Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 08, 2018, 23:49 (752 days ago)

You have noted on May 7th that you do not understand the brain. I will add as much info as I can to help your understanding of it, and how it function:

https://aeon.co/essays/we-are-more-than-our-brains-on-neuroscience-and-being-human?utm_...

"Brains are undoubtedly somewhat computer-like – computers, after all, were invented to perform brain-like functions – but brains are also much more than bundles of wiry neurons and the electrical impulses they are famous for propagating. The function of each neuroelectrical signal is to release a little flood of chemicals that helps to stimulate or suppress brain cells, in much the way that chemicals activate or suppress functions such as glucose production by liver cells or immune responses by white blood cells. Even the brain’s electrical signals themselves are the products of chemicals called ions that move in and out of cells, causing tiny ripples that can spread independently of neurons.

"Also distinct from neurons are the relatively passive brain cells called glia (Greek for glue) that are roughly equal in number to the neurons but do not conduct electrical signals in the same way. Recent experiments in mice have shown that manipulating these uncharismatic cells can produce dramatic effects on behaviour. In one experiment, a research group in Japan showed that direct stimulation of glia in a brain region called the cerebellum could cause a behavioural response analogous to changes more commonly evoked by stimulation of neurons. Another remarkable study showed that transplantation of human glial cells into mouse brains boosted the animals’ performance in learning tests, again demonstrating the importance of glia in shaping brain function. Chemicals and glue are as integral to brain function as wiring and electricity. With these moist elements factored in, the brain seems much more like an organic part of the body than the idealised prosthetic many people imagine.

***

"It has become a cliché to refer to the brain as ‘the most complex thing in the known Universe’. This saying is inspired by the finding that human brains contain something on the order of 100,000,000,000 neurons, each of which makes about 10,000 connections (synapses) to other neurons. The daunting nature of such numbers provides cover for people who argue that neuroscience will never decipher consciousness, or that free will lurks somehow among the billions and billions.

***

"Some of the most perspicacious animals are the corvids – crows, ravens, and rooks – which have brains less than 1 per cent the size of a human brain, but still perform feats of cognition comparable to chimpanzees and gorillas. ....Within individual orders, animals with similar characteristics also display huge differences in brain size. Among rodents, for instance, we can find the 80-gram capybara brain with 1.6 billion neurons and the 0.3-gram pygmy mouse brain with probably fewer than 60 million neurons. Despite a greater than 100-fold difference in brain size, these species live in similar habitats, display similarly social lifestyles, and do not display obvious differences in intelligence." (my bold)

Comment: Corvids equal to apes!! Major point. It is the complexity that makes the difference, not the size. Answers dhw's weird point. Complexity of cognition is based on complexity. Until complexity arrives, cognition is less. Complexity is not size, nor is a drive for size necessary to have more advanced cognition.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Wednesday, May 09, 2018, 13:07 (752 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have noted on May 7th that you do not understand the brain. I will add as much info as I can to help your understanding of it, and how it function:
https://aeon.co/essays/we-are-more-than-our-brains-on-neuroscience-and-being-human?utm_...

DAVID’s comment: Corvids equal to apes!! Major point. It is the complexity that makes the difference, not the size. Answers dhw's weird point. Complexity of cognition is based on complexity. Until complexity arrives, cognition is less. Complexity is not size, nor is a drive for size necessary to have more advanced cognition.

Thank you for this interesting article, which raises a number of problems. Not least is your own negation of your belief that your God had to enlarge the pre-sapiens brain before it could think new thoughts. If complexity was all that mattered, there was no need for enlargement. (Contrast my view, that the pre-sapiens capacity for complexification became exhausted, and so greater capacity was needed – and that meant enlargement.) Your comment that complexity of cognition is based on brain complexity once again reinforces your materialism (which may well be true), and the article also emphasizes how both behaviour and intelligence have cells as their source:

QUOTE: Recent experiments in mice have shown that manipulating these uncharismatic cells can produce dramatic effects on behaviour. In one experiment, a research group in Japan showed that direct stimulation of glia in a brain region called the cerebellum could cause a behavioural response analogous to changes more commonly evoked by stimulation of neurons. Another remarkable study showed that transplantation of human glial cells into mouse brains boosted the animals’ performance in learning tests, again demonstrating the importance of glia in shaping brain function. Chemicals and glue are as integral to brain function as wiring and electricity. (My bold)

If you mess with the cells, you mess with the self.

The author of this article, however, not only dismisses the concept of an immaterial soul, but he also opposes the idea that the brain is the central factor that determines the self. These two quotes illustrate both points:

QUOTE: But lost in the public’s romance with the brain is the most fundamental lesson neuroscience has to teach us: that the organ of our minds is a purely physical entity, conceptually and causally embedded in the natural world. Although the brain is required for almost everything we do, it never works alone. Instead, its function is inextricably linked to the body and to the environment around it. The interdependence of these factors is masked however by a cultural phenomenon I call the ‘cerebral mystique’ – a pervasive idealisation of the brain and its singular importance, which protects traditional conceptions about differences between mind and body, the freedom of will and the nature of thought itself.

In other contexts, we miss analogous factors when we attribute drug addiction or adolescent misbehaviour to the brain, or when we credit the brain for creativity and intelligence. In each case, an idealised view that simply locates good and bad personal qualities in the brain is remarkably similar to old-fashioned perspectives that assigned virtue and vice to the metaphysical soul. An updated view should instead accept that any act of brilliance or depravity arises from a combination of brain, body and environment working together.

I’m afraid you cannot claim that his findings support your belief in an immaterial piece of God’s consciousness (soul) or that they refute my hypothesis concerning the enlargement of the pre-sapiens brain. As for the intelligence of other organisms, you can hardly claim that I attribute it to size, when I am the one who is constantly championing the intelligence of insects and microorganisms.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 09, 2018, 17:58 (751 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: Corvids equal to apes!! Major point. It is the complexity that makes the difference, not the size. Answers dhw's weird point. Complexity of cognition is based on complexity. Until complexity arrives, cognition is less. Complexity is not size, nor is a drive for size necessary to have more advanced cognition.

dhw: Thank you for this interesting article, which raises a number of problems. Not least is your own negation of your belief that your God had to enlarge the pre-sapiens brain before it could think new thoughts. If complexity was all that mattered, there was no need for enlargement.

The need for enlargement is the part of the article I quoted: the enormous size and complexity of the human brain creates our consciousness which no one else has! The room for enough complexity is my view of the new size we have.

dhw: Your comment that complexity of cognition is based on brain complexity once again reinforces your materialism (which may well be true),

You constantly conveniently forget that my position is that the s/s/c must use the brains network to think during life. Dualism. I stated that the article takes a materialism view.

dhw: I’m afraid you cannot claim that his findings support your belief in an immaterial piece of God’s consciousness (soul) or that they refute my hypothesis concerning the enlargement of the pre-sapiens brain. As for the intelligence of other organisms, you can hardly claim that I attribute it to size, when I am the one who is constantly championing the intelligence of insects and microorganisms.

Your interpretation and mine continue to differ widely. My only point is the necessity for advanced complexity and then enough room for enough complexity to produce a spot for consciousness itself to do its work, since it must use the networks of the brain to function during life. Nothing else living has what we have, and it requires the complexity demonstrated in the paragraphs I quoted to achieve that result. That is obvious. Insects and microorganisms are intelligently designed.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Thursday, May 10, 2018, 13:57 (751 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: Corvids equal to apes!! Major point. It is the complexity that makes the difference, not the size. Answers dhw's weird point. Complexity of cognition is based on complexity. Until complexity arrives, cognition is less. Complexity is not size, nor is a drive for size necessary to have more advanced cognition. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: Thank you for this interesting article, which raises a number of problems. Not least is your own negation of your belief that your God had to enlarge the pre-sapiens brain before it could think new thoughts. If complexity was all that mattered, there was no need for enlargement.

DAVID: The need for enlargement is the part of the article I quoted: the enormous size and complexity of the human brain creates our consciousness which no one else has! The room for enough complexity is my view of the new size we have.

First contradiction: You wrote (first quote bolded): “It is the complexity that makes the difference, not the size”, but now it is the complexity AND the size, and under THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE you have written: Of more interest to our discussion is that the Neanderthal cerebellum is smaller than the sapiens and the conjecture is that is why they failed and we persisted. […]. Size matters. You also keep saying your God had to ENLARGE the pre-sapiens brain before it could think new thoughts. Your arguments change from day to day.

Second contradiction, which you keep making over and over again: if the enormous size and complexity of our brain CREATES our consciousness, you are a materialist. In the days when you are a dualist, you claim that our consciousness is a piece of God’s consciousness. The room for enough complexity is also my view of the new size: the brain expanded when it did not have the capacity to implement new concepts. Your (materialist) view is that your God gave the brain more capacity so that it could think up new concepts.

dhw: Your comment that complexity of cognition is based on brain complexity once again reinforces your materialism (which may well be true).
DAVID: You constantly conveniently forget that my position is that the s/s/c must use the brains network to think during life. Dualism.

The essence of dualism is that the immaterial soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its thinking materially. That is why dualists can believe that the immaterial soul (which you call a piece of God’s consciousness) can still be itself after the death of the brain.

dhw: I’m afraid you cannot claim that his findings support your belief in an immaterial piece of God’s consciousness (soul) or that they refute my hypothesis concerning the enlargement of the pre-sapiens brain. As for the intelligence of other organisms, you can hardly claim that I attribute it to size, when I am the one who is constantly championing the intelligence of insects and microorganisms.

DAVID: Your interpretation and mine continue to differ widely. My only point is the necessity for advanced complexity and then enough room for enough complexity to produce a spot for consciousness itself to do its work, since it must use the networks of the brain to function during life.

“Enough room”? How big is your immaterial soul, and how do you measure it? What need room are the material tools the dualist’s “soul” uses to gather information and implement its thoughts. And that, I suggest, is why the pre-sapiens brain expanded – until further expansion would have been impractical and so complexification took over.

DAVID: Insects and microorganisms are intelligently designed.

If God exists, all life was intelligently designed. That does not mean all life is robotic. My comment though was to refute your claim that I attribute intelligence to size.It is you who say this one day and say the opposite the next day.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 10, 2018, 18:56 (750 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The need for enlargement is the part of the article I quoted: the enormous size and complexity of the human brain creates our consciousness which no one else has! The room for enough complexity is my view of the new size we have.

dhw: First contradiction: You wrote (first quote bolded): “It is the complexity that makes the difference, not the size”, but now it is the complexity AND the size, and under THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE you have written: Of more interest to our discussion is that the Neanderthal cerebellum is smaller than the sapiens and the conjecture is that is why they failed and we persisted. […]. Size matters. You also keep saying your God had to ENLARGE the pre-sapiens brain before it could think new thoughts. Your arguments change from day to day.

My quote is taken out of context. The clear meaning is that small brain intense complexity can equal larger brain less complexity: corvid=ape. Thus our intense complexity coupled with massive enlargement results in being able to use the advanced thoughts of our current s/s/c


dhw: Second contradiction, which you keep making over and over again: if the enormous size and complexity of our brain CREATES our consciousness, you are a materialist. In the days when you are a dualist, you claim that our consciousness is a piece of God’s consciousness.

Second misconception. anyone following this discussion knows I view the s/s/c as having to use the brain's complex networks to think in life. I AM ALWAYS A DUELIST. This statement is ALWAYS implied.


dhw: Your comment that complexity of cognition is based on brain complexity once again reinforces your materialism (which may well be true).
DAVID: You constantly conveniently forget that my position is that the s/s/c must use the brains network to think during life. Dualism.

dhw: The essence of dualism is that the immaterial soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement its thinking materially. That is why dualists can believe that the immaterial soul (which you call a piece of God’s consciousness) can still be itself after the death of the brain.

Your form of dualism is not mine.


dhw: I’m afraid you cannot claim that his findings support your belief in an immaterial piece of God’s consciousness (soul) or that they refute my hypothesis concerning the enlargement of the pre-sapiens brain. As for the intelligence of other organisms, you can hardly claim that I attribute it to size, when I am the one who is constantly championing the intelligence of insects and microorganisms.

DAVID: Your interpretation and mine continue to differ widely. My only point is the necessity for advanced complexity and then enough room for enough complexity to produce a spot for consciousness itself to do its work, since it must use the networks of the brain to function during life.

dhw: “Enough room”? How big is your immaterial soul, and how do you measure it? What need room are the material tools the dualist’s “soul” uses to gather information and implement its thoughts. And that, I suggest, is why the pre-sapiens brain expanded – until further expansion would have been impractical and so complexification took over.

The soul obviously requires the complexity and size of our brain for consciousness to appear. No one else with a brain has it.


DAVID: Insects and microorganisms are intelligently designed.

dhw: If God exists, all life was intelligently designed. That does not mean all life is robotic. My comment though was to refute your claim that I attribute intelligence to size.It is you who say this one day and say the opposite the next day.

Conscious behavior requires a brain. We've been here before. True human consciousness requires the presence of a massively complex large brain for the s/s/c to think with in life. The autonomic system which runs our bodies is automatic.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Friday, May 11, 2018, 12:11 (750 days ago) @ David Turell

I’ve transferred the “all over Africa” post to this thread, as it has shifted its focus to the brain, so we can avoid some of the repetition. We start with brain enlargement:

DAVID: The apes have the same implementation areas we have with the same connections. You can't get around that the major area of enlargement is frontal lobe, but of course, there is some enlargement elsewhere.

You keep ignoring the explanation I have suggested! The control centre would have to create new connections to all the different areas. Lots of new connections in the centre, only a few in the other areas. The more connections, the more materials required, and hence expansion.

DAVID: Shrinkage negates your point that the pressure of thinking new concepts forces enlargement of brain and skull.

dhw: […] you are still ignoring the point that even your own shrinkage hypothesis now has new thoughts changing the brain instead of God changing the brain before the s/s/c can have new thoughts.

DAVID: We know God gave the brain plasticity; therefore the brain could shrink on its own as it pruned unnecessary areas.

Pruning is the explanation I have offered. Shrinkage is therefore irrelevant to the question of why the pre-sapiens brain expanded.

DAVID: My form of dualism is not the one you constantly define. I believe the immaterial soul must use the brain networks to think in life. I have every right to my interpretation of a dualistic philosophy.

I am simply pointing out that you constantly contradict yourself, but of course you have the right to contradict yourself and to believe whatever you like.

DAVID: The clear meaning is that small brain intense complexity can equal larger brain less complexity: corvid=ape. Thus our intense complexity coupled with massive enlargement results in being able to use the advanced thoughts of our current s/s/c.

I shan’t bother with the first set of contradictions you are responding to here, since this new statement makes it very clear that it is only through complexification and enlargement that the thoughts of the s/s/c can be “used” (which I take to mean materially implemented). The s/s/c therefore does the thinking, and the brain does the implementing. Thank you.

dhw: Second contradiction, which you keep making over and over again: if the enormous size and complexity of our brain CREATES our consciousness, you are a materialist. In the days when you are a dualist, you claim that our consciousness is a piece of God’s consciousness.

DAVID: Second misconception. anyone following this discussion knows I view the s/s/c as having to use the brain's complex networks to think in life. I AM ALWAYS A DUELIST. This statement is ALWAYS implied.

Anyone following this discussion will recognize that the above example is as glaring a contradiction of dualism as one could possibly find: if you think the large and complex brain creates our consciousness, you are a materialist no matter how loudly you protest that you are a dualist (although, dear friend, you are certainly a duelist, because you love a good fight!).

The rest of your post hinges on the same point: “True human consciousness requires the presence of a massively complex large brain for the s/s/c to think with in life.” I suggest we now abandon the term s/s/c (self/soul/consciousness) and confine ourselves to “soul” in the context of dualism. Materialists also have a self and consciousness. If we substitute “self” in your sentence, we have pure materialism: the self thinks with its brain. If we substitute “soul”, your dualistic argument seems to be that the soul can only think if it is inside a brain, except that it continues to think when there is no brain (NDEs, an afterlife). If we are kind, we might call that a paradox. We obviously can’t substitute “consciousness” here.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, May 11, 2018, 17:47 (749 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The apes have the same implementation areas we have with the same connections. You can't get around that the major area of enlargement is frontal lobe, but of course, there is some enlargement elsewhere.

dhw: You keep ignoring the explanation I have suggested! The control centre would have to create new connections to all the different areas. Lots of new connections in the centre, only a few in the other areas. The more connections, the more materials required, and hence expansion.

Once again, all the basic areas exist in apes. The homo frontal lobes enlarged and you are correct more connective axons would go to the implmentation areas, but those fibers don't take up much room. you can't escape that the frontal lobers are the maim enlargement and created a base for consciousness.


DAVID: The clear meaning is that small brain intense complexity can equal larger brain less complexity: corvid=ape. Thus our intense complexity coupled with massive enlargement results in being able to use the advanced thoughts of our current s/s/c.

dhw: I shan’t bother with the first set of contradictions you are responding to here, since this new statement makes it very clear that it is only through complexification and enlargement that the thoughts of the s/s/c can be “used” (which I take to mean materially implemented). The s/s/c therefore does the thinking, and the brain does the implementing. Thank you.

dhw: Second contradiction, which you keep making over and over again: if the enormous size and complexity of our brain CREATES our consciousness, you are a materialist. In the days when you are a dualist, you claim that our consciousness is a piece of God’s consciousness.

DAVID: Second misconception. anyone following this discussion knows I view the s/s/c as having to use the brain's complex networks to think in life. I AM ALWAYS A DUELIST. This statement is ALWAYS implied.

dhw: Anyone following this discussion will recognize that the above example is as glaring a contradiction of dualism as one could possibly find: if you think the large and complex brain creates our consciousness, you are a materialist no matter how loudly you protest that you are a dualist (although, dear friend, you are certainly a duelist, because you love a good fight!).

The rest of your post hinges on the same point: “True human consciousness requires the presence of a massively complex large brain for the s/s/c to think with in life.” I suggest we now abandon the term s/s/c (self/soul/consciousness) and confine ourselves to “soul” in the context of dualism. Materialists also have a self and consciousness. If we substitute “self” in your sentence, we have pure materialism: the self thinks with its brain. If we substitute “soul”, your dualistic argument seems to be that the soul can only think if it is inside a brain, except that it continues to think when there is no brain (NDEs, an afterlife). If we are kind, we might call that a paradox. We obviously can’t substitute “consciousness” here.

But it sees now we are discussng the same point. Again I view the soul as God's implant on the brain He created. We have our soul having to use the brain in life and it leaves us in death and joins Him in the afterworld. It has two mechanism forms in the two states. Thus a damaged brain by illness, injury or drugs cannot formulate proper thoughts from the soul. It is not clear whether the soul thinks in garbled fashion because of a damaged brain, or the brain mishandles proper original thought from the soul. One is correct. This is how I see dualism.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Saturday, May 12, 2018, 11:09 (749 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You keep ignoring the explanation I have suggested! The control centre would have to create new connections to all the different areas. Lots of new connections in the centre, only a few in the other areas. The more connections, the more materials required, and hence expansion.
DAVID: Once again, all the basic areas exist in apes. The homo frontal lobes enlarged and you are correct more connective axons would go to the implmentation areas, but those fibers don't take up much room. you can't escape that the frontal lobers are the maim enlargement and created a base for consciousness.

Once again you have missed the point. If the frontal lobes are the “base”, they are the control centre, which means that the connections start there. ALL of them. Any new concept requires new connections, but these will join up with existing connections in the implementation areas. So it is the control centre that has to expand the most.

dhw: The rest of your post hinges on the same point: “True human consciousness requires the presence of a massively complex large brain for the s/s/c to think with in life.” I suggest we now abandon the term s/s/c (self/soul/consciousness) and confine ourselves to “soul” in the context of dualism. Materialists also have a self and consciousness. If we substitute “self” in your sentence, we have pure materialism: the self thinks with its brain. If we substitute “soul”, your dualistic argument seems to be that the soul can only think if it is inside a brain, except that it continues to think when there is no brain (NDEs, an afterlife). If we are kind, we might call that a paradox. We obviously can’t substitute “consciousness” here.

DAVID: But it sees now we are discussng the same point. Again I view the soul as God's implant on the brain He created. We have our soul having to use the brain in life and it leaves us in death and joins Him in the afterworld. It has two mechanism forms in the two states. Thus a damaged brain by illness, injury or drugs cannot formulate proper thoughts from the soul. It is not clear whether the soul thinks in garbled fashion because of a damaged brain, or the brain mishandles proper original thought from the soul. One is correct. This is how I see dualism.

A few days ago you dismissed your idea of the soul thinking “proper thoughts”, in favour of the first of these options (the soul’s thoughts are garbled). But of course this option supports materialism, so back you go to “it is not clear whether….” You say the soul has “two mechanism forms”. This needs clarification. If the soul is a separate entity (which you now claim in your answer to my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE, though elsewhere you insist that in life it is not, contradicting your own software/hardware analogy), it remains the same in an afterlife as in life. It is the thinking/feeling immaterial section of identity which interacts with the material information-gathering, thought-implementing body in material life, and then lives on as itself, but in a different immaterial world. I would like to think that all your contradictions, which mirror the great dichotomy between dualism and materialism, are resolved by my theory, which inverts the usual basis of dualism, thereby reconciling it with materialism. But I would welcome the pinpointing of any flaws in its logic.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 13, 2018, 00:24 (748 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Once again, all the basic areas exist in apes. The homo frontal lobes enlarged and you are correct more connective axons would go to the implmentation areas, but those fibers don't take up much room. you can't escape that the frontal lobers are the maim enlargement and created a base for consciousness.

dhw: Once again you have missed the point. If the frontal lobes are the “base”, they are the control centre, which means that the connections start there. ALL of them. Any new concept requires new connections, but these will join up with existing connections in the implementation areas. So it is the control centre that has to expand the most.

To my way of interpreting you, you have simply repeated me. Of course it is the frontal control area that has to enlarged to be capable of advanced thought and to drive implementation.

DAVID: But it sees now we are discussng the same point. Again I view the soul as God's implant on the brain He created. We have our soul having to use the brain in life and it leaves us in death and joins Him in the afterworld. It has two mechanism forms in the two states. Thus a damaged brain by illness, injury or drugs cannot formulate proper thoughts from the soul. It is not clear whether the soul thinks in garbled fashion because of a damaged brain, or the brain mishandles proper original thought from the soul. One is correct. This is how I see dualism.

dhw: A few days ago you dismissed your idea of the soul thinking “proper thoughts”, in favour of the first of these options (the soul’s thoughts are garbled). But of course this option supports materialism, so back you go to “it is not clear whether….”

I have always described the two possibilties about garbled thought: either the soul can think straight but the brain cannot translate straight, or the soul, using the brain to think while in life, cannot formulate correct thoughts, because I think the immaterial soul must use the brain networks during life.

dhw: You say the soul has “two mechanism forms”. This needs clarification. If the soul is a separate entity (which you now claim in your answer to my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE, though elsewhere you insist that in life it is not, contradicting your own software/hardware analogy), it remains the same in an afterlife as in life. It is the thinking/feeling immaterial section of identity which interacts with the material information-gathering, thought-implementing body in material life, and then lives on as itself, but in a different immaterial world.

You operate under a different premise as to how the soul and brain relate. The soul has two forms interlocking with the brain in life and in a different form not requiring the brain in death.

dhw:I would like to think that all your contradictions, which mirror the great dichotomy between dualism and materialism, are resolved by my theory, which inverts the usual basis of dualism, thereby reconciling it with materialism. But I would welcome the pinpointing of any flaws in its logic.

I don't see contradictions because you keep insisting only your view of brain/ soul relationship is true.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Sunday, May 13, 2018, 14:02 (748 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Once again, all the basic areas exist in apes. The homo frontal lobes enlarged and you are correct more connective axons would go to the implmentation areas, but those fibers don't take up much room. you can't escape that the frontal lobers are the maim enlargement and created a base for consciousness.

dhw: Once again you have missed the point. If the frontal lobes are the “base”, they are the control centre, which means that the connections start there. ALL of them. Any new concept requires new connections, but these will join up with existing connections in the implementation areas. So it is the control centre that has to expand the most.

DAVID: To my way of interpreting you, you have simply repeated me. Of course it is the frontal control area that has to enlarged to be capable of advanced thought and to drive implementation.

I have offered a different explanation from yours for the expansion of the frontal lobe. You keep on emphasizing that it does the thinking, which is why your God expanded it, so that pre-sapiens would be ”capable of advanced thought”. That is pure materialism, which contradicts your claim to be a dualist. I say that in dualism, it is the soul that does the thinking, and so the frontal lobe has to expand when it needs new connections in order to organize material expression/implementation of the immaterial soul’s new thoughts. My “theory of intelligence” is an attempt to reconcile your materialism with the tenets of your dualism.

DAVID: It is not clear whether the soul thinks in garbled fashion because of a damaged brain, or the brain mishandles proper original thought from the soul. One is correct. This is how I see dualism.

dhw: A few days ago you dismissed your idea of the soul thinking “proper thoughts”, in favour of the first of these options (the soul’s thoughts are garbled). But of course this option supports materialism, so back you go to “it is not clear whether….

DAVID: I have always described the two possibilties about garbled thought: either the soul can think straight but the brain cannot translate straight, or the soul, using the brain to think while in life, cannot formulate correct thoughts, because I think the immaterial soul must use the brain networks during life.

Here is the exchange (leaving out remarks concerning interdependence, which would apply to both hypotheses), culminating on Sunday May 6, where you categorically state that the s/s/c cannot think properly if the networks are sick. That eliminates the possibility of the soul “thinking straight” and then having its thoughts garbled by the brain.

dhw: Which of your statements do you now stand by? That the s/s/c’s thought is proper, but the diseased brain does not express it properly (garbles it), or the diseased brain causes the s/s/c to think improperly?

DAVID: The s/s/c must use the brain to think during life, so it is likely the s/s/c cannot produce a proper thought with a damaged brain, and may not be able to even form a proper initial thought.

dhw: Thank you. We can now forget the idea that the s/s/c thinks properly but the brain can’t express the thoughts properly...I find it difficult to understand how a piece of your God's immaterial consciousness can be damaged by material disease, but I can fully understand how consciousness that emerges from a material source can be damaged if the source is damaged.

DAVID: You have agreed that the s/s/c and brain are interlocked to work together. The point remains the same. The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.

I’m afraid it’s another case of x one day and y the next.

dhw: You say the soul has “two mechanism forms”. This needs clarification. If the soul is a separate entity (which you now claim in your answer to my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE, though elsewhere you insist that in life it is not, contradicting your own software/hardware analogy), it remains the same in an afterlife as in life. It is the thinking/feeling immaterial section of identity which interacts with the material information-gathering, thought-implementing body in material life, and then lives on as itself, but in a different immaterial world.

DAVID: You operate under a different premise as to how the soul and brain relate. The soul has two forms interlocking with the brain in life and in a different form not requiring the brain in death.

I can see no difference between us on this, except that you want to give the immaterial soul different “forms” (what different "forms" can you give to something immaterial?), whereas I say it’s the same soul operating in different worlds.

dhw:I would like to think that all your contradictions, which mirror the great dichotomy between dualism and materialism, are resolved by my theory, which inverts the usual basis of dualism, thereby reconciling it with materialism. But I would welcome the pinpointing of any flaws in its logic.

DAVID: I don't see contradictions because you keep insisting only your view of brain/ soul relationship is true.

There are at least three examples of your self-contradictions above. These are inevitable so long as you see yourself as a dualist and yet continue to insist that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to think.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 13, 2018, 17:32 (747 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I have offered a different explanation from yours for the expansion of the frontal lobe. You keep on emphasizing that it does the thinking, which is why your God expanded it, so that pre-sapiens would be ”capable of advanced thought”. That is pure materialism, which contradicts your claim to be a dualist. I say that in dualism, it is the soul that does the thinking, and so the frontal lobe has to expand when it needs new connections in order to organize material expression/implementation of the immaterial soul’s new thoughts. My “theory of intelligence” is an attempt to reconcile your materialism with the tenets of your dualism.

"My materialism" is a recognition that the soul must use the brain to think. We know the areas where it interlocks. I don't accept your single view that it is a one-way street. There are two logical possibilities, but you only like yours. From before:


DAVID: It is not clear whether the soul thinks in garbled fashion because of a damaged brain, or the brain mishandles proper original thought from the soul. One is correct. This is how I see dualism.

DAVID: I have always described the two possibilties about garbled thought: either the soul can think straight but the brain cannot translate straight, or the soul, using the brain to think while in life, cannot formulate correct thoughts, because I think the immaterial soul must use the brain networks during life.


dhw: Which of your statements do you now stand by? That the s/s/c’s thought is proper, but the diseased brain does not express it properly (garbles it), or the diseased brain causes the s/s/c to think improperly?

DAVID: The s/s/c must use the brain to think during life, so it is likely the s/s/c cannot produce a proper thought with a damaged brain, and may not be able to even form a proper initial thought.

dhw: Thank you. We can now forget the idea that the s/s/c thinks properly but the brain can’t express the thoughts properly...I find it difficult to understand how a piece of your God's immaterial consciousness can be damaged by material disease, but I can fully understand how consciousness that emerges from a material source can be damaged if the source is damaged.

Despite making a choice as above, since you asked me which I preferred, I still see the two possibilities, but simply favor one of them. That is not a rigid position.


DAVID: You have agreed that the s/s/c and brain are interlocked to work together. The point remains the same. The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.

dhw: I’m afraid it’s another case of x one day and y the next.

My thinking is not as rigid as you want it. I cannot get rid of either possibility. we are discussing theory, not fact.

DAVID: You operate under a different premise as to how the soul and brain relate. The soul has two forms interlocking with the brain in life and in a different form not requiring the brain in death.

dhw: I can see no difference between us on this, except that you want to give the immaterial soul different “forms” (what different "forms" can you give to something immaterial?), whereas I say it’s the same soul operating in different worlds.

Fair enough. The soul must work a little differently in an afterlife


dhw:I would like to think that all your contradictions, which mirror the great dichotomy between dualism and materialism, are resolved by my theory, which inverts the usual basis of dualism, thereby reconciling it with materialism. But I would welcome the pinpointing of any flaws in its logic.

DAVID: I don't see contradictions because you keep insisting only your view of brain/ soul relationship is true.

dhw: There are at least three examples of your self-contradictions above. These are inevitable so long as you see yourself as a dualist and yet continue to insist that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to think.

All we know is a brain produces the soul's thought's. A sick brain produces garbled thoughts. The two possible arrangements are the only choices. You want a soul dictating to the brain and the brain is a simple a receptacle for thought. That is only one side of the possibilities. I have not contradicted myself. I know what I think. I've given you opinions as to what is most likely the possible arrangement. Both of us make sophisticated guesses so I keep my thoughts fluid based on eh possibilities. Please remember my starting points.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Monday, May 14, 2018, 13:10 (747 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I have offered a different explanation from yours for the expansion of the frontal lobe. You keep on emphasizing that it does the thinking, which is why your God expanded it, so that pre-sapiens would be ”capable of advanced thought”. That is pure materialism, which contradicts your claim to be a dualist. I say that in dualism, it is the soul that does the thinking, and so the frontal lobe has to expand when it needs new connections in order to organize material expression/implementation of the immaterial soul’s new thoughts. My “theory of intelligence” is an attempt to reconcile your materialism with the tenets of your dualism.

DAVID: "My materialism" is a recognition that the soul must use the brain to think. We know the areas where it interlocks. I don't accept your single view that it is a one-way street. There are two logical possibilities, but you only like yours.

I don’t “like” either possibility, which is why I keep repeating that I am neutral in the debate between materialism and dualism, and why I have been striving to find a reconciliation between the two hypotheses. I am trying to point out that you have the same dilemma: materialism claims that the brain is the source of thought; dualism claims that an immaterial soul is the source of thought (and you have now agreed that according to NDEs and your belief in an afterlife, the same soul lives on independently of the brain). The “one-way street” is dualism, as exemplifed by YOUR insistence that the brain is the receiver, and by YOUR analogy of software (the thought content) and hardware (the implementer). So whenever you insist that the soul cannot think without the brain, you contradict yourself.

dhw: Which of your statements do you now stand by? That the s/s/c’s thought is proper, but the diseased brain does not express it properly (garbles it), or the diseased brain causes the s/s/c to think improperly?
DAVID: The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.

That is materialism.

DAVID: Despite making a choice as above, since you asked me which I preferred, I still see the two possibilities, but simply favor one of them. That is not a rigid position.

So you favour materialism. I remain neutral, and have tried to find a way of reconciling the two approaches.

DAVID: My thinking is not as rigid as you want it. I cannot get rid of either possibility. we are discussing theory, not fact.

Yes indeed. You are in the same position as I am, though you refuse to recognize it: you are torn between materialism and dualism. You favour materialism (see also your next comment), but you believe you are a dualist.

dhw: There are at least three examples of your self-contradictions above. These are inevitable so long as you see yourself as a dualist and yet continue to insist that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to think.
DAVID: All we know is a brain produces the soul's thought's. A sick brain produces garbled thoughts. The two possible arrangements are the only choices.

Pure materialism. The other “possible arrangement” you offered was that the thinking soul thinks “proper thoughts” and the receiver brain garbles them. That is the one you have again rejected here, though you insist you cannot get rid of it.

DAVID: You want a soul dictating to the brain and the brain is a simple a receptacle for thought.

It’s not what I want! That is the dualism you espouse on a Monday and reject on a Tuesday. It is YOU who called the brain a receiver!

DAVID: That is only one side of the possibilities.

Yes, the other side is materialism, in which the brain is the producer of thought, as exemplified by the belief that the s/s/c cannot think independently of the brain.

DAVID: I have not contradicted myself. I know what I think. I've given you opinions as to what is most likely the possible arrangement.

Yes, today you have rejected your dualistic idea that the brain is a receiver, and you have chosen the materialist option that a sick brain produces garbled thoughts.

DAVID: Both of us make sophisticated guesses so I keep my thoughts fluid based on the possibilities. Please remember my starting points.

The starting point is dualism versus materialism, and as I keep pointing out, there is evidence for both approaches. That is why anyone who keeps his thoughts fluid would inevitably contradict himself – because the evidence is contradictory! You seem to be taking all these comments personally, but I don’t think it’s possible for ANYONE to avoid contradictions in this debate. Can a materialist honestly say that consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc. are NOT immaterial? Can a dualist honestly say that the brain plays no part in our consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc.? In all these posts, I am only trying to point out that there is a dichotomy between the two approaches, and you are as caught up in it as the rest of us, though you can’t see it. I would like to think that my “theory of intelligence” together with my post on “Reconciling materialism and dualism” (Jan 5, 2018) offers a solution.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Monday, May 14, 2018, 17:51 (746 days ago) @ dhw


DAVID: "My materialism" is a recognition that the soul must use the brain to think. We know the areas where it interlocks. I don't accept your single view that it is a one-way street. There are two logical possibilities, but you only like yours.

dhw:...I am trying to point out that you have the same dilemma: materialism claims that the brain is the source of thought; dualism claims that an immaterial soul is the source of thought (and you have now agreed that according to NDEs and your belief in an afterlife, the same soul lives on independently of the brain). The “one-way street” is dualism, as exemplifed by YOUR insistence that the brain is the receiver, and by YOUR analogy of software (the thought content) and hardware (the implementer). So whenever you insist that the soul cannot think without the brain, you contradict yourself.

I have always thought the soul was one entity, not two as you imply operating differently in life and death. As for the brain/soul relationship There are two possibilities: either the soul must use the brain to think during life, or the soul dictates to specific parts of the brain the thought to produce. Based on what I know about how intentionality works in the brain, I feel the sou/brain interface means the soul uses the brain circuits to think during life. I admit I have no proof, and your thought is definitely a possibility.

DAVID: The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.

dhw: That is materialism.

No it isn't. As explained above. The soul must use the material brain to produce thought, by one of two mechanisms. Pure logic.


DAVID: Despite making a choice as above, since you asked me which I preferred, I still see the two possibilities, but simply favor one of them. That is not a rigid position.

dhw: So you favour materialism. I remain neutral, and have tried to find a way of reconciling the two approaches.

I am not favoring materialism. Open your mind to the two possibilities


DAVID: My thinking is not as rigid as you want it. I cannot get rid of either possibility. we are discussing theory, not fact.

dhw: Yes indeed. You are in the same position as I am, though you refuse to recognize it: you are torn between materialism and dualism. You favour materialism (see also your next comment), but you believe you are a dualist.

DAVID: I have not contradicted myself. I know what I think. I've given you opinions as to what is most likely the possible arrangement.

Yes, today you have rejected your dualistic idea that the brain is a receiver, and you have chosen the materialist option that a sick brain produces garbled thoughts.

DAVID: Both of us make sophisticated guesses so I keep my thoughts fluid based on the possibilities. Please remember my starting points.

dhw: ...Can a materialist honestly say that consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc. are NOT immaterial? Can a dualist honestly say that the brain plays no part in our consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc.? In all these posts, I am only trying to point out that there is a dichotomy between the two approaches, and you are as caught up in it as the rest of us, though you can’t see it. I would like to think that my “theory of intelligence” together with my post on “Reconciling materialism and dualism” (Jan 5, 2018) offers a solution.

Explain your 'dichotomy' again. I'm sure I don't understand it as you think about it. I accept your discussion above. I find your solution is not one.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 13:12 (746 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw:...I am trying to point out that you have the same dilemma: materialism claims that the brain is the source of thought; dualism claims that an immaterial soul is the source of thought (and you have now agreed that according to NDEs and your belief in an afterlife, the same soul lives on independently of the brain). The “one-way street” is dualism, as exemplifed by YOUR insistence that the brain is the receiver, and by YOUR analogy of software (the thought content) and hardware (the implementer). So whenever you insist that the soul cannot think without the brain, you contradict yourself.

DAVID: I have always thought the soul was one entity, not two as you imply operating differently in life and death. As for the brain/soul relationship There are two possibilities: either the soul must use the brain to think during life, or the soul dictates to specific parts of the brain the thought to produce. Based on what I know about how intentionality works in the brain, I feel the sou/brain interface means the soul uses the brain circuits to think during life. I admit I have no proof, and your thought is definitely a possibility.

Later you ask me to explain the dichotomy again. I can hardly make the two possibilities clearer than in the passages I have now bolded. However, you continually fudge the division with your formula of “the soul must use the brain to think”. In dualism the soul is one entity, as I have always maintained and you now acknowledge, and for those who believe in an afterlife, it is the thinking part of the duality of mind and body that survives the death of the body. Hence your dualistic analogies “software/hardware” and the brain as “receiver”, which are contradicted by your claim that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK. Materialism means there is no such entity as an immaterial, thinking “soul” that can live on after death, and the brain does the thinking.

DAVID: The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.
dhw: That is materialism.
DAVID: No it isn't. As explained above. The soul must use the material brain to produce thought, by one of two mechanisms. Pure logic.

There are not two possible mechanisms in dualism! Either the soul does the thinking (dualism) or the brain does the thinking (materialism). If the brain’s sickness results in sick thought, then the brain is the thinker. You keep rejecting your other hypothesis that the dementia victim, the drunkard, the drug addict continue to think “properly” but the brain garbles their proper thoughts – and then it seems that you reinstate it as a possibility when you realize that the alternative is pure materialism.

dhw: ...Can a materialist honestly say that consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc. are NOT immaterial? Can a dualist honestly say that the brain plays no part in our consciousness, thought, emotion, willpower etc.? In all these posts, I am only trying to point out that there is a dichotomy between the two approaches, and you are as caught up in it as the rest of us, though you can’t see it. I would like to think that my “theory of intelligence” together with my post on “Reconciling materialism and dualism” (Jan 5, 2018) offers a solution.

DAVID: Explain your 'dichotomy' again. I'm sure I don't understand it as you think about it. I accept your discussion above. I find your solution is not one.

Dichotomy explained above in bold. You reject my solution here, and you accept that it is possible in your post under “THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE”! Please explain why it is not a solution on this thread, but it is possible on the other. Meanwhile, thank you for the new article and video about consciousness. I’m afraid neither of them shed any new light for me.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, 17:55 (745 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Later you ask me to explain the dichotomy again. I can hardly make the two possibilities clearer than in the passages I have now bolded. However, you continually fudge the division with your formula of “the soul must use the brain to think”. In dualism the soul is one entity, as I have always maintained and you now acknowledge, and for those who believe in an afterlife, it is the thinking part of the duality of mind and body that survives the death of the body. Hence your dualistic analogies “software/hardware” and the brain as “receiver”, which are contradicted by your claim that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK. Materialism means there is no such entity as an immaterial, thinking “soul” that can live on after death, and the brain does the thinking.

I repeat, I am not trained in philosophic dualism theory. You appear to be following definitions I know nothing about. I am following my own logic:


DAVID: The s/s/c must think using the brain networks and cannot think properly if the networks are sick.
dhw: That is materialism.
DAVID: No it isn't. As explained above. The soul must use the material brain to produce thought, by one of two mechanisms. Pure logic.

dhw: There are not two possible mechanisms in dualism! Either the soul does the thinking (dualism) or the brain does the thinking (materialism). If the brain’s sickness results in sick thought, then the brain is the thinker. You keep rejecting your other hypothesis that the dementia victim, the drunkard, the drug addict continue to think “properly” but the brain garbles their proper thoughts – and then it seems that you reinstate it as a possibility when you realize that the alternative is pure materialism.

I don't recognize your form of 'pure materialism'. The soul must work through the brain to produce thoughts we recognize. We do not connect with the soul without the brain. I accept the soul as the source of thought, but not separate from brain circuits. The soul using the brain circuits to generate its thoughts is the immaterial using the material. That is my dualism, from my logical thought.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 13:38 (745 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I repeat, I am not trained in philosophic dualism theory. You appear to be following definitions I know nothing about. I am following my own logic
[…]
I don't recognize your form of 'pure materialism'. The soul must work through the brain to produce thoughts we recognize. We do not connect with the soul without the brain. I accept the soul as the source of thought, but not separate from brain circuits. The soul using the brain circuits to generate its thoughts is the immaterial using the material. That is my dualism, from my logical thought.

I am not a trained philosopher either, but the differences between us have nothing to do with definitions and everything to do with logic. You keep agreeing that your own form of dualism means that your soul and body are entities which work together in life but then separate at death, whereupon your soul continues to be you, independently of the brain. But then your soul cannot THINK in life without the brain. So how can it be an entity? You can't "recognize" your thoughts without the brain, so how will the same you “recognize” your thoughts in your afterlife? Will you turn into a zombie? The sick brain causes sick thoughts (materialism), but then the soul uses the (sick) brain to generate its (sick) thoughts, and sometimes the soul produces “proper” thoughts which the sick brain turns into sick thoughts, though you prefer the materialistic version. The brain is a receiver, but then it becomes a generator (as in the sick brain generating sick thoughts). Your favourite analogy of software/hardware illustrates the difference between the thinking soul and the implementing brain, but then apparently the software soul can't think up its programmes without the hardware brain.

This whole discussion began when you, the dualist, insisted that your God expanded the brain of pre-sapiens to enable him to think new thoughts. That means thought depends on the brain, and that is materialism. All the above convolutions and contradictions have grown out of this single contention, but we don’t need any of them. Either the brain is the source of thought (materialism), or there is an immaterial “soul” which is the source of thought (dualism). There is evidence for both hypotheses. What is illogical is your belief in the latter and your constant advocacy of the former, as exemplified by your insistence that only an expanded brain could think new thoughts and a sick brain causes sick thoughts.

But all is not lost! We can unravel these tangled threads and refashion them into a coherent pattern, the logic of which even you have so far been unable to challenge. We can reconcile materialism and dualism with a theory of intelligence that also dovetails into all beliefs, religious and non-religious. And now that you have opened your mind to its logical feasibility, perhaps we can put all of the above behind us?

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 19:03 (744 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am not a trained philosopher either, but the differences between us have nothing to do with definitions and everything to do with logic. You keep agreeing that your own form of dualism means that your soul and body are entities which work together in life but then separate at death, whereupon your soul continues to be you, independently of the brain. But then your soul cannot THINK in life without the brain. So how can it be an entity?

Why can't it be an entity? The software in a computer is not part of the hardware of the computer, but interprets through use of the network of computing chips.

dhw: You can't "recognize" your thoughts without the brain, so how will the same you “recognize” your thoughts in your afterlife? Will you turn into a zombie?

The NDE's do not describe the afterlife as zombieism. I do not view the soul as one rigid form. It obviously must be different in the afterlife and you have previously agreed.

dhw: The sick brain causes sick thoughts (materialism), but then the soul uses the (sick) brain to generate its (sick) thoughts, and sometimes the soul produces “proper” thoughts which the sick brain turns into sick thoughts, though you prefer the materialistic version. The brain is a receiver,

No wonder you are confused. I have said the brain receives the soul at birth, but I do not view it as a radio receiving signals thereafter. You obviously do. The soul and brain must work intimately together to produce thought in life. All the evidence I've read and been trained in supports that in my view.

dhw: Your favourite analogy of software/hardware illustrates the difference between the thinking soul and the implementing brain, but then apparently the software soul can't think up its programmes without the hardware brain.

No software operates on its own. It is firmly attached to the hardware.


dhw: This whole discussion began when you, the dualist, insisted that your God expanded the brain of pre-sapiens to enable him to think new thoughts. That means thought depends on the brain, and that is materialism.

You refuse to accept that our brain, with all its complexity, is the best brain every produced as shown by its artifacts. I'm not discussing the cause of enlargement. Just pointing out what our brain can do as a material computer for a soul to engage with. Of course the brain is material and the immaterial soul MUST use it to have thought produced.

dhw: All the above convolutions and contradictions have grown out of this single contention, but we don’t need any of them. Either the brain is the source of thought (materialism), or there is an immaterial “soul” which is the source of thought (dualism).

Of course there is a immaterial soul which must use the material brain to produce thought. What confuses you about my so-called materialism, is my training, from which I have described where the brain does its work for the soul.

dhw: What is illogical is your belief in the latter and your constant advocacy of the former, as exemplified by your insistence that only an expanded brain could think new thoughts and a sick brain causes sick thoughts.

Not illogical. The immaterial soul must use a material brain to produce thought. A sick or damaged brain does not produce normal thought. The two possibilities must exist that either the soul can clearly think without the brain networks and the brain is what produces the garbled thought; or the soul is required to use the brain networks in life and cannot produce correct thought. Either is possible.


dhw: But all is not lost! We can unravel these tangled threads and refashion them into a coherent pattern, the logic of which even you have so far been unable to challenge. We can reconcile materialism and dualism with a theory of intelligence that also dovetails into all beliefs, religious and non-religious. And now that you have opened your mind to its logical feasibility, perhaps we can put all of the above behind us?

All is not lost. You view of the soul is that it is entirely a separate entity which somehow transmits to a separate brain while it obviously resides in the brain during life. I dispute your idea of a separation. With this difference, your logic is not my logic. We start at two very different points. Dualism does not require complete separation, as in my computer analogy.

Introducing the brain: altering the mind

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 21:38 (744 days ago) @ David Turell

Using psychedelic drugs alters thinking:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-of-altering-consciousness/?utm_s...

"These researchers had found that psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, could reliably occasion a “mystical experience” in people that they deemed one of the two or three most significant experiences in their lives—comparable to the birth of a child of death of a parent. The experience had changed them in lasting ways. This was something I needed to explore. I wasn’t sure I had ever had a spiritual experience. Would one happen to me? Was there some dimension of existence or consciousness I was missing out on? Was it really possibly to change one’s mind as an adult?

***

" One of the most interesting early findings of recent psychedelic research is that activity in the “default mode network” falls off sharply during the psychedelic experience. This network is a critical hub in the brain that links parts of the cerebral cortex to deeper and older structures involved in memory and emotion. The DMN appears to be involved in a range of “metacognitive” functions such as a self-reflection; mental time travel; theory of mind (the ability to imagine the mental states of other people) and the creation of the so-called “autobiographical self”—the process of weaving what happens to us into the narrative of who we are, thereby giving us a sense of a self that endures over time. (Curiously, fMRI’s of the brains of experienced meditators shows a pattern of activity, or quieting of activity, very similar to that of people who have been given psilocybin.) When the default mode network is taken offline by a psychedelic, not only do we experience a loss of the sense of having a self, but myriad new connections among other brain regions and networks spring up, connections that may manifest in mental experience as hallucination (when, say, your emotion centers talk directly to your visual cortex), synesthesia (as when you can see sound or hear flavors) or, possibly, fresh perspectives and metaphors.

***

"After interviewing dozens of volunteers who had had guided psychedelic trips I became so curious that I decided to have one (actually several) myself. I think the most transformative of these was a guided trip on psilocybin, during which I experienced the complete dissolution of my ego—I could see the entity formerly understood as me “out there” spread over the landscape like a coat of paint. Yet there was still some recording “I” taking in the scene, a sort of disembodied, dispassionate awareness. Though temporary, that perspective was transformative. It suggested to me that I wasn’t necessarily identical to my ego, that there was potentially another ground on which to plant my feet. In subtle ways this has changed my relationship to my ego, which I no longer regard as identical to me, odd as that sounds, but as a kind of useful though sometimes neurotic and annoying character who occasionally needs to be put in his place. Sometimes when I’m reacting to an event or comment I can catch myself before the usual defenses leap into action, because I can see what he’s up to and why. This is the sort of perspective you can occasionally develop with years of meditation or psychoanalysis; psilocybin gave it to me in an afternoon."

Comment: These drugs not only change ego structure in how one thinks about one's self, but can create abnormal mental states. This doesn't solve our problem of how soul and brain relate, but these drugs demonstrate how intimately the state of the brain affects what thinking appears.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Thursday, May 17, 2018, 13:19 (744 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Using psychedelic drugs alters thinking:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-science-of-altering-consciousness/?utm_s...

DAVID’s comment: These drugs not only change ego structure in how one thinks about one's self, but can create abnormal mental states. This doesn't solve our problem of how soul and brain relate, but these drugs demonstrate how intimately the state of the brain affects what thinking appears.

Fascinating stuff! Your last comment is spot on - and a clear example of materialism at work. This not only illuminates most of our disagreements, but it also proves a vivid example of how my “theory of intelligence” actually functions and might “solve our problem of how brain and soul relate”. If the cells and their chemicals produce the soul, then anything that changes the cells will change the soul. But the changes will also be governed by which cell communities are affected by the “intruder”. The author feels a kind of divided awareness – he is inside and outside himself. I suggest that different cell communities have their own awareness and know what is happening to other communities, but because they are all part of him, HE is aware. Whether this “soul” can live on or not is the subject of my post on “Reconciling materialism and dualism” (5 January).

I’ve edited the comments below to avoid repetition. Most of them focus on the dichotomy between materialism and dualism which you refuse to recognize. What is interesting for me is that so many of the contradictions simply disappear if we reverse the conventional process of theistic dualism and embrace materialism as your God’s chosen method of creating souls. Atheists have, of course, already embraced materialism but reject the possibility of a “soul” that might survive its producer.

dhw: […] your soul cannot THINK in life without the brain. So how can it be an entity?
DAVID: Why can't it be an entity? [..]

An entity is something that “exists as a single and complete unit” (Longman). According to you, the soul is an entity after death, because it thinks without the brain, but if in life it depends on the brain for its THINKING, it can’t be single and complete. The discrepancy is removed by my theory.

DAVID: [..] I do not view the soul as one rigid form. It obviously must be different in the afterlife and you have previously agreed.

How can an immaterial soul have a form? You keep agreeing that your soul in life and death remains the same thinking you. I have agreed that the same soul must FUNCTION differently (e.g. it would have to communicate by telepathy).

I pointed out that you have always talked of the brain as a receiver.

DAVID: I have said the brain receives the soul at birth, but I do not view it as a radio receiving signals thereafter.

I would rather not waste time producing quotes, but I will if you insist. Your receiver image has always denoted the distinction between the two parts of the duality, in the same way as you use the software/hardware analogy (see final comment).

DAVID: The soul and brain must work intimately together to produce thought in life.

If dualism is correct, the thinking soul (which continues to think after death) and the brain must work intimately together to produce the material expression and implementation of immaterial thought in life.

dhw: This whole discussion began when you, the dualist, insisted that your God expanded the brain of pre-sapiens to enable him to think new thoughts. That means thought depends on the brain, and that is materialism.

DAVID: You refuse to accept that our brain, with all its complexity, is the best brain every produced as shown by its artifacts. I'm not discussing the cause of enlargement.

The starting point of this discussion (some time ago) was not the quality of our brain, which I have always accepted, but your insistence that your God enlarged the pre-sapiens brain so that pre-sapiens could think new thoughts. That is materialism, and has major bearings on our interpretation of evolution and on the dichotomy between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: Your view of the soul is that it is entirely a separate entity which somehow transmits to a separate brain while it obviously resides in the brain during life. I dispute your idea of a separation. With this difference, your logic is not my logic. We start at two very different points. Dualism does not require complete separation, as in my computer analogy.

Your computer analogy has two separate pieces of equipment with different functions, combining thought and implementation of thought. Dualism does not mean “complete separation” – it means that two entities (conventionally, mind and body) combine to produce material expression/implementation of immaterial thought. You can hardly deny that your own view of the soul is that it is an entirely separate entity in your afterlife, but in life it resides in the brain. So why should the soul be the thinking you in death but not in life?

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, May 18, 2018, 00:08 (743 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] your soul cannot THINK in life without the brain. So how can it be an entity?

DAVID: Why can't it be an entity? [..]

dhw: An entity is something that “exists as a single and complete unit” (Longman). According to you, the soul is an entity after death, because it thinks without the brain, but if in life it depends on the brain for its THINKING, it can’t be single and complete. The discrepancy is removed by my theory.

DAVID: [..] I do not view the soul as one rigid form. It obviously must be different in the afterlife and you have previously agreed.

dhw: How can an immaterial soul have a form? You keep agreeing that your soul in life and death remains the same thinking you. I have agreed that the same soul must FUNCTION differently (e.g. it would have to communicate by telepathy).

I was using the term 'form' to mean mechanism, not materialism. We start at an initial point where neither of us knows what a soul is like or of what it might consist. I have suggested pure quanta. Nor do we know what it might be capable of doing on its own. I don't view the soul as an entity within the limits of your very circumscribed definition. We know how closely it is tied to various areas of the brain, primarily the cortex. There is no way to be able to state dogmatically whether a garbled thought is because the soul using the damaged brain produces a garbled thought or the soul produces a correct thought and the brain garbles it. We don't know, and neither does anyone else, whether the result is primary to the soul or secondary. Nor can we solve the dichotomy with your rigid definitions, and if we did we would gain the Nobel.

DAVID: The soul and brain must work intimately together to produce thought in life.

dhw: If dualism is correct, the thinking soul (which continues to think after death) and the brain must work intimately together to produce the material expression and implementation of immaterial thought in life.

For the reasons above I don't accept your view of dualism.


DAVID: You refuse to accept that our brain, with all its complexity, is the best brain every produced as shown by its artifacts. I'm not discussing the cause of enlargement.

dhw: The starting point of this discussion (some time ago) was not the quality of our brain, which I have always accepted, but your insistence that your God enlarged the pre-sapiens brain so that pre-sapiens could think new thoughts. That is materialism, and has major bearings on our interpretation of evolution and on the dichotomy between materialism and dualism.

God producing a larger brain for us is materialism? God works immaterially to guide evolution. A larger more complex brain receives a larger more complex soul as its software. I do not accept that the larger brain gives rise to the soul on its own. It is God at work.


DAVID: Your view of the soul is that it is entirely a separate entity which somehow transmits to a separate brain while it obviously resides in the brain during life. I dispute your idea of a separation. With this difference, your logic is not my logic. We start at two very different points. Dualism does not require complete separation, as in my computer analogy.

dhw: Your computer analogy has two separate pieces of equipment with different functions, combining thought and implementation of thought. Dualism does not mean “complete separation” – it means that two entities (conventionally, mind and body) combine to produce material expression/implementation of immaterial thought. You can hardly deny that your own view of the soul is that it is an entirely separate entity in your afterlife, but in life it resides in the brain. So why should the soul be the thinking you in death but not in life?

You want the soul to be the same in life and death. We do not know what form the soul takes in death, any more than we know how it is in life. As above I see no reason why it cannot be viewed as having two separate mechanisms in life and in death.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Friday, May 18, 2018, 13:03 (743 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: [..] I do not view the soul as one rigid form. It obviously must be different in the afterlife and you have previously agreed.

dhw: How can an immaterial soul have a form? You keep agreeing that your soul in life and death remains the same thinking you. I have agreed that the same soul must FUNCTION differently (e.g. it would have to communicate by telepathy).

DAVID: I was using the term 'form' to mean mechanism, not materialism.

Fair enough. That is why I gave the example of telepathic communication.

DAVID: We start at an initial point where neither of us knows what a soul is like or of what it might consist. I have suggested pure quanta. Nor do we know what it might be capable of doing on its own. I don't view the soul as an entity within the limits of your very circumscribed definition. We know how closely it is tied to various areas of the brain, primarily the cortex.

But the soul you believe in is NOT tied to the brain when the brain is dead. Your final comment is spot on. If in life the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK (as opposed to its ability to express/implement its thoughts materially, which we agree on), then how is it possible for the SAME thinking you to live on after death? In NDEs, the brainless patient does not lose his/her ability to think, remember, recognize, feel, process thought, make decisions etc. This is the split in your logic which you continually try to gloss over.

DAVID: There is no way to be able to state dogmatically whether a garbled thought is because the soul using the damaged brain produces a garbled thought or the soul produces a correct thought and the brain garbles it. We don't know, and neither does anyone else, whether the result is primary to the soul or secondary. Nor can we solve the dichotomy with your rigid definitions, and if we did we would gain the Nobel.

You are quite right. Nobody “knows”. We can only propose theories and then test them to see if we can find any logical flaws in them. Dualism fails to account for the effects of material influences on our thoughts and behaviour; materialism fails to account for the effects of thought on our materials, and it ignores all psychic experiences. I have offered you a theory which explains both sets of effects and can also encompass psychic experiences. You have not offered one single criticism of its logic.

DAVID: You refuse to accept that our brain, with all its complexity, is the best brain every produced as shown by its artifacts. I'm not discussing the cause of enlargement.

dhw: The starting point of this discussion (some time ago) was not the quality of our brain, which I have always accepted, but your insistence that your God enlarged the pre-sapiens brain so that pre-sapiens could think new thoughts. That is materialism, and has major bearings on our interpretation of evolution and on the dichotomy between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: God producing a larger brain for us is materialism? God works immaterially to guide evolution.

Dualism means that mind and body are TWO. Materialism means that mind and body are ONE. If you believe that the mind is incapable of thought without the body (as in your insistence that pre-sapiens could not think new thoughts until he had a larger brain), you are a materialist. God (if he exists) works immaterially with materials, so he could have designed either method.

DAVID: A larger more complex brain receives a larger more complex soul as its software. I do not accept that the larger brain gives rise to the soul on its own. It is God at work.

I’m surprised that you think souls have a measurable size. I’m also surprised by your outright rejection of my theory, in stark contrast to your posts earlier this week: “I admit I can see the possibility that either mechanism for the arrival of consciousness is possible, but for me with an open mind, I must recognize the possibility of both […] Keep an open mind about both possibilities.” The open mind of Tuesday has closed again on Friday. As above, my theory allows for God being “at work”, in so far as he would be the creator of the material “machine” that creates consciousness like his own. (Humans are trying to do exactly the same: create machines that will generate consciousness like our own.)

dhw: You can hardly deny that your own view of the soul is that it is an entirely separate entity in your afterlife, but in life it resides in the brain. So why should the soul be the thinking you in death but not in life?

DAVID: You want the soul to be the same in life and death. We do not know what form the soul takes in death, any more than we know how it is in life. As above I see no reason why it cannot be viewed as having two separate mechanisms in life and in death.

This is all far too vague. I have explained above what I mean by “the same”. NDE patients are still themselves during the experience. I accept different “mechanisms”, because obviously ways of perceiving and communicating will be different if you don’t have eyes, ears and vocal chords.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, May 18, 2018, 20:54 (742 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We start at an initial point where neither of us knows what a soul is like or of what it might consist. I have suggested pure quanta. Nor do we know what it might be capable of doing on its own. I don't view the soul as an entity within the limits of your very circumscribed definition. We know how closely it is tied to various areas of the brain, primarily the cortex.

dhw: But the soul you believe in is NOT tied to the brain when the brain is dead. Your final comment is spot on. If in life the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK (as opposed to its ability to express/implement its thoughts materially, which we agree on), then how is it possible for the SAME thinking you to live on after death? In NDEs, the brainless patient does not lose his/her ability to think, remember, recognize, feel, process thought, make decisions etc. This is the split in your logic which you continually try to gloss over.

I understand your objection, but you should remember that I always say that the soul acts somewhat differently in death by changing its mechanism. We do not know that it is rigidly the same in each state.


DAVID: There is no way to be able to state dogmatically whether a garbled thought is because the soul using the damaged brain produces a garbled thought or the soul produces a correct thought and the brain garbles it. We don't know, and neither does anyone else, whether the result is primary to the soul or secondary. Nor can we solve the dichotomy with your rigid definitions, and if we did we would gain the Nobel.

You are quite right. Nobody “knows”. We can only propose theories and then test them to see if we can find any logical flaws in them. Dualism fails to account for the effects of material influences on our thoughts and behaviour; materialism fails to account for the effects of thought on our materials, and it ignores all psychic experiences. I have offered you a theory which explains both sets of effects and can also encompass psychic experiences. You have not offered one single criticism of its logic.

Logic starts at a beginning assumption. With your starting point I see no flaws. But my starting point recognizes we do not know how the soul thinks in life with the two possibilities I see.


DAVID: God producing a larger brain for us is materialism? God works immaterially to guide evolution.

dhw: Dualism means that mind and body are TWO. Materialism means that mind and body are ONE. If you believe that the mind is incapable of thought without the body (as in your insistence that pre-sapiens could not think new thoughts until he had a larger brain), you are a materialist. God (if he exists) works immaterially with materials, so he could have designed either method.

DAVID: A larger more complex brain receives a larger more complex soul as its software. I do not accept that the larger brain gives rise to the soul on its own. It is God at work.

dhw: I’m surprised that you think souls have a measurable size. I’m also surprised by your outright rejection of my theory, in stark contrast to your posts earlier this week: “I admit I can see the possibility that either mechanism for the arrival of consciousness is possible, but for me with an open mind, I must recognize the possibility of both […] Keep an open mind about both possibilities.” The open mind of Tuesday has closed again on Friday. As above, my theory allows for God being “at work”, in so far as he would be the creator of the material “machine” that creates consciousness like his own. (Humans are trying to do exactly the same: create machines that will generate consciousness like our own.)

I see the two possibilities and I agree that from your starting point you are logical. God could create a brain that then forms a consciousness like His own, or He could simply supply a software from His own consciousness. Either of these fit what we observe.


dhw: You can hardly deny that your own view of the soul is that it is an entirely separate entity in your afterlife, but in life it resides in the brain. So why should the soul be the thinking you in death but not in life?

DAVID: You want the soul to be the same in life and death. We do not know what form the soul takes in death, any more than we know how it is in life. As above I see no reason why it cannot be viewed as having two separate mechanisms in life and in death.

dhw: This is all far too vague. I have explained above what I mean by “the same”. NDE patients are still themselves during the experience. I accept different “mechanisms”, because obviously ways of perceiving and communicating will be different if you don’t have eyes, ears and vocal chords.

We are vague because we are theorizing from outside the process. I am conscious and I suspect you are. Philosophers make the point that being conscious and experiencing it does not tell us why we are.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Saturday, May 19, 2018, 09:52 (742 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I don't view the soul as an entity within the limits of your very circumscribed definition. We know how closely it is tied to various areas of the brain, primarily the cortex.

dhw: But the soul you believe in is NOT tied to the brain when the brain is dead. Your final comment is spot on. If in life the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK (as opposed to its ability to express/implement its thoughts materially, which we agree on), then how is it possible for the SAME thinking you to live on after death? In NDEs, the brainless patient does not lose his/her ability to think, remember, recognize, feel, process thought, make decisions etc. This is the split in your logic which you continually try to gloss over.

DAVID: I understand your objection, but you should remember that I always say that the soul acts somewhat differently in death by changing its mechanism. We do not know that it is rigidly the same in each state.

You understand the split in your logic, but once again you gloss it over. I have given you a list of the attributes retained by NDE patients. Do you or don’t you accept it? If you do, the soul has the same identity in death as it has in life: it is the thinking you. As regards “mechanism”, I wrote: ”I accept different “mechanisms”, because obviously ways of perceiving and communicating will be different if you don’t have eyes, ears and vocal chords.” What “mechanisms” do you have in mind that might prevent you from being the same thinking you?

dhw: We can only propose theories and then test them to see if we can find any logical flaws in them. Dualism fails to account for the effects of material influences on our thoughts and behaviour; materialism fails to account for the effects of thought on our materials, and it ignores all psychic experiences. I have offered you a theory which explains both sets of effects and can also encompass psychic experiences. You have not offered one single criticism of its logic.

DAVID: Logic starts at a beginning assumption. With your starting point I see no flaws. But my starting point recognizes we do not know how the soul thinks in life with the two possibilities I see.

The starting point is our shared belief that we are conscious, and the fact that there are two apparently opposite views concerning the source of that consciousness: materialism and dualism. You believe that God implants an immaterial soul into the brain, which makes you a dualist. You then proceed to tell us that the soul cannot think without the brain. That makes you a materialist. You have understood the split in your own logic, and you can find no flaw in the logic of an explanation that reconciles BOTH views. Perhaps, then, logically speaking, would you not say that the view with no flaws in its logic might well be regarded as more likely than the view which does have flaws in its logic?


DAVID: A larger more complex brain receives a larger more complex soul as its software. I do not accept that the larger brain gives rise to the soul on its own. It is God at work.

dhw: I’m surprised that you think souls have a measurable size. I’m also surprised by your outright rejection of my theory, in stark contrast to your posts earlier this week: “I admit I can see the possibility that either mechanism for the arrival of consciousness is possible .” […] The open mind of Tuesday has closed again on Friday. […]

DAVID: I see the two possibilities and I agree that from your starting point you are logical. God could create a brain that then forms a consciousness like His own, or He could simply supply a software from His own consciousness. Either of these fit what we observe.

From our joint starting point that we are conscious, and dualism and materialism offer two different explanations, my theory is logical. I am relieved to see that you have opened your mind again!

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 19, 2018, 20:22 (741 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I understand your objection, but you should remember that I always say that the soul acts somewhat differently in death by changing its mechanism. We do not know that it is rigidly the same in each state.

dhw: You understand the split in your logic, but once again you gloss it over. I have given you a list of the attributes retained by NDE patients. Do you or don’t you accept it? If you do, the soul has the same identity in death as it has in life: it is the thinking you. As regards “mechanism”, I wrote: ”I accept different “mechanisms”, because obviously ways of perceiving and communicating will be different if you don’t have eyes, ears and vocal chords.” What “mechanisms” do you have in mind that might prevent you from being the same thinking you?

The frontal cortex is the seat of consciousness. It receives all sensory information from elsewhere in the brain, those you have listed, but also smell, proprioception. touch, and internal sensations, etc. In NDE's the memories do not need any of those areas of perception.They do see and learn. You insist thinking remains the same in both states. We do not know if that is true. In life the soul may have to use the brain networks to think or it may not. In your theory of God having the brain create a soul like His, the soul might very well have to use brain networks. Both arrangements are possibilities. I'm glossing over nothing. You are the one who demands an unchanging soul from life to death. If God gifts it as brain software in a quantum pure form, the weirdness of quantum mechanism might solve the transition easily. The quantum facet of my entries is to make the point that quantum mechanism is the basis of all we understand nd don't understand


dhw: We can only propose theories and then test them to see if we can find any logical flaws in them. Dualism fails to account for the effects of material influences on our thoughts and behaviour; materialism fails to account for the effects of thought on our materials, and it ignores all psychic experiences. I have offered you a theory which explains both sets of effects and can also encompass psychic experiences. You have not offered one single criticism of its logic.

DAVID: Logic starts at a beginning assumption. With your starting point I see no flaws. But my starting point recognizes we do not know how the soul thinks in life with the two possibilities I see.

dhw: The starting point is our shared belief that we are conscious, and the fact that there are two apparently opposite views concerning the source of that consciousness: materialism and dualism. You believe that God implants an immaterial soul into the brain, which makes you a dualist. You then proceed to tell us that the soul cannot think without the brain. That makes you a materialist. You have understood the split in your own logic, and you can find no flaw in the logic of an explanation that reconciles BOTH views. Perhaps, then, logically speaking, would you not say that the view with no flaws in its logic might well be regarded as more likely than the view which does have flaws in its logic?

I repeat: it is more likely to me that God supplies a software to the brain which must use the hardware to think. I've simply made a logical choice of two possibilities. And you say that is my dualism.

DAVID: A larger more complex brain receives a larger more complex soul as its software. I do not accept that the larger brain gives rise to the soul on its own. It is God at work.

dhw: I’m surprised that you think souls have a measurable size. I’m also surprised by your outright rejection of my theory, in stark contrast to your posts earlier this week: “I admit I can see the possibility that either mechanism for the arrival of consciousness is possible .” […] The open mind of Tuesday has closed again on Friday. […]

DAVID: I see the two possibilities and I agree that from your starting point you are logical. God could create a brain that then forms a consciousness like His own, or He could simply supply a software from His own consciousness. Either of these fit what we observe.

dhw: From our joint starting point that we are conscious, and dualism and materialism offer two different explanations, my theory is logical. I am relieved to see that you have opened your mind again!

My mind is always open to all possibilities. Bu t I make choices. You rigidly want one form of the soul, the same in life and death. There are two possibilities.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Sunday, May 20, 2018, 10:28 (741 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: […] If in life the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK (as opposed to its ability to express/implement its thoughts materially, which we agree on), then how is it possible for the SAME thinking you to live on after death?

DAVID: I understand your objection, but you should remember that I always say that the soul acts somewhat differently in death by changing its mechanism. We do not know that it is rigidly the same in each state.

dhw: You understand the split in your logic, but once again you gloss it over. I have given you a list of the attributes retained by NDE patients. Do you or don’t you accept it? If you do, the soul has the same identity in death as it has in life: it is the thinking you. As regards “mechanism”, I wrote: ”I accept different “mechanisms”, because obviously ways of perceiving and communicating will be different if you don’t have eyes, ears and vocal chords.” What “mechanisms” do you have in mind that might prevent you from being the same thinking you?

DAVID: The frontal cortex is the seat of consciousness. It receives all sensory information from elsewhere in the brain, those you have listed, but also smell, proprioception, touch, and internal sensations, etc. In NDE's the memories do not need any of those areas of perception.They do see and learn. You insist thinking remains the same in both states.

You are repeating my argument as if somehow it supports you! I keep saying that in life the dualist’s brain supplies information and implements the thoughts of the dualist’s “soul”. Now you tell us the brain supplies information. In NDEs there is no brain, and yet the “soul” learns, remembers, feels, thinks, takes decisions etc. So why would it not have the same function in life?

DAVID: In life the soul may have to use the brain networks to think or it may not.

If the “soul” is a piece of God’s consciousness, as you believe, and if there are TWO parts of the self, is not reasonable to assume that the role of God’s consciousness is to be the conscious part of the self, which then retains its consciousness when the material part dies?

DAVID: In your theory of God having the brain create a soul like His, the soul might very well have to use brain networks.

Of course it does. My theory advocates the very indivisibility that you keep advocating: the soul emerges from the interplay between the different sections of the brain, and all the sections use one another. (This is materialism which may engender dualism. See “Reconciling materialism and dualism”.)

DAVID: You are the one who demands an unchanging soul from life to death.

I don’t demand it. If there is such a thing as a “soul” that survives death, NDEs show that it is the SAME person in death as in life.

DAVID: If God gifts it as brain software in a quantum pure form, the weirdness of quantum mechanism might solve the transition easily. The quantum facet of my entries is to make the point that quantum mechanism is the basis of all we understand nd don't understand.

