Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape (Evolution)

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 11, 2018, 18:13 (987 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We've agreed I can only work with my s/s/c when my brain functions.

dhw: No, we haven’t. We've agreed that we can only express or implement thoughts etc. with a functional brain. The dualist’s I = s/s/c. Now you seem to be saying I/the s/s/c can only think when the brain functions. But the whole point of using NDEs as evidence of dualism is that the s/s/c, which does our thinking, remembering, interpreting, exists independently of the brain! If these immaterial processes depend on the brain (and they may well do so), we are back to materialism.

The point I was making, using the NDE's as background, is when the brain is not functioning, the s/s/c separated and is off having an experience, which it can disclose to the brain only when the brain is once again functional. The 'I' in the equation i=s/s/c as a living person becomes aware of the experience only when the s/s/c and brain are reunited. I cannot have a feeling of selfhood unless my brain is functional. The living brain and the s/s/c only work together when joined.

dhw: I remember examples of NDEs in which the patient was told to return but didn’t want to, which suggests more than observation,

I agree that the s/s/c in an NDE receives information and makes observations as its primary function. There are interactions where they express a wish to stay and are told they must go back.

dhw: let’s stick to Alexander. Why do you say he only “learns” about the experience when his brain is functioning? The experience is lodged in his s/s/c, not his brain. The only possible direction of “learning” is the brain learning from s/s/c, not the other way round!

Of course his now functioning brain receives the information, and that occurs only when Alexander is able to turn on his brain and understand what it now contains. This is a temporal sequence. Alexander, the live 'himself', during the week-long coma, had no knowledge of the NDE until he revived and then explored the knowledge his brain now can transmit to him. For me I view a living person as having a sense of self through his living brain. He uses his s/s/c (immaterial) only through his functional brain (material). Dualsim

dhw:And so we return to the basis of dualism: NDEs provide evidence that the s/s/c exists independently of the brain. The s/s/c does the thinking/remembering/ interpreting etc. and passes its thoughts to the brain so that the thoughts may be given material expression or implementation. What objection do you now have to this hypothesis, to which you have already agreed so many times?

I think you make the whole arrangement as more complex that it is. The brain and s/s/c must intimately interface for us to think.


DAVID: You cannot get around the fact that more advanced artifacts only appear when we find a hominin with a larger brain present.

dhw: Correct. In BOTH hypotheses, the artefact can only appear when the concept has been implemented. You say the enlargement preceded the implementation, and I propose that the implementation caused the enlargement.

I know that.

DAVID: The only scientific fact we have is brain shrinkage with new uses. The rest of your theory is all conjecture with no basis.
DAVID: How do we know only modern humans had shrinking brains with new implementations? Evolution builds on past methods and advances. Complexity from new uses very likely occurred in past hominins with some brain shrinkage.

dhw: It may well have done. But according to your unscientific conjecture, the point was reached when the brain had to be enlarged in order to cope with new demands, and so you say your God did the enlarging BEFORE new demands made it necessary.

To my memory, you have never commented on my point that an early hominin could not know what he did not know and couldn't imagine with his smaller brain. The more complex larger brain allowed such thought. That would be consistent with the artifact level related to each brain size.

dhw: My unscientific conjecture is that the brain had to enlarge itself WHEN new demands made enlargement necessary. My conjecture is based on the one scientific fact we do have, which is that the brain RESPONDS to new tasks, and does not change before the new tasks are at hand, as you so rightly point out under “Brain complexity: gene response…”.

And your conjecture consistently ignores the issue of brain shrinkage with implementation complexity as a scientifc fact we know about the brain under use.

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