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

by dhw, Sunday, March 11, 2018, 13:24 (279 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your definition of dualism is not mine which is why we keep arguing. In life the brain and the s/s/c are inextricably intertwined and work together.

There is no difference in our definitions! You keep agreeing that the s/s/c does the THINKING, is the same in life as in death, and in life works together with the brain, which gathers information and gives material expression to thoughts.

DAVID: I shape my personality and the characteristics from the blank slate at birth using my living brain. The s/s/c IS blank at birth with limiting potentialities in genes and nurture. After age 25 the s/s/c's structure will guide further adaptations throughout life. The s/s/c in life and death at its basis a quantum mechanism, just as the universe (reality) does.

The blank slate is a separate argument, but genes are not a blank slate. I have no idea what the “quantum mechanism” is, but since you say the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, it clearly makes no difference to the argument. In life and in death, the “quantum mechanism” of the s/s/c is the THINKING mechanism.

DAVID: …in life the brain is a computer and the s/s/c the software. In death the s/s/c is operating on its own and I doubt any new concepts, just communication with other souls…

In death I also doubt the need for concepts concerning materials. We don’t know what an immortal soul would think about, if such a thing exists, but NDEs indicate the ability to remember (recognition), feel emotion (awe, fear, love), try to take decisions (“I wanner stay here!”) etc. Conceptualization is not the only kind of “thought”. That is why NDEs are seen as evidence for an immaterial THINKING s/s/c, which in life works together with a material brain/body - the definition of dualism with which you keep agreeing and disagreeing.

Dhw: Our current subject is your materialistic claim that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the brain, even though it THINKS without a brain in the afterlife you believe in.
DAVID: Answered above. The s/s/c functions in two ways in the two different circumstances.

Yes,different circumstances, but what “two ways”? You agree that the s/s/c is the SAME in life as in death. Of course it will think about different things in different circumstances, but in both sets of circumstances, it is the THINKING mechanism.

Dhw: “I think, therefore I am” is the whole basis of Descartes’ separation of mind and body. He does not say, “I have a prefrontal cortex, and therefore I am.”
DAVID: Descartes did not know current research. You are completely ignoring my concept of the duality. It does not fit your neat philosophic summary which dos not fit what NDE's tell us, presuming quantum mechanics is involved. The s/s/c must have two different mechanisms in life and death. Nothing else fits. Part of the solution to the issue is understanding quantum reality. That is why I introduced quantum theory to these discussions years ago.

Since nobody understands quantum reality, this is not very helpful. And since you say the s/s/c in life and death is a “quantum mechanism” and the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, I don’t see why you think the mechanisms must be different. Thinking is thinking: the same mechanism applied to two different sets of circumstances (as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing). If current research shows Descartes was wrong, and mind and body are not TWO, then current research favours materialism.

DAVID: If your point is true why do different brains in structure have different IQ's as in Einstein?
dhw: If [..] you believe the s/s/c is the source of immaterial intelligence (and conceptualization and every other immaterial element of your self), then please answer your own question. You are the dualist. I would say your question implies evidence for materialism.
DAVID: Einstein's unusual brain allowed his brilliance.

Or his brilliance resulted in his unusual brain (dualism).
I’ve just read a review in The Times of a book called Inventing Ourselves, The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a professor of cognitive neuroscience. She confirms everything you have written about the teenage brain, development “levelling off” at 25, risk-taking etc., and the self is “a complex interaction – which Blakemore is candid enough to concede nobody fully understands – between chemistry, psychology and circumstance.” However, the following passage has major implications regarding Einstein, and the expansion of the pre-sapiens brain:

We do know, however, that the brain is shaped by circumstance. Remarkably, the hippocampus, the warehouse of memory in the brain, is significantly larger in drivers of London black cabs than it is in men of comparable age who do other jobs. All that knowledge of the London landmarks makes their brains go bigger. (My bold) The same is true for musicians, whose auditory cortex is, on average, a full 25% larger than it is in people who play no instrument.” My bold points to the fact that they are not born with bigger bits, but exertion CAUSES the expansion. By extension, then, Einstein’s bigger pfc would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out his theories), just as the expansion of the pre-sapiens brain would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out how to implement the concept of the spear). The bigger brain did not precede the thoughts.


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