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

by dhw, Sunday, March 22, 2020, 09:25 (185 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Have you ever built anything? My experience, which is all I go by, the initial design requires deep thought and study. Once the concept is an actual prepared design, the production is easy. All blue-collar work. You are entirely backwards.

dhw: I have just said that development - as opposed to conception - of the concept means providing more and more details of design, and now you are telling me that design requires deep thought and study. Yes, that is why I am suggesting that the brain expanded! And maybe in the past it also expanded through having to cope with the material production of something that had never existed before. The modern brain complexifies (but expands in sections) AS A RESULT of thought and study.(David’s bold)

DAVID: All we know and can rely upon is our brain has small enlargements with special uses, and shrunk 150 cc with heavy use. I keep repeating, your bold is the easy part, in my actual experience.

Why have you bolded production and ignored my reference to design? Yes, we know that the modern brain has small enlargements, and there is no reason to assume that ancient brains did not also enlarge with special uses. And for the hundredth time, I suggest that once the brain stopped expanding, complexification took over and was so efficient that it resulted in shrinkage. What is your explanation?

DAVID: The new brain supplies all sorts of new information under the soul's direction.

dhw: Why don’t you answer my question? I have given you the information on which the concept is based. What new information is needed, and requires brain expansion, before the concept of “throwing something sharp” is conceived?

DAVID: The current brain at any stage of evolution always sees the information available. Conceiving of a new concept requires abstract thought in the design process.

Precisely. The new concept arises out of the information available. Then the implementation of the concept through design and manufacture makes new demands on the brain, which in former times resulted in expansion.

DAVID: Killing at a distance requires throwing a stone tipped stick. That is always the hard work. Making it is easy but it requires a second invention, chipping the proper stones to get the best shape. All of these concepts developed over different times and were always used by latter stages of hominins. I have told you what I have designed. With my expanded brain. My view is you have a backward concept of new designs.

I know that is your view, and you still haven’t answered my question. The concept that arises out of need to avoid close contact with prey: “Maybe me throw something sharp.” What new information has the brain provided? From then on, the old brain has to form new connections in order to design and manufacture the artefact – hence expansion.

DAVID: You want the effort to make a conceived artifact as the way to enlarge the brain. That has never been my experience. Design first, difficult. Producing easy.

dhw: You have forgotten that the concept comes first. I say it is conceived by the existing brain (materialist) or soul (dualist) using existing information. You refuse to say why the brain has to expand before the brain/soul can conceive the concept.

DAVID: What???!! God expands the brain to allow the new complex abstract thought to appear through use by the soul.

Which new complex abstract thought – the concept, or the design of the concept? Once more: in your dualistic world, the soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its concepts. The concept in our example is to kill prey by throwing a sharp artefact from a distance. This is an abstract thought arising solely from the information that already exists. Once the dualist’s soul has conceived the concept, it uses the brain to design and manufacture the artefact. Why do you insist that your God had to expand the brain before the hunter could extrapolate his concept from existing information?

DAVID: Based on my own experience with our brain, I am sure your idea is exactly backwards. You theory would only work if previous brains worked for the soul and an entirely different way than it does now. Concept difficult, production easy.

Why do you continue to ignore the development from concept to design? And why do you insist that the complexification and limited expansion of the modern brain (which has finished expanding for whatever reason, though I suggest anatomical practicality) constitutes an entirely different way of working compared to limited complexification and greater expansion at a time when brains were considerably smaller than they are now and therefore did not have the capacity to design and manufacture certain new concepts?

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