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Thread: Scientists offer quantum theory of Soul's existence

  1. #1 Scientists offer quantum theory of Soul's existence 
    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    I really don't know where to put this, so I'm putting it here. I see a lot of holes and assumptions and even things that have been proven as being something otherwise explainable in this article, so my suspicion is that they are stretching it.

    A PAIR of world-renowned quantum scientists say they can prove the existence of the soul.
    American Dr Stuart Hameroff and British physicist Sir Roger Penrose developed a quantum theory of consciousness asserting that our souls are contained inside structures called microtubules which live within our brain cells.

    Their idea stems from the notion of the brain as a biological computer, "with 100 billion neurons and their axonal firings and synaptic connections acting as information networks".

    Dr Hameroff, Professor Emeritus at the Departments of Anesthesiology and Psychology and Director of the Centre of Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona, and Sir Roger have been working on the theory since 1996.

    They argue that our experience of consciousness is the result of quantum gravity effects inside these microtubules - a process they call orchestrated objective reduction (Orch-OR).

    In a near-death experience the microtubules lose their quantum state, but the information within them is not destroyed. Or in layman's terms, the soul does not die but returns to the universe.

    Dr Hameroff explained the theory at length in the Morgan Freeman-narrated documentary Through the Wormhole, which was recently aired in the US by the Science Channel.

    The quantum soul theory is now trending worldwide, thanks to stories published this week by The Huffington Post and the Daily Mail, which have generated thousands of readers comments and social media shares.

    "Let's say the heart stops beating, the blood stops flowing, the microtubules lose their quantum state," Dr Hameroff said.

    "The quantum information within the microtubules is not destroyed, it can't be destroyed, it just distributes and dissipates to the universe at large.

    'If the patient is resuscitated, revived, this quantum information can go back into the microtubules and the patient says "I had a near death experience".'

    In the event of the patient's death, it was "possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body indefinitely as a soul".

    Dr Hameroff believes new findings about the role quantum physics plays in biological processes, such as the navigation of birds, adds weight to the theory.
    Scientists offer quantum theory of soul's existence | News.com.au


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  3. #2  
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    Penrose is well known for this stuff.

    "Physicists outside the fray... say the calculations confirm what they had suspected all along.

    'We're not working with a brain that's near absolute zero. It's reasonably unlikely that the brain evolved quantum behavior'".


    Tegmark's paper has been widely cited by critics of the Penrose–Hameroff position.
    from Roger Penrose - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Unless a quantum theorist comes along with more detail, we should go with the scientific view. They're wrong.

    Unless and until they can show where and how their critics' arguments fall down, they'll stay wrong.


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  4. #3  
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    Just in time I found this. Quantum | Pharyngula

    It's attracted over 500 comments in less than a day - most of them are similarly jokey - but you might find something relevant. I'll go and read through now.
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    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  5. #4  
    Forum Professor pyoko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Penrose is well known for this stuff.

    "Physicists outside the fray... say the calculations confirm what they had suspected all along.

    'We're not working with a brain that's near absolute zero. It's reasonably unlikely that the brain evolved quantum behavior'".


    Tegmark's paper has been widely cited by critics of the Penrose–Hameroff position.
    from Roger Penrose - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Unless a quantum theorist comes along with more detail, we should go with the scientific view. They're wrong.

    Unless and until they can show where and how their critics' arguments fall down, they'll stay wrong.
    It's interesting that Roger Penrose refers to himself as an atheist. As far as I can see, there is no harm going in the direction he is going. Have to start somewhere. Have a hypothesis, go study it, prove or disprove it, change it, test it etc. I would not call him a quack, even if his hypothesis is completely wrong. I just hope he would be as happy with a negative result as a positive.
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  6. #5  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Penrose is one of those people who believes intelligence/consciousness cannot arise from a purely "mechanical" or material process; e.g. artificial intelligence. As such, he has to look for some alternative source of human consciousness that does not just arise in the processing of the brain.

    If you are not religious then I guess you have to choose something else "mysterious". So there several people claiming the answer lies in quantum theory (I don't really see how that helps, personally) or even dark matter. Basically, anything that isn't (or may not be) fully understood.
    ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat
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  7. #6  
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    quantum?

    Quantum gravity effects?

    Quantum microtubes?

    Quantum information?

    Quantum state?

    Does anybody understand what is meant by Quantum well enough to make it sound simple?

    Quantum means light, right?
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  8. #7  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quantum means "quantized" which means occurring in discrete values. So light, for example, has a minimum amount of energy (for a given frequency) and this quantum of light is called a photon.

    At a small scale it seems that many things are quantized (can't be divided further). This may be true of time and space. We don't know yet.
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    Is a quark a quantum?

    Or a preon?

    Ia an eletron a quantum?

