Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, June 01, 2018, 07:53 (196 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have to remember my thinking that the Biblical assertion that we are made in God's image is a guide to a conclusion. My insistence that we recognize the role of consciousness in basic energy particle quantum mechanics adds up to the fact that I see a universal consciousness as the basis of the existence of the universe. You doubt all of this but that is your role as an agnostic with an aversion to anything not proven.

As an agnostic, I accept the possibility that your God exists, and if he does, then of course he must be the basis of the universe. What I object to is the illogicality of arguments such as your belief that a piece of God’s consciousness is incapable of thought without a brain until there is no brain. The illogicality has nothing to do with my agnosticism or with the impossibility of proof.

dhw: You are not thinking clearly about the whole purpose of your dualist’s analogy, which is to indicate the dual composition of the living being: mind and body. You agree that it is the software that does the thinking (“I did not say BOTH think”), so what are you left with? Thinking software soul and implementing hardware brain.

DAVID: In my view software has to use hardware to produce its thought, as occurs in life.

Another of your obfuscations. By “produce” do you mean that the software soul is unable to think, or is unable to express/implement its thoughts without the hardware brain?

DAVID: In afterlife there is no hardware, so the software (soul) is somehow able to do it on its own. I also have noted that afterlife is primarily observation and telepathy for discussion implying a simpler underlying mechanism of operation.

Unable to do what – think, or express itself? If it’s the latter, you are again repeating what I keep saying: the difference between the dualist’s soul in life and in death is that it must have different means of observing/expressing itself. Its function – as you keep agreeing – remains the same: it is the thinking, feeling, remembering self (as opposed to the information-gathering, expressing and implementing self) which it was in life.

DAVID: New concepts occur in life, not death.

How do you know? If an atheist (Eben Alexander?) thinks he’s in heaven, and has a whole new world opened up to him, do you think he’s incapable of thinking new thoughts at the time?

DAVID: 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.

dhw: […] What we see in the living brain is complexification and limited expansion of particular areas (both in response to particular thoughts) and shrinkage over the past x thousand years. And you still refuse to tell me why you do not accept my proposed explanation for shrinkage (efficient complexification making some cells redundant).

DAVID: No refusal. I fully agree with you that sapiens brain is 150 cc smaller from new complexity.

Thank you. Then perhaps you will stop telling me that the only brain response to new thoughts is shrinkage.

dhw: And you also refuse to tell me why the pre-sapiens brain would have expanded if it shrank.
DAVID: God did it. No refusal! God speciates. Natural evolutionary theory does NOT explain speciation.

We are talking about brain expansion! Your argument was that new thought shrank the brain. My argument is that new thought changes the brain – by complexification and limited enlargement (shrinkage being a consequence of complexification, as you now acknowledge). The pre-sapiens brain expanded. Shrinkage is irrelevant, and it is perfectly logical to suppose that if implementation of thought changes the brain now, it would have done so then.

DAVID: All we don't know is how the brain naturally jumped from 400 cc to 1,200 cc in several jumps over 3-4 million years. You are looking for some logical explanation. All I see is God.

Of course I am looking for a logical explanation, and the one I am offering does not in any way exclude your God. What it does exclude is the illogicality I keep complaining about, as repeated at the beginning of this post.

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