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

by dhw, Monday, March 30, 2020, 13:37 (177 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Your theory would only work if we knew that the brain complexified or expanded before it could have the original concept and the new thoughts arising from the concept. This is contrary to all the known facts, and is doubly illogical if you believe in a soul which does all the thinking and only uses the brain to gather information and to give solid form to the immaterial concept.[/b]

DAVID: My logic is based upon archaeological studies and reports that better improved artifacts always are found in places where the fossils have the bigger brains.

Of course they are! But archaeological studies don’t explain why the brains got bigger in the first place! And so you continue to ignore the fact that there is no way anyone can possibly know if the FIRST artefact in the history of each larger brained species was conceived before or after the expansion. It could only exist after the brain had expanded sufficiently to produce it.

dhw: I don’t like to delve too deep into precise figures. […] The fossil record does not provide a continuous record of expansions!

DAVID: Let's stick to what is found and accepted as size jumps.

You didn’t believe the brain could jump 200 cc. I asked you what figure you could believe. May I also ask you if you think the fossil record is complete? It’s also worth noting that even in the human brain there are variations in volume. One website says the average is 1300 cc – 1500 cc (oh, a gap of 200 cc!) but there is a range from about 1000 cc to 1800 cc. So perhaps you can understand why I wouldn’t like to be as precise as you about a 200 cc jump from one homo to another.

DAVID: An existing early stage brain can only think at a level that existing complexity allows.

dhw: Back into the trap, and you complain when I pull you up on this, but it suits your argument to say – as you keep doing - that the brain does the thinking (and it may well do so, as materialists will tell you). Your argument falls apart if it is the soul that does the thinking, because the soul uses the brain only to gather information and to implement concepts. The soul did not need extra brain complexity when our homo had his bright idea,because that was based solely on existing information. The soul would only need the brain to IMPLEMENT its concept (= design and make it).

DAVID: Weird, as usual. You can't stand my shorthand about brain/soul complex. Why bug me when you fully understand my views/concept about brain and soul?

Because you keep forgetting what I keep reminding you of. If the soul does the thinking and the brain’s function is to gather information and to implement the ideas of the soul, then it is illogical to argue that the soul could not come up with new ideas based on existing information! And so you keep arguing that the brain has to expand because it can only think at a level existing complexity allows. No, in your dualist world, the soul thinks, and we know from modern science that thought - whether engendered by a soul or by the brain itself - changes the brain. (This is not the place to discuss the case for materialism, but we have discussed that elsewhere.)

DAVID: The bold is your fanciful invention to grow brains. The new design concept is an immaterial thought of invention. It uses existing knowledge of what materials are available and then applies that to the issue of how to attack at a distance.

How does that contradict my bold? The immaterial thought of the weapon used existing information. The brain did not need to expand in order for the homo to have the new idea.

DAVID: We know that Erectus knew what Habilis had created and used those tools. We know, as above, increased brain size and advance in artifacts are correlated, always being found together. That is the way archaeologists view it, and they are not at our level of wondering about jumps in brain size and its cause.

And you continue to echo what I keep saying, except that you conveniently forget the argument concerning the FIRST artefacts.

DAVID: The facts do not support you in any way, but you have the perfect right to invent whatever makes you think it is a valid theory.

The fact that modern brains change AS A RESULT of conscious efforts to perform new tasks supports my theory that older brains changed AS A RESULT of conscious efforts to perform new tasks. Now please tell me what facts support your belief that your God preprogrammed or dabbled jumps of 200 cc before pre-sapiens could come up with any new ideas.

DAVID: Remember, this discussion is at your non-god level, looking at a possible natural reason for expansion. I prefer God for the expansion.

dhw: What is wrong with the proposal that God organized Nature so that it would work naturally?

DAVID: My God is in total control. That proposal reduces His control as I view him.

So all that’s wrong with my proposal is that it's different from yours. Not much of an argument, is it?


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