Dualism versus materialism (Identity)

by dhw, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 13:27 (166 days ago)

Very briefly, dualists believe that mind (some might call it “soul”) and body are separate entities, the one immaterial and the other material. The mind is the source of thought and consciousness. Materialists believe that matter is the only reality, and therefore thought and consciousness must be the product of the brain. Once more, I must stress that I am not taking sides, but am grappling with the implications of David’s contradictory beliefs.

DAVID (under “gaps are very real”): You are again equating life/brain/ consciousness and afterlife/consciousness. That is two different circumstances. I view them as separate circumstances, with different conditions.
dhw: They are different circumstances, because when you are dead you no longer have a brain. That does not mean the brain does the thinking during life and the mind only starts thinking when you are dead!
DAVID: Twisting my concept again! The brain operates using my consciousness during life, releases it at death where consciousness continues to operate on its own. Example: In NDE's when the brain revives it learns what the NDE contained as experiences from the returning consciousness.

Yes, consciousness informs the brain, which receives the information. How is this an example of the brain using your consciousness? I have explained what I mean by “use”: consciousness uses the brain in order to give material expression or implementation to the ideas it (consciousness) provides.

DAVID: (under “big brain size”)… the brain receives the consciousness which it ACTIVELY uses under my direction to create all the attributes of my personality.
dhw: How can the receiver brain use YOUR consciousness directed by YOU to create the personality which is YOU? You now have YOU directing the brain to make YOU! Over and over again, you have agreed that you and your consciousness are an inseparable entity. It is that entity which uses the brain.
DAVID: The newborn receives a blank slate consciousness so I create me as I develop. Cautious thinking in the adolescent is not fully present until the frontal loves are fully developed in their 20's. As the brain develops it allows fuller thought capacity. You do not allow for all these obvious interactions. Full consciousness is not present until the brain is fully developed.

Here you are presenting a timetable plus the fact that consciousness and brain develop simultaneously, but you do not explain the nature of the interaction. I did (again adopting the dualist approach), when we dealt with the newborn in an exchange that ended on 23 June, as follows:
DAVID: The newborn creates the shapes and forms that make his consciousness unique. He does this by operating on his consciousness through his brain.

dhw: You keep agreeing that he/his consciousness are an inseparable entity, and then you keep separating them! He/his consciousness doesn’t “operate on his consciousness”. He/his consciousness creates the shapes and forms that make him unique, and it does so by absorbing and processing the information provided by the material brain/body, largely through the senses […] As the brain matures, and as life proceeds with its individual experiences, the amount of information accumulates and the baby/child/adult’s consciousness/identity creates its unique “shapes” accordingly. It is the inseparable self/consciousness that “uses” the information provided by the brain, and according to your dualistic beliefs retains and even uses that information when the brain and body are dead.

You wrote: “That statement seems like my beliefs, but we keep talking past each other, so I wonder what difference you may be inferring.” The difference is that I am clarifying the nature of the interaction between the immaterial conscious self (of the dualist) and the material brain, whereas you continue to equivocate, as in the following exchange, presumably because you are aware that attributing thought to the brain contradicts your belief in an afterlife in which thought is independent of the brain:
dhw: Why bother with an inexact analogy? You believe you have a material receiver brain and an immaterial conscious self. So do you believe your ideas come from your material receiver brain or from your immaterial conscious self?
DAVID: I create my own ideations using my material brain to employ my immaterial consciousness. A seamless arrangement.

“I” is your immaterial conscious self. "Employ" is a synonym of "use". So your immaterial conscious self creates its ideas by using your material brain to use your immaterial conscious self. Your seamless arrangement is one tangled knot as you struggle to avoid giving me a direct answer to a straightforward question.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 18:18 (166 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Twisting my concept again! The brain operates using my consciousness during life, releases it at death where consciousness continues to operate on its own. Example: In NDE's when the brain revives it learns what the NDE contained as experiences from the returning consciousness.

dhw: Yes, consciousness informs the brain, which receives the information. How is this an example of the brain using your consciousness? I have explained what I mean by “use”: consciousness uses the brain in order to give material expression or implementation to the ideas it (consciousness) provides.

Not the way I view it as stated above. I'll repeat: I still view consciousness as the software the brain uses, a mechanism which is immaterial. The brain/consciousness mechanism starts as a blank slate in my infancy and develops all of its attributes and content as I develop and learn how to use it. Yes I am my consciousness using my brain, at my direction. I am in control of my consciousness. Does your 'use' mean the same?


dhw: Here you are presenting a timetable plus the fact that consciousness and brain develop simultaneously, but you do not explain the nature of the interaction. I did (again adopting the dualist approach), when we dealt with the newborn in an exchange that ended on 23 June, as follows:
DAVID: The newborn creates the shapes and forms that make his consciousness unique. He does this by operating on his consciousness through his brain.

You are asking a question about 'interaction;' I cannot answer. I can only state that the brain receives and uses the mechanism of consciousness, to create the content of my consciousness. Consciousness provides the mechanism and the storage platform

DAVID: I create my own ideations using my material brain to employ my immaterial consciousness. A seamless arrangement.

dhw: “I” is your immaterial conscious self. "Employ" is a synonym of "use". So your immaterial conscious self creates its ideas by using your material brain to use your immaterial conscious self. Your seamless arrangement is one tangled knot as you struggle to avoid giving me a direct answer to a straightforward question.

Perhaps I don't understand your question. My concept is quite clear to me, but perhaps the details ( which don't exist) are what you want.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Friday, June 30, 2017, 13:13 (165 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You believe you have a material receiver brain and an immaterial conscious self. So do you believe your ideas come from your material receiver brain or from your immaterial conscious self?

DAVID: I create my own ideations using my material brain to employ my immaterial consciousness. A seamless arrangement.

dhw: “I” is your immaterial conscious self. "Employ" is a synonym of "use". So your immaterial conscious self creates its ideas by using your material brain to use your immaterial conscious self. Your seamless arrangement is one tangled knot as you struggle to avoid giving me a direct answer to a straightforward question.

DAVID: Perhaps I don't understand your question. My concept is quite clear to me, but perhaps the details (which don't exist) are what you want.

I don’t want details. I want a straight answer to a straight question. Since this whole discussion revolves around that one question, I am skipping the rest of your post, as you repeat your concept and I would only repeat my objections to it, as above. You have expressed your belief in an immaterial conscious self, which survives the death of brain and body. We all agree that we have a material brain. Under “Consciousness: a neurosurgeon’s observations” (thank you for this excellent essay) there is a quote from Francis Crick:
A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behaviour of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influenced them.” Do you accept this view?

If not, do you accept Aquinas’s view that our mental activities (e.g. ideas) are the product of an immaterial soul?

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Friday, June 30, 2017, 19:34 (165 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I don’t want details. I want a straight answer to a straight question. Since this whole discussion revolves around that one question, I am skipping the rest of your post, as you repeat your concept and I would only repeat my objections to it, as above. You have expressed your belief in an immaterial conscious self, which survives the death of brain and body. We all agree that we have a material brain. Under “Consciousness: a neurosurgeon’s observations” (thank you for this excellent essay) there is a quote from Francis Crick:

A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behaviour of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influenced them.” Do you accept this view?

If not, do you accept Aquinas’s view that our mental activities (e.g. ideas) are the product of an immaterial soul?

Yes. Consciousness is soul. The newborn's brain receives consciousness ae Ensoulment.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Saturday, July 01, 2017, 11:52 (164 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I don’t want details. I want a straight answer to a straight question. Since this whole discussion revolves around that one question, I am skipping the rest of your post, as you repeat your concept and I would only repeat my objections to it, as above. You have expressed your belief in an immaterial conscious self, which survives the death of brain and body. We all agree that we have a material brain. Under “Consciousness: a neurosurgeon’s observations” (thank you for this excellent essay) there is a quote from Francis Crick:
“A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behaviour of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influenced them.” Do you accept this view?
If not, do you accept Aquinas’s view that our mental activities (e.g. ideas) are the product of an immaterial soul?

DAVID: Yes. Consciousness is soul. The newborn's brain receives consciousness ae Ensoulment.

“Yes” would have helped considerably, but since your additional comments have nothing to do with the question, I’d better make sure you are not equivocating again. Apologies for my annoying desire for clarity. Once more: do you believe that our mental activities (e.g. our ideas) are the product of our material brain (as per Crick) or of our immaterial soul (as per Aquinas)?

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 01, 2017, 17:54 (164 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I don’t want details. I want a straight answer to a straight question. Since this whole discussion revolves around that one question, I am skipping the rest of your post, as you repeat your concept and I would only repeat my objections to it, as above. You have expressed your belief in an immaterial conscious self, which survives the death of brain and body. We all agree that we have a material brain. Under “Consciousness: a neurosurgeon’s observations” (thank you for this excellent essay) there is a quote from Francis Crick:
“A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behaviour of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influenced them.” Do you accept this view?
If not, do you accept Aquinas’s view that our mental activities (e.g. ideas) are the product of an immaterial soul?

DAVID: Yes. Consciousness is soul. The newborn's brain receives consciousness as Ensoulment.

dhw: “Yes” would have helped considerably, but since your additional comments have nothing to do with the question, I’d better make sure you are not equivocating again. Apologies for my annoying desire for clarity. Once more: do you believe that our mental activities (e.g. our ideas) are the product of our material brain (as per Crick) or of our immaterial soul (as per Aquinas)?

Yes, with our material brain using our immaterial consciousness. I view it all as seamless. The material has to interact with the immaterial, even if you are apparently looking for a separation

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Sunday, July 02, 2017, 13:45 (163 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw (quoting:) “A person’s mental activities are entirely due to the behaviour of nerve cells, glial cells, and the atoms, ions, and molecules that make them up and influenced them.” Do you accept this view?
If not, do you accept Aquinas’s view that our mental activities (e.g. ideas) are the product of an immaterial soul?

DAVID: Yes. Consciousness is soul. The newborn's brain receives consciousness as Ensoulment.

dhw: “Yes” would have helped considerably, but since your additional comments have nothing to do with the question, I’d better make sure you are not equivocating again. Apologies for my annoying desire for clarity. Once more: do you believe that our mental activities (e.g. our ideas) are the product of our material brain (as per Crick) or of our immaterial soul (as per Aquinas)?

DAVID: Yes, with our material brain using our immaterial consciousness. I view it all as seamless. The material has to interact with the immaterial, even if you are apparently looking for a separation.

Which alternative have you said yes to? Let me help you. Here is a dualistic proposal: our ideas (e.g. the idea of sharpening stones in order to use them as tools) are the product of our immaterial soul. This interacts with our material brain, which provides the immaterial soul with information and which enables the immaterial soul to give material form to its ideas (e.g. by getting the body to make and use tools). Do you accept this proposal?

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 02, 2017, 20:41 (162 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Yes, with our material brain using our immaterial consciousness. I view it all as seamless. The material has to interact with the immaterial, even if you are apparently looking for a separation.

dhw: Which alternative have you said yes to? Let me help you. Here is a dualistic proposal: our ideas (e.g. the idea of sharpening stones in order to use them as tools) are the product of our immaterial soul. This interacts with our material brain, which provides the immaterial soul with information and which enables the immaterial soul to give material form to its ideas (e.g. by getting the body to make and use tools). Do you accept this proposal?

As long as my soul/me is in charge of this seamless mechanism, I'm OK with your statement. I view me, in life, as material with my soul onboard in my brain as immaterial.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Monday, July 03, 2017, 13:08 (162 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Yes, with our material brain using our immaterial consciousness. I view it all as seamless. The material has to interact with the immaterial, even if you are apparently looking for a separation.

dhw: Which alternative have you said yes to? Let me help you. Here is a dualistic proposal: our ideas (e.g. the idea of sharpening stones in order to use them as tools) are the product of our immaterial soul. This interacts with our material brain, which provides the immaterial soul with information and which enables the immaterial soul to give material form to its ideas (e.g. by getting the body to make and use tools). Do you accept this proposal?

DAVID: As long as my soul/me is in charge of this seamless mechanism, I'm OK with your statement. I view me, in life, as material with my soul onboard in my brain as immaterial.

Thank you. Just one more contradiction in your reply. My soul/me does not mean “me as material”! “You” in life consist of your body and your soul, but it is your soul that is in charge. Therefore – according to your dualistic beliefs – it must be the immaterial soul that comes up with immaterial ideas and directs your material brain to implement them materially. This is the point we are discussing on the “big brain” thread, and I shall refer back to it.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Monday, July 03, 2017, 17:37 (162 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Thank you. Just one more contradiction in your reply. My soul/me does not mean “me as material”! “You” in life consist of your body and your soul, but it is your soul that is in charge. Therefore – according to your dualistic beliefs – it must be the immaterial soul that comes up with immaterial ideas and directs your material brain to implement them materially.

