Dualism versus materialism; addendum (Identity)

by dhw, Monday, August 14, 2017, 13:19 (71 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: How can there be new demands if the soul/brain cannot imagine them?
dhw: 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: Yes, when the brain is complex enough to allow that.

So now if the brain isn’t complex enough, the soul can’t think, imagine, ideate, and yet you believe that the soul does the thinking, imagining, ideating, and continues to think, imagine, ideate when it goes into the afterlife you believe in.

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.
dhw: 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.

DAVID: Not legs, but spine and pelvis. Generally correct.

Thank you for the correction. And goodbye to your dualism, since your hominin can only imagine a spear when his brain is big or complex enough to “allow” him to do so.

DAVID: Each stage indicates its limits by its artifacts, as paleontologists show.
dhw: 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.[...]
DAVID: [...] you are again twisting or ignoring my statements. The analogy is the self/soul running a bigger more complex brain it has been given in each stage of enlargement, like a new better hardware/software just as when you buy an upgraded computer. And the soul leaves a dead brain to go to an afterlife. I am a dualist. Why are you so obsessed with materialism with their false random mutation approach?

No obsession. There is a stark choice: either you have an immaterial soul which does all your thinking, or your material brain does all the thinking. I remain neutral. I am notoriously ignorant about computers, but as far as I know, an upgrading may be necessary if the computer is incapable of dealing with new software. Do you upgrade your computer before the new software has been invented? Software first, upgrading second. But I really don’t find this analogy very helpful, since nothing is analogous to consciousness, which is the mystery at the heart of this debate, and I happen to know that both hardware and software are material.

DAVID (quoting dhw): “The effort to do something new would have RESULTED in expansion” is against all the evidence we have in science. […]
We know the brains jumped in size and presumable complexity as cortex was added. I say God did it with a drive in cortical size.

I know you say that. I note that you have ignored the fact that the illiterate women’s brains underwent complexification as a RESULT of their learning to read, which provides scientific evidence that the effort to perform new tasks RESULTS in changes to the brain (as opposed to the brain being changed beforehand).


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