Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, May 28, 2018, 10:37 (203 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You sit at a computer and your thinking drives your fingers to type the thought which appear before you in words. The software is your servant. What is your question?
dhw: Software/hardware is supposed to be an analogy for dualism! My thinking soul drives my material brain to direct my fingers to give material expression to its thoughts. The software is a metaphor for the thinking soul, and the hardware is a metaphor for the implementing brain.

DAVID: There is another part to this that adds to the mystery. You sit at your keyboard and use your soul through your brain to have a thought which is then typed. We know where the soul is interfaced in the brain. There is no reason not to except the idea that the soul uses the brain networks to think as well as transmit. It still fits software/hardware, an the software can be quantum mechanical immaterial.

The dualist’s “you” in this earthly life is supposed be a combination of mind and body, or soul and brain if you prefer. Your soul and brain do not use your soul through your brain: the two parts of “you” work together to compose the living “you”, but they have different functions, as exemplified by your analogy of the thinking software and the implementing hardware. Otherwise your analogy for dualism (= TWO components) makes no sense, especially when you argue that the soul CANNOT think without the brain, but the soul CAN think without the brain when there isn’t a brain.

DAVID: The only brain we know has shrunk 150 cc since it appeared. It is the only fact we can extrapolate to the past forms of brains. Known areas of enlargement ( taxi drivers) occurred as the brain shrunk! That is consistent thinking about expansion.

dhw: Back we go to your other digression! Complexification and limited expansion are also known facts in the sapiens brain, and expansion is a known fact in the pre-sapiens brain. There is no evidence of shrinkage in the pre-sapiens brain. What is your objection to the explanation for shrinkage that I keep offering? (Continued overall expansion would have given us elephant-sized heads. Enhanced complexification resulted in some cells becoming superfluous, and so the brain shrunk. The existing capacity still allows for the expansion of individual sections of the brain.)

DAVID: Not a digression. I'm simply repeating the only facts we know about a thinking brain. And a brain with obviously lots more thinking capacity than those previously evolved.

According to you, the only fact we know is shrinkage. You still haven’t said why you object to my explanation of it, and you ignore the other facts revealed by modern scientific research, that the modern brain expands (though in limited areas) and complexifies. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that the pre-sapiens brain did the same. The “thinking brain” is the province of the materialist; the thinking soul is the province of the dualist. I do not doubt that our “thinking capacity” is greater than that of pre-sapiens. If you think that is because of our larger brains, you are a materialist. Nothing wrong with that at all, except that you claim to be a dualist.


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