I view material me doing my thinking through my material brain using my immaterial consciousness as an immaterial mechanism to create the attributes of my soul which is within the consciousness I have received in my brain.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Monday, July 17, 2017, 08:36 (148 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw (under “big brain or concept first”): If your material self uses your immaterial self, then it is your material self that is in charge, the exact opposite of what you have agreed under “dualism versus materialism”.
DAVID: Yes, my material self in life is currently in charge of running my immaterial self/consciousness. (dhw's bold)

I offered you a dualistic proposal: “our ideas…are the product of our immaterial soul. This interacts with our material brain, which provides the immaterial soul with information and which enables the immaterial soul to give material form to its ideas…” You responded: “As long as my soul/me is in charge of this seamless mechanism, I’m OK with your statement.” (dhw's bold) But now you have your material self in charge of running your immaterial self (your “soul”)! And yet you see no contradiction!

This is the nub of our dispute. The material self is the body including the brain. Your latest statement means that you now think your body/brain runs what you call the immaterial self (the “soul”), which puts “you” at the mercy of your neurons and chemicals. It ties in perfectly with your insistence that our ancestors were incapable of coming up with new concepts until their brains had grown bigger. If ideas (as opposed to their implementation) depend on the brain, then the human “soul” is the product of the body/brain. That, of course, is one reason why some materialists question the existence of free will. I am not taking sides in the dualism versus materialism debate. However, I remain bewildered not only by your constant switches (the immaterial self is in charge one day, and the material self is in charge the next day) but also by the fact that somehow you think there is a complete reversal of this process when your body dies and suddenly your immaterial self (“soul”) takes on a life of its own and maintains its identity, which until death depended on and was governed by your neurons and chemicals.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Monday, July 17, 2017, 18:51 (148 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: But now you have your material self in charge of running your immaterial self (your “soul”)! And yet you see no contradiction!

This was my statement: As long as my soul/me is in charge of this seamless mechanism, I'm OK with your statement. I view me, in life, as material with my soul onboard in my brain as immaterial.

This is a perfect dualistic statement that you have trouble accepting. I am, as I live, occupying a material body with a material brain, but that is working with an immaterial self/consciousness that is seamlessly interconnected, and the self/consciousness will disconnect at death and rejoin the universal consciousness.

dhw: This is the nub of our dispute. The material self is the body including the brain. Your latest statement means that you now think your body/brain runs what you call the immaterial self (the “soul”), which puts “you” at the mercy of your neurons and chemicals.

Of course, my body/brain responded in my earlier life to fright (adrenalin), pretty women (testosterone directed to my male parts with lust), etc. My material body is directly connected to my brain responses, but my thoughts, my intentions, etc. always appeared as immaterial concepts.

dhw: However, I remain bewildered not only by your constant switches (the immaterial self is in charge one day, and the material self is in charge the next day) but also by the fact that somehow you think there is a complete reversal of this process when your body dies and suddenly your immaterial self (“soul”) takes on a life of its own and maintains its identity, which until death depended on and was governed by your neurons and chemicals.

Dualism means two parts. I see the two parts clearly. You don't. In life I have a wet material brain which I (immaterial) control, using the mechanism of immaterial consciousness which was received by my brain. That advanced degree of use in my sapiens brain is possible because of the advanced complexity of that brain which allows that degree of use, something not possible for the larger less complex Neanderthal brain. The use of consciousness is related to both size and complexity. My theory about the sapiens brain is that it appeared 300,000 years ago, 'complexer' than all the previous iterations, but it required attempted use to stimulate the plasticity to create enough increased complexity to reach the level of use we have today.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 08:32 (147 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This was my statement: As long as my soul/me is in charge of this seamless mechanism, I'm OK with your statement. I view me, in life, as material with my soul onboard in my brain as immaterial.
This is a perfect dualistic statement that you have trouble accepting. I am, as I live, occupying a material body with a material brain, but that is working with an immaterial self/consciousness that is seamlessly interconnected, and the self/consciousness will disconnect at death and rejoin the universal consciousness.

I have no trouble with this dualistic statement. The trouble I have is that it directly contradicts your later statement that it is your material self that is currently in charge of running your immaterial self!

dhw: This is the nub of our dispute. The material self is the body including the brain. Your latest statement means that you now think your body/brain runs what you call the immaterial self (the “soul”), which puts “you” at the mercy of your neurons and chemicals.
DAVID: Of course, my body/brain responded in my earlier life to fright (adrenalin), pretty women (testosterone directed to my male parts with lust), etc. My material body is directly connected to my brain responses, but my thoughts, my intentions, etc. always appeared as immaterial concepts.

Once again you are ignoring the contradictions I keep pointing out. Was your material testosterone in charge, or your immaterial will?

DAVID: Dualism means two parts. I see the two parts clearly. You don't. In life I have a wet material brain which I (immaterial) control, using the mechanism of immaterial consciousness which was received by my brain. That advanced degree of use in my sapiens brain is possible because of the advanced complexity of that brain which allows that degree of use…

Of course dualism means two parts, and I am the one who keeps trying to clarify their roles, as in the proposal you agreed to earlier: that in dualism the brain (largely through the senses) provides the immaterial self with information and allows material implementation of the self’s ideas. Now once again you are saying that it is the immaterial self (“soul”) that controls or is in charge of the brain. The testosterone example above illustrates your confusion: Do you agree that the will is part of your immaterial self? If so, how can you claim that “my material self in life is currently in charge of running my immaterial self/consciousness”?
Your sentence beginning “That advanced degree of use…” is a complete fudge: in your dualistic world, whatever size brain you have will “allow” use by the immaterial self, but that does not make immaterial ideas dependent on the size of the material brain! You agreed before that it was the IMPLEMENTATION of the ideas that depended on the size of the brain. Now we are back to the simple question which you resisted answering for so long: do you believe that the material brain is the SOURCE of your ideas, thoughts, emotions, will etc. (materialism) or that these stem from your immaterial conscious self or “soul” (dualism)? Skip the fudge.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 01:19 (146 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: This was my statement: As long as my soul/me is in charge of this seamless mechanism, I'm OK with your statement. I view me, in life, as material with my soul onboard in my brain as immaterial.
This is a perfect dualistic statement that you have trouble accepting. I am, as I live, occupying a material body with a material brain, but that is working with an immaterial self/consciousness that is seamlessly interconnected, and the self/consciousness will disconnect at death and rejoin the universal consciousness.

dhw: I have no trouble with this dualistic statement. The trouble I have is that it directly contradicts your later statement that it is your material self that is currently in charge of running your immaterial self!

No. I am currently a material living person, but at the same time I experience and use my immaterial self/consciousness. I am me controlling me in both states at the same time. Dualism.>
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DAVID: Of course, my body/brain responded in my earlier life to fright (adrenalin), pretty women (testosterone directed to my male parts with lust), etc. My material body is directly connected to my brain responses, but my thoughts, my intentions, etc. always appeared as immaterial concepts.

dhw: Once again you are ignoring the contradictions I keep pointing out. Was your material testosterone in charge, or your immaterial will?

My mental (immaterial) response to a beautiful woman triggered my self (immaterial) through my brain's connection to my body to physically release testosterone which then created the immaterial thought and physical sensation of lust. It is all intertwined. Neiher in charge but coordinated together at the two levels.


DAVID: Dualism means two parts. I see the two parts clearly. You don't. In life I have a wet material brain which I (immaterial) control, using the mechanism of immaterial consciousness which was received by my brain. That advanced degree of use in my sapiens brain is possible because of the advanced complexity of that brain which allows that degree of use…

dhw: Of course dualism means two parts, and I am the one who keeps trying to clarify their roles, as in the proposal you agreed to earlier: that in dualism the brain (largely through the senses) provides the immaterial self with information and allows material implementation of the self’s ideas. Now once again you are saying that it is the immaterial self (“soul”) that controls or is in charge of the brain. The testosterone example above illustrates your confusion: Do you agree that the will is part of your immaterial self? If so, how can you claim that “my material self in life is currently in charge of running my immaterial self/consciousness”?

See above. There are always two levels running seamlessly.

dhw: Your sentence beginning “That advanced degree of use…” is a complete fudge: in your dualistic world, whatever size brain you have will “allow” use by the immaterial self, but that does not make immaterial ideas dependent on the size of the material brain! You agreed before that it was the IMPLEMENTATION of the ideas that depended on the size of the brain. Now we are back to the simple question which you resisted answering for so long: do you believe that the material brain is the SOURCE of your ideas, thoughts, emotions, will etc. (materialism) or that these stem from your immaterial conscious self or “soul” (dualism)?

They stem from my immaterial conscious self. I thought I'd been clear bout that.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 08:22 (146 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This was my statement: As long as my soul/me is in charge of this seamless mechanism, I'm OK with your statement. I view me, in life, as material with my soul onboard in my brain as immaterial.
This is a perfect dualistic statement that you have trouble accepting. I am, as I live, occupying a material body with a material brain, but that is working with an immaterial self/consciousness that is seamlessly interconnected, and the self/consciousness will disconnect at death and rejoin the universal consciousness.

dhw: I have no trouble with this dualistic statement. The trouble I have is that it directly contradicts your later statement that it is your material self that is currently in charge of running your immaterial self!

DAVID: No. I am currently a material living person, but at the same time I experience and use my immaterial self/consciousness. I am me controlling me in both states at the same time. Dualism.

As long as your soul/you is in control of the seamless mechanism, you accept my statement, but at the same time it is your body that is in control of you/your soul! That is not dualism. It is a contradiction, as exemplified by your next response:

DAVID: Of course, my body/brain responded in my earlier life to fright (adrenalin), pretty women (testosterone directed to my male parts with lust), etc. My material body is directly connected to my brain responses, but my thoughts, my intentions, etc. always appeared as immaterial concepts.

dhw: Once again you are ignoring the contradictions I keep pointing out. Was your material testosterone in charge, or your immaterial will?

DAVID: My mental (immaterial) response to a beautiful woman triggered my self (immaterial) through my brain's connection to my body to physically release testosterone which then created the immaterial thought and physical sensation of lust. It is all intertwined. Neither in charge but coordinated together at the two levels.

We are not talking about the link between the senses and the immaterial thought of lust, which of course are coordinated. I specifically referred to the will which, if you believe in dualism, I suggest to you is the part of your immaterial self that is in charge. Did your decision (to resist or to give in to your lust) depend on your immaterial will or not? If it did, does that not mean that the material self provided the information and the immaterial self took the decision (one way or the other), i.e. was in charge?

dhw: Your sentence beginning “That advanced degree of use…” is a complete fudge: in your dualistic world, whatever size brain you have will “allow” use by the immaterial self, but that does not make immaterial ideas dependent on the size of the material brain! You agreed before that it was the IMPLEMENTATION of the ideas that depended on the size of the brain. Now we are back to the simple question which you resisted answering for so long: do you believe that the material brain is the SOURCE of your ideas, thoughts, emotions, will etc. (materialism) or that these stem from your immaterial conscious self or “soul” (dualism)?

DAVID: They stem from my immaterial conscious self. I thought I'd been clear about that.

You had, but since your views change from day to day, I needed confirmation. If ideas etc. stem from your immaterial conscious self or “soul”, it is clearly contradictory to claim that beings could not come up with new ideas without an increase in the size of the brain. If you believe in dualism, it has to be the ideas first and the growth of the brain in response to the need for new actions to implement those ideas.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 19, 2017, 19:13 (146 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: No. I am currently a material living person, but at the same time I experience and use my immaterial self/consciousness. I am me controlling me in both states at the same time. Dualism.

dhw: As long as your soul/you is in control of the seamless mechanism, you accept my statement, but at the same time it is your body that is in control of you/your soul! That is not dualism. It is a contradiction, as exemplified by your next response:

DAVID: Of course, my body/brain responded in my earlier life to fright (adrenalin), pretty women (testosterone directed to my male parts with lust), etc. My material body is directly connected to my brain responses, but my thoughts, my intentions, etc. always appeared as immaterial concepts.

dhw: Once again you are ignoring the contradictions I keep pointing out. Was your material testosterone in charge, or your immaterial will?

My immaterial will/self/consciousness. My material body will have automatic responses I can override.


DAVID: My mental (immaterial) response to a beautiful woman triggered my self (immaterial) through my brain's connection to my body to physically release testosterone which then created the immaterial thought and physical sensation of lust. It is all intertwined. Neither in charge but coordinated together at the two levels.

dhw: We are not talking about the link between the senses and the immaterial thought of lust, which of course are coordinated. I specifically referred to the will which, if you believe in dualism, I suggest to you is the part of your immaterial self that is in charge. Did your decision (to resist or to give in to your lust) depend on your immaterial will or not? If it did, does that not mean that the material self provided the information and the immaterial self took the decision (one way or the other), i.e. was in charge?

