Brainless But Not Mindless

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Brainless But Not Mindless

Thomas R. Verny M.D.


Quote:
  • The size of a human brain is unrelated to its information content, intelligence, or capacities.
  • The brain never works alone.
  • Cells in the body (somatic cells, immune cells) form a network that acts like a backup disk for the brain.



Quote:I started to explore this subject six years ago, when I read an article reprinted from Reuters Science News entitled, “Tiny brain no obstacle to French civil servant.” It seems that in July 2007, a 44-year-old French man went to a hospital complaining of a mild weakness in his left leg. When doctors learned that the man had a spinal shunt removed when he was 14, they performed numerous scans of his head. What they discovered was a huge fluid-filled chamber occupying most of the space in his skull, leaving little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue. It was a case of hydrocephalus, literally—water on the brain (Fig. 1). Dr. Lionel Feuillet of Hôpital de la Timone in Marseille was quoted as saying, “The images were most unusual ... the brain was virtually absent.” The patient was a married father of two children and worked as a civil servant apparently leading a normal life, despite having a cranium filled with spinal fluid and very little brain tissue.



Quote:Octopuses lack a central brain. Each of an octopus’s eight arms has an extensive number of neurons resulting in the equivalent of having a “brain” in each appendage that is capable of receiving and processing information about the environment. These findings question a clear-cut link between brain size and cognitive skills.



Quote:I suggest that people with missing brain tissue who appear to act quite normally perform as well as they do not because of “neuroplasticity” or “recruitment” of unaffected areas in the brain, though no doubt some of that applies, but because the brain never works alone. Its function is inextricably linked to the body and to the outside world. In the individual who lacks a large part of their cortex, the neurons in the cranial nerves, spinal cord, and other cells in the body (somatic cells, immune cells, etc.) form a network that is constantly communicating with the brain—or what’s left of it—and acts like a backup disk on a computer, containing snippets of memory and functionality that collectively contribute to near normal cognition and behavior.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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This topic was in the mainstream news recently:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/tv/tv-...235182121/

But in spite of these rather inexplicable situations, scientists still assert the certainty that mind = brain.  Its a strange thing to say the least.
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(2022-08-02, 10:53 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Brainless But Not Mindless

Thomas R. Verny M.D.


I suggest that people with missing brain tissue who appear to act quite normally perform as well as they do not because of “neuroplasticity” or “recruitment” of unaffected areas in the brain, though no doubt some of that applies, but because the brain never works alone. Its function is inextricably linked to the body and to the outside world. In the individual who lacks a large part of their cortex, the neurons in the cranial nerves, spinal cord, and other cells in the body (somatic cells, immune cells, etc.) form a network that is constantly communicating with the brain—or what’s left of it—and acts like a backup disk on a computer, containing snippets of memory and functionality that collectively contribute to near normal cognition and behavior.

I suggest that in this patient and others with a similar condition the spinal cord and other otherwise specialized cells of the body probably don't have the capability to substitute for the missing brain neurons because they are specialized for other functions, and that it is more likely that per the interactive dualist interpretation, the spirit of this unfortunate individual has so contrived that the interaction interface function of the brain between spirit and body has taken over almost all of the small amount of cerebral cortex and other brain structures that are still remaining. And that the spirit or soul or (mostly) immaterial mobile center of consciousness has taken over most of that functioning. This may actually be the kind of brain plasticity that is involved.

The phenomenon of terminal lucidity may also be explained along these lines. I don't know of any alternative explanation, as a matter of fact. The sudden nature of these spontaneous transformations would seem to be kind of what would be expected if this hypothesis were correct.

The bolded part of Verny's paragraph actually reverts to the discredited "materialistic epiphenomenon of brain neuron functioning" explanation of consciousness.
(This post was last modified: 2022-08-03, 04:18 PM by nbtruthman. Edited 10 times in total.)
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(2022-08-03, 03:49 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: The bolded part of Verny's paragraph actually reverts to the discredited "materialistic epiphenomenon of brain neuron functioning" explanation of consciousness.


Its almost childish in a certain regard.

I came to this thinking back to how much children, when very young, would revert to explaining newly experienced phenomenon through a lens of their then limited experience and knowledge.  They would do this with childlike certainty at times and it was something that always made me smile.  After all, it was easy to see how logic and reasoning were emerging in them but how naively the result was due to their inability to see past what they knew.

Continually using computational analogies for consciousness strikes me as the same thing (at least potentially).  History may not judge this practice kindly in the future.
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I'd have to double check but Verny's definitely not a materialist.

I think he criticizes epiphenomenalism as well...I also posted a few of his articles all at once rather than in sequence. He seemed to shift from varied ideas up to a rejection of materialism, though he seems to think of Steward Kauffman's "Poised Realm" as the place of consciousness...

Kauffman did start writing about a "Cosmic Mind" so perhaps there is more to the "Poised Realm" than the space between quantum and classical...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2022-08-03, 05:21 PM)Silence Wrote: Its almost childish in a certain regard.

I came to this thinking back to how much children, when very young, would revert to explaining newly experienced phenomenon through a lens of their then limited experience and knowledge.  They would do this with childlike certainty at times and it was something that always made me smile.  After all, it was easy to see how logic and reasoning were emerging in them but how naively the result was due to their inability to see past what they knew.

Continually using computational analogies for consciousness strikes me as the same thing (at least potentially).  History may not judge this practice kindly in the future.

I think children understand the difference between qualitative feelings and quantitative measurements even more than materialists.

Children seem to get the amusing aspect of someone saying "I love you times infinity!", that the qualitative aspect of love isn't measurable mathematically.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2022-08-04, 06:04 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Children seem to get the amusing aspect of someone saying "I love you times infinity!", that the qualitative aspect of love isn't measurable mathematically.


Made me smile Sci.  I miss this as my children are now all of adult ages.  This was a favorite game among us (as with lots of families).  And I think you're on to something with kids knowing more in a sense.
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