Big brain evolution (Evolution)

by dhw, Friday, January 05, 2018, 17:50 (171 days ago)

This is the second post I found while searching for the dualism/materialism one, and it seems to me to sum up a great deal of what we have been discussing under "learning new tasks". It clearly followed on from an article proposing that random mutations caused brain expansion, but my concern was to develop a far more purposeful hypothesis, and I still think its logic is convincing. I posted it under "Different in degree or kind: big brain evolution" 18 December 2016 at 14:03".


These researchers use mutations in Darwin’s sense of random changes, but if we go back to my hypothesis reconciling dualism and materialism, perhaps there could be an ongoing feedback here. Something triggered a new awareness. Perhaps a forced descent from the trees. One can imagine an isolated group of tree-dwelling apes whose habitat is destroyed by disease. Tree-climbing is a vertical exercise. Maybe verticality proved to be an advantage down on the ground, and the change itself sparked new awareness. (I realize this is pure speculation, but I am not satisfied with serendipity, or with divine preprogramming, or with divine, step-by-step dabbling – if David’s God wanted sapiens, he could have produced sapiens.) The adjustment to permanent life on the ground would have required experimentation. We know that chimps, for instance, use tools, but perhaps with this particular group of our chimp-like ancestors, the intelligence needed to use tools was supplemented by other factors, such as the need to find new ways of protecting themselves against predators, since their trees had disappeared. What I am looking for is the spark that would have enhanced awareness.

Once the spark is lit, the next step is the effect of thought on matter: the brain responds to exercise; new activities demand new connections between brain and muscles, and new forms of communication between members of the group. One thing leads to another in a perfectly logical chain of developments. The brain engenders thought, and thought in turn develops the brain. This ties in with the researchers’ observation that our intelligence is bigger than our brain, and also with the theory of emergence, that the sum is greater than its parts. Add the theory of convergence, and you have similar patterns emerging elsewhere, to explain how different “species” of hominin may have arisen and with migration may even have interbred (as it is now believed that Neanderthals and Sapiens did). Once we have that extra degree of awareness, the whole process is self-advancing, as one observation leads to another, and each observation engenders new needs and actions and physiological adjustments. In brief, the brain engenders thought, and the extraordinary levels of consciousness that distinguish us from our fellow animals are the result of new needs engendering new thoughts which, in turn, engender physiological adaptations, including the expansion of the brain. (PRESENT COMMENT: to this we must add the complexification that took over once the brain had stopped expanding.)

What we do not know is the spark that lit the fuse for this chain reaction. That, however, would be the only instance of “serendipity” – productive good luck, in contrast to the bad luck that has left 99% of species extinct. Variability within species is enough to explain why some groups of primates remained the same while others advanced. And there is no exclusion of the God theory, since this is a very late chapter in life’s history, and deals only with the origin of humans, and not with that of life and consciousness.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, January 08, 2018, 21:14 (168 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: What we do not know is the spark that lit the fuse for this chain reaction. That, however, would be the only instance of “serendipity” – productive good luck, in contrast to the bad luck that has left 99% of species extinct. Variability within species is enough to explain why some groups of primates remained the same while others advanced. And there is no exclusion of the God theory, since this is a very late chapter in life’s his

I have read through this reasoning and still disagree. I'm convinced God wanted sapiens and took his time doing it through a delilberate process of evolution in which he proveided the advances. A smaller cortex cannot know what it cannot think of until its brain is larger and more complex.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 11:07 (166 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: What we do not know is the spark that lit the fuse for this chain reaction. That, however, would be the only instance of “serendipity” – productive good luck, in contrast to the bad luck that has left 99% of species extinct. Variability within species is enough to explain why some groups of primates remained the same while others advanced. And there is no exclusion of the God theory, since this is a very late chapter in life’s history.

DAVID: I have read through this reasoning and still disagree. I'm convinced God wanted sapiens and took his time doing it through a delilberate process of evolution in which he proveided the advances. A smaller cortex cannot know what it cannot think of until its brain is larger and more complex.

Yet again, according to your dualism the cortex does NOT do the thinking, which is done by the s/s/c. But if it does do the thinking, it is still not the concept that depends on brain changes, but the IMPLEMENTATION of the concept: expansion for pre-sapiens, complexification for sapiens. The illiterate women’s brains changed through the effort to write. They did not change beforehand.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 15:23 (166 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: What we do not know is the spark that lit the fuse for this chain reaction. That, however, would be the only instance of “serendipity” – productive good luck, in contrast to the bad luck that has left 99% of species extinct. Variability within species is enough to explain why some groups of primates remained the same while others advanced. And there is no exclusion of the God theory, since this is a very late chapter in life’s history.

DAVID: I have read through this reasoning and still disagree. I'm convinced God wanted sapiens and took his time doing it through a delilberate process of evolution in which he proveided the advances. A smaller cortex cannot know what it cannot think of until its brain is larger and more complex.

dhw: Yet again, according to your dualism the cortex does NOT do the thinking, which is done by the s/s/c. But if it does do the thinking, it is still not the concept that depends on brain changes, but the IMPLEMENTATION of the concept: expansion for pre-sapiens, complexification for sapiens. The illiterate women’s brains changed through the effort to write. They did not change beforehand.

Covered elsewhere. The learning to read further compleixified a very complex cortex, and shrunk the brain. No enlargement seen.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 12:38 (160 days ago) @ dhw

As the discussion on what caused brain expansion has been between David – a dualist – and myself, I’ve been forced to approach it from the dualist’s viewpoint in order to point out what I consider to be major contradictions in his argument. In the first article on this thread, however, I took the materialist line that the brain engenders thought, and at first sight my proposal that expansion was caused by the implementation of new concepts may seem to run contrary to the materialist approach. Most hypotheses I know of seem to take it for granted that the larger brain has caused greater levels of consciousness, as opposed to its being the result. Hence speculation that random mutations, or cooked food and improved diet were the cause of expansion. I would like to offer a different approach.

If all thought processes stem from the brain or from the brain equivalent (I prefer to include single-celled organisms), it is difficult to see any way in which this can happen without cellular intelligence. Scientists actually pinpoint specific cell communities within the human brain that are responsible for our different faculties and abilities. David himself makes great play of the cognitive functions of the cortex, though he never refers to it as a cell community. However, in view of the fact that some brain-damaged people are still able to think normally, I’d prefer not to discuss particular areas. The self-repairing brain fits perfectly into my hypothesis that the whole community of communities cooperates, and in some cases can do so in a manner that will even overcome brain damage.

If you can accept the basic premise of cellular intelligence, as promulgated by such prominent scientists as Barbara McClintock, Lynn Margulis, James Shapiro et al, then the rest seems to me to follow on quite logically. We are all individuals – i.e. even if the fundamental structures are the same, no two brains are alike. The materialist equivalent of the dualist’s “soul” is those cell communities that are the source of our thinking. And the source of our thinking is what gives instructions to the rest of the brain and body. The materialist process of expansion will therefore be precisely the same as the dualist process: the individual "genius" cell community comes up with the new idea, and the rest of the brain must implement it, as will the rest of the social community. In our ancestors, the rest of the brain did not have the necessary capacity, and so there was a need for more cells and more connections to perform the required actions. Concept first, then implementation resulting in expansion. Eventually,expansion reached its physical limit in sapiens, and so the cell communities had to find a different mode of implementation: namely, complexification.

NB (1) I am not taking sides. I am simply trying to demonstrate that for both the materialist and the dualist, it makes perfect sense to attribute brain expansion to the implementation of concepts rather than attributing concepts to the expansion of the brain. Fortunately, we have a clue to the feasibility of this hypothesis: we know that in modern humans, it is the implementation of concepts that changes the brain. The brain does not change in anticipation of the concepts it is asked to implement, regardless of whether the source of the concepts is a soul or a community of cells.

NB (2) Neither dualism nor materialism explains consciousness. They are both beliefs relating to the source of consciousness. And although the materialist belief is usually coupled with atheism, there is no reason why one should not believe in a God who has done precisely what humans are now attempting to do with their work on artificial intelligence – namely to create conscious beings out of materials. If humans succeed in doing so, this will not prove that conscious beings can be the product of chance.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 16, 2018, 17:53 (160 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Eventually,expansion reached its physical limit in sapiens, and so the cell communities had to find a different mode of implementation: namely, complexification.

You have no way of knowing if previous smaller brains had no ability to complexify. Based on our knowledge that evolution makes advances and builds on them, it is much more logical to assume that earlier brains did a bit of complexification while implementation occurred. I agree that the sapiens brain is smaller than originally sized and that supports the idea that evolution for humans is over, but there may be another step coming with a slightly larger or more complex brain in a subsequent human species. We can't know. Your point about a physical limit agrees with my point that current sapiens are/were God's goal all along.


dhw: NB (1) I am not taking sides. I am simply trying to demonstrate that for both the materialist and the dualist, it makes perfect sense to attribute brain expansion to the implementation of concepts rather than attributing concepts to the expansion of the brain. Fortunately, we have a clue to the feasibility of this hypothesis: we know that in modern humans, it is the implementation of concepts that changes the brain. The brain does not change in anticipation of the concepts it is asked to implement, regardless of whether the source of the concepts is a soul or a community of cells.

The false thought here is that future concepts desired in a smaller less complex brain forces expansion to a larger more complex brain. Do cell committees drive their own evolution? I don't believe it.


dhw: NB (2) Neither dualism nor materialism explains consciousness. They are both beliefs relating to the source of consciousness. And although the materialist belief is usually coupled with atheism, there is no reason why one should not believe in a God who has done precisely what humans are now attempting to do with their work on artificial intelligence – namely to create conscious beings out of materials. If humans succeed in doing so, this will not prove that conscious beings can be the product of chance.

I'll agree God at work drives evolution.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 13:45 (159 days ago) @ David Turell

The two posts under “sticks and stones” and “big brain evolution” overlap, and David’s responses are so full of misunderstandings that I will summarize my hypothesis and then deal with any points not directly covered by the summary. For this purpose, I’ll adopt David’s dualistic approach – the materialist version was described in my previous post on this thread.

Soul thinks of new concepts; brain provides information and is used by soul to implement concepts. Soul of small-brained hominin has idea. Implementation of idea requires new abilities/greater capacity, and brain expands. Soul of new larger-brained hominin may come up with new concepts which can be implemented by complexification, but eventually once again new concepts require new abilities/greater capacity, and once again brain expands in order to implement them. Repeat until new concepts require "final" expansion, i.e. now that new concepts of sapiens' immediate predecessor have been implemented, we have sapiens’ brain which can no longer expand without nasty anatomical consequences. For 270,000 years (David’s figure) soul of sapiens does not come up with major new concepts, but whatever it does come up with is dealt with by complexification. Then "geniuses" arrive, and so – because expansion is no longer possible – complexification becomes sole means of implementation.

There is no “‘logically' the new brain should have had the ideas right away.” The new brain came about because of ideas produced by the pre-sapiens soul and implemented by expansion to sapiens brain. Once each enlarged brain exists, including sapiens, it can hang around for hundreds of thousands of years without any major innovations.

Each new bigger size may well enable implementation through complexification for limited time, but “allow the soul to use it to come up with more advanced concepts” is not clear: the soul uses the brain to gain information and to IMPLEMENT its concepts, not to do its thinking for it. (But new concepts may well arise from the soul’s thoughts about existing implementations of its concepts. We progress by building on earlier concepts and their implementations.) There is no preconceived agenda. Expansion and complexification take place in response to whatever new ideas are provided by “genius” souls.

DAVID: The false thought here is that future concepts desired in a smaller less complex brain forces expansion to a larger more complex brain.

They are not “future” concepts.”Genius” pre-sapiens’ small brain has concept of spear, and implementation of concept forces expansion – just as concept of reading and writing forces new complexifications in brains of illiterate women. Once more: concept formed by soul with current brain; implementation changes brain – precisely as described so vividly in your post of 2 December under “learning new tasks”.

DAVID: “Your point about a physical limit agrees with my point that current sapiens are/were God's goal all along.”

Physical limit has nothing whatsoever to do with your God’s goal. All species reach a certain size, with limbs, head etc. in proportion to the rest of the body. We may assume that the dimensions are optimum under current conditions. Maybe in a billion years, there will be new conditions, with elephant-sized ants, ant-sized elephants, and humans...well, who knows?

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 17:24 (159 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Soul thinks of new concepts; brain provides information and is used by soul to implement concepts. Soul of small-brained hominin has idea. Implementation of idea requires new abilities/greater capacity, and brain expands.

As miraculous as my God doing it. I don't believe the small brain has an idea before expansion. The bigger brain has the new idea and implements it, per artifacts appearing with it. DHW's idea is discontinuous with the earlier brain having the idea which then can't happen until he new brain appears.

dhw: Soul of new larger-brained hominin may come up with new concepts which can be implemented by complexification, but eventually once again new concepts require new abilities/greater capacity, and once again brain expands in order to implement them. Repeat until new concepts require "final" expansion, i.e. now that new concepts of sapiens' immediate predecessor have been implemented, we have sapiens’ brain which can no longer expand without nasty anatomical consequences.

There is no reason why the brain could not expand more. It was 150 cc bigger earlier in sapiens existence. If there is no reason for it to expand it supports my contention that this is God's goal/endpoint for evolution.

For 270,000 years (David’s figure) soul of sapiens does not come up with major new concepts, but whatever it does come up with is dealt with by complexification.

If the erectus brain forced the appearance of the sapiens brain size, why did it take 270,000 years for the implementations to start? Each stage of brain size is disconnected by time.

dhw: There is no “‘logically' the new brain should have had the ideas right away.” The new brain came about because of ideas produced by the pre-sapiens soul and implemented by expansion to sapiens brain. Once each enlarged brain exists, including sapiens, it can hang around for hundreds of thousands of years without any major innovations.

Does not explain the gaps in usage, if the new brain size is driven by a previous idea.


dhw: Each new bigger size may well enable implementation through complexification for limited time, but “allow the soul to use it to come up with more advanced concepts” is not clear: the soul uses the brain to gain information and to IMPLEMENT its concepts, not to do its thinking for it.

The soul uses the brain to think!

dhw: (But new concepts may well arise from the soul’s thoughts about existing implementations of its concepts. We progress by building on earlier concepts and their implementations.) There is no preconceived agenda. Expansion and complexification take place in response to whatever new ideas are provided by “genius” souls.

Fallacy: the thoughts are in a previous brain to create the new size! Only survival mode ideas existed until 30,000 years ago. Then the concepts came fast and furious


DAVID: The false thought here is that future concepts desired in a smaller less complex brain forces expansion to a larger more complex brain.

dhw They are not “future” concepts.”Genius” pre-sapiens’ small brain has concept of spear, and implementation of concept forces expansion – just as concept of reading and writing forces new complexifications in brains of illiterate women.

That is not expansion, but shrinkage!

dhw: Once more: concept formed by soul with current brain; implementation changes brain – precisely as described so vividly in your post of 2 December under “learning new tasks”.

Stop. I've told you a previous size increase in brain was implied, but not clear the way I wrote it.


DAVID: “Your point about a physical limit agrees with my point that current sapiens are/were God's goal all along.”

dhw: Physical limit has nothing whatsoever to do with your God’s goal. All species reach a certain size, with limbs, head etc. in proportion to the rest of the body. We may assume that the dimensions are optimum under current conditions. Maybe in a billion years, there will be new conditions, with elephant-sized ants, ant-sized elephants, and humans...well, who knows?

Of course it is God's goal. We survived well with it until 30,000 years ago when concepts and implementation exploded. Proof that our current brain is not needed for survival, but despite Darwin's theory about survivability as a major driving force, it is here.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Thursday, January 18, 2018, 14:24 (158 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Soul thinks of new concepts; brain provides information and is used by soul to implement concepts. Soul of small-brained hominin has idea. Implementation of idea requires new abilities/greater capacity, and brain expands.
DAVID: As miraculous as my God doing it. I don't believe the small brain has an idea before expansion. The bigger brain has the new idea and implements it, per artifacts appearing with it. DHW's idea is discontinuous with the earlier brain having the idea which then can't happen until he new brain appears.

Now you, the dualist, tell us that the bigger brain has the new idea! Dualists believe the self/soul/consciousness has the ideas, but on Wed, 17 January you dispense with your dualistic soul altogether! As for discontinuous: no. Soul of hominin with small brain has idea, and effort to implement idea causes brain to expand, so appearance of artefact and appearance of enlarged brain coincide in one continuous process. The discontinuity lies in your dualistic version, which you have suddenly forgotten about: sudden expansion of BRAIN for no reason, but only then can SOUL come up with new ideas.

dhw: […] now that new concepts of sapiens' immediate predecessor have been implemented, we have sapiens’ brain which can no longer expand without nasty anatomical consequences.
DAVID: There is no reason why the brain could not expand more. It was 150 cc bigger earlier in sapiens existence. If there is no reason for it to expand it supports my contention that this is God's goal/endpoint for evolution.

So your God decided to stop expansion, whereas you can envisage current humans in current conditions with elephant-sized heads, and you don’t think that would pose problems for the rest of the anatomy. I can’t.

Dhw: For 270,000 years (David’s figure) soul of sapiens does not come up with major new concepts, but whatever it does come up with is dealt with by complexification.
DAVID: If the erectus brain forced the appearance of the sapiens brain size, why did it take 270,000 years for the implementations to start? Each stage of brain size is disconnected by time.

Wrong sequence! Pre-sapiens hominin had new concept; implementation of new concept expanded brain to sapiens size. 270,000 years passed before more new concepts required major changes to sapiens brain. Expansion not possible, complexification sole means of implementation. It took (according to you) 270,000 years for the "geniuses" to produce major new concepts - peanuts by comparison with habilis, erectus & Co. Incidentally, I don’t know where your figures come from. Most websites suggest sapiens goes back 200,000 not 300,000 years, but nobody knows for sure, just as nobody knows for sure when erectus became extinct (one website suggests as recently as 20,000 years). Perfectly feasible that pre-sapiens co-existed with sapiens – one would not expect EVERY pre-sapiens brain to expand. But that's just by the way.

dhw: […] the soul uses the brain to gain information and to IMPLEMENT its concepts, not to do its thinking for it.
DAVID: The soul uses the brain to think!

The soul (if it exists) uses the brain to provide the information it thinks about, and it uses the brain to implement its ideas. You have agreed to this over and over again (see your post under “brain damage”, 13 January at 01.05), as exemplified by your facile computer image, in which the software (soul) provides the idea, and the brain (computer) implements it.

dhw: ”Genius” pre-sapiens’ small brain has concept of spear, and implementation of concept forces expansion – just as concept of reading and writing forces new complexifications in brains of illiterate women.
DAVID: That is not expansion, but shrinkage!

Of course it’s not expansion! Yet again: the sapiens brain can’t expand any more, and so complexification is the sole means of implementation. Complexification is so efficient that some cells and their connections are no longer needed – hence shrinkage.

dhw: Once more: concept formed by soul with current brain; implementation changes brain – precisely as described so vividly in your post of 2 December under “learning new tasks”.
DAVID: Stop. I've told you a previous size increase in brain was implied, but not clear the way I wrote it.

I accept that you didn’t mean it that way, but I cannot think of a better description of the process I am proposing.

DAVID: Your point about a physical limit agrees with my point that current sapiens are/were God's goal all along.
dhw: Physical limit has nothing whatsoever to do with your God’s goal. All species reach a certain size, with limbs, head etc. in proportion to the rest of the body. We may assume that the dimensions are optimum under current conditions. Maybe in a billion years, there will be new conditions, with elephant-sized ants, ant-sized elephants, and humans...well, who knows?
DAVID: Of course it is God's goal. We survived well with it until 30,000 years ago when concepts and implementation exploded. Proof that our current brain is not needed for survival, but despite Darwin's theory about survivability as a major driving force, it is here.

I have added improvement to survivability as a major driving force. You are discussing this with me, not with Darwin.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 18, 2018, 18:01 (158 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As miraculous as my God doing it. I don't believe the small brain has an idea before expansion. The bigger brain has the new idea and implements it, per artifacts appearing with it. DHW's idea is discontinuous with the earlier brain having the idea which then can't happen until he new brain appears.

Now you, the dualist, tell us that the bigger brain has the new idea! Dualists believe the self/soul/consciousness has the ideas, but on Wed, 17 January you dispense with your dualistic soul altogether! As for discontinuous: no. Soul of hominin with small brain has idea, and effort to implement idea causes brain to expand, so appearance of artefact and appearance of enlarged brain coincide in one continuous process. The discontinuity lies in your dualistic version, which you have suddenly forgotten about: sudden expansion of BRAIN for no reason, but only then can SOUL come up with new ideas.

You have forgotten I write brain and imply s/s/c in action as understood. We've covered this, but you keep editing my writing. Sudden expansion is God in action.


dhw: […] now that new concepts of sapiens' immediate predecessor have been implemented, we have sapiens’ brain which can no longer expand without nasty anatomical consequences.

DAVID: There is no reason why the brain could not expand more. It was 150 cc bigger earlier in sapiens existence. If there is no reason for it to expand it supports my contention that this is God's goal/endpoint for evolution.

dhw: So your God decided to stop expansion, whereas you can envisage current humans in current conditions with elephant-sized heads, and you don’t think that would pose problems for the rest of the anatomy. I can’t.

We shrunk 150 cc. We can easily add it back anatomically, but I doubt that will happen. Elephant heads on humans will never appear, and you know it. We are at God's endpoint, as you have demonstrated.

DAVID: If the erectus brain forced the appearance of the sapiens brain size, why did it take 270,000 years for the implementations to start? Each stage of brain size is disconnected by time.


dhw: Incidentally, I don’t know where your figures come from. Most websites suggest sapiens goes back 200,000 not 300,000 years, but nobody knows for sure, just as nobody knows for sure when erectus became extinct (one website suggests as recently as 20,000 years).

You have forgotten the recent finding of a Moroccan sapiens fossil dated at 300,000 years ago.


dhw: The soul (if it exists) uses the brain to provide the information it thinks about, and it uses the brain to implement its ideas. You have agreed to this over and over again (see your post under “brain damage”, 13 January at 01.05), as exemplified by your facile computer image, in which the software (soul) provides the idea, and the brain (computer) implements it.

Good explanation.

DAVID: Your point about a physical limit agrees with my point that current sapiens are/were God's goal all along.

dhw: Physical limit has nothing whatsoever to do with your God’s goal. All species reach a certain size, with limbs, head etc. in proportion to the rest of the body. We may assume that the dimensions are optimum under current conditions. Maybe in a billion years, there will be new conditions, with elephant-sized ants, ant-sized elephants, and humans...well, who knows?

DAVID: Of course it is God's goal. We survived well with it until 30,000 years ago when concepts and implementation exploded. Proof that our current brain is not needed for survival, but despite Darwin's theory about survivability as a major driving force, it is here.

dhw: I have added improvement to survivability as a major driving force. You are discussing this with me, not with Darwin.

Darwin always lurks in the background as we discuss evolution. I think survivability is an overrated concept. I have always felt God created the evolutionary process to create complexity. 99% of species are gone. That is non-survival to prove the point and all the complexity didn't work. Not all 'advances' are improvement as I've shown in the whale series which is just an experiment in complexity.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Friday, January 19, 2018, 13:41 (157 days ago) @ David Turell

I am going to juxtapose some of our exchanges for the sake of continuity and clarity.

DAVID: As miraculous as my God doing it. I don't believe the small brain has an idea before expansion. The bigger brain has the new idea and implements it, per artifacts appearing with it. DHW's idea is discontinuous with the earlier brain having the idea which then can't happen until he new brain appears.

dhw: Now you, the dualist, tell us that the bigger brain has the new idea! Dualists believe the self/soul/consciousness has the ideas, but on Wed, 17 January you dispense with your dualistic soul altogether! As for discontinuous: no. Soul of hominin with small brain has idea, and effort to implement idea causes brain to expand, so appearance of artefact and appearance of enlarged brain coincide in one continuous process. The discontinuity lies in your dualistic version, which you have suddenly forgotten about: sudden expansion of BRAIN for no reason, but only then can SOUL come up with new ideas.

DAVID: You have forgotten I write brain and imply s/s/c in action as understood. We've covered this, but you keep editing my writing. Sudden expansion is God in action.

There is no editing. I have reproduced your comment in full and exactly as you wrote it. You have stated categorically and repeatedly that the brain has the idea, just as you have stated in the past that mental activity is biochemical. You unthinkingly keep reverting to materialism whenever you claim that the new concept cannot be conceived without the larger brain. Perhaps that is why you have argued that my hypothesis is discontinuous. What is discontinuous is the dualistic argument that the soul is the source of new ideas, but can only have new ideas when the brain has already expanded - an argument which underpins materialism.

dhw: The soul (if it exists) uses the brain to provide the information it thinks about, and it uses the brain to implement its ideas. You have agreed to this over and over again (see your post under “brain damage”, 13 January at 01.05), as exemplified by your facile computer image, in which the software (soul) provides the idea, and the brain (computer) implements it.
DAVID: Good explanation.

So please bear it in mind when arguing that “the bigger brain has the new idea”, and mental processes are biochemical, and new concepts can only be conceived once the brain has already expanded.

DAVID: There is no reason why the brain could not expand more. It was 150 cc bigger earlier in sapiens existence. If there is no reason for it to expand it supports my contention that this is God's goal/endpoint for evolution.
dhw: So your God decided to stop expansion, whereas you can envisage current humans in current conditions with elephant-sized heads, and you don’t think that would pose problems for the rest of the anatomy. I can’t.
DAVID: We shrunk 150 cc. We can easily add it back anatomically, but I doubt that will happen. Elephant heads on humans will never appear, and you know it. We are at God's endpoint, as you have demonstrated.

Complexification has resulted in shrinkage, so there is room for another 150 cc., but we don’t need it – at least under current conditions. However, if you agree that elephant heads on humans would be anatomically impractical, then physical limit has nothing to do with your God’s endpoint or goal, and everything to do with anatomical practicality.

DAVID: Of course it is God's goal. We survived well with it until 30,000 years ago when concepts and implementation exploded. Proof that our current brain is not needed for survival, but despite Darwin's theory about survivability as a major driving force, it is here.
dhw: I have added improvement to survivability as a major driving force. You are discussing this with me, not with Darwin.
DAVID: Darwin always lurks in the background as we discuss evolution. I think survivability is an overrated concept. I have always felt God created the evolutionary process to create complexity. 99% of species are gone. That is non-survival to prove the point and all the complexity didn't work. Not all 'advances' are improvement as I've shown in the whale series which is just an experiment in complexity.

We’ve discussed this many times. You claimed that the cessation of expansion proved we were God’s “endpoint”, which it doesn’t. Perhaps that is why you switched the discussion to Darwin and survivability?

dhw: Incidentally, I don’t know where your figures come from. Most websites suggest sapiens goes back 200,000 not 300,000 years, but nobody knows for sure, just as nobody knows for sure when erectus became extinct (one website suggests as recently as 20,000 years).
DAVID: You have forgotten the recent finding of a Moroccan sapiens fossil dated at 300,000 years ago.

I had indeed. Thank you.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Friday, January 19, 2018, 19:50 (157 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You have forgotten I write brain and imply s/s/c in action as understood. We've covered this, but you keep editing my writing. Sudden expansion is God in action.

dhw: There is no editing.... What is discontinuous is the dualistic argument that the soul is the source of new ideas, but can only have new ideas when the brain has already expanded - an argument which underpins materialism.

In my concept, the s/s/c can only use the capacity the brain presents. I still view he brain as compared to a computer and the s/s/c as the running software. I'm sure you know computers have an operating system. Windows One is much less complex than Windows Ten, because our current computers are complex enough to handle it.


dhw: The soul (if it exists) uses the brain to provide the information it thinks about, and it uses the brain to implement its ideas. You have agreed to this over and over again (see your post under “brain damage”, 13 January at 01.05), as exemplified by your facile computer image, in which the software (soul) provides the idea, and the brain (computer) implements it.

DAVID: Good explanation.

dhw: So please bear it in mind when arguing that “the bigger brain has the new idea”, and mental processes are biochemical, and new concepts can only be conceived once the brain has already expanded.

I will. Note the issue of brain development being required for baby learning:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/social-sciences/babies-learn-at-a-non-linear-rate

"So, the experiment was simple: take a bunch of six-month-olds (28, in this case) and bring them into the lab monthly to perform the Piaget test while having their brain activity mapped using an EEG.

"The task the babies performed involved a researcher hiding a toy in one of two wells in a cardboard box set in front of the infant. If the toy was then successfully retrieved by the infant, showing that they remembered that the toy existed and where it was despite not being able to directly see it, the test was considered successful.

"How babies perform in this task tells us a lot about their development because it's a coordination of multiple skills,” explains co-author Leigha MacNeill. (my bold)

“'They have to remember where the ball was moved, which is working memory. They have to know an object exists even though it's out of sight, and they need to track objects moving in space from one place to another. All of this also required them to pay attention. So there's a lot going on.”

"The EEG took baseline readings while the babies watched spinning balls in a bingo wheel before measuring brain activity as the babies performed the A-not-B test.

"The results mapped neatly as a sigmoid curve: flat at six months, with barely any of the children passing the test, and a gentle curve flattening again at 12 months with most of the children reaching the milestone. The experimenters noted that there was also a lot of variation in development both between the different babies and in individual children over different testing sessions.

"In other words, science backs up your intuition. These results indicate that babies learn in punctuated bursts, not at a steady linear rate over time, and the timing of those bursts are as idiosyncratic as the children themselves. "

Comment: the main issue here is how fast the brain develops its cortical skills. The newborn does not have a fuctional cortex. All it has is the automatic functions necesary for life. The cortex is finally fully functional at 25 years of age! What the researchers are showing us is the punctuated rate at which the brain adds complexdity of the cortex. The same point fits the development of the homo brain in 150/200 cc burst during evolution. A brain can only produce through control by the s/s/c only as much as its complexity allows. Complexity first, artifacts second.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Saturday, January 20, 2018, 14:17 (156 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have forgotten I write brain and imply s/s/c in action as understood. We've covered this, but you keep editing my writing. Sudden expansion is God in action.

dhw: There is no editing.... What is discontinuous is the dualistic argument that the soul is the source of new ideas, but can only have new ideas when the brain has already expanded - an argument which underpins materialism.

DAVID: In my concept, the s/s/c can only use the capacity the brain presents.

In mine too. You agree that the s/s/c is the source of the concept, and it uses the brain to acquire information and to implement the concept. And so if the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not use the existing brain capacity to implement its concept, then the capacity had to be increased. We don’t need computer analogies. You just need to respond to the contradiction (“discontinuity”) I have pointed out above, although perhaps your “I will” below means you realize the argument is untenable. (NB Reminder: Once the pre-sapiens brain has expanded, it may well have new ideas that it CAN cope with through complexification. Expansion only comes when the new concept exceeds the existing capacity.)

dhw: The soul (if it exists) uses the brain to provide the information it thinks about, and it uses the brain to implement its ideas. You have agreed to this over and over again (see your post under “brain damage”, 13 January at 01.05), as exemplified by your facile computer image, in which the software (soul) provides the idea, and the brain (computer) implements it.
DAVID: Good explanation.
dhw: So please bear it in mind when arguing that “the bigger brain has the new idea”, and mental processes are biochemical, and new concepts can only be conceived once the brain has already expanded.
DAVID: I will.

Thank you. But I will keep reminding you of this agreement whenever necessary!

DAVID: Note the issue of brain development being required for baby learning:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/social-sciences/babies-learn-at-a-non-linear-rate

QUOTE: “These results indicate that babies learn in punctuated bursts, not at a steady linear rate over time, and the timing of those bursts are as idiosyncratic as the children themselves. "
DAVID’s comment: [...] What the researchers are showing us is the punctuated rate at which the brain adds complexdity of the cortex. The same point fits the development of the homo brain in 150/200 cc burst during evolution. A brain can only produce through control by the s/s/c only as much as its complexity allows. Complexity first, artifacts second.

Of course the baby does not have a fully developed brain. The researchers’ point is that it develops in bursts which vary with individuals – as confirmed by my observations of my twin grandsons. And yes, a brain can only produce what its complexity or (pre-sapiens) its capacity allows, and so if the capacity does not allow production of the new concept (the artefact), it must expand, and if existing complexity (sapiens) does not allow implementation of the concept (reading and writing) it must add to its complexity. Expansion/ complexification does not precede artefacts/reading & writing but is caused by the process of implementation. The reading and writing example has been confirmed by modern science.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 20, 2018, 18:17 (156 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: In my concept, the s/s/c can only use the capacity the brain presents.

dhw: In mine too. You agree that the s/s/c is the source of the concept, and it uses the brain to acquire information and to implement the concept. And so if the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not use the existing brain capacity to implement its concept, then the capacity had to be increased.

Of course it had to be increased. That can't occur from chance evolution. It is a purposeful enlargement provided by God.

dhw: We don’t need computer analogies. You just need to respond to the contradiction (“discontinuity”) I have pointed out above, although perhaps your “I will” below means you realize the argument is untenable. (NB Reminder: Once the pre-sapiens brain has expanded, it may well have new ideas that it CAN cope with through complexification. Expansion only comes when the new concept exceeds the existing capacity.)

I see no discontinuity. You want push: concepts exceed capacity, and I want pull. An existing small brain cannot have the new concepts until a larger size brain appears for use by the s/s/c.


DAVID: Note the issue of brain development being required for baby learning:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/social-sciences/babies-learn-at-a-non-linear-rate

QUOTE: “These results indicate that babies learn in punctuated bursts, not at a steady linear rate over time, and the timing of those bursts are as idiosyncratic as the children themselves. "
DAVID’s comment: [...] What the researchers are showing us is the punctuated rate at which the brain adds complexity of the cortex. The same point fits the development of the homo brain in 150/200 cc burst during evolution. A brain can only produce through control by the s/s/c only as much as its complexity allows. Complexity first, artifacts second.

dhw: Of course the baby does not have a fully developed brain. The researchers’ point is that it develops in bursts which vary with individuals – as confirmed by my observations of my twin grandsons. And yes, a brain can only produce what its complexity or (pre-sapiens) its capacity allows, and so if the capacity does not allow production of the new concept (the artefact), it must expand, and if existing complexity (sapiens) does not allow implementation of the concept (reading and writing) it must add to its complexity. Expansion/ complexification does not precede artefacts/reading & writing but is caused by the process of implementation. The reading and writing example has been confirmed by modern science.

Of course the brain had to expand to allow sapiens to evolve. We are far apart on how that happened. Otherwise yhour summar is correct.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Sunday, January 21, 2018, 13:51 (155 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In my concept, the s/s/c can only use the capacity the brain presents.

dhw: In mine too. You agree that the s/s/c is the source of the concept, and it uses the brain to acquire information and to implement the concept. And so if the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not use the existing brain capacity to implement its concept, then the capacity had to be increased.

DAVID: Of course it had to be increased. That can't occur from chance evolution. It is a purposeful enlargement provided by God.

You are once more dodging the issue. I have never said that the expansion resulted from chance! If a new concept requires expansion, and the cell communities of the brain respond to that requirement, there is no chance involved. And at all times I have acknowledged the possibility that the cellular intelligence or inventive mechanism required for all such changes may have been supplied by your God from the very beginning.

dhw: We don’t need computer analogies. You just need to respond to the contradiction (“discontinuity”) I have pointed out above.

DAVID: I see no discontinuity. You want push: concepts exceed capacity, and I want pull. An existing small brain cannot have the new concepts until a larger size brain appears for use by the s/s/c.

I’m sorry that you cannot see the contradiction between your belief that the SOUL is responsible for ideas, but pre-sapiens souls could not have had new ideas until the brain had already expanded enough to implement them.

dhw: […] a brain can only produce what its complexity or (pre-sapiens) its capacity allows, and so if the capacity does not allow production of the new concept (the artefact), it must expand, and if existing complexity (sapiens) does not allow implementation of the concept (reading and writing) it must add to its complexity. Expansion/ complexification does not precede artefacts/reading & writing but is caused by the process of implementation. The reading and writing example has been confirmed by modern science.
DAVID: Of course the brain had to expand to allow sapiens to evolve. We are far apart on how that happened. Otherwise yhour summar is correct.

My summary explains the process whereby expansion/complexification is caused by the implementation of the concept, as opposed to preceding the concept. If the "soul" is the source of the concept, I can’t see any “otherwise” - either my summary is correct or it is not.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 21, 2018, 15:16 (155 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Of course it had to be increased. That can't occur from chance evolution. It is a purposeful enlargement provided by God.

dhw: You are once more dodging the issue. I have never said that the expansion resulted from chance! If a new concept requires expansion, and the cell communities of the brain respond to that requirement, there is no chance involved. And at all times I have acknowledged the possibility that the cellular intelligence or inventive mechanism required for all such changes may have been supplied by your God from the very beginning.

Cell communities are your invention by which you propose evolution shows a purposeful way of creating advances in life's new forms. I see no science behind it, and find it totally unacceptable for that reason.


dhw: We don’t need computer analogies. You just need to respond to the contradiction (“discontinuity”) I have pointed out above.

DAVID: I see no discontinuity. You want push: concepts exceed capacity, and I want pull. An existing small brain cannot have the new concepts until a larger size brain appears for use by the s/s/c.

dhw: I’m sorry that you cannot see the contradiction between your belief that the SOUL is responsible for ideas, but pre-sapiens souls could not have had new ideas until the brain had already expanded enough to implement them.

You cannot see my point that more complex ideas require a more complex cortex for the soul to use and develop. Ideas/concepts must appear first, then the implementation. You refuse to recognize brains only needed to be in a survival mode of implementation until 30,00 years ago. And we know recent implementation caused the brain to complexify more and shrink. The only point we scientifically know about implementation is shrinkage, despite how you try to twist that point. Note the backwards thought below:


dhw: […] a brain can only produce what its complexity or (pre-sapiens) its capacity allows, and so if the capacity does not allow production of the new concept (the artefact), it must expand, and if existing complexity (sapiens) does not allow implementation of the concept (reading and writing) it must add to its complexity. Expansion/ complexification does not precede artefacts/reading & writing but is caused by the process of implementation. The reading and writing example has been confirmed by modern science.

DAVID: Of course the brain had to expand to allow sapiens to evolve. We are far apart on how that happened. Otherwise your summary is correct.

dhw: My summary explains the process whereby expansion/complexification is caused by the implementation of the concept, as opposed to preceding the concept. If the "soul" is the source of the concept, I can’t see any “otherwise” - either my summary is correct or it is not.

As I've shown implementation causes shrinkage.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Monday, January 22, 2018, 14:11 (154 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Of course it had to be increased. That can't occur from chance evolution. It is a purposeful enlargement provided by God.

dhw: You are once more dodging the issue. I have never said that the expansion resulted from chance! If a new concept requires expansion, and the cell communities of the brain respond to that requirement, there is no chance involved. And at all times I have acknowledged the possibility that the cellular intelligence or inventive mechanism required for all such changes may have been supplied by your God from the very beginning.

DAVID: Cell communities are your invention by which you propose evolution shows a purposeful way of creating advances in life's new forms. I see no science behind it, and find it totally unacceptable for that reason.

Every organ and every organism is composed of groups of cells that communicate and cooperate with one another. That is what I mean by “community”. It is hardly my invention, and I doubt if any scientist would disagree. Cellular intelligence is not my invention either – it has been proposed by a number of scientists. If my proposal to put the two together as a possible explanation for evolution – as opposed to Darwin’s random mutations – is unique, then good for me to come up with such an original and logical proposition. I don’t know of any scientific evidence that an unknown being provided the first cells with programmes for every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder throughout the history of life, or that the unknown being dabbled.


dhw: I’m sorry that you cannot see the contradiction between your belief that the SOUL is responsible for ideas, but pre-sapiens souls could not have had new ideas until the brain had already expanded enough to implement them.
DAVID: You cannot see my point that more complex ideas require a more complex cortex for the soul to use and develop. Ideas/concepts must appear first, then the implementation.

"Use and develop" is not clear. The soul comes up with the new idea and requires a larger or more complex brain to implement it. That is why the pre-sapiens brain had to expand and the sapiens brain to complexify. Once the idea (artefact/reading & writing) has been implemented, the soul will decide how to use the implement/new ability and may well continue to develop the concept or come up with new concepts until further complexification/expansion is needed. It makes no sense for the brain to complexify/expand before it has a reason for doing so, and the dualist’s reason CANNOT be so that the brain can think of new concepts, because for the dualist, it is the soul that does the thinking. Concept first, implementation by complexification/expansion second.

DAVID: You refuse to recognize brains only needed to be in a survival mode of implementation until 30,00 years ago. And we know recent implementation caused the brain to complexify more and shrink. The only point we scientifically know about implementation is shrinkage, despite how you try to twist that point. (Later): As I've shown implementation causes shrinkage.

Survival mode is a totally different point, quite irrelevant to the question of how your dualist soul can be responsible for ideas and yet not have the ideas until the brain has expanded. I don’t know how true it is that sapiens was only in survival mode until 30,000 years ago, but it makes not the slightest difference to the argument. If it’s true, it simply means that it took a mere 270,000 years for the geniuses to come along with major new concepts. Implementation does not directly cause shrinkage. If it did, by now there should be nothing left. Here is the sequence again: pre-sapiens – probable complexification until capacity inadequate, then expansion; optimum capacity reached with sapiens, and so new concepts implemented by complexification; complexification so efficient that some cells and connections no longer necessary, hence shrinkage. This does not mean that the brain shrinks with implementation of every new concept.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Monday, January 22, 2018, 17:32 (154 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Of course it had to be increased. That can't occur from chance evolution. It is a purposeful enlargement provided by God.

dhw: You are once more dodging the issue. I have never said that the expansion resulted from chance! If a new concept requires expansion, and the cell communities of the brain respond to that requirement, there is no chance involved. And at all times I have acknowledged the possibility that the cellular intelligence or inventive mechanism required for all such changes may have been supplied by your God from the very beginning.

DAVID: Cell communities are your invention by which you propose evolution shows a purposeful way of creating advances in life's new forms. I see no science behind it, and find it totally unacceptable for that reason.

dhw: Every organ and every organism is composed of groups of cells that communicate and cooperate with one another. That is what I mean by “community”. It is hardly my invention, and I doubt if any scientist would disagree. Cellular intelligence is not my invention either – it has been proposed by a number of scientists. If my proposal to put the two together as a possible explanation for evolution – as opposed to Darwin’s random mutations – is unique, then good for me to come up with such an original and logical proposition. I don’t know of any scientific evidence that an unknown being provided the first cells with programmes for every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder throughout the history of life, or that the unknown being dabbled.

Cells act intelligently as they function. That doesn't mean they can design a major advance as in the Cambrian explosion. That is the flaw in your theory. You cannot extrapolate from cell function to design by committee! No Nobel for you.

dhw: I’m sorry that you cannot see the contradiction between your belief that the SOUL is responsible for ideas, but pre-sapiens souls could not have had new ideas until the brain had already expanded enough to implement them.
DAVID: You cannot see my point that more complex ideas require a more complex cortex for the soul to use and develop. Ideas/concepts must appear first, then the implementation.

dhw: "Use and develop" is not clear. The soul comes up with the new idea and requires a larger or more complex brain to implement it. That is why the pre-sapiens brain had to expand and the sapiens brain to complexify.

Of course the brain expanded. You want it driven by the soul in this example. How does the soul cause it? You can't tell me.

dhw: Once the idea (artefact/reading & writing) has been implemented, the soul will decide how to use the implement/new ability and may well continue to develop the concept or come up with new concepts until further complexification/expansion is needed. It makes no sense for the brain to complexify/expand before it has a reason for doing so, and the dualist’s reason CANNOT be so that the brain can think of new concepts, because for the dualist, it is the soul that does the thinking. Concept first, implementation by complexification/expansion second.

Your logic excludes God expanding the brain. I don't.


DAVID: You refuse to recognize brains only needed to be in a survival mode of implementation until 30,00 years ago. And we know recent implementation caused the brain to complexify more and shrink. The only point we scientifically know about implementation is shrinkage, despite how you try to twist that point. (Later): As I've shown implementation causes shrinkage.

dhw: Survival mode is a totally different point, quite irrelevant to the question of how your dualist soul can be responsible for ideas and yet not have the ideas until the brain has expanded.

Survival mode is exactly on point. You cannot explain a drive to brain enlargement, your theory, and then accept 270,000 years before the expansion is used, which creates a gap in timing in the drive. Why isn't it used immediately if expansion is not immediately required as you state?: " It makes no sense for the brain to complexify/expand before it has a reason for doing so". It has the reason, then it should be used. The gap is because the newly minted sapiens had to learn how to use it,

dhw: I don’t know how true it is that sapiens was only in survival mode until 30,000 years ago, but it makes not the slightest difference to the argument.

The difference to the argument is described above.

dhw: If it’s true, it simply means that it took a mere 270,000 years for the geniuses to come along with major new concepts. This does not mean that the brain shrinks with implementation of every new concept.

Agreed. But it shrank from 300,000 years ago from certain complxifications.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 14:11 (153 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Cells act intelligently as they function. That doesn't mean they can design a major advance as in the Cambrian explosion. That is the flaw in your theory. You cannot extrapolate from cell function to design by committee! No Nobel for you.

I agree, and have always acknowledged that, despite the evidence “my” scientists have amassed for cellular intelligence, there is none that cells/cell communities are intelligent enough to design the major advances. If we had the evidence, it would no longer be a hypothesis but a fact. That is why, under “autonomy verses automaticity” I wrote "You know my hypothesis (not dogma and not even belief, but an alternative to hypotheses such as Darwin’s random mutations and your own divine 3.8 billion-year-old computer programme or dabbling)." I shan’t repeat all the flaws in your own hypothesis.

dhw: I’m sorry that you cannot see the contradiction between your belief that the SOUL is responsible for ideas, but pre-sapiens souls could not have had new ideas until the brain had already expanded enough to implement them.
[…]
DAVID: Of course the brain expanded. You want it driven by the soul in this example. How does the soul cause it? You can't tell me.

No, I can’t tell you. Give me a clue. Please tell me how the soul causes sapiens’ brain to complexify. Please explain how the immaterial activates the material. Please explain exactly what your God did to expand the brain and skull.

dhw: It makes no sense for the brain to complexify/expand before it has a reason for doing so, and the dualist’s reason CANNOT be so that the brain can think of new concepts, because for the dualist, it is the soul that does the thinking. Concept first, implementation by complexification/expansion second.
DAVID: Your logic excludes God expanding the brain. I don't.

That is not an answer to my logic. Or are you going to fall back on your argument that God’s logic is different from human logic?

DAVID: You refuse to recognize brains only needed to be in a survival mode of implementation until 30,00 years ago.
dhw: Survival mode is a totally different point, quite irrelevant to the question of how your dualist soul can be responsible for ideas and yet not have the ideas until the brain has expanded.
DAVID: Survival mode is exactly on point. You cannot explain a drive to brain enlargement, your theory, and then accept 270,000 years before the expansion is used, which creates a gap in timing in the drive. Why isn't it used immediately if expansion is not immediately required as you state?: " It makes no sense for the brain to complexify/expand before it has a reason for doing so". It has the reason, then it should be used. The gap is because the newly minted sapiens had to learn how to use it,

I keep answering this, and you keep forgetting the answer! Immediate pre-sapiens has new concept that demands implementation. Pre-sapiens brain implements new concept by expanding to sapiens size. Now we have sapiens-sized brain. Then for 270,000 years nothing special happens – just as nothing special happened during the one or two million years that erectus used his expanded brain. It takes clever individuals to come up with new ideas. Sapiens’ major new ideas arrived 30,000 years ago. Why didn’t the clever individuals arrive earlier? No idea. Nor do I have any idea why, if your God’s sole purpose was to produce the brain of Homo sapiens, it took him one to two million years to expand the brain of erectus (or whichever hominin was our immediate predecessor). And for the third time, this has nothing to do with the question of how your dualist soul can be responsible for ideas and yet not have the ideas until the brain has expanded.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 15:30 (153 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: I’m sorry that you cannot see the contradiction between your belief that the SOUL is responsible for ideas, but pre-sapiens souls could not have had new ideas until the brain had already expanded enough to implement them.

I view a completely new idea as a discreet event with no antecedent. The s/s/c doesn't come to the pre-homo or homo with preconceived notions. The interaction of the living human with his s/s/c is mediated through his living brain (material) and his immaterial s/s/c. The complexity of thought is controlled by the existing complexity of the brain. Implementation is a different process in which the original thought is put to use by the brain which responds with plasticity, adjusting its functions in its new size, driven by the s/s/c desires. This occurred at all levels of brain evolution, even ours.

DAVID: Survival mode is exactly on point. You cannot explain a drive to brain enlargement, your theory, and then accept 270,000 years before the expansion is used, which creates a gap in timing in the drive. Why isn't it used immediately if expansion is not immediately required as you state?: " It makes no sense for the brain to complexify/expand before it has a reason for doing so". It has the reason, then it should be used. The gap is because the newly minted sapiens had to learn how to use it,

dhw: I keep answering this, and you keep forgetting the answer! Immediate pre-sapiens has new concept that demands implementation. Pre-sapiens brain implements new concept by expanding to sapiens size.

Here again you present your theory that a new idea forces (pushes) the brain to a new size. And all I see is the logic that if pre-homo had an idea he would implement that idea with the brain he had. The artifacts show this at each stage. I don't understand your logic.

dhw: And for the third time, this has nothing to do with the question of how your dualist soul can be responsible for ideas and yet not have the ideas until the brain has expanded.

Note the comment above. The s/s/c doesn't come onboard carrying new concepts. They develop within the new-sized more complex brain.

Big brain evolution

by dhw, Wednesday, January 24, 2018, 14:28 (152 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I’m sorry that you cannot see the contradiction between your belief that the SOUL is responsible for ideas, but pre-sapiens souls could not have had new ideas until the brain had already expanded enough to implement them.

DAVID: I view a completely new idea as a discreet event with no antecedent. The s/s/c doesn't come to the pre-homo or homo with preconceived notions. The interaction of the living human with his s/s/c is mediated through his living brain (material) and his immaterial s/s/c. The complexity of thought is controlled by the existing complexity of the brain. Implementation is a different process in which the original thought is put to use by the brain which responds with plasticity, adjusting its functions in its new size, driven by the s/s/c desires. This occurred at all levels of brain evolution, even ours.

Sentence by sentence: Yes, a new idea is a new idea. As such it cannot be a preconceived idea, but according to you as a dualist, it comes from the s/s/c, not the brain. Yes, the dualist’s living human self is a mixture of interacting material (brain) and immaterial (soul). Complex thought is thought, but according to you thought is NOT controlled by the brain, it is the product of the soul; the brain provides information and adjusts itself in order to implement the thought, i.e. to fulfil the desires of the s/s/c. The adjustment in pre-sapiens, when the concept is too complex for the existing capacity, is not to "its functions in its new size", but to its size, while in sapiens the adjustment is new complexifications. The new size and the new complexifications do not precede the implementation. None of this explains your contradictory belief that the SOUL is responsible for new ideas, but pre-sapiens’ SOUL could not have had new ideas until his/her BRAIN had ALREADY expanded.

dhw: Immediate pre-sapiens has new concept that demands implementation. Pre-sapiens brain implements new concept by expanding to sapiens size.
DAVID: Here again you present your theory that a new idea forces (pushes) the brain to a new size. And all I see is the logic that if pre-homo had an idea he would implement that idea with the brain he had. The artifacts show this at each stage. I don't understand your logic.

Once more, the logic is as follows (some of this may sound familiar to you): homimim has an immaterial idea for spears. NO BRAIN CHANGE. As he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone to a wooden rod, throw it with accuracy etc., his brain enlarges with all the muscle movement and coordination involved, so that by the time he is able to perform all these new actions, his brain has expanded to its new size. All these activities CAUSE the expansion. It’s exactly the same process as when illiterate women learn to read and write, the new actions CAUSE new complexifications. That is the logical sequence in both scenarios.

dhw: And for the third time, this has nothing to do with the question of how your dualist soul can be responsible for ideas and yet not have the ideas until the brain has expanded.

DAVID: Note the comment above. The s/s/c doesn't come onboard carrying new concepts. They develop within the new-sized more complex brain.

Once more: For you the dualist, an individual “soul” thinks of a new concept. By definition a new concept is not already “onboard”, no matter what size brain the individual already has. The brain expands in order to implement the concept, as described above.

Big brain evolution

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 25, 2018, 00:10 (152 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: Sentence by sentence: Yes, a new idea is a new idea. As such it cannot be a preconceived idea, but according to you as a dualist, it comes from the s/s/c, not the brain. Yes, the dualist’s living human self is a mixture of interacting material (brain) and immaterial (soul). Complex thought is thought, but according to you thought is NOT controlled by the brain, it is the product of the soul; the brain provides information and adjusts itself in order to implement the thought, i.e. to fulfil the desires of the s/s/c. The adjustment in pre-sapiens, when the concept is too complex for the existing capacity, is not to "its functions in its new size", but to its size, while in sapiens the adjustment is new complexifications.

You do not accept my idea that evolution builds on itself. There is no reason to reject the idea that earlier smaller brains never complexified at their level. I'm convinced they did based on what we know about how evolution builds on previous advances.

dhw: The new size and the new complexifications do not precede the implementation. None of this explains your contradictory belief that the SOUL is responsible for new ideas, but pre-sapiens’ SOUL could not have had new ideas until his/her BRAIN had ALREADY expanded.

Complex brains provide more complex implementation as shown by artifacts. More complex concepts require the soul using a more complex brain.

Once more, the logic is as follows (some of this may sound familiar to you): homimim has an immaterial idea for spears. NO BRAIN CHANGE. As he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone to a wooden rod, throw it with accuracy etc., his brain enlarges with all the muscle movement and coordination involved, so that by the time he is able to perform all these new actions, his brain has expanded to its new size.

No way! His brain added complexity just like ours does. Fits the history of evolution.

dhw: All these activities CAUSE the expansion. It’s exactly the same process as when illiterate women learn to read and write, the new actions CAUSE new complexifications. That is the logical sequence in both scenarios.

Yes, this is your exploding brain theory.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Thursday, January 25, 2018, 22:10 (151 days ago) @ David Turell

Our brains reached their volume/size about 300,000 years ago, and changed from a more oblong shape to a more globular form by the last 40,000 years, as use of the brain altered its lobes:

https://www.inverse.com/article/40511-brain-shape-homo-sapiens

"In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology announced that the earliest Homo sapiens did not have globular brains like we have today. Instead, their brains had a shape intermediate between that of Homo erectus and that of the Neanderthals, both of which were somewhat more elongated horizontally. The brain, the authors write, gradually became globular over evolutionary time, and those changes in turn, induced neurological shifts that coincide with archaeological evidence of modern behavior. (my bold)

***

"According to the new paper, the size of the early Homo sapiens brain entered the range of modern human brain size as early as 300,000 years ago, but its globular, round features emerged only 40,000 years ago. This unexpected revelation means that the brain reached its current shape much later than anticipated during evolution.

"To come to this conclusion, the team used tomographic scans and 3-D analysis to create virtual endocranial casts of 20 different Homo sapiens fossils. These fossils were divided into three groups: the oldest came from North and East Africa and represented the earliest known representatives of humans after the population split with Neanderthals, others lived in East Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean regions between 130,000 to 100,000 groups, and the final group lived between 35,000 to 10,000 years ago.

***

"Globularity itself likely didn’t give us advantages, says Neubauer, but the features that contributed to the rounding probably did: the bulging of parietal areas and the bulging of the cerebellum. The parietal lobe is an important hub in connecting brain regions and is involved in functions like orientation, attention, and the sensorimotor transformations that underlie planning and visuospatial integration. Meanwhile, the cerebellum relates to motor-related functions, like balance, as well as integral functions like working memory, language, affective processing, and social cognition. It’s likely that the emergence of these skills prompted the “human revolution.”

“'It’s also interesting to point out that, in present-day humans, brain globularity emerges developmentally during a few months around the time of birth,” says Neubauer.
“Our new data therefore suggests evolutionary changes to early brain development in a critical and vulnerable period for neural wiring and cognitive development.'”

Comment: My bold supports the theory that artifacts show behaviors the brain is capable of producing. As the brain molded itself into slightly new shapes due to lobe developments with new applications and implementations, the skull adapted to the new spatial requirements. The obvious implication is that as the new species of H. sapiens received its new-sized larger brain, it had to spend time learning to use it creating the newer shape. Size first, use second could not be clearer.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Friday, January 26, 2018, 13:45 (150 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You do not accept my idea that evolution builds on itself. There is no reason to reject the idea that earlier smaller brains never complexified at their level…

Of course I accept that idea! That is the whole basis of common descent. New organisms build on what has been produced by earlier organisms. It is you who keep claiming that evolution does NOT build on itself, and your God has to keep jumping in to expand brains, build nests, change legs into flippers...And I have NEVER rejected the idea that earlier smaller brains complexified. They may well have complexified, until – as stated earlier – “the concept is too complex for the existing capacity”. THEN they have to expand.

dhw: None of this explains your contradictory belief that the SOUL is responsible for new ideas, but pre-sapiens’ SOUL could not have had new ideas until his/her BRAIN had ALREADY expanded.

DAVID: Complex brains provide more complex implementation as shown by artifacts. More complex concepts require the soul using a more complex brain.

The artefacts are the product of the implementation. The more complex the concept (which according to you is the product of the SOUL), the greater the complexity required to implement it, and the illiterate women prove that added complexity is the RESULT of implementation. In pre-sapiens, the same process would have taken place until the capacity of the brain could no longer cope with the complexities of the new concept, and then it had to expand.

Dhw: Once more, the logic is as follows (some of this may sound familiar to you): homimim has an immaterial idea for spears. NO BRAIN CHANGE. As he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone to a wooden rod, throw it with accuracy etc., his brain enlarges with all the muscle movement and coordination involved, so that by the time he is able to perform all these new actions, his brain has expanded to its new size.

DAVID: No way! His brain added complexity just like ours does. Fits the history of evolution.

It would have added complexity until it could no longer cope. The above account shows how the process would have worked once extra abilities were needed – clear cause and effect. It makes no sense for the brain to expand (or to complexify) without a cause! Your hypothesis leaves you with the same contradiction you simply cannot resolve: you say your God expands the brain, and only then can the hominin think of something new, although thought according to you does NOT depend on the brain.

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Latest post:
DAVID: Our brains reached their volume/size about 300,000 years ago, and changed from a more oblong shape to a more globular form by the last 40,000 years, as use of the brain altered its lobes:

Precisely: use of the brain means implementation of concepts (which according to you are the product of the soul), and that is what alters the size, the complexity, and now apparently the shape. Thank you.
https://www.inverse.com/article/40511-brain-shape-homo-sapiens

QUOTE: "In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology announced that the earliest Homo sapiens did not have globular brains like we have today. Instead, their brains had a shape intermediate between that of Homo erectus and that of the Neanderthals, both of which were somewhat more elongated horizontally. The brain, the authors write, gradually became globular over evolutionary time, and those changes in turn, induced neurological shifts that coincide with archaeological evidence of modern behavior. (David’s bold)

DAVID’s comment: My bold supports the theory that artifacts show behaviors the brain is capable of producing. As the brain molded itself into slightly new shapes due to lobe developments with new applications and implementations, the skull adapted to the new spatial requirements. The obvious implication is that as the new species of H. sapiens received its new-sized larger brain, it had to spend time learning to use it creating the newer shape. Size first, use second could not be clearer.

As for your bold, I agree that changes COINCIDE with the archaeological evidence. That does not mean the changes preceded the archaeological evidence. The illiterate women’s rewiring coincided with their learning to read and write – because the latter was its cause. And so modern behaviour CAUSES neurological shifts. You even say yourself that the brain molded itself “with new applications and implementations” and you also have the skull adapting itself to the new spatial requirements. New applications and implementations change the brain. The brain does not change beforehand. The nub of the problem is that you keep conflating two separate stages of my hypothesis: 1) The new sapiens size resulted from the implementation of a new concept conceived by the pre-sapiens “soul”, as vividly described in the first section of this post. 2) From then on, the brain could not expand any further, so yes indeed, the new sapiens size preceded all the new concepts that followed, as conceived by the dualistic soul, but implementation took place through complexification, which apparently also caused reshaping as well as shrinkage. So each pre-sapiens expansion resulted from new concepts that exceeded current capacity; from sapiens onwards, new concepts resulted in complexification with shrinkage and reshaping.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 27, 2018, 00:51 (150 days ago) @ dhw


Dhw: Once more, the logic is as follows (some of this may sound familiar to you): homimim has an immaterial idea for spears. NO BRAIN CHANGE. As he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone to a wooden rod, throw it with accuracy etc., his brain enlarges with all the muscle movement and coordination involved, so that by the time he is able to perform all these new actions, his brain has expanded to its new size.

DAVID: No way! His brain added complexity just like ours does. Fits the history of evolution.

dhw: It would have added complexity until it could no longer cope... Your hypothesis leaves you with the same contradiction you simply cannot resolve: you say your God expands the brain, and only then can the hominin think of something new, although thought according to you does NOT depend on the brain.

Must I repeat! The s/s/c uses a more complex cortex for more complex thought, just as your use of Windows 5 cannot accomplish what you can do with Windows 10. Brain does operate without s/s/c running the show.

DAVID: Our brains reached their volume/size about 300,000 years ago, and changed from a more oblong shape to a more globular form by the last 40,000 years, as use of the brain altered its lobes:

Precisely: use of the brain means implementation of concepts (which according to you are the product of the soul), and that is what alters the size, the complexity, and now apparently the shape. Thank you.
https://www.inverse.com/article/40511-brain-shape-homo-sapiens

QUOTE: "In a study published Wednesday in Science Advances, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology announced that the earliest Homo sapiens did not have globular brains like we have today. Instead, their brains had a shape intermediate between that of Homo erectus and that of the Neanderthals, both of which were somewhat more elongated horizontally. The brain, the authors write, gradually became globular over evolutionary time, and those changes in turn, induced neurological shifts that coincide with archaeological evidence of modern behavior. (David’s bold)

DAVID’s comment: My bold supports the theory that artifacts show behaviors the brain is capable of producing. As the brain molded itself into slightly new shapes due to lobe developments with new applications and implementations, the skull adapted to the new spatial requirements. The obvious implication is that as the new species of H. sapiens received its new-sized larger brain, it had to spend time learning to use it creating the newer shape. Size first, use second could not be clearer.

dhw: As for your bold, I agree that changes COINCIDE with the archaeological evidence. That does not mean the changes preceded the archaeological evidence. The illiterate women’s rewiring coincided with their learning to read and write – because the latter was its cause. And so modern behaviour CAUSES neurological shifts. You even say yourself that the brain molded itself “with new applications and implementations” and you also have the skull adapting itself to the new spatial requirements. New applications and implementations change the brain. The brain does not change beforehand.

We don't know your declarative sentences I've bolded are at all true. All your hypothesis.

dhw: The nub of the problem is that you keep conflating two separate stages of my hypothesis: 1) The new sapiens size resulted from the implementation of a new concept conceived by the pre-sapiens “soul”, as vividly described in the first section of this post. 2) From then on, the brain could not expand any further, so yes indeed, the new sapiens size preceded all the new concepts that followed, as conceived by the dualistic soul, but implementation took place through complexification, which apparently also caused reshaping as well as shrinkage. So each pre-sapiens expansion resulted from new concepts that exceeded current capacity; from sapiens onwards, new concepts resulted in complexification with shrinkage and reshaping.

You've agreed above that presapiens brain could have compllexified during implementation, now you have withdrawn it. My point is the same stage of brain development gets the concept and does the implementation. The next larger stage develops the concept and implementation, which is the only way the artifacts fit the fossil history. Size first, use second.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Saturday, January 27, 2018, 13:32 (149 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Your hypothesis leaves you with the same contradiction you simply cannot resolve: you say your God expands the brain, and only then can the hominin think of something new, although thought according to you does NOT depend on the brain.

DAVID: Must I repeat! The s/s/c uses a more complex cortex for more complex thought [...] Brain does operate without s/s/c running the show.

Since s/s/c uses the brain, I presume you mean brain does NOT operate without s/s/c running the show. You don’t need to repeat the formula that I keep questioning. We are discussing two stages: 1) concept; 2) implementation. According to you the s/s/c/ does the thinking. Yes or no? It uses the brain to implement its thoughts. Yes or no? If the answer to both questions is yes, take the one example we know for sure: concept is reading and writing; implementation leads to more complex brain. The illiterate women’s brains did not rewire themselves BEFORE the implementation of the concept. Continued as follows:

Dhw: New applications and implementations change the brain. The brain does not change beforehand.

DAVID: We don't know your declarative sentences I've bolded are at all true. All your hypothesis.

This is the only sentence of mine that you bolded, and you are right. It is a hypothesis, which can be extrapolated from known processes. Your argument that God expanded pre-sapiens brains and only then were they able to think of new concepts is also a hypothesis. It contradicts the dualistic hypothesis that thinking is not done by the brain but by the soul.

dhw: The nub of the problem is that you keep conflating two separate stages of my hypothesis: 1) The new sapiens size resulted from the implementation of a new concept conceived by the pre-sapiens “soul”, as vividly described in the first section of this post. 2) From then on, the brain could not expand any further, so yes indeed, the new sapiens size preceded all the new concepts that followed, as conceived by the dualistic soul, but implementation took place through complexification, which apparently also caused reshaping as well as shrinkage. So each pre-sapiens expansion resulted from new concepts that exceeded current capacity; from sapiens onwards, new concepts resulted in complexification with shrinkage and reshaping.

DAVID: You've agreed above that presapiens brain could have compllexified during implementation, now you have withdrawn it. My point is the same stage of brain development gets the concept and does the implementation. The next larger stage develops the concept and implementation, which is the only way the artifacts fit the fossil history. Size first, use second.

I have not withdrawn it. The same stage of brain development may well have implemented lots and lots of concepts through complexification, but eventually concepts arose which the existing brain could not implement. Then the capacity had to be expanded, and the same process continued until stage 2) described above. This is also the case in your own hypothesis: implementation could not take place unless the brain expanded. However, in your hypothesis, God steps in and expands the brain BEFORE the relevant new concept (or if you like, before the innovative development of existing concepts) can be thought of. That means the thinking depends on the size of the brain – the exact opposite of the dualistic view that thinking is done by the soul. As for fossil evidence, the artefacts appear alongside the new sized brain. They can only appear when the brain has finished expanding, which in my hypothesis it does BY IMPLEMENTING the concept. In both hypotheses, therefore, the appearance of the artefacts coincides with the appearance of the expanded brain.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 27, 2018, 15:26 (149 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Must I repeat! The s/s/c uses a more complex cortex for more complex thought [...] Brain does operate without s/s/c running the show.

dhw: Since s/s/c uses the brain, I presume you mean brain does NOT operate without s/s/c running the show. You don’t need to repeat the formula that I keep questioning. We are discussing two stages: 1) concept; 2) implementation. According to you the s/s/c/ does the thinking. Yes or no?

Yes

dhw: It uses the brain to implement its thoughts. Yes or no?

Yes


Dhw: New applications and implementations change the brain. The brain does not change beforehand.

DAVID: We don't know your declarative sentences I've bolded are at all true. All your hypothesis.

dhw: This is the only sentence of mine that you bolded, and you are right. It is a hypothesis, which can be extrapolated from known processes. Your argument that God expanded pre-sapiens brains and only then were they able to think of new concepts is also a hypothesis. It contradicts the dualistic hypothesis that thinking is not done by the brain but by the soul.

S/s/c (immaterial) uses brain (material) to create thought is dualistic to me.


dhw: The nub of the problem is that you keep conflating two separate stages of my hypothesis: 1) The new sapiens size resulted from the implementation of a new concept conceived by the pre-sapiens “soul”, as vividly described in the first section of this post. 2) From then on, the brain could not expand any further, so yes indeed, the new sapiens size preceded all the new concepts that followed, as conceived by the dualistic soul, but implementation took place through complexification, which apparently also caused reshaping as well as shrinkage. So each pre-sapiens expansion resulted from new concepts that exceeded current capacity; from sapiens onwards, new concepts resulted in complexification with shrinkage and reshaping.

dhw: The same stage of brain development may well have implemented lots and lots of concepts through complexification, but eventually concepts arose which the existing brain could not implement. Then the capacity had to be expanded, and the same process continued until stage 2) described above. This is also the case in your own hypothesis: implementation could not take place unless the brain expanded. However, in your hypothesis, God steps in and expands the brain BEFORE the relevant new concept (or if you like, before the innovative development of existing concepts) can be thought of. That means the thinking depends on the size of the brain – the exact opposite of the dualistic view that thinking is done by the soul.

NOT SIZE OF BRAIN, but advanced complexity within the larger size of the prefrontal cortex, as stated over and over.

dhw: As for fossil evidence, the artefacts appear alongside the new sized brain. They can only appear when the brain has finished expanding, which in my hypothesis it does BY IMPLEMENTING the concept. In both hypotheses, therefore, the appearance of the artefacts coincides with the appearance of the expanded brain.

Again the push theory as opposed to my pull theory. You won't convince me from the evidence I see. Artifacts appear after the brain has enlarged. Sapiens artifacts took 270,000 years to begin to appear after enlargement. Mind the gap, as in the Underground

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Sunday, January 28, 2018, 13:35 (148 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Must I repeat! The s/s/c uses a more complex cortex for more complex thought [...] Brain does operate without s/s/c running the show.
dhw: Since s/s/c uses the brain, I presume you mean brain does NOT operate without s/s/c running the show. You don’t need to repeat the formula that I keep questioning. We are discussing two stages: 1) concept; 2) implementation. According to you the s/s/c/ does the thinking. Yes or no?

DAVID: Yes

dhw: It uses the brain to implement its thoughts. Yes or no?

DAVID: Yes

dhw: Your argument that God expanded pre-sapiens brains and only then were they able to think of new concepts is also a hypothesis. It contradicts the dualistic hypothesis that thinking is not done by the brain but by the soul.
DAVID: S/s/c (immaterial) uses brain (material) to create thought is dualistic to me.

What is the difference between thinking and creating thought? You have agreed above that the soul does the thinking and the brain does the implementing. This means that the s/s/c uses the brain to implement, not to think. Your obfuscation does not resolve the contradiction: If the soul does the thinking, it does not depend on complexification or expansion of the brain to do its thinking!

dhw: […] in your hypothesis, God steps in and expands the brain BEFORE the relevant new concept (or if you like, before the innovative development of existing concepts) can be thought of. That means the thinking depends on the size of the brain – the exact opposite of the dualistic view that thinking is done by the soul.

DAVID: NOT SIZE OF BRAIN, but advanced complexity within the larger size of the prefrontal cortex, as stated over and over.

Our subject is why the pre-sapiens brain expanded, and you say your God increased its SIZE before pre-sapiens could think of new concepts. But perhaps we need to clarify the role of complexification. You keep agreeing that the soul does the thinking, and that new thoughts cause complexification: for a dualist it cannot be complexification of the brain that CAUSES thought. And so thought is implemented by complexification (proven by modern science), but once the pre-sapiens brain’s capacity for implementing concepts by complexification had reached its limit, the brain needed additional cells and connections – to implement the thoughts of the soul, not to create them! (The soul thinks and the brain implements.) After the pre-pre-sapiens brain had expanded, new concepts and their implementation once again caused complexification until once again the CAPACITY was unable to cope, and so once again the brain had to expand. Process repeated until we get to sapiens, whose brain cannot expand any further.

DAVID: You won't convince me from the evidence I see. Artifacts appear after the brain has enlarged.

Yes, the artefacts can only appear once the concept has been implemented. In your hypothesis the enlargement takes place before the concept has been thought of; in mine the enlargement takes place during and because of the implementation of the concept (once complexification can no longer cope). In both cases, the artefact itself can only appear once the brain has finished enlarging.

DAVID: Sapiens artifacts took 270,000 years to begin to appear after enlargement. Mind the gap, as in the Underground

Yes, as already explained many times: once the immediate pre-sapiens ancestor’s brain had enlarged to sapiens size in order to implement a concept, it stopped expanding. Then just as erectus spent one or two million years faffing around doing nothing special with his own enlarged brain, sapiens (according to you) faffed around for a mere 270,000 years before the geniuses appeared, and their dualistic souls came up with brilliant new concepts. But since the brain couldn’t expand any more, it complexified more and more – so efficiently that it even shrank a bit, and apparently also changed its shape. All in a smooth, totally logical sequence of cause and effect.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 28, 2018, 19:28 (148 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Sunday, January 28, 2018, 19:42

dhw: Your argument that God expanded pre-sapiens brains and only then were they able to think of new concepts is also a hypothesis. It contradicts the dualistic hypothesis that thinking is not done by the brain but by the soul.
DAVID: S/s/c (immaterial) uses brain (material) to create thought is dualistic to me.

dhw: What is the difference between thinking and creating thought? You have agreed above that the soul does the thinking and the brain does the implementing. This means that the s/s/c uses the brain to implement, not to think. Your obfuscation does not resolve the contradiction: If the soul does the thinking, it does not depend on complexification or expansion of the brain to do its thinking!

The s/s/c uses the brain to think in the living human. I view the s/s/c as software using the brain as computer. Sorry you won't accept this theory. The s/s/c using the brain sees to the implementation which obviously requires extensive planning or physical practice: throw the spear, learn to read, etc. I'm not sure what your concept of brain implementation implies, as compared to mine of 'putting into practice'.


dhw: […] in your hypothesis, God steps in and expands the brain BEFORE the relevant new concept (or if you like, before the innovative development of existing concepts) can be thought of. That means the thinking depends on the size of the brain – the exact opposite of the dualistic view that thinking is done by the soul.

DAVID: NOT SIZE OF BRAIN, but advanced complexity within the larger size of the prefrontal cortex, as stated over and over.

dhw: You keep agreeing that the soul does the thinking, and that new thoughts cause complexification: for a dualist it cannot be complexification of the brain that CAUSES thought.

Sorry. The s/s/c uses the brain as a computer and it is use of the brain which causes it to ADD complexity and shrink from new uses.

dhw: And so thought is implemented by complexification (proven by modern science)

Wrong. not thought, but use as in the newly literate example.

dhw: once the pre-sapiens brain’s capacity for implementing concepts by complexification had reached its limit, the brain needed additional cells and connections – to implement the thoughts of the soul, not to create them! (The soul thinks and the brain implements.)

