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

by dhw, Friday, March 06, 2020, 15:56 (128 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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: No need. you have covered it.

We agree. So why do you keep talking of what “a more advanced brain can conceive” and “a thinking brain”? You claim to be a dualist, but these expressions are materialist. (No problem in itself. My objection is to your inconsistency.)

DAVID: The bolded above [dhw: “to give material implementation to its concepts”] 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)

dhw: Once again you the dualist have the brain doing the thinking, which is fine if you are a materialist.

DAVID: Stop twisting. My way the brain is used is fully described above. Try to remember it.

You have just agreed that the brain is used only for gathering information and implementing concepts (which for some reason you find difficult to understand)! There is no twisting. If you say the brain does the conceiving and the thinking, you are advocating materialism! Stop wriggling.

DAVID: You haven't, but I have, searched Archaeological research papers. All they say is habilis (our current example) is what habilis does. Artifacts identify their capabilities of creation.

Of course they do! But what your papers cannot tell you is why the pre-habilis brain expanded to habilis size, and that is what my proposal tries to explain. Do your papers say God must have stepped in with a biochemical dabble? However, I’d better repeat that once the jump has been made, habilis will of course go on producing new artefacts until his “new” brain can no longer cope, and then it will again expand…all the way through to sapiens, whose brain cannot expand any further, and then complexification takes over. […]

DAVID: I do not accept your view. What artifacts accompany the fossil brain is what that brain produced from its thoughts.

Again you, the self-proclaimed dualist, have the materialist brain producing the thoughts, but it makes no difference to the theory: we agree that the thoughts came first (whatever their source) and then the brain produced the artefact. In my theory the design and production of the artefact caused the brain to expand, and in yours God dabbled with the brain of pre-habilis and expanded it before the materialist brain produced the thoughts. There is no way anyone can prove which theory is correct. All we have is the bigger brain and the artefact.

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.

dhw: In the same way as all the modern examples of complexification and/or enlargement.

DAVID: You say above the new areas of enlargement are small segments!

Yes, because the sapiens brain cannot enlarge any more (hence the irrelevance of your American Indians, which I see you have dropped) – and I have extrapolated my theory from the known fact that the modern brain responds to new requirements by complexifying or enlarging. There is no reason to assume that smaller past brains did not function in the same way, so yet again I ask you to give us the additional known facts that support your own theory.

QUOTES re “new erectus”: (David’s bolds) “'This is good evidence that these hominins were the creators of those artefacts,” […].

That challenges the traditional view that different stone tools were made by different species…

The split between Acheulian and Oldowan is a “false dichotomy,” he [archaeologist Mark Moore] says. “A better approach…would be to consider these tools as “two parts of the same technological continuum.”

The latter seems very reasonable to me.

DAVID: This article shows the mind-set of Archaeologists: the fossils that are found with the artifacts created the artifacts, but newer species still used older species artifacts, which obviously were carried over by the newer species. Erectus knew what habilis created and used. I see no support for your evolution of brain size theory.
And:
DAVID: Archaeologists and paleontologists both equate tools and fossils to showing what the fossils created. Habilis did not tell Erectus what to do.”

Why are you surprised that thinking beings use the knowledge and inventions of their predecessors? Then of course they went on to create their own implements. But this has nothing to do with the causes of brain expansion! What’s your argument? Erectus used habilis’s tools, and this proves that God expanded erectus’s brain before he used the tools and invented his own? The archaeologists are dealing with a totally different subject!

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

You have agreed that this statement is a complete reversal of your earlier statement that we don’t know this, and there is no evidence for it. I suggest you drop it.


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