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Thread: Human Consciousness Video Neuroscience Debate The Other Side

  1. #1 Human Consciousness Video Neuroscience Debate The Other Side 
    Forum Junior AndresKiani's Avatar
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    I just came up about this video, gives an example of the other side of the argument "consciousness is not the product of the brain". Its interesting because a lot of the arguments this professor is making sounds like a lot of the same arguments many Neuroscientists who work specifically on human consciousness are also making (those who oppose the common belief that consciousness is product of human brain). A lot of the stuff that I was talking about before..

    *I would like to add that I have no opinion on the subject as of yet, though I find this stuff to be very interesting to me.. Also I purposefully put this in the pseudoscience section



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    The video is over an hour long in duration. Could you give us the highlights you've found interesting, or give us time indices within the video you wish to focus on?


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    This is just silly. Go away Descartes, go away
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    This guy Professor Hameroff, is an anesthesiologist, though his research team consists of several physicists, biophysicists, neuroscientists, and anesthesiologists, whom all are working on human consciousness for scientific/medical purposes and philosophical purposes as well. He works out of University of Arizona Medical Center, were his a professor in anesthesiology and the head director on the study of "Human Consciousness Project".

    ----------------------

    Main Points:
    - He has been working on human consciousness for 40 years.

    - The brain can be thought of as a computer, 100 billion neuron or 100 billion bits, each neuron firing at 10^15 operations per second when they developed computer models to see if they can produce computer models for consciousness. Though, consciousness has not been able to be re produced by any computer at any level of consciousness.

    - One of the issues with this is that we do not know how to measure consciousness directly.

    - The question is whether or not there is a certain number of neurons that is needed to produce consciousness.. This does not seem to be the case, some organisms have no neurons, but carry out sexual reproduction, seem to have a capacity to learn, ect.

    - Whether or not consciousness can be reduced to the neural pathways of the brain? From 40 years of research and experience in the field, he says that he does not believe this to be the case.

    - He believes that the computational properties of microtubules and such proteins are responsible for consciousness. As he explains with more detail, neurons are composed of mostly microtubules, and are the targets for anesthesia (to induce patient's unconscious under surgery). Anesthesia, works in depolymerizing these microtubules, during which the patient is no longer conscious, until the anesthesia wears of initiating the re-polymerization of these microtubules.

    - These patients come back with their consciousness intact after repolymerization of these microtubules, which he says would not be the case if consciousness was reduced to the neural networks of the brain.

    - Microtubules, Actin, and Intermediate filaments have been shown to be the driving forces of the majority of cellular processes, this is also known as cellular computation. ~~I just finish taking a Cellular Molecular Biology course this Spring, so I'll laugh if you bring up cellular transduction pathways to explain cellular mechanics (which only serves to activate expression and processes, but doesn't determine full dynamics)~~

    - He also explains that Microtubules for example are hallow protein formations, 9 * 3 + 2 cylindrical formation. Therefore, where does the computation processing occur?

    - Spent 20 years working on Microtubule information processing and computation, alongside several physicists colleagues.

    - He then goes into talking about quantum physical approaches to computational processing in these microtubules, however I don't understand enough of this to explain what they are actually talking about. He worked with several physicists and biophysicist to come up with these ideas.

    - They have done several experiments that he "claims" supports his argument, though I don't understand enough physics to explain this.


    -----------------------------

    However, chemically and biologically it makes sense, because the anesthetics are "fat soluble", there for are attracted to the Myelin regions of the neuron where the microtubules are most densely populated. Microtubules are tubulin subunits, which come together due to GTP binding and formation via GEF protein constant GTP transfer, when this system is disrupted or not capped, the "dynamic instability" property of the microtubule network, causes a (catastropy) mass depolymerization of the microtubule network.

    Also, in neurons, cognition influences microtubule dynamics. Which means that you can rearrange your neural network or go down several different paths by different cognitive processes, learning, and other factors.
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    This here is an immunohistochemistry assay of a nerve cell in the brain. I've done this sort of assay plenty of times in Cell Molecular Biology lab. The blue fluorescence is a DAPI immunochemistry, specific for nucleic acid (DNA). The red fluorescence is caused by F - Actin CytoStain, immunochemically specific for Actin monomers. The green is caused by a protein antibody specific for Microtubule subunits while GTP bound.