Whether you call the “soul” a “quantum” this, that and the other, or “a piece of God’s consciousness”, makes no difference. The “soul”, according to NDEs, is still the same thinking person. That is why it is illogical to claim that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to think, UNLESS you accept that the brain is the source of thought and might produce a form of energy that can survive its own death (again, see “Reconciling materialism and dualism”).

DAVID: I repeat: it is more likely to me that God supplies a software to the brain which must use the hardware to think. I've simply made a logical choice of two possibilities. And you say that is my dualism.

You also believe that the software can do its thinking without the hardware when there isn’t any hardware. You have acknowledged this logical split in your thinking, but you call your choice logical.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 20, 2018, 15:36 (740 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The frontal cortex is the seat of consciousness. It receives all sensory information from elsewhere in the brain, those you have listed, but also smell, proprioception, touch, and internal sensations, etc. In NDE's the memories do not need any of those areas of perception.They do see and learn. You insist thinking remains the same in both states.

dhw: You are repeating my argument as if somehow it supports you! I keep saying that in life the dualist’s brain supplies information and implements the thoughts of the dualist’s “soul”. Now you tell us the brain supplies information. In NDEs there is no brain, and yet the “soul” learns, remembers, feels, thinks, takes decisions etc. So why would it not have the same function in life?

How do you know the afterlife soul does all those things? We have no evidence other Than NDE's descriptions. The episodes describe seeing and observing. "I'd like to stay, no, you have to go back", indicates no soul controls of activity. Afterlife can be nothing like living. Two veru different states for the soul.


DAVID: In life the soul may have to use the brain networks to think or it may not.

dhw: If the “soul” is a piece of God’s consciousness, as you believe, and if there are TWO parts of the self, is not reasonable to assume that the role of God’s consciousness is to be the conscious part of the self, which then retains its consciousness when the material part dies?

Those are your 'ifs'. The material brain is not part of the soul.


DAVID: You are the one who demands an unchanging soul from life to death.

dhw: I don’t demand it. If there is such a thing as a “soul” that survives death, NDEs show that it is the SAME person in death as in life.

Same person different functions. Afterlife does not require the same functions as in life, only thought and observation although no sensory organs are available.


DAVID: If God gifts it as brain software in a quantum pure form, the weirdness of quantum mechanism might solve the transition easily. The quantum facet of my entries is to make the point that quantum mechanism is the basis of all we understand and don't understand.

dhw: Whether you call the “soul” a “quantum” this, that and the other, or “a piece of God’s consciousness”, makes no difference. The “soul”, according to NDEs, is still the same thinking person. That is why it is illogical to claim that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to think, UNLESS you accept that the brain is the source of thought and might produce a form of energy that can survive its own death (again, see “Reconciling materialism and dualism”).

You refuse to accept that there are two logical possibilities for brain soul relationship to start a logical discussion. Your 'unless' sentence is pure materialism.


DAVID: I repeat: it is more likely to me that God supplies a software to the brain which must use the hardware to think. I've simply made a logical choice of two possibilities. And you say that is my dualism.

dhw: You also believe that the software can do its thinking without the hardware when there isn’t any hardware. You have acknowledged this logical split in your thinking, but you call your choice logical.

I've explained it by stating the soul mechanism is different in life and in death. Immaterial in both states. Same person, your point to say the soul is unchanged is dealing with wholly immaterial concepts: 'personage' and soul. I believe they are at a quantum level and couterintuitive, with changing mechanism forms. Again the reason why I present quantum mechanics as the basis for the universe. Same personage does not require the same quantum substrate.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Monday, May 21, 2018, 13:37 (740 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In NDEs there is no brain, and yet the “soul” learns, remembers, feels, thinks, takes decisions etc. So why would it not have the same function in life?

DAVID: How do you know the afterlife soul does all those things? We have no evidence other Than NDE's descriptions.

You use NDEs as evidence that you will still survive as your own good self after death. Now you want to discount the evidence of NDEs!

DAVID: The episodes describe seeing and observing. "I'd like to stay, no, you have to go back", indicates no soul controls of activity. Afterlife can be nothing like living. Two very different states for the soul.

Various episodes describe feelings of joy, fear, recognizing (= remembering) people, being in the presence of God (part of a remembered earthly culture), remembering earthly life and not wanting to go back to it – doesn’t all that represent the “thinking” soul having a new experience? Yes, different states for the SAME thinking, feeling soul the patient had in his/her lifetime. What will the new state consist of? No idea. I find the idea of immaterial life without end vastly less imaginable than material life with a dead end.

DAVID: Same person different functions. Afterlife does not require the same functions as in life, only thought and observation although no sensory organs are available.

You are now repeating what I keep saying to you: that the soul is the same thinking self, but has to function differently (e.g. by using telepathy).

dhw: If the “soul” is a piece of God’s consciousness, as you believe, and if there are TWO parts of the self, is not reasonable to assume that the role of God’s consciousness is to be the conscious part of the self, which then retains its consciousness when the material part dies?

DAVID: Those are your 'ifs'. The material brain is not part of the soul.

They are YOUR ifs! You claim to be a dualist, which = having a material self and an immaterial self, and you claim that the “soul” is a piece of God’s consciousness which separates from the body at material death. And yet you keep saying that in life the brain and soul are inseparable, because the soul can’t think without the brain. Now apparently the brain is NOT part of the soul, which can only mean they ARE separate entities (as in dualism – though of course they work together in life). And so to complete the confusion, your “soul” can’t think without a material brain, but it can think when there is no material brain. Or maybe it can’t (see above and welcome to zombie heaven) because NDEs are the only evidence we have that it CAN.

dhw: The “soul”, according to NDEs, is still the same thinking person. That is why it is illogical to claim that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to think, UNLESS you accept that the brain is the source of thought and might produce a form of energy that can survive its own death (again, see “Reconciling materialism and dualism”).

DAVID: You refuse to accept that there are two logical possibilities for brain soul relationship to start a logical discussion. Your 'unless' sentence is pure materialism.

The two possible relationships are that your God inserted the “soul” (his consciousness), which uses the brain/body to gather information and to implement its thoughts, or that the “soul” is generated by the cells of the brain/body. My theory is a materialism which might lead to dualism (a form of energy that may exist independently of materials), and that is how we can reconcile the two schools of thought. You have acknowledged the logical split in your own thinking, and you have not yet found any logical flaws in mine.

DAVID: I repeat: it is more likely to me that God supplies a software to the brain which must use the hardware to think. I've simply made a logical choice of two possibilities. And you say that is my dualism.

dhw: You also believe that the software can do its thinking without the hardware when there isn’t any hardware. You have acknowledged this logical split in your thinking, but you call your choice logical.

DAVID: I've explained it by stating the soul mechanism is different in life and in death.

See below on your vagueness concerning “mechanisms”.

DAVID: Immaterial in both states. Same person, your point to say the soul is unchanged is dealing with wholly immaterial concepts: 'personage' and soul. I believe they are at a quantum level and couterintuitive, with changing mechanism forms. Again the reason why I present quantum mechanics as the basis for the universe. Same personage does not require the same quantum substrate.

I have asked you what mechanisms you mean, other than those of observation and communication, in which material means will have to be replaced by immaterial (e.g. telepathy) and you have not responded. If you wish to call the new means of observation and communication “quantum substrates”, feel free. That still doesn’t change the fact that if the same piece of your God’s consciousness CAN’T think without a brain but CAN think without a brain (see above), you have a contradiction which I suggest can only be resolved by the theory I have proposed.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Monday, May 21, 2018, 20:09 (739 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Monday, May 21, 2018, 20:15

dhw: If the “soul” is a piece of God’s consciousness, as you believe, and if there are TWO parts of the self, is not reasonable to assume that the role of God’s consciousness is to be the conscious part of the self, which then retains its consciousness when the material part dies?

DAVID: Those are your 'ifs'. The material brain is not part of the soul.

dhw: They are YOUR ifs! You claim to be a dualist, which = having a material self and an immaterial self, and you claim that the “soul” is a piece of God’s consciousness which separates from the body at material death. And yet you keep saying that in life the brain and soul are inseparable, because the soul can’t think without the brain. Now apparently the brain is NOT part of the soul, which can only mean they ARE separate entities (as in dualism – though of course they work together in life). And so to complete the confusion, your “soul” can’t think without a material brain, but it can think when there is no material brain. Or maybe it can’t (see above and welcome to zombie heaven) because NDEs are the only evidence we have that it CAN.

Iv have fully thought about your approach to the soul, and that is why I have always stated the soul operates by different mechanism in life and in death. In life it is within the body, and there is no body in death. You want a static soul but it must alter itself in an afterlife.


dhw: The two possible relationships are that your God inserted the “soul” (his consciousness), which uses the brain/body to gather information and to implement its thoughts, or that the “soul” is generated by the cells of the brain/body. My theory is a materialism which might lead to dualism (a form of energy that may exist independently of materials), and that is how we can reconcile the two schools of thought. You have acknowledged the logical split in your own thinking, and you have not yet found any logical flaws in mine.

If the soul arises from the brain that is pure materialism n o matter how you try to alter the concept.


DAVID: I repeat: it is more likely to me that God supplies a software to the brain which must use the hardware to think. I've simply made a logical choice of two possibilities. And you say that is my dualism.

dhw: You also believe that the software can do its thinking without the hardware when there isn’t any hardware. You have acknowledged this logical split in your thinking, but you call your choice logical.

DAVID: I've explained it by stating the soul mechanism is different in life and in death.

dhw: See below on your vagueness concerning “mechanisms”.

DAVID: Immaterial in both states. Same person, your point to say the soul is unchanged is dealing with wholly immaterial concepts: 'personage' and soul. I believe they are at a quantum level and couterintuitive, with changing mechanism forms. Again the reason why I present quantum mechanics as the basis for the universe. Same personage does not require the same quantum substrate.

dhw: I have asked you what mechanisms you mean, other than those of observation and communication, in which material means will have to be replaced by immaterial (e.g. telepathy) and you have not responded. If you wish to call the new means of observation and communication “quantum substrates”, feel free. That still doesn’t change the fact that if the same piece of your God’s consciousness CAN’T think without a brain but CAN think without a brain (see above), you have a contradiction which I suggest can only be resolved by the theory I have proposed.

I've gone to quantum mechanics, which no one understands. I can go no further to answer your obviously impossible demands. I have always proposed that soul is based in quantum mechanics, which is the basis of the universe and the basis of a seemingly intelligent universe. You must take all of these factors in analysis of how soul might work. A soul that lives in a living body obviously works with that body. In afterlife there is no body. For me it must operate differently, and not just by your aspect of telepathy.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 12:50 (739 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In NDEs there is no brain, and yet the “soul” learns, remembers, feels, thinks, takes decisions etc. So why would it not have the same function in life?

DAVID: How do you know the afterlife soul does all those things? We have no evidence other that NDE’s descriptions.

dhw: You use NDEs as evidence that you will still survive as your own good self after death. Now you want to discount the evidence of NDEs!
[…]
dhw: You claim to be a dualist, which = having a material self and an immaterial self, and you claim that the “soul” is a piece of God’s consciousness which separates from the body at material death. And yet you keep saying that in life the brain and soul are inseparable, because the soul can’t think without the brain. Now apparently the brain is NOT part of the soul, which can only mean they ARE separate entities (as in dualism – though of course they work together in life). And so to complete the confusion, your “soul” can’t think without a material brain, but it can think when there is no material brain. Or maybe it can’t (see above and welcome to zombie heaven) because NDEs are the only evidence we have that it CAN.

DAVID: Iv have fully thought about your approach to the soul, and that is why I have always stated the soul operates by different mechanism in life and in death. In life it is within the body, and there is no body in death. You want a static soul but it must alter itself in an afterlife.

I have never denied the blatantly obvious fact that an immaterial soul which uses the material self to express and implement its thoughts materially in a material world, would have to operate differently if it had no material self and had entered an immaterial world. (I suggested telepathy as one possible mechanism). This doesn’t alter the fact that you believe the immaterial thinking “you” of life (your piece of God’s consciousness) will survive as the immaterial thinking “you” after life. The soul is the same, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, but the means of observation and communication have to be different.

DAVID: I've gone to quantum mechanics, which no one understands. I can go no further to answer your obviously impossible demands. I have always proposed that soul is based in quantum mechanics, which is the basis of the universe and the basis of a seemingly intelligent universe. You must take all of these factors in analysis of how soul might work. A soul that lives in a living body obviously works with that body. In afterlife there is no body. For me it must operate differently, and not just by your aspect of telepathy.

Yes, even though it’s the same thinking you, it must operate differently, as agreed above. We don’t know how a bodiless soul observes and communicates, but if you think it has something to do with quantum mechanics, which nobody understands, that’s fine with me. It doesn’t resolve the total confusion I have summarized above, in which you have the same “piece of God’s consciousness” unable to think without a brain until it has no brain to think with, or maybe it doesn’t even think at all (zombies in heaven).


DAVID; If the soul arises from the brain that is pure materialism no matter how you try to alter the concept.

I have said so many times, and have pointed out to you many times that if you can't think without your brain, as you keep insisting, that also means materialism, which you reject because you then go on to say that you CAN think without your brain, i.e. when you haven't got a brain. If we are to reconcile materialism and dualism, and if I stick rigidly to the theistic version of the theory, we have God using materials to create life and consciousness, so life and consciousness are produced by materials. The reconciliation with dualism – still in theistic mode – would be that the conscious energy thus produced mirrors his own (just as humans are striving to create a consciousness that will mirror their own) and may even live on after the death of the machine that produced it (just as images live on after the disappearance of the materials that produced them). You still haven’t offered a single objection to the logic of this proposal, which resolves the logical split (summarized above) which you have acknowledged in your own thinking. You prefer to focus on the obvious fact that immaterial observation and communication must be different from material observation and communication.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 18:37 (738 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I have never denied the blatantly obvious fact that an immaterial soul which uses the material self to express and implement its thoughts materially in a material world, would have to operate differently if it had no material self and had entered an immaterial world. (I suggested telepathy as one possible mechanism). This doesn’t alter the fact that you believe the immaterial thinking “you” of life (your piece of God’s consciousness) will survive as the immaterial thinking “you” after life. The soul is the same, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, but the means of observation and communication have to be different.

DAVID: I've gone to quantum mechanics, which no one understands. I can go no further to answer your obviously impossible demands. I have always proposed that soul is based in quantum mechanics, which is the basis of the universe and the basis of a seemingly intelligent universe. You must take all of these factors in analysis of how soul might work. A soul that lives in a living body obviously works with that body. In afterlife there is no body. For me it must operate differently, and not just by your aspect of telepathy.

dhw: Yes, even though it’s the same thinking you, it must operate differently, as agreed above. We don’t know how a bodiless soul observes and communicates, but if you think it has something to do with quantum mechanics, which nobody understands, that’s fine with me. It doesn’t resolve the total confusion I have summarized above, in which you have the same “piece of God’s consciousness” unable to think without a brain until it has no brain to think with, or maybe it doesn’t even think at all (zombies in heaven).

We are at the same disagreement point. All I am proposing is that if the soul uses the brain in life and doesn't have it in death it can maintain the same personality construct but work by an altered mechanism.

DAVID; If the soul arises from the brain that is pure materialism no matter how you try to alter the concept.

dhw: I have said so many times, and have pointed out to you many times that if you can't think without your brain, as you keep insisting, that also means materialism, which you reject because you then go on to say that you CAN think without your brain, i.e. when you haven't got a brain. If we are to reconcile materialism and dualism, and if I stick rigidly to the theistic version of the theory, we have God using materials to create life and consciousness, so life and consciousness are produced by materials. The reconciliation with dualism – still in theistic mode – would be that the conscious energy thus produced mirrors his own (just as humans are striving to create a consciousness that will mirror their own) and may even live on after the death of the machine that produced it (just as images live on after the disappearance of the materials that produced them). You still haven’t offered a single objection to the logic of this proposal, which resolves the logical split (summarized above) which you have acknowledged in your own thinking. You prefer to focus on the obvious fact that immaterial observation and communication must be different from material observation and communication.

You have summarized our difference. Your point is logical from the position that the soul imposes thought on the brain, and I say the soul is implanted on the brain and must use its networks to think. As always, my dualism is not your dualism.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 13:07 (738 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Yes, even though it’s the same thinking you, it must operate differently, as agreed above. We don’t know how a bodiless soul observes and communicates, but if you think it has something to do with quantum mechanics, which nobody understands, that’s fine with me. It doesn’t resolve the total confusion I have summarized above, in which you have the same “piece of God’s consciousness” unable to think without a brain until it has no brain to think with, or maybe it doesn’t even think at all (zombies in heaven).

DAVID: We are at the same disagreement point. All I am proposing is that if the soul uses the brain in life and doesn't have it in death it can maintain the same personality construct but work by an altered mechanism.

There is no disagreement. Your comment is a precise echo of mine: “...even though it’s the same thinking you, it must operate differently.” In dualistic life, the soul is the thinking you, and operates by using the brain to gather information and give material expression/implementation to its thoughts. In an immaterial world the SAME thinking you gathers information and gives expression/implementation to its thoughts by different, unknown means. In both cases, thinking is done by the immaterial soul.

dhw: You still haven’t offered a single objection to the logic of this proposal, which resolves the logical split (summarized above) which you have acknowledged in your own thinking. You prefer to focus on the obvious fact that immaterial observation and communication must be different from material observation and communication.

DAVID: You have summarized our difference. Your point is logical from the position that the soul imposes thought on the brain, and I say the soul is implanted on the brain and must use its networks to think. As always, my dualism is not your dualism.

The soul being implanted on the brain is certainly dualism. The soul using the brain’s networks to provide information and to implement its thoughts is also dualism. The soul being dependent on the brain for its ABILITY TO THINK (as illustrated by your insistence that the brain had to be enlarged before it could THINK of new concepts) is materialism. The soul being dependent on the brain for its ability to think, and then not being dependent on the brain for its ability to think, is neither one nor the other, or both mixed into all the contradictions and confusions I keep pointing out. I have offered a theory to make the mixture possible, and so far you have not come up with any logical loopholes in my theistic version of it.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 22:10 (737 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have summarized our difference. Your point is logical from the position that the soul imposes thought on the brain, and I say the soul is implanted on the brain and must use its networks to think. As always, my dualism is not your dualism.

dhw: The soul being implanted on the brain is certainly dualism. The soul using the brain’s networks to provide information and to implement its thoughts is also dualism. The soul being dependent on the brain for its ABILITY TO THINK (as illustrated by your insistence that the brain had to be enlarged before it could THINK of new concepts) is materialism. The soul being dependent on the brain for its ability to think, and then not being dependent on the brain for its ability to think, is neither one nor the other, or both mixed into all the contradictions and confusions I keep pointing out. I have offered a theory to make the mixture possible, and so far you have not come up with any logical loopholes in my theistic version of it.

The soul using the brain mechanisms to think is explained in the software/hardware analogy. Software is implanted on an existing material computer network, but the soul/software is immaterial. There is no right or wrong here. My concept differs from yours: you want a rigid soul formulation, but it very well may be malleable and work somewhat differently in each situation while producing the same personality. It certainly fits the facts we have. Each of us has invented our own form of soul, and mine fits my theory about increasing frontal lobe size through God's intervention. Habilis' weak thinking would not force brain enlargement like exercise increases muscle size. The brain, involves size and amazing complexity of networks. Muscles simply enlarge existing muscle bands by enlarging existing fibers.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Thursday, May 24, 2018, 19:23 (736 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The soul being implanted on the brain is certainly dualism. The soul using the brain’s networks to provide information and to implement its thoughts is also dualism. The soul being dependent on the brain for its ABILITY TO THINK (as illustrated by your insistence that the brain had to be enlarged before it could THINK of new concepts) is materialism. The soul being dependent on the brain for its ability to think, and then not being dependent on the brain for its ability to think, is neither one nor the other, or both mixed into all the contradictions and confusions I keep pointing out. I have offered a theory to make the mixture possible, and so far you have not come up with any logical loopholes in my theistic version of it.

DAVID: The soul using the brain mechanisms to think is explained in the software/hardware analogy. Software is implanted on an existing material computer network, but the soul/software is immaterial.

That part of your analogy is perfectly clear, and is the essence of conventional dualism. But software contains the thought that is to be implemented by hardware, and the task of the hardware is to obey the software’s instructions. The programmes are not invented AFTER insertion into the hardware. And if the software/soul’s programmes cannot be implemented by your existing hardware/brain, you have to change your computer (i.e. get a larger or more complex brain).

DAVID: There is no right or wrong here. My concept differs from yours: you want a rigid soul formulation, but it very well may be malleable and work somewhat differently in each situation while producing the same personality.

I have never said the soul must be rigid! As the thinking, feeling part of your being, it changes all the time throughout its lifetime of experience. But it is always the immaterial thinking, feeling you, as opposed to the material implementing you.

DAVID: It certainly fits the facts we have. Each of us has invented our own form of soul, and mine fits my theory about increasing frontal lobe size through God's intervention. Habilis' weak thinking would not force brain enlargement like exercise increases muscle size. The brain, involves size and amazing complexity of networks. Muscles simply enlarge existing muscle bands by enlarging existing fibers.

Your theory demands an increase in frontal lobe size to enable the soul to think. The fallacy is amply covered by your software/hardware analogy above, in which the software soul instructs the hardware brain to implement its programmes/thoughts. We know that the brain involves size and amazing complexity of networks, and we know that in some cases (musicians, taxi drivers) thinking INCREASES the size of certain parts of the sapiens brain and INCREASES the complexity (the illiterate women learning to read and write). It is therefore perfectly logical that the existing cells of earlier brains should also have complexified and expanded through thought. To forestall your usual digression: sapiens brain has shrunk. This is most likely because there had to be a limit to skull expansion, or we’d have finished up with elephant-sized heads. Complexification proved so efficient that some cells were no longer required.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, May 25, 2018, 00:04 (736 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The soul using the brain mechanisms to think is explained in the software/hardware analogy. Software is implanted on an existing material computer network, but the soul/software is immaterial.

dhw: That part of your analogy is perfectly clear, and is the essence of conventional dualism. But software contains the thought that is to be implemented by hardware, and the task of the hardware is to obey the software’s instructions. The programmes are not invented AFTER insertion into the hardware. And if the software/soul’s programmes cannot be implemented by your existing hardware/brain, you have to change your computer (i.e. get a larger or more complex brain).

You have just described my theory. If God wants more advanced thought with more complex software, the hardware has to be enlarged to accommodate the larger more complex software.


DAVID: There is no right or wrong here. My concept differs from yours: you want a rigid soul formulation, but it very well may be malleable and work somewhat differently in each situation while producing the same personality.

dhw: I have never said the soul must be rigid! As the thinking, feeling part of your being, it changes all the time throughout its lifetime of experience. But it is always the immaterial thinking, feeling you, as opposed to the material implementing you.

I'm describing your concept of a rigid unchanging mechanism of soul in life and death. There can be a different mode of thought in life and in death with the personage/soul kept entirely the same.


DAVID: It certainly fits the facts we have. Each of us has invented our own form of soul, and mine fits my theory about increasing frontal lobe size through God's intervention. Habilis' weak thinking would not force brain enlargement like exercise increases muscle size. The brain, involves size and amazing complexity of networks. Muscles simply enlarge existing muscle bands by enlarging existing fibers.

dhw: Your theory demands an increase in frontal lobe size to enable the soul to think.

Not to just think but to have m ore advanced thinking, as explained above

dhw: The fallacy is amply covered by your software/hardware analogy above, in which the software soul instructs the hardware brain to implement its programmes/thoughts. We know that the brain involves size and amazing complexity of networks, and we know that in some cases (musicians, taxi drivers) thinking INCREASES the size of certain parts of the sapiens brain and INCREASES the complexity (the illiterate women learning to read and write). It is therefore perfectly logical that the existing cells of earlier brains should also have complexified and expanded through thought. To forestall your usual digression: sapiens brain has shrunk. This is most likely because there had to be a limit to skull expansion, or we’d have finished up with elephant-sized heads. Complexification proved so efficient that some cells were no longer required.

And once again you have neatly skipped the related problems: bigger skull to accommodate the bigger brain, and change the mother's pelvis so she can dump the bigger-headed kid without dying in the process or killing the baby. There are three interval changes that must occur here, all coordinated by different DNA's in different organs and people..

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Friday, May 25, 2018, 11:30 (736 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] the task of the hardware is to obey the software’s instructions. The programmes are not invented AFTER insertion into the hardware. And if the software/soul’s programmes cannot be implemented by your existing hardware/brain, you have to change your computer (i.e. get a larger or more complex brain).
DAVID: You have just described my theory. If God wants more advanced thought with more complex software, the hardware has to be enlarged to accommodate the larger more complex software.

Accommodation does not mean invention. The more advanced programmes/thoughts contained in the software depend on the enlarged accommodation for their IMPLEMENTATION, not their invention. The bigger hardware (brain) does nothing without the programmes/thoughts and instructions provided/invented by the software (soul). Your theory is that you had to have a new computer before the new programmes could be designed. Which comes first: thought or implementation of thought?

DAVID: […] you want a rigid soul formulation, but it very well may be malleable and work somewhat differently in each situation while producing the same personality.

dhw: I have never said the soul must be rigid! As the thinking, feeling part of your being, it changes all the time throughout its lifetime of experience. But it is always the immaterial thinking, feeling you, as opposed to the material implementing you.

DAVID: I'm describing your concept of a rigid unchanging mechanism of soul in life and death. There can be a different mode of thought in life and in death with the personage/soul kept entirely the same.

I keep asking what mechanism you are thinking of beyond that of observation and communication, where without eyes and ears and voice, the soul must obviously use immaterial “mechanisms” of a psychic nature. Now you refer to “modes of thought”. If that is different from “mechanism”, perhaps you mean ways of looking at things. Yes, of course. If you are placed in a different world from the one you are used to, it will unquestionably change your mode of thinking. But as you rightly say, that part of the personage which in life did the thinking and feeling will continue to do the thinking and feeling. That is the essence of dualism.

dhw: Your theory demands an increase in frontal lobe size to enable the soul to think.
DAVID: Not to just think but to have more advanced thinking, as explained above.

What does this mean? If the bigger frontal lobe enables the soul to think bigger thoughts, then the smaller frontal lobe only enables it to think smaller thoughts. You still have the frontal lobe responsible for thought, which is the direct opposite of the dualistic belief that the soul does the thinking.

dhw: […] we know that in some cases (musicians, taxi drivers) thinking INCREASES the size of certain parts of the sapiens brain and INCREASES the complexity (the illiterate women learning to read and write). It is therefore perfectly logical that the existing cells of earlier brains should also have complexified and expanded through thought.[ …]

DAVID: And once again you have neatly skipped the related problems: bigger skull to accommodate the bigger brain, and change the mother's pelvis so she can dump the bigger-headed kid without dying in the process or killing the baby. There are three interval changes that must occur here, all coordinated by different DNA's in different organs and people.

Once again you resort to one of your digressions, to which I give the same answer every time: any major change in the body will require major changes elsewhere in the body. In the theistic version of my theory I have your God endowing cooperative cell communities with the ability to design all the changes themselves. In your post on my theory of intelligence, you wrote: “You are invoking God's unlimited powers to do anything He wants.” You have him drawing up a computer programme 3.8 billion years ago that will implement every single innovation leading from single cells to every new species, every lifestyle, every natural wonder, and the enlargement of the frontal lobe and the change in the mother’s pelvis. Whatever he didn’t preprogramme had to be personally dabbled on the spot, e.g. he personally taught the weaverbird to build its nest, or he personally expanded Adam and Eve’s skulls, and wiggled Eve’s pelvis, so that they would be able to think bigger thoughts, because thought depends on the brain – except when there isn’t a brain to depend on. One invention (my theory) is replaced by billions of inventions and interventions (your theory). But you have every right to invoke God’s unlimited powers to do anything you want.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, May 25, 2018, 20:03 (735 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have just described my theory. If God wants more advanced thought with more complex software, the hardware has to be enlarged to accommodate the larger more complex software.

dhw: Your theory is that you had to have a new computer before the new programmes could be designed. Which comes first: thought or implementation of thought?

Software and hardware are designed to work together as capacity is enlarged. Obviously thought must initiate implementation, as they work together.

dhw: Your theory demands an increase in frontal lobe size to enable the soul to think.
DAVID: Not to just think but to have more advanced thinking, as explained above.

dhw: What does this mean? If the bigger frontal lobe enables the soul to think bigger thoughts, then the smaller frontal lobe only enables it to think smaller thoughts. You still have the frontal lobe responsible for thought, which is the direct opposite of the dualistic belief that the soul does the thinking.

The frontal lobe capacity for working with the soul is the exact point. The soul is a non-material mechanism that is tied to the human brain networks to think. Since neither of us know what is real, my theory is just as likely as yours.


dhw: […] we know that in some cases (musicians, taxi drivers) thinking INCREASES the size of certain parts of the sapiens brain and INCREASES the complexity (the illiterate women learning to read and write). It is therefore perfectly logical that the existing cells of earlier brains should also have complexified and expanded through thought.[ …]

DAVID: And once again you have neatly skipped the related problems: bigger skull to accommodate the bigger brain, and change the mother's pelvis so she can dump the bigger-headed kid without dying in the process or killing the baby. There are three interval changes that must occur here, all coordinated by different DNA's in different organs and people.

dhw: Once again you resort to one of your digressions, to which I give the same answer every time: any major change in the body will require major changes elsewhere in the body.

Which changes require complex design changes in a speciation. It is still only chance or design, to which you have never offered anything substantive, since there is nothing else.

dhw: In the theistic version of my theory I have your God endowing cooperative cell communities with the ability to design all the changes themselves. In your post on my theory of intelligence, you wrote: “You are invoking God's unlimited powers to do anything He wants.” You have him drawing up a computer programme 3.8 billion years ago that will implement every single innovation leading from single cells to every new species, every lifestyle, every natural wonder, and the enlargement of the frontal lobe and the change in the mother’s pelvis. Whatever he didn’t preprogramme had to be personally dabbled on the spot, e.g. he personally taught the weaverbird to build its nest, or he personally expanded Adam and Eve’s skulls, and wiggled Eve’s pelvis, so that they would be able to think bigger thoughts, because thought depends on the brain – except when there isn’t a brain to depend on. One invention (my theory) is replaced by billions of inventions and interventions (your theory). But you have every right to invoke God’s unlimited powers to do anything you want.

Thank you.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Saturday, May 26, 2018, 11:22 (735 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Your theory is that you had to have a new computer before the new programmes could be designed. Which comes first: thought or implementation of thought?
DAVID: Software and hardware are designed to work together as capacity is enlarged. Obviously thought must initiate implementation, as they work together.

I have never disputed the fact that soul/software and brain/hardware work together. But they fulfil different functions: the former provides the thought and the latter implements the thought. That is the whole point of this metaphor for dualism. If you believe the programmes have not already been designed before the software is inserted into the computer, then please say so.

dhw: Your theory demands an increase in frontal lobe size to enable the soul to think.
DAVID: Not to just think but to have more advanced thinking, as explained above.
dhw: What does this mean? If the bigger frontal lobe enables the soul to think bigger thoughts, then the smaller frontal lobe only enables it to think smaller thoughts. You still have the frontal lobe responsible for thought, which is the direct opposite of the dualistic belief that the soul does the thinking.
DAVID: The frontal lobe capacity for working with the soul is the exact point. The soul is a non-material mechanism that is tied to the human brain networks to think. Since neither of us know what is real, my theory is just as likely as yours.

The dualist’s brain and soul work together in earthly life, but that is not the “exact point”. The “exact point” is that they perform different functions, as above, and that is why it is logical to argue that the immaterial thinking self can live on without the brain, and it is illogical to argue that the immaterial thinking self cannot think without the brain, until it doesn’t have a brain to think with.

dhw: […] we know that in some cases (musicians, taxi drivers) thinking INCREASES the size of certain parts of the sapiens brain and INCREASES the complexity (the illiterate women learning to read and write). It is therefore perfectly logical that the existing cells of earlier brains should also have complexified and expanded through thought.
[ …]

DAVID: And once again you have neatly skipped the related problems: bigger skull to accommodate the bigger brain, and change the mother's pelvis etc.
dhw: Once again you resort to one of your digressions, to which I give the same answer every time: any major change in the body will require major changes elsewhere in the body.
DAVID: Which changes require complex design changes in a speciation. It is still only chance or design, to which you have never offered anything substantive, since there is nothing else.

You scuttled from the findings of modern science to the female pelvis, and from there to chance v design (and I dealt earlier with your other favourite digression of shrinkage). In the theistic version of my theory, your God has designed the mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own designing. Chance has no place. Now please tell me why it is illogical to argue that since modern science tells us that the sapiens brain expands and complexifies as a result of thought, the same process may have taken place in the pre-sapiens brain.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Saturday, May 26, 2018, 15:27 (734 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Software and hardware are designed to work together as capacity is enlarged. Obviously thought must initiate implementation, as they work together.

dhw: I have never disputed the fact that soul/software and brain/hardware work together. But they fulfil different functions: the former provides the thought and the latter implements the thought. That is the whole point of this metaphor for dualism. If you believe the programmes have not already been designed before the software is inserted into the computer, then please say so.

You sit at a computer and your thinking drives your fingers to type the thought which appear before you in words. The software is your servant. What is your question?

DAVID: The frontal lobe capacity for working with the soul is the exact point. The soul is a non-material mechanism that is tied to the human brain networks to think. Since neither of us know what is real, my theory is just as likely as yours.

dhw: The dualist’s brain and soul work together in earthly life, but that is not the “exact point”. The “exact point” is that they perform different functions, as above, and that is why it is logical to argue that the immaterial thinking self can live on without the brain, and it is illogical to argue that the immaterial thinking self cannot think without the brain, until it doesn’t have a brain to think with.

My theory is the soul is a quantum malleable mechanism that can change as I have described. You want a rigid unchanging form.

dhw: Once again you resort to one of your digressions, to which I give the same answer every time: any major change in the body will require major changes elsewhere in the body.
DAVID: Which changes require complex design changes in a speciation. It is still only chance or design, to which you have never offered anything substantive, since there is nothing else.

dhw: You scuttled from the findings of modern science to the female pelvis, and from there to chance v design (and I dealt earlier with your other favourite digression of shrinkage). In the theistic version of my theory, your God has designed the mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own designing. Chance has no place. Now please tell me why it is illogical to argue that since modern science tells us that the sapiens brain expands and complexifies as a result of thought, the same process may have taken place in the pre-sapiens brain.

You have scuttled to God, as usual, when you have no answer. The only brain we know has shrunk 150 cc since it appeared. It is the only fact we can extrapolate to the past forms of brains. Known areas of enlargement ( taxi drivers) occurred as the brain shrunk! That is consistent thinking about expansion.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Sunday, May 27, 2018, 10:55 (734 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Software and hardware are designed to work together as capacity is enlarged. […]
dhw: I have never disputed the fact that soul/software and brain/hardware work together. But they fulfil different functions: the former provides the thought and the latter implements the thought. That is the whole point of this metaphor for dualism. If you believe the programmes have not already been designed before the software is inserted into the computer, then please say so.

DAVID: You sit at a computer and your thinking drives your fingers to type the thought which appear before you in words. The software is your servant. What is your question?

Software/hardware is supposed to be an analogy for dualism! My thinking soul drives my material brain to direct my fingers to give material expression to its thoughts. The software is a metaphor for the thinking soul, and the hardware is a metaphor for the implementing brain.

DAVID: My theory is the soul is a quantum malleable mechanism that can change as I have described. You want a rigid unchanging form.

Dealt with under THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE.

dhw: In the theistic version of my theory, your God has designed the mechanism which enables cells/cell communities to do their own designing. Chance has no place. Now please tell me why it is illogical to argue that since modern science tells us that the sapiens brain expands and complexifies as a result of thought, the same process may have taken place in the pre-sapiens brain.

DAVID: You have scuttled to God, as usual, when you have no answer.

I have offered you a theistic version of my theory. Atheists can attribute the mechanism to chance if they wish. It makes no difference to the logic of the theory itself.

DAVID: The only brain we know has shrunk 150 cc since it appeared. It is the only fact we can extrapolate to the past forms of brains. Known areas of enlargement ( taxi drivers) occurred as the brain shrunk! That is consistent thinking about expansion.

Back we go to your other digression! Complexification and limited expansion are also known facts in the sapiens brain, and expansion is a known fact in the pre-sapiens brain. There is no evidence of shrinkage in the pre-sapiens brain. What is your objection to the explanation for shrinkage that I keep offering? (Continued overall expansion would have given us elephant-sized heads. Enhanced complexification resulted in some cells becoming superfluous, and so the brain shrunk. The existing capacity still allows for the expansion of individual sections of the brain.)

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Sunday, May 27, 2018, 20:42 (733 days ago) @ dhw

David: You sit at a computer and your thinking drives your fingers to type the thought which appear before you in words. The software is your servant. What is your question?

dhw: Software/hardware is supposed to be an analogy for dualism! My thinking soul drives my material brain to direct my fingers to give material expression to its thoughts. The software is a metaphor for the thinking soul, and the hardware is a metaphor for the implementing brain.

There is another part to this that adds to the mystery. You sit at your keyboard and use your soul through your brain to have a thought which is then typed. We know where the soul is interfaced in the brain. There is no reason not to except the idea that the soul uses the brain networks to think as well as transmit. It still fits software/hardware, an the software can be quantum mechanical immaterial.

DAVID: The only brain we know has shrunk 150 cc since it appeared. It is the only fact we can extrapolate to the past forms of brains. Known areas of enlargement ( taxi drivers) occurred as the brain shrunk! That is consistent thinking about expansion.

dhw: Back we go to your other digression! Complexification and limited expansion are also known facts in the sapiens brain, and expansion is a known fact in the pre-sapiens brain. There is no evidence of shrinkage in the pre-sapiens brain. What is your objection to the explanation for shrinkage that I keep offering? (Continued overall expansion would have given us elephant-sized heads. Enhanced complexification resulted in some cells becoming superfluous, and so the brain shrunk. The existing capacity still allows for the expansion of individual sections of the brain.)

Not a digression. I'm simply repeating the only facts we know about a thinking brain. And a brain with obviously lots more thinking capacity than those previously evolved.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Monday, May 28, 2018, 10:37 (733 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You sit at a computer and your thinking drives your fingers to type the thought which appear before you in words. The software is your servant. What is your question?
dhw: Software/hardware is supposed to be an analogy for dualism! My thinking soul drives my material brain to direct my fingers to give material expression to its thoughts. The software is a metaphor for the thinking soul, and the hardware is a metaphor for the implementing brain.

DAVID: There is another part to this that adds to the mystery. You sit at your keyboard and use your soul through your brain to have a thought which is then typed. We know where the soul is interfaced in the brain. There is no reason not to except the idea that the soul uses the brain networks to think as well as transmit. It still fits software/hardware, an the software can be quantum mechanical immaterial.

The dualist’s “you” in this earthly life is supposed be a combination of mind and body, or soul and brain if you prefer. Your soul and brain do not use your soul through your brain: the two parts of “you” work together to compose the living “you”, but they have different functions, as exemplified by your analogy of the thinking software and the implementing hardware. Otherwise your analogy for dualism (= TWO components) makes no sense, especially when you argue that the soul CANNOT think without the brain, but the soul CAN think without the brain when there isn’t a brain.

DAVID: The only brain we know has shrunk 150 cc since it appeared. It is the only fact we can extrapolate to the past forms of brains. Known areas of enlargement ( taxi drivers) occurred as the brain shrunk! That is consistent thinking about expansion.

dhw: Back we go to your other digression! Complexification and limited expansion are also known facts in the sapiens brain, and expansion is a known fact in the pre-sapiens brain. There is no evidence of shrinkage in the pre-sapiens brain. What is your objection to the explanation for shrinkage that I keep offering? (Continued overall expansion would have given us elephant-sized heads. Enhanced complexification resulted in some cells becoming superfluous, and so the brain shrunk. The existing capacity still allows for the expansion of individual sections of the brain.)

DAVID: Not a digression. I'm simply repeating the only facts we know about a thinking brain. And a brain with obviously lots more thinking capacity than those previously evolved.

According to you, the only fact we know is shrinkage. You still haven’t said why you object to my explanation of it, and you ignore the other facts revealed by modern scientific research, that the modern brain expands (though in limited areas) and complexifies. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that the pre-sapiens brain did the same. The “thinking brain” is the province of the materialist; the thinking soul is the province of the dualist. I do not doubt that our “thinking capacity” is greater than that of pre-sapiens. If you think that is because of our larger brains, you are a materialist. Nothing wrong with that at all, except that you claim to be a dualist.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Monday, May 28, 2018, 15:05 (732 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: The dualist’s “you” in this earthly life is supposed be a combination of mind and body, or soul and brain if you prefer. Your soul and brain do not use your soul through your brain: the two parts of “you” work together to compose the living “you”, but they have different functions, as exemplified by your analogy of the thinking software and the implementing hardware. Otherwise your analogy for dualism (= TWO components) makes no sense, especially when you argue that the soul CANNOT think without the brain, but the soul CAN think without the brain when there isn’t a brain.

You refuse to recognize my theory that the soul has two mechanisms of action in life and death. Your theories about soul are not the only ones available.

dhw: Back we go to your other digression! Complexification and limited expansion are also known facts in the sapiens brain, and expansion is a known fact in the pre-sapiens brain. There is no evidence of shrinkage in the pre-sapiens brain. What is your objection to the explanation for shrinkage that I keep offering? (Continued overall expansion would have given us elephant-sized heads. Enhanced complexification resulted in some cells becoming superfluous, and so the brain shrunk. The existing capacity still allows for the expansion of individual sections of the brain.)

DAVID: Not a digression. I'm simply repeating the only facts we know about a thinking brain. And a brain with obviously lots more thinking capacity than those previously evolved.

dhw: According to you, the only fact we know is shrinkage. You still haven’t said why you object to my explanation of it, and you ignore the other facts revealed by modern scientific research, that the modern brain expands (though in limited areas) and complexifies. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that the pre-sapiens brain did the same. The “thinking brain” is the province of the materialist; the thinking soul is the province of the dualist. I do not doubt that our “thinking capacity” is greater than that of pre-sapiens. If you think that is because of our larger brains, you are a materialist. Nothing wrong with that at all, except that you claim to be a dualist.

And you blithely skip over 150 cc of brain volume loss since sapiens appeared. Sure areas are seen to have enlarged, but overall you skip the 150 cc loss. When I discuss a brain thinking, it is under the control of the software soul.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 12:42 (732 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The dualist’s “you” in this earthly life is supposed be a combination of mind and body, or soul and brain if you prefer. Your soul and brain do not use your soul through your brain: the two parts of “you” work together to compose the living “you”, but they have different functions, as exemplified by your analogy of the thinking software and the implementing hardware. Otherwise your analogy for dualism (= TWO components) makes no sense, especially when you argue that the soul CANNOT think without the brain, but the soul CAN think without the brain when there isn’t a brain.

DAVID: You refuse to recognize my theory that the soul has two mechanisms of action in life and death. Your theories about soul are not the only ones available.

Under THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE I asked you yet again, as follows, to explain the differences between the “two mechanisms” of thought/action:
dhw: No, I don’t understand your theory. I keep asking you what is the difference between an immaterial thinking soul (or piece of your God’s consciousness) in life and an immaterial thinking soul in death, apart from the fact that in life it uses the material brain to provide information and to express/implement its immaterial thoughts materially, whereas in death (a different world) it will have to observe and communicate by different (psychic) means. Please explain what other form of “thought mechanism” you are referring to.

DAVID: What not to understand? I propose the soul has two operating mechanisms, one in life, one in death. Alternative software. In leaving the body it joins God's universal consciousness and changes its operative mode. You want a static soul mechanism in life and death. I let God in, you don't. My soul in theory remains the same personality just as yours does.

All you have done is repeat that it has two mechanisms, and changes its mode of operation. I have described two mechanisms – one material, one psychic. I have also accepted the obvious fact that if there is an afterlife, it will be different from material life, while you have accepted that the soul will remain the same personality. I don’t have a problem with “letting God in” if there is an afterlife. None of this tells me the differences in “operative modes” or “mechanisms of action”, so please explain what other forms you are referring to besides those I have covered.

dhw: Complexification and limited expansion are also known facts in the sapiens brain, and expansion is a known fact in the pre-sapiens brain. There is no evidence of shrinkage in the pre-sapiens brain. What is your objection to the explanation for shrinkage that I keep offering? (Continued overall expansion would have given us elephant-sized heads. Enhanced complexification resulted in some cells becoming superfluous, and so the brain shrunk. The existing capacity still allows for the expansion of individual sections of the brain.)

DAVID: And you blithely skip over 150 cc of brain volume loss since sapiens appeared. Sure areas are seen to have enlarged, but overall you skip the 150 cc loss.

I have offered you an explanation of the loss (see above), and instead of telling us why you object, you say I’ve ignored it!I have also pointed out that there is no evidence of shrinkage in pre-sapiens, but we know that his brain expanded.

DAVID: I'm simply repeating the only facts we know about a thinking brain. And a brain with obviously lots more thinking capacity than those previously evolved.

They are not “the only facts we know”, as I have specified above.

dhw: The “thinking brain” is the province of the materialist; the thinking soul is the province of the dualist. I do not doubt that our “thinking capacity” is greater than that of pre-sapiens. If you think that is because of our larger brains, you are a materialist. Nothing wrong with that at all, except that you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: When I discuss a brain thinking, it is under the control of the software soul.

So do you believe that the software soul and the hardware brain BOTH think, but the soul/software makes the final decision, or do you believe that the software soul does the thinking and gives instructions to the hardware brain?

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 15:18 (731 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: No, I don’t understand your theory. I keep asking you what is the difference between an immaterial thinking soul (or piece of your God’s consciousness) in life and an immaterial thinking soul in death, apart from the fact that in life it uses the material brain to provide information and to express/implement its immaterial thoughts materially, whereas in death (a different world) it will have to observe and communicate by different (psychic) means. Please explain what other form of “thought mechanism” you are referring to.

DAVID: What not to understand? I propose the soul has two operating mechanisms, one in life, one in death. Alternative software. In leaving the body it joins God's universal consciousness and changes its operative mode. You want a static soul mechanism in life and death. I let God in, you don't. My soul in theory remains the same personality just as yours does.

All you have done is repeat that it has two mechanisms, and changes its mode of operation. I have described two mechanisms – one material, one psychic. I have also accepted the obvious fact that if there is an afterlife, it will be different from material life, while you have accepted that the soul will remain the same personality. I don’t have a problem with “letting God in” if there is an afterlife. None of this tells me the differences in “operative modes” or “mechanisms of action”, so please explain what other forms you are referring to besides those I have covered.

I will repeat the same point for different mechanisms: in life the soul uses the brain networks to think, experience and direct actions to be taken. In death it communicates telepathically, but since I think the afterlife is unchanging and is observing what is happening in life what the soul does is conversation.


DAVID: And you blithely skip over 150 cc of brain volume loss since sapiens appeared. Sure areas are seen to have enlarged, but overall you skip the 150 cc loss.

dhw: I have offered you an explanation of the loss (see above), and instead of telling us why you object, you say I’ve ignored it!I have also pointed out that there is no evidence of shrinkage in pre-sapiens, but we know that his brain expanded.

The fossils are few and far between and at each step there are individual differences. Currently you are correct, that we cannot prove shrinkage at each step, except ours. You try to present that thoughts of desires expands the brain and we see our intense thoughts shrank it. It came 315,000 years ago so complex it didn't need to expand. Your answer is a worry it shouldn't get any bigger for anatomic reasons. On the other hand another 150 cc added would not have been top heavy. Your argument is without basis.


dhw: The “thinking brain” is the province of the materialist; the thinking soul is the province of the dualist. I do not doubt that our “thinking capacity” is greater than that of pre-sapiens. If you think that is because of our larger brains, you are a materialist. Nothing wrong with that at all, except that you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: When I discuss a brain thinking, it is under the control of the software soul.

dhw: So do you believe that the software soul and the hardware brain BOTH think, but the soul/software makes the final decision, or do you believe that the software soul does the thinking and gives instructions to the hardware brain?

I did not say BOTH think. The brain and the soul are two parts of the thinking mechanism in life. The soul uses the brain networks in thought in life..

Introducing the brain: the GPS system

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 18:24 (731 days ago) @ David Turell

Specialized neurons are identified:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/brains-positioning-system-linked-to-memory-20141007/

"In 1971, O’Keefe discovered special neurons called place cells, which fire whenever an animal is in a certain location. More recently, the Mosers identified grid cells, which are thought to act like a dead-reckoning system, telling the animal its location independent of external cues. Though first discovered in rats, both kinds of cells are widespread in mammalian brains, including those of humans.

"One striking feature of this system of grid and place cells is that it seems to encode abstract properties. “The big breakthrough is that these cells are not just responding to sensory cues, like an odor on the ground,” said David Redish, a neuroscientist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Instead, grid cells form an internal positioning system, and place cells use that information along with other cues to create a sense of place. Together, they create a rich map.

***

"Rather than simply forming our inner GPS, place cells and grid cells may provide a system for anchoring our memories.

"Place cells are found in the hippocampus, which has long been considered the brain’s memory hub. Removing it, as happened with the famous patient H.M., wipes out the brain’s ability to form new memories. But O’Keefe’s discovery showed that the hippocampus is also essential for navigation.

"David Bishop, UCL O’Keefe recorded the impulses from neurons in a specific part of the hippocampus in rats as they explored an open space. He discovered that individual neurons would fire only when the rat was in a certain spot. By altering the surrounding environment, he showed that the animal wasn’t simply responding to sensory cues. Rather, the neurons were responding to a more sophisticated sense of location.

***

"..the Mosers discovered a system of cells that are believed to provide spatial information to place cells. They probed individual neurons inside rats’ entorhinal cortex, an area of the brain that connects to the hippocampus. They then let the animals run around an empty space. Occasionally, the target neuron would fire. By mapping the points on the floor where this happened, the researchers discovered that the points where the neurons fired mapped out a grid of equilateral triangles. The arrangement was so well-defined that the researchers initially suspected an equipment malfunction.

***

“'Once the Mosers discovered grid cells” — the neurons that fired in the grid pattern — “we had a new handle on the GPS part of the [memory] system.” (While GPS is a convenient metaphor, scientists believe that grid cells actually use a dead-reckoning system to calculate location.)

"One intriguing discovery is that grid cells can function in complete darkness, absent any visual cues. “This must reflect some internal brain dynamics that are in some sense independent of external sensory input,” Knierim said. “That’s one reason it’s so phenomenal — it gives us a window on understanding internal processing.”

***

"Scientists have also used place cells to learn more about memory. As a rat runs through a maze, a particular sequence of place cells fire. The sequence replays after the rat goes to sleep; researchers think that this replay helps to transfer the rat’s memory of the maze from the hippocampus into long-term storage.

"More recent sleep studies suggest that the rat will replay the same pattern when it is in the maze again and needs to make a decision about where to go next. This may indicate that the rat is accessing memories of the maze as it mulls over the best path. “We know rats can do mental time travel,” Redish said, as they relive past events. “We are only able to know that because of place cells.”

"Many researchers believe that memory and space are even more intricately linked. In a popular trick for remembering speeches, dating back to ancient Greece, the orator calls to mind a familiar path through a city and attaches a segment of the speech to each location along the path. This mnemonic may unwittingly exploit the fact that the hippocampus encodes both location information and autobiographical memories. “It just happens that space is a good way of organizing experiences,” Wilson said."

Comment: This is part of conscious automatic brain activity we and animals have. It informs consciousness of what is happening.

Introducing the brain: fear and anxiety

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 29, 2018, 19:30 (731 days ago) @ David Turell

The Amygdala is the center:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-05-scientists-brain-circuit-anxiety.html

"Neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) have identified a neural circuit in the amygdala, the brain's seat of emotion processing, that gives rise to anxiety. Their insight has revealed the critical role of a molecule called dynorphin, which could serve as a target for treatment of anxiety-related disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"Though they are distinct, fear and anxiety operate hand in hand, as anxiety almost always follows brief fearful experiences and can in turn influence fear responses to a perceived threat. However, very intense fearful experiences, especially those that are life threatening, are often "over-learned" and can lead to an unhealthy level of anxiety or to anxiety disorders.

"Previous studies indicate that two regions in the amygdala—the central amygdala and the BNST (bed nucleus of the stria terminalis)—coordinate short-term and long-term responses to various kinds of threatening stimuli. "What we haven't known are the underlying circuit and cellular mechanisms in these regions that control the generation of anxiety," says CSHL Professor Bo Li, who led the research.

"The central amygdala forges strong inhibitory connections with the BNST. To learn about what happens to these connections during anxiety, his team genetically manipulated one specific type of neuron called SOM+ because of a peptide they express called somatostatin. Li's prior work showed that these "SOM+" neurons are necessary for the learning of fear responses. The team knocked out a gene called Erbb4 in SOM+ neurons—a gene that's been linked to disorders including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

"Sandra Ahrens, a postdoctoral investigator in the Li lab, led experiments showing that when Erbb4 was deleted from SOM+ neurons in the central amygdala, mice displayed heightened anxiety. The team traced the mechanism behind this anxiety within a circuit that runs between the central amygdala and the BNST.

"The process leading to anxiety began with increased excitation of SOM+ neurons in the central amygdala. This led to a large increase in signaling by dynorphin, a peptide made by these neurons. This aberrant signaling interfered with normal inhibition of SOM+ neurons in the BNST and resulted in their becoming overactive. The net result was a display of anxious behavior.

"Dynorphin signaling was in this way identified as the driver of elevated anxiety. The team not only showed this in mice with neurons lacking Erbb4, but also, importantly, in genetically normal mice that were exposed to stress. "That's why we think this is an important circuit in anxiety," says Li. "By manipulating it in mice, we are actually able to ameliorate anxiety.'"

Comment: An other area of the brain that informs the soul. Animals are in danger at all times and must remain anxious and alert, like I see our barn cat react to every minor sound. We have received that in our brain in our evolution although our human situation is not as dangerous while we are at peace.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 11:41 (731 days ago) @ David Turell

Dhw: All you have done is repeat that it [the soul] has two mechanisms, and changes its mode of operation. I have described two mechanisms – one material, one psychic. I have also accepted the obvious fact that if there is an afterlife, it will be different from material life, while you have accepted that the soul will remain the same personality. I don’t have a problem with “letting God in” if there is an afterlife. None of this tells me the differences in “operative modes” or “mechanisms of action”, so please explain what other forms you are referring to besides those I have covered.

DAVID: I will repeat the same point for different mechanisms: in life the soul uses the brain networks to think, experience and direct actions to be taken. In death it communicates telepathically, but since I think the afterlife is unchanging and is observing what is happening in life what the soul does is conversation.

In other words, there are no other forms besides those I have covered. If dualism is true, then of course the soul uses the brain, and judging by your comment below, I don’t think there is any real difference between your concept of the relationship and my own: the soul uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and to express/implement those thoughts materially. You have also agreed now that in the afterlife its “operative mode” has to be psychic. Again, no difference. I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your last sentence but again I suspect it means exactly the same as my own concept: the soul observes the material world in life and an immaterial world in the afterlife, and thinks about both, but observes and communicates (converses) by different modes (material and psychic). The only difference I can see between us is your insistence that even though the dualist’s soul is the same in life as in death, in life it depends on the brain for its ability to THINK, but in death it can THINK without the brain. And that is what doesn’t make sense to me.

DAVID: When I discuss a brain thinking, it is under the control of the software soul.

dhw: So do you believe that the software soul and the hardware brain BOTH think, but the soul/software makes the final decision, or do you believe that the software soul does the thinking and gives instructions to the hardware brain?

DAVID: I did not say BOTH think. The brain and the soul are two parts of the thinking mechanism in life. The soul uses the brain networks in thought in life.

Good. Then presumably you agree that only the soul thinks. Yes, the thinking part and the information-gathering and implementing part are the two parts. Yes, the soul uses the brain in life. But if the soul thinks and the brain doesn’t think, then it makes no sense to argue that the brain must expand (pre-sapiens) before the soul can think new thoughts! To use your favourite analogy, do you get a new computer before the new software exists, or do you get it when the old one can’t implement the programmes of the new software?

DAVID: And you blithely skip over 150 cc of brain volume loss since sapiens appeared. Sure areas are seen to have enlarged, but overall you skip the 150 cc loss.

dhw: I have offered you an explanation of the loss (see above), and instead of telling us why you object, you say I’ve ignored it!I have also pointed out that there is no evidence of shrinkage in pre-sapiens, but we know that his brain expanded.

DAVID: The fossils are few and far between and at each step there are individual differences. Currently you are correct, that we cannot prove shrinkage at each step, except ours. You try to present that thoughts of desires expands the brain and we see our intense thoughts shrank it. It came 315,000 years ago so complex it didn't need to expand. Your answer is a worry it shouldn't get any bigger for anatomic reasons. On the other hand another 150 cc added would not have been top heavy. Your argument is without basis.

Why do you think the pre-sapiens brain expanded if it also shrank? It wouldn’t have NEEDED to expand if complexification was efficient enough to implement all the new thoughts! And it’s not a matter of intense thought shrinking the brain, or of adding another 150 cc! I am suggesting that the capacity was reached x years ago (315,000 years, if you like). Complexification then had to take over from expansion. The thoughts didn’t shrink the brain – the illiterate women’s brains didn’t shrink as a result of their learning to read and write! They complexified, and that is an ongoing process. Over the course of x thousand years, complexification has proved so efficient that some cells have become redundant. There is therefore still room for at least another 150 cc capacity within the existing skull. And you continue to ignore the proven fact that thought changes the brain by complexification and limited expansion.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 18:15 (730 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I will repeat the same point for different mechanisms: in life the soul uses the brain networks to think, experience and direct actions to be taken. In death it communicates telepathically, but since I think the afterlife is unchanging and is observing what is happening in life what the soul does is conversation.

dhw: In other words, there are no other forms besides those I have covered. If dualism is true, then of course the soul uses the brain, and judging by your comment below, I don’t think there is any real difference between your concept of the relationship and my own: the soul uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and to express/implement those thoughts materially. You have also agreed now that in the afterlife its “operative mode” has to be psychic. Again, no difference. I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your last sentence but again I suspect it means exactly the same as my own concept: the soul observes the material world in life and an immaterial world in the afterlife, and thinks about both, but observes and communicates (converses) by different modes (material and psychic). The only difference I can see between us is your insistence that even though the dualist’s soul is the same in life as in death, in life it depends on the brain for its ability to THINK, but in death it can THINK without the brain. And that is what doesn’t make sense to me.

It doesn't make sense to you because you can only visualize an unchanging soul mechanism of operation. I propose two mechanisms with the soul maintaining its unity as a personage in life and death. Otherwise we generally agree.


DAVID: When I discuss a brain thinking, it is under the control of the software soul.

dhw: So do you believe that the software soul and the hardware brain BOTH think, but the soul/software makes the final decision, or do you believe that the software soul does the thinking and gives instructions to the hardware brain?

DAVID: I did not say BOTH think. The brain and the soul are two parts of the thinking mechanism in life. The soul uses the brain networks in thought in life.

dhw: Good. Then presumably you agree that only the soul thinks. Yes, the thinking part and the information-gathering and implementing part are the two parts. Yes, the soul uses the brain in life. But if the soul thinks and the brain doesn’t think, then it makes no sense to argue that the brain must expand (pre-sapiens) before the soul can think new thoughts! To use your favourite analogy, do you get a new computer before the new software exists, or do you get it when the old one can’t implement the programmes of the new software?

You are not thinking clearly about computers. Your old computer is dying. So you get a new bigger one with new better software. The new one comes all complete with better hardware and software capable of more complex activity. AS in erectus to habilis to sapiens. What you suggest is several steps to new computing.

DAVID: The fossils are few and far between and at each step there are individual differences. Currently you are correct, that we cannot prove shrinkage at each step, except ours. You try to present that thoughts of desires expands the brain and we see our intense thoughts shrank it. It came 315,000 years ago so complex it didn't need to expand. Your answer is a worry it shouldn't get any bigger for anatomic reasons. On the other hand another 150 cc added would not have been top heavy. Your argument is without basis.

dhw:Why do you think the pre-sapiens brain expanded if it also shrank? It wouldn’t have NEEDED to expand if complexification was efficient enough to implement all the new thoughts! And it’s not a matter of intense thought shrinking the brain, or of adding another 150 cc! I am suggesting that the capacity was reached x years ago (315,000 years, if you like). Complexification then had to take over from expansion. The thoughts didn’t shrink the brain – the illiterate women’s brains didn’t shrink as a result of their learning to read and write! They complexified, and that is an ongoing process. Over the course of x thousand years, complexification has proved so efficient that some cells have become redundant. There is therefore still room for at least another 150 cc capacity within the existing skull. And you continue to ignore the proven fact that thought changes the brain by complexification and limited expansion.

I'm not ignoring complexification. You propose frustrated attempts at thought forced a new brain size to accommodate that thought in earlier homos, as I interpret your theory. What we see in the only living brain we can study is a shrinking brain. No evidence of forced expansion despite enormous efforts at complex thought. Instead we see a built-in mechanism of shrinkage.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Thursday, May 31, 2018, 12:01 (730 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: The only difference I can see between us is your insistence that even though the dualist’s soul is the same in life as in death, in life it depends on the brain for its ability to THINK, but in death it can THINK without the brain. And that is what doesn’t make sense to me.

DAVID: It doesn't make sense to you because you can only visualize an unchanging soul mechanism of operation. I propose two mechanisms with the soul maintaining its unity as a personage in life and death. Otherwise we generally agree.

And I keep asking you what mechanisms of operation you are referring to, and your last reply merely repeated my own distinction between material and psychic. If the soul maintains its unity in life and death, it can only be as the thinking, feeling, remembering “personage”. Therefore the now dead material part of the dualist’s being cannot have been responsible for the processes of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. – unless it actually PRODUCED the immaterial part, which somehow forms an entity that survives (just as the image survives the “death” of the materials that produced it). My proposal supports your materialistic contention that the soul cannot think without the brain, but it does not support the illogical claim that the soul is a separate entity (a “piece of God’s consciousness”) inserted into the brain, unable to think without the brain, and yet able to think when there is no brain. But of course it does depend on the brain to provide information and to implement its thoughts.

dhw: To use your favourite analogy, do you get a new computer before the new software exists, or do you get it when the old one can’t implement the programmes of the new software?

DAVID: You are not thinking clearly about computers. Your old computer is dying. So you get a new bigger one with new better software. The new one comes all complete with better hardware and software capable of more complex activity. AS in erectus to habilis to sapiens. What you suggest is several steps to new computing.

You are not thinking clearly about the whole purpose of your dualist’s analogy, which is to indicate the dual composition of the living being: mind and body. You agree that it is the software that does the thinking (“I did not say BOTH think”), so what are you left with? Thinking software soul and implementing hardware brain. And frankly, if I were the dualist you claim to be, I would indeed have thought that a piece of God’s consciousness would do the thinking both inside and outside the brain, instead of depending on the brain to think and then not depending on the brain to think.

DAVID: I'm not ignoring complexification. You propose frustrated attempts at thought forced a new brain size to accommodate that thought in earlier homos, as I interpret your theory. What we see in the only living brain we can study is a shrinking brain. No evidence of forced expansion despite enormous efforts at complex thought. Instead we see a built-in mechanism of shrinkage.

And you say you are not ignoring complexification! What we see in the living brain is complexification and limited expansion of particular areas (both in response to particular thoughts) and shrinkage over the past x thousand years. And you still refuse to tell me why you do not accept my proposed explanation for shrinkage (efficient complexification making some cells redundant). And you also refuse to tell me why the pre-sapiens brain would have expanded if it shrank. You keep saying we must base our hypotheses on what we actually know. My hypothesis that the implementation of new concepts forced changes in the pre-sapiens brain is based on the proven fact that the implementation of new concepts forces changes in the sapiens brain: complexification and in certain cases limited expansion. We have evidence that the pre-sapiens brain expanded, but there is no evidence that it shrank. Nor is there any evidence that your God expanded the hippocampus and the auditory cortex of taxi drivers and musicians BEFORE they took up their careers.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 31, 2018, 18:17 (729 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: It doesn't make sense to you because you can only visualize an unchanging soul mechanism of operation. I propose two mechanisms with the soul maintaining its unity as a personage in life and death. Otherwise we generally agree.

dhw: And I keep asking you what mechanisms of operation you are referring to, and your last reply merely repeated my own distinction between material and psychic. If the soul maintains its unity in life and death, it can only be as the thinking, feeling, remembering “personage”. Therefore the now dead material part of the dualist’s being cannot have been responsible for the processes of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. – unless it actually PRODUCED the immaterial part, which somehow forms an entity that survives (just as the image survives the “death” of the materials that produced it). My proposal supports your materialistic contention that the soul cannot think without the brain, but it does not support the illogical claim that the soul is a separate entity (a “piece of God’s consciousness”) inserted into the brain, unable to think without the brain, and yet able to think when there is no brain. But of course it does depend on the brain to provide information and to implement its thoughts.

You have to remember my thinking that the Biblical assertion that we are made in God's image is a guide to a conclusion. My insistence that we recognize the role of consciousness in basic energy particle quantum mechanics adds up to the fact that I see a universal consciousness as the basis of the existence of the universe. You doubt all of this but that is your role as an agnostic with an aversion to anything not proven.


dhw: You are not thinking clearly about the whole purpose of your dualist’s analogy, which is to indicate the dual composition of the living being: mind and body. You agree that it is the software that does the thinking (“I did not say BOTH think”), so what are you left with? Thinking software soul and implementing hardware brain. And frankly, if I were the dualist you claim to be, I would indeed have thought that a piece of God’s consciousness would do the thinking both inside and outside the brain, instead of depending on the brain to think and then not depending on the brain to think.

In my view software has to use hardware to produce its thought, as occurs in life. In afterlife there is no hardware, so the software (soul) is somehow able to do it on its own. I also have noted that afterlife is primarily observation and telepathy for discussion implying a simpler underlying mechanism of operation. New concepts occur in life, not death


DAVID: I'm not ignoring complexification. You propose frustrated attempts at thought forced a new brain size to accommodate that thought in earlier homos, as I interpret your theory. What we see in the only living brain we can study is a shrinking brain. No evidence of forced expansion despite enormous efforts at complex thought. Instead we see a built-in mechanism of shrinkage.

dhw: And you say you are not ignoring complexification! What we see in the living brain is complexification and limited expansion of particular areas (both in response to particular thoughts) and shrinkage over the past x thousand years. And you still refuse to tell me why you do not accept my proposed explanation for shrinkage (efficient complexification making some cells redundant).

No refusal. I fully agree with you that sapiens brain is 150 cc smaller from new complexity.

dhw: And you also refuse to tell me why the pre-sapiens brain would have expanded if it shrank.

God did it. No refusal! God speciates. Natural evolutionary theory does NOT explain speciation

dhw: You keep saying we must base our hypotheses on what we actually know. My hypothesis that the implementation of new concepts forced changes in the pre-sapiens brain is based on the proven fact that the implementation of new concepts forces changes in the sapiens brain: complexification and in certain cases limited expansion. We have evidence that the pre-sapiens brain expanded, but there is no evidence that it shrank. Nor is there any evidence that your God expanded the hippocampus and the auditory cortex of taxi drivers and musicians BEFORE they took up their careers.

All we don't know is how the brain naturally jumped from 400 cc to 1,200 cc in several jumps over 3-4 million years. You are looking for some logical explanation. All I see is God.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Friday, June 01, 2018, 07:53 (729 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You have to remember my thinking that the Biblical assertion that we are made in God's image is a guide to a conclusion. My insistence that we recognize the role of consciousness in basic energy particle quantum mechanics adds up to the fact that I see a universal consciousness as the basis of the existence of the universe. You doubt all of this but that is your role as an agnostic with an aversion to anything not proven.

As an agnostic, I accept the possibility that your God exists, and if he does, then of course he must be the basis of the universe. What I object to is the illogicality of arguments such as your belief that a piece of God’s consciousness is incapable of thought without a brain until there is no brain. The illogicality has nothing to do with my agnosticism or with the impossibility of proof.

dhw: You are not thinking clearly about the whole purpose of your dualist’s analogy, which is to indicate the dual composition of the living being: mind and body. You agree that it is the software that does the thinking (“I did not say BOTH think”), so what are you left with? Thinking software soul and implementing hardware brain.

DAVID: In my view software has to use hardware to produce its thought, as occurs in life.

Another of your obfuscations. By “produce” do you mean that the software soul is unable to think, or is unable to express/implement its thoughts without the hardware brain?

DAVID: In afterlife there is no hardware, so the software (soul) is somehow able to do it on its own. I also have noted that afterlife is primarily observation and telepathy for discussion implying a simpler underlying mechanism of operation.

Unable to do what – think, or express itself? If it’s the latter, you are again repeating what I keep saying: the difference between the dualist’s soul in life and in death is that it must have different means of observing/expressing itself. Its function – as you keep agreeing – remains the same: it is the thinking, feeling, remembering self (as opposed to the information-gathering, expressing and implementing self) which it was in life.

DAVID: New concepts occur in life, not death.

How do you know? If an atheist (Eben Alexander?) thinks he’s in heaven, and has a whole new world opened up to him, do you think he’s incapable of thinking new thoughts at the time?

DAVID: What we see in the only living brain we can study is a shrinking brain. No evidence of forced expansion despite enormous efforts at complex thought. Instead we see a built-in mechanism of shrinkage.

dhw: […] What we see in the living brain is complexification and limited expansion of particular areas (both in response to particular thoughts) and shrinkage over the past x thousand years. And you still refuse to tell me why you do not accept my proposed explanation for shrinkage (efficient complexification making some cells redundant).

DAVID: No refusal. I fully agree with you that sapiens brain is 150 cc smaller from new complexity.

Thank you. Then perhaps you will stop telling me that the only brain response to new thoughts is shrinkage.

dhw: And you also refuse to tell me why the pre-sapiens brain would have expanded if it shrank.
DAVID: God did it. No refusal! God speciates. Natural evolutionary theory does NOT explain speciation.

We are talking about brain expansion! Your argument was that new thought shrank the brain. My argument is that new thought changes the brain – by complexification and limited enlargement (shrinkage being a consequence of complexification, as you now acknowledge). The pre-sapiens brain expanded. Shrinkage is irrelevant, and it is perfectly logical to suppose that if implementation of thought changes the brain now, it would have done so then.

DAVID: All we don't know is how the brain naturally jumped from 400 cc to 1,200 cc in several jumps over 3-4 million years. You are looking for some logical explanation. All I see is God.

Of course I am looking for a logical explanation, and the one I am offering does not in any way exclude your God. What it does exclude is the illogicality I keep complaining about, as repeated at the beginning of this post.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, June 01, 2018, 14:41 (728 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Friday, June 01, 2018, 15:01

As an agnostic, I accept the possibility that your God exists, and if he does, then of course he must be the basis of the universe. What I object to is the illogicality of arguments such as your belief that a piece of God’s consciousness is incapable of thought without a brain until there is no brain. The illogicality has nothing to do with my agnosticism or with the impossibility of proof.

Not illogical to me. In life the soul must work with the brain circuits to produce thought we recognize within ourselves.


DAVID: In my view software has to use hardware to produce its thought, as occurs in life.

dhw: Another of your obfuscations. By “produce” do you mean that the software soul is unable to think, or is unable to express/implement its thoughts without the hardware brain?

Why do you approach the living soul as separate from the living you? The living you produces thoughts through your living brain. When the soul reaches death it carries all of the recorded past with it.


DAVID: In afterlife there is no hardware, so the software (soul) is somehow able to do it on its own. I also have noted that afterlife is primarily observation and telepathy for discussion implying a simpler underlying mechanism of operation.

dhw:Unable to do what – think, or express itself? If it’s the latter, you are again repeating what I keep saying: the difference between the dualist’s soul in life and in death is that it must have different means of observing/expressing itself. Its function – as you keep agreeing – remains the same: it is the thinking, feeling, remembering self (as opposed to the information-gathering, expressing and implementing self) which it was in life.

No it is not the same. In death it only remembers, observes and discusses.


DAVID: New concepts occur in life, not death.

