Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine (Introduction)

by dhw, Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 10:39 (138 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw (under "cerebellar contributions"): Not much room here for the dualist’s concept of a soul which is responsible for the creation of all our ideas.

DAVID: Can't you remember, I have constantly stated my view is that the complexity of the brain allows the soul to deal with more complexity of concepts
And: soul produces only as much complexity of thought as the complexity of the brain it is using allows it to do.

I don’t understand what this means. Please tell us if you think it is the brain or the soul that produces ideas. Which controls which? I suggest that if there is such a thing as a soul, it would use the brain (a) to collect information, and (b) to implement its ideas. However, my original point was that the articles you quoted seemed to take it for granted that the source of all our cognitive faculties was the material brain – hence my comment above.

dhw: Personally, I am extremely wary of restricting individual cognitive functions to individual parts of the brain. I suspect that if materialists are right, it is the interplay between different sections of the brain that produce all the cognitive functions. […] A dualist would presumably propose that there is an immaterial “soul” which directs the different sections of the brain.

DAVID: The function of the entire brain is a coordination of all parts, as is now currently being revealed by research.

Thank you for confirming my own comment. The article appears to suggest otherwise.

DAVID: Title edited back to what it was. Is that why there was no response given?

Sorry. I never saw it!

dhw: The artefact cannot appear until the concept has been IMPLEMENTED! ... First the idea, then the complexification or expansion as a RESULT of implementing the idea.

DAVID: Throwing out a big term like 'implementation' is not an explanation unless implementation is described and shows how it enlarges the brain.

Implementation means performing all the necessary actions to enable an idea to become reality. Our known examples have been illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians, all of whose brains change as a result of performing the actions that enable them to acquire new or more advanced skills. I can’t explain the process by which the brain expands, and nor can anyone else.

DAVID: My version: an early Homo knows he can kill with a thrown stone or with a sharpened stout stick. He already uses sharpened stone tools to skin animals and scrape bark off wood. His present brain realizes if he put a sharpened stone on the end of a long stick, he could throw this new invention and kill at a distance. Making the new concept is easy hand work. Why does this enlarge the existing brain that thought up the new tool? It obviously does not. A simple advance from known concepts combined.

You adopted my example and wrote that “the spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded”. So you clearly thought the invention required expansion. If you wish to jettison what became your own example, then please tell us what new concepts you think made it necessary for your God to expand the pre-sapiens brain in advance by 200 cc at a time. But whatever you come up with will still be open to the same interpretations because we can only know the material product and not the history of its conception!

DAVID: Whose brain recognizes the new need? The old species or the new species with the bigger brain?

The old brain. And if the existing brain does not have the capacity to implement the solution, it will expand in order to do so, as happens in modern brains on a small scale.

DAVID: In your example the old smaller brain gets the idea for something important and new but can't do it until it explodes itself. To clarify my thinking, 'bigger' brain always implies a more complex brain for the soul/consciousness to use.

First sentence: you’ve got it, though I don’t why you use the world explode. The expansion is the same, whether your God dabbled in advance of the need or the brain cells expanded in response to the need. I don’t find your last comment clarifying at all. More cells will certainly lead to more complexity, but if the soul (if it exists) is the source of ideas and comes up with new ones that the bigger/more complex brain can’t handle, then the brain will have to expand again. However, you believe that although the soul comes up with the ideas, these are limited to what the material brain “allows” it to come up with. (See the beginning of the post concerning this problem.)

DAVID: Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

You have already agreed that our brains have shrunk as a result of the efficiency of complexification. The evidence we have is that brains change in response to new requirements. There is no evidence that it was any different in past brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.


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