'The Myth of Quantum Consciousness.'

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qed

Senior Member
Have you really read the book all the way through and understood it?

The following quote comes from the book's website. http://quantumenigma.com/controversy/

I will read the book when I can steal it, but I suspect it to be far less controversial than you believe.
 
The book isn't controversial it lays out the theory of quantum mechanics in an easy to understand way and lets the reader come to their own conclusions. The above was mainly directed against the film What the bleep do we know which quickly turned from a discussion about QM into channeling an egyptian spirit and other crazy ideas
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
well I'm stuck on string theory because this whole concept of quantum consciousness reminds me of carlos castenada. who is pretty stringy himself. and I gotta say, I can totally see this relating to consciousness. well, it doesn't sound any different then any other books I've read on the subject.
 

qed

Senior Member
The QM universe is indeed very strange compared to classical mechanics: there really is instantaneous action at a distance (which Einstein could not accept).

But, all theories of quantum consciousness are pure speculation. And many derive from a misunderstanding of "observer" (and in Penrose's case, a misunderstanding of the Halting Problem and Godel's theorems).
 

qed

Senior Member
Nah its because I came to the same conclusion before i read the book and then latter found the book and was surprised that there were top scientist who agreed.
As a young adult I got excited by books that agreed with my view of the world. I soon found that the best books were those that shattered my reality, i.e., taught me something new.
 
There is no doubt that quantum consciousness is speculation but so are other theories of consciousness . I don't think that penrose misunderstands QM maybe you should chat with him…
 

qed

Senior Member
There is no doubt that quantum consciousness is speculation but so are other theories of consciousness . I don't think that penrose misunderstands QM maybe you should chat with him…
Penrose has misapplied the purely mathematical results of the Halting Theorem and Godel's theorems to conclude that the human brain is not algorithmic. Many say this, not just me. Dennet is a famous example.

That is the first "half" of the book.

The second half, proposing a theory of quantum consciousness, is pure speculation.
 
We evolved to live in the classical physics world not the quantum world so its not a surprise that anything non classical is unsettling for us
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I don't think its possible with the human brain to understand . People have glimpses into true reality, I have had , but I lost it and now the memories are fading.
More mushrooms required?

I feel consciousness is an artifact of language. It's just the high level mental representation of the brain's model of the world. The only reason it gets so much attention is because of religion and mysticism - and because people don't like it being essentially an illusion.

Hence the OP, discussing a kind of mysticism.
 

Mark Barrington

Active Member
Have you tried mushrooms, dmt or had a mystical spiritual experience? o_O
I went through the whole Carlos Casteneda experience in the 70s. It was an interesting experience, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it to anyone else. I did some things that weren't particularly wise, like a motorcycle ride wile tripping on peyote. It totally created the sensation of connection to the universe, but drugs will do that to you, if it's the right drug.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Have you tried mushrooms, dmt or had a mystical spiritual experience? o_O

Yes, yes, and yes, although I have a problem with the words 'mystical' and 'spiritual' because they're largely objectively meaningless and can just as easily be psychosis. It depends on the emotional impact and the consequences in how you interact with the world I guess.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
(from hamish)
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I'm not sure it supports any of the popular 'quantum consciousness' ideas, though I can see it will be used to.

Something very small, being a mechanism that gives rise to consciousness, is not much different to something very small like atoms giving rise to a ferret. It's akin to saying the ferret is inherent in the atoms.
And it's a physical process they've apparently discovered, not an ethereal one, so how does it support the idea that consciousness exists pre-matter?

But any understanding of the mechanism of consciousness is good news.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I wonder who wrote that press release. They lay it on a bit thick.


Maybe they write press releases for scientists who have something interesting they want the public to know about?

This page has links to the commentary and criticisms.

http://www.elsevier.com/about/press...roversial-20-year-old-theory-of-consciousness
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Maybe they write press releases for scientists who have something interesting they want the public to know about?

Informing the public about something interesting is fine, I just don't think it's appropriate to write a PR that sounds like a woo advert given the history involved. It's also misleading because some of their ideas have been falsified, despite the assertion to the contrary. This isn't the first time Hameroff & Penrose have updated their ideas. If new revisions make their model any more plausible, I'm certainly open to that. I remain skeptical because they've sung this tune already.
 

Gavriel

Member
I feel consciousness is an artifact of language. It's just the high level mental representation of the brain's model of the world. The only reason it gets so much attention is because of religion and mysticism - and because people don't like it being essentially an illusion.

Yes. One could argue that a computer with a camera attached to it is conscient since it has visual perception, analyzes the data gathered and takes action based on this data, very similarly to humans. Given the right instructions, it could also recognize itself, just like us.

Nuerons are made of atoms which are made of quantum fluctuations

Not really. More like: neurons -> cell components -> molecules -> atoms -> particles -> quarks.
 
Yes. One could argue that a computer with a camera attached to it is conscient since it has visual perception, analyzes the data gathered and takes action based on this data, very similarly to humans. Given the right instructions, it could also recognize itself, just like us.



Not really. More like: neurons -> cell components -> molecules -> atoms -> particles -> quarks.
yes its just the scale of how you look at it but if you had a super microscope and saw the world everything in reality is just quarks without an observer looking at a scale greater than that . For example an atom is 99.99 percent space so what are you looking at a solid object?
The microtubule is a conduit for the quantum process between the nueron and the subatomic realm and its likely that all life evolved on the border of classical and quantum physics.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
yes its just the scale of how you look at it but if you had a super microscope and saw the world everything in reality is just quarks without an observer looking at a scale greater than that . For example an atom is 99.99 percent space so what are you looking at a solid object?
The microtubule is a conduit for the quantum process between the nueron and the subatomic realm and its likely that all life evolved on the border of classical and quantum physics.
So in your opinion what in the quantum realm constitutes life ?
 