How do you know? If an atheist (Eben Alexander?) thinks he’s in heaven, and has a whole new world opened up to him, do you think he’s incapable of thinking new thoughts at the time?

His book simply shows he brought back his memories of what he saw.


DAVID: No refusal. I fully agree with you that sapiens brain is 150 cc smaller from new complexity.

dhw: Thank you. Then perhaps you will stop telling me that the only brain response to new thoughts is shrinkage.

It shrank due to massive new usage!

dhw: We are talking about brain expansion! Your argument was that new thought shrank the brain. My argument is that new thought changes the brain – by complexification and limited enlargement (shrinkage being a consequence of complexification, as you now acknowledge).

We both know that heavy use of the brain shrinks it and we also know there are areas within the shrinkage of local enlargement with special use. What is your problem? See this article on varying size and areas of usage:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2170532-people-with-big-brains-have-a-different-br...

"Analysing these, they found that some particular areas expanded more than others in people who had an overall larger brain size. These regions seem to be involved in integrating information from across the brain, he says.

"These expanded areas are the same regions that have grown relatively larger throughout our evolution, and they continue to grow in our early lives, becoming relatively larger in adult brains than they are in child brains."

dhw: The pre-sapiens brain expanded. Shrinkage is irrelevant, and it is perfectly logical to suppose that if implementation of thought changes the brain now, it would have done so then.

Which means shrinkage back then was possible.


DAVID: All we don't know is how the brain naturally jumped from 400 cc to 1,200 cc in several jumps over 3-4 million years. You are looking for some logical explanation. All I see is God.

dhw: Of course I am looking for a logical explanation, and the one I am offering does not in any way exclude your God. What it does exclude is the illogicality I keep complaining about, as repeated at the beginning of this post.

The illogical approach you have is viewing your soul as separate from the living you.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Saturday, June 02, 2018, 08:40 (728 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: As an agnostic, I accept the possibility that your God exists, and if he does, then of course he must be the basis of the universe. What I object to is the illogicality of arguments such as your belief that a piece of God’s consciousness is incapable of thought without a brain until there is no brain. The illogicality has nothing to do with my agnosticism or with the impossibility of proof.

DAVID: Not illogical to me. In life the soul must work with the brain circuits to produce thought we recognize within ourselves.

But you believe that in death the same soul doesn’t need the brain circuits to produce thought we recognize. Or do you believe you will be a zombie in the afterlife, unable to think? (See below regarding the word "produce".)

DAVID: Why do you approach the living soul as separate from the living you?

When did I ever say it was separate? That is your idea, when you claim that it is a piece of God’s consciousness which lives in the brain and consciously says goodbye to the brain when the brain dies. I keep trying to explain that the dualistic self you claim to believe in has TWO parts, and that is why it is called DUALISM: one part is the soul and one part is the brain/body, and in life they work together performing different FUNCTIONS (not the same as separation). But then, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, the same thinking, feeling, remembering soul of you the dualist separates from the brain.

DAVID: The living you produces thoughts through your living brain. When the soul reaches death it carries all of the recorded past with it.

In dualism the “living you” is a combination of mind/soul and body. You have not explained what you mean by “produce”. If the soul produces thoughts through the brain, do you mean the soul does the thinking, and the brain does the expressing/implementing? Or do you – with your Alice in Wonderland logic - mean the same soul can only have memories, feelings and the ability to think so long as it is in the brain, except that it has memories, feelings and the ability to think when it is not within the brain?

DAVID: No it is not the same. In death it only remembers, observes and discusses.

I’m amazed that you should think that the soul in death can discuss things without being able to think, and can observe things without having any feelings about them. Especially when you keep agreeing that the soul in life is the same “personage” as the soul in death. How can you be the same personage if you can’t think or feel?

DAVID: I fully agree with you that sapiens brain is 150 cc smaller from new complexity.

dhw: Thank you. Then perhaps you will stop telling me that the only brain response to new thoughts is shrinkage.

DAVID: We both know that heavy use of the brain shrinks it and we also know there are areas within the shrinkage of local enlargement with special use. What is your problem?

That is precisely my question to you. The quotes you have given us confirm what I keep telling you: that particular areas expand. You have agreed that shrinkage is the result of complexification over thousands and thousands of years. It is irrelevant to the question of why pre-sapiens’ brain EXPANDED, and the only evidence we have is that parts of the brain are known to expand BECAUSE of new usage – not in anticipation of new usage. The latter is your argument when you say God had to expand the brain to enable pre-sapiens to have new thoughts.

DAVID: All we don't know is how the brain naturally jumped from 400 cc to 1,200 cc in several jumps over 3-4 million years. You are looking for some logical explanation. All I see is God.

dhw: Of course I am looking for a logical explanation, and the one I am offering does not in any way exclude your God. What it does exclude is the illogicality I keep complaining about, as repeated at the beginning of this post.

DAVID: The illogical approach you have is viewing your soul as separate from the living you.

Separation is dealt with above. The real irony in your remark is that my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE offers you complete unity of brain and soul, and you don’t like it because it opposes your idea of a SEPARATE soul (piece of God’s consciousness) that pops in and then out of the brain, although it is NOT separate because it can’t think without the brain, except that it IS separate because it CAN think without the brain.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 02, 2018, 15:07 (727 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Why do you approach the living soul as separate from the living you?

dhw: When did I ever say it was separate? That is your idea, when you claim that it is a piece of God’s consciousness which lives in the brain and consciously says goodbye to the brain when the brain dies. I keep trying to explain that the dualistic self you claim to believe in has TWO parts, and that is why it is called DUALISM: one part is the soul and one part is the brain/body, and in life they work together performing different FUNCTIONS (not the same as separation). But then, as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing, the same thinking, feeling, remembering soul of you the dualist separates from the brain.

I view dualism as different than your view. First dualism is immaterial soul and material brain to which it is totally bonded in life. Then life and death are two different states in which the soul exists, another form of dualism, and it probably has different mechanism to adopt to the different existences it is in. Your separatism is in stating the soul seems to sit off in mid-air and fires thoughts at the brain which it then accepts, when it is obvious the soul is working with the brain's circuits. I/soul can only communicate by using the brain circuits. Do your thoughts pop into your brain as a total surprise? Mine don't.


DAVID: The living you produces thoughts through your living brain. When the soul reaches death it carries all of the recorded past with it.

dhw: In dualism the “living you” is a combination of mind/soul and body. You have not explained what you mean by “produce”. If the soul produces thoughts through the brain, do you mean the soul does the thinking, and the brain does the expressing/implementing? Or do you – with your Alice in Wonderland logic - mean the same soul can only have memories, feelings and the ability to think so long as it is in the brain, except that it has memories, feelings and the ability to think when it is not within the brain?

It is more 'Through the Looking Glass' to use Louis Carroll. I see me and my soul looks back. I am my soul. Are you sure yours isn't floating away somewhere. I see full attachment. I don't think you realize how you try to keep brain and soul separate.


DAVID: No it is not the same. In death it only remembers, observes and discusses.

dhw: I’m amazed that you should think that the soul in death can discuss things without being able to think, and can observe things without having any feelings about them. Especially when you keep agreeing that the soul in life is the same “personage” as the soul in death. How can you be the same personage if you can’t think or feel?

Of course the soul thinks. Can you discuss without thought? I can't.


dhw: Of course I am looking for a logical explanation, and the one I am offering does not in any way exclude your God. What it does exclude is the illogicality I keep complaining about, as repeated at the beginning of this post.

DAVID: The illogical approach you have is viewing your soul as separate from the living you.

dhw: Separation is dealt with above. The real irony in your remark is that my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE offers you complete unity of brain and soul, and you don’t like it because it opposes your idea of a SEPARATE soul (piece of God’s consciousness) that pops in and then out of the brain, although it is NOT separate because it can’t think without the brain, except that it IS separate because it CAN think without the brain.

I am not discussing 'separate' as the difference between life and death for the soul. You still don't understand how you deliberately look at the soul as a separate mechanism dictating to a brain, and I know I create the structure of my personage/soul from birth by working through my brain which is the only way I can reach my living soul. Please study the implications of that sentence. You created you. How?

I assume/know parts of the soul's software is no longer required in the afterlife: no more structural change of personality. It is fixed. It observes the living, comments by telepathy, and is most likely relaxed and benign in thought about everything, especially the foolishness of humans struggling in life. My core memories and beliefs are retained. There should be no changes, no new concepts as none are required. Perhaps afterlife is boring.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 02, 2018, 15:35 (727 days ago) @ David Turell

As usual science repeats. Andrew Newberg, M.D. covered this years ago in two books:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180601170056.htm

"Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.

Activity in the parietal cortex, an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as attention processing, seems to be a common element among individuals who have experienced a variety of spiritual experiences, according to a study published online May 29 in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

"'Spiritual experiences are robust states that may have profound impacts on people's lives," said Marc Potenza, professor of psychiatry, of the Yale Child Study Center, and of neuroscience. "Understanding the neural bases of spiritual experiences may help us better understand their roles in resilience and recovery from mental health and addictive disorders."

"Spiritual experiences can be religious in nature or not, such as feeling of oneness in nature or the absence of self during sporting events. Researchers at Yale and the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University interviewed 27 young adults to gather information about past stressful and relaxing experiences as well as their spiritual experiences. The subjects then underwent fMRI scans while listening for the first time to recordings based on their personalized experiences. While individual spiritual experiences differed, researchers noted similar patterns of activity in the parietal cortex as the subjects imagined experiencing the events in the recordings.

"Potenza stressed other brain areas are probably also involved in formation of spiritual experiences."

Comment: As usual the brain compartmentalizes thought.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 09:32 (727 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.
Activity in the parietal cortex, an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as attention processing, seems to be a common element among individuals who have experienced a variety of spiritual experiences
[…]

Fits in neatly with my materialistic proposal that the cell communities between them also create something greater than themselves, which we might call the (dualistic) “soul” and which might possibly link up with other consciousnesses, possibly including a God.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 15:19 (726 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.
Activity in the parietal cortex, an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as attention processing, seems to be a common element among individuals who have experienced a variety of spiritual experiences
[…]

dhw: Fits in neatly with my materialistic proposal that the cell communities between them also create something greater than themselves, which we might call the (dualistic) “soul” and which might possibly link up with other consciousnesses, possibly including a God.

You are describing an 'emergent' consciousness, which means the immaterial somehow appears from the material. That's the HARD PROBLEM no one can solve. What 'other consciousnesses' are you referring to in linking? I'm not linked to yours. I can only assume you have one.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Monday, June 04, 2018, 13:01 (726 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.
Activity in the parietal cortex, an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as attention processing, seems to be a common element among individuals who have experienced a variety of spiritual experiences […]

dhw: Fits in neatly with my materialistic proposal that the cell communities between them also create something greater than themselves, which we might call the (dualistic) “soul” and which might possibly link up with other consciousnesses, possibly including a God.

DAVID: You are describing an 'emergent' consciousness, which means the immaterial somehow appears from the material. That's the HARD PROBLEM no one can solve.

That is exactly what the materialistic part of my proposal describes, but I am not pretending it solves the “HARD PROBLEM”. I offer it as a reconciliation between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: What 'other consciousnesses' are you referring to in linking? I'm not linked to yours. I can only assume you have one.

The whole of evolution involves the linking up of cell communities, and if these cell communities are intelligent and together create new organs and organisms, they link their conscious intelligences together. My hypothesis does not exclude Sheldrake’s morphic resonance, in which a kind of generic consciousness emerges from that of individuals, and it does not exclude the possibility that there is a universal consciousness (which you call God) to which ours may be linked.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Monday, June 04, 2018, 14:07 (726 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Yale scientists have identified a possible neurobiological home for the spiritual experience -- the sense of connection to something greater than oneself.
Activity in the parietal cortex, an area of the brain involved in awareness of self and others as well as attention processing, seems to be a common element among individuals who have experienced a variety of spiritual experiences […]

dhw: Fits in neatly with my materialistic proposal that the cell communities between them also create something greater than themselves, which we might call the (dualistic) “soul” and which might possibly link up with other consciousnesses, possibly including a God.

DAVID: You are describing an 'emergent' consciousness, which means the immaterial somehow appears from the material. That's the HARD PROBLEM no one can solve.

That is exactly what the materialistic part of my proposal describes, but I am not pretending it solves the “HARD PROBLEM”. I offer it as a reconciliation between materialism and dualism.

I don't think it works.


DAVID: What 'other consciousnesses' are you referring to in linking? I'm not linked to yours. I can only assume you have one.

dhw: The whole of evolution involves the linking up of cell communities, and if these cell communities are intelligent and together create new organs and organisms, they link their conscious intelligences together. My hypothesis does not exclude Sheldrake’s morphic resonance, in which a kind of generic consciousness emerges from that of individuals, and it does not exclude the possibility that there is a universal consciousness (which you call God) to which ours may be linked.

If the cells are intelligent is just as possible that they were designed to contain intelligent information.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Tuesday, June 05, 2018, 12:36 (725 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are describing an 'emergent' consciousness, which means the immaterial somehow appears from the material. That's the HARD PROBLEM no one can solve.

dhw: That is exactly what the materialistic part of my proposal describes, but I am not pretending it solves the “HARD PROBLEM”. I offer it as a reconciliation between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: I don't think it works.

It might be helpful if you would tell me WHY you think it doesn’t work.

DAVID: What 'other consciousnesses' are you referring to in linking? I'm not linked to yours. I can only assume you have one.

dhw: The whole of evolution involves the linking up of cell communities, and if these cell communities are intelligent and together create new organs and organisms, they link their conscious intelligences together. My hypothesis does not exclude Sheldrake’s morphic resonance, in which a kind of generic consciousness emerges from that of individuals, and it does not exclude the possibility that there is a universal consciousness (which you call God) to which ours may be linked.

DAVID: If the cells are intelligent is just as possible that they were designed to contain intelligent information.

What does “intelligent information” mean? It sounds impressively scientific, but as an explanation for evolution, what you offer us is computer programmes designed by your God 3.8 billion years ago, to be passed down for billions of organisms to switch on at certain times in order to create every evolutionary innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. That doesn’t sound quite so impressively scientific to me.

Under “broken feathers”:
DAVID: Why ask for cell cooperation than simply doing it yourself, which is probably God's view since He is in charge.

dhw: Cell cooperation is essential to all forms of life. If you think billions of computer programmes and personal interventions for each form of cooperation are simpler than a single invention, then so be it.

DAVID: Of course cell communities are designed to work together as they evolve.

So how does that make billions of computer programmes and personal interventions simpler than the single invention I call cellular intelligence?

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 05, 2018, 14:34 (725 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are describing an 'emergent' consciousness, which means the immaterial somehow appears from the material. That's the HARD PROBLEM no one can solve.

dhw: That is exactly what the materialistic part of my proposal describes, but I am not pretending it solves the “HARD PROBLEM”. I offer it as a reconciliation between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: I don't think it works.

dhw: It might be helpful if you would tell me WHY you think it doesn’t work.

Because it is pure materialism. I don't see a neutral position between materialism and dualism.

DAVID: If the cells are intelligent is just as possible that they were designed to contain intelligent information.

dhw: What does “intelligent information” mean? It sounds impressively scientific, but as an explanation for evolution, what you offer us is computer programmes designed by your God 3.8 billion years ago, to be passed down for billions of organisms to switch on at certain times in order to create every evolutionary innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the history of life. That doesn’t sound quite so impressively scientific to me.

I constantly present articles that show how information is carried in biochemical processes of life. You had no response to Sunday's: Sunday, June 03, 2018, 20:41 on non-DNA info and how it is carried in the embryo's cells. Were you not impressed by it? These articles are scientifically impressive to me.


Under “broken feathers”:
DAVID: Why ask for cell cooperation than simply doing it yourself, which is probably God's view since He is in charge.

dhw: Cell cooperation is essential to all forms of life. If you think billions of computer programmes and personal interventions for each form of cooperation are simpler than a single invention, then so be it.

DAVID: Of course cell communities are designed to work together as they evolve.

dhw: So how does that make billions of computer programmes and personal interventions simpler than the single invention I call cellular intelligence?

I've shown you in the Sunday article how information is passed in cells.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 13:03 (724 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are describing an 'emergent' consciousness, which means the immaterial somehow appears from the material. That's the HARD PROBLEM no one can solve.
dhw: That is exactly what the materialistic part of my proposal describes, but I am not pretending it solves the “HARD PROBLEM”. I offer it as a reconciliation between materialism and dualism.
DAVID: I don't think it works.
dhw: It might be helpful if you would tell me WHY you think it doesn’t work.
DAVID: Because it is pure materialism. I don't see a neutral position between materialism and dualism.

It is not a neutral position but an attempt to show that the two positions do not have to oppose each other (= a reconciliation). It also removes the general association of materialism with atheism. This is clear if we take a theistic standpoint and propose that instead of your God inserting his consciousness into our brain, he invented a material mechanism that produces an immaterial soul, or consciousness like his own (much as humans are trying to do in their experiments with AI). My theory allows for (but does not champion – the theory remains neutral at this level) the independent existence of a non-material world. The frustrating thing about your opposition is that this idea removes the illogicality of your belief that the soul can’t think without the brain except when there is no brain!

However, this is best understood through my post of 5 January at 17.33 (under "Reconciling..") to which I referred quite specifically in my "theory". I have summarized it during our discussions, but will reproduce it now as a separate appendix.

DAVID: If the cells are intelligent is just as possible that they were designed to contain intelligent information.
dhw: What does “intelligent information” mean? It sounds impressively scientific, but as an explanation for evolution, what you offer us is computer programmes designed by your God 3.8 billion years ago [see below]. That doesn’t sound quite so impressively scientific to me.
DAVID: I constantly present articles that show how information is carried in biochemical processes of life. You had no response to Sunday's: Sunday, June 03, 2018, 20:41 on non-DNA info and how it is carried in the embryo's cells. Were you not impressed by it? These articles are scientifically impressive to me.

Of course information is carried in biochemical processes and the articles are scientifically impressive. Our human intelligence also conveys information through biochemical processes, but you do not hesitate to maintain that it is autonomous (free will). The question is not whether organisms carry and use information, but whether the billions of innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders are the product of their own autonomous intelligence or of billions of detailed computer programmes (“intelligent information”) planted 3.8 billion years ago in the first living cells or supplemented by direct divine dabbling. You have told us these are the two methods your God has used to control evolution, and I cannot see how you could consider them simpler than the invention of a single mechanism as the source of these products.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens/appendix

by dhw, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 13:08 (724 days ago) @ dhw

This is the post that attempts a reconciliation between materialism and dualism, and is integral to my “Theory of Intelligence”:

This [the reconciliation] entails synthesizing some of the theories we’ve been discussing, but my starting point is very different from all of them. I pointed out in the “brief guide” that someone on a planet billions of miles away with a powerful enough telescope would be able to view the crucifixion. Light is energy, and theoretically the visual image generated by a material event goes on for ever. The source is material (the actual crucifixion), but the image in the form of energy is not. It survives the death of the material source.

If we take this as an analogy, we can argue that although the material brain may be the source of the consciousness which contains all our non-material attributes – our thoughts, emotions, memories etc. – these are also a form of energy, or in other words the “image” produced by the materials is not material.

This ties in with two of the ideas we have already discussed: emergence, as the process whereby the property of the whole cannot be explained by the properties of its parts, and Sheldrake’s morphic field, which I take to mean all the attributes and information that comprise the identity of the individual. Once we think of consciousness in terms of energy produced by materials, and we link it to the analogy of the image produced by light, it seems to me that we have a reconciliation between materialism (materials are the source of consciousness) and dualism (the energy exists independently of the source).

We now come onto the subject of the “immortal soul”. My crucifixion analogy is limited because it is fixed, whereas consciousness is not. It continues to absorb and produce information so long as it exists, and this is where my hypothesis, Penrose’s and Sheldrake’s run into the same difficulty. My “energy”, Penrose’s “quantum information”, and Sheldrake’s “morphic field” are all immaterial products of the material being, and they may survive the death of the individual body in the sense that their already formed information can be accessed by others (like the image of the crucifixion). But that does not necessarily mean that the immaterial information/ energy/ morphic field is capable of undergoing any change once its source is extinguished. Penrose agrees with Hameroff that consciousness is “merely information stored at a quantum level”. But consciousness is not information; consciousness is awareness of information. It contains information – all the information that makes us what we are – but even if we can argue that the information itself may last for ever, the extra dimension of the conscious “I” which is aware of and uses the information cannot be explained as itself BEING information. To go back to my crucifixion image: the being with the telescope could theoretically observe every incident of my whole life, and if he was telepathic he could theoretically read every thought I ever had: all that information lives on. But it can’t go beyond what has already taken place.

I am making two points here. One, that materialism and dualism are not incompatible. But two, we are no nearer to solving the question of whether there is such a thing as a consciousness which can live on as a functioning, communicating, observing “I” after the death of its material source. That would require the purest possible form of dualism, with consciousness preceding materials – a concept that lies at the very heart of most religions and inevitably leads to God. I am not arguing against it, or against the possibility of an immortal, observing and thinking soul, as seems to be suggested by NDEs. I am simply saying that none of the hypotheses (quantum information, morphic field, everlasting energy) are of any help in settling the issue, and I would suggest that science is incapable of doing so, since it is restricted to a materialist approach to the whole subject. That’s why I like Penrose’s caution: “It’s possible,..can exist…perhaps indefinitely, as a soul” We shall just have to wait and see – or not see!

BACK TO THE PRESENT: The only thing I would add to this is that it would explain a number of psychic events that relate to the past: ghosts, déjà vu etc. But it would not, of course, explain those relating to the future or the unknown present (e.g. NDEs in which patients are given information they could not have known).

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens/appendix

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 19:03 (723 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: This is the post that attempts a reconciliation between materialism and dualism, and is integral to my “Theory of Intelligence”:

This [the reconciliation] entails synthesizing some of the theories we’ve been discussing, but my starting point is very different from all of them. I pointed out in the “brief guide” that someone on a planet billions of miles away with a powerful enough telescope would be able to view the crucifixion. Light is energy, and theoretically the visual image generated by a material event goes on for ever. The source is material (the actual crucifixion), but the image in the form of energy is not. It survives the death of the material source.

Problem: there is no image until a consciousness sees it. It is all a potential image before that, photons which carry information.


dhw: If we take this as an analogy, we can argue that although the material brain may be the source of the consciousness which contains all our non-material attributes – our thoughts, emotions, memories etc. – these are also a form of energy, or in other words the “image” produced by the materials is not material.

This ties in with two of the ideas we have already discussed: emergence, as the process whereby the property of the whole cannot be explained by the properties of its parts, and Sheldrake’s morphic field, which I take to mean all the attributes and information that comprise the identity of the individual. Once we think of consciousness in terms of energy produced by materials, and we link it to the analogy of the image produced by light, it seems to me that we have a reconciliation between materialism (materials are the source of consciousness) and dualism (the energy exists independently of the source).

The energy of the brain which allows us to see the image is ions generated by the brain. No dualism in your statement. I view dualism as requiring a separate consciousness mechanism which is malleable and operates by a different form in life and death.


dhw: We now come onto the subject of the “immortal soul”. My crucifixion analogy is limited because it is fixed, whereas consciousness is not. It continues to absorb and produce information so long as it exists, and this is where my hypothesis, Penrose’s and Sheldrake’s run into the same difficulty. My “energy”, Penrose’s “quantum information”, and Sheldrake’s “morphic field” are all immaterial products of the material being, and they may survive the death of the individual body in the sense that their already formed information can be accessed by others (like the image of the crucifixion). But that does not necessarily mean that the immaterial information/ energy/ morphic field is capable of undergoing any change once its source is extinguished.

But you don't know that. The soul appears to be active, operative, in NDE's when informtion is added.

dhw: I am making two points here. One, that materialism and dualism are not incompatible. But two, we are no nearer to solving the question of whether there is such a thing as a consciousness which can live on as a functioning, communicating, observing “I” after the death of its material source. That would require the purest possible form of dualism, with consciousness preceding materials – a concept that lies at the very heart of most religions and inevitably leads to God. I am not arguing against it, or against the possibility of an immortal, observing and thinking soul, as seems to be suggested by NDEs. I am simply saying that none of the hypotheses (quantum information, morphic field, everlasting energy) are of any help in settling the issue, and I would suggest that science is incapable of doing so, since it is restricted to a materialist approach to the whole subject. That’s why I like Penrose’s caution: “It’s possible,..can exist…perhaps indefinitely, as a soul” We shall just have to wait and see – or not see!

Agreed.


dhw: BACK TO THE PRESENT: The only thing I would add to this is that it would explain a number of psychic events that relate to the past: ghosts, déjà vu etc. But it would not, of course, explain those relating to the future or the unknown present (e.g. NDEs in which patients are given information they could not have known).

It is clear, NDE's present known information from the past, which might be moments old, not the future.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens/appendix

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 19:06 (723 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: This is the post that attempts a reconciliation between materialism and dualism, and is integral to my “Theory of Intelligence”:

This [the reconciliation] entails synthesizing some of the theories we’ve been discussing, but my starting point is very different from all of them. I pointed out in the “brief guide” that someone on a planet billions of miles away with a powerful enough telescope would be able to view the crucifixion. Light is energy, and theoretically the visual image generated by a material event goes on for ever. The source is material (the actual crucifixion), but the image in the form of energy is not. It survives the death of the material source.


Problem: there is no image until a consciousness sees it. It is all a potential image before that, photons which carry information.


dhw: If we take this as an analogy, we can argue that although the material brain may be the source of the consciousness which contains all our non-material attributes – our thoughts, emotions, memories etc. – these are also a form of energy, or in other words the “image” produced by the materials is not material.

This ties in with two of the ideas we have already discussed: emergence, as the process whereby the property of the whole cannot be explained by the properties of its parts, and Sheldrake’s morphic field, which I take to mean all the attributes and information that comprise the identity of the individual. Once we think of consciousness in terms of energy produced by materials, and we link it to the analogy of the image produced by light, it seems to me that we have a reconciliation between materialism (materials are the source of consciousness) and dualism (the energy exists independently of the source).


The energy of the brain which allows us to see the image is ions generated by the brain. No dualism in your statement. I view dualism as requiring a separate consciousness mechanism which is malleable and operates by a different form in life and death. You keep mixing up content of soul which adds new info until death and how the soul might operate the same or differently in life and death. Differently is highly possible.


dhw: We now come onto the subject of the “immortal soul”. My crucifixion analogy is limited because it is fixed, whereas consciousness is not. It continues to absorb and produce information so long as it exists, and this is where my hypothesis, Penrose’s and Sheldrake’s run into the same difficulty. My “energy”, Penrose’s “quantum information”, and Sheldrake’s “morphic field” are all immaterial products of the material being, and they may survive the death of the individual body in the sense that their already formed information can be accessed by others (like the image of the crucifixion). But that does not necessarily mean that the immaterial information/ energy/ morphic field is capable of undergoing any change once its source is extinguished.


But you don't know that. The soul appears to be active, operative, in NDE's when informtion is added.

dhw: I am making two points here. One, that materialism and dualism are not incompatible. But two, we are no nearer to solving the question of whether there is such a thing as a consciousness which can live on as a functioning, communicating, observing “I” after the death of its material source. That would require the purest possible form of dualism, with consciousness preceding materials – a concept that lies at the very heart of most religions and inevitably leads to God. I am not arguing against it, or against the possibility of an immortal, observing and thinking soul, as seems to be suggested by NDEs. I am simply saying that none of the hypotheses (quantum information, morphic field, everlasting energy) are of any help in settling the issue, and I would suggest that science is incapable of doing so, since it is restricted to a materialist approach to the whole subject. That’s why I like Penrose’s caution: “It’s possible,..can exist…perhaps indefinitely, as a soul” We shall just have to wait and see – or not see!


Agreed.


dhw: BACK TO THE PRESENT: The only thing I would add to this is that it would explain a number of psychic events that relate to the past: ghosts, déjà vu etc. But it would not, of course, explain those relating to the future or the unknown present (e.g. NDEs in which patients are given information they could not have known).


It is clear, NDE's present known information from the past, which might be moments old, not the future.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 15:13 (723 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: It might be helpful if you would tell me WHY you think it doesn’t work.
DAVID: Because it is pure materialism. I don't see a neutral position between materialism and dualism.

dhw: It is not a neutral position but an attempt to show that the two positions do not have to oppose each other (= a reconciliation). It also removes the general association of materialism with atheism. This is clear if we take a theistic standpoint and propose that instead of your God inserting his consciousness into our brain, he invented a material mechanism that produces an immaterial soul, or consciousness like his own (much as humans are trying to do in their experiments with AI).

Your idea asks God to make the brain more complex than it is, by having it invent its own soul by some on-board process. Isn't it easier for God just to gift some of His consciousness?

dhw: My theory allows for (but does not champion – the theory remains neutral at this level) the independent existence of a non-material world. The frustrating thing about your opposition is that this idea removes the illogicality of your belief that the soul can’t think without the brain except when there is no brain!

If the soul exists is two realms why can't it have a different mode of function in both? You still describe a static or rigid soul.

DAVID: I constantly present articles that show how information is carried in biochemical processes of life. You had no response to Sunday's: Sunday, June 03, 2018, 20:41 on non-DNA info and how it is carried in the embryo's cells. Were you not impressed by it? These articles are scientifically impressive to me.

dhw: Of course information is carried in biochemical processes and the articles are scientifically impressive. Our human intelligence also conveys information through biochemical processes, but you do not hesitate to maintain that it is autonomous (free will).

Because I use those mechanisms to create original thought.

dhw: The question is not whether organisms carry and use information, but whether the billions of innovations, lifestyles and natural wonders are the product of their own autonomous intelligence or of billions of detailed computer programmes (“intelligent information”) planted 3.8 billion years ago in the first living cells or supplemented by direct divine dabbling. You have told us these are the two methods your God has used to control evolution, and I cannot see how you could consider them simpler than the invention of a single mechanism as the source of these products.

Your 'autonomous intelligence' is just as nebulous a concept as your view of my faith that God supplies the intelligent information is nebulous. Both of your feet are in midair split by the fence you sit on. You have invented auto-intel as your God.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Thursday, June 07, 2018, 13:33 (723 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: It might be helpful if you would tell me WHY you think it doesn’t work.
DAVID: Because it is pure materialism. I don't see a neutral position between materialism and dualism.
dhw: It is not a neutral position but an attempt to show that the two positions do not have to oppose each other (= a reconciliation). It also removes the general association of materialism with atheism. This is clear if we take a theistic standpoint and propose that instead of your God inserting his consciousness into our brain, he invented a material mechanism that produces an immaterial soul, or consciousness like his own (much as humans are trying to do in their experiments with AI).
DAVID: Your idea asks God to make the brain more complex than it is, by having it invent its own soul by some on-board process. Isn't it easier for God just to gift some of His consciousness?

Why “more complex”? Even in your hypothesis, the soul lives in the brain, and consciousness and thought therefore emerge from the brain. So how do you know what the brain “as it is” is capable of? What does “gift” actually mean? Do you think your God spends his time popping into every womb (human and animal) inserting a bit of his immaterial consciousness into the brain of the foetus? Please give us details of how you think your God presents his “gift” if not through the materials of genetics. Or does he do it by some unknown “on-board process”?

DAVID: If the soul exists in two realms why can't it have a different mode of function in both? You still describe a static or rigid soul.

See “Introducing the brain”.

dhw: Of course information is carried in biochemical processes and the articles are scientifically impressive. Our human intelligence also conveys information through biochemical processes, but you do not hesitate to maintain that it is autonomous (free will).
DAVID: Because I use those mechanisms to create original thought.

If an animal, bird, insect or bacterium can solve problems, some of us would say that proves they can think. The fact that they and we convey or implement thoughts by biochemical processes does not prove that they and we are incapable of thought.

DAVID: Your 'autonomous intelligence' is just as nebulous a concept as your view of my faith that God supplies the intelligent information is nebulous. Both of your feet are in midair split by the fence you sit on. You have invented auto-intel as your God.

There is nothing nebulous about either concept. Mine is that organisms can think for themselves (though not at the human level of intelligence), and yours is that every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder was preprogrammed 3.8 billion years ago (though you prefer to dress this up as “supplying intelligent information”), or directly dabbled by a universal intelligence you call God. I have not invented auto-intel as my God! Do you regard your own auto-intel (free will) as your God? I even recognize the possibility that your God may have been the inventor of “auto-intel”.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 07, 2018, 15:19 (722 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your idea asks God to make the brain more complex than it is, by having it invent its own soul by some on-board process. Isn't it easier for God just to gift some of His consciousness?

dhw: Please give us details of how you think your God presents his “gift” if not through the materials of genetics. Or does he do it by some unknown “on-board process”?

If God's consciousness pervades the universe, (like your panpsychism) the human baby picks consciousness up from the universal consciousness as its complex frontal cortex develops, which fits the development of consciousness, just as babies have been shown in studies.


dhw: Of course information is carried in biochemical processes and the articles are scientifically impressive. Our human intelligence also conveys information through biochemical processes, but you do not hesitate to maintain that it is autonomous (free will).
DAVID: Because I use those mechanisms to create original thought.

dhw: If an animal, bird, insect or bacterium can solve problems, some of us would say that proves they can think. The fact that they and we convey or implement thoughts by biochemical processes does not prove that they and we are incapable of thought.

Of course animals think and initiate their thoughts.


DAVID: Your 'autonomous intelligence' is just as nebulous a concept as your view of my faith that God supplies the intelligent information is nebulous. Both of your feet are in midair split by the fence you sit on. You have invented auto-intel as your God.

dhw: I have not invented auto-intel as my God! Do you regard your own auto-intel (free will) as your God? I even recognize the possibility that your God may have been the inventor of “auto-intel”.

How do you explain the appearance 'autonomous intelligence' appearing in an inorganic universe? How do you explain life appearing? There must be an initiating force to create them.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Friday, June 08, 2018, 12:56 (722 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your idea asks God to make the brain more complex than it is, by having it invent its own soul by some on-board process. Isn't it easier for God just to gift some of His consciousness?

dhw: Please give us details of how you think your God presents his “gift” if not through the materials of genetics. Or does he do it by some unknown “on-board process”?

DAVID: If God's consciousness pervades the universe, (like your panpsychism) the human baby picks consciousness up from the universal consciousness as its complex frontal cortex develops, which fits the development of consciousness, just as babies have been shown in studies.

If the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, that “fits” the theory that the brain is the source of consciousness. Your version of “picking it up” makes it sound as if the frontal cortex becomes conscious of consciousness!

dhw: If an animal, bird, insect or bacterium can solve problems, some of us would say that proves they can think. The fact that they and we convey or implement thoughts by biochemical processes does not prove that they and we are incapable of thought.

DAVID: Of course animals think and initiate their thoughts.

You will have noted that I also included birds, insects and bacteria. Do baby animals, birds and insects (we’ll leave out bacteria for now) also pick up your God’s consciousness as their brains develop? I take consciousness to be a state of awareness – the ability to perceive and to think. It has no content of its own until there is something for it to be aware of, but I’m sure you will agree that the degree of awareness is variable between species and even between individuals. If the degree of awareness depends on the development of the brain (enhanced in humans), it follows the same pattern as mobility depending on the development of the limbs (enhanced in cheetahs), or the sense of smell depending on the number of olfactory receptors (enhanced in dogs). With my theist hat on, I can’t help feeling that if your God designed materials to generate all the other attributes that we associate with the different species, it would also "fit the theory" if he designed materials that enable them all to “think and initiate thoughts” rather than engage in some nebulous process of “picking up” the ability from the universe.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Friday, June 08, 2018, 17:53 (721 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: If God's consciousness pervades the universe, (like your panpsychism) the human baby picks consciousness up from the universal consciousness as its complex frontal cortex develops, which fits the development of consciousness, just as babies have been shown in studies.[/i]

dhw:If the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, that “fits” the theory that the brain is the source of consciousness. Your version of “picking it up” makes it sound as if the frontal cortex becomes conscious of consciousness!

I state like most others that animals are conscious, but don't have consciousness, aware that they are aware in simple terms. Your 'consciousness' is too broad. A complex frontal lobe is capable of receiving consciousness is all I've proposed.


DAVID: Of course animals think and initiate their thoughts.

dhw: With my theist hat on, I can’t help feeling that if your God designed materials to generate all the other attributes that we associate with the different species, it would also "fit the theory" if he designed materials that enable them all to “think and initiate thoughts” rather than engage in some nebulous process of “picking up” the ability from the universe.

Does your woolly theist hat recognize the universe is conscious? you are back to pure materialism for consciousness.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Saturday, June 09, 2018, 10:34 (721 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: If God's consciousness pervades the universe, (like your panpsychism) the human baby picks consciousness up from the universal consciousness as its complex frontal cortex develops, which fits the development of consciousness, just as babies have been shown in studies.

dhw:If the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, that “fits” the theory that the brain is the source of consciousness. Your version of “picking it up” makes it sound as if the frontal cortex becomes conscious of consciousness!

DAVID: I state like most others that animals are conscious, but don't have consciousness, aware that they are aware in simple terms. Your 'consciousness' is too broad. A complex frontal lobe is capable of receiving consciousness is all I've proposed.

I have specified elsewhere that there are degrees of consciousness, and human self-awareness is the highest degree known to us. Are you now claiming that only humans “pick up” your God’s consciousness, whereas animal/bird/insect consciousness is the product of their brains. (Actually, I thought you shared the Jewish belief that animals have souls.) Your comment does not change the fact that if the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, this fits in perfectly with the theory that the frontal cortex is the source of consciousness.

DAVID: Of course animals think and initiate their thoughts.

dhw: With my theist hat on, I can’t help feeling that if your God designed materials to generate all the other attributes that we associate with the different species, it would also "fit the theory" if he designed materials that enable them all to “think and initiate thoughts” rather than engage in some nebulous process of “picking up” the ability from the universe.

DAVID: Does your woolly theist hat recognize the universe is conscious? you are back to pure materialism for consciousness.

If I wear my theist’s hat, of course that entails a universal consciousness. And I then propose that your God assembled the materials that produced consciousness. If I wear my atheist hat, I will propose that chance or bottom-up panpsychism assembled the materials. And I will find all three proposals beyond my personal credulity. That makes no difference whatsoever to the theory. I keep emphasizing that the reconciliation between materialism and dualism lies (theistic version) in your God creating consciousness out of materials, and consciousness as a form of energy surviving independently of its source, just as images survive their sources. Whether this “soul” continues to think etc. after death is a matter of faith. You keep picking on ONE aspect of my “theory” and totally ignoring the rest.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 09, 2018, 15:06 (720 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I state like most others that animals are conscious, but don't have consciousness, aware that they are aware in simple terms. Your 'consciousness' is too broad. A complex frontal lobe is capable of receiving consciousness is all I've proposed.

dhw: I have specified elsewhere that there are degrees of consciousness, and human self-awareness is the highest degree known to us. Are you now claiming that only humans “pick up” your God’s consciousness, whereas animal/bird/insect consciousness is the product of their brains. (Actually, I thought you shared the Jewish belief that animals have souls.) Your comment does not change the fact that if the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, this fits in perfectly with the theory that the frontal cortex is the source of consciousness.

I have never agreed that animals/bird/insects have consciousness. They are conscious. I still think that the Jewish view of an animal soul is correct. But the animal soul is only conscious. A very complex frontal lobe can receive a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness.

DAVID: Does your woolly theist hat recognize the universe is conscious? you are back to pure materialism for consciousness.

dhw: If I wear my theist’s hat, of course that entails a universal consciousness. And I then propose that your God assembled the materials that produced consciousness. If I wear my atheist hat, I will propose that chance or bottom-up panpsychism assembled the materials. And I will find all three proposals beyond my personal credulity. That makes no difference whatsoever to the theory. I keep emphasizing that the reconciliation between materialism and dualism lies (theistic version) in your God creating consciousness out of materials, and consciousness as a form of energy surviving independently of its source, just as images survive their sources. Whether this “soul” continues to think etc. after death is a matter of faith. You keep picking on ONE aspect of my “theory” and totally ignoring the rest.

I realize you know all the theories while accepting none.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Sunday, June 10, 2018, 10:52 (720 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I state like most others that animals are conscious, but don't have consciousness, aware that they are aware in simple terms. Your 'consciousness' is too broad. A complex frontal lobe is capable of receiving consciousness is all I've proposed.

dhw: I have specified elsewhere that there are degrees of consciousness, and human self-awareness is the highest degree known to us. Are you now claiming that only humans “pick up” your God’s consciousness, whereas animal/bird/insect consciousness is the product of their brains. (Actually, I thought you shared the Jewish belief that animals have souls.) Your comment does not change the fact that if the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, this fits in perfectly with the theory that the frontal cortex is the source of consciousness.

DAVID: I have never agreed that animals/bird/insects have consciousness. They are conscious. I still think that the Jewish view of an animal soul is correct. But the animal soul is only conscious. A very complex frontal lobe can receive a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness.

I’m afraid I cannot see any distinction between having consciousness and being conscious. As I said above, there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness. If you think consciousness stems from God, and you accept that animals are conscious, then presumably even a very simple complex frontal lobe can also receive “a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness”. But what exactly IS a mechanism for consciousness? A mechanism is a structure or system that performs a particular function. So you might just as well say your God provided organisms with a system or structure which performs the function of producing consciousness, and the name of the structure is “brain”.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 10, 2018, 18:22 (719 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I state like most others that animals are conscious, but don't have consciousness, aware that they are aware in simple terms. Your 'consciousness' is too broad. A complex frontal lobe is capable of receiving consciousness is all I've proposed.

dhw: I have specified elsewhere that there are degrees of consciousness, and human self-awareness is the highest degree known to us. Are you now claiming that only humans “pick up” your God’s consciousness, whereas animal/bird/insect consciousness is the product of their brains. (Actually, I thought you shared the Jewish belief that animals have souls.) Your comment does not change the fact that if the development of consciousness depends on the development of the frontal cortex, this fits in perfectly with the theory that the frontal cortex is the source of consciousness.

DAVID: I have never agreed that animals/bird/insects have consciousness. They are conscious. I still think that the Jewish view of an animal soul is correct. But the animal soul is only conscious. A very complex frontal lobe can receive a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness.

dhw: I’m afraid I cannot see any distinction between having consciousness and being conscious. As I said above, there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness. If you think consciousness stems from God, and you accept that animals are conscious, then presumably even a very simple complex frontal lobe can also receive “a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness”. But what exactly IS a mechanism for consciousness? A mechanism is a structure or system that performs a particular function. So you might just as well say your God provided organisms with a system or structure which performs the function of producing consciousness, and the name of the structure is “brain”.

No animal has the ability to develop the concept of self-awareness. They may look in a mirror and recognize themselves, but have no concept of self. We disagree on the definition of 'consciousness' and it is an important disagreement. Animals are conscious, no more than that, and it requires a brain to have that much awareness.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Monday, June 11, 2018, 10:06 (719 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have never agreed that animals/bird/insects have consciousness. They are conscious. I still think that the Jewish view of an animal soul is correct. But the animal soul is only conscious. A very complex frontal lobe can receive a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness.

dhw: I’m afraid I cannot see any distinction between having consciousness and being conscious. As I said above, there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness. If you think consciousness stems from God, and you accept that animals are conscious, then presumably even a very simple complex frontal lobe can also receive “a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness”. But what exactly IS a mechanism for consciousness? A mechanism is a structure or system that performs a particular function. So you might just as well say your God provided organisms with a system or structure which performs the function of producing consciousness, and the name of the structure is “brain”.

DAVID: No animal has the ability to develop the concept of self-awareness. They may look in a mirror and recognize themselves, but have no concept of self. We disagree on the definition of 'consciousness' and it is an important disagreement. Animals are conscious, no more than that, and it requires a brain to have that much awareness.

I did not say that animals were self-aware. I said “there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness.” Since you agree that animals are conscious (able to perceive and think, but in their case not to the degree of self-awareness), there is no disagreement between us on the definition of consciousness. You have not explained the difference between being conscious and having consciousness, and since animals have brains, I presume you believe that they too must have received their “mechanism for consciousness” from your God. But you have not explained what you mean by a “mechanism for consciousness”, which I have suggested might be called “brain”. You have ignored my post and set up a straw man of your own invention. Ts ts!:-(

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Monday, June 11, 2018, 15:43 (718 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: I have never agreed that animals/bird/insects have consciousness. They are conscious. I still think that the Jewish view of an animal soul is correct. But the animal soul is only conscious. A very complex frontal lobe can receive a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness.

dhw: I’m afraid I cannot see any distinction between having consciousness and being conscious. As I said above, there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness. If you think consciousness stems from God, and you accept that animals are conscious, then presumably even a very simple complex frontal lobe can also receive “a mechanism for consciousness from the universal consciousness”. But what exactly IS a mechanism for consciousness? A mechanism is a structure or system that performs a particular function. So you might just as well say your God provided organisms with a system or structure which performs the function of producing consciousness, and the name of the structure is “brain”.

DAVID: No animal has the ability to develop the concept of self-awareness. They may look in a mirror and recognize themselves, but have no concept of self. We disagree on the definition of 'consciousness' and it is an important disagreement. Animals are conscious, no more than that, and it requires a brain to have that much awareness.

dhw: I did not say that animals were self-aware. I said “there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness.” Since you agree that animals are conscious (able to perceive and think, but in their case not to the degree of self-awareness), there is no disagreement between us on the definition of consciousness. You have not explained the difference between being conscious and having consciousness, and since animals have brains, I presume you believe that they too must have received their “mechanism for consciousness” from your God. But you have not explained what you mean by a “mechanism for consciousness”, which I have suggested might be called “brain”. You have ignored my post and set up a straw man of your own invention. Ts ts!:-(

From my theory about universal consciousness, I can accept your comment: all brains receive a conscious state related to the universal consciousness. I have said the mechanism is at a quantum level in its organization and uses the brain for thought and in humans for introspection at a higher level of function.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 12:25 (718 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: No animal has the ability to develop the concept of self-awareness. They may look in a mirror and recognize themselves, but have no concept of self. We disagree on the definition of 'consciousness' and it is an important disagreement. Animals are conscious, no more than that, and it requires a brain to have that much awareness.

dhw: I did not say that animals were self-aware. I said “there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness.” Since you agree that animals are conscious (able to perceive and think, but in their case not to the degree of self-awareness), there is no disagreement between us on the definition of consciousness. You have not explained the difference between being conscious and having consciousness, and since animals have brains, I presume you believe that they too must have received their “mechanism for consciousness” from your God. But you have not explained what you mean by a “mechanism for consciousness”, which I have suggested might be called “brain”. You have ignored my post and set up a straw man of your own invention. Ts ts! :-(

DAVID: From my theory about universal consciousness, I can accept your comment: all brains receive a conscious state related to the universal consciousness.

That is not my comment. A mechanism is not a state but, as I said earlier, a structure or system that performs a particular function, and my proposal is that the “mechanism for consciousness” is a structure that GENERATES (not receives) consciousness and is called a brain.

DAVID: I have said the mechanism is at a quantum level in its organization and uses the brain for thought and in humans for introspection at a higher level of function.

Since neither you nor I nor anyone else has a clue about organization “at a quantum level”, the phrase really isn’t very helpful. You keep saying that the soul or “separate consciousness mechanism” uses the brain for thought. So yet again: Does this mean that in dualism the separate mechanism cannot think without the brain (although it does when there is no brain), or does it mean that in life it processes the information provided by the brain, and uses the brain to express/implement its thoughts? In the past, you have sometimes said it’s the latter, but you change from day to day. What is today’s answer?

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 17:53 (717 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I did not say that animals were self-aware. I said “there are degrees of consciousness, ranging from rudimentary to human self-awareness.” Since you agree that animals are conscious (able to perceive and think, but in their case not to the degree of self-awareness), there is no disagreement between us on the definition of consciousness. You have not explained the difference between being conscious and having consciousness, and since animals have brains, I presume you believe that they too must have received their “mechanism for consciousness” from your God. But you have not explained what you mean by a “mechanism for consciousness”, which I have suggested might be called “brain”. You have ignored my post and set up a straw man of your own invention. Ts ts! :-(

DAVID: From my theory about universal consciousness, I can accept your comment: all brains receive a conscious state related to the universal consciousness.

dhw: That is not my comment. A mechanism is not a state but, as I said earlier, a structure or system that performs a particular function, and my proposal is that the “mechanism for consciousness” is a structure that GENERATES (not receives) consciousness and is called a brain.

I modified your concept to fit my theory. Your statement above is pure materialism. I theorize that consciousness has an inherent mechanism all its own that can use the brain for thought in life or think without it in death.


DAVID: I have said the mechanism is at a quantum level in its organization and uses the brain for thought and in humans for introspection at a higher level of function.

dhw: Since neither you nor I nor anyone else has a clue about organization “at a quantum level”, the phrase really isn’t very helpful. You keep saying that the soul or “separate consciousness mechanism” uses the brain for thought. So yet again: Does this mean that in dualism the separate mechanism cannot think without the brain (although it does when there is no brain), or does it mean that in life it processes the information provided by the brain, and uses the brain to express/implement its thoughts? In the past, you have sometimes said it’s the latter, but you change from day to day. What is today’s answer?

The answer never changes despite your efforts to reinterpret me from day to day. the soul uses the brain in life for receiving info and giving instructions and uses the brain networks to generate thought. It operates on its own in the afterlife because it has more than one method of operation at its disposal.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 12:28 (717 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: That is not my comment. A mechanism is not a state but, as I said earlier, a structure or system that performs a particular function, and my proposal is that the “mechanism for consciousness” is a structure that GENERATES (not receives) consciousness and is called a brain.

DAVID: I modified your concept to fit my theory. Your statement above is pure materialism. I theorize that consciousness has an inherent mechanism all its own that can use the brain for thought in life or think without it in death.

Of course it is materialism. You have to read the rest of the theory to understand how it can be reconciled to dualism. “Use the brain for thought” is the obfuscation which I keep objecting to and which you keep repeating.

dhw: Does this mean that in dualism the separate mechanism cannot think without the brain (although it does when there is no brain), or does it mean that in life it processes the information provided by the brain, and uses the brain to express/implement its thoughts? In the past, you have sometimes said it’s the latter, but you change from day to day. What is today’s answer?

DAVID: The answer never changes despite your efforts to reinterpret me from day to day. the soul uses the brain in life for receiving info and giving instructions and uses the brain networks to generate thought. It operates on its own in the afterlife because it has more than one method of operation at its disposal.

“Uses the brain networks to generate thought” is the same slippery wording that I keep trying to grasp. Of course in dualistic interaction it uses the brain networks to provide and express what it thinks about, but if the soul is a “SEPARATE CONSCIOUSNESS MECHANISM” (your expression), what is its function in the relationship between soul and brain if it is not to do the thinking, i.e. to process the information provided, to work out its responses, and to pass on its instructions to the brain/body? As regards “methods of operation”, we have agreed that these refer to the means used by the SAME separate conscious mechanism to observe and communicate. See also “Introducing the brain”.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 15:25 (716 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: That is not my comment. A mechanism is not a state but, as I said earlier, a structure or system that performs a particular function, and my proposal is that the “mechanism for consciousness” is a structure that GENERATES (not receives) consciousness and is called a brain.

DAVID: I modified your concept to fit my theory. Your statement above is pure materialism. I theorize that consciousness has an inherent mechanism all its own that can use the brain for thought in life or think without it in death.

dhw: Of course it is materialism. You have to read the rest of the theory to understand how it can be reconciled to dualism. “Use the brain for thought” is the obfuscation which I keep objecting to and which you keep repeating.

dhw: Does this mean that in dualism the separate mechanism cannot think without the brain (although it does when there is no brain), or does it mean that in life it processes the information provided by the brain, and uses the brain to express/implement its thoughts? In the past, you have sometimes said it’s the latter, but you change from day to day. What is today’s answer?

DAVID: The answer never changes despite your efforts to reinterpret me from day to day. the soul uses the brain in life for receiving info and giving instructions and uses the brain networks to generate thought. It operates on its own in the afterlife because it has more than one method of operation at its disposal.

dhw: “Uses the brain networks to generate thought” is the same slippery wording that I keep trying to grasp. Of course in dualistic interaction it uses the brain networks to provide and express what it thinks about, but if the soul is a “SEPARATE CONSCIOUSNESS MECHANISM” (your expression), what is its function in the relationship between soul and brain if it is not to do the thinking, i.e. to process the information provided, to work out its responses, and to pass on its instructions to the brain/body? As regards “methods of operation”, we have agreed that these refer to the means used by the SAME separate conscious mechanism to observe and communicate. See also “Introducing the brain”.

If you keep in mind the software/hardware analogy you should not be confused. Both are required to operate the computer. I view the soul as software using the brain to create thought. I view me sitting at my computer to produce written thought in the same way as I visualize me using my brain to create thought. I hope your use of the word "obfuscation" does not imply that I am trying to confuse you.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Thursday, June 14, 2018, 18:25 (715 days ago) @ David Turell

I am combining this thread with “Introducing the brain”, as we continue to go round in the same circles. I shall cherry pick quotes in order to avoid excessive repetition. When we talk of “consciousness”, I equate the term with the ability to perceive and think, but not with human self-awareness. On Sunday 10 June I summarized my understanding of dualism as follows:

dhw: Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

DAVID: I can accept this.

However, in your very next post you took back your acceptance and wrote that the only thing you accepted was “operates by a different form”. And yet on 9 June, under “A THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE”, you wrote a precise repetition of the description you keep accepting and then rejecting [my comments in square brackets]: “The soul receives observations, sensations, facts [= information supplied by the brain]; it then must analyze and order responses [= the soul does the thinking]. This is the thinking part of the process in life which uses the brain circuits [uses the brain circuits for what, if the soul does the analyzing and orders the responses? It uses the brain circuits to provide the information and to carry out its instructions.] In death the soul does all of that without the brain circuits.”
Exactly. We have agreed over and over again that in death it must change its manner of observing and communicating, but if this “separate consciousness mechanism” (soul) now does its analyzing and responding (= thinking) without the brain circuits, and its “soul personality structure remains the same” (your words), what else changes? Why does anything else NEED to change, if the soul is already a “separate consciousness structure” which in both worlds uses and processes the information provided?

DAVID: In my theory the soul is an immaterial software working with the brain as hardware. I'm stating two parts, a true dualism.

Yes indeed: two separate entities working together, the immaterial software soul providing the programmes/thoughts and the material hardware brain implementing them. And in your latest post you offer a new analogy, which also illustrates precisely the description of dualism I have outlined above:

DAVID: […] I view me sitting at my computer to produce written thought in the same way as I visualize me using my brain to create thought. […]

This time you (= your soul) think the thoughts, and you (your soul) use your computer (your brain) to produce the WRITTEN thought, i.e. to give material expression to your thoughts. You do not use the computer to “create” your thoughts – you use it to write them down.

DAVID: I keep saying the soul has the ability to change its functional mechanism between life and death. It requires/uses the brain in life to generate thought, but works on its own in death.

So when you sit at the computer to write down your thoughts, you (your soul) has not yet generated any thoughts for the computer to write down. Your soul (you) “uses the computer to generate” the thoughts. And your soul (you) is only able to generate its own thoughts when you haven’t got a computer. I'll let you into a secret: I really and truly believe, David, that you are able to generate thoughts without a computer. And I'll go even further. If there's an afterlife, I reckon it'll be the same immaterial "you" thinking, remembering, feeling etc. as the immaterial "you" in life. No new "separate consciousness mechanism" required.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 14, 2018, 20:42 (715 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: On Sunday 10 June I summarized my understanding of dualism as follows:

dhw: Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

DAVID: I can accept this.

What I accepted is primarily in bold. You have stated that 'the brain implements' but you don't interpret that as I do. My implementation involves the soul interlocked with the brain to produce new thought. In death you state the soul uses 'a different form' to express...thoughts'. But you don't mean what I mean.

dhw: Exactly. We have agreed over and over again that in death it must change its manner of observing and communicating, but if this “separate consciousness mechanism” (soul) now does its analyzing and responding (= thinking) without the brain circuits, and its “soul personality structure remains the same” (your words), what else changes? Why does anything else NEED to change, if the soul is already a “separate consciousness structure” which in both worlds uses and processes the information provided?

Because the living brain is run by me, and we know where, if not how, thought is manufactured, it seems obvious to me a soul interlocked with brain circuits, then uses those circuits to initiate/produce thought. since it can't do that in death it changes its mechanism to operate a a solo thought processor.


DAVID: In my theory the soul is an immaterial software working with the brain as hardware. I'm stating two parts, a true dualism.

Yes indeed: two separate entities working together, the immaterial software soul providing the programmes/thoughts and the material hardware brain implementing them. And in your latest post you offer a new analogy, which also illustrates precisely the description of dualism I have outlined above:

DAVID: […] I view me sitting at my computer to produce written thought in the same way as I visualize me using my brain to create thought. […]

dhw This time you (= your soul) think the thoughts, and you (your soul) use your computer (your brain) to produce the WRITTEN thought, i.e. to give material expression to your thoughts. You do not use the computer to “create” your thoughts – you use it to write them down.

It is just the same as me using my brain to produce thought which I 'hear' in my head.


DAVID: I keep saying the soul has the ability to change its functional mechanism between life and death. It requires/uses the brain in life to generate thought, but works on its own in death.

dhw: So when you sit at the computer to write down your thoughts, you (your soul) has not yet generated any thoughts for the computer to write down. Your soul (you) “uses the computer to generate” the thoughts.

In material form!!! But my soul has to use my brain to direct my fingers to respond appropriately as the thoughts in my brain appear!! Stop twisting the discussion.

dhw: And your soul (you) is only able to generate its own thoughts when you haven’t got a computer. I'll let you into a secret: I really and truly believe, David, that you are able to generate thoughts without a computer.

Silliness!!

dhw: And I'll go even further. If there's an afterlife, I reckon it'll be the same immaterial "you" thinking, remembering, feeling etc. as the immaterial "you" in life. No new "separate consciousness mechanism" required.

How do you know that so assuredly when we do not know how consciousness arises? Especially when you state taht without a brain the soul must operate by a different mechanism.

Introducing the brain: where consciousness happens

by David Turell @, Thursday, June 14, 2018, 21:45 (715 days ago) @ David Turell

An intimate look in epileptic brains where consciousness happens:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180613113751.htm

"A new Tel Aviv University study takes researchers a step closer to solving this mystery. The study, drawn from data collected by electrodes implanted in patients with epilepsy, identifies and measures the neural activity associated with a new conscious experience.

***

"Because the conscious experience is private and inaccessible to observers, it is mostly studied in people who are capable of reporting their subjective experiences. Moreover, researchers are often limited to indirect measures of brain activity, such as EEG and fMRI. Here, the researchers took advantage of a unique medical opportunity: the surgical implantation of electrodes in the brains of patients with epilepsy to determine the precise areas responsible for their seizures. Patients were monitored for a week or two, until enough data on their seizures had been collected. During this time, the implanted electrodes recorded the activity of individual neurons in their vicinity.

"The researchers presented two different images to the patient, one to each eye, to probe the moment in which a new experience arises. For example: An image of a house was presented to the right eye and an image of a face to the left eye. In this situation, known as "binocular rivalry," the brain cannot combine the two images. Instead, the subject sees either the house or the face, and this alternates irregularly every few seconds. These alternations happened involuntarily, while the physical stimulus remained constant. This allowed researchers to isolate brain activity related to the change in perception and differentiate it from brain activity related to the physical stimulus.

"The scientists discovered that the activity in frontal lobe neurons changed almost two seconds before the patient reported an alternation in perception, and that the neuronal activity in the medial temporal lobe changed one second before a report.

"'Two seconds is a long time in terms of neural activity," Dr. Gelbard-Sagiv said. "We believe that the activity of these neurons not only correlates with perception, but also may take part in the process that leads to the emergence of a conscious percept."

"'The study captures individual cells in the human brain just before one conscious experience is replaced by another," Prof. Fried said. "It is a unique privilege to gain such a rare glimpse into human consciousness. "

Comment: The long delay in time indicates to me other parts of the brain got into the action to produce he conscious experience.

Introducing the brain: where consciousness happens

by dhw, Saturday, June 16, 2018, 11:29 (714 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: The long delay in time indicates to me other parts of the brain got into the action to produce the conscious experience.

Thank you. Again this suggests to me that consciousness is the product of the different cell communities working together, pooling their different intelligences, much as ant communities produce a collective consciousness/intelligence that far exceeds that of the individual ant.

Introducing the brain: where consciousness happens

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 16, 2018, 15:01 (713 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: The long delay in time indicates to me other parts of the brain got into the action to produce the conscious experience.

dhw: Thank you. Again this suggests to me that consciousness is the product of the different cell communities working together, pooling their different intelligences, much as ant communities produce a collective consciousness/intelligence that far exceeds that of the individual ant.

Your comments are pure materialism. My meaning is the soul uses more than the frontal cortex.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Saturday, June 16, 2018, 11:25 (714 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

DAVID: What I accepted is primarily in bold. You have stated that 'the brain implements' but you don't interpret that as I do. My implementation involves the soul interlocked with the brain to produce new thought. In death you state the soul uses 'a different form' to express...thoughts'. But you don't mean what I mean.

Thinking of something and implementing the thought are two different things! The concept of the spear is the immaterial thought, and the material production of the spear is the implementation of the immaterial thought. See your own finger image below for an equally vivid example. You agree above that the same SEPARATE consciousness mechanism which creates thought in life continues to create thought in death. So how can it be a SEPARATE consciousness mechanism if it isn’t able to think on its own? Yes, the SEPARATE conscious mechanism is interlocked with the brain in life to express and implement thought materially, but if it survives death, it must observe and communicate by different (psychic) methods. If I don’t mean what you mean by a different form, we are left with the following question:
dhw: […] what else changes? Why does anything else NEED to change, if the soul is already a “separate consciousness structure” which in both worlds uses and processes the information provided?

DAVID: Because the living brain is run by me, and we know where, if not how, thought is manufactured, it seems obvious to me a soul interlocked with brain circuits, then uses those circuits to initiate/produce thought. since it can't do that in death it changes its mechanism to operate a a solo thought processor.

Back you go to separating “me” from your soul! Your soul IS you. That is the identity supposed by dualists to survive the death of the body. If it does, I have agreed that it is housed in the body/brain, and of course they interlock. But if the soul, a SEPARATE consciousness mechanism, does the analyzing and the responding in life, as you made clear on 9 June, and if the same SEPARATE consciousness mechanism – the thinking, remembering, feeling soul – lives on in death, what other role does the brain play in “generating” the thoughts for which it has provided information and which it implements under the soul's directions as illustrated by your finger image below?

DAVID: […] I view me sitting at my computer to produce written thought in the same way as I visualize me using my brain to create thought. […]

dhw This time you (= your soul) think the thoughts, and you (your soul) use your computer (your brain) to produce the WRITTEN thought, i.e. to give material expression to your thoughts. You do not use the computer to “create” your thoughts – you use it to write them down.

DAVID: It is just the same as me using my brain to produce thought which I 'hear' in my head.

Once more: you ARE your soul. And you use your brain/computer to give material expression to your thoughts, as you explain below with three exclamation marks:
dhw: So when you sit at the computer to write down your thoughts, you (your soul) has not yet generated any thoughts for the computer to write down. Your soul (you) “uses the computer to generate” the thoughts.

DAVID: In material form!!! But my soul has to use my brain to direct my fingers to respond appropriately as the thoughts in my brain appear!! […]

Precisely! Your soul uses your brain to give material form (implementation/expression) to the thoughts provided by the soul, which is housed in the brain. (What do you think the soul is doing, if the thoughts only “appear”?) You keep confirming my description of dualism, which you then keep rejecting.

dhw: And I'll go even further. If there's an afterlife, I reckon it'll be the same immaterial "you" thinking, remembering, feeling etc. as the immaterial "you" in life. No new "separate consciousness mechanism" required.

DAVID: How do you know that so assuredly when we do not know how consciousness arises? Especially when you state taht without a brain the soul must operate by a different mechanism.

I don’t “know” or believe any of this. I am simply trying to explain what dualism means and entails. And I keep emphasizing that the “different mechanism” is that of observation and communication, because if the dualist’s “separate consciousness mechanism” or soul survives the death of the brain, clearly both processes will have to be psychic since there are no material means of observing and communicating. But the same SEPARATE consciousness mechanism will continue to analyze and respond etc. as it did in life, and as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 16, 2018, 14:59 (713 days ago) @ dhw

dhw:... If I don’t mean what you mean by a different form, we are left with the following question:
dhw: […] what else changes? Why does anything else NEED to change, if the soul is already a “separate consciousness structure” which in both worlds uses and processes the information provided?

DAVID: Because the living brain is run by me, and we know where, if not how, thought is manufactured, it seems obvious to me a soul interlocked with brain circuits, then uses those circuits to initiate/produce thought. since it can't do that in death it changes its mechanism to operate a a solo thought processor.

dhw: Back you go to separating “me” from your soul! Your soul IS you. That is the identity supposed by dualists to survive the death of the body.

But that does not have to mean the soul uses the same mechanism to think in life and in death. I/soul use my brain to think in life, but have no brain in death, therefore the soul produces thought in death by a different mechanism. The soul/software in life changes to a hardened form in death, acting as both hardware and software. I have maintained this point always.

DAVID: It is just the same as me using my brain to produce thought which I 'hear' in my head.

dhw: Once more: you ARE your soul. And you use your brain/computer to give material expression to your thoughts, as you explain below with three exclamation marks:
dhw: So when you sit at the computer to write down your thoughts, you (your soul) has not yet generated any thoughts for the computer to write down. Your soul (you) “uses the computer to generate” the thoughts.

DAVID: In material form!!! But my soul has to use my brain to direct my fingers to respond appropriately as the thoughts in my brain appear!! […]

dhw: Precisely! Your soul uses your brain to give material form (implementation/expression) to the thoughts provided by the soul, which is housed in the brain. (What do you think the soul is doing, if the thoughts only “appear”?) You keep confirming my description of dualism, which you then keep rejecting.

Your words about the soul are interpreted differently by you and me. We are taking at each other. My point from above won't change:

"But that does not have to mean the soul uses the same mechanism to think in life and in death. I/soul use my brain to think in life, but have no brain in death, therefore the soul produces thought in death by a different mechanism. The soul/software in life changes to a hardened form in death, acting as both hardware and software. I have maintained this point always."


DAVID: How do you know that so assuredly when we do not know how consciousness arises? Especially when you state that without a brain the soul must operate by a different mechanism.

dhw: I don’t “know” or believe any of this. I am simply trying to explain what dualism means and entails. And I keep emphasizing that the “different mechanism” is that of observation and communication, because if the dualist’s “separate consciousness mechanism” or soul survives the death of the brain, clearly both processes will have to be psychic since there are no material means of observing and communicating. But the same SEPARATE consciousness mechanism will continue to analyze and respond etc. as it did in life, and as you keep agreeing and then disagreeing.

My answer is above, twice.

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by dhw, Sunday, June 17, 2018, 12:14 (713 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] what else changes? Why does anything else NEED to change, if the soul is already a “separate consciousness structure” which in both worlds uses and processes the information provided?

DAVID: Because the living brain is run by me, and we know where, if not how, thought is manufactured, it seems obvious to me a soul interlocked with brain circuits, then uses those circuits to initiate/produce thought. since it can't do that in death it changes its mechanism to operate a a solo thought processor.

dhw: Back you go to separating “me” from your soul! Your soul IS you. That is the identity supposed by dualists to survive the death of the body.

DAVID: But that does not have to mean the soul uses the same mechanism to think in life and in death. I/soul use my brain to think in life, but have no brain in death, therefore the soul produces thought in death by a different mechanism. The soul/software in life changes to a hardened form in death, acting as both hardware and software. I have maintained this point always.

Your basic premise always seems to be that in life, despite your dualism, the soul does not have the ability to THINK without the brain. If your God inserts a piece of his consciousness, or “separate consciousness mechanism” into your brain, what function does it have if not to think, to “analyze and respond” to information provided by the brain, and to give instructions to the brain to implement its thoughts (to all of which you keep agreeing)? Last Thursday again you agreed that it was the SAME separate consciousness mechanism in life and in death, but now suddenly it is different because it is “hard”! You have never before told us that the immaterial soul becomes “hardened” in death, and I have no idea what you mean. We have agreed that in death the dualist's soul must fulfil the expressing/implementing function of hardware by using psychic methods, but its software function of providing the thoughts that require expression/implementation will remain unchanged. Below is your own example of how soul and brain interact in life, and your changed and “hardened soul” (whatever it means) is totally unnecessary once you accept your own account of the interaction between soul and brain:

dhw: So when you sit at the computer to write down your thoughts, you (your soul) has not yet generated any thoughts for the computer to write down. Your soul (you) “uses the computer to generate” the thoughts.

DAVID: In material form!!! But my soul has to use my brain to direct my fingers to respond appropriately as the thoughts in my brain appear!! […]

dhw: Precisely! Your soul uses your brain to give material form (implementation/expression) to the thoughts provided by the soul, which is housed in the brain. (What do you think the soul is doing, if the thoughts only “appear”?) You keep confirming my description of dualism, which you then keep rejecting.

DAVID: Your words about the soul are interpreted differently by you and me. We are taking at each other. My point from above won't change…

Your point is that the immaterial separate consciousness mechanism, or piece of your God’s consciousness, is unable to think without the brain, and so when the brain dies the already separate mechanism or piece of God's consciousness, becomes ‘hard’ and then it can think. How about this for a hypothesis? Your piece of your God’s consciousness or “soul” or “separate consciousness mechanism” is the ABILITY TO THINK. He inserts it into the material brain, and it thinks about the information provided by the brain, instructs the brain to give its thoughts material form, and when the brain dies it returns to God complete with all the thoughts it has thought during life, and is still able to perform the same function of thinking, though it now uses immaterial (psychic) methods of observing and communicating. What objections do you have to this description of dualism, which dispenses both with a materialistic dependence on the brain for the ability to think, and with some nebulous “hardening” of the soul in death, and is completely consistent with the processes you described on 9 June and above, in which your soul uses your brain to direct your fingers to give material form to the thoughts which it (the soul) has created from inside your brain?

Introducing the brain: where the spiritual happens

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 17, 2018, 15:26 (712 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: But that does not have to mean the soul uses the same mechanism to think in life and in death. I/soul use my brain to think in life, but have no brain in death, therefore the soul produces thought in death by a different mechanism. The soul/software in life changes to a hardened form in death, acting as both hardware and software. I have maintained this point always.

dhw: Your basic premise always seems to be that in life, despite your dualism, the soul does not have the ability to THINK without the brain. If your God inserts a piece of his consciousness, or “separate consciousness mechanism” into your brain, what function does it have if not to think, to “analyze and respond” to information provided by the brain, and to give instructions to the brain to implement its thoughts (to all of which you keep agreeing)? Last Thursday again you agreed that it was the SAME separate consciousness mechanism in life and in death, but now suddenly it is different because it is “hard”! You have never before told us that the immaterial soul becomes “hardened” in death, and I have no idea what you mean.

What 'hardened' means is what was a software/hardware setup in life with soul (soft) and brain (hard) become a solo mechanism in death when the soul operates solely on its own (hardened).

dhw: We have agreed that in death the dualist's soul must fulfill the expressing/implementing function of hardware by using psychic methods, but its software function of providing the thoughts that require expression/implementation will remain unchanged.

How do you KNOW that the software in life and death MUST remain the same? It is a great example of your rigid thinking about the possible mechanisms of the soul in life and death

DAVID: In material form!!! But my soul has to use my brain to direct my fingers to respond appropriately as the thoughts in my brain appear!! […]

dhw: Precisely! Your soul uses your brain to give material form (implementation/expression) to the thoughts provided by the soul, which is housed in the brain. (What do you think the soul is doing, if the thoughts only “appear”?) You keep confirming my description of dualism, which you then keep rejecting.