See my definition of implementation above. I disagree with your theory. S/s/c software uses brain as a computer. Implementation is the bran learning to handle a new process, throwing, reading, etc., by a few new neurons and lots of connective branching.

dhw: After the pre-pre-sapiens brain had expanded, new concepts and their implementation once again caused complexification until once again the CAPACITY was unable to cope, and so once again the brain had to expand. Process repeated until we get to sapiens, whose brain cannot expand any further.

We don't know it can't expand a little further, but I agree this is most probably an endpoint which proves it is God's goal.


DAVID: Sapiens artifacts took 270,000 years to begin to appear after enlargement. Mind the gap, as in the Underground

dhw: Yes, as already explained many times: once the immediate pre-sapiens ancestor’s brain had enlarged to sapiens size in order to implement a concept, it stopped expanding. Then just as erectus spent one or two million years faffing around doing nothing special with his own enlarged brain, sapiens (according to you) faffed around for a mere 270,000 years before the geniuses appeared, and their dualistic souls came up with brilliant new concepts. But since the brain couldn’t expand any more, it complexified more and more – so efficiently that it even shrank a bit, and apparently also changed its shape. All in a smooth, totally logical sequence of cause and effect.

Why couldn't the erctus brain have some erectus geniuses around like we have to advance as quickly as we have? Your theory can't answer that, because the rapid advance like sapiens histroy requires a sapiens brain to do it. You have a theory which is entirely backwards.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Monday, January 29, 2018, 13:42 (147 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If the soul does the thinking, it does not depend on complexification or expansion of the brain to do its thinking!
DAVID: The s/s/c uses the brain to think in the living human. I view the s/s/c as software using the brain as computer. Sorry you won't accept this theory. The s/s/c using the brain sees to the implementation which obviously requires extensive planning or physical practice: throw the spear, learn to read, etc. I'm not sure what your concept of brain implementation implies, as compared to mine of 'putting into practice'.

Almost identical to my hypothesis, except that the s/s/c does not USE the brain to think. The s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and it uses the brain (computer) to give material form or expression to its thoughts/concepts (or “put them into practice”). And that is why it is topsy-turvy for you to claim that the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not think of its new concepts until the brain had already expanded. It is the implementation/”physical practice” of the new concept that complexifies or expands the brain, as you yourself explain later in your post.

dhw: You keep agreeing that the soul does the thinking, and that new thoughts cause complexification: for a dualist it cannot be complexification of the brain that CAUSES thought.
DAVID: Sorry. The s/s/c uses the brain as a computer and it is use of the brain which causes it to ADD complexity and shrink from new uses.

Why “sorry”? Complexification means adding complexity! The “soul” has the idea, it uses the brain to implement the idea, and yes, yes, yes at last, this CAUSES the complexification, and when the pre-sapiens brain capacity was no longer adequate, implementation CAUSED the addition of new cells, as you explain below. (Shrinkage in sapiens results from the efficiency of complexification, which has made some cells and connections redundant.)

DAVID: See my definition of implementation above. I disagree with your theory. S/s/c software uses brain as a computer. Implementation is the brain learning to handle a new process, throwing, reading, etc., by a few new neurons and lots of connective branching.

Precisely. When the pre-sapiens brain had exhausted its capacity for complexification, it implemented the soul’s new concepts (knapping flint, binding stone to shaft, throwing etc.) by adding NEW neurons and connections, and the addition of NEW cells led to expansion. You’ve got it!

dhw: After the pre-pre-sapiens brain had expanded, new concepts and their implementation once again caused complexification until once again the CAPACITY was unable to cope, and so once again the brain had to expand. Process repeated until we get to sapiens, whose brain cannot expand any further.
DAVID: We don't know it can't expand a little further, but I agree this is most probably an endpoint which proves it is God's goal.

Since it hasn’t expanded, it’s not unreasonable to assume that further expansion could unbalance the anatomy. One might assume that this applies to most organisms. Ants might have trouble if their heads expanded to elephant size. But who knows? Nothing to do with proving God’s goal.

DAVID: Sapiens artifacts took 270,000 years to begin to appear after enlargement. Mind the gap, as in the Underground
dhw: …just as erectus spent one or two million years faffing around doing nothing special with his own enlarged brain, sapiens (according to you) faffed around for a mere 270,000 years before the geniuses appeared, and their dualistic souls came up with brilliant new concepts…
DAVID: Why couldn't the erctus brain have some erectus geniuses around like we have to advance as quickly as we have? Your theory can't answer that, because the rapid advance like sapiens histroy requires a sapiens brain to do it. You have a theory which is entirely backwards.

And why did your God leave Homo erectus hanging around for one or two million years, when all he wanted was Homo sapiens? Mind the gap, indeed. However, my hypothesis answers all your questions. Organisms are autonomous, and every evolutionary advance originates with individuals/groups of individuals. So long as they survive, there is no need for change, but evolution also advances through a drive for improvement. After one or two million years of comparative zilch, genius erectus conceived some sort of improvement (we don’t know what) which required NEW neurons and connections, as a result of which the brain expanded to sapiens size. Sapiens also survived perfectly well for a mere 270,000 years, but then some genius came up with new ideas for improvement. The rest, as they say, is history – improvement builds on improvement. Sapiens brain couldn’t expand any more, so implementing any more new ideas now led only to further complexification of the brain (so efficiently that the brain has shrunk). A logical chain of cause and effect, and if your God exists, he set it all in motion by endowing cells/cell communities – including hominids, hominins and sapiens – with their autonomous intelligence. Now tell me what part of the history is not explained by this hypothesis.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Monday, January 29, 2018, 18:02 (147 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: If the soul does the thinking, it does not depend on complexification or expansion of the brain to do its thinking!
DAVID: The s/s/c uses the brain to think in the living human. I view the s/s/c as software using the brain as computer. Sorry you won't accept this theory. The s/s/c using the brain sees to the implementation which obviously requires extensive planning or physical practice: throw the spear, learn to read, etc. I'm not sure what your concept of brain implementation implies, as compared to mine of 'putting into practice'.

dhw: Almost identical to my hypothesis, except that the s/s/c does not USE the brain to think. The s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and it uses the brain (computer) to give material form or expression to its thoughts/concepts (or “put them into practice”). And that is why it is topsy-turvy for you to claim that the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not think of its new concepts until the brain had already expanded.

What is not topsy-turvy is advanced thought requires a more complex cortex, as I've explained and you will not accept in the computer analogy and shown by level of artifact complexity. Otherwise we agree.


dhw: You keep agreeing that the soul does the thinking, and that new thoughts cause complexification: for a dualist it cannot be complexification of the brain that CAUSES thought.
DAVID: Sorry. The s/s/c uses the brain as a computer and it is use of the brain which causes it to ADD complexity and shrink from new uses.

dhw: Why “sorry”? Complexification means adding complexity! The “soul” has the idea, it uses the brain to implement the idea, and yes, yes, yes at last, this CAUSES the complexification, and when the pre-sapiens brain capacity was no longer adequate, implementation CAUSED the addition of new cells, as you explain below. (Shrinkage in sapiens results from the efficiency of complexification, which has made some cells and connections redundant.)

New uses add to existing complexity. And ALSO adds some neurons and many new connections while some become redundant. And the brain size shrinks!


DAVID: See my definition of implementation above. I disagree with your theory. S/s/c software uses brain as a computer. Implementation is the brain learning to handle a new process, throwing, reading, etc., by a few new neurons and lots of connective branching.

dhw: Precisely. When the pre-sapiens brain had exhausted its capacity for complexification, it implemented the soul’s new concepts (knapping flint, binding stone to shaft, throwing etc.) by adding NEW neurons and connections, and the addition of NEW cells led to expansion. You’ve got it!

You've misgotten it! Complexification shrinks the brain, is the only evidence we have!

DAVID: Why couldn't the erctus brain have some erectus geniuses around like we have to advance as quickly as we have? Your theory can't answer that, because the rapid advance like sapiens history requires a sapiens brain to do it. You have a theory which is entirely backwards.

dhw: And why did your God leave Homo erectus hanging around for one or two million years, when all he wanted was Homo sapiens? Mind the gap, indeed. However, my hypothesis answers all your questions. Organisms are autonomous, and every evolutionary advance originates with individuals/groups of individuals. So long as they survive, there is no need for change, but evolution also advances through a drive for improvement. After one or two million years of comparative zilch, genius erectus conceived some sort of improvement (we don’t know what) which required NEW neurons and connections, as a result of which the brain expanded to sapiens size.

Don't ignore artifactual evidence. Erectus didn't think of much because they couldn't.

dhw: Sapiens also survived perfectly well for a mere 270,000 years, but then some genius came up with new ideas for improvement. The rest, as they say, is history – improvement builds on improvement. Sapiens brain couldn’t expand any more, so implementing any more new ideas now led only to further complexification of the brain (so efficiently that the brain has shrunk). A logical chain of cause and effect, and if your God exists, he set it all in motion by endowing cells/cell communities – including hominids, hominins and sapiens – with their autonomous intelligence. Now tell me what part of the history is not explained by this hypothesis.

Your fairy tale of cell committees having so much autonomous intellgence, which is only seen at the single cell level, and is most probably automaticity of molecular actions.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 12:30 (146 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: [...] the s/s/c does not USE the brain to think. The s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and it uses the brain (computer) to give material form or expression to its thoughts/concepts (or “put them into practice”). And that is why it is topsy-turvy for you to claim that the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not think of its new concepts until the brain had already expanded.

DAVID: What is not topsy-turvy is advanced thought requires a more complex cortex, as I've explained and you will not accept in the computer analogy and shown by level of artifact complexity. Otherwise we agree.

According to you as a dualist, the cortex does not do the thinking. That is done by the soul. Advanced thought requires a more complex brain for its IMPLEMENTATION, just as the software does the thinking and the computer does the implementing. More complex artefacts may be implemented by the process of the brain complexifying, but in the case of pre-sapiens, when the capacity for complexification had reached its limit, more cells and connections were needed to implement the concept, and so the process of implementation resulted in expansion. The implement could not appear until this process was complete. (My bold)

DAVID: New uses add to existing complexity. And ALSO adds some neurons and many new connections while some become redundant. And the brain size shrinks!

You keep dodging from pre-sapiens to sapiens. The adding of neurons and new connections would have been the cause for pre-sapiens expansion when the brain’s capacity for complexification had reached its limit. Sapiens could not expand any more, and so complexification took over completely and was so efficient that some neurons and connections became redundant. (My bold)

DAVID: S/s/c software uses brain as a computer. Implementation is the brain learning to handle a new process, throwing, reading, etc., by a few new neurons and lots of connective branching.

dhw: Precisely. When the pre-sapiens brain had exhausted its capacity for complexification, it implemented the soul’s new concepts (knapping flint, binding stone to shaft, throwing etc.) by adding NEW neurons and connections, and the addition of NEW cells led to expansion. You’ve got it!

DAVID: You've misgotten it! Complexification shrinks the brain, is the only evidence we have!

Again you are dodging from pre-sapiens to sapiens. We know that pre-sapiens brain expanded! That means it added new cells and connections, precisely as explained above!

dhw: After one or two million years of comparative zilch, genius erectus conceived some sort of improvement (we don’t know what) which required NEW neurons and connections, as a result of which the brain expanded to sapiens size.

DAVID: Don't ignore artifactual evidence. Erectus didn't think of much because they couldn't.
No doubt the same applies to sapiens for 270,000 years. It takes clever individuals to think up new concepts.

dhw: Sapiens also survived perfectly well for a mere 270,000 years, but then some genius came up with new ideas for improvement. The rest, as they say, is history – improvement builds on improvement. Sapiens brain couldn’t expand any more, so implementing any more new ideas now led only to further complexification of the brain (so efficiently that the brain has shrunk). A logical chain of cause and effect, and if your God exists, he set it all in motion by endowing cells/cell communities – including hominids, hominins and sapiens – with their autonomous intelligence. Now tell me what part of the history is not explained by this hypothesis.

DAVID: Your fairy tale of cell committees having so much autonomous intellgence, which is only seen at the single cell level, and is most probably automaticity of molecular actions.

You are saying why you don’t believe my hypothesis, but I asked what part of evolutionary history is not explained by it. Your hypothesis that God personally preprogrammed or dabbled every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder attempts to explain the history of evolution, though there is not a single shred of evidence for it. My unproven hypothesis is that cellular intelligence (perhaps God-given) explains every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder and hence the history of evolution, and it answers all the questions your own anthropocentric hypothesis fails to answer.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 30, 2018, 18:30 (146 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: According to you as a dualist, the cortex does not do the thinking. That is done by the soul. Advanced thought requires a more complex brain for its IMPLEMENTATION, just as the software does the thinking and the computer does the implementing. More complex artefacts may be implemented by the process of the brain complexifying, but in the case of pre-sapiens, when the capacity for complexification had reached its limit, more cells and connections were needed to implement the concept, and so the process of implementation resulted in expansion. The implement could not appear until this process was complete. (My bold)

Except the only scientific fact we have is the brain shrinks with complexification. Very few new neurons are added and complex branching can occur within less space, not more, creating the shrinkage.


DAVID: New uses add to existing complexity. And ALSO adds some neurons and many new connections while some become redundant. And the brain size shrinks!

dhw: You keep dodging from pre-sapiens to sapiens. The adding of neurons and new connections would have been the cause for pre-sapiens expansion when the brain’s capacity for complexification had reached its limit. Sapiens could not expand any more, and so complexification took over completely and was so efficient that some neurons and connections became redundant. (My bold)

My point is you cannot know what happened inside pre-sapiens brains. The new complexity more than likely shrunk the brain, since evolution builds on established processes.


DAVID: You've misgotten it! Complexification shrinks the brain, is the only evidence we have!

dhw: Again you are dodging from pre-sapiens to sapiens. We know that pre-sapiens brain expanded! That means it added new cells and connections, precisely as explained above!

Wonderful. You know that as fact that new implementations forced an enlargement? Your 'push' theory has no basis in existing scientific fact.


dhw: Sapiens also survived perfectly well for a mere 270,000 years, but then some genius came up with new ideas for improvement. The rest, as they say, is history – improvement builds on improvement. Sapiens brain couldn’t expand any more, so implementing any more new ideas now led only to further complexification of the brain (so efficiently that the brain has shrunk). A logical chain of cause and effect, and if your God exists, he set it all in motion by endowing cells/cell communities – including hominids, hominins and sapiens – with their autonomous intelligence. Now tell me what part of the history is not explained by this hypothesis.

DAVID: Your fairy tale of cell committees having so much autonomous intellgence, which is only seen at the single cell level, and is most probably automaticity of molecular actions.

dhw: You are saying why you don’t believe my hypothesis, but I asked what part of evolutionary history is not explained by it. Your hypothesis that God personally preprogrammed or dabbled every single innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder attempts to explain the history of evolution, though there is not a single shred of evidence for it. My unproven hypothesis is that cellular intelligence (perhaps God-given) explains every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder and hence the history of evolution, and it answers all the questions your own anthropocentric hypothesis fails to answer.

My antropocentric hypothesis explains everything wich is why I propose it.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 14:04 (145 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: More complex artefacts may be implemented by the process of the brain complexifying, but in the case of pre-sapiens, when the capacity for complexification had reached its limit, more cells and connections were needed to implement the concept, and so the process of implementation resulted in expansion. The implement could not appear until this process was complete. (My bold)

DAVID: Except the only scientific fact we have is the brain shrinks with complexification. Very few new neurons are added and complex branching can occur within less space, not more, creating the shrinkage.

I thought it was a scientific fact that hominid/hominin brains expanded, and we are discussing why and how. Here are two hypotheses based on the dualistic belief that concepts are produced by the soul and not the brain: 1) the number of then existing pre-sapiens neurons and connections eventually proved inadequate to perform the actions required to implement new concepts - hence more neurons and connections (= expansion through implementation). 2) God added more neurons and connections BEFORE the souls of hominids/hominins thought up the new concepts that needed to be implemented (= expansion for no reason).

DAVID: My point is you cannot know what happened inside pre-sapiens brains. The new complexity more than likely shrunk the brain, since evolution builds on established processes.

Nobody knows, and that is why we have different hypotheses. If pre-sapiens brains were able to cope with ALL concepts by complexifying and shrinking, there would have been no need for expansion, with or without your God’s dabbles! Obviously, then pre-sapiens complexification, and the shrinkage you also insist on, were NOT adequate. Since you believe the brain does not think up concepts, quite clearly the expansion of the brain was not necessary for thinking up new concepts!

DAVID: You've misgotten it! Complexification shrinks the brain, is the only evidence we have!
dhw: Again you are dodging from pre-sapiens to sapiens. We know that pre-sapiens brain expanded! That means it added new cells and connections, precisely as explained above!
DAVID: Wonderful. You know that as fact that new implementations forced an enlargement? Your 'push' theory has no basis in existing scientific fact.

It’s a hypothesis not a fact. Your ‘pull’ theory has no basis in existing scientific fact, and it also contradicts itself, because it states that hominids/hominins could not have had their new concepts until the brain had enlarged, although according to you, thought is the product of the soul and not of the brain.

DAVID: My antropocentric hypothesis explains everything wich is why I propose it.

I shan't repeat the list of things it doesn't explain. I asked you what part of evolutionary history is not explained by my hypothesis. You still haven’t answered.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 15:39 (145 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Except the only scientific fact we have is the brain shrinks with complexification. Very few new neurons are added and complex branching can occur within less space, not more, creating the shrinkage.

dhw: I thought it was a scientific fact that hominid/hominin brains expanded, and we are discussing why and how. Here are two hypotheses based on the dualistic belief that concepts are produced by the soul and not the brain: 1) the number of then existing pre-sapiens neurons and connections eventually proved inadequate to perform the actions required to implement new concepts - hence more neurons and connections (= expansion through implementation).

The jello-like brain expanded and forced the skull to expand is what this means.

dhw: 2) God added more neurons and connections BEFORE the souls of hominids/hominins thought up the new concepts that needed to be implemented (= expansion for no reason).

God has His own reasons. Thank you for pointing out His actions.


dhw:Since you believe the brain does not think up concepts, quite clearly the expansion of the brain was not necessary for thinking up new concepts!

You continuously twist the ideas I present: the expansion of the brain was added cortical complexity for the s/s/c to use in developing the new ideas. Hardware and software.


DAVID: You've misgotten it! Complexification shrinks the brain, is the only evidence we have!
dhw: Again you are dodging from pre-sapiens to sapiens. We know that pre-sapiens brain expanded! That means it added new cells and connections, precisely as explained above!
DAVID: Wonderful. You know that as fact that new implementations forced an enlargement? Your 'push' theory has no basis in existing scientific fact.

dhw: It’s a hypothesis not a fact.

I know that. And I said not based on any scientific fact which is true.

dhw: Your ‘pull’ theory has no basis in existing scientific fact, and it also contradicts itself, because it states that hominids/hominins could not have had their new concepts until the brain had enlarged, although according to you, thought is the product of the soul and not of the brain.

No contradiction if you realize the brain is a material computer and the s/s/c is an immaterial operating software.


DAVID: My antropocentric hypothesis explains everything which is why I propose it.

dhw: I shan't repeat the list of things it doesn't explain. I asked you what part of evolutionary history is not explained by my hypothesis. You still haven’t answered.

You do have a theory that outlines how evolution appears from outside the process. It totally leaves out the obvious appearance of purpose from the standpoint of recognizing God's role.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Thursday, February 01, 2018, 13:58 (144 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Except the only scientific fact we have is the brain shrinks with complexification. Very few new neurons are added and complex branching can occur within less space, not more, creating the shrinkage.

dhw: I thought it was a scientific fact that hominid/hominin brains expanded, and we are discussing why and how. Here are two hypotheses based on the dualistic belief that concepts are produced by the soul and not the brain: 1) the number of then existing pre-sapiens neurons and connections eventually proved inadequate to perform the actions required to implement new concepts - hence more neurons and connections (= expansion through implementation).

DAVID: The jello-like brain expanded and forced the skull to expand is what this means.

I know what it means. I pointed out that complexification and shrinkage are not the only scientific fact, and the question is why and how the jello-like brain expanded. Your comment is no answer to hypothesis (1).

dhw: 2) God added more neurons and connections BEFORE the souls of hominids/hominins thought up the new concepts that needed to be implemented (= expansion for no reason).

DAVID: God has His own reasons. Thank you for pointing out His actions.

I am explaining the two alternatives. Thank you for confirming that you haven’t got a clue why your God would expand the brain before there was any reason for him to do so. Your own hypothesis doesn’t make sense to you, so back you go to the same old mantra – that God’s reasoning must be different from ours. Why not allow for the possibility that our reasoning might not be different from your God’s, and consider hypothesis (1) which offers a clear reason?

dhw: Since you believe the brain does not think up concepts, quite clearly the expansion of the brain was not necessary for thinking up new concepts!
DAVID: You continuously twist the ideas I present: the expansion of the brain was added cortical complexity for the s/s/c to use in developing the new ideas. Hardware and software.

You continuously try to twist your own analogy. According to you, the cortex does not do the thinking, because you are a dualist and you believe the soul/self/consciousness does the thinking. And so the s/s/c (software) uses the brain (computer) to IMPLEMENT its ideas, not to DEVELOP them.

dhw: Your ‘pull’ theory has no basis in existing scientific fact, and it also contradicts itself, because it states that hominids/hominins could not have had their new concepts until the brain had enlarged, although according to you, thought is the product of the soul and not of the brain.
DAVID: No contradiction if you realize the brain is a material computer and the s/s/c is an immaterial operating software.

As above: the software (s/s/c) does the thinking, and so it makes absolutely no sense to say that the computer (brain) had to expand before the software (s/s/c) could think of its new ideas.

DAVID: My antropocentric hypothesis explains everything which is why I propose it.
dhw: I shan't repeat the list of things it doesn't explain. I asked you what part of evolutionary history is not explained by my hypothesis. You still haven’t answered.
DAVID: You do have a theory that outlines how evolution appears from outside the process. It totally leaves out the obvious appearance of purpose from the standpoint of recognizing God's role.

No it doesn’t. If God exists, and his evolutionary method produced an ever-changing bush of life, it makes perfect sense to suggest that his purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 01, 2018, 18:31 (144 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The jello-like brain expanded and forced the skull to expand is what this means.

I know what it means. I pointed out that complexification and shrinkage are not the only scientific fact, and the question is why and how the jello-like brain expanded. Your comment is no answer to hypothesis (1).

We both admit the brain had to enlarge to create advances. We disagree with completely opposite theories.


dhw: 2) God added more neurons and connections BEFORE the souls of hominids/hominins thought up the new concepts that needed to be implemented (= expansion for no reason).

DAVID: God has His own reasons. Thank you for pointing out His actions.

dhw: I am explaining the two alternatives. Thank you for confirming that you haven’t got a clue why your God would expand the brain before there was any reason for him to do so. Your own hypothesis doesn’t make sense to you, so back you go to the same old mantra – that God’s reasoning must be different from ours. Why not allow for the possibility that our reasoning might not be different from your God’s, and consider hypothesis (1) which offers a clear reason?

I've simple said God uses evolution at his desired pace. My reasoning about God is from what I see in the history of evolution. At some point the brain had to be expanded to accommodate advances.


dhw: Since you believe the brain does not think up concepts, quite clearly the expansion of the brain was not necessary for thinking up new concepts!
DAVID: You continuously twist the ideas I present: the expansion of the brain was added cortical complexity for the s/s/c to use in developing the new ideas. Hardware and software.

dhw: You continuously try to twist your own analogy. According to you, the cortex does not do the thinking, because you are a dualist and you believe the soul/self/consciousness does the thinking. And so the s/s/c (software) uses the brain (computer) to IMPLEMENT its ideas, not to DEVELOP them.

You are deliberately misinterpreting my theory. The s/s/c uses the cortex to think. The s/s/c (software) both develops concepts and implementation by using the brain (computer). I've never presently differently. As you sit at your computer and create a play, you come up with the concept for a play and then you create the dialogue (implement) all using your s/s/c. How can you separate concept and implementation as you attempted above.


dhw: Your ‘pull’ theory has no basis in existing scientific fact, and it also contradicts itself, because it states that hominids/hominins could not have had their new concepts until the brain had enlarged, although according to you, thought is the product of the soul and not of the brain.
DAVID: No contradiction if you realize the brain is a material computer and the s/s/c is an immaterial operating software.

dhw: As above: the software (s/s/c) does the thinking, and so it makes absolutely no sense to say that the computer (brain) had to expand before the software (s/s/c) could think of its new ideas.

Makes perfect sense to me as I sit at my computer, coming up with answers to your statements (concepts) and typing responses (implementation).


DAVID: My antropocentric hypothesis explains everything which is why I propose it.
dhw: I shan't repeat the list of things it doesn't explain. I asked you what part of evolutionary history is not explained by my hypothesis. You still haven’t answered.
DAVID: You do have a theory that outlines how evolution appears from outside the process. It totally leaves out the obvious appearance of purpose from the standpoint of recognizing God's role.

dhw: No it doesn’t. If God exists, and his evolutionary method produced an ever-changing bush of life, it makes perfect sense to suggest that his purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life.

With a goalless endpoint and no apparent purpose has always been your approach, except create a spectacle for God's enjoyment. He appears to be much more serious than that from the evidence at hand. Evolution creating humans is why beyond an entertaining TV show!

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Friday, February 02, 2018, 13:46 (143 days ago) @ David Turell

I’m juxtaposing parts of David’s post for the sake of continuity.

DAVID: I've simple said God uses evolution at his desired pace. My reasoning about God is from what I see in the history of evolution. […]

You asked why sapiens took 270,000 years to come up with new concepts, and I gave you a clear explanation. I asked why your God took millions of years to implement a concept you think he had from the very beginning. Your answer then was: he “has his own reasons”, and now this was what he “desired”. Maybe God desired what the history of evolution shows us: a higgledy-piggledy, ever-changing bush of life forms, lifestyles and natural wonders, including humans.

DAVID: With a goalless endpoint and no apparent purpose has always been your approach, except create a spectacle for God's enjoyment. He appears to be much more serious than that from the evidence at hand. Evolution creating humans is why beyond an entertaining TV show!

We don’t have a clue how it will all end, so it is absurd to talk of an endpoint. Meanwhile, I’m quite willing to jettison the word “enjoyment”, and stick to your own proposal of “watch with interest”. That still makes it a spectacle, and a spectacle is a goal. In passing: TV is not just “entertainment”, unless you find the news reports of millions of starving refugees, of terrorist atrocities, of political oppression “entertaining”. The only evidence we have “at hand” is the ever-changing bush of life, which includes humans, and as above you still haven’t explained why this does not suggest that your God’s purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life, including humans.

dhw: According to you, the cortex does not do the thinking, because you are a dualist and you believe the soul/self/consciousness does the thinking. And so the s/s/c (software) uses the brain (computer) to IMPLEMENT its ideas, not to DEVELOP them.

DAVID: You are deliberately misinterpreting my theory. The s/s/c uses the cortex to think. The s/s/c (software) both develops concepts and implementation by using the brain (computer). As you sit at your computer and create a play, you come up with the concept for a play and then you create the dialogue (implement) all using your s/s/c. How can you separate concept and implementation as you attempted above.

Separating concept and implementation is the whole essence of dualism! You keep agreeing that the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, and you separate the two processes with your analogy of software (soul) and computer (brain). As for your attempt at a new analogy, the dialogue and stage directions ARE the concept of the play, conceived and developed entirely by my s/s/c. The computer (brain) does not contribute a single thought, and I do not “use it” or even need it to think! I use it to implement my thoughts by giving them the material form of material letters, and I use the printer to put the material letters on material paper.

dhw: As above: the software (s/s/c) does the thinking, and so it makes absolutely no sense to say that the computer (brain) had to expand before the software (s/s/c) could think of its new ideas.

DAVID: Makes perfect sense to me as I sit at my computer, coming up with answers to your statements (concepts) and typing responses (implementation).

According to your hypothesis, you have to have a computer (enlarged brain) BEFORE you can think up your answers! (And I must have a computer before I think up my play.) Are you really telling me you can’t think of your answers without the computer? Of course you aren’t. The very idea is absurd.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 03, 2018, 00:58 (143 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: With a goalless endpoint and no apparent purpose has always been your approach, except create a spectacle for God's enjoyment. He appears to be much more serious than that from the evidence at hand. Evolution creating humans is why beyond an entertaining TV show!

dhw:.... The only evidence we have “at hand” is the ever-changing bush of life, which includes humans, and as above you still haven’t explained why this does not suggest that your God’s purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life, including humans.

As I noted in the other ( autonomy) thread, God did produce an ever changing bush of life to supply energy to allow His evolutionary process to produce the final step, the human brain.


dhw: According to you, the cortex does not do the thinking, because you are a dualist and you believe the soul/self/consciousness does the thinking. And so the s/s/c (software) uses the brain (computer) to IMPLEMENT its ideas, not to DEVELOP them.

DAVID: You are deliberately misinterpreting my theory. The s/s/c uses the cortex to think. The s/s/c (software) both develops concepts and implementation by using the brain (computer). As you sit at your computer and create a play, you come up with the concept for a play and then you create the dialogue (implement) all using your s/s/c. How can you separate concept and implementation as you attempted above.

dhw: Separating concept and implementation is the whole essence of dualism! You keep agreeing that the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, and you separate the two processes with your analogy of software (soul) and computer (brain). As for your attempt at a new analogy, the dialogue and stage directions ARE the concept of the play, conceived and developed entirely by my s/s/c. The computer (brain) does not contribute a single thought, and I do not “use it” or even need it to think! I use it to implement my thoughts by giving them the material form of material letters, and I use the printer to put the material letters on material paper.

It seems to me you have described a brainless process of producing a written play. Aren't you thinking in that thing that occupies your skull in the brain pan.


dhw: As above: the software (s/s/c) does the thinking, and so it makes absolutely no sense to say that the computer (brain) had to expand before the software (s/s/c) could think of its new ideas.

DAVID: Makes perfect sense to me as I sit at my computer, coming up with answers to your statements (concepts) and typing responses (implementation).

dhw: According to your hypothesis, you have to have a computer (enlarged brain) BEFORE you can think up your answers! (And I must have a computer before I think up my play.) Are you really telling me you can’t think of your answers without the computer? Of course you aren’t. The very idea is absurd.

I can write a play entirely by hand, but my s/s/c still had to use my brain to have the thoughtds to create it. Why are you are inferring I see my brain as separte from my body, when all I am pointing out is my brain is, in a sense, my onboard computer.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Saturday, February 03, 2018, 11:26 (142 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:.... The only evidence we have “at hand” is the ever-changing bush of life, which includes humans, and as above you still haven’t explained why this does not suggest that your God’s purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life, including humans.
DAVID: As I noted in the other (autonomy) thread, God did produce an ever changing bush of life to supply energy to allow His evolutionary process to produce the final step, the human brain.

Answered on the autonomy thread. You are simply repeating your belief, but you still haven’t explained why the ever-changing bush of life, which includes humans, could not denote that your God’s purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life that includes humans.

DAVID: The s/s/c uses the cortex to think. The s/s/c (software) both develops concepts and implementation by using the brain (computer). As you sit at your computer and create a play, you come up with the concept for a play and then you create the dialogue (implement) all using your s/s/c. How can you separate concept and implementation as you attempted above.

dhw: Separating concept and implementation is the whole essence of dualism! You keep agreeing that the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, and you separate the two processes with your analogy of software (soul) and computer (brain). As for your attempt at a new analogy, the dialogue and stage directions ARE the concept of the play, conceived and developed entirely by my s/s/c. The computer (brain) does not contribute a single thought, and I do not “use it” or even need it to think! I use it to implement my thoughts by giving them the material form of material letters, and I use the printer to put the material letters on material paper.

DAVID: It seems to me you have described a brainless process of producing a written play. Aren't you thinking in that thing that occupies your skull in the brain pan.

Yet again, do you or do you not believe that the soul does the thinking and the brain does the implementing? You've said umpteen times that you do, and yet still you insist that you can't THINK without your brain/computer. Of course the brain is inside the head, and you the dualist will have to tell me where you think the soul is located. See below for the absurd extension of your argument.

dhw: As above: the software (s/s/c) does the thinking, and so it makes absolutely no sense to say that the computer (brain) had to expand before the software (s/s/c) could think of its new ideas.

DAVID: Makes perfect sense to me as I sit at my computer, coming up with answers to your statements (concepts) and typing responses (implementation).

dhw: According to your hypothesis, you have to have a computer (enlarged brain) BEFORE you can think up your answers! (And I must have a computer before I think up my play.) Are you really telling me you can’t think of your answers without the computer? Of course you aren’t. The very idea is absurd.

DAVID: I can write a play entirely by hand, but my s/s/c still had to use my brain to have the thoughtds to create it. Why are you are inferring I see my brain as separte from my body, when all I am pointing out is my brain is, in a sense, my onboard computer.

You are the dualist, but even a dualist does not infer that his brain is separate from his body! Yes, your brain is the onboard computer, and according to you, your soul provides the ideas which the computer implements by giving them material form. If you now think the soul is incapable of thinking without the brain and you are incapable of working out your answers without your computer, then renounce your dualism, and we can tackle the issue of brain enlargement from a materialist standpoint.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 03, 2018, 19:30 (142 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: but you still haven’t explained why the ever-changing bush of life, which includes humans, could not denote that your God’s purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life that includes humans.

I've already stated that the bush of life leads to humans. Including humans, whose complexity is not needed for survival, shows that it was God's purpose. I'm simply saying we are involved beyond any reason for it. We are too spectacular for anything other than His purpose.

DAVID: It seems to me you have described a brainless process of producing a written play. Aren't you thinking in that thing that occupies your skull in the brain pan?

dhw: Yet again, do you or do you not believe that the soul does the thinking and the brain does the implementing? You've said umpteen times that you do, and yet still you insist that you can't THINK without your brain/computer. Of course the brain is inside the head, and you the dualist will have to tell me where you think the soul is located.

Yet again, while the brain is alive, the s/s/c uses it for the individual's human thought, not just the implementation.

dhw: You are the dualist, but even a dualist does not infer that his brain is separate from his body! Yes, your brain is the onboard computer, and according to you, your soul provides the ideas which the computer implements by giving them material form. If you now think the soul is incapable of thinking without the brain and you are incapable of working out your answers without your computer, then renounce your dualism, and we can tackle the issue of brain enlargement from a materialist standpoint.

Of course in life I am attached to a functional brain. I cannot, while alive, communicate with my immaterial s/s/c except though my material brain mechanisms (cortex). If my brain function is absent, but I am sustained in resuscitation, I am not aware of my s/s/c's experiences; I am not aware of my s/s/c's experiences until I am reconnectd to a functional brain. NDE's tell us this clearly, or don't you believe that concept? Clear dualism.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Sunday, February 04, 2018, 10:51 (141 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: …but you still haven’t explained why the ever-changing bush of life, which includes humans, could not denote that your God’s purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life that includes humans.
DAVID: I've already stated that the bush of life leads to humans. Including humans, whose complexity is not needed for survival, shows that it was God's purpose. I'm simply saying we are involved beyond any reason for it. We are too spectacular for anything other than His purpose.

We have both already stated a thousand times that no complexity beyond that of bacteria is needed for survival. (Single cells, as you have pointed out again today under “biological complexity”, are extremely complex, even if they are simpler than multicellular organisms.) Nature’s wonders are all spectacular, and that is why you insist that only your God could have tied the weaverbird’s knots. And that is why it makes perfect theistic sense to argue that all these innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders that make up the bush of life are too spectacular for anything other than his purpose, i.e. the ever-changing bush of life, which includes humans, could not denote that your God’s purpose was to produce an ever-changing bush of life that includes humans. (And I do like the word spectacular, which links up nicely with the word “spectacle”.)

DAVID: Yet again, while the brain is alive, the s/s/c uses it for the individual's human thought, not just the implementation.

The self/soul/consciousness also uses it for gathering information. Yet again, do you or do you not believe that you are able to think without a computer?

dhw: You are the dualist, but even a dualist does not infer that his brain is separate from his body! Yes, your brain is the onboard computer, and according to you, your soul provides the ideas which the computer implements by giving them material form. If you now think the soul is incapable of thinking without the brain and you are incapable of working out your answers without your computer, then renounce your dualism, and we can tackle the issue of brain enlargement from a materialist standpoint.

DAVID: Of course in life I am attached to a functional brain. I cannot, while alive, communicate with my immaterial s/s/c except though my material brain mechanisms (cortex). If my brain function is absent, but I am sustained in resuscitation, I am not aware of my s/s/c's experiences; I am not aware of my s/s/c's experiences until I am reconnectd to a functional brain. NDE's tell us this clearly, or don't you believe that concept? Clear dualism.

Once more you go back to separating “I” from your self/soul/consciousness. So now your self/soul cannot communicate with your self/soul unless it has a brain to do what? To receive the message from your soul and pass it on to your soul? Does that really make sense to you? As regards NDEs, of course patients are aware of their experiences. How else could they remember them? But until they are reconnected to a functional brain, they cannot tell anyone about them, i.e. cannot give them material expression. I am not arguing against dualism (I remain neutral) - I am simply pointing out to you that if you believe thought depends on the brain, and more complex thought depends on a larger brain, you are a materialist. That is why your arguments are contradictory.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 04, 2018, 18:52 (141 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Yet again, while the brain is alive, the s/s/c uses it for the individual's human thought, not just the implementation.

dhw: The self/soul/consciousness also uses it for gathering information. Yet again, do you or do you not believe that you are able to think without a computer?

I can't think without a brain that is functional


dhw: You are the dualist, but even a dualist does not infer that his brain is separate from his body! Yes, your brain is the onboard computer, and according to you, your soul provides the ideas which the computer implements by giving them material form. If you now think the soul is incapable of thinking without the brain and you are incapable of working out your answers without your computer, then renounce your dualism, and we can tackle the issue of brain enlargement from a materialist standpoint.

DAVID: Of course in life I am attached to a functional brain. I cannot, while alive, communicate with my immaterial s/s/c except though my material brain mechanisms (cortex). If my brain function is absent, but I am sustained in resuscitation, I am not aware of my s/s/c's experiences; I am not aware of my s/s/c's experiences until I am reconnectd to a functional brain. NDE's tell us this clearly, or don't you believe that concept? Clear dualism.

dhw: Once more you go back to separating “I” from your self/soul/consciousness.

You separated my 'I' from my s/s/c. I don't see it that way. I know what I feel and it is not an illusion (Dennett). My s/s/c cannot function under my awareness if my brain is non-functional. but the s/s/c can experience 'being' without me and return to tell me about it when the NDE ends with resuscitation. Total dualism. Do you believe in NDE's as described? They are the basis of my theory.

dhw:So now your self/soul cannot communicate with your self/soul unless it has a brain to do what? To receive the message from your soul and pass it on to your soul? Does that really make sense to you? As regards NDEs, of course patients are aware of their experiences. How else could they remember them? But until they are reconnected to a functional brain, they cannot tell anyone about them, i.e. cannot give them material expression.

Read Eben Alexander's book. He only learned about his NDE experience only after he woke up from a week of deep coma with no demonstrable brain function. His description of his experience will give you a whole new perspective of this discussion.

dhw:I am not arguing against dualism (I remain neutral) - I am simply pointing out to you that if you believe thought depends on the brain, and more complex thought depends on a larger brain, you are a materialist. That is why your arguments are contradictory.

As long as you refuse to accept the s/s/c as software and the brain as hardware we will never see any agreement. Dualsim is obvious.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Monday, February 05, 2018, 14:19 (140 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I can't think without a brain that is functional

You may well be right, but that statement is pure materialism, and you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: I cannot, while alive, communicate with my immaterial s/s/c except though my material brain mechanisms (cortex).
dhw: Once more you go back to separating “I” from your self/soul/consciousness.
DAVID: You separated my 'I' from my s/s/c. I don't see it that way. I know what I feel and it is not an illusion (Dennett).

I have not said it’s an illusion! It was you who separated the two by saying your “I” could not communicate with your “self/soul” without a brain. I have always understood your dualist belief to be that the self/soul/“I” is distinct from the body/brain (though they work together during earthly life), and lives on independently of its material container (body/brain) when it leaves the material world.

DAVID: My s/s/c cannot function under my awareness if my brain is non-functional. but the s/s/c can experience 'being' without me and return to tell me about it when the NDE ends with resuscitation. Total dualism. Do you believe in NDE's as described? They are the basis of my theory.

I keep an open mind about NDEs, and they are one of the reasons why I cannot embrace materialism. The question we are discussing is not the authenticity of NDEs, but how you can reconcile your dualism with your belief that your soul cannot think unless it has a brain.

DAVID: Read Eben Alexander's book. He only learned about his NDE experience only after he woke up from a week of deep coma with no demonstrable brain function. His description of his experience will give you a whole new perspective of this discussion.

What do you mean “he only learned about his experience”? Assuming the whole story is true, during his coma he/his self/his soul left his body. Here’s what happened next, according to his website:

QUOTE: If one had asked me before my coma how much a patient would remember after such severe meningitis, I would have answered “nothing” and been thinking in the back of my mind that no one would recover from such an illness, at least not to the point of being able to discuss their memories. Thus, you can imagine my surprise at remembering an elaborate and rich odyssey from deep within coma that comprised more than 20,000 words by the time I had written it all down during the six weeks following my return from the hospital. (My bold)

What, then, told “him” about his experience, enabling “him” to learn about it? Do you the dualist really believe his brain told his soul what his soul had experienced? The soul does the thinking and remembering, and the brain puts the experience into 20,000+ words.

dhw:I am not arguing against dualism (I remain neutral) - I am simply pointing out to you that if you believe thought depends on the brain, and more complex thought depends on a larger brain, you are a materialist. That is why your arguments are contradictory.
DAVID: As long as you refuse to accept the s/s/c as software and the brain as hardware we will never see any agreement. Dualsim is obvious.

If I were a dualist clinging to the software/hardware analogy, I would say that the soul (software) thinks up the ideas, and the brain (hardware) does no thinking of its own but is used to implement the ideas. The logical conclusion from this analogy is that the expansion of the brain had nothing to do with thinking up new concepts, but had everything to do with the implementation of those new concepts.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Monday, February 05, 2018, 15:58 (140 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I can't think without a brain that is functional

dhw: You may well be right, but that statement is pure materialism, and you claim to be a dualist.

The s/s/c is the immaterial part that uses the material brain. Dualism. Your 'you may well be right' indicates you are not sure you think with your brain. Do you?

David: Do you believe in NDE's as described? They are the basis of my theory.[/i]

dhw: I keep an open mind about NDEs, and they are one of the reasons why I cannot embrace materialism. The question we are discussing is not the authenticity of NDEs, but how you can reconcile your dualism with your belief that your soul cannot think unless it has a brain.

DAVID: Read Eben Alexander's book. He only learned about his NDE experience only after he woke up from a week of deep coma with no demonstrable brain function. His description of his experience will give you a whole new perspective of this discussion.

dhw: What do you mean “he only learned about his experience”? Assuming the whole story is true, during his coma he/his self/his soul left his body. Here’s what happened next, according to his website:

QUOTE: If one had asked me before my coma how much a patient would remember after such severe meningitis, I would have answered “nothing” and been thinking in the back of my mind that no one would recover from such an illness, at least not to the point of being able to discuss their memories. Thus, you can imagine my surprise at remembering an elaborate and rich odyssey from deep within coma that comprised more than 20,000 words by the time I had written it all down during the six weeks following my return from the hospital. (My bold)

What, then, told “him” about his experience, enabling “him” to learn about it? Do you the dualist really believe his brain told his soul what his soul had experienced? The soul does the thinking and remembering, and the brain puts the experience into 20,000+ words.

No! His s/s/c now able to use his brain which came out of a week of coma, transmitted the NDE information into his brain, which he then could interpret thought his active material brain using the returned s/s/c software (immaterial) which carried the new memories and now he could write the 20,000 words.


dhw:I am not arguing against dualism (I remain neutral) - I am simply pointing out to you that if you believe thought depends on the brain, and more complex thought depends on a larger brain, you are a materialist. That is why your arguments are contradictory.
DAVID: As long as you refuse to accept the s/s/c as software and the brain as hardware we will never see any agreement. Dualsim is obvious.

dhw: If I were a dualist clinging to the software/hardware analogy, I would say that the soul (software) thinks up the ideas, and the brain (hardware) does no thinking of its own but is used to implement the ideas. The logical conclusion from this analogy is that the expansion of the brain had nothing to do with thinking up new concepts, but had everything to do with the implementation of those new concepts.

'Implementation' is only the physical use of the body to carry out ideas, as in typing my responses to you. I develop ideas using my s/s/c which uses my brain in the process of my recognizing my own new ideas. I have no idea what your use of the word 'implementation' implies in this context.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Tuesday, February 06, 2018, 15:56 (139 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I can't think without a brain that is functional
dhw: You may well be right, but that statement is pure materialism, and you claim to be a dualist.
DAVID: The s/s/c is the immaterial part that uses the material brain. Dualism. Your 'you may well be right' indicates you are not sure you think with your brain. Do you?

Yes, the immaterial s/s/c using the material brain is dualism. But the s/s/c “can’t think without a brain that is functional” is materialism. You try to use NDEs to prove that the immaterial s/s/c does NOT need the brain to think, remember etc., and then you tell us the immaterial s/s/c needs the brain to think, remember etc. But you cannot see the contradiction. As for my own approach, I am indeed unsure whether I need my brain to think (materialism) or I have a thinking soul that tells my brain what to do (dualism).

DAVID: Read Eben Alexander's book. He only learned about his NDE experience only after he woke up from a week of deep coma with no demonstrable brain function.
dhw What[…] told “him” about his experience, enabling “him” to learn about it? Do you the dualist really believe his brain told his soul what his soul had experienced? The soul does the thinking and remembering, and the brain puts the experience into 20,000+ words.

DAVID: No! His s/s/c now able to use his brain which came out of a week of coma, transmitted the NDE information into his brain, which he then could interpret thought his active material brain using the returned s/s/c software (immaterial) which carried the new memories and now he could write the 20,000 words.

If his s/s/c informed his brain, “he” did not learn about his experience “only after he woke up”. And when you say he could “then interpret” it, do you think it was his brain that interpreted the experience? Do you think it is your brain or your soul that solves problems, thinks up answers to my questions, applies your knowledge of biochemistry to questions such as God’s existence and the mechanics of evolution? If his story his true, Alexander’s soul returned to his body with full knowledge of its experience, “transmitted the NDE information into his brain”, and his brain enabled him to transcribe his immaterial experience into material form: 20,000 words.

dhw: If I were a dualist clinging to the software/hardware analogy, I would say that the soul (software) thinks up the ideas, and the brain (hardware) does no thinking of its own but is used to implement the ideas. The logical conclusion from this analogy is that the expansion of the brain had nothing to do with thinking up new concepts, but had everything to do with the implementation of those new concepts.
DAVID: 'Implementation' is only the physical use of the body to carry out ideas, as in typing my responses to you. I develop ideas using my s/s/c which uses my brain in the process of my recognizing my own new ideas. I have no idea what your use of the word 'implementation' implies in this context.

The s/s/c “…uses the brain in the process of my recognizing my own new ideas” is another of your weasel wordings. For you as a dualist, it is your soul that produces and also thinks about your ideas. Implementation in this context means giving material form to immaterial ideas. Eben Alexander used his brain to type out the 20,000 words dictated by his soul. Erectus’s soul used his brain to knapp flint, tie the sharpened flint to a shaft, throw the spear at the animal. Your soul uses your brain to read my words, then it thinks about them, works out its responses, and again uses your brain to put the words it dictates into the computer. And to return to the subject under discussion, you believe that NDEs prove we do NOT need the brain to think, and so the logical extension of this belief is that the brain is only required to give material form to immaterial thought, i.e. it is a complete contradiction to argue that you cannot think without a functional brain and that the hominin could not have thought up his concepts if his brain had not already expanded.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 06, 2018, 18:20 (139 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The s/s/c is the immaterial part that uses the material brain. Dualism. Your 'you may well be right' indicates you are not sure you think with your brain. Do you?

Yes, the immaterial s/s/c using the material brain is dualism. But the s/s/c “can’t think without a brain that is functional” is materialism. You try to use NDEs to prove that the immaterial s/s/c does NOT need the brain to think, remember etc., and then you tell us the immaterial s/s/c needs the brain to think, remember etc. But you cannot see the contradiction. As for my own approach, I am indeed unsure whether I need my brain to think (materialism) or I have a thinking soul that tells my brain what to do (dualism).

The functional brain uses the s/s/c to think. In NDE's the s/s/c separates from the brain and in an unknown separate form can experience events which it can express only when reattached to a functional brain. They must work together when in life. As for your confusion, don't you control your own newly created thoughts through your s/s/c, by using your brain?


DAVID: No! His s/s/c now able to use his brain which came out of a week of coma, transmitted the NDE information into his brain, which he then could interpret thought his active material brain using the returned s/s/c software (immaterial) which carried the new memories and now he could write the 20,000 words.

dhw: Do you think it is your brain or your soul that solves problems, thinks up answers to my questions, applies your knowledge of biochemistry to questions such as God’s existence and the mechanics of evolution?

The only way you can experience your s/s/c is with a living brain. They are inextricably connected. My s/s/c uses the brain to let me communicate with the thoughts I create. I=s s/s/c.

dhw: If his story his true, Alexander’s soul returned to his body with full knowledge of its experience, “transmitted the NDE information into his brain”, and his brain enabled him to transcribe his immaterial experience into material form: 20,000 words.

That fits his description. Note his s/s/c experienced the event, and Alexander interpreted it after his brain returned to functional state.

DAVID: 'Implementation' is only the physical use of the body to carry out ideas, as in typing my responses to you. I develop ideas using my s/s/c which uses my brain in the process of my recognizing my own new ideas. I have no idea what your use of the word 'implementation' implies in this context.

dhw: The s/s/c “…uses the brain in the process of my recognizing my own new ideas” is another of your weasel wordings. For you as a dualist, it is your soul that produces and also thinks about your ideas. Implementation in this context means giving material form to immaterial ideas.

I can agree to this.

dhw: And to return to the subject under discussion, you believe that NDEs prove we do NOT need the brain to think, and so the logical extension of this belief is that the brain is only required to give material form to immaterial thought, i.e. it is a complete contradiction to argue that you cannot think without a functional brain and that the hominin could not have thought up his concepts if his brain had not already expanded.

You are so confused. You keep forgetting the s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with an without a functional brain. In the NDE the s/s/c experiences and receives information (brain not functioning), which it only can transmit to a functional brain as function returns. Of course we need a functional brain to think.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Wednesday, February 07, 2018, 13:28 (138 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The functional brain uses the s/s/c to think.

For a dualist, it is the s/s/c that thinks, and it uses the brain to implement its thoughts, as you explain in your next statement.

DAVID: In NDE's the s/s/c separates from the brain and in an unknown separate form can experience events which it can express only when reattached to a functional brain.

Precisely. Expression is the material implementation of the s/s/c’s immaterial thoughts/memories/interpretations, and implementation depends on the brain.

DAVID: They must work together when in life. As for your confusion, don't you control your own newly created thoughts through your s/s/c, by using your brain?

Yes, they work together: the s/s/c does the THINKING, and the brain provides information and does the implementing. You’ve got it! So don’t keep saying the s/s/c can’t THINK without a functional brain. Control entails the conscious will. If you think the conscious will is a product of the brain and not of the soul, so be it. That is materialism. I have an open mind on the subject. Open-mindedness is not the same as “confusion”. It simply means that one sees both sides, and cannot make a decision either way.

DAVID: The only way you can experience your s/s/c is with a living brain. They are inextricably connected. My s/s/c uses the brain to let me communicate with the thoughts I create. I=s s/s/c.

And yet you believe that NDE patients experience their s/s/c without a living brain. In life they are indeed inextricably connected: the one does the thinking and the other does the implementing. If I=the s/s/c, YOU don’t need to “communicate” with YOU or your thoughts! You know what your thoughts are! You use the brain to give material expression to your thoughts, as you inadvertently agreed earlier in this post.

dhw: If his story his true, Alexander’s soul returned to his body with full knowledge of its experience, “transmitted the NDE information into his brain”, and his brain enabled him to transcribe his immaterial experience into material form: 20,000 words.
DAVID: That fits his description. Note his s/s/c experienced the event, and Alexander interpreted it after his brain returned to functional state.

Alexander IS his s/s/c! And his s/s/c remembered and interpreted the experience, and used his functioning brain to give material expression to his recollections and his interpretations. Of course it could only do this after the brain returned to its functional state. (NB I continue to adopt the dualist approach in order to point out the contradictory nature of your arguments.)

dhw: ...you believe that NDEs prove we do NOT need the brain to think, and so the logical extension of this belief is that the brain is only required to give material form to immaterial thought, i.e. it is a complete contradiction to argue that you cannot think without a functional brain and that the hominin could not have thought up his concepts if his brain had not already expanded.
DAVID: You are so confused. You keep forgetting the s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with an without a functional brain.

You are so confused. During an NDE (and an OBE) the s/s/c – according to all the doctors – is without a functional brain. That is why NDEs (and OBEs) are regarded as evidence for dualism.

DAVID: In the NDE the s/s/c experiences and receives information (brain not functioning), which it only can transmit to a functional brain as function returns.

Correct. As above, the s/s/c informs the resuscitated brain of its experiences so that the brain can give material expression to the s/s/c’s experience and interpretation of that experience.

DAVID: Of course we need a functional brain to think.

Welcome back to materialism. But dualists believe that the s/s/c does the thinking – as appears to be demonstrated by NDEs. We need a functional brain to express or implement our thoughts.

Apologies for all the repetition, but if you keep repeating your contradictions, I have no choice but to keep pointing them out.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 07, 2018, 15:24 (138 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: They must work together when in life. As for your confusion, don't you control your own newly created thoughts through your s/s/c, by using your brain?

Yes, they work together: the s/s/c does the THINKING, and the brain provides information and does the implementing. You’ve got it! So don’t keep saying the s/s/c can’t THINK without a functional brain. Control entails the conscious will. If you think the conscious will is a product of the brain and not of the soul, so be it. That is materialism.

I can only repeat in life I reach and control my s/s/c through a functioning brain interfaced with the s/s/c.


DAVID: The only way you can experience your s/s/c is with a living brain. They are inextricably connected. My s/s/c uses the brain to let me communicate with the thoughts I create. I=s s/s/c.

dhw: And yet you believe that NDE patients experience their s/s/c without a living brain.

They don't experience what the s/s/c learns until the s/s/c returns to the functional brain and informs it/them. Non-function and function are the two very separate parts of the NDE. You keep trying to fuse them.

dhw: In life they are indeed inextricably connected: the one does the thinking and the other does the implementing. If I=the s/s/c, YOU don’t need to “communicate” with YOU or your thoughts! You know what your thoughts are! You use the brain to give material expression to your thoughts, as you inadvertently agreed earlier in this post.

Whew: I know the only way my thoughts become material is if they are expressed in speech or written. I must use my material brain to reach my immaterial thoughts. No functional brain, no thoughts available.


dhw: If his story his true, Alexander’s soul returned to his body with full knowledge of its experience, “transmitted the NDE information into his brain”, and his brain enabled him to transcribe his immaterial experience into material form: 20,000 words.
DAVID: That fits his description. Note his s/s/c experienced the event, and Alexander interpreted it after his brain returned to functional state.

dhw: Alexander IS his s/s/c! And his s/s/c remembered and interpreted the experience, and used his functioning brain to give material expression to his recollections and his interpretations. Of course it could only do this after the brain returned to its functional state. (NB I continue to adopt the dualist approach in order to point out the contradictory nature of your arguments.)

Alexander had no connection to his s/s/c for a week. It recorded the experience without a brain. You agree. What is contradictory?


dhw: ...you believe that NDEs prove we do NOT need the brain to think, and so the logical extension of this belief is that the brain is only required to give material form to immaterial thought, i.e. it is a complete contradiction to argue that you cannot think without a functional brain and that the hominin could not have thought up his concepts if his brain had not already expanded.
DAVID: You are so confused. You keep forgetting the s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with an without a functional brain.

dhw: You are so confused. During an NDE (and an OBE) the s/s/c – according to all the doctors – is without a functional brain. That is why NDEs (and OBEs) are regarded as evidence for dualism.

No confusion. Evidence for dualism.


DAVID: In the NDE the s/s/c experiences and receives information (brain not functioning), which it only can transmit to a functional brain as function returns.

dhw: Correct. As above, the s/s/c informs the resuscitated brain of its experiences so that the brain can give material expression to the s/s/c’s experience and interpretation of that experience.

DAVID: Of course we need a functional brain to think.

dhw: Welcome back to materialism. But dualists believe that the s/s/c does the thinking – as appears to be demonstrated by NDEs. We need a functional brain to express or implement our thoughts.

Of course the brain is material and you can't reach your s/s/c while alive without it.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Thursday, February 08, 2018, 13:50 (137 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: Control entails the conscious will. If you think the conscious will is a product of the brain and not of the soul, so be it. That is materialism.
DAVID: I can only repeat in life I reach and control my s/s/c through a functioning brain interfaced with the s/s/c.

You keep agreeing (as below, now bolded) that I = the s/s/c. So now apparently your s/s/c reaches and controls your s/s/c! I suggest that a dualist’s s/s/c reaches and controls the functioning brain. To use your pet analogy, the software controls the hardware.

DAVID: The only way you can experience your s/s/c is with a living brain. They are inextricably connected. My s/s/c uses the brain to let me communicate with the thoughts I create. I=s s/s/c.

dhw: And yet you believe that NDE patients experience their s/s/c without a living brain.
DAVID: They don't experience what the s/s/c learns until the s/s/c returns to the functional brain and informs it/them. Non-function and function are the two very separate parts of the NDE. You keep trying to fuse them.

The patients ARE their s/s/c! The self/soul/patient has the experience and informs the brain when the brain becomes functional again! Your confusion is exemplified again by this exchange:

DAVID: You are so confused. You keep forgetting the s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with an without a functional brain.
dhw: You are so confused. During an NDE (and an OBE) the s/s/c – according to all the doctors – is without a functional brain. That is why NDEs (and OBEs) are regarded as evidence for dualism.
DAVID: No confusion. Evidence for dualism.

The evidence comes from the claim that during an NDE the patient’s self does NOT have a functional brain, whereas you have just said that he/she does!

dhw: In life they [soul and brain] are indeed inextricably connected: the one does the thinking and the other does the implementing. If I=the s/s/c, YOU don’t need to “communicate” with YOU or your thoughts! You know what your thoughts are! You use the brain to give material expression to your thoughts.

DAVID: Whew: I know the only way my thoughts become material is if they are expressed in speech or written. I must use my material brain to reach my immaterial thoughts. No functional brain, no thoughts available.

First sentence exactly right. The brain gives material expression to the thoughts. Your “I” (s/s/c) has the thoughts. What you say next, however, means that you/yourself/soul don’t know what you are thinking until you have said it or written it!

dhw: Alexander IS his s/s/c! And his s/s/c remembered and interpreted the experience, and used his functioning brain to give material expression to his recollections and his interpretations. Of course it could only do this after the brain returned to its functional state. (NB I continue to adopt the dualist approach in order to point out the contradictory nature of your arguments.)
DAVID: Alexander had no connection to his s/s/c for a week. It recorded the experience without a brain. You agree. What is contradictory?

Wrong. Alexander IS his s/s/c and had no connection to his brain for a week. My parenthesis, though, is to explain why I am adopting the dualist approach, although I remain neutral in the debate. The contradiction lies between your dualistic belief that the soul/self does the thinking/remembering, and your materialistic belief that you can’t think/remember without a functioning brain.

DAVID: Of course we need a functional brain to think.
dhw: Welcome back to materialism. But dualists believe that the s/s/c does the thinking – as appears to be demonstrated by NDEs. We need a functional brain to express or implement our thoughts.
DAVID: Of course the brain is material and you can't reach your s/s/c while alive without it. [Repeated on the "chimps" thread.]

As above. Apparently you don’t know what you are thinking until you have said it or written it.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 08, 2018, 15:32 (137 days ago) @ dhw


dhw: You keep agreeing (as below, now bolded) that I = the s/s/c. So now apparently your s/s/c reaches and controls your s/s/c! I suggest that a dualist’s s/s/c reaches and controls the functioning brain. To use your pet analogy, the software controls the hardware.

I'll accept your last sentence.


DAVID: You are so confused. You keep forgetting the s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with an without a functional brain.
dhw: You are so confused. During an NDE (and an OBE) the s/s/c – according to all the doctors – is without a functional brain. That is why NDEs (and OBEs) are regarded as evidence for dualism.
DAVID: No confusion. Evidence for dualism.

In an NDE the s/s/c is separated from the non-functioning brain. Operates without brain. That is first state. Second state is with functional brain with s/s/c joined to it and revealing the ezxpeiences.


The evidence comes from the claim that during an NDE the patient’s self does NOT have a functional brain, whereas you have just said that he/she does!

You just don't follow the obvious reasoning. See above.


dhw: means that you/yourself/soul don’t know what you are thinking until you have said it or written it!

Thoughts have a temporal aspect. You are not aware of what you are thinking until you think it.

dhw: Alexander IS his s/s/c and had no connection to his brain for a week. The contradiction lies between your dualistic belief that the soul/self does the thinking/remembering, and your materialistic belief that you can’t think/remember without a functioning brain.

Of course I can't think unless my brain is functional and has my s/s/c attached. Alexander lived in coma a week without knowing what was going on. When his s/s/c rejoined his physical brain, he then learned of what had happened in his past week.


DAVID: Of course we need a functional brain to think.
dhw: Welcome back to materialism. But dualists believe that the s/s/c does the thinking – as appears to be demonstrated by NDEs. We need a functional brain to express or implement our thoughts.
DAVID: Of course the brain is material and you can't reach your s/s/c while alive without it. [Repeated on the "chimps" thread.]

dhw: As above. Apparently you don’t know what you are thinking until you have said it or written it.

But you do? Amazing.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Friday, February 09, 2018, 13:10 (136 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You keep agreeing [ …] that I = the s/s/c. So now apparently your s/s/c reaches and controls your s/s/c! I suggest that a dualist’s s/s/c reaches and controls the functioning brain. To use your pet analogy, the software controls the hardware.
DAVID: I'll accept your last sentence.

The software is the “soul” and the hardware is the brain, so you accept that in dualism the soul controls the brain, without all this rigmarole of the soul (s/s/c = I) reaching and controlling the soul (s/s/c = I) through the brain.

DAVID: In an NDE the s/s/c is separated from the non-functioning brain. Operates without brain. That is first state. Second state is with functional brain with s/s/c joined to it and revealing the experiences.

Exactly right. You wrote: “The s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with and without a functional brain.” No, the s/s/c is without a functioning brain DURING the NDE, and then tells the now functioning brain about its experience AFTER the NDE. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence for dualism. You’ve got it!

DAVID: Thoughts have a temporal aspect. You are not aware of what you are thinking until you think it.

Obviously. But you wrote “I must use my material brain to reach my immaterial thoughts”, which means: “Apparently you don’t know what you are thinking until you have said it or written it.” (My bold)

DAVID: But you do? Amazing.

Yes, I do. I am thinking all day long, and I know what I am thinking even if I say nothing and write nothing. I’ll be so bold as to say to you in all honesty that if your mind is a blank until you talk to someone or write something down, it is you who are the source of amazement.

xxxx

DAVID (under “multicellularity”): […] I am material and I can only approach my s/s/c when I start to think. I can only use my brain to make contact with my s/s/c. I=s s/s/c. You and I cannot get around the material brain is the gateway to the s/s/c.

More confusion. Your s/s/c is your immaterial self or “I”, and yet you say “I am material”! You can only make contact with yourself through the functioning brain, and yet you only “approach” your self when you start to think, and thinking is done by your self/soul (software), NOT your brain (hardware) - the very essence of dualism. This is epitomized by NDEs:

DAVID: NDE's show us the s/s/c can be separate from the brain and be entirely functional, and when reattached to the brain transmit all of its newly received information. This tells me there are two separate entities, brain and s/s/c which work together when attached.

Exactly right again. If the s/s/c, the “I”, does its thinking entirely separately from the non-functional brain, it is patently absurd to argue that the functional brain is the gateway to the s/s/c.

DAVID: Our discussion always deals with a material brain and an immaterial s/s/c, dual entities. Materialism always has to part of the discussion. Can you show me complete separation which you seem to imply?

You have just shown complete separation with the example of NDEs. There is no complete separation when the patient recovers: then the s/s/c continues to do the thinking, and uses the brain to express its thoughts.

DAVID: And I am convinced a more complex cortex must be present to allow the s/s/c to perform more complex thinking.

Then you are convinced that the s/s/c cannot think independently of the brain, in spite of NDEs, and that is materialism.

DAVID: Every development in the evolution of Homo shows us that. Complex cortex always results in more complex artifacts. Your hypothesis that a small brain can have a concept, but must enlarge to implement it has no basis in what we know about Homo evolution.

Every development in the evolution of Homo shows that the larger brain coincides with more complex artefacts. History can’t show us that the brain expanded BEFORE the artefacts were produced, which is your hypothesis. We know the brain complexifies through and not before the implementation of new concepts, so it’s feasible that the same applied to expansion.

DAVID: This also tells me the brain can receive information, can transmit information which is more than functional implementation, which you imply is all the brain does. It modifies to help with handling new concepts. Can you describe what you think implementation entails?

I have said repeatedly that the brain gathers information and passes it to the s/s/c. And yes, it modifies to help with handling new concepts - not BEFORE the concepts exist. (See also your post on the mouse cortex.) I can’t improve on the description of implementation that you wrote yourself under “Learning new tasks”, 2 December, but later wanted to rewrite: “If habilis has an idea for spears, the idea is immaterial. No brain change. Once he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone point to a wooden rod, and then practices throwing it with accuracy, there is no question his brain has enlarged with all the muscle movement and visual coordination involved”.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Friday, February 09, 2018, 15:05 (136 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: In an NDE the s/s/c is separated from the non-functioning brain. Operates without brain. That is first state. Second state is with functional brain with s/s/c joined to it and revealing the experiences.

Exactly right. You wrote: “The s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with and without a functional brain.” No, the s/s/c is without a functioning brain DURING the NDE, and then tells the now functioning brain about its experience AFTER the NDE. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence for dualism. You’ve got it!

We agree.


DAVID: But you do? Amazing.

dhw: Yes, I do. I am thinking all day long, and I know what I am thinking even if I say nothing and write nothing. I’ll be so bold as to say to you in all honesty that if your mind is a blank until you talk to someone or write something down, it is you who are the source of amazement.

I really feel I have blank periods.


xxxx

DAVID (under “multicellularity”): […] I am material and I can only approach my s/s/c when I start to think. I can only use my brain to make contact with my s/s/c. I=s s/s/c. You and I cannot get around the material brain is the gateway to the s/s/c.

dhw; More confusion. Your s/s/c is your immaterial self or “I”, and yet you say “I am material”! You can only make contact with yourself through the functioning brain, and yet you only “approach” your self when you start to think, and thinking is done by your self/soul (software), NOT your brain (hardware) - the very essence of dualism. This is epitomized by NDEs:

You are confused. I'm never aware of my s/s/c unless my brain is functional, as per NDE's. My thinking is done by my s/s/c using my brain as hardware. In NDE's the s/s/c observes and receives information. There is no information that the s/s/c thinks during an NDE.


DAVID: And I am convinced a more complex cortex must be present to allow the s/s/c to perform more complex thinking.

dhw: Then you are convinced that the s/s/c cannot think independently of the brain, in spite of NDEs, and that is materialism.

See my comment above. In NDE's the s/s/c may only receive information, not form concepts.


DAVID: Every development in the evolution of Homo shows us that. Complex cortex always results in more complex artifacts. Your hypothesis that a small brain can have a concept, but must enlarge to implement it has no basis in what we know about Homo evolution.

dhw: Every development in the evolution of Homo shows that the larger brain coincides with more complex artefacts. History can’t show us that the brain expanded BEFORE the artefacts were produced, which is your hypothesis. We know the brain complexifies through and not before the implementation of new concepts, so it’s feasible that the same applied to expansion.

Except complexity shrinks brains!


DAVID: This also tells me the brain can receive information, can transmit information which is more than functional implementation, which you imply is all the brain does. It modifies to help with handling new concepts. Can you describe what you think implementation entails?

dhw: I have said repeatedly that the brain gathers information and passes it to the s/s/c. And yes, it modifies to help with handling new concepts - not BEFORE the concepts exist. (See also your post on the mouse cortex.) I can’t improve on the description of implementation that you wrote yourself under “Learning new tasks”, 2 December, but later wanted to rewrite: “If habilis has an idea for spears, the idea is immaterial. No brain change. Once he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone point to a wooden rod, and then practices throwing it with accuracy, there is no question his brain has enlarged with all the muscle movement and visual coordination involved”.

My statement always meant 'prior enlargement'. I've never changed my concept.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Saturday, February 10, 2018, 13:26 (135 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: In an NDE the s/s/c is separated from the non-functioning brain. Operates without brain. That is first state. Second state is with functional brain with s/s/c joined to it and revealing the experiences.

dhw: Exactly right. You wrote: “The s/s/c is in two different states during an NDE, with and without a functional brain.” No, the s/s/c is without a functioning brain DURING the NDE, and then tells the now functioning brain about its experience AFTER the NDE. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence for dualism. You’ve got it!

DAVID: We agree.

dhw: I am thinking all day long, and I know what I am thinking even if I say nothing and write nothing. I’ll be so bold as to say to you in all honesty that if your mind is a blank until you talk to someone or write something down, it is you who are the source of amazement.

DAVID: I really feel I have blank periods.

You can have as many blanks as you like, but if you are only aware of your thoughts when you speak to someone or write them down, as you claimed, you have a problem!

DAVID (under “multicellularity”): […] I am material and I can only approach my s/s/c when I start to think. I can only use my brain to make contact with my s/s/c. I=s s/s/c. You and I cannot get around the material brain is the gateway to the s/s/c.

dhw: More confusion. Your s/s/c is your immaterial self or “I”, and yet you say “I am material”! You can only make contact with yourself through the functioning brain, and yet you only “approach” your self when you start to think, and thinking is done by your self/soul (software), NOT your brain (hardware) - the very essence of dualism. This is epitomized by NDEs:

DAVID: You are confused. I'm never aware of my s/s/c unless my brain is functional, as per NDE's.

Now you say your self is never aware of your self unless your brain is functional, but in NDEs the brain is NOT functional and yet the self is aware of itself, and afterwards reveals its experiences to the brain. That is why NDEs provide evidence for dualism. You agreed at the top of this post, and now you disagree.

DAVID: My thinking is done by my s/s/c using my brain as hardware.

The s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and uses the brain (hardware) to give material expression to the thoughts.

DAVID: In NDE's the s/s/c observes and receives information. There is no information that the s/s/c thinks during an NDE.

What are you saying? That during the NDE patients are not aware of what they are experiencing? And yet when they return to the body they remember everything that happened and inform the brain about it! The thinking, remembering, interpreting is done by the s/s/c (software), and the brain (hardware) is used by the s/s/c (software) to communicate the experience to others. You keep agreeing and then disagreeing.

DAVID: And I am convinced a more complex cortex must be present to allow the s/s/c to perform more complex thinking.

dhw: Then you are convinced that the s/s/c cannot think independently of the brain, in spite of NDEs, and that is materialism.

DAVID: In NDE's the s/s/c may only receive information, not form concepts.

I don’t know if this is true, but in any case, forming concepts is not the only way of being aware of your self. The dualist’s brain would not remember or interpret an experience it never had! It can only give material expression to the thoughts (in speech or writing) after the s/s/c passes on its experiences and interpretations. If you believe the s/s/c cannot be aware of its experiences, remember, interpret without a functioning brain, as suggested by NDEs, then you may as well forget about dualism and embrace materialism.

dhw: Every development in the evolution of Homo shows that the larger brain coincides with more complex artefacts. History can’t show us that the brain expanded BEFORE the artefacts were produced, which is your hypothesis. We know the brain complexifies through and not before the implementation of new concepts, so it’s feasible that the same applied to expansion.

DAVID: Except complexity shrinks brains!

Explained over and over again: in pre-humans, brain reaches point where greater capacity necessary (same in your own hypothesis, so no disagreement there); in modern humans, expansion not possible; complexification so efficient that it shrinks brain.

dhw: I can’t improve on the description of implementation that you wrote yourself under “Learning new tasks”, 2 December, but later wanted to rewrite: “If habilis has an idea for spears, the idea is immaterial. No brain change. Once he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone point to a wooden rod, and then practices throwing it with accuracy, there is no question his brain has enlarged with all the muscle movement and visual coordination involved”.

DAVID: My statement always meant 'prior enlargement'. I've never changed my concept.

You asked me to describe what implementation entailed, and your account is as clear a description as possible. Immaterial idea first. NO BRAIN CHANGE. New activities, brain “has enlarged” with all the movement etc. involved. I know you wish you hadn’t written it, but that’s not the point. It’s the perfect description of what implementation entails according to my hypothesis.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 10, 2018, 20:57 (135 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Saturday, February 10, 2018, 21:02

DAVID: I really feel I have blank periods.

dhw: You can have as many blanks as you like, but if you are only aware of your thoughts when you speak to someone or write them down, as you claimed, you have a problem!

At times I speak to me, but I can be totally unproductive of thought and just observing.


DAVID (under “multicellularity”): […] I am material and I can only approach my s/s/c when I start to think. I can only use my brain to make contact with my s/s/c. I=s s/s/c. You and I cannot get around the material brain is the gateway to the s/s/c.

DAVID: You are confused. I'm never aware of my s/s/c unless my brain is functional, as per NDE's.

dhw: Now you say your self is never aware of your self unless your brain is functional, but in NDEs the brain is NOT functional and yet the self is aware of itself, and afterwards reveals its experiences to the brain. That is why NDEs provide evidence for dualism. You agreed at the top of this post, and now you disagree.

According to Eben Alexander in his book he was totally an observer and had lost sense of self or memory of himself. "Self is aware of self" does not fit his experience. You are making assumptions. All of the material I have read presents a picture of the s/s/c while separate simply observing and receiving information. We've agreed I can only work with my s/s/c when my brain functions


DAVID: My thinking is done by my s/s/c using my brain as hardware.

dhw: The s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and uses the brain (hardware) to give material expression to the thoughts.

