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

by dhw, Thursday, March 05, 2020, 11:49 (202 days ago) @ David Turell

Taken over from “how emotions relate”:

dhw: […] I agree that if there is a soul it uses the brain as a tool, and I keep reiterating that the two uses are to gather more and more information, and to give material implementation to its concepts. (David’s bold) What else does the brain provide? You, however, keep saying that it is the brain that does the conceiving, e.g. “an earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive.” THAT is materialism. (dhw’s bold]

DAVID: You insist upon my shorthand being confusing. Once again the soul/consciousness uses the existing brain as a tool for creating immaterial thoughts and concepts. The degree of possible complex thinking depends on how complex the brain is constructed and allows the level of complexity of conceptual thought.

There is nothing shorthand about the statement that brains do the conceiving. I have agreed that the soul – if it exists – uses the brain in two ways (providing information and implementing concepts), and I asked you what else the brain provides. You have not answered.

DAVID: The bolded above is a woolly phrase that tells us nothing. I don't understand how you apply that to a thinking brain at any level of complexity. I'll use an example: habilis realizes it is safer to attack a prey from a safe distance etc. (dhw’s bold)

Once again you the dualist have the brain doing the thinking, which is fine if you are a materialist. You now use my own example of the spear and describe the process which I suggest led to pre-sapiens enlargement, and then you tell us that sapiens, in the form of the American Indian, did the same thing without brain expansion. Sapiens is the species whose brain capacity has reached maximum! He would have implemented his concept through complexification (and maybe segmental enlargement), just like the illiterate women and the rest. (To forestall your usual complaint, the efficiency of complexification is the cause of shrinkage.)

DAVID: So using the big word 'implementation' proves what???

It doesn’t “prove” anything. Nobody has yet proved any theory to explain expansion. You described the “big word” yourself: “habilis realizes it is safer to attack a prey from a safe distance: using a staff, throwing a staff, or adding a sharp stone point. He then uses his hands to fashion it.” First he has the concept, and then he implements it – meaning he creates a concrete reality out of his concept. But if the spear is the oldest artefact associated with habilis, then it was pre-habilis who first had the idea, and the design and making were the activities that led to the larger habilis brain.

DAVID: We know each fossil gap in brain size is followed by new artifacts. Those 200 cc gaps tell us a better brain did the new work, nothing more.

You agreed that the new brain size is not “followed” but is accompanied by new artefacts Our disagreement is not over the “better brain” but over the process that led to it: you say God preprogrammed or dabbled it, and I propose that the process of implementing the new concept (designing and making) led to it.

DAVID: Nebulous implementation causes the brain to enlarge. Tell me your idea as to how that makes a brain enlarge 200 cc in each gap in the fossils we deal with.

In the same way as all the modern examples of complexification and/or enlargement. I can’t explain the biochemical details, if that’s what you mean. Please tell us the biochemical details of how your God enlarged the brain. If you can, then that would be the same way as the brain cells would have organized the enlargement in response to new demands..

DAVID: The factual evidence we have is a 200 cc jump in brain size comes with newly complex artifacts. You contort this into an old brain jumps in size from the strain of trying to think and imagine a new invention.

In my theory the jump is accompanied by the artefacts, and the “old brain” jumps in size from the “strain” of trying to design and manufacture something that its species has never conceived of or manufactured in the past. What is the contortion?

DAVID: Einstein is of no help as you admit. Geniuses are born that way, not created by their thinking enlarging their brain.

I did not admit any such thing. You have done a complete volte-face. Two days ago you wrote: “Problem: was he born with it or did he develop it from thinking/conceptualizing? We don't know. Brilliant folks are generally born that way? No real evidence.” Now all of a sudden you think you know.

DAVID: I think God enlarges/complexifies the brain for the soul to use. All your examples are the brain learning to use/ memorize a concept they are taught, nothing more.

These are known facts from which I have extrapolated the theory that in the days when the brain was smaller, new activities would also result in brain change. You repeatedly ignore my request for known facts to support your own theory. Clearly you have none, so why should you assume that modern processes of brain change were not the same in former times?

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