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

by dhw, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 13:16 (190 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] if the present brain is built on the past brain, there is no reason to assume that its process of changing itself in response to new actions was reversed in the past by changing itself in anticipation of new actions.

DAVID: That can be your assumption, but it is not at all the same as our brain confining some new activity to a small enlarged area.

It is a theory, not an assumption, but you are dismissing it because you assume that the modern brain functions differently from the past brain. The similarity lies in the fact that in both cases there is expansion. We know that in the present, expansion is a response to requirements.

DAVID: My quotes about the brain is a shorthand so I don't rewrite my entire theory each time it comes up. You understand it so quit sniping every time I use it. Lets be considerate of each other.

dhw: No, I don’t understand it. The expansion of the brain as the cause of new concepts is crucial to your theory! That is why you make such statements as “an earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive and create”; “The existing brain conceives of the new object and makes it. The older smaller brain has nothing to do with it. It can’t conceive of the new idea” […] etc. I keep reminding you that the dualist’s thinking soul uses the brain for information and implementation.

DAVID: I know the soul's role in my way of looking at dualism. I think you do understand it, as shown in your reminder. To repeat: for the soul to develop advanced concepts it must use a brain of advanced complexity.

This is far too general. Our problem is what caused all the expansions. I suggest that once the dualist’s brain has expanded, the dualist’s soul will continue to use it until the next point at which existing capacity is insufficient. Sapiens’ brain reaches capacity, and so the soul continues to use it for new concepts, but instead of overall expansion, there is now advanced complexification, minor expansion, and shrinkage caused by the efficiency of complexification.

DAVID: The problem is the innate ability for an existing underlying brain to accommodate the development of new concepts.

Precisely. And in the past, the existing underlying brain could not accommodate the development (i.e. the actual design and implementation of the new concept, not the conception itself) and therefore had to expand. You’ve got it!

DAVID: Your 'information and implementation' requires understanding that implementation has two parts: developing the abstract concept and then actually making the new idea as a product. It requires abstract thought. Abstract thought is not required to simply receive information. but coordinating the new information into a new concept requires abstract thinking.

There is no new information initially! The old brain (materialist) or soul (dualist) forms the new concept based on existing information. My proposal is that the effort to develop (design) and actually make the new product is what causes the brain to expand. Of course abstract thinking is required, both in the original conception and in the design. Abstract thought involves processing information and producing concepts. That will apply to both the old brain and the new brain. Stick to the subject: what caused the old brain to expand into the new one?

DAVID: Our brain at 315,000 years ago was larger than now, and we had to learn how to use more fully. More advanced language is thought to be only 50-70,000 years old. The brain shrank 150 cc in the past 35,000 years. I conclude our newer larger brain contained the mechanisms to allow all of this [dhw: of course it did!] and the smaller size means our learn ing to use our brain accomplished all of what was required in ringing the brain to its current state. [dhw: we have agreed that the smaller size is due to the efficiency of complexification.] As a result evidence of complex civilization is less than 12,000 years old.

I have no idea what all this is meant to prove. Your theory is that your God expanded human brains in small steps and only after expansion could the pre-sapiens come up with new concepts. My counter proposal is that since sapiens brains only change themselves in response to new concepts, requirements, desires, activities etc., earlier changes, and specifically, expansions would also have followed the same pattern. Concept etc. first, changes second.

DAVID: I'll stick with what archaeologists present: Brains of a given size produce the artifacts found with them and are solely responsible for their appearance. No relation to past brains. And remember the resident soul is using the current brain.

Already covered earlier. The FIRST artefacts would have been the product(s) resulting from whatever concept(s) CAUSED the pre-sapiens brain to expand to sapiens size. There is no way anyone can possibly prove or disprove this, because an artefact can only exist once the brain has finished expanding through the effort to design and make it.


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