare for these environmental changes, which in turn led to a larger, more cognitively adept brain.”
    (http://www.livescience.com/5540-human-brains-big.html)

    The same article discusses two other major hypotheses of brain development.

    Other hypotheses for the development of our large brain are discussed here:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_evolution/2012/10/human_brain_size_social_groups_led_to_the_evolution_of_large_brains.html

    and here:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_human_intelligence

    From the Berkely site once again:

    “MISCONCEPTION: All traits of organisms are adaptations.

    CORRECTION: Because living things have so many impressive adaptations (incredible camouflage, sneaky means of catching prey, flowers that attract just the right pollinators, etc.), it’s easy to assume that all features of organisms must be adaptive in some way — to notice something about an organism and automatically wonder, “Now, what’s that for?” While some traits are adaptive, it’s important to keep in mind that many traits are not adaptations at all. Some may be the chance results of history. For example, the base sequence GGC codes for the amino acid glycine simply because that’s the way it happened to start out — and that’s the way we inherited it from our common ancestor. There is nothing special about the relationship between GGC and glycine. It’s just a historical accident that stuck around. Others traits may be by-products of another characteristic. For example, the color of blood is not adaptive. There’s no reason that having red blood is any better than having green blood or blue blood. Blood’s redness is a by-product of its chemistry, which causes it to reflect red light. The chemistry of blood may be an adaptation, but blood’s color is not an adaptation. To read more about explanations for traits that are not adaptive, visit our module on misconceptions about natural selection and adaptation. To learn more about what traits are adaptations, visit another page in the same module.”
    (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php#b8)

    This is a better way of looking at the point I was trying to make (poorly, I agree) by referring to vestigial features. You maintain that a big brain is not needed to hunt and gather. You might as well ask how having five fingers makes us better hunters when a hawk does just fine with four fingers. The fallacy is your assuming that a big brain is necessarily adaptive to hunting and gathering, although I believe that it is — think about spear points (I doubt your grandson has fabricated his own rifle, or even a Clovis point), spear throwers, mastery of fire, baskets, ceramic vessels, maps, and on and on.

    You said “a species can learn essential survival skills much more quickly by trial and error than through the vastly slower process of evolving an unnecessarily big brain.” Species cannot learn; only individuals can. My cat can learn to be a better hunter by trial and error, but she cannot pass that knowledge on to future generations of cats. Humans, however, with our big brains, via language and culture, can pass on how to be a better hunter.

    I appreciate the opportunity to discuss evolution without the attitude of condemnation and anti-intellectualism that is so prevalent in the Church of Christ.

  11. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charles,

    Now that I’ve cleared the table of the metaphysics of life and death, we can get down to the serious business of the evolution of the huge human brain.

    Jay, if your three-year-old grandson had no further intellectual development do you really believe that he would be able to survive as a hunter-gatherer?

    He needs to work on his upper body strength. His spear-throwing skills are a little lax, although his ability to charm women is without peer. If mammoths could be felled by Nerf weapons, though, he’d render them extinct all over again by himself.

    If a pack of wolves can bring down a bison or bear, sure — if he had the physical prowess. I mean, he has a several-thousand word vocabulary — much better than a wolf. He can count, knows his letters and colors, knows the sounds made by all sorts of animals, and can play Super-Mario brothers with more skill than me (which is a sadly low threshold, but he could beat any non-human in Mario easily). So he has far more intellectual capacity than even the smartest wolf. He just lacks their speed, musculature, and teeth.

    And yet by the time he’s 15, he’ll have 5x his present intelligence (IQ increases linearly with age to around age 16, which is why scores are divided by age, producing an intelligence quotient). He’s already highly imaginative and remembers events from more than 1 year ago. He can tell you about his trip to the beach condo 18 months ago in detail. Again: smarter than your average wolf. Team player. Takes charge in groups. Would easily be the leader of the pack.

    I guess it would be fair to ask whether his brain power is needed to overcome his lack of wolf-like speed. Except that adult humans can literally outrun a horse over distance. Humans are the most capable long-distance runners of all animals.

