Evolution and humans: big brain size or use (Evolution)

by dhw, Monday, May 15, 2017, 13:21 (313 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The radio receiver concept assumes consciousness is an independent entity pervading the universe. The brain does not develop consciousness. It RECEIVES consciousness and as through plasticity the brain develops, it learns how to use it. […]
dhw: Unless I have completely misunderstood the above, you seem to be suggesting some form of consciousness that has nothing to be conscious of: a blank that somehow enters each individual organism from outside. And then you say the plastic, developing brain learns how to use it, whereas your belief in free will suggests that consciousness uses the brain. Please clarify: do you think the brain uses consciousness, or consciousness uses the brain?
DAVID: I'll try an other attempt at the analogy. The electromagnetic waves that arrive at the radio set are structured, contain information and the radio turns them into intelligible sound, or pictures and sound in the TV. There is a structured consciousness that runs the universe. We receive a bit of it with our brains and learn to use it. The brain uses to consciousness it receives.

What is a “structured” consciousness as opposed to consciousness? What does “uses to consciousness” mean? In your scenario either the brain uses consciousness, or consciousness uses the brain. It’s a straightforward question, and I’m afraid I find your analogy confusing. You now have the universal consciousness (which you call God) running the universe and sending “a bit” of consciousness into our brain. In your analogy, the signals contain information to be deciphered. What sort of information is God sending? If there is no information, but simply a blank consciousness, there is nothing for the receiver to “turn into” intelligibility. So all you seem to be saying is that your God makes the brain conscious, and you can forget all about signals and receivers. However, if your analogy with its repeated use of “structured” means that your God actually sends meaningful signals for the brain to translate into meaningful information, then is he telling us what to think?

DAVID: Granted the radio simply receives a working signal. Perhaps the best analogy is downloading an app to an I phone for special use by that phone. Our brains are much more versatile in that they can learn to use the consciousness signal, take control of it with free will decision making.

What is a “consciousness signal”? If the signals are not simply blank consciousness but are meaningful (i.e. containing information), the receiver (the brain) can now apparently change the structured information God sends us, and so the brain is not just a receiver but it can think for itself. If the brain can think for itself, then it must itself be conscious before receiving the information it can change.

DAVID: The consciousness of the universe is at the quantum level of reality. Everything is based on it. Remember, Penrose thinks consciousness is quantum activity in the brain.
"The philosopher David Chalmers has speculated that consciousness may be a fundamental property of nature existing outside the known laws of physics. Others—often branded “mysterians”—claim that subjective experience is simply beyond the capacity of science to explain.

Chalmers’ speculation is a form of panpsychism. Nobody understands the “quantum level of reality”, so that doesn’t help us. And yes indeed, it will be beyond the capacity of science to explain if the materialistic hypothesis is incorrect.

I appreciate that you have gone to a great deal of trouble with the rest of your post, for which I am grateful, but it does not take us anywhere beyond this point. So let us focus on YOUR explanation to try and clarify what YOU mean by an “independent entity pervading the universe” and sending information to our brain. Please tell us, preferably without analogies and references to other people’s ideas, exactly what YOU think your God (I presume he is the “independent entity”) sends for the receiver to receive and decipher.

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