    As you can see the areas of neural networking and firing are dominated by Microtubule formations (known as the area of computation). The areas of pre and post synaptic clefts (areas of receiving and sending signals, electrical & neurotransmitters) are dominated by Actin. Actin is also another cellular structure protein that mediates smaller cellular processes.

    Another interesting fact, nerve cells are not really highly specialized. In fact structurally nerve cells are all basically the same, the only difference is electrical frequency (firing rate), which is the language of neurons. This is also another reason why some scientist believe that consciousness may be produced by the microtubule computation processes rather the traditional belief.
    Last edited by AndresKiani; June 27th, 2014 at 08:09 AM.
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    I don't think any neuroscientists who think consciousness doesn't come from the brain could call themselves a scientist any longer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I don't think any neuroscientists who think consciousness doesn't come from the brain could call themselves a scientist any longer.
    I mean, you have to understand their argument before you can judge them that way. They have very valid arguments in my opinion as do the scientist who think consciousness is an aggregate of neurons.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I don't think any neuroscientists who think consciousness doesn't come from the brain could call themselves a scientist any longer.
    I mean, you have to understand their argument before you can judge them that way. They have very valid arguments in my opinion as do the scientist who think consciousness is an aggregate of neurons.
    The short clips of the vid were mostly techno gibberish (e.g., "photo-quantum teleportation") being spouted by a non-neuroscientist flowered up with mental masturbation some of us refer to as philosophy. He has no scientific arguments.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I don't think any neuroscientists who think consciousness doesn't come from the brain could call themselves a scientist any longer.
    I mean, you have to understand their argument before you can judge them that way. They have very valid arguments in my opinion as do the scientist who think consciousness is an aggregate of neurons.
    The short clips of the vid were mostly techno gibberish (e.g., "photo-quantum teleportation") being spouted by a non-neuroscientist flowered up with mental masturbation some of us refer to as philosophy. He has no scientific arguments.
    Really.. no scientific arguments what so ever? He's studied microtubules, neurons and anesthesiology for 40 years, director of research in "human consciousness" at the University of Arizona. Those physics related claims were made by his colleagues with physics backgrounds who work with him.

    In our university we also have "human consciousness" field of research. I think most people have a misinterpretation of what their goal is its not really pseudoscience like Robert Lanza. Its not trying to prove anything metaphysical or whatever, they are just trying to figure out how we can help those in a vegetated state that seem to be in a non conscious state, or those who are in coma, or for surgical procedures, to understand dreams, for better medicine and anesthesiology.
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    Hey AndresKiani, I'm surprised you said that structurally, all neurons are the same, and that the only difference is firing rate. What about purkineje and pyramidal cells for example? Neurons are certainly different in that they have differing average number and arrangement of dendrites.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Hey AndresKiani, I'm surprised you said that structurally, all neurons are the same, and that the only difference is firing rate. What about purkineje and pyramidal cells for example? Neurons are certainly different in that they have differing average number and arrangement of dendrites.
    The only way that a nerve fiber can vary its signal is by changing the frequency of signal conduction. The basics of a neuron is all structurally the same, its based on action potential, ion channels, pre and post synaptic cleft regions, dendrites, soma, long narrow axon, and axon terminals.