Gavriel

Member
yes its just the scale of how you look at it but if you had a super microscope and saw the world everything in reality is just quarks without an observer looking at a scale greater than that .

Not sure I understand you here.

For example an atom is 99.99 percent space so what are you looking at a solid object?

Yes. This "99%" empty is space is the orbit of the electrons. Just like a spinning bicycle wheel.

The microtubule is a conduit for the quantum process between the nueron and the subatomic realm

You know that microtubules exist even in plants, right?

and its likely that all life evolved on the border of classical and quantum physics.

Again, not sure I understand you here.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The microtubule is a conduit for the quantum process between the nueron and the subatomic realm and its likely that all life evolved on the border of classical and quantum physics.
So then all life has microtubules , that would explain how quantum effects translate to the physical world. IE the life force or Chi, or as in star wars they call it the force… haha
How is it explained exactly?
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
Debunking types don't seem to like change any new idea is very threatening to their world view that is why they aggressively defend it without examining a new idea with an open mind , that is why I suggest you read the book and maybe you will understand it. If you haven't been blown away by quantum mechanics you don't understand it.


I disagree with you here.. debunking types, as you put it, are usually fairly scientific in their approach, which absolutely means they do not fear change. We may not LIKE the change, but we're not afraid of it. If all of this turns out to be provably true, then by all means every one of us will eat our hats and our words.. admit we were wrong and carry on about the glory of discovery. It happened when Columbus proved the world was round, it happened when the Wright brothers proved man could fly, it happened Einsten's Relativity was shown to be testable and true, it happened AGAIN when the atom was split, and yet AGAIN when Chuck Yeager proved that the sound barrier could be broken AND survived, when man went into space, landed on the moon, Black Holes were proven to be more than science fiction ETCETCETC..

Personally, I dont buy in to the theory.. but I could very well be wrong. Im just not a fan of that most common element on Earth called Handwavium.. which is what this appears to be. I felt the same way about M and String theory for the most part until they combined the two and could PROVE that its got merit. The theory's still in the air, but they're getting closer.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
... It happened when Columbus proved the world was round,..
(sorry to distract from your fine overall point, but that's a common misconception...)
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.

That's a wide interpretation of 'exactly'. There's a lot of words there.
If you had a particular passage in mind that exactly explains that can you post it?
I'm lost.
 

Alhazred The Sane

Senior Member.
The great Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose is ultimately responsible for much of this nonsense.

In his pop-science book The Emperor's New Mind he argues (falsely in my opinion) that our minds are non-algorithmic (i.e., not a computer, i.e., not a Turing machine), and then hypothesizes that quantum processes must be at play (quantum computers can perform operations that a Turing machine cannot).

[... I see the above post goes the other way around, the mind has a special role in the quantum universe]

The idea was also put forward in The Quantum Self by physicist Danah Zohar, which was published the following year. In that book Zohar argued that consciousness could well be a feature of a Bose–Einstein condensate within the brain.
 

Graylight

New Member
Thank you for bringing up this topic. I have been surprised at the viral nature of this story and it warrants attention.

I read the essay at the beginning of the thread and I noted that neither Hameroff nor Penrose was mentioned. You see, I missed their papers from 20 years ago and have ignored pretty much all the new age stuff that seemed to draw from it.

After doing some reading and watching a recent interview with Dr. Hameroff, I can say that I am more than engaged in the debate at this point.

In my view, he is a legitimate scientist with some important perspectives on the brain that we should listen to and try to understand. The logic of learning about consciousness from a lifetime of "turning it off" is hard to dismiss.

There is, however, a serious problem of cultural interpretation and apparently a desire to run away with his ideas and essentially make stuff up.

I would rather focus on some of the direct material consequences of his research. For example, he reports that due to the discovery of resonant frequencies in microtubules, application of ultrasound may result in mood improvement or other beneficial psychological effects.

I think the desire to be immortal clouds all judgement, even his. However, good science is good science and I am humbly paying attention to his peer reviewed publications. One of the things about him that I truly admire is his willingness to debate. Speaking of that... did anyone happen to attend the Brainstorm Sessions debate in Amsterdam last week?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I would rather focus on some of the direct material consequences of his research. For example, he reports that due to the discovery of resonant frequencies in microtubules, application of ultrasound may result in mood improvement or other beneficial psychological effects.
Sound Therapy has been around for years. Although im having some trouble finding any specific research. But I would imagine if ultrasound did those things we'd see a lot of dancing fetuses in prenatal care. ; ) just kidding. http://www.biowaves.com/
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
The issue is the association of quantum structures and actions with the idea of an ethereal 'observer mind' existing prior to physical processes, which seems to be a pop misinterpretation of the observer effect that has been a run-away idea that cannot be turned back.
Now any time quantum actions are scientifically investigated and proposed it seems to be licence to insert one's personal mysticism into the gap, when such conclusions are unwarranted.
People always use the fuzzy edges of science to project onto a view they have a personal preference for, so we need to be wary.
 
Penrose refers to this as proto consciousness a sort of self evolving field of the observer effect, I don't think the atom is actually conscious like humans are but rather like a soup that consciousness evolves from .
 
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