DAVID: Your words about the soul are interpreted differently by you and me. We are taking at each other. My point from above won't change…

dhw: Your point is that the immaterial separate consciousness mechanism, or piece of your God’s consciousness, is unable to think without the brain, and so when the brain dies the already separate mechanism or piece of God's consciousness, becomes ‘hard’ and then it can think. How about this for a hypothesis? Your piece of your God’s consciousness or “soul” or “separate consciousness mechanism” is the ABILITY TO THINK. He inserts it into the material brain, and it thinks about the information provided by the brain, instructs the brain to give its thoughts material form, and when the brain dies it returns to God complete with all the thoughts it has thought during life, and is still able to perform the same function of thinking, though it now uses immaterial (psychic) methods of observing and communicating. What objections do you have to this description of dualism, which dispenses both with a materialistic dependence on the brain for the ability to think,

I've answered your thought that using the brain to think is materialistic. It is hardware/software, two parts which is a form of dualism. Unlock your rigid brain and really look at the possibilities for function. I recognize your rigidity is to try and defend against my theory th at bigger brains bring better artifacts by using thought more complex than before which is allowed by more complex brain circuits, a perfect explanation of the Lucy/Erectus difference in artifacts. God explains the gap in brain size. chance evolution won't.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 09:31 (727 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I view dualism as different than your view. First dualism is immaterial soul and material brain to which it is totally bonded in life. Then life and death are two different states in which the soul exists, another form of dualism, and it probably has different mechanism to adopt to the different existences it is in.

There is absolutely no difference between us here, except that there is no dualism in death! There is only soul.

DAVID: Your separatism is in stating the soul seems to sit off in mid-air and fires thoughts at the brain which it then accepts, when it is obvious the soul is working with the brain's circuits. I/soul can only communicate by using the brain circuits.

Where on earth do you get this “mid-air” from? If there is such a thing as a soul in life, it has to be within the brain/body, and I keep agreeing that the two work together. And I keep emphasizing that they have different functions, and the soul has to use the brain in order to express (communicate) its thoughts materially. You are manufacturing differences between us that simply don’t exist.

DAVID: The living you produces thoughts through your living brain.

dhw: In dualism the “living you” is a combination of mind/soul and body. You have not explained what you mean by “produce”. If the soul produces thoughts through the brain, do you mean the soul does the thinking, and the brain does the expressing/implementing? Or do you – with your Alice in Wonderland logic - mean the same soul can only have memories, feelings and the ability to think so long as it is in the brain, except that it has memories, feelings and the ability to think when it is not within the brain?

DAVID: It is more 'Through the Looking Glass' to use Louis Carroll. I see me and my soul looks back. I am my soul. Are you sure yours isn't floating away somewhere. I see full attachment. […]

Yes, you are your soul. And it is you who believe that the same soul will float away somewhere when your brain is dead.

DAVID: No it is not the same. In death it only remembers, observes and discusses.

dhw: I’m amazed that you should think that the soul in death can discuss things without being able to think, and can observe things without having any feelings about them. Especially when you keep agreeing that the soul in life is the same “personage” as the soul in death. How can you be the same personage if you can’t think or feel?

DAVID: Of course the soul thinks. Can you discuss without thought? I can't.

Thank you for repeating my own argument against your statement that it is not the same because “in death it only remembers, observes and discusses”. This whole debate revolves around your insistence that the soul depends on the brain for its ability to THINK!

dhw: The real irony in your remark is that my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE offers you complete unity of brain and soul, and you don’t like it because it opposes your idea of a SEPARATE soul (piece of God’s consciousness) that pops in and then out of the brain, although it is NOT separate because it can’t think without the brain, except that it IS separate because it CAN think without the brain.

DAVID: I am not discussing 'separate' as the difference between life and death for the soul. You still don't understand how you deliberately look at the soul as a separate mechanism dictating to a brain, and I know I create the structure of my personage/soul from birth by working through my brain which is the only way I can reach my living soul. Please study the implications of that sentence. You created you. How?

You quite rightly said above: “I am my soul”. Now you have your soul “reaching” your soul through your brain. What you are describing is the ongoing development of the thinking, feeling, remembering, communicating, discussing you (soul) through the experiences it has in the material world as it gathers information through the brain, which gives material expression and implementation to its thoughts. There is no separation between soul and brain – but the one is immaterial and the other is material. That’s dualism, and I see no disagreement between us. The disagreement arises when you insist that there is no separation between the functions of the immaterial and the material.

DAVID: I assume/know parts of the soul's software is no longer required in the afterlife: no more structural change of personality. It is fixed. It observes the living, comments by telepathy, and is most likely relaxed and benign in thought about everything, especially the foolishness of humans struggling in life. My core memories and beliefs are retained. There should be no changes, no new concepts as none are required. Perhaps afterlife is boring.

You are welcome to speculate on what happens to you in the afterlife you believe in. Our disagreement concerns the role of the brain and the soul in life. The afterlife is only relevant in so far as you believe the soul cannot think without the brain except when there is no brain for it to think with. I have offered you a solution to this conundrum.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 03, 2018, 19:09 (726 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: There is absolutely no difference between us here, except that there is no dualism in death! There is only soul.

Of course, in one of two realms the soul exists.


DAVID: Your separatism is in stating the soul seems to sit off in mid-air and fires thoughts at the brain which it then accepts, when it is obvious the soul is working with the brain's circuits. I/soul can only communicate by using the brain circuits.

dhw: Where on earth do you get this “mid-air” from? If there is such a thing as a soul in life, it has to be within the brain/body, and I keep agreeing that the two work together. And I keep emphasizing that they have different functions, and the soul has to use the brain in order to express (communicate) its thoughts materially. You are manufacturing differences between us that simply don’t exist.

We do differ. In life I think the soul uses the brain networks to think. You don't.

DAVID: I am not discussing 'separate' as the difference between life and death for the soul. You still don't understand how you deliberately look at the soul as a separate mechanism dictating to a brain, and I know I create the structure of my personage/soul from birth by working through my brain which is the only way I can reach my living soul. Please study the implications of that sentence. You created you. How?

dhw: You quite rightly said above: “I am my soul”. Now you have your soul “reaching” your soul through your brain. What you are describing is the ongoing development of the thinking, feeling, remembering, communicating, discussing you (soul) through the experiences it has in the material world as it gathers information through the brain, which gives material expression and implementation to its thoughts. There is no separation between soul and brain – but the one is immaterial and the other is material. That’s dualism, and I see no disagreement between us. The disagreement arises when you insist that there is no separation between the functions of the immaterial and the material.

We will continue to disagree. You are still separating the soul from the brain in that you are insisting the soul dictates its original thoughts to the brain.


DAVID: I assume/know parts of the soul's software is no longer required in the afterlife: no more structural change of personality. It is fixed. It observes the living, comments by telepathy, and is most likely relaxed and benign in thought about everything, especially the foolishness of humans struggling in life. My core memories and beliefs are retained. There should be no changes, no new concepts as none are required. Perhaps afterlife is boring.

dhw: You are welcome to speculate on what happens to you in the afterlife you believe in. Our disagreement concerns the role of the brain and the soul in life. The afterlife is only relevant in so far as you believe the soul cannot think without the brain except when there is no brain for it to think with. I have offered you a solution to this conundrum.

Only you have the conundrum, I don't. I see quantum soul with two modes of action in two different realms.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Monday, June 04, 2018, 13:14 (726 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] life and death are two different states in which the soul exists, another form of dualism…

dhw: There is absolutely no difference between us here, except that there is no dualism in death! There is only soul.

DAVID: Of course, in one of two realms the soul exists.

Just to clarify: according to you the soul exists in both realms. Dualism only refers to life, when the self is composed of two parts, the material body and the immaterial soul.

DAVID: Your separatism is in stating the soul seems to sit off in mid-air and fires thoughts at the brain which it then accepts, when it is obvious the soul is working with the brain's circuits. I/soul can only communicate by using the brain circuits.

dhw: Where on earth do you get this “mid-air” from? If there is such a thing as a soul in life, it has to be within the brain/body, and I keep agreeing that the two work together. And I keep emphasizing that they have different functions, and the soul has to use the brain in order to express (communicate) its thoughts materially. You are manufacturing differences between us that simply don’t exist.

DAVID: We do differ. In life I think the soul uses the brain networks to think. You don't.

First you manufacture a “mid-air” difference, and then you scurry back to the ambiguity of “uses...to think”. So let’s try to pin this difference down. I say that the dualist's soul is the thinking part of the self that uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then instructs the brain to give material expression and implementation to its thoughts through the brain’s network of connections with the rest of the body. Please tell me what you disagree with in this version of dualism. I’ll omit the following section of your post, as it revolves round the same question.

dhw: You are welcome to speculate on what happens to you in the afterlife you believe in. Our disagreement concerns the role of the brain and the soul in life. The afterlife is only relevant in so far as you believe the soul cannot think without the brain except when there is no brain for it to think with. I have offered you a solution to this conundrum.

DAVID: Only you have the conundrum, I don't. I see quantum soul with two modes of action in two different realms.

What do you mean by “action”? We have agreed that the soul (if it exists) must use different modes of observation and communication in the two different realms. Again you are manufacturing a difference between us. The conundrum you refuse to recognize is your insistence that the same soul is incapable of THINKING without the brain except when there is no brain to think with.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Monday, June 04, 2018, 23:07 (725 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Where on earth do you get this “mid-air” from? If there is such a thing as a soul in life, it has to be within the brain/body, and I keep agreeing that the two work together. And I keep emphasizing that they have different functions, and the soul has to use the brain in order to express (communicate) its thoughts materially. You are manufacturing differences between us that simply don’t exist.

DAVID: We do differ. In life I think the soul uses the brain networks to think. You don't.

dhw: First you manufacture a “mid-air” difference, and then you scurry back to the ambiguity of “uses...to think”. So let’s try to pin this difference down. I say that the dualist's soul is the thinking part of the self that uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then instructs the brain to give material expression and implementation to its thoughts through the brain’s network of connections with the rest of the body. Please tell me what you disagree with in this version of dualism. I’ll omit the following section of your post, as it revolves round the same question.

I've been quite clear in the past, as I was in the sentence that precedes your comment above. In life the soul uses the brain's networks to think. That is unchanged. In death the soul thinks on its own with a revised capability. Again the same position I keep stating. You call this incongruous because you think the soul has one static unchanging form, even though the two states of being are entirely different.

DAVID: Only you have the conundrum, I don't. I see quantum soul with two modes of action in two different realms.

dhw: What do you mean by “action”? We have agreed that the soul (if it exists) must use different modes of observation and communication in the two different realms. Again you are manufacturing a difference between us. The conundrum you refuse to recognize is your insistence that the same soul is incapable of THINKING without the brain except when there is no brain to think with.

Difference not manufactured! Two mechanisms in two different realms. Same basic soul personality at the core.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Tuesday, June 05, 2018, 12:42 (725 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: We do differ. In life I think the soul uses the brain networks to think. You don't.

dhw: First you manufacture a “mid-air” difference, and then you scurry back to the ambiguity of “uses...to think”. So let’s try to pin this difference down. I say that the dualist's soul is the thinking part of the self that uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then instructs the brain to give material expression and implementation to its thoughts through the brain’s network of connections with the rest of the body. Please tell me what you disagree with in this version of dualism.

DAVID: I've been quite clear in the past, as I was in the sentence that precedes your comment above. In life the soul uses the brain's networks to think. That is unchanged.

Uses the brain networks to think” may be clear to you, but it is not to me, and that is why I have tried to resolve the ambiguity above, explaining the different FUNCTIONS of the two parts that make up the dualist’s self. Do please tell me what you disagree with in the version of dualism I have offered.

DAVID: In death the soul thinks on its own with a revised capability. Again the same position I keep stating. You call this incongruous because you think the soul has one static unchanging form, even though the two states of being are entirely different.

Of course life and death are different, and I keep agreeing that if the soul survives the death of the brain, it will have to observe and communicate differently. What else do you mean by “form”? You keep refusing to answer this question, as below:

DAVID: Only you have the conundrum, I don't. I see quantum soul with two modes of action in two different realms.

dhw: What do you mean by “action”? We have agreed that the soul (if it exists) must use different modes of observation and communication in the two different realms. Again you are manufacturing a difference between us. The conundrum you refuse to recognize is your insistence that the same soul is incapable of THINKING without the brain except when there is no brain to think with.

DAVID: Difference not manufactured! Two mechanisms in two different realms. Same basic soul personality at the core.

No difference here. Unless you are referring to “mechanisms” other than those of observation and communication. If so, please tell us what they are. The same “basic soul personality” has to include the ability to think, feel, remember etc., unless you believe you can be you without these attributes. But according to you, in life the immaterial soul does not have this ability because this ability depends on the brain, and yet in death the same immaterial soul does have this ability without the brain. That is where the incongruity lies.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 05, 2018, 14:47 (724 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: We do differ. In life I think the soul uses the brain networks to think. You don't.

dhw: First you manufacture a “mid-air” difference, and then you scurry back to the ambiguity of “uses...to think”. So let’s try to pin this difference down. I say that the dualist's soul is the thinking part of the self that uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then instructs the brain to give material expression and implementation to its thoughts through the brain’s network of connections with the rest of the body. Please tell me what you disagree with in this version of dualism.

DAVID: I've been quite clear in the past, as I was in the sentence that precedes your comment above. In life the soul uses the brain's networks to think. That is unchanged.

dhw: “Uses the brain networks to think” may be clear to you, but it is not to me, and that is why I have tried to resolve the ambiguity above, explaining the different FUNCTIONS of the two parts that make up the dualist’s self. Do please tell me what you disagree with in the version of dualism I have offered.

Your statement: " I say that the dualist's soul is the thinking part of the self that uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then instructs the brain to give material expression and implementation to its thoughts through the brain’s network of connections" does not describe WHERE the soul 'thinks' about the info it uses the brain to gather in order to instruct the brain to express. I say it uses the brain's own networks. You say that the soul doesn't do that is the impression I get from your statements.

dhw: What do you mean by “action”? We have agreed that the soul (if it exists) must use different modes of observation and communication in the two different realms. Again you are manufacturing a difference between us. The conundrum you refuse to recognize is your insistence that the same soul is incapable of THINKING without the brain except when there is no brain to think with.

DAVID: Difference not manufactured! Two mechanisms in two different realms. Same basic soul personality at the core.

dhw: No difference here. Unless you are referring to “mechanisms” other than those of observation and communication. If so, please tell us what they are. The same “basic soul personality” has to include the ability to think, feel, remember etc., unless you believe you can be you without these attributes. But according to you, in life the immaterial soul does not have this ability because this ability depends on the brain, and yet in death the same immaterial soul does have this ability without the brain. That is where the incongruity lies.

Why can't you accept the soul functions differently in life and death in its thought mechanisms? We are both theorizing.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 13:14 (724 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: “Uses the brain networks to think” may be clear to you, but it is not to me, and that is why I have tried to resolve the ambiguity above, explaining the different FUNCTIONS of the two parts that make up the dualist’s self. Do please tell me what you disagree with in the version of dualism I have offered.

DAVID: Your statement: " I say that the dualist's soul is the thinking part of the self that uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then instructs the brain to give material expression and implementation to its thoughts through the brain’s network of connections" does not describe WHERE the soul 'thinks' about the info it uses the brain to gather in order to instruct the brain to express. I say it uses the brain's own networks. You say that the soul doesn't do that is the impression I get from your statements.

In saying the soul is the thinking part of the dualistic self (which consists of immaterial mind and material body), and expresses/implements its thoughts through the brain’s network of connections, I mean that it is contained within the material body (or brain if you prefer), and uses the brain’s network of connections to express/implement its thoughts! Yet again you are trying to manufacture a difference that is not there. However, I’m pleased to see that you have NOT objected to the separation of FUNCTIONS: i.e. that the dualist’s soul is the thinking part of the self and uses the brain’s networks to express and implement its thoughts. And that is why it is illogical for you as a dualist to claim that the immaterial soul cannot THINK without the material brain until it doesn’t have a material brain to think with.

DAVID: Difference not manufactured! Two mechanisms in two different realms. Same basic soul personality at the core.

dhw: No difference here. Unless you are referring to “mechanisms” other than those of observation and communication. If so, please tell us what they are. The same “basic soul personality” has to include the ability to think, feel, remember etc., unless you believe you can be you without these attributes. But according to you, in life the immaterial soul does not have this ability because this ability depends on the brain, and yet in death the same immaterial soul does have this ability without the brain. That is where the incongruity lies.

DAVID: Why can't you accept the soul functions differently in life and death in its thought mechanisms? […]

I have accepted it over and over again, and have asked you over and over again what different “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, other than those of observation and communication. Why don’t you answer?

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 06, 2018, 19:13 (723 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Difference not manufactured! Two mechanisms in two different realms. Same basic soul personality at the core.

dhw: No difference here. Unless you are referring to “mechanisms” other than those of observation and communication. If so, please tell us what they are. The same “basic soul personality” has to include the ability to think, feel, remember etc., unless you believe you can be you without these attributes. But according to you, in life the immaterial soul does not have this ability because this ability depends on the brain, and yet in death the same immaterial soul does have this ability without the brain. That is where the incongruity lies.

DAVID: Why can't you accept the soul functions differently in life and death in its thought mechanisms? […]

dhw: I have accepted it over and over again, and have asked you over and over again what different “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, other than those of observation and communication. Why don’t you answer?

I'm simply saying the soul is malleable in its ability to think. It uses brain networks in life, so we are then realistically connected to our immaterial soul, and in death the immaterial soul can think without the brain as shown by the NDE evidence. It must have the ability to use two forms of action. You demand a rigid fixed mechanism for the soul. For you it can only work one way! How do you know that?

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Thursday, June 07, 2018, 14:07 (723 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Why can't you accept the soul functions differently in life and death in its thought mechanisms? […]

dhw: I have accepted it over and over again, and have asked you over and over again what different “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, other than those of observation and communication. Why don’t you answer?

DAVID: I'm simply saying the soul is malleable in its ability to think.

Of course it’s malleable. If it wasn’t, there would be no development in our personality from the moment we were born! And you still haven’t answered my question.

DAVID: It uses brain networks in life, so we are then realistically connected to our immaterial soul and in death the immaterial soul can think without the brain as shown by the NDE evidence.

I keep trying to pin down your “uses”. Yes, the thinking soul uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about and to express/implement its thoughts materially. You keep agreeing and then trying to gloss over the implications. And yes, NDEs show that the same soul can think without the brain, so why do you keep insisting that in life it depends on the brain to THINK?

DAVID: It must have the ability to use two forms of action. You demand a rigid fixed mechanism for the soul. For you it can only work one way! How do you know that?

I demand no such thing. Yet again, I keep agreeing that it has to have two different ways of observing and communicating (= two different forms of action), and I keep asking you what other “forms of action” or “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, and you keeping dodging the question. So once more, please tell us what different forms of action you are referring to, if not observation and communication.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, June 08, 2018, 00:29 (722 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Why can't you accept the soul functions differently in life and death in its thought mechanisms? […]

dhw: I have accepted it over and over again, and have asked you over and over again what different “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, other than those of observation and communication. Why don’t you answer?

I've answered over and over. What are you missing? The soul has a brain-use mode of thought in life and can think on its own in death because it has that ability to change its functional self. In death it rejoins the universal consciousness from whence it came.


DAVID: I'm simply saying the soul is malleable in its ability to think.

dhw: Of course it’s malleable. If it wasn’t, there would be no development in our personality from the moment we were born! And you still haven’t answered my question.

DAVID: It uses brain networks in life, so we are then realistically connected to our immaterial soul and in death the immaterial soul can think without the brain as shown by the NDE evidence.

dhw: I keep trying to pin down your “uses”. Yes, the thinking soul uses the brain to gather the information it thinks about and to express/implement its thoughts materially. You keep agreeing and then trying to gloss over the implications. And yes, NDEs show that the same soul can think without the brain, so why do you keep insisting that in life it depends on the brain to THINK?

Because it is interlocked with the brain in life and we know where thought takes place and where and how we reach ourselves. I can only work with my soul/ consciousness by using my brain.


DAVID: It must have the ability to use two forms of action. You demand a rigid fixed mechanism for the soul. For you it can only work one way! How do you know that?

dhw: I demand no such thing. Yet again, I keep agreeing that it has to have two different ways of observing and communicating (= two different forms of action), and I keep asking you what other “forms of action” or “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, and you keeping dodging the question. So once more, please tell us what different forms of action you are referring to, if not observation and communication.

Thought! The soul must think in life and also in death. It has two mechanisms of doing so because it is changeable, using the brain in life and rejoining the universal consciousness in death.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Friday, June 08, 2018, 13:08 (722 days ago) @ David Turell

This post repeats one of the discussion points under “THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE Part Two", but in each section, David finds different ways of evading the conclusion that the dualist’s soul cannot depend on the brain for its ABILITY TO THINK unless the brain is the generator of the soul, as I propose in my theory.

DAVID: Why can't you accept the soul functions differently in life and death in its thought mechanisms? […]

dhw: I have accepted it over and over again, and have asked you over and over again what different “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, other than those of observation and communication. Why don’t you answer?

DAVID: I've answered over and over. What are you missing? The soul has a brain-use mode of thought in life and can think on its own in death because it has that ability to change its functional self. In death it rejoins the universal consciousness from whence it came.

The thinking soul uses the brain in life to provide information and to give its thoughts material expression and implementation, just as you have described in the theory post. In death (if it really does survive), the SAME thinking soul must use non-material psychic means to gather information and to communicate. Please tell us how else it “functions differently”? You have agreed that it retains its personal identity, so I don’t know what “rejoining” God has to do with the discussion.

dhw: [...] why do you keep insisting that in life it depends on the brain to THINK?

DAVID: Because it is interlocked with the brain in life and we know where thought takes place and where and how we reach ourselves. I can only work with my soul/ consciousness by using my brain.

You ARE your soul, if NDEs are anything to go by. I don’t know what you mean by your soul reaching or working with your soul. We have agreed that in dualism the soul lives in the body/brain, and they work together in life, but the soul retains its individual identity in death. If your soul can only be/reach/work with itself by using the brain, then it can’t be/reach/work with itself when the brain dies.

dhw: […] once more, please tell us what different forms of action you are referring to, if not observation and communication.

DAVID: Thought! The soul must think in life and also in death. It has two mechanisms of doing so because it is changeable, using the brain in life and rejoining the universal consciousness in death.

You keep agreeing that it is the SAME immaterial thinking self in life as in death! But in life it uses material means of observing and communicating, and in death it presumably uses psychic means. So what “two mechanisms” of THINKING does it have?

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Friday, June 08, 2018, 18:09 (721 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I have accepted it over and over again, and have asked you over and over again what different “thought mechanisms” you are referring to, other than those of observation and communication. Why don’t you answer?

DAVID: I've answered over and over. What are you missing? The soul has a brain-use mode of thought in life and can think on its own in death because it has that ability to change its functional self. In death it rejoins the universal consciousness from whence it came.

dhw: The thinking soul uses the brain in life to provide information and to give its thoughts material expression and implementation, just as you have described in the theory post. In death (if it really does survive), the SAME thinking soul must use non-material psychic means to gather information and to communicate. Please tell us how else it “functions differently”? You have agreed that it retains its personal identity, so I don’t know what “rejoining” God has to do with the discussion.

I repeat: the soul uses the brain networks in life to think, and thinks without it in death. I don't know how the mechanism changes but in the quantum world I views it as entirely possible since quantum studies are fully related to intelligent input to produce different outcomes.


dhw: [...] why do you keep insisting that in life it depends on the brain to THINK?

DAVID: Because it is interlocked with the brain in life and we know where thought takes place and where and how we reach ourselves. I can only work with my soul/ consciousness by using my brain.

dhw: You ARE your soul, if NDEs are anything to go by. I don’t know what you mean by your soul reaching or working with your soul. We have agreed that in dualism the soul lives in the body/brain, and they work together in life, but the soul retains its individual identity in death. If your soul can only be/reach/work with itself by using the brain, then it can’t be/reach/work with itself when the brain dies.

It can, but is not interlocked with the brain at that time, so its mechanism is different. You still want a static soul mechanism in two different realms.


dhw: […] once more, please tell us what different forms of action you are referring to, if not observation and communication.

DAVID: Thought! The soul must think in life and also in death. It has two mechanisms of doing so because it is changeable, using the brain in life and rejoining the universal consciousness in death.

dhw: You keep agreeing that it is the SAME immaterial thinking self in life as in death! But in life it uses material means of observing and communicating, and in death it presumably uses psychic means. So what “two mechanisms” of THINKING does it have?

Internal rearrangement of quantum parts, with same core soul.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Saturday, June 09, 2018, 10:57 (721 days ago) @ David Turell

Transferred from the THEORY post:

DAVID: […] The soul receives observations, sensations, facts; it then must analyze and order responses. This is the thinking part of the process in life which uses the brain circuits. In death the soul does all of that without the brain circuits. In life it is dual: material brain and immaterial soul.

dhw: That is precisely the theory of dualism that I have been trying to put across to you! The dualist’s soul is the THINKING part of the duality in life. It receives information from the brain, processes (analyzes) it, and “uses the brain circuits” to express or implement its thoughts materially (“order responses”). And it continues to be the same thinking self (“does all of that”) when the brain dies. It does not depend on the brain for its ability to THINK (to “analyze and order responses”). […]

DAVID: […] I see the soul in two forms for thinking. One is life using the brain and a different one in death.

How does a piece of your God’s consciousness have two different FORMS? Your version above is exactly the same as mine: the SAME thinking soul uses the brain in life to receive information, analyze it and “order responses”, i.e. express or implement its thoughts. In death (if it survives), it must use different (psychic) methods for receiving information and expressing/implementing its thoughts.

In this post you make the following comments on the same subject:
DAVID: I don't know how the mechanism changes but in the quantum world I views it as entirely possible since quantum studies are fully related to intelligent input to produce different outcomes.

We have agreed that the mechanism must change from material observation and expression of thought to psychic means. But once again: it is the SAME thinking soul (piece of your God’s consciousness) that is supposed to survive the death of the brain. Why does it NEED two different methods of THINKING? (Quantum studies are irrelevant: they won’t tell you that you have a piece of God’s consciousness which has two different mechanisms for THINKING, let alone what these mechamisms are!)

dhw: If your soul can only be/reach/work with itself by using the brain, then it can’t be/reach/work with itself when the brain dies.

DAVID: It can, but is not interlocked with the brain at that time, so its mechanism is different. You still want a static soul mechanism in two different realms.

And again: The “static” element of the soul is that it is the same thinking, feeling, remembering “you” in both realms. Of course in death it’s not interlocked with the brain which no longer exists, and so the mechanism that changes is that of observation and expression, but not of THINKING.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 09, 2018, 15:21 (720 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: […] I see the soul in two forms for thinking. One is life using the brain and a different one in death.


dhw: How does a piece of your God’s consciousness have two different FORMS? Your version above is exactly the same as mine: the SAME thinking soul uses the brain in life to receive information, analyze it and “order responses”, i.e. express or implement its thoughts. In death (if it survives), it must use different (psychic) methods for receiving information and expressing/implementing its thoughts.

A good analogy is the AM/FM radio. Two methods of receiving information, and the person listening is the same person.


In this post you make the following comments on the same subject:
DAVID: I don't know how the mechanism changes but in the quantum world I views it as entirely possible since quantum studies are fully related to intelligent input to produce different outcomes.

dhw: We have agreed that the mechanism must change from material observation and expression of thought to psychic means. But once again: it is the SAME thinking soul (piece of your God’s consciousness) that is supposed to survive the death of the brain. Why does it NEED two different methods of THINKING? (Quantum studies are irrelevant: they won’t tell you that you have a piece of God’s consciousness which has two different mechanisms for THINKING, let alone what these mechamisms are!)

dhw: If your soul can only be/reach/work with itself by using the brain, then it can’t be/reach/work with itself when the brain dies.

DAVID: It can, but is not interlocked with the brain at that time, so its mechanism is different. You still want a static soul mechanism in two different realms.

dhw: And again: The “static” element of the soul is that it is the same thinking, feeling, remembering “you” in both realms. Of course in death it’s not interlocked with the brain which no longer exists, and so the mechanism that changes is that of observation and expression, but not of THINKING.

You don't seem to realize that in life you imagine a separate soul entity dictating to various parts of the frontal lobe of the brain without using it to create thought. I am my soul, and I can reach it only through my brain networks and I (soul) create my own thoughts at will with those networks. In death my soul survives and operates by the different methods you enumerate above.

Introducing the brain: mnemonic memory tricks

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 09, 2018, 18:16 (720 days ago) @ David Turell

Used by humans who did not have written records:

https://aeon.co/ideas/this-ancient-mnemonic-technique-builds-a-palace-of-memory?utm_sou...

"Although imagined memory palaces are still used by memory champions and the few who practice the memory arts, they are best known from Greco-Roman times when great orators, including Cicero, used them to ensure their rhetoric was smooth, detailed and flawless. The physical memory palace, usually a streetscape or building interior, would become so familiar to the orator that it was always available to them in their imagination. By ‘placing’ one piece of information in each site, they could mentally stroll through their memory palace, location by location, drawing out each portion of the speech in the required order without missing any element.

"Received opinion is that this method of loci, as the technique is also known, dates to before Simonides of Ceos (c556-468 BCE), who is often credited as the inventor. However there is ample circumstantial evidence that indigenous cultures the world over have been using it for far longer than that. There is a continuous record dating back at least 40,000 years for Australian Aboriginal cultures.Their songlines, along with Native American pilgrimage trails, Pacific Islanders’ ceremonial roads and the ceque system of the Inca at Cusco all exhibit exactly the same pattern as the memory palaces described by Cicero. At each sacred location along these paths, elders would sing, dance or tell a story, all making the information associated with the location more memorable.

" Research with the Native American Navajo people, for example, shows that they memorise a classification of more than 700 insects along with identification, habitats and behaviour. And that’s just insects. A fully initiated indigenous elder would be able to relate stories equivalent to a field guide for all the birds, mammals, reptiles, fish and hundreds of insects within their environment.

"Another study shows that the Hanunoo people of the Philippines were able to identify 1,625 plants, many of which were unknown to Western science at the time. Add to that knowledge of astronomy, timekeeping, navigation, legal and ethical guidelines, weather and seasons, complex genealogies and belief systems, and you have a vast encyclopaedia stored in an interwoven memorised web: a web that is tied to a real or imagined memory palace.

"Cultures without writing are referred to as ‘non-literate’, but their identity should not be associated with what they don’t do, but rather with what they do from necessity when there is no writing to record their knowledge. Cultures without writing employ the most intriguing range of memory technologies often linked under the academic term ‘primary orality’, including song, dance, rhyme and rhythm, and story and mythology. Physical memory devices, though, are less often included in this list. The most universal of these is the landscape itself."

Comment: Humans with their amazing brains have all sorts of tricks to save information.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Sunday, June 10, 2018, 10:59 (720 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […] I see the soul in two forms for thinking. One is life using the brain and a different one in death.
dhw: How does a piece of your God’s consciousness have two different FORMS? Your version above is exactly the same as mine: the SAME thinking soul uses the brain in life to receive information, analyze it and “order responses”, i.e. express or implement its thoughts. In death (if it survives), it must use different (psychic) methods for receiving information and expressing/implementing its thoughts.
DAVID: A good analogy is the AM/FM radio. Two methods of receiving information, and the person listening is the same person.

Do we need an analogy? We agree that if the soul survives the death of the body, it will need different, psychic means of observing (receiving information) and communicating.

dhw: […] The “static” element of the soul is that it is the same thinking, feeling, remembering “you” in both realms. Of course in death it’s not interlocked with the brain which no longer exists, and so the mechanism that changes is that of observation and expression, but not of THINKING.

DAVID: You don't seem to realize that in life you imagine a separate soul entity dictating to various parts of the frontal lobe of the brain without using it to create thought. I am my soul, and I can reach it only through my brain networks and I (soul) create my own thoughts at will with those networks. In death my soul survives and operates by the different methods you enumerate above.

On Saturday 9 June you don’t seem to realize that dualism entails TWO entities that work together in making “you”: your mind (soul) and your body (brain). On Wednesday June 6, however, you wrote: “I view dualism as requiring a separate consciousness mechanism which is malleable and operates by a different form in life and death.” And on Friday June 8 you confirmed: “Of course it is a separate quantum mechanism interlocked with the brain…” Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

However, I should repeat that our disagreement here concerns the nature of what we might call “pure” dualism. I am not defending or attacking this concept. The theory I have proposed is an attempt to reconcile the two apparently contradictory approaches of materialism and dualism. It was all sparked off by your insistence that new THOUGHTS depend on the enlargement of the brain (materialism), which is a direct contradiction of your dualistic belief in an immaterial soul which continues to think even when there is no brain.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Sunday, June 10, 2018, 18:48 (719 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] The “static” element of the soul is that it is the same thinking, feeling, remembering “you” in both realms. Of course in death it’s not interlocked with the brain which no longer exists, and so the mechanism that changes is that of observation and expression, but not of THINKING.

DAVID: You don't seem to realize that in life you imagine a separate soul entity dictating to various parts of the frontal lobe of the brain without using it to create thought. I am my soul, and I can reach it only through my brain networks and I (soul) create my own thoughts at will with those networks. In death my soul survives and operates by the different methods you enumerate above.

dhw: On Saturday 9 June you don’t seem to realize that dualism entails TWO entities that work together in making “you”: your mind (soul) and your body (brain). On Wednesday June 6, however, you wrote: “I view dualism as requiring a separate consciousness mechanism which is malleable and operates by a different form in life and death.” And on Friday June 8 you confirmed: “Of course it is a separate quantum mechanism interlocked with the brain…”

The point I am making is the consciousness mechanism is interlocked with the brain and through the brain I use it to develop thoughts and concepts.

dhw: Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

I can accept this.


dhw: However, I should repeat that our disagreement here concerns the nature of what we might call “pure” dualism. I am not defending or attacking this concept. The theory I have proposed is an attempt to reconcile the two apparently contradictory approaches of materialism and dualism. It was all sparked off by your insistence that new THOUGHTS depend on the enlargement of the brain (materialism), which is a direct contradiction of your dualistic belief in an immaterial soul which continues to think even when there is no brain.

You agree to two mechanisms in life and death and then disagree! The larger brain allows a much higher level of conceptualization and shown by the artifacts produced by each level of homo in evolution. There is no denying the relationship. Put another way a more complex network of neurons allows a much deeper level of mental development.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Monday, June 11, 2018, 10:18 (719 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You don't seem to realize that in life you imagine a separate soul entity dictating to various parts of the frontal lobe of the brain without using it to create thought. I am my soul, and I can reach it only through my brain networks and I (soul) create my own thoughts at will with those networks. In death my soul survives and operates by the different methods you enumerate above.

dhw: On Saturday 9 June you don’t seem to realize that dualism entails TWO entities that work together in making “you”: your mind (soul) and your body (brain). On Wednesday June 6, however, you wrote: “I view dualism as requiring a separate consciousness mechanism which is malleable and operates by a different form in life and death.” And on Friday June 8 you confirmed: “Of course it is a separate quantum mechanism interlocked with the brain…”

DAVID: The point I am making is the consciousness mechanism is interlocked with the brain and through the brain I use it to develop thoughts and concepts.

If you have a "separate consciousness mechanism" which continues to think after the death of the brain, then clearly your consciousness does not use the brain for thinking: it uses your brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then to express or implement the thoughts and concepts it has developed. Hence “DUALism”, as described below.

dhw: Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

DAVID: I can accept this.

Then why do you keep rejecting it? (See above and below).

dhw: However, I should repeat that our disagreement here concerns the nature of what we might call “pure” dualism. I am not defending or attacking this concept. The theory I have proposed is an attempt to reconcile the two apparently contradictory approaches of materialism and dualism. It was all sparked off by your insistence that new THOUGHTS depend on the enlargement of the brain (materialism), which is a direct contradiction of your dualistic belief in an immaterial soul which continues to think even when there is no brain.

DAVID: You agree to two mechanisms in life and death and then disagree!

The two mechanisms concern the mode of observing and of expressing/implementing, not of THINKING!

DAVID: The larger brain allows a much higher level of conceptualization and shown by the artifacts produced by each level of homo in evolution. There is no denying the relationship. Put another way a more complex network of neurons allows a much deeper level of mental development.

And back you go from the dualism you have accepted to the materialism you have rejected – though materialism may very well be true. Above, you agree that in dualism the immaterial soul and material brain interlock (= the relationship, which I do not deny) but perform different functions – respectively thinking, and supplying information plus expressing/implementing the thoughts – and now you say that if the material brain doesn’t get larger, the “consciousness mechanism” (soul) can’t think new thoughts. If your form of dualism is true, the larger brain “allows” the implementation of the soul’s new thoughts, as shown by the artefacts produced by pre-sapiens. You believe your God reaches down to enlarge everyone’s brain so that it can think deeper thoughts, although the brain doesn’t do the thinking, and yet you refuse to consider the possibility (theistic version) that he might have designed a “separate consciousness mechanism” called the brain to generate a form of immaterial consciousness like his own.

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Monday, June 11, 2018, 16:03 (718 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The point I am making is the consciousness mechanism is interlocked with the brain and through the brain I use it to develop thoughts and concepts.

dhw: If you have a "separate consciousness mechanism" which continues to think after the death of the brain, then clearly your consciousness does not use the brain for thinking: it uses your brain to gather the information it thinks about, and then to express or implement the thoughts and concepts it has developed. Hence “DUALism”, as described below.

You still insist on a static consciousness mechanism, and I see it having two forms.


dhw: Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

DAVID: I can accept this.

Then why do you keep rejecting it? (See above and below).

But what I accept is your statement: (“operates by a different form”), which I state is saying it operates one way in life and different way in death. Do you mean what I mean?


dhw: However, I should repeat that our disagreement here concerns the nature of what we might call “pure” dualism. I am not defending or attacking this concept. The theory I have proposed is an attempt to reconcile the two apparently contradictory approaches of materialism and dualism. It was all sparked off by your insistence that new THOUGHTS depend on the enlargement of the brain (materialism), which is a direct contradiction of your dualistic belief in an immaterial soul which continues to think even when there is no brain.

DAVID: You agree to two mechanisms in life and death and then disagree!

dhw: The two mechanisms concern the mode of observing and of expressing/implementing, not of THINKING!

There is our difference! The soul uses the brain circuits in life but can think on its own in death (from NDE evidence). Two forms of ability to think.


DAVID: The larger brain allows a much higher level of conceptualization and shown by the artifacts produced by each level of homo in evolution. There is no denying the relationship. Put another way a more complex network of neurons allows a much deeper level of mental development.

dhw: And back you go from the dualism you have accepted to the materialism you have rejected – though materialism may very well be true. Above, you agree that in dualism the immaterial soul and material brain interlock (= the relationship, which I do not deny) but perform different functions – respectively thinking, and supplying information plus expressing/implementing the thoughts – and now you say that if the material brain doesn’t get larger, the “consciousness mechanism” (soul) can’t think new thoughts. If your form of dualism is true, the larger brain “allows” the implementation of the soul’s new thoughts, as shown by the artefacts produced by pre-sapiens. You believe your God reaches down to enlarge everyone’s brain so that it can think deeper thoughts, although the brain doesn’t do the thinking, and yet you refuse to consider the possibility (theistic version) that he might have designed a “separate consciousness mechanism” called the brain to generate a form of immaterial consciousness like his own.

We remain apart. A larger brain allows the soul to have more complex thought. It is possible God had the brain generate its own consciousness. If He is reaching in that way, why not just gift part of His own universal consciousness when a new brain appears?

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 12:40 (718 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Dualists like yourself normally believe that the two entities perform different FUNCTIONS in life, the soul being a “separate consciousness mechanism” which works with your body (brain), using the information your body supplies, and using the body (brain) to express or implement your thoughts. In death this same “separate consciousness mechanism” – your soul which has created the thoughts – survives and continues to create its thoughts, but now uses different methods (“operates by a different form”) to acquire information and to express/implement those thoughts. In life and in death the dualist’s soul remains the same “you”, performing the same function of thinking, feeling, remembering etc. That is the “static” element – you remain you.

DAVID: I can accept this.

dhw: Then why do you keep rejecting it? (See above and below).

DAVID: But what I accept is your statement: (“operates by a different form”), which I state is saying it operates one way in life and different way in death. Do you mean what I mean?

You keep accepting and then rejecting the WHOLE of the above description of dualism. It is the SAME “separate consciousness mechanism” (soul), but it “operates” – i.e. observes and expresses/implements its thoughts – differently in life and in death.

DAVID: There is our difference! The soul uses the brain circuits in life but can think on its own in death (from NDE evidence). Two forms of ability to think.

Once more: You keep agreeing and then disagreeing that the dualist’s soul is “a separate conscious mechanism” which does the thinking and which remains itself after death, but which “uses the brain circuits in life” to acquire information and to express/implement its thoughts materially. This is not two forms of “ABILITY TO THINK”! There is one ability to think, and two different worlds in which it operates and therefore uses two different means of operation. Your argument results in you now having the SAME piece of your God’s consciousness (i.e. the SAME ability to think, i.e. the SAME “separate conscious mechanism”) – which even returns to your God – unable to think without a brain but able to think without a brain, not separate from the brain but separate from the brain, dependent on the brain but not dependent on the brain.

DAVID: We remain apart. A larger brain allows the soul to have more complex thought. It is possible God had the brain generate its own consciousness.

Thank you. That is the only way you can reconcile your dualism with your materialistic belief that the soul depends on the brain for its “more complex thought”.

DAVID: If He is reaching in that way, why not just gift part of His own universal consciousness when a new brain appears?

How do you think he “just gifts” it? Does he attend the birth of every brained organism? Or (theistic version of my proposal) is his gift of consciousness generated by the brain which, like every other part of the body, stems from material genetics, i.e. does not require any action on his part when a new brain appears?

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 18:14 (717 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: But what I accept is your statement: (“operates by a different form”), which I state is saying it operates one way in life and different way in death. Do you mean what I mean?

You keep accepting and then rejecting the WHOLE of the above description of dualism. It is the SAME “separate consciousness mechanism” (soul), but it “operates” – i.e. observes and expresses/implements its thoughts – differently in life and in death.

DAVID: There is our difference! The soul uses the brain circuits in life but can think on its own in death (from NDE evidence). Two forms of ability to think.

dhw: Once more: You keep agreeing and then disagreeing that the dualist’s soul is “a separate conscious mechanism” which does the thinking and which remains itself after death, but which “uses the brain circuits in life” to acquire information and to express/implement its thoughts materially. This is not two forms of “ABILITY TO THINK”! There is one ability to think, and two different worlds in which it operates and therefore uses two different means of operation.

The difference between us, from this statement, is you believe the soul has an independent thinking core mechanism that is unchanged in life and in afterlife, and I think it has to use the brain during life to think. That is what I have called a 'static' form of soul, the basis of your theory in all of our discussions. And why I have used the AM/FM radio as an analogy for my theory.

dhw: Your argument results in you now having the SAME piece of your God’s consciousness (i.e. the SAME ability to think, i.e. the SAME “separate conscious mechanism”) – which even returns to your God – unable to think without a brain but able to think without a brain, not separate from the brain but separate from the brain, dependent on the brain but not dependent on the brain.

All part of being malleable in its function, which you don't accept.


DAVID: We remain apart. A larger brain allows the soul to have more complex thought. It is possible God had the brain generate its own consciousness.

dhw: Thank you. That is the only way you can reconcile your dualism with your materialistic belief that the soul depends on the brain for its “more complex thought”.

But having God cause the brain to generate its own consciousness is pure materialism, no vestige of true dualism, in which I think the brain and the consciousness are two separate entities that work together in life.


DAVID: If He is reaching in that way, why not just gift part of His own universal consciousness when a new brain appears?

dhw: How do you think he “just gifts” it? Does he attend the birth of every brained organism? Or (theistic version of my proposal) is his gift of consciousness generated by the brain which, like every other part of the body, stems from material genetics, i.e. does not require any action on his part when a new brain appears?

If the universal consciousness pervades all of the universe, it could easily automatically enter each new brain that appears.

Introducing the brain: sleep control center found

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 12, 2018, 18:57 (717 days ago) @ David Turell

Sleep is an unconscious state we enter every day. The control center is found:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-06-center-brain.html

"Every night we spend several hours asleep and every morning we awaken to go about our lives. How brain circuits control this sleep-wake cycle remains a mystery. Our sleep is divided into two phases, non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, and REM (or paradoxical) sleep during which most of our dreaming occurs. Important brain circuits have been identified using both experimental and clinical evidence, yet the precise underlying mechanisms, such as the onset, maintenance and termination of sleep and dreaming, is not well understood.

***

"When we fall asleep, the electroencephalogram (EEG) reveals that our brains generate rhythmic oscillations called "slow waves." These waves are important for keeping us asleep and for recovering after a full day of mental and physical activity. Common hypotheses hold that these slow waves are produced in the cerebral cortex, the upper part of the brain just below the surface of the skull. In contrast, wakefulness was thought to arise from the activity of "wake centers" located in the lower part of the brain including the brainstem that directly activates the neocortex, which is the part of the mammalian brain involved in higher-order brain functions such as sensory perception, cognition and generation of motor commands.

"In an important new study, neuroscientists at the Department of BioMedical Research (DBMR) at the University of Bern and the Department of Neurology at Inselspital, Bern University Hospital, found that neurons in the thalamus, a central hub of the brain, control sleep as well as wakefulness. The thalamus is connected to almost all other brain areas and supports important brain functions including attention, sensory perception, cognition and consciousness.

"The researchers headed by Prof. Dr. Antoine Adamantidis discovered that a small population of these thalamic neurons have a dual control over sleep and wakefulness, by generating sleep slow waves but also waking up from sleep, depending on their electrical activity. The research group used a technique called optogenetics, with which they used light pulses to precisely control the activity of thalamic neurons of mice. When they activated thalamic neurons with regular long-lasting stimuli the animals woke up, but if they activated them in a slow rhythmical manner, the mice had a deeper, more restful sleep.

"This is the first time that an area of the brain has been found to have both sleep and wake promoting functions. "Interestingly, we were also able to show that suppression of thalamic neuronal activity impaired the recovery from sleep loss, suggesting that these neurons are essential for a restful sleep after extended period of being awake," says Dr. Thomas Gent, lead author of the study. This shows that the thalamus is a key player in both sleep and wake."

Comment: We consciously decide to sleep, but the brain allows sleep to happen by activating this thalamic center. In this sense the soul gives up control.

Introducing the brain

by dhw, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 12:35 (717 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Once more: You keep agreeing and then disagreeing that the dualist’s soul is “a separate conscious mechanism” which does the thinking and which remains itself after death, but which “uses the brain circuits in life” to acquire information and to express/implement its thoughts materially. This is not two forms of “ABILITY TO THINK”! There is one ability to think, and two different worlds in which it operates and therefore uses two different means of operation.

DAVID: The difference between us, from this statement, is you believe the soul has an independent thinking core mechanism that is unchanged in life and in afterlife, and I think it has to use the brain during life to think. That is what I have called a 'static' form of soul, the basis of your theory in all of our discussions. And why I have used the AM/FM radio as an analogy for my theory.

This is not what I believe, but it is the essence of dualism, as exemplified by your own statement that the immaterial soul is a separate consciousness mechanism which interlocks with the material brain, whose function you acknowledge to be the provision of information and the material expression/implementation of the soul’s thoughts. And you keep acknowledging that this same separate consciousness mechanism is what survives the death of the brain. Yes, in that sense, the separate consciousness mechanism is static, as it remains the same thinking, feeling, remembering self (which emphatically does NOT mean that it doesn’t learn and develop) . What is not static is the manner in which it observes and communicates without a brain in the immaterial world you believe in. (I’m afraid different radio signals don’t help me to understand why a piece of your God’s consciousness can’t think without a brain until there is no brain for it to think with.)

dhw: Your argument results in you now having the SAME piece of your God’s consciousness (i.e. the SAME ability to think, i.e. the SAME “separate conscious mechanism”) – which even returns to your God – unable to think without a brain but able to think without a brain, not separate from the brain but separate from the brain, dependent on the brain but not dependent on the brain.

DAVID: All part of being malleable in its function, which you don't accept.

It is malleable in its function of observing and communicating. But it is the same separate immaterial, THINKING part of the self in life and in death.

DAVID: We remain apart. A larger brain allows the soul to have more complex thought. It is possible God had the brain generate its own consciousness.

dhw: Thank you. That is the only way you can reconcile your dualism with your materialistic belief that the soul depends on the brain for its “more complex thought”.

DAVID: But having God cause the brain to generate its own consciousness is pure materialism, no vestige of true dualism, in which I think the brain and the consciousness are two separate entities that work together in life.

Yes, that is the true dualism which you profess to believe in except that you insist that the soul (the thinking part of the self) depends on the brain for its ability to THINK, and that makes you a materialist. (I have no objections to that. I object only to the inconsistency.)

DAVID: If the universal consciousness pervades all of the universe, it could easily automatically enter each new brain that appears.

I presume your God’s consciousness (which I would equate with the ability to think) doesn’t require a brain in order to do its thinking, so why does it need a brain to do its thinking when it easily automatically enters, but doesn’t need it when it easily automatically exits?

Introducing the brain

by David Turell @, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, 19:38 (716 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The difference between us, from this statement, is you believe the soul has an independent thinking core mechanism that is unchanged in life and in afterlife, and I think it has to use the brain during life to think. That is what I have called a 'static' form of soul, the basis of your theory in all of our discussions. And why I have used the AM/FM radio as an analogy for my theory.

dhw: This is not what I believe, but it is the essence of dualism, as exemplified by your own statement that the immaterial soul is a separate consciousness mechanism which interlocks with the material brain, whose function you acknowledge to be the provision of information and the material expression/implementation of the soul’s thoughts. And you keep acknowledging that this same separate consciousness mechanism is what survives the death of the brain.

There is your error in understanding my point in bold! I keep saying the soul has the ability to change its functional mechanism between life and death. It requires/uses the brain in life to generate thought, but works on its own in death.

dhw: Yes, in that sense, the separate consciousness mechanism is static, as it remains the same thinking, feeling, remembering self (which emphatically does NOT mean that it doesn’t learn and develop) . What is not static is the manner in which it observes and communicates without a brain in the immaterial world you believe in.

Your thoughts, never mine. Soul personality structure remains the same, but the thought ability is changed in death.

dhw: It is malleable in its function of observing and communicating. But it is the same separate immaterial, THINKING part of the self in life and in death.

This is your belief which you keep attempting to impose on me.


DAVID: But having God cause the brain to generate its own consciousness is pure materialism, no vestige of true dualism, in which I think the brain and the consciousness are two separate entities that work together in life.

dhw: Yes, that is the true dualism which you profess to believe in except that you insist that the soul (the thinking part of the self) depends on the brain for its ability to THINK, and that makes you a materialist.

In my theory the soul is an immaterial software working with the brain as hardware. I'm stating two parts, a true dualism. I don't see your materialism except when you have God making the soul arise from the brain.


DAVID: If the universal consciousness pervades all of the universe, it could easily automatically enter each new brain that appears.

dhw: I presume your God’s consciousness (which I would equate with the ability to think) doesn’t require a brain in order to do its thinking, so why does it need a brain to do its thinking when it easily automatically enters, but doesn’t need it when it easily automatically exits?

Explained above. Two states of soul mechanisms for thought. God is immaterial but He created material life. He had to have immaterial thought interface with the material brains that appeared, both the conscious ones and the ones with consciousness.

Introducing the brain: the role of glia cells

by David Turell @, Tuesday, June 19, 2018, 00:59 (711 days ago) @ David Turell

They function in memory and learning :

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-06-overlooked-glial-cell-key-memory.html

"Glial cells surround neurons and provide support—not unlike hospital staff and nurses supporting doctors to keep operations running smoothly. These often-overlooked cells, which include oligodendrocytes and astrocytes, are the most abundant cell types in the central nervous system.

"But these cells do more than support neurons. They also actively influence them, University of California, Riverside, researchers report.

"The researchers focused on astrocytes—star-shaped cells that greatly outnumber neurons—in mice, and found that when these cells overproduce a protein called ephrin-B1, the ability to retain memory weakens.

"We examined mouse learning behaviors and found that overproduction of this protein in astrocytes can lead to impaired retention of contextual memory and the ability to navigate in space," said Iryna Ethell, a professor of biomedical sciences in the School of Medicine, who led the research. "We think that astrocytes expressing too much of ephrin-B1 can attack neurons and remove synapses, the connections through which neurons communicate."

***

"'The overproduction of ephrin-B1 can be a novel mechanism by which unwanted synapses are removed in the healthy brain, with excessive removal leading to neurodegeneration" Ethell said.

"While the research was done on a mouse model, the results are applicable in humans whose astrocytes also produce ephrin-B1. Astrocytes tend to increase ephrin-B1 production during traumatic brain injury – which is what led Ethell to pursue the current research.

***

"'Excessive loss of synapses is a problem," Ethell said. "The hippocampus, the region of the brain associated primarily with memory, is plastic. Here, new neuronal connections are formed when we learn something new. But the hippocampus has a limited capacity; some connections need to go to 'make space' for new connections—new memories. To learn, we must first forget."

"In contrast to an ephrin-B1 increase, when this protein decreases (or is down-regulated) it results in more synapses—and better learning. The astrocytes, in this case, are not able to attach to the synapses.

"'But you don't want to remember everything," said Amanda Q Nguyen, a Neuroscience Graduate Program student working in Ethell's lab, and a co-first author of the research paper. "It's all about maintaining a balance: being able to learn but also to forget."

"Advice the researchers have for the public is simple: keep the brain—that is, the neurons—active.

"'Reading and solving puzzles is a good start," Ethell said."

Comment: Another way the brain/material side of dualism reacts, showing how the brain interfaces with the active soul/consciousness for learning and memory. Note how astrocytes are so plentiful compared to neurons. As usual these represent feedback controls that maintain consistency in the balance of living cells or organs.

Introducing the brain: different consciousness research

by David Turell @, Thursday, September 12, 2019, 21:16 (260 days ago) @ David Turell

Studying it from a brain harmonics viewpoint:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/why-we-need-to-study-consciousness/?u...

"... as philosopher Galen Strawson insightfully pointed out in a New York Times opinion piece, consciousness is “the only thing in the universe whose ultimate intrinsic nature we can claim to know.”

"This is a crucial point. We don’t have direct access to the outer world. Instead we experience it through the filter of our consciousness. We have no idea what the color blue really looks like “out there,” only how it appears to us “in here.” Furthermore, as some cognitive scientists like Donald Hoffman have argued in recent years, external reality is likely to be far different from our perceptions of it. The human brain has been optimized, through the process of evolution, to model reality in the way that’s most conducive to its survival, not in the way that most faithfully represents the world.

***

" It seems that my consciousness of, say, the color of the chair is categorically different from the electrical impulses fired by the neurons in my brain that detect color. Similarly, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to explain how the feeling of pain reduces to the stimulation of certain fibers in my nervous system. Bridging this explanatory gap is known as the “hard problem of consciousness.”

***

"I had the privilege of interning at the Qualia Research Institute (QRI), a San Francisco–based research nonprofit that is dedicated to discovering the science of consciousness (qualia are subjective experiences). Its approach rests on two core philosophical assumptions: The first is “qualia formalism,” which claims that our subjective experience has a mathematical structure. The second is “valence realism,” the view that we can objectively measure the so-called valence of conscious experience—that is, how pleasant an experience feels.

***

"QRI claims that emotional valence corresponds to the weighted sum of the consonance, dissonance and noise in the harmonics of a given brain state. We calculate the dissonance between CSHWs in a way that’s similar to computing the dissonance of a combination of musical notes. Like sound, brain harmonics with alike frequencies (i.e. frequencies falling within a "critical bandwidth") and high amplitudes will cause mutual dissonance, and the total dissonance is equivalent to the sum of the dissonance between all possible pairs of harmonics.

"We can calculate the dissonance between CSHWs by determining their spatiotemporal proximity. In particular, harmonics that overlap with each other in a short interval of time would be highly unpleasant. By subtracting the dissonance and noise from the brain state, we obtain the amount of consonance.

***

QRI is still in the very early stages of testing the symmetry theory of valence, and it needs funding to run scientific trials on human subjects. If the theory proves to be correct, it will have groundbreaking implications for mental well-being and our understanding of consciousness. With an objective framework for determining the brain states that are associated with high and low emotional valence, we can design therapeutics and interventions that dramatically improve the quality of subjective experience. Hence we could treat mental disorders such as depression more effectively than status quo antidepressants while also enhancing the baseline mood for healthy people.

"You may notice that the symmetry theory of valence doesn’t directly solve the hard problem of consciousness. It is meant to explain the valence of experience, not the nature of experience and how, if at all, it emerges from the brain. Valence, however, is arguably the defining feature of consciousness. Indeed, it seems that there is nothing more fundamental to consciousness than the felt-sense of whether the experience is good or bad.

"Without this, the experience wouldn't matter, at least not intrinsically.Indeed, it seems that there is nothing more fundamental to consciousness than the subjective feeling of an experience. QRI has one of the few theories that makes empirical claims about the mathematical structure that corresponds to valence. Consequently, it has a much more tractable approach to consciousness than past philosophical speculation. With this perspective, QRI may carry the keys to unlocking the answer to a profound enigma—that we’ve known all along."

Comment: They are certainly not going to solve the hard problem. I frankly don't know what they are really doing, but it may be worth the trouble to uncover something that helps. It is certainly clear that what the brain gives us is second-hand information compared to absolute reality.

Introducing the brain: different consciousness research

by dhw, Friday, September 13, 2019, 10:49 (260 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: "I had the privilege of interning at the Qualia Research Institute (QRI), a San Francisco–based research nonprofit that is dedicated to discovering the science of consciousness (qualia are subjective experiences). Its approach rests on two core philosophical assumptions: The first is “qualia formalism,” which claims that our subjective experience has a mathematical structure. The second is “valence realism,” the view that we can objectively measure the so-called valence of conscious experience—that is, how pleasant an experience feels.

QRI is still in the very early stages of testing the symmetry theory of valence, and it needs funding to run scientific trials on human subjects.” (dhw's bold)

DAVID: They are certainly not going to solve the hard problem. I frankly don't know what they are really doing, but it may be worth the trouble to uncover something that helps. It is certainly clear that what the brain gives us is second-hand information compared to absolute reality.

I join you in having no idea what they are on about. We all know that our perception is subjective, but I don’t understand the concept or significance of this subjectivity having a “mathematical structure” or of “valence realism” as an objective measure of how pleasant an experience feels. It all sounds very grand and scientific, but my sceptical mind can’t help feeling that the most significant aspect of the whole thing is the clause I have bolded.

Introducing the brain: the circuit for conscious awareness

by David Turell @, Tuesday, October 01, 2019, 01:14 (242 days ago) @ David Turell

A whole neuron type circuit has been identified:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190930114732.htm

"'Content circuits' within the cortex are plugged into 'switchboard circuits' that allocate awareness, says the theory, via cortical cells called L5p neurons.

***

"Most neuroscientists chasing the neural mechanisms of consciousness focus on its contents, measuring changes in the brain when it thinks about a particular thing -- a smell, a memory, an emotion. Quite separately, others study how the brain behaves during different conscious states, like alert wakefulness, dreaming, deep sleep or anesthesia.

"Most agree the two are indivisible: you can't think or feel or experience anything without being aware, nor be 'aware' of nothing. But because of the divided approach, "nobody knows how and why the contents and state of consciousness are so tightly coupled," says Dr. Jaan Aru, neuroscientist at Humboldt University, Berlin, and lead author of the new theory.

***

"Our conscious state is thought to depend on the activity of so-called 'thalamo-cortical' circuits. These are connections between neurons in the cortex, and neurons in the thalamus -- a thumb-sized relay center in the middle of the brain that controls information inflow from the senses (except smell). Thalamocortical circuits are thought to be the target of general anesthesia, and damage to these neurons due to tumors or stroke often results in coma.

"In contrast, functional brain imaging studies locate the contents of consciousness mostly within the cortex, in 'cortico-cortical' circuits.

"Aru and colleagues believe that L5p neurons are uniquely placed to bridge the divide.
"Thalamo-cortical and cortico-cortical circuits intersect via L5p neurons," explains Aru. "Studies tracing these cells under the microscope suggest they participate in both circuits, by exchanging connections with both thalamus and cortex."

"Functional brain studies suggest these cells may indeed couple the state and contents of consciousness. Cellular-level brain imaging in mice shows that L5p neurons respond to a sensory stimulus (air puff to the leg); that this response increases when the animal is awake; and that it is strongest by far when the animal reacts to the stimulus (moves its leg).

"Nevertheless, this general arrangement could account for some well-known quirks of consciousness.

"For example, the processing delay of this long relay -- from cortico-cortical circuit to thalamo-cortical and back again via L5p neurons -- could explain why rapid changes of stimuli often escape conscious perception. (Think subliminal messages spliced into video.)

"One feature of this phenomenon is 'backward masking': when two images are presented briefly in rapid succession (50-100 ms), only the second image is consciously perceived. In this case, posits Aru, "by the time the stimulus completes the L5p-thalamus-L5p relay, the second image has taken over early cortical representation and steals the limelight lit by the first image."

"The theory could also help explain why we usually have little conscious insight into some brain processes, like planning movement or even syntax.

"'All brain activity that does not (sufficiently) involve L5p neurons remains unconscious," predicts Aru."

Therein lies the key to testing this exciting theory.

Comment: Note this discussion does not differentiate between awareness, the terribly difficult problem of consciousness self-awareness, and simple awareness of various stimuli.

Introducing the brain; increased exercise reprograms

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 06, 2018, 18:26 (570 days ago) @ dhw

Rodent research makes the point that mental ability is increased by vigorous exercise:

https://www.the-scientist.com/features/this-is-your-brain-on-exercise-64934

"Researchers have long recognized that exercise sharpens certain cognitive skills. Indeed, Maejima and his colleagues have found that regular physical activity improves mice’s ability to distinguish new objects from ones they’ve seen before. Over the past 20 years, researchers have begun to get at the root of these benefits, with studies pointing to increases in the volume of the hippocampus, development of new neurons, and infiltration of blood vessels into the brain. Now, Maejima and others are starting to home in on the epigenetic mechanisms that drive the neurological changes brought on by physical activity.

'In October, Maejima’s team reported that the brains of rodents that ran had greater than normal histone acetylation in the hippocampus, the brain region considered the seat of learning and memory.1 ,The epigenetic marks resulted in higher expression of Bdnf, the gene for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). By supporting the growth and maturation of new nerve cells, BDNF is thought to promote brain health, and higher levels of it correlate with improved cognitive performance in mice and humans.

"Over the past two decades, researchers have identified many molecular mechanisms underlying exercise’s influence on cognition. Exercise, studies have shown, leads to the release of proteins and other molecules from muscle, fat, and liver tissue that can affect levels of BDNF and other agents that spur neurogenesis, speed new-neuron maturation, promote brain vascularization, and even increase the volume of the hippocampus in humans.

***

"Exercise influences levels of neurotrophins, proteins that promote the proliferation of neurons and support their function. Physical activity enhances DNA demethylation in the promoter region of the Bdnf gene, increasing the expression of the neurogenesis-boosting signaling factor. Moreover, histone acetylation appears to loosen chromatin to bolster Bdnf transcription.

"Exercise leads to the secretion of molecules by muscle and fat cells that affect levels of growth factors in the brain, influencing the shape and function of the hippocampus by accelerating new neuron growth and increasing the volume of the brain region.

"In the sperm of male mice that exercise, the abundance of certain microRNAs associated with learning and memory increases. The mice’s offspring show slight cognitive advantages compared with offspring of sedentary mice.

***

"Since Reul’s study, at least two dozen others have reported acetylation and other epigenetic changes that link exercise to the brain in rodents. Moses Chao, a molecular neurobiologist at the New York University School of Medicine, and colleagues recently found that mice that ran frequently on wheels had higher levels of BDNF and of a ketone that’s a byproduct of fat metabolism released from the liver. Injecting the ketone into the brains of mice that did not run helped to inhibit histone deacetylases and increased Bdnf expression in the hippocampus. The finding shows how molecules can travel through the blood, cross the blood-brain barrier, and activate or inhibit epigenetic markers in the brain.

"While some researchers probe the epigenetic connection between exercise and cognitive prowess, others continue to unveil previously unknown links. In 2016, for example, van Praag, now at the Florida Atlantic University Brain Institute, and colleagues found that a protein called cathepsin B, which is secreted by muscle cells during physical activity, was required for exercise to spur neurogenesis in mice. In tissue cultures of adult hippocampal neural progenitor cells, cathepsin B boosted the expression of Bdnf and the levels of its protein and enhanced the expression of a gene called doublecortin (DCX), which encodes a protein needed for neural migration. Cathepsin B knockout mice had no change in neurogenesis following exercise.

***

"Van Praag’s team also found that nonhuman primates and humans who ran on treadmills had elevated blood serum levels of cathepsin B after exercising. Following four months of running on the treadmill three days per week for 45 minutes or more, participants drew more-accurate pictures from memory than at the beginning of the study, before they started exercising.

***

"Since the 1980s, studies of humans have pointed to a link between exercise and gains in cognitive performance. Understanding this relationship is of particular importance to patients with neurological diseases. University of Southern California neuroscientist Giselle Petzinger has been treating patients with Parkinson’s disease for decades and has observed that those who exercise can improve their balance and gait. Such an observation hinted that the brain retains some plasticity after disease symptoms set in, she says, with neural connections forming to support the gains in motor skills."

Comment: From our knowledge of human evolution through a stage of hunter-gatherers, who had lots of exercise and a large brain they needed to learn to use, this connection makes lots of sense.

Introducing the brain; complexity as seen by a computer geek

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 00:01 (564 days ago) @ David Turell

An amazing description of the brain massive networks, neurons and controls:

https://medium.com/swlh/do-neural-networks-really-work-like-neurons-667859dbfb4f

"The idea of intelligent machines captivates the imagination of many, and especially how they would compare to humans. Specifically, one fundamental question that seems to come up frequently is about the underlaying mechanisms of intelligence — do these artificial neural networks really work like the neurons in our brain?

"a brain neuron has three components:

"The dendrites (the input mechanism) — tree like structure that receives input through synaptic connections. The input could be sensory input from sensory nerve calls, or “computational” input from other neural cells. A single cell can have as many as 100K inputs (each from a different cell)

"The Soma (the calculation mechanism) — this is the cell body where inputs from all the dendrites come together, and based on all these signals a decision is made whether to fire an output (a “spike”). This is a bit of a generalisation, as some of the calculation already happens before the Soma, and is encoded in the dendritic structure of the cell.

"The axon (the output mechanism) — once a decision was made to fire an output signal (thus making the cell active), the axon is the mechanism that carries the signal, and through a tree like structure as its terminal, it delivers this signal to the dendrites of the next layer of neurons via a synaptic connection.

***

"Plasticity — one of the unique characteristics of the brain, and the key feature that enables learning and memory is its plasticity — ability to morph and change. New synaptic connections are made, old ones go away, and existing connections become stronger or weaker, based on experience. Plasticity even plays a role in the single neuron — impacting its electromagnetic behavior, and its tendency to trigger a spike in reaction to certain inputs.

***

"The complexity and robustness of brain neurons is much more advanced and powerful than that of artificial neurons. This is not just about the number of neurons, and the number of dendritic connections per neuron — which are orders of magnitude of what we have in current ANNs. But it’s also about the internal complexity of the single neuron: as detailed below, the chemical and electric mechanisms of the neurons are much more nuanced, and robust compared to the artificial neurons. For example, a neuron is not isoelectric — meaning that different regions in the cell may hold different voltage potential, and different current running through it. This allows a single neuron to do non linear calculations, identify changes over time (e.g moving object), or map parallel different tasks to different dendritic regions — such that the cell as a whole can complete complex composite tasks. These are all much more advanced structures and capabilities compared to the very simple artificial neuron.

"Implementation — the neurons in the brain are implemented using very complex and nuanced mechanisms that allow very complex non linear computations:

"chemical transmission of signals between neurons in the synaptic gap, through the use of neurotransmitters and receptors, amplified by various excitatory and inhibitory elements.

"Excitatory / inhibitory Post synaptic potential that builds up to action potential, based on complex temporal and spatial electromagnetic waves interference logic

"Ion channels and minute voltage difference a governing the triggering of spikes in the Soma and along the axon.

"the overall network architecture of neurons in the brain is much more complex than most ANNs. Especially, your common next door feed forward network, where each layer is connected only to the previous and next layers. But even compared to multi layered RNNs, or residual networks, the network of neurons in the brain is ridiculously complex, with tens of thousands of dendrites crossing “layers” and regions in numerous directions.

***

"Power consumption — the brain is an extremely efficient computing machine, consuming on the order of 10 Watts. This is about one third the power consumption of a single CPU…"

Comment: I have not included his comments about how the AI computer researchers try to copy the brain, but basically it is an impossible task to achieve the same result. What he seems to describe is that each neuron is like a little computer attached to all those other little computers. But that is really not what is meant: see the next entry

Introducing the brain;complexity seen by a computer geek II

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 00:17 (564 days ago) @ David Turell

Another view of the complexity:

https://mindmatters.ai/2018/11/brains-are-not-billions-of-little-computers/

"Brains receive input from the outside world, their neurons do something to that input, and create an output. That output may be a thought (I want curry for dinner); it may be an action (make curry); it may be a change in mood (yay curry!). Whatever the output, that “something” is a transformation of some form of input (a menu) to output (“chicken dansak, please”). And if we think of a brain as a device that transforms inputs to outputs then, inexorably, the computer becomes our analogy of choice…

"Your cortex contains 17 billion neurons. To understand what they do, we often make analogies with computers. Some use these analogies as cornerstones of their arguments. Some consider them to be deeply misguided. Our analogies often look to artificial neural networks: for neural networks compute, and they are made of up neuron-like things; and so, therefore, should brains compute. But if we think the brain is a computer, because it is like a neural network, then now we must admit that individual neurons are computers too. All 17 billion of them in your cortex; perhaps all 86 billion in your brain.

"And so it means your cortex is not a neural network. Your cortex is a neural network of neural networks.

***

“'The complexity and robustness of brain neurons is much more advanced and powerful than that of artificial neurons” and “the neurons in the brain are implemented using very complex and nuanced mechanisms that allow very complex non linear computations,” among many other things. He sees the brain mainly as a source of inspiration rather than a model.

"Of course, that raises a question whether things can be going on in the brain that cannot be modeled in a computer, whether the brain is a source of inspiration or not. The human form is a source of inspiration for classical sculptors, for example, but the human form does much that their works of art cannot do and no one expects them to do in order to achieve their purpose.

"But organisms differ from machines in a fundamental way, according to philosopher Sune Holm at the University of Copenhagen. Holm’s specialty is synthetic biology, the attempt to create life form scratch:

"One of the most basic objections to the identification of organisms and machines is that their behaviour cannot be reduced to the activities and relations of their parts.
In contrast to a mechanical watch, whose activity is fully determined “from the bottom up” by the activities and organisation of its parts, organisms influence the activities of their parts.

"For example, your muscles start to grow if you start to exercise. Moreover, the parts of a watch exist before the watch does. It is not the watch itself that builds its own parts.

"Well, there’s more to the differences though, isn’t there? Living organisms don’t just create themselves; they receive a life that is passed on through other organisms. Termite mound expert J. Scott Turner noted in Purpose and Desire: What Makes Something “Alive” and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It that life forms exist in a dance with their environment (homeostasis) that requires constant adjustment, an adjustment generated by their inner drive to continue in existence. How does the drive come to be there? So pervasive is this dance in insect colonies that, for example, an individual termite can be seen as a neuron in a giant crawling brain. But why do life forms seek to continue in existence, in homeostasis?

"Dr. Holm thinks that living organisms are the product of natural selection and thus “more like the products of a tinkerer than the results of a master engineer’s rational design.” Yet he acknowledges that “there is also widespread recognition that the production of complex synthetic organisms ‘from scratch’ is not around the corner.”

"We cannot simply “re-tinker” them, it seems. Which is odd when you think of it. If he is correct about life forms merely being tinkered into existence, we ought to be able to re-tinker them.

"Overall, the analogy between life forms and machines like computers is not particularly convincing, on close examination.

"See also: Yes, your brain is a machine—if you choose to see it that way (Michael Egnor)"

Comment: The whole point is life is much more than the sum of its parts. It is in constant work to maintain is homeostasis (the word dhw previously thought doesn't add anything to the discussion). Homeostasis means life is more than the sum of its parts. This entry is a commentary on the previous entry.

