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

by dhw, Sunday, March 01, 2020, 08:44 (206 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The exiting brain conceives of the new object and makes it. The old brain smaller brain has nothing to do with it. It can't conceive of the new idea.

dhw: […] Firstly, you are claiming that the brain conceives the new idea, which is the materialist view, though you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: […] you know full well my theory about soul and brain interlock.

I have never understood how the soul can be the source of ideas although it is the brain that does the conceiving, as above. As I see it, the "interlock" would consist in the dualist's soul using the brain to gather information and to implement its ideas. It would be the soul that did the thinking and conceiving. (We needn't discuss the materialist's counterarguments here. I remain neutral on the subject)

dhw: […] why is it illogical to claim that in the past the brain may have changed (either through complexification or enlargement) in the course of implementing new ideas, when we know for a fact that this is true of the modern brain?

DAVID: And I'm pointing out the current brain is, yes, a reflection of past brain development, but please remember our brain has shrunk 125 cc in 30,000 years, so it has very different more advanced set of attributes, and cannot be specifically applied to past brains and how the past brains might have worked and changed. Please use all our knowledge. Don't just pick out part of what we know to further your argument.

You keep agreeing that shrinkage must have been due to the efficiency of complexification, which took over when the maximum capacity had been reached. There is absolutely no reason why the current known process should NOT be applied to the past: more advanced sets of attributes would apply to every expansion and every complexification resulting from the implementation of new ideas. Nobody “knows” why or how past brains expanded – the only knowledge we have comes from our observation of the modern brain, so what is the rest of the “knowledge” you are referring to?

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

dhw: 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!
dhw: "Accompanying" or "with", not "following". We do not see improved artefacts following the appearance of bigger brains, we see them accompanying bigger brains. There is no way of knowing whether the original expansion preceded or followed the original concept. We only know that implementation causes changes to the brain. Of course subsequent concepts would follow the expansion until the next time implementation of a concept required increased capacity.

DAVID: You are correct. New brain and new artifacts are all we find.

Thank you for accepting this correction.

DAVID: Your concept: The habilis brain thinks of a new tool but cannot conceive of how to make it so it expands itself to have a brain that can adequately make the new tool.

No! Habilis thinks of a new tool (no matter whether you believe it is the soul or the brain that does the thinking), and the effort to design and make it CAUSES the brain to expand, just as the effort to read, memorize etc. CAUSES the modern brain to complexify or expand in particular areas.

DAVID: I find that totally illogical. An earlier brain cannot think about what it needs in future. It can't see the future which is why we naturally think if it as a smaller more primitive brain.

The earlier homo (I continue to be amazed that someone who calls himself a dualist attributes all thought to the brain) doesn’t think about what it needs in future! It thinks about how it can improve its responses to the needs of the present! We think of it as a smaller brain because it WAS a smaller brain, and we think of it as more primitive because the improvements only became visible once the brain had expanded!

DAVID: Again a strained concept to have natural evolution, no God, or with lip service to theism, have God give them a mechanism to do it on their own, giving up His control of evolution. Total contortions.

There is no contortion. If God exists, he would have created the mechanism. Why is it a contortion to hypothesize that God might have WANTED to give evolution free rein as opposed to his WANTING to control everything? It is simply an interpretation of his actions and wishes that differs from yours, which you seem to think is the objective truth about something that nobody can possibly know.

DAVID (under “cerebellar contributions"): the development of language has caused our cerebellum to assume new functions beyond the usual sensory-motor functions that were well understood.

Yes, an example of how new demands cause changes to the brain. The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.


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