    The number of dendrites (their arrangement) and the length of the axon are different, the shape may be different, but the chemistry, the anatomy of nerve cells are "Basically" the same.
    Last edited by AndresKiani; June 26th, 2014 at 11:27 PM.
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    In a sense they're the same. One of the major tenets in biology, is that cells share the same biochemical processes, and that all things have DNA. However, they all do vastly different things. So what I'm saying is, I think you're exaggerating the similarities. As to the explanation put forward by Hameroff, I will have to wait for empirical evidence before I make a conclusion about whether consciousness is generated by these microtubules and filaments. However, even if this was the case, that wouldn't mean that consciousness isn't generated by the brain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    In a sense they're the same. One of the major tenets in biology, is that cells share the same biochemical processes, and that all things have DNA. However, they all do vastly different things. So what I'm saying is, I think you're exaggerating the similarities. As to the explanation put forward by Hameroff, I will have to wait for empirical evidence before I make a conclusion about whether consciousness is generated by these microtubules and filaments. However, even if this was the case, that wouldn't mean that consciousness isn't generated by the brain.
    Yeah I mean, I don't generally agree with what his saying or disagree, because I haven't taken any neuroscience courses and have no neuroscience background what so ever. However, this microtubule idea is not new thing, I've heard this from friends who are in neuroscience labs as graduate and PhD students.

    I'm not really familiar with this guys work though, I just ran into this video recently and thought it was interesting that it was touching on a lot of the subjects that I had previously spoke about.. except in regards to "Protein Dynamics".
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    Yeh, I stumbled across the video a while ago as well. I think from what I read, most neuroscientists disagree with him, and are like 'What the hell dude? Why are you bring quantum physics into this?' Because as the conventional wisdom goes, the temperature is simply not right for the brain to be acting as a quantum computer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Yeh, I stumbled across the video a while ago as well. I think from what I read, most neuroscientists disagree with him, and are like 'What the hell dude? Why are you bring quantum physics into this?' Because as the conventional wisdom goes, the temperature is simply not right for the brain to be acting as a quantum computer.
    Lol yeah that idea of how quantum computers and absolute zero, and how these two relate threw me way off towards left field. What does thermal energy have to do with quantum mechanics?

    That's why I had to put this under pseudoscience...
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    It has to do with the way calculations are done. Thermal energy as we know, translates to kinetic energy in particles, which would make meaningful calculations rather impossible, as you're not able to manipulate them, they're too chaotic.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    It has to do with the way calculations are done. Thermal energy as we know, translates to kinetic energy in particles, which would make meaningful calculations rather impossible, as you're not able to manipulate them, they're too chaotic.
    Thermal energy should not affect quantum energy states of electrons, I learned this the hard way. Though, I may be wrong. Thermal energy is related to the atomic vibration, kinetic energy of the atoms and molecules, as you said "too chaotic". Though has no effect on quantum mechanics. ----I believe..
    Last edited by AndresKiani; June 27th, 2014 at 12:42 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post

    Really.. no scientific arguments what so ever? He's studied microtubules, neurons and anesthesiology for 40 years, director of research in "human consciousness" at the University of Arizona. Those physics related claims were made by his colleagues with physics backgrounds who work with him.
    Argument from authority, woo is woo no matter who is saying it.

    In our university we also have "human consciousness" field of research. I think most people have a misinterpretation of what their goal is its not really pseudoscience like Robert Lanza. Its not trying to prove anything metaphysical or whatever, they are just trying to figure out how we can help those in a vegetated state that seem to be in a non conscious state, or those who are in coma, or for surgical procedures, to understand dreams, for better medicine and anesthesiology.
    A fine ambition but I'm willing to bet any solution they come up with will have nothing to do with utter bollocks about "photo-quantum teleportation" and the like...
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhDemon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post

    Really.. no scientific arguments what so ever? He's studied microtubules, neurons and anesthesiology for 40 years, director of research in "human consciousness" at the University of Arizona. Those physics related claims were made by his colleagues with physics backgrounds who work with him.
    Argument from authority, woo is woo no matter who is saying it.

    In our university we also have "human consciousness" field of research. I think most people have a misinterpretation of what their goal is its not really pseudoscience like Robert Lanza. Its not trying to prove anything metaphysical or whatever, they are just trying to figure out how we can help those in a vegetated state that seem to be in a non conscious state, or those who are in coma, or for surgical procedures, to understand dreams, for better medicine and anesthesiology.
    A fine ambition but I'm willing to bet any solution they come up with will have nothing to do with utter bollocks about "photo-quantum teleportation" and the like...
    All that microtubule and cellular computation is fine.. However, it seems to me that these guys don't get the proper recognition in their research because they want to tie what they can't explain to quantum physics for some reason. They get all philosophical about it as well, rather than experimental science.