    Are all the things in the ellementary partical diagram quantums of matter/energy? as far as we know.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyoko View Post
    Dr Hameroff believes new findings about the role quantum physics plays in biological processes, such as the navigation of birds, adds weight to the theory,

    Scientists offer quantum theory of soul's existence | News.com.au
    I'm surprised that this has gotten so much recent airplay. Tegmark did a pretty convincing set of calculations over a decade ago that showed our hot brains would disallow quantum effects of the kind invoked by Penrose and Hameroff. See "Importance of quantum coherence in brain processes," Phys Rev E, 61, pp. 4194–4206.

    I'll go fishing to see if P&H have come up with anything new, though it doesn't immediately seem so.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strange View Post
    Penrose is one of those people who believes intelligence/consciousness cannot arise from a purely "mechanical" or material process; e.g. artificial intelligence. As such, he has to look for some alternative source of human consciousness that does not just arise in the processing of the brain.
    The cart's all packed up, but the horse is in the stable.
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  12. #11 When humanity dies, perhaps all our souls die too 
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    In a book I just read, and re-reading, the concept of quantum causality allows for shared consciousness; not that it is supported in any depth. The author simply cites that the brain is matter and supports a cogitive element. Because of relativity, the constituents of the matter of the brain are part of every observable element in the universe. Gravity as an example.

    He does not attempt to disavow any connection between cognition and the universe, he support cognition as part of the brain and the connections due to relativity between elements of the universe. Where there are many cognitive counterparts. To perhaps an insignificant amount cognition is universally connected. But when we die, are our causal connections still connecting cognition in some way? An afterlife of sorts.

    The author states that likely when the Earth is hit by an asteroid of significant size, or other global extinction event, the shared consciousness that we refer to as the soul will cease to exist. The end of all afterlife for everyone.
    Interests: Time Travel, Building Universes, Space-Time, Relativity, Woodworking
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    I'm fascinated by the idea of shared or universal consciouness...

    It could be just like they said in ancient times, we are all manisfestations of the same universal consciousness. With an illusion or possibly a reality of division making us single units. While possibly being single units that are also connected... something like cells in a body.
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  14. #13  
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    a quantum computer is still just a computer


    its not doing anything we couldnt program a big enough computer to do.
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  15. #14  
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    Penrose et al have been busy with this for some time now, but I could never see why such an approach is even called for. While he is well respected for his other work, and deservedly so, I can't help but feel some embarrassment on his part for this.
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  16. #15  
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    I have glanced over the paper by Penrose and Hameroff. And I've come to the following conclusion:
    They are not entirely wrong, but they are doing it wrong.

    Let's start at the beginning. Why does consciousness spring into quantum theory? What is its use? Well in the beginning of Copenhagen interpretation it was wondered why there is this transition of quantum world to classical observation. As we as humans live in a classical world, and any observation done by us makes the quantum world disappear. The how and why of explaining the mathematics often involved a 'conscious choice' hence the question of 'consciousness' occurred.

    But strictly speaking there are 2 flaws with this. First of all, it is predetermined that only a consciousness could make the quantum to classic step. Whereas obviously this is just an assumed subset of things that could do that. And in the past, instead of expanding this subset, we tried to figure out which part of the whole set would fit in this subset (what has consciousness) this is the wrong question.

    Second Penrose and Hameroff make the same mistake by assuming that for a conscious quantum to classic switch to change one needs to have a super position. Entanglement. But this isn't the case, entaglement is just a unique effect of the quantized nature. But the core of Quantum mechanics (Quantization) doesn't necessary require entanglement as the only culprit.

    To be straightforward and fair, the effect seems off. As the mathematics that are quantized are quantum mechanics, and those that are continuous are not. (there is no such thing as an non quantized observable) And this is important to realize by making the classical world more discrete, we allow ourselves to find discrete answers! (like 1, or 2 atoms, and not 1.00001 atoms)

    Actually the act of quantization is the core of quantum mechanics. This is what explains the strange nature. We don't look at conscious as something which is there because of entanglement. We should view 'choice' as the act of making a discrete memory of something which is continuous. (like determining the energy, the position etc.)

    Does that mean consciousness are intertwined? No. What is does mean is the transitions from quantum to classic is done by anything or anyone that could choose to make a continuous value to a discrete value. (Choice is perhaps a bit fishy, but if we don't choose to observe/document it the quantum world remains.)

    And this is not contained to entanglement and hence de-coherence is also not crucial. In fact anything from humans, to animals, to computers could make such a switch.
    But it has to be observable. I mean leaves of trees use quantum tunnelling continuously yet trees don't die when I look at them. Hence I don't observe the effect. The best thing to know about consciousness that it is an ascribed answer to a problem which has broader solutions. And isn't as complicated as it seems.
    In the information age ignorance is a choice.
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