Introducing the brain;complexity seen by a computer geek II

by dhw, Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 13:42 (563 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: The whole point is life is much more than the sum of its parts. It is in constant work to maintain is homeostasis (the word dhw previously thought doesn't add anything to the discussion). Homeostasis means life is more than the sum of its parts. This entry is a commentary on the previous entry.

A silly misrepresentation of my thoughts. Firstly, homeostasis does not mean that life is more than the sum of its parts. Homeostasis means the maintenance of equilibrium, and of course it is essential to all forms of life and to all econiches. My objection is solely to your constant attempts to use “balance of life” (or equilibrium or homeostasis) as some kind of justification for your illogical insistence that your God designed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct, although his purpose was to produce H. sapiens.

Secondly, emergence is the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I am the one who has been advocating it as a possible explanation of how materialism may work: namely, that the material elements of the brain produce something that is greater than the sum of its parts: namely, the conscious self. (See my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE).

Introducing the brain;complexity seen by a computer geek II

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 13, 2018, 17:32 (563 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID’s comment: The whole point is life is much more than the sum of its parts. It is in constant work to maintain is homeostasis (the word dhw previously thought doesn't add anything to the discussion). Homeostasis means life is more than the sum of its parts. This entry is a commentary on the previous entry.

dhw: A silly misrepresentation of my thoughts. Firstly, homeostasis does not mean that life is more than the sum of its parts. Homeostasis means the maintenance of equilibrium, and of course it is essential to all forms of life and to all econiches. My objection is solely to your constant attempts to use “balance of life” (or equilibrium or homeostasis) as some kind of justification for your illogical insistence that your God designed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct, although his purpose was to produce H. sapiens.

Secondly, emergence is the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I am the one who has been advocating it as a possible explanation of how materialism may work: namely, that the material elements of the brain produce something that is greater than the sum of its parts: namely, the conscious self. (See my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE).

My memory of your initial comments about homeostasis differs from yours, but I am happy to see you now agreeing that homeostasis presents life that emerges as more than the sum of its parts, as in your brain comment.. Our cells are constantly at work to maintain us. Once again, i'd like to point out that repeating the word 'illogical' is proof of nothing. Lots of ID folks agree with me

Introducing the brain;complexity seen by a computer geek II

by dhw, Wednesday, November 14, 2018, 09:53 (563 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID’s comment: The whole point is life is much more than the sum of its parts. It is in constant work to maintain is homeostasis (the word dhw previously thought doesn't add anything to the discussion). Homeostasis means life is more than the sum of its parts. This entry is a commentary on the previous entry.

dhw: A silly misrepresentation of my thoughts. Firstly, homeostasis does not mean that life is more than the sum of its parts. Homeostasis means the maintenance of equilibrium, and of course it is essential to all forms of life and to all econiches. My objection is solely to your constant attempts to use “balance of life” (or equilibrium or homeostasis) as some kind of justification for your illogical insistence that your God designed every innovation, lifestyle and natural wonder extant and extinct, although his purpose was to produce H. sapiens.

Secondly, emergence is the theory that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and I am the one who has been advocating it as a possible explanation of how materialism may work: namely, that the material elements of the brain produce something that is greater than the sum of its parts: namely, the conscious self. (See my THEORY OF INTELLIGENCE).

DAVID: My memory of your initial comments about homeostasis differs from yours, but I am happy to see you now agreeing that homeostasis presents life that emerges as more than the sum of its parts, as in your brain comment.

My brain comment concerns emergence, not homeostasis. Once again: homeostasis means the maintenance of equilibrium, which is essential to all forms of life and to all econiches, and has nothing whatsoever to do with your theory that your God specially designed every innovation etc. (see bold above).

DAVID: Our cells are constantly at work to maintain us.

Yes indeed.

DAVID: Once again, i'd like to point out that repeating the word 'illogical' is proof of nothing. Lots of ID folks agree with me.

See my Neanderthal post.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by David Turell @, Sunday, December 09, 2018, 19:56 (537 days ago) @ dhw

A careful study of different brain systems:

http://maxplanck.nautil.us/article/344/brain-on-autopilot?utm_source=Nautilus&utm_c...

"The structure of the human brain is complex, reminiscent of a circuit diagram with countless connections. But what role does this architecture play in the functioning of the brain? To answer this question, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, in cooperation with colleagues at the Free University of Berlin and University Hospital Freiburg, have for the first time analyzed 1.6 billion connections within the brain simultaneously. They found the highest agreement between structure and information flow in the “default mode network,” which is responsible for inward-focused thinking such as daydreaming.

"Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, they examined a total of 1.6 billion possible anatomical connections between these different regions in 19 participants aged between 21 and 31 years. The research team compared these connections with the brain signals actually generated by the nerve cells.

"Their results showed the highest agreement between brain structure and brain function in areas forming part of the “default mode network,” which is associated with daydreaming, imagination, and self-referential thought. “In comparison to other networks, the default mode network uses the most direct anatomical connections. We think that neuronal activity is automatically directed to level off at this network whenever there are no external influences on the brain,”

***

"... the default mode network seems to become active in the absence of external influences. In other words, the anatomical structure of the brain seems to have a built-in autopilot setting. It should not, however, be confused with an idle state. On the contrary, daydreaming, imagination, and self-referential thought are complex tasks for the brain.

“Our findings suggest that the structural architecture of the brain ensures that it automatically switches to something useful when it is not being used for other activities,” says Andreas Horn. “But the brain only stays on autopilot until an external stimulus causes activity in another network, putting an end to the daydreaming. A buzzing fly, a loud bang in the distance, or focused concentration on a text, for example.”

Comment: Our brain works at several levels in very complex ways. Much more than simple survival requires. As I see it here is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution, if humans are used as an example.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by dhw, Monday, December 10, 2018, 13:09 (537 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: “Our findings suggest that the structural architecture of the brain ensures that it automatically switches to something useful when it is not being used for other activities,” says Andreas Horn. “But the brain only stays on autopilot until an external stimulus causes activity in another network, putting an end to the daydreaming. A buzzing fly, a loud bang in the distance, or focused concentration on a text, for example.”

DAVID: Our brain works at several levels in very complex ways. Much more than simple survival requires. As I see it here is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution, if humans are used as an example.

The paragraph I have quoted mirrors my proposal concerning the other cells/cell communities in the body. They stay on autopilot until there is a new stimulus which demands an intelligent response.

Why you keep harping on about survival is a mystery to me, except that it is part of your Darwinphobia. Nobody would deny that our own mental activities extend far beyond the need for survival (although survival is the number one priority if it is under threat). But even if we were to accept your view – which I don’t – that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every evolutionary innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder even before they were required, do you think he gave pre-whales their fins, or pre-baleen whales their baleens, or monarch butterflies their migratory timetable and navigation instruments, or spiders their 50,000 different webs etc. all for no useful purpose? No, you tell us, all of this was to provide food and energy, i.e. so that life would SURVIVE until he could fulfil his one and only purpose of producing you and me. And still with your own hypothesis, did he intervene to expand the pre-sapiens brain – your interpretation of brain evolution – so that it would be able to make tools and weapons and clothes, but these had nothing to do with survival? Do you think they were invented so that pre-sapiens could hold archery contests and fashion shows? I would suggest that even in your hypothesis, survival has played a huge role in evolution, human or not. And, to forestall one possible response, the fact that Darwin thought so too does not invalidate the argument.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by David Turell @, Monday, December 10, 2018, 15:30 (536 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: “Our findings suggest that the structural architecture of the brain ensures that it automatically switches to something useful when it is not being used for other activities,” says Andreas Horn. “But the brain only stays on autopilot until an external stimulus causes activity in another network, putting an end to the daydreaming. A buzzing fly, a loud bang in the distance, or focused concentration on a text, for example.”

DAVID: Our brain works at several levels in very complex ways. Much more than simple survival requires. As I see it here is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution, if humans are used as an example.

The paragraph I have quoted mirrors my proposal concerning the other cells/cell communities in the body. They stay on autopilot until there is a new stimulus which demands an intelligent response.

dhw: Why you keep harping on about survival is a mystery to me, except that it is part of your Darwinphobia. Nobody would deny that our own mental activities extend far beyond the need for survival (although survival is the number one priority if it is under threat). But even if we were to accept your view – which I don’t – that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every evolutionary innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder even before they were required, do you think he gave pre-whales their fins, or pre-baleen whales their baleens, or monarch butterflies their migratory timetable and navigation instruments, or spiders their 50,000 different webs etc. all for no useful purpose? No, you tell us, all of this was to provide food and energy, i.e. so that life would SURVIVE until he could fulfil his one and only purpose of producing you and me. And still with your own hypothesis, did he intervene to expand the pre-sapiens brain – your interpretation of brain evolution – so that it would be able to make tools and weapons and clothes, but these had nothing to do with survival? Do you think they were invented so that pre-sapiens could hold archery contests and fashion shows? I would suggest that even in your hypothesis, survival has played a huge role in evolution, human or not. And, to forestall one possible response, the fact that Darwin thought so too does not invalidate the argument.

Same old battle between us. I simply accept God did what we see. You are constantly criticizing his method of creation. If hair is gone, a brain is needed to provide warmth by the invention of hides for clothes. Spears and later bows were for hunting for food. Easier than surrounding an animal and beating it to death. Apes and monkeys are still enjoying the trees and the fruits available. The advent of bipedalism introduced all sorts of problems and dangers not faced by the tree dwellers. Bipedalism is not a survival advancement if apes are compared.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by dhw, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 14:10 (535 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Our brain works at several levels in very complex ways. Much more than simple survival requires. As I see it here is little real evidence that survival plays any role in evolution, if humans are used as an example.

dhw: Why you keep harping on about survival is a mystery to me, except that it is part of your Darwinphobia. Nobody would deny that our own mental activities extend far beyond the need for survival (although survival is the number one priority if it is under threat). But even if we were to accept your view – which I don’t – that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every evolutionary innovation, econiche, lifestyle and natural wonder even before they were required, do you think he gave pre-whales their fins, or pre-baleen whales their baleens, or monarch butterflies their migratory timetable and navigation instruments, or spiders their 50,000 different webs etc. all for no useful purpose? No, you tell us, all of this was to provide food and energy, i.e. so that life would SURVIVE until he could fulfil his one and only purpose of producing you and me. And still with your own hypothesis, did he intervene to expand the pre-sapiens brain – your interpretation of brain evolution – so that it would be able to make tools and weapons and clothes, but these had nothing to do with survival? Do you think they were invented so that pre-sapiens could hold archery contests and fashion shows? I would suggest that even in your hypothesis, survival has played a huge role in evolution, human or not. And, to forestall one possible response, the fact that Darwin thought so too does not invalidate the argument.

DAVID: Same old battle between us. I simply accept God did what we see. You are constantly criticizing his method of creation.

I am doing no such thing! I am criticizing your interpretation of his method of creation, and I am challenging your view that the quest for survival has played little or no role in evolution.

DAVID: If hair is gone, a brain is needed to provide warmth by the invention of hides for clothes. Spears and later bows were for hunting for food. Easier than surrounding an animal and beating it to death.

But you say this has nothing to do with survival! Do you think clothes and spears and bows were invented for the sake of entertainment, or philosophy, or art?

DAVID: Apes and monkeys are still enjoying the trees and the fruits available. The advent of bipedalism introduced all sorts of problems and dangers not faced by the tree dwellers. Bipedalism is not a survival advancement if apes are compared.

You keep telling us that you do not regard survivability as playing any role in evolution. We are not just talking about humans, but even with humans you tell us your God deliberately expanded pre-human brains, and only then were they able to invent the tools, weapons, clothes etc. which served the sole purpose of improving their chances of survival. The single example of bipedalism – which I have suggested may well have originated through conditions that required the descent of SOME anthropoids, while others remained in the trees – does not cover the whole of evolution. And I would suggest that the brain’s evolution – whatever the method and timing of expansion – was always linked mainly to survival until humans as we know them reached a point of awareness that took them beyond the basic needs and into the realms of thought beyond survival.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by David Turell @, Tuesday, December 11, 2018, 18:17 (535 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Same old battle between us. I simply accept God did what we see. You are constantly criticizing his method of creation.

dhw: I am doing no such thing! I am criticizing your interpretation of his method of creation, and I am challenging your view that the quest for survival has played little or no role in evolution.

DAVID: If hair is gone, a brain is needed to provide warmth by the invention of hides for clothes. Spears and later bows were for hunting for food. Easier than surrounding an animal and beating it to death.

dhw: But you say this has nothing to do with survival! Do you think clothes and spears and bows were invented for the sake of entertainment, or philosophy, or art?

If survival was so important, why did humans lose their hair covering? Purposeful God action. Remove hair and give a better brain to allow hide clothing invention.


DAVID: Apes and monkeys are still enjoying the trees and the fruits available. The advent of bipedalism introduced all sorts of problems and dangers not faced by the tree dwellers. Bipedalism is not a survival advancement if apes are compared.

dhw: You keep telling us that you do not regard survivability as playing any role in evolution. We are not just talking about humans, but even with humans you tell us your God deliberately expanded pre-human brains, and only then were they able to invent the tools, weapons, clothes etc. which served the sole purpose of improving their chances of survival. The single example of bipedalism – which I have suggested may well have originated through conditions that required the descent of SOME anthropoids, while others remained in the trees – does not cover the whole of evolution. And I would suggest that the brain’s evolution – whatever the method and timing of expansion – was always linked mainly to survival until humans as we know them reached a point of awareness that took them beyond the basic needs and into the realms of thought beyond survival.

Survivability is pure Darwinism. The capabilities of early hominins were well beyond the need for survival as compared to the apes they left behind who did not need any changes to survive for the last eight million years of side by side development..

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by dhw, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 11:13 (535 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Same old battle between us. I simply accept God did what we see. You are constantly criticizing his method of creation.

dhw: I am doing no such thing! I am criticizing your interpretation of his method of creation, and I am challenging your view that the quest for survival has played little or no role in evolution.

DAVID: If survival was so important, why did humans lose their hair covering? Purposeful God action. Remove hair and give a better brain to allow hide clothing invention.

This is getting silly. God: “I’ll take off your hair, give you a bigger brain, and then you can invent clothes.” Pre-human: “Why, God?” “Well, when I specially design H. sapiens, he’ll be able to hold fashion shows, and girls will be able to wear pretty dresses. No, no, my dear pre-human, your invention of clothes has nothing to do with helping you to survive now that I’ve taken off all your hair and left you stark naked in the snow and ice.”

DAVID: Apes and monkeys are still enjoying the trees and the fruits available. The advent of bipedalism introduced all sorts of problems and dangers not faced by the tree dwellers. Bipedalism is not a survival advancement if apes are compared.

dhw: You keep telling us that you do not regard survivability as playing any role in evolution. We are not just talking about humans, but even with humans you tell us your God deliberately expanded pre-human brains, and only then were they able to invent the tools, weapons, clothes etc. which served the sole purpose of improving their chances of survival. The single example of bipedalism – which I have suggested may well have originated through conditions that required the descent of SOME anthropoids, while others remained in the trees – does not cover the whole of evolution. And I would suggest that the brain’s evolution – whatever the method and timing of expansion – was always linked mainly to survival until humans as we know them reached a point of awareness that took them beyond the basic needs and into the realms of thought beyond survival.

DAVID: Survivability is pure Darwinism. The capabilities of early hominins were well beyond the need for survival as compared to the apes they left behind who did not need any changes to survive for the last eight million years of side by side development.

“Pure Darwinism” does not mean it is wrong! I have answered the point about apes in the paragraph you have quoted. Now please tell me: do you think the invention of clothes, tools, weapons had nothing to do with survival? And please tell me if you think that whale fins replacing legs, baleens replacing teeth, fish camouflaging themselves, butterflies migrating to warmer climates, spiders spinning webs etc. had nothing to do with improving their chances of survival.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by David Turell @, Wednesday, December 12, 2018, 15:27 (534 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: You keep telling us that you do not regard survivability as playing any role in evolution. We are not just talking about humans, but even with humans you tell us your God deliberately expanded pre-human brains, and only then were they able to invent the tools, weapons, clothes etc. which served the sole purpose of improving their chances of survival. The single example of bipedalism – which I have suggested may well have originated through conditions that required the descent of SOME anthropoids, while others remained in the trees – does not cover the whole of evolution. And I would suggest that the brain’s evolution – whatever the method and timing of expansion – was always linked mainly to survival until humans as we know them reached a point of awareness that took them beyond the basic needs and into the realms of thought beyond survival.

DAVID: Survivability is pure Darwinism. The capabilities of early hominins were well beyond the need for survival as compared to the apes they left behind who did not need any changes to survive for the last eight million years of side by side development.

dhw: “Pure Darwinism” does not mean it is wrong! I have answered the point about apes in the paragraph you have quoted. Now please tell me: do you think the invention of clothes, tools, weapons had nothing to do with survival? And please tell me if you think that whale fins replacing legs, baleens replacing teeth, fish camouflaging themselves, butterflies migrating to warmer climates, spiders spinning webs etc. had nothing to do with improving their chances of survival.

Getting out of the trees or hopping into a watery environment resulted in severe challenges to survivability to the organisms who did it, and required major changes in phenotypical and physiological aspects of each climate jumper. If survival is such an important issue, why not stay put and take the easy road of continued life. That is why I say there is a drive to complexity from God to advance evolution, and then only He can design the necessary changes for survival. Advanced complexity requires survival designs for the new circumstances. Perfectly logical. Suviveability is secondary to advancing complexity. Again Darwin was proposing survivability due to competition, a totally unproven jump in tautological thought.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by dhw, Thursday, December 13, 2018, 09:48 (534 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Survivability is pure Darwinism. The capabilities of early hominins were well beyond the need for survival as compared to the apes they left behind who did not need any changes to survive for the last eight million years of side by side development.

dhw: “Pure Darwinism” does not mean it is wrong! I have answered the point about apes in the paragraph you have quoted. Now please tell me: do you think the invention of clothes, tools, weapons had nothing to do with survival? And please tell me if you think that whale fins replacing legs, baleens replacing teeth, fish camouflaging themselves, butterflies migrating to warmer climates, spiders spinning webs etc. had nothing to do with improving their chances of survival.

DAVID: Getting out of the trees or hopping into a watery environment resulted in severe challenges to survivability to the organisms who did it, and required major changes in phenotypical and physiological aspects of each climate jumper. If survival is such an important issue, why not stay put and take the easy road of continued life.

What on earth makes you think that life has always been an easy road for every organism? Every change in the environment is a threat to some, and if they don’t change, they die. Why do you refuse to consider the possibility, for example, that at some time certain pre-whales began to run short of food on land, found that there was plenty of food in the water, and so started to go fishing? Yes, we agree that marine life requires major changes, as does all speciation, and we can only guess at how it happened. But that does not mean the environment has always been an easy road, so survival was never a problem, and therefore – sticking to our beloved whales – God had to extract the teeth of pre-baleen whales before they started suction-feeding (which they didn’t need to do), and then gave them baleens before they started filter-feeding (which they didn’t need to do) – all to provide food until he could specially design H. sapiens.

DAVID: That is why I say there is a drive to complexity from God to advance evolution, and then only He can design the necessary changes for survival. Advanced complexity requires survival designs for the new circumstances. Perfectly logical. Suviveability is secondary to advancing complexity. […]

If only God can design the changes for survival, and advanced complexity requires survival designs – how can you say survival plays little or no role in evolution? As for complexity, I would reverse your guesswork. I see no point whatsoever in complexity for the sake of complexity, and I would suggest that advanced complexity was the result of the quest for survival. But you now seem to have your God saying to himself: “I must make organisms more complex and therefore I must find a means of helping them to survive, which I will do by making them more complex.”

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by David Turell @, Thursday, December 13, 2018, 21:24 (533 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Getting out of the trees or hopping into a watery environment resulted in severe challenges to survivability to the organisms who did it, and required major changes in phenotypical and physiological aspects of each climate jumper. If survival is such an important issue, why not stay put and take the easy road of continued life.

dhw: What on earth makes you think that life has always been an easy road for every organism? Every change in the environment is a threat to some, and if they don’t change, they die. Why do you refuse to consider the possibility, for example, that at some time certain pre-whales began to run short of food on land, found that there was plenty of food in the water, and so started to go fishing? Yes, we agree that marine life requires major changes, as does all speciation, and we can only guess at how it happened. But that does not mean the environment has always been an easy road, so survival was never a problem, and therefore – sticking to our beloved whales – God had to extract the teeth of pre-baleen whales before they started suction-feeding (which they didn’t need to do), and then gave them baleens before they started filter-feeding (which they didn’t need to do) – all provide food until he could specially design H. sapiens. (my bold)

You have stepped around the key point, Why not survive the easy way? Of course species are killed off by adverse events they didn't ask for. Raup covered that in his book about extinctions. As for jumping into the water to find food, what is wrong with migrating on land to where the supply is better and massive phenotypic and physiological changes are not required to be designed?? The choice is not unilateral at any time as you imply. The bold above shows how you give short shrift to whale modifications. I brought them up because it is the most extreme example of speciation I know of, more so than humans in a physiological sense, and you usually brush it off as less than that.


DAVID: That is why I say there is a drive to complexity from God to advance evolution, and then only He can design the necessary changes for survival. Advanced complexity requires survival designs for the new circumstances. Perfectly logical. Suviveability is secondary to advancing complexity. […]

dhw: If only God can design the changes for survival, and advanced complexity requires survival designs – how can you say survival plays little or no role in evolution? As for complexity, I would reverse your guesswork. I see no point whatsoever in complexity for the sake of complexity, and I would suggest that advanced complexity was the result of the quest for survival. But you now seem to have your God saying to himself: “I must make organisms more complex and therefore I must find a means of helping them to survive, which I will do by making them more complex.”

The road from single cells to humans is one of constant increasing complexity, a point you cannot deny. And note humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees. God did not have the circular reasoning you have invented for Him. Totally irrational.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by dhw, Friday, December 14, 2018, 10:53 (533 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Getting out of the trees or hopping into a watery environment resulted in severe challenges to survivability to the organisms who did it, and required major changes in phenotypical and physiological aspects of each climate jumper. If survival is such an important issue, why not stay put and take the easy road of continued life.

dhw: What on earth makes you think that life has always been an easy road for every organism? Every change in the environment is a threat to some, and if they don’t change, they die. Why do you refuse to consider the possibility, for example, that at some time certain pre-whales began to run short of food on land, found that there was plenty of food in the water, and so started to go fishing? Yes, we agree that marine life requires major changes, as does all speciation, and we can only guess at how it happened. But that does not mean the environment has always been an easy road, so survival was never a problem, and therefore – sticking to our beloved whales – God had to extract the teeth of pre-baleen whales before they started suction-feeding (which they didn’t need to do), and then gave them baleens before they started filter-feeding (which they didn’t need to do) – all to provide food until he could specially design H. sapiens. (David’s bold)

DAVID: You have stepped around the key point, Why not survive the easy way? Of course species are killed off by adverse events they didn't ask for. Raup covered that in his book about extinctions. As for jumping into the water to find food, what is wrong with migrating on land to where the supply is better and massive phenotypic and physiological changes are not required to be designed?? The choice is not unilateral at any time as you imply. The bold above shows how you give short shrift to whale modifications. I brought them up because it is the most extreme example of speciation I know of, more so than humans in a physiological sense, and you usually brush it off as less than that.

Nobody knows how speciation happened, extreme or not so extreme, and what you have bolded is hardly “brushing off”. The key point is that pre-whales did not and probably could not survive the “easy way”. They did go into the water, and their bodies changed accordingly. But you want us to believe that there was no need for them to change their environment, and your God simply changed their legs to fins and told them to enter the water because he wanted them to be more complex (see below) – I don’t know why fins should be regarded as more complex than legs – and to provide food – I don’t know why pre-whales couldn’t just go on providing food – to keep life going until he could fulfil his one and only purpose.

DAVID: That is why I say there is a drive to complexity from God to advanced evolution, and then only He can design the necessarychanges for survival. Advanced complexity requires survival designs for the new circumstances. Perfectly logical. Suviveability is secondary to advancing complexity. […]

dhw: If only God can design the changes for survival, and advanced complexity requires survival designs – how can you say survival plays little or no role in evolution? As for complexity, I would reverse your guesswork. I see no point whatsoever in complexity for the sake of complexity, and I would suggest that advanced complexity was the result of the quest for survival. But you now seem to have your God saying to himself: “I must make organisms more complex and therefore I must find a means of helping them to survive, which I will do by making them more complex.”

DAVID: The road from single cells to humans is one of constant increasing complexity, a point you cannot deny.

Of course it is. So is the road from single cells to whales and elephants and the duckbilled platypus. But if he designed all these “necessary changes for survival”, how can you say that survival played little or no role in evolution?

DAVID: And note humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees. God did not have the circular reasoning you have invented for Him. Totally irrational.

So although these modifications enabled humans to survive better than any other animal on earth, they apparently had nothing to do with survival. I’m glad you agree that your argument is totally irrational.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by David Turell @, Friday, December 14, 2018, 19:47 (532 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Friday, December 14, 2018, 20:02

DAVID: You have stepped around the key point, Why not survive the easy way? Of course species are killed off by adverse events they didn't ask for. Raup covered that in his book about extinctions. As for jumping into the water to find food, what is wrong with migrating on land to where the supply is better and massive phenotypic and physiological changes are not required to be designed?? The choice is not unilateral at any time as you imply. The bold above shows how you give short shrift to whale modifications. I brought them up because it is the most extreme example of speciation I know of, more so than humans in a physiological sense, and you usually brush it off as less than that.

dhw: The key point is that pre-whales did not and probably could not survive the “easy way”. They did go into the water, and their bodies changed accordingly. But you want us to believe that there was no need for them to change their environment, and your God simply changed their legs to fins and told them to enter the water because he wanted them to be more complex (see below) – I don’t know why fins should be regarded as more complex than legs – and to provide food – I don’t know why pre-whales couldn’t just go on providing food – to keep life going until he could fulfil his one and only purpose.

Flippers and legs are very different and require different muscle attachments for differing motions. Flippers flap. Try that with a leg! The marked change is the issue, not the complexity.


DAVID: The road from single cells to humans is one of constant increasing complexity, a point you cannot deny.

dhw: Of course it is. So is the road from single cells to whales and elephants and the duckbilled platypus. But if he designed all these “necessary changes for survival”, how can you say that survival played little or no role in evolution?

Extinctions are bad luck is the point. Jumping into water did not help survival, but endangered it without enormous phenotypic and physiologic changes. Looking for a purposeful explanation ( since God is purposeful) it must be diversity for econiche food supply. From the proper theistic standpoint, it is the most logical explanation.


DAVID: And note humans survive better than any other animal on earth with the modifications as they came out of the trees. God did not have the circular reasoning you have invented for Him. Totally irrational.

dhw: So although these modifications enabled humans to survive better than any other animal on earth, they apparently had nothing to do with survival. I’m glad you agree that your argument is totally irrational.

You can toss around the word irrationality all you want, but the point is not what you want it to be. Humans would have survived if they stayed as apes and didn't gain all the attributes they have. Survival therefore is not The Issue. The dependence on that concept is pure Darwinianism from which you have never recovered. His view of competition is purely theoretical, never proven and you have agreed survival of the fittest is a tautology.

Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survival_of_the_fittest

"Interpretations of the phrase as expressing a theory are in danger of being tautological, meaning roughly "those with a propensity to survive have a propensity to survive"; to have content the theory must use a concept of fitness that is independent of that of survival.

"Interpreted as a theory of species survival, the theory that the fittest species survive is undermined by evidence that while direct competition is observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups such as, for example, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Instead, these groups have evolved by expanding into empty ecological niches. In the punctuated equilibrium model of environmental and biological change, the factor determining survival is often not superiority over another in competition but ability to survive dramatic changes in environmental conditions, such as after a meteor impact energetic enough to greatly change the environment globally. The main land dwelling animals to survive the K-Pg impact 66 million years ago had the ability to live in underground tunnels, for example.

"In 2010 Sahney et al. argued that there is little evidence that intrinsic, biological factors such as competition have been the driving force in the evolution of large groups. Instead, they cited extrinsic, abiotic factors such as expansion as the driving factor on a large evolutionary scale. The rise of dominant groups such as amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds occurred by opportunistic expansion into empty ecological niches and the extinction of groups happened due to large shifts in the abiotic environment."

Pure survivability is a minor issue in the current view.

Introducing the brain;complexity: autopilot

by dhw, Saturday, December 15, 2018, 12:06 (532 days ago) @ David Turell

I have shifted this discussion to "Divine purposes and methods", as it is no longer concerned with brain complexity and autopilot.

brain;complexity: detecting one trillion scents

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 09, 2019, 20:30 (506 days ago) @ dhw

It is done by less than one trillion neurons:

https://phys.org/news/2019-01-genes-nose-scents.html

"The human nose can distinguish one trillion different scents—an extraordinary feat that requires 10 million specialized nerve cells, or neurons, in the nose, and a family of more than 400 dedicated genes. But precisely how these genes and neurons work in concert to pick out a particular scent has long puzzled scientists.

***

"But now, a Columbia study in mice has uncovered a striking resourcefulness: by rearranging itself in three-dimensional space, the genome coordinates the regulation of these genes in each neuron, thereby generating the biological diversity needed to detect the scents we experience.

***

"Smell, also known as olfaction, is mind-bogglingly complex. The receptors in our noses must not only identify a scent, but also gauge how strong it is, scan our memories to determine whether it has been encountered before, and determine if it is pleasing or toxic.

"Olfactory receptor neurons, specialized nerve cells that snake from the nose to the brain, make all this possible. And though each neuron contains the full suite of the 400 dedicated olfactory receptor genes, only one of these genes is active in each neuron. Adding to the confusion: the gene that is active appears randomly chosen, and differs from neuron to neuron.

"This unusual pattern of gene activity is known as the "one gene per neuron" rule, and has long been a focus of study by scientists such as Dr. Lomvardas. Indeed, deciphering how each olfactory receptor neuron manages to activate only one of these genes—and how this process results in such a finely tuned sense of smell—remained mysterious for decades.

***

"Enhancers are not themselves genes but regulate the activity of genes.

"'We previously discovered a group of enhancers, we named the Greek Islands, located near the various olfactory receptor genes," said Dr. Horta. "This work showed that these enhancers create hotspots of activity to regulate the "chosen" olfactory receptor gene.

"The team also found that the protein Ldb1 plays a key role in this process. It holds the Greek Islands together, allowing them to switch on a specific olfactory receptor gene that then—as a team—interpret the particular scent at hand.

"'These teams of genes endow the olfactory system with the ability to respond in diverse ways," said Dr. Monahan. "The flexibility of this process could help to explain how we easily learn and remember new smells.'"

Comment: This type of gene alteration in cooperative design allows for the enormous number of scents we learn to recognize. Note memory has to be involved. This has to be a designed system.

brain;complexity: structure of a hippocampal receptor

by David Turell @, Sunday, April 14, 2019, 21:28 (411 days ago) @ David Turell

Look at the diagram to see the complex structure:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190411145131.htm

"The new research, published in the journal Science, is the first to reveal the structure of AMPA receptors in their natural state. This discovery could lead to new insight about the mechanism behind a wide range of nervous system disorders and diseases.

"'These are the fundamental electrical switches of the brain," said senior author Eric Gouaux, Ph.D., senior scientist and Jennifer and Bernard LaCroute Term Chair of neuroscience in the OHSU Vollum Institute and an investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "If these switches don't work right, then the brain doesn't function.

***

"AMPA receptors are activated by the neurotransmitter glutamate, forming permeable ion channels that carry signals between cells throughout the nervous system."

Comment: The importance of this discovery for medical science is that it will hopefully help finding cures for disease defects. The importance as far as the Darwin theory is concerned is that it is impossible to have developed a protein of this complex structure and function by Darwin's proposed chance mechanism. It must be designed all at once to fill its purpose. Hunt and peck trial and error attempts over many chance mutations reasonably cannot work. At each point it must be tested by natural selection for proper function, and how does the organism survive each failure? The alternative is every new step is an unqualified success. Really?

brain complexity: RNA control of neurogenesis very complex

by David Turell @, Monday, April 15, 2019, 18:30 (410 days ago) @ David Turell

The image is not shown but the RNA transport molecular is highly complex in it s attachments:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190415104951.htm

"A team of scientists from Helmholtz Zentrum München and the University of Ulm has discovered that the neuronal transport factor Staufen2 scans and binds to its target transcripts in a much more complex manner than previously thought. RNA is transported within highly complex protein-RNA particles whose structure and specificity are still poorly understood.

***

"Staufen2 is a neuronal RNA-binding protein that plays an important role in the differentiation of neural progenitor cells during neurogenesis. In addition, it is a key factor in the transport of RNA to synapses and is therefore important for synaptic plasticity, the basis of memory and memory formation.

"The team led by Professor Dr. Dierk Niessing, group leader at the Institute of Structural Biology (STB) of Helmholtz Zentrum München and professor and head of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at the University of Ulm, showed that RNA-binding domains (dsRBDs) 1 and 2 of the mStau2 protein bond to mRNA with the same affinity and kinetics as domains 3 and 4. It was previously thought that the latter were in themselves sufficient for mRNA binding. While RNA recognition by each of these so-called tandem domains is transient, all four RNA-binding domains recognize their target RNA with a high degree of stability.

"Previous studies had suggested that only two RNA binding domains in Staufen2, namely dsRBD 3 and 4, are responsible for binding. Despite this, until now it proved impossible to reproduce stable binding required for RNA transport in the test tube. "That problem has been solved," says Niessing, "because it is now clear that dsRBDs 1 and 2 are also needed to create a stable complex. Using various biochemical and biophysical techniques, we were able to explain the behavior of dsRBD 1 and 2 ." "It turns out that Staufen2 recognizes its target RNAs in a much more complex way than previously thought," adds Dr. Simone Heber, lead author of the article and postdoc at the STB. "Staufen2 scans and binds to its transcripts with four RNA-binding domains in total .'"

Comment: When four parts are involved chance development by a series of mutations is impossible, negating Darwin's theory.

brain complexity: chemical controls

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 11, 2020, 20:00 (139 days ago) @ David Turell

The subject of this article is serotonin:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-01-serotonin-master-neuroregeneration.html

"The serotonergic system has widely been shown to control many aspects of neuroregeneration. In some regions, it facilitates neurogenesis, while in others, it seems to inhibit it. In the case of inhibition, a recent example has been published in PLOS Biology. The authors used a zebrafish model of Alzheimer's disease to show that amyloid-induced interleukin-4 (IL4) promotes neurogenic stem cell proliferation by suppressing the production of serotonin. In these animals, there is a unique neuro-immune interaction through which IL4 secreted by dying neurons activates microglia. In turn, microglia reciprocate by revving up neural stem cell proliferation.

***

"It is now commonly appreciated that peripheral immune stem cells (and even fetal cells from pregnant moms circulating in maternal blood) can migrate across the adult BBB [blood brain barrier] and fuse with local neurons to create all kinds of new hybrid entities. The opposite migration, however, is still largely unknown in nature. Surprisingly, researchers have recently discovered that neural progenitor cells in the developing mouse brain can exit through the BBB to join the general circulation.

***

"Everyone knows that serotonin is one of the major transmitters used in the brain. The perplexing states of mind resulting from use of many popular hallucinogenic drugs that mimic serotonin are believed to act specifically at the 5-HT2A receptor variety. But what might serotonin do that good old glutamate, dopamine or acetylcholine are not known to do? One thing serotonin does, and accomplishes specifically through 5HT2A receptors is control the minting of new mitochondria. That's not to say that the primary occupation of other transmitters is not somehow controlling mitochondria as well, we just don't yet know fully how they might do it.

"Discussing the biogenesis of mitochondria and the neurogenesis of new brain cells entails an instructive dilemma: Mitochondria are forced into competition with their own local master nucleus for access to nucleotides—necessary for both DNA repair and replication.

***

"The larger body-wide tryptophan ecosystem is responsible for maintaining levels of other important products, including nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), and to a lesser extent, the peptide hormone melatonin.

Although NAD can be generated by the so-called "Preiss-Handler" pathway from niacin or from salvage pathways through nicotinamide, its "de novo" synthesis from tryptophan is an essential contributing pathway in the nervous system. Being able to synthesize NAD on demand from scratch is convenient, but also very expensive. The conversion ratio for the synthesis pathways is roughly 67 mg of tryptophan to make 1 mg of niacin.

"The decision to route essential tryptophan stores into either serotonin, or to NAD is made locally in every part of the brain. Diverse anatomical nuclei and specialized cell types use restricted subsets of enzymes which little but the potluck of cell differentiation has apportioned to each them. Deficiencies in the intracellular metabolic circuits that synthesize both nucleotide stores and the many transmitter products required by neural cells and their mitochondria are made whole through the establishment of macrocellular transport circuits between them. Although these resultant neural structures give rise to high effects scarcely imaginable from their comparatively low enzymatic origins, many of their characteristics can now be intuitively comprehended through simple principles of metabolic supply and demand.

"What is still far less certain territory today, but may soon be determined, is that the neural activity supported by different circuits should be explainable in similar terms. In other words, spikes themselves have an intrinsic meaning more basic than that of transmitting information to and from the external world. It has been suggested that other transmitters capable of acting through G-protein receptors, like, for example, GABA, have a primary function of controlling the availability of nucleotides to synaptic mitochondria. In particular, the second messenger systems of these transmitters continually lock and release variously phosphated purines between their cyclic and non-cyclic forms.

"If the largely post-mitotic brain derives much of its singular structure and function (compared to other organs) as a result of a more or less artificially maintained scarcity of nucleotides, it is not much of a stretch to imagine that the fuss and chatter of spikes is largely what we might call nucleotide micromanagement. Any higher-level "signaling" function of spikes and the subsequent transmitter release from vessicles across synapses is therefore merely superimposed on top of what is essentially the corralling, release, and likely also repair, of nucleotides."

Comment: this shows how difficult it is to understand how the brain does its amazing work as the result of neurogenic and chemical coordinated activities. Not by chance

brain complexity: chemical controls

by dhw, Sunday, January 12, 2020, 12:36 (139 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE:"It is now commonly appreciated that peripheral immune stem cells (and even fetal cells from pregnant moms circulating in maternal blood) can migrate across the adult BBB [blood brain barrier] and fuse with local neurons to create all kinds of new hybrid entities.

The article is far too technical for me to follow in its entirety, but this leapt off the page. All kinds of new hybrid entities = innovation, and once again we have stem cells in the thick of it. So are stem cells the key to how evolution works?

DAVID: this shows how difficult it is to understand how the brain does its amazing work as the result of neurogenic and chemical coordinated activities. Not by chance.

What this shows is that the brain does its amazing work as the result of materials interacting. Some would suggest that this offers support for materialism as opposed to dualism.

brain complexity: chemical controls

by David Turell @, Sunday, January 12, 2020, 16:05 (138 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE:"It is now commonly appreciated that peripheral immune stem cells (and even fetal cells from pregnant moms circulating in maternal blood) can migrate across the adult BBB [blood brain barrier] and fuse with local neurons to create all kinds of new hybrid entities.

dhw: The article is far too technical for me to follow in its entirety, but this leapt off the page. All kinds of new hybrid entities = innovation, and once again we have stem cells in the thick of it. So are stem cells the key to how evolution works?

DAVID: this shows how difficult it is to understand how the brain does its amazing work as the result of neurogenic and chemical coordinated activities. Not by chance.

dhw: What this shows is that the brain does its amazing work as the result of materials interacting. Some would suggest that this offers support for materialism as opposed to dualism.

All it means to me is the enormous number of automatic underlying controls for brain plasticity to act appropriately. If the brain is like a receiver, it can change from AM to FM, nothing more

brain complexity: probably calculating dendrites

by David Turell @, Wednesday, January 15, 2020, 00:26 (136 days ago) @ David Turell

Recent research points to this ability, which increases the brains computing power by many, many times:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/neural-dendrites-reveal-their-computational-power-20200114/

"The latest in a long line of evidence comes from scientists’ discovery of a new type of electrical signal in the upper layers of the human cortex. Laboratory and modeling studies have already shown that tiny compartments in the dendritic arms of cortical neurons can each perform complicated operations in mathematical logic. But now it seems that individual dendritic compartments can also perform a particular computation — “exclusive OR” — that mathematical theorists had previously categorized as unsolvable by single-neuron systems.

***

"The discovery marks a growing need for studies of the nervous system to consider the implications of individual neurons as extensive information processors. “Brains may be far more complicated than we think,” said Konrad Kording, a computational neuroscientist.

***

"Modeling work by the neuroscientist Christof Koch and others, later supported by benchtop experiments, showed that single neurons didn’t express a single or uniform voltage signal. Instead, voltage signals decreased as they moved along the dendrites into the body of the neuron, and often contributed nothing to the cell’s ultimate output.

"This compartmentalization of signals meant that separate dendrites could be processing information independently of one another. “This was at odds with the point-neuron hypothesis, in which a neuron simply added everything up regardless of location,” Mel said.

***

"In theory, almost any imaginable computation might be performed by one neuron with enough dendrites, each capable of performing its own nonlinear operation.
In the recent Science paper, the researchers took this idea one step further: They suggested that a single dendritic compartment might be able to perform these complex computations all on its own.

***

"...the researchers wanted to investigate how electrical signaling might be different in human neurons, which have much longer dendrites. They obtained slices of brain tissue from layers 2 and 3 of the human cortex, which contain particularly large neurons with many dendrites. When they stimulated those dendrites with an electrical current, they noticed something strange.

"They saw unexpected, repeated spiking — and those spikes seemed completely unlike other known kinds of neural signaling. They were particularly rapid and brief, like action potentials, and arose from fluxes of calcium ions. This was noteworthy because conventional action potentials are usually caused by sodium and potassium ions. And while calcium-induced signaling had been previously observed in rodent dendrites, those spikes tended to last much longer.

***

"The model found that the dendrite spiked in response to two separate inputs — but failed to do so when those inputs were combined. This was equivalent to a nonlinear computation known as exclusive OR (or XOR), which yields a binary output of 1 if one (but only one) of the inputs is 1.

***

"For example, Poirazi already knew XOR was possible in a single neuron: Just two dendrites together could achieve it. But in these new experiments, she and her colleagues were offering a plausible biophysical mechanism to facilitate it — in a single dendrite.

***

“Very few people have taken seriously the notion that a single neuron could be a complex computational device,” said Gary Marcus, a cognitive scientist at New York University and an outspoken skeptic of some claims made for deep learning.

"Although the Science paper is but one finding in an extensive history of work that demonstrates this idea, he added, computer scientists might be more responsive to it because it frames the issue in terms of the XOR problem that dogged neural network research for so long. “It’s saying, we really need to think about this,” Marcus said. “The whole game — to come up with how you get smart cognition out of dumb neurons — might be wrong.'”

Comment: Forward looking and not established as yet, but very likely true. Not by chance.

brain complexity: glial cells have functions

by David Turell @, Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 00:13 (123 days ago) @ David Turell

New findings show their many important functions:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/glial-brain-cells-long-in-neurons-shadow-reveal-hidden-p...

"The sting of a paper cut or the throb of a dog bite is perceived through the skin, where cells react to mechanical forces and send an electrical message to the brain. These signals were believed to originate in the naked endings of neurons that extend into the skin. But a few months ago, scientists came to the surprising realization that some of the cells essential for sensing this type of pain aren’t neurons at all. It’s a previously overlooked type of specialized glial cell that intertwines with nerve endings to form a mesh in the outer layers of the skin. The information the glial cells send to neurons is what initiates the “ouch”: When researchers stimulated only the glial cells, mice pulled back their paws or guarded them while licking or shaking — responses specific to pain

***

“'In the human brain, glial cells are as abundant as neurons are. Yet we know orders of magnitude less about what they do than we know about the neurons,” said Shai Shaham, a professor of cell biology at the Rockefeller University who focuses on glia. As more scientists turn their attention to glia, findings have been piling up to reveal a family of diverse cells that are unexpectedly crucial to vital processes.

"It turns out that glia perform a staggering number of functions. They help process memories. Some serve as immune system agents and ward off infection, while some communicate with neurons. Others are essential to brain development. Far from being mere valets to neurons, glia often take leading roles in protecting the brain’s health and directing its development. “Pick any question in the nervous system, and glial cells will be involved,” Shaham said.

***

"Several cell types are contained within the umbrella category of glia, with varied functions that are still coming to light. Oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells wrap around nerve fibers and insulate them in fatty myelin sheaths, which help to confine the electrical signals moving through neurons and speed their passage. Astrocytes, with their complex branching shapes, direct the flow of fluid in the brain, reshape the synaptic connections between neurons, and recycle the released neurotransmitter molecules that enable neurons to communicate, among other jobs.

***

"The work is exposing how microglia respond to brain trauma and other injuries, how they suppress inflammation, and how they behave in the presence of neurodegenerative diseases. The cells “really are at the edge between immunology and neuroscience,” Sierra said.

***

"In recent years, microglia have been found to mimic the macrophages of the immune system by engulfing threats to the brain such as cellular debris and microbes. Microglia also seem to go after obsolete synapses. “If you live-image them, you can see them eating neurons,” Brown said.

"Some of these active functions are shared with other types of glia as well. Astrocytes and Schwann cells, for example, may also prune synaptic connections. But despite the commonalities among different subsets of glia, researchers are starting to realize that there’s little to unify glial cells as a group.

***

"Neurons and glia cannot function independently: Their interactions are vital to the survival of the nervous system and the memories, thoughts and emotions it generates. But the nature of their partnership is still mysterious, notes Staci Bilbo, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. Glia are gaining a reputation for the complexity long attributed to neurons, but it’s still unclear whether one cell type primarily directs the other. “The big unknown in the field is: Who is driving the response?” she said."

Comment: Considering what brains do and control, this degree of complexity is not surprising, and this aspect of brain cellular function is only partially understood. Certainly designed.

brain complexity: astrocyte functions

by David Turell @, Friday, April 24, 2020, 23:00 (35 days ago) @ David Turell

Work with neurons to help with learning and memory:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200423174045.htm

"Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine reveal that astrocytes, the most abundant cells in the brain, play a direct role in the regulation of neuronal circuits involved in learning and memory.

"'It has become increasingly clear that astrocytes are much more than supportive cells in the healthy adult brain. They play a direct role in a wide variety of complex and essential functions, including neuronal communication through synapses and regulation of neural circuit functions," said corresponding author Dr. Benjamin Deneen, professor of neurosurgery and a member of the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at Baylor.

***

"Previous work showed that astrocytes comprise diverse populations with unique cellular, molecular and functional properties. They occupy distinct brain regions, indicating regional specialization. There is evidence suggesting that transcription factors -- proteins involved in controlling gene expression -- regulate astrocyte diversity. Deneen and his colleagues looked to get a better understanding of the role transcription factor NFIA, a known regulator of astrocyte development, played in adult mouse brain functions.

"'We found that NFIA-deficient astrocytes presented defective shapes and altered functions," said Deneen, who holds the Dr. Russell J. and Marian K. Blattner Chair and is a member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor. "Surprisingly, although the NFIA gene was eliminated in all brain regions, only the astrocytes in the hippocampus were severely altered. Other regions, such as the cortex and the brain stem, were not affected."

"Astrocytes in the hippocampus also had less calcium activity -- calcium is an indicator of astrocyte function -- as well as a reduced ability to detect neurotransmitters released from neurons. NFIA-deficient astrocytes also were not as closely associated with neurons as normal astrocytes.

"Importantly, all these morphological and functional alterations were linked to defects in the animals' ability to learn and remember, providing the first evidence that astrocytes are to some extent controlling the neuronal circuits that mediate learning and memory.

"'Astrocytes in the brain are physically close to and communicate with neurons. Neurons release molecules that astrocytes can detect and respond to," Deneen said. "We propose that NFIA-deficient astrocytes are not able to 'listen' to neurons as well as normal astrocytes, and, therefore, they cannot respond appropriately by providing the support needed for efficient memory circuit function and neuronal transmission. Consequently, the circuit is disrupted, leading to impaired learning and memory.'"

Comment: Finding this functional relationship between astrocytes and neurons should be no surprise, as astrocytes are the most numerous cells in our brain. And our brain is the most complex organ ever developed and probably the most complex item in the universe. Not by chance.

Introducing the brain: it anticipates senses

by David Turell @, Monday, May 13, 2019, 19:50 (382 days ago) @ dhw

When you anticipate a certain taste, you may be surprised at what happens:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/brains-speed-up-perception-by-guessing-whats-next-20190502/

"Imagine picking up a glass of what you think is apple juice, only to take a sip and discover that it’s actually ginger ale. Even though you usually love the soda, this time it tastes terrible. That’s because context and internal states, including expectation, influence how all animals perceive and process sensory information, explained Alfredo Fontanini, a neurobiologist at Stony Brook University in New York. In this case, anticipating the wrong stimulus leads to a surprise, and a negative response.

***

"Years ago, Fontanini and his team found direct neural evidence of this speedup effect in the gustatory cortex, the part of the brain responsible for taste perception. Since then, they have been trying to pin down the structure of the cortical circuitry that made their results possible. Now they have. Last month, they published their findings in Nature Neuroscience: a model of a network with a specific kind of architecture that not only provides new insights into how expectation works, but also delves into broader questions about how scientists should think about perception more generally. Moreover, it falls in step with a theory of decision making that suggests the brain really does leap to conclusions, rather than building up to them.

***

" Currently, neuroscientists are debating how taste gets processed: Some argue that certain neurons might encode “sweet” and others “salty,” creating very specific neural signatures for specific tastes. Others tie it to broader patterns of activity; most neurons respond to most tastes, and a given neural signature is more roughly correlated with one taste over another. The work done by Fontanini and his colleagues supports the latter theory while providing predictions about what that connectivity should look like. The clusters alone “capture many, many features of the gustatory cortex,” Fontanini said: “the spontaneous activity, the patterns of response to taste, the expectation effect.”

***

"The way experts think about basic sensory perception tends toward the hierarchical: The cortex builds up and integrates features to form perceptions, sending signals to other layers of the network that integrate still more information until the brain ultimately arrives at a decision or behavior.

"Not so in this new work. Instead, the team’s results support a different kind of processing in which “all of this happens at the same time, and … before the stimulus even arrives,” said Leslie Kay, a neuroscientist at the University of Chicago who focuses on olfaction. “You learn stuff within a cortical area,” forming a system of connected clusters to reflect that learning, “and then you influence it [with expectation], and what it knows emerges.”

***

"It also highlights the need to move away from focusing on single neurons that respond to particular cues, and toward making internal states and dynamics more explicit in our understanding of sensory networks — even for the most basic sensory stimuli. “It’s much easier to say that a neuron increases its firing rate,” said Anan Moran, a neurobiologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel. But to understand how organisms work, “you cannot account only for the stimulus, but also for the internal state,” he added. “And this means that our previous [understanding of] the mechanism used by the brain to achieve perception and action and so on needs to be reevaluated.”

“'The stuff going on in the gustatory cortex before the stimulus arrives is a large part of how that stimulus gets processed when it gets there,” Katz said. And in this case, examining how those internal states get modified by an experience or cue revealed something about the overall network connectivity."

Comment: This does not show that the brain is in charge of us. It shows that the brain sets up networks to help us by anticipating the next step in the sensory process. This is built into the brain's designed activity.

Introducing the brain: it anticipates senses

by dhw, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 13:18 (382 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: When you anticipate a certain taste, you may be surprised at what happens:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/brains-speed-up-perception-by-guessing-whats-next-20190502/

QUOTE: "Imagine picking up a glass of what you think is apple juice, only to take a sip and discover that it’s actually ginger ale. Even though you usually love the soda, this time it tastes terrible. That’s because context and internal states, including expectation, influence how all animals perceive and process sensory information, explained Alfredo Fontanini, a neurobiologist at Stony Brook University in New York. In this case, anticipating the wrong stimulus leads to a surprise, and a negative response.

DAVID: This does not show that the brain is in charge of us. It shows that the brain sets up networks to help us by anticipating the next step in the sensory process. This is built into the brain's designed activity.

But it does not show us that the brain is NOT in charge of us. It merely tells us that there are different forms of interaction either between the brain and the so-called soul (dualism), or between different parts of the brain if one believes that the brain is the source of thought (materialism).

Introducing the brain: it anticipates senses

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 15:13 (381 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: When you anticipate a certain taste, you may be surprised at what happens:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/brains-speed-up-perception-by-guessing-whats-next-20190502/

QUOTE: "Imagine picking up a glass of what you think is apple juice, only to take a sip and discover that it’s actually ginger ale. Even though you usually love the soda, this time it tastes terrible. That’s because context and internal states, including expectation, influence how all animals perceive and process sensory information, explained Alfredo Fontanini, a neurobiologist at Stony Brook University in New York. In this case, anticipating the wrong stimulus leads to a surprise, and a negative response.

DAVID: This does not show that the brain is in charge of us. It shows that the brain sets up networks to help us by anticipating the next step in the sensory process. This is built into the brain's designed activity.

dhw: But it does not show us that the brain is NOT in charge of us. It merely tells us that there are different forms of interaction either between the brain and the so-called soul (dualism), or between different parts of the brain if one believes that the brain is the source of thought (materialism).

But as I view my use of the brain, it seems to me I introduce my thoughts, just as I purposely answered you by creating this sentence. Since I use my brain as I wish, I have free will.

Introducing the brain: it anticipates senses

by dhw, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 13:35 (381 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: This does not show that the brain is in charge of us. It shows that the brain sets up networks to help us by anticipating the next step in the sensory process. This is built into the brain's designed activity.

dhw: But it does not show us that the brain is NOT in charge of us. It merely tells us that there are different forms of interaction either between the brain and the so-called soul (dualism), or between different parts of the brain if one believes that the brain is the source of thought (materialism).

DAVID: But as I view my use of the brain, it seems to me I introduce my thoughts, just as I purposely answered you by creating this sentence. Since I use my brain as I wish, I have free will.

We have covered this in great detail during our discussions on materialism versus dualism. As a dualist, you like to separate your “I” into material brain and immaterial soul. Materialists believe that the “I” which “introduces” your thoughts is also the product of your materials.

Introducing the brain: it anticipates senses

by David Turell @, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 18:18 (380 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: This does not show that the brain is in charge of us. It shows that the brain sets up networks to help us by anticipating the next step in the sensory process. This is built into the brain's designed activity.

dhw: But it does not show us that the brain is NOT in charge of us. It merely tells us that there are different forms of interaction either between the brain and the so-called soul (dualism), or between different parts of the brain if one believes that the brain is the source of thought (materialism).

DAVID: But as I view my use of the brain, it seems to me I introduce my thoughts, just as I purposely answered you by creating this sentence. Since I use my brain as I wish, I have free will.

dhw: We have covered this in great detail during our discussions on materialism versus dualism. As a dualist, you like to separate your “I” into material brain and immaterial soul. Materialists believe that the “I” which “introduces” your thoughts is also the product of your materials.

I know the view, and you try to be neutral. I am not.

Introducing the brain: how Mother's voice shapes it

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 01, 2019, 18:30 (363 days ago) @ David Turell

Even before birth:

https://aeon.co/ideas/how-a-mother-s-voice-shapes-her-baby-s-developing-brain?utm_sourc...

"It is no surprise that a child prefers its mother’s voice to those of strangers. Beginning in the womb, a foetus’s developing auditory pathways sense the sounds and vibrations of its mother. Soon after birth, a child can identify its mother’s voice and will work to hear her voice better over unfamiliar female voices....A mother’s voice can soothe a child in stressful situations, reducing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increasing levels of oxytocin, the social bonding hormone. Scientists have even traced the power of a mother’s voice to infants’ brains: a mother’s voice activates the anterior prefrontal cortex and the left posterior temporal region more strongly than an unfamiliar voice, priming the infant for the specialised task of speech processing.

***

"The researchers examined 24 children between the ages of seven and 12, who had normal IQs, had no development disorders, and were raised by their biological mothers. While in the MRI machine, these children listened to recordings of nonsense words spoken by their mothers or by other women. The researchers specifically chose nonsense words so as not to trigger brain circuits related to semantics. Regardless, the children were able to accurately identify their mother’s voice more than 97 per cent of the time in less than one second.

"But what actually happened when these older children heard their mother’s voice? The team hypothesised that listening to her voice would produce more activity in the so-called ‘voice-selective’ brain regions, involved in recognising voice and processing speech, compared with when they heard unfamiliar female voices. But what the scientists found was even more remarkable. A mother’s voice activated a wide range of brain structures including the amygdala, which regulates emotion, the nucleus accumbens and medial prefrontal cortex, which are part of a major reward circuit, and the fusiform face area, which processes visual face information. This pattern of brain activity can be likened to a neural fingerprint, where a mother’s voice triggers specific activity in her child’s brain.

"The investigation didn’t stop there. The team found that the more neural connection between these ‘voice-selective’ brain regions and those related to mood, reward and face processing, the more social communication abilities a child had. In other words, the neural fingerprint of a mother’s voice within a child’s brain can predict that child’s ability to communicate in the social realm.

***

"... it is now scientifically proven that most of us carry a mother’s voice in the neural patterns of our brain: bedtime stories, dinnertime conversation and the chatter we heard before birth identify us, uniquely, as surely as the fingerprint, enabling emotional development and social communication in childhood and, probably, through life.

Comment: Not at all surprising and it points out how important interaction with a mother is to the early years of an infant's development. Other articles have been reproduced here showing how important conversations and reading to the older child improves overall intelligence. Much of this is produced by the developing brain's plasticity.

Introducing the brain: astrocytes clean up toxic lipids

by David Turell @, Saturday, June 01, 2019, 20:05 (363 days ago) @ David Turell

Recent study shows the process:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-05-astrocytes-neurons-toxic-buildup.html

"The brain cells collect damaged lipids secreted by hyperactive neurons, then recycle those toxic molecules into energy, researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Research Campus report May 23, 2019, in the journal Cell. It's a mechanism to protect neurons from the damaging side effects of overactivity. And it's another important role for astrocytes, which support neurons in various ways.

"When a neuron fires fast and furious, lipid molecules in the cell get damaged and can become toxic. While most kinds of cells sequester excess fatty acids away or feed them to mitochondria to prevent buildup, neurons don't seem to rely on those tricks.

"Instead, "neurons unload some of the burden to astrocytes," says study coauthor and Janelia Group Leader Zhe Liu, who worked closely with Maria Ioannou and Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, a senior group leader at Janelia. "For a long time, people have suspected there was some mechanism like this. The new work shows how this process actually happens."

"The finding arose from a curious observation: Overactive neurons release damaged fatty acids bundled up in lipid particles. "People didn't think that neurons could secrete those lipid particles," Liu says.

"But stimulating mouse neurons in a dish led to the buildup of fatty acids and, eventually, lipid particle release, the team showed. Then, nearby astrocytes engulfed the particles and amped up the activity of genes involved in energy production and detoxification.

"Astrocytes feed neurons' off-loaded damaged lipids to their own mitochondria, converting waste into energy, Liu concluded. Tests in mice showed a similar response. After a lesion to the brain that mimics a stroke—a huge stress to neurons—neurons increased production of proteins involved in transporting fatty acids out of the cell, and fatty acids built up in astrocytes."

Comment: As in other protective systems like this, at the point of evolution of the process
all parts of the mechanism have to be developed together. Stepwise would not accomplish it, since protection depends on the entire process working in a coordinated fashion..

Introducing the brain: the plasticity of the single neuron

by David Turell @, Friday, July 12, 2019, 19:21 (322 days ago) @ David Turell

The dendrites play a huge role in processing the input of information signals:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-07-neuron.html

"How do neurons process information? Neurons are known to break down an incoming electrical signal into sub-units. Now, researchers at Blue Brain have discovered that dendrites, the neuron's tree-like receptors, work together—dynamically and depending on the workload—for learning.

***

"Their results show that when a neuron receives input, the branches of the elaborate tree-like receptors extending from the neuron, known as dendrites, functionally work together in a way that is adjusted to the complexity of the input.

"The strength of a synapse determines how strongly a neuron feels an electric signal coming from other neurons, and the act of learning changes this strength. By analyzing the "connectivity matrix" that determines how these synapses communicate with each other, the algorithm establishes when and where synapses group into independent learning units from the structural and electrical properties of dendrites. In other words, the new algorithm determines how the dendrites of neurons functionally break up into separate computing units and finds that they work together dynamically, depending on the workload, to process information.

***

"This newly observed dendritic functionality acts like parallel computing units meaning that a neuron is able to process different aspects of the input in parallel, like supercomputers. Each of the parallel computing units can independently learn to adjust its output, much like the nodes in deep learning networks used in artificial intelligence (AI) models today.

"Comparable to cloud computing, a neuron dynamically breaks up into the number of separate computing units demanded by the workload of the input.

***

"Additionally, the research reveals how these parallel processing units influence learning, i.e. the change in connection strength between different neurons. The way a neuron learns depends on the number and location of parallel processors, which in turn depend on the signals arriving from other neurons. For instance, certain synapses that do not learn independently when the neuron's input level is low, start to learn independently when the input levels are higher.

***

"'The method finds that in many brain states, neurons have far fewer parallel processors than expected from dendritic branch patterns. Thus, many synapses appear to be in 'grey zones' where they do not belong to any processing unit," explains lead scientist and first author Willem Wybo. "However, in the brain, neurons receive varying levels of background input and our results show that the number of parallel processors varies with the level of background input, indicating that the same neuron might have different computational roles in different brain states."

"'We are particularly excited about this observation since it sheds a new light on the role of up/down states in the brain and it also provides a reason as to why cortical inhibition is so location-specific. With the new insights, we can start looking for algorithms that exploit the rapid changes in pairing between processing units, offering us more insight into the fundamental question of how the brain computes," concludes Gewaltig."

Comment: The neuron turns out to a minicomputer all within itself. No wonder our brain is so powerful at the size it is, compared to animals.

Introducing the brain: the plasticity of the single neuron

by David Turell @, Tuesday, August 06, 2019, 20:46 (297 days ago) @ David Turell

Changing synaptic connections is a constant activity:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-08-brain-cells.html

"Brain cells, or neurons, constantly tinker with their circuit connections, a crucial feature that allows the brain to store and process information. While neurons frequently test out new potential partners through transient contacts, only a fraction of fledging junctions, called synapses, are selected to become permanent.

***

"The team tracked specially labeled neurons in the visual cortex of mice after normal visual experience, and after two weeks in darkness. To their surprise they saw that spines would routinely arise and then typically disappear again at the same rate regardless of whether the mice were in light or darkness. This careful scrutiny of spines confirmed that experience doesn't matter for spine formation, Nedivi said. That upends a common assumption in the field, which held that experience was necessary for spines to even emerge.

"By keeping track of the presence of PSD95 they could confirm that the synapses that became stabilized during normal visual experience were the ones that had accumulated that protein. But the question remained: How does experience drive PSD95 to the synapse? The team hypothesized that CPG15, which is activity dependent and associated with synapse stabilization, does that job.

***

"Indeed, PSD95 recruitment shot up, as if the animals were exposed to visual experience. This showed that CPG15 not only carries the message of experience in the light, it can actually substitute for it in the dark, essentially "tricking" PSD95 into acting as if experience had called upon it.

"'This is a very exciting result, because it shows that CPG15 is not just required for experience-dependent synapse selection, but it's also sufficient," says Nedivi, "That's unique in relation to all other molecules that are involved in synaptic plasticity."

"In all, the paper's data allowed Nedivi to propose a new model of experience-dependent synapse stabilization: Regardless of neural activity or experience, spines emerge with fledgling excitatory synapses and the receptors needed for further development. If activity and experience send CPG15 their way, that draws in PSD95 and the synapse stabilizes. If experience doesn't involve the synapse, it gets no CPG15, very likely no PSD95 and the spine withers away."

Comment: Plasticity is mediated by complex proteins working together. The problem for us is that we do not know how proteins create function. See today's entry: How much can we know? the protein form/function enigma. There must be a level of control that activates each protein and we do not see that level. Too complex for Darwin-style evolutionary theory. Hasad to be designed.

Introducing the brain: cerebellum differs from mouse

by David Turell @, Saturday, October 19, 2019, 20:52 (223 days ago) @ David Turell

There are major differences in our brain from lesser animals:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-10-mouse-cerebellum-human.html

"The work by the team involved very closely studying the development of the cerebellum in mice, humans and macaques—another animal that is used for cerebellum studies. After obtaining human cerebellum tissue samples from hospitals and other institutions, mouse samples from test mice and images of macaque cerebellum tissue from prior research efforts, the team compared them. They found they had enough material and data to compare cerebellum development from 30 days post-conception to approximately nine months after birth.

"The researchers report that they found a completely unexpected difference—a group of progenitor cells that had never before been seen in the human cerebellum or in the brains of either the mice or macaques. Until this finding, such cells had been seen only in the human cerebral cortex. They also found that some of the progenitor cells in an area called the rhombic lip were the source of cerebellar granule neurons. And they found that the rhombic lip took longer to develop in humans than the other two animals—it continued maturing throughout gestation. They suggest such clear differences could mean that comparison of the cerebellum across mice and humans may not be as revealing as has been hoped. They also note that such differences might also explain why it has been so difficult to mimic cerebellum-based human defects in animal models."

Comment: Our brain is really different from lesser organisms as this study shows.

Introducing the brain: the plasticity of body part loss

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 05, 2019, 18:54 (206 days ago) @ David Turell

Lose a hand and the brain shifts its connections:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-11-human-brain-rewire-traumatic-bodily.html

"...researchers at the University of Missouri have discovered a new insight into how the complex neural map of the human brain operates.

***

"'When a person touches something with their right hand, a specific 'hand area' in the left side of the brain lights up," said Scott Frey, the Miller Family Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Psychological Sciences. "A similar, but opposite reaction happens with the left hand. But when someone loses a hand, we found both 'hand areas' of the brain—left and right—become dedicated to the remaining healthy hand. This is a striking example of functional reorganization or the plasticity of the human brain."

***

"The researchers saw in their scans that when the brain is deprived of input from a lost hand, it reorganizes its neural map and reroutes those functions to the remaining hand.

***

"'We can think of the areas of the brain that process sensations from our bodies as being organized like a map with separate territories devoted to specific body regions such as the hands, face, or feet," said Frey, who is also the director of the Rehabilitation Neuroscience Laboratory at MU, a joint venture between the MU College of Arts and Science and the MU School of Medicine. "We have long known that injuries such amputation or spinal cord damage change the organization of this map. If you lose a hand, for instance, then the associated 'hand area' may be partially taken over by neighboring functions in the map involved in processing sensations of the arm or face. This is a form of 'brain plasticity.' This work demonstrates that such plasticity also occurs across great distances between the left and right hemispheres of the brain.'"

Comment: Not surprising considering other examples we've seen.

Introducing the brain: keeping track of the body

by David Turell @, Saturday, November 09, 2019, 19:33 (202 days ago) @ David Turell

We are compartmentalized the brain too much new research shows:

https://www.quantamagazine.org/noise-in-the-brains-vision-areas-encodes-body-movements-...

"At every moment, neurons whisper, shout, sputter and sing, filling the brain with a dizzying cacophony of voices. Yet many of those voices don’t seem to be saying anything meaningful at all. They register as habitual echoes of noise, not signal; as static, not discourse.

***

"Now, by analyzing both the neural activity and the behavior of mice in unprecedented detail, researchers have revealed a surprising explanation for much of that variability: Throughout the brain, even in low-level sensory areas like the visual cortex, neurons encode information about far more than their immediately relevant task. They also babble about whatever other behaviors the animal happens to be engaging in, even trivial ones — the twitch of a whisker, the flick of a hind leg.

"Those simple gestures aren’t just present in the neural activity. They dominate it.
The findings are changing how scientists interpret brain activity, and how they design experiments to study it.

***

"Kenneth Harris and Matteo Carandini, neuroscientists at University College London, started with a different goal: to characterize the structure of the spontaneous activity in the visual cortex that occurs even when the rodent gets no visual stimulation. They and other members of their joint team at the university’s Cortexlab recorded from 10,000 neurons at once in mice that were free to act as they wanted — to run, sniff, groom themselves, glance around, move their whiskers, flatten their ears and so on — in the dark.

"The researchers found that even though the animals couldn’t see anything, the activity in their visual cortex was both extensive and shockingly multidimensional, meaning that it was encoding a great deal of information. Not only were the neurons chatting, but “there were many conversations going on at the same time,” wrote Marius Pachitariu, a neuroscientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

***

“If we look at the mouse as a whole,” McCormick said, “all of a sudden, that general activity, that swirling kaleidoscope of activity in the brain, starts to make sense.” (He and his lab reported similar findings in a recent preprint.) The activity didn’t just reflect the general state of the mouse’s alertness or arousal, or the fact that the animal was moving. The visual cortex knew exactly what the animal was doing, down to the details of its individual movements.

"In fact, this wasn’t unique to the visual cortex. “Everywhere in the brain, it’s the same story. The movement signals are just really unmistakable,” said Matt Smear, a systems neuroscientist at the University of Oregon who did not participate in the study. It cements the idea that “certain intuitive notions about the brain are probably wrong.”

"Even more striking, the same neurons that encoded sensory or other functional information were the ones explicitly encoding these motor signals. “All of a sudden we’re saying, ‘Wait — maybe the brain isn’t noisy. Maybe it’s actually much more precise than we thought,’” McCormick said.

***

"The movement signals therefore aren’t hurting the animal’s ability to process sensory information about the outside world. But scientists still need to explore exactly how those signals might help the brain work better. At its core, this discovery reflects the fact that fundamentally, the brain evolved for action — that animals have brains to let them move around, and that “perception isn’t just the external input,” Stringer said. “It’s modulated at least to some extent by what you’re doing at any given time.”

"Sensory information represents only a small part of what’s needed to truly perceive the environment. “You need to take into account movement, your body relative to the world, in order to figure out what’s actually out there,” Niell said.

“We used to think that the brain analyzed all these things separately and then somehow bound them together,” McCormick said. “Well, we’re starting to learn that the brain does that mixing of multisensory and movement binding [earlier] than we previously imagined.”

***

“'People tend to think of movements as being separate from cognition — as interfering with cognition, even,” Churchland said. “We think that, given this work, it might be time to consider an alternative point of view, that at least for some subjects, movement is really a part of the cognition.”

***

“'What we think of as being weird or unusual signals,” Niell said, “might start to make sense when you actually let an animal do what it would normally do, and not train the mice to be like little humans.'”

Comment: The brain knows everything going on. Experiment on unconstricted mice. Our brain is more than we knew.

Introducing the brain: not understanding how it works

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 02, 2020, 19:29 (117 days ago) @ David Turell

Even if all the connections were known, we still will not fully understand how it works:

http://nautil.us//issue/81/maps/an-existential-crisis-in-neuroscience?utm_source=Nautil...

"Subtitle to article: :We’re mapping the brain in amazing detail—but our brain can’t understand the picture."

"...computer servers were holding on to a precious 48 terabytes of my data. I have recorded the 13 trillion numbers in this dataset as part of my Ph.D. experiments, asking how the visual parts of the rat brain respond to movement.

"Printed on paper, the dataset would fill 116 billion pages, double-spaced

***

"But, as massive as my dataset sounds, it represents just a tiny chunk of a dataset taken from the whole brain. And the questions it asks—Do neurons in the visual cortex do anything when an animal can’t see? What happens when inputs to the visual cortex from other brain regions are shut off?—are small compared to the ultimate question in neuroscience: How does the brain work?

***

"We can identify brain regions that respond to the environment, activate our senses, generate movements and emotions. But we don’t know how different parts of the brain interact with and depend on each other. We don’t understand how their interactions contribute to behavior, perception, or memory. Technology has made it easy for us to gather behemoth datasets, but I’m not sure understanding the brain has kept pace with the size of the datasets.

***

"The mysteries of how brains create memories, thoughts, perceptions, feelings—consciousness itself—must be hidden in this labyrinth of neural connections.

