Quantum Consciousness Update

Just found this 2011 update, from Penrose and Hammeroff, of their microtubule theory of quantum consciousness, which seemed to have gotten the kaibosh when it turned out that neurons could support consciousness, just as they said….. but only if they were as hot as the sun.

Of course, Tegmark gave them a kaibosh long before that, when he noted that the quantum coherence that microtubules can muster doesn’t last long enough to make the sustained thoughts (well, well over 300ms – that’s minimal reaction time for most 20-somethings) that constitute what we feel as consciousness.  That is, Orch OR (I am sick of these cutesy names in science!) could lead to consciousness, but not the kind anyone would remember.

To be fair, I don’t know if Tegmark gave them a kaibosh, or whether they simply received one from him. Quantum mechanics are weird and that kind of thing happens.  A lot.  The truth is that I do not fully understand the kaibosh economy, though suspect I am part of it, and not in the good way either.

I do know that, in fairness to Penrose, Tegmark supposedly received a kaibosh of his own – a kaibosh of his kaibosh – from Rosa and Faber here.  By the Arithmetic Property of Kaibosh, I believe that this left Penrose kaibosh-free, and possibly with a Tebow-like negative-kaibosh, or as Charlie Sheen calls it, winning (in fairness, that video was funny when it first came out; he was still in freefall at the time, and none of us really thought he had that kind of – what’s the word for it? Togetherness – in him. Let alone balance.)

Anyway this paper paper seems to be moving them towards panpsychism; Penrose seems to be getting more cosmic as he gets older, if you lump this in with the endless cycling of universes thing. Of some concern, the Journal of Cosmology is not well-known for its work on consciousness, but when Roger Penrose comes knocking – hey!

Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol. 14.
JournalofCosmology.com, 2011

Consciousness in the Universe:
Neuroscience, Quantum Space-Time Geometry and Orch OR Theory
Roger Penrose, PhD, OM, FRS1, and Stuart Hameroff, MD2 
1Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor, Mathematical Institute, Emeritus Fellow, Wadham College,
University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
2Professor, Anesthesiology and Psychology, Director, Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA

AbstractThe nature of consciousness, its occurrence in the brain, and its ultimate place in the universe are unknown. We proposed in the mid 1990’s that consciousness depends on biologically ‘orchestrated’ quantum computations in collections of microtubules within brain neurons, that these quantum computations correlate with and regulate neuronal activity, and that the continuous Schrödinger evolution of each quantum computation terminates in accordance with the specific Diósi–Penrose (DP) scheme of ‘objective reduction’ of the quantum state (OR). This orchestrated OR activity (Orch OR) is taken to result in a moment of conscious awareness and/or choice. This particular (DP) form of OR is taken to be a quantum-gravity process related to the fundamentals of spacetime geometry, so Orch OR suggests a connection between brain biomolecular processes and fine-scale structure of the universe. Here we review and update Orch OR in light of criticisms and developments in quantum biology, neuroscience, physics and cosmology. We conclude that consciousness plays an intrinsic role in the universe.

KEY WORDS: Consciousness, microtubules, OR, Orch OR, quantum computation, quantum gravity

Forum at neuroself.lefora.com


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