Systems almost always have the peculiarity that properties of the whole cannot be derived (not even in theory) from even the most complete knowledge of the components, regardless of whether they are considered individually or in other partial combinations.
This emergence of new qualities in an entity is called emergence and is often used in an attempt to explain such difficult phenomena as life, mind and consciousness. In fact, emergence is no less typical of inorganic systems.
(Mayr 2002, p. 52)
organisms are complex systems with new properties that require a new set of
rules, namely an independent biological theory. Achim Stephan mentions four
distinguishing features of emergent theories in his book on emergence (German: Emergenz, Paderborn,
3rd ed. 2007, pp. 14 – 25):
1. Naturalism: only natural factors play a role in evolution 2. Innovation: something genuinely new is created 3. Systemic properties 4. Hierarchy of the levels of existence: especially the areas of the material, the biological, and the spiritual.
Perhaps equally remarkable is the fact that since Homo sapiens reached this stage more than 100,000 years ago, there has been no further significant increase in brain size.
It is difficult to understand why natural selection gave primitive humans such a perfect brain that 100,000 years later it would enable the achievements of a Descartes, Darwin or Kant or the invention of the computer, trips to the moon or the literary creations of a Shakespeare or Goethe.
(Mayr 2002, p. 501)
I posed the question as to whether Ernst Mayr is right with the statement of
the perfect brain of Homo sapiens. Now here is the answer: Yes and no. He is
right, because the human brain has found a miracle cure, so to speak, with its
networking capabilities that enable it to access unlimited brain capacity via
But Mayr would not have been right if his contention that the brains of Descartes, Darwin or Kant alone would have done their great work without the help of the human network of clever forerunners, critical contemporaries, interested discussion partners, etc. had been understood in such a way.
The end of hominid brain growth is a paleoanthropologically verifiable fact that is associated with the appearance of modern Homo sapiens.
The first task is to describe the biological mechanisms that led to the development of the human brain. The biological causes for the development of the human brain, brain growth and the end of thereof must be explained before the beginning of the cultural achievements of Homo sapiens are explored.
second task is to describe how the existing human brain, through a functional
change, could become the biological basis of the mind.
can’t make out the details of an object well enough, I would make use of a
magnifying glass. If I still want to be able to see finer details or material
structures, then I’ll use a microscope. If I want to research a subject
scientifically, one possible method is to divide the subject into many small
problem areas, each of which can then be examined individually. In the end, the
results are combined once again.
Mayr then describes how a function shift works as follows:
During this kind of functional shift, a structure always goes through a phase in which it can simultaneously perform two functions, such as Daphnia’s antennas, which are both a sensory organ and a floating rudder. This functional duality is possible because the genotype is a highly complex system that always produces certain aspects of the phenotype that are not directly promoted by selection but are simply “by-products” of the genotype favoured by selection.
Such by-products are then available for the acquisition of new functions. They are the ones that allow the front limbs (with a flying membrane) of a tetrapod to act as wings, or the lungs of a fish, as a swim bladder. In the phenotype of every organism there are numerous “neutral aspects” that are “admitted” by natural selection i.e. not eliminated but which have also not been specifically favoured by it.
These kinds of components of the phenotype are available for the transfer of new functions. Functional shifts are also known in macromolecules and behavioural patterns, for example, when plumage cleaning becomes part of advertising behaviour in certain ducks.
(Mayr 2002, p. 491)
Mayr continues on the intensification of the function of an existing
According to Darwin and Mayr, evolutionary innovations arise from the functional displacement of existing organs that can simultaneously perform two functions but not by selectively favouring a new organ that is not yet functional.
to Charles Darwin’s theory, evolutionary changes take place through very small
to the model of gradualism in geology, in which mountains that are several
kilometres high unfold a millimetre at a time and the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds
of kilometres wide today, only opens up a few centimetres each year as a result
of shifting plates, the evolution of living beings conceivably takes place in small
steps from one generation to the next.
changing size, colour and other characteristics that permit a smooth
transition, the idea of gradual change does not present any difficulties. But
how does it look when the fish suddenly becomes a land animal? When the legs
suddenly begin to move and the lungs suddenly begin to breathe, and the skin
does not dry out?
small predatory dinosaur becomes a bird – where does it suddenly have feathered
wings to rise into the air?