***

"Scientists still need to understand the relationship between those minute anatomical features and dynamical activity profiles of neurons—the patterns of electrical activity they generate—something the connectome data lacks. This is a point on which connectomics has received considerable criticism, mainly by way of example from the worm: Neuroscientists have had the complete wiring diagram of the worm C. elegans for a few decades now, but arguably do not understand the 300-neuron creature in its entirety; how its brain connections relate to its behaviors is still an active area of research.

***

"Lichtman didn’t entertain the far-out ideas in science fiction, but acknowledged that a network that would have the same wiring diagram as a human brain would be scary. “We wouldn’t understand how it was working any more than we understand how deep learning works,” he said. “Now, suddenly, we have machines that don’t need us anymore.”

***

"A strong intuition among many neuroscientists is that individual neurons are exquisitely complicated: They have all of these back-propagating action potentials, they have dendritic compartments that are independent, they have all these different channels there. And so a single neuron might even itself be a network. To caricature that as a rectified linear unit”—the simple mathematical model of a neuron in DNNs [deep neuron networks]—“is clearly missing out on so much.”

***

"It seems likely that Lichtman’s two exabytes of brain slices, and even my 48 terabytes of rat brain data, will not fit through any individual human mind. Or at least no human mind is going to orchestrate all this data into a panoramic picture of how the human brain works...The machines we have built—the ones architected after cortical anatomy—fall short of capturing the nature of the human brain. But they have no trouble finding patterns in large datasets. Maybe one day, as they grow stronger building on more cortical anatomy, they will be able to explain those patterns back to us, solving the puzzle of the brain’s interconnections, creating a picture we understand."

Comment: First of all, this complexity demands a designer. Secondly this applies to our discussion about which came first large brain or from dhw a necessity telling the brain to enlarge and complexify. The dhw approach demands to know how did the brain learn to make itself function better by enlarging and complexifying? Only a designer could have created that mechanism, a mechanism dhw awards to evolving organisms by his suggesting God gave such a mechanism so they could do it themselves. But we know the modern brain shrinks under such circumstances. dhw's theory requires the ancient brains had an enlarging mechanism and now they don't. Evolution in reverse!? Not logical and inconsistent reasoning. In evolution doesn't the present build from the past? We know local brain areas enlarge, when required (London cabbies, illiterate women). Why a limited capacity now?

Introducing the brain: strict blood-brain barrier

by David Turell @, Monday, February 10, 2020, 19:35 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

The brain is very different from all other organs. It is delicate and requires precise protection, but it needs oxygen and glucose and get rid of waste products and CO2 like the other organs:

https://phys.org/news/2020-02-human-brain-meticulous-interface-bloodstream.html

"The brain is the only part of the body outfitted with astrocytes, which regulate nourishment uptake and waste removal in their own, unique way.

"'Upon the brain's request, astrocytes collaborate with the vasculature in real-time what the brain needs and opens its gates to let in only that bit of water and nutrients. Astrocytes go to get just what the brain needs and don't let much else in," Kim said.

"Astrocytes form a protein structure called aquaporin-4 in their membranes that are in contact with vasculature to let in and out water molecules, which also contributes to clearing waste from the brain.

***

"In testing related to drug delivery, nanoparticles moved through the blood-brain-barrier after engaging endothelial cell receptors, which caused these cells to engulf the particles then transport them to what would be inside the human brain in a natural setting. "

Comment: A beautiful example of design. I would guess the first evolved brains had this barrier with its very specialized protein complex..

Introducing the brain: protecting memories of learned info

by David Turell @, Monday, February 10, 2020, 20:04 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

Takes lots of myelin production:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-02-long-term-requires-nerve-insulation.html:

"'We find that a single, brief fear-learning experience can cause long-term changes in myelination and associated neurophysiological changes within the brain that can be detected even a month later,"

***

"Myelin is formed during early development by brain cells called oligodendrocytes, which wrap themselves hundreds of times around the branching axons emanating from certain key neurons. This forms a thick sheath of protein and fat that acts like an insulator around an electrical cable, strengthening and speeding electrical signaling in the nerve pathways that connect one neuron to the next.

"This insulation is particularly important for the brain's busiest information superhighways, like the high-speed nerve fibers that can extend three feet or more, giving your brain nearly instant command over your body's muscles. Damage to this myelin and an associated loss of muscle control are hallmarks of MS, but comparatively little attention has been given to the possibility that myelin could also undergo dynamic changes in the healthy adult brain.

***

"Scientists have known for decades that learning depends initially on the brain's ability to rewire itself by forming new connections between neurons. These new studies represent growing evidence that myelin's ability to reinforce and maintain these new connections may determine what makes certain memories stick.

***

"To test whether this new myelin was required for the animals to learn, the researchers repeated the experiment with mice genetically engineered to be unable to form new myelin. These mice initially froze in the conditioning chamber, but unlike normal mice their fear appeared to fade away after about a month. The researchers concluded that new myelin formation is not needed for initial learning, but plays a specific role in the consolidation and maintenance of long-lasting fear memories.

"Because myelin acts to increase the speed and efficiency of signals passing along axons, changes in myelination may influence important electrical signaling patterns within neural networks. In their new study the researchers discovered that losing the ability to form new myelin produced long-term changes in the activity of neurons in the mouse prefrontal cortex.

***

"'We are now seeing that the process of oligodendrocyte generation and myelination can be quite dynamic in the normal adult brain. It's a form of plasticity that responds to experience and that causes long-lasting changes. This is a very recent concept that we are in the early days of exploring.'"

Comment: Note the last quote which indicates how quickly the brain protects its new learning. The brain is carefully designed in its plasticity and in its methods of protecting memories which help all animals learn to live safely.

Introducing the brain: suppressing extraneous info

by David Turell @, Monday, February 10, 2020, 20:17 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

Too much info stimuli muddies the important information:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-02-evidence-brain-decisions.html

"'Right now, your little toe is sending signals up to your brain, as is every square inch of your body," said Adam Cohen, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology, and of physics, "but most of it is not interesting. Your brain has to ignore all that stuff and only pay attention to the very few things that are actually relevant."

***

"As their optogenetic tool recorded neural signals in live mice, Cohen and his team added stimuli based on the two main types of attention. First, they flicked a mouse's whisker, provoking a "bottom-up" signal that reports new sensory information. Then, they blew a puff of air on the mouse's face, activating a "top-down" signal in which existing knowledge shapes perception of a stimuli. "Think of it like a wake-up call," Cohen explained.

***

"The team discovered that neurons in layer one maintain a careful balance between excitation and inhibition. If too many neurons are firing at once, they suppress others from firing. "The circuit acts like a novelty detector," Cohen said. Sudden inputs can spark most neurons to fire, but with long-lasting inputs, most of the neurons inhibit each other and cause the circuit to turn almost completely off.

***

"Based on their data, the team designed a mathematical model of the circuit, which suggested an intriguing connection to a century-old theory about attention. The so-called Yerkes-Dodson law proposes that a little stress can help increase performance, but it declines when stress increases too much. "Everyone who's ever taken a test knows this," Cohen said. His model showed that layer one neurons behaved in a similar way: A little top-down activation wakes them up so they are more responsive to sensory inputs, but too much activation makes the circuit freeze and ignore incoming information."

Comment: An obviously needed control system, designed to avoid confusing overstimulation.

Introducing the brain: protecting memories of learned info

by dhw, Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 12:20 (109 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTES: "Scientists have known for decades that learning depends initially on the brain's ability to rewire itself by forming new connections between neurons. These new studies represent growing evidence that myelin's ability to reinforce and maintain these new connections may determine what makes certain memories stick."

"'We are now seeing that the process of oligodendrocyte generation and myelination can be quite dynamic in the normal adult brain. It's a form of plasticity that responds to experience and that causes long-lasting changes. This is a very recent concept that we are in the early days of exploring.'"

DAVID: Note the last quote which indicates how quickly the brain protects its new learning. The brain is carefully designed in its plasticity and in its methods of protecting memories which help all animals learn to live safely.

I hope you will note both quotes, which could hardly make it clearer that changes to the brain take place as a RESPONSE to new experiences (think of the illiterate women, the taxi-drivers and musicians), not in anticipation of them. You yourself have pointed out that they may even result in expansion of certain sections. There is no reason to assume that this process had to be reversed in the pre-human brain, with expansion preceding new experiences!

XXX


QUOTE: His model showed that layer one neurons behaved in a similar way: A little top-down activation wakes them up so they are more responsive to sensory inputs, but too much activation makes the circuit freeze and ignore incoming information."

DAVID: An obviously needed control system, designed to avoid confusing overstimulation.

Yes indeed, cells respond to sensory inputs and make their decisions accordingly.

Introducing the brain: protecting memories of learned info

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 14:35 (108 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTES: "Scientists have known for decades that learning depends initially on the brain's ability to rewire itself by forming new connections between neurons. These new studies represent growing evidence that myelin's ability to reinforce and maintain these new connections may determine what makes certain memories stick."

"'We are now seeing that the process of oligodendrocyte generation and myelination can be quite dynamic in the normal adult brain. It's a form of plasticity that responds to experience and that causes long-lasting changes. This is a very recent concept that we are in the early days of exploring.'"

DAVID: Note the last quote which indicates how quickly the brain protects its new learning. The brain is carefully designed in its plasticity and in its methods of protecting memories which help all animals learn to live safely.

dhw: I hope you will note both quotes, which could hardly make it clearer that changes to the brain take place as a RESPONSE to new experiences (think of the illiterate women, the taxi-drivers and musicians), not in anticipation of them. You yourself have pointed out that they may even result in expansion of certain sections. There is no reason to assume that this process had to be reversed in the pre-human brain, with expansion preceding new experiences!

Of course the brain works this way after it was created this large and this complex and with itsd plasticity mechanism. As such a specialized organ, it is not logical to extrapolate to claim the mechanisms of actual evolution work this way. This is carefully designed.


XXX


QUOTE: His model showed that layer one neurons behaved in a similar way: A little top-down activation wakes them up so they are more responsive to sensory inputs, but too much activation makes the circuit freeze and ignore incoming information."

DAVID: An obviously needed control system, designed to avoid confusing overstimulation.

dhw: Yes indeed, cells respond to sensory inputs and make their decisions accordingly.

Yes they are designed to do it automatically

Introducing the brain: microglia have many functions

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 12, 2020, 20:50 (107 days ago) @ David Turell

Recent findings in mice:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-a-mammalian-brain-forget/?utm_sourc...

"Microglia were once seen solely as the brain’s watchdogs—activated exclusively to guzzle pathogens and dead and dying neurons. That view has changed in recent years, as scientists have amassed evidence that these cells have wide-ranging duties: During development, they seem to help sculpt the brain by trimming away excess synapses—the connections between neurons.

***

"Further tests revealed that forgetting was dependent on the microglia’s ability to gobble up synapses—and on the activity of neurons. Suppressing the activation of memory-associated neurons led to more forgetting in the mice, suggesting that microglia-mediated elimination was a mechanism through which less useful memories are lost.

***

"According to Frankland, there have been a number of mechanisms of memory erasure proposed over the past decade or so, including work from his group that has suggested that the formation of new neurons, neurogenesis, enables forgetting. Put simply, the idea is that adding neurons introduces new connections and breaks old ones, altering the existing pattern of synapses within engrams—ensembles of neurons where memories are stored—and making them harder to access.

***

“'This was a really cool study,” says Soyon Hong, a neuroscientist at University College London, who did not take part in the work. She notes that while another group previously demonstrated that microglia are involved in synapse formation during learning, the novelty of the new paper is that it suggests these cells also play a role in synapse elimination in a healthy adult brain. There are still many mysteries that remain about the mechanism underlying this process, however. Prior research has shown that a constituent of the immune system called the complement system is involved in tagging synapses for microglia to prune."

Comment: The key point here is that the brain is very active in altering areas of the brain as current usage dictates. There are chemical and cellular actors in the process. Thnis is highly complex and requires a designer.

Introducing the brain: right/ left lobe asymmetry

by David Turell @, Friday, February 14, 2020, 19:22 (105 days ago) @ David Turell

A new study comparing humans and apes:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-02-left-brains.html

"The left and right sides of the human brain are specialized for some cognitive abilities. For example, in humans, language is processed predominantly in the left hemisphere, and the right hand is controlled by the motor cortex in the left hemisphere. The functional lateralization is reflected by morphological asymmetry of the brain. Left and right hemisphere differ subtly in the distribution of nerve cells, their connectivity and neurochemistry.

***

"Asymmetries of outer brain shape are even visible on endocasts. Most humans have a combination of a more projecting left occipital lobe (located in the back of the brain) with a more projecting right frontal lobe. Brain asymmetry is commonly interpreted as crucial for human brain function and cognition because it reflects functional lateralization.

***
"The team found that the magnitude of asymmetry was about the same in humans and most great apes. Only chimpanzees were less asymmetric, on average, than humans, gorillas and orangutans. The researchers also investigated the pattern of asymmetry and could demonstrate that not only humans, but also chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans showed the asymmetry pattern previously described as typically human: the left occipital lobe, the right frontal lobe, as well as the right temporal pole and the right cerebellar lobe projecting more relatively to their contralateral parts.

"Philipp Mitteroecker, a co-author of the study, says, "What surprised us even more was that humans were least consistent in this asymmetry, with a lot of individual variation around the most common pattern." The authors interpret this as a sign of increased functional and developmental modularization of the human brain. For example, the differential projections of the occipital lobe and the cerebellum are less correlated in humans than in great apes. This finding is interesting because the cerebellum in humans underwent dramatic evolutionary changes and it seems that thereby its asymmetry was affected as well.

"The finding of a shared asymmetry pattern but greater variability in humans is intriguing for the interpretation of human brain evolution. An endocast of one of our fossil ancestors that shows this asymmetry can no longer be interpreted as evidence for human-specific functional brain lateralization without other (archaeological) data. Philipp Gunz, a co-author of the study, explains: "This shared asymmetry pattern of the brain evolved already before the origin of the human lineage. Humans seem to have built upon this morphological pattern to establish functional brain lateralization related to typical human behaviors.'"

Comment: Since the human brain comes with an overall shrinkage mechanism as it complexifies, and it also has a local enlargement mechanism for specific areas, these findings are not unusual. Note the comment about the cerebellum which made large changes from the apes.

See the following:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982214010690

"The human cerebellum, however, contains four times more neurons than the neocortex [2] and is attracting increasing attention for its wide range of cognitive functions. Using a method for detecting evolutionary rate changes along the branches of phylogenetic trees, we show that the cerebellum underwent rapid size increase throughout the evolution of apes, including humans, expanding significantly faster than predicted by the change in neocortex size. As a result, humans and other apes deviated significantly from the general evolutionary trend for neocortex and cerebellum to change in tandem, having significantly larger cerebella relative to neocortex size than other anthropoid primates. These results suggest that cerebellar specialization was a far more important component of human brain evolution than hitherto recognized and that technical intelligence was likely to have been at least as important as social intelligence in human cognitive evolution. Given the role of the cerebellum in sensory-motor control and in learning complex action sequences, cerebellar specialization is likely to have underpinned the evolution of humans’ advanced technological capacities, which in turn may have been a preadaptation for language."

Comment: The great apes shared in some of this enlargement, but it played ca great role in our superior evolutionary result.

Introducing the brain: microglia have many functions

by dhw, Monday, February 17, 2020, 08:47 (103 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The key point here is that the brain is very active in altering areas of the brain as current usage dictates. There are chemical and cellular actors in the process.

Precisely: the brain alters itself as current usage dictates. It is not altered in anticipation of future usages. There is no reason to suppose that this process was reversed in former times.

Introducing the brain: microglia have many functions

by David Turell @, Monday, February 17, 2020, 15:01 (102 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: The key point here is that the brain is very active in altering areas of the brain as current usage dictates. There are chemical and cellular actors in the process.

dhw: Precisely: the brain alters itself as current usage dictates. It is not altered in anticipation of future usages. There is no reason to suppose that this process was reversed in former times.

Since brain use allows so many new possible requirements, it has to have its current plastic abilities. God is a great designer allowing and preparing for future possibilities of use.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Monday, February 17, 2020, 18:47 (102 days ago) @ dhw

When starting with this condition, everything works out just fine:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg24532693-300-a-woman-with-half-a-brain-offers-mo...

"THERE is something special about the human brain. Yes, it contains 86 billion neurons and billions of other cells, and yes, it is arguably more complicated than anything else we have discovered in the universe. But more than that, our brains make us who we are. They keep us alive and functioning, while storing our thoughts and memories, shaping our behaviours, relationships and our lives.

"Perhaps that is why it is so remarkable to hear that some people are living with only half a brain. This week, we cover the case of a teenager born without a left hemisphere (see “A woman with half a brain offers more proof of the organ’s superpowers”). Given that this is the half of the brain specialised for language, you might have expected her speaking and reading skills to suffer. Not so. In fact, she has above-average reading skills.

"It appears the right side of her brain is compensating for the left side that isn’t there. The right hemisphere is unusually dense in white matter – the tissue that enables brain regions to communicate with each other – especially in areas involved in language.

"There are other stories of the brain’s astounding capacity to adapt. Perhaps the most famous is the finding that brain regions involved in navigation grow in London taxi drivers – and get larger as they spend more time on the job. Learning new skills, such as juggling, can literally grow your brain, too.

"At the same time, the brain can repurpose regions that aren’t being used. People who are blind appear to use the parts of their brain normally involved in vision for language processing, or for maths, for example. People without hands can learn to use their feet for many of the same functions, including to paint. Such artists’ brains have dedicated “toe maps”: brain regions that represent each toe. Such maps simply don’t exist in people with hands.

"There is plenty to learn about this complicated organ. We are only just discovering the brain’s potential to regenerate neurons later in life, and why sending a jolt of electricity into the brain might treat neurological conditions or improve cognition. But the more we do learn, the more this squidgy organ will continue to fascinate."

Comment: The human brain was initially evolved with this degree of plasticity to handle whatever requirement the future could throw at it. Only foresight in design could have done this. But remember the modern human brain has shown shrinkage, so size is not an issue. The key is the innate complexity the brain has as well as its plasticity ability. Humans can invent any type of work for the brain to adapt to and it will. The fist hominin brain had no idea as to what was coming in terms of complex usage, yet our brain developed in advance of the usage across fossil gaps of major proportions, 200 cc at each jump. God at work.

Introducing the brain: a tiny brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Monday, February 17, 2020, 20:04 (102 days ago) @ David Turell

A tiny brain can run a big body in ancient an animal:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00376-y?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_c...

"A South American rodent had the heft of a Saint Bernard dog — and a brain the weight of a golf ball.

"Behold Neoepiblema acreensis, an 80-kilogram rodent related to chinchillas that lived 10 million years ago in what is now Brazil. José Ferreira and Leonardo Kerber at the Federal University of Santa Maria in Brazil and their colleagues were curious about the brains of these beasts, so they used computerized tomography to peer inside two fossil skulls.

"To compare brain sizes between creatures of varying weights, scientists can calculate a species’ ‘encephalization quotient’, a measurement of the difference between the expected brain size and actual brain size for an animal of a certain weight. Any value under 1 means an animal’s brain is smaller than expected.

"The team estimates that the brain of N. acreensis weighed just 47 grams. The encephalization quotient of one individual studied was 0.20; that of the other individual was 0.33. In other words, N. acreensis’ brain was unusually puny in comparison to its body. By contrast, modern South American rodents have an average encephalization quotient above 1.05.

"The researchers suggest that because N. acreensis had few predators to outwit, a large brain simply wasn’t worth the maintenance costs."

Comment: Just living in a quiet environment doesn't require much brain function. I agree with the reseachers' comment. dhw will respond the brain will expand if the animals are challenged, but think about that approach. how do the animals survive if the needed brain size for survival doesn't yet exist? Especially if one considers homo evolution with gaps in brain size of 200 cc with each new advanced species.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 16:27 (101 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The key point here is that the brain is very active in altering areas of the brain as current usage dictates. There are chemical and cellular actors in the process.

dhw: Precisely: the brain alters itself as current usage dictates. It is not altered in anticipation of future usages. There is no reason to suppose that this process was reversed in former times.

DAVID: Since brain use allows so many new possible requirements, it has to have its current plastic abilities. God is a great designer allowing and preparing for future possibilities of use.

Of course it has to have its plasticity. And if God exists, of course he is a great designer!
That does not alter the fact that the brain changes as usage dictates. It does not change in anticipation of usage.

DAVID: The human brain was initially evolved with this degree of plasticity to handle whatever requirement the future could throw at it. Only foresight in design could have done this. But remember the modern human brain has shown shrinkage, so size is not an issue. The key is the innate complexity the brain has as well as its plasticity ability. Humans can invent any type of work for the brain to adapt to and it will. The fist hominin brain had no idea as to what was coming in terms of complex usage, yet our brain developed in advance of the usage across fossil gaps of major proportions, 200 cc at each jump. God at work.

Once more you are trying to defend your whole evolutionary thesis that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every new step before it was required. You simply ignore the one fact we know about brain development, which is that the brain RESPONDS to new needs through complexification and even enlargement of individual sections, and does not change in anticipation of them. All brains have to be plastic, or they could not learn, remember, communicate, devise survival strategies etc. You now force me to repeat my proposal: pre-sapiens brains expanded when the capacity was too small to meet new requirements (e.g. the implementation and usage of new means of survival). The expanded brain would suffice for so many thousand years until it could no longer cope with more advances, and so it expanded again. It reached maximum capacity with H. sapiens (further enlargement would damage the rest of the body), and so complexification took over, and this proved so effective that there was even some shrinkage. Development then took the form of complexification, because every change, as we know for a fact, is a RESPONSE to usage, and not a preparation. We do not know of any “development in advance of usage”!

Under "tiny brain":

QUOTES: A tiny brain can run a big body in ancient an animal:
QUOTE: "The researchers suggest that because N. acreensis had few predators to outwit, a large brain simply wasn’t worth the maintenance costs."

DAVID: Just living in a quiet environment doesn't require much brain function. I agree with the reseachers' comment. dhw will respond the brain will expand if the animals are challenged, but think about that approach. how do the animals survive if the needed brain size for survival doesn't yet exist? Especially if one considers homo evolution with gaps in brain size of 200 cc with each new advanced species.

The brain responds to needs! You could hardly wish for a clearer example. Expansion was not required so the brain did not expand!

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 18, 2020, 18:33 (101 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Since brain use allows so many new possible requirements, it has to have its current plastic abilities. God is a great designer allowing and preparing for future possibilities of use.

dhw: Of course it has to have its plasticity. And if God exists, of course he is a great designer! That does not alter the fact that the brain changes as usage dictates. It does not change in anticipation of usage.

That view does not take into account the jump of 200 cc with each new advance in homo/hominin fossils accompanied by an advance in artifacts, all after large gaps of time. Your theory requires a record of slow brain growth as individuals adapt to new circumstances, which does not exist


DAVID: The human brain was initially evolved with this degree of plasticity to handle whatever requirement the future could throw at it. Only foresight in design could have done this. But remember the modern human brain has shown shrinkage, so size is not an issue. The key is the innate complexity the brain has as well as its plasticity ability. Humans can invent any type of work for the brain to adapt to and it will. The fist hominin brain had no idea as to what was coming in terms of complex usage, yet our brain developed in advance of the usage across fossil gaps of major proportions, 200 cc at each jump. God at work.

dhw: Once more you are trying to defend your whole evolutionary thesis that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every new step before it was required. You simply ignore the one fact we know about brain development, which is that the brain RESPONDS to new needs through complexification and even enlargement of individual sections, and does not change in anticipation of them. All brains have to be plastic, or they could not learn, remember, communicate, devise survival strategies etc. You now force me to repeat my proposal: pre-sapiens brains expanded when the capacity was too small to meet new requirements (e.g. the implementation and usage of new means of survival). The expanded brain would suffice for so many thousand years until it could no longer cope with more advances, and so it expanded again. It reached maximum capacity with H. sapiens (further enlargement would damage the rest of the body), and so complexification took over, and this proved so effective that there was even some shrinkage. Development then took the form of complexification, because every change, as we know for a fact, is a RESPONSE to usage, and not a preparation. We do not know of any “development in advance of usage”!

I can accept the entire story, reflecting its Darwinian presuppositions, as showing the requirements for advancement, but produces no explanation for why the brain size jumped 200 cc each time a more advanced fossil species arrived. Your proposal requires tiny changes a la' Darwin's inadequate theory.


Under "tiny brain":

QUOTES: A tiny brain can run a big body in ancient an animal:
QUOTE: "The researchers suggest that because N. acreensis had few predators to outwit, a large brain simply wasn’t worth the maintenance costs."

DAVID: Just living in a quiet environment doesn't require much brain function. I agree with the reseachers' comment. dhw will respond the brain will expand if the animals are challenged, but think about that approach. how do the animals survive if the needed brain size for survival doesn't yet exist? Especially if one considers homo evolution with gaps in brain size of 200 cc with each new advanced species.

dhw: The brain responds to needs! You could hardly wish for a clearer example. Expansion was not required so the brain did not expand!

Using a weird double negative argument proves nothing. Nothing required, nothing done. Of course with a more complex life style/requirements the brain MUST be bigger. Our discussion is how it happens. Note, only after large gaps in size, which you really never explain by simply saying the jump was needed.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 13:53 (100 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: God is a great designer allowing and preparing for future possibilities of use.

dhw: … if God exists, of course he is a great designer! That does not alter the fact that the brain changes as usage dictates. It does not change in anticipation of usage.

DAVID: The human brain was initially evolved with this degree of plasticity to handle whatever requirement the future could throw at it. Only foresight in design could have done this. […] The first hominin brain had no idea as to what was coming in terms of complex usage, yet our brain developed in advance of the usage across fossil gaps of major proportions, 200 cc at each jump. God at work.

dhw: Once more you are trying to defend your whole evolutionary thesis that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every new step before it was required. You simply ignore the one fact we know about brain development, which is that the brain RESPONDS to new needs through complexification and even enlargement of individual sections, and does not change in anticipation of them. All brains have to be plastic, or they could not learn, remember, communicate, devise survival strategies etc. You now force me to repeat my proposal: pre-sapiens brains expanded when the capacity was too small to meet new requirements (e.g. the implementation and usage of new means of survival). The expanded brain would suffice for so many thousand years until it could no longer cope with more advances, and so it expanded again. It reached maximum capacity with H. sapiens (further enlargement would damage the rest of the body), and so complexification took over, and this proved so effective that there was even some shrinkage. Development then took the form of complexification, because every change, as we know for a fact, is a RESPONSE to usage, and not a preparation. We do not know of any “development in advance of usage”!

DAVID: I can accept the entire story, reflecting its Darwinian presuppositions, as showing the requirements for advancement, but produces no explanation for why the brain size jumped 200 cc each time a more advanced fossil species arrived. Your proposal requires tiny changes a la' Darwin's inadequate theory.

You quote my theory and then you ignore it! I have bolded the relevant section. The proposal does NOT require tiny changes. The brain expanded when it could no longer cope with new requirements.

Under "tiny brain":

QUOTES: "A tiny brain can run a big body in ancient an animal:"
QUOTE: "The researchers suggest that because N. acreensis had few predators to outwit, a large brain simply wasn’t worth the maintenance costs."

dhw: The brain responds to needs! You could hardly wish for a clearer example. Expansion was not required so the brain did not expand!

DAVID: Using a weird double negative argument proves nothing. Nothing required, nothing done.

Perfectly logical. Just as something required, something done explains why certain actions are performed!

DAVID: Of course with a more complex life style/requirements the brain MUST be bigger. Our discussion is how it happens. Note, only after large gaps in size, which you really never explain by simply saying the jump was needed.

I have explained the jumps over and over again, and I have explained why they happened (new requirements required a greater capacity). How the jumps happen is a different subject. Your theory is that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the first cells with a programme for brain jumps - along with every life form, econiche, natural wonder for the rest of time – or he popped in every few thousand years to add 200 cc, because for some inexplicable reason he knew H.sapiens (the only species he really wanted) would need about 1400 cc but decided to do it in stages. My proposal is that the cell communities of which all organisms are composed followed precisely the same pattern we observe in the modern brain, and adjusted themselves to new requirements. And even today, complexification is accompanied by expansion in certain sections, according to the requirements of individuals.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 19:08 (100 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Once more you are trying to defend your whole evolutionary thesis that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every new step before it was required. You simply ignore the one fact we know about brain development, which is that the brain RESPONDS to new needs through complexification and even enlargement of individual sections, and does not change in anticipation of them. All brains have to be plastic, or they could not learn, remember, communicate, devise survival strategies etc. You now force me to repeat my proposal: pre-sapiens brains expanded when the capacity was too small to meet new requirements (e.g. the implementation and usage of new means of survival). The expanded brain would suffice for so many thousand years until it could no longer cope with more advances, and so it expanded again. It reached maximum capacity with H. sapiens (further enlargement would damage the rest of the body), and so complexification took over, and this proved so effective that there was even some shrinkage. Development then took the form of complexification, because every change, as we know for a fact, is a RESPONSE to usage, and not a preparation. We do not know of any “development in advance of usage”!

DAVID: I can accept the entire story, reflecting its Darwinian presuppositions, as showing the requirements for advancement, but produces no explanation for why the brain size jumped 200 cc each time a more advanced fossil species arrived. Your proposal requires tiny changes a la' Darwin's inadequate theory.

You quote my theory and then you ignore it! I have bolded the relevant section. The proposal does NOT require tiny changes. The brain expanded when it could no longer cope with new requirements.

Totally illogical. Assuming an early hominin brain, how did it know what was newly needed so it could force expansion? The spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded and the new idea is developed from its new complexity and new ability to invent. Bass-ackward. The new sized brain dose not come with built-in concepts. They have to be originated with the new ability to think more deeply.

DAVID: Of course with a more complex life style/requirements the brain MUST be bigger. Our discussion is how it happens. Note, only after large gaps in size, which you really never explain by simply saying the jump was needed.

dhw: I have explained the jumps over and over again, and I have explained why they happened (new requirements required a greater capacity). How the jumps happen is a different subject. Your theory is that 3.8 billion years ago your God provided the first cells with a programme for brain jumps - along with every life form, econiche, natural wonder for the rest of time – or he popped in every few thousand years to add 200 cc, because for some inexplicable reason he knew H.sapiens (the only species he really wanted) would need about 1400 cc but decided to do it in stages. My proposal is that the cell communities of which all organisms are composed followed precisely the same pattern we observe in the modern brain, and adjusted themselves to new requirements. And even today, complexification is accompanied by expansion in certain sections, according to the requirements of individuals.

Same weird argument in the bold. A finished product in the modern brain is not an example of an earlier brain and how it formed. Enlarged area now developed from current requirements and are tiny compared to the enlargements of 200 cc's in past jumps in size. The concept of plasticity, cannot be used as an overall theory of enlargement. Plasticity probably existed in all stages of brain size, but simply is a system of localized complexification/enlargement within a brain of a specific fixed size, as shown in our brain. You should remember our brain has actually shrunk 140 cc in the past 30,000 years!!! While certain areas in some individuals (London taxi drivers) do enlarge with use.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Thursday, February 20, 2020, 11:01 (100 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You now force me to repeat my proposal: pre-sapiens brains expanded when the capacity was too small to meet new requirements (e.g. the implementation and usage of new means of survival). The expanded brain would suffice for so many thousand years until it could no longer cope with more advances, and so it expanded again. It reached maximum capacity with H. sapiens (further enlargement would damage the rest of the body), and so complexification took over, and this proved so effective that there was even some shrinkage. Development then took the form of complexification, because every change, as we know for a fact, is a RESPONSE to usage, and not a preparation. We do not know of any “development in advance of usage”!

DAVID: Totally illogical. Assuming an early hominin brain, how did it know what was newly needed so it could force expansion? The spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded and the new idea is developed from its new complexity and new ability to invent. Bass-ackward. The new sized brain dose not come with built-in concepts. They have to be originated with the new ability to think more deeply.

A truly astonishing explanation coming from someone who calls himself a dualist, which means ideas come from the “soul” not the brain. But in fact it makes no difference to my theory whether you are dualist or materialist. The whole point is that the idea precedes implementation of the idea, and we know from observation that it is IMPLEMENTATION of the idea that demands new uses of the brain – whether through enlargement or through complexification. The brain does not expand or complexify in anticipation of new ideas. You then asked how it worked:

dhw: My proposal is that the cell communities of which all organisms are composed followed precisely the same pattern we observe in the modern brain, and adjusted themselves to new requirements. And even today, complexification is accompanied by expansion in certain sections, according to the requirements of individuals.

DAVID: Same weird argument in the bold. A finished product in the modern brain is not an example of an earlier brain and how it formed. Enlarged area now developed from current requirements and are tiny compared to the enlargements of 200 cc's in past jumps in size.

Why weird? There is no reason to suppose that past brains functioned differently.

DAVID: The concept of plasticity, cannot be used as an overall theory of enlargement. Plasticity probably existed in all stages of brain size, but simply is a system of localized complexification/enlargement within a brain of a specific fixed size, as shown in our brain.

Exactly. But in the past, when the specific fixed size proved to be inadequate to perform the tasks required of it, the process of “localized enlargement”, as organized by the intelligent cell community using its own plasticity, would have led to overall enlargement. If it can expand on a small scale, why should it not have been able to expand on a large scale?

DAVID: You should remember our brain has actually shrunk 140 cc in the past 30,000 years!!! While certain areas in some individuals (London taxi drivers) do enlarge with use.

Explained umpteen times: shrinkage would have been the result of efficient complexification. What is your explanation of shrinkage? God popped in again because he realized he didn’t need to give us so much brain? Yes, taxi drivers illustrate the same process which I propose applied at all times to all the different phases of brain development: the brain changes/changed through complexification, minor enlargement (within existing dimensions) or major enlargement (200 cc “jumps”) IN RESPONSE to new requirements, and not in anticipation of them.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 20, 2020, 21:04 (99 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Totally illogical. Assuming an early hominin brain, how did it know what was newly needed so it could force expansion? The spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded and the new idea is developed from its new complexity and new ability to invent. Bass-ackward. The new sized brain dose not come with built-in concepts. They have to be originated with the new ability to think more deeply.

dhw: A truly astonishing explanation coming from someone who calls himself a dualist, which means ideas come from the “soul” not the brain. But in fact it makes no difference to my theory whether you are dualist or materialist. The whole point is that the idea precedes implementation of the idea, and we know from observation that it is IMPLEMENTATION of the idea that demands new uses of the brain – whether through enlargement or through complexification. The brain does not expand or complexify in anticipation of new ideas.

My view of dualism is not the standard definition in classical philosophy. I've explained this before. 1) Material, wet brain; 2) soul/consciousness makes ideas. Concepts developed by the s/c can only can be as complex as the complexity of the brain itself allows. Erectus saw flying birds, may have wised to do it, but never could figure out how.

dhw: You then asked how it worked:

dhw: My proposal is that the cell communities of which all organisms are composed followed precisely the same pattern we observe in the modern brain, and adjusted themselves to new requirements. And even today, complexification is accompanied by expansion in certain sections, according to the requirements of individuals.

DAVID: Same weird argument in the bold. A finished product in the modern brain is not an example of an earlier brain and how it formed. Enlarged area now developed from current requirements and are tiny compared to the enlargements of 200 cc's in past jumps in size.

dhw: Why weird? There is no reason to suppose that past brains functioned differently.

Yes, I agree previous brain functions and perhaps plasticity was an early form of what our brain does now. But nothing you have proposed tells us how the brain enlarged 200 cc per gap.


DAVID: The concept of plasticity, cannot be used as an overall theory of enlargement. Plasticity probably existed in all stages of brain size, but simply is a system of localized complexification/enlargement within a brain of a specific fixed size, as shown in our brain.

dhw: Exactly. But in the past, when the specific fixed size proved to be inadequate to perform the tasks required of it, the process of “localized enlargement”, as organized by the intelligent cell community using its own plasticity, would have led to overall enlargement. If it can expand on a small scale, why should it not have been able to expand on a large scale?

We have the example that refutes you. Our current brain with all its new uses and demands for even more new uses shrunk 140 cc from 30,000 years ago. It never had to enlarge! Except in tiny areas for very special use. So our brain is smaller and the erectus brain had to explode because it didn't have the ability to act like ours. But note above, we've agreed that earlier brains acted in most ways similarly to ours. But we can see our brain really has very special attributes.


DAVID: You should remember our brain has actually shrunk 140 cc in the past 30,000 years!!! While certain areas in some individuals (London taxi drivers) do enlarge with use.

dhw: Explained umpteen times: shrinkage would have been the result of efficient complexification. What is your explanation of shrinkage? God popped in again because he realized he didn’t need to give us so much brain? Yes, taxi drivers illustrate the same process which I propose applied at all times to all the different phases of brain development: the brain changes/changed through complexification, minor enlargement (within existing dimensions) or major enlargement (200 cc “jumps”) IN RESPONSE to new requirements, and not in anticipation of them.

Your 'new requirements' were what? When H. sapiens appeared 315,000 years ago what were the demanding new requirements that forced the brain to suddenly enlarge 200 cc? There are currently indigenous tribes now extant that live in roughly the same fashion as 315,000 years ago, with the same sized brain as the rest of us. They just haven't bothered to learn how to use it as we do, but they appear to have the same size, really unrequired. Point, same sized brain but haven't used it for new 'requirements'. Size and complexity first, use second. God supplies brain size as He evolves organisms.

Introducing the brain: Brain control of blood supply

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 20, 2020, 22:12 (99 days ago) @ David Turell

The brain has no stored energy and must use increased fresh blood flow to nourish a newly functional area. This is the reason we can study the brain with fMRI, and this study shows the controls:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/brain-and-arteries-working-together?utm_source=Cosmo...

"The brain is a demanding beast. It consumes about a fifth of the body’s energy but cannot store any, so it needs constant and carefully timed nourishment from the cardiovascular system.

"To keep it happy, “neurovascular coupling” rapidly increases blood flow to areas of heightened neural activity – a process that is impaired in conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.

"Despite its importance, it has been unclear how the brain and blood vessels communicate to enable neurovascular coupling.

"Now, in a study published in the journal Nature, neuroscientists from Harvard Medical School, US, report the discovery of a control mechanism in the brains of mice that ensures adequate blood flow to areas of heightened neural activity in a rapid and precise manner.
Experiments reveal that arteries in the brain actively regulate neurovascular coupling in response to neural activity, and that the protein Mfsd2a, previously implicated as a key regulator of the protective blood-brain barrier, is critical for this process.

"'We now have a firm handle on the mechanisms involved in neurovascular coupling, including its molecular, cellular and subcellular components, which we've never had before," says senior author Chenghua Gu.

"'This puts us in a position to dissect this process and determine, for example, whether the neurovascular coupling impairments that we see in diseases like Alzheimer's are the result of a pathology or the cause.'”

Comment: I would assume this process is old and is in early brains in evolution. It requires a specific protein to activate the process. Chance evolution would never find one specific protein, but design can.

Introducing the brain: bumble bee brain confirms shapes

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 20, 2020, 22:38 (99 days ago) @ David Turell

Identify shapes by sight and feel:

https://phys.org/news/2020-02-bumblebees.html

"How are we able to find things in the dark? And how can we imagine how something feels just by looking at it?

"It is because our brain is able to store information in such a way that it can be retrieved by different senses. This multi-sensory integration allows us to form mental images of the world and underpins our conscious awareness.

"It turns out that the ability to recognise objects across different senses is present in the tiny brains of an insect.

"Researchers at Queen Mary University of London and Macquarie University in Sydney have published new work in the journal Science showing that bumblebees can also find objects in the dark they've only seen before.

"In the light, but barred from touching the objects, bumblebees were trained to find rewarding sugar water in one type of object (cubes or spheres) and bitter quinine solution in the other shape.

"When tested in the dark, bees preferred the object that was previously rewarding, spending more time exploring them.

"Bumblebees also solved the task the other way around. After bees learned to find a particular shape in the dark, they were tested in the light and again preferred the shape they had learned was rewarding by touch alone.

"This ability is called cross-modal recognition and it allows us to perceive a complete picture of the world with rich representations.

"Dr. Cwyn Solvi is the lead author on the paper who was based at Queen Mary University of London and is now at Macquarie University in Sydney. She said: "The results of our study show that bumblebees don't process their senses as separate channels—they come together as some sort of unified representation."

***

"'We've long known that bees can remember the shapes of flowers. But a smartphone can recognise your face, for example, and does so without any form of awareness. Our new work indicates that something is going on inside the mind of bees that is wholly different from a machine—that bees can conjure up mental images of shapes."

***

"'This is an amazing feat when you consider the miniscule size of a bee's brain. Future investigations of the neural circuitry underlying this ability in bees may one day help reveal how our own brains imagine the world as we do."

"Dr. Solvi cautions: "This doesn't mean bees experience the world the same way we do, but it does show there is more going on in their heads than we have ever given them credit for.'"

Comment: Dr. Solvi exhibits large animal chauvinism. I'm not surprised at the bee brain ability. All animal brains evolved from an early beginning set of neurons. A single neuron has been shown to act like a tiny lone computer. we do not know just how few or many are required for this mental ability. We know bees live by knowing the shapes of flowers.

Introducing the brain: bumble bee brain confirms shapes

by dhw, Friday, February 21, 2020, 12:44 (99 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: "Dr. Solvi cautions: "This doesn't mean bees experience the world the same way we do, but it does show there is more going on in their heads than we have ever given them credit for.'"

DAVID: Dr. Solvi exhibits large animal chauvinism. I'm not surprised at the bee brain ability. All animal brains evolved from an early beginning set of neurons. A single neuron has been shown to act like a tiny lone computer. we do not know just how few or many are required for this mental ability. We know bees live by knowing the shapes of flowers.

Delighted to see you acknowledging that even a single neuron acts like a tiny lone computer. Some people would say that just like bees and every other living organism, it acts like a tiny lone sentient, information-processing, communicating, decision-making being. And even you agree that this theory has a 50/50 chance of being correct, but you reckon 50/50 possibility = 100% impossibility.

DAVID under “control of cell skeletal structure”: By the way, the centrosome and centrioles are part of the Albrecht-Buehler discussion about cell intelligence. A=B does not agree with most researchers theories:
"Yet, the vast majority of today's biologists devote their efforts to prove the opposite, namely that specific molecular interactions create the cellular functions"

http://www.basic.northwestern.edu/g-buehler/FRAME.HTM

DAVID: I wonder what A-B thinks now since his research dates from 25-50 years ago.

He suggested that the centrosome was the equivalent of the brain. I suspect that if he had changed his mind, he would have said so. There are now plenty of scientists in the field who agree with him that cells are intelligent."The times, they are a-changin'."

Introducing the brain: bumble bee brain confirms shapes

by David Turell @, Friday, February 21, 2020, 15:00 (98 days ago) @ dhw

QUOTE: "Dr. Solvi cautions: "This doesn't mean bees experience the world the same way we do, but it does show there is more going on in their heads than we have ever given them credit for.'"

DAVID: Dr. Solvi exhibits large animal chauvinism. I'm not surprised at the bee brain ability. All animal brains evolved from an early beginning set of neurons. A single neuron has been shown to act like a tiny lone computer. we do not know just how few or many are required for this mental ability. We know bees live by knowing the shapes of flowers.

dhw: Delighted to see you acknowledging that even a single neuron acts like a tiny lone computer. Some people would say that just like bees and every other living organism, it acts like a tiny lone sentient, information-processing, communicating, decision-making being. And even you agree that this theory has a 50/50 chance of being correct, but you reckon 50/50 possibility = 100% impossibility.

You are grasping at your usual straws to support a cell intelligence theory most scientists don't believe. Note today I enter a new layer of genome controls, a new aspect of RNA modification.


DAVID under “control of cell skeletal structure”: By the way, the centrosome and centrioles are part of the Albrecht-Buehler discussion about cell intelligence. A=B does not agree with most researchers theories:
"Yet, the vast majority of today's biologists devote their efforts to prove the opposite, namely that specific molecular interactions create the cellular functions"

http://www.basic.northwestern.edu/g-buehler/FRAME.HTM

DAVID: I wonder what A-B thinks now since his research dates from 25-50 years ago.

dhw:He suggested that the centrosome was the equivalent of the brain. I suspect that if he had changed his mind, he would have said so. There are now plenty of scientists in the field who agree with him that cells are intelligent."The times, they are a-changin'."

I assume he is long retired and the research I see is still about molecular reactions. Still all an outlier opinion, but to be fair Shapiro is mainline. Show me your 'plenty of scientists'.

Introducing the brain: Albrecht-Buehler addendum

by David Turell @, Friday, February 21, 2020, 22:05 (98 days ago) @ David Turell
edited by David Turell, Friday, February 21, 2020, 22:24

If one googles 'cell intelligence' A-B's entry pops up first. so that is how you found him and glommed onto him because he so fits your desires for a theory that avoids God's controls. but this is current thinking on the biochemistry of how cells produce their work:

https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/biology/biochemistry-i/the-scope-of-biochemist...

"Although there are many possible biochemical reactions, they fall into only a few types to consider:

"Oxidation and reduction: For example, the interconversion of an alcohol and an aldehyde.

"Movement of functional groups within or between molecules For example, the transfer of phosphate groups from one oxygen to another.

"Addition and removal of water: For example, hydrolysis of an amide linkage to an amine and a carboxyl group.

"Bond‐breaking reactions: For example, carbon‐carbon bond breakage.

***

"...it's important that biochemical reactions not go too fast or too slowly, and that the right reactions occur when they are needed to keep the cell functioning.

"The ultimate basis for controlling biochemical reactions is the genetic information stored in the cell's DNA. This information is expressed in a regulated fashion, so that the enzymes responsible for carrying out the cell's chemical reactions are released in response to the needs of the cell for energy production, replication, and so forth. " (my bold)

Comment: It might be worth your wile to read this short article. It may help you understand my approach to biochemistry in cell function.

***

I then looked at A-B's most current work as you suggested he might now have some thoughts:

https://www.researchgate.net/scientific-contributions/44601125_Guenter_Albrecht-Buehler

His defense of 'non-molecular' cell biology is all 30 years old with nothing since. Then he knew he was an odd ball. I have no idea how current ideas and findings have influenced him. Your use of Shapiro's brilliant work is much more to the point. I've told you how I interpret it in the whole scheme of things.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Friday, February 21, 2020, 12:50 (99 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My view of dualism is not the standard definition in classical philosophy. I've explained this before. 1) Material, wet brain; 2) soul/consciousness makes ideas. Concepts developed by the s/c can only can be as complex as the complexity of the brain itself allows. Erectus saw flying birds, may have wised to do it, but never could figure out how.

Your view of dualism is pretty confusing. The soul makes ideas: erectus’s soul would like to fly but his soul, which makes ideas, relies on his brain to come up with ideas about how to fly? Anyway, it makes no difference to the argument. Whatever may be the source of ideas, it remains a fact that nobody has ever seen a brain complexify or expand in anticipation of new ideas. All changes we know of take place as a response to new ideas. […]

DAVID: Yes, I agree previous brain functions and perhaps plasticity was an early form of what our brain does now. But nothing you have proposed tells us how the brain enlarged 200 cc per gap.

I have explained that in post after post after post! Just as the cell communities cooperate in modern brains to produce complexification and minor enlargements, in the past they would have cooperated to produce major enlargements when the existing capacity was unable to meet new requirements.

DAVID: We have the example that refutes you. Our current brain with all its new uses and demands for even more new uses shrunk 140 cc from 30,000 years ago.

In post after post after post I have explained that once complexification took over from enlargement (the body could not take more enlargement), it proved so efficient that the brain did not need so much capacity. I have even asked you for your own theory. (Did God pop in? “Sorry, guys, I gave you a bit too much.”) You have not replied.

DAVID: Your 'new requirements' were what? When H. sapiens appeared 315,000 years ago what were the demanding new requirements that forced the brain to suddenly enlarge 200 cc?

I’m really sorry, but I wasn’t around 315,000 years ago and I wasn’t around at the time of the earlier expansions either. We do have archaeological evidence that new brain size coincided with new weaponry, and so an example which I have repeated over and over again would be pre-human X has a new idea (spear) which requires totally new ways of thinking, moving, calculating and coordinating, and so the IMPLEMENTATION of the idea leads to expansion of the cell community (and its container) which has to create new functions for itself. Hence pre-human Y with the bigger brain. The same process as in the modern brain, in which the cell community complexifies or expands on a smaller scale when it has to IMPLEMENT new ideas.

DAVID: There are currently indigenous tribes now extant that live in roughly the same fashion as 315,000 years ago, with the same sized brain as the rest of us. They just haven't bothered to learn how to use it as we do, but they appear to have the same size, really unrequired. Point, same sized brain but haven't used it for new 'requirements'. Size and complexity first, use second. God supplies brain size as He evolves organisms.

You keep asking me how I think the brain expanded. Now you want to know why, once it is in place, some people use it more than others! The pre-sapiens brain would have expanded because of requirements. Once it had reached its present size, all sapiens would have it. Some sapiens have more requirements than others and so use their brains more, presumably complexify more, and even undergo minor expansions, but have also shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification. What do you think should happen? Do you want your God to pop in and shrink the indigenous tribes’ brains back to pre-sapiens’ size?

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Friday, February 21, 2020, 20:11 (98 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Your view of dualism is pretty confusing. The soul makes ideas: erectus’s soul would like to fly but his soul, which makes ideas, relies on his brain to come up with ideas about how to fly? Anyway, it makes no difference to the argument. Whatever may be the source of ideas, it remains a fact that nobody has ever seen a brain complexify or expand in anticipation of new ideas. All changes we know of take place as a response to new ideas.

dhw: The bold is a statement as if fact. All we can know from the past is brains enlarged and then new processes and new concepts appeared. Erectus never had concepts habilis exhibited or then H. sapiens developed. Larger brains required for the conceptual advances.


DAVID: Yes, I agree previous brain functions and perhaps plasticity was an early form of what our brain does now. But nothing you have proposed tells us how the brain enlarged 200 cc per gap.

dhw: I have explained that in post after post after post! Just as the cell communities cooperate in modern brains to produce complexification and minor enlargements, in the past they would have cooperated to produce major enlargements when the existing capacity was unable to meet new requirements.

You may explain but I don't accept your theory


DAVID: We have the example that refutes you. Our current brain with all its new uses and demands for even more new uses shrunk 140 cc from 30,000 years ago.

dhw: In post after post after post I have explained that once complexification took over from enlargement (the body could not take more enlargement), it proved so efficient that the brain did not need so much capacity. I have even asked you for your own theory. (Did God pop in? “Sorry, guys, I gave you a bit too much.”) You have not replied.

God gave us all the brain required with its plasticity/local complexification abilities.


DAVID: Your 'new requirements' were what? When H. sapiens appeared 315,000 years ago what were the demanding new requirements that forced the brain to suddenly enlarge 200 cc?

dhw: I’m really sorry, but I wasn’t around 315,000 years ago and I wasn’t around at the time of the earlier expansions either. We do have archaeological evidence that new brain size coincided with new weaponry, and so an example which I have repeated over and over again would be pre-human X has a new idea (spear) which requires totally new ways of thinking, moving, calculating and coordinating, and so the IMPLEMENTATION of the idea leads to expansion of the cell community (and its container) which has to create new functions for itself. Hence pre-human Y with the bigger brain. The same process as in the modern brain, in which the cell community complexifies or expands on a smaller scale when it has to IMPLEMENT new ideas.

An early erectus brain lacks the capacity, as you admit, so cannot know what a habilis can know or imagine. Your view presents us with a totally illogical theory. What pushes brain committees of neurons if they do not know what they do not know and cannot know? You theory still requires the push of foresight.


DAVID: There are currently indigenous tribes now extant that live in roughly the same fashion as 315,000 years ago, with the same sized brain as the rest of us. They just haven't bothered to learn how to use it as we do, but they appear to have the same size, really unrequired. Point, same sized brain but haven't used it for new 'requirements'. Size and complexity first, use second. God supplies brain size as He evolves organisms.

dhw: You keep asking me how I think the brain expanded. Now you want to know why, once it is in place, some people use it more than others! The pre-sapiens brain would have expanded because of requirements. Once it had reached its present size, all sapiens would have it. Some sapiens have more requirements than others and so use their brains more, presumably complexify more, and even undergo minor expansions, but have also shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification. What do you think should happen? Do you want your God to pop in and shrink the indigenous tribes’ brains back to pre-sapiens’ size?

Please understand the indigenous simply haven't bothered to use their big brain. They just like it as it is. Note the illogical bold. The indigenous have not required the big brain so why did they get a big one? The Homo Hobbits had a small brain and lived as the indigenous until 30,000 years ago before disappearing. Why didn't they get the required big brain? Your 'requirements' argument is still totally illogical based on our knowledge of human evolution.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Saturday, February 22, 2020, 11:07 (98 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Whatever may be the source of ideas, it remains a fact that nobody has ever seen a brain complexify or expand in anticipation of new ideas. All changes we know of take place as a response to new ideas.

[dhw] DAVID: (This is you speaking, not me!): The bold is a statement as if fact.

Then please give me a known example of brains complexifying or expanding in anticipation of new ideas.

DAVID: All we can know from the past is brains enlarged and then new processes and new concepts appeared. Erectus never had concepts habilis exhibited or then H. sapiens developed. Larger brains required for the conceptual advances.

You have no way of knowing whether the enlargement preceded the concept (larger brain thought of and implemented spear) or was caused by it (small brain thought of spear, needed larger brain to make it). However, once the larger brain was there, then of course there would have been more new concepts and implementations, until once again the capacity was exceeded by new concepts requiring greater capacity. The only clue we have for the sequence is the manner in which the modern brain functions, and that is brain changes in response to concept.

DAVID: You may explain but I don't accept your theory.

Fair enough. But you have yet to give me any logical reason for rejecting it.

DAVID: We have the example that refutes you. Our current brain with all its new uses and demands for even more new uses shrunk 140 cc from 30,000 years ago.

dhw: In post after post after post I have explained that once complexification took over from enlargement (the body could not take more enlargement), it proved so efficient that the brain did not need so much capacity. I have even asked you for your own theory. (Did God pop in? “Sorry, guys, I gave you a bit too much.”) You have not replied.

DAVID: God gave us all the brain required with its plasticity/local complexification abilities.

I answered your point about shrinkage. Why won’t you tell us your own theory about it?

DAVID: Your 'new requirements' were what? When H. sapiens appeared 315,000 years ago what were the demanding new requirements that forced the brain to suddenly enlarge 200 cc?

dhw: I’m really sorry, but I wasn’t around 315,000 years ago and I wasn’t around at the time of the earlier expansions either. [...]

DAVID: An early erectus brain lacks the capacity, as you admit, so cannot know what a habilis can know or imagine. Your view presents us with a totally illogical theory. What pushes brain committees of neurons if they do not know what they do not know and cannot know? You theory still requires the push of foresight.

Habilis preceded erectus. I don’t want to get into specifics, but of course later species would already know the concepts of their ancestors and would then add their own concepts, so the earlier species would not have known what the later species knew. Hardly a revelation. Your question about neurons rejects the possibility of any kind of innovation, assuming neurons are the inventors – which you as a dualist should reject! But even if you subscribed to the dualist belief that the soul is the source of ideas, you might as well ask how a soul can invent anything new. As regards “foresight”, same as usual (e.g. you think your God supplied pre-whales with flippers before they entered the water): My proposal is that the brain enlarged in response to new demands. Your proposal is that God enlarged it in anticipation of new demands (by personal dabbling or through a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for every non-human and human development you can think of).

DAVID: There are currently indigenous tribes now extant that live in roughly the same fashion as 315,000 years ago, with the same sized brain as the rest of us. […]

dhw: You keep asking me how I think the brain expanded. Now you want to know why, once it is in place, some people use it more than others! The pre-sapiens brain would have expanded because of requirements. Once it had reached its present size, all sapiens would have it. Some sapiens have more requirements than others and so use their brains more, presumably complexify more, and even undergo minor expansions, but their brains have also shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification. What do you think should happen? Do you want your God to pop in and shrink the indigenous tribes’ brains back to pre-sapiens’ size?

DAVID: Please understand the indigenous simply haven't bothered to use their big brain.

That’s what I’ve just told you.

DAVID: They just like it as it is. Note the illogical bold. The indigenous have not required the big brain so why did they get a big one? The Homo Hobbits had a small brain and lived as the indigenous until 30,000 years ago before disappearing. Why didn't they get the required big brain?

My point is that they DID get the required brain – though I don’t want to speculate on who turned into who. You have a succession of enlargements and a succession of species, each one caused by new requirements. The smaller brain disappears...stasis…THEN new requirements…enlarged brain…disappearance of smaller brain...on and on until the final enlargement with sapiens. The indigenous are sapiens. They’ve got the big brain but they don’t use it as much as you do. What’s the problem?

.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Saturday, February 22, 2020, 18:16 (97 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Whatever may be the source of ideas, it remains a fact that nobody has ever seen a brain complexify or expand in anticipation of new ideas. All changes we know of take place as a response to new ideas.

[dhw] DAVID: (This is you speaking, not me!): The bold is a statement as if fact.

dhw: Then please give me a known example of brains complexifying or expanding in anticipation of new ideas.

A conclusion: more advanced artifacts appear only after a new-sized brain is present.


DAVID: All we can know from the past is brains enlarged and then new processes and new concepts appeared. Erectus never had concepts habilis exhibited or then H. sapiens developed. Larger brains required for the conceptual advances.

dhw: You have no way of knowing whether the enlargement preceded the concept (larger brain thought of and implemented spear) or was caused by it (small brain thought of spear, needed larger brain to make it). However, once the larger brain was there, then of course there would have been more new concepts and implementations, until once again the capacity was exceeded by new concepts requiring greater capacity.

Totally backward thinking. New artifacts only after big brain is on the scene.


DAVID: God gave us all the brain required with its plasticity/local complexification abilities.

dhw: I answered your point about shrinkage. Why won’t you tell us your own theory about it?

Obviously plasticity with complexification created the shrinkage, an attribute of our brain given by God.


DAVID: An early erectus brain lacks the capacity, as you admit, so cannot know what a habilis can know or imagine. Your view presents us with a totally illogical theory. What pushes brain committees of neurons if they do not know what they do not know and cannot know? You theory still requires the push of foresight.

dhw: Habilis preceded erectus.

Thank you for correcting. My aging brain stumbles at times

dhw: I don’t want to get into specifics, but of course later species would already know the concepts of their ancestors and would then add their own concepts, so the earlier species would not have known what the later species knew. Hardly a revelation.

Finally good logic. The new big brain gave the later species the ability to add new concepts. So where is the pressure for enlargement if the older group could not conceive of them?

DAVID: There are currently indigenous tribes now extant that live in roughly the same fashion as 315,000 years ago, with the same sized brain as the rest of us. […]

DAVID: Please understand the indigenous simply haven't bothered to use their big brain.

dhw: That’s what I’ve just told you.

My point is why did they bother to get the big brain if it wasn't required. Note the hobbits below.


DAVID: They just like it as it is. Note the illogical bold. The indigenous have not required the big brain so why did they get a big one? The Homo Hobbits had a small brain and lived as the indigenous until 30,000 years ago before disappearing. Why didn't they get the required big brain?

dhw: My point is that they DID get the required brain – though I don’t want to speculate on who turned into who. You have a succession of enlargements and a succession of species, each one caused by new requirements. The smaller brain disappears...stasis…THEN new requirements…enlarged brain…disappearance of smaller brain...on and on until the final enlargement with sapiens. The indigenous are sapiens. They’ve got the big brain but they don’t use it as much as you do. What’s the problem?

If a prior species does not have the brain complexity which allows the self/consciousness to know of new concepts/inventions, how can there bean pressure for enlargement? You can't wish for that of which you have no conception.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Sunday, February 23, 2020, 08:37 (97 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] please give me a known example of brains complexifying or expanding in anticipation of new ideas.

DAVID: A conclusion: more advanced artifacts appear only after a new-sized brain is present.

The artefact cannot appear until the concept has been IMPLEMENTED! In my theory it is the implementation that CAUSES the bigger brain, just as the implementation of reading skills, navigational skills, musical skills CAUSES the brains of illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians to complexify or expand in certain areas. First the idea, then the complexification or expansion as a RESULT of implementing the idea.

dhw: I answered your point about shrinkage. Why won’t you tell us your own theory about it?

DAVID: Obviously plasticity with complexification created the shrinkage, an attribute of our brain given by God.

So your theory is exactly the same as mine: the efficiency of complexification causes the shrinkage.

dhw: I don’t want to get into specifics, but of course later species would already know the concepts of their ancestors and would then add their own concepts, so the earlier species would not have known what the later species knew. Hardly a revelation.

DAVID: Finally good logic. The new big brain gave the later species the ability to add new concepts. So where is the pressure for enlargement if the older group could not conceive of them?

Once more, here is the sequence: Species A has new idea which requires expansion for its implementation. This leads to Species B with bigger brain. Species B goes on for thousands of years with its bigger brain coping with all its new ideas until bigger brain can no longer cope with The Next Big Thing and once again requires expansion for implementation. Even bigger brain leads to Species C. Process repeated until finally brain can expand no more and complexification takes over. Now you have H. sapiens.

DAVID: There are currently indigenous tribes now extant that live in roughly the same fashion as 315,000 years ago, with the same sized brain as the rest of us. […] My point is why did they bother to get the big brain if it wasn't required.

You’d better ask your God, since you think he did it. My point is that they are H. sapiens, descended from the very first H. sapiens. Some sapiens don’t use their brains as much as other sapiens. What’s the problem?

DAVID: The Homo Hobbits had a small brain and lived as the indigenous until 30,000 years ago before disappearing. Why didn't they get the required big brain?

dhw: My point is that they DID get the required brain – though I don’t want to speculate on who turned into who. [...]

DAVID: If a prior species does not have the brain complexity which allows the self/consciousness to know of new concepts/inventions, how can there bean pressure for enlargement? You can't wish for that of which you have no conception.

What do you mean by the brain “allowing the self to know of new concepts”? We do not know the source of ideas, but regardless of whether it is the dualist’s soul or the materialist’s brain, I keep repeating my proposal that it is the IMPLEMENTATION of ideas that changes the brain. The pressure for enlargement therefore came when the existing brain did not have the capacity to IMPLEMENT the new idea. As illustrated by the fact that the modern brain complexifies and even expands in certain areas when a new idea has to be IMPLEMENTED.

Taken from “Can science prove God?”

DAVID: A need for a spear c an be solved only by a brain ready to conceive of the need and design it. If the earlier form cannot conceive of it, there is no perceived need. The bold is not possible until the brain is actually enlarged.

Answered above, but you have focused on my own example, so here yet again is the process: regardless of whether ideas come from the dualist’s soul or the materialist’s brain, small-brained hunters are sick of being mauled by their prey. Someone has an idea: instead of trying to bash the deer with a sharp stone, attach the stone to a shaft and throw it. But this idea has to be implemented, and the work of converting an abstract idea into a concrete reality requires changes to the brain. The small brain of our hunters cannot cope, and so the very effort of IMPLEMENTING the idea causes the expansion, just as nowadays the IMPLEMENTATION of certain skills results in the complexification or EXPANSION of certain areas of the brain in the illiterate women, taxi-drivers and musicians. The idea occurs within the original brain; the implementation of the idea causes changes to the brain.

!!

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 23, 2020, 18:19 (96 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A conclusion: more advanced artifacts appear only after a new-sized brain is present.

dhw: The artefact cannot appear until the concept has been IMPLEMENTED! ... First the idea, then the complexification or expansion as a RESULT of implementing the idea.

Throwing out a big term like 'implementation' is not an explanation unless implementation is described and shows how it enlarges the brain. My version: an early Homo knows he can kill with a thrown stone or with a sharpened stout stick. He already uses sharpened stone tools to skin animals and scrape bark off wood. His present brain realizes if he put a sharpened stone on the end of a long stick, he could throw this new invention and kill at a distance. Making the new concept is easy hand work. Why does this enlarge the existing brain that thought up the new tool? It obviously does not. A simple advance from known concepts combined.


Once more, here is the sequence: Species A has new idea which requires expansion for its implementation. This leads to Species B with bigger brain. Species B goes on for thousands of years with its bigger brain coping with all its new ideas until bigger brain can no longer cope with The Next Big Thing and once again requires expansion for implementation. Even bigger brain leads to Species C. Process repeated until finally brain can expand no more and complexification takes over. Now you have H. sapiens.

Same lame example. Advances are based on past concepts. The 'Next Big Thing' is what? Whose brain recognizes the new need? The old species or the new species with the bigger brain? Not nebulous but concrete thought is required in this discussion to be logical.

DAVID: If a prior species does not have the brain complexity which allows the self/consciousness to know of new concepts/inventions, how can there bean pressure for enlargement? You can't wish for that of which you have no conception.

dhw: What do you mean by the brain “allowing the self to know of new concepts”? We do not know the source of ideas, but regardless of whether it is the dualist’s soul or the materialist’s brain, I keep repeating my proposal that it is the IMPLEMENTATION of ideas that changes the brain. The pressure for enlargement therefore came when the existing brain did not have the capacity to IMPLEMENT the new idea.

Same nebulous appeal to implementation. In your example the old smaller brain gets the idea for something important and new but can't do it until it explodes itself. To clarify my thinking, 'bigger' brain always implies a more complex brain for the soul/consciousness to use..


Taken from “Can science prove God?”

DAVID: A need for a spear can be solved only by a brain ready to conceive of the need and design it. If the earlier form cannot conceive of it, there is no perceived need. The bold is not possible until the brain is actually enlarged.

dhw: Answered above, but you have focused on my own example, so here yet again is the process: regardless of whether ideas come from the dualist’s soul or the materialist’s brain, small-brained hunters are sick of being mauled by their prey. Someone has an idea: instead of trying to bash the deer with a sharp stone, attach the stone to a shaft and throw it. But this idea has to be implemented, and the work of converting an abstract idea into a concrete reality requires changes to the brain. The small brain of our hunters cannot cope, and so the very effort of IMPLEMENTING the idea causes the expansion, just as nowadays the IMPLEMENTATION of certain skills results in the complexification or EXPANSION of certain areas of the brain in the illiterate women, taxi-drivers and musicians. The idea occurs within the original brain; the implementation of the idea causes changes to the brain.

You explanation is not in reality. See my example above. Conceiving of the spear and making it from past known concepts is how it all works. Bigger brain, more advanced artifacts every time. Brain first, artifacts second. With Einstein's advanced theories, his brain should have exploded. Instead his brain was 150 cc smaller than 30,000 years ago. Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Monday, February 24, 2020, 18:45 (95 days ago) @ David Turell

Title edited back to what it was. Is that why there was no response given?

by David Turell @, Sunday, February 23, 2020, 18:19 (1 day, 0 hours, 21 min. ago) @ dhw

DAVID: A conclusion: more advanced artifacts appear only after a new-sized brain is present.

dhw: The artefact cannot appear until the concept has been IMPLEMENTED! ... First the idea, then the complexification or expansion as a RESULT of implementing the idea.

Throwing out a big term like 'implementation' is not an explanation unless implementation is described and shows how it enlarges the brain. My version: an early Homo knows he can kill with a thrown stone or with a sharpened stout stick. He already uses sharpened stone tools to skin animals and scrape bark off wood. His present brain realizes if he put a sharpened stone on the end of a long stick, he could throw this new invention and kill at a distance. Making the new concept is easy hand work. Why does this enlarge the existing brain that thought up the new tool? It obviously does not. A simple advance from known concepts combined.

dhw: Once more, here is the sequence: Species A has new idea which requires expansion for its implementation. This leads to Species B with bigger brain. Species B goes on for thousands of years with its bigger brain coping with all its new ideas until bigger brain can no longer cope with The Next Big Thing and once again requires expansion for implementation. Even bigger brain leads to Species C. Process repeated until finally brain can expand no more and complexification takes over. Now you have H. sapiens.

Same lame example. Advances are based on past concepts. The 'Next Big Thing' is what? Whose brain recognizes the new need? The old species or the new species with the bigger brain? Not nebulous but concrete thought is required in this discussion to be logical.

DAVID: If a prior species does not have the brain complexity which allows the self/consciousness to know of new concepts/inventions, how can there bean pressure for enlargement? You can't wish for that of which you have no conception.

dhw: What do you mean by the brain “allowing the self to know of new concepts”? We do not know the source of ideas, but regardless of whether it is the dualist’s soul or the materialist’s brain, I keep repeating my proposal that it is the IMPLEMENTATION of ideas that changes the brain. The pressure for enlargement therefore came when the existing brain did not have the capacity to IMPLEMENT the new idea.

Same nebulous appeal to implementation. In your example the old smaller brain gets the idea for something important and new but can't do it until it explodes itself. To clarify my thinking, 'bigger' brain always implies a more complex brain for the soul/consciousness to use..

Taken from “Can science prove God?”

DAVID: A need for a spear can be solved only by a brain ready to conceive of the need and design it. If the earlier form cannot conceive of it, there is no perceived need. The bold is not possible until the brain is actually enlarged.

dhw: Answered above, but you have focused on my own example, so here yet again is the process: regardless of whether ideas come from the dualist’s soul or the materialist’s brain, small-brained hunters are sick of being mauled by their prey. Someone has an idea: instead of trying to bash the deer with a sharp stone, attach the stone to a shaft and throw it. But this idea has to be implemented, and the work of converting an abstract idea into a concrete reality requires changes to the brain. The small brain of our hunters cannot cope, and so the very effort of IMPLEMENTING the idea causes the expansion, just as nowadays the IMPLEMENTATION of certain skills results in the complexification or EXPANSION of certain areas of the brain in the illiterate women, taxi-drivers and musicians. The idea occurs within the original brain; the implementation of the idea causes changes to the brain.

You explanation is not in reality. See my example above. Conceiving of the spear and making it from past known concepts is how it all works. Bigger brain, more advanced artifacts every time. Brain first, artifacts second. With Einstein's advanced theories, his brain should have exploded. Instead his brain was 150 cc smaller than 30,000 years ago. Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 10:39 (95 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw (under "cerebellar contributions"): Not much room here for the dualist’s concept of a soul which is responsible for the creation of all our ideas.

DAVID: Can't you remember, I have constantly stated my view is that the complexity of the brain allows the soul to deal with more complexity of concepts
And: soul produces only as much complexity of thought as the complexity of the brain it is using allows it to do.

I don’t understand what this means. Please tell us if you think it is the brain or the soul that produces ideas. Which controls which? I suggest that if there is such a thing as a soul, it would use the brain (a) to collect information, and (b) to implement its ideas. However, my original point was that the articles you quoted seemed to take it for granted that the source of all our cognitive faculties was the material brain – hence my comment above.

dhw: Personally, I am extremely wary of restricting individual cognitive functions to individual parts of the brain. I suspect that if materialists are right, it is the interplay between different sections of the brain that produce all the cognitive functions. […] A dualist would presumably propose that there is an immaterial “soul” which directs the different sections of the brain.

DAVID: The function of the entire brain is a coordination of all parts, as is now currently being revealed by research.

Thank you for confirming my own comment. The article appears to suggest otherwise.

DAVID: Title edited back to what it was. Is that why there was no response given?

Sorry. I never saw it!

dhw: The artefact cannot appear until the concept has been IMPLEMENTED! ... First the idea, then the complexification or expansion as a RESULT of implementing the idea.

DAVID: Throwing out a big term like 'implementation' is not an explanation unless implementation is described and shows how it enlarges the brain.

Implementation means performing all the necessary actions to enable an idea to become reality. Our known examples have been illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians, all of whose brains change as a result of performing the actions that enable them to acquire new or more advanced skills. I can’t explain the process by which the brain expands, and nor can anyone else.

DAVID: My version: an early Homo knows he can kill with a thrown stone or with a sharpened stout stick. He already uses sharpened stone tools to skin animals and scrape bark off wood. His present brain realizes if he put a sharpened stone on the end of a long stick, he could throw this new invention and kill at a distance. Making the new concept is easy hand work. Why does this enlarge the existing brain that thought up the new tool? It obviously does not. A simple advance from known concepts combined.

You adopted my example and wrote that “the spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded”. So you clearly thought the invention required expansion. If you wish to jettison what became your own example, then please tell us what new concepts you think made it necessary for your God to expand the pre-sapiens brain in advance by 200 cc at a time. But whatever you come up with will still be open to the same interpretations because we can only know the material product and not the history of its conception!

