Consciousness: and brain damage (General)

by dhw, Sunday, January 14, 2018, 14:31 (329 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You challenged my statement that complexification had proved so efficient that “some cells and connections are no longer needed”. Shrinkage must mean that something is lost, and so I asked what else the shrinkage could consist of. You have not answered.
DAVID: I have said the shrinkage is known, but I am unaware of what else might be lost. Losing neurons is possible if the remaining ones become more complex by altering their branching and the variety of their synapses variety of strength.

Since neurons are cells, I take it you now agree that shrinkage might consist in the loss of cells and their connections.

DAVID: 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: Statements like “of course thoughts and concepts are produced by the pre-frontal and frontal cortex”, and “the base of mental processes is of course biochemical”, can hardly mean that thoughts and concepts are produced by the soul and the soul is immaterial.
DAVID: Of course the soul is not material. My point is it uses the brain which is material. there is a soul brain interface, thus dualism.

In the context of dualism (I shall come back to materialism eventually) that is also my point, which is why I objected to the statements quoted above. We are now in agreement as to the meaning and implications of dualism, despite the next quote:
DAVID: 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.
dhw: But you believe thoughts and concepts are produced by the “soul” and so they do NOT depend on the brain! It is the implementation that depends on the brain, as is shown by the “only real evidence we have” (below). Therefore just as effort to read and write changes the brain (rewiring), effort to produce artefacts changed the brain (expansion).
DAVID: But the only evidence we have from our brains is the effort to 'produce' shrinks!

I offered the explanation that the brain had reached its optimum size and….
dhw: Consequently, complexification took over from expansion, and was so efficient that the brain shrank. Please explain your objections to this hypothesis.
DAVID: No objection. God reached His goal.

You have no objection, and yet you continue to argue against it:
dhw: The brain/skull then reached a size at which further expansion would have caused anatomical problems (as you said yourself, an infinitely expanding brain/skull is the stuff of science fiction).
DAVID: Taking my comment about science fiction brains out of original context doesn't help you. Our current brain was God's goal.

Are you now saying that the brain could expand indefinitely, and you can imagine humans with elephant-sized heads? See below for “God’s goal”.

dhw: Your God’s purpose is a separate issue from that of the mechanics of evolution, which is what we are discussing here.
DAVID: No it is not separate. Don't forget I think God used evolution to create us. God never goes away in my thinking, while you sneak Him in now and then when it suits your purpose.

If God exists, it is perfectly feasible that he created the evolutionary mechanisms I have described. I am challenging your personal reading of your God’s mind and your interpretation of how he might have used evolution. The fact that you always think of God does not give your hypothesis any more credibility than mine.


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