DAVID: In NDE's the s/s/c observes and receives information. There is no information that the s/s/c thinks during an NDE.

dhw: What are you saying? That during the NDE patients are not aware of what they are experiencing? And yet when they return to the body they remember everything that happened and inform the brain about it!

I keep repeating. The s/s/c is a receiver of information in an NDE and when reattached to a functional brain the patient then learns about the experience.

>

DAVID: In NDE's the s/s/c may only receive information, not form concepts.

dhw: I don’t know if this is true, but in any case, forming concepts is not the only way of being aware of your self.

Alexander wites he was not aware of self during the experience.


dhw: Every development in the evolution of Homo shows that the larger brain coincides with more complex artefacts. History can’t show us that the brain expanded BEFORE the artefacts were produced, which is your hypothesis.

You cannot get around the fact that more advanced artifacts only appear when we find a hominin with a larger brain present.

dhw: We know the brain complexifies through and not before the implementation of new concepts, so it’s feasible that the same applied to expansion[/i].

You are struggling. The only sceintific fact we have is brain shrinkage with new uses. The rest of your theory is all conjecture with no basis.


DAVID: Except complexity shrinks brains!

dhw:Explained over and over again: in pre-humans, brain reaches point where greater capacity necessary (same in your own hypothesis, so no disagreement there); in modern humans, expansion not possible; complexification so efficient that it shrinks brain.

Again an unproven leap of faith. How do we know only modern humans had shrinking brains with new implementations? Evolution builds on past methods and advances. Complexity from new uses very likely occurred in past hominins with some brain shrinkage.


dhw: I can’t improve on the description of implementation that you wrote yourself under “Learning new tasks”, 2 December, but later wanted to rewrite: “If habilis has an idea for spears, the idea is immaterial. No brain change. Once he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone point to a wooden rod, and then practices throwing it with accuracy, there is no question his brain has enlarged with all the muscle movement and visual coordination involved”.

DAVID: My statement always meant 'prior enlargement'. I've never changed my concept.

dhw: You asked me to describe what implementation entailed, and your account is as clear a description as possible. Immaterial idea first. NO BRAIN CHANGE. New activities, brain “has enlarged” with all the movement etc. involved. I know you wish you hadn’t written it, but that’s not the point. It’s the perfect description of what implementation entails according to my hypothesis.

Way do you think I constantly deny your theory as anything reasonable? I don't wish anything of the sort about not writing it. I obviously mistyped my thought which was that only an enlarged brain could create the new artifacts and implementations. I've never changed my underlying concept and now you have implied I'm not feeling truthful about my true theories. Frankly I was confused when you offered the quote I had written. I saw how it appeared in the wrong way for my meaning, and in haste I must have written it that way and did not re-read to copy edit myself to be sure it was correct as written. I admit I do this in haste at times when other duties at the ranch are calling me.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Sunday, February 11, 2018, 13:13 (134 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: At times I speak to me, but I can be totally unproductive of thought and just observing.

Not the point. You claim you are only aware of your thoughts if you talk to someone or write them down. I don’t believe it.

DAVID: … I'm never aware of my s/s/c unless my brain is functional, as per NDE's.

dhw: …in NDEs the brain is NOT functional and yet the self is aware of itself, and afterwards reveals its experiences to the brain. That is why NDEs provide evidence for dualism…

DAVID: ...according to Eben Alexander in his book he was totally an observer and had lost sense of self or memory of himself. "Self is aware of self" does not fit his experience. You are making assumptions. All of the material I have read presents a picture of the s/s/c while separate simply observing and receiving information.

This is akin to the Buddhist philosophy of losing the sense of self, which makes sense, but was not quite what I meant. You are right to challenge what I wrote. I’ll try to be more precise. In earthly life too, as you say above, there are countless times when we merely observe. We do not say to ourselves: “This is me observing the monster approaching with a knife in his hand.” Observation or absorption of information precedes our thoughts about what we have observed. It would have to be the same with NDEs. When the immediate experience is over, we (and Alexander) remember, interpret, analyse. The dualist’s “we” = the s/s/c, not the brain. (More below.)

DAVID: We've agreed I can only work with my s/s/c when my brain functions.

No, we haven’t. We've agreed that we can only express or implement thoughts etc. with a functional brain. The dualist’s I = s/s/c. Now you seem to be saying I/the s/s/c can only think when the brain functions. But the whole point of using NDEs as evidence of dualism is that the s/s/c, which does our thinking, remembering, interpreting, exists independently of the brain! If these immaterial processes depend on the brain (and they may well do so), we are back to materialism.

DAVID: I keep repeating. The s/s/c is a receiver of information in an NDE and when reattached to a functional brain the patient then learns about the experience.

I remember examples of NDEs in which the patient was told to return but didn’t want to, which suggests more than observation, but let’s stick to Alexander. Why do you say he only “learns” about the experience when his brain is functioning? The experience is lodged in his s/s/c, not his brain. The only possible direction of “learning” is the brain learning from s/s/c, not the other way round! And so we return to the basis of dualism: NDEs provide evidence that the s/s/c exists independently of the brain. The s/s/c does the thinking/remembering/ interpreting etc. and passes its thoughts to the brain so that the thoughts may be given material expression or implementation. What objection do you now have to this hypothesis, to which you have already agreed so many times?

xxxxx

DAVID: You cannot get around the fact that more advanced artifacts only appear when we find a hominin with a larger brain present.

Correct. In BOTH hypotheses, the artefact can only appear when the concept has been implemented. You say the enlargement preceded the implementation, and I propose that the implementation caused the enlargement.

DAVID: The only scientific fact we have is brain shrinkage with new uses. The rest of your theory is all conjecture with no basis.
And:
DAVID: How do we know only modern humans had shrinking brains with new implementations? Evolution builds on past methods and advances. Complexity from new uses very likely occurred in past hominins with some brain shrinkage.

It may well have done. But according to your unscientific conjecture, the point was reached when the brain had to be enlarged in order to cope with new demands, and so you say your God did the enlarging BEFORE new demands made it necessary. My unscientific conjecture is that the brain had to enlarge itself WHEN new demands made enlargement necessary. My conjecture is based on the one scientific fact we do have, which is that the brain RESPONDS to new tasks, and does not change before the new tasks are at hand, as you so rightly point out under “Brain complexity: gene response…”.

dhw: I can’t improve on the description of implementation that you wrote yourself under “Learning new tasks”, 2 December, but later wanted to rewrite: “If habilis has an idea for spears, the idea is immaterial. No brain change. Once he learns to knapp flint, attach the stone point to a wooden rod, and then practices throwing it with accuracy, there is no question his brain has enlarged with all the muscle movement and visual coordination involved”.
DAVID: …I don't wish anything of the sort about not writing it. I obviously mistyped my thought which was that only an enlarged brain could create the new artifacts and implementations. I've never changed my underlying concept and now you have implied I'm not feeling truthful about my true theories etc.

Absolutely not, and I apologize if I gave you that impression! You asked me how I thought implementation worked, and I quoted your description because I cannot improve on perfection! Of course I accept that you didn’t mean to write what you wrote.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 11, 2018, 18:13 (134 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: We've agreed I can only work with my s/s/c when my brain functions.

dhw: No, we haven’t. We've agreed that we can only express or implement thoughts etc. with a functional brain. The dualist’s I = s/s/c. Now you seem to be saying I/the s/s/c can only think when the brain functions. But the whole point of using NDEs as evidence of dualism is that the s/s/c, which does our thinking, remembering, interpreting, exists independently of the brain! If these immaterial processes depend on the brain (and they may well do so), we are back to materialism.

The point I was making, using the NDE's as background, is when the brain is not functioning, the s/s/c separated and is off having an experience, which it can disclose to the brain only when the brain is once again functional. The 'I' in the equation i=s/s/c as a living person becomes aware of the experience only when the s/s/c and brain are reunited. I cannot have a feeling of selfhood unless my brain is functional. The living brain and the s/s/c only work together when joined.


dhw: I remember examples of NDEs in which the patient was told to return but didn’t want to, which suggests more than observation,

I agree that the s/s/c in an NDE receives information and makes observations as its primary function. There are interactions where they express a wish to stay and are told they must go back.

dhw: let’s stick to Alexander. Why do you say he only “learns” about the experience when his brain is functioning? The experience is lodged in his s/s/c, not his brain. The only possible direction of “learning” is the brain learning from s/s/c, not the other way round!

Of course his now functioning brain receives the information, and that occurs only when Alexander is able to turn on his brain and understand what it now contains. This is a temporal sequence. Alexander, the live 'himself', during the week-long coma, had no knowledge of the NDE until he revived and then explored the knowledge his brain now can transmit to him. For me I view a living person as having a sense of self through his living brain. He uses his s/s/c (immaterial) only through his functional brain (material). Dualsim

dhw:And so we return to the basis of dualism: NDEs provide evidence that the s/s/c exists independently of the brain. The s/s/c does the thinking/remembering/ interpreting etc. and passes its thoughts to the brain so that the thoughts may be given material expression or implementation. What objection do you now have to this hypothesis, to which you have already agreed so many times?

I think you make the whole arrangement as more complex that it is. The brain and s/s/c must intimately interface for us to think.


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DAVID: You cannot get around the fact that more advanced artifacts only appear when we find a hominin with a larger brain present.

dhw: Correct. In BOTH hypotheses, the artefact can only appear when the concept has been implemented. You say the enlargement preceded the implementation, and I propose that the implementation caused the enlargement.

I know that.


DAVID: The only scientific fact we have is brain shrinkage with new uses. The rest of your theory is all conjecture with no basis.
And:
DAVID: How do we know only modern humans had shrinking brains with new implementations? Evolution builds on past methods and advances. Complexity from new uses very likely occurred in past hominins with some brain shrinkage.

dhw: It may well have done. But according to your unscientific conjecture, the point was reached when the brain had to be enlarged in order to cope with new demands, and so you say your God did the enlarging BEFORE new demands made it necessary.

To my memory, you have never commented on my point that an early hominin could not know what he did not know and couldn't imagine with his smaller brain. The more complex larger brain allowed such thought. That would be consistent with the artifact level related to each brain size.

dhw: My unscientific conjecture is that the brain had to enlarge itself WHEN new demands made enlargement necessary. My conjecture is based on the one scientific fact we do have, which is that the brain RESPONDS to new tasks, and does not change before the new tasks are at hand, as you so rightly point out under “Brain complexity: gene response…”.

And your conjecture consistently ignores the issue of brain shrinkage with implementation complexity as a scientifc fact we know about the brain under use.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Monday, February 12, 2018, 10:43 (133 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The point I was making, using the NDE's as background, is when the brain is not functioning, the s/s/c separated and is off having an experience, which it can disclose to the brain only when the brain is once again functional.

Total agreement, from a dualistic standpoint.

DAVID: The 'I' in the equation i=s/s/c as a living person becomes aware of the experience only when the s/s/c and brain are reunited.

Dualism entails separating brain from s/s/c, as in your computer analogy. The brain (hardware) only becomes aware of the experience when it is informed by the s/s/c (software). The brain wasn’t there. So of course they have to be reunited before the brain can give material expression to the s/s/c’s immaterial memories. (See below.)

DAVID: I cannot have a feeling of selfhood unless my brain is functional. The living brain and the s/s/c only work together when joined.

I tried to explain a “feeling of selfhood” in my previous post. When in life we observe, we do not think of ourselves as observing. “Selfhood” comes into play when we think about what we observed. Ditto with NDEs. The patient (Alexander) is still himself/herself without a brain during an NDE, but may not analyse the experience until afterwards. However, see below for more reflections on this. Second sentence: Of course two things only work together when joined. The question is how they work, and as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, the s/s/c does the thinking (software) and the brain gives material expression to the thought (hardware). That is how they work together.

dhw: I remember examples of NDEs in which the patient was told to return but didn’t want to, which suggests more than observation.
DAVID: I agree that the s/s/c in an NDE receives information and makes observations as its primary function. There are interactions where they express a wish to stay and are told they must go back.

And this shows that the patient not only observes but also has a feeling of selfhood.

DAVID: Of course his now functioning brain receives the information, and that occurs only when Alexander is able to turn on his brain and understand what it now contains.

Your usual dodge from I=s/s/c to Alexander being different from “I”. Of course the brain cannot receive the information from Alexander’s s/s/c until it becomes functional again. But it is the s/s/c that had, remembers and analyses the experience. I don’t see the logic in the s/s/c informing the brain of what it knows, and then thinking: “Ah, now that I've given the information to the brain I am able to understand it."

DAVID: This is a temporal sequence. Alexander, the live 'himself', during the week-long coma, had no knowledge of the NDE until he revived and then explored the knowledge his brain now can transmit to him.

As above, and a total reversal of dualism. The non-functional brain had no knowledge, but Alexander’s self/soul/consciousness had the experience, remembered it, and explored its implications. The brain can’t transmit to the soul the knowledge it never had!

DAVID: For me I view a living person as having a sense of self through his living brain. He uses his s/s/c (immaterial) only through his functional brain (material). Dualism

Let’s look more closely at this “sense of self”. Starting point: the self is the soul that does the thinking, remembering, interpreting etc., and exists independently during NDEs. It also imposes itself during some NDEs, rather than merely observing (see above). However, our sense of self in the material world is intimately linked to our relations with that world, including other people. That is why the brain gives material expression to the thoughts etc. of the s/s/c. Dualism.

DAVID: The brain and s/s/c must intimately interface for us to think.

They must interface if the s/s/c’s thoughts (software) are to be given material form, which is the function of the brain (hardware) – your favourite analogy. As I pointed out earlier, if you can’t think without speaking or writing, I believe you have a problem.

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DAVID: To my memory, you have never commented on my point that an early hominin could not know what he did not know and couldn't imagine with his smaller brain. The more complex larger brain allowed such thought. That would be consistent with the artifact level related to each brain size.

Nobody can know what they don’t know, whether their brain is large or small! Every innovation is an extension of knowledge, and even your self-contradictory belief that the s/s/c CAN’T think without a functioning brain, although it CAN think without a functioning brain, still requires an individual to conceive something that nobody knew before. In both hypotheses, artefacts cannot appear until the concept is implemented. i.e. the brain has enlarged.

DAVID: … your conjecture consistently ignores the issue of brain shrinkage with implementation complexity as a scientifc fact we know about the brain under use.

Dealt with over and over again. I suggest that brain shrinkage occurs because of the efficiency of complexification. This may also have been true of hominin brains. However, both hypotheses agree that brain expansion became necessary. That does not mean that brain expansion occurred BEFORE implementation made it necessary!

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Monday, February 12, 2018, 15:30 (133 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The point I was making, using the NDE's as background, is when the brain is not functioning, the s/s/c separated and is off having an experience, which it can disclose to the brain only when the brain is once again functional.

DAVID: I cannot have a feeling of selfhood unless my brain is functional. The living brain and the s/s/c only work together when joined.

dhw: Of course two things only work together when joined. The question is how they work, and as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, the s/s/c does the thinking (software) and the brain gives material expression to the thought (hardware). That is how they work together.

Agreed.

DAVID: Of course his now functioning brain receives the information, and that occurs only when Alexander is able to turn on his brain and understand what it now contains.

dhw: Your usual dodge from I=s/s/c to Alexander being different from “I”. Of course the brain cannot receive the information from Alexander’s s/s/c until it becomes functional again. But it is the s/s/c that had, remembers and analyses the experience. I don’t see the logic in the s/s/c informing the brain of what it knows, and then thinking: “Ah, now that I've given the information to the brain I am able to understand it."

Again your confusion about a functional brain. Unless the brain is turned on after the event Alexander cannot experience his s/s/c and learn its information. Would you know your s/s/c existed if your brain stopped working? They are interfaced!


DAVID: This is a temporal sequence. Alexander, the live 'himself', during the week-long coma, had no knowledge of the NDE until he revived and then explored the knowledge his brain now can transmit to him.

dhw: As above, and a total reversal of dualism. The non-functional brain had no knowledge, but Alexander’s self/soul/consciousness had the experience, remembered it, and explored its implications. The brain can’t transmit to the soul the knowledge it never had!

Of course not! The s/s/c return to a functional brain, and now a newly awake Alexander learns of the experience. One can relate to one's soul only through a functional brain.


DAVID: For me I view a living person as having a sense of self through his living brain. He uses his s/s/c (immaterial) only through his functional brain (material). Dualism

dhw: However, our sense of self in the material world is intimately linked to our relations with that world, including other people. That is why the brain gives material expression to the thoughts etc. of the s/s/c. Dualism.

Separation from other folks is not entirely what a sense of self is. My thoughts are immaterial, not a material expression of my s/s/c, but they come from a material brain. Dualism


DAVID: The brain and s/s/c must intimately interface for us to think.

They must interface if the s/s/c’s thoughts (software) are to be given material form, which is the function of the brain (hardware) – your favourite analogy. .

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DAVID: … your conjecture consistently ignores the issue of brain shrinkage with implementation complexity as a scientifc fact we know about the brain under use.

dhw: Dealt with over and over again. I suggest that brain shrinkage occurs because of the efficiency of complexification. This may also have been true of hominin brains. However, both hypotheses agree that brain expansion became necessary. That does not mean that brain expansion occurred BEFORE implementation made it necessary!

So necessity drives evolution. Whew!

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 21:33 (132 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The living brain and the s/s/c only work together when joined.
dhw: Of course two things only work together when joined. The question is how they work, and as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, the s/s/c does the thinking (software) and the brain gives material expression to the thought (hardware). That is how they work together.
DAVID: Agreed.

Then let us keep this in mind throughout our discussion.

DAVID: Of course his now functioning brain receives the information, and that occurs only when Alexander is able to turn on his brain and understand what it now contains.
dhw: Your usual dodge from I=s/s/c to Alexander being different from “I”. Of course the brain cannot receive the information from Alexander’s s/s/c until it becomes functional again. But it is the s/s/c that had, remembers and analyses the experience. I don’t see the logic in the s/s/c informing the brain of what it knows, and then thinking: “Ah, now that I've given the information to the brain I am able to understand it."
DAVID: Again your confusion about a functional brain. Unless the brain is turned on after the event Alexander cannot experience his s/s/c and learn its information. Would you know your s/s/c existed if your brain stopped working? They are interfaced!

Once again you try to separate Alexander from his s/s/c. Alexander’s s/s/c was what experienced the NDE, carried all the information, and passed the information on to the revived brain. Are you now saying that Alexander’s s/s/c didn’t know it was observing God and the angels etc. until it returned to his revived brain, and then it informed the brain about something it (the s/s/c) didn’t know??? The whole point about NDEs as evidence for dualism is that self/soul/CONSCIOUSNESS (which is not confined to self-analysis) exists when the brain stops working. Interface occurs when the s/s/c thinks and the brain gives material expression to the thought, as you agree at the top of this post.

DAVID: This is a temporal sequence. Alexander, the live 'himself', during the week-long coma, had no knowledge of the NDE until he revived and then explored the knowledge his brain now can transmit to him.
dhw: The brain can’t transmit to the soul the knowledge it never had!
DAVID: Of course not! The s/s/c return to a functional brain, and now a newly awake Alexander learns of the experience. One can relate to one's soul only through a functional brain.

As above, Alexander IS his self/soul. His self/soul knew of the experience. His brain didn’t. Did the patients who initially refused to go back not know who they were?

dhw: However, our sense of self in the material world is intimately linked to our relations with that world, including other people. That is why the brain gives material expression to the thoughts etc. of the s/s/c. Dualism.
DAVID: Separation from other folks is not entirely what a sense of self is. My thoughts are immaterial, not a material expression of my s/s/c, but they come from a material brain. Dualism

Communicating with other people is part of what gives us our sense of self. The rest of your statement is as confused as it could possibly be. Of course your thoughts are not a material expression of your s/s/c. They are immaterial, and dualism argues that immaterial thoughts do NOT come from a material brain but from the s/s/c! The material brain gives immaterial thoughts their material expression, as you agreed at the beginning of this post. THAT is dualism.

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DAVID: … your conjecture consistently ignores the issue of brain shrinkage with implementation complexity as a scientifc fact we know about the brain under use.
dhw: Dealt with over and over again. I suggest that brain shrinkage occurs because of the efficiency of complexification. This may also have been true of hominin brains. However, both hypotheses agree that brain expansion became necessary. That does not mean that brain expansion occurred BEFORE implementation made it necessary!
DAVID: So necessity drives evolution. Whew!

You have taken a giant leap, and ignored the whole context. Let me spell it out for you again bit by bit. Evolution, according to my hypothesis, advances through a drive for survival and/or improvement. Pre-sapiens had a concept whereby his chances of survival would be improved: a spear. In order to make a spear, he had to perform certain new material actions, but those actions necessitated changes to his brain. So survival and/or improvement drive evolution, but it is not possible to perform new tasks without changing the brain. THAT is what “necessity” means here. We know that pre-sapiens brains expanded, and we know that new actions cause changes (or “modifications”) to the brain. To return to the subject that you have ignored in your “Whew!”, shrinkage is probably the outcome of efficient complexification, and has no bearing whatsoever on your claim that both concept and enlargement preceded implementation. However, you appear to have abandoned that hypothesis in your post under “Brain complexity”: “At each stage in the size of brain as human evolution proceeded, that size had plasticity and could modify with new implementations.” (My bold) And earlier: "Implementation results in automatic plasticity changes." (My bold) Yes, it changes WITH or as a result of new implementations, and not BEFORE them.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 02:07 (132 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Again your confusion about a functional brain. Unless the brain is turned on after the event Alexander cannot experience his s/s/c and learn its information. Would you know your s/s/c existed if your brain stopped working? They are interfaced!

dhw: Once again you try to separate Alexander from his s/s/c. Alexander’s s/s/c was what experienced the NDE, carried all the information, and passed the information on to the revived brain.

A comatose Alexander lying in his hospital bed did not know for a week what happened. Yes, his s/s/c knew but his physical body and physical brain did not know until the reunion. Out of coma he (material) could learn about all of it (immaterial).

. dhw: The whole point about NDEs as evidence for dualism is that self/soul/CONSCIOUSNESS (which is not confined to self-analysis) exists when the brain stops working. Interface occurs when the s/s/c thinks and the brain gives material expression to the thought, as you agree at the top of this post.

Yes, but Alexander has two existences during the NDE: the physical body/brain lying there and the immaterial s/s/c traipsing around!

As above, Alexander IS his self/soul. His self/soul knew of the experience. His brain didn’t. Did the patients who initially refused to go back not know who they were?

Their s/s/c did, but their comatose body/brain did not


dhw: However, our sense of self in the material world is intimately linked to our relations with that world, including other people. That is why the brain gives material expression to the thoughts etc. of the s/s/c. Dualism.
DAVID: Separation from other folks is not entirely what a sense of self is. My thoughts are immaterial, not a material expression of my s/s/c, but they come from a material brain. Dualism

dhw: Communicating with other people is part of what gives us our sense of self.

You are again in the area of solipsism. I know my 'self' is me with or without other selves being around

dhw: The rest of your statement is as confused as it could possibly be. Of course your thoughts are not a material expression of your s/s/c. They are immaterial, and dualism argues that immaterial thoughts do NOT come from a material brain but from the s/s/c! The material brain gives immaterial thoughts their material expression, as you agreed at the beginning of this post. THAT is dualism.

And I agree to that. His dualism is that for a week he was in two parts.


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dhw: Evolution, according to my hypothesis, advances through a drive for survival and/or improvement. Pre-sapiens had a concept whereby his chances of survival would be improved: a spear. In order to make a spear, he had to perform certain new material actions, but those actions necessitated changes to his brain. So survival and/or improvement drive evolution,

As you know I'm not convinced of the survival argument, since we see very long pauses (270,000 years in our case) in bare survival mode before evidence of new concepts and implementations appear. The Neanderthals are a case in point: fewer concepts and advances despite a bigger brain. This implies their cortex arrived in their new-formed species much less complex than ours. Initial complexity is extremely important. We had it, they didn't.

As for improvement, I see a radiation of forms many of which (whales) are unreasonable examples of improvement

dhw: but it is not possible to perform new tasks without changing the brain. THAT is what “necessity” means here. We know that pre-sapiens brains expanded, and we know that new actions cause changes (or “modifications”) to the brain.

Yes, complexity, plasticity and shrinkage, nothing more.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 13:39 (131 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Again your confusion about a functional brain. Unless the brain is turned on after the event Alexander cannot experience his s/s/c and learn its information. Would you know your s/s/c existed if your brain stopped working? They are interfaced!

dhw: Once again you try to separate Alexander from his s/s/c. Alexander’s s/s/c was what experienced the NDE, carried all the information, and passed the information on to the revived brain.

DAVID: A comatose Alexander lying in his hospital bed did not know for a week what happened. Yes, his s/s/c knew but his physical body and physical brain did not know until the
reunion. Out of coma he (material) could learn about all of it (immaterial).

Yes, his immaterial s/s/c passed the information on to his revived material brain, so his revived material brain learned about it from his immaterial s/s/c. Why do you repeat my point as if you are disagreeing with it?

dhw: The whole point about NDEs as evidence for dualism is that self/soul/ CONSCIOUSNESS (which is not confined to self-analysis) exists when the brain stops working. Interface occurs when the s/s/c thinks and the brain gives material expression to the thought….
DAVID: Yes, but Alexander has two existences during the NDE: the physical body/brain lying there and the immaterial s/s/c traipsing around!

Why “Yes, but…”? His physical body played no part in the experience, which is why the s/s/c passed on all the information, and why the experience is offered as evidence for dualism. So why do you keep insisting that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain? This is the claim that leads you into all your contradictions. The whole discussion revolves round your insistence that hominins could not conceive of new ideas until they had larger brains. NDEs suggest to us that the brain is NOT the source of immaterial thought. Conceptualizing is immaterial thought. You keep agreeing: s/s/c thinks, brain implements, and then you ignore it again.

DAVID: My thoughts are immaterial, not a material expression of my s/s/c, but they come from a material brain. Dualism
dhw: […] your statement is as confused as it could possibly be. Of course your thoughts are not a material expression of your s/s/c. They are immaterial, and dualism argues that immaterial thoughts do NOT come from a material brain but from the s/s/c! The material brain gives immaterial thoughts their material expression, as you agreed at the beginning of this post. THAT is dualism.
DAVID: And I agree to that. His dualism is that for a week he was in two parts.

Exactly. One part was functioning and the other was not. And that is why it is clearly contradictory to argue that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain and that thought depends on the size of the brain.

dhw: Communicating with other people is part of what gives us our sense of self.
DAVID: You are again in the area of solipsism. I know my 'self' is me with or without other selves being around.

No disagreement, but the self develops through experience. I can find out more about myself through my experiences with other people. That is why in this material life we need our brains to gather information and to give material expression to our thoughts.

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dhw: Evolution, according to my hypothesis, advances through a drive for survival and/or improvement. Pre-sapiens had a concept whereby his chances of survival would be improved: a spear. In order to make a spear, he had to perform certain new material actions, but those actions necessitated changes to his brain. So survival and/or improvement drive evolution,
DAVID: As you know I'm not convinced of the survival argument, since we see very long pauses (270,000 years in our case) in bare survival mode before evidence of new concepts and implementations appear.

We are talking about advances in evolution. The pauses (stasis) take place when organisms have what they need to survive. The advances take place when (a) their survival is threatened, and (b) when individuals come up with new ideas that will IMPROVE chances of survival or IMPROVE modes of living.

DAVID: As for improvement, I see a radiation of forms many of which (whales) are unreasonable examples of improvement

Yes to a radiation of forms. There is nothing at all unreasonable if pre-whales entered the water in order to improve their chances of survival and if, in the course of time, they improved their modes of adaptation to aquatic life. It only seems unreasonable to you because it doesn’t fit in with your anthropocentrism, and because you insist that God engineers every adaptation in advance of changing conditions instead of the adaptations taking place in response to changing conditions.

dhw: ...but it is not possible to perform new tasks without changing the brain. THAT is what “necessity” means here. We know that pre-sapiens brains expanded, and we know that new actions cause changes (or “modifications”) to the brain.
DAVID: Yes, complexity, plasticity and shrinkage, nothing more.

Plasticity is what allows the different modifications. Why do you refuse to accept that the addition of lots of cells and connections leading to enlargement is also a “modification”?

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 19:39 (131 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Again your confusion about a functional brain. Unless the brain is turned on after the event Alexander cannot experience his s/s/c and learn its information. Would you know your s/s/c existed if your brain stopped working? They are interfaced!

dhw: Once again you try to separate Alexander from his s/s/c. Alexander’s s/s/c was what experienced the NDE, carried all the information, and passed the information on to the revived brain.

DAVID: A comatose Alexander lying in his hospital bed did not know for a week what happened. Yes, his s/s/c knew but his physical body and physical brain did not know until the reunion. Out of coma he (material) could learn about all of it (immaterial).

dhw: Yes, his immaterial s/s/c passed the information on to his revived material brain, so his revived material brain learned about it from his immaterial s/s/c. Why do you repeat my point as if you are disagreeing with it?

Because his physical being was separated for a period from his s/s/c. Look at what you wrote above. The separation strongly supports dualism


dhw: The whole point about NDEs as evidence for dualism is that self/soul/ CONSCIOUSNESS (which is not confined to self-analysis) exists when the brain stops working. Interface occurs when the s/s/c thinks and the brain gives material expression to the thought….
DAVID: Yes, but Alexander has two existences during the NDE: the physical body/brain lying there and the immaterial s/s/c traipsing around!

dhw: His physical body played no part in the experience, which is why the s/s/c passed on all the information, and why the experience is offered as evidence for dualism. So why do you keep insisting that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain? This is the claim that leads you into all your contradictions. The whole discussion revolves round your insistence that hominins could not conceive of new ideas until they had larger brains. NDEs suggest to us that the brain is NOT the source of immaterial thought. Conceptualizing is immaterial thought. You keep agreeing: s/s/c thinks, brain implements, and then you ignore it again.

Because you will not accept my view of NDE. The s/s/c can separate from the brain in two circumstances, resuscitation back to life and death. Only an intact s/s/c interfaced with a functional brain can allow a living person to think. That has nothing to do with the concept that only a more complex cortex can have more complex ideation by the s/s/c.

DAVID: And I agree to that. His dualism is that for a week he was in two parts.


Exactly. One part was functioning and the other was not. And that is why it is clearly contradictory to argue that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain and that thought depends on the size of the brain.

You are attempting to combine two separate concepts. The s/s/c can think with or without a brain, but its level of complex thought generated within a living person depends on the complexity/size of that cortex. Think of this: was the s/s/c of erectus as complex as ours in the level of thought achieved? I believe the complexity of s/s/c evolved as Homo did.

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DAVID: As you know I'm not convinced of the survival argument, since we see very long pauses (270,000 years in our case) in bare survival mode before evidence of new concepts and implementations appear.

dhw: We are talking about advances in evolution. The pauses (stasis) take place when organisms have what they need to survive. The advances take place when (a) their survival is threatened, and (b) when individuals come up with new ideas that will IMPROVE chances of survival or IMPROVE modes of living.

You are simply rephrasing 'survival of the fittest', which I do not accept.

dhw: ...but it is not possible to perform new tasks without changing the brain. THAT is what “necessity” means here. We know that pre-sapiens brains expanded, and we know that new actions cause changes (or “modifications”) to the brain.

DAVID: Yes, complexity, plasticity and shrinkage, nothing more.

dhw: Plasticity is what allows the different modifications. Why do you refuse to accept that the addition of lots of cells and connections leading to enlargement is also a “modification”?

Because the only facts we have in sapiens is shrinkage.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Thursday, February 15, 2018, 11:37 (130 days ago) @ David Turell

I have edited this heavily, as there is a great deal of repetition, and a lot of the ground is covered on the “Brain complexity” thread.

dhw: Yes, his [Alexander’s] immaterial s/s/c passed the information on to his revived material brain, so his revived material brain learned about it from his immaterial s/s/c. Why do you repeat my point as if you are disagreeing with it?
DAVID: Because his physical being was separated for a period from his s/s/c. Look at what you wrote above. The separation strongly supports dualism

Of course it does. The point in dispute here is not dualism but your continued insistence, directly contradicting your dualistic beliefs based on NDEs, that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain!

DAVID: His dualism is that for a week he was in two parts.
Dhw: Exactly. One part was functioning and the other was not. And that is why it is clearly contradictory to argue that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain and that thought depends on the size of the brain.
DAVID: You are attempting to combine two separate concepts. The s/s/c can think with or without a brain, but its level of complex thought generated within a living person depends on the complexity/size of that cortex. Think of this: was the s/s/c of erectus as complex as ours in the level of thought achieved? I believe the complexity of s/s/c evolved as Homo did.

So do I. The s/s/c evolves and complexifies with every new experience, but that doesn’t alter the basis of your dualism, which you keep forgetting: namely, that thought does not depend on the brain but comes from the s/s/c (see reminder below), in which case complex thought does not depend on complex brain! Every stage of evolution is carried over to the next stage. If the pre-erectus s/s/c thought of spears and his brain expanded with implementation of the idea of spears, erectus now has a larger more complex brain, and his s/s/c is now more complex and knowledgeable because of the new experience of making spears. And when eventually the erectus s/s/c comes up with some brand new concept demanding the same process of enlargement to implement the concept, we come to sapiens. And the sapiens s/s/c is now more complex, with all the new knowledge and experience of his predecessors, and he has a larger more complex brain.

Reminder (from Feb. 13): …as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, the s/s/c does the thinking (software) and the brain gives material expression to the thought (hardware). That is how they work together.
DAVID: Agreed.
dhw: Then let us keep this in mind throughout our discussion.

You still don’t.

xxxxx

DAVID: As you know I'm not convinced of the survival argument, since we see very long pauses (270,000 years in our case) in bare survival mode before evidence of new concepts and implementations appear.
dhw: We are talking about advances in evolution. The pauses (stasis) take place when organisms have what they need to survive. The advances take place when (a) their survival is threatened, and (b) when individuals come up with new ideas that will IMPROVE chances of survival or IMPROVE modes of living.
DAVID: You are simply rephrasing 'survival of the fittest', which I do not accept.

As always, you try to ignore “improvement”, so please forget the expression which you dislike so much and which I have not used, and explain to me what you disagree with in the argument you have quoted, paying special attention to (b).

dhw: ...but it is not possible to perform new tasks without changing the brain. THAT is what “necessity” means here. We know that pre-sapiens brains expanded, and we know that new actions cause changes (or “modifications”) to the brain.
DAVID: Yes, complexity, plasticity and shrinkage, nothing more.
dhw: Plasticity is what allows the different modifications. Why do you refuse to accept that the addition of lots of cells and connections leading to enlargement is also a “modification”?
DAVID: Because the only facts we have in sapiens is shrinkage.

We are trying to explain enlargement, which is also a fact. You accept that new actions cause “modifications” to the brain. Enlargement is a modification. By all means reject the hypothesis on the grounds that we have no evidence (just as we have no evidence that your God enlarged the brain before the new actions were performed), but there is no reason to reject it on the grounds that enlargement is not a modification.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 15, 2018, 15:25 (130 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Because his physical being was separated for a period from his s/s/c. Look at what you wrote above. The separation strongly supports dualism

dhw:Of course it does. The point in dispute here is not dualism but your continued insistence, directly contradicting your dualistic beliefs based on NDEs, that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain!

Of course it thinks when separated from the body, but when it returns and is attached to the brain and the revived person receives its knowledge through the brain. A living person can reach his s/s/c only through his brain. The s/s/c has a role with the brain and separate from the brain. Dualism.

DAVID: You are attempting to combine two separate concepts. The s/s/c can think with or without a brain, but its level of complex thought generated within a living person depends on the complexity/size of that cortex. Think of this: was the s/s/c of erectus as complex as ours in the level of thought achieved? I believe the complexity of s/s/c evolved as Homo did.

dhw: So do I. The s/s/c evolves and complexifies with every new experience, but that doesn’t alter the basis of your dualism, which you keep forgetting: namely, that thought does not depend on the brain but comes from the s/s/c (see reminder below), in which case complex thought does not depend on complex brain!

But in my view it does. Only a complex computer can do complex simulations. The erectus s/s/c was not the sapiens current s/s/c, which is based on the hardware of our sapiens brain. Software and hardware have to match.

dhw: Every stage of evolution is carried over to the next stage. If the pre-erectus s/s/c thought of spears and his brain expanded with implementation of the idea of spears, erectus now has a larger more complex brain, and his s/s/c is now more complex and knowledgeable because of the new experience of making spears. And when eventually the erectus s/s/c comes up with some brand new concept demanding the same process of enlargement to implement the concept, we come to sapiens. And the sapiens s/s/c is now more complex, with all the new knowledge and experience of his predecessors, and he has a larger more complex brain.

Again you imagine a pushing mechanism to enlarge the brain. I am happy with God speciating each stage of enlarged brain.


xxxxx

dhw: We are talking about advances in evolution. The pauses (stasis) take place when organisms have what they need to survive. The advances take place when (a) their survival is threatened, and (b) when individuals come up with new ideas that will IMPROVE chances of survival or IMPROVE modes of living.


DAVID: You are simply rephrasing 'survival of the fittest', which I do not accept.

dhw: As always, you try to ignore “improvement”, so please forget the expression which you dislike so much and which I have not used, and explain to me what you disagree with in the argument you have quoted, paying special attention to (b).

Improvement is answered in the other thread. I think the emphasis is complexity as explained there. Each stage of an enlarged brain allowed pre-sapiens to develop a better way of living, but it required the enlarged brain for each advance.


dhw: ...but it is not possible to perform new tasks without changing the brain. THAT is what “necessity” means here. We know that pre-sapiens brains expanded, and we know that new actions cause changes (or “modifications”) to the brain.
DAVID: Yes, complexity, plasticity and shrinkage, nothing more.
dhw: Plasticity is what allows the different modifications. Why do you refuse to accept that the addition of lots of cells and connections leading to enlargement is also a “modification”?
DAVID: Because the only facts we have in sapiens is shrinkage.

dhw: We are trying to explain enlargement, which is also a fact. You accept that new actions cause “modifications” to the brain. Enlargement is a modification. By all means reject the hypothesis on the grounds that we have no evidence (just as we have no evidence that your God enlarged the brain before the new actions were performed), but there is no reason to reject it on the grounds that enlargement is not a modification.

You are playing games with the word 'modification'. Enlargement and cortical complexity are specific modifications, which I think God supplied.

Big brain evolution: is this reptile an improvement?

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 15, 2018, 20:26 (130 days ago) @ David Turell

Improvement is a word that doesn't carry much of a meaning. Improve what? Form, function, physiology? Does the improvement show a purposeful change? This reptile makes little sense:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/laelaps/why-the-long-neck1/?utm_source=newsletter&...

" A standout among reptiles of its time, the amphibious creature has long, low body is capped with an extraordinary neck and tiny head full of pointed teeth.

"But how did Tanystropheus make its living? The context of its prehistoric environment hints that Tanystropheus lived along ancient shores. That much experts could agree upon. But the reptile didn’t look like a streamlined swimmer. Maybe, as various artists famously envisioned, Tanystropheus gripped slippery rocks along the shore and dipped its head in the water to snag unsuspecting fish in the shallows. What else could such a ridiculous neck be for?

"The wait-and-dip scenario never had direct evidence in support of it, though. It was just difficult to imagine Tanystropheus doing anything else. But now a new analysis by paleontologists Silvio Renesto and Franco Saller has attempted to paint a finer-detailed picture of Tanystropheus lived.

"As far as that ludicrous neck goes, Renesto and Saller point out, Tanystropheus didn’t have much flexibility. Previous studies had found that the reptile’s 13 neck vertebrae were relatively rigid, stiff in both horizontal and vertical planes. Whipping its neck after fish wasn’t on this saurian’s agenda. And while found shoreline habitats, Tanystropheus also seemed to lack traits associated with strong swimming skills.

"To better understand the enigmatic reptile, then, Renesto and Saller looked to the biomechanics of its trunk, hips, and limbs. Tanystropheus ends up as a mish-mash of traits that would have made it a somewhat awkward reptile. While the arms and legs of the Triassic creature were relatively slender and seem best suited to life on land, the researchers point out, its limbs would have allowed it to row through the water.

"The new study places the predatory activities of Tanystropheus more in the waves than at the water’s edge. “Tanystropheus may have had lived in a shore line environment, where the elongate neck, may have been used to catch preys in shallow water by dashing at the prey propelled by hindlimbs,” Renesto and Saller write. And a tiny head on a long neck might have been advantageous in such a scenario, allowing Tanystropheus to surreptitiously get closer to prey with its tiny head than if its potential victims detected the motion of its larger body.

"Whatever Tanystropheus was doing, however, it was good at it. Renesto and Saller point out that this reptile was widespread in both time and geography – several Tanystropheus species lived on Earth from ancient Italy to China and North America over the course of tens of millions of years. Strange as they look to us, these were not evolutionary novelties that were destined to fail. They were a hit, which only deepens the mystery of how they lived."

Comment: It apparently did well with this shape, but was not followed up by future forms. It was a dead end. Improvement should advance evolution, but only part of the time. Complexity is more to the point. It reaches an endpoint of humans.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Friday, February 16, 2018, 13:35 (129 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining this thread with “Brain complexity” as the arguments overlap, and I have tried to edit out most of the repetitions.

dhw: …you are forgetting yet again the very essence of your dualism and your analogy, to which you have agreed over and over again: that the software (s/s/c) thinks up the concepts, and the hardware (brain) implements them. The hardware does not “allow” the software to think!
DAVID: And you are not following my concept. only an advanced hardware brain allows advanced thought. Erectus s/s/c is not sapiens s/s/c.

No, I don’t follow your concept, and I keep pointing out that you use NDEs as evidence for your dualistic belief that the s/s/c is responsible for thought. That is why dualists believe that in earthly life there are TWO separate entities that work together: 1) mind, 2) body. Forget about “advanced”. Thought is thought, whether it’s advanced or not. The brain does not “allow” thought because, as you keep agreeing, the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain gives material expression to the s/s/c’s thoughts, just as the hardware gives material expression to the software. The s/s/c evolves, both in species and in individuals (your s/s/c is not mine), and of course sapiens as a species has evolved far beyond erectus, both in thinking and in implementing. That does not mean the dualist’s s/s/c depends on your God to provide new neurons and connections BEFORE it can come up with new ideas!

dhw: 1) Why can you accept a few new neurons but not a lot of new neurons as “modification”?
DAVID: Because that is how plasticity is described in the literature.
dhw: Plasticity is simply the ability to change, to be shaped or moulded, to adapt…I don’t know of any definition of plasticity that places a limit on the number of cells that can be changed.
DAVID: My answer is above. Plasticity allows a few new neurons in the research done. It is mostly connectivity.

That is because you cannot do research on living brains a million years old, and the modern brain has stopped expanding. It complexifies through new connections (and has shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification). It is a fact that brains expanded in stages. This is just as true of your hypothesis as of mine, and so a million years ago brains must have been plastic enough to allow for lots of new neurons.

xxxxx

dhw: The point in dispute here is not dualism but your continued insistence, directly contradicting your dualistic beliefs based on NDEs, that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain!
DAVID: Of course it thinks when separated from the body, but when it returns and is attached to the brain and the revived person receives its knowledge through the brain. A living person can reach his s/s/c only through his brain. The s/s/c has a role with the brain and separate from the brain. Dualism.

The s/s/c IS the person. A dead body has lost the attributes that made it a person. It is the s/s/c that had the experience and informs the revived brain. The soul/self doesn’t “reach” the soul/self through the brain. In dualism, as above, the soul/self IS itself, and instructs the brain! THAT is its dualistic role with the brain when the brain functions.

xxxxx

dhw: We are talking about advances in evolution. The pauses (stasis) take place when organisms have what they need to survive. The advances take place when (a) their survival is threatened, and (b) when individuals come up with new ideas that will IMPROVE chances of survival or IMPROVE modes of living.
DAVID: Improvement is answered in the other thread. I think the emphasis is complexity as explained there. Each stage of an enlarged brain allowed pre-sapiens to develop a better way of living, but it required the enlarged brain for each advance.

Improvement is dealt with under “automaticity” and "reptile". I’m glad you acknowledge its importance(“better way of living”). And yes,these advances could not have been implemented without the enlargement of the brain. The question is whether it was enlarged before concept and implementation or as a result of implementation. You say you are “happy with God speciating each stage of enlarged brain”. I don’t want to spoil your happiness. But let me point out that all our observations suggest that brain modifications occur as a result of implementing new ideas, and not in advance of implementation.

dhw: You accept that new actions cause “modifications” to the brain. Enlargement is a modification. By all means reject the hypothesis on the grounds that we have no evidence (just as we have no evidence that your God enlarged the brain before the new actions were performed), but there is no reason to reject it on the grounds that enlargement is not a modification.
DAVID: You are playing games with the word 'modification'. Enlargement and cortical complexity are specific modifications, which I think God supplied.

I’m afraid it was you who played games by claiming that only complexification, plasticity and shrinkage could be called “modifications”. Thank you for now accepting that enlargement is also a modification, and since you agree that new actions cause modifications, it is not unreasonable to propose that in the distant past new actions caused enlargement, even if the very idea makes you unhappy.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Friday, February 16, 2018, 15:44 (129 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: And you are not following my concept. only an advanced hardware brain allows advanced thought. Erectus s/s/c is not sapiens s/s/c.

dhw: No, I don’t follow your concept, and I keep pointing out that you use NDEs as evidence for your dualistic belief that the s/s/c is responsible for thought. That is why dualists believe that in earthly life there are TWO separate entities that work together: 1) mind, 2) body. Forget about “advanced”. Thought is thought, whether it’s advanced or not. The brain does not “allow” thought because, as you keep agreeing, the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain gives material expression to the s/s/c’s thoughts, just as the hardware gives material expression to the software.

I'll accept your comment, but not the point about 'allow'. You've not answered the juxtaposition in history of complex brain and complex artifacts, as current humans show, and is obvious in past history. A complex s/s/c requires a complex cortex to function at an advanced level of thought.


dhw: The s/s/c evolves, both in species and in individuals (your s/s/c is not mine), and of course sapiens as a species has evolved far beyond erectus, both in thinking and in implementing. That does not mean the dualist’s s/s/c depends on your God to provide new neurons and connections BEFORE it can come up with new ideas!

But enlargement always proceeds improved artifacts, and I beliee God provided the advance since He arranges for speciation.

DAVID: My answer is above. Plasticity allows a few new neurons in the research done. It is mostly connectivity.

dhw: That is because you cannot do research on living brains a million years old, and the modern brain has stopped expanding. It complexifies through new connections (and has shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification). It is a fact that brains expanded in stages. This is just as true of your hypothesis as of mine, and so a million years ago brains must have been plastic enough to allow for lots of new neurons.

We don't know the brain and skull won't expand again, and ancient brains jumped in size by 200 cc with each enlargement. Adding the need for increased skull size means brain plasticity alone is only part of a complex process in advancement. Not by chance. God in action.


xxxxx

DAVID: Of course it thinks when separated from the body, but when it returns and is attached to the brain and the revived person receives its knowledge through the brain. A living person can reach his s/s/c only through his brain. The s/s/c has a role with the brain and separate from the brain. Dualism.

dhw: The s/s/c IS the person. A dead body has lost the attributes that made it a person. It is the s/s/c that had the experience and informs the revived brain. The soul/self doesn’t “reach” the soul/self through the brain. In dualism, as above, the soul/self IS itself, and instructs the brain! THAT is its dualistic role with the brain when the brain functions.

As a living physical person I can only sense my s/s/c through my functioning brain. Currently my s/s/c is in my skull doing my immaterial thinking. I believe my s/s/c is a quantum mechanism totally intimately interfaced with the physical brain (Penrose). As I think I am in control of my s/s/c which I formed from childhood. My concept of dualism differs from yours. The s/s/c mechanism is an organized quantum arrangement, yet to be discovered. It can separate and go into an afterlife. Only its thought capacity is immaterial.

xxxxx

DAVID: Improvement is answered in the other thread. I think the emphasis is complexity as explained there. Each stage of an enlarged brain allowed pre-sapiens to develop a better way of living, but it required the enlarged brain for each advance.

dhw: The question is whether it was enlarged before concept and implementation or as a result of implementation. You say you are “happy with God speciating each stage of enlarged brain”. But let me point out that all our observations suggest that brain modifications occur as a result of implementing new ideas, and not in advance of implementation.

The only size modification we know is shrinkage, no matter how you twist it!


dhw: I’m afraid it was you who played games by claiming that only complexification, plasticity and shrinkage could be called “modifications”. Thank you for now accepting that enlargement is also a modification, and since you agree that new actions cause modifications, it is not unreasonable to propose that in the distant past new actions caused enlargement, even if the very idea makes you unhappy.

Propose it if it makes you happy. All we know is shrinkage.

Big brain evolution: consciousness and brain activity

by David Turell @, Friday, February 16, 2018, 20:22 (129 days ago) @ David Turell

A professor of psychiatry describes the intimate relationship of conscious activity and brain connections:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-02-approaches-neuroscience.html

"Our own unique experiences shape how we view the world and respond to the events in our lives. But experience is highly subjective. What's distressing or joyful to one person may be very different to another.

"These differences can matter, especially as a growing body of research shows that what happens in our inner landscapes - our thoughts about and interpretations of our experiences - can have physical consequences in our brains and bodies.

***

"'How we experience the world affects us in more ways than we previously thought," says Davidson, William James and Vilas Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UW-Madison. "We're finding that emotions and thoughts can alter neural pathways in the brain in relatively short amounts of time and even affect processes like gene expression and aging."

***

"This framework stands in contrast to the tendency of neuroscientists to place more value on behavior in lieu of studying experience. In his talk, Davidson made the case for more fully integrating emerging scientific knowledge of the mind-body connection with neuroscience study design.

"Not only should individual experience be more fully accounted for and measured in neuroscience studies, Davidson argues, efforts to do so are revealing previously unknown neural networks that are implicated in well-being and mental health disorders.

"The problem, he says, is that experience has long been thought of as synonymous with behavior, when in fact the two are separate and can influence each other.

"Davidson and other scientists in the field have used imaging tools like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure activity and structures in the brain while observing relationships between specific neural networks and behaviors.

"'What's exciting about these findings is that when we take experience into account, certain neural mechanisms are implicated that would not otherwise be identified," he says. "The findings underscore the importance of taking both experience and behavior into account when building neural accounts of emotion, well-being and psychopathology."

Comment: The point I am making is the evidence of the intimate interlocking of our consciousness and brain plasticity working hand in hand. Does consciousness control the brain changes or does the brain change itself in response to the consciousness activity? I see what is shown as brain responsiveness in and of its own actions. The immaterial, by using the brain changes its complexity which is material.

Big brain evolution: consciousness and brain activity

by dhw, Saturday, February 17, 2018, 12:24 (128 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A professor of psychiatry describes the intimate relationship of conscious activity and brain connections:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-02-approaches-neuroscience.html

QUOTE: "The problem, he says, is that experience has long been thought of as synonymous with behavior, when in fact the two are separate and can influence each other.”

I am astonished to read this. I don’t know of anyone who would regard the two concepts as being synonymous, and the fact that experience can influence behaviour (ask a rape victim) and behaviour can influence experience (if I bop my neighbour on the head, I might well experience and be changed by the pleasures of a prison cell) seems to me so self-evident that I wonder where the professor has been living during these long years. Apologies for my bluntness.

DAVID’s comment: The point I am making is the evidence of the intimate interlocking of our consciousness and brain plasticity working hand in hand. Does consciousness control the brain changes or does the brain change itself in response to the consciousness activity? I see what is shown as brain responsiveness in and of its own actions. The immaterial, by using the brain changes its complexity which is material.

I have no doubt that consciousness (the s/s/c) and the brain work, so to speak, hand in hand, whether you are a dualist or a materialist. And I have no doubt that immaterial thought can change the material brain (as well as other parts of the body). And it seems to me absolutely logical that the same process would have taken place among pre-sapiens species: namely, that the immaterial s/s/c used the material brain and thereby modified it. Size, as you have now agreed, is one form of modification.

Big brain evolution: consciousness and brain activity

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 17, 2018, 15:22 (128 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: The point I am making is the evidence of the intimate interlocking of our consciousness and brain plasticity working hand in hand. Does consciousness control the brain changes or does the brain change itself in response to the consciousness activity? I see what is shown as brain responsiveness in and of its own actions. The immaterial, by using the brain changes its complexity which is material.

dhw: I have no doubt that consciousness (the s/s/c) and the brain work, so to speak, hand in hand, whether you are a dualist or a materialist. And I have no doubt that immaterial thought can change the material brain (as well as other parts of the body). And it seems to me absolutely logical that the same process would have taken place among pre-sapiens species: namely, that the immaterial s/s/c used the material brain and thereby modified it. Size, as you have now agreed, is one form of modification.

Note in the other thread the anatomic problems related to a jump in brain size: skull size and female pelvic modifications.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by dhw, Saturday, February 17, 2018, 12:13 (128 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: And you are not following my concept. only an advanced hardware brain allows advanced thought. Erectus s/s/c is not sapiens s/s/c.

dhw: No, I don’t follow your concept, and I keep pointing out that you use NDEs as evidence for your dualistic belief that the s/s/c is responsible for thought. That is why dualists believe that in earthly life there are TWO separate entities that work together: 1) mind, 2) body. Forget about “advanced”. Thought is thought, whether it’s advanced or not. The brain does not “allow” thought because, as you keep agreeing, the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain gives material expression to the s/s/c’s thoughts, just as the hardware gives material expression to the software.

DAVID: I'll accept your comment, but not the point about 'allow'. You've not answered the juxtaposition in history of complex brain and complex artifacts, as current humans show, and is obvious in past history. A complex s/s/c requires a complex cortex to function at an advanced level of thought.
And: .. enlargement always proceeds improved artifacts, and I believe God provided the advance since He arranges for speciation.

I have answered the question every time you have raised it. The artefacts can only appear when the brain has finished making the changes needed for implementation. You say your God changed the brain BEFORE implementation. I suggest implementation caused the changes. The outcome is the same for both hypotheses: the artefacts appear alongside the enlarged brain (pre-sapiens). Of course you won’t find the artefacts preceding the enlargement, and of course you will find artefacts made after the enlargement once the new concept has been implemented. Later generations may continue to produce the same artefacts for thousands of years. But the question is what CAUSED the enlargement in the first place. The implementation of modern artefacts CAUSES brain change, so it is logical to assume that there was a similar process in the past.

DAVID (later in the post): The only size modification we know is shrinkage, no matter how you twist it!

This is not “twisting”. Nobody knows why the brain enlarged, and so we propose hypotheses. We DO know that implementation causes modifications now, and so once again it is not unreasonable to propose that implementation caused modifications in the past. You yourself used that argument in relation to complexity and shrinkage, and you now acknowledge that enlargement is a modification.

dhw: …a million years ago brains must have been plastic enough to allow for lots of new neurons.
DAVID: We don't know the brain and skull won't expand again, and ancient brains jumped in size by 200 cc with each enlargement. Adding the need for increased skull size means brain plasticity alone is only part of a complex process in advancement. Not by chance. God in action.

How does all this mean that the pre-sapiens brain was not plastic enough to add more than a few neurons? If it was plastic enough for your God to add lots of neurons before the implementation of new concepts, it was plastic enough to add lots of neurons during the process of implementation.

xxxxx

DAVID: As a living physical person I can only sense my s/s/c through my functioning brain.

Same as before. “You” ARE your self/soul/consciousness. In the living physical dualist, the self/soul/consciousness is aware of itself. The functioning brain is not the source of its awareness or indeed of any thought, as you have agreed at the top of this thread and elsewhere - over and over again.

DAVID: Currently my s/s/c is in my skull doing my immaterial thinking.

Exactly.

DAVID: I believe my s/s/c is a quantum mechanism totally intimately interfaced with the physical brain (Penrose). As I think I am in control of my s/s/c which I formed from childhood. My concept of dualism differs from yours. The s/s/c mechanism is an organized quantum arrangement, yet to be discovered. It can separate and go into an afterlife. Only its thought capacity is immaterial.

None of this means that the self depends on the functioning brain to do its THINKING! Interface yes, but your immaterial s/s/c, your “I” – which has developed since childhood and does the thinking – is in control of your material brain, which provides information and does the material expressing and implementing.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 17, 2018, 15:14 (128 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID (later in the post): The only size modification we know is shrinkage, no matter how you twist it!

dhw: This is not “twisting”. Nobody knows why the brain enlarged, and so we propose hypotheses. We DO know that implementation causes modifications now, and so once again it is not unreasonable to propose that implementation caused modifications in the past. You yourself used that argument in relation to complexity and shrinkage, and you now acknowledge that enlargement is a modification.

You are equating implementation with enlargement, when the only fact we have is shrinkage. I'll stop with that in my theorizing.


dhw: …a million years ago brains must have been plastic enough to allow for lots of new neurons.
DAVID: We don't know the brain and skull won't expand again, and ancient brains jumped in size by 200 cc with each enlargement. Adding the need for increased skull size means brain plasticity alone is only part of a complex process in advancement. Not by chance. God in action.

dhw: How does all this mean that the pre-sapiens brain was not plastic enough to add more than a few neurons? If it was plastic enough for your God to add lots of neurons before the implementation of new concepts, it was plastic enough to add lots of neurons during the process of implementation.

I'm only adding to my theory about God and brain size are facts we know. If an ancient brain wanted to add many neurons and grow in volume it had to tell the skull to enlarge and the Mothers to change their pelvis size. All had to coordinated. Do you now see the reason for design?


xxxxx

DAVID: As a living physical person I can only sense my s/s/c through my functioning brain.

Same as before. “You” ARE your self/soul/consciousness. In the living physical dualist, the self/soul/consciousness is aware of itself. The functioning brain is not the source of its awareness or indeed of any thought, as you have agreed at the top of this thread and elsewhere - over and over again.

DAVID: Currently my s/s/c is in my skull doing my immaterial thinking.

Exactly.

DAVID: I believe my s/s/c is a quantum mechanism totally intimately interfaced with the physical brain (Penrose). As I think I am in control of my s/s/c which I formed from childhood. My concept of dualism differs from yours. The s/s/c mechanism is an organized quantum arrangement, yet to be discovered. It can separate and go into an afterlife. Only its thought capacity is immaterial.

dhw: None of this means that the self depends on the functioning brain to do its THINKING! Interface yes, but your immaterial s/s/c, your “I” – which has developed since childhood and does the thinking – is in control of your material brain, which provides information and does the material expressing and implementing.

But I can reach my immaterial s/s/c only through my material brain. My living 'me' is material with active thoughts that are immaterial. My living 'me' has shaped my immaterial personality. I see 'me' as both material and immaterial all the time fully interfaced. The s/s/c becomes independent and function on its own is in death or non -functionality of the brain.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 17, 2018, 18:48 (128 days ago) @ David Turell

An aspect of our discussion should include the development of the brain in current human adolescents and how it allows for full development of personality and of course the full development of the s/s/c:

This website offers a brief discussion with a full paper if you join. I didn't:

http://www.researchomatic.com/Personality-Development-Of-Adolescents-121099.html#buytop...

From my training I know, and we have discussed in the past, that the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25. A person cannot fully evaluate his/her decision making particularly as to risk taking until that point. But the brain is fully enlarged as is the skull by age 16-20. What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity. Thus a fully developed and functional s/s/c must wait for the underlying biological development. It is current theory that the adolescent must wait until his brain is ready for him/her to think and made judgments at the adult level.

This fits my theory that complexity (size with complexity) must precede full thought/concept capacity. Size/complexity first, concepts/artifacts second, as we see in our adolescents' development

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Sunday, February 18, 2018, 13:16 (127 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: An aspect of our discussion should include the development of the brain in current human adolescents and how it allows for full development of personality and of course the full development of the s/s/c:
http://www.researchomatic.com/Personality-Development-Of-Adolescents-121099.html#buytop...

DAVID: From my training I know, and we have discussed in the past, that the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25. A person cannot fully evaluate his/her decision making particularly as to risk taking until that point. But the brain is fully enlarged as is the skull by age 16-20. What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity. Thus a fully developed and functional s/s/c must wait for the underlying biological development. It is current theory that the adolescent must wait until his brain is ready for him/her to think and made judgments at the adult level.
This fits my theory that complexity (size with complexity) must precede full thought/concept capacity. Size/complexity first, concepts/artifacts second, as we see in our adolescents' development.

You repeatedly use the words “complete” and “full”. If the cortex remains capable of new connections at any age, what do you mean by “complete” (other than size)? And what is a fully developed s/s/c? Of course the brain, like every other organ and like the s/s/c, does not arrive fully formed, but every brain and every self is different. I know teenagers whose judgements I would trust infinitely more than those of certain adults. They do not have to wait until their brains are “ready for him/her to think and make judgements at the adult level”. What is an adult level of judgement? I believe that both brain and self continue to change throughout life, and I don’t know what criteria you have for “full thought capacity”. In any case, as a dualist, you argue that it is the s/s/c and not the brain that does the thinking, but HOW it thinks depends partly on genetics (40% according to you) and partly on experience. Here is an important quote from the article:

The importance of the need to understand the changes in the brain and its implications on the adolescents and the families may be understood from the fact that shaping the development of the brain is in the hands of the teenagers themselves. Positive experiences lead to an adaptive brain. The teenagers who go through adverse experiences in this age are bound to remain disturbed for the rest of their life, given that they are not supported by adults. “ (My bold)

In dualistic terms, then, experience determines the teenager’s s/s/c (though a percentage of the s/s/c is already formed at birth), which in turn determines the development of the brain. I would therefore argue that complexification is ongoing, both in the s/s/c and in the brain (even a 60-year-old illiterate will make new connections when learning to read and write). And except in cases of material outside interference such as disease, accident, drugs, alcohol (all evidence for materialism), it is the s/s/c that controls the brain and not the other way round.

As for your conclusion, once again you make nonsense of your own dualistic beliefs. According to you, the s/s/c does the THINKING. Our hominin’s brain would have been “completed” in respect of its size, enabled him to observe the deer, and sent messages to his s/s/c to say: “Me want food!” But it was the s/s/c that said: “Dammit, this is dangerous. I need a better way to catch the deer than using my bare hands.” Hence the new concept, followed by the implementation and expansion. Don’t you find that more plausible than your God paying him a visit, enlarging his brain, and only then can the above conversation, concept and implementation take place?

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 18, 2018, 15:38 (127 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: An aspect of our discussion should include the development of the brain in current human adolescents and how it allows for full development of personality and of course the full development of the s/s/c:
http://www.researchomatic.com/Personality-Development-Of-Adolescents-121099.html#buytop...

DAVID: From my training I know, and we have discussed in the past, that the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25. A person cannot fully evaluate his/her decision making particularly as to risk taking until that point. But the brain is fully enlarged as is the skull by age 16-20. What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity. Thus a fully developed and functional s/s/c must wait for the underlying biological development. It is current theory that the adolescent must wait until his brain is ready for him/her to think and made judgments at the adult level.
This fits my theory that complexity (size with complexity) must precede full thought/concept capacity. Size/complexity first, concepts/artifacts second, as we see in our adolescents' development.

dhw: You repeatedly use the words “complete” and “full”. If the cortex remains capable of new connections at any age, what do you mean by “complete” (other than size)?

I stated complexity. Please re-read my sentence above.

dhw:And what is a fully developed s/s/c?

One that has the brain complexity to judge risk taking. Standard psychological theory requires full pre-frontal cortical development.

dhw: I know teenagers whose judgements I would trust infinitely more than those of certain adults. They do not have to wait until their brains are “ready for him/her to think and make judgements at the adult level”. What is an adult level of judgement?

See my statement above.

dhw: Here is an important quote from the article:

dhw: “The importance of the need to understand the changes in the brain and its implications on the adolescents and the families may be understood from the fact that shaping the development of the brain is in the hands of the teenagers themselves. Positive experiences lead to an adaptive brain. The teenagers who go through adverse experiences in this age are bound to remain disturbed for the rest of their life, given that they are not supported by adults. “ (My bold)

Of course the teenager contributes, but ignores the necessary pre-frontal development occurring until average age 25.


dhw: In dualistic terms, then, experience determines the teenager’s s/s/c (though a percentage of the s/s/c is already formed at birth), which in turn determines the development of the brain. I would therefore argue that complexification is ongoing, both in the s/s/c and in the brain (even a 60-year-old illiterate will make new connections when learning to read and write). And except in cases of material outside interference such as disease, accident, drugs, alcohol (all evidence for materialism), it is the s/s/c that controls the brain and not the other way round.

Yes the s/s/c controls the brain.


dhw: As for your conclusion, once again you make nonsense of your own dualistic beliefs. According to you, the s/s/c does the THINKING. Our hominin’s brain would have been “completed” in respect of its size, enabled him to observe the deer, and sent messages to his s/s/c to say: “Me want food!” But it was the s/s/c that said: “Dammit, this is dangerous. I need a better way to catch the deer than using my bare hands.” Hence the new concept, followed by the implementation and expansion. Don’t you find that more plausible than your God paying him a visit, enlarging his brain, and only then can the above conversation, concept and implementation take place?

Covered in the previous thread. God speciates.

Big brain evolution:changes in sapiens ;addendum II

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 18, 2018, 21:36 (127 days ago) @ David Turell

I'll add a review of the high school shooting in Florida to help make my point which you have obviously missed about needing brain development to age 25 to be able to fully assess the consequences of adolescent planned actions:

The shooter used a high speed rifle to kill and wound in a three minutes period. He indiscriminately shot through classroom doors small windows, a totally impersonal action. Before the act he was found in a boy's bathroom loading the clips and said to the 14 year old, "you'd better get out. Bad things are going to happen". The 14 year-old didn't tell anyone but ran out. The 19 year-old simply wanted to act impersonally, didn't hurt ote 14 year-old, crying out for help because he was so disturbed and not fully understanding the enormity of his acting out. The kid is not crazy. He fully planned the event.

What does this mean to our discussion? This kid could not reach a rational conclusion. By psychiatric theory his pre-frontal cortex was not physically developed enough to allow him to reach a proper analysis of the outcome of his plan, both as it applies to him and to his victims. His attorney has already brought this up in his defense. From the viewpoint of this discussion his s/s/c did not have the brain hardware to work with, since it was still underdeveloped. As I've said all along, the s/s/c must have sophisticated brain hardware to achieve advanced conceptualization. Complexity first, artifacts second, as shown by this episode.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Monday, February 19, 2018, 14:16 (126 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You repeatedly use the words “complete” and “full”. If the cortex remains capable of new connections at any age, what do you mean by “complete” (other than size)?
DAVID: I stated complexity. Please re-read my sentence above.

You wrote: "the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25." […] "What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity."

How can the complexity be “complete” if it continues to add new connections after the age of 25?

dhw: And what is a fully developed s/s/c?
DAVID: One that has the brain complexity to judge risk taking. Standard psychological theory requires full pre-frontal cortical development.

Why are you confining the activities of the self/soul to risk taking? And is judgement of risk the activity of the self/soul or of the brain, bearing in mind that according to your dualistic beliefs it is the self/soul and not the brain that does the THINKING.

dhw: I know teenagers whose judgements I would trust infinitely more than those of certain adults. They do not have to wait until their brains are “ready for him/her to think and make judgements at the adult level”. What is an adult level of judgement?
DAVID: See my statement above.

Since different adults may reach different judgements, all you seem to be saying is that you can’t be an adult until you are an adult.

dhw: Here is an important quote from the article:
QUOTE: “The importance of the need to understand the changes in the brain and its implications on the adolescents and the families may be understood from the fact that shaping the development of the brain is in the hands of the teenagers themselves. Positive experiences lead to an adaptive brain. The teenagers who go through adverse experiences in this age are bound to remain disturbed for the rest of their life, given that they are not supported by adults.“ (My bold)

DAVID: Of course the teenager contributes, but ignores the necessary pre-frontal development occurring until average age 25.

What does this mean? The article makes it clear that experience shapes the brain’s development. I don’t suppose any of us are aware that our experiences are changing our brains, regardless of age.

DAVID (in addendum re the appalling Florida shooting): What does this mean to our discussion? This kid could not reach a rational conclusion. By psychiatric theory his pre-frontal cortex was not physically developed enough to allow him to reach a proper analysis of the outcome of his plan, both as it applies to him and to his victims. His attorney has already brought this up in his defense. From the viewpoint of this discussion his s/s/c did not have the brain hardware to work with, since it was still underdeveloped. As I've said all along, the s/s/c must have sophisticated brain hardware to achieve advanced conceptualization. Complexity first, artifacts second, as shown by this episode.

So if anyone aged 25-100 commits an act of indiscriminate slaughter, it must be because their fully developed pre-frontal cortex enables them to make a proper adult judgement. And everyone under 25 is devoid of the ability to reach rational conclusions because their pre-frontal lobe is not physically developed enough etc. I don’t believe it. Please see your response to my final sentence below and apply it, say, to a 24-year-old.

dhw: In dualistic terms, then, experience determines the teenager’s s/s/c (though a percentage of the s/s/c is already formed at birth), which in turn determines the development of the brain. I would therefore argue that complexification is ongoing, both in the s/s/c and in the brain (even a 60-year-old illiterate will make new connections when learning to read and write). And except in cases of material outside interference such as disease, accident, drugs, alcohol (all evidence for materialism), it is the s/s/c that controls the brain and not the other way round.
DAVID: Yes the s/s/c controls the brain. (dhw's bold)

So why do you keep insisting that the pre-frontal cortex makes the judgements or “proper analyses”?

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Monday, February 19, 2018, 18:26 (126 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: > You wrote: "the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25." […] "What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity."

How can the complexity be “complete” if it continues to add new connections after the age of 25?

Simple: a newborn has a brain which is simple and must develop full complexity, which occurs on average finishing in the prefrontal cortex by age 25. This is medically accepted. Of course new complexity appears with new uses after that.


dhw: And what is a fully developed s/s/c?
DAVID: One that has the brain complexity to judge risk taking. Standard psychological theory requires full pre-frontal cortical development.

dhw: Why are you confining the activities of the self/soul to risk taking? And is judgement of risk the activity of the self/soul or of the brain, bearing in mind that according to your dualistic beliefs it is the self/soul and not the brain that does the THINKING.

I used risk taking as an example. The judgment about the consequences of any new action by an individual is impaired or limited until the development of the prefrontal cortex is complete.


dhw: What does this mean? The article makes it clear that experience shapes the brain’s development. I don’t suppose any of us are aware that our experiences are changing our brains, regardless of age.

Please accept that full brain development from birth takes to an average age 25.


DAVID (in addendum re the appalling Florida shooting): What does this mean to our discussion? This kid could not reach a rational conclusion. By psychiatric theory his pre-frontal cortex was not physically developed enough to allow him to reach a proper analysis of the outcome of his plan, both as it applies to him and to his victims. His attorney has already brought this up in his defense. From the viewpoint of this discussion his s/s/c did not have the brain hardware to work with, since it was still underdeveloped. As I've said all along, the s/s/c must have sophisticated brain hardware to achieve advanced conceptualization. Complexity first, artifacts second, as shown by this episode.

dhw: So if anyone aged 25-100 commits an act of indiscriminate slaughter, it must be because their fully developed pre-frontal cortex enables them to make a proper adult judgement. And everyone under 25 is devoid of the ability to reach rational conclusions because their pre-frontal lobe is not physically developed enough etc. I don’t believe it. Please see your response to my final sentence below and apply it, say, to a 24-year-old.

Sorry about your disbelief but this is current medical theory about the length of adolescent judgment ability in regard to understanding the consequences of their actions. I've mentioned this many times in the past. Note his attorney is using it.


dhw: In dualistic terms, then, experience determines the teenager’s s/s/c (though a percentage of the s/s/c is already formed at birth), which in turn determines the development of the brain. I would therefore argue that complexification is ongoing, both in the s/s/c and in the brain (even a 60-year-old illiterate will make new connections when learning to read and write). And except in cases of material outside interference such as disease, accident, drugs, alcohol (all evidence for materialism), it is the s/s/c that controls the brain and not the other way round.
DAVID: Yes the s/s/c controls the brain. (dhw's bold)

dhw: So why do you keep insisting that the pre-frontal cortex makes the judgments or “proper analyses”?

The s/s/c controls the brain's thinking, but the depth of thought is determined by the stage of physical development of the brain's complexity which is not under s/s/c control but starts at birth. A six-year old cannot think like you do. The area for analyzing risk and other consequences of one's actions has been identified as residing in the pre-frontal cortex, believe it or not, it is accepted fact. And it proves my point that the s/s/c must work through the areas of the organized brain available to it. It can't work if the area is not fully functional. It may try but judgments will be skewed.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 11:15 (125 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: "the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25." […] "What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity."
dhw: How can the complexity be “complete” if it continues to add new connections after the age of 25?
DAVID: Simple: a newborn has a brain which is simple and must develop full complexity, which occurs on average finishing in the prefrontal cortex by age 25. This is medically accepted. Of course new complexity appears with new uses after that.

You do not seem to see the contradiction between your two statements above. The complexity is not complete until the age of 25 (i.e. it IS complete at 25). New complexity appears with new uses after that. If you can add something new to what exists, what exists cannot have been complete.

dhw: And what is a fully developed s/s/c?
DAVID: One that has the brain complexity to judge risk taking. Standard psychological theory requires full pre-frontal cortical development.
dhw: Why are you confining the activities of the self/soul to risk taking? And is judgement of risk the activity of the self/soul or of the brain, bearing in mind that according to your dualistic beliefs it is the self/soul and not the brain that does the THINKING.
DAVID: I used risk taking as an example. The judgment about the consequences of any new action by an individual is impaired or limited until the development of the prefrontal cortex is complete.

The development is never complete if it can add new complexities and uses. Most forms of human judgement are impaired or limited by a wide variety of circumstances. Only a God would be able to see the full picture of whatever we make judgements about. And if I were a dualist, I would vehemently deny that judgement depends on the pre-frontal cortex. Every statement you make about this confirms your materialism. See below.

dhw: What does this mean? The article makes it clear that experience shapes the brain’s development. I don’t suppose any of us are aware that our experiences are changing our brains, regardless of age.
DAVID: Please accept that full brain development from birth takes to an average age 25.

I am happy to accept that certain aspects of brain development are completed at around the age of 25. I am not happy to accept the claim that the brain as a whole stops developing at 25 if it continues to develop new complexities as a result of new uses. I am even less happy if a dualist informs me that judgement depends on the development of the pre-frontal cortex.

