Thoughts on the Penrose-Hameroff hypothesis

What do you think about the [Penrose-Hameroff hypothesis]At the moment the only non-mechanistic naturalistic theory and similar hypotheses, there is room in science for the quantum soul, the biggest point in favor of the ph or orch or hypothesis is that some types of anesthesia hardly alter brain function but the patient does not It says nothing, basically it states that anesthesia removes the soul from the body and that the soul connects even at a distance with the body by quantitative entanglement, but it is a system that collapses itself, that is objective reduction, that is, it can decide when its quantum state collapses, points in favor smell, photosynthesis and the geomagnetic system of birds prove that biological systems can include quantum, although eight or is hypothetical like any theory of quantum gravity…(Consciousness in the universe: A review of the ‘Orch OR’ theory - ScienceDirect)? 2022 W 2 - TESTING ORCH OR - YouTube

Welcome Isaac. Great to have you with us. I’ve slightly edited your topic to make it a bit more user friendly.

Also, you will likely get a bit more traction from the folks here if you A. Provide a short definition of the PH hypothesis and B. Provide one of two specific questions you are looking to answer and/or be discussed.

You can edit what you’ve written above by clicking the pencil icon under your post.

I hope that helps.

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To this armchair philosopher with a kindergarten grasp of physics, who also struggled with solipsism when he thought he could know God through the deductive arguments for God apart from Jesus, this field in science illustrates (I think) the dilemma science faces in trying to explain something that is impossible to observe. In current cosmology, it’s the problem of determining whether the universe is beginning or expanding at the current observational limits. Whether the object of investigation is the cause of the universe or consciousness, I marvel at our time in history.

I like Patricia Churchland’s thoughts on Orchestrated Objective Reduction, “Pixie dust in the synapses is about as explanatorily powerful as quantum coherence in the microtubules.”.

I view consciousness as equivalent to digestion, metabolism, and circulation. Digestion is what the gut does in the same way that consciousness is what the brain does. I don’t see why it has to be any more mysterious than that.

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Could it be that the difference is due to the observable nature of digestive and circulatory processes? There isn’t the intentionality of conscious decisions or the presence of mind (awareness) that is the object of explanation.

The observer is not trying to observe observation itself in the biological sciences.

From the abstract:

We conclude that consciousness plays an intrinsic role in the universe.

That is fine with me. I’ve been liking the suggestion that QM may be hinting that the fundamental reality of the universe is information. The Mind of God fits that role quite nicely.

Consciousness is just as observable as digestion and circulation.

There are differences between digestion and circulation as well. Being different does not mean that we suddenly have to come up with wildly different explanations.

You can measure brain function through multiple different methods, such as fMRI and EEG.

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I don’t think it’s that simple. We don’t have widespread disagreement about digestion, and we wouldn’t have capable scientists proposing a conscious state for bacteria.

Doesn’t change the fact that we can observe brain function. I would propose that disagreements about consciousness have much more to do with philosophy and theology than science.

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That’s not being disputed. It’s the relationship between brain activity and consciousness that’s at issue.

Brain activity can be stimulated and a person’s body can be triggered to act a particular way, but the person did not cause the action.

I’m not that knowledgeable to speak directly to this. I have a hunch, but who am I to say. There’s a ton of material out there about this question.

Boy, I do! I’m concluding now the book: The Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body by Frances Ashcroft. So I’m thinking more about the science rather than the philosophy of the topic.
It is a terrific review of the discoveries of the mechanisms of each cell’s ability to have an electric potential, neg in, pos out, which is necessary for every impulse we have. Every heartbeat, every muscle contraction and every thought. These are long-ish proteins that occupy a position on the cell membrane and coordinate the opening/closing of channels that are necessary for the nerve to depolarize and the downstream consequences of same. How in the world these originate and why in our little brains remains a huge mystery. Some you control, others simply appear. Neurotoxins interfere (and often kill as a result). Different organisms evolve to have various vulnerabilities and opportunities. But at the end of the day, our brain cells (of several types, each with different depolarization mechanics) fire into our network(s) of synapses to demand actions with feedback to dampen and/or explode into other actions/effects in ways that are uncountable, unpredictable and uncontrollable…these mysteries may never find a home for understanding.

