Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 18:15 (198 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I will repeat the same point for different mechanisms: in life the soul uses the brain networks to think, experience and direct actions to be taken. In death it communicates telepathically, but since I think the afterlife is unchanging and is observing what is happening in life what the soul does is conversation.

dhw: In other words, there are no other forms besides those I have covered. If dualism is true, then of course the soul uses the brain, and judging by your comment below, I don’t think there is any real difference between your concept of the relationship and my own: the soul uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and to express/implement those thoughts materially. You have also agreed now that in the afterlife its “operative mode” has to be psychic. Again, no difference. I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your last sentence but again I suspect it means exactly the same as my own concept: the soul observes the material world in life and an immaterial world in the afterlife, and thinks about both, but observes and communicates (converses) by different modes (material and psychic). The only difference I can see between us is your insistence that even though the dualist’s soul is the same in life as in death, in life it depends on the brain for its ability to THINK, but in death it can THINK without the brain. And that is what doesn’t make sense to me.

It doesn't make sense to you because you can only visualize an unchanging soul mechanism of operation. I propose two mechanisms with the soul maintaining its unity as a personage in life and death. Otherwise we generally agree.


DAVID: When I discuss a brain thinking, it is under the control of the software soul.

dhw: So do you believe that the software soul and the hardware brain BOTH think, but the soul/software makes the final decision, or do you believe that the software soul does the thinking and gives instructions to the hardware brain?

DAVID: I did not say BOTH think. The brain and the soul are two parts of the thinking mechanism in life. The soul uses the brain networks in thought in life.

dhw: Good. Then presumably you agree that only the soul thinks. Yes, the thinking part and the information-gathering and implementing part are the two parts. Yes, the soul uses the brain in life. But if the soul thinks and the brain doesn’t think, then it makes no sense to argue that the brain must expand (pre-sapiens) before the soul can think new thoughts! To use your favourite analogy, do you get a new computer before the new software exists, or do you get it when the old one can’t implement the programmes of the new software?

You are not thinking clearly about computers. Your old computer is dying. So you get a new bigger one with new better software. The new one comes all complete with better hardware and software capable of more complex activity. AS in erectus to habilis to sapiens. What you suggest is several steps to new computing.

DAVID: The fossils are few and far between and at each step there are individual differences. Currently you are correct, that we cannot prove shrinkage at each step, except ours. You try to present that thoughts of desires expands the brain and we see our intense thoughts shrank it. It came 315,000 years ago so complex it didn't need to expand. Your answer is a worry it shouldn't get any bigger for anatomic reasons. On the other hand another 150 cc added would not have been top heavy. Your argument is without basis.

dhw:Why do you think the pre-sapiens brain expanded if it also shrank? It wouldn’t have NEEDED to expand if complexification was efficient enough to implement all the new thoughts! And it’s not a matter of intense thought shrinking the brain, or of adding another 150 cc! I am suggesting that the capacity was reached x years ago (315,000 years, if you like). Complexification then had to take over from expansion. The thoughts didn’t shrink the brain – the illiterate women’s brains didn’t shrink as a result of their learning to read and write! They complexified, and that is an ongoing process. Over the course of x thousand years, complexification has proved so efficient that some cells have become redundant. There is therefore still room for at least another 150 cc capacity within the existing skull. And you continue to ignore the proven fact that thought changes the brain by complexification and limited expansion.

I'm not ignoring complexification. You propose frustrated attempts at thought forced a new brain size to accommodate that thought in earlier homos, as I interpret your theory. What we see in the only living brain we can study is a shrinking brain. No evidence of forced expansion despite enormous efforts at complex thought. Instead we see a built-in mechanism of shrinkage.


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