Dualism versus materialism (Identity)

by dhw, Saturday, July 22, 2017, 10:41 (667 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.

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