    But, yes, the ability to make spears and arrows really help with the mammoth killing. And he’s plenty smart enough to do that — but he lacks the coordination to make a flint arrowhead. He’s just learned to draw an apple — but that’s not about IQ. Small motor skills will come even if he never gains another IQ point.

    (Friends and I made flint arrowheads in middle school. We needed more practice but we could have eventually mastered the art if our suppers had depended on it. Practice and patience gets it done.)

  12. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charles, Part II,

    But seriously:

    “Our larger brains allowed us to become better at hunting, scavenging, and making tools to help us hunt and scavenge. This positive feedback loop allowed our brains to grow from perhaps 400cc (‘Lucy’), Australopithecus afarensis) to over 1500cc (late Pleistocene hunters).”
    (http://www.gnolls.org/2754/big-brains-require-an-explanation-part-i-why-did-humans-become-smarter-not-just-more-numerous/)

    I don’t buy it. First, I know what a “positive feedback loop” is, and it doesn’t drive evolution for the reasons you’ve stated. The big brain provides a survival advantage, and hence an advantage in passing genes to the next generation, only to the extent the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. What IQ is required to effectively hunt, scavenge, and make tools? Not 130. I would think about 85 — 1 SD below average — would be a gracious plenty. You don’t need an Einstein or a Hawking to lead a pack of motivated humans to kill a deer or even a mammoth. Imagine the most unintelligent classmate in middle school. He might be exactly the guy you want to go hunting and gathering with because he has a good nose for berries or a strong right arm. It’s not just intellect that gets the mammoth killed. In fact, as my three-year grandson demonstrates, sufficient intellect doesn’t get the job done without upper body strength, endurance as a runner, hand-eye coordination, and the courage to get close enough to a big, bad mammoth to kill it. All those other things likely count for more once you’re smart enough so that each clan has one or two members who can make spears. The average IQ could be too low to make a spear by hand — so long as a few members of the clan would have the smarts to work a flint and tie it to a long, straight stick.

    Now, I actually don’t dispute the reality of the evolution of species. I just don’t see it as a complete explanation. And one element of evolution is the tendency of species to shed traits that are a disadvantage. And very large brains carry an evolutionary cost, as noted in my comments from a couple of nights ago. So it’s not enough to imagine an advantage. The advantage needs to outweigh the disadvantage. And there quickly comes a point of diminishing returns.

  13. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charles Part III,

    “The climate idea proposes that dealing with unpredictable weather and major climate shifts may have increased the ability of our ancestors to think ahead and prepare for these environmental changes, which in turn led to a larger, more cognitively adept brain.”
    (http://www.livescience.com/5540-human-brains-big.html)

    Huh? Let’s see, people have to be extra smart to know that next year might bring bad weather and hence poor berry production from the bushes we gather from. Therefore, we need to find ways to find food in times of scarcity. Those smart enough to plan ahead and store food survive and pass down smarter genes??

    So we have to imagine a scenario that taxes the smaller brained hominid and favors the larger brain — so hard that it requires a population that can do engineering and study foreign languages and write poetry — and find gravity waves. Given that many animals store food for the future when the weather is bad by instinct, with itty bitty brains, I’m not sold. And again, while that large brain is evolving, mothers have to evolve the ability to give birth 6 months early, and families have to care for infants much longer than other mammals — all at huge survival risk and energy/food cost.

    I mean, humans takes far longer to mature to self-sufficiency than any other species — all so we can have huge brains. A 21-year maturation period is a huge cost on the parents and clan.

  14. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charles Part IV,

    “MISCONCEPTION: All traits of organisms are adaptations.

