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

by dhw, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 14:10 (110 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You continue to ignore the distinction between concept and design. I can do no more than repeat what I wrote yesterday in bold:
"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.

DAVID: We both agree design first and then implement after. Design is immaterial concept taken from knowledge of what is needed. Once the concept of the design is understood, the implementation is blue-collar work, not difficult.

We do not agree because you keep refusing to acknowledge that there is a development from the initial concept to the design and material production of the artefact: from “me throw something sharp” to “me design and make artefact no one ever designed or made before.”

dhw: And I keep emphasizing that it is the first artefacts which will have demanded the expansion of the brain, and only when the brain had expanded could the artefact have become real. All subsequent artefacts would have been conceived, designed and manufactured using the same sized sized brain, until the next time a concept demanded greater capacity.

DAVID: And it is logical to assume the newly existing fossils made the newly existing artifacts and as shown previously still use the old artifacts from previous forms. Larger brain always needed first.

It is impossible to know whether the larger brain preceded the design and making of the first artefact or was caused by it – the result would be the same: simultaneous appearance of larger brain and first artefact.

dhw: I keep asking what new information was required before my homo thought to himself: “Maybe me throw something sharp.” Please stop evading the question.

DAVID: I have evaded nothing. See above. The early homo must realize, as Chimps do now that throwing stones works to damage at a distance. Throwing a wooden staff will do the same, but a napped sharp stone on the end of the staff will do the most damage. Early homos had sharped stones for scraping hides before the spear. The concept requires abstract thought to combine the two. The rest, the implementation is not difficult once the design idea is present. The bow and arrow is a bit more difficult, because trial and error will make them realize a feathered arrow tail is needed for accuracy. With the full concept of arrow finally conceived, the rest is easy to make. Design is always conceptual and immaterial. Making the design is manual work.

Over and over and over again, you refuse to acknowledge the development from concept to design. Of course they are both conceptual and immaterial, but the whole point of my theory is that the original idea – in your new example: “maybe throw spear better with bendy branch and something hold bendy branch before unbend…” – arises in the pre-expanded brain out of existing information (existing spear, existing desire to "throw" further than at present), and then has to be developed through design and production. New and intense mental effort is required to turn the initial concept into material reality through design and manual work. We know from all our studies of the brain that mental effort CAUSES changes to the brain. (The examples are meant only to illustrate the process, not to pinpoint the exact cause of each and every expansion.)


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