    I was thinking that his claims relating to quantum mechanics was put together by his "physicist" colleagues and not by him, hoping that it would have made some sort of sense if that was the case..
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post

    All that microtubule and cellular computation is fine..
    I can agree with that...

    However, it seems to me that these guys don't get the proper recognition in their research because they want to tie what they can't explain to quantum physics for some reason. They get all philosophical about it as well, rather than experimental science.
    This is where the woo starts, that's why they are not getting recognition.
    I was thinking that his claims relating to quantum mechanics was put together by his "physicist" colleagues and not by him, hoping that it would have made some sort of sense if that was the case..
    Anyone who can spout woo like "photo-quantum teleportation" with a straight face has left physics behind and joined the bullshit bandwagon IMO
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    As far as I'm concerned, he has a hypothesis about consciousness. He needs to have this experimentally tested, to see if his guess matches observation. If it does, great. If it doesn't, he's wrong. I haven't seen any experimental evidence for his hypothesis, so he really shouldn't be harping on about it.
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    Aside from the woo and philosophical factors which Hameroff should resist rather than embrace if he wants to be taken seriously there are many problems with the idea.

    The scales are many orders of magnitude off, even the smallest biological components far far above quantum temporal and spacial scales.
    The biological conditions are opposite of optimum conditions for any existing concepts of what quantum computing would look like.
    Standard molecular biological explanations are a much closer match, and supported by the empirical evidence to some of the unresolved problems when Hameroff/Penrose proposed possible quantum consciousness ideas. A good summation those problems and non-supportive experimental results can be found here: Is the Brain a Quantum Computer? - Litt - 2010 - Cognitive Science - Wiley Online Library

    The bird wing metaphor is an excellent way to view the problem.
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    I don't get the quantum processing reference. Why is there even an association that the brain's processes is anything akin to quantum processing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoobydoo1 View Post
    I don't get the quantum processing reference. Why is there even an association that the brain's processes is anything akin to quantum processing?

    Because, when they look inside of a microtubule as you can see from the model I posted above, its an empty cylindrical lattice. So, I'm guessing that because they don't quiet understand the full science of this yet they turn to quantum mechanics. Basically, they think smaller and smaller. They basically are saying .. since it can't be the microtubule proteins that are processing this, it must have to do with the subatomic mechanics, or within the "quantum realm" in which the processing actually occurs.

    Though, instead of perusing experimental science, they turn to philosophical ideas and all sorts of craziness that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. Therefore their research gets no respectable recognition.
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    My gut feel is that quantum theories of consciousness due to microtubule coherence are on very shaky ground. For quantum mechanics to deal with the 'conscious binding' problem these microtubules need to be entangled not only with single neurons but across the millions of scatterred neurons that encode conscious information. While appealing to some, there is no current evidence for large scale quantum coherence of matter in the brain on the scale that is required for quantum consciousness. The difficulty of maintaining quantum coherence with just a few atoms in the lab is sufficient reason to showcase the implausibility of some of the more exotic claims in regards to quantum coherence and consciousness.

    One of the more plausible theories I have read about which does not need to step into such exotic territory are electromagnetic field theories of the brain such as the cemi field theory proposed by Johnjoe McFadden. All neurons generate an electromagnetic field and this field contains exactly the same information as the circuitry that generated it (localised neurons), however the neuronal information through EM wave superposition into an integrated whole with other neurons allowing for co-ordinated de-centralised processing. We know that the brain generates an EM field inside the cranium (an effective faraday cage) which can be measured on an EEG but very little attention has been focussed on the ability of this field to co-ordinate collective neuronal firing across the brain. Furthermore the collective neuronal firing further re-inforce coordinated field responses of the EM field through coordinated wave amplification.

