Yes, the brain can change, functionally and structurally. And the impulse to make these changes comes from ... the brain (in cahoots with senses and nervous system). It's a self-modifying system, incredibly subtle, incredibly complex. Sufficiently complex to give birth to personal consciousness.
So, you assert that salt and water and other molecular structures either:
1.already have consciousness on their own (can cognitively bear witness to their own existence)
2. can spontaneously produce cognition from themselves,
or can produce the conditions
for the spontaneous production of
cognition, when those conditions did not exist before,
which implies that causes of cognition lie dormant in water, salt and other molecular structures from which the brain is composed:
Water: 77 to 78 %
fats: 10 to 12 %
Soluble organic substances: 2%
Inorganic salts: 1%
So, please tell me, at what point along the scale from single carbon atom, or hydrogen atom, all the way up to complex human brain, where along that construction is it that the causes of cognition spontaneously occur?
And further, what is the cause (there has to be a cause, if there is a result) for cognition to occur? All of the other organs of the body seem to function without any cognitive self-awareness whatsoever.
I'm not arguing that all these physical events are not necessary for what we regard as cognition to occur.
All I am saying is that they do not produce the awareness itself of these physical events,
and that it is only when these events occur within the context of, or within the ground of awareness
does what we experience as cognition actually occur.
Since awareness cannot be refuted, cannot be shown not to exist,
I suggest that this is a reasonable argument
and basically, the Buddhist argument as well.