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

by dhw, Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 19:31 (209 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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. [..]

DAVID: You are back to using our current endpoint brain to explain earlier ancient Home enlargements.

I am pointing out that the only evidence we have points to brains changing in response to new ideas, not in anticipation of them.

dhw: 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: The second bold does not answer my point that an earlier brain cannot conceive of an idea it is not capable of conceiving.

Firstly, you spent a whole paragraph dismissing the spear example which you yourself had chosen. Why won’t you give us an example of a new pre-sapiens concept arising from its expanded brain? Secondly, I note that you are back to your materialist version of the brain as the source of ideas, so you really should stop claiming to be a dualist. Thirdly, of course nothing can conceive of something it can’t conceive of! So according to you, no pre-sapiens and indeed no organism on earth ever had a new idea unless its brain grew bigger. Perhaps this is why you believe that every single strategy, lifestyle and natural wonder, including my favourite, the weaverbird’s nest, had to be specially preprogrammed or dabbled by your God. Otherwise, ants would have brains as big as elephant brains by now! I wish you were kidding. But I can accept that ants and crows will only have new ideas that their brains and bodies can cope with, so even the building of cities or the use of primitive tools does not require any additional capacity.

DAVID: You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain.

We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded! Just as we only see complexification or local enlargement in our modern brain when new skills have been acquired and not before they have been acquired.

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.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: But, the jumps in the past were enlargements of 200 cc. Our brain shrinks and their brains jumped in size.

I have just explained the jumps and the shrinkage. Why the “but”?

DAVID: Did they have a degree of plasticity, probably, as a forerunner of ours, but a lesser ability as consistent with the earlier brain's simplicity. My view is consistent: a brain that allows the development of a spear concept will be able to create that physical spear and will not need enlargement.

Again, you used the spear as an example of the need for a larger brain to conceive it. I continue to be totally mystified by your idea of a brain that “allows” the dualist’s soul to have new ideas, and the confusion is exacerbated by your next comment:

DAVID: Level of concept must be strictly related to level of brain capacity. An earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive and create. (dhw's bold)

Now you unequivocally have the brain both conceiving and creating (I use the word “implementing”). That is absolutely fine with me, because it makes not the slightest difference whether you embrace this totally materialist belief or the dualist belief that ideas are produced by the soul – we still have the known fact that brains are altered by the implementation of ideas, whereas there is no evidence that the CAUSE of pre-Sapiens enlargement is a divine dabble or a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for periodic brain enlargement. But of course each generation builds on what were once the new ideas of its predecessors, and the same would apply to succeeding “species” of hominids and homos. They didn’t need to reinvent the spear. But someone then invented the bow and arrow. And maybe that resulted in another expansion. Neither of us can write a clear history of all this – unless you have discovered your God’s computer programme detailing which inventions caused or followed pre-sapiens brain expansion.


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