DAVID (in addendum re the appalling Florida shooting): What does this mean to our discussion? This kid could not reach a rational conclusion. By psychiatric theory his pre-frontal cortex was not physically developed enough to allow him to reach a proper analysis of the outcome of his plan, both as it applies to him and to his victims. […]

dhw: So if anyone aged 25-100 commits an act of indiscriminate slaughter, it must be because their fully developed pre-frontal cortex enables them to make a proper adult judgement. And everyone under 25 is devoid of the ability to reach rational conclusions because their pre-frontal lobe is not physically developed enough etc. I don’t believe it. Please see your response to my final sentence below and apply it, say, to a 24-year-old.

DAVID: Sorry about your disbelief but this is current medical theory about the length of adolescent judgment ability in regard to understanding the consequences of their actions. I've mentioned this many times in the past. Note his attorney is using it.

Defence attorneys use “diminished responsibility” of one sort or another in vast numbers of cases involving all ages, and ultimately it all ties up with the materialist argument that we do not have free will. I remain neutral, but you don’t. You have always argued that the soul/self has free will. Meanwhile, you have not responded to the logical extension of your argument: according to you, no one under the age of 25 is capable of reaching a rational conclusion because their pre-frontal cortex is not fully developed. A mass murderer over 25 has made a proper adult judgement because his pre-frontal cortex is fully developed. Is that what you believe?

But I am not denying what current medical theory tells us. A quick google reveals that the pre-frontal cortex is responsible for regulating our behaviour, emotions, social control, problem solving, abstract thinking, thought analysis, personal expression, decision-making…Not much left for the poor old soul to do, is there? I am not going to argue with it. The problem I have is when a dualist tells me that he accepts all this, but at the same time he believes it is his soul and not his brain that is responsible for regulating his behaviour, emotions, social control etc. etc. Something doesn’t quite add up, does it? What does current medical theory tell us about the soul?

The rest of your post illustrates the same dichotomy.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 15:08 (125 days ago) @ dhw

I should point out that the two of you are arguing psychology, one of the least respected fields of science because it is considered a soft science, meaning that it is virtually impossible to get objective data sets to study...that said...

The first qualm with the discussion seems to be over the use of the word 'complete'. Try using 'mature' instead. Like fruit, the fruit is complete at all times, though it may be unripe, ripe, or overly ripe. These are degrees of maturity, not scales of completeness.

Secondly, human behavior is too complex to just say "It's because of their age". Normally when say that, we are tavitly acknowledging either a lack of experience, a lack of development, or a lack in judgement making capability, which ties directly back into the first two while also depending on brain development.

It is also important to realize that modern psychology also says that people who challenge their own biological makeup are not stark raving mad. Not sure how much I can trust a field that can accept a stance like that.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 18:13 (125 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, February 20, 2018, 18:30

Tony: I should point out that the two of you are arguing psychology, one of the least respected fields of science because it is considered a soft science, meaning that it is virtually impossible to get objective data sets to study...that said...

The first qualm with the discussion seems to be over the use of the word 'complete'. Try using 'mature' instead. Like fruit, the fruit is complete at all times, though it may be unripe, ripe, or overly ripe. These are degrees of maturity, not scales of completeness.

Secondly, human behavior is too complex to just say "It's because of their age". Normally when say that, we are tavitly acknowledging either a lack of experience, a lack of development, or a lack in judgement making capability, which ties directly back into the first two while also depending on brain development.

It is also important to realize that modern psychology also says that people who challenge their own biological makeup are not stark raving mad. Not sure how much I can trust a field that can accept a stance like that.

Great you are back. We are not at the level of psychology. Note dhw's Google entry about pre-frontal functions. I know psychological study is fuzzy.

Look at this study:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607220111.htm

"Research in the June 8, 2016 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults, offering an opportunity to understand how disorders related to emotional control emerge.

"Previous research links the spike in sensation-seeking and impulsive behavior during adolescence to the delayed maturation of the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain involved in reasoning, planning, and decision-making. Study authors Inge Volman, Ivan Toni, and Karin Roelofs previously demonstrated the importance of the anterior prefrontal cortex in emotional control in adults. However, it has not been clear whether and how the delayed development of the prefrontal cortex affects emotional control during adolescence.

'To address this question, the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in 47 healthy 14-year-old adolescents while they evaluated the emotional expressions of happy and angry faces. Sometimes, the teens were instructed to push a joystick toward happy faces and away from angry faces, a natural, instinctive response. Other times, they had to push the joystick toward angry faces and away from happy faces, an unnatural response requiring more emotional self-control.

"The researchers also measured the adolescents' testosterone levels to gauge their pubertal maturation. Adolescents with high testosterone levels, or a greater level of maturity, showed stronger activity in the anterior prefrontal cortex during actions requiring more emotional self-control. Individuals with low testosterone levels had more activity in the amygdala and the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus, subcortical brain regions known to play a key role in emotional processing.

"Participants completed the task equally well regardless of testosterone level, suggesting both brain circuits support emotional control. However, the researchers indicate real-world scenarios may prove more challenging to subjects with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex.

"'This is one of the few studies that looks at how puberty stage is associated with brain development in young people who are all the same chronological age," said neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, who studies adolescent development at University College London and was not involved in the study. She said the results add to our understanding of typical behavior and how the brain changes in adolescence.

"The results may also help us understand how emotional control can go awry during development. It's possible that the failure of the prefrontal cortex to integrate properly into the emotional control circuit could contribute to the emergence of affective disorders in adolescence."

Comment: Had evidence and straight forward explanation of brain development. dhw take notice.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 03:37 (125 days ago) @ David Turell

Tony: I should point out that the two of you are arguing psychology, one of the least respected fields of science because it is considered a soft science, meaning that it is virtually impossible to get objective data sets to study...that said...

The first qualm with the discussion seems to be over the use of the word 'complete'. Try using 'mature' instead. Like fruit, the fruit is complete at all times, though it may be unripe, ripe, or overly ripe. These are degrees of maturity, not scales of completeness.

Secondly, human behavior is too complex to just say "It's because of their age". Normally when say that, we are tavitly acknowledging either a lack of experience, a lack of development, or a lack in judgement making capability, which ties directly back into the first two while also depending on brain development.

It is also important to realize that modern psychology also says that people who challenge their own biological makeup are not stark raving mad. Not sure how much I can trust a field that can accept a stance like that.


David: Great you are back. We are not at the level of psychology. Note dhw's Google entry about pre-frontal functions. I know psychological study is fuzzy.

Look at this study:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607220111.htm

"Research in the June 8, 2016 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults, offering an opportunity to understand how disorders related to emotional control emerge.

"Ability to control emotion"...sounds very much like psychology, unless you subscribe to a 100% mechanistic view of intelligence and emotion.

What they measured was brain activity. The interpretation of that activity, versus what it actually means, is actually pure speculation. We know this to be true because we have know way of definitively knowing what another person is thinking or feeling, or why.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 04:54 (124 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


It is also important to realize that modern psychology also says that people who challenge their own biological makeup are not stark raving mad. Not sure how much I can trust a field that can accept a stance like that.


David: Great you are back. We are not at the level of psychology. Note dhw's Google entry about pre-frontal functions. I know psychological study is fuzzy.

Look at this study:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607220111.htm

"Research in the June 8, 2016 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults, offering an opportunity to understand how disorders related to emotional control emerge.


Tony: "Ability to control emotion"...sounds very much like psychology, unless you subscribe to a 100% mechanistic view of intelligence and emotion.

What they measured was brain activity. The interpretation of that activity, versus what it actually means, is actually pure speculation. We know this to be true because we have know way of definitively knowing what another person is thinking or feeling, or why.

I think we can accept MRI studies establishing general areas of use and control not very precise meanings. I commented on this inexactitude many times . The amgdala does deal with emotional states and must have firm connections with the pre-frontal judgmental area for good emotional controls.. The psychological actions as stated are fairly straightforward. I don't trust clinical psychololgy studies. They often cannot be replicated, but I see this at a more controlled level.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 23:59 (124 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained


David: Great you are back. We are not at the level of psychology. Note dhw's Google entry about pre-frontal functions. I know psychological study is fuzzy.

Look at this study:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160607220111.htm

"Research in the June 8, 2016 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults, offering an opportunity to understand how disorders related to emotional control emerge.


Tony: "Ability to control emotion"...sounds very much like psychology, unless you subscribe to a 100% mechanistic view of intelligence and emotion.

What they measured was brain activity. The interpretation of that activity, versus what it actually means, is actually pure speculation. We know this to be true because we have know way of definitively knowing what another person is thinking or feeling, or why.

They are studying areas of the brain that respond to recognized activity, seeing how differing areas of the brain come into action. Not psychology.

Big brain evolution:learning uses specific actions of brain

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 22, 2018, 00:18 (124 days ago) @ David Turell

Here is a study looking at areas of the brain that are used in learning. The s/s/c doesn't interface with the brain in an amorphous way. It interlocks with different areas for different functions. These can act as systems:

"A new study by Brown University researchers shows that two different brain systems work cooperatively as people learn.

"The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, focused on the interplay of two very different modes of learning a new task: reinforcement learning and working memory. Reinforcement learning is an "under-the-hood" process in which people gradually learn which actions to take by processing rewards and punishments at the neural level, and then choosing the one that works best on average—even if the person is not aware of it. In contrast, working memory involves keeping previous actions and their outcomes in mind to more rapidly and flexibly improve performance.

***

"In order to distinguish the contributions from reinforcement learning and working memory, the researchers set up problems with different numbers of symbols, ranging from two to six, and participants had to learn which button to press for each of them. Generally, people can only hold three or four items in working memory at a time, and only for short periods of time. So when the number of symbols or the delay increases, the contribution of working memory to the learning process should diminish.

***

"As the participants performed the tasks, an EEG cap recorded signals from the brain, and the authors applied statistical methods to extract those signals related to one learning system or the other.

"The study showed that when memory demands were high, the signals in the brain correlated to reinforcement learning actually got stronger. In other words, when the working memory system was overtaxed, the reinforcement learning system became more important in the learning process. In contrast, when participants could hold information in mind, signals associated with reinforcement learning were weaker, suggesting an increased role for working memory.
The researchers also found that they could decode from the brain signals in a particular trial whether information was likely to be in memory or not. That too traded off with the neural marker of reinforcement learning."

Comment: I present this to show the illustrations which present different areas of the brain in the study the the s/s/c must interact with. The s/s/c uses the brain as a tool.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, February 22, 2018, 07:04 (123 days ago) @ David Turell

"The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults.."

The 'ability' to control emotion is not psychology?

"the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in 47 healthy 14-year-old adolescents while they evaluated the emotional expressions of happy and angry faces. Sometimes, the teens were instructed to push a joystick toward happy faces and away from angry faces, a natural, instinctive response. Other times, they had to push the joystick toward angry faces and away from happy faces, an unnatural response requiring more emotional self-control."

So, telling kids trained to video games, literally trained to push toward the angry guy is going to tell them that kid is somehow processing an emotion? How do they know what, if anything, that kid was feeling thinking about. He or she could have been bored and thinking about homework or sex.

Adolescents with high testosterone levels, or a greater level of maturity, showed stronger activity in the anterior prefrontal cortex during actions requiring more emotional self-control.

Horny angry people need more self control? Did they need a study to figure that out?

And unless I am mistaken...

The researchers also measured the adolescents' testosterone levels to gauge their pubertal maturation. Adolescents with high testosterone levels, or a greater level of maturity, showed stronger activity in the anterior prefrontal cortex during actions requiring more emotional self-control. Individuals with low testosterone levels had more activity in the amygdala and the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus, subcortical brain regions known to play a key role in emotional processing.

Participants completed the task equally well regardless of testosterone level, suggesting both brain circuits support emotional control. However, the researchers indicate real-world scenarios may prove more challenging to subjects with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex.

That says their study didn't work. They performed the task equally well despite different t levels, and all they really saw was more prefrontal cortex activity in the testoterone rich patients, and have no clue what it really means, so it must support their claim.

If they are right, great, but this sure sounds like bad science to me.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 22, 2018, 15:28 (123 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

"The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults.."


Tony: The 'ability' to control emotion is not psychology?

"the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in 47 healthy 14-year-old adolescents while they evaluated the emotional expressions of happy and angry faces. Sometimes, the teens were instructed to push a joystick toward happy faces and away from angry faces, a natural, instinctive response. Other times, they had to push the joystick toward angry faces and away from happy faces, an unnatural response requiring more emotional self-control."


So, telling kids trained to video games, literally trained to push toward the angry guy is going to tell them that kid is somehow processing an emotion? How do they know what, if anything, that kid was feeling thinking about. He or she could have been bored and thinking about homework or sex.

Adolescents with high testosterone levels, or a greater level of maturity, showed stronger activity in the anterior prefrontal cortex during actions requiring more emotional self-control.


Horny angry people need more self control? Did they need a study to figure that out?

And unless I am mistaken...

The researchers also measured the adolescents' testosterone levels to gauge their pubertal maturation. Adolescents with high testosterone levels, or a greater level of maturity, showed stronger activity in the anterior prefrontal cortex during actions requiring more emotional self-control. Individuals with low testosterone levels had more activity in the amygdala and the pulvinar nucleus of the thalamus, subcortical brain regions known to play a key role in emotional processing.

Participants completed the task equally well regardless of testosterone level, suggesting both brain circuits support emotional control. However, the researchers indicate real-world scenarios may prove more challenging to subjects with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex.


That says their study didn't work. They performed the task equally well despite different t levels, and all they really saw was more prefrontal cortex activity in the testoterone rich patients, and have no clue what it really means, so it must support their claim.

If they are right, great, but this sure sounds like bad science to me.

The journal Nature shares your discomfort:

http://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02185-w?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20180223&spMailin...

You'll note the discussion goes to age 25.

Big brain evolution: adolescence ends when?

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 22, 2018, 17:54 (123 days ago) @ David Turell

Note this Nature article:

http://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02169-w?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20180223&spMailin...

"Generations of researchers have painted adolescence as a span of unremitting hazards on the road to adulthood. In 1904, US psychologist G. Stanley Hall wrote an influential two-volume opus on adolescence, which he concluded was between the ages of 14 and 24. Hall, who focused his analysis largely on white boys, promoted the idea that adolescence is a time of upheaval. He blamed the mass media — in the form of cheap fictional pamphlets called ‘penny dreadfuls’ — as well as ‘immoral’ activities such as drinking and dancing for leading youths astray.

***

"But in many societies today, the conventional markers of adulthood are slipping to later in life. Young people spend more years at school, live with their parents for longer, and delay marriage and parenthood. Marriage, in particular, has historically been a key marker for adulthood in many cultures, says anthropologist Alice Schlegel at the University of Arizona in Tucson. The average age of women at first marriage has risen by two years globally over the past two decades, according to the United Nations. In some countries, that increase is more dramatic: in Brazil the average age has increased by 6 years to 27, and in several European countries the age is creeping over 30 (see ‘Age at marriage’).

***

"The hotchpotch of definitions in research articles, social policies and laws around the globe reveals a wide range of opinion about the end of adolescence (see ‘Sliding scales’). The World Health Organization set its boundaries at ages 10 and 19, but Susan Sawyer, chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne in Australia, and her colleagues have argued that this upper boundary should be raised to 24. In 2017, New Zealand revised its regulations regarding children in protective care: rather than sending them out on their own at the age of 18, the government continues to provide support into their twenties. The change came in response to reports that the adolescents were not coping well with independence at younger ages."

Comment: Age 25 still fits. Look at the graphic titled 'sliding scales'. These are generalities. Everyone matures differently and background parenting helps. I was not a risk taker in any sense. I was married and out of med school just after my 25th birthday, full of purpose and rigid ethics. I smoked a cigarette at 16, never again. Got drunk once at age 17 in college with my introduction to beer, and a second time at my first wine tasting in my 30's. Learned quickly, never again. I'm in general agreement with Tony's comments, but adolescent deserves lots more study.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 13:50 (124 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

PART ONE
Tony may not be aware of the background to this discussion, which centres on the concept of dualism and sprang from David’s insistence that his God had enlarged hominin brains and the sapiens brain before they were able to conceive and implement new concepts. Dualism argues that mind and body are two separate entities that work together. “Mind” = immaterial self/soul/consciousness (s/s/c) and we have confined our discussion of body to the brain. Materialism is the belief that all mental activity has its source in the brain, and there is no such thing as an immaterial soul. I am neutral on the subject, and am focusing solely on what I consider to be the contradictions in David’s arguments (he claims to be a dualist). I say that if the s/s/c is responsible for immaterial thought, then it makes no sense to argue that thought depends on the (size of the) material brain: concepts must therefore come BEFORE enlargement, which takes place as a result of implementing the concept. This fits in with the known process whereby in sapiens new activities CAUSE changes in the brain and are not caused by them. The ramifications of this subject are huge, as you can see. In the context of a possible God and evolution, they concern the amount of control David’s God has exercised over the process. We have barely scratched the surface of how the process would work in materialist terms. Meanwhile, however, we have got totally bogged down in David’s materialistic dualism, which itself has enormous ramifications. I hope this is a fair summary.

TONY: I should point out that the two of you are arguing psychology, one of the least respected fields of science because it is considered a soft science, meaning that it is virtually impossible to get objective data sets to study...that said...
The first qualm with the discussion seems to be over the use of the word 'complete'. Try using 'mature' instead. Like fruit, the fruit is complete at all times, though it may be unripe, ripe, or overly ripe. These are degrees of maturity, not scales of completeness.

DAVID: We are not at the level of psychology. Note dhw's Google entry about pre-frontal functions. I know psychological study is fuzzy.

Tony’s point about completeness echoes my own objection to your contradictory statements: (DAVID: "the human adult does not have a completed pre-frontal cortex until age 25." […] "What is not complete until age 25 is the complexity of the neuron network and the ability to use that network to its full capacity."
dhw: How can the complexity be “complete” if it continues to add new connections after the age of 25?

DAVID: The prefrontal cortex develops a judgmental area about one's actions future results as part of the development from birth. Can it be altered later. Of course. But the initial development takes to an average age 25. to be complete enough to make mature decisions.

So it’s not complete, and once more according to you, despite your claim to be a dualist, it is the prefrontal cortex that makes decisions.

TONY: Secondly, human behavior is too complex to just say "It's because of their age". Normally when say that, we are tacitly acknowledging either a lack of experience, a lack of development, or a lack in judgement making capability, which ties directly back into the first two while also depending on brain development.

I couldn’t agree more. Experience (under which I'll include nurture) is a crucial factor in the development of the s/s/c. A previous article emphasized the role that it plays in the actual development of the brain (which establishes its different patterns in response to experience) – patterns which of course develop as the child gets older and widens its experiences.

As David mentioned, in my post of yesterday I listed the activities attributed to the pre-frontal cortex, including our behaviour, emotions, abstract thinking, decision-making etc. David’s latest quote highlights what I consider to be the irreconcilable contradiction in his thinking:

QUOTES: "Research in the June 8, 2016 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience describes how the ability to control emotions moves from one brain area to another as teens mature into adults, offering an opportunity to understand how disorders related to emotional control emerge.
"The results may also help us understand how emotional control can go awry during development. It's possible that the failure of the prefrontal cortex to integrate properly into the emotional control circuit could contribute to the emergence of affective disorders in adolescence."

DAVID’s comment: Hard evidence and straight forward explanation of brain development. dhw take notice.

I am not disputing brain development. I am pointing out the discrepancies in your arguments. You cannot have it both ways. For a dualist the soul is responsible for the immaterial attributes I listed. Earlier I pointed out that it is the dualist’s s/s/c that controls the brain except when the latter is affected by outside influences such as disease, drugs, accidents, alcohol. You have repeatedly agreed to this, but now you support what you call “current medical theory” which argues the exact opposite: i.e. that the brain is responsible for all the attributes. In this context, I notice you have ignored my question: What does current medical theory tell us about the soul?

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 13:58 (124 days ago) @ dhw

PART TWO

TONY: "Ability to control emotion"...sounds very much like psychology, unless you subscribe to a 100% mechanistic view of intelligence and emotion.
What they measured was brain activity. The interpretation of that activity, versus what it actually means, is actually pure speculation. We know this to be true because we have no way of definitively knowing what another person is thinking or feeling, or why.

DAVID: I think we can accept MRI studies establishing general areas of use and control not very precise meanings. I commented on this inexactitude many times . The amgdala does deal with emotional states and must have firm connections with the pre-frontal judgmental area for good emotional controls.. The psychological actions as stated are fairly straightforward. I don't trust clinical psychololgy studies. They often cannot be replicated, but I see this at a more controlled level.

Tony has hit the nail on the head. Unless you subscribe to a 100% mechanistic view, i.e. materialism, the meaning of the MRI studies is pure speculation, because in the context of dualism, the question is whether all this brain activity denotes that the brain creates the thoughts or responds to the thoughts. Once upon a time, David, you viewed the brain as only a receiver. (I always prefer “brain” to the more limited “pre-frontal cortex” as I am far from convinced that specific mental activities can be restricted to specific areas of the brain. My doubts seem to be confirmed by the article). By siding with “current medical theory”, David, you are siding with materialism.

DAVID: I used risk taking as an example. The judgment about the consequences of any new action by an individual is impaired or limited until the development of the prefrontal cortex is complete.

dhw: Most forms of human judgement are impaired or limited by a wide variety of circumstances. Only a God would be able to see the full picture of whatever we make judgements about. And if I were a dualist, I would vehemently deny that judgement depends on the pre-frontal cortex. Every statement you make about this confirms your materialism.
DAVID: And I continue to insist the s/s/c must be able to interface with fully developed functional areas of the brain to provide proper thought to the living individual.

What do you mean by “proper” thought? The living individual IS the self. Yes, the s/s/c must and does liaise with the functional area of the brain. According to you as a dualist, with your belief that not only does the s/s/c control the brain but it also survives the brain, it is the s/s/c that takes decisions (makes judgements) and not the brain. Whether a judgement is proper/mature or not is a highly subjective matter and applies to any age.

dhw: Defence attorneys use “diminished responsibility” of one sort or another in vast numbers of cases involving all ages, and ultimately it all ties up with the materialist argument that we do not have free will. I remain neutral, but you don’t. You have always argued that the soul/self has free will. Meanwhile, you have not responded to the logical extension of your argument: according to you, no one under the age of 25 is capable of reaching a rational conclusion because their pre-frontal cortex is not fully developed. A mass murderer over 25 has made a proper adult judgement because his pre-frontal cortex is fully developed. Is that what you believe?

DAVID: Current medical theory. I accept it.

Goodbye to your dualism, goodbye to your free will, and three cheers for current medical theory.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 15:35 (124 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I think we can accept MRI studies establishing general areas of use and control not very precise meanings. I commented on this inexactitude many times . The amgdala does deal with emotional states and must have firm connections with the pre-frontal judgmental area for good emotional controls.. The psychological actions as stated are fairly straightforward. I don't trust clinical psychololgy studies. They often cannot be replicated, but I see this at a more controlled level.

dhw: Tony has hit the nail on the head. Unless you subscribe to a 100% mechanistic view, i.e. materialism, the meaning of the MRI studies is pure speculation, because in the context of dualism, the question is whether all this brain activity denotes that the brain creates the thoughts or responds to the thoughts. ... By siding with “current medical theory”, David, you are siding with materialism.

Balderdash. I've clearly presented in the past my thoughts about MRI studies, but they clearly show the regions where certain activities take place. It is general information not specific as to each thought. The s/s/c an only work to the point that brain development has reached from childhood to age 25 in the prefrontal area.


DAVID: And I continue to insist the s/s/c must be able to interface with fully developed functional areas of the brain to provide proper thought to the living individual.

dhw: What do you mean by “proper” thought? The living individual IS the self. Yes, the s/s/c must and does liaise with the functional area of the brain. According to you as a dualist, with your belief that not only does the s/s/c control the brain but it also survives the brain, it is the s/s/c that takes decisions (makes judgements) and not the brain.

All I was offering was the statement you give above: must liaise with a functional area.


dhw: Defence attorneys use “diminished responsibility” of one sort or another in vast numbers of cases involving all ages, and ultimately it all ties up with the materialist argument that we do not have free will. I remain neutral, but you don’t. You have always argued that the soul/self has free will. Meanwhile, you have not responded to the logical extension of your argument: according to you, no one under the age of 25 is capable of reaching a rational conclusion because their pre-frontal cortex is not fully developed. A mass murderer over 25 has made a proper adult judgement because his pre-frontal cortex is fully developed. Is that what you believe?

DAVID: Current medical theory. I accept it.

dhw: Goodbye to your dualism, goodbye to your free will, and three cheers for current medical theory.

If the prefrontal area is not complete, the s/s/c cannot make fully adult judgments, because it must liaise with a fully functioning prefrontal cortex to do that. This supports my theory that brain complexity comes before complex thought is developed.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 17:41 (124 days ago) @ David Turell

So, we shouldn't allow people to be considered adults until 25?

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 23:16 (124 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: So, we shouldn't allow people to be considered adults until 25?

Not according to current medical thinking. We can't turn around current societal practices, so kids can go to war at 17, but note they are giving orders and guidelines. But they would be better off if alcohol and cigarettes were available after 25. It would be better if voting also started after 25.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, February 22, 2018, 06:43 (123 days ago) @ David Turell

So...able to make a very important decision, one that might get them killed, but not for anything "important" like whether to drink, smoke, or decide which idiot is going to send them off to die for whatever strikes his fancy. I'm going to have to give that two big thumbs down. Either people are mature, and thus able to be treated as adults, or they are not.

If we are not mature, medically, until 25, then every life altering decision prior to that should be invalid, because the person is not mentally capable of making it. Children should remain children until 25, living off their parents with no legal rights or responsibilities. 1/3rd of the human lifespan as a slave? I think I'll pass on that and acknowledge the following:

Mature is subjective. What are the objective qualifiers for maturity, as DHW asked? What qualifies those particular qualifiers as valid benchmarks? What objective benchmark are these fMRI readings being set against? Another subjective opinion of maturity? Emotional control? I know people of every generation that fail at that.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 22, 2018, 15:16 (123 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: So...able to make a very important decision, one that might get them killed, but not for anything "important" like whether to drink, smoke, or decide which idiot is going to send them off to die for whatever strikes his fancy. I'm going to have to give that two big thumbs down. Either people are mature, and thus able to be treated as adults, or they are not.

If we are not mature, medically, until 25, then every life altering decision prior to that should be invalid, because the person is not mentally capable of making it. Children should remain children until 25, living off their parents with no legal rights or responsibilities. 1/3rd of the human lifespan as a slave? I think I'll pass on that and acknowledge the following:

Mature is subjective. What are the objective qualifiers for maturity, as DHW asked? What qualifies those particular qualifiers as valid benchmarks? What objective benchmark are these fMRI readings being set against? Another subjective opinion of maturity? Emotional control? I know people of every generation that fail at that.

You are making everything black or white re' maturity. In general I agree with your point of view, but neuroscience tells us brain development takes up to age 25 to be initially complete. The current issue of Nature has several articles on the problem of defining adolescence and specifically the issue of risk taking. Take a look at one of the available articles or all of them:

http://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02170-3?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20180223&spMailin...

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Friday, February 23, 2018, 09:54 (122 days ago) @ David Turell

Sometimes the articles can be rather misleading. For example, teens 15-19 have a mortality rate "35%" higher that those in the 10-14 range. Still, that is only 60:100,000....It doesn't seem so dramatic when you look at it that way. Given that they actually have a fairly low death rate, are they really making poorer decisions than their "more mature" counterparts, or are they simply making different ones. How many adults do drugs, drink and drive, put on their makeup while driving etc. Etc.

I do not doubt for a second d that they view risk differently, but I chalk the majority of that up to a simple lack of experience. Growing up in an impoverished community, kids being more mature than your average middle class 25yo was not uncommon. In short, while I do not disagree that the brain changes over time, or even that Teens assess risk differently, I think that is more an issue of life experience than purely hard wire issues.

--
Without darkness there can be no light, no truth without lies.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, February 23, 2018, 21:58 (122 days ago) @ Balance_Maintained

Tony: Sometimes the articles can be rather misleading. For example, teens 15-19 have a mortality rate "35%" higher that those in the 10-14 range. Still, that is only 60:100,000....It doesn't seem so dramatic when you look at it that way. Given that they actually have a fairly low death rate, are they really making poorer decisions than their "more mature" counterparts, or are they simply making different ones. How many adults do drugs, drink and drive, put on their makeup while driving etc. Etc.

I do not doubt for a second d that they view risk differently, but I chalk the majority of that up to a simple lack of experience. Growing up in an impoverished community, kids being more mature than your average middle class 25yo was not uncommon. In short, while I do not disagree that the brain changes over time, or even that Teens assess risk differently, I think that is more an issue of life experience than purely hard wire issues.

But please recognize that brain studies have shown wiring from the amygdala (emotions) to the prefrontal cortex (judgment) as well as the prefrontal cortex itself are late developmental arrivals.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Friday, February 23, 2018, 12:06 (122 days ago) @ David Turell

TONY: Mature is subjective. What are the objective qualifiers for maturity, as DHW asked? What qualifies those particular qualifiers as valid benchmarks? What objective benchmark are these fMRI readings being set against? Another subjective opinion of maturity? Emotional control? I know people of every generation that fail at that.
DAVID: You are making everything black or white re' maturity. In general I agree with your point of view, but neuroscience tells us brain development takes up to age 25 to be initially complete. The current issue of Nature has several articles on the problem of defining adolescence and specifically the issue of risk taking. Take a look at one of the available articles or all of them:

I hope Tony himself will reply***, but meanwhile let me admire your use of language. “Initially complete” is a wonderful expression. Once more: the brain continues to develop throughout our lives, and so – just like the immaterial s/s/c – its development is never completed. You ask elsewhere when adolescence ends. In relation to all the immaterial attributes we have been discussing – judgement, decision-making, emotion, thought analysis – there is no borderline. Some teenagers are a darn sight more mature in these fields than some adults. You say you are a dualist and believe in the existence of the “soul”. So why do you continue to cling to neuroscience which is confined to what is material? The articles you quote always cover activities in the brain. They cannot tell us whether those activities CAUSE our immaterial attributes or respond to them. (See final comment on all subjects raised here.)

*** I see Tony HAS replied, and emphasises the role of experience. I agree totally with his response.


dhw: ...the brain has to have the requisite means to express and implement the thoughts/feelings/decisions etc. of the s/s/c. The plastic brain is the requisite means, and each new experience establishes the new connections.
DAVID: Yes. We see initial developmental change and then plasticity changes.

Plasticity is what enables the brain to change. The question is what CAUSES the brain to change. So let’s spell it out again: the dualistic s/s/c’s thoughts, feelings, decisions CAUSE the brain to respond, and if the experiences involved are new, they CAUSE the brain to change (as confirmed by the example of the illiterate women).

DAVID: If the prefrontal area is not complete, the s/s/c cannot make fully adult judgments, because it must liaise with a fully functioning prefrontal cortex to do that. This supports my theory that brain complexity comes before complex thought is developed.

Dhw: The prefrontal area is never “complete” so long as it is capable of new complexities! Please explain what you mean by “fully adult judgements”. You accept that the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the expressing and implementing. Once the implementation/ expression has been mastered, then of course the complexity is there for subsequent use, but cometh the next new concept, cometh the next new complexification. Thought comes before the brain change that implements/expresses it.

DAVID: Agreed that there is development and then further complexification.

But material development itself has initially come about through the need for expression/implementation. It’s an on-going process: immaterial thought/concepts etc. (whether complex or not) come before material change – the exact opposite of your theory that brain complexity comes before complex thought/concepts etc..

TONY: So, we shouldn't allow people to be considered adults until 25?
dhw: I would take that two steps further: 1) we shouldn’t allow people to be considered responsible for their actions until 25? 2) If judgement depends on the “completion” of the pre-frontal cortex but, as Tony and I have pointed out, the pre-frontal cortex continues to complexify AFTER 25, then we shouldn’t allow people to be considered responsible for their actions at any age? Exit free will, exit responsibility, and adults who commit murder, rape etc. can blame their wretched pre-frontal cortex for their mature or immature judgement (apparently depending on age). Tony’s remaining posts highlight the general chaos of David’s materialistic dualism and the inadequacy of the tests with admirable clarity. (However, I hope eventually to continue my efforts to reconcile dualism and materialism!)

DAVID: I must use materialism type science to study how the brain and the s/s/c combine. I have presented the science finding regarding age 25 and risk taking. All sorts of so-called brain impaired crimes are defended on that basis for no good reason I can see. I think at last you understand how I think the s/s/c and brain work together.

It is you who keep insisting that thought depends on a fully functioning pre-frontal cortex. If you now agree that the s/s/c does the thinking, the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thoughts of the s/s/c, the brain changes as a result of implementing the concepts, wishes, emotions, ideas etc. of the s/s/c, thought therefore comes before brain change, and consequently it is absurd for a dualist to argue that the brain has to expand before the s/s/c can THINK new thoughts, then we will have agreed on how the s/s/c and the brain work together.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, February 23, 2018, 22:12 (122 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You say you are a dualist and believe in the existence of the “soul”. So why do you continue to cling to neuroscience which is confined to what is material? The articles you quote always cover activities in the brain. They cannot tell us whether those activities CAUSE our immaterial attributes or respond to them.

The only studies available to tell us where different parts of our conscious thinking resides is from methodological materialist scientists. Your point is obvious.


DAVID: Agreed that there is development and then further complexification.

dhw: But material development itself has initially come about through the need for expression/implementation. It’s an on-going process: immaterial thought/concepts etc. (whether complex or not) come before material change – the exact opposite of your theory that brain complexity comes before complex thought/concepts etc..

I have a different view: the human brain development is part of the embryology leading to an adult form from birth. At an average 25 that development is complete. As above, of course the prefrontal area responds to thev rest of one's life and modifies.


DAVID: I must use materialism type science to study how the brain and the s/s/c combine. I have presented the science finding regarding age 25 and risk taking. All sorts of so-called brain impaired crimes are defended on that basis for no good reason I can see. I think at last you understand how I think the s/s/c and brain work together.

dhw: It is you who keep insisting that thought depends on a fully functioning pre-frontal cortex. If you now agree that the s/s/c does the thinking, the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thoughts of the s/s/c, the brain changes as a result of implementing the concepts, wishes, emotions, ideas etc. of the s/s/c, thought therefore comes before brain change, and consequently it is absurd for a dualist to argue that the brain has to expand before the s/s/c can THINK new thoughts, then we will have agreed on how the s/s/c and the brain work together.

We will never be together on this point. The brain provides the substrate or mechanics for thought. s/s/c is the immaterial software.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Saturday, February 24, 2018, 12:22 (121 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You say you are a dualist and believe in the existence of the “soul”. So why do you continue to cling to neuroscience which is confined to what is material? The articles you quote always cover activities in the brain. They cannot tell us whether those activities CAUSE our immaterial attributes or respond to them.
DAVID: The only studies available to tell us where different parts of our conscious thinking resides is from methodological materialist scientists. Your point is obvious.

“Resides” is an interesting concept. I hope it means that neuroscience shows us which parts of the brain are associated with which activities, but I thought we knew that long ago. My “obvious” point is that if, as you claim, the brain is only a RECEIVER of thought, you cannot use the findings of neurologists as evidence that the soul depends on a functioning material brain for its ability to THINK. (NDEs are used by dualists as evidence that it does not.) Once more: for a dualist the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thought. You keep agreeing and then trying to disagree.

DAVID: Agreed that there is development and then further complexification.
dhw: But material development itself has initially come about through the need for expression/implementation. It’s an on-going process: immaterial thought/concepts etc. (whether complex or not) come before material change – the exact opposite of your theory that brain complexity comes before complex thought/concepts etc.
DAVID: I have a different view: the human brain development is part of the embryology leading to an adult form from birth. At an average 25 that development is complete. As above, of course the prefrontal area responds to the rest of one's life and modifies.

I have pointed out to you that expression/implementation of immaterial thought CAUSES changes in the material brain (disregarding material changes caused by external influences such as disease, drugs etc., which are evidence for materialism) – the exact opposite of your theory that changes in the brain PRECEDE immaterial thought. You reply by telling me that the development of the brain is complete by 25, although it continues to change. This is a contradiction in terms, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the argument you say you disagree with!

dhw: …you who keep insisting that thought depends on a fully functioning pre-frontal cortex. If you now agree that the s/s/c does the thinking, the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thoughts of the s/s/c, the brain changes as a result of implementing the concepts, wishes, emotions, ideas etc. of the s/s/c, thought therefore comes before brain change, and consequently it is absurd for a dualist to argue that the brain has to expand before the s/s/c can THINK new thoughts, then we will have agreed on how the s/s/c and the brain work together.

DAVID: We will never be together on this point. The brain provides the substrate or mechanics for thought. s/s/c is the immaterial software.

More obfuscation. The “mechanics for thought” could mean that the brain is the mechanism enabling thought or the mechanism used by thought to implement itself. Why do you keep changing the terms, when you have already agreed so many times that the s/s/c is the source of thought, and the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thoughts of the s/s/c. The latter is the software (thought) and the brain is the hardware (implementation). The rest follows as I have explained above, which I would ask you to reread. We will never be together on this point so long as you keep trying to avoid the implications of your own beliefs.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 24, 2018, 14:49 (121 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The only studies available to tell us where different parts of our conscious thinking resides is from methodological materialist scientists. Your point is obvious.

dhw: “Resides” is an interesting concept. I hope it means that neuroscience shows us which parts of the brain are associated with which activities, but I thought we knew that long ago. My “obvious” point is that if, as you claim, the brain is only a RECEIVER of thought, you cannot use the findings of neurologists as evidence that the soul depends on a functioning material brain for its ability to THINK. (NDEs are used by dualists as evidence that it does not.) Once more: for a dualist the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thought. You keep agreeing and then trying to disagree.

My use of the word receives is that we receive the software of s/s/c. In the other sense, the functioning human brain receives thought specific areas of the brain.

DAVID: I have a different view: the human brain development is part of the embryology leading to an adult form from birth. At an average 25 that development is complete. As above, of course the prefrontal area responds to the rest of one's life and modifies.

dhw: I have pointed out to you that expression/implementation of immaterial thought CAUSES changes in the material brain (disregarding material changes caused by external influences such as disease, drugs etc., which are evidence for materialism) – the exact opposite of your theory that changes in the brain PRECEDE immaterial thought. You reply by telling me that the development of the brain is complete by 25, although it continues to change. This is a contradiction in terms, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the argument you say you disagree with!

Developmental completion is a simple concept: your Volkswagen came from the factory completely constructed (developed). You the added a few aftermarket refinements. Same car with some adaptations. I view the prefrontal cortex the same way. And from the standpoint of immaterial thought, way do adolescents have judgmental problems until that development is complete?


dhw: …you who keep insisting that thought depends on a fully functioning pre-frontal cortex. If you now agree that the s/s/c does the thinking, the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thoughts of the s/s/c, the brain changes as a result of implementing the concepts, wishes, emotions, ideas etc. of the s/s/c, thought therefore comes before brain change, and consequently it is absurd for a dualist to argue that the brain has to expand before the s/s/c can THINK new thoughts, then we will have agreed on how the s/s/c and the brain work together.

DAVID: We will never be together on this point. The brain provides the substrate or mechanics for thought. s/s/c is the immaterial software.

dhw: More obfuscation. The “mechanics for thought” could mean that the brain is the mechanism enabling thought or the mechanism used by thought to implement itself. Why do you keep changing the terms, when you have already agreed so many times that the s/s/c is the source of thought, and the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thoughts of the s/s/c. The latter is the software (thought) and the brain is the hardware (implementation). The rest follows as I have explained above, which I would ask you to reread. We will never be together on this point so long as you keep trying to avoid the implications of your own beliefs.

I don't know why you are so confused. The brain is a computer and the s/s/c is its software. That is what I said in the comment before your long paragraph.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Sunday, February 25, 2018, 12:02 (120 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The only studies available to tell us where different parts of our conscious thinking resides is from methodological materialist scientists. Your point is obvious.
dhw: “Resides” is an interesting concept. I hope it means that neuroscience shows us which parts of the brain are associated with which activities, but I thought we knew that long ago. My “obvious” point is that if, as you claim, the brain is only a RECEIVER of thought, you cannot use the findings of neurologists as evidence that the soul depends on a functioning material brain for its ability to THINK.
DAVID: My use of the word receives is that we receive the software of s/s/c. In the other sense, the functioning human brain receives thought specific areas of the brain.

Round we go. “We” ARE the software of the s/s/c. How does the self/soul receive the self/soul? I’m not sure what you mean by the brain receiving thought specific areas of the brain, but if the brain provides the brain with thought, what does the s/s/c do?
l’d like to go back to your use of “resides”, simply to illustrate once more the dichotomy you refuse to acknowledge. If the thinking self (software) resides in the implementing brain (hardware), and if when the brain dies the s/s/c goes its merry way but continues to be its thinking self (as apparently evidenced by NDEs), how can you possibly argue that thought depends on the functioning brain?

DAVID: Developmental completion is a simple concept: your Volkswagen came from the factory completely constructed (developed). You the added a few aftermarket refinements. Same car with some adaptations. I view the prefrontal cortex the same way. And from the standpoint of immaterial thought, why do adolescents have judgmental problems until that development is complete?

Again you are trying to divert attention away from the fact that expression/ implementation of immaterial thought CAUSES changes in the material brain – the exact opposite of your hypothesis that changes in the brain PRECEDE immaterial thought. Why are you so afraid to tackle this issue? I don’t have a problem with the claim that the brain takes about 25 years to become “adult”. (It becomes “adult” as it learns to implement the tasks imposed on it by the s/s/c – tasks which arise as the s/s/c is exposed to a multitude of new experiences, ranging from using a spoon to using a pen to driving a VW. Concept/task first, brain change second – the opposite of your hypothesis.) But I do have enormous problems when a dualist claims that the s/s/c depends on the brain to make its judgements, and therefore its judgements are problematic until the age of 25, after which its judgements are mature/adult/proper. Tell that to the victims of criminals over the age of 25. My 9.5-year-old grandson thinks helping other people is one of the most important things in life – and his school reports show he puts this into practice. Ts, ts, how immature. Let’s hope that by 25 his pre-frontal cortex will have given him a more complete judgement. You have no criteria for any of your statements. Judgements, just like the rest of our immaterial attributes, will depend on a wide range of factors, including experience, and experience continues to “develop” each individual’s s/s/c from birth to death, for better or for worse, regardless of when the brain becomes “adult”.

dhw: … consequently it is absurd for a dualist to argue that the brain has to expand before the s/s/c can THINK new thoughts…
DAVID: We will never be together on this point. The brain provides the substrate or mechanics for thought. s/s/c is the immaterial software.
dhw: More obfuscation. The “mechanics for thought” could mean that the brain is the mechanism enabling thought or the mechanism used by thought to implement itself. Why do you keep changing the terms, when you have already agreed so many times that the s/s/c is the source of thought, and the brain provides information and expresses/implements the thoughts of the s/s/c. […] We will never be together on this point so long as you keep trying to avoid the implications of your own beliefs.
DAVID: I don't know why you are so confused. The brain is a computer and the s/s/c is its software. […]

“Mechanics for thought” is ambiguous. The confusion lies in your agreement that the s/s/c does the thinking (software), but you say it cannot think without a functioning brain (hardware) – as explained in my first response above. Dualism separates thinking (soul) from implementation of thought (brain).

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 25, 2018, 15:38 (120 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My use of the word receives is that we receive the software of s/s/c. In the other sense, the functioning human brain receives thought specific areas of the brain.

dhw: If the thinking self (software) resides in the implementing brain (hardware), and if when the brain dies the s/s/c goes its merry way but continues to be its thinking self (as apparently evidenced by NDEs), how can you possibly argue that thought depends on the functioning brain?

You are not looking at the two different stages. Receiving "Living thought" requires a functional brain. The s/s/c as I conceive it has two quantum stages/forms, interfaced with the material brain and after death interfaced with the afterlife.


DAVID: Developmental completion is a simple concept: your Volkswagen came from the factory completely constructed (developed). You the added a few aftermarket refinements. Same car with some adaptations. I view the prefrontal cortex the same way. And from the standpoint of immaterial thought, why do adolescents have judgmental problems until that development is complete?

dhw: Again you are trying to divert attention away from the fact that expression/ implementation of immaterial thought CAUSES changes in the material brain – the exact opposite of your hypothesis that changes in the brain PRECEDE immaterial thought. Why are you so afraid to tackle this issue?

I've tackled it over and over. Only advanced brains can produce advanced artifacts/civilizations. Implementation causes more complexity and shrinks the brain.


DAVID: I don't know why you are so confused. The brain is a computer and the s/s/c is its software. […]

dhw: “Mechanics for thought” is ambiguous. The confusion lies in your agreement that the s/s/c does the thinking (software), but you say it cannot think without a functioning brain (hardware) – as explained in my first response above. Dualism separates thinking (soul) from implementation of thought (brain).

We may be using different concepts of dualism, which is why we are constantly cross talking. I cannot think without using a living brain. I am the s/s/c. My brain allows me to think (immaterial) but my brain is obviously material. Obvious dualism. You seem to add something that is a different concept.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Monday, February 26, 2018, 12:08 (119 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My use of the word receives is that we receive the software of s/s/c. In the other sense, the functioning human brain receives thought specific areas of the brain.

dhw: If the thinking self (software) resides in the implementing brain (hardware), and if when the brain dies the s/s/c goes its merry way but continues to be its thinking self (as apparently evidenced by NDEs), how can you possibly argue that thought depends on the functioning brain?

DAVID: You are not looking at the two different stages. Receiving "Living thought" requires a functional brain. The s/s/c as I conceive it has two quantum stages/forms, interfaced with the material brain and after death interfaced with the afterlife.

There are two different stages and what you call “interfaces” but only one s/s/c! In life the s/s/c requires a functional brain so that it can acquire information, implement its thoughts, and “interface” with the material world. In death (according to NDEs) it acquires information (presumably by psychic means) and “interfaces” with whatever world the afterlife consists of. In both cases the s/s/c is you and it does the thinking. That is why in dualism the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing.

dhw: Again you are trying to divert attention away from the fact that expression/ implementation of immaterial thought CAUSES changes in the material brain – the exact opposite of your hypothesis that changes in the brain PRECEDE immaterial thought. Why are you so afraid to tackle this issue?

DAVID: I've tackled it over and over. Only advanced brains can produce advanced artifacts/civilizations. Implementation causes more complexity and shrinks the brain.

Agreed. The brain and body produce the artefacts, and the s/s/c produces the concepts of the artefacts. In implementing concepts, we know for a fact that the brain modifies itself (and in Homo sapiens, complexification is so efficient that it also shrinks the brain.) Nobody knows what caused enlargement, but there is no reason to suppose that the process of brain modification would have been the absolute reverse in pre-sapiens – i.e. that the brain was modified BEFORE new concepts were conceived and implemented.

DAVID: I don't know why you are so confused. The brain is a computer and the s/s/c is its software. […]

dhw: “Mechanics for thought” is ambiguous. The confusion lies in your agreement that the s/s/c does the thinking (software), but you say it cannot think without a functioning brain (hardware) – as explained in my first response above. Dualism separates thinking (soul) from implementation of thought (brain).

DAVID: We may be using different concepts of dualism, which is why we are constantly cross talking. I cannot think without using a living brain. I am the s/s/c. My brain allows me to think (immaterial) but my brain is obviously material. Obvious dualism. You seem to add something that is a different concept.

You believe that you, the s/s/c, CAN think without a living brain, as explained above (NDEs). Your material brain does not “allow” you to think: it provides information for you the s/s/c to think about, and it “allows” you the s/s/c to express/implement these thoughts materially, which is the essence of dualism (= mind and body are separate, though they work together), as you have agreed a thousand times.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Monday, February 26, 2018, 14:33 (119 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You are not looking at the two different stages. Receiving "Living thought" requires a functional brain. The s/s/c as I conceive it has two quantum stages/forms, interfaced with the material brain and after death interfaced with the afterlife.

dhw: There are two different stages and what you call “interfaces” but only one s/s/c! In life the s/s/c requires a functional brain so that it can acquire information, implement its thoughts, and “interface” with the material world. In death (according to NDEs) it acquires information (presumably by psychic means) and “interfaces” with whatever world the afterlife consists of. In both cases the s/s/c is you and it does the thinking. That is why in dualism the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing.

Agreed. However, I conceive of an s/s/c which has two constructions or forms, one interfaced with the brain and the other separated in NDE's or death.


dhw: Again you are trying to divert attention away from the fact that expression/ implementation of immaterial thought CAUSES changes in the material brain – the exact opposite of your hypothesis that changes in the brain PRECEDE immaterial thought. Why are you so afraid to tackle this issue?

DAVID: I've tackled it over and over. Only advanced brains can produce advanced artifacts/civilizations. Implementation causes more complexity and shrinks the brain.

dhw: Agreed. The brain and body produce the artefacts, and the s/s/c produces the concepts of the artifacts. In implementing concepts, we know for a fact that the brain modifies itself (and in Homo sapiens, complexification is so efficient that it also shrinks the brain.) Nobody knows what caused enlargement, but there is no reason to suppose that the process of brain modification would have been the absolute reverse in pre-sapiens – i.e. that the brain was modified BEFORE new concepts were conceived and implemented.

You have no reason. I say God did it.


DAVID: We may be using different concepts of dualism, which is why we are constantly cross talking. I cannot think without using a living brain. I am the s/s/c. My brain allows me to think (immaterial) but my brain is obviously material. Obvious dualism. You seem to add something that is a different concept.

dhw: You believe that you, the s/s/c, CAN think without a living brain, as explained above (NDE's). Your material brain does not “allow” you to think: it provides information for you the s/s/c to think about, and it “allows” you the s/s/c to express/implement these thoughts materially, which is the essence of dualism (= mind and body are separate, though they work together), as you have agreed a thousand times.

I see it differently and experience it differently than your statement. My brain does 'allow' me to think. Unless I am attached to my brain I will have no thoughts I am aware of, which is why I think the s/s/c has two forms as discussed above.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 10:41 (118 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There are two different stages and what you call “interfaces” but only one s/s/c! In life the s/s/c requires a functional brain so that it can acquire information, implement its thoughts, and “interface” with the material world. In death (according to NDEs) it acquires information (presumably by psychic means) and “interfaces” with whatever world the afterlife consists of. In both cases the s/s/c is you and it does the thinking. That is why in dualism the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing.

DAVID: Agreed. However, I conceive of an s/s/c which has two constructions or forms, one interfaced with the brain and the other separated in NDE's or death.

There is no “however”. You keep agreeing that the self/soul is the immaterial thinking/conscious YOU. The immaterial thinking/conscious YOU interfaces with the material brain and the rest of the material world in life, and in death the immaterial thinking/conscious you interfaces with whatever world the afterlife consists of. I can’t see much point in your having an afterlife if you are no longer the thinking/conscious you. Can you?


dhw: The brain and body produce the artefacts, and the s/s/c produces the concepts of the artifacts. In implementing concepts, we know for a fact that the brain modifies itself (and in Homo sapiens, complexification is so efficient that it also shrinks the brain.) Nobody knows what caused enlargement, but there is no reason to suppose that the process of brain modification would have been the absolute reverse in pre-sapiens – i.e. that the brain was modified BEFORE new concepts were conceived and implemented.

DAVID: You have no reason. I say God did it.

“God did it” is not a reason! I offer the drive for survival and/or improvement as the reason for evolutionary innovation, and I acknowledge that your God may have invented the mechanisms that enable evolution to take place. We know for a fact that the brain is modified (complexifies with a degree of resultant shrinkage) by implementing new concepts. Yes or no? You say your God reversed the known process of brain modification by modifying (in this case enlarging) the pre-sapiens brain BEFORE there was a reason to do so. Why would he do that if he has already designed a mechanism whereby the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain modifies itself by implementing the thoughts of the s/s/c?

dhw: You believe that you, the s/s/c, CAN think without a living brain, as explained above (NDE's). Your material brain does not “allow” you to think: it provides information for you the s/s/c to think about, and it “allows” you the s/s/c to express/implement these thoughts materially, which is the essence of dualism (= mind and body are separate, though they work together), as you have agreed a thousand times.

DAVID: I see it differently and experience it differently than your statement. My brain does 'allow' me to think. Unless I am attached to my brain I will have no thoughts I am aware of, which is why I think the s/s/c has two forms as discussed above.

Your dualist’s s/s/c has one form but is capable of thinking in two different worlds (as discussed above). If you are not yourself and do not have thoughts you are aware of in the afterlife, you might as well be dead.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 18:03 (118 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Agreed. However, I conceive of an s/s/c which has two constructions or forms, one interfaced with the brain and the other separated in NDE's or death.

dhw: There is no “however”. You keep agreeing that the self/soul is the immaterial thinking/conscious YOU. The immaterial thinking/conscious YOU interfaces with the material brain and the rest of the material world in life, and in death the immaterial thinking/conscious you interfaces with whatever world the afterlife consists of. I can’t see much point in your having an afterlife if you are no longer the thinking/conscious you. Can you?

I don't know where the confusion in your answer comes from. As above: In life I reach my immaterial s/s/c by working within my brain, which is a soft wet material, and it which I am materially connected. In death or NDE my physical self is disconnected and my s/s/c operates independently of anything material. I therefore conceive of the s/s/c as having two separate quantum forms, one as a software interface with the brain and the other as an interface with the afterlife.


DAVID: You have no reason. I say God did it.

dhw: “God did it” is not a reason! I offer the drive for survival and/or improvement as the reason for evolutionary innovation, and I acknowledge that your God may have invented the mechanisms that enable evolution to take place. We know for a fact that the brain is modified (complexifies with a degree of resultant shrinkage) by implementing new concepts. Yes or no? You say your God reversed the known process of brain modification by modifying (in this case enlarging) the pre-sapiens brain BEFORE there was a reason to do so. Why would he do that if he has already designed a mechanism whereby the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain modifies itself by implementing the thoughts of the s/s/c?

The brain has no built-in mechanism for enlargement that has been demonstrated. Only complexification with accompanying shrinkage has been shown. In my analogy about the brain and s/s/c as computer and software, it is reasonable to compare what we observe to that approach. Only larger more complex computers can receive and handle more complex software. The appearance of the large more complex brain allows the development of more complex thought and concept.


dhw: You believe that you, the s/s/c, CAN think without a living brain, as explained above (NDE's). Your material brain does not “allow” you to think: it provides information for you the s/s/c to think about, and it “allows” you the s/s/c to express/implement these thoughts materially, which is the essence of dualism (= mind and body are separate, though they work together), as you have agreed a thousand times.

DAVID: I see it differently and experience it differently than your statement. My brain does 'allow' me to think. Unless I am attached to my brain I will have no thoughts I am aware of, which is why I think the s/s/c has two forms as discussed above.

dhw: Your dualist’s s/s/c has one form but is capable of thinking in two different worlds (as discussed above). If you are not yourself and do not have thoughts you are aware of in the afterlife, you might as well be dead.

I am dead and my s/s/c is active, and I theorize it has two forms, one in life and one in afterlife. Same s/s/c but slightly different in how it interfaces with where it is.

Big brain evolution: mental illness perspective

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 27, 2018, 20:07 (118 days ago) @ David Turell

Persons who are mentally ill are an example of an improper brain-s/s/c interface:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/getting-to-the-root-of-the-problem-stem-cell...

"last year San Diego–based researchers uncovered new details about how lithium may alter moods, thanks to an approach recently championed by a small number of scientists studying mental illness: The San Diego team used established lab techniques to reprogram patients’ skin cells into stem cells capable of becoming any other kind—and then chemically coaxed them into becoming brain cells.

"This process is now providing the first real stand-ins for brain cells from mentally ill humans, allowing for unprecedented direct experiments. Proponents hope studying these lab-grown neurons and related cells will eventually lead to more precise and effective treatment options for a variety of conditions. The San Diego team has already used this technique to show some bipolar cases may have more to do with protein regulation than genetic errors. And another lab discovered the activity of glial cells (a type of brain cell that supports neuron function) likely helps fuel schizophrenia—upending the theory that the disorder results mainly from faulty neurons.

***

"Work with induced pluripotent stem cells has helped change how clinicians think about schizophrenia. Goldman and some colleagues reported in August glial cells play a central role in the disorder. The researchers took iPSCs from schizophrenic and healthy subjects, turned them into glial progenitor cells and showed that only the ones from the mentally ill patients would alter the behavior of mice implanted with them. These mice developed symptoms similar to those of some humans with schizophrenia, including reduced inhibition, social isolation and excessive anxiety."

Comment: this research demonstrates the obvious, how the s/s/c must depend on a properly functioning brain. An improperly functioning brain results in a skewed s/s/c. Just as a normal s/s/c must depend on a normal brain, advanced conceptualization must have an advanced complex brain with which to work.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Wednesday, February 28, 2018, 14:10 (117 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I conceive of an s/s/c which has two constructions or forms, one interfaced with the brain and the other separated in NDE's or death.

dhw: You keep agreeing that the self/soul is the immaterial thinking/conscious YOU. The immaterial thinking/conscious YOU interfaces with the material brain and the rest of the material world in life, and in death the immaterial thinking/conscious you interfaces with whatever world the afterlife consists of. I can’t see much point in your having an afterlife if you are no longer the thinking/conscious you. Can you?

DAVID: I don't know where the confusion in your answer comes from. As above: In life I reach my immaterial s/s/c by working within my brain, which is a soft wet material, and it which I am materially connected. In death or NDE my physical self is disconnected and my s/s/c operates independently of anything material. I therefore conceive of the s/s/c as having two separate quantum forms, one as a software interface with the brain and the other as an interface with the afterlife.

Once again, you ARE your self/soul, you don’t “reach” your self/soul! And your thinking “self” is the same in life as in NDEs, as you are about to acknowledge:

dhw: Your dualist’s s/s/c has one form but is capable of thinking in two different worlds (as discussed above). If you are not yourself and do not have thoughts you are aware of in the afterlife, you might as well be dead.

DAVID: I am dead and my s/s/c is active, and I theorize it has two forms, one in life and one in afterlife. Same s/s/c but slightly different in how it interfaces with where it is.

Yes, the SAME s/s/c. Of course the manner in which it interfaces with the afterworld is different. It no longer has a material body with which to speak, observe, make material movements, objects, implementations. SAME s/s/c, different circumstances. You’ve got it! And so we return to the obvious fact that if it’s the SAME s/s/c which thinks independently of the material brain, it makes no sense to argue that the s/s/c depends on the material brain to come up with its THOUGHTS. In life the s/s/c USES the material brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, though saying the same thing in different words!

DAVID: The brain has no built-in mechanism for enlargement that has been demonstrated. Only complexification with accompanying shrinkage has been shown.

Agreed. But since the only process of brain modification that we know of is concept first, implementation/modification second, why assume that in the old days modification preceded conceptualization? Your subsequent computer analogy does not answer the question. Software does not change the computer, whereas we know for a fact that thought changes the brain. The computer analogy is inappropriate and an unnecessary distraction.

David’s comment (under “mental illness perspective”): this research demonstrates the obvious, how the s/s/c must depend on a properly functioning brain. An improperly functioning brain results in a skewed s/s/c. Just as a normal s/s/c must depend on a normal brain, advanced conceptualization must have an advanced complex brain with which to work.

I have already drawn attention to the fact that disease, accident, drugs, alcohol etc. can change a person’s s/s/c, which is prime evidence for MATERIALISM. It contradicts the dualistic theory that the s/s/c controls the brain. (I remain neutral in the debate between dualism and materialism, though I have tried once and will eventually try again to find a reconciliation between them.) This does not in any way alter the fact that we KNOW modern thoughts/ideas/concepts RESULT in modifications to modern brains. The modifications do not precede the concepts. You therefore have no reason to assume that this process was reversed in pre-sapiens times. But yes, conceptualization (it doesn’t have to be “advanced”) does depend on a material brain for its material implementation. And the only evidence we have is that it is the implementation that CAUSES complexification and resultant shrinkage, which suggests that implementation would also have CAUSED earlier modifications, such as enlargement.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 01, 2018, 01:17 (117 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Once again, you ARE your self/soul, you don’t “reach” your self/soul! And your thinking “self” is the same in life as in NDEs, as you are about to acknowledge:

I ( the physical me) can't be in contact with reach) my s/s/c if I am in coma like Alexander.


dhw: Your dualist’s s/s/c has one form but is capable of thinking in two different worlds (as discussed above). If you are not yourself and do not have thoughts you are aware of in the afterlife, you might as well be dead.

DAVID: I am dead and my s/s/c is active, and I theorize it has two forms, one in life and one in afterlife. Same s/s/c but slightly different in how it interfaces with where it is.

dhw: Yes, the SAME s/s/c. Of course the manner in which it interfaces with the afterworld is different. It no longer has a material body with which to speak, observe, make material movements, objects, implementations. SAME s/s/c, different circumstances. You’ve got it! And so we return to the obvious fact that if it’s the SAME s/s/c which thinks independently of the material brain, it makes no sense to argue that the s/s/c depends on the material brain to come up with its THOUGHTS. In life the s/s/c USES the material brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, though saying the same thing in different words!

We are back to the same takeoff point. The baby stars as a blank slate at birth. Yes, there is a genetic input to come, but as the brain develops the child develops its own particular construction of a s/s/c. The two must work together and advances in the s/s/c must wait until brain development is ready for each step.


DAVID: The brain has no built-in mechanism for enlargement that has been demonstrated. Only complexification with accompanying shrinkage has been shown.

dhw: Agreed. But since the only process of brain modification that we know of is concept first, implementation/modification second, why assume that in the old days modification preceded conceptualization?

Why not? Our current iteration of Homo is built on past advances and processes. You are imagining something for which there is no evidence. As with newborns concepts wait for brain development first.


David’s comment (under “mental illness perspective”): this research demonstrates the obvious, how the s/s/c must depend on a properly functioning brain. An improperly functioning brain results in a skewed s/s/c. Just as a normal s/s/c must depend on a normal brain, advanced conceptualization must have an advanced complex brain with which to work.

dhw: I have already drawn attention to the fact that disease, accident, drugs, alcohol etc. can change a person’s s/s/c, which is prime evidence for MATERIALISM.

No it isn't. It changes the brain's ability to receive and express the s/s/c properly. The interface is damaged.

dhw: It contradicts the dualistic theory that the s/s/c controls the brain.

IT doesn't control the brain. The s/s/c is a software program that uses the brain to express itself.

dhw: This does not in any way alter the fact that we KNOW modern thoughts/ideas/concepts RESULT in modifications to modern brains. The modifications do not precede the concepts.

Remember you are discussing a sapiens brain which suddenly appeared quite enlarged, and then did nothing for 250,000 years. Concepts could only arrive as we learned to use the newly complexified prefrontal cortex.

dhw: You therefore have no reason to assume that this process was reversed in pre-sapiens times. But yes, conceptualization (it doesn’t have to be “advanced”) does depend on a material brain for its material implementation. And the only evidence we have is that it is the implementation that CAUSES complexification and resultant shrinkage, which suggests that implementation would also have CAUSED earlier modifications, such as enlargement.

Again twisting the only evidence we have which is shrinkage, which could more likely have occurred in Erectus. Evolution builds on processes from its past.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Thursday, March 01, 2018, 13:09 (116 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Once again, you ARE your self/soul, you don’t “reach” your self/soul! And your thinking “self” is the same in life as in NDEs, as you are about to acknowledge:
DAVID: I ( the physical me) can't be in contact with reach) my s/s/c if I am in coma like Alexander.

Of course there is no contact between the brain and the s/s/c if the brain is dead! That is why NDEs are used as evidence that the s/s/c exists and thinks separately from the brain, whether this is functioning or not, and that is the meaning of dualism.

DAVID: I am dead and my s/s/c is active, and I theorize it has two forms, one in life and one in afterlife. Same s/s/c but slightly different in how it interfaces with where it is.
dhw: Yes, the SAME s/s/c. […] And so we return to the obvious fact that if it’s the SAME s/s/c which thinks independently of the material brain, it makes no sense to argue that the s/s/c depends on the material brain to come up with its THOUGHTS. […]
DAVID: We are back to the same takeoff point.

And off you go at a tangent, talking about babies. I am putting that discussion back on the baby brain thread where it belongs. Please stick to the point. The SAME s/s/c does its thinking in different circumstances, which means that the s/s/c does not depend on the functioning brain to come up with its THOUGHTS. Yes or no?

David’s comment (under “mental illness perspective”): this research demonstrates the obvious, how the s/s/c must depend on a properly functioning brain. An improperly functioning brain results in a skewed s/s/c.
dhw: I have already drawn attention to the fact that disease, accident, drugs, alcohol etc. can change a person’s s/s/c, which is prime evidence for MATERIALISM.
DAVID: No it isn't. It changes the brain's ability to receive and express the s/s/c properly. The interface is damaged.

What are you saying? That the s/s/c is telling the drunkard's brain not to rape the woman but the message has got garbled? (“Sorry, m’lud, but my self kept telling my brain not to do it and it misunderstood.”) Does the s/s/c of a dementia victim actually know perfectly well what is going on, but the brain doesn’t get the message? Changes to the brain, whether temporary or permanent, are known to change the thoughts and behaviour of the s/s/c, and that is evidence for materialism.

dhw: It contradicts the dualistic theory that the s/s/c controls the brain.
DAVID: IT doesn't control the brain. The s/s/c is a software program that uses the brain to express itself.

And part of what is expressed is the will. The s/s/c wishes to perform an action, and the brain implements the will of the s/s/c. What we call “normal” is the situation in which the mind tells the body what to do, i.e. the mind CONTROLS the brain. What we call “abnormal” is when that situation is reversed, as in cases of illness, addiction etc.

dhw: This does not in any way alter the fact that we KNOW modern thoughts/ideas/concepts RESULT in modifications to modern brains. The modifications do not precede the concepts.
DAVID: Remember you are discussing a sapiens brain which suddenly appeared quite enlarged, and then did nothing for 250,000 years. Concepts could only arrive as we learned to use the newly complexified prefrontal cortex.

I don’t know how often we have to go over this. Each pre-sapiens enlargement was also followed by a long period of comparative stasis. It needs individuals to come up with major new concepts, and these require brain change to be implemented. The cortex does not complexify in advance of new concepts – it complexifies when concepts demand new connections. Yes, it took a long time for sapiens to use his newly enlarged brain, and when he did, instead of expanding still further (probably because further expansion would have caused anatomical problems), it became increasingly complexified as more and more concepts required implementation.

dhw: […] […] it is the implementation that CAUSES complexification and resultant shrinkage, which suggests that implementation would also have CAUSED earlier modifications, such as enlargement.
DAVID: Again twisting the only evidence we have which is shrinkage, which could more likely have occurred in Erectus. Evolution builds on processes from its past.

If evolution builds on processes from the past, then clearly present processes are highly likely to be the continuation of past processes, and so past brains would have been modified by implementation of concepts, just as they are today. I suggest shrinkage has come about because of the efficiency of complexification (some cells and connections are no longer required). There is no reason to suppose that pre-sapiens brains shrank, but even if their brains did complexify and shrink, that is not the point! We know they expanded. And expansion is also a modification of the brain, which suggests that the same process – implementation causes brain changes – caused expansion when the capacity was not great enough. Perhaps your dualist’s mind will now be kind enough to think why you regard this hypothesis as unreasonable, and then to use your materialist brain to give your immaterial thoughts their material expression.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, March 02, 2018, 00:53 (116 days ago) @ dhw

dhw:And off you go at a tangent, talking about babies. I am putting that discussion back on the baby brain thread where it belongs. Please stick to the point. The SAME s/s/c does its thinking in different circumstances, which means that the s/s/c does not depend on the functioning brain to come up with its THOUGHTS. Yes or no?

It is not one circumstance or issue for the s/s/c. It plays two roles, one in life interfaced with the brain and one in the afterlife. The s/s/c MUST work with the brain during life and an injured brain can create a skewed appearance to the s/s/c. In the afterlife the s/s/c will be whatever it will be, not skewed.

DAVID: No it isn't. It changes the brain's ability to receive and express the s/s/c properly. The interface is damaged.

dhw: What are you saying? That the s/s/c is telling the drunkard's brain not to rape the woman but the message has got garbled? (“Sorry, m’lud, but my self kept telling my brain not to do it and it misunderstood.”) Does the s/s/c of a dementia victim actually know perfectly well what is going on, but the brain doesn’t get the message? Changes to the brain, whether temporary or permanent, are known to change the thoughts and behaviour of the s/s/c, and that is evidence for materialism. /

See above for my approach. The brain is material, the s/s/c is not. A sick brain stands in the way of the s/s/c expressing itself properly. Interfaced!


dhw: […] […] it is the implementation that CAUSES complexification and resultant shrinkage, which suggests that implementation would also have CAUSED earlier modifications, such as enlargement.

DAVID: Again twisting the only evidence we have which is shrinkage, which could more likely have occurred in Erectus. Evolution builds on processes from its past.

dhw: If evolution builds on processes from the past, then clearly present processes are highly likely to be the continuation of past processes, and so past brains would have been modified by implementation of concepts, just as they are today. I suggest shrinkage has come about because of the efficiency of complexification (some cells and connections are no longer required). There is no reason to suppose that pre-sapiens brains shrank, but even if their brains did complexify and shrink, that is not the point! We know they expanded. And expansion is also a modification of the brain, which suggests that the same process – implementation causes brain changes – caused expansion when the capacity was not great enough. Perhaps your dualist’s mind will now be kind enough to think why you regard this hypothesis as unreasonable, and then to use your materialist brain to give your immaterial thoughts their material expression.

You and I come from very different viewpoints about the interaction of the brain and the s/s/c. They are not resolved, but as I see it, remain very far apart. As a result I cannot accept your theory that the need to implement concepts forces the brain to enlarge. God makes major speciation changes. We have no materialistic explanation for speciation. I see a designer must be present.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Friday, March 02, 2018, 12:38 (115 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: The SAME s/s/c does its thinking in different circumstances, which means that the s/s/c does not depend on the functioning brain to come up with its THOUGHTS. Yes or no?
DAVID: It is not one circumstance or issue for the s/s/c. It plays two roles, one in life interfaced with the brain and one in the afterlife. The s/s/c MUST work with the brain during life and an injured brain can create a skewed appearance to the s/s/c. In the afterlife the s/s/c will be whatever it will be, not skewed.

Of course in life it must work with the brain, using the information the brain provides and using the material brain to give material expression/implementation to its immaterial thoughts. But if NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?

dhw: Changes to the brain, whether temporary or permanent, are known to change the thoughts and behaviour of the s/s/c, and that is evidence for materialism.
DAVID: The brain is material, the s/s/c is not.

That is indeed the essence of dualism. Two separate things that work together.

DAVID: A sick brain stands in the way of the s/s/c expressing itself properly. Interfaced!

A materialist will argue that if a change to the brain entails a change to the personality, that is clear evidence that the basis of the personality is material. If a dementia victim - i'm thinking of an extreme case here - could be cured (if only…), then their former self would be restored, but this suggests that the brain makes the self – not that the self is actually present trying in vain to get the brain to say/do what he/she wants it to say/do! (But I’m not taking sides here. I’m pointing out the dichotomy that makes it so difficult to take sides, though eventually I will try to formulate a way of reconciling the two approaches.)

DAVID: You and I come from very different viewpoints about the interaction of the brain and the s/s/c. They are not resolved, but as I see it, remain very far apart. As a result I cannot accept your theory that the need to implement concepts forces the brain to enlarge. God makes major speciation changes. We have no materialistic explanation for speciation. I see a designer must be present.

Fact 1): pre-sapiens brains underwent enlargement. Fact 2): nobody knows the cause. Fact 3): implementation of concepts is known to modify the brain.
Hypothesis 1): the thinking, conceptualizing s/s/c is a separate entity from the information-providing, concept-implementing brain, but they work together. Hypothesis 2): if implementation of s/s/c-generated concepts is known to modify the brain, maybe pre-sapiens brains needed greater capacity to implement new concepts, and so implementation caused modification in the form of expansion. Hypothesis 3): although concepts are generated by the s/s/c and not the brain, the s/s/c could not generate new concepts until God had enlarged the brain.

I suggest that Hypothesis 2) is logical. I suggest that Hypothesis 3) is illogical. A designer can be present in both hypotheses.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, March 02, 2018, 15:25 (115 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Friday, March 02, 2018, 15:54

DAVID: It is not one circumstance or issue for the s/s/c. It plays two roles, one in life interfaced with the brain and one in the afterlife. The s/s/c MUST work with the brain during life and an injured brain can create a skewed appearance to the s/s/c. In the afterlife the s/s/c will be whatever it will be, not skewed.

dhw: Of course in life it must work with the brain, using the information the brain provides and using the material brain to give material expression/implementation to its immaterial thoughts. But if NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?

Yes.


dhw: Changes to the brain, whether temporary or permanent, are known to change the thoughts and behaviour of the s/s/c, and that is evidence for materialism.
DAVID: The brain is material, the s/s/c is not.

dhw: That is indeed the essence of dualism. Two separate things that work together.

DAVID: A sick brain stands in the way of the s/s/c expressing itself properly. Interfaced!

dhw: A materialist will argue that if a change to the brain entails a change to the personality, that is clear evidence that the basis of the personality is material. If a dementia victim - i'm thinking of an extreme case here - could be cured (if only…), then their former self would be restored, but this suggests that the brain makes the self – not that the self is actually present trying in vain to get the brain to say/do what he/she wants it to say/do!

I see no problem. The material brain only allows expression to an immaterial s/s/c. A sick brain gives a sick improper expression. I use the idea of the brain receiving the s/s/c as an explanation, just as a damaged radio gives a garbled output. The underlying s/s/c is really the same and normal.

DAVID: You and I come from very different viewpoints about the interaction of the brain and the s/s/c. They are not resolved, but as I see it, remain very far apart. As a result I cannot accept your theory that the need to implement concepts forces the brain to enlarge. God makes major speciation changes. We have no materialistic explanation for speciation. I see a designer must be present.

dhw: Fact 1): pre-sapiens brains underwent enlargement. Fact 2): nobody knows the cause. Fact 3): implementation of concepts is known to modify the brain.
Hypothesis 1): the thinking, conceptualizing s/s/c is a separate entity from the information-providing, concept-implementing brain, but they work together. Hypothesis 2): if implementation of s/s/c-generated concepts is known to modify the brain, maybe pre-sapiens brains needed greater capacity to implement new concepts, and so implementation caused modification in the form of expansion. Hypothesis 3): although concepts are generated by the s/s/c and not the brain, the s/s/c could not generate new concepts until God had enlarged the brain.