My immaterial self.

DAVID: They stem from my immaterial conscious self. I thought I'd been clear about that.

dhw: You had, but since your views change from day to day, I needed confirmation. If ideas etc. stem from your immaterial conscious self or “soul”, it is clearly contradictory to claim that beings could not come up with new ideas without an increase in the size of the brain. If you believe in dualism, it has to be the ideas first and the growth of the brain in response to the need for new actions to implement those ideas.

The artifacts found with each stage of human development show advances in thought which at the same time is evidenced by a larger brain being present. You do not want to accept the logic of those findings. The artifacts must necessarily appear after the arrival of the larger brained hominin who then thought of the m ore complex artifacts. Habilis had hand used stone tools, not the spears of erectus. And the history of sapiens shows complex thought development in the past 50,000 years after existing for 250,000 prior years without much complexity appearing. That does not fit your scenario, especially since the brain shrinks as the thought complexity appears.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Thursday, July 20, 2017, 11:34 (145 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Was your material testosterone in charge, or your immaterial will?
DAVID: My immaterial will/self/consciousness. My material body will have automatic responses I can override.

Thank you. Then I presume you are now withdrawing your comment that your material self is in charge of running your immaterial self.

dhw: Did your decision (to resist or to give in to your lust) depend on your immaterial will or not? If it did, does that not mean that the material self provided the information and the immaterial self took the decision (one way or the other), i.e. was in charge?
DAVID: My immaterial self.

As above.

Dhw: …do you believe that the material brain is the SOURCE of your ideas, thoughts, emotions, will etc. (materialism) or that the stem from your immaterial conscious self or “soul” (dualism)?
DAVID: They stem from my immaterial conscious self. I thought I'd been clear about that.
dhw: You had, but since your views change from day to day, I needed confirmation. If ideas etc. stem from your immaterial conscious self or “soul”, it is clearly contradictory to claim that beings could not come up with new ideas without an increase in the size of the brain. If you believe in dualism, it has to be the ideas first and the growth of the brain in response to the need for new actions to implement those ideas.
DAVID: The artifacts found with each stage of human development show advances in thought which at the same time is evidenced by a larger brain being present. You do not want to accept the logic of those findings. The artifacts must necessarily appear after the arrival of the larger brained hominin who then thought of the m ore complex artifacts.

Of course I accept the logic of those findings! What I do not accept is the illogicality of your belief that the “soul” produced the new ideas, but the new ideas were not possible without the enlarged brain! If you are right, then the only logical explanation is that the large brain was needed to IMPLEMENT the new ideas, and so yes indeed the artifacts only appeared (as opposed to their being conceived) when the large brain arrived. Ideas first, large brain and implementation second.

DAVID: Habilis had hand used stone tools, not the spears of erectus. And the history of sapiens shows complex thought development in the past 50,000 years after existing for 250,000 prior years without much complexity appearing. That does not fit your scenario, especially since the brain shrinks as the thought complexity appears.

I am aware of the history, which does not in any way alter your own dualistic belief that the ideas came from the “soul” and not from the brain. Ideas first, large brain and implementation second, if your dualistic beliefs are correct. Large brain engendering new ideas if the materialists are correct. Shrinkage only appears after the brain has reached what appears to be its optimum size. That is why the illiterate women implemented the “new” idea of reading through densification, not through expansion.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 20, 2017, 17:07 (145 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Thursday, July 20, 2017, 17:15

DAVID: The artifacts found with each stage of human development show advances in thought which at the same time is evidenced by a larger brain being present. You do not want to accept the logic of those findings. The artifacts must necessarily appear after the arrival of the larger brained hominin who then thought of the m ore complex artifacts.

dhw: Of course I accept the logic of those findings! What I do not accept is the illogicality of your belief that the “soul” produced the new ideas, but the new ideas were not possible without the enlarged brain! If you are right, then the only logical explanation is that the large brain was needed to IMPLEMENT the new ideas, and so yes indeed the artifacts only appeared (as opposed to their being conceived) when the large brain arrived. Ideas first, large brain and implementation second.

A very twisted conclusion. If the artifacts appear after the brain is larger, then a larger brain is required for those ideas. Your logic: habilis thought of a spear with a stone tip, but couldn't do it until his brain enlarged as erectus! You will do anything to avoid the idea that the new brain is given to the newer species. You want the older species to a create a drive for a bigger brain as if they recognize what they do not know and cannot do!


DAVID: Habilis had hand used stone tools, not the spears of erectus. And the history of sapiens shows complex thought development in the past 50,000 years after existing for 250,000 prior years without much complexity appearing. That does not fit your scenario, especially since the brain shrinks as the thought complexity appears.

dhw: I am aware of the history, which does not in any way alter your own dualistic belief that the ideas came from the “soul” and not from the brain. Ideas first, large brain and implementation second, if your dualistic beliefs are correct. Large brain engendering new ideas if the materialists are correct. Shrinkage only appears after the brain has reached what appears to be its optimum size. That is why the illiterate women implemented the “new” idea of reading through densification, not through expansion.

Answered above. My immaterial self makes the ideas and thoughts in my material brain. Dualism as I see it.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Friday, July 21, 2017, 11:42 (144 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The artifacts found with each stage of human development show advances in thought which at the same time is evidenced by a larger brain being present. You do not want to accept the logic of those findings. The artifacts must necessarily appear after the arrival of the larger brained hominin who then thought of the m ore complex artifacts.

dhw: Of course I accept the logic of those findings! What I do not accept is the illogicality of your belief that the “soul” produced the new ideas, but the new ideas were not possible without the enlarged brain! If you are right, then the only logical explanation is that the large brain was needed to IMPLEMENT the new ideas, and so yes indeed the artifacts only appeared (as opposed to their being conceived) when the large brain arrived. Ideas first, large brain and implementation second.

DAVID: A very twisted conclusion. If the artifacts appear after the brain is larger, then a larger brain is required for those ideas. Your logic: habilis thought of a spear with a stone tip, but couldn't do it until his brain enlarged as erectus! You will do anything to avoid the idea that the new brain is given to the newer species. You want the older species to a create a drive for a bigger brain as if they recognize what they do not know and cannot do!

A very twisted version both of my argument and of your own beliefs! Firstly, as a dualist you believe that the ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the larger brain, so the larger brain is NOT required for the ideas. Secondly, I am proposing that brain expansion occurred BECAUSE OF the effort to implement the idea of the spear, just as the illiterate women’s rewiring occurred BECAUSE of the effort to read. Muscles expand through exercise. They do not expand first and then we are able to exercise. My proposal is that bipedalism occurred through the effort to walk upright; pre-whale legs changed to fins through the effort to swim; fish fins turned to legs through the effort to walk; brains expanded (and later rewired) through the effort to implement new ideas. But you will do anything to promote your theory that your God made all the physical changes BEFORE organisms attempted to do something new.

Xxxx

DAVID’s comment under “the mysterious neutrino”: More evidence that the basis of the universe is quantum mechanics. What is more amazing is that big brained H. sapiens could predict the neutrino and then start to understand what they mean to the standard model. It takes the big brain, which started out 300,000 years ago not knowing what it did not know. Size first, obviously.

An astonishing conclusion from a dualist who believes that the source of thought and ideas is the “soul” and not the brain.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Friday, July 21, 2017, 19:55 (144 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: A very twisted conclusion. If the artifacts appear after the brain is larger, then a larger brain is required for those ideas. Your logic: habilis thought of a spear with a stone tip, but couldn't do it until his brain enlarged as erectus! You will do anything to avoid the idea that the new brain is given to the newer species. You want the older species to a create a drive for a bigger brain as if they recognize what they do not know and cannot do!

dhw: A very twisted version both of my argument and of your own beliefs! Firstly, as a dualist you believe that the ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the larger brain, so the larger brain is NOT required for the ideas.

Yes it is. You keep skipping over my concept that my soul uses a larger brain which has an increased capacity for conceptual thought

dhw: Secondly, I am proposing that brain expansion occurred BECAUSE OF the effort to implement the idea of the spear, just as the illiterate women’s rewiring occurred BECAUSE of the effort to read. Muscles expand through exercise. They do not expand first and then we are able to exercise. My proposal is that bipedalism occurred through the effort to walk upright; pre-whale legs changed to fins through the effort to swim; fish fins turned to legs through the effort to walk; brains expanded (and later rewired) through the effort to implement new ideas. But you will do anything to promote your theory that your God made all the physical changes BEFORE organisms attempted to do something new.

Your entire concept is total backward from a logical view of what happened. Your muscle analogy is totally off the point of phenotypic changes. Muscles exist and therefor respond to exercise. That has nothing to do with new body forms appearing! Note that apes do some upright walking but have never changed for 8 million years. Organisms cannot wish new advances to appear, which is your proposal. I view my theory as an obvious fact.


Xxxx

DAVID’s comment under “the mysterious neutrino”: More evidence that the basis of the universe is quantum mechanics. What is more amazing is that big brained H. sapiens could predict the neutrino and then start to understand what they mean to the standard model. It takes the big brain, which started out 300,000 years ago not knowing what it did not know. Size first, obviously.

dhw: An astonishing conclusion from a dualist who believes that the source of thought and ideas is the “soul” and not the brain.

Again forgetting my concept that my soul uses my larger brain, as I state over and over, to greater advantage in developing thoughts and concepts.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Saturday, July 22, 2017, 10:41 (143 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A very twisted conclusion. If the artifacts appear after the brain is larger, then a larger brain is required for those ideas. Your logic: habilis thought of a spear with a stone tip, but couldn't do it until his brain enlarged as erectus! You will do anything to avoid the idea that the new brain is given to the newer species. You want the older species to a create a drive for a bigger brain as if they recognize what they do not know and cannot do!

dhw: A very twisted version both of my argument and of your own beliefs! Firstly, as a dualist you believe that the ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the larger brain, so the larger brain is NOT required for the ideas.

DAVID: Yes it is. You keep skipping over my concept that my soul uses a larger brain which has an increased capacity for conceptual thought

I had better repeat that I am not taking sides in the dualism versus materialism debate, but am merely pointing out the illogicality of your arguments. What do you mean by the brain having a “capacity” for conceptual thought? Does it produce the ideas or not? If, as you maintain, the soul is the SOURCE of your thoughts and ideas, how can it “use” the brain to think up its ideas? “Capacity” means material space for containing, but since thoughts and ideas are immaterial, that won’t help us. It also means the ability to do something, but according to you it is the soul not the brain that does the thinking and conceiving. That is why I have offered you quite specific ways in which the soul can “use” the brain: i.e. for the acquisition of information, and for the material implementation of its ideas. What other “use” of the brain can your thinking soul come up with?

dhw: Secondly, I am proposing that brain expansion occurred BECAUSE OF the effort to implement the idea of the spear, just as the illiterate women’s rewiring occurred BECAUSE of the effort to read. Muscles expand through exercise. They do not expand first and then we are able to exercise. My proposal is that bipedalism occurred through the effort to walk upright; pre-whale legs changed to fins through the effort to swim; fish fins turned to legs through the effort to walk; brains expanded (and later rewired) through the effort to implement new ideas. But you will do anything to promote your theory that your God made all the physical changes BEFORE organisms attempted to do something new.

DAVID: Your entire concept is total backward from a logical view of what happened. Your muscle analogy is totally off the point of phenotypic changes. Muscles exist and therefor respond to exercise. That has nothing to do with new body forms appearing! Note that apes do some upright walking but have never changed for 8 million years. Organisms cannot wish new advances to appear, which is your proposal. I view my theory as an obvious fact.

I have stuck to your own examples of bipedalism, pre-whales, pre-land-dwellers, and the brain, all of which entail the transformation of EXISTING forms – which is the whole principle of common descent – into new forms (or in the case of the brain, a more complex form). As regards apes not changing, of course not all tree-dwellers descended to the plains, and not all anthropoids turned into humans, and not all land-dwellers entered the water to become whales, and not all fish stepped onto the land. I find it perfectly logical, however, that these respective transformations came about as existing organisms' responses to the "exercise" of coping with or exploiting new conditions, but if you think it is an "obvious fact" that your God restructured these existing forms BEFORE they entered their new environments, so be it.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 22, 2017, 15:21 (143 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Yes it is. You keep skipping over my concept that my soul uses a larger brain which has an increased capacity for conceptual thought

I had better repeat that I am not taking sides in the dualism versus materialism debate, but am merely pointing out the illogicality of your arguments. What do you mean by the brain having a “capacity” for conceptual thought? Does it produce the ideas or not? ... That is why I have offered you quite specific ways in which the soul can “use” the brain: i.e. for the acquisition of information, and for the material implementation of its ideas. What other “use” of the brain can your thinking soul come up with?

