Dualism versus materialism; addendum (Identity)

by dhw, Sunday, August 13, 2017, 11:24 (72 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We covered the whole issue of size and complexity in my following entry:
Friday, December 16, 2016, 20:37 […] Each jump is not just size but a more complex cortex.

Dhw: I am not disputing the increase in size and complexity. I am disputing your theory that God engineered the increases, and ONLY THEN were the respective hominins and homos able to come up with new ideas. Since you advocate the dualist concept of a soul that produces new ideas (and even survives the death of the brain), it cannot be the expanded/complexified brain that produces them! Therefore the expansion/complexification must be the RESULT of implementing the new ideas, as vividly demonstrated by the example of the illiterate women’s brains changing as a RESULT of their learning to read (which you have confirmed below).

I have repeated this summary, as it contains all the salient points. I will therefore only select salient points from your responses to the rest of yesterday’s post.

DAVID: How can there be new demands if the soul/brain cannot imagine them?

In your dualistic world it is NOT the brain that imagines them. You keep agreeing that the “soul” does the imagining and so makes the demands, which the brain implements.

DAVID: I view each earlier hominin stage as being unable to envision anything beyond the stage of brain complexity they possess for their self/soul to employ.

And so your hominin is unable to conceive of a spear until your God has increased the size or complexity of his brain to allow him to make a spear. And then hominin says to himself: “I have the capacity to make a spear. This gives me a new idea. I can make a spear.”
Presumably the same process as your God equipping the pre-whale with fins before it enters the water, or fiddling with hominin legs before they descend to the ground. (But see below.)

DAVID: Each stage indicates its limits by its artifacts, as paleontologists show.

Paleontologists can only show the material implementation of ideas. They cannot show which came first: the idea or the means of implementing the idea. However, this does not present a problem for materialists, since they will argue that ideas are engendered by the brain and there is no such thing as a “soul”. Hence random mutations, upright posture, cooked food etc. explain the expansion/complexification of the brain which gives rise to more and more new ideas. So welcome once again to materialism. And it may well be right. But not if there’s a “soul” that engenders new ideas and even survives the death of the brain (a hypothesis which you now seem reluctant to include in your arguments).

dhw: Yes, the women had an existing brain of specific size and complexity, but the desire to read, as you so rightly say, RESULTED in increased complexity.
DAVID: But all the ladies did was use an existing brain to learn to read, a brain that had the built-in capacity/ complexity to allow that event.

Their brain CHANGED as a result of the effort to read. Why do you ignore your own statement? You wrote: They learn to read which results in known shrinkage in size and increase in complexity of an already existing brain (My bold) It did NOT have the built-in complexity (size is no longer an issue). Why would the process have been different in earlier times, with the brain changing (= expanding or complexifying) BEFORE the new activity?

DAVID: The “effort to do something new – would have RESULTED in expansion” is against all the evidence we have from science.

Can you please tell me what evidence science has supplied that your God intervened at various times (or preprogrammed all the stages 3.8 billion years ago) to increase the size of the material brain, and only then was the immaterial “soul” able to come up with its new ideas?


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