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

by dhw, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 13:50 (292 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony may not be aware of the background to this discussion, which centres on the concept of dualism and sprang from David’s insistence that his God had enlarged hominin brains and the sapiens brain before they were able to conceive and implement new concepts. Dualism argues that mind and body are two separate entities that work together. “Mind” = immaterial self/soul/consciousness (s/s/c) and we have confined our discussion of body to the brain. Materialism is the belief that all mental activity has its source in the brain, and there is no such thing as an immaterial soul. I am neutral on the subject, and am focusing solely on what I consider to be the contradictions in David’s arguments (he claims to be a dualist). I say that if the s/s/c is responsible for immaterial thought, then it makes no sense to argue that thought depends on the (size of the) material brain: concepts must therefore come BEFORE enlargement, which takes place as a result of implementing the concept. This fits in with the known process whereby in sapiens new activities CAUSE changes in the brain and are not caused by them. The ramifications of this subject are huge, as you can see. In the context of a possible God and evolution, they concern the amount of control David’s God has exercised over the process. We have barely scratched the surface of how the process would work in materialist terms. Meanwhile, however, we have got totally bogged down in David’s materialistic dualism, which itself has enormous ramifications. I hope this is a fair summary.

TONY: I should point out that the two of you are arguing psychology, one of the least respected fields of science because it is considered a soft science, meaning that it is virtually impossible to get objective data sets to study...that said...
The first qualm with the discussion seems to be over the use of the word 'complete'. Try using 'mature' instead. Like fruit, the fruit is complete at all times, though it may be unripe, ripe, or overly ripe. These are degrees of maturity, not scales of completeness.

DAVID: We are not at the level of psychology. Note dhw's Google entry about pre-frontal functions. I know psychological study is fuzzy.

Tony’s point about completeness echoes my own objection to your contradictory statements: (DAVID: "the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25." […] "What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity."
dhw: How can the complexity be “complete” if it continues to add new connections after the age of 25?

DAVID: The prefrontal cortex develops a judgmental area about one's actions future results as part of the development from birth. Can it be altered later. Of course. But the initial development takes to an average age 25. to be complete enough to make mature decisions.

So it’s not complete, and once more according to you, despite your claim to be a dualist, it is the prefrontal cortex that makes decisions.

TONY: Secondly, human behavior is too complex to just say "It's because of their age". Normally when say that, we are tacitly acknowledging either a lack of experience, a lack of development, or a lack in judgement making capability, which ties directly back into the first two while also depending on brain development.

I couldn’t agree more. Experience (under which I'll include nurture) is a crucial factor in the development of the s/s/c. A previous article emphasized the role that it plays in the actual development of the brain (which establishes its different patterns in response to experience) – patterns which of course develop as the child gets older and widens its experiences.

As David mentioned, in my post of yesterday I listed the activities attributed to the pre-frontal cortex, including our behaviour, emotions, abstract thinking, decision-making etc. David’s latest quote highlights what I consider to be the irreconcilable contradiction in his thinking:

QUOTES: "Research in the June 8, 2016 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults, offering an opportunity to understand how disorders related to emotional control emerge.
"The results may also help us understand how emotional control can go awry during development. It's possible that the failure of the prefrontal cortex to integrate properly into the emotional control circuit could contribute to the emergence of affective disorders in adolescence."

DAVID’s comment: Hard evidence and straight forward explanation of brain development. dhw take notice.

I am not disputing brain development. I am pointing out the discrepancies in your arguments. You cannot have it both ways. For a dualist the soul is responsible for the immaterial attributes I listed. Earlier I pointed out that it is the dualist’s s/s/c that controls the brain except when the latter is affected by outside influences such as disease, drugs, accidents, alcohol. You have repeatedly agreed to this, but now you support what you call “current medical theory” which argues the exact opposite: i.e. that the brain is responsible for all the attributes. In this context, I notice you have ignored my question: What does current medical theory tell us about the soul?

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