Of course my soul uses my brain for acquiring information and experiences, making my body move, and developing new ideas and concepts, both material and immaterial results.

DAVID: Your entire concept is total backward from a logical view of what happened. Your muscle analogy is totally off the point of phenotypic changes. Muscles exist and therefor respond to exercise. That has nothing to do with new body forms appearing! Note that apes do some upright walking but have never changed for 8 million years. Organisms cannot wish new advances to appear, which is your proposal. I view my theory as an obvious fact.

dhw: I have stuck to your own examples of bipedalism, pre-whales, pre-land-dwellers, and the brain, all of which entail the transformation of EXISTING forms – which is the whole principle of common descent – into new forms (or in the case of the brain, a more complex form). As regards apes not changing, of course not all tree-dwellers descended to the plains, and not all anthropoids turned into humans, and not all land-dwellers entered the water to become whales, and not all fish stepped onto the land. I find it perfectly logical, however, that these respective transformations came about as existing organisms' responses to the "exercise" of coping with or exploiting new conditions, but if you think it is an "obvious fact" that your God restructured these existing forms BEFORE they entered their new environments, so be it.

I presume end of discussion.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Sunday, July 23, 2017, 09:37 (142 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: …as a dualist you believe that the ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the larger brain, so the larger brain is NOT required for the ideas.
DAVID: Yes it is. You keep skipping over my concept that my soul uses a larger brain which has an increased capacity for conceptual thought

Dhw: I had better repeat that I am not taking sides in the dualism versus materialism debate, but am merely pointing out the illogicality of your arguments. What do you mean by the brain having a “capacity” for conceptual thought? Does it produce the ideas or not? ... That is why I have offered you quite specific ways in which the soul can “use” the brain: i.e. for the acquisition of information, and for the material implementation of its ideas. What other “use” of the brain can your thinking soul come up with?

DAVID: Of course my soul uses my brain for acquiring information and experiences, making my body move, and developing new ideas and concepts, both material and immaterial results.

You claimed that “if the artifacts appear after the brain is larger, then a larger brain is required for those ideas.” (My bold) But you are unable to think of any other “uses” of the brain than those I have given, and you keep confirming that ideas are the product of the “soul”. It is therefore as clear as daylight that a larger brain is NOT required for those ideas, but is only required for their implementation. Hence my proposal of ideas first, implementation and larger brain second, as in the illiterate women’s “idea” of reading first, implementation and rewiring second.

DAVID: Your entire concept is total backward from a logical view of what happened. Your muscle analogy is totally off the point of phenotypic changes. Muscles exist and therefor respond to exercise. That has nothing to do with new body forms appearing! Note that apes do some upright walking but have never changed for 8 million years. Organisms cannot wish new advances to appear, which is your proposal. I view my theory as an obvious fact.

dhw: I have stuck to your own examples of bipedalism, pre-whales, pre-land-dwellers, and the brain, all of which entail the transformation of EXISTING forms – which is the whole principle of common descent – into new forms (or in the case of the brain, a more complex form). As regards apes not changing, of course not all tree-dwellers descended to the plains, and not all anthropoids turned into humans, and not all land-dwellers entered the water to become whales, and not all fish stepped onto the land. I find it perfectly logical, however, that these respective transformations came about as existing organisms' responses to the "exercise" of coping with or exploiting new conditions, but if you think it is an "obvious fact" that your God restructured these existing forms BEFORE they entered their new environments, so be it.

DAVID: I presume end of discussion.

Except that you had dismissed my muscle analogy on the grounds that muscles already exist, and I pointed out that in your own examples legs, fins and brains already existed too. Just as muscles respond to exercise, I propose that legs, fins and brains respond to new uses under new conditions. Do you now accept the logic of that argument, even if you still adhere to your own theory?

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 23, 2017, 22:55 (141 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: It is therefore as clear as daylight that a larger brain is NOT required for those ideas, but is only required for their implementation. Hence my proposal of ideas first, implementation and larger brain second, as in the illiterate women’s “idea” of reading first, implementation and rewiring second.

The newly reading women used an already exiting larger brain to become literate. Size first use second.


DAVID: I presume end of discussion.

dhw: Except that you had dismissed my muscle analogy on the grounds that muscles already exist, and I pointed out that in your own examples legs, fins and brains already existed too. Just as muscles respond to exercise, I propose that legs, fins and brains respond to new uses under new conditions. Do you now accept the logic of that argument, even if you still adhere to your own theory?

No. I'm discussing the size of brains, not the form change of limbs. Muscles respond immediately enlarging with training. Brain size jumps are gaps in the fossil record, just as leg to flipper changes are gaps in the fossil record. The gaps created by speciation do not explain how larger brains are used. Artifacts are evidence of that. Apples and oranges.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Monday, July 24, 2017, 13:37 (141 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It is therefore as clear as daylight that a larger brain is NOT required for those ideas, but is only required for their implementation. Hence my proposal of ideas first, implementation and larger brain second, as in the illiterate women’s “idea” of reading first, implementation and rewiring second.

DAVID: The newly reading women used an already exiting larger brain to become literate. Size first use second.

As usual, you talk of “use”, but you have already acknowledged that “use” means gathering information or implementing ideas, and NOT coming up with new ideas, which you believe to be the product of the "soul" and not the brain. You are also once more ignoring the fact that the brain clearly reached its optimum size a few hundred thousand years ago, and densification appears to have replaced expansion as its means of IMPLEMENTING new ideas (shrinkage being an indication of the efficiency of densification). Ideas first, implementation and expansion/densification second.

DAVID: I presume end of discussion.
dhw: Except that you had dismissed my muscle analogy on the grounds that muscles already exist, and I pointed out that in your own examples legs, fins and brains already existed too. Just as muscles respond to exercise, I propose that legs, fins and brains respond to new uses under new conditions. Do you now accept the logic of that argument, even if you still adhere to your own theory?
DAVID: No. I'm discussing the size of brains, not the form change of limbs. Muscles respond immediately enlarging with training. Brain size jumps are gaps in the fossil record, just as leg to flipper changes are gaps in the fossil record. The gaps created by speciation do not explain how larger brains are used. Artifacts are evidence of that. Apples and oranges.

Artifacts are evidence that new ideas were implemented, and the implementation coincided with an increase in the size of the brain. As a dualist you believe that the new ideas came from the soul, not the brain. The obvious implication, then, is that it was the implementation that required the expansion, just as later in the history of the brain it was the implementation of the idea of reading that required and led to the rewiring (no “gap”, but a saltation).

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Monday, July 24, 2017, 16:22 (141 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: No. I'm discussing the size of brains, not the form change of limbs. Muscles respond immediately enlarging with training. Brain size jumps are gaps in the fossil record, just as leg to flipper changes are gaps in the fossil record. The gaps created by speciation do not explain how larger brains are used. Artifacts are evidence of that. Apples and oranges.

dhw: Artifacts are evidence that new ideas were implemented, and the implementation coincided with an increase in the size of the brain. As a dualist you believe that the new ideas came from the soul, not the brain. The obvious implication, then, is that it was the implementation that required the expansion, just as later in the history of the brain it was the implementation of the idea of reading that required and led to the rewiring (no “gap”, but a saltation).

Artifacts are external evidence. Habilis cannot imagine erectus' spear. Reading involves internal complex use of several parts of the brain and the brain rewires. Not at all comparable.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 13:28 (140 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Artifacts are external evidence.

Yes, they are evidence of an idea that has been implemented.

DAVID: Habilis cannot imagine erectus' spear.

According to you, ideas are the product of the “soul”, not of the brain. One fine day, smaller-brained pre-erectus (habilis?) came up with the idea of (imagined) a spear, and the effort of implementing the idea required material change to the brain – namely, expansion. Hence erectus’s bigger brain. What makes you think the bigger brain was necessary for the IMAGINATION of an object, if IMAGINATION is the product of the “soul” and not the brain?

DAVID: Reading involves internal complex use of several parts of the brain and the brain rewires. Not at all comparable.

Implementing the idea of a spear required new use of the brain (no-one had ever before instructed their body to attach sharpened stones to specially prepared shafts, test the balance and practise the throwing) – hence material change to the brain in the form of expansion. The illiterate women’s idea of reading required new use of the brain, but instead of expanding (no more room for expansion), the material change to the brain took the form of rewiring. Entirely comparable.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 18:46 (140 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, July 25, 2017, 18:57

DAVID: Reading involves internal complex use of several parts of the brain and the brain rewires. Not at all comparable.

dhw: Implementing the idea of a spear required new use of the brain (no-one had ever before instructed their body to attach sharpened stones to specially prepared shafts, test the balance and practise the throwing) – hence material change to the brain in the form of expansion. The illiterate women’s idea of reading required new use of the brain, but instead of expanding (no more room for expansion), the material change to the brain took the form of rewiring. Entirely comparable.

Once again you are projecting a silly idea. Habilis used hand stone tools but could not imagine a spear, because we know he did not produce one. After a jump in brain size producing a brain-size gap in the phenotypic record of humans, erectus appears and he is capable of inventing the spear and does. I repeat: habilis could not know what he did not know. He could not wish a larger brain size so he could know more. He had to accept what he was given. So did erectus who made some better ideas with his larger brain.

You are ignoring or forgetting the history of H. sapiens. A vary large brain, which did nothing in size change for 250,000 years without any major new concepts appearing. Then 50,000 years ago all but the Western hemisphere began to civilize. Example: American natives were totally stone age until Europeans arrived 500 years ago. As current civilization appeared with many new ideas and concepts, the brain used its plasticity to reorganize and it became smaller! All of the evidence tells us your idea about brain size is totally backwards.

It took the complex capacity of our brain to create the world we see today. It is not just size. The Neanderthals had a bigger brain by 100-200 cc, but obviously weren't at our level of mental function. Our human brain is also much more internally complex in its wiring which allows for our level of thinking.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 09:53 (139 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: What makes you think the bigger brain was necessary for the IMAGINATION of an object, if IMAGINATION is the product of the “soul” and not the brain?

You have not answered this question, and so you continue to argue as if you believe the brain is the producer of ideas (materialism), which it may well be – but you regard yourself as a dualist!

dhw: Implementing the idea of a spear required new use of the brain (no-one had ever before instructed their body to attach sharpened stones to specially prepared shafts, test the balance and practise the throwing) – hence material change to the brain in the form of expansion. The illiterate women’s idea of reading required new use of the brain, but instead of expanding (no more room for expansion), the material change to the brain took the form of rewiring. Entirely comparable.
DAVID: Once again you are projecting a silly idea. Habilis used hand stone tools but could not imagine a spear, because we know he did not produce one.

Once again you are missing the point: pre-ectus was able to imagine the spear but not to make it: his effort to implement the imagined spear required expansion of the brain, just as the women’s effort to read required rewiring. And that is how pre-erectus (habilis?) became erectus. (All very simplistic, but certainly less confusing than God gave pre-erectus a bigger brain and only then did he have new ideas although ideas are not the product of the brain.)

DAVID: After a jump in brain size producing a brain-size gap in the phenotypic record of humans, erectus appears and he is capable of inventing the spear and does. I repeat: habilis could not know what he did not know. He could not wish a larger brain size so he could know more. He had to accept what he was given. So did erectus who made some better ideas with his larger brain.

Yet again you are talking as if the brain is responsible for (“better”) ideas, though you don’t believe it! The dualistic proposal I am offering is that habilis did not “wish a larger brain so he could KNOW more”, but by attempting to DO more (i.e. implement his new ideas), he expanded his brain, just as the body-builder expands his muscles by doing new exercises, or the illiterate woman rewires her brain by making herself read.

DAVID: You are ignoring or forgetting the history of H. sapiens. A very large brain, which did nothing in size change for 250,000 years without any major new concepts appearing. Then 50,000 years ago all but the Western hemisphere began to civilize. Example: American natives were totally stone age until Europeans arrived 500 years ago. As current civilization appeared with many new ideas and concepts, the brain used its plasticity to reorganize and it became smaller!

You keep repeating the history, but if ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the brain, all it proves is that H. sapiens did not have any new ideas until 50,000 years ago. Since the brain had already reached its optimum size, the new ideas did not require expansion for their implementation, but required rewiring, and as this became more efficient, the brain became smaller.

DAVID: It took the complex capacity of our brain to create the world we see today.

Yes, we would not be able to implement our ideas if we did not have the material capacity to translate them into material form.

DAVID: It is not just size. The Neanderthals had a bigger brain by 100-200 cc, but obviously weren't at our level of mental function. Our human brain is also much more internally complex in its wiring which allows for our level of thinking.

