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

by dhw, Monday, March 19, 2018, 13:11 (270 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining the two big brain evolution threads, and am omitting those sections which repeat arguments.

dhw: …modern science has demonstrated that thought changes areas of the brain through complexification and limited expansion, which would seem to support the dualism you claim to believe in, i.e. the hypothesis that the self/soul/conscious mind is a separate immaterial entity which in life works with and controls the brain (the will being an integral part of the s/s/c) but in death remains itself. This clearly runs directly counter to the hypothesis that the immaterial s/s/c is incapable of THINKING without the material brain.

DAVID: You have just contradicted yourself. I am in full agreement with my bolded statement of yours. In life I believe the s/s/c must think WITH the brain during life. It is obligated to do so. But not the next statement of yours, which, therefore, doesn't follow.

You continually ignore the division which is the essence of dualism, as you like to illustrate with your analogy of software and hardware. They are TWO entities that work together. Do you or do you not agree that the software (s/s/c) does the thinking and the hardware (brain) does the implementing? If you agree, as you have already done umpteen times, and if the same thinking “you” is supposed to survive the death of the brain (even if it thinks about different things in death), how can you claim that the s/s/c cannot THINK without the brain?

DAVID: I do not believe the s/s/c thinks before the brain gets it. You are imagining a time sequence. They work together thinking simultaneously, because they are intimately interfaced in life . Brain implementation than follows under s/s/c direction. They never are separate in time.

Now you have the brain AND the s/s/c THINKING simultaneously! We are not discussing the time it takes, but the function of the two parts of your dualism: mind and body. In dualism, when the mind instructs, the brain may respond instantly but if, for instance, the learning process or the material implementation is slow, the changes to the brain may not be instantaneous. I don’t know how this line of argument is supposed to prove that the mind cannot think new thoughts unless the implementing brain has already changed before receiving the thoughts it is going to respond to (your God expanding the pre-sapiens brain before pre-sapiens is able to think of new concepts).

DAVID: I am disputing your concept that the s/s/c must be exactly the same in life and death in its mechanism. It is the same in memory, thought pattern, personality in life and death, but in life it must interface with the living brain. In death it doesn't and logically must work slightly differently. That is my point.

So you agree that it is exactly the same s/s/c in life and in death, but yes, the circumstances are different and of course it will work differently. The mechanism will no longer have materials to implements its thoughts. And as far as the thoughts themselves are concerned, even in life these “work differently” when I am writing to you, playing cricket, or taking a bar of chocolate out of the fridge. In death I shan't have a pen or a bat or - perish the thought! - a bar of chocolate. But that is not the point of disagreement between us. Once again: the argument concerns your insistence that the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not think of new thoughts until your God had expanded his brain, which means that thought depends on the brain and not on the s/s/c. And this is contradicted by your belief that the thinking s/s/c survives the death of the brain, when it will have different things to think about and no material means of implementing thoughts.

DAVID: In life the s/s/c must depend upon the type of brain that is present. Back to IQ as an example.

dhw: And back to materialism, which may well be correct, and which incidentally makes nonsense of your claim that the s/s/c is a blank slate at birth, since we are born with the “type of brain that is present”. If intelligence (part of the immaterial s/s/c) depends on the brain, then you are faced with the prospect of an afterlife without your intelligence. And yet you believe (sometimes) that the s/s/c is the same in death as in life.

DAVID: Strange stretch of logic. I am discussing the degree of intelligence, IQ, the brain allows not intelligence itself!

Badly phrased by me. You are faced with the prospect of an afterlife without your personal degree of intelligence, which apparently depends on the type of brain you have.

DAVID: The brain offers a basic substrate but I am fully aware that factors improve or reduce the IQ, but only a few can achieve genius status […] As for blank slate, the fetus brain operates at a sensory and muscle level in the womb, but development of personality and therefore content of s/s/c starts at birth tightly interfaced with the brain, guided by genetics, nurturing controls and also other uncontrolled events.

And according to you the s/s/c depends on (a) the type of brain you are born with, and (b) genetics – which you are also born with and which constitutes 40% of the s/s/c. Hardly a blank slate. But of course it takes time and experience for all the inborn characteristics of brain type and genetics to emerge, and nobody knows the extent to which the given 40% may be changed by nurturing controls and other uncontrolled events.


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