Introducing the brain (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, May 08, 2018, 23:49 (223 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 (222 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 (222 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 (221 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 (221 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 (220 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 (220 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 (219 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 (219 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 (218 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 (218 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 (217 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 (217 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 (216 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 (216 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 (215 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 (215 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 (215 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 (214 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 (214 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 (213 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 (213 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 (212 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 (212 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 (211 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 (211 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 (210 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 (210 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 (209 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 (209 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 (208 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 (208 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 (207 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 (207 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 (206 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 (206 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 (205 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 (205 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 (204 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 (204 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 (203 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 (203 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 (202 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 (202 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 (202 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 (202 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 (201 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 (201 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 (200 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 (200 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 (199 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 (199 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 (198 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 (198 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 (198 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 (197 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 (197 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 (196 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 (196 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 (195 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 (195 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 (194 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 (194 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 (194 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 (194 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 (194 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 (193 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 (193 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 (192 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 (192 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 (191 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 (191 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 (190 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 (190 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 (189 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 (189 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 (188 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 (188 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 (187 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 (187 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 (186 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 (186 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 (186 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 (184 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 (184 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 (184 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 (184 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 (183 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 (183 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 (197 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 (197 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 (196 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 (196 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 (195 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 (195 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 (194 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 (194 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 (193 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 (193 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 (192 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 (192 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 (191 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 (191 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 (191 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 (190 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 (190 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 (189 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 (189 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 (188 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 (188 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 (188 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 (187 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 (187 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 (182 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; increased exercise reprograms

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 06, 2018, 18:26 (41 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 (35 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 (35 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 (34 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 (34 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 (33 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 (8 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 (7 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 (7 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 (6 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 (6 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 (5 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 (5 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 (4 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 (4 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 (3 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 (3 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 (2 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.

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