“Allows” is one of your weasel words (“use” is another) which disguise the dichotomy in your own thinking. If you believe the “soul” is the source of our thoughts, ideas, imaginings, concepts, will etc., then initially the size and subsequently the rewiring of the brain "allows" for the gathering of information and the implementation of ideas. It is not the cause of our level of thinking. (Eventually, I hope to discuss materialism, and perhaps return to my attempt at finding a compromise between the two schools of thought .)

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 17:04 (139 days ago) @ dhw

Dhw: What makes you think the bigger brain was necessary for the IMAGINATION of an object, if IMAGINATION is the product of the “soul” and not the brain?

You have not answered this question, and so you continue to argue as if you believe the brain is the producer of ideas (materialism), which it may well be – but you regard yourself as a dualist!

I keep telling you my self/soul/consciousness uses my brain like you and I use our computers. I can only get to my consciousness through the functions of my brain.

DAVID: Once again you are projecting a silly idea. Habilis used hand stone tools but could not imagine a spear, because we know he did not produce one.


Once again you are missing the point: pre-ectus was able to imagine the spear but not to make it: his effort to implement the imagined spear required expansion of the brain, just as the women’s effort to read required rewiring. And that is how pre-erectus (habilis?) became erectus. (All very simplistic, but certainly less confusing than God gave pre-erectus a bigger brain and only then did he have new ideas although ideas are not the product of the brain.)

Yes extremely simplistic and not realistic from the evidence. Habilis imagines some ideas into a larger brain!? Ideas are the product of the self/soul/consciousness, which I think you fully understand.


dhw: Yet again you are talking as if the brain is responsible for (“better”) ideas, though you don’t believe it! The dualistic proposal I am offering is that habilis did not “wish a larger brain so he could KNOW more”, but by attempting to DO more (i.e. implement his new ideas), he expanded his brain, just as the body-builder expands his muscles by doing new exercises, or the illiterate woman rewires her brain by making herself read.

Muscles are a terrible analogy. Rewiring shrinks the brain!


dhw: You keep repeating the history, but if ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the brain, all it proves is that H. sapiens did not have any new ideas until 50,000 years ago. Since the brain had already reached its optimum size, the new ideas did not require expansion for their implementation, but required rewiring, and as this became more efficient, the brain became smaller.

Exactly the point. It takes time to learn to use a new-sized brain. Ours is so big and complex another increase in size is not needed. the end of evolution is here.


DAVID: It is not just size. The Neanderthals had a bigger brain by 100-200 cc, but obviously weren't at our level of mental function. Our human brain is also much more internally complex in its wiring which allows for our level of thinking.

dhw: “Allows” is one of your weasel words (“use” is another) which disguise the dichotomy in your own thinking. If you believe the “soul” is the source of our thoughts, ideas, imaginings, concepts, will etc., then initially the size and subsequently the rewiring of the brain "allows" for the gathering of information and the implementation of ideas. It is not the cause of our level of thinking. (Eventually, I hope to discuss materialism, and perhaps return to my attempt at finding a compromise between the two schools of thought .)

'Allows' and 'use' are not weasels. Our concepts about how we relate to our brain are in discussion. The complexity of our brain's wiring allows for advanced thinking by our self/soul/consciousness mechanism. We are talking about the immaterial in material terms.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Thursday, July 27, 2017, 10:40 (138 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: What makes you think the bigger brain was necessary for the IMAGINATION of an object, if IMAGINATION is the product of the “soul” and not the brain?
You have not answered this question, and so you continue to argue as if you believe the brain is the producer of ideas (materialism), which it may well be – but you regard yourself as a dualist!

DAVID: I keep telling you my self/soul/consciousness uses my brain like you and I use our computers. I can only get to my consciousness through the functions of my brain.

What do you mean by “get to”? If you/your consciousness USES your brain, how can you/your consciousness only “get to” you/your consciousness through the functions of your brain? I thought you agreed that you/your consciousness use your brain to acquire information and to give material form to your ideas. The “soul” does not need the big brain to imagine – it needs the big brain to implement its imaginings.

DAVID: Once again you are projecting a silly idea. Habilis used hand stone tools but could not imagine a spear, because we know he did not produce one.
Dhw: Once again you are missing the point: pre-ectus was able to imagine the spear but not to make it: his effort to implement the imagined spear required expansion of the brain, just as the women’s effort to read required rewiring. And that is how pre-erectus (habilis?) became erectus. (All very simplistic, but certainly less confusing than God gave pre-erectus a bigger brain and only then did he have new ideas although ideas are not the product of the brain.)
DAVID: Yes extremely simplistic and not realistic from the evidence. Habilis imagines some ideas into a larger brain!? Ideas are the product of the self/soul/consciousness, which I think you fully understand.

I am the one who keeps telling you that for a dualist ideas are the product of the self/soul/consciousness, but you keep insisting that the ideas only come into being when the brain has been enlarged! Habilis does not imagine ideas into a larger brain. He imagines ideas, but in order to implement them, he needs to get his brain and body to do things they have never done before. And just as exercise expands the muscles, the exercise of doing something new would have expanded the brain and thus led to erectus. (A hypothesis based on your dualism, concerning which I remain neutral.)

DAVID: Muscles are a terrible analogy. Rewiring shrinks the brain!

The analogy only applies to the time when the brain expanded. Once it had reached its optimum size, there had to be a new way of enabling the brain to DO more, and so it rewired, and this proved so efficient that the brain shrank.

dhw: You keep repeating the history, but if ideas are the product of the “soul” and not the brain, all it proves is that H. sapiens did not have any new ideas until 50,000 years ago. Since the brain had already reached its optimum size, the new ideas did not require expansion for their implementation, but required rewiring, and as this became more efficient, the brain became smaller.
DAVID: Exactly the point. It takes time to learn to use a new-sized brain. Ours is so big and complex another increase in size is not needed. the end of evolution is here.

I suggest another increase in size would have been impractical, but material changes were still needed to cope with new ideas. And so rewiring replaced expansion as, in your dualistic concept, the “soul” demanded new abilities from the brain.

DAVID: It is not just size. The Neanderthals had a bigger brain by 100-200 cc, but obviously weren't at our level of mental function. Our human brain is also much more internally complex in its wiring which allows for our level of thinking.
dhw: “Allows” is one of your weasel words (“use” is another) which disguise the dichotomy in your own thinking. If you believe the “soul” is the source of our thoughts, ideas, imaginings, concepts, will etc., then initially the size and subsequently the rewiring of the brain "allows" for the gathering of information and the implementation of ideas. It is not the cause of our level of thinking. (Eventually, I hope to discuss materialism, and perhaps return to my attempt at finding a compromise between the two schools of thought .)

DAVID: 'Allows' and 'use' are not weasels. Our concepts about how we relate to our brain are in discussion. The complexity of our brain's wiring allows for advanced thinking by our self/soul/consciousness mechanism. We are talking about the immaterial in material terms.

If the “soul” is the source of ideas, the complexity of our brain’s wiring “allows for” the IMPLEMENTATION of those ideas. It does not “allow for” the ideas themselves (our advanced thinking), which you claim is the product of the “soul”. We are talking about immaterial ideas (product of the “soul”) and the material implementation of those ideas (product of the brain).

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Thursday, July 27, 2017, 18:33 (138 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I keep telling you my self/soul/consciousness uses my brain like you and I use our computers. I can only get to my consciousness through the functions of my brain.

dhw: What do you mean by “get to”? If you/your consciousness USES your brain, how can you/your consciousness only “get to” you/your consciousness through the functions of your brain? I thought you agreed that you/your consciousness use your brain to acquire information and to give material form to your ideas. The “soul” does not need the big brain to imagine – it needs the big brain to implement its imaginings.

I believe the brain receives the mechanism of consciousness. Therefore I 'get to' (have to use) my brain to run my consciousness. But at the same time I am my self/soul/consciousness


dhw: I am the one who keeps telling you that for a dualist ideas are the product of the self/soul/consciousness, but you keep insisting that the ideas only come into being when the brain has been enlarged! Habilis does not imagine ideas into a larger brain. He imagines ideas, but in order to implement them, he needs to get his brain and body to do things they have never done before. And just as exercise expands the muscles, the exercise of doing something new would have expanded the brain and thus led to erectus.

In my view the brain as a receiver of consciousness can only use consciousness to the degree that it is enlarged and more complex. Therefore habilis is incapable of imagining or inventing what erectus can. This is what the facts show based on the artifacts each species produced.

dhw: “Allows” is one of your weasel words (“use” is another) which disguise the dichotomy in your own thinking. If you believe the “soul” is the source of our thoughts, ideas, imaginings, concepts, will etc., then initially the size and subsequently the rewiring of the brain "allows" for the gathering of information and the implementation of ideas. It is not the cause of our level of thinking. (Eventually, I hope to discuss materialism, and perhaps return to my attempt at finding a compromise between the two schools of thought .)

DAVID: 'Allows' and 'use' are not weasels. Our concepts about how we relate to our brain are in discussion. The complexity of our brain's wiring allows for advanced thinking by our self/soul/consciousness mechanism. We are talking about the immaterial in material terms.

dhw: If the “soul” is the source of ideas, the complexity of our brain’s wiring “allows for” the IMPLEMENTATION of those ideas. It does not “allow for” the ideas themselves (our advanced thinking), which you claim is the product of the “soul”. We are talking about immaterial ideas (product of the “soul”) and the material implementation of those ideas (product of the brain).

As I interpret this I agree.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Friday, July 28, 2017, 11:46 (137 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I keep telling you my self/soul/consciousness uses my brain like you and I use our computers. I can only get to my consciousness through the functions of my brain. (dhw’s bold)
dhw: What do you mean by “get to”? If you/your consciousness USES your brain, how can you/your consciousness only “get to” you/your consciousness through the functions of your brain?
DAVID: I believe the brain receives the mechanism of consciousness. Therefore I 'get to' (have to use) my brain to run my consciousness. But at the same time I am my self/soul/consciousness

Now you/your consciousness have to use your brain to “run” you/your consciousness? What does that mean? Once more: your dualistic belief is that you/your consciousness/your “soul” provides the ideas. It uses your brain to gather information and to give material implementation to your ideas. You keep agreeing to this, and then trying to wriggle out of it with nebulous terms like “allow”, “get to”, and now “run”.

DAVID: In my view the brain as a receiver of consciousness can only use consciousness to the degree that it is enlarged and more complex.

First quote: you “keep telling me” you/your consciousness use your brain, and now you tell me your brain “uses” you/your consciousness! Yet again: according to your dualism, it is your will/imagination/inventiveness that issue instructions to your brain, which can only carry them out if it is large and/or complex enough to do so.

DAVID: Therefore habilis is incapable of imagining or inventing what erectus can. This is what the facts show based on the artifacts each species produced.

No, the facts only show the implementation of the ideas. Yet again: According to your beliefs, the bigger brain is not necessary for the imagining of ideas (which is done by the “soul”), but it is necessary for the implementation. The idea is what demands the expansion of the brain: pre-erectus had the idea, and the implementation led to the expanded brain of erectus. If new ideas are the product of the soul, it makes no sense to say they cannot be imagined until the brain is enlarged.

dhw: If the “soul” is the source of ideas, the complexity of our brain’s wiring “allows for” the IMPLEMENTATION of those ideas. It does not “allow for” the ideas themselves (our advanced thinking), which you claim is the product of the “soul”. We are talking about immaterial ideas (product of the “soul”) and the material implementation of those ideas (product of the brain).
DAVID: As I interpret this I agree.

Same process for expansion. Ideas (soul) followed by implementation (brain). New ideas do not depend on the expansion of the brain.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Friday, July 28, 2017, 18:50 (137 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: In my view the brain as a receiver of consciousness can only use consciousness to the degree that it is enlarged and more complex.

dhw: First quote: you “keep telling me” you/your consciousness use your brain, and now you tell me your brain “uses” you/your consciousness! Yet again: according to your dualism, it is your will/imagination/inventiveness that issue instructions to your brain, which can only carry them out if it is large and/or complex enough to do so.

I keep telling you the whole arrangement is seamless. It is an equal back and forth activity as I visualize it. I get to my consciousness through the activity of my brain. I formulate an action and through my consciousness I control my brain to do it.


DAVID: Therefore habilis is incapable of imagining or inventing what erectus can. This is what the facts show based on the artifacts each species produced.

dhw: No, the facts only show the implementation of the ideas. Yet again: According to your beliefs, the bigger brain is not necessary for the imagining of ideas (which is done by the “soul”), but it is necessary for the implementation. The idea is what demands the expansion of the brain: pre-erectus had the idea, and the implementation led to the expanded brain of erectus. If new ideas are the product of the soul, it makes no sense to say they cannot be imagined until the brain is enlarged.

