Dualism versus materialism; addendum (Identity)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 19:29 (70 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Yes, when the brain is complex enough to allow that.
dhw: 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: Two separate circumstances. NDE's are evidence that experiences can occur without a brain present.

Not much use having an experience if you can’t think, remember, communicate, reason…You use NDEs as your evidence for your dualism - that there is a soul which can do all these things without a brain.

dhw: 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: The evidence is in the artifacts. As the brain size and complexity appears, the Artifacts become more advanced. And the computer analogy fits. More complex hardware can handle more complex software, allowing more advanced operations.

dhw: You the dualist don’t update your hardware (brain) until you need to implement the programmes provided by your software (“soul”). There the analogy ends. We have no way of knowing whether the brain size and complexity caused the concepts of the new artefacts, or implementation of the concepts caused the changes in the brain. Back to the illiterate women:

DAVID: The woman simply used their enlarged brain with increased complexity to learn to read, which modified their brain (which had the capacity to easily modify).

dhw:Exactly. The brain had the capacity to change, and the new activity changed it (modification means change). You can’t get round the fact that learning to read RESULTED in changes to the brain – you said so yourself.

You keep skipping the idea that the human brain, 300,000 years old shrank as we civilized and developed new uses of the brain. Of course it modified. It has the ability to plasticize new connections.

DAVID: What did reading and other more modern brain exercises do to the human brain? It shrunk! The human brain in size appeared 300,000 years ago and only recently has it shrunk a little under the plastic complexity changes driven by thought. And to forestall your materialism comments the self/soul is using the brain to have the thoughts and develop the concepts or learn to read, to do advanced maths, etc.

dhw: The dualistic self/soul uses the brain not to “have” the thoughts or “develop” the concepts (= mental activities), but to give the thoughts and concepts material form. As for shrinkage, the human brain had clearly reached its optimum size, and so any new change had to be within the existing capacity. The solution: densification or complexification. And this process has proved so efficient that it no longer needs such a size. You like computer analogies. Well the first computers were colossal. Look at them now. As complexification becomes more efficient, size shrinks.

Which fits my point about the gaps in size and hominin brain development. Our brain growth in size through evolution is not following your concept of "I want a spear, so I'll grow a bigger brain to plan it". Our brain shrunk with advanced use.

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