Consciousness: and brain damage (General)

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 13, 2018, 01:05 (280 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The bold: I'm glad you know exactly what God would do. The complexity has nothing to do with optimum size. That is your theory, nothing more. And the shrinkage involved more wiring and connections of the neurons used, not less, i.e., more complexity of connections.

dhw: I am more than happy to be corrected on the exact nature of the shrinkage: if it does not entail the loss of cells and connections no longer needed, perhaps you would tell us exactly what the shrinkage consists of.

From the original article:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2132589-learning-to-read-and-write-rewires-adult-b...

"Rewired brains
By the end of the study, the team saw significant changes in the brains of the people who had learned to read and write. These individuals showed an increase in brain activity in the cortex, the outermost layer of the brain, which is involved in learning.

"Learning to read also seemed to change brain regions that aren’t typically involved in reading, writing or learning. Two regions deep in the brain, in particular, appeared more active after training – portions of the thalamus and the brainstem."

Not in this article but in some other entry I presented it has been shown that sapiens brains have shrunk during the development of our new civilization activities. I have assumed that the shrinkage is due to the demonstrated rewiring.

DAVID: I have always tried to present the concepts in the statement I've given above, and I think you have finally understood my position, except your last comment. Of course thoughts and concepts are produced by the pre-frontal and frontal cortex, directed by the s/s/c. The base of mental processes is of course biochemical as that describes the material funtional brain which does act as a computer under control of the s/s/c software. The ability to produce very complex thought requires a very complex enlarged cortex for the s/s/c to use. Proven by new artifact production by each stage of hominin.

dhw: I’m sorry, but this makes no sense to me. The whole essence of dualism is that the self/soul/consciousness IS the person’s thoughts, ideas, concepts, emotions, memories. The crucial obfuscation lies in your penultimate sentence: as physical beings (forget about the afterlife) we are able to produce thought – whether complex or not – and this requires the material brain for the provision of information and the material expression or implementation of thought (both of which processes are biochemica), but for a dualist the thought itself comes from the “soul” and not from the cortex. To use your otherwise totally unhelpful computer image: the software (soul) does the thinking, and the computer (brain) does the implementing. THAT is how the s/s/c “uses” the complexities of the brain. If you insist that the cortex (computer) does the thinking, then the soul (software) has no function.

I can easily accept your version of my theory as you state it. I think that is what I have been stating all along, but perhaps not clearly.


dhw: (under "new tasks”) [Pre-sapiens brains] can only produce new advances by expanding. In my hypothesis, the expansion does not precede the production, it is CAUSED by the production.

DAVID: The artifacts appear only after the larger brain has arrived. You can't avoid the time sequence.

dhw: Of course that is the sequence. The artefacts CAN only appear once the brain has acquired the ability to produce them. The illiterate women’s rewiring took place while they learned to write, and by the time they could write, the rewiring was complete. The hominin brain changed through the process of making its tools, and by the time the tools were made, the expansion was complete. The appearance of the artefacts coincided with the expansion which, like the rewiring, did not take place before the implementation of the concept, but was caused BY the implementation of the concept.

We remain at opposite poles. I can only see the brain enlarging and only then the thoughts and concepts can appear. The enlargement is provided by God's action. Enlargement first, artifacts second. More intense thought shrinks the brain in sapiens and it is the only real evidence we have about thought and brain size. If evolution builds on the past, previous more ancient brains employed this same course. Why should only sapiens brains do this? Your statement that our brain is at a non-enlarging state in evolution only supports my contnetion that our brain is the end point of God's purpose.


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