DAVID: Whose brain recognizes the new need? The old species or the new species with the bigger brain?

The old brain. And if the existing brain does not have the capacity to implement the solution, it will expand in order to do so, as happens in modern brains on a small scale.

DAVID: In your example the old smaller brain gets the idea for something important and new but can't do it until it explodes itself. To clarify my thinking, 'bigger' brain always implies a more complex brain for the soul/consciousness to use.

First sentence: you’ve got it, though I don’t why you use the world explode. The expansion is the same, whether your God dabbled in advance of the need or the brain cells expanded in response to the need. I don’t find your last comment clarifying at all. More cells will certainly lead to more complexity, but if the soul (if it exists) is the source of ideas and comes up with new ones that the bigger/more complex brain can’t handle, then the brain will have to expand again. However, you believe that although the soul comes up with the ideas, these are limited to what the material brain “allows” it to come up with. (See the beginning of the post concerning this problem.)

DAVID: Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

You have already agreed that our brains have shrunk as a result of the efficiency of complexification. The evidence we have is that brains change in response to new requirements. There is no evidence that it was any different in past brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 15:25 (94 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Can't you remember, I have constantly stated my view is that the complexity of the brain allows the soul to deal with more complexity of concepts
And: soul produces only as much complexity of thought as the complexity of the brain it is using allows it to do.

dhw: I don’t understand what this means. Please tell us if you think it is the brain or the soul that produces ideas. Which controls which? I suggest that if there is such a thing as a soul, it would use the brain (a) to collect information, and (b) to implement its ideas.

Same as always: My soul/consciousness uses my brain to create thought. The level of complexity of that thought is dictated by the complexity of the brain .

dhw: The artifact cannot appear until the concept has been IMPLEMENTED! ... First the idea, then the complexification or expansion as a RESULT of implementing the idea.

DAVID: Throwing out a big term like 'implementation' is not an explanation unless implementation is described and shows how it enlarges the brain.

dhw: Implementation means performing all the necessary actions to enable an idea to become reality. Our known examples have been illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians, all of whose brains change as a result of performing the actions that enable them to acquire new or more advanced skills. I can’t explain the process by which the brain expands, and nor can anyone else.

You are back to using our current endpoint brain to explain earlier ancient Home enlargements.


DAVID: My version: an early Homo knows he can kill with a thrown stone or with a sharpened stout stick. He already uses sharpened stone tools to skin animals and scrape bark off wood. His present brain realizes if he put a sharpened stone on the end of a long stick, he could throw this new invention and kill at a distance. Making the new concept is easy hand work. Why does this enlarge the existing brain that thought up the new tool? It obviously does not. A simple advance from known concepts combined.

dhw: You adopted my example and wrote that “the spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded”. So you clearly thought the invention required expansion. If you wish to jettison what became your own example, then please tell us what new concepts you think made it necessary for your God to expand the pre-sapiens brain in advance by 200 cc at a time. But whatever you come up with will still be open to the same interpretations because we can only know the material product and not the history of its conception!

The second bold does not answer my point that an earlier brain cannot conceive of an idea it is not capable of conceiving. You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain. Only the bigger brain can conceive of the newer advanced artifacts. Your version: tiny brain conceives of newer artifact possibility, but must expand to create it! What a stretch!.


DAVID: In your example the old smaller brain gets the idea for something important and new but can't do it until it explodes itself. To clarify my thinking, 'bigger' brain always implies a more complex brain for the soul/consciousness to use.

dhw: The expansion is the same, whether your God dabbled in advance of the need or the brain cells expanded in response to the need. I don’t find your last comment clarifying at all. More cells will certainly lead to more complexity, but if the soul (if it exists) is the source of ideas and comes up with new ones that the bigger/more complex brain can’t handle, then the brain will have to expand again. However, you believe that although the soul comes up with the ideas, these are limited to what the material brain “allows” it to come up with. (See the beginning of the post concerning this problem.)

DAVID: Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

dhw: You have already agreed that our brains have shrunk as a result of the efficiency of complexification. The evidence we have is that brains change in response to new requirements. There is no evidence that it was any different in past brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

But, the jumps in the past were enlargements of 200 cc. Our brain shrinks and their brains jumped in size. Did they have a degree of plasticity, probably, as a forerunner of ours, but a lesser ability as consistent with the earlier brain's simplicity. My view is consistent: a brain that allows the development of a spear concept will be able to create that physical spear and will not need enlargement. Level of concept must be strictly related to level of brain capacity. An earlier brain cannot conceive what an more advanced brain can conceive and create.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 19:31 (93 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Implementation means performing all the necessary actions to enable an idea to become reality. Our known examples have been illiterate women, taxi drivers and musicians, all of whose brains change as a result of performing the actions that enable them to acquire new or more advanced skills. [..]

DAVID: You are back to using our current endpoint brain to explain earlier ancient Home enlargements.

I am pointing out that the only evidence we have points to brains changing in response to new ideas, not in anticipation of them.

dhw: You adopted my example and wrote that “the spear is invented only after the brain is already expanded”. So you clearly thought the invention required expansion. If you wish to jettison what became your own example, then please tell us what new concepts you think made it necessary for your God to expand the pre-sapiens brain in advance by 200 cc at a time. But whatever you come up with will still be open to the same interpretations because we can only know the material product and not the history of its conception!

DAVID: The second bold does not answer my point that an earlier brain cannot conceive of an idea it is not capable of conceiving.

Firstly, you spent a whole paragraph dismissing the spear example which you yourself had chosen. Why won’t you give us an example of a new pre-sapiens concept arising from its expanded brain? Secondly, I note that you are back to your materialist version of the brain as the source of ideas, so you really should stop claiming to be a dualist. Thirdly, of course nothing can conceive of something it can’t conceive of! So according to you, no pre-sapiens and indeed no organism on earth ever had a new idea unless its brain grew bigger. Perhaps this is why you believe that every single strategy, lifestyle and natural wonder, including my favourite, the weaverbird’s nest, had to be specially preprogrammed or dabbled by your God. Otherwise, ants would have brains as big as elephant brains by now! I wish you were kidding. But I can accept that ants and crows will only have new ideas that their brains and bodies can cope with, so even the building of cities or the use of primitive tools does not require any additional capacity.

DAVID: You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain.

We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded! Just as we only see complexification or local enlargement in our modern brain when new skills have been acquired and not before they have been acquired.

DAVID: Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

dhw: You have already agreed that our brains have shrunk as a result of the efficiency of complexification. The evidence we have is that brains change in response to new requirements. There is no evidence that it was any different in past brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

DAVID: But, the jumps in the past were enlargements of 200 cc. Our brain shrinks and their brains jumped in size.

I have just explained the jumps and the shrinkage. Why the “but”?

DAVID: Did they have a degree of plasticity, probably, as a forerunner of ours, but a lesser ability as consistent with the earlier brain's simplicity. My view is consistent: a brain that allows the development of a spear concept will be able to create that physical spear and will not need enlargement.

Again, you used the spear as an example of the need for a larger brain to conceive it. I continue to be totally mystified by your idea of a brain that “allows” the dualist’s soul to have new ideas, and the confusion is exacerbated by your next comment:

DAVID: Level of concept must be strictly related to level of brain capacity. An earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive and create. (dhw's bold)

Now you unequivocally have the brain both conceiving and creating (I use the word “implementing”). That is absolutely fine with me, because it makes not the slightest difference whether you embrace this totally materialist belief or the dualist belief that ideas are produced by the soul – we still have the known fact that brains are altered by the implementation of ideas, whereas there is no evidence that the CAUSE of pre-Sapiens enlargement is a divine dabble or a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for periodic brain enlargement. But of course each generation builds on what were once the new ideas of its predecessors, and the same would apply to succeeding “species” of hominids and homos. They didn’t need to reinvent the spear. But someone then invented the bow and arrow. And maybe that resulted in another expansion. Neither of us can write a clear history of all this – unless you have discovered your God’s computer programme detailing which inventions caused or followed pre-sapiens brain expansion.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 21:11 (93 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: I am pointing out that the only evidence we have points to brains changing in response to new ideas, not in anticipation of them.

But it is evidence from this final finished brain with its sole capacities.


DAVID: You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain.

dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!

Total illogical thought. The exiting brain conceives of the new object and makes it. The old brain smaller brain has nothing to do with it. It can't conceive of the new idea.

DAVID: Our more thoughtful brains have shrunk, the only example of your theory we have! We do see local enlargements. but that is an attribute of our advanced brain, no basis for applying it to previous lesser brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

dhw: You have already agreed that our brains have shrunk as a result of the efficiency of complexification. The evidence we have is that brains change in response to new requirements. There is no evidence that it was any different in past brains. Please use logic from the evidence we have.

DAVID: Did they have a degree of plasticity, probably, as a forerunner of ours, but a lesser ability as consistent with the earlier brain's simplicity. My view is consistent: a brain that allows the development of a spear concept will be able to create that physical spear and will not need enlargement.

Again, you used the spear as an example of the need for a larger brain to conceive it. I continue to be totally mystified by your idea of a brain that “allows” the dualist’s soul to have new ideas, and the confusion is exacerbated by your next comment:

DAVID: Level of concept must be strictly related to level of brain capacity. An earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive and create. (dhw's bold)

dhw: Now you unequivocally have the brain both conceiving and creating (I use the word “implementing”). That is absolutely fine with me, because it makes not the slightest difference whether you embrace this totally materialist belief or the dualist belief that ideas are produced by the soul – we still have the known fact that brains are altered by the implementation of ideas, whereas there is no evidence that the CAUSE of pre-Sapiens enlargement is a divine dabble or a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for periodic brain enlargement. But of course each generation builds on what were once the new ideas of its predecessors, and the same would apply to succeeding “species” of hominids and homos. They didn’t need to reinvent the spear. But someone then invented the bow and arrow. And maybe that resulted in another expansion. Neither of us can write a clear history of all this – unless you have discovered your God’s computer programme detailing which inventions caused or followed pre-sapiens brain expansion.

You continue your totally illogical idea. The soul uses a more complex brain to create more concepts and create the new needed artifact. Accept the history that bigger brains have better artifacts found with them. No relation to the older brain which you would like to explode trying to develop a new idea.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Thursday, February 27, 2020, 11:06 (93 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: I am pointing out that the only evidence we have points to brains changing in response to new ideas, not in anticipation of them.

DAVID: But it is evidence from this final finished brain with its sole capacities.

What are “sole” capacities? But yes, the modern brain is the only one we can observe at work, and so the only concrete evidence we have about how the brain functions is that it changes when trying to implement new ideas.

DAVID: Total illogical thought. The exiting brain conceives of the new object and makes it. The old brain smaller brain has nothing to do with it. It can't conceive of the new idea.

Why are you stating this as a fact? Firstly, you are claiming that the brain conceives the idea, which is the materialist view, though you claim to be a dualist. Secondly, why is it illogical to claim that in the past the brain may have changed (either through complexification or enlargement) in the course of implementing new ideas, when we know for a fact that this is true of the modern brain?
[…]
DAVID: Level of concept must be strictly related to level of brain capacity. An earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive and create. (dhw's bold)

dhw: Now you unequivocally have the brain both conceiving and creating (I use the word “implementing”). That is absolutely fine with me, because it makes not the slightest difference whether you embrace this totally materialist belief or the dualist belief that ideas are produced by the soul – we still have the known fact that brains are altered by the implementation of ideas, whereas there is no evidence that the CAUSE of pre-Sapiens enlargement is a divine dabble or a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for periodic brain enlargement. But of course each generation builds on what were once the new ideas of its predecessors, and the same would apply to succeeding “species” of hominids and homos. They didn’t need to reinvent the spear. But someone then invented the bow and arrow. And maybe that resulted in another expansion. Neither of us can write a clear history of all this – unless you have discovered your God’s computer programme detailing which inventions caused or followed pre-sapiens brain expansion.

DAVID: You continue your totally illogical idea. The soul uses a more complex brain to create more concepts and create the new needed artifact. Accept the history that bigger brains have better artifacts found with them. No relation to the older brain which you would like to explode trying to develop a new idea.

First you say it is the brain that conceives concepts, and now – having been informed that this makes you a materialist – you come up with the soul “using” the brain to create concepts. Please explain how it does so, other than by using the information provided by the brain and the rest of the body. But yes, the soul – if it exists – uses the brain “to create the new needed artefact”, which is why the brain has to make changes to itself in order to produce something the body has never produced before. As regards artefacts being found WITH the bigger brains, thank you for changing your terms in accordance with the following exchange:

DAVID: You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain. (dhw's bold)

dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!

"Accompanying" or "with", not "following". We do not see improved artefacts following the appearance of bigger brains, we see them accompanying bigger brains. There is no way of knowing whether the original expansion preceded or followed the original concept. We only know that implementation causes changes to the brain. Of course subsequent concepts would follow the expansion until the next time implementation of a concept required increased capacity.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Thursday, February 27, 2020, 20:42 (92 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: But yes, the modern brain is the only one we can observe at work, and so the only concrete evidence we have about how the brain functions is that it changes when trying to implement new ideas.

DAVID: Total illogical thought. The exiting brain conceives of the new object and makes it. The old brain smaller brain has nothing to do with it. It can't conceive of the new idea.

dhw: Why are you stating this as a fact? Firstly, you are claiming that the brain conceives the idea, which is the materialist view, though you claim to be a dualist. Secondly, why is it illogical to claim that in the past the brain may have changed (either through complexification or enlargement) in the course of implementing new ideas, when we know for a fact that this is true of the modern brain?

And I'm pointing out the current brain is, yes, a reflection of past brain development, but please remember our brain has shrunk 125 cc in 30,000 years, so it has very different more advanced set of attributes, and cannot be specifically applied to past brains and how the past brains might have worked and changed. Please use all our knowledge. Don't just pick out part of what we know to further your argument. As for the bold you know full well my theory about soul and brain interlock.

DAVID: You continue your totally illogical idea. The soul uses a more complex brain to create more concepts and create the new needed artifact. Accept the history that bigger brains have better artifacts found with them. No relation to the older brain which you would like to explode trying to develop a new idea.

hw: But yes, the soul – if it exists – uses the brain “to create the new needed artefact”, which is why the brain has to make changes to itself in order to produce something the body has never produced before. As regards artefacts being found WITH the bigger brains, thank you for changing your terms in accordance with the following exchange:

DAVID: You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain. (dhw's bold)

dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!

dhw: "Accompanying" or "with", not "following". We do not see improved artefacts following the appearance of bigger brains, we see them accompanying bigger brains. There is no way of knowing whether the original expansion preceded or followed the original concept. We only know that implementation causes changes to the brain. Of course subsequent concepts would follow the expansion until the next time implementation of a concept required increased capacity.

You are correct. New brain and new artifacts are all we find. Your concept: The habilis brain thinks of a new tool but cannot conceive of how to make it so it expands itself to have a brain that can adequately make the new tool. I find that totally illogical. An earlier brain cannot think about what it needs in future. It can't see the future which is why we naturally think if it as a smaller more primitive brain. Again a strained concept to have natural evolution, no God, or with lip service to theism, have God give them a mechanism to do it on their own, giving up His control of evolution. Total contortions.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Sunday, March 01, 2020, 08:44 (90 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The exiting brain conceives of the new object and makes it. The old brain smaller brain has nothing to do with it. It can't conceive of the new idea.

dhw: […] Firstly, you are claiming that the brain conceives the new idea, which is the materialist view, though you claim to be a dualist.

DAVID: […] you know full well my theory about soul and brain interlock.

I have never understood how the soul can be the source of ideas although it is the brain that does the conceiving, as above. As I see it, the "interlock" would consist in the dualist's soul using the brain to gather information and to implement its ideas. It would be the soul that did the thinking and conceiving. (We needn't discuss the materialist's counterarguments here. I remain neutral on the subject)

dhw: […] why is it illogical to claim that in the past the brain may have changed (either through complexification or enlargement) in the course of implementing new ideas, when we know for a fact that this is true of the modern brain?

DAVID: And I'm pointing out the current brain is, yes, a reflection of past brain development, but please remember our brain has shrunk 125 cc in 30,000 years, so it has very different more advanced set of attributes, and cannot be specifically applied to past brains and how the past brains might have worked and changed. Please use all our knowledge. Don't just pick out part of what we know to further your argument.

You keep agreeing that shrinkage must have been due to the efficiency of complexification, which took over when the maximum capacity had been reached. There is absolutely no reason why the current known process should NOT be applied to the past: more advanced sets of attributes would apply to every expansion and every complexification resulting from the implementation of new ideas. Nobody “knows” why or how past brains expanded – the only knowledge we have comes from our observation of the modern brain, so what is the rest of the “knowledge” you are referring to?

DAVID: You don't answer why we see bigger brain and only then improved artifacts, which always follow the appearance of the bigger brain. (dhw's bold)

dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!
dhw: "Accompanying" or "with", not "following". We do not see improved artefacts following the appearance of bigger brains, we see them accompanying bigger brains. There is no way of knowing whether the original expansion preceded or followed the original concept. We only know that implementation causes changes to the brain. Of course subsequent concepts would follow the expansion until the next time implementation of a concept required increased capacity.

DAVID: You are correct. New brain and new artifacts are all we find.

Thank you for accepting this correction.

DAVID: Your concept: The habilis brain thinks of a new tool but cannot conceive of how to make it so it expands itself to have a brain that can adequately make the new tool.

No! Habilis thinks of a new tool (no matter whether you believe it is the soul or the brain that does the thinking), and the effort to design and make it CAUSES the brain to expand, just as the effort to read, memorize etc. CAUSES the modern brain to complexify or expand in particular areas.

DAVID: I find that totally illogical. An earlier brain cannot think about what it needs in future. It can't see the future which is why we naturally think if it as a smaller more primitive brain.

The earlier homo (I continue to be amazed that someone who calls himself a dualist attributes all thought to the brain) doesn’t think about what it needs in future! It thinks about how it can improve its responses to the needs of the present! We think of it as a smaller brain because it WAS a smaller brain, and we think of it as more primitive because the improvements only became visible once the brain had expanded!

DAVID: Again a strained concept to have natural evolution, no God, or with lip service to theism, have God give them a mechanism to do it on their own, giving up His control of evolution. Total contortions.

There is no contortion. If God exists, he would have created the mechanism. Why is it a contortion to hypothesize that God might have WANTED to give evolution free rein as opposed to his WANTING to control everything? It is simply an interpretation of his actions and wishes that differs from yours, which you seem to think is the objective truth about something that nobody can possibly know.

DAVID (under “cerebellar contributions"): the development of language has caused our cerebellum to assume new functions beyond the usual sensory-motor functions that were well understood.

Yes, an example of how new demands cause changes to the brain. The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 01, 2020, 19:21 (89 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: […] why is it illogical to claim that in the past the brain may have changed (either through complexification or enlargement) in the course of implementing new ideas, when we know for a fact that this is true of the modern brain?

DAVID: And I'm pointing out the current brain is, yes, a reflection of past brain development, but please remember our brain has shrunk 125 cc in 30,000 years, so it has very different more advanced set of attributes, and cannot be specifically applied to past brains and how the past brains might have worked and changed.

dhw: You keep agreeing that shrinkage must have been due to the efficiency of complexification, which took over when the maximum capacity had been reached. There is absolutely no reason why the current known process should NOT be applied to the past: more advanced sets of attributes would apply to every expansion and every complexification resulting from the implementation of new ideas. Nobody “knows” why or how past brains expanded – the only knowledge we have comes from our observation of the modern brain, so what is the rest of the “knowledge” you are referring to?

You are, as usual, ignoring the gaps in brain size, 150 cc each time with new artifacts.


dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!

Exactly, but your backwards interpretation is not mine: big newer brain appears and the artifacts demonstrate the new brains' new abilities. That is how all archaeological articles I read interpret them. In your weird approach I can image the artifacts came first and then the brain enlarged from its efforts. How do you timeline the separate events?

DAVID: Your concept: The habilis brain thinks of a new tool but cannot conceive of how to make it so it expands itself to have a brain that can adequately make the new tool.

dhw: No! Habilis thinks of a new tool (no matter whether you believe it is the soul or the brain that does the thinking), and the effort to design and make it CAUSES the brain to expand, just as the effort to read, memorize etc. CAUSES the modern brain to complexify or expand in particular areas.

Again, confusing our modern brain and its different capacities from the past brains. Our brain has shrunk 150 cc in 30,000 years as we learned many new concepts while enlarging small specific areas


DAVID: I find that totally illogical. An earlier brain cannot think about what it needs in future. It can't see the future which is why we naturally think if it as a smaller more primitive brain.

dhw: The earlier homo doesn’t think about what it needs in future! It thinks about how it can improve its responses to the needs of the present! We think of it as a smaller brain because it WAS a smaller brain, and we think of it as more primitive because the improvements only became visible once the brain had expanded!

But it is limited to only what its soul can conceive of, using a less complex brain.


DAVID: Again a strained concept to have natural evolution, no God, or with lip service to theism, have God give them a mechanism to do it on their own, giving up His control of evolution. Total contortions.

dhw: There is no contortion. If God exists, he would have created the mechanism. Why is it a contortion to hypothesize that God might have WANTED to give evolution free rein as opposed to his WANTING to control everything? It is simply an interpretation of his actions and wishes that differs from yours, which you seem to think is the objective truth about something that nobody can possibly know.

We each discuss our viewpoints about God from how we conceive of God. Adler has guided me as to how to do it properly.


DAVID (under “cerebellar contributions"): the development of language has caused our cerebellum to assume new functions beyond the usual sensory-motor functions that were well understood.

dhw: Yes, an example of how new demands cause changes to the brain. The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.

But as usual you forget. In anticipation of our newer developing functions, such as grammatical language our complex brain has been given excellent plasticity to make all the necessary adaptations and still shrink 150 cc in 30-35,000 years.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Monday, March 02, 2020, 11:41 (89 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Please use all our knowledge. Don't just pick out part of what we know to further your argument.

dhw: There is absolutely no reason why the current known process should NOT be applied to the past: more advanced sets of attributes would apply to every expansion and every complexification resulting from the implementation of new ideas. Nobody “knows” why or how past brains expanded – the only knowledge we have comes from our observation of the modern brain, so what is the rest of the “knowledge” you are referring to?

DAVID: You are, as usual, ignoring the gaps in brain size, 150 cc each time with new artifacts.

I am not ignoring the gaps, I am explaining them! Read the bold. Every expansion is your gap of xxx cc (last time it was 125 cc). Now please tell me what other “knowledge” you are referring to.

dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!

DAVID: […] In your weird approach I can image the artifacts came first and then the brain enlarged from its efforts. How do you timeline the separate events?

Of course the artefacts did not come first! My "approach" is that the concept came first, and the brain enlarged BECAUSE of the effort to design and implement the concept – just as the modern brain complexifies or enlarges certain sections BECAUSE OF the effort to read and write, memorize, or make music.(And since you keep raising the issue, the modern brain has shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification.)

dhw: The earlier homo doesn’t think about what it needs in future! It thinks about how it can improve its responses to the needs of the present! We think of it as a smaller brain because it WAS a smaller brain, and we think of it as more primitive because the improvements only became visible once the brain had expanded!

DAVID: But it is limited to only what its soul can conceive of, using a less complex brain.

Disregarding your materialist/dualist obfuscation, you might just as well say that nobody can think of anything he/she can't think of. I'm sure we'll all agree! The whole point of my theory is that somewhere along the line, some early homo(s) thought of something nobody else had thought of (it's also happened in modern times, just in case you hadn't noticed), and the concept leads to new activities which demand changes to the brain. In those early days this meant expansion. Nowadays the outcome is complexification.

DAVID: We each discuss our viewpoints about God from how we conceive of God. Adler has guided me as to how to do it properly.

I’m sorry, but nobody has the right to say their way of thinking about God is the proper way. Please stop hiding behind Adler.

DAVID (under “cerebellar contributions"): the development of language has caused our cerebellum to assume new functions beyond the usual sensory-motor functions that were well understood.

dhw: Yes, an example of how new demands cause changes to the brain. The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.

DAVID: But as usual you forget. In anticipation of our newer developing functions, such as grammatical language our complex brain has been given excellent plasticity to make all the necessary adaptations and still shrink 150 cc in 30-35,000 years.

Stop harping on about shrinkage unless you have a different explanation from the one we have agreed on. Of course our brain has excellent plasticity. It would not have complexified or expanded if it didn’t. That is not the issue. The issue is your claim that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of new concepts, as opposed to the only process we can actually observe, which is that the brain changes in its efforts to implement new concepts. But NB there would also have been new concepts after expansion...until once more the concept exceeded the capacity. When the brain reached its final capacity (ours), subsequent new concepts led to complexification, not expansion.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Monday, March 02, 2020, 22:17 (88 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You are, as usual, ignoring the gaps in brain size, 150 cc each time with new artifacts.

dhw: I am not ignoring the gaps, I am explaining them! Read the bold. Every expansion is your gap of xxx cc. Now please tell me what other “knowledge” you are referring to.

Your past discussion has noted specifically areas enlarged in London cabbies and Italian illiterate women who learn to read. All true, but your interpretation is entirely wrong. What type of brain use caused the enlargement? That is the key. Were there new concepts developed which involves planning and design. Of course not. Their brains were learning from known information and the process was memorization of streets and for reading a complex of learning printed words and learning the meaning of some words not known before reading.


dhw: We find improved artefacts ACCOMPANYING the appearance of the bigger brain! According to my theory, it is the process of production that causes enlargement, so you can only find the artefact when the brain has expanded!

DAVID: […] In your weird approach I can image the artifacts came first and then the brain enlarged from its efforts. How do you timeline the separate events?

dhw: Of course the artefacts did not come first! My "approach" is that the concept came first, and the brain enlarged BECAUSE of the effort to design and implement the concept – just as the modern brain complexifies or enlarges certain sections BECAUSE OF the effort to read and write, memorize, or make music.(And since you keep raising the issue, the modern brain has shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification.)

Your theory is totally debunked above if you are using the cabbies, etc.


dhw: The earlier homo doesn’t think about what it needs in future! It thinks about how it can improve its responses to the needs of the present! We think of it as a smaller brain because it WAS a smaller brain, and we think of it as more primitive because the improvements only became visible once the brain had expanded!

DAVID: But it is limited to only what its soul can conceive of, using a less complex brain.

dhw: Disregarding your materialist/dualist obfuscation, you might just as well say that nobody can think of anything he/she can't think of. I'm sure we'll all agree!

Just my point. A new concept will bring new artifacts. Smart new ideas require a more complex brain for use by the soul/consciousness. But teh artifacts will appear after the new brain is used.

DAVID: We each discuss our viewpoints about God from how we conceive of God. Adler has guided me as to how to do it properly.

dhw: I’m sorry, but nobody has the right to say their way of thinking about God is the proper way. Please stop hiding behind Adler.

I don't hide. Adler has taught me how to think properly about God.


DAVID (under “cerebellar contributions"): the development of language has caused our cerebellum to assume new functions beyond the usual sensory-motor functions that were well understood.

dhw: Yes, an example of how new demands cause changes to the brain. The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.

DAVID: But as usual you forget. In anticipation of our newer developing functions, such as grammatical language our complex brain has been given excellent plasticity to make all the necessary adaptations and still shrink 150 cc in 30-35,000 years.

dhw: Stop harping on about shrinkage unless you have a different explanation from the one we have agreed on. Of course our brain has excellent plasticity. It would not have complexified or expanded if it didn’t. That is not the issue. The issue is your claim that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of new concepts, as opposed to the only process we can actually observe, which is that the brain changes in its efforts to implement new concepts.

I've shown you the bold is not true. Just to help you the only true sort-of evidence we have about enlargement is Einstein's autopsy. The area thought to relate to his theorizing was much thicker. Problem:was he born with it or did he develop it from thinking/conceptualizing? We don't know. Brilliant folks are generally born that way? No real evidence.

Introducing the brain: newborn brain well organized

by David Turell @, Monday, March 02, 2020, 23:52 (88 days ago) @ David Turell

fMRI's of very young babies shnw how organized these regions of the baby brains are a s early s six days:

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-03-earliest-newborns-visual-cortex-reveals.html

"Within hours of birth, a baby's gaze is drawn to faces. Now, brain scans of newborns reveal the neurobiology underlying this behavior, showing that as young as six days old a baby's brain appears hardwired for the specialized tasks of seeing faces and seeing places.

***

"'We've shown that a baby's brain is more adult-like than many people might assume," adds Frederik Kamps, who led the study as a Ph.D. candidate at Emory. "Much of the scaffolding for the human visual cortex is already in place, along with the patterns of brain activity, although the patterns are not as strong compared to those of adults."

***

"For decades, scientists have known that the adult visual cortex contains two regions that work in concert to process faces and another two regions that work together to process places. More recent work shows that the visual cortex of young children is differentiated into these face and place networks. And in a 2017 paper, Dilks and colleagues found that this neural differentiation is in place in babies as young as four months.

"For the current PNAS paper, the average age of the newborn participants was 27 days. "We needed to get closer to the date of birth in order to better understand if we are born with this differentiation in our brains or if it's molded by experience," Dilks says.

***

"The results showed the two regions of the visual cortex associated with face processing fired in sync in the infants, as did the two networks associated with places. The infant patterns were similar to those of the adult participants, although not quite as strong. "That finding suggest that there is room for these networks to keep getting fine-tuned as infants mature into adulthood," Kamps says.

"'We can see that the face networks and the place networks of the brain are hooked up and talking to each other within days of birth," Dilks says. "They are essentially awaiting the relevant information.'"

Comment: This sort of planned design to immediately handle visual information as it appears strongly suggests it was designed this way to facilitate development.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Tuesday, March 03, 2020, 15:41 (87 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: You are, as usual, ignoring the gaps in brain size, 150 cc each time with new artifacts.

dhw: I am not ignoring the gaps, I am explaining them! Read the bold. Every expansion is your gap of xxx cc. Now please tell me what other “knowledge” you are referring to.

DAVID: Your past discussion has noted specifically areas enlarged in London cabbies and Italian illiterate women who learn to read. All true, but your interpretation is entirely wrong. What type of brain use caused the enlargement? That is the key. Were there new concepts developed which involves planning and design. Of course not. Their brains were learning from known information and the process was memorization of streets and for reading a complex of learning printed words and learning the meaning of some words not known before reading.
And later: Your theory is totally debunked above if you are using the cabbies, etc.

Firstly, your attempt to “debunk” my theory does not tell us what other “knowledge“ you were referring to. Please identify it. Secondly, learning to read is not a matter of learning words but of learning a process (implementing a concept) that was new to the women themselves, and it proves that the brain responds to the demands made on it. Your post is merely distinguishing between different categories of new concept. I see no reason to suppose that although the current brain is known to change in response to new demands, the old brain would have had to be changed before new demands could be made on it. But we’d need to monitor an inventor’s brain from concept to implementation in order to satisfy you. Change in response to new demands would apply whether the ideas came from the brain itself (materialism) or from a “soul” (dualism) – an issue which becomes more and more confusing since you keep insisting that it is the brain that provides the ideas. (See below for more obfuscation.)

dhw: The earlier homo doesn’t think about what it needs in future! It thinks about how it can improve its responses to the needs of the present! We think of it as a smaller brain because it WAS a smaller brain, and we think of it as more primitive because the improvements only became visible once the brain had expanded!

DAVID: But it is limited to only what its soul can conceive of, using a less complex brain.

dhw: Disregarding your materialist/dualist obfuscation, you might just as well say that nobody can think of anything he/she can't think of. I'm sure we'll all agree!

DAVID: Just my point. A new concept will bring new artifacts. Smart new ideas require a more complex brain for use by the soul/consciousness. But teh artifacts will appear after the new brain is used.

Of course the new concept will bring new artefacts, and in my theory, yes indeed the new concept requires a more complex brain for its implementation, with either the thinking soul using the implementing brain (dualism), or the thinking brain using itself (materialism). And so the artefacts appear when the brain has finished expanding to the size required for the implementation of the concept. We are both repeating our theories, and this adds nothing to the discussion.

DAVID: We each discuss our viewpoints about God from how we conceive of God. Adler has guided me as to how to do it properly.

dhw: I’m sorry, but nobody has the right to say their way of thinking about God is the proper way. Please stop hiding behind Adler.

DAVID: I don't hide. Adler has taught me how to think properly about God.

Nobody has the right to say that their way or anybody else’s way is the proper way.

dhw: The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.

DAVID: But as usual you forget. In anticipation of our newer developing functions, such as grammatical language our complex brain has been given excellent plasticity to make all the necessary adaptations and still shrink 150 cc in 30-35,000 years.

dhw: Stop harping on about shrinkage unless you have a different explanation from the one we have agreed on. Of course our brain has excellent plasticity. It would not have complexified or expanded if it didn’t. That is not the issue. The issue is your claim that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of new concepts, as opposed to the only process we can actually observe, which is that the brain changes in its efforts to implement new concepts.[/b]

DAVID: I've shown you the bold is not true.

Of course you haven’t. Reading was a new concept for the illiterate women.

DAVID: Just to help you the only true sort-of evidence we have about enlargement is Einstein's autopsy. The area thought to relate to his theorizing was much thicker. Problem:was he born with it or did he develop it from thinking/conceptualizing? We don't know. Brilliant folks are generally born that way? No real evidence.

Thank you for your honesty in helping me. We do not know the source of thought (dualism versus materialism), but Einstein’s brain certainly does not “debunk” my theory. It fits in perfectly with what we actually know about the brain from the examples given: it makes changes according to how it is used.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 03, 2020, 19:05 (87 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Your past discussion has noted specifically areas enlarged in London cabbies and Italian illiterate women who learn to read. All true, but your interpretation is entirely wrong. What type of brain use caused the enlargement? That is the key. Were there new concepts developed which involves planning and design. Of course not. Their brains were learning from known information and the process was memorization of streets and for reading a complex of learning printed words and learning the meaning of some words not known before reading.
And later: Your theory is totally debunked above if you are using the cabbies, etc.

dhw: Firstly, your attempt to “debunk” my theory does not tell us what other “knowledge“ you were referring to. Please identify it. Secondly, learning to read is not a matter of learning words but of learning a process (implementing a concept) that was new to the women themselves, and it proves that the brain responds to the demands made on it.

Learning a concept of reading is not the same as originally creating a concept of reading, which is the difference in our thoughts about our argument about how the brain enlarges.

dhw: Your post is merely distinguishing between different categories of new concept.

Your categories are blatantly wrong. Creating a new concept is NOT the same as learning an existing concept. You can't twist out if it. Creating a new concept involves much new analysis and finally a design.


dhw: The cerebellum would not have changed itself in anticipation of language development.

DAVID: But as usual you forget. In anticipation of our newer developing functions, such as grammatical language our complex brain has been given excellent plasticity to make all the necessary adaptations and still shrink 150 cc in 30-35,000 years.

dhw: Stop harping on about shrinkage unless you have a different explanation from the one we have agreed on. Of course our brain has excellent plasticity. It would not have complexified or expanded if it didn’t. That is not the issue. The issue is your claim that your God preprogrammed or dabbled every change in advance of new concepts, as opposed to the only process we can actually observe, which is that the brain changes in its efforts to implement new concepts.[/b]

DAVID: I've shown you the bold is not true.

dhw: Of course you haven’t. Reading was a new concept for the illiterate women.

Wrong!! The women did not invent the concept of reading. They simply learned it. In considering new brain size we are discussing the invention of new concepts. It is invention that is the issue and being able to analyze how to satisfy a new need and design it. We all know that. Rethink your position. It is currently untenable.


DAVID: Just to help you the only true sort-of evidence we have about enlargement is Einstein's autopsy. The area thought to relate to his theorizing was much thicker. Problem:was he born with it or did he develop it from thinking/conceptualizing? We don't know. Brilliant folks are generally born that way? No real evidence.

dhw: Thank you for your honesty in helping me. We do not know the source of thought (dualism versus materialism), but Einstein’s brain certainly does not “debunk” my theory. It fits in perfectly with what we actually know about the brain from the examples given: it makes changes according to how it is used.

I've debunked your theory. It is the nuance of developing a new concept or simply learning one. You cannot avoid the nuance that shows us the difference as it applies to our discussion. As you know I've always favored an enlarged brain with the capability of new concept/design ability as the prime way. I've puzzled over why we see it so differently. I've finally recognized our vast difference. Sorry it took so long.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 12:30 (87 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: Your past discussion has noted specifically areas enlarged in London cabbies and Italian illiterate women who learn to read. All true, but your interpretation is entirely wrong. What type of brain use caused the enlargement? That is the key. Were there new concepts developed which involves planning and design. Of course not. Their brains were learning from known information and the process was memorization of streets and for reading a complex of learning printed words and learning the meaning of some words not known before reading.
And later: Your theory is totally debunked above if you are using the cabbies, etc.

dhw: Firstly, your attempt to “debunk” my theory does not tell us what other “knowledge“ you were referring to. Please identify it. Secondly, learning to read is not a matter of learning words but of learning a process (implementing a concept) that was new to the women themselves, and it proves that the brain responds to the demands made on it.

DAVID: Learning a concept of reading is not the same as originally creating a concept of reading, which is the difference in our thoughts about our argument about how the brain enlarges.

Of course it’s not the same, but that is not the difference between us! Our starting point is that nobody knows how or why the brain expanded. Your theory is that God preprogrammed or dabbled each expansion, and only then were our ancestors able to come up with new concepts. (We’ll ignore the dualism versus materialism debate.) I propose that it was the act of implementing new concepts that CAUSED the expansion. That is the difference between us, and my point is that the ONLY definite knowledge we have is of the modern brain, in which new activities complexify or enlarge part of the brain: e.g. the illiterate women’s brains do not change in advance of their learning to read (something new for them) but because of it. From this known fact I have extrapolated the theory that the same process would have caused earlier expansions. You don’t believe that the smaller brain can come up with new concepts, but you admit that we don’t know whether Einstein’s new concepts arose from an existing thicker brain area, or his thinking was the cause of the thickening. I opt for the latter, on the grounds that we know for a fact that activity changes the brain. (This would be true regardless of materialism versus dualism.) The problem is exactly the same: was the inventor of the new concept – say, the spear – born with the bigger brain, or was the bigger brain developed by his/her thinking (designing and implementing). Answer: we don’t know. Once again: The only concrete evidence we have is that new activities change the modern brain through complexification and/or localized enlargement. We have no evidence that the expansion preceded the concept that led to its design and implementation (although of course new concepts would have continued to arise once the new brain was in place - until once more expansion became necessary.)

dhw: Your post is merely distinguishing between different categories of new concept.

DAVID: Your categories are blatantly wrong. Creating a new concept is NOT the same as learning an existing concept. You can't twist out if it. Creating a new concept involves much new analysis and finally a design.

Agreed (apart from “blatantly wrong”!). In my theory, new analysis and design (invention) and theorizing (Einstein) are activities that cause changes to the brain, just as learning to implement the existing concept of reading, or acquiring additional knowledge (taxi-drivers) or skills (musicians) change the brain. But only the last three examples have been proven to be true, and it is from these that I have extrapolated my theory. You wrote: “Please use all our knowledge. Don't just pick out part of what we know to further your argument.” Now please tell us what further knowledge you have to support your own theory and to “debunk” mine.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 04, 2020, 20:39 (86 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Firstly, your attempt to “debunk” my theory does not tell us what other “knowledge“ you were referring to. Please identify it. Secondly, learning to read is not a matter of learning words but of learning a process (implementing a concept) that was new to the women themselves, and it proves that the brain responds to the demands made on it.

DAVID: Learning a concept of reading is not the same as originally creating a concept of reading, which is the difference in our thoughts about our argument about how the brain enlarges.

dhw: Of course it’s not the same, but that is not the difference between us! Our starting point is that nobody knows how or why the brain expanded. Your theory is that God preprogrammed or dabbled each expansion, and only then were our ancestors able to come up with new concepts. (We’ll ignore the dualism versus materialism debate.) I propose that it was the act of implementing new concepts that CAUSED the expansion. That is the difference between us, and my point is that the ONLY definite knowledge we have is of the modern brain, in which new activities complexify or enlarge part of the brain:

We are arguing the same point in at least two threads, I have the same problem is each thread. Nebulous implementation causes the brain to enlarge. Tell me your idea as to how that makes a brain enlarge 200 cc in each gap in the fossils we deal with

dhw: the illiterate women’s brains do not change in advance of their learning to read (something new for them) but because of it. From this known fact I have extrapolated the theory that the same process would have caused earlier expansions. You don’t believe that the smaller brain can come up with new concepts, but you admit that we don’t know whether Einstein’s new concepts arose from an existing thicker brain area, or his thinking was the cause of the thickening. I opt for the latter, on the grounds that we know for a fact that activity changes the brain. (This would be true regardless of materialism versus dualism.) The problem is exactly the same: was the inventor of the new concept – say, the spear – born with the bigger brain, or was the bigger brain developed by his/her thinking (designing and implementing). Answer: we don’t know. Once again: The only concrete evidence we have is that new activities change the modern brain through complexification and/or localized enlargement. We have no evidence that the expansion preceded the concept that led to its design and implementation (although of course new concepts would have continued to arise once the new brain was in place - until once more expansion became necessary.)

The factual evidence we have is a 200 cc jump in brain size comes with newly complex artifacts. You contort this into an old brain jumps in size from the strain of trying to think and imagine a new invention. Einstein is of no help as you admit. Geniuses are born that way, not created by their thinking enlarging their brain. As far as I am concerned you have a barren concept for brain enlargement. I think God enlarges/complexifies the brain for the soul to use. All your examples are the brain learning to use/ memorize a concept they are taught, nothing more.


dhw: Your post is merely distinguishing between different categories of new concept.

DAVID: Your categories are blatantly wrong. Creating a new concept is NOT the same as learning an existing concept. You can't twist out if it. Creating a new concept involves much new analysis and finally a design.

dhw: Agreed (apart from “blatantly wrong”!). In my theory, new analysis and design (invention) and theorizing (Einstein) are activities that cause changes to the brain, just as learning to implement the existing concept of reading, or acquiring additional knowledge (taxi-drivers) or skills (musicians) change the brain. But only the last three examples have been proven to be true, and it is from these that I have extrapolated my theory. You wrote: “Please use all our knowledge. Don't just pick out part of what we know to further your argument.” Now please tell us what further knowledge you have to support your own theory and to “debunk” mine.

Same lame examples of the brain learning a new task, no concepts invented which is the real issue about fossil brain gaps and artifacts found. Your so-called concept of brain enlargement is a dead end using tiny areas of enlargement as an excuse for the consideration. Small areas of the brain enlarge from use in learning a new ability, the only enlargement we can actually track. Tiny compared to 200 cc. jumps. The brain went from 400 cc (chimp) to over 1,400+ cc 35,000 years ago and then lost 150 cc. It is not just size but also complexity and plasticity. Earlier brains had some plasticity, if we assume evolution builds on past attributes.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Thursday, March 05, 2020, 11:49 (86 days ago) @ David Turell

Taken over from “how emotions relate”:

dhw: […] I agree that if there is a soul it uses the brain as a tool, and I keep reiterating that the two uses are to gather more and more information, and to give material implementation to its concepts. (David’s bold) What else does the brain provide? You, however, keep saying that it is the brain that does the conceiving, e.g. “an earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive.” THAT is materialism. (dhw’s bold]

DAVID: You insist upon my shorthand being confusing. Once again the soul/consciousness uses the existing brain as a tool for creating immaterial thoughts and concepts. The degree of possible complex thinking depends on how complex the brain is constructed and allows the level of complexity of conceptual thought.

There is nothing shorthand about the statement that brains do the conceiving. I have agreed that the soul – if it exists – uses the brain in two ways (providing information and implementing concepts), and I asked you what else the brain provides. You have not answered.

DAVID: The bolded above is a woolly phrase that tells us nothing. I don't understand how you apply that to a thinking brain at any level of complexity. I'll use an example: habilis realizes it is safer to attack a prey from a safe distance etc. (dhw’s bold)

Once again you the dualist have the brain doing the thinking, which is fine if you are a materialist. You now use my own example of the spear and describe the process which I suggest led to pre-sapiens enlargement, and then you tell us that sapiens, in the form of the American Indian, did the same thing without brain expansion. Sapiens is the species whose brain capacity has reached maximum! He would have implemented his concept through complexification (and maybe segmental enlargement), just like the illiterate women and the rest. (To forestall your usual complaint, the efficiency of complexification is the cause of shrinkage.)

DAVID: So using the big word 'implementation' proves what???

It doesn’t “prove” anything. Nobody has yet proved any theory to explain expansion. You described the “big word” yourself: “habilis realizes it is safer to attack a prey from a safe distance: using a staff, throwing a staff, or adding a sharp stone point. He then uses his hands to fashion it.” First he has the concept, and then he implements it – meaning he creates a concrete reality out of his concept. But if the spear is the oldest artefact associated with habilis, then it was pre-habilis who first had the idea, and the design and making were the activities that led to the larger habilis brain.

DAVID: We know each fossil gap in brain size is followed by new artifacts. Those 200 cc gaps tell us a better brain did the new work, nothing more.

You agreed that the new brain size is not “followed” but is accompanied by new artefacts Our disagreement is not over the “better brain” but over the process that led to it: you say God preprogrammed or dabbled it, and I propose that the process of implementing the new concept (designing and making) led to it.

DAVID: Nebulous implementation causes the brain to enlarge. Tell me your idea as to how that makes a brain enlarge 200 cc in each gap in the fossils we deal with.

In the same way as all the modern examples of complexification and/or enlargement. I can’t explain the biochemical details, if that’s what you mean. Please tell us the biochemical details of how your God enlarged the brain. If you can, then that would be the same way as the brain cells would have organized the enlargement in response to new demands..

DAVID: The factual evidence we have is a 200 cc jump in brain size comes with newly complex artifacts. You contort this into an old brain jumps in size from the strain of trying to think and imagine a new invention.

In my theory the jump is accompanied by the artefacts, and the “old brain” jumps in size from the “strain” of trying to design and manufacture something that its species has never conceived of or manufactured in the past. What is the contortion?

DAVID: Einstein is of no help as you admit. Geniuses are born that way, not created by their thinking enlarging their brain.

I did not admit any such thing. You have done a complete volte-face. Two days ago you wrote: “Problem: was he born with it or did he develop it from thinking/conceptualizing? We don't know. Brilliant folks are generally born that way? No real evidence.” Now all of a sudden you think you know.

DAVID: I think God enlarges/complexifies the brain for the soul to use. All your examples are the brain learning to use/ memorize a concept they are taught, nothing more.

These are known facts from which I have extrapolated the theory that in the days when the brain was smaller, new activities would also result in brain change. You repeatedly ignore my request for known facts to support your own theory. Clearly you have none, so why should you assume that modern processes of brain change were not the same in former times?

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 05, 2020, 15:31 (85 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You insist upon my shorthand being confusing. Once again the soul/consciousness uses the existing brain as a tool for creating immaterial thoughts and concepts. The degree of possible complex thinking depends on how complex the brain is constructed and allows the level of complexity of conceptual thought.

dhw: There is nothing shorthand about the statement that brains do the conceiving. I have agreed that the soul – if it exists – uses the brain in two ways (providing information and implementing concepts), and I asked you what else the brain provides. You have not answered.

No need. you have covered it.


DAVID: The bolded above is a woolly phrase that tells us nothing. I don't understand how you apply that to a thinking brain at any level of complexity. I'll use an example: habilis realizes it is safer to attack a prey from a safe distance etc. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: Once again you the dualist have the brain doing the thinking, which is fine if you are a materialist.

Stop twisting. My way the brain is used is fully described above. Try to remember it.

DAVID: So using the big word 'implementation' proves what???

dhw: It doesn’t “prove” anything. Nobody has yet proved any theory to explain expansion. You described the “big word” yourself: “habilis realizes it is safer to attack a prey from a safe distance: using a staff, throwing a staff, or adding a sharp stone point. He then uses his hands to fashion it.” First he has the concept, and then he implements it – meaning he creates a concrete reality out of his concept. But if the spear is the oldest artefact associated with habilis, then it was pre-habilis who first had the idea, and the design and making were the activities that led to the larger habilis brain.

This is the woolliest yet. You haven't, but I have, searched Archaeological research papers. All they say is habilis (our current example) is what habilis does. Artifacts identify their capabilities of creation.


DAVID: We know each fossil gap in brain size is followed by new artifacts. Those 200 cc gaps tell us a better brain did the new work, nothing more.

dhw: You agreed that the new brain size is not “followed” but is accompanied by new artefacts Our disagreement is not over the “better brain” but over the process that led to it: you say God preprogrammed or dabbled it, and I propose that the process of implementing the new concept (designing and making) led to it.

I do not accept your view. What artifacts accompany the fossil brain is what that brain produced from its thoughts.


DAVID: Nebulous implementation causes the brain to enlarge. Tell me your idea as to how that makes a brain enlarge 200 cc in each gap in the fossils we deal with.

dhw: In the same way as all the modern examples of complexification and/or enlargement. I can’t explain the biochemical details, if that’s what you mean. Please tell us the biochemical details of how your God enlarged the brain. If you can, then that would be the same way as the brain cells would have organized the enlargement in response to new demands

You say above the new areas of enlargement are small segments!


DAVID: The factual evidence we have is a 200 cc jump in brain size comes with newly complex artifacts. You contort this into an old brain jumps in size from the strain of trying to think and imagine a new invention.

dhw: In my theory the jump is accompanied by the artefacts, and the “old brain” jumps in size from the “strain” of trying to design and manufacture something that its species has never conceived of or manufactured in the past. What is the contortion?

It is a contorted stretch from the facts.


DAVID: Einstein is of no help as you admit. Geniuses are born that way, not created by their thinking enlarging their brain.

dhw: I did not admit any such thing. You have done a complete volte-face. Two days ago you wrote: “Problem: was he born with it or did he develop it from thinking/conceptualizing? We don't know. Brilliant folks are generally born that way? No real evidence.” Now all of a sudden you think you know.

I've expressed this thought. The source of genius is is presumed to be born with that person, but I admit, no proof.


DAVID: I think God enlarges/complexifies the brain for the soul to use. All your examples are the brain learning to use/ memorize a concept they are taught, nothing more.

dhw: These are known facts from which I have extrapolated the theory that in the days when the brain was smaller, new activities would also result in brain change. You repeatedly ignore my request for known facts to support your own theory. Clearly you have none, so why should you assume that modern processes of brain change were not the same in former times?

You are struggling using a learning process to enlarge brains by 200 cc. when the changes are of tiny size. Your theory has no basis.

Introducing the brain: half a brain; new erectus paper

by David Turell @, Thursday, March 05, 2020, 21:40 (85 days ago) @ David Turell

Shows how archaeologists think about brains and the accompanying artifacts:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2236527-homo-erectus-used-two-different-kinds-of-s...

"The discovery of skull fragments alongside different types of stone tools in Ethiopia sheds new light on the lifestyle of the ancient hominin Homo erectus. It dispels the idea that each hominin species used just one type of tool technology and indicates that H. erectus was more behaviourally flexible than we thought.

"Sileshi Semaw at the National Centre for Research on Human Evolution in Spain and his colleagues identified two H. erectus skulls at a site in Gona, Ethiopia. One was 1.26 million years old and the other dated back at least 1.5 million years. Unusually, the skulls were found directly alongside various stone tools.

“'This is good evidence that these hominins were the creators of those artefacts,” says Michael Rogers at Southern Connecticut State University, who was part of team that made the discovery. “That means you can get a better handle on what kind of tools they were really using.” (my bold)

"H. erectus evolved around 2 million years ago in Africa and was one of the first species in our genus, Homo. Compared with earlier hominins, members of this species had relatively large brains and were adept tool-makers. They invented the so-called Acheulian tools, such as teardrop-shaped hand axes, which superseded the older and simpler Oldowan tools.

"Hand axes are a multipurpose tool, a kind of Stone Age Swiss army knife. It was thought that once these sophisticated implements had been invented, H. erectus stopped using the more primitive Oldowan tools, which are sharp-edged stone flakes. [made first by H habilis]

"The discoveries at Gona dispel this notion, showing that both types of tool were used at the same time. “They were using both technologies as they saw fit,” says Semaw."

***

Comment: This article shows the mind-set of Archaeologists: the fossils that are found with the artifacts created the artifacts, but newer species still used older species artifacts, which obviously were carried over by the newer species. Erectus knew what habilis created and used. I see no support for your evolution of brain size theory.

Introducing the brain: half a brain; new erectus paper

by David Turell @, Friday, March 06, 2020, 02:14 (85 days ago) @ David Turell

Same find. Another article with a view:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/palaeontology/skulls-and-skills-varied-in-archaic-homo-erect...

The finds, published in Science Advances include two Homo erectus skulls at sites 6 kilometres apart, dating to 1.26 and 1.5-1.6 million years ago.

At both sites, archaeologists uncovered stone tools and artefacts close by, and in some cases encrusted with the same sediments the skulls were found in.

The surprise was that the stone tools weren’t just of a single type. Simple Oldowan artefacts as well as more sophisticated Acheulian hand axes were found.

That challenges the traditional view that different stone tools were made by different species, according to palaeoanthropologist Michael Rogers from Southern Connecticut State University, US, who specialises in stone tool analysis.

Oldowan tools – also known as Mode 1 tools – are made by smashing two rocks together to form a sharp flake.

“It’s the most basic kind of percussive technology you can imagine,” says Rogers, and has traditionally been associated with ‘handy man’ Homo habilis, a predecessor of Homo erectus.

Acheulian tools (Mode 2), on the other hand, are made by repeatedly chipping away at a rock to shape it into a hand axe, says Rogers.

The two Gona sites suggest that Homo erectus made both tool types concurrently and for several hundreds of thousands of years.

“The evidence suggests that we only have one species and yet we do have a diversity of stone tools, so that we can attribute that diversity to one species – Homo erectus,” says Rogers.

Archaeologist Mark Moore from the University of New England in Armidale, Australia, isn’t sure the distinction is so clear cut. The split between Acheulian and Oldowan is a “false dichotomy,” he says. A better approach, he suggests, would be to consider these tools as “two parts of the same technological continuum.”

Regardless of how they are classified, the mix of artifacts does indicate a flexibility in the technologies that Homo erectus employed while it was alive.

Comment: Archaeologists and paleontologists both equate tools and fossils to showing what the fossils created. Habilis did not tell Erectus what to do.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Friday, March 06, 2020, 15:56 (84 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: There is nothing shorthand about the statement that brains do the conceiving. I have agreed that the soul – if it exists – uses the brain in two ways (providing information and implementing concepts), and I asked you what else the brain provides. You have not answered.

DAVID: No need. you have covered it.

We agree. So why do you keep talking of what “a more advanced brain can conceive” and “a thinking brain”? You claim to be a dualist, but these expressions are materialist. (No problem in itself. My objection is to your inconsistency.)

DAVID: The bolded above [dhw: “to give material implementation to its concepts”] is a woolly phrase that tells us nothing. I don't understand how you apply that to a thinking brain at any level of complexity. I'll use an example: habilis realizes it is safer to attack a prey from a safe distance etc. (dhw’s bold)

dhw: Once again you the dualist have the brain doing the thinking, which is fine if you are a materialist.

DAVID: Stop twisting. My way the brain is used is fully described above. Try to remember it.

You have just agreed that the brain is used only for gathering information and implementing concepts (which for some reason you find difficult to understand)! There is no twisting. If you say the brain does the conceiving and the thinking, you are advocating materialism! Stop wriggling.

DAVID: You haven't, but I have, searched Archaeological research papers. All they say is habilis (our current example) is what habilis does. Artifacts identify their capabilities of creation.

Of course they do! But what your papers cannot tell you is why the pre-habilis brain expanded to habilis size, and that is what my proposal tries to explain. Do your papers say God must have stepped in with a biochemical dabble? However, I’d better repeat that once the jump has been made, habilis will of course go on producing new artefacts until his “new” brain can no longer cope, and then it will again expand…all the way through to sapiens, whose brain cannot expand any further, and then complexification takes over. […]

DAVID: I do not accept your view. What artifacts accompany the fossil brain is what that brain produced from its thoughts.

Again you, the self-proclaimed dualist, have the materialist brain producing the thoughts, but it makes no difference to the theory: we agree that the thoughts came first (whatever their source) and then the brain produced the artefact. In my theory the design and production of the artefact caused the brain to expand, and in yours God dabbled with the brain of pre-habilis and expanded it before the materialist brain produced the thoughts. There is no way anyone can prove which theory is correct. All we have is the bigger brain and the artefact.

DAVID: Nebulous implementation causes the brain to enlarge. Tell me your idea as to how that makes a brain enlarge 200 cc in each gap in the fossils we deal with.

dhw: In the same way as all the modern examples of complexification and/or enlargement.

DAVID: You say above the new areas of enlargement are small segments!

Yes, because the sapiens brain cannot enlarge any more (hence the irrelevance of your American Indians, which I see you have dropped) – and I have extrapolated my theory from the known fact that the modern brain responds to new requirements by complexifying or enlarging. There is no reason to assume that smaller past brains did not function in the same way, so yet again I ask you to give us the additional known facts that support your own theory.

QUOTES re “new erectus”: (David’s bolds) “'This is good evidence that these hominins were the creators of those artefacts,” […].

That challenges the traditional view that different stone tools were made by different species…

The split between Acheulian and Oldowan is a “false dichotomy,” he [archaeologist Mark Moore] says. “A better approach…would be to consider these tools as “two parts of the same technological continuum.”

The latter seems very reasonable to me.

DAVID: This article shows the mind-set of Archaeologists: the fossils that are found with the artifacts created the artifacts, but newer species still used older species artifacts, which obviously were carried over by the newer species. Erectus knew what habilis created and used. I see no support for your evolution of brain size theory.
And:
DAVID: Archaeologists and paleontologists both equate tools and fossils to showing what the fossils created. Habilis did not tell Erectus what to do.”

Why are you surprised that thinking beings use the knowledge and inventions of their predecessors? Then of course they went on to create their own implements. But this has nothing to do with the causes of brain expansion! What’s your argument? Erectus used habilis’s tools, and this proves that God expanded erectus’s brain before he used the tools and invented his own? The archaeologists are dealing with a totally different subject!

DAVID: Einstein is of no help as you admit. Geniuses are born that way, not created by their thinking enlarging their brain.

You have agreed that this statement is a complete reversal of your earlier statement that we don’t know this, and there is no evidence for it. I suggest you drop it.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Friday, March 06, 2020, 17:34 (84 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Friday, March 06, 2020, 18:15

dhw: We agree. So why do you keep talking of what “a more advanced brain can conceive” and “a thinking brain”? You claim to be a dualist, but these expressions are materialist. (No problem in itself. My objection is to your inconsistency.)

It is not my inconsistency. You forget my fixed view which I view as assumed in discussions we have. Review my comment today (Friday, March 06, 2020, 17:21)


DAVID: I do not accept your view. What artifacts accompany the fossil brain is what that brain produced from its thoughts.

dhw: In my theory the design and production of the artefact caused the brain to expand, and in yours God dabbled with the brain of pre-habilis and expanded it before the materialist brain produced the thoughts. There is no way anyone can prove which theory is correct. All we have is the bigger brain and the artefact.

DAVID: Nebulous implementation causes the brain to enlarge. Tell me your idea as to how that makes a brain enlarge 200 cc in each gap in the fossils we deal with.

dhw: In the same way as all the modern examples of complexification and/or enlargement.

DAVID: You say above the new areas of enlargement are small segments!

dhw: Yes, because the sapiens brain cannot enlarge any more (hence the irrelevance of your American Indians, which I see you have dropped) – and I have extrapolated my theory from the known fact that the modern brain responds to new requirements by complexifying or enlarging. There is no reason to assume that smaller past brains did not function in the same way, so yet again I ask you to give us the additional known facts that support your own theory.

Your bolded statements are not fact. Our brain has shrunk 150 cc since 35,00 years ago, and most likely is an endpoint in evolution and most probably won't enlarge again, not "cannot". That shrinkage was caused by complexification and plasticity. The second bold implies the new uses of brain made giant enlargements, not the tiny ones we know about. As for ancient brains, yes they operated in similar ways, perhaps less complex ways, but this means any new uses made tiny enlargements in those brains just like our brain does. How our brain works is inherited from the past with new modifications, simple evolution. Nothing is consistent in your illogical theory. Tiny enlargements cannot be extrapolated to 200 cc gaps! The gaps are totally unexplained. I have God to point to. You use natural changes that somehow appear. You see the need for design, but won't accept a designing mind. So we differ.

The archaeologists simply say the artifacts tell us what the fossils invented, nothing more.


QUOTES re “new erectus”: (David’s bolds) “'This is good evidence that these hominins were the creators of those artefacts,” […].

That challenges the traditional view that different stone tools were made by different species…

The split between Acheulian and Oldowan is a “false dichotomy,” he [archaeologist Mark Moore] says. “A better approach…would be to consider these tools as “two parts of the same technological continuum.”

dhw: The latter seems very reasonable to me.

DAVID: This article shows the mind-set of Archaeologists: the fossils that are found with the artifacts created the artifacts, but newer species still used older species artifacts, which obviously were carried over by the newer species. Erectus knew what habilis created and used. I see no support for your evolution of brain size theory.
And:
DAVID: Archaeologists and paleontologists both equate tools and fossils to showing what the fossils created. Habilis did not tell Erectus what to do.”

dhw: Why are you surprised that thinking beings use the knowledge and inventions of their predecessors? Then of course they went on to create their own implements. But this has nothing to do with the causes of brain expansion! What’s your argument? Erectus used habilis’s tools, and this proves that God expanded erectus’s brain before he used the tools and invented his own? The archaeologists are dealing with a totally different subject!

No, God enlarged the brain to the Erectus stage and erectus of course invented his own new artifacts. Of course the artifacts discussion has a direct relation to brain enlargement. Your theory is falling apart with this new set of papers showing how archaeologists in interpret their physical findings. Of course they are not discussing brain enlargements causes, but we must use their findings to think logically. I find your theory as weaker and weaker.

Introducing the brain: role of transporters in neurons

by David Turell @, Friday, March 06, 2020, 20:41 (84 days ago) @ David Turell

A recent discovery as how they work:

https://phys.org/news/2020-03-neuroscientists-important-protein-brain.html


"After five years of experimentation, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in crystallising and mapping a novel conformation of LeuT, a bacterial protein that belongs to the same family of proteins as the brain's so-called neurotransmitter transporters.

"These transporters are special proteins that sit in the cell membrane. As a kind of vacuum cleaner, they reuptake some of the neurotransmitters that nerve cells release when sending a signal to one another. (my bold)
***

"'Transporters are extremely important for regulating the signalling between neurons in the brain and thus the balance of how the whole system works. You cannot do without them," says Kamil Gotfryd, first author

***

"Evolutionary, transporters derive from the most primitive bacteria, which have developed them to absorb nutrients, such as amino acids, from the environment in order to survive.
Since then, specialised transporters have developed to perform a variety of functions. For example, to transport neurotransmitters into neurons in the human brain. Still, the basic principle is the same, namely that the transporter functions by alternately opening and closing to the interior and exterior of a cell, respectively.

"When a transporter is open outwardly, it may capture transmitter substances or amino acids. Thereafter, the protein uses sodium ions to change its structure so that it will close outwardly and instead open to the interior of the cell where the transported substance is released and absorbed.

"In recent years, X-ray crystallography has enabled researchers to map three stages of the transporter mechanism: Outwardly open, outwardly occluded and inwardly open.

"In order for the cycle to be complete, researchers have long concluded that there must also be an inwardly occluded stage of the protein. However, since this structure is unstable, it has long been difficult to freeze it and thus be able to map it.

"But now, after many trials, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have succeeded in retaining a transporter for the transmitter leucine—a LeuT—in precisely that stage."

Comment: an obviously necessary clean-up control since the neurons must produce new transmitters to deliver new messages constantly. Old trash transmitters have got to be constantly cleaned out. Has to be designed. Cannot be worked out by chance attempts.

Introducing the brain: human cerebellum different

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 07, 2020, 01:32 (84 days ago) @ David Turell

Even from monkeys:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780444639561000035?dgcid=raven_sd_r...

"In this chapter, we compare current understanding of the anatomy and functional compartmentation of the human cerebellum with detailed knowledge in nonhuman species. The anatomy of the cerebellum is highly conserved across mammals and comparison of functional data suggests that similar principles of organization also hold true for somatotopy. In particular, there is a dual representation of the limbs in the cerebellar cortex in rat, ferret, cat, monkey, and human. In animals, a key organizing principle of the cerebellum is its division into a series of longitudinally oriented olivocorticonuclear modules that are narrow in the mediolateral axis but extend across multiple cerebellar lobules in the rostrocaudal plane. This contrasts with existing understanding of the human cerebellum that suggests that functional compartmentation is organized mainly at the level of different lobes and lobules. However, advances in spatial resolution of imaging techniques mean we are now able to start to examine whether a longitudinal modular organization is also present within the human cerebellum. This has implications for the diagnosis and future treatment of clinical disorders that involve the cerebellum, since it is possible that variations in symptomatology may relate to this finer grain localization."

Comment: Research shows how much more special our brain has become with its evoluton

Introducing the brain: human cerebellum different

by David Turell @, Friday, March 13, 2020, 20:35 (77 days ago) @ David Turell

More information:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1364661317300347?dgcid=raven_sd_...

"Multidisciplinary evidence indicates a role for the cerebellum in various aspects of cognition.

"Due to its uniform cytoarchitecture and extensive reciprocal connections with frontal, parietal, and temporal associative cortices, theorists have sought to identify cerebellar computations that are universal across sensorimotor and associative processes. Two key concepts are prediction and error-based learning.

"Recent work has revealed physiological diversity across structurally similar cerebellar modules. The computational constraints that arise from this diversity may be important for understanding cerebellar processing in different functional domains.
Knowledge has substantially evolved on cerebellar involvement in language and social cognition, providing representative domains to evaluate functional hypotheses of the ‘cognitive’ cerebellum and to consider how disturbances of cerebellar function may contribute to developmental and neuropsychiatric disorders.

"Over the past 30 years, cumulative evidence has indicated that cerebellar function extends beyond sensorimotor control. This view has emerged from studies of neuroanatomy, neuroimaging, neuropsychology, and brain stimulation, with the results implicating the cerebellum in domains as diverse as attention, language, executive function, and social cognition. Although the literature provides sophisticated models of how the cerebellum helps refine movements, it remains unclear how the core mechanisms of these models can be applied when considering a broader conceptualization of cerebellar function. In light of recent multidisciplinary findings, we examine how two key concepts that have been suggested as general computational principles of cerebellar function- prediction and error-based learning- might be relevant in the operation of cognitive cerebro-cerebellar loops.

Comment: Our cerebellum does not add to volume enlargement but is much more intimately related to our cortex than in apes. So it is not just a size difference but a design difference.

Introducing the brain: neurons change to form memories

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 14, 2020, 01:29 (77 days ago) @ David Turell

It shuttles genetic code within the neuron by altering synapses and transporting mRNA

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-03-brain-cells-infrastructure-memories.html

"Now scientists at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona have found that a type of kinesin called KIF3A/B can transport mRNAs, using another protein called adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) as an adaptor that binds both the kinesin and the mRNA-cargo. The proteins transport at least two types of mRNA which code for tubulin and actin, two types of proteins that neurons use to build their cellular skeleton. This is essential to shape the cell so that it can form new connections with other neurons.

"The findings are of interest because mRNAs play a key role in the storage and formation of memories. Previous studies show that mRNAs coding for the protein beta-actin continuously travel along synapses, the junction between two neurons. When synapses repeatedly receive a signal, the mRNA is used to make beta-actin proteins, which are important for reinforcing synapses and strengthening the attachment between two neurons. Repeatedly stimulating a synapse continuously reinforces the junction, which is thought to be how memories form.

"'Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramon y Cajal first proposed that our brains store memories by strengthening neuronal synapses, changing shape so that brain cells would firmly grasp one another and conduct signals more efficiently," says Sebastian Maurer, researcher at the Centre for Genomic Regulation and lead author of the study. "More than a century later we are describing one essential mechanism likely underlying his theories, showing just how ahead of his time he was."

***

"The researchers found that mRNAs and their adaptor APC switch on the kinesin's ignition, activating the protein. Transported mRNAs were found to have a special localization signal that control the efficiency by which different mRNAs are loaded onto the kinesin. Even slight alterations to this signal affected the mRNA's journey to its target destination, showing the sophisticated mechanisms brain cells develop to control the logistics of thousands of different messages. When not carrying cargo, the kinesins shifted to energy saving mode to save fuel until their next job."

Comment: Once again a very refined system of molecular changes to manage the system of memory formation. Which raises the next issue: when you try to remember a given pint, how does the brain go about finding it? Nothing about our brain is all that simple, when digging into the biochemistry of thought and memory. Our brain is obviously a miraculous outcome of evolution. Evolution was not unguided but designed.

Introducing the enlarging brain: human cerebellum different

by David Turell @, Friday, May 22, 2020, 20:56 (7 days ago) @ David Turell

Our cerebellum ties into the cerebral cortex to facilitate speech production and understanding:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028393218301052?dgcid=raven_sd_...

"Cerebellar lesions influence language processing.

Brain imaging and non-invasive cerebellar stimulation accumulated complimentary evidence.

"The cerebellum supports verbal short-term/working memory.

"The cerebellum also has a role in linguistic/semantic predictions and word generation.

"The cerebellum might be involved in short-term prediction and coordination of language-related information."

Abstract

"Lesion studies emphasize the role of the human cerebellum in a variety of cognitive processes. To date, most evidence comes from studies investigating language-related functions, such as verbal short-term/working memory, word generation, or linguistic/semantic predictions. This review summarizes brain imaging, non-invasive cerebellar stimulation and lesion studies in this field. Converging evidence suggests a cerebellar role in error processing and memory encoding although findings are partly contradictory. Future research should focus on common principles of cerebellar processing across different forms of cognitive performance to assess basic principles of cerebellar function."

Comment: the human brain contains the ability for the cerebellum to help with language. This is a special addition not present in apes. This further supports my approach to brain enlargement, that it has to be specially designed for the new processes of which it is capable. Hard thought is not capable of this result, which requiers special design.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Saturday, March 07, 2020, 11:28 (84 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We agree. So why do you keep talking of what “a more advanced brain can conceive” and “a thinking brain”? You claim to be a dualist, but these expressions are materialist. (No problem in itself. My objection is to your inconsistency.)

DAVID: It is not my inconsistency. You forget my fixed view which I view as assumed in discussions we have. Review my comment today (Friday, March 06, 2020, 17:21)

Your “fixed view” is the one I have defined (the soul uses the brain for information and implementation) and which I keep reminding you of, because you persistently forget it and tell us that the brain does the thinking and conceiving!

DAVID: You say above the new areas of enlargement are small segments!

dhw: Yes, because the sapiens brain cannot enlarge any more (hence the irrelevance of your American Indians, which I see you have dropped) – and I have extrapolated my theory from the known fact that the modern brain responds to new requirements by complexifying or enlarging. There is no reason to assume that smaller past brains did not function in the same way, so yet again I ask you to give us the additional known facts that support your own theory.

DAVID: Your bolded statements are not fact. Our brain has shrunk 150 cc since 35,00 years ago, and most likely is an endpoint in evolution and most probably won't enlarge again, not "cannot". That shrinkage was caused by complexification and plasticity.

You still refuse to give us the known facts that support your theory or "debunk" mine. My “cannot” referred to my proposal that any further expansion (disregarding the leeway left by shrinkage) would create havoc with our general anatomy.

DAVID: The second bold implies the new uses of brain made giant enlargements, not the tiny ones we know about.

No it doesn’t! I was explaining WHY there are only small segments, in reply to your comment (now bolded).

DAVID: As for ancient brains, yes they operated in similar ways, perhaps less complex ways, but this means any new uses made tiny enlargements in those brains just like our brain does.

Nobody knows why earlier brains expanded. From the known fact that the modern brain makes “tiny enlargements”, I have extrapolated the theory that in former times the brain was able to make large enlargements. Please tell us any known facts that make this impossible.