I suggest that Hypothesis 2) is logical. I suggest that Hypothesis 3) is illogical. A designer can be present in both hypotheses.

I'm still with Hypo 3. The theory of implementation requiring enlargement where development of complex concepts does not, is an inconsistent thought. Einstein's brain is a point in my favor. His conceptual area was almost a centimeter thicker than the average human, but his overall brain was the same size as the rest of us. He was obviously born a genius. (Page 209 of The Atheist Delusion)

Big brain evolution: it mushroomed!

by David Turell @, Friday, March 02, 2018, 18:23 (115 days ago) @ David Turell

A wild theory presented tongue-in-cheek:

http://bigthink.com/paul-ratner/is-there-evidence-that-magic-mushrooms-played-a-role-in...

“'The great embarrassment to evolutionary theory is the human neocortex,” says McKenna. He argues that there is no explanation for how such a major organ was dramatically transformed in complexity in a narrow window of time to create the jump from hominids to humans.

"What lit “the fire of intelligence”? McKenna’s answer lies in the hominid’s diet. He essentially thinks that “we ate our way to higher consciousness."

"McKenna’s “Stoned Ape” theory of human evolution breaks the process into three stages. In stage one, around 40 to 50 thousand years ago, early hominids in Africa, like Homo Erectus, were forced to abandon their canopy-dwelling lifestyle due to the desertification of the African continent. As they were forced to find new sources of food, they followed herds of wild cattle in whose dung they found insects that became part of their diet. Also in the dung were magic mushrooms that often grow in such environments.

"As they started to eat these mushrooms in low doses, early hominids improved their visuals acuity and became betters hunters and survivors, giving them an advantage over those who did not consume the shrooms.

"Stage Two of how the psilocybin diet impacted the human brain under McKenna’s theory took place 20 to 10 thousand years ago, as hominids discovered the aphrodisiac qualities of ingesting the shrooms. According to McKenna, at higher doses, the mushrooms caused increased male potency and led to group sexual activities. “Everyone would get loaded around the campfire and hump in an enormous writhing heap,” half-jokingly posits McKenna.

"Causing greater genetic diversification, these orgies also had the effect of creating the first societies, where males could not trace paternity and as such did not identify children as personal “property," raising them as a community.

"These orgiastic sessions also led to the development of symbolic functions in hominid cognitive abilities via early art creation and dance.

"The last stage of how psychedelics changed the brain came from taking higher doses of the mushrooms. McKenna argued that when doses doubled, psilocybin affected the language-forming region of the brain, causing vocalizations that became the raw material for the evolution of language. This also led to the first human religious impulse.

"Challenges to McKenna’s theories have mainly revolved around the lack of evidence for a number of his assertions. Many scientists have dismissed his ideas as “a story” rather than an explanation based on proven facts. Yet, there has been a growing amount of evidence about the lives of early hominids that provides some corroboration to McKenna’s work.

"In particular, evidence has been found that Stone Age humans ate mushrooms. German anthropologists discovered mushroom spores on the teeth of a prehistoric woman who lived around 18,700 years ago.

"In 2015, the Spanish anthropologist Professor Guerra-Doce published a paper outlining the use of hallucinogenic plants by early humans. Additionally, Neolithic and Bronze cave paintings that resembled psilocybin mushrooms were found in the Italian Alps and in Villar del Humo in Cuenca, Spain."

Comment: All of this weird theory occurs in sapiens from 40-50 thousand years ago. The pre-frontal cortex was already there waiting to wake up. The mushrooms didn't enlarge it, but might have helped complexify it at least in sexual ways, as this hippy theory implies. My other take is this website is called BIGTHINK, but this author isn't thinking very clearly in presenting this mess as possible.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Saturday, March 03, 2018, 13:39 (114 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: A materialist will argue that if a change to the brain entails a change to the personality, that is clear evidence that the basis of the personality is material.
DAVID: I see no problem. The material brain only allows expression to an immaterial s/s/c. A sick brain gives a sick improper expression. I use the idea of the brain receiving the s/s/c as an explanation, just as a damaged radio gives a garbled output. The underlying s/s/c is really the same and normal.

So do you accept the argument that anyone under 25 is not responsible for his criminal actions because his brain is not yet fully developed and so his nice kind s/s/c couldn’t express itself properly? And do you believe that a dementia sufferer actually knows what is going on but is simply unable to communicate that knowledge?

Dhw: Hypothesis 2): if implementation of s/s/c-generated concepts is known to modify the brain, maybe pre-sapiens brains needed greater capacity to implement new concepts, and so implementation caused modification in the form of expansion. Hypothesis 3): although concepts are generated by the s/s/c and not the brain, the s/s/c could not generate new concepts until God had enlarged the brain.
I suggest that Hypothesis 2) is logical. I suggest that Hypothesis 3) is illogical. A designer can be present in both hypotheses.

DAVID: I'm still with Hypo 3. The theory of implementation requiring enlargement where development of complex concepts does not, is an inconsistent thought.

Pre-sapiens brain expanded. Implementation of concepts requires brain modification. Pre-sapiens brains may well have complexified (modification) but eventually needed greater capacity and expanded (modification). There has to be a limit to expansion unless you believe sapiens could function with an elephant-sized head, and so complexification took over (so efficiently that there was shrinkage). No inconsistency. And you continue to ignore the obvious illogicality of 3).

DAVID: Einstein's brain is a point in my favor. His conceptual area was almost a centimeter thicker than the average human, but his overall brain was the same size as the rest of us. He was obviously born a genius. (Page 209 of The Atheist Delusion)

If you are a dualist, the obvious conclusion is that the thoughts of his genius s/s/c created ever greater complexity within the conceptual area and even expanded it within the given capacity of the brain. More evidence for my hypothesis. But if there were no limits to expansion, we would have elephant-sized heads. The brain responds to the s/s/c. Concept first, brain change second.

QUOTE (under : What lit “the fire of intelligence”? McKenna’s answer lies in the hominid’s diet. He essentially thinks that “we ate our way to higher consciousness."
DAVID’s comment: All of this weird theory occurs in sapiens from 40-50 thousand years ago. The pre-frontal cortex was already there waiting to wake up. The mushrooms didn't enlarge it, but might have helped complexify it at least in sexual ways, as this hippy theory implies.

Diet is a common explanation for brain expansion, though as you point out, this theory has nothing to do with expansion. I share your scepticism. But the conventional diet theory does equate brain expansion with lighting the fire of intelligence, to which you as a dualist ought to be fiercely opposed, since you believe that intelligence springs from the s/s/c and not the material brain. And yet you continue to defend exactly the same basic process: that brain expansion preceded each increase in intelligence.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 03, 2018, 15:42 (114 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: A materialist will argue that if a change to the brain entails a change to the personality, that is clear evidence that the basis of the personality is material.
DAVID: I see no problem. The material brain only allows expression to an immaterial s/s/c. A sick brain gives a sick improper expression. I use the idea of the brain receiving the s/s/c as an explanation, just as a damaged radio gives a garbled output. The underlying s/s/c is really the same and normal.

dhw: So do you accept the argument that anyone under 25 is not responsible for his criminal actions because his brain is not yet fully developed and so his nice kind s/s/c couldn’t express itself properly?

Perhaps the s/s/c he created from birth is not so kind. He creates his own s/s/c attributes. You imply his s/s/c is separated from him!

dhw: And do you believe that a dementia sufferer actually knows what is going on but is simply unable to communicate that knowledge?

Medically, many demented actually recognize their impairment and try to cover it over in conversation.


dhw: Pre-sapiens brain expanded. Implementation of concepts requires brain modification. Pre-sapiens brains may well have complexified (modification) but eventually needed greater capacity and expanded (modification). There has to be a limit to expansion unless you believe sapiens could function with an elephant-sized head, and so complexification took over (so efficiently that there was shrinkage).

Complexification of a network with possible shrinkage does the whole job. You constantly forget the bony case must be coordinated with the enlargement as well as the mother's birth canal must be adjusted to the new-sized baby head. This can only happen by design.


DAVID: Einstein's brain is a point in my favor. His conceptual area was almost a centimeter thicker than the average human, but his overall brain was the same size as the rest of us. He was obviously born a genius. (Page 209 of The Atheist Delusion)

dhw: If you are a dualist, the obvious conclusion is that the thoughts of his genius s/s/c created ever greater complexity within the conceptual area and even expanded it within the given capacity of the brain. More evidence for my hypothesis. But if there were no limits to expansion, we would have elephant-sized heads. The brain responds to the s/s/c. Concept first, brain change second.

What a contorted answer! His genius resulted from the enlarged area from birth, because we know complexification causes shrinkage! Please lets use factual material. Perhaps you know Einstein is the only known sapiens who had brain area expansion abilities, and the rest of us don't.


QUOTE (under : What lit “the fire of intelligence”? McKenna’s answer lies in the hominid’s diet. He essentially thinks that “we ate our way to higher consciousness."
DAVID’s comment: All of this weird theory occurs in sapiens from 40-50 thousand years ago. The pre-frontal cortex was already there waiting to wake up. The mushrooms didn't enlarge it, but might have helped complexify it at least in sexual ways, as this hippy theory implies.

dhw: Diet is a common explanation for brain expansion, though as you point out, this theory has nothing to do with expansion. I share your scepticism. But the conventional diet theory does equate brain expansion with lighting the fire of intelligence, to which you as a dualist ought to be fiercely opposed, since you believe that intelligence springs from the s/s/c and not the material brain.

No. Intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity.

dhw: And yet you continue to defend exactly the same basic process: that brain expansion preceded each increase in intelligence.

Of course. Logical

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Sunday, March 04, 2018, 12:07 (113 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: So do you accept the argument that anyone under 25 is not responsible for his criminal actions because his brain is not yet fully developed and so his nice kind s/s/c couldn’t express itself properly?
DAVID: Perhaps the s/s/c he created from birth is not so kind. He creates his own s/s/c attributes. You imply his s/s/c is separated from him!

I am following up on your claim (Feb. 19) that “judgment about the consequences of any new action by an individual is impaired or limited until the development of the prefrontal cortex is complete”, which you say happens at 25. This can only mean that either the cortex and not the s/s/c is responsible for making judgements or, according to your latest theory, the s/s/c can’t get the cortex to obey its instructions. Which is it?

dhw: And do you believe that a dementia sufferer actually knows what is going on but is simply unable to communicate that knowledge?
DAVID: Medically, many demented actually recognize their impairment and try to cover it over in conversation.

In my earlier post I specified extreme cases, so will you now answer the question?

dhw: Pre-sapiens brain expanded. Implementation of concepts requires brain modification. Pre-sapiens brains may well have complexified (modification) but eventually needed greater capacity and expanded (modification). There has to be a limit to expansion unless you believe sapiens could function with an elephant-sized head, and so complexification took over (so efficiently that there was shrinkage).
DAVID: Complexification of a network with possible shrinkage does the whole job. You constantly forget the bony case must be coordinated with the enlargement as well as the mother's birth canal must be adjusted to the new-sized baby head. This can only happen by design.

It does the whole job NOW. We are trying to explain why the pre-sapiens brain expanded. Of course the skull had to expand as well. Modifications to one part of the body may well require modifications elsewhere, whether your God did it or he endowed cell communities with the means of doing it themselves. You appear to believe that your God is incapable of devising a mechanism that can work without his interference.

DAVID: Einstein's brain is a point in my favor. His conceptual area was almost a centimeter thicker than the average human, but his overall brain was the same size as the rest of us. He was obviously born a genius. (Page 209 of The Atheist Delusion)

dhw: If you are a dualist, the obvious conclusion is that the thoughts of his genius s/s/c created ever greater complexity within the conceptual area and even expanded it within the given capacity of the brain. More evidence for my hypothesis. But if there were no limits to expansion, we would have elephant-sized heads. The brain responds to the s/s/c. Concept first, brain change second.

DAVID: What a contorted answer! His genius resulted from the enlarged area from birth, because we know complexification causes shrinkage! Please lets use factual material. Perhaps you know Einstein is the only known sapiens who had brain area expansion abilities, and the rest of us don't.

The contortions are entirely yours. If his genius resulted from the enlarged area, you have provided rock solid evidence for materialism (which of course may be correct, but you the dualist are supposed to reject that theory). How do you know his “conceptual area” was thicker from birth? You keep telling us that the cortex isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. His skull was clearly able to accommodate the extra centimetre, whether he had it from birth or it developed with his great thoughts. Who knows, your own cortex might be a centimetre thicker than mine. Have you had it measured? Shrinkage is believed to have taken place over the last 10,000-20,000 years. I suggest that some cells have become redundant as a result of the efficiency of complexification. That doesn’t mean the brain shrinks every time we implement a concept! According to you, then, we’ll end up with a pin-size brain!

dhw: Diet is a common explanation for brain expansion, though as you point out, this theory has nothing to do with expansion. I share your scepticism. But the conventional diet theory does equate brain expansion with lighting the fire of intelligence, to which you as a dualist ought to be fiercely opposed, since you believe that intelligence springs from the s/s/c and not the material brain.
DAVID: No. Intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity.

Strange, I thought you’d agreed (a few dozen times) that the s/s/c is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making you, both in life and in death. Now apparently, in the afterlife you believe in, you will leave your intelligence behind because you haven’t got a brain to use.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 04, 2018, 15:07 (113 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am following up on your claim (Feb. 19) that “judgment about the consequences of any new action by an individual is impaired or limited until the development of the prefrontal cortex is complete”, which you say happens at 25. This can only mean that either the cortex and not the s/s/c is responsible for making judgements or, according to your latest theory, the s/s/c can’t get the cortex to obey its instructions. Which is it?

Each person develops his own ability at judgments using his pre-frontal cortex. Again you are implying the s/s/c is separate from the brain. Both are interlocked with each other and must work together. You are confused about this, and therefore misrepresent what I am presenting.


dhw: And do you believe that a dementia sufferer actually knows what is going on but is simply unable to communicate that knowledge?
DAVID: Medically, many demented actually recognize their impairment and try to cover it over in conversation.

dhw: In my earlier post I specified extreme cases, so will you now answer the question?

Severely demented may be total vegetables. So?

DAVID: Complexification of a network with possible shrinkage does the whole job. You constantly forget the bony case must be coordinated with the enlargement as well as the mother's birth canal must be adjusted to the new-sized baby head. This can only happen by design.

dhw: It does the whole job NOW. We are trying to explain why the pre-sapiens brain expanded. Of course the skull had to expand as well. Modifications to one part of the body may well require modifications elsewhere, whether your God did it or he endowed cell communities with the means of doing it themselves. You appear to believe that your God is incapable of devising a mechanism that can work without his interference.

But I've said he could! With general outline to follow.


dhw: If you are a dualist, the obvious conclusion is that the thoughts of his genius s/s/c created ever greater complexity within the conceptual area and even expanded it within the given capacity of the brain. More evidence for my hypothesis. But if there were no limits to expansion, we would have elephant-sized heads. The brain responds to the s/s/c. Concept first, brain change second.

DAVID: What a contorted answer! His genius resulted from the enlarged area from birth, because we know complexification causes shrinkage! Please lets use factual material. Perhaps you know Einstein is the only known sapiens who had brain area expansion abilities, and the rest of us don't.

dhw: The contortions are entirely yours. If his genius resulted from the enlarged area, you have provided rock solid evidence for materialism (which of course may be correct, but you the dualist are supposed to reject that theory). How do you know his “conceptual area” was thicker from birth?

I admit I should have said developed from birth. The enlarged area allowed his s/s/c to have a greater ability at conceptualization, dualism

dhw: You keep telling us that the cortex isn’t fully developed until the age of 25. His skull was clearly able to accommodate the extra centimetre, whether he had it from birth or it developed with his great thoughts. Who knows, your own cortex might be a centimetre thicker than mine. Have you had it measured?

Our brains are equal, but my thoughts are stronger.

DAVID: No. Intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity.

dhw: Strange, I thought you’d agreed (a few dozen times) that the s/s/c is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making you, both in life and in death. Now apparently, in the afterlife you believe in, you will leave your intelligence behind because you haven’t got a brain to use.

And the only way there can be advanced thinking, as Einstein shows, is through brain complexity. The s/s/c and brain are fully interfaced in life and depend upon each other. And the s/s/c in afterlife is in a different circumstance. It carries all of its knowledge. We have no idea if it can develop new thoughts or not. All we know from NDE testimony is thoughts/information are transmitted telepathically.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Monday, March 05, 2018, 12:57 (112 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I am following up on your claim (Feb. 19) that “judgment about the consequences of any new action by an individual is impaired or limited until the development of the prefrontal cortex is complete”, which you say happens at 25. This can only mean that either the cortex and not the s/s/c is responsible for making judgements or, according to your latest theory, the s/s/c can’t get the cortex to obey its instructions. Which is it?
DAVID: Each person develops his own ability at judgments using his pre-frontal cortex. Again you are implying the s/s/c is separate from the brain. Both are interlocked with each other and must work together. You are confused about this, and therefore misrepresent what I am presenting.

Yes, they must work together, but according to your dualistic beliefs they have different functions. You have described the distinction yourself under “Panpsychism”:
DAVID: My manifestations of mind, as I write this, is not my mind. I can express my mind's thoughts through physical activity of my fingers, but the thoughts are still immaterial. But only works if my mind is intimately interfaced with an active brain capable of inducing the activity of eyes and fingers at the keyboard to give expression to those current thoughts.

You see, you’ve understood perfectly that the s/s/c does the thinking, but manifestation can only occur when the brain gives material implementation to the immaterial thoughts. So why do you keep insisting that your mind cannot THINK its thoughts without the functioning brain?

Next we move to the complete contrast between the dementia victim's dualism (the s/s/c is normal but can't express itself) and Einstein's materialism (his brain is the source of his genius):

DAVID: Severely demented may be total vegetables. So?

I pointed out that disease can change the nature of the self, which is evidence for materialism. You argued that “a sick brain gives a sick improper impression…The underlying s/s/c is really the same and normal”. So when the vegetable thinks he/she is now a child, or the doctor wants to kill him/her, or he/she wants to kill the doctor, are you saying the s/s/c is perfectly normal but can’t communicate its normal thoughts because the receiver isn’t working properly?If not, what ARE you saying?

DAVID: What a contorted answer! His [Einstein’s] genius resulted from the enlarged area from birth, because we know complexification causes shrinkage! Please lets use factual material. Perhaps you know Einstein is the only known sapiens who had brain area expansion abilities, and the rest of us don't.
dhw: The contortions are entirely yours. If his genius resulted from the enlarged area, you have provided rock solid evidence for materialism (which of course may be correct, but you the dualist are supposed to reject that theory). How do you know his “conceptual area” was thicker from birth?
DAVID: I admit I should have said developed from birth. The enlarged area allowed his s/s/c to have a greater ability at conceptualization, dualism

In dualism, as you have agreed a thousand times, conceptualization is the province of the s/s/c, not the brain. The brain does not “allow” the s/s/c to conceptualize. The brain provides information and implements the concepts.

DAVID: No. Intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity.
dhw: Strange, I thought you’d agreed (a few dozen times) that the s/s/c is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making you, both in life and in death. Now apparently, in the afterlife you believe in, you will leave your intelligence behind because you haven’t got a brain to use.
DAVID: And the only way there can be advanced thinking, as Einstein shows, is through brain complexity.

So did Einstein show us that the complexities of his brain were the source of his great thoughts, thereby embracing materialism, or did he show us that his great thoughts resulted in increased brain complexity, thereby embracing dualism?

DAVID: The s/s/c and brain are fully interfaced in life and depend upon each other. And the s/s/c in afterlife is in a different circumstance. It carries all of its knowledge. We have no idea if it can develop new thoughts or not. All we know from NDE testimony is thoughts/information are transmitted telepathically.

Since this hasn't penetrated, let me repeat: You said that intelligence sprang from the s/s/c being able to use its brain. This can only mean that without a brain, the s/s/c cannot be intelligent. On Friday 2 March I wrote: “If NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?” And on the very same day you answered yes. On Sunday 4 March your afterlife s/s/c will apparently have lost its intelligence.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Monday, March 05, 2018, 14:56 (112 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You see, you’ve understood perfectly that the s/s/c does the thinking, but manifestation can only occur when the brain gives material implementation to the immaterial thoughts. So why do you keep insisting that your mind cannot THINK its thoughts without the functioning brain?

You keep forgetting I have two views of the state of the s/s/c. In life it MUST use the brain, but in the afterlife it is independent.


Next we move to the complete contrast between the dementia victim's dualism (the s/s/c is normal but can't express itself) and Einstein's materialism (his brain is the source of his genius):

DAVID: Severely demented may be total vegetables. So?

dhw: I pointed out that disease can change the nature of the self, which is evidence for materialism. You argued that “a sick brain gives a sick improper impression…The underlying s/s/c is really the same and normal”. So when the vegetable thinks he/she is now a child, or the doctor wants to kill him/her, or he/she wants to kill the doctor, are you saying the s/s/c is perfectly normal but can’t communicate its normal thoughts because the receiver isn’t working properly?If not, what ARE you saying?

Of course, the receiver is not working properly.

DAVID: I admit I should have said developed from birth. The enlarged area allowed his s/s/c to have a greater ability at conceptualization, dualism

dhw: In dualism, as you have agreed a thousand times, conceptualization is the province of the s/s/c, not the brain. The brain does not “allow” the s/s/c to conceptualize. The brain provides information and implements the concepts.

These quotes answer:


DAVID: No. Intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity.

DAVID: And the only way there can be advanced thinking, as Einstein shows, is through brain complexity.

dhw: So did Einstein show us that the complexities of his brain were the source of his great thoughts, thereby embracing materialism, or did he show us that his great thoughts resulted in increased brain complexity, thereby embracing dualism?

The thickened area allowed the more complex thoughts to be developed. Why do IQ levels differ in different people? It must be the individual complexity of the prefrontal cortex.


DAVID: The s/s/c and brain are fully interfaced in life and depend upon each other. And the s/s/c in afterlife is in a different circumstance. It carries all of its knowledge. We have no idea if it can develop new thoughts or not. All we know from NDE testimony is thoughts/information are transmitted telepathically.

dhw: Since this hasn't penetrated, let me repeat: You said that intelligence sprang from the s/s/c being able to use its brain. This can only mean that without a brain, the s/s/c cannot be intelligent. On Friday 2 March I wrote: “If NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?” And on the very same day you answered yes. On Sunday 4 March your afterlife s/s/c will apparently have lost its intelligence.

My s/s/c has dual roles in life and in death, with brain and without brain. Its underlying mechanism of action may be slightly different in each role. I don't think of the s/s/c as you do, seemingly one neat package.

Big brain evolution: brain damage legal defense

by David Turell @, Monday, March 05, 2018, 19:37 (112 days ago) @ David Turell

Our discussion leads to this consideration in court. If the brain is incompetent in some way, I'm not guiklty!:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/my-brain-made-me-do-it-is-becoming-a-more-co...

"Criminal defense strategies are increasingly relying on neurological evidence—psychological evaluations, behavioral tests or brain scans—to potentially mitigate punishment. Defendants may cite earlier head traumas or brain disorders as underlying reasons for their behavior, hoping this will be factored into a court’s decisions. Such defenses have been employed for decades, mostly in death penalty cases. But as science has evolved in recent years, the practice has become more common in criminal cases ranging from drug offenses to robberies.

***

“'In 2012 alone over 250 judicial opinions—more than double the number in 2007—cited defendants arguing in some form or another that their ‘brains made them do it,’” according to an analysis by Nita Farahany, a law professor and director of Duke University’s Initiative for Science and Society. More recently, she says, that number has climbed to around 420 each year.

"Even when lawyers do not bring neuroscience into the courtroom, this shift can still affect a case: Some defendants are now using the omission of neuroscience as grounds for questioning the competency of the defenses they received. In a bid to untangle the issue, Sanes, Farahany and other members of a committee of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine are meeting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to discuss what they have dubbed “neuroforensics.”

***

"Currently, most neuroscience enters the courtroom in the form of psychological evaluations or behavioral studies. Actual snapshots of the brain from MRIs or CT scans are only showing up in about 15 percent of judicial opinions that involve neuroscience, according to Farahany’s research. But ahead of their meeting, committee members cautioned the role of brain scans could surge in the very near future—a good reason to start discussing these issues now.

“'This is such a fraught area, and it’s prone to hype and overstatement,” Sanes says of neuroforensics. But at the meeting, “hopefully we’ll both get some feedback about good avenues to explore, and get some suggestions about how to mount a full study, he says. “This meeting is the starting point.'”

Comment: The brain is the seat of operations for the s/s/c. There is no way around it. Normal s/s/c requires a normal brain. But this is a legal slippery slope.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Tuesday, March 06, 2018, 15:43 (111 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You see, you’ve understood perfectly that the s/s/c does the thinking, but manifestation can only occur when the brain gives material implementation to the immaterial thoughts. So why do you keep insisting that your mind cannot THINK its thoughts without the functioning brain?
DAVID: You keep forgetting I have two views of the state of the s/s/c. In life it MUST use the brain, but in the afterlife it is independent.
DAVID (later): My s/s/c has dual roles in life and in death, with brain and without brain. Its underlying mechanism of action may be slightly different in each role. I don't think of the s/s/c as you do, seemingly one neat package.

I haven’t forgotten it at all, but you have forgotten our exchange on 2 March: “If NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?” You answered yes. But now, since you believe that intelligence ”springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity”, you can only believe that without your advanced brain, your soul will leave its intelligence behind! A thinking, decision-making you without your intelligence. A fine prospect.

Dhw: Next we move to the complete contrast between the dementia victim's dualism (the s/s/c is normal but can't express itself) and Einstein's materialism (his brain is the source of his genius):
DAVID: Severely demented may be total vegetables. So?
dhw: So when the vegetable thinks he/she is now a child, or the doctor wants to kill him/her, or he/she wants to kill the doctor, are you saying the s/s/c is perfectly normal but can’t communicate its normal thoughts because the receiver isn’t working properly?If not, what ARE you saying?
DAVID: Of course, the receiver is not working properly.

So the vegetable who thinks he/she is a child actually knows he/she is her normal self but his/her brain is doing all the talking? The other example I used earlier related to your claim that judgement is impaired until the prefrontal cortex is fully mature at around the age of 25. I asked if that meant anyone under the age of 25 was not responsible for their criminal actions. You have now posted an article on that very subject, but extending the question to brain damage at all ages. You comment: “The brain is the seat of operations for the s/s/c. There is no way around it. Normal s/s/c requires a normal brain. But this is a legal slippery slope.” It is also a philosophical slippery slope. It hinges on the debate between dualism and materialism. You continue to favour dualism while arguing for materialism, as below:

DAVID: And the only way there can be advanced thinking, as Einstein shows, is through brain complexity.
dhw: So did Einstein show us that the complexities of his brain were the source of his great thoughts, thereby embracing materialism, or did he show us that his great thoughts resulted in increased brain complexity, thereby embracing dualism?
DAVID: The thickened area allowed the more complex thoughts to be developed. Why do IQ levels differ in different people? It must be the individual complexity of the prefrontal cortex.

You’re off again with “allowed”. What is the source of Einstein’s genius or of intelligence in general: the soul/self or the prefrontal cortex? If your answer is the latter, welcome once more to the world of materialism. And you may well be right. I’m not taking sides. However, NDEs suggest that there is an immaterial self that uses the brain and body to express and implement its thoughts. And so I don’t understand how anyone can believe that a person’s thoughts (including intelligence) are dependent on a functioning brain, and yet at the same time believe that when the functioning brain dies, the person’s thoughts (including intelligence) continue without it. Has your yes to my question of 2 March now turned into a no on 5 March?

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 06, 2018, 18:18 (111 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, March 06, 2018, 18:39

dhw: You see, you’ve understood perfectly that the s/s/c does the thinking, but manifestation can only occur when the brain gives material implementation to the immaterial thoughts. So why do you keep insisting that your mind cannot THINK its thoughts without the functioning brain?
DAVID: You keep forgetting I have two views of the state of the s/s/c. In life it MUST use the brain, but in the afterlife it is independent.
DAVID (later): My s/s/c has dual roles in life and in death, with brain and without brain. Its underlying mechanism of action may be slightly different in each role. I don't think of the s/s/c as you do, seemingly one neat package.

dhw: I haven’t forgotten it at all, but you have forgotten our exchange on 2 March: “If NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?” You answered yes. But now, since you believe that intelligence ”springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity”, you can only believe that without your advanced brain, your soul will leave its intelligence behind! A thinking, decision-making you without your intelligence. A fine prospect.

Please read carefully what I present. My view of the s/s/c is presented above. It functions interfaced with the brain in life and on its own in the afterlife, perhaps slightly different in quantum mechanism. The information, memories and thought processes are the same in both places and in both forms, and you know my theory!

DAVID: Of course, the receiver is not working properly.


dhw: So the vegetable who thinks he/she is a child actually knows he/she is her normal self but his/her brain is doing all the talking? The other example I used earlier related to your claim that judgement is impaired until the prefrontal cortex is fully mature at around the age of 25. I asked if that meant anyone under the age of 25 was not responsible for their criminal actions. You have now posted an article on that very subject, but extending the question to brain damage at all ages. You comment: “The brain is the seat of operations for the s/s/c. There is no way around it. Normal s/s/c requires a normal brain. But this is a legal slippery slope.” It is also a philosophical slippery slope. It hinges on the debate between dualism and materialism. You continue to favour dualism while arguing for materialism,

The brain IS material and it acts as a receiver for the s/s/c. In dualism part of the issue is always that the material part of the arrangement must play an equal role. Why can't you see that? Part of the brain is running the body, part of it is conceptualizing with the s/s/c


DAVID: And the only way there can be advanced thinking, as Einstein shows, is through brain complexity.

dhw: So did Einstein show us that the complexities of his brain were the source of his great thoughts, thereby embracing materialism, or did he show us that his great thoughts resulted in increased brain complexity, thereby embracing dualism?

DAVID: The thickened area allowed the more complex thoughts to be developed. Why do IQ levels differ in different people? It must be the individual complexity of the prefrontal cortex.

dhw: You’re off again with “allowed”. What is the source of Einstein’s genius or of intelligence in general: the soul/self or the prefrontal cortex? If your answer is the latter, welcome once more to the world of materialism. And you may well be right. I’m not taking sides. However, NDEs suggest that there is an immaterial self that uses the brain and body to express and implement its thoughts. And so I don’t understand how anyone can believe that a person’s thoughts (including intelligence) are dependent on a functioning brain, and yet at the same time believe that when the functioning brain dies, the person’s thoughts (including intelligence) continue without it. Has your yes to my question of 2 March now turned into a no on 5 March?

Don't you realize an s/s/c develops from birth with a living interaction of a developing person? Of course you do. It must be formed and it will contain the personality that appears. It is a material quantum mechanism to be filled with the immaterial characteristics of the 'person'. Your NDE comment is correct. Einstein's thickened area permitted the appearance of his genius s/s/c. Complex thought development (immaterial) requires a more complex material brain. Pure dualism.

Further we measure IQ. There is a normal range from below 100 to folks with 150+. Part is difference in training to think, part is in brain structure, as research in genomes for responsible genes testifies. The s/s/c can develop more deep complexity of concepts with a more complex underlying brain in the interface.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Wednesday, March 07, 2018, 12:17 (110 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] you have forgotten our exchange on 2 March: “If NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?” You answered yes. But now, since you believe that intelligence ”springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain in size and complexity”, you can only believe that without your advanced brain, your soul will leave its intelligence behind! A thinking, decision-making you without your intelligence. A fine prospect.

DAVID: Please read carefully what I present. My view of the s/s/c is presented above. It functions interfaced with the brain in life and on its own in the afterlife, perhaps slightly different in quantum mechanism. The information, memories and thought processes are the same in both places and in both forms, and you know my theory!

I do know your theory, and you are repeating what I have just said! So if it is the same, how can you argue that intelligence “springs” from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain, and yet you still have your intelligence in the afterlife WITHOUT your advanced brain? Or do think your s/s/c (which is the same in both places) can think without its intelligence?

DAVID: The brain IS material and it acts as a receiver for the s/s/c. In dualism part of the issue is always that the material part of the arrangement must play an equal role. Why can't you see that? Part of the brain is running the body, part of it is conceptualizing with the s/s/c.

As you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, the role the brain plays in life is providing information and giving material expression/implementation to the thoughts of the s/s/c. Yes, equally important in life, but the roles are different. The thinker provides the concept, the implementer implements it. THAT is dualism. Part of the brain is running the body, part of it is interfacing with the s/s/c so that it can implement the concepts of the s/s/c. “Conceptualizing WITH” the s/s/c? Do you now think the pfc and the s/s/c hold discussions and come up with a concept for which each is 50% responsible?

DAVID: Don't you realize an s/s/c develops from birth with a living interaction of a developing person? Of course you do. It must be formed and it will contain the personality that appears. It is a material quantum mechanism to be filled with the immaterial characteristics of the 'person'.

No disagreement here.

DAVID: Einstein's thickened area permitted the appearance of his genius s/s/c. Complex thought development (immaterial) requires a more complex material brain. Pure dualism.

Requires the brain to do what? To do the thinking? From your dualist standpoint: Firstly, his genius could not have “appeared” (= material manifestation) without the means to give it material expression (the brain). Secondly, in life all thought, complex or not, requires a brain if it is to be expressed or implemented. If you believe in NDEs, however, thought itself does NOT require a brain. Thought is the province of the s/s/c. So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife even without his prefrontal cortex.

DAVID: Further we measure IQ. There is a normal range from below 100 to folks with 150+. Part is difference in training to think, part is in brain structure, as research in genomes for responsible genes testifies. The s/s/c can develop more deep complexity of concepts with a more complex underlying brain in the interface.

IQ tests depend on lots of different factors, as does the self/soul. Stick to dualism v materialism. Concepts are concepts, no matter how deep the complexity, and you have to decide whether it is the s/s/c that does the thinking or the pfc. If you believe the s/s/c cannot THINK without the pfc, you are a materialist. No shame in that, but forget about NDEs.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 07, 2018, 18:32 (110 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Please read carefully what I present. My view of the s/s/c is presented above. It functions interfaced with the brain in life and on its own in the afterlife, perhaps slightly different in quantum mechanism. The information, memories and thought processes are the same in both places and in both forms, and you know my theory!

dhw: I do know your theory, and you are repeating what I have just said! So if it is the same, how can you argue that intelligence “springs” from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain, and yet you still have your intelligence in the afterlife WITHOUT your advanced brain? Or do think your s/s/c (which is the same in both places) can think without its intelligence?

In the other entry I've explained, as I have over and over, the s/s/c interfaces in life in one way with the brain and in death in a different way with the afterlife. I believe it is a quantum mechanism which carries all of its intelligence in both circumstances but may be slightly different in how it operates in b oth places.


DAVID: The brain IS material and it acts as a receiver for the s/s/c. In dualism part of the issue is always that the material part of the arrangement must play an equal role. Why can't you see that? Part of the brain is running the body, part of it is conceptualizing with the s/s/c.

dhw: Do you now think the pfc and the s/s/c hold discussions and come up with a concept for which each is 50% responsible?

The s/s/c is the software for the material computer-like brain. They interface and work together as I generate thought in life. I sit here feeling my self generates the thoughts under my control. You keep separating s/s/c and brain. You can't. I am still at the point of I think therefore I am.


DAVID: Einstein's thickened area permitted the appearance of his genius s/s/c. Complex thought development (immaterial) requires a more complex material brain. Pure dualism.

dhw: Requires the brain to do what? To do the thinking? From your dualist standpoint: Firstly, his genius could not have “appeared” (= material manifestation) without the means to give it material expression (the brain). Secondly, in life all thought, complex or not, requires a brain if it is to be expressed or implemented. If you believe in NDEs, however, thought itself does NOT require a brain. Thought is the province of the s/s/c. So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife even without his prefrontal cortex.

Of course. You've gotten my concept.


DAVID: Further we measure IQ. There is a normal range from below 100 to folks with 150+. Part is difference in training to think, part is in brain structure, as research in genomes for responsible genes testifies. The s/s/c can develop more deep complexity of concepts with a more complex underlying brain in the interface.

dhw: IQ tests depend on lots of different factors, as does the self/soul. Stick to dualism v materialism. Concepts are concepts, no matter how deep the complexity, and you have to decide whether it is the s/s/c that does the thinking or the pfc. If you believe the s/s/c cannot THINK without the pfc, you are a materialist. No shame in that, but forget about NDEs.

Again, confusing the interface in life and death. The s/s/c adapts to each circumstance. And IQ is an issue. An IQ of 70 does not have the same brain as an IQ of 150 no matter how much it tries. s/s/c is software for the computer brain. The more complex and bigger the brain, the more the s/s/c can accomplish. I am a double dualist, in life and differently in death, as I've explained. I AM NOT A MATERIALIST, but I understand the brain has parts with differing functions, and that must be excepted as factual. After all, the brain is wet material and is responsive to our use as s/s/c's with its plasticity.

Big brain evolution: adult neurogenesis?

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 08, 2018, 00:59 (110 days ago) @ David Turell

New research casts doubt on much adult development of new neurons in one area:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02629-3?utm_source=breakingnews&utm_medi...

"Pick up any article on neuronal development in adulthood, and there is a good chance you will read that the birth of new neurons has been observed in the hippocampal region of the brain in every mammalian species examined, including humans. This idea underlies the view — widespread among neuroscientists — that analysis of such neurogenesis in animals can benefit our understanding of learning, emotional disorders and neurodegenerative disease in humans. But in a paper in Nature, Sorrells et al.1 report that, unlike in other mammals, the last new neurons in the human hippocampus are generated in childhood. These findings are certain to stir up controversy.

***

"Although the scope and function of neurogenesis remain debatable, there has been a general consensus that the hippocampus is one region in which adult neurogenesis exists in humans as it does in animals. This is based on several studies. For example, one study in patients given a synthetic nucleoside molecule called bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) showed that it had been incorporated into the DNA of dividing cells in the dentate gyrus4. Another found that protein markers of neurogenesis in animals were present in post-mortem human brain tissue5, and a third used radiocarbon dating to identify hippocampal-neuron turnover6. However, methodological challenges make human studies difficult to interpret, and more are required to make definitive conclusions.

Sorrells et al. set out to address this need using classic immunohistochemical techniques in which specific antibodies are bound to proteins of interest, revealing their locations in tissue. The authors used this strategy to count neural precursor cells, proliferating cells and immature neurons in samples from 59 human subjects, spanning fetal development through to old age. They found streams of all three cell types migrating from an embryonic ‘germinal zone’ to the developing dentate gyrus at 14 weeks of gestation. By 22 weeks, migration was reduced, and immature neurons were largely restricted to the dentate gyrus. And there were many fewer immature neurons at one year of life than at earlier stages. The oldest sample containing immature neurons was taken from a 13-year-old individual. These findings are in stark contrast to the prevailing view that human hippocampal neurogenesis extends throughout adult life.

***

"How do the authors’ findings fit with the animal literature? With a bit of conceptual recalibration, they might fit quite well. Rodents are born with relatively immature nervous systems, so adult rodent neurogenesis could be a decent model of neurogenesis in children or adolescents. Given that depression, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease are rooted in early hippocampal defects, even neurons generated in childhood could have a key role in the aetiology of disease in humans. In addition, primate data10 suggest that new neurons in humans could go through an extended period of maturation (years or even decades) relative to what occurs in rodents, during which time they might have enhanced plasticity and important functional properties. Thus, whereas the continual addition of new neurons might provide plasticity in adult rodents, the prolonged development of neurons could provide a similar plasticity in adult humans.

"At the other end of the developmental spectrum, even in rodents, neurogenesis is very low by middle age2. Thus, Sorrells and colleagues’ human data again are not wholly inconsistent with the animal literature. "

Comment: the hippocampus is a deep structure in the brain in the so-called limbic system which is an area of earlier cortical structures which are also in lesser animals, but not a part of pre-cortical development as in humans.

From Wikipedia: The structures of the limbic system are involved in motivation, emotion, learning, and memory. The limbic system is where the subcortical structures meet the cerebral cortex

The hippocampus deals in part with new memories. This study does not preclude pre-frontal neuronal development, but does not advance in any way the theory that adult use of the brain forces enlargement.

Big brain evolution: adult neurogenesis? II

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 08, 2018, 22:00 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

New research casts doubt on much adult development of new neurons in one area:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02629-3?utm_source=breakingnews&utm_medi...

There are many doubters about this new study, who did a different type of study in the past:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-the-adult-brain-really-grow-new-neurons...

"The observation that the human brain churns out new neurons throughout life is one of the biggest neuroscience discoveries of the past 20 years. The idea has captured immense popular and scientific interest—not least, because of hopes the brain’s regenerative capacity might be harnessed to boost cognition or to treat injury or disease. In nonhuman animals the continued production of new neurons has been linked to improved learning and memory, and possibly even mood regulation.

"But new findings in humans, reported online in Nature on Wednesday, pump the brakes on this idea. In a direct challenge to earlier studies, the authors report adults produce no new cells in the hippocampus, a key hub for processing memories.

***

"Yet others argue it is too early to change course based on the new results. Jonas Frisén, senior author of the 2013 study, stands by his original findings. “Since it is a rare phenomenon they are looking for, they may just not have looked carefully enough,” he says. The 1,400 neurons Frisén’s team estimated arise daily comprise a small fraction of the tens of millions of hippocampal cells. To find them, his group at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm studied people who were exposed to cold war nuclear bomb testing, and incorporated a radioactive carbon isotope into their dividing cells over many years. This cumulative measure, Frisén argues, can detect neurogenesis better than antibodies that label new neurons at a single time point.

"The U.C.S.F.-led group is “not really measuring neurogenesis in this study,” adds neuroscientist Fred Gage at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. “Neurogenesis is a process, not an event. They just took dead tissue and looked at it at that moment in time.” In their seminal 1998 study Gage and his colleagues studied the brains of people who had received as part of cancer treatment an imaging molecule that became integrated into the DNA of actively dividing cells. Gage also believes the authors used overly restrictive criteria for counting neural progenitor cells, further reducing the chances of seeing them in adults. Far from settling the debate, Gage predicts this provocative paper will intensify interest in this area of study. “There will be lots and lots more papers,” he says."

Comment: Reminder, this debate is about a deeper structure than the pre-frontal cortex where most of the brain enlargement in Erectus and afterward occurred. If the pre-frontal cortex in adults cannot produce more neurons, the argument that concepts forced an enlargement of the brain by making new neurons and new networks falls by the wayside. I would trust the earlier studies based on exposure to isotopes more than this study.

Big brain evolution: adult neurogenesis? II

by dhw, Friday, March 09, 2018, 10:36 (108 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If the pre-frontal cortex in adults cannot produce more neurons, the argument that concepts forced an enlargement of the brain by making new neurons and new networks falls by the wayside. I would trust the earlier studies based on exposure to isotopes more than this study.

Perhaps you could make this clearer. How could any part of the brain expand without making more neurons – other, I suppose, than existing neurons expanding? Even in your own hypothesis, did your God add neurons or simply expand existing neurons? Either way, it still makes perfect sense that new concepts required greater brain capacity. I’m glad to see that your distrust of these new findings suggests that my hypothesis does not fall by the wayside.

Big brain evolution: adult neurogenesis? II

by David Turell @, Friday, March 09, 2018, 20:04 (108 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If the pre-frontal cortex in adults cannot produce more neurons, the argument that concepts forced an enlargement of the brain by making new neurons and new networks falls by the wayside. I would trust the earlier studies based on exposure to isotopes more than this study.

dhw: Perhaps you could make this clearer. How could any part of the brain expand without making more neurons – other, I suppose, than existing neurons expanding? Even in your own hypothesis, did your God add neurons or simply expand existing neurons? Either way, it still makes perfect sense that new concepts required greater brain capacity. I’m glad to see that your distrust of these new findings suggests that my hypothesis does not fall by the wayside.

These studies involve the finding of whether adult neurogenesis can occur. The current study involves a deeper structure, the hippocampus. Based on the negative comments, yes, I do not trust it. You are correct, the expanded pfc in each new stage of homo had to have new neurons and new networks. The deeper structure study is a strange entry into the debate about the frontal cortex.

Big brain evolution: adult neurogenesis? II

by dhw, Saturday, March 10, 2018, 10:48 (107 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If the pre-frontal cortex in adults cannot produce more neurons, the argument that concepts forced an enlargement of the brain by making new neurons and new networks falls by the wayside. I would trust the earlier studies based on exposure to isotopes more than this study.

dhw: Perhaps you could make this clearer. How could any part of the brain expand without making more neurons – other, I suppose, than existing neurons expanding? Even in your own hypothesis, did your God add neurons or simply expand existing neurons? Either way, it still makes perfect sense that new concepts required greater brain capacity. I’m glad to see that your distrust of these new findings suggests that my hypothesis does not fall by the wayside.

DAVID: These studies involve the finding of whether adult neurogenesis can occur. The current study involves a deeper structure, the hippocampus. Based on the negative comments, yes, I do not trust it. You are correct, the expanded pfc in each new stage of homo had to have new neurons and new networks. The deeper structure study is a strange entry into the debate about the frontal cortex.

Thank you. Clearly then, we are in agreement and, in your view, my hypothesis does not fall by the wayside. Good news!

Big brain evolution: adult neurogenesis? II

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 10, 2018, 17:59 (107 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If the pre-frontal cortex in adults cannot produce more neurons, the argument that concepts forced an enlargement of the brain by making new neurons and new networks falls by the wayside. I would trust the earlier studies based on exposure to isotopes more than this study.

dhw: Perhaps you could make this clearer. How could any part of the brain expand without making more neurons – other, I suppose, than existing neurons expanding? Even in your own hypothesis, did your God add neurons or simply expand existing neurons? Either way, it still makes perfect sense that new concepts required greater brain capacity. I’m glad to see that your distrust of these new findings suggests that my hypothesis does not fall by the wayside.

DAVID: These studies involve the finding of whether adult neurogenesis can occur. The current study involves a deeper structure, the hippocampus. Based on the negative comments, yes, I do not trust it. You are correct, the expanded pfc in each new stage of homo had to have new neurons and new networks. The deeper structure study is a strange entry into the debate about the frontal cortex.

dhw: Thank you. Clearly then, we are in agreement and, in your view, my hypothesis does not fall by the wayside. Good news!

Yes

Big brain evolution: improving sharp flint tools

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 10, 2018, 18:21 (107 days ago) @ David Turell

A survey of flint artifacts for cutting and scraping shows continuous improvement in sharpness as time passed:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/archaeology/stone-tools-improved-over-millennia

"Stone flakes – the single most common type of tool made by prehistoric humans and other hominins – show longer, sharper and more complex cutting edges as time goes by.

***

"a team led by Željko Režek from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, reports that flake-tools changed between the Early Pleistocene period (2.6 million to 780,000 years ago), the Middle Pleistocene (to 50,000 years ago) and the Late Pleistocene (to 12,000 years ago).

“'Over time, hominins produced tools with more sharp edge, but there was also more variability in sharp edge production,” the researchers write.

***

"The scientists examined more than 19,000 flakes drawn from 81 collections unearthed at 34 archaeological sites in Africa, southwest Asia and western Europe, ranging across 2.5 million years. The flakes were made by Homo habilis, Homo erectus and Neanderthals as well as Homo sapiens.

"Režek and his colleagues opted to look at stone flakes rather than other types of stone tools or weapons because, they say, they represent a type of common currency across time and space. Other stone tools tend to vary according to the specific demands and needs of the population creating them – making direct comparisons difficult. Many, too, were often reshaped and reworked by their owners.

Flakes, in contrast, represent the fundamental product of stone technology: a sharp working edge. They therefore represent unmodified examples of the application of basic method.

***

"The researchers found that in general the number and length of sharp edges was least in the Early Pleistocene tools, but then started to increase during the Middle Pleistocene. Starting about one million years ago, they write, “H. erectus, H. heidelbergensis and Neanderthals started to manipulate platform depth and exterior platform angle in a way that allowed them to produce more sharp edge relative to the size of a tool.”

"This process increased again sharply as Homo sapiens got into the act and developed more techniques, such indirect percussion, that resulted in sharper, longer and more robust edges.

"Not all modern humans, however, appear to have been technically adept. Some H. sapiens tools, the authors report, had some of the dullest cutting edges of the lot.

“"This suggests that the application of improved flaking skills, once they were acquired, was not universal,” they note."

Comment: this is not so much brain size or complexity, as it is one person teaching another, and personal dexterity. Note H. sapiens was no better than earlier forms. Look at the illustration to appreciate the differences. Eleven, an arrow head looks just like the ones I've seen and found in our West.

Big brain evolution: improving sharp flint tools

by dhw, Sunday, March 11, 2018, 13:09 (106 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A survey of flint artifacts for cutting and scraping shows continuous improvement in sharpness as time passed:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/archaeology/stone-tools-improved-over-millennia

QUOTE:“"This suggests that the application of improved flaking skills, once they were acquired, was not universal,” they note."

DAVID’s comment: this is not so much brain size or complexity, as it is one person teaching another, and personal dexterity. Note H. sapiens was no better than earlier forms. Look at the illustration to appreciate the differences. Eleven, an arrow head looks just like the ones I've seen and found in our West.

Some H. sapiens were no better than earlier forms – but some were. This reinforces my point that innovations spring from individuals. However, I think the main thrust of the article lies in your first statement: once we have an innovation, subsequent generations and species of hominin improve it. The big question, of course, is how it all started, and whether brain size CAUSED the ability to innovate or was the RESULT of innovation. Round we go!

Big brain evolution: improving sharp flint tools

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 11, 2018, 18:55 (106 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A survey of flint artifacts for cutting and scraping shows continuous improvement in sharpness as time passed:
https://cosmosmagazine.com/archaeology/stone-tools-improved-over-millennia

QUOTE:“"This suggests that the application of improved flaking skills, once they were acquired, was not universal,” they note."

DAVID’s comment: this is not so much brain size or complexity, as it is one person teaching another, and personal dexterity. Note H. sapiens was no better than earlier forms. Look at the illustration to appreciate the differences. Eleven, an arrow head looks just like the ones I've seen and found in our West.

dhw: Some H. sapiens were no better than earlier forms – but some were. This reinforces my point that innovations spring from individuals. However, I think the main thrust of the article lies in your first statement: once we have an innovation, subsequent generations and species of hominin improve it. The big question, of course, is how it all started, and whether brain size CAUSED the ability to innovate or was the RESULT of innovation. Round we go!

I'll stick to size first.

Big brain evolution: adult neurogenesis? II

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 05, 2018, 18:54 (81 days ago) @ David Turell

More information on the hippocampus study of the appearance of new adult neurons:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-older-adults-brain-cells-young.html

"This study, to appear in the journal Cell Stem Cell on April 5, counters that notion. Lead author Maura Boldrini, associate professor of neurobiology at Columbia University, says the findings may suggest that many senior citizens remain more cognitively and emotionally intact than commonly believed.

"'We found that older people have similar ability to make thousands of hippocampal new neurons from progenitor cells as younger people do," Boldrini says. "We also found equivalent volumes of the hippocampus (a brain structure used for emotion and cognition) across ages. Nevertheless, older individuals had less vascularization and maybe less ability of new neurons to make connections."

"The researchers autopsied hippocampi from 28 previously healthy individuals aged 14-79 who had died suddenly. This is the first time researchers looked at newly formed neurons and the state of blood vessels within the entire human hippocampus soon after death. (The researchers had determined that study subjects were not cognitively impaired and had not suffered from depression or taken antidepressants, which Boldrini and colleagues had previously found could impact the production of new brain cells.)

"In rodents and primates, the ability to generate new hippocampal cells declines with age. Waning production of neurons and an overall shrinking of the dentate gyrus, part of the hippocampus thought to help form new episodic memories, was believed to occur in aging humans as well.

"The researchers from Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute found that even the oldest brains they studied produced new brain cells. "We found similar numbers of intermediate neural progenitors and thousands of immature neurons," they wrote. Nevertheless, older individuals form fewer new blood vessels within brain structures and possess a smaller pool of progenitor cells—descendants of stem cells that are more constrained in their capacity to differentiate and self-renew.

"Boldrini surmised that reduced cognitive-emotional resilience in old age may be caused by this smaller pool of neural stem cells, the decline in vascularization, and reduced cell-to-cell connectivity within the hippocampus. "It is possible that ongoing hippocampal neurogenesis sustains human-specific cognitive function throughout life and that declines may be linked to compromised cognitive-emotional resilience," she says."

Comment: It appears to be a reasonable finding, but as I noted before, this is a deeper level than the prefrontal cortex, wich may or may not do this.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Thursday, March 08, 2018, 14:05 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining two threads here as they deal with the same subject. Apologies for all the repetition, but as I see it, all David’s arguments hinge on the same contradiction in his thinking.

dhw: This would be fine (a) if you were a materialist, and (b) if we knew how the brain functions.
DAVID: But we do know the areas of brain activity that control functions of the body! For example we know the motor area where every part of the body has its represented parts of the bodies muscles. […]

We know what does what in some areas, but we don’t know HOW! Explain to me HOW thought takes place, and HOW thought directs the materials of the brain.

DAVID: In life we have to use the brain and its fairly specific areas. Brain, material; thoughts immaterial. Dualism in life. Dualism exists in two different circumstances.

Dualism does not exist in death! You don’t have a brain in death! It is the s/s/c, the THINKING you that exists in two different circumstances.

dhw: All the material actions you described earlier have to be directed. If the self/soul/consciousness thought up the concept, then it will also direct the implementing areas of the brain to realize the concept. It will presumably do this through the prefrontal cortex, as its material link to the rest of the brain.
DAVID: Once the cortex using the s/s/c conceives of a flint tip idea, which may involve complexification of the neuronal web and shrinkage of the cortex, implementation involves eye hand coordination with teaching the muscles and arm in hammering and shaping, a job which is controlled in the cerebellum. The cerebellum was enlarged to its present size back in Erectus times. No evidence for your theory.

So now you have the cortex responsible for conceptions and using the s/s/c! We know what implementation involves: namely, the brain giving material expression to the thought. So once again, please tell us what came up with the thought, and how instructions were passed on to the implementing sections of the brain. I have no idea why you think the cortex shrunk. On 6 March you told us: “I have shown you implementation occurs in areas that did not enlarge as the cortex did.” (My bold) Please clarify which areas of the pre-sapiens brain expanded and which did not.

dhw You keep agreeing [...] that the s/s/c plays the same thinking role in NDEs, though in a different situation, but then you revert back to the argument that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a functioning brain. That is the massive contradiction you refuse to face up to.

DAVID: Again you are putting together two different circumstances for the s/s/c. Life and death seem quite different to me. Therefore, the s/s/c interacts differently in each realm.

Repeat: the interaction is different, but you keep agreeing that the s/s/c is the same: the thinking you. In life it interacts with the material world, and therefore needs the material brain to implement its thoughts. In death there is no material world, and so it does not need the brain. It is therefore absurd to argue that the s/s/c cannot THINK without a brain. It cannot give material form to its thinking without a brain.

DAVID: …the s/s/c interfaces in life in one way with the brain and in death in a different way with the afterlife. I believe it is a quantum mechanism which carries all of its intelligence in both circumstances but may be slightly different in how it operates in both places.

And I keep agreeing with you (if we accept dualism). Of course the interface is different: one is with the material world, and therefore requiring a material brain; the other is with an immaterial world, which does not require a brain. The s/s/c remains the same: the thinking you. Therefore you can’t argue that the s/s/c cannot think without a brain.

DAVID: The s/s/c is the software for the material computer-like brain. They interface and work together as I generate thought in life. I sit here feeling my self generates the thoughts under my control. You keep separating s/s/c and brain. You can't. I am still at the point of I think therefore I am.

Yes, the immaterial s/s/c works together with the material brain, but they have different functions, and you are the one who separates them in NDEs, which are your evidence for DUALISM. The s/s/c and material body are TWO, not one, whereas materialists believe in ONE: namely there is no such thing as an immaterial self.

Dhw: So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife even without his prefrontal cortex.
DAVID: Of course, You’ve gotten my concept.

And so when you tell us that intelligence “springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain” you’ve forgotten your concept.

DAVID: I am a double dualist, in life and differently in death, as I've explained. I AM NOT A MATERIALIST, but I understand the brain has parts with differing functions, and that must be excepted as factual. After all, the brain is wet material and is responsive to our use as s/s/c's with its plasticity.

Of course the brain has parts with differing functions. But once again: there is no dualism in death. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence that the soul thinks independently of the brain. If you insist that you cannot THINK without a material brain, you are a materialist. Currently you not a double dualist, you are a dualist/materialist.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 08, 2018, 17:26 (109 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: But we do know the areas of brain activity that control functions of the body! For example we know the motor area where every part of the body has its represented parts of the bodies muscles. […]

dhw: We know what does what in some areas, but we don’t know HOW! Explain to me HOW thought takes place, and HOW thought directs the materials of the brain.

That is the miraculous part of the consciousness God gave us. We know where issues are handled but not how thought is produced.


DAVID: In life we have to use the brain and its fairly specific areas. Brain, material; thoughts immaterial. Dualism in life. Dualism exists in two different circumstances.

dhw: Dualism does not exist in death! You don’t have a brain in death! It is the s/s/c, the THINKING you that exists in two different circumstances.

Correct. I mis-wrote it. s/s/c is in two circumstances.

DAVID: Once the cortex using the s/s/c conceives of a flint tip idea, which may involve complexification of the neuronal web and shrinkage of the cortex, implementation involves eye hand coordination with teaching the muscles and arm in hammering and shaping, a job which is controlled in the cerebellum. The cerebellum was enlarged to its present size back in Erectus times. No evidence for your theory.

dhw: So now you have the cortex responsible for conceptions and using the s/s/c! We know what implementation involves: namely, the brain giving material expression to the thought. So once again, please tell us what came up with the thought, and how instructions were passed on to the implementing sections of the brain. I have no idea why you think the cortex shrunk. On 6 March you told us: “I have shown you implementation occurs in areas that did not enlarge as the cortex did.” (My bold) Please clarify which areas of the pre-sapiens brain expanded and which did not.

The limbic area, the cerebellum, and the areas from the middle (motor strip) to the back where vision is handled were developed first. As pre-sapiens developed, the major growth in size was the frontal area, specifically with Erectus and later the pre-frontal cortex really exploded as we arrived.

DAVID: The s/s/c is the software for the material computer-like brain. They interface and work together as I generate thought in life. I sit here feeling my self generates the thoughts under my control. You keep separating s/s/c and brain. You can't. I am still at the point of I think therefore I am.

dhw: Yes, the immaterial s/s/c works together with the material brain, but they have different functions, and you are the one who separates them in NDEs, which are your evidence for DUALISM. The s/s/c and material body are TWO, not one, whereas materialists believe in ONE: namely there is no such thing as an immaterial self.

Yes


Dhw: So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife even without his prefrontal cortex.
DAVID: Of course, You’ve gotten my concept.

dhw: And so when you tell us that intelligence “springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain” you’ve forgotten your concept.

Not so. Only in life with a brain to use.


DAVID: I am a double dualist, in life and differently in death, as I've explained. I AM NOT A MATERIALIST, but I understand the brain has parts with differing functions, and that must be excepted as factual. After all, the brain is wet material and is responsive to our use as s/s/c's with its plasticity.

dhw: Of course the brain has parts with differing functions. But once again: there is no dualism in death. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence that the soul thinks independently of the brain. If you insist that you cannot THINK without a material brain, you are a materialist. Currently you not a double dualist, you are a dualist/materialist.

The NDE shows the s/s/c can function without a brain IN death, not in life.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Friday, March 09, 2018, 10:27 (108 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: But we do know the areas of brain activity that control functions of the body! For example we know the motor area where every part of the body has its represented parts of the bodies muscles. […]

dhw: We know what does what in some areas, but we don’t know HOW! Explain to me HOW thought takes place, and HOW thought directs the materials of the brain.

DAVID: That is the miraculous part of the consciousness God gave us. We know where issues are handled but not how thought is produced.

So I’m afraid your focus on where issues are handled is irrelevant to our discussion. According to dualists, the s/s/c and not the prefrontal cortex does the thinking, and so it makes no sense for a dualist to say that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the prefrontal cortex.


DAVID: Once the cortex using the s/s/c conceives of a flint tip idea, which may involve complexification of the neuronal web and shrinkage of the cortex, implementation involves eye hand coordination with teaching the muscles and arm in hammering and shaping, a job which is controlled in the cerebellum. The cerebellum was enlarged to its present size back in Erectus times. No evidence for your theory.

dhw: So now you have the cortex responsible for conceptions and using the s/s/c! We know what implementation involves: namely, the brain giving material expression to the thought. So once again, please tell us what came up with the thought, and how instructions were passed on to the implementing sections of the brain. I have no idea why you think the cortex shrunk. On 6 March you told us: “I have shown you implementation occurs in areas that did not enlarge as the cortex did.” (My bold) Please clarify which areas of the pre-sapiens brain expanded and which did not.

DAVID: The limbic area, the cerebellum, and the areas from the middle (motor strip) to the back where vision is handled were developed first. As pre-sapiens developed, the major growth in size was the frontal area, specifically with Erectus and later the pre-frontal cortex really exploded as we arrived.

Thank you. This fits in perfectly with the dualistic hypothesis that initially the concepts thought up by the pre-sapiens s/s/c caused expansion of the implementing areas of the brain, but as concepts became more complex, the pfc itself as the material link between immaterial thought and material implementation also had to expand. In both cases, the expansion can be interpreted dualistically as a RESPONSE to concepts, not as their source (= materialistically)

DAVID: You keep separating s/s/c and brain. You can't.

dhw: […] the immaterial s/s/c works together with the material brain, but they have different functions, and you are the one who separates them in NDEs, which are your evidence for DUALISM. The s/s/c and material body are TWO, not one, whereas materialists believe in ONE: namely there is no such thing as an immaterial self.
DAVID: Yes

Thank you. Dualists separate s/s/c and brain,using NDEs as evidence, which means that the s/s/c does not depend on the brain for its ability to THINK.

Dhw: So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife even without his prefrontal cortex.
DAVID: Of course, You’ve gotten my concept.
dhw: And so when you tell us that intelligence “springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain” you’ve forgotten your concept.
DAVID: Not so. Only in life with a brain to use.

If intelligence survives the death of the brain, it is absurd to say that it “springs from” the ability to use the brain. According to dualism, intelligence is what USES the brain, it is not the product of its use of the brain!

dhw: If you insist that you cannot THINK without a material brain, you are a materialist. Currently you not a double dualist, you are a dualist/materialist.

DAVID: The NDE shows the s/s/c can function without a brain IN death, not in life.

Once more: In life the s/s/c “functions” as the thinking self which uses the material self to cope with the material world. NDEs appear to show that the thinking self survives the death of the material self, and that is why it is used as evidence for DUALISM – namely that mind and body are TWO different things. Therefore it is a complete contradiction to argue that the s/s/c or mind cannot THINK without the body/material brain. It simply cannot translate its thoughts into materiality without the brain.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, March 09, 2018, 19:57 (108 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: That is the miraculous part of the consciousness God gave us. We know where issues are handled but not how thought is produced.

dhw: So I’m afraid your focus on where issues are handled is irrelevant to our discussion. According to dualists, the s/s/c and not the prefrontal cortex does the thinking, and so it makes no sense for a dualist to say that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the prefrontal cortex.

I agree, but in life the area where the s/s/c is focused is the frontal cortex. I am my s/s/c but can only work with it through the frontal cortex.

dhw: Please clarify which areas of the pre-sapiens brain expanded and which did not.[/i]

DAVID: The limbic area, the cerebellum, and the areas from the middle (motor strip) to the back where vision is handled were developed first. As pre-sapiens developed, the major growth in size was the frontal area, specifically with Erectus and later the pre-frontal cortex really exploded as we arrived.

dhw: Thank you. This fits in perfectly with the dualistic hypothesis that initially the concepts thought up by the pre-sapiens s/s/c caused expansion of the implementing areas of the brain, but as concepts became more complex, the pfc itself as the material link between immaterial thought and material implementation also had to expand. In both cases, the expansion can be interpreted dualistically as a RESPONSE to concepts, not as their source (= materialistically)

That may be your view, not mine. All animals have these early areas because they involve smell, vision, muscle control and coordination, etc. to conduct themselves in activity. No concepts. Early hominins are the same. When given a larger pfc then they can conceptualize and these other earlier parts of the brain don't have to change much. Artifacts prove that.


DAVID: You keep separating s/s/c and brain. You can't.

dhw: […] the immaterial s/s/c works together with the material brain, but they have different functions, and you are the one who separates them in NDEs, which are your evidence for DUALISM. The s/s/c and material body are TWO, not one, whereas materialists believe in ONE: namely there is no such thing as an immaterial self.
DAVID: Yes

dhw: Thank you. Dualists separate s/s/c and brain,using NDE's as evidence, which means that the s/s/c does not depend on the brain for its ability to THINK.

NDE's offer no evidence that new conceptualization occurs. The NDE'r observes and wishes to stay. I don't think the s/s/c in the afterlife invents new theories. It can only exist as it was in life.


Dhw: So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife even without his prefrontal cortex.
DAVID: Of course, You’ve gotten my concept.
dhw: And so when you tell us that intelligence “springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain” you’ve forgotten your concept.
DAVID: Not so. Only in life with a brain to use.

dhw: If intelligence survives the death of the brain, it is absurd to say that it “springs from” the ability to use the brain. According to dualism, intelligence is what USES the brain, it is not the product of its use of the brain!

If your point is true why do different brains in structure have different IQ's as in Einstein?


dhw: If you insist that you cannot THINK without a material brain, you are a materialist. Currently you not a double dualist, you are a dualist/materialist.

DAVID: The NDE shows the s/s/c can function without a brain IN death, not in life.

dhw: Once more: In life the s/s/c “functions” as the thinking self which uses the material self to cope with the material world. NDEs appear to show that the thinking self survives the death of the material self, and that is why it is used as evidence for DUALISM – namely that mind and body are TWO different things. Therefore it is a complete contradiction to argue that the s/s/c or mind cannot THINK without the body/material brain. It simply cannot translate its thoughts into materiality without the brain.

Not my view. I can only construct my personalty by working on my s/s/c with my brain. I think, therefore I am. Any s/s/c is not me unless I can reach it and construct it, using my brain. This is why consciousness is the HARD problem. Material brain, immaterial personality.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Saturday, March 10, 2018, 10:47 (107 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: According to dualists, the s/s/c and not the prefrontal cortex does the thinking, and so it makes no sense for a dualist to say that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the prefrontal cortex.

DAVID: I agree, but in life the area where the s/s/c is focused is the frontal cortex. I am my s/s/c but can only work with it through the frontal cortex.

Your immaterial self (s/s/c) does not work with your immaterial self (s/s/c)! In dualism your s/s/c “works” with the material world through the material brain. The s/s/c does the thinking and the material brain provides information and does the implementing, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing.

dhw: [The history of expansion] fits in perfectly with the dualistic hypothesis that initially the concepts thought up by the pre-sapiens s/s/c caused expansion of the implementing areas of the brain, but as concepts became more complex, the pfc itself as the material link between immaterial thought and material implementation also had to expand. In both cases, the expansion can be interpreted dualistically as a RESPONSE to concepts, not as their source (= materialistically)

DAVID: That may be your view, not mine. All animals have these early areas because they involve smell, vision, muscle control and coordination, etc. to conduct themselves in activity. No concepts. Early hominins are the same. When given a larger pfc then they can conceptualize and these other earlier parts of the brain don't have to change much. Artifacts prove that.

No concepts? How do you think our fellow animals first managed to build nests, devise protection against predators, hunt in packs, create all the natural wonders that we so much admire? All preprogrammed or dabbled? If so, you are saying that autonomous thought only came into existence when your God gave hominins a larger pfc. But if it is the pfc that is the source of autonomous thought, then you are a materialist, though you think you are a dualist. (Dualist view: the s/s/c thinks; the brain provides information and gives material form to concepts.)

dhw: Dualists separate s/s/c and brain, using NDE's as evidence, which means that the s/s/c does not depend on the brain for its ability to THINK.

DAVID: NDE's offer no evidence that new conceptualization occurs. The NDE'r observes and wishes to stay. I don't think the s/s/c in the afterlife invents new theories. It can only exist as it was in life.

Conceptualizing is only one aspect of the s/s/c's thinking capacity. The discussion concerns the source of thought, which covers conceptualization, emotion, memory, decision-making, judgement and every other immaterial aspect of the self/soul. But I too would very much doubt if during an immaterial afterlife there was any need for it to conceive of objects that require a brain to give them material form. Neither of us has the slightest idea what an immortal soul would think about for the rest of eternity, but that’s another subject. Our current subject is your materialistic claim that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the brain, even though it THINKS without a brain in the afterlife you believe in.

dhw: If intelligence survives the death of the brain, it is absurd to say that it “springs from” the ability to use the brain. According to dualism, intelligence is what USES the brain, it is not the product of its use of the brain!

DAVID: If your point is true why do different brains in structure have different IQ's as in Einstein?

Everybody’s brain is different. Everybody’s s/s/c is different. I myself do not know if the structure of the brain determines intelligence. If, however, you believe the s/s/c is the source of immaterial intelligence (and conceptualization and every other immaterial element of your self), then please answer your own question. You are the dualist. I would say your question implies evidence for materialism.

dhw: Once more: In life the s/s/c “functions” as the thinking self which uses the material self to cope with the material world. NDEs appear to show that the thinking self survives the death of the material self, and that is why it is used as evidence for DUALISM – namely that mind and body are TWO different things. Therefore it is a complete contradiction to argue that the s/s/c or mind cannot THINK without the body/material brain. It simply cannot translate its thoughts into materiality without the brain.

DAVID: Not my view. I can only construct my personalty by working on my s/s/c with my brain. I think, therefore I am. Any s/s/c is not me unless I can reach it and construct it, using my brain. This is why consciousness is the HARD problem. Material brain, immaterial personality.

This answer completely ignores the contradiction I have highlighted! Your personality IS your self/soul, and you ARE your personality. Yes, it uses the brain throughout its development, and yes indeed, consciousness is the hard problem but, as you keep agreeing and then trying to disagree, the s/s/c (c = consciousness) IS the thinking you, and remains the thinking you in brainless NDEs. And so once again: it makes no sense to claim that the s/s/c can’t think without a functioning brain. “I think, therefore I am” is the whole basis of Descartes’ separation of mind and body. He does not say, “I have a prefrontal cortex, and therefore I am.”

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 10, 2018, 18:53 (107 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: According to dualists, the s/s/c and not the prefrontal cortex does the thinking, and so it makes no sense for a dualist to say that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the prefrontal cortex.

DAVID: I agree, but in life the area where the s/s/c is focused is the frontal cortex. I am my s/s/c but can only work with it through the frontal cortex.

dhw: Your immaterial self (s/s/c) does not work with your immaterial self (s/s/c)! In dualism your s/s/c “works” with the material world through the material brain. The s/s/c does the thinking and the material brain provides information and does the implementing, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing.

Your definition of dualism in not mine which is why we keep arguing. In life the brain and the s/s/c are inextricably intertwined and work together. I shape my personality and the characteristics from the blank slate at birth using my living brain. The s/s/c IS blank at birth with limiting potentialities in genes and nurture. After age 25 the s/s/c's structure will guide further adaptations throughout life. The s/s/c in life and death at its basis a quantum mechanism, just as the universe (reality) does.


dhw: But if it is the pfc that is the source of autonomous thought, then you are a materialist, though you think you are a dualist. (Dualist view: the s/s/c thinks; the brain provides information and gives material form to concepts.)

dhw: Dualists separate s/s/c and brain, using NDE's as evidence, which means that the s/s/c does not depend on the brain for its ability to THINK.

This is your dualist concept, not mine. I have no philosophic training and have presented my own thinking: in life the brain is a computer and the s/s/c the software. In death the s/s/c is operating on its own and I doubt any new concepts, just communication with other souls:


DAVID: NDE's offer no evidence that new conceptualization occurs. The NDE'r observes and wishes to stay. I don't think the s/s/c in the afterlife invents new theories. It can only exist as it was in life.

Conceptualizing is only one aspect of the s/s/c's thinking capacity. The discussion concerns the source of thought, which covers conceptualization, emotion, memory, decision-making, judgement and every other immaterial aspect of the self/soul. But I too would very much doubt if during an immaterial afterlife there was any need for it to conceive of objects that require a brain to give them material form. ...Our current subject is your materialistic claim that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the brain, even though it THINKS without a brain in the afterlife you believe in.

Answered above. The s/s/c functions in two ways in the two different circumstances.


dhw: If intelligence survives the death of the brain, it is absurd to say that it “springs from” the ability to use the brain. According to dualism, intelligence is what USES the brain, it is not the product of its use of the brain!

DAVID: If your point is true why do different brains in structure have different IQ's as in Einstein?

dhw: Everybody’s brain is different. Everybody’s s/s/c is different. I myself do not know if the structure of the brain determines intelligence. If, however, you believe the s/s/c is the source of immaterial intelligence (and conceptualization and every other immaterial element of your self), then please answer your own question. You are the dualist. I would say your question implies evidence for materialism.

Einstein's unusual brain allowed his brilliance. The s/s/c can develop in conceptualization only as far as the complexity of his brain allows. The s/s/c concepts are immaterial but their complexity requires a material brain's capacity to allow more complex thought. Your brain and mine are not constructed for an IQ of 90.


dhw: Your personality IS your self/soul, and you ARE your personality. Yes, it uses the brain throughout its development, and yes indeed, consciousness is the hard problem but, as you keep agreeing and then trying to disagree, the s/s/c (c = consciousness) IS the thinking you, and remains the thinking you in brainless NDEs. And so once again: it makes no sense to claim that the s/s/c can’t think without a functioning brain. “I think, therefore I am” is the whole basis of Descartes’ separation of mind and body. He does not say, “I have a prefrontal cortex, and therefore I am.”

