Brain complexity: learning new tasks (Introduction)

by dhw, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 11:03 (71 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] your own hypothesis of brain changes preceding conceptualization has no basis in fact, unlike the hypothesis that conceptualization CAUSES changes to the brain.

DAVID: Of course an existing brain rewires. But we know that a newly enlarged hominin brain is certainly a blank slate, except for what is carried from the past.

You can argue that every new born brain - animal, hominin or sapiens - is a blank slate except for what is carried from the past. The latter is “nature”, and what is learned is “nurture”. How does that alter the fact that we KNOW the implementation of concepts changes the brain, whereas we have no evidence that the brain changes BEFORE it can come up with new concepts?

dhw: …if the s/s/c does not use the brain to gather information and to implement its concepts, what DOES it “use” the brain for?
DAVID: Living brain/soul mechanisms are not the same as dead brain and soul: they are longer related! s/s/c uses the brain as a living computer.

The same totally unnecessary and unhelpful computer analogy. Why don’t you just answer my straightforward question? (See below)

DAVID: I sit at the computer keyboard and operate its software.
dhw: You have agreed that you ARE your soul/self/consciousness (s/s/c), so your utterly confusing computer analogy (which equated software with soul and computer with brain) now has your soul operating your soul. And all this confusion is meant simply to squirm out of the obvious fact that if your dualistic mind and body are separate entities (though working interdependently), it is the mind/soul/self/consciousness and not the material brain that is the SOURCE of concepts.

DAVID: Your computer is not you, but your computer provides you with the ability to produce immaterial thought as material to be read. You are separate from your computer but you live with your brain as part of you. The s/s/c must use the brain in the same way. The NDE's tell us the s/s/c can separate and be functional.

More computer obfuscation. First you have the soul operating the soul, and now you have the computer enabling me/my soul/my consciousness to do its thinking! Does the computer enable the software to think? Or does it simply implement the instructions of the software? I am separate from my computer but not from my brain, so I must use my brain “in the same way”: in the same way as what? As for NDEs, we know that software cannot function without a computer, whereas you tell us the soul can function without the brain. So what is the point of the analogy? My question to you was straightforward, and we do not need any analogies: Do you or do you not agree that the s/s/c uses the brain to gather information and to implement its concepts? What other concrete functions does it have?

DAVID: Each God-given enlargement allowed a more improved lifestyle, moving from survival living to current civilization.
dhw: No specific concept, then, but I’ll settle for this, except that in my hypothesis it is the quest for a more improved lifestyle, moving from survival living to current civilization, that has CAUSED each enlargement and, after pre-sapiens, each complexification. The history of the brain follows the same pattern as the rest of evolution: a process motivated by survival and/or improvement.
DAVID: I do not think erectus wished for a better life style. He couldn't think beyond what he knew in his life.

So why did he invent tools and weapons? Even most sapiens can’t think beyond what they know in life. It takes individual minds to come up with the innovations that then become part of what everyone knows in life.

DAVID: The complexity of our brain allows for the degree of plasticity we have.
dhw: …it is not enlargement/complexity/shrinkage that “allows for the degree of plasticity”, but the degree of plasticity that allows for enlargement/complexity/shrinkage.
DAVID: A thinking brain cannot cause enlargemnt of itself or its bony container, the skull, only shrinkage as shown by sapiens history.

Once again, nobody knows what caused brain enlargement, which is why we have so many different theories. However, if a thinking brain can cause shrinkage, it is not unreasonable to assume that it might also cause enlargement, just as physical exercise can cause enlargement of muscles.

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