It only makes sense to you, not me. The artifacts tell us what each brain size is capable of conceiving.


dhw: Same process for expansion. Ideas (soul) followed by implementation (brain). New ideas do not depend on the expansion of the brain.

The artifacts tell us what a new sized brain can do. A smaller brain does not know what it does not know. Only a larger brain can conceive of newer ideas to invent. I think we should end this. We will never agree.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Saturday, July 29, 2017, 08:49 (136 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In my view the brain as a receiver of consciousness can only use consciousness to the degree that it is enlarged and more complex.
dhw: First quote: you “keep telling me” you/your consciousness use your brain, and now you tell me your brain “uses” you/your consciousness! Yet again: according to your dualism, it is your will/imagination/inventiveness that issue instructions to your brain, which can only carry them out if it is large and/or complex enough to do so.
DAVID: I keep telling you the whole arrangement is seamless. It is an equal back and forth activity as I visualize it. I get to my consciousness through the activity of my brain. I formulate an action and through my consciousness I control my brain to do it.

Yes, you/your consciousness formulate an idea or the idea of an action and control your brain to do it. We agree. But you and your consciousness are one, and so I still don’t know what you mean by you/your consciousness “getting to” you/your consciousness through the brain. However, in the light of what follows, it probably doesn’t matter.

DAVID: The artifacts tell us what each brain size is capable of conceiving.

But according to you it is NOT the brain that does the conceiving. It is the “soul”/you/your consciousness/your self. That is the dichotomy in your thinking that you refuse to recognize. The artifacts tell us what the “soul” conceived, and what the brain size was capable of implementing.

DAVID: The artifacts tell us what a new sized brain can do.

Yes, yes, yes. What it can DO, which in your dualistic world is what your “soul” has conceived.

DAVID: A smaller brain does not know what it does not know.

According to your dualism it is the “soul” that invents and knows. The brain, whether smaller or larger, “knows” nothing of the new idea until it is told by the “soul”.

DAVID: Only a larger brain can conceive of newer ideas to invent.

The final contradiction. You have always argued that the “soul” conceives of ideas, but now you have turned full circle and it is the brain that conceives of ideas. You may be right. Welcome to the world of materialism.

DAVID: I think we should end this. We will never agree.

It’s a pity, because these contradictions actually distract us from the fascinating conflict between the two schools of thought. When there is a lull, I hope to return to my efforts to find some kind of reconciliation between them.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Saturday, July 29, 2017, 14:32 (136 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I keep telling you the whole arrangement is seamless. It is an equal back and forth activity as I visualize it. I get to my consciousness through the activity of my brain. I formulate an action and through my consciousness I control my brain to do it.

dhw: Yes, you/your consciousness formulate an idea or the idea of an action and control your brain to do it. We agree. But you and your consciousness are one, and so I still don’t know what you mean by you/your consciousness “getting to” you/your consciousness through the brain. However, in the light of what follows, it probably doesn’t matter.

DAVID: The artifacts tell us what each brain size is capable of conceiving.

dhw: But according to you it is NOT the brain that does the conceiving. It is the “soul”/you/your consciousness/your self. That is the dichotomy in your thinking that you refuse to recognize. The artifacts tell us what the “soul” conceived, and what the brain size was capable of implementing.

DAVID: The artifacts tell us what a new sized brain can do.

Yes, yes, yes. What it can DO, which in your dualistic world is what your “soul” has conceived.

DAVID: A smaller brain does not know what it does not know.

dhw: According to your dualism it is the “soul” that invents and knows. The brain, whether smaller or larger, “knows” nothing of the new idea until it is told by the “soul”.

DAVID: Only a larger brain can conceive of newer ideas to invent.

dhw: The final contradiction. You have always argued that the “soul” conceives of ideas, but now you have turned full circle and it is the brain that conceives of ideas. You may be right. Welcome to the world of materialism.

Ended not just yet. The problem in your responses is that you refuse to recognize that when I use the word 'brain' I carry with it the full implication of my phrase 'brain/self/soul/consciousness' as a seamless arrangement in which a wet material brain uses a received consciousness much like software. I view each enlargement of the brain as if it were a better computer with newer and better software (consciousness). Therefore able to develop better concepts and create more. I've explained this over and over.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Sunday, July 30, 2017, 10:48 (135 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The final contradiction. You have always argued that the “soul” conceives of ideas, but now you have turned full circle and it is the brain that conceives of ideas. You may be right. Welcome to the world of materialism.

DAVID: Ended not just yet. The problem in your responses is that you refuse to recognize that when I use the word 'brain' I carry with it the full implication of my phrase 'brain/self/soul/consciousness' as a seamless arrangement in which a wet material brain uses a received consciousness much like software. I view each enlargement of the brain as if it were a better computer with newer and better software (consciousness). Therefore able to develop better concepts and create more. I've explained this over and over.

I don’t recall you ever using the single phrase brain/self/soul/consciousness. The whole point of your dualism is that there are two separate elements, mind and body, or soul and brain, that work together. The contradiction has always been that one moment you have the self/soul/consciousness using the brain, then the next you have the brain using the self/soul/consciousness. You have generally agreed, however, that it is the self/soul/consciousness that produces the ideas, but last time you had the brain producing the ideas. Yes, they work together seamlessly, but one does the thinking and the other supplies the information and carries out instructions. This could hardly be clearer. In your computer image, the self is the software that tells the computer (brain) what to do. You contradict yourself whenever you say it is the computer that tells the software what to do.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Sunday, July 30, 2017, 18:26 (135 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The final contradiction. You have always argued that the “soul” conceives of ideas, but now you have turned full circle and it is the brain that conceives of ideas. You may be right. Welcome to the world of materialism.

DAVID: Ended not just yet. The problem in your responses is that you refuse to recognize that when I use the word 'brain' I carry with it the full implication of my phrase 'brain/self/soul/consciousness' as a seamless arrangement in which a wet material brain uses a received consciousness much like software. I view each enlargement of the brain as if it were a better computer with newer and better software (consciousness). Therefore able to develop better concepts and create more. I've explained this over and over.

dhw: I don’t recall you ever using the single phrase brain/self/soul/consciousness. The whole point of your dualism is that there are two separate elements, mind and body, or soul and brain, that work together. The contradiction has always been that one moment you have the self/soul/consciousness using the brain, then the next you have the brain using the self/soul/consciousness. You have generally agreed, however, that it is the self/soul/consciousness that produces the ideas, but last time you had the brain producing the ideas. Yes, they work together seamlessly, but one does the thinking and the other supplies the information and carries out instructions. This could hardly be clearer. In your computer image, the self is the software that tells the computer (brain) what to do. You contradict yourself whenever you say it is the computer that tells the software what to do.

Sorry I wasn't clearer to you. Your above summary is correct.

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Monday, July 31, 2017, 08:21 (134 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The final contradiction. You have always argued that the “soul” conceives of ideas, but now you have turned full circle and it is the brain that conceives of ideas. You may be right. Welcome to the world of materialism.

DAVID: Ended not just yet. The problem in your responses is that you refuse to recognize that when I use the word 'brain' I carry with it the full implication of my phrase 'brain/self/soul/consciousness' as a seamless arrangement in which a wet material brain uses a received consciousness much like software. I view each enlargement of the brain as if it were a better computer with newer and better software (consciousness). Therefore able to develop better concepts and create more. I've explained this over and over.

dhw: I don’t recall you ever using the single phrase brain/self/soul/consciousness. The whole point of your dualism is that there are two separate elements, mind and body, or soul and brain, that work together. The contradiction has always been that one moment you have the self/soul/consciousness using the brain, then the next you have the brain using the self/soul/consciousness. You have generally agreed, however, that it is the self/soul/consciousness that produces the ideas, but last time you had the brain producing the ideas. Yes, they work together seamlessly, but one does the thinking and the other supplies the information and carries out instructions. This could hardly be clearer. In your computer image, the self is the software that tells the computer (brain) what to do. You contradict yourself whenever you say it is the computer that tells the software what to do.

DAVID: Sorry I wasn't clearer to you. Your above summary is correct.

Thank you and hallelujah!

Dualism versus materialism

by dhw, Friday, August 11, 2017, 10:48 (123 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment under “Brain complexity”: The human brain is more plastic than a mouse brain, based on those findings. Not surprising. Considering the functional capacities of our brain, as we develop new conceptual ways of using our brain, the plasticity ability is of prime importance. Compare us to Heidelbergus: they had shelter clothing, and stone tools, not much more. The Neanderthals added art, ceremonies, but nothing like sapiens accomplishments even 50-70,000 years ago. Size first, use second.

And under “Migration to SE Asia”:
QUOTE: “Successful exploitation of rainforest environments requires the capacity for complex planning and technological innovations: the behavioural hallmark of our species.” (David’s bold)

DAVID’s comment: H. sapiens wandered all over the globe. Note my bold. Our brain's special capacity is the cause. Our closest cousins, the Neanderthals, did not wander. Their brains were bigger but less complex (it is assumed). Size and complexity of brain dictates what a species will develop. Size and complexity first, use second. It is so obvious.

I thought we had settled this under “Dualism versus materialism”, to which I am reassigning these posts. I’m pleased to see you now adding complexification to size.This is of prime importance (see below). During our last discussion you accepted the dualistic concept of we/the soul/consciousness as the source or “cause” of thought, and the brain as the provider of information and the means of implementing thought, which is the soul’s “use” of the brain. It is simply illogical to believe that “you”/your soul can survive the death of the brain if the brain is the source of the thoughts that make the immaterial “you”. (Once again I should emphasize that I am not taking sides, but only trying to unravel the knots in your own dualistic arguments.)

Yes of course the brain has to be plastic in order to implement the new concepts. (Pre-) Heidelbergus and (pre-)Neanderthals also had plastic brains, and these would have expanded or complexified in order to implement the new ideas, but (pre-)Sapiens had bigger and better ideas, and therefore they needed bigger and better or more complex brains to implement them. So please make up your mind: are you a materialist (the brain is the source of thought) or a dualist (the “soul” is the source of thought)? If the "soul" is the source, it needs brain expansion or complexification to implement its ideas, and as is proven by the case of the illiterate women, complexification results from the effort to read. The complexification does not precede the implementation, and so apparently your God did not rewire the women’s brains beforehand so that they could read. There is therefore a clear sequence: idea, effort to implement idea, resulting in expansion/complexification.

Dualism versus materialism

by David Turell @, Friday, August 11, 2017, 16:11 (123 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: H. sapiens wandered all over the globe. Note my bold. Our brain's special capacity is the cause. Our closest cousins, the Neanderthals, did not wander. Their brains were bigger but less complex (it is assumed). Size and complexity of brain dictates what a species will develop. Size and complexity first, use second. It is so obvious.

I thought we had settled this under “Dualism versus materialism”, to which I am reassigning these posts. ...It is simply illogical to believe that “you”/your soul can survive the death of the brain if the brain is the source of the thoughts that make the immaterial “you”. (Once again I should emphasize that I am not taking sides, but only trying to unravel the knots in your own dualistic arguments.)

There are no knots. We settled this. It is obvious the soul uses the brain as an instrument. I am discussing the attributes of the instrument and what can be done with it by the soul.


dhw: Yes of course the brain has to be plastic in order to implement the new concepts. (Pre-) Heidelbergus and (pre-)Neanderthals also had plastic brains, and these would have expanded or complexified in order to implement the new ideas, but (pre-)Sapiens had bigger and better ideas, and therefore they needed bigger and better or more complex brains to implement them.

You are forgetting gaps. You are using Darwinian thinking again. The hominin fossil evidence shows each time a new species appears its brain size is 200 cc bigger, and more than likely has a higher complexity of its neurons and connections. That larger brain allows for more advanced ideation and more advanced artifacts to prove the point.

dhw:So please make up your mind: are you a materialist (the brain is the source of thought) or a dualist (the “soul” is the source of thought)? If the "soul" is the source, it needs brain expansion or complexification to implement its ideas, and as is proven by the case of the illiterate women, complexification results from the effort to read. The complexification does not precede the implementation, and so apparently your God did not rewire the women’s brains beforehand so that they could read. There is therefore a clear sequence: idea, effort to implement idea, resulting in expansion/complexification.