Descartes did not know current research. You are completely ignoring my concept of the duality. It does not fit your neat philosophic summary which dos not fit what NDE's tell us, presuming quantum mechanics is involved. The s/s/c must have two different mechanism in life and death. Nothing else fits. Part of the solution to the issue is understanding quantum reality. That is why I introduced quantum theory to these discussions years ago.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Sunday, March 11, 2018, 13:24 (106 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your definition of dualism is not mine which is why we keep arguing. In life the brain and the s/s/c are inextricably intertwined and work together.

There is no difference in our definitions! You keep agreeing that the s/s/c does the THINKING, is the same in life as in death, and in life works together with the brain, which gathers information and gives material expression to thoughts.

DAVID: I shape my personality and the characteristics from the blank slate at birth using my living brain. The s/s/c IS blank at birth with limiting potentialities in genes and nurture. After age 25 the s/s/c's structure will guide further adaptations throughout life. The s/s/c in life and death at its basis a quantum mechanism, just as the universe (reality) does.

The blank slate is a separate argument, but genes are not a blank slate. I have no idea what the “quantum mechanism” is, but since you say the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, it clearly makes no difference to the argument. In life and in death, the “quantum mechanism” of the s/s/c is the THINKING mechanism.

DAVID: …in life the brain is a computer and the s/s/c the software. In death the s/s/c is operating on its own and I doubt any new concepts, just communication with other souls…

In death I also doubt the need for concepts concerning materials. We don’t know what an immortal soul would think about, if such a thing exists, but NDEs indicate the ability to remember (recognition), feel emotion (awe, fear, love), try to take decisions (“I wanner stay here!”) etc. Conceptualization is not the only kind of “thought”. That is why NDEs are seen as evidence for an immaterial THINKING s/s/c, which in life works together with a material brain/body - the definition of dualism with which you keep agreeing and disagreeing.

Dhw: Our current subject is your materialistic claim that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the brain, even though it THINKS without a brain in the afterlife you believe in.
DAVID: Answered above. The s/s/c functions in two ways in the two different circumstances.

Yes,different circumstances, but what “two ways”? You agree that the s/s/c is the SAME in life as in death. Of course it will think about different things in different circumstances, but in both sets of circumstances, it is the THINKING mechanism.

Dhw: “I think, therefore I am” is the whole basis of Descartes’ separation of mind and body. He does not say, “I have a prefrontal cortex, and therefore I am.”
DAVID: Descartes did not know current research. You are completely ignoring my concept of the duality. It does not fit your neat philosophic summary which dos not fit what NDE's tell us, presuming quantum mechanics is involved. The s/s/c must have two different mechanisms in life and death. Nothing else fits. Part of the solution to the issue is understanding quantum reality. That is why I introduced quantum theory to these discussions years ago.

Since nobody understands quantum reality, this is not very helpful. And since you say the s/s/c in life and death is a “quantum mechanism” and the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, I don’t see why you think the mechanisms must be different. Thinking is thinking: the same mechanism applied to two different sets of circumstances (as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing). If current research shows Descartes was wrong, and mind and body are not TWO, then current research favours materialism.

DAVID: If your point is true why do different brains in structure have different IQ's as in Einstein?
dhw: If [..] you believe the s/s/c is the source of immaterial intelligence (and conceptualization and every other immaterial element of your self), then please answer your own question. You are the dualist. I would say your question implies evidence for materialism.
DAVID: Einstein's unusual brain allowed his brilliance.

Or his brilliance resulted in his unusual brain (dualism).
I’ve just read a review in The Times of a book called Inventing Ourselves, The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a professor of cognitive neuroscience. She confirms everything you have written about the teenage brain, development “levelling off” at 25, risk-taking etc., and the self is “a complex interaction – which Blakemore is candid enough to concede nobody fully understands – between chemistry, psychology and circumstance.” However, the following passage has major implications regarding Einstein, and the expansion of the pre-sapiens brain:

We do know, however, that the brain is shaped by circumstance. Remarkably, the hippocampus, the warehouse of memory in the brain, is significantly larger in drivers of London black cabs than it is in men of comparable age who do other jobs. All that knowledge of the London landmarks makes their brains go bigger. (My bold) The same is true for musicians, whose auditory cortex is, on average, a full 25% larger than it is in people who play no instrument.” My bold points to the fact that they are not born with bigger bits, but exertion CAUSES the expansion. By extension, then, Einstein’s bigger pfc would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out his theories), just as the expansion of the pre-sapiens brain would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out how to implement the concept of the spear). The bigger brain did not precede the thoughts.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 11, 2018, 19:50 (106 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Sunday, March 11, 2018, 19:59

DAVID: Your definition of dualism is not mine which is why we keep arguing. In life the brain and the s/s/c are inextricably intertwined and work together.

dhw: There is no difference in our definitions! You keep agreeing that the s/s/c does the THINKING, is the same in life as in death, and in life works together with the brain, which gathers information and gives material expression to thoughts.

I have not said the s/s/c is the same in life and death. See below.


DAVID: I shape my personality and the characteristics from the blank slate at birth using my living brain. The s/s/c IS blank at birth with limiting potentialities in genes and nurture. After age 25 the s/s/c's structure will guide further adaptations throughout life. The s/s/c in life and death at its basis a quantum mechanism, just as the universe (reality) does.

dhw: The blank slate is a separate argument, but genes are not a blank slate. I have no idea what the “quantum mechanism” is, but since you say the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, it clearly makes no difference to the argument. In life and in death, the “quantum mechanism” of the s/s/c is the THINKING mechanism.

But its interface in life and death is different, and i suspect the mechanism differs also to fit.


DAVID: …in life the brain is a computer and the s/s/c the software. In death the s/s/c is operating on its own and I doubt any new concepts, just communication with other souls…

dhw: In death I also doubt the need for concepts concerning materials. We don’t know what an immortal soul would think about, if such a thing exists, but NDEs indicate the ability to remember (recognition), feel emotion (awe, fear, love), try to take decisions.

Dhw: Our current subject is your materialistic claim that the s/s/c can’t THINK without the brain, even though it THINKS without a brain in the afterlife you believe in.
DAVID: Answered above. The s/s/c functions in two ways in the two different circumstances.

dhw: Yes,different circumstances, but what “two ways”? You agree that the s/s/c is the SAME in life as in death. Of course it will think about different things in different circumstances, but in both sets of circumstances, it is the THINKING mechanism.

Yes, thinking, but in two different realms.

David: The s/s/c must have two different mechanisms in life and death. Nothing else fits. Part of the solution to the issue is understanding quantum reality. That is why I introduced quantum theory to these discussions years ago.[/i]

dhw: Since nobody understands quantum reality, this is not very helpful. And since you say the s/s/c in life and death is a “quantum mechanism” and the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, I don’t see why you think the mechanisms must be different. Thinking is thinking: the same mechanism applied to two different sets of circumstances (as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing).

See above. Two realms, two interfaces.

dhw:If current research shows Descartes was wrong, and mind and body are not TWO, then current research favours materialism.

Of course current scientific study is materialistic.

DAVID: Einstein's unusual brain allowed his brilliance.

dhw: Or his brilliance resulted in his unusual brain (dualism).
I’ve just read a review in The Times of a book called Inventing Ourselves, The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, a professor of cognitive neuroscience. She confirms everything you have written about the teenage brain, development “levelling off” at 25, risk-taking etc., and the self is “a complex interaction – which Blakemore is candid enough to concede nobody fully understands – between chemistry, psychology and circumstance.” However, the following passage has major implications regarding Einstein, and the expansion of the pre-sapiens brain:

We do know, however, that the brain is shaped by circumstance. Remarkably, the hippocampus, the warehouse of memory in the brain, is significantly larger in drivers of London black cabs than it is in men of comparable age who do other jobs. All that knowledge of the London landmarks makes their brains go bigger. (My bold) The same is true for musicians, whose auditory cortex is, on average, a full 25% larger than it is in people who play no instrument.” My bold points to the fact that they are not born with bigger bits, but exertion CAUSES the expansion. By extension, then, Einstein’s bigger pfc would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out his theories), just as the expansion of the pre-sapiens brain would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out how to implement the concept of the spear). The bigger brain did not precede the thoughts.

She is correct in her description about cabbies. I've read the study in the past. As a storage area it had to enlarge. You are comparing her memory areas to cortical thinking conceptual areas, which is where Einstein genius is.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Monday, March 12, 2018, 11:15 (105 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your definition of dualism is not mine which is why we keep arguing. In life the brain and the s/s/c are inextricably intertwined and work together.
dhw: There is no difference in our definitions! You keep agreeing that the s/s/c does the THINKING, is the same in life as in death, and in life works together with the brain, which gathers information and gives material expression to thoughts.
DAVID: I have not said the s/s/c is the same in life and death. See below.

We have been having this same discussion for months, and so on March 2 I tried to pin your down:
dhw: If NDEs are to be believed, the s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?
David: Yes.

dhw: I have no idea what the “quantum mechanism” is, but since you say the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, it clearly makes no difference to the argument. In life and in death, the “quantum mechanism” of the s/s/c is the THINKING mechanism.
DAVID: But its interface in life and death is different, and i suspect the mechanism differs also to fit.

Of course the interface with an immaterial world will be different from the interface with a material world, and of course you will no longer have material means of expression and communication. There is no longer a brain mechanism! That is why dualists believe that there is an immaterial s/s/c that works with the brain in life, but the same s/s/c separates from the brain in death, and that is the THINKING you.

DAVID: Yes, thinking, but in two different realms.

That is what I keep telling you. The SAME THINKING s/s/c in two different circumstances, or realms if you prefer. And so a dualist cannot insist that thought is impossible without a prefrontal cortex.

dhw (quoting and commenting) “We do know, however, that the brain is shaped by circumstance. Remarkably, the hippocampus, the warehouse of memory in the brain, is significantly larger in drivers of London black cabs than it is in men of comparable age who do other jobs. All that knowledge of the London landmarks makes their brains go bigger. (My bold) The same is true for musicians, whose auditory cortex is, on average, a full 25% larger than it is in people who play no instrument.” My bold points to the fact that they are not born with bigger bits, but exertion CAUSES the expansion. By extension, then, Einstein’s bigger pfc would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out his theories), just as the expansion of the pre-sapiens brain would have been CAUSED by exertion (working out how to implement the concept of the spear). The bigger brain did not precede the thoughts.

DAVID: She is correct in her description about cabbies. I've read the study in the past. As a storage area it had to enlarge. You are comparing her memory areas to cortical thinking conceptual areas, which is where Einstein genius is.

Is it? March 7:
dhw: So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife without his prefrontal cortex.
DAVID: Of course. You’ve gotten my concept.

So your concept is that Einstein could not be a genius without his pfc (because according to you intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain), but he can be a genius without his pfc provided he hasn’t got a pfc.

The point of the cabby and musician references is to show that thought enlarges the brain, and the brain does not enlarge in anticipation of thought. Since this applies to the hippocampus and to the auditory cortex, why should it not apply to other areas of the brain as well, such as thought expanding Einstein’s pfc and the brain of pre-sapiens?

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Monday, March 12, 2018, 19:29 (105 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Monday, March 12, 2018, 20:06


dhw: I have no idea what the “quantum mechanism” is, but since you say the s/s/c is the same in life as in death, it clearly makes no difference to the argument. In life and in death, the “quantum mechanism” of the s/s/c is the THINKING mechanism.
DAVID: But its interface in life and death is different, and i suspect the mechanism differs also to fit.

dhw: Of course the interface with an immaterial world will be different from the interface with a material world, and of course you will no longer have material means of expression and communication. There is no longer a brain mechanism! That is why dualists believe that there is an immaterial s/s/c that works with the brain in life, but the same s/s/c separates from the brain in death, and that is the THINKING you.

I agree.


DAVID: Yes, thinking, but in two different realms.

dhw: That is what I keep telling you. The SAME THINKING s/s/c in two different circumstances, or realms if you prefer. And so a dualist cannot insist that thought is impossible without a prefrontal cortex.

If you accept the two realms, a person cannot think in life unless his cortex is functioning. That is the only point I have been making


DAVID: She is correct in her description about cabbies. I've read the study in the past. As a storage area it had to enlarge. You are comparing her memory areas to cortical thinking conceptual areas, which is where Einstein genius is.

Is it? March 7:
dhw: So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife without his prefrontal cortex.
DAVID: Of course. You’ve gotten my concept.

dhw: So your concept is that Einstein could not be a genius without his pfc (because according to you intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain), but he can be a genius without his pfc provided he hasn’t got a pfc.

The point of the cabby and musician references is to show that thought enlarges the brain, and the brain does not enlarge in anticipation of thought. Since this applies to the hippocampus and to the auditory cortex, why should it not apply to other areas of the brain as well, such as thought expanding Einstein’s pfc and the brain of pre-sapiens?

The hippocampus is a storage area for memory and the auditory area also for the musician. Einstein was an amazing genius with a huge concept area, that I am convinced he was born to develop and allow his concepts to appear. His hat size was not extraordinary. The brain is very soft fatty material and can give room elsewhere which would allow for his large areas without pressing on the skull. Brains with very high IQ are different.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 12:42 (104 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Of course the interface with an immaterial world will be different from the interface with a material world, and of course you will no longer have material means of expression and communication. There is no longer a brain mechanism! That is why dualists believe that there is an immaterial s/s/c that works with the brain in life, but the same s/s/c separates from the brain in death, and that is the THINKING you.
DAVID: I agree.

Thank you. No doubt I will be reminding you again of your agreement!

DAVID: Yes, thinking, but in two different realms.
dhw: That is what I keep telling you. The SAME THINKING s/s/c in two different circumstances, or realms if you prefer. And so a dualist cannot insist that thought is impossible without a prefrontal cortex.
DAVID: If you accept the two realms, a person cannot think in life unless his cortex is functioning. That is the only point I have been making.

You are simply glossing over the distinction that dualism makes between the mind and the body IN LIFE. (There is no dualism in death.) The whole point of NDEs as evidence is that even though the person’s cortex is NOT functioning, the person is still a thinking being, and therefore the soul/self/consciousness does NOT depend on the brain. The point you have been making, however, is that immaterial pre-sapiens minds could not have had new ideas until their material brains grew bigger, and immaterial intelligence “springs from” the immaterial mind being able to use the brain. Even now you are still insisting that Einstein’s intelligence was the RESULT of his having a bigger cortex. All these points support materialism – and they may be correct, but you claim to be a dualist!

DAVID: She is correct in her description about cabbies. I've read the study in the past. As a storage area it had to enlarge. You are comparing her memory areas to cortical thinking conceptual areas, which is where Einstein genius is.

dhw: Is it? March 7:
So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife without his prefrontal cortex.

DAVID: Of course. You’ve gotten my concept.

dhw: So your concept is that Einstein could not be a genius without his pfc (because according to you intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain), but he can be a genius without his pfc provided he hasn’t got a pfc.
The point of the cabby and musician references is to show that thought enlarges the brain, and the brain does not enlarge in anticipation of thought. Since this applies to the hippocampus and to the auditory cortex, why should it not apply to other areas of the brain as well, such as thought expanding Einstein’s pfc and the brain of pre-sapiens?

DAVID: The hippocampus is a storage area for memory and the auditory area also for the musician. Einstein was an amazing genius with a huge concept area, that I am convinced he was born to develop and allow his concepts to appear. His hat size was not extraordinary. The brain is very soft fatty material and can give room elsewhere which would allow for his large areas without pressing on the skull. Brains with very high IQ are different.

All brains are different. We know there is enough room inside the skull for areas of the brain to expand. Cab drivers’ immaterial ways of thinking expand their material hippocampus; musicians’ immaterial ways of thinking expand their material auditory cortex. But apparently Einstein’s immaterial ways of thinking depended on his already having had an expanded material prefrontal cortex.

xxxxxx

For a dualist the will would be an integral part of the immaterial self, as opposed to the material brain. Under “Free will….”:

QUOTE: "'To be clear, we're not taking a position on free will," Dubljevic says. "We're just saying neuroscience hasn't definitively proven anything one way or the other.'"

DAVID’s comment: So free will may exist.

Science is only equipped to study the material world, and personally I would regard it as sheer arrogance to assume that the material world as we know it now is all that exists. Hence the centuries-old debate between dualism and materialism, which extends all the way through to the possible existence of a God. However, please note that anyone who insists that thought is impossible without a functioning prefrontal cortex is siding with the materialists.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 15:34 (104 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If you accept the two realms, a person cannot think in life unless his cortex is functioning. That is the only point I have been making.

dhw: You are simply glossing over the distinction that dualism makes between the mind and the body IN LIFE. (There is no dualism in death.) The whole point of NDEs as evidence is that even though the person’s cortex is NOT functioning, the person is still a thinking being, and therefore the soul/self/consciousness does NOT depend on the brain. The point you have been making, however, is that immaterial pre-sapiens minds could not have had new ideas until their material brains grew bigger, and immaterial intelligence “springs from” the immaterial mind being able to use the brain. Even now you are still insisting that Einstein’s intelligence was the RESULT of his having a bigger cortex. All these points support materialism – and they may be correct, but you claim to be a dualist!

I'm not glossing over anything. What happens in life is different than the circumstance in death. In life we must use our brain to reach our s/s/c, nothing more. And only our complex brain has allowed the advances humans have created.


DAVID: She is correct in her description about cabbies. I've read the study in the past. As a storage area it had to enlarge. You are comparing her memory areas to cortical thinking conceptual areas, which is where Einstein genius is.

dhw: Is it? March 7:
So Einstein would still be a genius in an afterlife without his prefrontal cortex.

DAVID: Of course. You’ve gotten my concept.

dhw: So your concept is that Einstein could not be a genius without his pfc (because according to you intelligence springs from the s/s/c being able to use an advanced brain), but he can be a genius without his pfc provided he hasn’t got a pfc.
The point of the cabby and musician references is to show that thought enlarges the brain, and the brain does not enlarge in anticipation of thought. Since this applies to the hippocampus and to the auditory cortex, why should it not apply to other areas of the brain as well, such as thought expanding Einstein’s pfc and the brain of pre-sapiens?

DAVID: The hippocampus is a storage area for memory and the auditory area also for the musician. Einstein was an amazing genius with a huge concept area, that I am convinced he was born to develop and allow his concepts to appear. His hat size was not extraordinary. The brain is very soft fatty material and can give room elsewhere which would allow for his large areas without pressing on the skull. Brains with very high IQ are different.

dhw: All brains are different. We know there is enough room inside the skull for areas of the brain to expand. Cab drivers’ immaterial ways of thinking expand their material hippocampus; musicians’ immaterial ways of thinking expand their material auditory cortex. But apparently Einstein’s immaterial ways of thinking depended on his already having had an expanded material prefrontal cortex.

No need for an expansion of the skull opposite to your theory that forceful concepts create bigger skulls.


xxxxxx

For a dualist the will would be an integral part of the immaterial self, as opposed to the material brain. Under “Free will….”:

QUOTE: "'To be clear, we're not taking a position on free will," Dubljevic says. "We're just saying neuroscience hasn't definitively proven anything one way or the other.'"

DAVID’s comment: So free will may exist.

dhw: Science is only equipped to study the material world, and personally I would regard it as sheer arrogance to assume that the material world as we know it now is all that exists. Hence the centuries-old debate between dualism and materialism, which extends all the way through to the possible existence of a God. However, please note that anyone who insists that thought is impossible without a functioning prefrontal cortex is siding with the materialists.

Yes, in life. Death is in a different set of circumstances.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 11:02 (103 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If you accept the two realms, a person cannot think in life unless his cortex is functioning. That is the only point I have been making.

dhw: You are simply glossing over the distinction that dualism makes between the mind and the body IN LIFE. (There is no dualism in death.) The whole point of NDEs as evidence is that even though the person’s cortex is NOT functioning, the person is still a thinking being, and therefore the soul/self/consciousness does NOT depend on the brain. The point you have been making, however, is that immaterial pre-sapiens minds could not have had new ideas until their material brains grew bigger, and immaterial intelligence “springs from” the immaterial mind being able to use the brain. Even now you are still insisting that Einstein’s intelligence was the RESULT of his having a bigger cortex. All these points support materialism – and they may be correct, but you claim to be a dualist!

DAVID: I'm not glossing over anything. What happens in life is different than the circumstance in death. In life we must use our brain to reach our s/s/c, nothing more. And only our complex brain has allowed the advances humans have created.

Once more: we ARE our s/s/c. “The s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?” You replied yes. “Dualists believe that there is an immaterial s/s/c that works with the brain in life, but the same s/s/c separates from the brain in death, and that is the THINKING you.” You responded “I agree”. Of course what happens in life is different from what happens in death, but you agree that your dualism means the s/s/c is what does the THINKING. And of course our complex brain has allowed the advances in the material world. We would not be able to give material expression/implementation to the thoughts of the THINKING s/s/c without our material brains and bodies!

dhw: All brains are different. We know there is enough room inside the skull for areas of the brain to expand. Cab drivers’ immaterial ways of thinking expand their material hippocampus; musicians’ immaterial ways of thinking expand their material auditory cortex. But apparently Einstein’s immaterial ways of thinking depended on his already having had an expanded material prefrontal cortex.

DAVID: No need for an expansion of the skull opposite to your theory that forceful concepts create bigger skulls.

There is obviously still room in the sapiens skull for brain areas to expand! Expansion of the pre-sapiens skull is an established scientific fact. You claim God did it because pre-sapiens couldn’t have come up with new thoughts until he had a bigger brain. If the thoughts of cab drivers and musicians cause expansion to certain areas of the brain, it is logical to deduce that thoughts may have caused expansion to pre-sapiens brains, and the time came when the skull was not large enough to contain the expanding brain, and so the skull expanded.

Dhw: …please note that anyone who insists that thought is impossible without a functioning prefrontal cortex is siding with the materialists.

DAVID: Yes, in life. Death is in a different set of circumstances.

Are you now saying that in life the s/s/c can’t THINK without the pfc, even though you agree that the s/s/c plays the same THINKING role in life as in death? Please clarify what you are saying “yes” to here.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 14:47 (103 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I'm not glossing over anything. What happens in life is different than the circumstance in death. In life we must use our brain to reach our s/s/c, nothing more. And only our complex brain has allowed the advances humans have created.

dhw: Once more: we ARE our s/s/c. “The s/s/c plays the same role in life and in death: it is the thinking, experiencing, remembering, decision-making YOU. Yes or no?” You replied yes. “Dualists believe that there is an immaterial s/s/c that works with the brain in life, but the same s/s/c separates from the brain in death, and that is the THINKING you.” You responded “I agree”. Of course what happens in life is different from what happens in death, but you agree that your dualism means the s/s/c is what does the THINKING. And of course our complex brain has allowed the advances in the material world. We would not be able to give material expression/implementation to the thoughts of the THINKING s/s/c without our material brains and bodies!

We still differ: In life I cannot reach my s/s/c without using my brain. In life my s/s/c is not floating around separate from my brain as you constantly imply, but firmly interfaced with it. I cannot enter new concepts or change my immaterial personality without using my brain to think. That is not just external implementation but actual internal modification of my s/s/c by my own free will.


DAVID: No need for an expansion of the skull opposite to your theory that forceful concepts create bigger skulls.

dhw: There is obviously still room in the sapiens skull for brain areas to expand! Expansion of the pre-sapiens skull is an established scientific fact. You claim God did it because pre-sapiens couldn’t have come up with new thoughts until he had a bigger brain. If the thoughts of cab drivers and musicians cause expansion to certain areas of the brain, it is logical to deduce that thoughts may have caused expansion to pre-sapiens brains, and the time came when the skull was not large enough to contain the expanding brain, and so the skull expanded.

The changes in cabby and musician brains is in memory areas which are then used by the pre-frontal areas. No need for expansion as you have just pointed out. Your 'logical' explanation does not fit 200 cc sudden jumps in frontal size between advancing species.


Dhw: …please note that anyone who insists that thought is impossible without a functioning prefrontal cortex is siding with the materialists.

DAVID: Yes, in life. Death is in a different set of circumstances.

dhw: Are you now saying that in life the s/s/c can’t THINK without the pfc, even though you agree that the s/s/c plays the same THINKING role in life as in death? Please clarify what you are saying “yes” to here.

In life the s/s/c does not think without using the brain.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Thursday, March 15, 2018, 11:07 (102 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We still differ: In life I cannot reach my s/s/c without using my brain. In life my s/s/c is not floating around separate from my brain as you constantly imply, but firmly interfaced with it. I cannot enter new concepts or change my immaterial personality without using my brain to think. That is not just external implementation but actual internal modification of my s/s/c by my own free will.

You continue to ignore your own dualistic belief that the s/s/c is the THINKING you. Of course it doesn’t “float around” separately in life. Dualists believe that it only floats around in NDEs and in death, and of course in material life it interfaces with the material you. But your thinking self does not use your brain in order to THINK. It uses your brain in order to gather information that it thinks about, and to give material expression/ implementation to its thoughts. They work together, but the whole point of dualism is that although they are interdependent, interactive, interwoven in life, the s/s/c is the THINKING part of the mechanism. Otherwise, in death, “you” would not and could not be you.

DAVID: The changes in cabby and musician brains is in memory areas which are then used by the pre-frontal areas. No need for expansion as you have just pointed out. Your 'logical' explanation does not fit 200 cc sudden jumps in frontal size between advancing species.

But those areas of the brain HAVE expanded. We come back to Einstein. If memory and auditory sections of the brain expand with use, why can’t you accept the possibility that the genius Einstein’s thinking expanded the section of his brain connected with theoretical thinking? Immaterial concepts are also theoretical thinking until they are given material form. So why should the pre-sapiens brain not expand with the effort of conceiving and implementing its concepts? But in their case, unlike Einstein’s, the skull was too small to contain the necessary expansion.

DAVID: In life the s/s/c does not think without using the brain.

I have no idea how dualism works. I only know that dualists including yourself believe that the s/s/c is the THINKING you, and yes indeed, it USES the brain, but the brain does not DO the thinking. You continually forget the division of function that is the whole point of dualism. But if you wish to argue that the immaterial self/soul cannot live a material life in the material world without its materials, then nobody is going to argue.
xxxxxxx
DAVID’s comment (under “Brain complexity”): The brain is compartmentalized into functional regions, but is fully interconnected. we recognize we are thirsty in the frontal cortex.

This ties in with the comment I made yesterday:
I have always been reluctant to accept the rigid pigeon-holing of brain areas, especially in relation to cognition. My own view is that the brain is a community of cells cooperating with one another and with the other cell communities of the body. Whether the material communities produce the personality/self/soul/consciousness (materialistic collective thinking) or there is an immaterial s/s/c that uses and directs the material communities is the core of the debate between materialists and dualists.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 15, 2018, 14:45 (102 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We still differ: In life I cannot reach my s/s/c without using my brain. In life my s/s/c is not floating around separate from my brain as you constantly imply, but firmly interfaced with it. I cannot enter new concepts or change my immaterial personality without using my brain to think. That is not just external implementation but actual internal modification of my s/s/c by my own free will.

dhw: You continue to ignore your own dualistic belief that the s/s/c is the THINKING you. Of course it doesn’t “float around” separately in life. Dualists believe that it only floats around in NDEs and in death, and of course in material life it interfaces with the material you. But your thinking self does not use your brain in order to THINK. It uses your brain in order to gather information that it thinks about, and to give material expression/ implementation to its thoughts. They work together, but the whole point of dualism is that although they are interdependent, interactive, interwoven in life, the s/s/c is the THINKING part of the mechanism. Otherwise, in death, “you” would not and could not be you.

Because you choose to ignore my hardware/software analogy we keep discussing past each other. I do not ignore that the s/s/c is me, my developed personality from the blank slate at birth. But I also believe my consciousness is part of God's universal consciousness which is at the quantum level of reality, and is a quantum mechanism given to my material brain as it is developed in utero. I don't expect you to accept any of this, but as I mull over it, it makes sense to me.

DAVID: The changes in cabby and musician brains is in memory areas which are then used by the pre-frontal areas. No need for expansion as you have just pointed out. Your 'logical' explanation does not fit 200 cc sudden jumps in frontal size between advancing species.


dhw: But those areas of the brain HAVE expanded. We come back to Einstein. If memory and auditory sections of the brain expand with use, why can’t you accept the possibility that the genius Einstein’s thinking expanded the section of his brain connected with theoretical thinking? Immaterial concepts are also theoretical thinking until they are given material form. So why should the pre-sapiens brain not expand with the effort of conceiving and implementing its concepts? But in their case, unlike Einstein’s, the skull was too small to contain the necessary expansion.

You don't like the idea of compartmentalizing areas of the brain, but it is what science has found. The cabbies and musicians enlarged memory areas enlarging like a library would as it adds books. Einstein's area is frontal conceptual thinking region. I see you comparing apples and oranges.


DAVID: In life the s/s/c does not think without using the brain.

dhw: I have no idea how dualism works. I only know that dualists including yourself believe that the s/s/c is the THINKING you, and yes indeed, it USES the brain, but the brain does not DO the thinking. You continually forget the division of function that is the whole point of dualism. But if you wish to argue that the immaterial self/soul cannot live a material life in the material world without its materials, then nobody is going to argue.

Please remember my hardware/software analogy. I don't continually forget!

xxxxxxx

DAVID’s comment (under “Brain complexity”): The brain is compartmentalized into functional regions, but is fully interconnected. we recognize we are thirsty in the frontal cortex.

dhw: This ties in with the comment I made yesterday:
I have always been reluctant to accept the rigid pigeon-holing of brain areas, especially in relation to cognition. My own view is that the brain is a community of cells cooperating with one another and with the other cell communities of the body. Whether the material communities produce the personality/self/soul/consciousness (materialistic collective thinking) or there is an immaterial s/s/c that uses and directs the material communities is the core of the debate between materialists and dualists.

The brain has parts, but they are fully coordinated and work completely together seamlessly.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Friday, March 16, 2018, 10:15 (101 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You continue to ignore your own dualistic belief that the s/s/c is the THINKING you. Of course it doesn’t “float around” separately in life. Dualists believe that it only floats around in NDEs and in death, and of course in material life it interfaces with the material you. But your thinking self does not use your brain in order to THINK. It uses your brain in order to gather information that it thinks about, and to give material expression/ implementation to its thoughts. They work together, but the whole point of dualism is that although they are interdependent, interactive, interwoven in life, the s/s/c is the THINKING part of the mechanism. Otherwise, in death, “you” would not and could not be you.

DAVID: Because you choose to ignore my hardware/software analogy we keep discussing past each other.

I accept the analogy in so far as the software is the immaterial self/soul which does the thinking and which uses the hardware (the material brain) to do the implementing. It is you who refuse to accept the distinction.

DAVID: I do not ignore that the s/s/c is me, my developed personality from the blank slate at birth. But I also believe my consciousness is part of God's universal consciousness which is at the quantum level of reality, and is a quantum mechanism given to my material brain as it is developed in utero. I don't expect you to accept any of this, but as I mull over it, it makes sense to me.

Wearing my theist hat, I have no problem with any of that (apart from the unnecessary reiteration of “blank slate”). My problem is your continued insistence that the quantum mechanism, which is part of God’s universal consciousness given to your material brain, is incapable of thinking without that material brain, even though you believe that it is the SAME THINKING YOU which survives the death of the brain. Once more: You continue to ignore your own analogy: the immaterial soul (software) does the thinking, and the hardware (material brain) does the implementing. When life ends, the immaterial soul separates from the material self and enters a different world. You keep agreeing that this is your opinion, but then you withdraw your agreement because you want your God to expand the material brain of pre-sapiens before our ancestors can think their immaterial new thoughts.

DAVID: You don't like the idea of compartmentalizing areas of the brain, but it is what science has found. The cabbies and musicians enlarged memory areas enlarging like a library would as it adds books. Einstein's area is frontal conceptual thinking region. I see you comparing apples and oranges.

My reluctance to compartmentalize is that I simply don’t know the extent to which cognition is confined to the pfc. The point I am making is that if different activities CAUSE different areas of the brain to expand, I see no reason why you should assume that by contrast the pfc had to expand BEFORE Einstein and pre-sapiens were able to think their new thoughts. So long as you insist that the expansion of the brain had to PRECEDE new thoughts, you contradict your own dualistic belief that in life there is a thinking soul (software) and an implementing body (hardware).
xxxxxxx
dhw: I have always been reluctant to accept the rigid pigeon-holing of brain areas, especially in relation to cognition. My own view is that the brain is a community of cells cooperating with one another and with the other cell communities of the body. Whether the material communities produce the personality/self/soul/consciousness (materialistic collective thinking) or there is an immaterial s/s/c that uses and directs the material communities is the core of the debate between materialists and dualists.

DAVID: The brain has parts, but they are fully coordinated and work completely together seamlessly.

We agree.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, March 16, 2018, 18:39 (101 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You continue to ignore your own dualistic belief that the s/s/c is the THINKING you. Of course it doesn’t “float around” separately in life. Dualists believe that it only floats around in NDEs and in death, and of course in material life it interfaces with the material you. But your thinking self does not use your brain in order to THINK. It uses your brain in order to gather information that it thinks about, and to give material expression/ implementation to its thoughts. They work together, but the whole point of dualism is that although they are interdependent, interactive, interwoven in life, the s/s/c is the THINKING part of the mechanism. Otherwise, in death, “you” would not and could not be you.

DAVID: Because you choose to ignore my hardware/software analogy we keep discussing past each other.

dhw: I accept the analogy in so far as the software is the immaterial self/soul which does the thinking and which uses the hardware (the material brain) to do the implementing. It is you who refuse to accept the distinction.

You refuse to see the difference in life and death. Again, I believe the s/s/c is changed in quantum mechanism in life and in death, but all it knows remains intact.


DAVID: I do not ignore that the s/s/c is me, my developed personality from the blank slate at birth. But I also believe my consciousness is part of God's universal consciousness which is at the quantum level of reality, and is a quantum mechanism given to my material brain as it is developed in utero. I don't expect you to accept any of this, but as I mull over it, it makes sense to me.

dhw: Wearing my theist hat, I have no problem with any of that (apart from the unnecessary reiteration of “blank slate”). My problem is your continued insistence that the quantum mechanism, which is part of God’s universal consciousness given to your material brain, is incapable of thinking without that material brain, even though you believe that it is the SAME THINKING YOU which survives the death of the brain. Once more: You continue to ignore your own analogy: the immaterial soul (software) does the thinking, and the hardware (material brain) does the implementing. When life ends, the immaterial soul separates from the material self and enters a different world. You keep agreeing that this is your opinion, but then you withdraw your agreement because you want your God to expand the material brain of pre-sapiens before our ancestors can think their immaterial new thoughts.

Answered above.


DAVID: You don't like the idea of compartmentalizing areas of the brain, but it is what science has found. The cabbies and musicians enlarged memory areas enlarging like a library would as it adds books. Einstein's area is frontal conceptual thinking region. I see you comparing apples and oranges.

dhw: My reluctance to compartmentalize is that I simply don’t know the extent to which cognition is confined to the pfc. The point I am making is that if different activities CAUSE different areas of the brain to expand, I see no reason why you should assume that by contrast the pfc had to expand BEFORE Einstein and pre-sapiens were able to think their new thoughts. So long as you insist that the expansion of the brain had to PRECEDE new thoughts, you contradict your own dualistic belief that in life there is a thinking soul (software) and an implementing body (hardware).

If you accept my theory about the s/s/c being slightly different in mechanism in life and death, there is no contradiction. You have refused to do that, for no good reason that I can see. The s/s/c may not have a monolithic unchanged design in the two realms. As far as complex thought is concerned, only more complex computer hardware can do more complex operations. In life the s/s/c MUST use the brain. I am my s/s/c in life but the connection must be through the brain.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Saturday, March 17, 2018, 12:13 (100 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I accept the analogy in so far as the software is the immaterial self/soul which does the thinking and which uses the hardware (the material brain) to do the implementing. It is you who refuse to accept the distinction.

DAVID: You refuse to see the difference in life and death. Again, I believe the s/s/c is changed in quantum mechanism in life and in death, but all it knows remains intact.

What is changed? Over and over again you have agreed that the s/s/c does the thinking in life as in death. Only the circumstances change. Do you want me to keep quoting your agreement?

dhw: So long as you insist that the expansion of the brain had to PRECEDE new thoughts, you contradict your own dualistic belief that in life there is a thinking soul (software) and an implementing body (hardware).

DAVID: If you accept my theory about the s/s/c being slightly different in mechanism in life and death, there is no contradiction. You have refused to do that, for no good reason that I can see. The s/s/c may not have a monolithic unchanged design in the two realms.

What is this “slight” difference? The importance of NDEs in this context is only the evidence they provide for dualism – namely, that the s/s/c is the THINKING you. The question we are debating is whether the s/s/c is or is not responsible for thought and whether the brain changes in implementing the thought (= dualism), or the brain changes before the s/s/c is able to come up with its new thoughts (materialism). Your insistence that your God had to enlarge the pre-sapiens brain before it could come up with new concepts puts you on the side of the materialists. Your nebulous new idea that the s/s/c is the same but may be “slightly different” in death does not alter the THINKING role of the s/s/c in life.

DAVID: As far as complex thought is concerned, only more complex computer hardware can do more complex operations. In life the s/s/c MUST use the brain. I am my s/s/c in life but the connection must be through the brain.

Yes, only a more complex brain can do more complex operations, and in dualism the software (s/s/c) provides the concept, and the hardware (brain) implements the concept. No disagreement. In life, yes the s/s/c MUST use the brain in order to live in the material world: it provides the thoughts, and uses the brain to provide information and material implementation. No disagreement. And yes, you are your s/s/c, and your s/s/c connects with the material world through the brain. No disagreement. The s/s/c does the thinking, and the brain does the material implementing. The immaterial thought of the s/s/c precedes the material implementation by the brain. You can hardly disagree. So the only disagreement is your insistence that the s/s/c can't do any new THINKING until it has been given a bigger brain, i.e. that the level of thought depends on the size of the brain. And that is your disagreement with yourself, not with me, as you say you are a dualist (which means that the s/s/c and not the brain does the thinking), whereas I remain neutral in the battle between materialism and dualism.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 17, 2018, 14:25 (100 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: So long as you insist that the expansion of the brain had to PRECEDE new thoughts, you contradict your own dualistic belief that in life there is a thinking soul (software) and an implementing body (hardware).

DAVID: If you accept my theory about the s/s/c being slightly different in mechanism in life and death, there is no contradiction. You have refused to do that, for no good reason that I can see. The s/s/c may not have a monolithic unchanged design in the two realms.

dhw: What is this “slight” difference? The importance of NDEs in this context is only the evidence they provide for dualism – namely, that the s/s/c is the THINKING you. The question we are debating is whether the s/s/c is or is not responsible for thought and whether the brain changes in implementing the thought (= dualism), or the brain changes before the s/s/c is able to come up with its new thoughts (materialism). Your insistence that your God had to enlarge the pre-sapiens brain before it could come up with new concepts puts you on the side of the materialists. Your nebulous new idea that the s/s/c is the same but may be “slightly different” in death does not alter the THINKING role of the s/s/c in life.

For me dualism must be thought of in different ways in life and death. In life the s/s/c cannot think without using the brain. In death it can. A material brain is required.


DAVID: As far as complex thought is concerned, only more complex computer hardware can do more complex operations. In life the s/s/c MUST use the brain. I am my s/s/c in life but the connection must be through the brain.

dhw: Yes, only a more complex brain can do more complex operations, and in dualism the software (s/s/c) provides the concept, and the hardware (brain) implements the concept. No disagreement. In life, yes the s/s/c MUST use the brain in order to live in the material world: it provides the thoughts, and uses the brain to provide information and material implementation. No disagreement. And yes, you are your s/s/c, and your s/s/c connects with the material world through the brain. No disagreement. The s/s/c does the thinking, and the brain does the material implementing. The immaterial thought of the s/s/c precedes the material implementation by the brain. You can hardly disagree. So the only disagreement is your insistence that the s/s/c can't do any new THINKING until it has been given a bigger brain, i.e. that the level of thought depends on the size of the brain. And that is your disagreement with yourself, not with me, as you say you are a dualist (which means that the s/s/c and not the brain does the thinking), whereas I remain neutral in the battle between materialism and dualism.

I see no disagreement with myself. Only the substrate of a complex brain can allow complex thought. In life the s/s/c must depend upon the type of brain that is present. Back to IQ as an example.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Sunday, March 18, 2018, 11:55 (99 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: For me dualism must be thought of in different ways in life and death. In life the s/s/c cannot think without using the brain. In death it can. A material brain is required.

That is not the point at issue. The question is whether in life thought precedes or follows the activities of the brain. You have provided us with ample evidence that thought causes complexification and even expansion within the modern brain. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that it did the same in the pre-sapiens brain. If you claim that expansion had to precede new thoughts, you are arguing that the s/s/c depends on the brain for its ability to think. And that is materialism, not dualism.

Dhw: So the only disagreement is your insistence that the s/s/c can't do any new THINKING until it has been given a bigger brain, i.e. that the level of thought depends on the size of the brain. And that is your disagreement with yourself, not with me, as you say you are a dualist (which means that the s/s/c and not the brain does the thinking), whereas I remain neutral in the battle between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: I see no disagreement with myself. Only the substrate of a complex brain can allow complex thought.

If, as you keep agreeing, the s/s/c is the THINKING half of your dualistic self, then only the substrate of a complex brain can allow the implementation of complex thought. The thought comes first, and we know that implementation of thought creates changes in the brain.

DAVID: In life the s/s/c must depend upon the type of brain that is present. Back to IQ as an example.

And back to materialism, which may well be correct, and which incidentally makes nonsense of your claim that the s/s/c is a blank slate at birth, since we are born with the “type of brain that is present”. If intelligence (part of the immaterial s/s/c) depends on the brain, then you are faced with the prospect of an afterlife without your intelligence. And yet you believe (sometimes) that the s/s/c is the same in death as in life.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 18, 2018, 18:39 (99 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: For me dualism must be thought of in different ways in life and death. In life the s/s/c cannot think without using the brain. In death it can. A material brain is required.

dhw: That is not the point at issue. The question is whether in life thought precedes or follows the activities of the brain. You have provided us with ample evidence that thought causes complexification and even expansion within the modern brain. It is therefore reasonable to suppose that it did the same in the pre-sapiens brain. If you claim that expansion had to precede new thoughts, you are arguing that the s/s/c depends on the brain for its ability to think. And that is materialism, not dualism.

Answered in the other thread. In life the s/s/c must use the brain to think and the thought appears simultaneously in s/s/c and brain. Actively causing implementation is by the s/s/c interfaced guiding the brain's activity functions.

DAVID: In life the s/s/c must depend upon the type of brain that is present. Back to IQ as an example.

dhw: And back to materialism, which may well be correct, and which incidentally makes nonsense of your claim that the s/s/c is a blank slate at birth, since we are born with the “type of brain that is present”. If intelligence (part of the immaterial s/s/c) depends on the brain, then you are faced with the prospect of an afterlife without your intelligence. And yet you believe (sometimes) that the s/s/c is the same in death as in life.

Strange stretch of logic. I am discussing the degree of intelligence, IQ, the brain allows not intelligence itself! The brain offers a basic substrate but I am fully aware that factors improve or reduce the IQ, but only a few can achieve genius status.. To repeat: the s/s/c has the same content in life and death but probably does not operate with entirely the same mechanism. As for blank slate, the fetus brain operates at a sensory and muscle level in the womb, but development of personality and therefore content of s/s/c starts at birth tightly interfaced with the brain, guided by genetics, nurturing controls and also other uncontrolled events.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Monday, March 19, 2018, 13:11 (98 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining the two big brain evolution threads, and am omitting those sections which repeat arguments.

dhw: …modern science has demonstrated that thought changes areas of the brain through complexification and limited expansion, which would seem to support the dualism you claim to believe in, i.e. the hypothesis that the self/soul/conscious mind is a separate immaterial entity which in life works with and controls the brain (the will being an integral part of the s/s/c) but in death remains itself. This clearly runs directly counter to the hypothesis that the immaterial s/s/c is incapable of THINKING without the material brain.

DAVID: You have just contradicted yourself. I am in full agreement with my bolded statement of yours. In life I believe the s/s/c must think WITH the brain during life. It is obligated to do so. But not the next statement of yours, which, therefore, doesn't follow.

You continually ignore the division which is the essence of dualism, as you like to illustrate with your analogy of software and hardware. They are TWO entities that work together. Do you or do you not agree that the software (s/s/c) does the thinking and the hardware (brain) does the implementing? If you agree, as you have already done umpteen times, and if the same thinking “you” is supposed to survive the death of the brain (even if it thinks about different things in death), how can you claim that the s/s/c cannot THINK without the brain?

DAVID: I do not believe the s/s/c thinks before the brain gets it. You are imagining a time sequence. They work together thinking simultaneously, because they are intimately interfaced in life . Brain implementation than follows under s/s/c direction. They never are separate in time.

Now you have the brain AND the s/s/c THINKING simultaneously! We are not discussing the time it takes, but the function of the two parts of your dualism: mind and body. In dualism, when the mind instructs, the brain may respond instantly but if, for instance, the learning process or the material implementation is slow, the changes to the brain may not be instantaneous. I don’t know how this line of argument is supposed to prove that the mind cannot think new thoughts unless the implementing brain has already changed before receiving the thoughts it is going to respond to (your God expanding the pre-sapiens brain before pre-sapiens is able to think of new concepts).

DAVID: I am disputing your concept that the s/s/c must be exactly the same in life and death in its mechanism. It is the same in memory, thought pattern, personality in life and death, but in life it must interface with the living brain. In death it doesn't and logically must work slightly differently. That is my point.

So you agree that it is exactly the same s/s/c in life and in death, but yes, the circumstances are different and of course it will work differently. The mechanism will no longer have materials to implements its thoughts. And as far as the thoughts themselves are concerned, even in life these “work differently” when I am writing to you, playing cricket, or taking a bar of chocolate out of the fridge. In death I shan't have a pen or a bat or - perish the thought! - a bar of chocolate. But that is not the point of disagreement between us. Once again: the argument concerns your insistence that the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not think of new thoughts until your God had expanded his brain, which means that thought depends on the brain and not on the s/s/c. And this is contradicted by your belief that the thinking s/s/c survives the death of the brain, when it will have different things to think about and no material means of implementing thoughts.

DAVID: In life the s/s/c must depend upon the type of brain that is present. Back to IQ as an example.

dhw: And back to materialism, which may well be correct, and which incidentally makes nonsense of your claim that the s/s/c is a blank slate at birth, since we are born with the “type of brain that is present”. If intelligence (part of the immaterial s/s/c) depends on the brain, then you are faced with the prospect of an afterlife without your intelligence. And yet you believe (sometimes) that the s/s/c is the same in death as in life.

DAVID: Strange stretch of logic. I am discussing the degree of intelligence, IQ, the brain allows not intelligence itself!

Badly phrased by me. You are faced with the prospect of an afterlife without your personal degree of intelligence, which apparently depends on the type of brain you have.

DAVID: The brain offers a basic substrate but I am fully aware that factors improve or reduce the IQ, but only a few can achieve genius status […] As for blank slate, the fetus brain operates at a sensory and muscle level in the womb, but development of personality and therefore content of s/s/c starts at birth tightly interfaced with the brain, guided by genetics, nurturing controls and also other uncontrolled events.

And according to you the s/s/c depends on (a) the type of brain you are born with, and (b) genetics – which you are also born with and which constitutes 40% of the s/s/c. Hardly a blank slate. But of course it takes time and experience for all the inborn characteristics of brain type and genetics to emerge, and nobody knows the extent to which the given 40% may be changed by nurturing controls and other uncontrolled events.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Monday, March 19, 2018, 16:23 (98 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: You have just contradicted yourself. I am in full agreement with my bolded statement of yours. In life I believe the s/s/c must think WITH the brain during life. It is obligated to do so. But not the next statement of yours, which, therefore, doesn't follow.
dhw: Do you or do you not agree that the software (s/s/c) does the thinking and the hardware (brain) does the implementing? If you agree, as you have already done umpteen times, and if the same thinking “you” is supposed to survive the death of the brain (even if it thinks about different things in death), how can you claim that the s/s/c cannot THINK without the brain?

You continually ignore my point that in life the s/s/c is intimately connected to the brain and must use it to think. Neither you nor I can think if our brain is not working properly. Think a drunken stupor, or schizophrenia as misrepresentations of a normal s/s/c. Death or NDE are different circumstances and my theory is that the s/s/c is free to think on its own with possibly a slightly different construction or mechanism.


DAVID: I do not believe the s/s/c thinks before the brain gets it. You are imagining a time sequence. They work together thinking simultaneously, because they are intimately interfaced in life . Brain implementation than follows under s/s/c direction. They never are separate in time.

dhw: In dualism, when the mind instructs, the brain may respond instantly but if, for instance, the learning process or the material implementation is slow, the changes to the brain may not be instantaneous. I don’t know how this line of argument is supposed to prove that the mind cannot think new thoughts unless the implementing brain has already changed before receiving the thoughts it is going to respond to (your God expanding the pre-sapiens brain before pre-sapiens is able to think of new concepts).

You cannot deny that sapiens thought is markedly more complex than erectus, and that is due to our giant pre-frontal cortex. The size and complexity is required. We differ only in how we evolved the brain.

dhw: Once again: the argument concerns your insistence that the pre-sapiens s/s/c could not think of new thoughts until your God had expanded his brain, which means that thought depends on the brain and not on the s/s/c. And this is contradicted by your belief that the thinking s/s/c survives the death of the brain, when it will have different things to think about and no material means of implementing thoughts.

Once again you specifically ignore the reasonable concept that the brain is a form of hardware and the s/s/c is a form of software, probably at a quantum level, with the result that complex thought requires complex neuronal networks in the prefrontal cortex.


DAVID: Strange stretch of logic. I am discussing the degree of intelligence, IQ, the brain allows not intelligence itself!

dhw: Badly phrased by me. You are faced with the prospect of an afterlife without your personal degree of intelligence, which apparently depends on the type of brain you have.

Whatever is contained in my s/s/c in life is also present in death totally unchanged. It is obvious that the living brain allows different levels of intelligence.


DAVID: The brain offers a basic substrate but I am fully aware that factors improve or reduce the IQ, but only a few can achieve genius status […] As for blank slate, the fetus brain operates at a sensory and muscle level in the womb, but development of personality and therefore content of s/s/c starts at birth tightly interfaced with the brain, guided by genetics, nurturing controls and also other uncontrolled events.

dhw: And according to you the s/s/c depends on (a) the type of brain you are born with, and (b) genetics – which you are also born with and which constitutes 40% of the s/s/c. Hardly a blank slate. But of course it takes time and experience for all the inborn characteristics of brain type and genetics to emerge, and nobody knows the extent to which the given 40% may be changed by nurturing controls and other uncontrolled events.

We really don't differ much in the definition of blank slate. You look to genetic guidelines to say it isn't blank at birth, and I say it starts blank at birth and is molded by the guidlines from day one.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Monday, March 19, 2018, 17:06 (98 days ago) @ David Turell

Here is a scientific study of decision making in humans and how the connections used differ in individual persons:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-03-decision-making-individual-differences-functiona...

"Each day brings with it a host of decisions to be made, and each person approaches those decisions differently. A new study by University of Illinois researchers found that these individual differences are associated with variation in specific brain networks – particularly those related to executive, social and perceptual processes.

***

"Study participants were administered the Adult Decision-Making Competence test, a comprehensive psychological evaluation tool that measures six well-established facets of decision-making – for example, "resistance to framing" and "risk perception."

"'When making everyday decisions, we may be vulnerable to specific types of errors and biases in judgment. The Adult Decision-Making Competence test allows us to characterize the extent to which people are susceptible to specific types of biases that have been studied in the literature on human judgment and decision-making," Barbey said. "A person is thought to be competent in decision-making to the extent that they are able to resist these biases and to make accurate decisions."

"The researchers also administered resting-state functional MRI to assess functional brain connectivity within each study participant. They didn't focus merely on individual regions, but assessed the entire functional brain connectome – which represents how each region is functionally connected to every other region of the brain.

"'We conducted an analysis of the whole brain, examining the connections among all regions," Talukdar said. "We examined the functional brain connectome of each individual and then investigated how each individual's connectome differed from every other individual in the sample."

"Next, the researchers analyzed how the individual differences they saw in the brain were associated with performance on the Adult Decision-Making Competence test.

"They found that functional connectivity within specific brain regions was associated with individual differences in decision-making. As expected, brain regions within the frontal lobe were involved, which are known to support executive functions such as reasoning and problem-solving. In addition, regions within the temporal and parietal cortex, which support memory and attention, as well as brain structures within the occipital lobe, which process visual and spatial information, were engaged.

"The researchers then performed an analysis to further characterize the role of these regions by examining their contributions to specific intrinsic connectivity networks.

"'Research indicates that the brain is functionally organized according to intrinsic connectivity networks, which are known to play a central role in specific facets of intelligence. For example, the fronto-parietal network regulates executive functions, the ventral attention network supports attention, and the limbic network underlies emotional and social processing," Talukdar said.

"The researchers found that individual differences in functional brain connectivity reflected differences in how certain intrinsic connectivity networks were engaged. For example, the measure of "resistance to framing," which assesses whether individuals' choices are susceptible to irrelevant variations in a problem description, was associated with the ventral attention network. The researchers hypothesized that this network directs attention to essential aspects of the problem, which serves to attenuate the framing bias."

Comment: This study clearly shows how the s/s/c must be obligated to interface with the brain in personal thought, and that there are individual differences in how each person conducts thought in the brain, most like based on structural connection differences, showing how genetics plays a role.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by dhw, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 12:35 (97 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID's comment: This study clearly shows how the s/s/c must be obligated to interface with the brain in personal thought, and that there are individual differences in how each person conducts thought in the brain, most like based on structural connection differences, showing how genetics plays a role.

I’ll gladly accept a fat grant to demonstrate that the s/s/c interfaces with the brain, and that individuals are individual, and that genetics plays a role in how we think. As a bonus, I’ll even demonstrate that our decisions are the result of us being who we are.

Big brain evolution: changes in sapiens skull shape;addendum

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 17:40 (97 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID's comment: This study clearly shows how the s/s/c must be obligated to interface with the brain in personal thought, and that there are individual differences in how each person conducts thought in the brain, most like based on structural connection differences, showing how genetics plays a role.

dhw: I’ll gladly accept a fat grant to demonstrate that the s/s/c interfaces with the brain, and that individuals are individual, and that genetics plays a role in how we think. As a bonus, I’ll even demonstrate that our decisions are the result of us being who we are.

You are writing thoughts that are like mine. Wow!

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 23:28 (97 days ago) @ David Turell

Current studies show that the level of intelligence depend on volume and complexity:

http://users.loni.usc.edu/~thompson/PDF/TT_ARN05.pdf :

If specific features of brain structure are under strong genetic control, investigators should determine whether any of these features are correlated with intelligence. If so, this correlation may not only reveal why IQ has repeatedly been found to be highly heritable, but also yield insight into possible neural mechanisms. To help understand this approach, we first review evidence that brain structure and intelligence are correlated before discussing evidence for the existence of genetic correlations between brain structure and intelligence (which means that the same sets of genes are implicated in determining both; Posthuma et al. 2002). A recent meta-analysis (including a total of 1375 subjects) found that total brain volume and IQ were correlated significantly in all but 1 of 28 MRI studies, with an estimated correlation of 0.33 (McDaniel & Nguyen 2002). This finding implies that ∼10% of the population variability in IQ can be predicted from brain volume measures alone. Some studies have quoted slightly higher figures for these correlations (e.g., 0.41; Andreasen et al. 1993), and the exact value obtained will depend on the measurement error of the technique because measurement errors will tend to diminish any observed correlation (relative to the true correlation). Linkages between brain structure and IQ also can be further localized by parcellating the brain into subregions or by creating maps of the correlations between gray matter and IQ. Recently, we found that intellectual function (g) was significantly linked with differences in frontal gray matter volumes, which were determined primarily by genetic factors (Thompson et al. 2001a). Posthuma et al. (2002) extended these findings using a cross-twin cross-trait (bivariate genetic) analysis to compute genetic correlations. They demonstrated that the linkage between gray matter volumes and gray matter volumes is mediated by a common set of genes. Haier et al. (2004) used voxel-based morphometry in two independent samples to identify substantial gray matter correlates of IQ. More gray matter was associated with higher IQ in all lobes, underscoring a distributed model of the neural basis of intelligence. Intriguingly, the strongest correlations are typically found between IQ and frontal gray matter volumes (Thompson et al. 2001a, Haier et al. 2004), the same brain regions that are under greatest genetic control. Frontal brain regions play a key role in working memory, executive function, and attentional processes, and their structure has rapidly expanded in recent primate evolution, consistent with their role in reasoning and intellectual function.

Comment: Copied intact. It is logical to assume that advanced intelligence will produce advanced planning and concepts. Erectus did not have the IQ of sapiens. Note that IQ depends upon volume as well as complexity. On this basis I find your theory of enlargement of the human brain to have no basis in fact or theory. There is no evidence that lesser IQ brain produces the more advanced concepts found in greater IQ brain. Our artifacts, produced from concepts which appeared 300,000 years after our brain appeared is consistent with that. Advanced concepts require the presence of more volume and advanced complexity, without question.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 13:01 (96 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Current studies show that the level of intelligence depend on volume and complexity:
http://users.loni.usc.edu/~thompson/PDF/TT_ARN05.pdf :

DAVID's comment: Copied intact. It is logical to assume that advanced intelligence will produce advanced planning and concepts. Erectus did not have the IQ of sapiens. Note that IQ depends upon volume as well as complexity. On this basis I find your theory of enlargement of the human brain to have no basis in fact or theory. There is no evidence that lesser IQ brain produces the more advanced concepts found in greater IQ brain. Our artifacts, produced from concepts which appeared 300,000 years after our brain appeared is consistent with that. Advanced concepts require the presence of more volume and advanced complexity, without question.

Clearly, advanced intelligence will produce advance concepts, but if intelligence depends on the volume and complexity of the brain, it is equally clear that there is no independent self/soul/consciousness that thinks up the concepts. Dualism separates immaterial mind and material body, and not even you will deny that intelligence is a quality of the mind and not the body. I have no objections if you insist that the brain is the source of intelligence. My objection is when you contradict yourself by claiming that we have an immaterial s/s/c, of which our intelligence must be a part, and which does our thinking, feeling, decision-making etc. and can survive the death of the brain. As for current studies, they also show that areas of the brain can complexify and/or enlarge as a RESULT of the effort to implement concepts (illiterates, taxi-drivers, musicians). There is, however, no question that advanced concepts require more volume and complexity. The question hangs over whether implementing the concept CAUSED the complexity/enlargement, in keeping with the findings of current research and with the dualistic belief in a separate s/s/c, or the complexity/enlargement CAUSED the ability to come up with the concept, also in keeping with the findings of current research but contradicting the dualistic belief in a separate s/s/c. Your own position is caught between the two approaches (materialism versus dualism) but you refuse to acknowledge the dichotomy in your thinking. I too am caught between the two, and hope eventually to come up with a way of reconciling them.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 21, 2018, 13:29 (96 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Current studies show that the level of intelligence depend on volume and complexity:
http://users.loni.usc.edu/~thompson/PDF/TT_ARN05.pdf :

DAVID's comment: Copied intact. It is logical to assume that advanced intelligence will produce advanced planning and concepts. Erectus did not have the IQ of sapiens. Note that IQ depends upon volume as well as complexity. On this basis I find your theory of enlargement of the human brain to have no basis in fact or theory. There is no evidence that lesser IQ brain produces the more advanced concepts found in greater IQ brain. Our artifacts, produced from concepts which appeared 300,000 years after our brain appeared is consistent with that. Advanced concepts require the presence of more volume and advanced complexity, without question.

dhw: Clearly, advanced intelligence will produce advance concepts, but if intelligence depends on the volume and complexity of the brain, it is equally clear that there is no independent self/soul/consciousness that thinks up the concepts. Dualism separates immaterial mind and material body, and not even you will deny that intelligence is a quality of the mind and not the body. I have no objections if you insist that the brain is the source of intelligence. My objection is when you contradict yourself by claiming that we have an immaterial s/s/c, of which our intelligence must be a part, and which does our thinking, feeling, decision-making etc. and can survive the death of the brain. As for current studies, they also show that areas of the brain can complexify and/or enlarge as a RESULT of the effort to implement concepts (illiterates, taxi-drivers, musicians). There is, however, no question that advanced concepts require more volume and complexity. The question hangs over whether implementing the concept CAUSED the complexity/enlargement, in keeping with the findings of current research and with the dualistic belief in a separate s/s/c, or the complexity/enlargement CAUSED the ability to come up with the concept, also in keeping with the findings of current research but contradicting the dualistic belief in a separate s/s/c. Your own position is caught between the two approaches (materialism versus dualism) but you refuse to acknowledge the dichotomy in your thinking. I too am caught between the two, and hope eventually to come up with a way of reconciling them.

A very fair summary. But as I've noted my concept of dualism is not yours. My immaterial s/s/c has two parts, a software mechanism and a personality structure within the software, much like a file in your computer made by the software in your computer.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, March 22, 2018, 10:42 (95 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Current studies show that the level of intelligence depend on volume and complexity:
http://users.loni.usc.edu/~thompson/PDF/TT_ARN05.pdf :

DAVID's comment: Copied intact. It is logical to assume that advanced intelligence will produce advanced planning and concepts. Erectus did not have the IQ of sapiens. Note that IQ depends upon volume as well as complexity. On this basis I find your theory of enlargement of the human brain to have no basis in fact or theory. There is no evidence that lesser IQ brain produces the more advanced concepts found in greater IQ brain. Our artifacts, produced from concepts which appeared 300,000 years after our brain appeared is consistent with that. Advanced concepts require the presence of more volume and advanced complexity, without question.

dhw: Clearly, advanced intelligence will produce advance concepts, but if intelligence depends on the volume and complexity of the brain, it is equally clear that there is no independent self/soul/consciousness that thinks up the concepts. Dualism separates immaterial mind and material body, and not even you will deny that intelligence is a quality of the mind and not the body. I have no objections if you insist that the brain is the source of intelligence. My objection is when you contradict yourself by claiming that we have an immaterial s/s/c, of which our intelligence must be a part, and which does our thinking, feeling, decision-making etc. and can survive the death of the brain. As for current studies, they also show that areas of the brain can complexify and/or enlarge as a RESULT of the effort to implement concepts (illiterates, taxi-drivers, musicians). There is, however, no question that advanced concepts require more volume and complexity. The question hangs over whether implementing the concept CAUSED the complexity/enlargement, in keeping with the findings of current research and with the dualistic belief in a separate s/s/c, or the complexity/enlargement CAUSED the ability to come up with the concept, also in keeping with the findings of current research but contradicting the dualistic belief in a separate s/s/c. Your own position is caught between the two approaches (materialism versus dualism) but you refuse to acknowledge the dichotomy in your thinking. I too am caught between the two, and hope eventually to come up with a way of reconciling them.

DAVID: A very fair summary. But as I've noted my concept of dualism is not yours. My immaterial s/s/c has two parts, a software mechanism and a personality structure within the software, much like a file in your computer made by the software in your computer.

The s/s/c IS the personality. It is all the immaterial qualities that make up the thinking self in the soul/self/consciousness, which dualists believe to be a separate entity from the material self, although the two interact. Please don’t try to muddy the waters with some nebulous concept of “threealism”. But thank you for your acceptance of my summary. If you stick to that, and recognize the dichotomy I keep pointing out, we may be able to move on to a possible reconciliation between dualism and materialism. I will try to find time in the next few days to elaborate on the ideas I put forward earlier on this subject.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 22, 2018, 17:56 (95 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A very fair summary. But as I've noted my concept of dualism is not yours. My immaterial s/s/c has two parts, a software mechanism and a personality structure within the software, much like a file in your computer made by the software in your computer.

dhw: The s/s/c IS the personality. It is all the immaterial qualities that make up the thinking self in the soul/self/consciousness, which dualists believe to be a separate entity from the material self, although the two interact. Please don’t try to muddy the waters with some nebulous concept of “threealism”. But thank you for your acceptance of my summary. If you stick to that, and recognize the dichotomy I keep pointing out, we may be able to move on to a possible reconciliation between dualism and materialism. I will try to find time in the next few days to elaborate on the ideas I put forward earlier on this subject.

I am not going to leave my concept of how the s/s/c works with the brain or in the afterlife. They must be different mechanisms since the brain is present in only one of the two circumstances.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Friday, March 23, 2018, 13:16 (94 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: A very fair summary. But as I've noted my concept of dualism is not yours. My immaterial s/s/c has two parts, a software mechanism and a personality structure within the software, much like a file in your computer made by the software in your computer.

dhw: The s/s/c IS the personality. It is all the immaterial qualities that make up the thinking self in the soul/self/consciousness, which dualists believe to be a separate entity from the material self, although the two interact. Please don’t try to muddy the waters with some nebulous concept of “threealism”. But thank you for your acceptance of my summary. If you stick to that, and recognize the dichotomy I keep pointing out, we may be able to move on to a possible reconciliation between dualism and materialism. I will try to find time in the next few days to elaborate on the ideas I put forward earlier on this subject.

DAVID: I am not going to leave my concept of how the s/s/c works with the brain or in the afterlife. They must be different mechanisms since the brain is present in only one of the two circumstances.

There is no disagreement here! As a self-proclaimed dualist, you believe that IN LIFE there is an immaterial self/soul that does the thinking and interacts with the material brain, which provides information and implements thoughts. If the self/soul lives on IN DEATH, as you believe, then of course its thoughts will not require material expression or implementation, and so the mechanism will be different (I mentioned telepathy as a possible means of communication). You said my summary was very fair, and it concluded with the dichotomy that exists between belief in a soul that does the thinking (dualism) and belief that the thinking is done by the brain and is impossible without the brain (materialism). For some reason you are trying to dodge the issue of this dichotomy, which is not confined to your own arguments but lies at the very heart of the debate between the two approaches, both of which can call on different forms of evidence. Why can't we move on?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, March 23, 2018, 14:25 (94 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A very fair summary. But as I've noted my concept of dualism is not yours. My immaterial s/s/c has two parts, a software mechanism and a personality structure within the software, much like a file in your computer made by the software in your computer.

dhw: The s/s/c IS the personality. It is all the immaterial qualities that make up the thinking self in the soul/self/consciousness, which dualists believe to be a separate entity from the material self, although the two interact. Please don’t try to muddy the waters with some nebulous concept of “threealism”. But thank you for your acceptance of my summary. If you stick to that, and recognize the dichotomy I keep pointing out, we may be able to move on to a possible reconciliation between dualism and materialism. I will try to find time in the next few days to elaborate on the ideas I put forward earlier on this subject.

DAVID: I am not going to leave my concept of how the s/s/c works with the brain or in the afterlife. They must be different mechanisms since the brain is present in only one of the two circumstances.

dhw: There is no disagreement here! As a self-proclaimed dualist, you believe that IN LIFE there is an immaterial self/soul that does the thinking and interacts with the material brain, which provides information and implements thoughts. If the self/soul lives on IN DEATH, as you believe, then of course its thoughts will not require material expression or implementation, and so the mechanism will be different (I mentioned telepathy as a possible means of communication). You said my summary was very fair, and it concluded with the dichotomy that exists between belief in a soul that does the thinking (dualism) and belief that the thinking is done by the brain and is impossible without the brain (materialism). For some reason you are trying to dodge the issue of this dichotomy, which is not confined to your own arguments but lies at the very heart of the debate between the two approaches, both of which can call on different forms of evidence. Why can't we move on?

If we can agree that in life the s/s/c and brain must interface and work together for new thought to appear, we can move on. I cannot leave behind my living impression that I am material but my thoughts are not and I am in control of my thoughts.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, March 24, 2018, 12:55 (93 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You said my summary was very fair, and it concluded with the dichotomy that exists between belief in a soul that does the thinking (dualism) and belief that the thinking is done by the brain and is impossible without the brain (materialism). For some reason you are trying to dodge the issue of this dichotomy, which is not confined to your own arguments but lies at the very heart of the debate between the two approaches, both of which can call on different forms of evidence. Why can't we move on?

DAVID: If we can agree that in life the s/s/c and brain must interface and work together for new thought to appear, we can move on. I cannot leave behind my living impression that I am material but my thoughts are not and I am in control of my thoughts.

I have the same “living impression” as you, but I don’t know whether my immaterial self (which IS the controlling "I") is the product of materials or not. That is the great debate between the materialists and the dualists. Your materialistic insistence that new thought would have been impossible for pre-sapiens until the brain had been enlarged was the starting point of this particular discussion, and it remains hidden in the words “for new thought to appear”. If you had said “to be implemented”, I wouldn’t have had a problem, as we can shake hands on the rest of your statement. But you obviously cannot see that if immaterial new thought depends on the material enlargement of the brain, you are espousing materialism, whereas you claim to be a dualist. However, we have been stuck in this groove long enough, and maybe we’ll make some progress if we look deeper into possible ways of reconciling the two approaches.

Xxxx

DAVID (under “Learning new tasks”): New research moves the memory development from synapse changes to dendrite controls:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180323084818.htm
QUOTE: The newly discovered process of learning in the dendrites occurs at a much faster rate than in the old scenario suggesting that learning occurs solely in the synapses.

DAVID’s comment: This adds another level of complexity and precise control to the brain as it develops new knowledge. We must continue to recognize the material side of the equation in the relationship between brain and s/s/c. It shows how the s/s/c is obligated to specific interfaces.

There is no disagreement over the importance of interaction between s/s/c and brain. However, the article simply discusses WHERE learning takes place. Instead of synapses the focus is on dendrites. It sheds no light – and is not meant to – on the question of whether the s/s/c exists as a separate entity (dualism) or is the product of the material self (materialism). Nor does it explain – and it is not meant to – what learning actually consists of. What we do know is that the process of learning is accompanied by changes in the brain (illiterates, taxi drivers, musicians). So what happens? Has the brain recorded/memorized the thoughts of the s/s/c? If so, although confined here to memory, it’s still a major blow to your hypothesis that new thoughts cannot arise until the brain “allows” them. All memories are the result of what were once new thoughts/experiences. The thoughts have to precede the brain change - which is one up for your dualistic belief that the brain is a receiver, not a generator, although you the dualist don’t agree!

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 24, 2018, 13:44 (93 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: If we can agree that in life the s/s/c and brain must interface and work together for new thought to appear, we can move on. I cannot leave behind my living impression that I am material but my thoughts are not and I am in control of my thoughts.

dhw: I have the same “living impression” as you, but I don’t know whether my immaterial self (which IS the controlling "I") is the product of materials or not. That is the great debate between the materialists and the dualists. Your materialistic insistence that new thought would have been impossible for pre-sapiens until the brain had been enlarged was the starting point of this particular discussion, and it remains hidden in the words “for new thought to appear”. If you had said “to be implemented”, I wouldn’t have had a problem, as we can shake hands on the rest of your statement. But you obviously cannot see that if immaterial new thought depends on the material enlargement of the brain, you are espousing materialism, whereas you claim to be a dualist. However, we have been stuck in this groove long enough, and maybe we’ll make some progress if we look deeper into possible ways of reconciling the two approaches.

Of course the brain, by reacting with the mechanisms of the s/s/c implements the appearance of thought to the thinking person with a living material brain. Your view does not solve the problem.


Xxxx

DAVID (under “Learning new tasks”): New research moves the memory development from synapse changes to dendrite controls:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180323084818.htm
QUOTE: The newly discovered process of learning in the dendrites occurs at a much faster rate than in the old scenario suggesting that learning occurs solely in the synapses.

DAVID’s comment: This adds another level of complexity and precise control to the brain as it develops new knowledge. We must continue to recognize the material side of the equation in the relationship between brain and s/s/c. It shows how the s/s/c is obligated to specific interfaces.

dhw: There is no disagreement over the importance of interaction between s/s/c and brain. However, the article simply discusses WHERE learning takes place. Instead of synapses the focus is on dendrites. It sheds no light – and is not meant to – on the question of whether the s/s/c exists as a separate entity (dualism) or is the product of the material self (materialism). Nor does it explain – and it is not meant to – what learning actually consists of. What we do know is that the process of learning is accompanied by changes in the brain (illiterates, taxi drivers, musicians). So what happens? Has the brain recorded/memorized the thoughts of the s/s/c? If so, although confined here to memory, it’s still a major blow to your hypothesis that new thoughts cannot arise until the brain “allows” them. All memories are the result of what were once new thoughts/experiences. The thoughts have to precede the brain change - which is one up for your dualistic belief that the brain is a receiver, not a generator, although you the dualist don’t agree!

Our brain is built (designed) to respond to the needs of the s/s/c as it manages thought. What the brain 'receives' is the mechanism of the s/s/c which I think is at the level of quantum reality. Thought is then achieved by the two of them working together as hardware and software. You give lip service to this view and then ignore it in your analysis.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, March 25, 2018, 12:23 (92 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] you obviously cannot see that if immaterial new thought depends on the material enlargement of the brain, you are espousing materialism, whereas you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: Of course the brain, by reacting with the mechanisms of the s/s/c implements the appearance of thought to the thinking person with a living material brain. Your view does not solve the problem.

I’m not sure what view or what problem you’re referring to. The problem I am having with your posts is the dichotomy between your dualism (which divides the self into mind and body) and your insistence that the mind can’t think without the body, although it continues to think when there is no body.

DAVID: Our brain is built (designed) to respond to the needs of the s/s/c as it manages thought. What the brain 'receives' is the mechanism of the s/s/c which I think is at the level of quantum reality. Thought is then achieved by the two of them working together as hardware and software. You give lip service to this view and then ignore it in your analysis.

What do you mean by thought is “achieved”? Thought is implemented by the two of them working together. It is you who have plugged the hardware/software analogy to illustrate that the two parts of dualism are the immaterial mind (the software that supplies the thoughts) and the material brain (the hardware which gives the thoughts material implementation). And you then ignore it when you say that the THINKING mind can’t think without the IMPLEMENTING brain (= software can’t supply any programmes until you have hardware), even though in death you believe the mind remains its thinking self when there is no implementing brain. In life the software’s programmes cannot be IMPLEMENTED until you have the hardware.The hardware does not supply the thought. Do you agree or disagree?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 25, 2018, 15:02 (92 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] you obviously cannot see that if immaterial new thought depends on the material enlargement of the brain, you are espousing materialism, whereas you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: Of course the brain, by reacting with the mechanisms of the s/s/c implements the appearance of thought to the thinking person with a living material brain. Your view does not solve the problem.

dhw: I’m not sure what view or what problem you’re referring to. The problem I am having with your posts is the dichotomy between your dualism (which divides the self into mind and body) and your insistence that the mind can’t think without the body, although it continues to think when there is no body.