DAVID: How our brain works is inherited from the past with new modifications, simple evolution. Nothing is consistent in your illogical theory. Tiny enlargements cannot be extrapolated to 200 cc gaps! The gaps are totally unexplained. I have God to point to. You use natural changes that somehow appear. You see the need for design, but won't accept a designing mind. So we differ.

Again: what knowledge do you have to support your contention that the brain functioned differently in the past from the way it functions in the present (complexifying and enlarging)? I use “cellular intelligence” (possibly designed by God), not “somehow” to explain the gaps. I would say it is more logical to assume continuity than a complete break that requires your God to step in every time he wants to design a new form of homo as he dabbles his way towards the only homo he actually wants to design.

DAVID: This article shows the mind-set of Archaeologists: the fossils that are found with the artifacts created the artifacts, but newer species still used older species artifacts, which obviously were carried over by the newer species. Erectus knew what habilis created and used. I see no support for your evolution of brain size theory.
And:
DAVID: Archaeologists and paleontologists both equate tools and fossils to showing what the fossils created. Habilis did not tell Erectus what to do.”

dhw: Why are you surprised that thinking beings use the knowledge and inventions of their predecessors? Then of course they went on to create their own implements. But this has nothing to do with the causes of brain expansion! What’s your argument? Erectus used habilis’s tools, and this proves that God expanded erectus’s brain before he used the tools and invented his own? The archaeologists are dealing with a totally different subject!

DAVID: No, God enlarged the brain to the Erectus stage and erectus of course invented his own new artifacts. Of course the artifacts discussion has a direct relation to brain enlargement. Your theory is falling apart with this new set of papers showing how archaeologists in interpret their physical findings. Of course they are not discussing brain enlargements causes, but we must use their findings to think logically. I find your theory as weaker and weaker.

Apart from your extraordinary knowledge of what God did (first sentence), you have not provided a single argument against my proposal! Once more: What the archaeologists have found does not and cannot tell us whether the first artefacts were conceived before or after the expansion of the pre-erectus brain.(Only the first are relevant, because obviously later artefacts were conceived and created after expansion….until eventually that brain couldn’t cope any more, and new concepts required another expansion….on and on till we reach H. sapiens.) Bearing this in mind, please pinpoint anything in the article or in your own “knowledge” that makes my theory illogical or “weaker and weaker”.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 07, 2020, 22:43 (83 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As for ancient brains, yes they operated in similar ways, perhaps less complex ways, but this means any new uses made tiny enlargements in those brains just like our brain does.

dhw: Nobody knows why earlier brains expanded. From the known fact that the modern brain makes “tiny enlargements”, I have extrapolated the theory that in former times the brain was able to make large enlargements. Please tell us any known facts that make this impossible.

Nothing makes that daydream impossible. It is an extrapolation as you state, but that tiny known enlargement from learning is to learn something already known. What you add is the struggle to develop a new concept makes a brain jump 200 cc in size. The only enlargement we know relates to learning, nothing more. Your extrapolation is really mixing apples and bagels.


DAVID: How our brain works is inherited from the past with new modifications, simple evolution. Nothing is consistent in your illogical theory. Tiny enlargements cannot be extrapolated to 200 cc gaps! The gaps are totally unexplained. I have God to point to. You use natural changes that somehow appear. You see the need for design, but won't accept a designing mind. So we differ.

dhw: Again: what knowledge do you have to support your contention that the brain functioned differently in the past from the way it functions in the present (complexifying and enlarging)? I use “cellular intelligence” (possibly designed by God), not “somehow” to explain the gaps. I would say it is more logical to assume continuity than a complete break that requires your God to step in every time he wants to design a new form of homo as he dabbles his way towards the only homo he actually wants to design.

If God is doing his job there is full continuity. God doesn't jump in and out discontinuously.. Your thinking about God continues to be inconsistent as each problem about God is presented.


DAVID: This article shows the mind-set of Archaeologists: the fossils that are found with the artifacts created the artifacts, but newer species still used older species artifacts, which obviously were carried over by the newer species. Erectus knew what habilis created and used. I see no support for your evolution of brain size theory.
And:
DAVID: Archaeologists and paleontologists both equate tools and fossils to showing what the fossils created. Habilis did not tell Erectus what to do.”

dhw: Why are you surprised that thinking beings use the knowledge and inventions of their predecessors? Then of course they went on to create their own implements. But this has nothing to do with the causes of brain expansion! What’s your argument? Erectus used habilis’s tools, and this proves that God expanded erectus’s brain before he used the tools and invented his own? The archaeologists are dealing with a totally different subject!

DAVID: No, God enlarged the brain to the Erectus stage and erectus of course invented his own new artifacts. Of course the artifacts discussion has a direct relation to brain enlargement. Your theory is falling apart with this new set of papers showing how archaeologists in interpret their physical findings. Of course they are not discussing brain enlargements causes, but we must use their findings to think logically. I find your theory as weaker and weaker.

dhw: Apart from your extraordinary knowledge of what God did (first sentence), you have not provided a single argument against my proposal! Once more: What the archaeologists have found does not and cannot tell us whether the first artefacts were conceived before or after the expansion of the pre-erectus brain.(Only the first are relevant, because obviously later artefacts were conceived and created after expansion….until eventually that brain couldn’t cope any more, and new concepts required another expansion….on and on till we reach H. sapiens.) Bearing this in mind, please pinpoint anything in the article or in your own “knowledge” that makes my theory illogical or “weaker and weaker”.

All the articles I've read from Archaeology give the impression they think the larger brained fossil made the new artifacts they find with the fossils. They do not explain the jump in brain size. it is only your nebulous concept the habilis conjured up a new design tool or weapon and blew up the size of his brain so Erectus would appear and could finally make it. That is exactly how your theory translates, totally strange.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Sunday, March 08, 2020, 11:08 (83 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: As for ancient brains, yes they operated in similar ways, perhaps less complex ways, but this means any new uses made tiny enlargements in those brains just like our brain does.

dhw: Nobody knows why earlier brains expanded. From the known fact that the modern brain makes “tiny enlargements”, I have extrapolated the theory that in former times the brain was able to make large enlargements. Please tell us any known facts that make this impossible.

DAVID: Nothing makes that daydream impossible. It is an extrapolation as you state, but that tiny known enlargement from learning is to learn something already known. What you add is the struggle to develop a new concept makes a brain jump 200 cc in size. The only enlargement we know relates to learning, nothing more. Your extrapolation is really mixing apples and bagels.

Your reference to Einstein made it clear that we don’t know whether his original “thinking/conceptualizing” caused the thickening, or was the result of an inborn thickening. “No real evidence”, you wrote. All we know for a fact is that new activities RESULT in the brain complexifying or enlarging (on a small scale). If it can enlarge on a small scale now, it is not unreasonable to suppose that in earlier times, when the whole organism could adapt to carrying a larger brain, the same process would have taken place. You continue to ignore my plea for the extra knowledge you have that indicates the brain functioned differently in the past.

dhw: I use “cellular intelligence” (possibly designed by God), not “somehow” to explain the gaps. I would say it is more logical to assume continuity than a complete break that requires your God to step in every time he wants to design a new form of homo as he dabbles his way towards the only homo he actually wants to design.

DAVID: If God is doing his job there is full continuity. God doesn't jump in and out discontinuously. Your thinking about God continues to be inconsistent as each problem about God is presented.

You keep insisting that each expansion is a jump engineered by your God. A jump suggests discontinuity. And so if the earlier smaller brain did not expand into the later larger brain as a result of the smaller brain’s activities, you have discontinuity. Also exemplified by the theory of random mutations.

DAVID: I find your theory as weaker and weaker.

dhw: […] please pinpoint anything in the article or in your own “knowledge” that makes my theory illogical or “weaker and weaker”.

DAVID: All the articles I've read from Archaeology give the impression they think the larger brained fossil made the new artifacts they find with the fossils. They do not explain the jump in brain size.

Of course they don’t. And of course the larger brained fossil made the new artefacts. In my theory, the new artefact (we are talking about the first one – not those made subsequently) could ONLY be made if the brain expanded. But there is no way of knowing whether the CONCEPT preceded the expansion (my theory) or followed it (your theory). For clarity’s sake: in my theory, it is the implementation of the concept that causes the expansion – just as the modern brain changes in RESPONSE to new activities and not before them.

DAVID: it is only your nebulous concept the habilis conjured up a new design tool or weapon and blew up the size of his brain so Erectus would appear and could finally make it. That is exactly how your theory translates, totally strange.

There is nothing nebulous about it, except that this concrete example is offered only to illustrate the process – I am not saying the habilis brain thought of a spear and this led to the erectus brain. Nobody knows any of the details. But if we follow this example (originally mine, but you took it up), your description is ridiculous. He didn’t blow up the size of his brain so erectus could make the spear. It was the effort to make it that caused the habilis brain to expand to erectus size. Yet again: the modern brain changes itself through its efforts to meet new demands. I propose that the ancient brain did the same. I ask you for evidence that the ancient brain did not do the same, and you never answer.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 08, 2020, 18:11 (82 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: As for ancient brains, yes they operated in similar ways, perhaps less complex ways, but this means any new uses made tiny enlargements in those brains just like our brain does.

dhw: Nobody knows why earlier brains expanded. From the known fact that the modern brain makes “tiny enlargements”, I have extrapolated the theory that in former times the brain was able to make large enlargements. Please tell us any known facts that make this impossible.

There are no known facts to support your dream theory. Imagination makes anything see m possible.


DAVID: Nothing makes that daydream impossible. It is an extrapolation as you state, but that tiny known enlargement from learning is to learn something already known. What you add is the struggle to develop a new concept makes a brain jump 200 cc in size. The only enlargement we know relates to learning, nothing more. Your extrapolation is really mixing apples and bagels.

dhw: Your reference to Einstein made it clear that we don’t know whether his original “thinking/conceptualizing” caused the thickening, or was the result of an inborn thickening. “No real evidence”, you wrote. All we know for a fact is that new activities RESULT in the brain complexifying or enlarging (on a small scale). If it can enlarge on a small scale now, it is not unreasonable to suppose that in earlier times, when the whole organism could adapt to carrying a larger brain, the same process would have taken place. You continue to ignore my plea for the extra knowledge you have that indicates the brain functioned differently in the past.

All I can repeat is all archaeological articles equate the advance in artifact complexity with the new large brain size. No one uses your step


dhw: I use “cellular intelligence” (possibly designed by God), not “somehow” to explain the gaps. I would say it is more logical to assume continuity than a complete break that requires your God to step in every time he wants to design a new form of homo as he dabbles his way towards the only homo he actually wants to design.

DAVID: If God is doing his job there is full continuity. God doesn't jump in and out discontinuously. Your thinking about God continues to be inconsistent as each problem about God is presented.

dhw: You keep insisting that each expansion is a jump engineered by your God. A jump suggests discontinuity. And so if the earlier smaller brain did not expand into the later larger brain as a result of the smaller brain’s activities, you have discontinuity. Also exemplified by the theory of random mutations.

A twist in meanings as usual. If God is continuously in charge there is no discontinuity in control. God does not come and go as your statement implies, as I stated above. Random mutations? I thought we had left that aspect of Darwin behind, b ut you can't ever seem to leave him.


DAVID: I find your theory as weaker and weaker.

dhw: […] please pinpoint anything in the article or in your own “knowledge” that makes my theory illogical or “weaker and weaker”.

DAVID: All the articles I've read from Archaeology give the impression they think the larger brained fossil made the new artifacts they find with the fossils. They do not explain the jump in brain size.

dhw: Of course they don’t. And of course the larger brained fossil made the new artefacts. In my theory, the new artefact (we are talking about the first one – not those made subsequently) could ONLY be made if the brain expanded. But there is no way of knowing whether the CONCEPT preceded the expansion (my theory) or followed it (your theory). For clarity’s sake: in my theory, it is the implementation of the concept that causes the expansion – just as the modern brain changes in RESPONSE to new activities and not before them.

Fuzzy use of 'implementation" again. My interpretation of your theory below:


DAVID: it is only your nebulous concept the habilis conjured up a new design tool or weapon and blew up the size of his brain so Erectus would appear and could finally make it. That is exactly how your theory translates, totally strange.

dhw: There is nothing nebulous about it, except that this concrete example is offered only to illustrate the process – I am not saying the habilis brain thought of a spear and this led to the erectus brain. Nobody knows any of the details. But if we follow this example (originally mine, but you took it up), your description is ridiculous. He didn’t blow up the size of his brain so erectus could make the spear. It was the effort to make it that caused the habilis brain to expand to erectus size. Yet again: the modern brain changes itself through its efforts to meet new demands. I propose that the ancient brain did the same. I ask you for evidence that the ancient brain did not do the same, and you never answer.

Tiny modern brain enlargements from learning new info as the whole brain shrinks 150 cc over the past 35,000 years offers nothing to support your daydream. Daydreams have no counter evidence. They are pure smoke. From the standpoint of understanding evolution, the current processes of our brain is based on real processes of past ancestral brains

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Monday, March 09, 2020, 11:03 (82 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: As for ancient brains, yes they operated in similar ways, perhaps less complex ways, but this means any new uses made tiny enlargements in those brains just like our brain does.

dhw: Nobody knows why earlier brains expanded. From the known fact that the modern brain makes “tiny enlargements”, I have extrapolated the theory that in former times the brain was able to make large enlargements. Please tell us any known facts that make this impossible.

DAVID: There are no known facts to support your dream theory. Imagination makes anything see m possible.

Yet again, you ignore my request for known facts that make my theory impossible, let alone for known facts supporting your theory that God preprogrammed or dabbled each successive expansion.

dhw: If it can enlarge on a small scale now, it is not unreasonable to suppose that in earlier times, when the whole organism could adapt to carrying a larger brain, the same process would have taken place. You continue to ignore my plea for the extra knowledge you have that indicates the brain functioned differently in the past.

DAVID: All I can repeat is all archaeological articles equate the advance in artifact complexity with the new large brain size. No one uses your step.

You keep agreeing that none of these articles even attempt to solve the problem of brain expansion. Do any of them tell us that God expanded the brain before early homo thought of making a spear? In my theory, the new artefact is also equated with the new brain size since its making was what caused the expansion!

dhw: You keep insisting that each expansion is a jump engineered by your God. A jump suggests discontinuity. And so if the earlier smaller brain did not expand into the later larger brain as a result of the smaller brain’s activities, you have discontinuity. Also exemplified by the theory of random mutations.

DAVID: A twist in meanings as usual. If God is continuously in charge there is no discontinuity in control. God does not come and go as your statement implies, as I stated above.

If God dabbles, how can it be anything but a “come and go”?

DAVID: Random mutations? I thought we had left that aspect of Darwin behind, b ut you can't ever seem to leave him.

I do not accept the theory of random mutations! I merely pointed out that it entails a jump, just like your God dabbling. (In fact Darwin himself rejected the idea of Nature jumping!)

dhw: it is the implementation of the concept that causes the expansion – just as the modern brain changes in RESPONSE to new activities and not before them.

DAVID: Fuzzy use of 'implementation" again.

Do you really not know what the word means? When any abstract concept, idea, desire, plan is implemented, it is turned into reality. The idea/concept of a spear is turned into a real spear; the desire to read is turned into the actual ability to read; an abstract plan or strategy turns into real action. And surprise, surprise, we know that it is the realization of the concept, desire, strategy, plan that is known to change the brain.

dhw: Yet again: the modern brain changes itself through its efforts to meet new demands. I propose that the ancient brain did the same. I ask you for evidence that the ancient brain did not do the same, and you never answer.

DAVID: Tiny modern brain enlargements from learning new info as the whole brain shrinks 150 cc over the past 35,000 years offers nothing to support your daydream.

How many more times? We agree that shrinkage is due to the efficiency of complexification. It is the tiny modern enlargements which support the theory that the brain cell community can expand as a result of implementing ideas.

DAVID: Daydreams have no counter evidence. They are pure smoke. From the standpoint of understanding evolution, the current processes of our brain is based on real processes of past ancestral brains.

Precisely. And the current processes indicate that the brain changes AS A RESULT of implementing ideas, and not in anticipation of ideas. This is not a daydream. Some folk would suggest that an unknown all-powerful intellect preprogramming or dabbling everybody’s brain expansion at intervals is more of a daydream than the theory that modern brains work the same way as ancient brains would have done.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Monday, March 09, 2020, 20:26 (81 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: There are no known facts to support your dream theory. Imagination makes anything see m possible.

dhw: Yet again, you ignore my request for known facts that make my theory impossible, let alone for known facts supporting your theory that God preprogrammed or dabbled each successive expansion.

Your theory is not impossible. Nothing is. But using the observation of slight enlargements for specific uses in a brain that actually shrinks 150 cc as its use is developed has all sorts of contraindicating factors at work. Your theory demands that the earlier brains enlarged from attempts at implementation of ideas that were being developed. Our current brain shrunk at a time when all sorts of concepts were developed and implemented. You idea is like a sieve. Nothing is consistent. What you are left with is the implication earlier brains were not like ours, even though it evolved from them and should resemble them.

dhw: If it can enlarge on a small scale now, it is not unreasonable to suppose that in earlier times, when the whole organism could adapt to carrying a larger brain, the same process would have taken place. You continue to ignore my plea for the extra knowledge you have that indicates the brain functioned differently in the past.[/i]

The obvious objections are above.


DAVID: A twist in meanings as usual. If God is continuously in charge there is no discontinuity in control. God does not come and go as your statement implies, as I stated above.

dhw: If God dabbles, how can it be anything but a “come and go”?

How do you know God dabbles and leaves? You are straining.

DAVID: Fuzzy use of 'implementation" again.


dhw: Do you really not know what the word means? When any abstract concept, idea, desire, plan is implemented, it is turned into reality. The idea/concept of a spear is turned into a real spear; the desire to read is turned into the actual ability to read; an abstract plan or strategy turns into real action. And surprise, surprise, we know that it is the realization of the concept, desire, strategy, plan that is known to change the brain.

Of course it will change a tiny area with more use, and shrunk 150 cc with new total use.


DAVID: Daydreams have no counter evidence. They are pure smoke. From the standpoint of understanding evolution, the current processes of our brain is based on real processes of past ancestral brains.

dhw: Precisely. And the current processes indicate that the brain changes AS A RESULT of implementing ideas, and not in anticipation of ideas. This is not a daydream. Some folk would suggest that an unknown all-powerful intellect preprogramming or dabbling everybody’s brain expansion at intervals is more of a daydream than the theory that modern brains work the same way as ancient brains would have done.

OK, dismiss God as usual, but you cannot defeat the FACT that our brain has shrunk 150 cc while being heavily used after arrival. You have nothing but daydreams to stand on!!!

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 11:03 (81 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Yet again, you ignore my request for known facts that make my theory impossible, let alone for known facts supporting your theory that God preprogrammed or dabbled each successive expansion.

DAVID: Your theory is not impossible. Nothing is. But using the observation of slight enlargements for specific uses in a brain that actually shrinks 150 cc as its use is developed has all sorts of contraindicating factors at work. Your theory demands that the earlier brains enlarged from attempts at implementation of ideas that were being developed. Our current brain shrunk at a time when all sorts of concepts were developed and implemented. You idea is like a sieve. Nothing is consistent. What you are left with is the implication earlier brains were not like ours, even though it evolved from them and should resemble them.

I can’t believe what I’m reading. For the umpteenth time: you have agreed over and over again that shrinkage has been caused by the efficiency of complexification. I have suggested that this had to take over from expansion, because further expansion would have been a threat to the whole human anatomy. Nevertheless, the modern brain does enlarge itself in small sections. It is therefore perfectly logical to suggest that in the past, when expansion was not a threat to the anatomy, it was caused in exactly the same way as modern expansion and/or complexification is caused: namely by the actions performed in the implementation of concepts, desires, plans etc.

And still you fail to come up with any known facts in support of your own theory, or in opposition to mine.

DAVID: If God is continuously in charge there is no discontinuity in control. God does not come and go as your statement implies, as I stated above.

dhw: If God dabbles, how can it be anything but a “come and go”?

DAVID: How do you know God dabbles and leaves? You are straining.

I don’t “know” anything, but it is YOUR theory that your God either dabbled or programmed every step of evolution, including each brain expansion. If you don’t think he dabbled, then we are left with a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for brain expansions, together with every other life form, econiche, act of speciation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the whole history of life. You call my theory a daydream. I’d say that’s not a bad description of your theory. The rest of your post returns to the shrinkage argument. If you have decided that after all you don’t accept the explanation you have already agreed on (it has shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification), please tell us your own explanation. Starting point: you believe your God kept enlarging the brain so that it could think up new ideas (although as a dualist you firmly believe that the soul and not the brain does the thinking). So if you think he preprogrammed shrinkage 3.8 billion years ago, or stepped in to dabble it, please explain why you think he did so.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, 17:50 (80 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: Yet again, you ignore my request for known facts that make my theory impossible, let alone for known facts supporting your theory that God preprogrammed or dabbled each successive expansion.

DAVID: Your theory is not impossible. Nothing is. But using the observation of slight enlargements for specific uses in a brain that actually shrinks 150 cc as its use is developed has all sorts of contraindicating factors at work. Your theory demands that the earlier brains enlarged from attempts at implementation of ideas that were being developed. Our current brain shrunk at a time when all sorts of concepts were developed and implemented. You idea is like a sieve. Nothing is consistent. What you are left with is the implication earlier brains were not like ours, even though it evolved from them and should resemble them.

dhw: I can’t believe what I’m reading. For the umpteenth time: you have agreed over and over again that shrinkage has been caused by the efficiency of complexification. I have suggested that this had to take over from expansion, because further expansion would have been a threat to the whole human anatomy. Nevertheless, the modern brain does enlarge itself in small sections. It is therefore perfectly logical to suggest that in the past, when expansion was not a threat to the anatomy, it was caused in exactly the same way as modern expansion and/or complexification is caused: namely by the actions performed in the implementation of concepts, desires, plans etc.

Again a total distortion to save a pet theory. The first assumption has to be that our brain has processes developed from past brains and uses them in more complex ways. Your theory that the brain stopped enlarging because of anatomic size considerations is simply a wild guess, lacking any evidence for the point. Remember our brain was 150 cc larger in the past causing no anatomic trouble. Our brain arrived about 315,000 years ago and really began its 'implementation' process (your concept as to how the brain is affected) most actively with language 50-70,000 years ago, and as more an more 'implementation' has occurred in the past 35.000 years it shrunk 150 cc. (about five ounces) That is the factual evidence we have to work with, and we both note tiny enlargements in heavily used regions. That is a logical change in our brain. In fossil brains the usage was never as intensive as today yet we know 200 cc jumps in volume occurred. Your strange theory does not hold water in any sense, and your paragraph above offers nothing to save it.


dhw: And still you fail to come up with any known facts in support of your own theory, or in opposition to mine.

Lots of factual logical analysis above.


DAVID: If God is continuously in charge there is no discontinuity in control. God does not come and go as your statement implies, as I stated above.

dhw: If God dabbles, how can it be anything but a “come and go”?

DAVID: How do you know God dabbles and leaves? You are straining.

dhw: I don’t “know” anything, but it is YOUR theory that your God either dabbled or programmed every step of evolution, including each brain expansion. If you don’t think he dabbled, then we are left with a 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme for brain expansions, together with every other life form, econiche, act of speciation, lifestyle and natural wonder in the whole history of life. You call my theory a daydream. I’d say that’s not a bad description of your theory. The rest of your post returns to the shrinkage argument. If you have decided that after all you don’t accept the explanation you have already agreed on (it has shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification), please tell us your own explanation. Starting point: you believe your God kept enlarging the brain so that it could think up new ideas (although as a dualist you firmly believe that the soul and not the brain does the thinking). So if you think he preprogrammed shrinkage 3.8 billion years ago, or stepped in to dabble it, please explain why you think he did so.

Please remember I have no knowledge of God's reasons. Of course I agree with shrinkage from complexification. My argument and belief based on facts has never changed. Heavy usage shrinks modern brains. Light use in habilis and erectus saw brains make large jumps in size. The comparisons don't fit, unless God as an agency is at work. Then of course you can ignore all the facts and daydream as an illogical distortion of them.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 11:54 (80 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: For the umpteenth time: you have agreed over and over again that shrinkage has been caused by the efficiency of complexification. I have suggested that this had to take over from expansion, because further expansion would have been a threat to the whole human anatomy. Nevertheless, the modern brain does enlarge itself in small sections. It is therefore perfectly logical to suggest that in the past, when expansion was not a threat to the anatomy, it was caused in exactly the same way as modern expansion and/or complexification is caused: namely by the actions performed in the implementation of concepts, desires, plans etc.

DAVID: Again a total distortion to save a pet theory. The first assumption has to be that our brain has processes developed from past brains and uses them in more complex ways.

Yes indeed, and since our modern brain follows processes of complexification and expansion (though now only on a minor scale) in response to – but not in anticipation of – new concepts, desires, plans etc., it is perfectly logical to assume that past brains did the same.

DAVID: Your theory that the brain stopped enlarging because of anatomic size considerations is simply a wild guess, lacking any evidence for the point.

If the brain had continued to expand, we would have had elephantine heads! Expansion had to stop somewhere! That is not a wild guess – it is a logical assumption. What is your explanation for the end of expansion and the takeover by complexification?

DAVID: Remember our brain was 150 cc larger in the past causing no anatomic trouble.

On and on you go about shrinkage. And yet later you say: “Of course I agree with shrinkage from complexification”. I have asked you repeatedly to give us your own theory about shrinkage, plus any additional facts that you have to back it, but you obviously haven’t got any. See later.

DAVID: Our brain arrived about 315,000 years ago and really began its 'implementation' process (your concept as to how the brain is affected) most actively with language 50-70,000 years ago, and as more an more 'implementation' has occurred in the past 35.000 years it shrunk 150 cc. (about five ounces) That is the factual evidence we have to work with, and we both note tiny enlargements in heavily used regions. That is a logical change in our brain.

Yes, both complexification and enlargement come from usage, not in anticipation of usage. The exact opposite of your theory that your God enlarged the brain before conceptualization and implementation. And it is not implementation that has shrunk the brain, but the fact that the efficiency of complexification has made a certain amount of the brain’s capacity superfluous. All perfectly logical.

DAVID: In fossil brains the usage was never as intensive as today yet we know 200 cc jumps in volume occurred. Your strange theory does not hold water in any sense, and your paragraph above offers nothing to save it.

Our brains are the accumulation of all past concepts and all past expansions plus our own new concepts. That is why I propose that the brain eventually had to stop expanding, as above, and complexification took over, and was so efficient etc. etc. ad nauseam.

dhw If you have decided that after all you don’t accept the explanation you have already agreed on (it has shrunk because of the efficiency of complexification), please tell us your own explanation. Starting point: you believe your God kept enlarging the brain so that it could think up new ideas (although as a dualist you firmly believe that the soul and not the brain does the thinking). So if you think he preprogrammed shrinkage 3.8 billion years ago, or stepped in to dabble it, please explain why you think he did so.

DAVID: Please remember I have no knowledge of God's reasons.

You believe your logical God did it, and you can’t think of a single reason why he would have done so.

DAVID: Of course I agree with shrinkage from complexification. My argument and belief based on facts has never changed. Heavy usage shrinks modern brains.

Heavy usage causes complexification and minor enlargement, and once more: complexification is so efficient etc. ad nauseam. If an organ or part of an organ is no longer required, it is not unnatural for it to disappear. You could hardly have a more logical explanation. But you think your God made our brains larger than necessary and preprogrammed or dabbled shrinkage, and you have no idea why.

DAVID: Light use in habilis and erectus saw brains make large jumps in size. The comparisons don't fit, unless God as an agency is at work. Then of course you can ignore all the facts and daydream as an illogical distortion of them.

Please note that in my theory it was a new "heavy use" that caused the brain to expand - just as it does today, though on a lesser scale. Now please tell me what facts I have ignored or distorted, what additional facts you have to support your theory of divine preprogrammming or dabbling in advance of the need for expansion, and please do make an effort to understand why your God might have preprogrammed or dabbled shrinkage as well. You keep saying he thinks logically, but how do you know that if you can't understand his logic?

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 14:28 (79 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Again a total distortion to save a pet theory. The first assumption has to be that our brain has processes developed from past brains and uses them in more complex ways.

dhw: Yes indeed, and since our modern brain follows processes of complexification and expansion (though now only on a minor scale) in response to – but not in anticipation of – new concepts, desires, plans etc., it is perfectly logical to assume that past brains did the same.

Except for your 'in anticipation', we agree.


DAVID: Your theory that the brain stopped enlarging because of anatomic size considerations is simply a wild guess, lacking any evidence for the point.

dhw: If the brain had continued to expand, we would have had elephantine heads! Expansion had to stop somewhere! That is not a wild guess – it is a logical assumption. What is your explanation for the end of expansion and the takeover by complexification?

I gave you the conversion of cc to ounces. The biggest enlargements were less than seven ounces. 'Elephantine' is pure silliness. We got to this final point in small steps. It isd all we need and it shrank from increased uses.


DAVID: Our brain arrived about 315,000 years ago and really began its 'implementation' process (your concept as to how the brain is affected) most actively with language 50-70,000 years ago, and as more an more 'implementation' has occurred in the past 35.000 years it shrunk 150 cc. (about five ounces) That is the factual evidence we have to work with, and we both note tiny enlargements in heavily used regions. That is a logical change in our brain.

dhw: Yes, both complexification and enlargement come from usage, not in anticipation of usage. The exact opposite of your theory that your God enlarged the brain before conceptualization and implementation. And it is not implementation that has shrunk the brain, but the fact that the efficiency of complexification has made a certain amount of the brain’s capacity superfluous. All perfectly logical. (my bold)

The bold is so obviously backward in its misuse of the facts. Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.


DAVID: In fossil brains the usage was never as intensive as today yet we know 200 cc jumps in volume occurred. Your strange theory does not hold water in any sense, and your paragraph above offers nothing to save it.

dhw: Our brains are the accumulation of all past concepts and all past expansions plus our own new concepts. That is why I propose that the brain eventually had to stop expanding, as above, and complexification took over, and was so efficient etc. etc. ad nauseam.

And I say this last brain was given the capacities to not need any further expansion.


DAVID: Please remember I have no knowledge of God's reasons.

dhw: You believe your logical God did it, and you can’t think of a single reason why he would have done so.

Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.


DAVID: Of course I agree with shrinkage from complexification. My argument and belief based on facts has never changed. Heavy usage shrinks modern brains.

dhw: Heavy usage causes complexification and minor enlargement, and once more: complexification is so efficient etc. ad nauseam. If an organ or part of an organ is no longer required, it is not unnatural for it to disappear. You could hardly have a more logical explanation. But you think your God made our brains larger than necessary and preprogrammed or dabbled shrinkage, and you have no idea why.

Nor do you.


DAVID: Light use in habilis and erectus saw brains make large jumps in size. The comparisons don't fit, unless God as an agency is at work. Then of course you can ignore all the facts and daydream as an illogical distortion of them.

dhw: Please note that in my theory it was a new "heavy use" that caused the brain to expand - just as it does today, though on a lesser scale.

Silliness again. Our overall brain shrank. Don't try to hide a major point.

dhw: Now please tell me what facts I have ignored or distorted, what additional facts you have to support your theory of divine preprogrammming or dabbling in advance of the need for expansion, and please do make an effort to understand why your God might have preprogrammed or dabbled shrinkage as well. You keep saying he thinks logically, but how do you know that if you can't understand his logic?

All we have is fossils, with differing brain sizes, and artifacts that advance as size increases. Archaeologists simply observe this and assume the larger size allowed the advances. I don't know why God allowed a bigger brain before it shrunk. Do you? But those are the facts we have, and you can't understand His logic either. Your obvious point is if God did something illogical, He doesn't exist. My logic about the bigger size at first: it contained early regions that helped in complexification and then left when the job was over. I will not apply that as God's actual thoughts.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Thursday, March 12, 2020, 07:56 (79 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: The first assumption has to be that our brain has processes developed from past brains and uses them in more complex ways.

dhw: Yes indeed, and since our modern brain follows processes of complexification and expansion (though now only on a minor scale) in response to – but not in anticipation of – new concepts, desires, plans etc., it is perfectly logical to assume that past brains did the same.

DAVID: Except for your 'in anticipation', we agree.

That is the nub of our disagreement, in the context of both brain and evolution in general. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled all the major adaptations and innovations before they were required. I propose that they came about in response to new conditions.

DAVID: Your theory that the brain stopped enlarging because of anatomic size considerations is simply a wild guess, lacking any evidence for the point.

dhw: If the brain had continued to expand, we would have had elephantine heads! Expansion had to stop somewhere! That is not a wild guess – it is a logical assumption. What is your explanation for the end of expansion and the takeover by complexification?

DAVID: I gave you the conversion of cc to ounces. The biggest enlargements were less than seven ounces. 'Elephantine' is pure silliness. We got to this final point in small steps. It is all we need and it shrank from increased uses.

If expansion had gone on indefinitely, we would have finished up with elephantine brains, no matter how many ounces or ccs each expansion was! One moment you’re telling us how big each expansion was, and the next you’re telling us these were small steps. It makes no difference, and it also makes no sense to say that it shrank from increased uses when we know that in the case of taxi-drivers and musicians, some sections expand through increased usage. It shrank over all because complexification took over from expansion (you pooh-pooh the logical reason I have proposed, but can offer none of your own), and complexification was so efficient that some of the capacity was no longer needed. (dhw's bold)

dhw: Yes, both complexification and enlargement come from usage, not in anticipation of usage.

DAVID: The bold is so obviously backward in its misuse of the facts. Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.

You have totally missed the point of our whole discussion, which concerns the reason for each expansion. That is why I keep emphasizing that it is the first artefact that would have been the cause. Once the new brain is in place, it continues to produce new things until the next “big idea” requires further capacity. Each new capacity is “barely used” initially, and then it is used until it proves inadequate. Sapiens’ capacity would have arrived in the same way, but when new concepts had to be implemented, it complexified instead of expanding etc., as above.

DAVID: And I say this last brain was given the capacities to not need any further expansion.

“Was given” or “has” makes no difference to the process – it stopped expanding and complexification took over. You have no idea why your God would have made it bigger than necessary - “Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.” – whereas I have provided a logical explanation for the whole sequence.

dhw: But you think your God made our brains larger than necessary and preprogrammed or dabbled shrinkage, and you have no idea why.

DAVID: Nor do you.

No, I can’t see any logic behind your theory, which is why I see no reason to believe it. I offer a perfectly logical alternative.

dhw: Please note that in my theory it was a new "heavy use" that caused the brain to expand - just as it does today, though on a lesser scale.

DAVID: Silliness again. Our overall brain shrank. Don't try to hide a major point.

I don’t know how often you want me to repeat the explanation. Please reread the bold above. Plus the paragraph beginning "You have totally missed the point..." which you continue to do.

DAVID: All we have is fossils, with differing brain sizes, and artifacts that advance as size increases. Archaeologists simply observe this and assume the larger size allowed the advances. [dhw: Please for the second time reread the paragraph beginning "You have totally missed the point..."] I don't know why God allowed a bigger brain before it shrunk. Do you? But those are the facts we have, and you can't understand His logic either. Your obvious point is if God did something illogical, He doesn't exist.

This is the silliest argument yet! I do not accept your theory that your God preprogrammed or dabbled each expansion before it was needed, plus the shrinkage which you can’t explain! It is your illogicality that I don’t understand, not God’s! If God exists, I have proposed that he provided the mechanisms that performed all these actions as intelligent cell communities responded to changing conditions. And my “point” here is that I do not for one second believe that God would do anything illogical. That is why your whole theory falls apart, and I offer you various theistic alternatives in which your God’s actions are totally logical.

See “David’s theory…” for the last part of your post.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Friday, March 13, 2020, 00:10 (78 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: That is the nub of our disagreement, in the context of both brain and evolution in general. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled all the major adaptations and innovations before they were required. I propose that they came about in response to new conditions.

Of course we will always differ. From my standpoint chance never played any role. God created life and ran the entire process of evolution. The complexity disallows any chance for natural events


DAVID: I gave you the conversion of cc to ounces. The biggest enlargements were less than seven ounces. 'Elephantine' is pure silliness. We got to this final point in small steps. It is all we need and it shrank from increased uses.

dhw: If expansion had gone on indefinitely, we would have finished up with elephantine brains, no matter how many ounces or ccs each expansion was!

No logic at all. Nothing elephantine needed. Erectus to sapiens is 200 cc. with huge difference in mentation. Another 100 cc would have added slight bulk and how much more mental ability might be very large. But our current brain is obviously quite sufficient to handle all issues. it needs no enlargement. Another wild conclusion from you to confuse the issue.

DAVID: The bold is so obviously backward in its misuse of the facts. Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.

dhw: You have totally missed the point of our whole discussion, which concerns the reason for each expansion. That is why I keep emphasizing that it is the first artefact that would have been the cause. Once the new brain is in place, it continues to produce new things until the next “big idea” requires further capacity. Each new capacity is “barely used” initially, and then it is used until it proves inadequate. Sapiens’ capacity would have arrived in the same way, but when new concepts had to be implemented, it complexified instead of expanding etc., as above.

So false an approach. My thought above stands. It is conceiving of concepts that requires the larger brain to be present, not actually making the conceived product. Onc e in mind taht is simple hand work.


DAVID: And I say this last brain was given the capacities to not need any further expansion.

dhw: “Was given” or “has” makes no difference to the process – it stopped expanding and complexification took over. You have no idea why your God would have made it bigger than necessary - “Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.” – whereas I have provided a logical explanation for the whole sequence.

Only your illogical naturalism instead of God approach. But I forget, you sometimes throw in a little faux theism in that weird idea of a God, without much purpose, who lets organisms do their own thing.


dhw: Please note that in my theory it was a new "heavy use" that caused the brain to expand - just as it does today, though on a lesser scale.

DAVID: Silliness again. Our overall brain shrank. Don't try to hide a major point.

dhw: I don’t know how often you want me to repeat the explanation. Please reread the bold above. Plus the paragraph beginning "You have totally missed the point..." which you continue to do.

I miss no point except your brain enlargement theory is a complex mess that does not follow any known facts that can make your case.


DAVID: All we have is fossils, with differing brain sizes, and artifacts that advance as size increases. Archaeologists simply observe this and assume the larger size allowed the advances. I don't know why God allowed a bigger brain before it shrunk. Do you? But those are the facts we have, and you can't understand His logic either. Your obvious point is if God did something illogical, He doesn't exist.

dhw: This is the silliest argument yet! I do not accept your theory that your God preprogrammed or dabbled each expansion before it was needed, plus the shrinkage which you can’t explain! It is your illogicality.

You are the illogical one who takes tiny enlargements in a beautifully functioning brain and blow it up into a theory as to why hominin and homo brains enlarged. All fluff. Nothing factual actually supporting the magical pipe dream .

dhw: IF God exists, I have proposed that he provided the mechanisms that performed all these actions as intelligent cell communities responded to changing conditions.

Again, a non purposeful God. Not mine

dhw: And my “point” here is that I do not for one second believe that God would do anything illogical.

Well we agree here.

dhw: That is why your whole theory falls apart, and I offer you various theistic alternatives in which your God’s actions are totally logical.

According to your humanized theory of God. The main point is that when you finally think about God, He is nothing like my God.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Friday, March 13, 2020, 17:44 (77 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: That is the nub of our disagreement, in the context of both brain and evolution in general. You insist that your God preprogrammed or dabbled all the major adaptations and innovations before they were required. I propose that they came about in response to new conditions.

DAVID: Of course we will always differ. From my standpoint chance never played any role. God created life and ran the entire process of evolution. The complexity disallows any chance for natural events.

How can you possibly equate intelligent responses to new conditions with chance? Your answer is a complete non sequitur.

dhw: If expansion had gone on indefinitely, we would have finished up with elephantine brains, no matter how many ounces or ccs each expansion was!

DAVID: No logic at all. Nothing elephantine needed. Erectus to sapiens is 200 cc. with huge difference in mentation. Another 100 cc would have added slight bulk and how much more mental ability might be very large. But our current brain is obviously quite sufficient to handle all issues. it needs no enlargement. Another wild conclusion from you to confuse the issue.
And later: DAVID: You are the illogical one who takes tiny enlargements in a beautifully functioning brain and blow it up into a theory as to why hominin and homo brains enlarged. All fluff. Nothing factual actually supporting the magical pipe dream.

We are trying to explain why the pre-sapiens brain expanded, but the sapiens brain stopped expanding and has actually shrunk. Of course the modern brain is sufficient, because complexification took over from enlargement and proved so efficient that the brain has actually shrunk. Please explain why it is illogical to suggest that if the brain enlarges on a small scale now, it might have enlarged on a large scale in earlier times. According to you, God preprogrammed or dabbled the whole process, each expansion taking place before it was needed. So please explain without any fluffiness why you think he stopped the expansion and engineered increased complexification (plus mini-enlargements) to take over, and why he then presumably decided that the brain was too big and needed shrinking. And what facts do you have to support your own “magical pipe dream”?

DAVID: Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.

dhw: You have totally missed the point of our whole discussion, which concerns the reason for each expansion. That is why I keep emphasizing that it is the first artefact that would have been the cause. Once the new brain is in place, it continues to produce new things until the next “big idea” requires further capacity. Each new capacity is “barely used” initially, and then it is used until it proves inadequate. Sapiens’ capacity would have arrived in the same way, but when new concepts had to be implemented, it complexified instead of expanding etc., as above.

DAVID: So false an approach. My thought above stands. It is conceiving of concepts that requires the larger brain to be present, not actually making the conceived product. Onc e in mind taht is simple hand work.

But according to you the brain has to be enlarged BEFORE it can conceive the concepts (though as a dualist you claim that the soul does the conceiving and only uses the brain for information and implementation). And you continue to ignore the only fact we actually know, which is that the modern brain shows us complexifications and enlargements as RESPONSES to new ideas, plans, desires, requirements, no matter how simple or complex the tasks may be. You yourself admit that we cannot “know” whether Einstein’s thicker brain sections were the cause or the result of his innovative thinking. See also your dualist’s dilemma in the parenthesis at the start of this paragraph.

dhw: You have no idea why your God would have made it bigger than necessary - “Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.” – whereas I have provided a logical explanation for the whole sequence.

DAVID: Only your illogical naturalism instead of God approach. But I forget, you sometimes throw in a little faux theism in that weird idea of a God, without much purpose, who lets organisms do their own thing.

It is none of the above! You refuse to look for reasons whenever I question the logic of your theories, and you try to divert attention by trivializing or distorting alternative explanations. My naturalism and “do their own thing” is not instead of God but allows for him to be the creator of the mechanisms, is not faux theism, is not “without much purpose”, and is no weirder than the God of your theory of evolution, who can think like us and is logical like us, except that he doesn’t think like us and we can’t understand his logic.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Friday, March 13, 2020, 19:32 (77 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Of course we will always differ. From my standpoint chance never played any role. God created life and ran the entire process of evolution. The complexity disallows any chance for natural events.

dhw: How can you possibly equate intelligent responses to new conditions with chance? Your answer is a complete non sequitur.

As with Davies, how did the intelligent responses appear? Not by chance


dhw: We are trying to explain why the pre-sapiens brain expanded, but the sapiens brain stopped expanding and has actually shrunk. Of course the modern brain is sufficient, because complexification took over from enlargement and proved so efficient that the brain has actually shrunk. Please explain why it is illogical to suggest that if the brain enlarges on a small scale now, it might have enlarged on a large scale in earlier times. According to you, God preprogrammed or dabbled the whole process, each expansion taking place before it was needed. So please explain without any fluffiness why you think he stopped the expansion and engineered increased complexification (plus mini-enlargements) to take over, and why he then presumably decided that the brain was too big and needed shrinking.

You are simply describing facts that I know God produced.

dhw: And what facts do you have to support your own “magical pipe dream”?

All my research that convinced me God exists. You've read the books.


DAVID: Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.

dhw: You have totally missed the point of our whole discussion, which concerns the reason for each expansion. That is why I keep emphasizing that it is the first artefact that would have been the cause. Once the new brain is in place, it continues to produce new things until the next “big idea” requires further capacity. Each new capacity is “barely used” initially, and then it is used until it proves inadequate. Sapiens’ capacity would have arrived in the same way, but when new concepts had to be implemented, it complexified instead of expanding etc., as above.

DAVID: So false an approach. My thought above stands. It is conceiving of concepts that requires the larger brain to be present, not actually making the conceived product. Once in mind that is simple hand work.

dhw: But according to you the brain has to be enlarged BEFORE it can conceive the concepts (though as a dualist you claim that the soul does the conceiving and only uses the brain for information and implementation). And you continue to ignore the only fact we actually know, which is that the modern brain shows us complexifications and enlargements as RESPONSES to new ideas, plans, desires, requirements, no matter how simple or complex the tasks may be. You yourself admit that we cannot “know” whether Einstein’s thicker brain sections were the cause or the result of his innovative thinking. See also your dualist’s dilemma in the parenthesis at the start of this paragraph.

No dilemma. It all follows my dualist theory in the soul having to use a more complex brain to generate more complex concepts.


dhw: You have no idea why your God would have made it bigger than necessary - “Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.” – whereas I have provided a logical explanation for the whole sequence.

We don't know why the brain started out bigger. All we can presume is it was a requirement of the development of the more complex smaller brain later on. Just follow what happened. we cannot know God's reasons. Remember.


DAVID: Only your illogical naturalism instead of God approach. But I forget, you sometimes throw in a little faux theism in that weird idea of a God, without much purpose, who lets organisms do their own thing.

dhw: It is none of the above! You refuse to look for reasons whenever I question the logic of your theories, and you try to divert attention by trivializing or distorting alternative explanations. My naturalism and “do their own thing” is not instead of God but allows for him to be the creator of the mechanisms, is not faux theism, is not “without much purpose”, and is no weirder than the God of your theory of evolution, who can think like us and is logical like us, except that he doesn’t think like us and we can’t understand his logic.

Your usual distortions of my statements. I don't try to understand His reasons behind His creations. You don't understand my concept of God, and of course everything about God is illogical to you because my God is not humanized and yours is, which leads to your constant confusion.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Saturday, March 14, 2020, 12:31 (77 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: We are trying to explain why the pre-sapiens brain expanded, but the sapiens brain stopped expanding and has actually shrunk. Of course the modern brain is sufficient, because complexification took over from enlargement and proved so efficient that the brain has actually shrunk. Please explain why it is illogical to suggest that if the brain enlarges on a small scale now, it might have enlarged on a large scale in earlier times. According to you, God preprogrammed or dabbled the whole process, each expansion taking place before it was needed. So please explain without any fluffiness why you think he stopped the expansion and engineered increased complexification (plus mini-enlargements) to take over, and why he then presumably decided that the brain was too big and needed shrinking.

DAVID: You are simply describing facts that I know God produced.

You don’t “know” any such thing, and I have asked you to explain your interpretation of the facts, as bolded.

DAVID: Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.

dhw: You have totally missed the point of our whole discussion, which concerns the reason for each expansion. That is why I keep emphasizing that it is the first artefact that would have been the cause. Once the new brain is in place, it continues to produce new things until the next “big idea” requires further capacity. Each new capacity is “barely used” initially, and then it is used until it proves inadequate. Sapiens’ capacity would have arrived in the same way, but when new concepts had to be implemented, it complexified instead of expanding etc., as above.

This is a vital part of the process I am proposing. As you constantly point out, “sapiens arrived with a barely used brain”. Our subject is what caused the arrival of the new large brain, and what caused its later shrinkage. I've offered you a detailed explanation, but all you can say is “So false an approach”. Please tell me which step in this process you consider to be false.

dhw: […] You yourself admit that we cannot “know” whether Einstein’s thicker brain sections were the cause or the result of his innovative thinking. See also your dualist’s dilemma in the parenthesis at the start of this paragraph.

DAVID: No dilemma. It all follows my dualist theory in the soul having to use a more complex brain to generate more complex concepts.

You have agreed that according to your dualism, the soul uses the brain to gather information and to implement (make real) its concepts. According to dualism the brain does not conceive concepts, and yet over and over again you keep saying that it does.Do you want me to go through the list of quotes again?

dhw: You have no idea why your God would have made it bigger than necessary - “Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.” – whereas I have provided a logical explanation for the whole sequence.

DAVID: We don't know why the brain started out bigger.

That is precisely what I have repeatedly tried to explain. See above and below.

DAVID: All we can presume is it was a requirement of the development of the more complex smaller brain later on. Just follow what happened. we cannot know God's reasons. Remember.

The fact that we cannot “know” God’s reasons does not mean that God acted in the way you tell us he did! We can at least make intelligent, logical guesses to explain the facts. For instance, yet again: the sapiens brain reached its maximum size for the practicalities of human anatomy, complexification took over, and (as you keep agreeing and then trying to disagree), complexification proved so efficient that the brain shrank. I find this rather more reasonable than “God did it and we don’t/can’t know why”.

Under “Neurons change to form memories”:
QUOTE: Even slight alterations to this signal affected the mRNA's journey to its target destination, showing the sophisticated mechanisms brain cells develop to control the logistics of thousands of different messages.

Once again the process is one in which the cells RESPOND to events. They do not make alterations in advance of them.

DAVID: Once again a very refined system of molecular changes to manage the system of memory formation. Which raises the next issue: when you try to remember a given pint, how does the brain go about finding it? Nothing about our brain is all that simple, when digging into the biochemistry of thought and memory. Our brain is obviously a miraculous outcome of evolution. Evolution was not unguided but designed.

Yes indeed, it is a miracle. And your comment emphasizes your materialistic view of it, since you have the brain and not the soul searching for the “pint” (I love this misprint! Hic!). This ties in with my earlier attempts to reconcile dualism and materialism under a Theory of Intelligence, beginning on 26 April 2018.

I have shifted the rest of your post to the thread concerning your theory of evolution

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Saturday, March 14, 2020, 21:16 (76 days ago) @ dhw

dhw: We are trying to explain why the pre-sapiens brain expanded, but the sapiens brain stopped expanding and has actually shrunk. Of course the modern brain is sufficient, because complexification took over from enlargement and proved so efficient that the brain has actually shrunk. Please explain why it is illogical to suggest that if the brain enlarges on a small scale now, it might have enlarged on a large scale in earlier times.

Your idea is pure theory based on what I view as a 'category' idea: any brain enlargement of any size definitely implies any sized enlargement is possible. Of course it is, just as anything you declare possible is possible out of thin air. Categorically tiny enlargements are only that, and offer no proof 200 cc enlargements come from the same causes.

dhw: [/b] According to you, God preprogrammed or dabbled the whole process, each expansion taking place before it was needed. So please explain without any fluffiness why you think he stopped the expansion and engineered increased complexification (plus mini-enlargements) to take over, and why he then presumably decided that the brain was too big and needed shrinking.[/i]

You have forgotten my rule. You love to dig into God's reasons. I don't. My guess is the bigger brain contained a complexification mechanism, which as complexity was accomplished the mechanism disappeared. Logical, yes. Correct, only God knows?


DAVID: Sapiens arrived with a barely used brain and then employed your implementation process with in the end shrinking.

dhw: This is a vital part of the process I am proposing. As you constantly point out, “sapiens arrived with a barely used brain”. Our subject is what caused the arrival of the new large brain, and what caused its later shrinkage. I've offered you a detailed explanation, but all you can say is “So false an approach”. Please tell me which step in this process you consider to be false.

God made the enlarged brain. Complexification shrunk it. What is your problem?

dhw: You have no idea why your God would have made it bigger than necessary - “Pounding same dead horse. I don't look for His reasons. No need.” – whereas I have provided a logical explanation for the whole sequence.

DAVID: We don't know why the brain started out bigger.

dhw: That is precisely what I have repeatedly tried to explain.

Explaining without God in charge makes your job difficult. I've given a logical guess as to why larger at first above. Again, only god knows if it is correct.


DAVID: All we can presume is it was a requirement of the development of the more complex smaller brain later on. Just follow what happened. we cannot know God's reasons. Remember.

dhw: The fact that we cannot “know” God’s reasons does not mean that God acted in the way you tell us he did! We can at least make intelligent, logical guesses to explain the facts. For instance, yet again: the sapiens brain reached its maximum size for the practicalities of human anatomy, complexification took over, and (as you keep agreeing and then trying to disagree), complexification proved so efficient that the brain shrank. I find this rather more reasonable than “God did it and we don’t/can’t know why”.

Of course reasonable, but is your guess correct? Only God knows. Try accepting what God did without hunting for His reasons. My logical guess is above. But why bother?


Under “Neurons change to form memories”:
QUOTE: Even slight alterations to this signal affected the mRNA's journey to its target destination, showing the sophisticated mechanisms brain cells develop to control the logistics of thousands of different messages.

dhw: Once again the process is one in which the cells RESPOND to events. They do not make alterations in advance of them.

Of course they do. they follow instructions for alterations .


DAVID: Once again a very refined system of molecular changes to manage the system of memory formation. Which raises the next issue: when you try to remember a given pint, how does the brain go about finding it? Nothing about our brain is all that simple, when digging into the biochemistry of thought and memory. Our brain is obviously a miraculous outcome of evolution. Evolution was not unguided but designed.

dhw: Yes indeed, it is a miracle. And your comment emphasizes your materialistic view of it, since you have the brain and not the soul searching for the “pint” (I love this misprint! Hic!). This ties in with my earlier attempts to reconcile dualism and materialism under a Theory of Intelligence, beginning on 26 April 2018.

You know full well my theory: the soul uses more complex mechanisms in the brain for more complex conceptualization thought

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Sunday, March 15, 2020, 10:28 (76 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: Please explain why it is illogical to suggest that if the brain enlarges on a small scale now, it might have enlarged on a large scale in earlier times.

DAVID: Your idea is pure theory based on what I view as a 'category' idea: any brain enlargement of any size definitely implies any sized enlargement is possible. Of course it is, just as anything you declare possible is possible out of thin air. Categorically tiny enlargements are only that, and offer no proof 200 cc enlargements come from the same causes.

Back you go to “proof”. Yes, it is a theory, and nobody has ever produced a theory that has been proven, because otherwise we would not even be discussing the cause of enlargement. It is not illogical to speculate that a known current process might have operated on a larger scale in the past. Can you give me proof that your God popped in to enlarge brains 200 cc at a time?

dhw: According to you, God preprogrammed or dabbled the whole process, each expansion taking place before it was needed. So please explain without any fluffiness why you think he stopped the expansion and engineered increased complexification (plus mini-enlargements) to take over, and why he then presumably decided that the brain was too big and needed shrinking.

DAVID: You have forgotten my rule. You love to dig into God's reasons. I don't. My guess is the bigger brain contained a complexification mechanism, which as complexity was accomplished the mechanism disappeared. Logical, yes. Correct, only God knows?

How can I possibly forget your rule, which is that you refuse to answer any awkward question that throws doubt on your personal interpretation of your God’s motives and actions? Your guess makes no sense. How can the mechanism for complexity have disappeared if the brain continues to complexify? Similarly one might ask how can the mechanism for expansion have disappeared if parts of the brain still expand?

DAVID: We don't know why the brain started out bigger.

dhw: That is precisely what I have repeatedly tried to explain.

DAVID: Explaining without God in charge makes your job difficult. I've given a logical guess as to why larger at first above. Again, only god knows if it is correct.

What do you mean by “in charge”? I’ll keep my theist hat on for the purpose of this discussion. My job of explaining my proposal with God but without his being "in charge of" every single life form, natural wonder, brain expansion etc. is perfectly simple: your God created the mechanism whereby cells/cell communities, including those of the brain, have the autonomous ability to change their structure (e.g. to enlarge it) in order to cope with or exploit new conditions and requirements.

DAVID (responding to my explanation of expansion and shrinkage): Of course reasonable, but is your guess correct? Only God knows. Try accepting what God did without hunting for His reasons. My logical guess is above. But why bother?

You mean that I should try accepting your interpretation of what God did. Why should I, if it is NOT reasonable? As for "Why bother?" see the thread devoted to your theory of evolution.

dhw: your comment emphasizes your materialistic view of it, since you have the brain and not the soul searching for the “pint” (I love this misprint! Hic!). This ties in with my earlier attempts to reconcile dualism and materialism under a Theory of Intelligence, beginning on 26 April 2018.

DAVID: You know full well my theory: the soul uses more complex mechanisms in the brain for more complex conceptualization thought.

That was my explanation of the theory you ought to be espousing as a dualist. The soul uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to gather information and it uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to implement those concepts. Whereas over and over again, you have the brain doing the conceiving. Do you really want me to produce a list of quotes?

(For some reason your post was repeated, all in italics. I’ve taken the liberty of deleting the repetition.)

Introducing the brain: brain growth by pattern

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 15, 2020, 15:22 (75 days ago) @ dhw

The neurons are organized in a pattern that allows new oerganization:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200312101048.htm

"Life is rife with patterns. It's common for living things to create a repeating series of similar features as they grow: think of feathers that vary slightly in length on a bird's wing or shorter and longer petals on a rose.

"It turns out the brain is no different. By employing advanced microscopy and mathematical modeling, Stanford researchers have discovered a pattern that governs the growth of brain cells or neurons. Similar rules could guide the development of other cells within the body,

"Their study, published in Nature Physics, builds on the fact that the brain contains many different types of neurons and that it takes several types working in concert to perform any tasks. The researchers wanted to uncover the invisible growth patterns that enable the right kinds of neurons to arrange themselves into the right positions to build a brain.

***

"What they found was that each neuron is surrounded by roughly a dozen neighbors similar to itself, but that interspersed among them are other kinds of neurons. This unique arrangement means that no single neuron sits flush against its twin, while still allowing different types of complementary neurons to be close enough to work together to complete tasks.

"The researchers found that this pattern repeats over and over across the entire flatworm brain to form a continuous neural network. Study co-authors Jian Qin, an assistant professor of chemical engineering, and postdoctoral scholar Xian Kong developed a computational model to show that this complex network of functional neighborhoods stems from the tendency of neurons to pack together as closely as possible without being too close to other neurons of the same type.

Comment: Simple. Patterns require design. Life is filled with patterns. There is a designer. See the next comment about patterns.

Introducing the brain: brain growth by pattern

by dhw, Monday, March 16, 2020, 13:56 (74 days ago) @ David Turell

"Their study, published in Nature Physics, builds on the fact that the brain contains many different types of neurons and that it takes several types working in concert to perform any tasks. "

DAVID: Simple. Patterns require design. Life is filled with patterns. There is a designer. See the next comment about patterns.

Another example of the body being a community of cell communities which cooperate with one another.

DAVID: (under rats’ whiskers) It looks as if God is a mathematician, especially as life follows precise patterns which we find when studied.

If he exists, I would expect him to be a mathematician, a scientist, an inventor, an artist, a designer, a philosopher, a critic, a judge….You see, just like you, I think he probably has thought patterns, emotions and attributes similar to ours.

Introducing the brain: brain growth by pattern

by David Turell @, Monday, March 16, 2020, 15:22 (74 days ago) @ dhw

"Their study, published in Nature Physics, builds on the fact that the brain contains many different types of neurons and that it takes several types working in concert to perform any tasks. "

DAVID: Simple. Patterns require design. Life is filled with patterns. There is a designer. See the next comment about patterns.

Another example of the body being a community of cell communities which cooperate with one another.

DAVID: (under rats’ whiskers) It looks as if God is a mathematician, especially as life follows precise patterns which we find when studied.

dhw: If he exists, I would expect him to be a mathematician, a scientist, an inventor, an artist, a designer, a philosopher, a critic, a judge….You see, just like you, I think he probably has thought patterns, emotions and attributes similar to ours.

I fully agree with you about logical thought patterns, but His reasoning and His purposes may not be what you think when you theorize about Him. For example time may be of no issue to Him, while you wonder about why He delayed human appearance. I don't. As for emotions and attributes they may be totally different.

Introducing the brain: brain growth by pattern

by dhw, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 12:58 (74 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: It looks as if God is a mathematician, especially as life follows precise patterns which we find when studied.

dhw: If he exists, I would expect him to be a mathematician, a scientist, an inventor, an artist, a designer, a philosopher, a critic, a judge….You see, just like you, I think he probably has thought patterns, emotions and attributes similar to ours.

DAVID: I fully agree with you about logical thought patterns, but His reasoning and His purposes may not be what you think when you theorize about Him.

Of course most of my various logical alternative theistic explanations of evolution must be wrong! I have simply been pointing out to you that “His reasoning and His purposes may not be what you think when you theorize about Him”, and I have given you logical reasons why your one and only theory defies any logical thought pattern you and I can think of.

DAVID: For example time may be of no issue to Him, while you wonder about why He delayed human appearance. I don't. As for emotions and attributes they may be totally different.

No, I don’t wonder about why he “delayed human appearance”. It is you who insist that he did, because you insist that humans were his one and only purpose right from the beginning. Maybe they weren’t. Or IF they were, maybe he is not an all-knowing God but a learning God. I simply offer different explanations for the course of evolutionary history. I do not claim, as you seem to do, that only one theory is correct.

Introducing the brain: brain growth by pattern

by David Turell @, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 20:05 (73 days ago) @ dhw
edited by David Turell, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 20:36

DAVID: It looks as if God is a mathematician, especially as life follows precise patterns which we find when studied.

dhw: If he exists, I would expect him to be a mathematician, a scientist, an inventor, an artist, a designer, a philosopher, a critic, a judge….You see, just like you, I think he probably has thought patterns, emotions and attributes similar to ours.

DAVID: I fully agree with you about logical thought patterns, but His reasoning and His purposes may not be what you think when you theorize about Him.

dhw: Of course most of my various logical alternative theistic explanations of evolution must be wrong! I have simply been pointing out to you that “His reasoning and His purposes may not be what you think when you theorize about Him”, and I have given you logical reasons why your one and only theory defies any logical thought pattern you and I can think of.

My theories are simply based on the history of His creations. We arrived last. Your logical reasoning is always humanizes Him. We do not think about God in any similar way.


DAVID: For example time may be of no issue to Him, while you wonder about why He delayed human appearance. I don't. As for emotions and attributes they may be totally different.

dhw: No, I don’t wonder about why he “delayed human appearance”. It is you who insist that he did, because you insist that humans were his one and only purpose right from the beginning. Maybe they weren’t. Or IF they were, maybe he is not an all-knowing God but a learning God. I simply offer different explanations for the course of evolutionary history. I do not claim, as you seem to do, that only one theory is correct.

Same weird complaint. My God is purposeful, knows exactly why He is doing it and when He wants it accomplished. Your version of God bumbles around as you humanize Him. We have debated about God for years but it is obvious we have never agreed on the same version of God that both of can agree upon. I've told you your version of God is nothing like mine for a number of years. It falls on deaf ears and you simply argue with me from your version of God. of course we never meet in the middle. Is it possible we can agree to a similar version of God? I'm not sure it is possible. Want to try?

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Sunday, March 15, 2020, 19:50 (75 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have forgotten my rule. You love to dig into God's reasons. I don't. My guess is the bigger brain contained a complexification mechanism, which as complexity was accomplished the mechanism disappeared. Logical, yes. Correct, only God knows?

dhw: How can I possibly forget your rule, which is that you refuse to answer any awkward question that throws doubt on your personal interpretation of your God’s motives and actions? Your guess makes no sense. How can the mechanism for complexity have disappeared if the brain continues to complexify? Similarly one might ask how can the mechanism for expansion have disappeared if parts of the brain still expand?

Good point about complexification. We have to account for the shrinkage so I made the possible assumption too bold. What can be thought is the complexification mechanism complexified itself and is still present in a much smaller form. That seems logical. As for the bolded snipe above you constantly want to guess at God's reasons. I don't doubt my thinking because I do not guess at what I cannot know. I'm sorry I refuse to answer your 'awkward questions' but they are so out in left field that require answers that are just guesses. I'm not avoiding you. I am confronting you with an entirely different approach than yours. I simply accept God's creations, as evidence of his purposes. As for expansion of the brain, obviously a very limited form of it exists in this brain , and proves nothing more about ancient brains. In our brain we are dealing with a very specialized result which is built on the past, reflects it but is not the past.


dhw: your comment emphasizes your materialistic view of it, since you have the brain and not the soul searching for the “pint” (I love this misprint! Hic!). This ties in with my earlier attempts to reconcile dualism and materialism under a Theory of Intelligence, beginning on 26 April 2018.

DAVID: You know full well my theory: the soul uses more complex mechanisms in the brain for more complex conceptualization thought.

dhw: That was my explanation of the theory you ought to be espousing as a dualist. The soul uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to gather information and it uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to implement those concepts. Whereas over and over again, you have the brain doing the conceiving. Do you really want me to produce a list of quotes?

My quotes about the brain is a shorthand so I don't rewrite my entire theory each time it comes up. You understand it so quit sniping every time I use it. Lets by considerate of each other. I've politely given you reasons for God's motives. All guesses. I've given up producing those answers as they prove nothing.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Monday, March 16, 2020, 14:08 (74 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: […]You have forgotten my rule. You love to dig into God's reasons. I don't. My guess is the bigger brain contained a complexification mechanism, which as complexity was accomplished the mechanism disappeared. Logical, yes. Correct, only God knows?

dhw: How can I possibly forget your rule, which is that you refuse to answer any awkward question that throws doubt on your personal interpretation of your God’s motives and actions? Your guess makes no sense. How can the mechanism for complexity have disappeared if the brain continues to complexify? Similarly one might ask how can the mechanism for expansion have disappeared if parts of the brain still expand?

DAVID: Good point about complexification. We have to account for the shrinkage so I made the possible assumption too bold. What can be thought is the complexification mechanism complexified itself and is still present in a much smaller form. That seems logical. As for the bolded snipe above you constantly want to guess at God's reasons. I don't doubt my thinking because I do not guess at what I cannot know.

You do so all the time, from the existence of God to all the assumptions that underlie your illogical theory of evolution.

DAVID: I'm sorry I refuse to answer your 'awkward questions' but they are so out in left field that require answers that are just guesses. I'm not avoiding you. I am confronting you with an entirely different approach than yours. I simply accept God's creations, as evidence of his purposes.

With my theist’s hat on, so do I. And I offer alternative interpretations of the evidence, which you accept as being logical but to which you can only raise one objection: humanization. See below.

DAVID: As for expansion of the brain, obviously a very limited form of it exists in this brain , and proves nothing more about ancient brains. In our brain we are dealing with a very specialized result which is built on the past, reflects it but is not the past.

As always, nobody has “proof” of any theory. I don’t think anyone would disagree that the present is not the past. But if the present brain is built on the past brain, there is no reason to assume that its process of changing itself in response to new actions was reversed in the past by changing itself in anticipation of new actions.

dhw: The soul uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to gather information and it uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to implement those concepts. Whereas over and over again, you have the brain doing the conceiving. Do you really want me to produce a list of quotes?

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

No, I don’t understand it. The expansion of the brain as the cause of new concepts is crucial to your theory! That is why you make such statements as “an earlier brain cannot conceive what a more advanced brain can conceive and create”; “The existing brain conceives of the new object and makes it. The older smaller brain has nothing to do with it. It can’t conceive of the new idea”; “The second bold does not answer my point that an earlier brain cannot conceive of an idea it is not capable of conceiving;” “Our thinking brain; “the more thoughtful brain has shrunk” etc. I keep reminding you that the dualist’s thinking soul uses the brain for information and implementation. If we take our spear example, the homo has a current problem: how to avoid having to wrestle with a bison. You say that only when God expands his brain can his soul come up with the answer. What new information has the brain provided the soul with? Homo, bison and distance are exactly the same as they were before the expansion. So why, if souls do the thinking and the information they are processing is already present, do you believe dualists’ souls are incapable of having new ideas about existing information until they’ve got bigger brains?

DAVID (under David’s theory of evolution): That necessarily means each enlargement of a brain pan by 200 cc was God's doing. You try to talk around that point by offering naturalistic possibilities, no God involved.

dhw: Of course that’s what your fixed theory means. I’m not talking round it, I’m questioning it! And I see no reason why your God should not have designed the mechanisms for the “naturalistic possibilities”, so please don’t pretend that my various alternatives do not “involve” God.

DAVID: Always a humanized God.

Irrelevant to your false statement “No God involved”.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by David Turell @, Monday, March 16, 2020, 18:48 (74 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: Good point about complexification. We have to account for the shrinkage so I made the possible assumption too bold. What can be thought is the complexification mechanism complexified itself and is still present in a much smaller form. That seems logical. As for the bolded snipe above you constantly want to guess at God's reasons. I don't doubt my thinking because I do not guess at what I cannot know.

dhw: You do so all the time, from the existence of God to all the assumptions that underlie your illogical theory of evolution.

I don't guess about God. I've concluded He exists.

DAVID: As for expansion of the brain, obviously a very limited form of it exists in this brain , and proves nothing more about ancient brains. In our brain we are dealing with a very specialized result which is built on the past, reflects it but is not the past.

dhw: As always, nobody has “proof” of any theory. I don’t think anyone would disagree that the present is not the past. But if the present brain is built on the past brain, there is no reason to assume that its process of changing itself in response to new actions was reversed in the past by changing itself in anticipation of new actions.

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


dhw: The soul uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to gather information and it uses the (more) complex mechanisms of the brain to implement those concepts. Whereas over and over again, you have the brain doing the conceiving. Do you really want me to produce a list of quotes?

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

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

I know the soul's role in my way of looking at dualism. I think you do understand it, as shown in your reminder. To repeat: for the soul to develop advanced concepts it must use a brain of advanced complexity. The problem is the innate ability for an existing underlying brain to accommodate the development of new concepts. Your 'information and implementation' requires understanding that implementation has two parts: developing the abstract concept and then actually making the new idea as a product. It requires abstract thought. Abstract thought is not required to simply receive information. but coordinating the new information into a new concept requires abstract thinking. Our brain at 315,000 years ago was larger than now, and we had to learn how to use more fully. More advanced language is thought to be only 50-70,000 years old. The brain shrank 150 cc in the past 35,000 years. I conclude our newer larger brain contained the mechanisms to allow all of this and the smaller size means our learn ing to use our brain accomplished all of what was required in ringing the brain to its current state. As a result evidence of complex civilization is less than 12,000 years old.

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

Introducing the brain: stimulating neurons uses EPO

by David Turell @, Monday, March 16, 2020, 20:59 (74 days ago) @ David Turell

Erythropoietin is a protein that drives red cell production and stimulates neurons:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/03/200313115659.htm

"Erythropoietin, or Epo for short, is a notorious doping agent. It promotes the formation of red blood cells, leading thereby to enhanced physical performance -- at least, that is what we have believed until now. However, as a growth factor, it also protects and regenerates nerve cells in the brain.

***

"'Administering Epo improves regeneration after a stroke (termed 'neuroprotection' or 'neurogeneration'), reducing damage in the brain. Patients with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder or multiple sclerosis who have been treated with Epo have shown a significant improvement in cognitive performance," says Hannelore Ehrenreich

***

"The results of her research indicate that in adult mice, there is a 20 percent increase in the formation of nerve cells in the pyramidal layer of the hippocampus -- a brain region crucial for learning and memory -- after the growth factor is administered. "The nerve cells also form better networks with other nerve cells, and do this more quickly, making them more efficient at exchanging signals," says Ehrenreich.

***

"In a series of targeted experiments, they were able to prove that when learning complex motor tasks, nerve cells require more oxygen than is normally available to them. The resulting minor oxygen deficiency (relative hypoxia) triggers the signal for increased Epo production in the nerve cells. "This is a self-reinforcing process: Cognitive exertion leads to minor hypoxia, which we term 'functional hypoxia', which in turn stimulates the production of Epo and its receptors in the corresponding active nerve cells. Epo subsequently increases the activity of these nerve cells, induces the formation of new nerve cells from neighbouring precursor cells, and increases their complex interconnection, leading to a measurable improvement in cognitive performance in humans and mice," explained Ehrenreich."

Comment: the improvement in neuron function by EPO shows how the brain is capable of rallying its own neurons in to more active states by using anoxia as a trigger. Brain use of daily energy supply is an enormous 20% so this mechanism is an obvious add on to EPO's existing functions. Not by chance. A clear example of design.

Introducing the brain: half a brain is just fine

by dhw, Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 13:16 (74 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: […] if the present brain is built on t