    CORRECTION: Because living things have so many impressive adaptations (incredible camouflage, sneaky means of catching prey, flowers that attract just the right pollinators, etc.), it’s easy to assume that all features of organisms must be adaptive in some way — to notice something about an organism and automatically wonder, “Now, what’s that for?” While some traits are adaptive, it’s important to keep in mind that many traits are not adaptations at all. Some may be the chance results of history. For example, the base sequence GGC codes for the amino acid glycine simply because that’s the way it happened to start out — and that’s the way we inherited it from our common ancestor. There is nothing special about the relationship between GGC and glycine. It’s just a historical accident that stuck around. Others traits may be by-products of another characteristic. For example, the color of blood is not adaptive. There’s no reason that having red blood is any better than having green blood or blue blood. Blood’s redness is a by-product of its chemistry, which causes it to reflect red light. The chemistry of blood may be an adaptation, but blood’s color is not an adaptation. To read more about explanations for traits that are not adaptive, visit our module on misconceptions about natural selection and adaptation. To learn more about what traits are adaptations, visit another page in the same module.”
    (http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/misconceptions_faq.php#b8)

    Well, this ignores the point that big brains carry huge survival costs. It’s not like the color of blood, which has no survival disadvantage. Big heads means slow maturity, early birth, high risk of death in giving birth, long time that parents must care for children rather than seeking food or producing more children. And the energy it takes to educate a human child …!! They never stop asking questions! They need to fill that big brain with knowledge. Parent could be gathering food or mating or storing food for the next bad winter, but they’re instead having to deal with babies and toddlers — and teens. It’s not like teens are easy! Which species would choose to evolve adolescents who talk back and sass and disobey and get themselves killed by chasing bison all by themselves when they should be home watching the little children. Big brains are complicated and require complex training — and a human can’t see the consequences of his or her decisions well until 18 to 21. That’s a long time for parents to have to protect a child when they need to be gathering food and finding shelter.

    You’d think these evolutionists never raised a child or courted a woman. Big brains make these essential survival tasks DIFFICULT.

  15. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charles Part V,

    I stand by my thesis. Show me the applied physicist who is better at getting women, raising children, or foraging for food than a West Alabama good ol’ boy, and then you’ll have something. Frankly, if I have to go live off the land, I will not be inviting my physicist friends, or evolutionary biologists. I’m going with the guys who flunked out of chemistry and didn’t care because they would rather hunt than do homework. They are by no means stupid, but they have no inclination to peer inside a gluon or solve integrals. In fact, they see higher math as a waste of time because, for them, it is. And these are the very guys who would survive a nuclear holocaust and preserve the human race in case of anarchy. The Ph.D’s wouldn’t stand a chance if there were no university system to protect them from the wild.

    In fact, as I live in a university town, I can say that most business people look down on academics as “unable to make it in the real world.” Meanwhile, the blue collar guys look down on the business people as “unable to make it in the real world” meaning the world of guns and ammo and wild animals. And they are largely right. Most of us white collar guys wouldn’t last 48 hours in the wild. We are, in hunter gatherer terms, de-evolved.

  16. Charles says:

    Hard for me to see the typical good old boy being a particularly successful survivalist without all the technology provided by people who apply the physics and chemistry.

    Jay, you asked why we have big brains; I attempted to answer your question by referring to authorities in the field; you don’t accept their expertise, so there we are! Somewhat like Brad Harrub, sadly, except that your mind is more open and you approach the question more honestly.

  17. Charles says:

    To clarify the reference to Brad Harrub: his shtick is to ridicule the scientists and to try and convince people that just because something is hard to believe that it cannot be true, and there is some of that in your voluminous replies.

  18. Charles says:

    Anyone who is still interested in the big brain question might find this video of interest:

    http://www.worldsciencefestival.com/programs/planet-humans-leap-top/?icn=FA&pos=2

    You can fast forward past the little dancing robot at the beginning.

  19. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Charles,

    When I state that the experts are wrong, it hardly suffices to reply that the experts disagree. That is already conceded. The question is whether they disagree for good reason.

    I intend no respect if I come across a bit cheeky. Just trying to make tedious biology stuff into interesting reading. No intention to ridicule the evolutionary biologists or you. But you have to admit that any discussion of brains, sex, and children is rich with comedic opportunities. (And how do we explain how humor evolved … ? I see that as another evidence of God’s involvement in hominid evolution.)