DAVID: Our brain is built (designed) to respond to the needs of the s/s/c as it manages thought. What the brain 'receives' is the mechanism of the s/s/c which I think is at the level of quantum reality. Thought is then achieved by the two of them working together as hardware and software. You give lip service to this view and then ignore it in your analysis.

dhw: What do you mean by thought is “achieved”? Thought is implemented by the two of them working together. It is you who have plugged the hardware/software analogy to illustrate that the two parts of dualism are the immaterial mind (the software that supplies the thoughts) and the material brain (the hardware which gives the thoughts material implementation). And you then ignore it when you say that the THINKING mind can’t think without the IMPLEMENTING brain (= software can’t supply any programmes until you have hardware), even though in death you believe the mind remains its thinking self when there is no implementing brain. In life the software’s programmes cannot be IMPLEMENTED until you have the hardware.The hardware does not supply the thought. Do you agree or disagree?

Your complaint about my theory has a problem. You assume the s/s/c is one monolithic unchanging form, the same in life and in death or when the brain is non-functional for a period (NDE) I look at the evidence and make the conclusion that the s/s/c has two different forms and/or mechanisms to explain the way the s/s/c seems to function in two different realities, life and death. In life it must work with the brain to produce new thought or resurrect memory. The brain alone without the s/s/c cannot produce thought, but by the same token, in life the s/s/c cannot produce thought without the brain. I don't know why this is not clear to you. I've stated this before: the dualism I see has more than one dualism: brain soul duality, and soul in life and soul in death dual forms. In death the s/s/c has a way of supplying its own hardware by some sort of quantum mechanics, perhaps transferred from the brain as death occurs.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Monday, March 26, 2018, 12:46 (91 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: What do you mean by thought is “achieved”? Thought is implemented by the two of them working together. It is you who have plugged the hardware/software analogy to illustrate that the two parts of dualism are the immaterial mind (the software that supplies the thoughts) and the material brain (the hardware which gives the thoughts material implementation). And you then ignore it when you say that the THINKING mind can’t think without the IMPLEMENTING brain (= software can’t supply any programmes until you have hardware), even though in death you believe the mind remains its thinking self when there is no implementing brain. In life the software’s programmes cannot be IMPLEMENTED until you have the hardware.The hardware does not supply the thought. Do you agree or disagree?

DAVID: Your complaint about my theory has a problem. You assume the s/s/c is one monolithic unchanging form, the same in life and in death or when the brain is non-functional for a period (NDE) I look at the evidence and make the conclusion that the s/s/c has two different forms and/or mechanisms to explain the way the s/s/c seems to function in two different realities, life and death. In life it must work with the brain to produce new thought or resurrect memory. The brain alone without the s/s/c cannot produce thought, but by the same token, in life the s/s/c cannot produce thought without the brain. I don't know why this is not clear to you. I've stated this before: the dualism I see has more than one dualism: brain soul duality, and soul in life and soul in death dual forms. In death the s/s/c has a way of supplying its own hardware by some sort of quantum mechanics, perhaps transferred from the brain as death occurs.

I have already agreed that a brainless self will function differently from a self with a brain, and material life must be different from immaterial life. But that is not what we are discussing! You claim that your God had to expand the pre-sapiens brain before it was able to come up with new thoughts. Our discussion therefore concerns the relationship between s/s/c and brain during life, not possible differences between soul in life and soul in death. NDEs are only relevant insofar as they appear to provide evidence for dualism – namely, that the mind and body are separate entities. IF they are (please note the block capitals), the immaterial mind does the thinking and the material body/brain provides information and implements the thoughts. Information: “Me hungry, me see living meat, me often get hurt when get too close.” New thought: “Maybe make sharp weapon to throw from distance.” Makes sharp weapon, which requires new skills and therefore causes new changes to brain (pre-sapiens: probable complexification plus major expansion; whereas sapiens: complexification, limited minor expansion, but also shrinkage as some cells/connections no longer required). Concept first, brain change as a consequence. This dualistic hypothesis contradicts the materialistic hypothesis that the material brain is responsible for thought, and conforms to modern scientific research on how we change our brains (illiterates, taxi-drivers, musicians). As a dualist, why do you object?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, March 26, 2018, 18:25 (91 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Your complaint about my theory has a problem. You assume the s/s/c is one monolithic unchanging form, the same in life and in death or when the brain is non-functional for a period (NDE) I look at the evidence and make the conclusion that the s/s/c has two different forms and/or mechanisms to explain the way the s/s/c seems to function in two different realities, life and death. In life it must work with the brain to produce new thought or resurrect memory. The brain alone without the s/s/c cannot produce thought, but by the same token, in life the s/s/c cannot produce thought without the brain. I don't know why this is not clear to you. I've stated this before: the dualism I see has more than one dualism: brain soul duality, and soul in life and soul in death dual forms. In death the s/s/c has a way of supplying its own hardware by some sort of quantum mechanics, perhaps transferred from the brain as death occurs.

dhw: I have already agreed that a brainless self will function differently from a self with a brain, and material life must be different from immaterial life. But that is not what we are discussing! You claim that your God had to expand the pre-sapiens brain before it was able to come up with new thoughts. Our discussion therefore concerns the relationship between s/s/c and brain during life, not possible differences between soul in life and soul in death. NDEs are only relevant insofar as they appear to provide evidence for dualism – namely, that the mind and body are separate entities. IF they are (please note the block capitals), the immaterial mind does the thinking and the material body/brain provides information and implements the thoughts. Information: “Me hungry, me see living meat, me often get hurt when get too close.” New thought: “Maybe make sharp weapon to throw from distance.” Makes sharp weapon, which requires new skills and therefore causes new changes to brain (pre-sapiens: probable complexification plus major expansion; whereas sapiens: complexification, limited minor expansion, but also shrinkage as some cells/connections no longer required). Concept first, brain change as a consequence. This dualistic hypothesis contradicts the materialistic hypothesis that the material brain is responsible for thought, and conforms to modern scientific research on how we change our brains (illiterates, taxi-drivers, musicians). As a dualist, why do you object?

Your cute caveman dialogue befits your ability as an author of plays and Children's books but in no way offers an explanation of how pre-sapiens brains suddenly grew by 200 cc with each jump in the fossils. The only evidence we have is advanced artifacts related to larger fossil brains, indicating a larger brain has better conceptualization, nothing more. Since methods of operation in evolution uses previously developed operations, the only thing we can assume is that brain plasticity existed in the pre-sapiens and their brains responded like ours does so there is plasticity and specific brain area growth, but no change in brain/skull size. All we show is shrinkage since we arrived on the scene. I'll stick with God creating the growth.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 12:52 (90 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I have already agreed that a brainless self will function differently from a self with a brain, and material life must be different from immaterial life. But that is not what we are discussing! You claim that your God had to expand the pre-sapiens brain before it was able to come up with new thoughts. Our discussion therefore concerns the relationship between s/s/c and brain during life, not possible differences between soul in life and soul in death. NDEs are only relevant insofar as they appear to provide evidence for dualism – namely, that the mind and body are separate entities. IF they are (please note the block capitals), the immaterial mind does the thinking and the material body/brain provides information and implements the thoughts. Information: “Me hungry, me see living meat, me often get hurt when get too close.” New thought: “Maybe make sharp weapon to throw from distance.” Makes sharp weapon, which requires new skills and therefore causes new changes to brain (pre-sapiens: probable complexification plus major expansion; whereas sapiens: complexification, limited minor expansion, but also shrinkage as some cells/connections no longer required). Concept first, brain change as a consequence. This dualistic hypothesis contradicts the materialistic hypothesis that the material brain is responsible for thought, and conforms to modern scientific research on how we change our brains (illiterates, taxi-drivers, musicians). As a dualist, why do you object?

DAVID: Your cute caveman dialogue befits your ability as an author of plays and Children's books but in no way offers an explanation of how pre-sapiens brains suddenly grew by 200 cc with each jump in the fossils. The only evidence we have is advanced artifacts related to larger fossil brains, indicating a larger brain has better conceptualization, nothing more. Since methods of operation in evolution uses previously developed operations, the only thing we can assume is that brain plasticity existed in the pre-sapiens and their brains responded like ours does so there is plasticity and specific brain area growth, but no change in brain/skull size. All we show is shrinkage since we arrived on the scene. I'll stick with God creating the growth.

Apparently we also show complexification and enlargement of specific areas, and if specific areas can expand now, clearly we cannot rule out expansion then – but simply on a greater scale, which required skull expansion as well. But nobody knows why pre-sapiens brains expanded.That’s why we have different hypotheses. “God did it” is yours, but if God had to do it before pre-sapiens could think up new concepts, that means the brain is the source of thought (conceptualization being a mental process). Welcome to materialism. The appearance of artefacts alongside expanded brains fits in with BOTH hypotheses: 1) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to implement the concept (mine, which fits in with dualism and materialism, as I hope eventually to explain); 2) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to think up the concept (yours, which = pure materialism). That is not to say that materialism is wrong. It simply contradicts your claim to be a dualist.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 15:01 (90 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: Your cute caveman dialogue befits your ability as an author of plays and Children's books but in no way offers an explanation of how pre-sapiens brains suddenly grew by 200 cc with each jump in the fossils. The only evidence we have is advanced artifacts related to larger fossil brains, indicating a larger brain has better conceptualization, nothing more. Since methods of operation in evolution uses previously developed operations, the only thing we can assume is that brain plasticity existed in the pre-sapiens and their brains responded like ours does so there is plasticity and specific brain area growth, but no change in brain/skull size. All we show is shrinkage since we arrived on the scene. I'll stick with God creating the growth.

dhw: Apparently we also show complexification and enlargement of specific areas, and if specific areas can expand now, clearly we cannot rule out expansion then – but simply on a greater scale, which required skull expansion as well. But nobody knows why pre-sapiens brains expanded.That’s why we have different hypotheses. “God did it” is yours, but if God had to do it before pre-sapiens could think up new concepts, that means the brain is the source of thought (conceptualization being a mental process). Welcome to materialism. The appearance of artefacts alongside expanded brains fits in with BOTH hypotheses: 1) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to implement the concept (mine, which fits in with dualism and materialism, as I hope eventually to explain); 2) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to think up the concept (yours, which = pure materialism). That is not to say that materialism is wrong. (my bold) It simply contradicts your claim to be a dualist.

You refuse to accept a different concept about the brain s/s/c interface. My point is the s/s/c in life cannot develop new concepts independent of the neural mechanisms in the brain. It is still the idea presented by our computers that complex hardware allows for more complex software development of concepts. To restate your comment, 'the brain is the source of living thought'. In life there is always a material brain role in the production of immaterial thought. And amazingly the brain also understands its equal role to the s/s/c by its plasticity, by enlarging regions and also shrinking areas. Your bolded comment is a total misstatement of my theory. In life the s/s/c doesn't float around, but is completely attached to the brain with which it must work. In death the s/s/c doesn't have to create new concepts and operates in a somewhat different way.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 12:33 (89 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I'll stick with God creating the growth.

dhw: Apparently we also show complexification and enlargement of specific areas, and if specific areas can expand now, clearly we cannot rule out expansion then – but simply on a greater scale, which required skull expansion as well. But nobody knows why pre-sapiens brains expanded.That’s why we have different hypotheses. “God did it” is yours, but if God had to do it before pre-sapiens could think up new concepts, that means the brain is the source of thought (conceptualization being a mental process). Welcome to materialism. The appearance of artefacts alongside expanded brains fits in with BOTH hypotheses: 1) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to implement the concept (mine, which fits in with dualism and materialism, as I hope eventually to explain); 2) they could not have appeared until the brain had expanded sufficiently to think up the concept (yours, which = pure materialism). That is not to say that materialism is wrong. (my bold) It simply contradicts your claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: You refuse to accept a different concept about the brain s/s/c interface. My point is the s/s/c in life cannot develop new concepts independent of the neural mechanisms in the brain. It is still the idea presented by our computers that complex hardware allows for more complex software development of concepts. To restate your comment, 'the brain is the source of living thought'.

You could scarcely find a statement more supportive of materialism. Once more: dualism is the theory that in living beings the mind/soul and the body are separate entities that work together. That is the meaning of “dual” – two, not one. The mind/soul as the source of thought encompasses all the immaterial elements of our personality – that part of us which some people believe survives the death of the body. And so if the brain is the source of thought in living beings, there can be no such thing as a separate mind/soul, because without the source of thought, there can be no thought.

DAVID: In life there is always a material brain role in the production of immaterial thought. And amazingly the brain also understands its equal role to the s/s/c by its plasticity, by enlarging regions and also shrinking areas. Your bolded comment is a total misstatement of my theory. In life the s/s/c doesn't float around, but is completely attached to the brain with which it must work. In death the s/s/c doesn't have to create new concepts and operates in a somewhat different way.

The idea that the soul somehow lives within the brain does not mean that the brain is the source of living thought. According to you it is the receiver of living thought. Suddenly now you are talking of “equal role”. What does that mean? Certainly not that the brain is just as much the SOURCE of thought as the soul. The latter is supposed to be the source of living thought, and the brain is supposed to be the receiver, which supplies information and implements thought by expanding and complexifying. Equally important, yes. We could not function as living beings in a material world without our material self. Your post simply confirms what I wrote in the statement you have bolded: that according to you new concepts could not appear until the pre-sapiens brain had expanded, and in life the brain is the source of thought! But as I keep repeating, I am not rejecting your materialism. I am trying to point out the contradictions in your arguments.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 28, 2018, 18:13 (89 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You refuse to accept a different concept about the brain s/s/c interface. My point is the s/s/c in life cannot develop new concepts independent of the neural mechanisms in the brain. It is still the idea presented by our computers that complex hardware allows for more complex software development of concepts. To restate your comment, 'the brain is the source of living thought'.

dhw: You could scarcely find a statement more supportive of materialism. Once more: dualism is the theory that in living beings the mind/soul and the body are separate entities that work together. That is the meaning of “dual” – two, not one. The mind/soul as the source of thought encompasses all the immaterial elements of our personality – that part of us which some people believe survives the death of the body. And so if the brain is the source of thought in living beings, there can be no such thing as a separate mind/soul, because without the source of thought, there can be no thought.

The brain is not the lone source of thought in life. I've been very clear. The s/s/c must use the brain to produce thought in life. If the s/s/c has a thought it must produce it through the brain which then becomes the direct source as it implements living thought, wbhich I distinguish from thought after death.


DAVID: In life there is always a material brain role in the production of immaterial thought. And amazingly the brain also understands its equal role to the s/s/c by its plasticity, by enlarging regions and also shrinking areas. Your bolded comment is a total misstatement of my theory. In life the s/s/c doesn't float around, but is completely attached to the brain with which it must work. In death the s/s/c doesn't have to create new concepts and operates in a somewhat different way.

dhw: The idea that the soul somehow lives within the brain does not mean that the brain is the source of living thought. According to you it is the receiver of living thought. Suddenly now you are talking of “equal role”. What does that mean? Certainly not that the brain is just as much the SOURCE of thought as the soul. The latter is supposed to be the source of living thought, and the brain is supposed to be the receiver, which supplies information and implements thought by expanding and complexifying. Equally important, yes. We could not function as living beings in a material world without our material self. Your post simply confirms what I wrote in the statement you have bolded: that according to you new concepts could not appear until the pre-sapiens brain had expanded, and in life the brain is the source of thought! But as I keep repeating, I am not rejecting your materialism. I am trying to point out the contradictions in your arguments.

I am not contradicting myself. As a receiver the brain is a broadcaster (implementer) of the s/s/c thoughts. Does that help you understand my point of view? Of course the brain is material, but entirely necessary in the process.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, March 29, 2018, 09:33 (88 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You refuse to accept a different concept about the brain s/s/c interface. My point is the s/s/c in life cannot develop new concepts independent of the neural mechanisms in the brain. It is still the idea presented by our computers that complex hardware allows for more complex software development of concepts. To restate your comment, 'the brain is the source of living thought'.

dhw: You could scarcely find a statement more supportive of materialism. Once more: dualism is the theory that in living beings the mind/soul and the body are separate entities that work together. That is the meaning of “dual” – two, not one. The mind/soul as the source of thought encompasses all the immaterial elements of our personality – that part of us which some people believe survives the death of the body. And so if the brain is the source of thought in living beings, there can be no such thing as a separate mind/soul, because without the source of thought, there can be no thought.

DAVID: The brain is not the lone source of thought in life. I've been very clear. The s/s/c must use the brain to produce thought in life. If the s/s/c has a thought it must produce it through the brain which then becomes the direct source as it implements living thought, which I distinguish from thought after death.
And later:
I am not contradicting myself. As a receiver the brain is a broadcaster (implementer) of the s/s/c thoughts. Does that help you understand my point of view? Of course the brain is material, but entirely necessary in the process.

At last a glimmer of light. You have now repeated precisely the point that I keep making to you. In dualism the s/s/c provides the thought and the brain IMPLEMENTS it. Of course the two are entirely necessary in life, but the brain is not the SOURCE of living thought. The s/s/c is the SOURCE, and the brain is the receiver that IMPLEMENTS the thought. Consequently it is a contradiction for a dualist to claim that the s/s/c cannot THINK without the brain. Its thoughts cannot be IMPLEMENTED without the brain. And therefore it is a contradiction for a dualist to claim that pre-sapiens’ s/s/c could not have THOUGHT of new concepts if his brain had not already expanded. He could not have IMPLEMENTED his new thoughts until his brain had expanded.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 29, 2018, 16:03 (88 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You refuse to accept a different concept about the brain s/s/c interface. My point is the s/s/c in life cannot develop new concepts independent of the neural mechanisms in the brain. It is still the idea presented by our computers that complex hardware allows for more complex software development of concepts. To restate your comment, 'the brain is the source of living thought'.

dhw: You could scarcely find a statement more supportive of materialism. Once more: dualism is the theory that in living beings the mind/soul and the body are separate entities that work together. That is the meaning of “dual” – two, not one. The mind/soul as the source of thought encompasses all the immaterial elements of our personality – that part of us which some people believe survives the death of the body. And so if the brain is the source of thought in living beings, there can be no such thing as a separate mind/soul, because without the source of thought, there can be no thought.

DAVID: The brain is not the lone source of thought in life. I've been very clear. The s/s/c must use the brain to produce thought in life. If the s/s/c has a thought it must produce it through the brain which then becomes the direct source as it implements living thought, which I distinguish from thought after death.
And later:
I am not contradicting myself. As a receiver the brain is a broadcaster (implementer) of the s/s/c thoughts. Does that help you understand my point of view? Of course the brain is material, but entirely necessary in the process.

dhw: At last a glimmer of light. You have now repeated precisely the point that I keep making to you. In dualism the s/s/c provides the thought and the brain IMPLEMENTS it. Of course the two are entirely necessary in life, but the brain is not the SOURCE of living thought. The s/s/c is the SOURCE, and the brain is the receiver that IMPLEMENTS the thought. Consequently it is a contradiction for a dualist to claim that the s/s/c cannot THINK without the brain. Its thoughts cannot be IMPLEMENTED without the brain. And therefore it is a contradiction for a dualist to claim that pre-sapiens’ s/s/c could not have THOUGHT of new concepts if his brain had not already expanded. He could not have IMPLEMENTED his new thoughts until his brain had expanded.

No glimmer of light. You accept my point of view that the the s/s/c is required in life to use the brain to create and express thought. But the s/s/c is also the living me and is not separate from me. I am a material me managing to create an immaterial structure of my personality starting at birth. In life the s/s/c cannot think without the functional brain to use. The s/s/c can only think without a brain when it changes form in NDE's or death, two different realities. This view is not inconsistent with my position that bigger brains have better thoughts, when used by the s/s/c to create them controlled by living personalities of earlier forms.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Friday, March 30, 2018, 13:02 (87 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The brain is not the lone source of thought in life. I've been very clear. The s/s/c must use the brain to produce thought in life. If the s/s/c has a thought it must produce it through the brain which then becomes the direct source as it implements living thought, which I distinguish from thought after death.
And later:
I am not contradicting myself. As a receiver the brain is a broadcaster (implementer) of the s/s/c thoughts. Does that help you understand my point of view? Of course the brain is material, but entirely necessary in the process.

dhw: At last a glimmer of light. You have now repeated precisely the point that I keep making to you. In dualism the s/s/c provides the thought and the brain IMPLEMENTS it. Of course the two are entirely necessary in life, but the brain is not the SOURCE of living thought. The s/s/c is the SOURCE, and the brain is the receiver that IMPLEMENTS the thought. Consequently it is a contradiction for a dualist to claim that the s/s/c cannot THINK without the brain. Its thoughts cannot be IMPLEMENTED without the brain. And therefore it is a contradiction for a dualist to claim that pre-sapiens’ s/s/c could not have THOUGHT of new concepts if his brain had not already expanded. He could not have IMPLEMENTED his new thoughts until his brain had expanded.

DAVID: No glimmer of light. You accept my point of view that the the s/s/c is required in life to use the brain to create and express thought. But the s/s/c is also the living me and is not separate from me.

No, I do not accept the view in your second sentence. Dualism means that the s/s/c CREATES thought, and uses the receiver brain to express/implement it. Yes, the living “me” is the thinking s/s/c, and you believe that it survives the death of the brain. Therefore the brain cannot be the creator of thought.

DAVID: I am a material me managing to create an immaterial structure of my personality starting at birth.

If you believe that the material you creates your immaterial personality, you are a materialist. In your dualistic guise, you even tell us that the consciousness of the s/s/c is part of your immaterial God’s immaterial consciousness, i.e. it is not a product of the material self.

DAVID: In life the s/s/c cannot think without the functional brain to use. The s/s/c can only think without a brain when it changes form in NDE's or death, two different realities. This view is not inconsistent with my position that bigger brains have better thoughts, when used by the s/s/c to create them controlled by living personalities of earlier forms.

NDEs and the belief in a soul that lives on after death are integral to the concept of dualism, i.e. that IN LIFE there are two separate elements that work together: the soul and the body; the mind and the brain. There is no dualism in death (indeed there may be nothing at all in death), and if bigger brains have better thoughts, then there is no dualism in life. Yes, the s/s/c uses the brain. As you acknowledged in the two quotes above, it uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them. And yes, the s/s/c IS the living personality, which dualists believe is the immaterial living, conscious, THINKING “me” which survives death.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, March 30, 2018, 15:00 (87 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: No glimmer of light. You accept my point of view that the the s/s/c is required in life to use the brain to create and express thought. But the s/s/c is also the living me and is not separate from me.

dhw: No, I do not accept the view in your second sentence. Dualism means that the s/s/c CREATES thought, and uses the receiver brain to express/implement it. Yes, the living “me” is the thinking s/s/c, and you believe that it survives the death of the brain. Therefore the brain cannot be the creator of thought.

Yes, but thought is created by use of the material brain, and in life cannot be done without it. I don't think we differ.


DAVID: I am a material me managing to create an immaterial structure of my personality starting at birth.

dhw: If you believe that the material you creates your immaterial personality, you are a materialist. In your dualistic guise, you even tell us that the consciousness of the s/s/c is part of your immaterial God’s immaterial consciousness, i.e. it is not a product of the material self.

My theory of dualism is not yours. I must use my brain to think, using my consciousness as a gift from God which allows thought.


DAVID: In life the s/s/c cannot think without the functional brain to use. The s/s/c can only think without a brain when it changes form in NDE's or death, two different realities. This view is not inconsistent with my position that bigger brains have better thoughts, when used by the s/s/c to create them controlled by living personalities of earlier forms.

dhw; NDEs and the belief in a soul that lives on after death are integral to the concept of dualism, i.e. that IN LIFE there are two separate elements that work together: the soul and the body; the mind and the brain. There is no dualism in death (indeed there may be nothing at all in death), and if bigger brains have better thoughts, then there is no dualism in life. Yes, the s/s/c uses the brain. As you acknowledged in the two quotes above, it uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them. And yes, the s/s/c IS the living personality, which dualists believe is the immaterial living, conscious, THINKING “me” which survives death.

Here we seem to agree.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, March 31, 2018, 09:50 (86 days ago) @ David Turell

I have juxtaposed parts of David's post in attempt to make the arguments clearer.

dhw: NDEs and the belief in a soul that lives on after death are integral to the concept of dualism, i.e. that IN LIFE there are two separate elements that work together: the soul and the body; the mind and the brain. There is no dualism in death (indeed there may be nothing at all in death), and if bigger brains have better thoughts, then there is no dualism in life. Yes, the s/s/c uses the brain. As you acknowledged in the two quotes above, it uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them. And yes, the s/s/c IS the living personality, which dualists believe is the immaterial living, conscious, THINKING “me” which survives death.

DAVID: Here we seem to agree.

If you agree that the s/s/c uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them, how can you possibly justify the following statement?
DAVID: Yes, but thought is created by use of the material brain, and in life cannot be done without it. I don't think we differ.

As a dualist you agree that thought is not CREATED by use of the brain; it is CREATED by the s/s/c and IMPLEMENTED by use of the brain. We differ only when you keep differing with yourself.

DAVID: I am a material me managing to create an immaterial structure of my personality starting at birth.

dhw: If you believe that the material you creates your immaterial personality, you are a materialist. In your dualistic guise, you even tell us that the consciousness of the s/s/c is part of your immaterial God’s immaterial consciousness, i.e. it is not a product of the material self.

DAVID: My theory of dualism is not yours. I must use my brain to think, using my consciousness as a gift from God which allows thought.

Your theory of dualism – as you have agreed above – is precisely the same as mine. Your self/soul/consciousness does not “ALLOW” thought. It thinks. And – as you have agreed above – your brain “allows” you, your self/soul/consciousness, to implement its thoughts.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 31, 2018, 14:58 (86 days ago) @ dhw

I have juxtaposed parts of David's post in attempt to make the arguments clearer.

dhw: NDEs and the belief in a soul that lives on after death are integral to the concept of dualism, i.e. that IN LIFE there are two separate elements that work together: the soul and the body; the mind and the brain. There is no dualism in death (indeed there may be nothing at all in death), and if bigger brains have better thoughts, then there is no dualism in life. Yes, the s/s/c uses the brain. As you acknowledged in the two quotes above, it uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them. And yes, the s/s/c IS the living personality, which dualists believe is the immaterial living, conscious, THINKING “me” which survives death.

DAVID: Here we seem to agree.

If you agree that the s/s/c uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them, how can you possibly justify the following statement?
DAVID: Yes, but thought is created by use of the material brain, and in life cannot be done without it. I don't think we differ.

dhw: As a dualist you agree that thought is not CREATED by use of the brain; it is CREATED by the s/s/c and IMPLEMENTED by use of the brain. We differ only when you keep differing with yourself.

DAVID: I am a material me managing to create an immaterial structure of my personality starting at birth.

dhw: If you believe that the material you creates your immaterial personality, you are a materialist. In your dualistic guise, you even tell us that the consciousness of the s/s/c is part of your immaterial God’s immaterial consciousness, i.e. it is not a product of the material self.

DAVID: My theory of dualism is not yours. I must use my brain to think, using my consciousness as a gift from God which allows thought.

dhw: Your theory of dualism – as you have agreed above – is precisely the same as mine. Your self/soul/consciousness does not “ALLOW” thought. It thinks. And – as you have agreed above – your brain “allows” you, your self/soul/consciousness, to implement its thoughts.

We seem to agree. I just use words differently than you do.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, April 01, 2018, 11:11 (85 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: NDEs and the belief in a soul that lives on after death are integral to the concept of dualism, i.e. that IN LIFE there are two separate elements that work together: the soul and the body; the mind and the brain. There is no dualism in death (indeed there may be nothing at all in death), and if bigger brains have better thoughts, then there is no dualism in life. Yes, the s/s/c uses the brain. As you acknowledged in the two quotes above, it uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them. And yes, the s/s/c IS the living personality, which dualists believe is the immaterial living, conscious, THINKING “me” which survives death.

DAVID: Here we seem to agree.

dhw: If you agree that the s/s/c uses the brain to IMPLEMENT its thoughts, not to create them, how can you possibly justify the following statement?

DAVID: Yes, but thought is created by use of the material brain, and in life cannot be done without it. I don't think we differ.

dhw: As a dualist you agree that thought is not CREATED by use of the brain; it is CREATED by the s/s/c and IMPLEMENTED by use of the brain. We differ only when you keep differing with yourself.

DAVID: I am a material me managing to create an immaterial structure of my personality starting at birth.

dhw: If you believe that the material you creates your immaterial personality, you are a materialist. In your dualistic guise, you even tell us that the consciousness of the s/s/c is part of your immaterial God’s immaterial consciousness, i.e. it is not a product of the material self.

DAVID: My theory of dualism is not yours. I must use my brain to think, using my consciousness as a gift from God which allows thought.

dhw: Your theory of dualism – as you have agreed above – is precisely the same as mine. Your self/soul/consciousness does not “ALLOW” thought. It thinks. And – as you have agreed above – your brain “allows” you, your self/soul/consciousness, to implement its thoughts.

DAVID: We seem to agree. I just use words differently than you do.

Since you now agree that according to your dualistic beliefs the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, it must be clear to you that the pre-sapiens brain would not have needed to expand before the s/s/c could come up with new immaterial concepts (which are thoughts). The expansion was required for the material implementation of the new concepts. With this in mind, I will try in the next few days to formulate an explanation that might eliminate the dichotomy between this dualistic view of the thinking self and the materialistic view that the material brain is the source of immaterial thought.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 01, 2018, 15:24 (85 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: My theory of dualism is not yours. I must use my brain to think, using my consciousness as a gift from God which allows thought.

dhw: Your theory of dualism – as you have agreed above – is precisely the same as mine. Your self/soul/consciousness does not “ALLOW” thought. It thinks. And – as you have agreed above – your brain “allows” you, your self/soul/consciousness, to implement its thoughts.

DAVID: We seem to agree. I just use words differently than you do.

dhw: Since you now agree that according to your dualistic beliefs the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, it must be clear to you that the pre-sapiens brain would not have needed to expand before the s/s/c could come up with new immaterial concepts (which are thoughts). The expansion was required for the material implementation of the new concepts. With this in mind, I will try in the next few days to formulate an explanation that might eliminate the dichotomy between this dualistic view of the thinking self and the materialistic view that the material brain is the source of immaterial thought.

Yes it would need to expand. Using my analogy of software/hardware, hominin advances required a larger brain be present to support more complex concepts. In life the s/s/c uses the brain to think. You imply the s/s/c is somehow independent in life but impart thoughts to the brain for implementation from a distance. Not so. They are completely interlocked, and we even have a good idea of where the different parts of the s/s/c and the brain perform differing functions together.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Monday, April 02, 2018, 11:01 (84 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My theory of dualism is not yours. I must use my brain to think, using my consciousness as a gift from God which allows thought.

dhw: Your theory of dualism – as you have agreed above – is precisely the same as mine. Your self/soul/consciousness does not “ALLOW” thought. It thinks. And – as you have agreed above – your brain “allows” you, your self/soul/consciousness, to implement its thoughts.

DAVID: We seem to agree. I just use words differently than you do.

dhw: Since you now agree that according to your dualistic beliefs the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, it must be clear to you that the pre-sapiens brain would not have needed to expand before the s/s/c could come up with new immaterial concepts (which are thoughts). The expansion was required for the material implementation of the new concepts. With this in mind, I will try in the next few days to formulate an explanation that might eliminate the dichotomy between this dualistic view of the thinking self and the materialistic view that the material brain is the source of immaterial thought.

DAVID: Yes it would need to expand. Using my analogy of software/hardware, hominin advances required a larger brain be present to support more complex concepts. In life the s/s/c uses the brain to think. You imply the s/s/c is somehow independent in life but impart thoughts to the brain for implementation from a distance. Not so. They are completely interlocked, and we even have a good idea of where the different parts of the s/s/c and the brain perform differing functions together.

You repeatedly agree with my interpretation of dualism, and then you repeatedly try to disagree by messing around with the vocabulary. You have agreed repeatedly that in life the s/s/c (software) does the thinking and uses the brain (hardware) to IMPLEMENT its thoughts (or to use the information provided by the brain). But back you go to “the s/s/c uses the brain to think”. And now suddenly you manufacture a brand new objection: “from a distance”. Where have you conjured that from? Of course in life the dualist’s immaterial self acts inside the material self. They would only separate at death or during NDEs. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence that during life we consist of a material and an immaterial self. Please stop agreeing and then manufacturing reasons to disagree.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, April 02, 2018, 14:48 (84 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Since you now agree that according to your dualistic beliefs the s/s/c does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, it must be clear to you that the pre-sapiens brain would not have needed to expand before the s/s/c could come up with new immaterial concepts (which are thoughts). The expansion was required for the material implementation of the new concepts. With this in mind, I will try in the next few days to formulate an explanation that might eliminate the dichotomy between this dualistic view of the thinking self and the materialistic view that the material brain is the source of immaterial thought.

DAVID: Yes it would need to expand. Using my analogy of software/hardware, hominin advances required a larger brain be present to support more complex concepts. In life the s/s/c uses the brain to think. You imply the s/s/c is somehow independent in life but impart thoughts to the brain for implementation from a distance. Not so. They are completely interlocked, and we even have a good idea of where the different parts of the s/s/c and the brain perform differing functions together.

dhw: You repeatedly agree with my interpretation of dualism, and then you repeatedly try to disagree by messing around with the vocabulary. You have agreed repeatedly that in life the s/s/c (software) does the thinking and uses the brain (hardware) to IMPLEMENT its thoughts (or to use the information provided by the brain). But back you go to “the s/s/c uses the brain to think”. And now suddenly you manufacture a brand new objection: “from a distance”. Where have you conjured that from? Of course in life the dualist’s immaterial self acts inside the material self. They would only separate at death or during NDEs. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence that during life we consist of a material and an immaterial self. Please stop agreeing and then manufacturing reasons to disagree.

The disagreement in my statement has to do only with the other issue between us: expansion of the brain. Only a more complex computer can handle more complex software. Only a larger brain can allow a more complex s/s/c to function in life. Your theory that the need for conceptualization forces the appearance of a larger brain has no basis in the facts we have before us. The "hot spots" in the genome that drove brain expansion are purposeful actions by God in my view.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, April 03, 2018, 11:41 (83 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You repeatedly agree with my interpretation of dualism, and then you repeatedly try to disagree by messing around with the vocabulary. You have agreed repeatedly that in life the s/s/c (software) does the thinking and uses the brain (hardware) to IMPLEMENT its thoughts (or to use the information provided by the brain). But back you go to “the s/s/c uses the brain to think”. And now suddenly you manufacture a brand new objection: “from a distance”. Where have you conjured that from? Of course in life the dualist’s immaterial self acts inside the material self. They would only separate at death or during NDEs. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence that during life we consist of a material and an immaterial self. Please stop agreeing and then manufacturing reasons to disagree.

DAVID: The disagreement in my statement has to do only with the other issue between us: expansion of the brain. Only a more complex computer can handle more complex software. Only a larger brain can allow a more complex s/s/c to function in life.

This is where you muddy the waters with obfuscation. You agree that the s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and the brain (hardware) does the implementing. In dualism the s/s/c does not need the larger brain to “function”, i.e. to think its more complex thoughts. That would make the brain the source of thought. Only a larger brain can allow the IMPLEMENTATION of the more complex thoughts of the s/s/c in life.

DAVID: Your theory that the need for conceptualization forces the appearance of a larger brain has no basis in the facts we have before us. The "hot spots" in the genome that drove brain expansion are purposeful actions by God in my view.

It is not the need for conceptualization! You constantly try to change the terms you have agreed to. Conceptualization means thinking up ideas. My hypothesis is that the need to IMPLEMENT concepts forces changes in the brain. The facts we have before us are that the material implementation of immaterial concepts (e.g. by illiterate women, taxi-drivers, musicians) forces such changes as complexification, shrinkage, expansion in the modern brain. There is no evidence that brain changes precede the attempt to implement concepts. Why, then, should we believe that the pre-sapiens s/s/c and brain functioned differently, and brains had to change (in this case expand) before pre-sapiens could come up with the concepts that required implementation?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 03, 2018, 20:36 (83 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You repeatedly agree with my interpretation of dualism, and then you repeatedly try to disagree by messing around with the vocabulary. You have agreed repeatedly that in life the s/s/c (software) does the thinking and uses the brain (hardware) to IMPLEMENT its thoughts (or to use the information provided by the brain). But back you go to “the s/s/c uses the brain to think”. And now suddenly you manufacture a brand new objection: “from a distance”. Where have you conjured that from? Of course in life the dualist’s immaterial self acts inside the material self. They would only separate at death or during NDEs. That is why NDEs are regarded as evidence that during life we consist of a material and an immaterial self. Please stop agreeing and then manufacturing reasons to disagree.

DAVID: The disagreement in my statement has to do only with the other issue between us: expansion of the brain. Only a more complex computer can handle more complex software. Only a larger brain can allow a more complex s/s/c to function in life.

dhw: This is where you muddy the waters with obfuscation. You agree that the s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and the brain (hardware) does the implementing. In dualism the s/s/c does not need the larger brain to “function”, i.e. to think its more complex thoughts. That would make the brain the source of thought. Only a larger brain can allow the IMPLEMENTATION of the more complex thoughts of the s/s/c in life.

The problem is your refusal to accept my concept of software/hardware. As IQ shows brains differ in their thought capacity which means the s/s/c can only go so far in intelligence based on the brain it is attached to.


DAVID: Your theory that the need for conceptualization forces the appearance of a larger brain has no basis in the facts we have before us. The "hot spots" in the genome that drove brain expansion are purposeful actions by God in my view.

dhw: It is not the need for conceptualization! You constantly try to change the terms you have agreed to. Conceptualization means thinking up ideas. My hypothesis is that the need to IMPLEMENT concepts forces changes in the brain. The facts we have before us are that the material implementation of immaterial concepts (e.g. by illiterate women, taxi-drivers, musicians) forces such changes as complexification, shrinkage, expansion in the modern brain. There is no evidence that brain changes precede the attempt to implement concepts. Why, then, should we believe that the pre-sapiens s/s/c and brain functioned differently, and brains had to change (in this case expand) before pre-sapiens could come up with the concepts that required implementation?

Because each change in size involved the prefrontal cortex with each increase in size and capacity producing more advanced artifacts. We have no evidence that Einstein's hat size was extraordinarily large. You want a natural cause for enlargement. I chose God as the agent of change.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, April 04, 2018, 11:21 (82 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The disagreement in my statement has to do only with the other issue between us: expansion of the brain. Only a more complex computer can handle more complex software. Only a larger brain can allow a more complex s/s/c to function in life.
dhw: This is where you muddy the waters with obfuscation. You agree that the s/s/c (software) does the thinking, and the brain (hardware) does the implementing. In dualism the s/s/c does not need the larger brain to “function”, i.e. to think its more complex thoughts. That would make the brain the source of thought. Only a larger brain can allow the IMPLEMENTATION of the more complex thoughts of the s/s/c in life.

DAVID: The problem is your refusal to accept my concept of software/hardware. As IQ shows brains differ in their thought capacity which means the s/s/c can only go so far in intelligence based on the brain it is attached to.

The problem is your refusal to accept your own concept of software as the producer of thought and hardware as the implementer of thought. What do you mean by “brains differ in their thought capacity”? If you think intelligence depends on the brain (and it may well do so), you are a materialist, so yet again: do you or do you not believe that your s/s/c does the thinking and your brain does the implementing? Yes or no?

dhw: My hypothesis is that the need to IMPLEMENT concepts forces changes in the brain. The facts we have before us are that the material implementation of immaterial concepts (e.g. by illiterate women, taxi-drivers, musicians) forces such changes as complexification, shrinkage, expansion in the modern brain. There is no evidence that brain changes precede the attempt to implement concepts. Why, then, should we believe that the pre-sapiens s/s/c and brain functioned differently, and brains had to change (in this case expand) before pre-sapiens could come up with the concepts that required implementation?
DAVID: Because each change in size involved the prefrontal cortex with each increase in size and capacity producing more advanced artifacts. We have no evidence that Einstein's hat size was extraordinarily large. You want a natural cause for enlargement. I chose God as the agent of change.

Yes, in your dualistic life the increase in size and capacity of the brain gave material form to the more advanced artefacts which had been thought up by the s/s/c: Conceptualization by the s/s/c followed by implementation, which changes the brain. Einstein’s hat was not extraordinarily large because, although you tell us his pfc was extra large, the brain itself remains within the confines of the skull, which has stopped expanding. You choose to believe that the brain changes in advance of new concepts, which in pre-sapiens were not possible until enlargement had taken place. New concepts as a consequence of brain changes runs counter to the evidence noted above, as well as to your dualistic belief that we have a thinking soul (software) and an implementing brain (hardware). But you refuse to recognize the dichotomy in your beliefs.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 04, 2018, 15:22 (82 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: The problem is your refusal to accept my concept of software/hardware. As IQ shows brains differ in their thought capacity which means the s/s/c can only go so far in intelligence based on the brain it is attached to.

dhw: The problem is your refusal to accept your own concept of software as the producer of thought and hardware as the implementer of thought. What do you mean by “brains differ in their thought capacity”? If you think intelligence depends on the brain (and it may well do so), you are a materialist, so yet again: do you or do you not believe that your s/s/c does the thinking and your brain does the implementing? Yes or no?

In life my s/s/c must use my brain to create my thought. It will not create thought if the brain in non-functional. That is my view of brain implementation at the level of thought.

dhw: My hypothesis is that the need to IMPLEMENT concepts forces changes in the brain. The facts we have before us are that the material implementation of immaterial concepts (e.g. by illiterate women, taxi-drivers, musicians) forces such changes as complexification, shrinkage, expansion in the modern brain. There is no evidence that brain changes precede the attempt to implement concepts. Why, then, should we believe that the pre-sapiens s/s/c and brain functioned differently, and brains had to change (in this case expand) before pre-sapiens could come up with the concepts that required implementation?

DAVID: Because each change in size involved the prefrontal cortex with each increase in size and capacity producing more advanced artifacts. We have no evidence that Einstein's hat size was extraordinarily large. You want a natural cause for enlargement. I chose God as the agent of change.

dhw: Yes, in your dualistic life the increase in size and capacity of the brain gave material form to the more advanced artefacts which had been thought up by the s/s/c: Conceptualization by the s/s/c followed by implementation, which changes the brain. Einstein’s hat was not extraordinarily large because, although you tell us his pfc was extra large, the brain itself remains within the confines of the skull, which has stopped expanding. You choose to believe that the brain changes in advance of new concepts, which in pre-sapiens were not possible until enlargement had taken place. New concepts as a consequence of brain changes runs counter to the evidence noted above, as well as to your dualistic belief that we have a thinking soul (software) and an implementing brain (hardware). But you refuse to recognize the dichotomy in your beliefs.

Just my point that IQ varies from below 70 to 200+ proves that the s/s/c has to use the mental machinery available to it.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, April 05, 2018, 12:57 (81 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The problem is your refusal to accept my concept of software/hardware. As IQ shows brains differ in their thought capacity which means the s/s/c can only go so far in intelligence based on the brain it is attached to.

dhw: The problem is your refusal to accept your own concept of software as the producer of thought and hardware as the implementer of thought. What do you mean by “brains differ in their thought capacity”? If you think intelligence depends on the brain (and it may well do so), you are a materialist, so yet again: do you or do you not believe that your s/s/c does the thinking and your brain does the implementing? Yes or no?

DAVID: In life my s/s/c must use my brain to create my thought. It will not create thought if the brain in non-functional. That is my view of brain implementation at the level of thought.

My question above could hardly have been more straightforward, and again and again you have answered yes. But again and again you return to your obfuscations. What is “brain implementation” if it is not your dualist’s s/s/c “using your brain” to implement its thought? If the s/s/c doesn’t do the thinking and the brain the implementing, there is no duality! And as evidence for their belief in this duality, dualists point out that in NDEs, when the brain is non-functional, the s/s/c still creates thought. What do you disagree with in these statements?

dhw: You choose to believe that the brain changes in advance of new concepts, which in pre-sapiens were not possible until enlargement had taken place. New concepts as a consequence of brain changes runs counter to the evidence noted above, as well as to your dualistic belief that we have a thinking soul (software) and an implementing brain (hardware). But you refuse to recognize the dichotomy in your beliefs.

DAVID: Just my point that IQ varies from below 70 to 200+ proves that the s/s/c has to use the mental machinery available to it.

The s/s/c IS the mental machinery! The brain is the physical machinery. If you think intelligence depends on the physical machinery, you are a materialist, and you may well be right. If you think it depends on the mental machinery, then please stop arguing that new concepts can only be thought of once the brain has enlarged.

DAVID: (commenting on mice): Once again we see the material side of conscious activity depends on chemicals in the brain, and it must be accepted that human instinctual reactions can have the same basis even though we have a higher level of consciousness. Our immaterial consciousness is based in a material brain, no way around it.

Yes, this is precisely how your dualism works: in life the s/s/c interacts with the brain: conscious activity is the work of the s/s/c, and precedes its material implementation, which depends on the brain. There is no way round it if you claim to be a dualist, so (again) please stop arguing that the brain has to change (in pre-sapiens, enlarge) before the s/s/c can come up with new thoughts.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 05, 2018, 15:27 (81 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: In life my s/s/c must use my brain to create my thought. It will not create thought if the brain in non-functional. That is my view of brain implementation at the level of thought.

dhw: My question above could hardly have been more straightforward, and again and again you have answered yes. But again and again you return to your obfuscations. What is “brain implementation” if it is not your dualist’s s/s/c “using your brain” to implement its thought? If the s/s/c doesn’t do the thinking and the brain the implementing, there is no duality! And as evidence for their belief in this duality, dualists point out that in NDEs, when the brain is non-functional, the s/s/c still creates thought. What do you disagree with in these statements?

I don't disagree except you always blur the distinct difference in living brain and dead brain and how the s/s/c functions. They are completely different. In life the s/s/c can only act through using the brain and is bound to it.

DAVID: Just my point that IQ varies from below 70 to 200+ proves that the s/s/c has to use the mental machinery available to it.

dhw: The s/s/c IS the mental machinery! The brain is the physical machinery. If you think intelligence depends on the physical machinery, you are a materialist, and you may well be right. If you think it depends on the mental machinery, then please stop arguing that new concepts can only be thought of once the brain has enlarged.

See my point above. The s/s/c can only be as intelligent as the complexity of the brain it is attached to allows.


DAVID: (commenting on mice): Once again we see the material side of conscious activity depends on chemicals in the brain, and it must be accepted that human instinctual reactions can have the same basis even though we have a higher level of consciousness. Our immaterial consciousness is based in a material brain, no way around it.

dhw; Yes, this is precisely how your dualism works: in life the s/s/c interacts with the brain: conscious activity is the work of the s/s/c, and precedes its material implementation, which depends on the brain. There is no way round it if you claim to be a dualist, so (again) please stop arguing that the brain has to change (in pre-sapiens, enlarge) before the s/s/c can come up with new thoughts.

My IQ analogy refutes your point.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Friday, April 06, 2018, 11:41 (80 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: If the s/s/c doesn’t do the thinking and the brain the implementing, there is no duality! And as evidence for their belief in this duality, dualists point out that in NDEs, when the brain is non-functional, the s/s/c still creates thought. What do you disagree with in these statements?
DAVID: I don't disagree except you always blur the distinct difference in living brain and dead brain and how the s/s/c functions. They are completely different. In life the s/s/c can only act through using the brain and is bound to it.

No disagreement at all. The crucial point for our discussion is that in life the thinking s/s/c acts by using the implementing brain.

DAVID: Just my point that IQ varies from below 70 to 200+ proves that the s/s/c has to use the mental machinery available to it.
dhw: The s/s/c IS the mental machinery! The brain is the physical machinery. If you think intelligence depends on the physical machinery, you are a materialist, and you may well be right. If you think it depends on the mental machinery, then please stop arguing that new concepts can only be thought of once the brain has enlarged.
DAVID: See my point above. The s/s/c can only be as intelligent as the complexity of the brain it is attached to allows.

In life the dualist’s s/s/c can only “act through using its brain”, and of course it is restricted by the limitations of the brain/body, but it is not the brain/body that limits the intelligence of the s/s/c. I can imagine flapping my arms and flying, but I can’t do it. However, my dualist’s s/s/c can work out different ways in which I can use materials and enable myself to fly, and then the s/s/c uses the brain and body to give the concept material expression and form.

Dhw:[…] in life the s/s/c interacts with the brain: conscious activity is the work of the s/s/c, and precedes its material implementation, which depends on the brain. There is no way round it if you claim to be a dualist, so (again) please stop arguing that the brain has to change (in pre-sapiens, enlarge) before the s/s/c can come up with new thoughts.
DAVID: My IQ analogy refutes your point.

Once again: your IQ analogy can only refute my point if you insist that the source of intelligence is the brain and not the s/s/c, which it may well be. But that is the materialism which you claim to reject.

DAVID’s comment on Gazzaniga’s new book: If a brilliant scientist throws up his hands in surrender, who are we to try? Note my bold. Sleep walking is a great example of consciousness being present only if the brain allows it. In life the s/s/c doesn't work unless tied to the neuromechanics of the brain.

Thank you for this superb article. Sleep is yet another complex aspect of the insoluble mystery, but if you insist that the s/s/c cannot think unless the brain is “awake” and functioning, you are providing evidence for materialism. That is why NDEs are so important for dualists, since they run counter to the idea that thought depends on the functioning brain.I find it reassuring that this brilliant scientist is just as torn between materialism and dualism as I am, and I do wish you would acknowledge the same dichotomy in your own thinking!

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, April 06, 2018, 15:42 (80 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: See my point above. The s/s/c can only be as intelligent as the complexity of the brain it is attached to allows.

dhw: In life the dualist’s s/s/c can only “act through using its brain”, and of course it is restricted by the limitations of the brain/body, but it is not the brain/body that limits the intelligence of the s/s/c. I can imagine flapping my arms and flying, but I can’t do it. However, my dualist’s s/s/c can work out different ways in which I can use materials and enable myself to fly, and then the s/s/c uses the brain and body to give the concept material expression and form.

Your concept leads to this preposterous idea: a person with an IQ of 70 is at that level because his s/s/c can do no better, even though his brain is really constructed just like yours and mine! But it isn't constructed the same way.

dhw: Once again: your IQ analogy can only refute my point if you insist that the source of intelligence is the brain and not the s/s/c, which it may well be. But that is the materialism which you claim to reject.

The s/s/c must use the brain it is given and the functional level of that brain will dictate the IQ. Granted other factors in life can improve the IQ to some degree as the brain is plastic.


DAVID’s comment on Gazzaniga’s new book: If a brilliant scientist throws up his hands in surrender, who are we to try? Note my bold. Sleep walking is a great example of consciousness being present only if the brain allows it. In life the s/s/c doesn't work unless tied to the neuromechanics of the brain.

dhw: Thank you for this superb article. Sleep is yet another complex aspect of the insoluble mystery, but if you insist that the s/s/c cannot think unless the brain is “awake” and functioning, you are providing evidence for materialism. That is why NDEs are so important for dualists, since they run counter to the idea that thought depends on the functioning brain.I find it reassuring that this brilliant scientist is just as torn between materialism and dualism as I am, and I do wish you would acknowledge the same dichotomy in your own thinking!

I'm happy to show we are all stumped. And please recognize living brain and NDE are two different circumstances, and the s/s/c may function differently in both.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, April 07, 2018, 12:55 (79 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In life the dualist’s s/s/c can only “act through using its brain”, and of course it is restricted by the limitations of the brain/body, but it is not the brain/body that limits the intelligence of the s/s/c. I can imagine flapping my arms and flying, but I can’t do it. However, my dualist’s s/s/c can work out different ways in which I can use materials and enable myself to fly, and then the s/s/c uses the brain and body to give the concept material expression and form.

DAVID: Your concept leads to this preposterous idea: a person with an IQ of 70 is at that level because his s/s/c can do no better, even though his brain is really constructed just like yours and mine! But it isn't constructed the same way.

Why have you switched to the IQ? I have given you an example of how dualism works. Now you are offering me the materialist view that different brains give rise to different levels of intelligence, as if that invalidates the dualistic example. If you think my example is preposterous, and the brain is the source of intelligence, then please stop presenting yourself as a dualist. (See below.)

DAVID’s comment on Gazzaniga’s new book: If a brilliant scientist throws up his hands in surrender, who are we to try? Note my bold. Sleep walking is a great example of consciousness being present only if the brain allows it. In life the s/s/c doesn't work unless tied to the neuromechanics of the brain.

dhw: Thank you for this superb article. Sleep is yet another complex aspect of the insoluble mystery, but if you insist that the s/s/c cannot think unless the brain is “awake” and functioning, you are providing evidence for materialism. That is why NDEs are so important for dualists, since they run counter to the idea that thought depends on the functioning brain.I find it reassuring that this brilliant scientist is just as torn between materialism and dualism as I am, and I do wish you would acknowledge the same dichotomy in your own thinking!

DAVID: I'm happy to show we are all stumped. And please recognize living brain and NDE are two different circumstances, and the s/s/c may function differently in both.

Recognized. NDEs are only relevant to our discussion as evidence for dualism. Our discussion concerns the respective roles of the s/s/c and the brain in life. And you have missed the point: we are stumped because there is evidence both for dualism and for materialism, and nobody knows which is correct. When I present the case for dualism, you counter with evidence for materialism, but you refuse to recognize that IQ as a product of the brain, and new concepts as a product of the enlarged brain, both run counter to dualism. You say you are stumped. So am I, and so is Gazzaniga. He and I are stumped because we recognize the dichotomy created by the evidence. Now please explain WHY you are stumped, although you claim to be a dualist.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 07, 2018, 16:18 (79 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: In life the dualist’s s/s/c can only “act through using its brain”, and of course it is restricted by the limitations of the brain/body, but it is not the brain/body that limits the intelligence of the s/s/c. I can imagine flapping my arms and flying, but I can’t do it. However, my dualist’s s/s/c can work out different ways in which I can use materials and enable myself to fly, and then the s/s/c uses the brain and body to give the concept material expression and form.

DAVID: Your concept leads to this preposterous idea: a person with an IQ of 70 is at that level because his s/s/c can do no better, even though his brain is really constructed just like yours and mine! But it isn't constructed the same way.

dhw: Why have you switched to the IQ? I have given you an example of how dualism works. Now you are offering me the materialist view that different brains give rise to different levels of intelligence, as if that invalidates the dualistic example. If you think my example is preposterous, and the brain is the source of intelligence, then please stop presenting yourself as a dualist. (See below.)

You don't understand my view because you refuse to recognize that in life the s/s/c is bound to work with the quality of the brain it is given. That is the point of IQ. Arthropithicus did not have the IQ of Erectus.


DAVID’s comment on Gazzaniga’s new book: If a brilliant scientist throws up his hands in surrender, who are we to try? Note my bold. Sleep walking is a great example of consciousness being present only if the brain allows it. In life the s/s/c doesn't work unless tied to the neuromechanics of the brain.

dhw: Thank you for this superb article. Sleep is yet another complex aspect of the insoluble mystery, but if you insist that the s/s/c cannot think unless the brain is “awake” and functioning, you are providing evidence for materialism. That is why NDEs are so important for dualists, since they run counter to the idea that thought depends on the functioning brain.I find it reassuring that this brilliant scientist is just as torn between materialism and dualism as I am, and I do wish you would acknowledge the same dichotomy in your own thinking!

DAVID: I'm happy to show we are all stumped. And please recognize living brain and NDE are two different circumstances, and the s/s/c may function differently in both.

dhw: Recognized. NDEs are only relevant to our discussion as evidence for dualism. Our discussion concerns the respective roles of the s/s/c and the brain in life. And you have missed the point: we are stumped because there is evidence both for dualism and for materialism, and nobody knows which is correct. When I present the case for dualism, you counter with evidence for materialism, but you refuse to recognize that IQ as a product of the brain, and new concepts as a product of the enlarged brain, both run counter to dualism. You say you are stumped. So am I, and so is Gazzaniga. He and I are stumped because we recognize the dichotomy created by the evidence. Now please explain WHY you are stumped, although you claim to be a dualist.

I am not stumped. I have a very specific dualistic theory: the s/s/c functions differently in life and in death/nonfunction. In life it must use the brain it attaches to and use it with the ability the brain has to handle whatever level of complex thought it is built to handle/allow. Thus my statement above. In death the s/s/c acts as an independent entity by a different quantum mechanism.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, April 08, 2018, 11:17 (78 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I'm happy to show we are all stumped. And please recognize living brain and NDE are two different circumstances, and the s/s/c may function differently in both.

dhw: Recognized. NDEs are only relevant to our discussion as evidence for dualism. Our discussion concerns the respective roles of the s/s/c and the brain in life. And you have missed the point: we are stumped because there is evidence both for dualism and for materialism, and nobody knows which is correct. When I present the case for dualism, you counter with evidence for materialism, but you refuse to recognize that IQ as a product of the brain, and new concepts as a product of the enlarged brain, both run counter to dualism. You say you are stumped. So am I, and so is Gazzaniga. He and I are stumped because we recognize the dichotomy created by the evidence. Now please explain WHY you are stumped, although you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: I am not stumped.

You are "happy to show that we are all stumped", but you are not stumped!

DAVID: I have a very specific dualistic theory: the s/s/c functions differently in life and in death/nonfunction. In life it must use the brain it attaches to and use it with the ability the brain has to handle whatever level of complex thought it is built to handle/allow. Thus my statement above. In death the s/s/c acts as an independent entity by a different quantum mechanism.

We have agreed on all this, and it is not the issue! The issue is the roles played by the s/s/c and the brain IN LIFE. So once more: do you believe that IN LIFE your immaterial thoughts are the product of your material brain, or do you believe that you have an immaterial self that gathers information from and gives instructions to your material brain, so that your immaterial thoughts can be given material expression and/or implementation? Or are you stumped?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 08, 2018, 19:41 (78 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I am not stumped.

dhw: You are "happy to show that we are all stumped", but you are not stumped!

DAVID: I have a very specific dualistic theory: the s/s/c functions differently in life and in death/nonfunction. In life it must use the brain it attaches to and use it with the ability the brain has to handle whatever level of complex thought it is built to handle/allow. Thus my statement above. In death the s/s/c acts as an independent entity by a different quantum mechanism.

We have agreed on all this, and it is not the issue! The issue is the roles played by the s/s/c and the brain IN LIFE. So once more: do you believe that IN LIFE your immaterial thoughts are the product of your material brain, or do you believe that you have an immaterial self that gathers information from and gives instructions to your material brain, so that your immaterial thoughts can be given material expression and/or implementation? Or are you stumped?

I'm not stumped and happy with my conclusion. The s/s/c cannot IN LIFE work on its own! It must use the brain to gather information, to think and to develop instructions for the brain to move onto implementations. The brain and the s/s/c are tightly interfaced, not in any way separate as you constantly try to imply. The s/s/c is a quantum software using a material brain, but in death/ non-functional state it is a slightly different quantum software interfacing with the afterlife.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Monday, April 09, 2018, 11:48 (77 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I am not stumped.
dhw: You are "happy to show that we are all stumped", but you are not stumped!
DAVID: I have a very specific dualistic theory: the s/s/c functions differently in life and in death/nonfunction. In life it must use the brain it attaches to and use it with the ability the brain has to handle whatever level of complex thought it is built to handle/allow. Thus my statement above. In death the s/s/c acts as an independent entity by a different quantum mechanism.

dhw: We have agreed on all this, and it is not the issue! The issue is the roles played by the s/s/c and the brain IN LIFE. So once more: (a) do you believe that IN LIFE your immaterial thoughts are the product of your material brain, or (b) do you believe that you have an immaterial self that gathers information from and gives instructions to your material brain, so that your immaterial thoughts can be given material expression and/or implementation? Or are you stumped? (Dhw’s bold, with the insertion of the letters (a) and (b) to make it simpler!)

DAVID: I'm not stumped and happy with my conclusion. The s/s/c cannot IN LIFE work on its own! It must use the brain to gather information, to think and to develop instructions for the brain to move onto implementations. The brain and the s/s/c are tightly interfaced, not in any way separate as you constantly try to imply. The s/s/c is a quantum software using a material brain, but in death/ non-functional state it is a slightly different quantum software interfacing with the afterlife.

You have virtually repeated everything I have been saying for the last couple of years, but have modified it with tiny obfuscations. Let us ignore the fact that initially you were stumped like the rest of us but are no longer stumped, though we may have to come back to that!
Of course the s/s/c cannot work on its own in life, because it needs the brain to gather information and to give instructions that will enable implementation of its thoughts. But you have popped the word “think” in the middle. The s/s/c does the thinking, and you have ignored the question I asked you: “do you believe that IN LIFE your immaterial thoughts are the product of your material brain…etc”. “The brain and the s/s/c are tightly interfaced.” Of course they are, and I do not imply that they are “separate”, but that if dualism is correct they have different functions: the s/s/c does the thinking, and the brain does the information gathering and the implementing. What happens in death is irrelevant to our discussion on the different roles in life, but it is blindingly obvious that an s/s/c without a brain will have to function differently from an s/s/c with a brain, since it will not be interfacing with materials. We would therefore appear to be in agreement on the different roles of the s/s/c and the brain IN LIFE, but to be on the safe side, perhaps you could just answer the bolded question above with a simple (a) or (b).

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, April 09, 2018, 18:16 (77 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have a very specific dualistic theory: the s/s/c functions differently in life and in death/nonfunction. In life it must use the brain it attaches to and use it with the ability the brain has to handle whatever level of complex thought it is built to handle/allow. Thus my statement above. In death the s/s/c acts as an independent entity by a different quantum mechanism.


dhw: We have agreed on all this, and it is not the issue! The issue is the roles played by the s/s/c and the brain IN LIFE. So once more: (a) do you believe that IN LIFE your immaterial thoughts are the product of your material brain, or (b) do you believe that you have an immaterial self that gathers information from and gives instructions to your material brain, so that your immaterial thoughts can be given material expression and/or implementation? Or are you stumped? (Dhw’s bold, with the insertion of the letters (a) and (b) to make it simpler!)

DAVID: I'm not stumped and happy with my conclusion. The s/s/c cannot IN LIFE work on its own! It must use the brain to gather information, to think and to develop instructions for the brain to move onto implementations. The brain and the s/s/c are tightly interfaced, not in any way separate as you constantly try to imply. The s/s/c is a quantum software using a material brain, but in death/ non-functional state it is a slightly different quantum software interfacing with the afterlife.

dhw: You have virtually repeated everything I have been saying for the last couple of years, but have modified it with tiny obfuscations. Let us ignore the fact that initially you were stumped like the rest of us but are no longer stumped, though we may have to come back to that!
Of course the s/s/c cannot work on its own in life, because it needs the brain to gather information and to give instructions that will enable implementation of its thoughts. But you have popped the word “think” in the middle. The s/s/c does the thinking, (my bold)

And that is our difference. My view is that in life the s/s/c cannot think without using the brain. You keep proposing there is some sort of separation in function between the s/s/c and the material brain. I (s/s/c) use my material brain to produce my immaterial thoughts. Same statement as always.

dhw: and you have ignored the question I asked you: “do you believe that IN LIFE your immaterial thoughts are the product of your material brain…etc”. “The brain and the s/s/c are tightly interfaced.” Of course they are, and I do not imply that they are “separate”, but that if dualism is correct they have different functions: the s/s/c does the thinking, and the brain does the information gathering and the implementing.

The brain must be used to do the implementation of the thinking mechanism supplied by the s/s/c. Without the brain the s/s/c will not produce thought in life. But what I am describing is a proposed material quantum mechanism in the brain which facilitates the brain to have consciousness and produce thought. That mechanism is a gift from God's universal consciousness. This is dualism in a different form from yours.

dhw: What happens in death is irrelevant to our discussion on the different roles in life, but it is blindingly obvious that an s/s/c without a brain will have to function differently from an s/s/c with a brain, since it will not be interfacing with materials. We would therefore appear to be in agreement on the different roles of the s/s/c and the brain IN LIFE, but to be on the safe side, perhaps you could just answer the bolded question above with a simple (a) or (b).

I'm close to your (b) but with nuanced changes as above. I look at the s/s/c mechanism as a quantum construct, differing in form in life and death.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 13:03 (76 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: “The brain and the s/s/c are tightly interfaced.” Of course they are, and I do not imply that they are “separate”, but that if dualism is correct they have different functions: the s/s/c does the thinking, and the brain does the information gathering and the implementing.
DAVID: The brain must be used to do the implementation of the thinking mechanism supplied by the s/s/c.

Agreed.

DAVID: Without the brain the s/s/c will not produce thought in life. But what I am describing is a proposed material quantum mechanism in the brain which facilitates the brain to have consciousness and produce thought. That mechanism is a gift from God's universal consciousness. This is dualism in a different form from yours.

I’ve sat here trying to puzzle this out, but you’ll have to help me. The idea that there is a material quantum mechanism which enables the brain to have consciousness and produce thought means nothing more to me than that somehow or the other the material brain produces consciousness and thought – which is clearly pure materialism. But “that mechanism is a gift from God’s universal consciousness” is not clear at all. If you mean that your God gave us a material mechanism which enabled us to think, OK. Materialists call it the brain, but call it a material quantum mechanism if you like. However, if you mean that the mechanism is a part of your God’s own consciousness, then is his own consciousness a material quantum mechanism?

DAVID: I look at the s/s/c mechanism as a quantum construct, differing in form in life and death.

You said that in life it was a material quantum mechanism. You have agreed that in death your s/s/c is still you: NDE patients, whose brains are non-functional, are aware of what is happening around them, whether in the operating theatre or in another world, and when it’s the latter they can communicate and even express their own wishes (some do not want to return). Clearly the mechanism for consciousness in death has to interact differently with its new surroundings (e.g. using telepathy), but are you now saying that although it retains all the attributes (thought, memory, emotion etc.) it had when inside the brain, it suddenly becomes an immaterial quantum construct? Is there such a thing? If there is, why would your God need to manufacture a material one? Why wouldn’t the immaterial one perform the same thinking/remembering/feeling functions inside the brain as outside it, and as we have agreed over and over again, use the brain simply to gather information and give material expression and implementation to its thoughts?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 15:24 (76 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: “The brain and the s/s/c are tightly interfaced.” Of course they are, and I do not imply that they are “separate”, but that if dualism is correct they have different functions: the s/s/c does the thinking, and the brain does the information gathering and the implementing.
DAVID: The brain must be used to do the implementation of the thinking mechanism supplied by the s/s/c.

dhw: Agreed.

DAVID: Without the brain the s/s/c will not produce thought in life. But what I am describing is a proposed material quantum mechanism in the brain which facilitates the brain to have consciousness and produce thought. That mechanism is a gift from God's universal consciousness. This is dualism in a different form from yours.

I’ve sat here trying to puzzle this out, but you’ll have to help me. The idea that there is a material quantum mechanism which enables the brain to have consciousness and produce thought means nothing more to me than that somehow or the other the material brain produces consciousness and thought – which is clearly pure materialism. But “that mechanism is a gift from God’s universal consciousness” is not clear at all. If you mean that your God gave us a material mechanism which enabled us to think, OK. Materialists call it the brain, but call it a material quantum mechanism if you like. However, if you mean that the mechanism is a part of your God’s own consciousness, then is his own consciousness a material quantum mechanism?

See below.


DAVID: I look at the s/s/c mechanism as a quantum construct, differing in form in life and death.

dhw: You said that in life it was a material quantum mechanism. You have agreed that in death your s/s/c is still you: NDE patients, whose brains are non-functional, are aware of what is happening around them, whether in the operating theatre or in another world, and when it’s the latter they can communicate and even express their own wishes (some do not want to return). Clearly the mechanism for consciousness in death has to interact differently with its new surroundings (e.g. using telepathy), but are you now saying that although it retains all the attributes (thought, memory, emotion etc.) it had when inside the brain, it suddenly becomes an immaterial quantum construct? Is there such a thing? If there is, why would your God need to manufacture a material one? Why wouldn’t the immaterial one perform the same thinking/remembering/feeling functions inside the brain as outside it, and as we have agreed over and over again, use the brain simply to gather information and give material expression and implementation to its thoughts?

I view a purely quantum mechanism as pure quantum energy in an immaterial form. This is why we have had so many discussion of quantum reality and trying to understand the uncertainty of how we view it and try to understand it. Quantum reality underlies our universe and is the basis of it in my view. God's consciousness is quantum reality, pure energy, and we have a portion of it in our brains where it interfaces with the living us.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 12:44 (75 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You said that in life it was a material quantum mechanism. You have agreed that in death your s/s/c is still you: NDE patients, whose brains are non-functional, are aware of what is happening around them, whether in the operating theatre or in another world, and when it’s the latter they can communicate and even express their own wishes (some do not want to return). Clearly the mechanism for consciousness in death has to interact differently with its new surroundings (e.g. using telepathy), but are you now saying that although it retains all the attributes (thought, memory, emotion etc.) it had when inside the brain, it suddenly becomes an immaterial quantum construct? Is there such a thing? If there is, why would your God need to manufacture a material one? Why wouldn’t the immaterial one perform the same thinking/remembering/feeling functions inside the brain as outside it, and as we have agreed over and over again, use the brain simply to gather information and give material expression and implementation to its thoughts?

DAVID: I view a purely quantum mechanism as pure quantum energy in an immaterial form. This is why we have had so many discussion of quantum reality and trying to understand the uncertainty of how we view it and try to understand it. Quantum reality underlies our universe and is the basis of it in my view. God's consciousness is quantum reality, pure energy, and we have a portion of it in our brains where it interfaces with the living us.

But you wrote: “…what I am describing is a proposed material quantum mechanism in the brain which facilitates the brain to have consciousness and produce thought. That mechanism is a gift from God's universal consciousness. This is dualism in a different form from yours.” (My bold) Prior to the entry I have reproduced above, I asked if this meant God gave us a material quantum mechanism (which might just as well be called the brain), and if God’s own consciousness was also a material quantum mechanism. It now appears that you are only referring to an immaterial quantum mechanism in both cases, which I’m afraid takes us straight back to Square One. You believe in an immaterial self which resides within and interacts with the material brain in life and leaves it in death. I suggest to you that in a dualist’s life this immaterial self (or “pure quantum energy”) does the thinking, while the material self provides the information and material expression and implementation of those thoughts. You keep agreeing and then disagreeing, so may I ask which it is now?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, 21:13 (75 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You said that in life it was a material quantum mechanism. You have agreed that in death your s/s/c is still you: NDE patients, whose brains are non-functional, are aware of what is happening around them, whether in the operating theatre or in another world, and when it’s the latter they can communicate and even express their own wishes (some do not want to return). Clearly the mechanism for consciousness in death has to interact differently with its new surroundings (e.g. using telepathy), but are you now saying that although it retains all the attributes (thought, memory, emotion etc.) it had when inside the brain, it suddenly becomes an immaterial quantum construct? Is there such a thing? If there is, why would your God need to manufacture a material one? Why wouldn’t the immaterial one perform the same thinking/remembering/feeling functions inside the brain as outside it, and as we have agreed over and over again, use the brain simply to gather information and give material expression and implementation to its thoughts?

DAVID: I view a purely quantum mechanism as pure quantum energy in an immaterial form. This is why we have had so many discussion of quantum reality and trying to understand the uncertainty of how we view it and try to understand it. Quantum reality underlies our universe and is the basis of it in my view. God's consciousness is quantum reality, pure energy, and we have a portion of it in our brains where it interfaces with the living us.

dhw: But you wrote: “…what I am describing is a proposed material quantum mechanism in the brain which facilitates the brain to have consciousness and produce thought. That mechanism is a gift from God's universal consciousness. This is dualism in a different form from yours.” (My bold) Prior to the entry I have reproduced above, I asked if this meant God gave us a material quantum mechanism (which might just as well be called the brain), and if God’s own consciousness was also a material quantum mechanism. It now appears that you are only referring to an immaterial quantum mechanism in both cases, which I’m afraid takes us straight back to Square One. You believe in an immaterial self which resides within and interacts with the material brain in life and leaves it in death. I suggest to you that in a dualist’s life this immaterial self (or “pure quantum energy”) does the thinking, while the material self provides the information and material expression and implementation of those thoughts. You keep agreeing and then disagreeing, so may I ask which it is now?

Think back to our discussion about what was in the beginning before the Big Bang: God as pure energy with no material form was my opinion. That is what I view now as God's universal consciousness, of which we have a portion to interface with our brain to produce immaterial thought. Our personality/s/s/c is a construct built from birth in that interface. Both this consciousness mechanism and brain must work together to produce thought in life. The immaterial self cannot by itself produce or even drive immaterial thought unless interlocked with the material brain during life. I can control my consciousness only by employing my brain, typing these words which are a material implementation of immaterial response thoughts.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, April 12, 2018, 13:53 (74 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: But you wrote: “…what I am describing is a proposed material quantum mechanism in the brain which facilitates the brain to have consciousness and produce thought. That mechanism is a gift from God's universal consciousness. This is dualism in a different form from yours.” (My bold) Prior to the entry I have reproduced above, I asked if this meant God gave us a material quantum mechanism (which might just as well be called the brain), and if God’s own consciousness was also a material quantum mechanism. It now appears that you are only referring to an immaterial quantum mechanism in both cases, which I’m afraid takes us straight back to Square One. You believe in an immaterial self which resides within and interacts with the material brain in life and leaves it in death. I suggest to you that in a dualist’s life this immaterial self (or “pure quantum energy”) does the thinking, while the material self provides the information and material expression and implementation of those thoughts. You keep agreeing and then disagreeing, so may I ask which it is now?

DAVID: Think back to our discussion about what was in the beginning before the Big Bang: God as pure energy with no material form was my opinion. That is what I view now as God's universal consciousness, of which we have a portion to interface with our brain to produce immaterial thought. Our personality/s/s/c is a construct built from birth in that interface. Both this consciousness mechanism and brain must work together to produce thought in life. The immaterial self cannot by itself produce or even drive immaterial thought unless interlocked with the material brain during life. I can control my consciousness only by employing my brain, typing these words which are a material implementation of immaterial response thoughts.