Stop beating a dead horse. Sapiens brains appeared 300,000 years ago, no larger than Neanderthal, in fact smaller, implying more complexity on board, as shown by sapiens accomplishments compared to Neanderthal all living in competition. The woman you refer to are using an existing brain of specific size and complexity. They learn to read which results in known shrinkage in size and increase in complexity of an already existing brain size and advanced connectivity of more neurons. Your example is a total nonsequitor to our discussion of what causes 200 cc jumps in brain size.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 12, 2017, 00:44 (122 days ago) @ David Turell

We covered the whole issue of size and complexity in my following entry:

Friday, December 16, 2016, 20:37 I suggest reading it again. Complexity of the neo-cortex is vital to sapiens brains being so different. 16 million neurons. Western gorilla has 9.1 million. Growth from 350 cc in Lucy like hominins to 1,300 cc is discussed. Each jump is not just size but a more complex cortex.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by dhw, Saturday, August 12, 2017, 10:48 (122 days ago) @ David Turell

Although I felt obliged to give a detailed answer to all your arguments below, this addendum provides a good summary of the problem. It may be simpler for both of us if we use this as our basis for discussion.

DAVID: We covered the whole issue of size and complexity in my following entry:
Friday, December 16, 2016, 20:37 I suggest reading it again. Complexity of the neo-cortex is vital to sapiens brains being so different. 16 million neurons. Western gorilla has 9.1 million. Growth from 350 cc in Lucy like hominins to 1,300 cc is discussed. Each jump is not just size but a more complex cortex.

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).

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

DAVID’s comment: H. sapiens wandered all over the globe. [...] Our brain's special capacity is the cause. Our closest cousins, the Neanderthals, did not wander. Their brains were bigger but less complex (it is assumed). Size and complexity of brain dictates what a species will develop. Size and complexity first, use second. It is so obvious. (dhw’s bold)
Dhw: […] During our last discussion you accepted the dualistic concept of we/the soul/consciousness as the source or “cause” of thought, and the brain as the provider of information and the means of implementing thought. which is the soul’s “use” of the brain.(Once again I should emphasize that I am not taking sides, but only trying to unravel the knots in your own dualistic arguments.)
DAVID: There are no knots. We settled this. It is obvious the soul uses the brain as an instrument. I am discussing the attributes of the instrument and what can be done with it by the soul.

Good. So why do you say the brain was the CAUSE of our wanderings, and the Neanderthals didn’t wander because their brains were less complex? Was it the brain that inspired Sapiens to wander, or did the soul instruct the brain to move the body? Or do you think Neanderthals wanted to wander, but your God had not made their brains complex enough for them to do it? How frustrating for them!

dhw: Yes of course the brain has to be plastic in order to implement the new concepts. (Pre-) Heidelbergus and (pre-)Neanderthals also had plastic brains, and these would have expanded or complexified in order to implement the new ideas, but (pre-)Sapiens had bigger and better ideas, and therefore they needed bigger and better or more complex brains to implement them.
DAVID: You are forgetting gaps. You are using Darwinian thinking again. The hominin fossil evidence shows each time a new species appears its brain size is 200 cc bigger, and more than likely has a higher complexity of its neurons and connections. That larger brain allows for more advanced ideation and more advanced artifacts to prove the point.

How can the brain “allow for more advanced ideation” if it is the soul that produces ideas? In your dualism, the brain implements the ideas provided by the soul, and the more advanced artifacts are the material realization of the ideas. Which comes first: ideas or implementation of ideas? If an idea requires something new from the brain, the brain must make changes to itself. Each expansion or complexification will therefore be the result of new demands. (See below).

dhw:So please make up your mind: are you a materialist (the brain is the source of thought) or a dualist (the “soul” is the source of thought)? If the "soul" is the source, it needs brain expansion or complexification to implement its ideas, and as is proven by the case of the illiterate women, complexification results from the effort to read.[...]

DAVID: Stop beating a dead horse. Sapiens brains appeared 300,000 years ago, no larger than Neanderthal, in fact smaller, implying more complexity on board, as shown by sapiens accomplishments compared to Neanderthal all living in competition. The woman you refer to are using an existing brain of specific size and complexity. They learn to read which results in known shrinkage in size and increase in complexity of an already existing brain size and advanced connectivity of more neurons. Your example is a total nonsequitor to our discussion of what causes 200 cc jumps in brain size. (dhw’s bold)

It is you who have (in my view rightly) combined the factors of size and complexity. 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. The same process – the effort to do something new – would have RESULTED in expansion and/or increased complexity in earlier species of hominin/homo.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 12, 2017, 15:38 (122 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: There are no knots. We settled this. It is obvious the soul uses the brain as an instrument. I am discussing the attributes of the instrument and what can be done with it by the soul.

dhw: Good. So why do you say the brain was the CAUSE of our wanderings, and the Neanderthals didn’t wander because their brains were less complex? Was it the brain that inspired Sapiens to wander, or did the soul instruct the brain to move the body?

Why do you constantly forget that when I say the larger complex brain allows for these advances, the soul is always understood as using the more advanced brain in size and complexity?

DAVID: You are forgetting gaps. You are using Darwinian thinking again. The hominin fossil evidence shows each time a new species appears its brain size is 200 cc bigger, and more than likely has a higher complexity of its neurons and connections. That larger brain allows for more advanced ideation and more advanced artifacts to prove the point.

dhw: How can the brain “allow for more advanced ideation” if it is the soul that produces ideas? In your dualism, the brain implements the ideas provided by the soul, and the more advanced artifacts are the material realization of the ideas. Which comes first: ideas or implementation of ideas? If an idea requires something new from the brain, the brain must make changes to itself. Each expansion or complexification will therefore be the result of new demands.

Soul use of brain explained once again ad nauseum. How can there be new demands if the soul/brain cannot imagine them? 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. Each stage indicates its limits by its artifacts, as paleontologists show.


DAVID: Stop beating a dead horse. Sapiens brains appeared 300,000 years ago, no larger than Neanderthal, in fact smaller, implying more complexity on board, as shown by sapiens accomplishments compared to Neanderthal all living in competition. The woman you refer to are using an existing brain of specific size and complexity. They learn to read which results in known shrinkage in size and increase in complexity of an already existing brain size and advanced connectivity of more neurons. Your example is a total nonsequitor to our discussion of what causes 200 cc jumps in brain size. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: It is you who have (in my view rightly) combined the factors of size and complexity. 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. The same process – the effort to do something new – would have RESULTED in expansion and/or increased complexity in earlier species of hominin/homo.

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. As sapiens, over 300,000 years, learned to use heir new instrument much like learning to play the piano or use a computer, the instrument got smaller, not bigger! That is a fact, expansion not a result. Neanderthals had a bigger brain, which is presumed to be less complex. They did not invent the ability to read or write as sapiens did with a better brain. I presume the Neanderthal watched the sapiens in action, but did not know how to keep up. The "effort to do something new – would have RESULTED in expansion" is against all the evidence we have from science.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by dhw, Sunday, August 13, 2017, 11:24 (121 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?

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 13, 2017, 18:37 (121 days ago) @ dhw


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.

Yes, when the brain is complex enough to allow that.


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.

Not legs, but spine and pelvis. Generally correct.


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 (a hypothesis which you now seem reluctant to include in your arguments).

Not reluctant. And 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?


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

dhw: 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?

The analogy as above. 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.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by dhw, Monday, August 14, 2017, 13:19 (120 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).

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by David Turell @, Monday, August 14, 2017, 17:37 (120 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.

Two separate circumstances. NDE's are evidence that experiences can occur without a brain present.

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.

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.


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.

dhw: 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).

I've ignored nothing. 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). 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.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by dhw, Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 11:47 (119 days ago) @ David Turell

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 19:29 (119 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.

Dualism versus materialism; addendum

by dhw, Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 09:09 (118 days ago) @ David Turell

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.
DAVID: 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.

I answered that point, as I have already done several times: “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.”

DAVID: 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.

Once more, the planning in your dualistic world is not done by the brain but by the “soul”. The brain expands by implementing the plan. To recap, a brief summary of the dualistic hypothesis: Small-brain hominin’s “soul” thinks of spear (illiterate woman thinks of reading). Spear-making requires new skills, and effort to make spear changes brain (effort to read changes brain). Small-brain hominin thus becomes larger-brain hominin. As “souls” come up with more ideas requiring more new skills, larger-brain hominin becomes even larger-brain hominin. Expansion of brain reaches point where further expansion would create problems for rest of body. Effort to implement new ideas now changes brain through complexification instead of expansion. Latter process demonstrated by illiterate women’s brains complexifying as result of effort to read. Complexification so efficient that brain shrinks. (Hypothesis based on Cartesian and Turellian dualism. Lots more hypotheses available if based on materialism.)

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 14:39 (118 days ago) @ dhw

Parts of what we call memory and emotion seems to be assigned to different parts of the brain, according to ongoing research:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/adult-brain-s-fear-hq-can-grow-new-cells

"A new cradle of brain cell formation has been discovered in the adult amygdala, a region that gives memories their emotional bite.

"The discovery could lead to a deeper understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and phobias – and also to better treatments.
The formation of freshly minted neurons – the cells that send and receive signals in the brain – was long thought to be non-existent in adults. But that dogma was overturned in the early 1990s with the discovery of neuron-forming stem cells in the adult hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped region that acts as the brain’s memory hub. The smell-processing olfactory bulb – in rodents, at least – also churns out baby neurons throughout life.

Now, the almond-shaped amygdala can be added to this select club.

***

"The amygdala plays an important role in imbuing memories with emotion. This helps us to learn from our experiences, but the process can go awry in post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or phobias. In these conditions, fear can overwhelm, thanks to an overzealous amygdala.

"Researchers have had inklings that the amygdala can make new neurons. But the new work, published in Molecular Psychiatry, is the first to clearly show that stem cells forming in the mouse amygdala grow into bona fide, fully functioning neurons, “which is actually pretty revolutionary,” says Jee Kim from the Florey Institute of Neuroscience & Mental Health at the University of Melbourne, who was not involved in the study.

"The discovery is likely to hold true for the similarly wired human amygdala, says Dhanisha Jhaveri of the Queensland Brain Institute, who co-led the study.

"The amygdala only contains a small number of these newborn cells – fewer than in the hippocampus. But “even small numbers could have a big impact," says Jhaveri.

"That’s because the newly formed cells are interneurons, cells that dampen down activity in neural circuits. In the amygdala, these cells help to keep emotions like fear in check.

"Now that the fledgling neurons have been discovered, the researchers are working to nut out the pulleys and levers that control their formation. In the hippocampus, exercise and antidepressant drugs can spur new cell formation, whereas stress and inflammation stymy the process.

"Similar triggers could affect neurogenesis in the amygdala, too, says Jhaveri. Understanding these triggers, and identifying drugs that specifically encourage new cell formation in the amygdala could ultimately lead to better treatments for anxiety-related disorders.

"The finding could also help to explain why exposure therapy, designed to gradually dampen a person’s response to a phobia or traumatic memory, works, according to Kim. “These neurons may be important in how we learn to reduce our fear,” she says."

Comment: These are parts of the brain common to all animals, but they round out what we are discussing in regard to consciousness as dualism or materialism. These parts of the brain are as important to our experiences of consciousness as the pre-frontal and frontal cortex where we develop concepts and self-awareness. But the cortex also has motor areas, speech areas, sight areas, auditory areas, etc., common to all animals, but remembering our speech area is much more complex with language development. But note: the human brain developed a specialized area for consciousness. Its enlargement mainly includes pre-frontal and frontal cortex which are its seat. Those neurons are especially developed and connected to support that function. I think the analogy of computer software fits. All of that neuron network complexity allows a received consciousness to be used by the self/soul.

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by dhw, Thursday, August 17, 2017, 13:22 (117 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Parts of what we call memory and emotion seems to be assigned to different parts of the brain, according to ongoing research:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/adult-brain-s-fear-hq-can-grow-new-cells

QUOTE: "A new cradle of brain cell formation has been discovered in the adult amygdala, a region that gives memories their emotional bite.
The discovery could lead to a deeper understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and phobias – and also to better treatments
."

DAVID: But note: the human brain developed a specialized area for consciousness. Its enlargement mainly includes pre-frontal and frontal cortex which are its seat. Those neurons are especially developed and connected to support that function. I think the analogy of computer software fits. All of that neuron network complexity allows a received consciousness to be used by the self/soul.

In my view, memory and emotion are all part of consciousness. How you can find even the slightest hint of a “soul” in this post escapes me. The very fact that emotional disorders can be treated (and also caused) by drugs is evidence that the brain is the producer and not the receiver of emotion. So far we have only discussed the illogicalities of your dualist position, but I have been very careful to emphasize that I am not taking sides in the debate between materialism and dualism. I can’t find the post in which I attempted a compromise between the two, but I shall try again when I get time (very short at the moment).