    One of the issues this theory addresses is the binding problem through neuronal synchrony. What the cemi field theory of McFadden's allows for is a basis to understand how neuronal synchrony is co-ordinated to provide a basis for 'why distrinct seperate regions of the brain show synchronous neuronal firing when conscious decisions are being made versus the very localised nature of neuronal firing when in-voluntary or repetetive functions are being undertaken.

    More here:
    https://machineslikeus.com/sites/def...013%28a%29.pdf
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electr..._consciousness
    The cemi field theory
    http://www.surrey.ac.uk/qe/pdfs/Seve...sciousness.pdf
    Last edited by Implicate Order; June 27th, 2014 at 08:25 PM.
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    Apparently heat disturbs some kinds of quantum superposition? Since when 0.o
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    Thanks so much for the link Lynx (lols). Hey Andres, I actually posted that link on the video, and the uploader gave me a link to him having an interview with one of the authors of the paper on why the brain isn't a quantum computer: Chris Eliasmith on Singularity 1 on 1: We Have Not Yet Learned What The Brain Has To Teach Us!
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    Interesting link. I checked his webite
    Quantum Consciousness . Stuart Hameroff
    and found interesting reading there, even though a lot of it is way out of the envelope.
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    Is it just me, or are poorly formatted websites, advertising someone's papers, a general trend you see in pseudoscience/woo?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Is it just me, or are poorly formatted websites, advertising someone's papers, a general trend you see in pseudoscience/woo?
    I had the same impression after visiting the site for ten seconds.
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    10 seconds .. lol .. I got pee'd of with it after a few seconds, seeing as it was quite circular and poorly constructed.

    But you can't judge a book by it's cover .. or the treasure (or junk) by the appearance of the treasure chest.

    I did read several articles on that site, and was quite stunned to see, through subsequent research and articles NOT on that site, that 'spooky action at a distance' aka 'quantum communications' is a reality. Now there's woo for you ..

    inter alia ..
    Breakthrough in quantum communication -- ScienceDaily
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Yeh, I stumbled across the video a while ago as well. I think from what I read, most neuroscientists disagree with him, and are like 'What the hell dude? Why are you bring quantum physics into this?' Because as the conventional wisdom goes, the temperature is simply not right for the brain to be acting as a quantum computer.
    Lol yeah that idea of how quantum computers and absolute zero, and how these two relate threw me way off towards left field. What does thermal energy have to do with quantum mechanics?
    That's why I had to put this under pseudoscience...
    I don't know if quantum effects will be THE explanation of consciousness, but I wouldn't be surprised if it somehow facilitated processing. It is popping up in other biological systems like photosynthesis, olfaction, and microorganisms, even though scientists did think the biological systems were too big, wet, and warm.

    Hammeroff and Penrose have their critics, but they shouldn't really be lumped into the nutcase pseudoscience category.

    Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis
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    Quote Originally Posted by DianeG View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AndresKiani View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Curiosity View Post
    Yeh, I stumbled across the video a while ago as well. I think from what I read, most neuroscientists disagree with him, and are like 'What the hell dude? Why are you bring quantum physics into this?' Because as the conventional wisdom goes, the temperature is simply not right for the brain to be acting as a quantum computer.
    Lol yeah that idea of how quantum computers and absolute zero, and how these two relate threw me way off towards left field. What does thermal energy have to do with quantum mechanics?
    That's why I had to put this under pseudoscience...
    I don't know if quantum effects will be THE explanation of consciousness, but I wouldn't be surprised if it somehow facilitated processing. It is popping up in other biological systems like photosynthesis, olfaction, and microorganisms, even though scientists did think the biological systems were too big, wet, and warm.

    Hammeroff and Penrose have their critics, but they shouldn't really be lumped into the nutcase pseudoscience category.

    Quantum mechanics explains efficiency of photosynthesis
    Yeah I was not sure really where to put this, I mean the guy has done 40 years of research on neuronal microtubules and consciousness. However, his philosophies or his team's philosophies, just don't seem to have enough scientific support so I had no choice.

    Yeah its interesting, I've read a lot about quantum mechanics and how it relates to these systems, however I'm still trying to cure my ignorance in that discipline.
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