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On a related note, I worked on a research project that involved isolating single heart muscle cells (cardiomyocytes) and pacing them on a microscope stage to measure contraction and relaxation rates. I spent hours at a time staring at these buggers while they contracted in response to an electrical stimulation.

So yes, I am aware of some of the physiology. Science is all about researching mysteries.


I’ve always thought the same. I would have said if is an elaboration of an organism’s cognitive function, the basic need to make use of sense data. But now I’m much less sure that there is nothing more to it than that.

The cosmos is a whole which when we analyze it becomes a sum of parts. But all those parts already exist within a dynamic, embodied whole. Our ability to analyze and categorize renders comprehensible not what actually exists but only a subset as a model. Models can be useful but the jump to “nothing but…” isn’t justifiable by that utility. The whole is not built up from parts, the whole is divided up into parts by way of analysis. A model always leaves something out. I would have said consciousness is an emergent property of life which is an emergent state of matter but of course that is little more than hand waving.

I think the meaning of consciousness is found in what we mean when we say something is alive. It is alive when it is doing things for its own reasons rather than simply as an extension of the changes in the environment. But this means it is choosing from a variety of possible responses to environmental changes. For this reason, I think the basic quantum nature of our reality is involved in the fact that the future is a superposition of possibilities rather than an already written script. And I think this requires a system complex and nonlinear enough that the nonlinear dynamics brings this quantum indeterminacy to the macroscopic events. But I don’t see how this requires looking for quantum phenomenon in the functionality of neurons, since the process of life is hardly exclusive to neurons. Nevertheless I would hardly be surprised by the discovery that the operation of neurons can in some cases involve quantum indeterminacy. Yet it would be highly counterproductive to claim that neurons do not operate in a deterministic manner the vast majority of the time because that would make them unreliable in the vast majority of functions they perform in the nervous system.

One of the things which disturbs me about this paper is the talk of quantum gravity as if this could have anything whatsoever to do with the problem of consciousness. This is one of the things which makes me suspicious of pseudoscience. The proposition that the nervous system employs quantum computing is intriguing but not something I am going to accept without some verification by the scientific community.

The linkage between the subjective and the empirical is what leads some to conclude the subjective is illusory or epiphenomenal. If you insist on a causal link such as ‘quantum tubes’ or whatever they call it that is where it leads. The most certain thing we can know is what Descartes pointed to, you can’t toss that aside based on formal empirical reasons.

“… even when we have explained the performance of all the cognitive and behavioral functions in the vicinity of experience—perceptual discrimination, categorization, internal access, verbal report—there may still remain a further unanswered question: Why is the performance of these functions accompanied by experience?

David Chalmers

And self-evidently, a non-discrete experience. Presumably there is a beginning to my experience, but it is surely imperceptible.

Surprised to see it being said Augustine began the debate of whether consciousness is continuous.

Richard Watson credits Augustine as the first major philosopher to point out, “The presence of memory-ideas in the present moment also engenders the illusion that one is passing through time. It seems as though one’s consciousness continuously proceeds through time, but in fact one is always conscious of ideas and sensations (including memories) only in the present moment.”

I cannot see much of a link between what I said and your response.

My difficulty with this statement which I am struggling with: The point of subjective conclusions is that we have no reasonable expectation that others should accept that these are the case. Thus it is only natural that others will indeed conclude that the subjective determinations of another person is illusory. This is simply the nature of subjective conclusions and I don’t see what any supposed causal linkages have to do with it. The way you speak of this makes me think you are talking about something else when you speak of “the subjective.”

Connecting this back to the discussion of consciousness makes me suppose that you are speaking of the subjective experience of consciousness. In that case, I can hardly imagine what people even mean if they call it illusory. Can you explain the difference between this being illusory and not being illusory?

So you are insisting that the subjective experience of consciousness cannot have a scientific explanation? I cannot say that I see any reason to insist any such thing. My only question is whether whatever is proposed is actually explaining anything. And to address this I have talked about the only connection I can imagine being made between what was proposed in the OP link and the problem of consciousness.

To what are you referring?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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