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by David Turell @, Thursday, August 17, 2017, 14:54 (117 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: In my view, memory and emotion are all part of consciousness. How you can find even the slightest hint of a “soul” in this post escapes me. The very fact that emotional disorders can be treated (and also caused) by drugs is evidence that the brain is the producer and not the receiver of emotion. So far we have only discussed the illogicalities of your dualist position, but I have been very careful to emphasize that I am not taking sides in the debate between materialism and dualism. I can’t find the post in which I attempted a compromise between the two, but I shall try again when I get time (very short at the moment).

In my view the self/soul uses the received mechanism of consciousness through the brain to create emotions and store memories. But of course the brain can be damaged, distorted in function by strokes and also by drugs and give false results when used. Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by dhw, Friday, August 18, 2017, 13:27 (116 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: In my view, memory and emotion are all part of consciousness. How you can find even the slightest hint of a “soul” in this post escapes me. The very fact that emotional disorders can be treated (and also caused) by drugs is evidence that the brain is the producer and not the receiver of emotion. So far we have only discussed the illogicalities of your dualist position, but I have been very careful to emphasize that I am not taking sides in the debate between materialism and dualism. I can’t find the post in which I attempted a compromise between the two, but I shall try again when I get time (very short at the moment).

DAVID: In my view the self/soul uses the received mechanism of consciousness through the brain to create emotions and store memories. But of course the brain can be damaged, distorted in function by strokes and also by drugs and give false results when used. Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

What do you mean by the self/soul “uses the received mechanism of consciousness through the brain”? You have agreed that your dualism makes the brain the receiver of the consciousness which IS your self/soul, which in turn uses the brain for information and for the implementation of its thoughts, ideas etc. As far as emotion is concerned, is it your brain or your soul that feels joy, sadness, love, hate? Does your brain tell your soul that it wants to cheer, weep, embrace, throw a punch, or does your soul instruct your brain?

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by David Turell @, Friday, August 18, 2017, 15:30 (116 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: In my view the self/soul uses the received mechanism of consciousness through the brain to create emotions and store memories. But of course the brain can be damaged, distorted in function by strokes and also by drugs and give false results when used. Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

dhw: What do you mean by the self/soul “uses the received mechanism of consciousness through the brain”? You have agreed that your dualism makes the brain the receiver of the consciousness which IS your self/soul, which in turn uses the brain for information and for the implementation of its thoughts, ideas etc. As far as emotion is concerned, is it your brain or your soul that feels joy, sadness, love, hate? Does your brain tell your soul that it wants to cheer, weep, embrace, throw a punch, or does your soul instruct your brain?

Emotional feelings get involved with hormonal outrushes mediated from the brain. They start with thought (immaterial) to produce physical (material) results in the feelings of the body. The self/soul instructs.

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by dhw, Saturday, August 19, 2017, 09:05 (115 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: [...] Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

dhw: [...] As far as emotion is concerned, is it your brain or your soul that feels joy, sadness, love, hate? Does your brain tell your soul that it wants to cheer, weep, embrace, throw a punch, or does your soul instruct your brain?

DAVID: Emotional feelings get involved with hormonal outrushes mediated from the brain. They start with thought (immaterial) to produce physical (material) results in the feelings of the body. The self/soul instructs.

“Get involved”? If emotions start with immaterial thought from the soul which produces material results from the brain, and the self/soul instructs, how can you argue that the brain does not “receive” the emotions? That is precisely the process we have agreed is the essence of your dualism: immaterial thought first (soul/self), material manifestations (brain/body) second. The material brain is the receiver of the immaterial.

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by David Turell @, Saturday, August 19, 2017, 15:20 (115 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: [...] Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

dhw: [...] As far as emotion is concerned, is it your brain or your soul that feels joy, sadness, love, hate? Does your brain tell your soul that it wants to cheer, weep, embrace, throw a punch, or does your soul instruct your brain?

DAVID: Emotional feelings get involved with hormonal outrushes mediated from the brain. They start with thought (immaterial) to produce physical (material) results in the feelings of the body. The self/soul instructs.

dhw: “Get involved”? If emotions start with immaterial thought from the soul which produces material results from the brain, and the self/soul instructs, how can you argue that the brain does not “receive” the emotions? That is precisely the process we have agreed is the essence of your dualism: immaterial thought first (soul/self), material manifestations (brain/body) second. The material brain is the receiver of the immaterial.

I was simply adding the material effects the brain can induce with its control of hormones, Emotions are 'feelings' we have. Our self/soul is in charge, but thoughts or thoughtful reactions can have the brain create the feelings of emotions. Or more to the point, the adolescent male suddenly experiences an erection upon the visualization of a sexually arousing scene, as one obvious example.

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by dhw, Sunday, August 20, 2017, 10:25 (114 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: [...] Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

[...]

dhw: If emotions start with immaterial thought from the soul which produces material results from the brain, and the self/soul instructs, how can you argue that the brain does not “receive” the emotions? That is precisely the process we have agreed is the essence of your dualism: immaterial thought first (soul/self), material manifestations (brain/body) second. The material brain is the receiver of the immaterial.

DAVID: I was simply adding the material effects the brain can induce with its control of hormones, Emotions are 'feelings' we have. Our self/soul is in charge, but thoughts or thoughtful reactions can have the brain create the feelings of emotions. Or more to the point, the adolescent male suddenly experiences an erection upon the visualization of a sexually arousing scene, as one obvious example.

What are “feelings of emotions”? Emotions are feelings. The visualization comes before the erection. In dualism, the source of thought is the soul not the brain, which you have agreed either provides information or materially implements thought. If your adolescent (don’t know why he has to be young, but still…) is simply daydreaming, it’s the daydreaming soul that sends its lustful instructions to the penis via the brain, which is the receiver of the emotion. If the visualization has a material cause (photograph of gorgeous female), the perception of it sends information via the brain to the soul, which thinks lustfully about the material image (dualism does not mean that thought is independent of the material perceptions it thinks about), and back goes the message to the penis via the brain. Both ways the brain is the receiver of the emotion (unless you are a materialist).

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by David Turell @, Sunday, August 20, 2017, 15:55 (114 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: [...] Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

[...]

dhw: If emotions start with immaterial thought from the soul which produces material results from the brain, and the self/soul instructs, how can you argue that the brain does not “receive” the emotions? That is precisely the process we have agreed is the essence of your dualism: immaterial thought first (soul/self), material manifestations (brain/body) second. The material brain is the receiver of the immaterial.

DAVID: I was simply adding the material effects the brain can induce with its control of hormones, Emotions are 'feelings' we have. Our self/soul is in charge, but thoughts or thoughtful reactions can have the brain create the feelings of emotions. Or more to the point, the adolescent male suddenly experiences an erection upon the visualization of a sexually arousing scene, as one obvious example.

dhw: What are “feelings of emotions”? Emotions are feelings. The visualization comes before the erection. In dualism, the source of thought is the soul not the brain, which you have agreed either provides information or materially implements thought. If your adolescent (don’t know why he has to be young, but still…) is simply daydreaming, it’s the daydreaming soul that sends its lustful instructions to the penis via the brain, which is the receiver of the emotion. If the visualization has a material cause (photograph of gorgeous female), the perception of it sends information via the brain to the soul, which thinks lustfully about the material image (dualism does not mean that thought is independent of the material perceptions it thinks about), and back goes the message to the penis via the brain. Both ways the brain is the receiver of the emotion (unless you are a materialist)

Emotions Are not just 'feelings'. They also involve bodily reactions as we agree. If the soul uses the brain to create the feelings of emotion, the brain is more than a receiver, but a participant in the whole process inducing bodily reactions. For example, a startle response is a unexpected sensory reaction, which the soul did not initiate but recognizes. I think there can be some back and forth between brain and soul at these physical levels. This is not at the immaterial level of thinking and concepts.

Dualism versus materialism; amygdala evidence

by dhw, Tuesday, August 22, 2017, 08:55 (112 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: [...] Your concept of my theory that somehow the brain receives emotions is way off the mark.

[...]

DAVID: Emotions Are not just 'feelings'. They also involve bodily reactions as we agree.

Bodily reactions are not emotions. They are the result of emotions, or they may cause emotions, as you indicate below. Perhaps we need to be careful with the word “feeling”. My body feels the cold. That is not an emotion. But when we say “You have hurt my feelings” we do not mean the body.

DAVID: If the soul uses the brain to create the feelings of emotion, the brain is more than a receiver, but a participant in the whole process inducing bodily reactions. For example, a startle response is a unexpected sensory reaction, which the soul did not initiate but recognizes. I think there can be some back and forth between brain and soul at these physical levels. This is not at the immaterial level of thinking and concepts.

Of course the brain is a participant in the “whole process”. In your dualistic world, it provides the information to the soul and it gives material expression to the immaterial thoughts of the soul. That is the “back and forth” that you keep agreeing on and then forgetting. The unexpected sensory experience is the information, but it’s not the body that feels the emotion of fear. After the body sends the information, it responds to the soul’s fear. All virtually instantaneous, and a materialist would argue that since there is no soul, it’s all material anyway. The soul (if it exists) is not confined to concepts: it must also be the seat of emotions and of all the immaterial attributes that makes us who we are. How else could you survive the death of the body and still be yourself? This is the great dichotomy in your whole concept of the relationship between brain and soul. You are a dualist who wants the brain to produce immaterial thought (e.g. the IDEA of the spear, which like a good materialist you insist is not possible without the larger brain).

Dualism versus materialism: A scientist's approach

by David Turell @, Sunday, September 10, 2017, 23:22 (92 days ago) @ dhw

A psychologist's description of how she thinks the brain works:

http://nautil.us/issue/51/limits/emotional-intelligence-needs-a-rewrite?utm_source=Naut...

"A reasonable, science-backed way to define and practice emotional intelligence comes from a modern, neuroscientific view of brain function called construction: the observation that your brain creates all thoughts, emotions, and perceptions, automatically and on the fly, as needed. This process is completely unconscious. It may seem like you have reflex-like emotional reactions and effortlessly detect emotions in other people, but under the hood, your brain is doing something else entirely.

"Here’s the 20,000 foot summary: Your brain’s most important job is not thinking or feeling or even seeing, but keeping your body alive and well so that you survive and thrive (and eventually reproduce). How is your brain to do this? Like a sophisticated fortune-teller, your brain constantly predicts. Its predictions ultimately become the emotions you experience and the expressions you perceive in other people.


"Your brain spends its entire existence in a dark silent box, called your skull. It receives only the sensory effects of what is going on in the world—the sights, sounds, smells, touches, and tastes that come through the body’s sensors—and must guess what their causes are, because any sound or flash of light or aroma or pinch can have many different causes. To make these guesses, your brain relies on past experience: What caused these sensations before in similar contexts? What worked to keep you alive and well and might be needed again? Your brain has the amazing ability to combine bits of past experience to create the closest match to these sensations, given the specific situation that you are in. These past experiences are predictions. Your brain continually predicts every experience you have, and every action you take, to guess what is going on in the world and what you should do about it.

"From your brain’s perspective, your body is just another source of information to make sense of—the thumping of your heart, the tug of your lungs expanding, the warmth of inflammation, and so on. These changes in your body have no objective emotional meaning. A dull ache in your stomach, for example, might be disgust, anxiety, or merely hunger. So, your brain spends most of its time issuing thousands of microscopic predictions of what your body needs (water, glucose, salt) and attempts to meet those needs before they arise. In the process, your brain also predicts the sensations that those physical changes would cause, such as feeling your heart pound in your chest, as well as what actions you should take. This constant storm of predictions—which occur automatically and completely outside of your awareness—forms the basis for everything you think, feel, see, smell, or otherwise experience in any way. That’s how emotions, thoughts, and perceptions are made."

Comment: This is entirely a mechanistic, materialistic view of brain function. Where is consciousness in all of this description: totally created by the brain. It could not survive a near to death episode, but it is demonstrated that consciousness is active while clinically dead. This tells me there must be dualism. The essay is actually on the subject of handling emotions. those paragraphs set the stage for the author's discussion.

Dualism versus materialism: A scientist's approach

by dhw, Monday, September 11, 2017, 13:24 (92 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A psychologist's description of how she thinks the brain works:

http://nautil.us/issue/51/limits/emotional-intelligence-needs-a-rewrite?utm_source=Naut..

QUOTE: A reasonable, science-backed way to define and practice emotional intelligence comes from a modern, neuroscientific view of brain function called construction: the observation that your brain creates all thoughts, emotions, and perceptions, automatically and on the fly, as needed. This process is completely unconscious.

DAVID’s comment: This is entirely a mechanistic, materialistic view of brain function. Where is consciousness in all of this description: totally created by the brain. [...]

While remaining neutral on the subject of dualism versus materialism (I’ll return to this eventually), I agree with you completely. If all our thoughts, emotions and perceptions are created unconsciously by the brain, what provides our consciousness of them?

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