    Now, I’m not the least interested in seeking to disprove micro- or macro-evolution. I just don’t believe in a closed system. And so if the human brain can be explained in Darwinian terms, it won’t affect my faith. I just don’t see the argument. And suggesting that a massive increase in brain size is like the color of blood cells — just an accident of chemistry — is specious. If the evolutionists don’t take such discussions any more seriously than that, they’ll convince no one — even if they’re right.

    Regarding the fact that animals with larger brains learn “culturally,” see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_transmission_in_animals. Non-human animals can learn adaptive behaviors (behaviors that help survive and pass genetic material to the next generation) and pass these along by example or teaching. This is very real biologic science. And it’s reasonable to imagine that in a higher hominid population this would happen a lot, because this is what humans do. Our behaviors are heavily driven by cultural learning (from parents, family, peers) as opposed to instinct and taxis (in the biological sense, not Yellow Cabs).

    And if the climate changes, those hominids that figure out how to store nuts and berries for the winter will likely pass that learning to their children and grandchildren culturally — which takes but a generation. Whereas, for the brain to grow a few CCs and for those changes to spread through the population because they are advantageous for cold winters, would require many, many generations of cold winters. Obviously, cultural adaptation is faster and far more efficient than genetic evolution — and works better once the brains are large enough to retain this knowledge. Hence, the evolutionary advantage of brains large enough to learn and teach — but you don’t have to be human — or anywhere close — to do that.

    Language skills aren’t required for the same reason that many animals can teach their children how to live in the wild — by example. Words aren’t needed to show an adolescent how to throw a spear or store a pile of nuts.

    Because cultural adaptation is fast and has a far lower cost (fewer deaths, fewer children born who can’t adapt, less food has to be gathered to support the process) than bigger brains, the supposed environmental pressure to evolve bigger brains just doesn’t exist. Plenty of mammals learn how to store nuts and find shelter in response to cold weather. I mean, there are very few, if any, mammalian species that have to migrate to avoid the winter. Meanwhile, those animals that can’t teach their young suffer high maternal death rates due to trying to bear children with larger skulls that don’t easily pass through the birth canal — and there are no C sections at this point in history. And the kids are slower to mature, etc., etc. It’s a very slow process that has to go fast enough to avoid extinction from the assumed change in the weather. And the weather can change suddenly. So we have to assume a change in weather that is gradual enough to favor animals that learn new behaviors but slow enough to allow evolution to keep pace with what is required to survive the cold. And in hominids, cultural adaptation is obviously possible and therefore far more likely to be the solution to the problem — ending the advantage of genetic adaptation through larger brains (which comes with a serious adaptive cost).

    Now, if you can find an evolutionary biologist who will address my arguments using something more than his academic credentials and will actually address the cultural adaptation argument, maybe I’m wrong. I’m sure it would be an interesting discussion.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_human_intelligence does not address my argument and fails to reach a convincing conclusion.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/how-did-human-brains-get-to-be-so-big/ at least admits that larger brains come at a cost. The article mentions the higher amount of energy that larger brains require — hence, more time spent hunting and gathering, less time for child rearing, mating, and otherwise passing genes to next generation. Still doesn’t mention the alternative cultural path. In fact, the article speaks as though a mutation that shifted human energy from muscle to brain accounts for larger brains — but it fails to explain why that shift was adaptive. How did trading muscular strength for intelligence create an evolutionary advantage? No answer even attempted.

    Watch a pack of wolves track and bring down a bison. Their brains work pretty well at that size. They have the advantage of strength and speed. Maybe the argument should be that hominids mutated to give up muscles for brains and so needed to take full advantage of their bigger brains given their weaker musculature. Evolution took the path of bigger brains rather than better muscles and reflexes (an adult chimp is much stronger than even a larger human) by accident. But still, this only means a brain large enough to survive in the wild in family clan groups — not big enough to discover gravity waves.

    It remains remarkable to me that at just the limit of human intellect and ingenuity, we are just barely able to finally see far enough into the past to observe God at work creating the universe. It’s quite the coincidence.

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