So let’s clear up the first anomaly: when you wrote that you were proposing a material quantum mechanism which enabled the brain to think, you meant an immaterial mechanism. The rest of your post simply reiterates your belief that you have an immaterial self, but in life it cannot think without being interlocked with the material brain. Only when the material brain stops functioning (NDEs) is it able to think without being interlocked with the brain. I find this illogical. I asked, as I frequently do, whether you accepted the dualistic view that in life the immaterial self (the s/s/c) does the thinking and the material self (body/brain) provides information and implements the thoughts of the immaterial self (soul). You have not answered. Your last sentence separates “I” from your consciousness, but these are united in the concept of the self/soul/consciousness which = the immaterial self, so now you have your immaterial self controlling your immaterial self, but you then go on to give an example of your brain enabling you to give material implementation to your immaterial thoughts. I will therefore try once more to get a direct answer from you: did these immaterial thoughts come from your s/s/c (the immaterial self), or from your brain?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 12, 2018, 23:21 (74 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: But you wrote: “…what I am describing is a proposed material quantum mechanism in the brain which facilitates the brain to have consciousness and produce thought. That mechanism is a gift from God's universal consciousness. This is dualism in a different form from yours.” (My bold) Prior to the entry I have reproduced above, I asked if this meant God gave us a material quantum mechanism (which might just as well be called the brain), and if God’s own consciousness was also a material quantum mechanism. It now appears that you are only referring to an immaterial quantum mechanism in both cases, which I’m afraid takes us straight back to Square One. You believe in an immaterial self which resides within and interacts with the material brain in life and leaves it in death. I suggest to you that in a dualist’s life this immaterial self (or “pure quantum energy”) does the thinking, while the material self provides the information and material expression and implementation of those thoughts. You keep agreeing and then disagreeing, so may I ask which it is now?

DAVID: Think back to our discussion about what was in the beginning before the Big Bang: God as pure energy with no material form was my opinion. That is what I view now as God's universal consciousness, of which we have a portion to interface with our brain to produce immaterial thought. Our personality/s/s/c is a construct built from birth in that interface. Both this consciousness mechanism and brain must work together to produce thought in life. The immaterial self cannot by itself produce or even drive immaterial thought unless interlocked with the material brain during life. I can control my consciousness only by employing my brain, typing these words which are a material implementation of immaterial response thoughts.

dhw: So let’s clear up the first anomaly: when you wrote that you were proposing a material quantum mechanism which enabled the brain to think, you meant an immaterial mechanism. The rest of your post simply reiterates your belief that you have an immaterial self, but in life it cannot think without being interlocked with the material brain. Only when the material brain stops functioning (NDEs) is it able to think without being interlocked with the brain. I find this illogical. I asked, as I frequently do, whether you accepted the dualistic view that in life the immaterial self (the s/s/c) does the thinking and the material self (body/brain) provides information and implements the thoughts of the immaterial self (soul). You have not answered. Your last sentence separates “I” from your consciousness, but these are united in the concept of the self/soul/consciousness which = the immaterial self, so now you have your immaterial self controlling your immaterial self, but you then go on to give an example of your brain enabling you to give material implementation to your immaterial thoughts. I will therefore try once more to get a direct answer from you: did these immaterial thoughts come from your s/s/c (the immaterial self), or from your brain?

I can only go back to what I have presented. In life the s/s/c must use the brain which with it is interlocked. Its mechanism in life requires that. In death or NDE it operates differently and can think without the brain interface. The s/s/c has two different forms and function. And it is a pure energy (as God is) format. What I propose is the s/s/c has dual forms. I have a right to propose my own theory of dualism. There is the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/ thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain, along with two forms of the immaterial quantum energy s/s/c.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Friday, April 13, 2018, 09:30 (73 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I can control my consciousness only by employing my brain, typing these words which are a material implementation of immaterial response thoughts.

dhw: Your last sentence separates “I” from your consciousness, but these are united in the concept of the self/soul/consciousness which = the immaterial self, so now you have your immaterial self controlling your immaterial self, but you then go on to give an example of your brain enabling you to give material implementation to your immaterial thoughts. I will therefore try once more to get a direct answer from you: did these immaterial thoughts come from your s/s/c (the immaterial self), or from your brain?

DAVID: I can only go back to what I have presented. In life the s/s/c must use the brain which with it is interlocked. Its mechanism in life requires that. In death or NDE it operates differently and can think without the brain interface. The s/s/c has two different forms and function. And it is a pure energy (as God is) format. What I propose is the s/s/c has dual forms. I have a right to propose my own theory of dualism. There is the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/ thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain, along with two forms of the immaterial quantum energy s/s/c.

You have the right to propose any theory you like, but the object of our discussions is to test theories to see if they make sense. If the s/s/c is “pure energy”, I don’t see how it can have two different forms. Clearly, if it survives the death of the brain it will function or “operate” differently, since NDEs suggest that it can still perceive, communicate, think, feel etc., but it will “interface” with a different reality and has no material means of expressing itself (hence perhaps communication by telepathy). But that is irrelevant to our discussion, which only concerns how it functions or operates IN LIFE, and here you have specified “the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain”. I’m glad this is obvious, as it answers the question I keep asking you, though for some reason you never answer with a simple yes or no. Even to you it now seems “obvious” that if the immaterial self exists, IN LIFE it does the thinking and the brain does the implementing. It should therefore be equally obvious that if your form of dualism is correct, IN LIFE there is no need for the brain to expand or complexify before the immaterial self comes up with new immaterial thoughts. It needs to expand or complexify in order to implement the new immaterial thoughts, as proven by modern science (with sapiens shrinkage probably the result of efficient complexification). The alternative to this is materialism, and one of these days I’ll find time to expand on the reconciliation hypothesis I proposed earlier!

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, April 13, 2018, 16:50 (73 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: I can only go back to what I have presented. In life the s/s/c must use the brain which with it is interlocked. Its mechanism in life requires that. In death or NDE it operates differently and can think without the brain interface. The s/s/c has two different forms and function. And it is a pure energy (as God is) format. What I propose is the s/s/c has dual forms. I have a right to propose my own theory of dualism. There is the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/ thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain, along with two forms of the immaterial quantum energy s/s/c.

dhw: You have the right to propose any theory you like, but the object of our discussions is to test theories to see if they make sense. If the s/s/c is “pure energy”, I don’t see how it can have two different forms. Clearly, if it survives the death of the brain it will function or “operate” differently, since NDEs suggest that it can still perceive, communicate, think, feel etc., but it will “interface” with a different reality and has no material means of expressing itself (hence perhaps communication by telepathy). But that is irrelevant to our discussion, which only concerns how it functions or operates IN LIFE, and here you have specified “the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain”. I’m glad this is obvious, as it answers the question I keep asking you, though for some reason you never answer with a simple yes or no. Even to you it now seems “obvious” that if the immaterial self exists, IN LIFE it does the thinking and the brain does the implementing. It should therefore be equally obvious that if your form of dualism is correct, IN LIFE there is no need for the brain to expand or complexify before the immaterial self comes up with new immaterial thoughts. It needs to expand or complexify in order to implement the new immaterial thoughts, as proven by modern science (with sapiens shrinkage probably the result of efficient complexification). The alternative to this is materialism, and one of these days I’ll find time to expand on the reconciliation hypothesis I proposed earlier!

The point we disagree upon is brain complexity in life in this way: since the s/s/c must interface with the brain and rely upon it to functionally think, only a more complex brain allows more advanced thought. Thus only a larger brain with an expanded thought area (prefrontal cortex) allows for the development of highly complex concepts, as proven by the artifacts at each level of brain complexity in earlier hominin fossils. The history of sapiens is compatible with my approach: we are present for 315,000 years with big brains, but have only learned how to use them in extreme complexity (as shown by our artifacts) in the past 10,000 years. If our most previous ancestors had 'immaterial thoughts' that required expansion (your 'push' concept) why was there a delay of 305,000 years for those thoughts to appear and be implemented?

Big brain evolution: brakes on thought found

by David Turell @, Friday, April 13, 2018, 21:45 (73 days ago) @ David Turell

Unwanted thought can be suppressed by the prefrontal cortex:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/brain-rsquo-s-ldquo-brakes-rdquo-suppress-un...

"Everyone has unwelcome thoughts from time to time. But such intrusions can signal serious psychiatric conditions—from “flashbacks” in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to obsessive negative thinking in depression to hallucinations in schizophrenia.

***

"New research led by Anderson and neuroscientist Taylor Schmitz, now at McGill University, suggests these symptoms may all stem from a faulty brain mechanism responsible for blocking thoughts. Researchers studying this faculty usually focus on the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a control center that directs the activity of other brain regions. But Anderson and his colleagues noticed that conditions featuring intrusive thoughts—such as schizophrenia—often involve increased activity in the hippocampus, an important memory region. The severity of symptoms such as hallucinations also increases with this elevated activity.

"In the new study, Anderson and his team had healthy participants learn a series of word pairs. The subjects were presented with one word and had to either recall or suppress the associated one. When participants suppressed thoughts, brain scans detected increased activity in part of the PFC and reduced activity in the hippocampus. The findings, ... are consistent with a brain circuit in which a “stop” command from the PFC suppresses hippocampus activity.

"Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the team also found that levels of GABA—the main chemical that inhibits signals in the brain—in participants' hippocampi predicted their ability to suppress thoughts. “If you have more GABA to work with, you're better at controlling your thoughts,” Anderson says. In other words, if the PFC contains the mental brake pedal, hippocampal GABA levels are the brake pads that determine how effectively the brain stops.

"The study helps to bridge the gap between molecular neuroscience and human behavior—and how the process goes awry in disease. “It's a great step,” says neuroscientist Brendan Depue of the University of Louisville, who was not involved in the work. “The next step is to do a drug study,” Anderson says. “Could we make people better [at suppressing thoughts] by giving them drugs that enhance GABA?'”

Comment: this study looks at the s/s/c brain interface and shows the brain can stop unwanted thought. It looks as if the brain and the s/s/c are equal partners if the brain can reject thought it does not want to work with.

Big brain evolution: brakes on thought found

by dhw, Saturday, April 14, 2018, 13:11 (72 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "The study helps to bridge the gap between molecular neuroscience and human behavior—and how the process goes awry in disease. “It's a great step,” says neuroscientist Brendan Depue of the University of Louisville, who was not involved in the work. “The next step is to do a drug study,” Anderson says. “Could we make people better [at suppressing thoughts] by giving them drugs that enhance GABA?'”

DAVID’s comment: this study looks at the s/s/c brain interface and shows the brain can stop unwanted thought. It looks as if the brain and the s/s/c are equal partners if the brain can reject thought it does not want to work with.

The study makes no mention of a s/s/c, and is not concerned with the origin of thought but only with material influences on thought and behaviour. The effects of disease and of drugs are both evidence for materialism.

Big brain evolution: brakes on thought found

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 14, 2018, 15:25 (72 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "The study helps to bridge the gap between molecular neuroscience and human behavior—and how the process goes awry in disease. “It's a great step,” says neuroscientist Brendan Depue of the University of Louisville, who was not involved in the work. “The next step is to do a drug study,” Anderson says. “Could we make people better [at suppressing thoughts] by giving them drugs that enhance GABA?'”

DAVID’s comment: this study looks at the s/s/c brain interface and shows the brain can stop unwanted thought. It looks as if the brain and the s/s/c are equal partners if the brain can reject thought it does not want to work with.

dhw: The study makes no mention of a s/s/c, and is not concerned with the origin of thought but only with material influences on thought and behaviour. The effects of disease and of drugs are both evidence for materialism.

What is thought but evidence of an s/s/c at work?

Big brain evolution: brakes on thought found

by dhw, Sunday, April 15, 2018, 12:32 (71 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: this study looks at the s/s/c brain interface and shows the brain can stop unwanted thought. It looks as if the brain and the s/s/c are equal partners if the brain can reject thought it does not want to work with.

dhw: The study makes no mention of a s/s/c, and is not concerned with the origin of thought but only with material influences on thought and behaviour. The effects of disease and of drugs are both evidence for materialism.

DAVID: What is thought but evidence of an s/s/c at work?

I’m afraid we will have to break our s/s/c down to its components: self/soul/consciousness. Thought is evidence of self and consciousness, but materialists argue that the source of thought and consciousness is material (the brain), whereas dualists argue that the source is an immaterial soul. Nice try, though!

Big brain evolution: brakes on thought found

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 15, 2018, 16:12 (71 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: this study looks at the s/s/c brain interface and shows the brain can stop unwanted thought. It looks as if the brain and the s/s/c are equal partners if the brain can reject thought it does not want to work with.

dhw: The study makes no mention of a s/s/c, and is not concerned with the origin of thought but only with material influences on thought and behaviour. The effects of disease and of drugs are both evidence for materialism.

DAVID: What is thought but evidence of an s/s/c at work?

dhw: I’m afraid we will have to break our s/s/c down to its components: self/soul/consciousness. Thought is evidence of self and consciousness, but materialists argue that the source of thought and consciousness is material (the brain), whereas dualists argue that the source is an immaterial soul. Nice try, though!

I think about it differently. Surprise! I view the study as indicating how intimately the brain and s/s/c are interfaced. The origin of thought is the soul, but part of the soul may not like an unwanted thought that appears, and uses a section of the brain to counter it. This implies the soul doesn't exert complete control on thinking if an unpleasant thought appears, but that is exactly what we experience in life.

Big brain evolution: brakes on thought found

by dhw, Monday, April 16, 2018, 11:17 (70 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: What is thought but evidence of an s/s/c at work?

dhw: I’m afraid we will have to break our s/s/c down to its components: self/soul/consciousness. Thought is evidence of self and consciousness, but materialists argue that the source of thought and consciousness is material (the brain), whereas dualists argue that the source is an immaterial soul. Nice try, though!

DAVID: I think about it differently. Surprise! I view the study as indicating how intimately the brain and s/s/c are interfaced. The origin of thought is the soul, but part of the soul may not like an unwanted thought that appears, and uses a section of the brain to counter it. This implies the soul doesn't exert complete control on thinking if an unpleasant thought appears, but that is exactly what we experience in life.

I really don’t know how the soul can “use” the brain to argue with itself and to ensure that it loses the argument. However, you have raised a challenging issue. In most cases, the dualist’s division is clear: a thought (originating in the soul) needs expressing or implementing (done by the brain). But what happens when the soul has conflicting thoughts, e.g. I want to do this, but I know I shouldn’t? (The same applies during NDEs, when the brainless patient doesn’t want to go back but is told to do so.) The dualistic inference of this particular study seems to be that in life, every thought triggers chemical responses in the brain; the materialistic inference seems to be that every thought is caused by chemical actions in the brain. Once again we have an apparently irreconcilable dichotomy, with evidence for and against both schools of thought.

Big brain evolution: brakes on thought found

by David Turell @, Monday, April 16, 2018, 15:17 (70 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: What is thought but evidence of an s/s/c at work?

dhw: I’m afraid we will have to break our s/s/c down to its components: self/soul/consciousness. Thought is evidence of self and consciousness, but materialists argue that the source of thought and consciousness is material (the brain), whereas dualists argue that the source is an immaterial soul. Nice try, though!

DAVID: I think about it differently. Surprise! I view the study as indicating how intimately the brain and s/s/c are interfaced. The origin of thought is the soul, but part of the soul may not like an unwanted thought that appears, and uses a section of the brain to counter it. This implies the soul doesn't exert complete control on thinking if an unpleasant thought appears, but that is exactly what we experience in life.

dhw: I really don’t know how the soul can “use” the brain to argue with itself and to ensure that it loses the argument. However, you have raised a challenging issue. In most cases, the dualist’s division is clear: a thought (originating in the soul) needs expressing or implementing (done by the brain). But what happens when the soul has conflicting thoughts, e.g. I want to do this, but I know I shouldn’t? (The same applies during NDEs, when the brainless patient doesn’t want to go back but is told to do so.) The dualistic inference of this particular study seems to be that in life, every thought triggers chemical responses in the brain; the materialistic inference seems to be that every thought is caused by chemical actions in the brain. Once again we have an apparently irreconcilable dichotomy, with evidence for and against both schools of thought.

This issue is why we have crossed swords or words. The s/s/c and brain are locked together and what science studies is where the s/s/c is specifically expressed.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, April 14, 2018, 13:08 (72 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] Even to you it now seems “obvious” that if the immaterial self exists, IN LIFE it does the thinking and the brain does the implementing. It should therefore be equally obvious that if your form of dualism is correct, IN LIFE there is no need for the brain to expand or complexify before the immaterial self comes up with new immaterial thoughts. It needs to expand or complexify in order to implement the new immaterial thoughts, as proven by modern science (with sapiens shrinkage probably the result of efficient complexification). […]

DAVID: The point we disagree upon is brain complexity in life in this way: since the s/s/c must interface with the brain and rely upon it to functionally think, only a more complex brain allows more advanced thought.

What does “functionally think” mean? In life the s/s/c thinks and relies on the brain to implement its thoughts, as you stated quite explicitly: “the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain.” You keep agreeing and then trying to disagree through obfuscation. According to your dualistic beliefs, only a more complex brain allows implementation of more advanced thought. Modern science shows that the brain changes in response to implementation and not before it.

DAVID: Thus only a larger brain with an expanded thought area (prefrontal cortex) allows for the development of highly complex concepts, as proven by the artifacts at each level of brain complexity in earlier hominin fossils.

The artefacts are the material implementation of the immaterial thoughts. If you wish to argue that the pfc PRODUCES the concepts/thoughts, you are once again embracing materialism, which may be correct but is not what you profess to believe.

DAVID: The history of sapiens is compatible with my approach: we are present for 315,000 years with big brains, but have only learned how to use them in extreme complexity (as shown by our artifacts) in the past 10,000 years. If our most previous ancestors had 'immaterial thoughts' that required expansion (your 'push' concept) why was there a delay of 305,000 years for those thoughts to appear and be implemented?

We have dealt with this over and over again. We don’t know what concept caused the final expansion. We only know that the skull stopped expanding x years ago (the figure seems to change from one post to another). Our immediate ancestors did not think the thoughts we thought ten thousand years ago! They thought the thoughts that caused the final expansion. From then on, new concepts required additional complexification (probably resulting in overall shrinkage) or restricted expansion. It takes individuals to come up with new ideas. For 305,000 years, things carried on without any major advance – just as they had done for hundreds of thousands of years with the non-advancing species that preceded sapiens (a fact which you like to ignore). Then 10,000 years ago along came the geniuses with new ideas that mushroomed into the civilizations (so-called) that we know today.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 14, 2018, 21:29 (72 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The point we disagree upon is brain complexity in life in this way: since the s/s/c must interface with the brain and rely upon it to functionally think, only a more complex brain allows more advanced thought.

dhw: What does “functionally think” mean? In life the s/s/c thinks and relies on the brain to implement its thoughts, as you stated quite explicitly: “the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain.” You keep agreeing and then trying to disagree through obfuscation. According to your dualistic beliefs, only a more complex brain allows implementation of more advanced thought. Modern science shows that the brain changes in response to implementation and not before it.

First, in life the s/s/c cannot think without being attached to the brain. That is not obfuscation, but fact. You keep trying to portray the s/s/c that can function on its own as a totally separate actor in life. Not so, as we have both agreed. Modern science studies an already established human brain of very large prefrontal and frontal cortical size, and doesn't tell us, in any way, how it arrived at that end point. In general we do know that the current human brain is smaller than those of 100,000+ years ago whuile developing much m ore complex use. The Neanderthal brain was bigger in size, and they didn't survive, although we are coming to realize they had more aesthetic ability than we first thought. .


DAVID: Thus only a larger brain with an expanded thought area (prefrontal cortex) allows for the development of highly complex concepts, as proven by the artifacts at each level of brain complexity in earlier hominin fossils.

dhw: The artefacts are the material implementation of the immaterial thoughts. If you wish to argue that the pfc PRODUCES the concepts/thoughts, you are once again embracing materialism, which may be correct but is not what you profess to believe.

You know full well that the s/s/c uses the pfc to produce concepts and thoughts during life.


DAVID: The history of sapiens is compatible with my approach: we are present for 315,000 years with big brains, but have only learned how to use them in extreme complexity (as shown by our artifacts) in the past 10,000 years. If our most previous ancestors had 'immaterial thoughts' that required expansion (your 'push' concept) why was there a delay of 305,000 years for those thoughts to appear and be implemented?

dhw: We have dealt with this over and over again. We don’t know what concept caused the final expansion. We only know that the skull stopped expanding x years ago .... Our immediate ancestors did not think the thoughts we thought ten thousand years ago!They thought the thoughts that caused the final expansion.


The bold is your 'push enlargement' hypothesis stated as fact. While all we know is shrinkage in size of the human brain, while its use is vastly increased, which you admit:

dhw: From then on, new concepts required additional complexification (probably resulting in overall shrinkage) or restricted expansion.

Can't avoid that point

dhw: It takes individuals to come up with new ideas. For 305,000 years, things carried on without any major advance – just as they had done for hundreds of thousands of years with the non-advancing species that preceded sapiens (a fact which you like to ignore).

I've not ignored the point at all. I've pointed out in the past that early humans only had 'survival skills'. They managed fire in their caves and wore animal skins for covering, not much different than H. heidelbergensis. So heidelbergensis did not think up a larger brain, as you keep declaring.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, April 15, 2018, 12:44 (71 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: First, in life the s/s/c cannot think without being attached to the brain. That is not obfuscation, but fact. You keep trying to portray the s/s/c that can function on its own as a totally separate actor in life. Not so, as we have both agreed.

The obfuscation was that the s/s/c relied on the brain to “functionally think”, when you keep agreeing (but then disagreeing) that the s/s/c does the thinking while the brain functions as the implementer of those thoughts. The only total separation talked of in these discussions is your belief that the s/s/c which interacts with the brain in life can continue to think, feel, remember, observe and take decisions when there is no brain to interact with. That is why dualists normally believe that in life the s/s/c and brain interact in a process which you yourself summed up as: “the obvious dualism of material brain and immaterial personality/thoughts implemented to appear through the work of the brain.” Of course in life they function together, but the dualist s/s/c’s immaterial thoughts and concepts precede implementation and therefore do not depend on the size of the brain. As you say, that is “obvious dualism”.

DAVID: Modern science studies an already established human brain of very large prefrontal and frontal cortical size, and doesn't tell us, in any way, how it arrived at that end point.

Agreed.That is why there are different hypotheses.

DAVID: Thus only a larger brain with an expanded thought area (prefrontal cortex) allows for the development of highly complex concepts, as proven by the artifacts at each level of brain complexity in earlier hominin fossils.
dhw: The artefacts are the material implementation of the immaterial thoughts. If you wish to argue that the pfc PRODUCES the concepts/thoughts, you are once again embracing materialism, which may be correct but is not what you profess to believe.
DAVID: You know full well that the s/s/c uses the pfc to produce concepts and thoughts during life.

No I don’t. As above, if I were a dualist and believed that a conscious, thinking s/s/c survived the death of the pfc, the “obvious dualism” would be that the s/s/c was responsible for producing concepts and thoughts during life, and used the pfc and the rest of the brain to provide information and – as you keep agreeing – to implement its thoughts. I remain on the fence between dualism and materialism.

DAVID: If our most previous ancestors had 'immaterial thoughts' that required expansion (your 'push' concept) why was there a delay of 305,000 years for those thoughts to appear and be implemented?
dhw: Our immediate ancestors did not think the thoughts we thought ten thousand years ago! They thought the thoughts that caused the final expansion.
DAVID: The bold is your 'push enlargement' hypothesis stated as fact. While all we know is shrinkage in size of the human brain, while its use is vastly increased, which you admit…

All we know is not shrinkage. We know that the modern brain responds to new concepts by complexifying and by partially expanding within the given limits of the skull (and I suggest that shrinkage is merely a by-product of efficient complexification). You had mistakenly argued that my hypothesis meant our immediate ancestors had thought all our modern thoughts but we waited 305,000 years to implement them. I corrected this misunderstanding. But yes, it’s all a hypothesis and not a fact.

dhw: It takes individuals to come up with new ideas. For 305,000 years, things carried on without any major advance – just as they had done for hundreds of thousands of years with the non-advancing species that preceded sapiens (a fact which you like to ignore).
DAVID: I've not ignored the point at all. I've pointed out in the past that early humans only had 'survival skills'. They managed fire in their caves and wore animal skins for covering, not much different than H. heidelbergensis. So heidelbergensis did not think up a larger brain, as you keep declaring.

You keep on about the “delay” of 305,000 years. I explain it by pointing out that just like pre-sapiens, sapiens survived perfectly well with what he had – as you have just confirmed. It takes special minds to come up with innovations. Nobody “thinks up” larger brains. My hypothesis is that early brains expanded when existing brains did not have the capacity to implement new concepts. We don’t know what concepts would have triggered expansion, but new ideas for artefacts are one possibility.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 15, 2018, 18:57 (71 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Of course in life they function together, but the dualist s/s/c’s immaterial thoughts and concepts precede implementation and therefore do not depend on the size of the brain. As you say, that is “obvious dualism”.

DAVID: Modern science studies an already established human brain of very large prefrontal and frontal cortical size, and doesn't tell us, in any way, how it arrived at that end point.

dhw: Agreed.That is why there are different hypotheses.

DAVID: Thus only a larger brain with an expanded thought area (prefrontal cortex) allows for the development of highly complex concepts, as proven by the artifacts at each level of brain complexity in earlier hominin fossils.

dhw: The artefacts are the material implementation of the immaterial thoughts. If you wish to argue that the pfc PRODUCES the concepts/thoughts, you are once again embracing materialism, which may be correct but is not what you profess to believe.

DAVID: You know full well that the s/s/c uses the pfc to produce concepts and thoughts during life.

dhw: No I don’t. As above, if I were a dualist and believed that a conscious, thinking s/s/c survived the death of the pfc, the “obvious dualism” would be that the s/s/c was responsible for producing concepts and thoughts during life, and used the pfc and the rest of the brain to provide information and – as you keep agreeing – to implement its thoughts. I remain on the fence between dualism and materialism.

DAVID: If our most previous ancestors had 'immaterial thoughts' that required expansion (your 'push' concept) why was there a delay of 305,000 years for those thoughts to appear and be implemented?
dhw: Our immediate ancestors did not think the thoughts we thought ten thousand years ago! They thought the thoughts that caused the final expansion.
DAVID: The bold is your 'push enlargement' hypothesis stated as fact. While all we know is shrinkage in size of the human brain, while its use is vastly increased, which you admit…

dhw: All we know is not shrinkage. We know that the modern brain responds to new concepts by complexifying and by partially expanding within the given limits of the skull (and I suggest that shrinkage is merely a by-product of efficient complexification).

Not true. Shrinkage is a major effect of modern thought/concepts appearing as I have previously presented:

http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking

" Over the past 20,000 years, the average volume of the human male brain has decreased from 1,500 cubic centimeters to 1,350 cc, losing a chunk the size of a tennis ball. The female brain has shrunk by about the same proportion. “I’d call that major downsizing in an evolutionary eyeblink,” he says. “This happened in China, Europe, Africa—everywhere we look.'”

***

"The Homo sapiens with the biggest brains lived 20,000 to 30,000 years ago in Europe. Called the Cro-Magnons, they had barrel chests and huge, jutting jaws with enormous teeth. Consequently, their large brains have often been attributed to brawniness rather than brilliance. In support of that claim, one widely cited study found that the ratio of brain volume to body mass—commonly referred to as the encephalization quotient, or EQ—was the same for Cro-Magnons as it is for us. On that basis, Stringer says, our ancestors were presumed to have the same raw cognitive horsepower."

Comment: As we developed complex modern thinking our brains are much smaller.

dhw: My hypothesis is that early brains expanded when existing brains did not have the capacity to implement new concepts. We don’t know what concepts would have triggered expansion, but new ideas for artefacts are one possibility.

Doesn't fit the discussion in the article.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Monday, April 16, 2018, 11:23 (70 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: All we know is not shrinkage. We know that the modern brain responds to new concepts by complexifying and by partially expanding within the given limits of the skull (and I suggest that shrinkage is merely a by-product of efficient complexification).

DAVID: Not true. Shrinkage is a major effect of modern thought/concepts appearing as I have previously presented:
http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking

I have not denied shrinkage! I have pointed out that modern science has also shown complexification and limited expansion. I’m surprised that you ignore all the other points raised in my post concerning the “obvious” form of dualism that you outlined, whereby in dualism the soul thinks and the brain gathers information and implements the thoughts. And modern science confirms that the implementation of concepts changes the brain – the brain does not change in anticipation of new concepts. Presumably you now accept all this. Thank you.
As regards shrinkage, the article makes it clear that nobody knows why the brain has shrunk. The different theories include the following:
As the brain shrank, its wiring became more efficient, transforming us into quicker, more agile thinkers.
That is almost the same as my proposal, except that in mine it is the efficiency of the complexification process (rewiring) that reduced the need for many existing cells and connections, i.e. efficient wiring CAUSED the shrinkage. I’m surprised the author hasn’t thought of this.

dhw: My hypothesis is that early brains expanded when existing brains did not have the capacity to implement new concepts. We don’t know what concepts would have triggered expansion, but new ideas for artefacts are one possibility.
DAVID: Doesn't fit the discussion in the article.

The article does not discuss pre-sapiens expansion, or the processes whereby immaterial thought is expressed or implemented by the brain. Nor does it deny that the implementation of concepts causes complexification and limited expansion in the brain, as proven by modern science and in contrast to your claim that the brain has to expand before it can come up with new concepts. The article is only concerned with possible causes of shrinkage over the last 20,000 years (i.e. since, according to you, human thought started taking such giant strides). As shrinkage is so important to you, perhaps you should explain why you object to my explanation, and then give us your own.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, April 16, 2018, 15:39 (70 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: All we know is not shrinkage. We know that the modern brain responds to new concepts by complexifying and by partially expanding within the given limits of the skull (and I suggest that shrinkage is merely a by-product of efficient complexification).

DAVID: Not true. Shrinkage is a major effect of modern thought/concepts appearing as I have previously presented:
http://discovermagazine.com/2010/sep/25-modern-humans-smart-why-brain-shrinking

dhw: I have not denied shrinkage! I have pointed out that modern science has also shown complexification and limited expansion. I’m surprised that you ignore all the other points raised in my post concerning the “obvious” form of dualism that you outlined, whereby in dualism the soul thinks and the brain gathers information and implements the thoughts. And modern science confirms that the implementation of concepts changes the brain – the brain does not change in anticipation of new concepts. Presumably you now accept all this. Thank you.

You keep forgetting I posit that God enlarges the rain in anticipation of each advance in human form from Lucy to erectus to us.

dhw: As regards shrinkage, the article makes it clear that nobody knows why the brain has shrunk. The different theories include the following:
As the brain shrank, its wiring became more efficient, transforming us into quicker, more agile thinkers.

dhw: That is almost the same as my proposal, except that in mine it is the efficiency of the complexification process (rewiring) that reduced the need for many existing cells and connections, i.e. efficient wiring CAUSED the shrinkage. I’m surprised the author hasn’t thought of this.

It has been suggested in the literature.


dhw: My hypothesis is that early brains expanded when existing brains did not have the capacity to implement new concepts. We don’t know what concepts would have triggered expansion, but new ideas for artefacts are one possibility.

DAVID: Doesn't fit the discussion in the article.

dhw: The article does not discuss pre-sapiens expansion, or the processes whereby immaterial thought is expressed or implemented by the brain. Nor does it deny that the implementation of concepts causes complexification and limited expansion in the brain, as proven by modern science and in contrast to your claim that the brain has to expand before it can come up with new concepts. The article is only concerned with possible causes of shrinkage over the last 20,000 years (i.e. since, according to you, human thought started taking such giant strides). As shrinkage is so important to you, perhaps you should explain why you object to my explanation, and then give us your own.

Back to God did it. God speciates. The point you have struggled to avoid, but now accept in another thread, is the intimate connection of brain and s/s/c. Advanced thought can only occur in a brain of more advanced complexity. The ability to think of the s/s/c of Lucy could not have been the s/s/c of humans. Immaterial thought complexity is grounded in the material complexity of the brain. My software/hardware view of s/s/c and brain.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 11:48 (69 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw (under “brakes on thought”): The dualistic inference of this particular study seems to be that in life, every thought triggers chemical responses in the brain; the materialistic inference seems to be that every thought is caused by chemical actions in the brain. Once again we have an apparently irreconcilable dichotomy, with evidence for and against both schools of thought.
DAVID: This issue is why we have crossed swords or words. The s/s/c and brain are locked together and what science studies is where the s/s/c is specifically expressed.

This is not where we have crossed (s)words. We agree that in dualism s/s/c and brain are locked together, and yes indeed, science studies the workings of the brain. But the unsolved mystery is the source of thought/consciousness. Where we disagree is on your claim that human thought depends on the size of the brain. You claim that on the death of the brain, the “soul” is released and is still able to think, feel, remember, make decisions - though now finding itself in a different, immaterial world. If so, then in life, that must be its FUNCTION within the dualist’s self: it thinks, feels, remembers, makes decisions and uses the brain to gather information and to implement its thoughts. Yes, the dualist’s soul and brain are inseparable and interdependent during life in the material world, but they perform different FUNCTIONS in this world (see your own software/hardware analogy). My “soul” can conceive of flapping its arms enabling me to fly, but my brain/body cannot implement such a concept. However, my “soul” can conceive of a machine that will enable me to fly, and it will then use the brain to implement that concept. Modern science has shown that the brain changes when implementing new concepts. That is evidence for thought causing brain change (= dualism). Modern science has also shown that chemicals can alter thought processes. That is evidence for materialism. For reasons I cannot fathom, you refuse to recognize this dichotomy both in the findings of modern science and in your own arguments. That is the issue between us.

DAVID: You keep forgetting I posit that God enlarges the rain in anticipation of each advance in human form from Lucy to erectus to us.

A delightful misprint, which might explain why we soaking wet British are so intelligent. But no, your claim has always been that your God enlarged the brain, and only then could pre-humans think of new concepts. This means that the large brain must be the source of the concepts, which is pure materialism. It may be correct, but contradicts your belief in dualism.

Dhw: As shrinkage is so important to you, perhaps you should explain why you object to my explanation [that it is caused by the efficiency of complexification], and then give us your own.
DAVID: Back to God did it. God speciates. The point you have struggled to avoid, but now accept in another thread, is the intimate connection of brain and s/s/c.

I have never denied the intimate connection between thought (by s/s/c) and implementation of thought (by brain). Stop erecting straw men.

DAVID: Advanced thought can only occur in a brain of more advanced complexity. The ability to think of the s/s/c of Lucy could not have been the s/s/c of humans.

You keep repeating that advanced thought depends on an advanced brain, which means that thought depends on the brain, and that is pure materialism, which contradicts your claim to be a dualist. Nobody would claim that Lucy was capable of thinking like sapiens! The evolution of human thought is one of learning. Our ancestors invented primitive killing projectiles, their descendants improved the killing capacity, and now we have projectiles that can obliterate whole countries. Clever us. But is that because we have bigger brains (materialism) or because the s/s/c has built on the knowledge acquired by earlier s/s/c’s, and brains initially expanded and currently complexify in order to implement the new ideas (dualism).

DAVID: Immaterial thought complexity is grounded in the material complexity of the brain. My software/hardware view of s/s/c and brain.

You are a master of obfuscation. What do you mean by “grounded”? Do you mean your soul lives in your brain during life, or do you mean the brain is the source of our thought? Your software/hardware analogy can only mean that the s/s/c is the software which provides the thought, and the brain is the hardware that implements it. The software does not depend on the hardware for its programmes, but only for implementing its programmes. And you still haven’t told us why you object to my explanation of shrinkage, and you still haven’t given us your own explanation.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 15:44 (69 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Modern science has shown that the brain changes when implementing new concepts. That is evidence for thought causing brain change (= dualism). Modern science has also shown that chemicals can alter thought processes. That is evidence for materialism. For reasons I cannot fathom, you refuse to recognize this dichotomy both in the findings of modern science and in your own arguments. That is the issue between us.

The chemicals that affect the brain are controlled by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, both intimately connected to the brain, so are all part of the effect of stimuli on the brain. They are more emotional effects than changes due to new thought effects. Of course the materialism of the issue is shown by what happens in the brain.

Dhw: As shrinkage is so important to you, perhaps you should explain why you object to my explanation [that it is caused by the efficiency of complexification], and then give us your own.

My pointing out the shrinkage is that the demonstrated shrinkage is opposite to your view that the desire for implementation of concepts forces a new sized brain to carry that out. What we see is a brain that is able to complexify and shrink 150cc in size while developing complex concepts and carrying them out. I agree with you that it is new complexity.


DAVID: Advanced thought can only occur in a brain of more advanced complexity. The ability to think of the s/s/c of Lucy could not have been the s/s/c of humans.

dhw: You keep repeating that advanced thought depends on an advanced brain, which means that thought depends on the brain, and that is pure materialism, which contradicts your claim to be a dualist. Nobody would claim that Lucy was capable of thinking like sapiens! The evolution of human thought is one of learning. Our ancestors invented primitive killing projectiles, their descendants improved the killing capacity, and now we have projectiles that can obliterate whole countries. Clever us. But is that because we have bigger brains (materialism) or because the s/s/c has built on the knowledge acquired by earlier s/s/c’s, and brains initially expanded and currently complexify in order to implement the new ideas (dualism).

Agreed Lucy couldn't think like we do. But remember, 20,000 years ago no one could think like we do, but 150cc smaller brain and the s/s/c have vastly more complex thinking.


DAVID: Immaterial thought complexity is grounded in the material complexity of the brain. My software/hardware view of s/s/c and brain.

dhw: You are a master of obfuscation. What do you mean by “grounded”? Do you mean your soul lives in your brain during life, or do you mean the brain is the source of our thought? Your software/hardware analogy can only mean that the s/s/c is the software which provides the thought, and the brain is the hardware that implements it. The software does not depend on the hardware for its programmes, but only for implementing its programmes.

The word 'grounded' confuses you? As built on a solid basis of connectivity. They must work together as you full well know I believe. In life the s/s/c must use the brain to create thought. We go back and forth like a ping pong game.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 13:14 (68 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Modern science has shown that the brain changes when implementing new concepts. That is evidence for thought causing brain change (= dualism). Modern science has also shown that chemicals can alter thought processes. That is evidence for materialism. For reasons I cannot fathom, you refuse to recognize this dichotomy both in the findings of modern science and in your own arguments. That is the issue between us.

DAVID: The chemicals that affect the brain are controlled by the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus, both intimately connected to the brain, so are all part of the effect of stimuli on the brain. They are more emotional effects than changes due to new thought effects. Of course the materialism of the issue is shown by what happens in the brain.

Drugs are also chemicals and can totally change a person’s way of thinking. It is not clear to me whether your final sentence is or is not an acknowledgement of the materialistic/dualistic dichotomy I keep pointing out in the scientific research and in your own insistence that, despite your professed dualism, the s/s/c can only THINK by using the brain except when it hasn’t got a brain to think with. Do you or do you not acknowledge this dichotomy in both contexts?

Dhw: As shrinkage is so important to you, perhaps you should explain why you object to my explanation [that it is caused by the efficiency of complexification], and then give us your own.
DAVID: My pointing out the shrinkage is that the demonstrated shrinkage is opposite to your view that the desire for implementation of concepts forces a new sized brain to carry that out. What we see is a brain that is able to complexify and shrink 150cc in size while developing complex concepts and carrying them out. I agree with you that it is new complexity

Shrinkage is in sapiens, and I keep offering you an explanation for it. My hypothesis of concepts forcing expansion refers to pre-sapiens. Once more, here is my hypothesis step by step:
Pre-sapiens: small brain, new concepts force expansion of brain and skull to implement them.
Sapiens: brain and skull have reached maximum size for comfort. New concepts force complexification and limited expansion of certain areas within given skull size. Efficiency of complexification causes overall shrinkage.

Please explain in equally direct terms what you object to, and please explain what you think is the cause of shrinkage.

DAVID: Agreed Lucy couldn't think like we do. But remember, 20,000 years ago no one could think like we do, but 150cc smaller brain and the s/s/c have vastly more complex thinking.

Yes, we know the modern s/s/c thinks vastly more complex thoughts. I have explained that thought evolves, as generations build on the thoughts of previous generations. Are you now saying that shrinkage has CAUSED the new thoughts?

DAVID: Immaterial thought complexity is grounded in the material complexity of the brain. My software/hardware view of s/s/c and brain.
dhw: What do you mean by “grounded”? Do you mean your soul lives in your brain during life, or do you mean the brain is the source of our thought? Your software/hardware analogy can only mean that the s/s/c is the software which provides the thought, and the brain is the hardware that implements it. The software does not depend on the hardware for its programmes, but only for implementing its programmes.
DAVID: The word 'grounded' confuses you? As built on a solid basis of connectivity. They must work together as you full well know I believe. In life the s/s/c must use the brain to create thought. We go back and forth like a ping pong game.

I have explained the ambiguity of "grounded". Yes, the thinking mechanism must work together with the implementing mechanism in life, in order to give material expression/form to its thoughts. So do you believe that in life you have an immaterial thinking soul (software) which interacts with the material brain (hardware) by using it to gather information and to implement its thoughts? A simple yes or no may end this set of ping pong and we can start the next.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 20:42 (68 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Of course the materialism of the issue is shown by what happens in the brain.[/i]

dhw: It is not clear to me whether your final sentence is or is not an acknowledgement of the materialistic/dualistic dichotomy I keep pointing out in the scientific research and in your own insistence that, despite your professed dualism, the s/s/c can only THINK by using the brain except when it hasn’t got a brain to think with. Do you or do you not acknowledge this dichotomy in both contexts?

I can only repeat what I believe: in life the immaterial s/s/c cannot think without being attached to the material brain. When the brain is not functional the s/s/c changes its quantum mechanism slightly and exists in an afterlife. Your version of duality is certainly not mine.

DAVID: My pointing out the shrinkage is that the demonstrated shrinkage is opposite to your view that the desire for implementation of concepts forces a new sized brain to carry that out. What we see is a brain that is able to complexify and shrink 150cc in size while developing complex concepts and carrying them out. I agree with you that it is new complexity

dhw: Shrinkage is in sapiens, and I keep offering you an explanation for it. My hypothesis of concepts forcing expansion refers to pre-sapiens. Once more, here is my hypothesis step by step:
Pre-sapiens: small brain, new concepts force expansion of brain and skull to implement them.
Sapiens: brain and skull have reached maximum size for comfort. New concepts force complexification and limited expansion of certain areas within given skull size. Efficiency of complexification causes overall shrinkage.

The only evidence we have about brain activity (shrinkage) is in sapiens but it might just as well apply to all pre-sapiens, since evolution builds on mechanisms of its past.


dhw: Please explain in equally direct terms what you object to, and please explain what you think is the cause of shrinkage.

DAVID: Agreed Lucy couldn't think like we do. But remember, 20,000 years ago no one could think like we do, but 150cc smaller brain and the s/s/c have vastly more complex thinking.

dhw: Yes, we know the modern s/s/c thinks vastly more complex thoughts. I have explained that thought evolves, as generations build on the thoughts of previous generations. Are you now saying that shrinkage has CAUSED the new thoughts?

No, brain complexification caused the shrinkage as demonstrated.

DAVID: The word 'grounded' confuses you? As built on a solid basis of connectivity. They must work together as you full well know I believe. In life the s/s/c must use the brain to create thought. We go back and forth like a ping pong game.

dhw: I have explained the ambiguity of "grounded". Yes, the thinking mechanism must work together with the implementing mechanism in life, in order to give material expression/form to its thoughts. So do you believe that in life you have an immaterial thinking soul (software) which interacts with the material brain (hardware) by using it to gather information and to implement its thoughts? A simple yes or no may end this set of ping pong and we can start the next.

Of course, yes. As I have always explained your view of dualism is not mine.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Thursday, April 19, 2018, 12:17 (67 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Of course the materialism of the issue is shown by what happens in the brain.
dhw: It is not clear to me whether your final sentence is or is not an acknowledgement of the materialistic/dualistic dichotomy I keep pointing out in the scientific research and in your own insistence that, despite your professed dualism, the s/s/c can only THINK by using the brain except when it hasn’t got a brain to think with. Do you or do you not acknowledge this dichotomy in both contexts?
DAVID: I can only repeat what I believe: in life the immaterial s/s/c cannot think without being attached to the material brain. When the brain is not functional the s/s/c changes its quantum mechanism slightly and exists in an afterlife. Your version of duality is certainly not mine.

Of course the mechanism would have to change if there is no material brain and no material world for the immaterial s/s/c to interact with! That is not the issue. The issue is your insistence that in life the s/s/c cannot THINK without being attached to the brain. Contrast this with the following exchange at the end of your post:

Dhw: Yes, the thinking mechanism must work together with the implementing mechanism in life, in order to give material expression/form to its thoughts. So do you believe that in life you have an immaterial thinking soul (software) which interacts with the material brain (hardware) by using it to gather information and to implement its thoughts? A simple yes or no may end this set of ping pong and we can start the next.

DAVID: Of course, yes. As I have always explained your view of dualism is not mine.

How can you say yes and then claim that our view of dualism is not the same? Our view is identical! You agree that in life the soul (software) does the thinking and interacts with the brain (hardware), which does the implementing. It is therefore a blatant contradiction for a dualist to argue that THOUGHT depends on the size of the brain. It must be the ability to implement that depends on the size of the brain.

DAVID: My pointing out the shrinkage is that the demonstrated shrinkage is opposite to your view that the desire for implementation of concepts forces a new sized brain to carry that out. What we see is a brain that is able to complexify and shrink 150cc in size while developing complex concepts and carrying them out. I agree with you that it is new complexity
dhw: Shrinkage is in sapiens, and I keep offering you an explanation for it. My hypothesis of concepts forcing expansion refers to pre-sapiens. Once more, here is my hypothesis step by step:
Pre-sapiens: small brain, new concepts force expansion of brain and skull to implement them.
Sapiens: brain and skull have reached maximum size for comfort. New concepts force complexification and limited expansion of certain areas within given skull size. Efficiency of complexification causes overall shrinkage.

DAVID: The only evidence we have about brain activity (shrinkage) is in sapiens but it might just as well apply to all pre-sapiens, since evolution builds on mechanisms of its past.

We are trying to find out why the pre-sapiens brain and skull expanded. We know that the brain changes as it implements new thoughts, and modern activity includes expansion and complexification as well as shrinkage. If evolution builds on mechanisms of its past, it is only logical that pre-sapiens brain-changes also took place through the implementation of new thoughts. Whether it shrunk and complexified as well as expanded is irrelevant, since we are only interested in the cause of expansion.

dhw: Please explain in equally direct terms what you object to, and please explain what you think is the cause of shrinkage.
DAVID: Agreed Lucy couldn't think like we do. But remember, 20,000 years ago no one could think like we do, but 150cc smaller brain and the s/s/c have vastly more complex thinking.
dhw: Yes, we know the modern s/s/c thinks vastly more complex thoughts. I have explained that thought evolves, as generations build on the thoughts of previous generations. Are you now saying that shrinkage has CAUSED the new thoughts?
DAVID: No, brain complexification caused the shrinkage as demonstrated.

Thank you. So you now agree with my hypothesis concerning shrinkage, and you have agreed that the same processes we know today (thought causing brain change) would have applied to pre-sapiens and can therefore explain pre-sapiens’ brain expansion. What are we arguing about?

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Thursday, April 19, 2018, 17:43 (67 days ago) @ dhw


Dhw: Yes, the thinking mechanism must work together with the implementing mechanism in life, in order to give material expression/form to its thoughts. So do you believe that in life you have an immaterial thinking soul (software) which interacts with the material brain (hardware) by using it to gather information and to implement its thoughts? A simple yes or no may end this set of ping pong and we can start the next.

DAVID: Of course, yes. As I have always explained your view of dualism is not mine.

dhw: How can you say yes and then claim that our view of dualism is not the same? Our view is identical! You agree that in life the soul (software) does the thinking and interacts with the brain (hardware), which does the implementing. It is therefore a blatant contradiction for a dualist to argue that THOUGHT depends on the size of the brain. It must be the ability to implement that depends on the size of the brain.

You are making black white from the facts we have. The only brain we can study is ours. The Cro-Magnon brain from 20,000 years ago was 150 cc larger in the frontal area where thinking takes place. Since then we have complexly civilized with massive concepts and implementations. All of the planning takes place in the front and it shrank from a developing complexity of neuronal connections.

DAVID: The only evidence we have about brain activity (shrinkage) is in sapiens but it might just as well apply to all pre-sapiens, since evolution builds on mechanisms of its past.

We are trying to find out why the pre-sapiens brain and skull expanded. We know that the brain changes as it implements new thoughts, and modern activity includes expansion and complexification as well as shrinkage. If evolution builds on mechanisms of its past, it is only logical that pre-sapiens brain-changes also took place through the implementation of new thoughts. Whether it shrunk and complexified as well as expanded is irrelevant, since we are only interested in the cause of expansion.

dhw: Please explain in equally direct terms what you object to, and please explain what you think is the cause of shrinkage.

DAVID: Agreed Lucy couldn't think like we do. But remember, 20,000 years ago no one could think like we do, but 150cc smaller brain and the s/s/c have vastly more complex thinking.

dhw: Yes, we know the modern s/s/c thinks vastly more complex thoughts. I have explained that thought evolves, as generations build on the thoughts of previous generations. Are you now saying that shrinkage has CAUSED the new thoughts?
DAVID: No, brain complexification caused the shrinkage as demonstrated.

dhw: Thank you. So you now agree with my hypothesis concerning shrinkage, and you have agreed that the same processes we know today (thought causing brain change) would have applied to pre-sapiens and can therefore explain pre-sapiens’ brain expansion. What are we arguing about?

Again black is white. The only process that we know about in brain function is shrinkage when operating under intense thought for concepts or planning for implementation. The brain cannot plan for implementation without thought. As for a pre-sapiens making a clay pot, it requires frontal lobe concepts and coordination with the visual area, the motor area, and the cerebellum. What has enlarged since Lucy is primarily the frontal lobes. Designing an airplane is all frontal lobe. Implementation is planning a factory in the frontal lobes! The factory workers use all parts of their brains in working at the factory. So, please define your use of the word 'implementation' as it relates to brain function. For the argument about brain size, it is important to know where thought and actions take place. The s/s/c is compartmentalized in its interface with the brain, a concept you struggle with.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Friday, April 20, 2018, 11:58 (66 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are making black white from the facts we have. The only brain we can study is ours. The Cro-Magnon brain from 20,000 years ago was 150 cc larger in the frontal area where thinking takes place. Since then we have complexly civilized with massive concepts and implementations. All of the planning takes place in the front and it shrank from a developing complexity of neuronal connections.

You agree that the dualist’s “soul” does the thinking and the brain does the information gathering and the implementing, and you agree that shrinkage is the result of complexification. And so all you are saying is that the “soul” is situated in the brain (which is where thinking and planning take place). That doesn’t change its function!

dhw: So you now agree with my hypothesis concerning shrinkage, and you have agreed that the same processes we know today (thought causing brain change) would have applied to pre-sapiens and can therefore explain pre-sapiens’ brain expansion. What are we arguing about?

DAVID: Again black is white. The only process that we know about in brain function is shrinkage when operating under intense thought for concepts or planning for implementation.

We know that the brain complexifies and also expands in certain areas AS A RESULT of implementation (illiterate women, musicians, taxi drivers). Why do you persist in limiting brain activity to shrinkage, which is not associated with any particular concept but which you and I agree has been caused by the general efficiency of complexification?

DAVID: The brain cannot plan for implementation without thought. As for a pre-sapiens making a clay pot, it requires frontal lobe concepts and coordination with the visual area, the motor area, and the cerebellum. What has enlarged since Lucy is primarily the frontal lobes. Designing an airplane is all frontal lobe. Implementation is planning a factory in the frontal lobes! The factory workers use all parts of their brains in working at the factory. So, please define your use of the word 'implementation' as it relates to brain function. For the argument about brain size, it is important to know where thought and actions take place. The s/s/c is compartmentalized in its interface with the brain, a concept you struggle with.

Planning is thought, and once again you are talking of WHERE thought and actions take place, but that does not mean the brain does the thinking/planning! As usual, you are dodging the issue of your own dualism. All you are saying is that the thinking "soul" operates within different areas of the implementing brain. You know perfectly well what is meant by implementation, since you gave a model description of it yourself in relation to making the spear. Pre-sapiens “soul” (I am explaining dualism, not taking sides in the dualism v materialism debate) has the concept of a weapon that will kill from a distance. In order to make the weapon, his “soul” must get his brain to direct his body to make the shaft, sharpen the stone, attach the stone to the shaft, and throw the weapon with the required force and accuracy. This, as you point out, involves different parts of the brain. (The “soul” may even adjust its plans as it learns from the material results of implementation. That is all part of the interaction.) As with the examples we know through modern science, these new actions will require changes to the brain. In sapiens the direct changes are not shrinkage but complexification and in some cases limited expansion. Since you propose that the same processes would have taken place earlier in evolution, and since you agree that the “soul” does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, it is logical to propose that the implementing caused expansion in pre-sapiens. It is not logical to propose that the brain had to be expanded BEFORE the new concept could be conceived by the “soul”, since brain changes are known to take place as a RESULT of implementing new concepts, not before the concepts come into existence.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Friday, April 20, 2018, 15:26 (66 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are making black white from the facts we have. The only brain we can study is ours. The Cro-Magnon brain from 20,000 years ago was 150 cc larger in the frontal area where thinking takes place. Since then we have complexly civilized with massive concepts and implementations. All of the planning takes place in the front and it shrank from a developing complexity of neuronal connections.

dhw: You agree that the dualist’s “soul” does the thinking and the brain does the information gathering and the implementing, and you agree that shrinkage is the result of complexification. And so all you are saying is that the “soul” is situated in the brain (which is where thinking and planning take place). That doesn’t change its function!

dhw: So you now agree with my hypothesis concerning shrinkage, and you have agreed that the same processes we know today (thought causing brain change) would have applied to pre-sapiens and can therefore explain pre-sapiens’ brain expansion. What are we arguing about?

DAVID: Again black is white. The only process that we know about in brain function is shrinkage when operating under intense thought for concepts or planning for implementation.

dhw: We know that the brain complexifies and also expands in certain areas AS A RESULT of implementation (illiterate women, musicians, taxi drivers). Why do you persist in limiting brain activity to shrinkage, which is not associated with any particular concept but which you and I agree has been caused by the general efficiency of complexification?

DAVID: The brain cannot plan for implementation without thought. As for a pre-sapiens making a clay pot, it requires frontal lobe concepts and coordination with the visual area, the motor area, and the cerebellum. What has enlarged since Lucy is primarily the frontal lobes. Designing an airplane is all frontal lobe. Implementation is planning a factory in the frontal lobes! The factory workers use all parts of their brains in working at the factory. So, please define your use of the word 'implementation' as it relates to brain function. For the argument about brain size, it is important to know where thought and actions take place. The s/s/c is compartmentalized in its interface with the brain, a concept you struggle with.

dhw: Planning is thought, and once again you are talking of WHERE thought and actions take place, but that does not mean the brain does the thinking/planning! As usual, you are dodging the issue of your own dualism. All you are saying is that the thinking "soul" operates within different areas of the implementing brain. You know perfectly well what is meant by implementation, since you gave a model description of it yourself in relation to making the spear. Pre-sapiens “soul” (I am explaining dualism, not taking sides in the dualism v materialism debate) has the concept of a weapon that will kill from a distance. In order to make the weapon, his “soul” must get his brain to direct his body to make the shaft, sharpen the stone, attach the stone to the shaft, and throw the weapon with the required force and accuracy. This, as you point out, involves different parts of the brain. (The “soul” may even adjust its plans as it learns from the material results of implementation. That is all part of the interaction.) As with the examples we know through modern science, these new actions will require changes to the brain. In sapiens the direct changes are not shrinkage but complexification and in some cases limited expansion.

Cro-Magnons are sapiens!!! Their brain was 150 larger! Why are you ignoring a major scientific finding? It is obvious complexification can shrink a brain.

dhw: Since you propose that the same processes would have taken place earlier in evolution, and since you agree that the “soul” does the thinking and the brain does the implementing, it is logical to propose that the implementing caused expansion in pre-sapiens. It is not logical to propose that the brain had to be expanded BEFORE the new concept could be conceived by the “soul”, since brain changes are known to take place as a RESULT of implementing new concepts, not before the concepts come into existence.

Cro-Magnons show advanced thought shrinks a brain, not the opposite effect.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 10:32 (65 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The brain cannot plan for implementation without thought. So, please define your use of the word 'implementation' as it relates to brain function. For the argument about brain size, it is important to know where thought and actions take place. The s/s/c is compartmentalized in its interface with the brain, a concept you struggle with.

dhw: Planning is thought, and once again you are talking of WHERE thought and actions take place, but that does not mean the brain does the thinking/planning! As usual, you are dodging the issue of your own dualism. All you are saying is that the thinking "soul" operates within different areas of the implementing brain. You know perfectly well what is meant by implementation, since you gave a model description of it yourself in relation to making the spear. [I repeated the details.] As with the examples we know through modern science, these new actions will require changes to the brain. In sapiens the direct changes are not shrinkage but complexification and in some cases limited expansion.

DAVID: Cro-Magnons are sapiens!!! Their brain was 150 larger! Why are you ignoring a major scientific finding? It is obvious complexification can shrink a brain.

First you say the brain does the planning (as if planning was not thought), you give the soul a location as if that negated its function as the source of thought, then you ask me to define implementation, which I do, and now you ignore all that to tell me what I have been telling you for months: we know the brain of sapiens has shrunk, and I am the one who has proposed that the shrinkage is due to the efficiency of complexification!

DAVID: Cro-Magnons show advanced thought shrinks a brain, not the opposite effect.

Cro-Magnons show that over the last x thousand years, the sapiens’ brain has shrunk. You have just agreed that it is material complexification (not immaterial thought) that shrinks the brain, and complexification, as modern science has demonstrated, is caused by IMPLEMENTATION of thought. But by focusing on shrinkage, you are ignoring the whole context of our discussion, and so yet again let me try to summarize the context and the sequence from expansion to shrinkage:

1 Facts: a) pre-sapiens’ brain expanded; b) sapiens’ brain has shrunk; c) implementation of thought causes brain changes (complexification and limited expansion) in sapiens; d) sapiens’ thought has made major advances during the last x thousand years.
2 You agree a) that in dualism the “soul” (software) does the thinking and interacts with the brain/body (hardware), which does the implementing; b) complexification has caused shrinkage in sapiens.
3 dhw’s dualistic hypothesis: a) pre-sapiens “soul” thinks up new concept; implementation of concept requires additional brain cells and connections. Brain expands; b) brain/skull reach maximum practical size in sapiens; “soul’s” thoughts now implemented by complexification and limited expansion of particular sections; c) process of complexification so efficient that sapiens’ brain no longer needs certain cells and connections, and shrinks.
4 All advances in thought must begin with individuals. Every stage in pre-sapiens human evolution continued for hundreds of thousands of years without significant advances until someone came up with new ideas which required brain change (expansion). Sapiens continued for hundreds of thousands of years until someone came up with new ideas which required brain change (see 3 b and c). The pattern is consistent.

Please tell us what you object to.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Saturday, April 21, 2018, 15:42 (65 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: First you say the brain does the planning (as if planning was not thought), you give the soul a location as if that negated its function as the source of thought, then you ask me to define implementation, which I do, and now you ignore all that to tell me what I have been telling you for months: we know the brain of sapiens has shrunk, and I am the one who has proposed that the shrinkage is due to the efficiency of complexification!

DAVID: Cro-Magnons show advanced thought shrinks a brain, not the opposite effect.

dhw: Cro-Magnons show that over the last x thousand years, the sapiens’ brain has shrunk. You have just agreed that it is material complexification (not immaterial thought) that shrinks the brain, and complexification, as modern science has demonstrated, is caused by IMPLEMENTATION of thought.

Another misinterpretation of my thought. Our brain shrunk exactly because of new complex intensive immaterial thought, which drove the complexification to cause shrinkage. You cannot separate the two.

dhw: But by focusing on shrinkage, you are ignoring the whole context of our discussion, and so yet again let me try to summarize the context and the sequence from expansion to shrinkage:

1 Facts: a) pre-sapiens’ brain expanded; b) sapiens’ brain has shrunk; c) implementation of thought causes brain changes (complexification and limited expansion) in sapiens; d) sapiens’ thought has made major advances during the last x thousand years.

Not 'limited expansion' but 150cc shrinkage.

dhw: 2 You agree a) that in dualism the “soul” (software) does the thinking and interacts with the brain/body (hardware), which does the implementing; b) complexification has caused shrinkage in sapiens.

Because of intensive new thought/

dhw: 3 dhw’s dualistic hypothesis: a) pre-sapiens “soul” thinks up new concept; implementation of concept requires additional brain cells and connections. Brain expands; b) brain/skull reach maximum practical size in sapiens; “soul’s” thoughts now implemented by complexification and limited expansion of particular sections; c) process of complexification so efficient that sapiens’ brain no longer needs certain cells and connections, and shrinks.

Your theory is some not very complex thought, as compared to ours, in early hominins explodes the brain and with it the skull to larger size. Is this an explanation for speciation?

dhw" 4 All advances in thought must begin with individuals. Every stage in pre-sapiens human evolution continued for hundreds of thousands of years without significant advances until someone came up with new ideas which required brain change (expansion). Sapiens continued for hundreds of thousands of years until someone came up with new ideas which required brain change (see 3 b and c). The pattern is consistent.

Consistent only in your thinking. Pre-sapiens dealt with survival skills, not complex thought. They were little different than the wild animals we see today. The larger brains that appeared with each new advanced species produced more advanced artifacts. Artifacts require planning thought that only a bigger brain could supply through its s/s/c. And then implement the production of them. This pattern is consistent with history.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 13:45 (64 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Cro-Magnons show advanced thought shrinks a brain, not the opposite effect.

dhw: Cro-Magnons show that over the last x thousand years, the sapiens’ brain has shrunk. You have just agreed that it is material complexification (not immaterial thought) that shrinks the brain, and complexification, as modern science has demonstrated, is caused by IMPLEMENTATION of thought.

DAVID: Another misinterpretation of my thought. Our brain shrunk exactly because of new complex intensive immaterial thought, which drove the complexification to cause shrinkage. You cannot separate the two.

There are three steps and not two. Immaterial complex intensive thought by the dualist’s “soul” is the first step. Material implementation by material complexification of the brain is the second step, the efficiency of which is the direct cause of the third step: material shrinkage. We can observe how the implementation of individual concepts complexifies the brain, but shrinkage has occurred over thousands of years, and so we can only offer a general explanation.The 150 cc shrinkage must have been accumulative, as efficient complexification made some cells and connections redundant.

Dhw: 1 Facts: a) pre-sapiens’ brain expanded; b) sapiens’ brain has shrunk; c) implementation of thought causes brain changes (complexification and limited expansion) in sapiens; d) sapiens’ thought has made major advances during the last x thousand years.
DAVID: Not 'limited expansion' but 150cc shrinkage.

“Limited expansion” refers to the examples of taxi drivers and musicians, where sections of the brain expand owing to special usage – but the expansion remains within the limits of the skull.

dhw: 2 You agree a) that in dualism the “soul” (software) does the thinking and interacts with the brain/body (hardware), which does the implementing; b) complexification has caused shrinkage in sapiens.
DAVID: Because of intensive new thought.

Because of efficient complexification during the implementation of intensive new thought. See above.

dhw: 3 dhw’s dualistic hypothesis: a) pre-sapiens “soul” thinks up new concept; implementation of concept requires additional brain cells and connections. Brain expands; b) brain/skull reach maximum practical size in sapiens; “soul’s” thoughts now implemented by complexification and limited expansion of particular sections; c) process of complexification so efficient that sapiens’ brain no longer needs certain cells and connections, and shrinks.

DAVID: Your theory is some not very complex thought, as compared to ours, in early hominins explodes the brain and with it the skull to larger size. Is this an explanation for speciation?

Why do you insist on comparing degrees of complexity? The advance from bare hands to manufactured weapons and tools was a huge advance in its day, and as you once acknowledged, involved highly complex thinking and physical activity. Use the word “explode” if you like: your theory then is that your God “exploded” the brain, and only then could pre-sapiens’ soul think the complex thoughts enabling him to manufacture weapons/tools. This directly contradicts your dualistic belief that thoughts derive from the soul and not the brain! And yes, if your God speciates by exploding the brain before it can think new thoughts, then the brain exploding through implementation of new thoughts also explains speciation.

dhw" 4 All advances in thought must begin with individuals. Every stage in pre-sapiens human evolution continued for hundreds of thousands of years without significant advances until someone came up with new ideas which required brain change (expansion). Sapiens continued for hundreds of thousands of years until someone came up with new ideas which required brain change (see 3 b and c). The pattern is consistent.

DAVID: Consistent only in your thinking. Pre-sapiens dealt with survival skills, not complex thought. They were little different than the wild animals we see today.

See above for “complex thought”.

DAVID: The larger brains that appeared with each new advanced species produced more advanced artifacts. Artifacts require planning thought that only a bigger brain could supply through its s/s/c. And then implement the production of them. This pattern is consistent with history.

“…thought that only a bigger brain could supply through its s/s/c” is one of your now typical obfuscations. In dualism the brain does not supply thought through anything! You have agreed over and over again that the s/s/c is the supplier of thought. Planning is thought. The material brain implements the immaterial thoughts/plans of the immaterial s/s/c by producing the material object. Concept (thought/plan) precedes implementation of concept. Yes, the larger brains produced the artefacts, but it was the s/s/c that planned them, and we know that brains change through implementation of ideas – they do not change in anticipation of new ideas.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 22, 2018, 15:36 (64 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your theory is some not very complex thought, as compared to ours, in early hominins explodes the brain and with it the skull to larger size. Is this an explanation for speciation?

dhw: Why do you insist on comparing degrees of complexity? The advance from bare hands to manufactured weapons and tools was a huge advance in its day, and as you once acknowledged, involved highly complex thinking and physical activity. Use the word “explode” if you like: your theory then is that your God “exploded” the brain, and only then could pre-sapiens’ soul think the complex thoughts enabling him to manufacture weapons/tools. This directly contradicts your dualistic belief that thoughts derive from the soul and not the brain! And yes, if your God speciates by exploding the brain before it can think new thoughts, then the brain exploding through implementation of new thoughts also explains speciation.

Hands that had a useful thumb required species anatomic changes and learned coordination movements, not the complex thoughts of today. I'll stick to my analogy that the brain is a computer using the s/s/c as software.


DAVID: The larger brains that appeared with each new advanced species produced more advanced artifacts. Artifacts require planning thought that only a bigger brain could supply through its s/s/c. And then implement the production of them. This pattern is consistent with history.

dhw: “…thought that only a bigger brain could supply through its s/s/c” is one of your now typical obfuscations. In dualism the brain does not supply thought through anything! You have agreed over and over again that the s/s/c is the supplier of thought. Planning is thought. The material brain implements the immaterial thoughts/plans of the immaterial s/s/c by producing the material object. Concept (thought/plan) precedes implementation of concept. Yes, the larger brains produced the artefacts, but it was the s/s/c that planned them, and we know that brains change through implementation of ideas – they do not change in anticipation of new ideas.

I full well know how the s/s/c interfaces with the brain, and I view the process is that only a more complex brain can permit the s/s/c software to advance to m ore complex thought.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Monday, April 23, 2018, 11:54 (63 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your theory is some not very complex thought, as compared to ours, in early hominins explodes the brain and with it the skull to larger size. Is this an explanation for speciation?

dhw: Why do you insist on comparing degrees of complexity? The advance from bare hands to manufactured weapons and tools was a huge advance in its day, and as you once acknowledged, involved highly complex thinking and physical activity. Use the word “explode” if you like: your theory then is that your God “exploded” the brain, and only then could pre-sapiens’ soul think the complex thoughts enabling him to manufacture weapons/tools. This directly contradicts your dualistic belief that thoughts derive from the soul and not the brain! And yes, if your God speciates by exploding the brain before it can think new thoughts, then the brain exploding through implementation of new thoughts also explains speciation.

DAVID: Hands that had a useful thumb required species anatomic changes and learned coordination movements, not the complex thoughts of today. I'll stick to my analogy that the brain is a computer using the s/s/c as software.

I accept your analogy, which you keep agreeing means that the “soul” (software) provides the thought, and uses the brain (hardware) to implements the thought. I don’t know how your response is meant to counter my argument 1) that making and using tools required complex thought and new use of the brain/body, and 2) that if your theory of brain explosion could have led to speciation, then my theory of brain explosion could also have led to speciation.

DAVID: The larger brains that appeared with each new advanced species produced more advanced artifacts. Artifacts require planning thought that only a bigger brain could supply through its s/s/c. And then implement the production of them. This pattern is consistent with history.

dhw: “…thought that only a bigger brain could supply through its s/s/c” is one of your now typical obfuscations. In dualism the brain does not supply thought through anything! You have agreed over and over again that the s/s/c is the supplier of thought. Planning is thought. The material brain implements the immaterial thoughts/plans of the immaterial s/s/c by producing the material object. Concept (thought/plan) precedes implementation of concept. Yes, the larger brains produced the artefacts, but it was the s/s/c that planned them, and we know that brains change through implementation of ideas – they do not change in anticipation of new ideas.

DAVID:I full well know how the s/s/c interfaces with the brain, and I view the process is that only a more complex brain can permit the s/s/c software to advance to more complex thought.

Thought is thought, whether more complex or not. If the source of thought is the “soul”, as you profess to believe, then the complexities of the brain cannot be the source of more complex thought. “Soul” software provides the thought, brain hardware implements it, and if you believe in dualism, no amount of obfuscation can justify the claim that the brain must expand (pre-sapiens) or complexify (sapiens) before the soul can think its thoughts, no matter how simple or complex. That is pure materialism.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Monday, April 23, 2018, 18:40 (63 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Hands that had a useful thumb required species anatomic changes and learned coordination movements, not the complex thoughts of today. I'll stick to my analogy that the brain is a computer using the s/s/c as software.

dhw: I accept your analogy, which you keep agreeing means that the “soul” (software) provides the thought, and uses the brain (hardware) to implements the thought. I don’t know how your response is meant to counter my argument 1) that making and using tools required complex thought and new use of the brain/body, and 2) that if your theory of brain explosion could have led to speciation, then my theory of brain explosion could also have led to speciation.

But I insist God speciated the various hominins as their pre-frontal cortex grew and their ability to think increased. You prefer a chance natural growth of brain and skull and change in the female pelvis simultaneously coordinated. Only a planning mind could accomplish that task in the time given for the changes. Your alternative of God given the cell communities the intelligence to do it is still God at work, or haven't you noticed.


DAVID:I full well know how the s/s/c interfaces with the brain, and I view the process is that only a more complex brain can permit the s/s/c software to advance to more complex thought.

dhw: Thought is thought, whether more complex or not. If the source of thought is the “soul”, as you profess to believe, then the complexities of the brain cannot be the source of more complex thought. “Soul” software provides the thought, brain hardware implements it, and if you believe in dualism, no amount of obfuscation can justify the claim that the brain must expand (pre-sapiens) or complexify (sapiens) before the soul can think its thoughts, no matter how simple or complex. That is pure materialism.

You separate soul software from brain hardware. I view them as intimately interfaced and inseparable. You must see that the material brain is inseparable from the immaterial soul in life. When will you really accept my analogy as you state above.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by dhw, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 11:01 (62 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I'll stick to my analogy that the brain is a computer using the s/s/c as software.

dhw: I accept your analogy, which you keep agreeing means that the “soul” (software) provides the thought, and uses the brain (hardware) to implements the thought. I don’t know how your response is meant to counter my argument 1) that making and using tools required complex thought and new use of the brain/body, and 2) that if your theory of brain explosion could have led to speciation, then my theory of brain explosion could also have led to speciation.

DAVID: But I insist God speciated the various hominins as their pre-frontal cortex grew and their ability to think increased. You prefer a chance natural growth of brain and skull and change in the female pelvis simultaneously coordinated. Only a planning mind could accomplish that task in the time given for the changes. Your alternative of God given the cell communities the intelligence to do it is still God at work, or haven't you noticed.

I keep repeating that cellular intelligence may be God-given, or haven’t you noticed? The dispute here is not over God but over your insistence that your God directed every stage of evolution, every lifestyle and every natural wonder, and that he did so in order to produce the sapiens brain. “Chance” is not involved in my proposal. Once the perhaps God-given mechanism is in place, the advances are brought about by the intelligence of the cell communities of which all organisms consist. And if your God speciated by expanding the brain, then expansion of the brain as I propose is the same means of speciation.

DAVID:I full well know how the s/s/c interfaces with the brain, and I view the process is that only a more complex brain can permit the s/s/c software to advance to more complex thought.

dhw: Thought is thought, whether more complex or not. If the source of thought is the “soul”, as you profess to believe, then the complexities of the brain cannot be the source of more complex thought. “Soul” software provides the thought, brain hardware implements it, and if you believe in dualism, no amount of obfuscation can justify the claim that the brain must expand (pre-sapiens) or complexify (sapiens) before the soul can think its thoughts, no matter how simple or complex. That is pure materialism.

DAVID: You separate soul software from brain hardware. I view them as intimately interfaced and inseparable. You must see that the material brain is inseparable from the immaterial soul in life. When will you really accept my analogy as you state above.

I have agreed over and over again that in life they are interfaced and inseparable. You cannot lead a material existence without materials! But over and over again you ignore the fact that your own analogy identifies their different FUNCTIONS. Otherwise what is the point of the analogy? Our organs also form interdependent, interactive parts of a unit, but they perform different functions. So what is the function of the software soul, as opposed to the function of the hardware brain? The one provides the thought, and continues to do so after death if your faith is correct, while the other provides information and produces material implementation of immaterial thought. You keep agreeing, and then trying to disagree by pretending that I don’t accept the fact that they work together.

DAVID’s comment (under “memory at molecular level”): The work of the s/s/c is represented by work at the molecular level. No way to separate the material and the immaterial.

Of course you can’t separate them. The s/s/c does the thinking and the molecules do the implementing. In life you can’t have one without the other. But that does not mean they have the same FUNCTION.

Big brain evolution: brain size and intelligence

by David Turell @, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 17:09