Quantum Consciousness: Scientific Basis for Soul?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by madanthonywayne, Jun 13, 2011.

  1. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    I was watching Morgan Freeman's Through the Looking Glass and the topic was consciousness and the possibility of life after death. He discussed the Penrose-Hameroff Orch-OR theory ('orchestrated objective reduction').

    This theory explains consciousness as a product not of neurons firing, but of quantum computing occurring within networks of microtubules within the brain. The theory is controversial, but an even more controversial interpretation of it suggests that the human "soul" may actually exist and may even outlive our body via some sort of quantum entanglement.

    So, is there anything to this? Would Morgan Freeman steer me wrong?

    Can Science Explain the Soul?
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  3. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    It seems likely that random noise would quickly smear out any quantum effects that might be occurring in microtubules. In other words, anything that might impact on things like personality, consciousness or thought most likely happens at a larger and more coarse level than that of microtubules. I personally suspect nerve impulses and the like are sufficient to explain all these phenomena.

    All the "soul" stuff is pure speculation and not really scientific in any way, as far as I can tell.
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  5. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    When dealing with anything Deepak Chopra writes, the foremost thing to keep in my mind is that he is full of shit. Julia Sweeney on Deepak Chopra.
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  7. Wisdom_Seeker Speaker of my truth Valued Senior Member

    Given the contextual explanation she tries to explain, it is pretty obvious she didn't read the books she is arguing about.
    Under the same basis you are exposing, you may as well say that Julia Sweeney is full of shit herself.
  8. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    Julia Sweeney is an actress and comedian. Chopra is a professional charlatan. You don't have to go far to find quotes from Chopra that reveal him to be a purveyor of woo.


  9. yaracuy Banned Banned


    Why are you guys constantly quoting some one who writes a book .Is the writer the final word on the subject. can you not think your self , that you need some one hold your hand. Pfff
  10. Wisdom_Seeker Speaker of my truth Valued Senior Member

    Who did I quote in that statement? I have not quoted anybody or looked into anything else besides the article posted by the OP. I read it, and I have given my opinion that's all.

    I can only speak for myself so: never, sometimes I may quote books because the author is more eloquent in the point I'm trying to make than me; or more knowledgeable in the subject. But that doesn't mean I cannot change my mind, I'm not a book that is already written. And I don't think nobody has the final word on anything.

    Instead of just random trolling, why don't you just post your comments on the matter as everybody else has, so we could have a civilized discussion?
  11. Wisdom_Seeker Speaker of my truth Valued Senior Member

    I agree that Chopra is interpreting QM for his own philosophies; but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss his arguments. I don’t think that a few quotes from randy.org or skepticblog.org prove the points against the article stated in the OP. Many mystics along the ages have said “I don’t exist” or “the world is an illusion”; but those statements do not discredit everything else they said. If you don’t believe in them, that is OK, one should not blindly believe in anything, not believing in something that makes no sense to you is actually a respectable virtue. But the whole philosophy of Chopra doesn’t fall down because of that statement.

    BTW, I don’t believe everything that Chopra says, sometimes he tends to put his strong Hindu/Buddhist beliefs in the way of his theories; but overall he is an interesting author IMO. I enjoyed reading his book “Buddha”, but that’s about it, although some statements at the end were kinda “out there”.

    Back to the OP:
    Question to scientists: What does “Quantum entanglement“ tell you about life? You can observe the behavior of the one particle being in different points in space in the same moment. You can observe the behavior but you can’t explain it is my guess but that is why I ask.
    In the article, Chopra says: “Quantum entanglement tells us that the universe is somehow nonlocal, that instantaneous hidden connections occur between spatially and temporally separated particles, objects and energies. “; I fail to see the flaw in his logic there.

    Another statement from the article that I consider useful for this argument: “Quantum pioneer Niels Bohr found that measuring a quantum superposition caused it to reduce, or collapse to specific values. Because a conscious observer was required to complete the measurement, Bohr and colleagues proposed that consciousness caused collapse of the quantum wave function. “

    And off course, his conclusion (which may be a bit unscientific, but I’m interested to see if they can be disproven scientifically):
    “Conclusion -- A Science of the Quantum Soul
    We don't claim proof or final evidence of consciousness after death, but do propose a plausible scientific basis for it. Soul and spirituality imply the following, with quantum explanations:
    • Interconnectedness among living beings and the universe Conscious minds and unconscious processes may be quantum entangled.
    • Divine guidance/ 'Way of the Tao' Choices in each conscious event influenced by Vedic/Platonic values embedded in fundamental spacetime geometry.
    • Consciousness/Soul after death -- Consciousness occurs at the level of Planck scale geometry, and may remain unified after bodily death by quantum entanglement, moving through different scalar 'astral' planes.”
  12. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Neurons use about 90% of their energy budget maintaining the potential across their cellular membrane. This potential is based on the segregation of sodium and potassium cations; the potassium is inside.

    What this very energy intensive process does is lower the entropy within the membrane with respect to these cations. These two cations under normal conditins would prefer to diffuse and mix into a uniform solution, so they can maximize entropy. The energy intensive ion pumping does just the opposite, lowering cationic entropy through segregation. This also increases the energy within the membrane.

    This uniquely living situation goes contrary to rest of the universe; the first and second laws prefer lowest energy and highest entropy. As such, life has created a situation where two powerful universal potentials need to act to reverse what life is doing.

    Neuron firing is one way to do this, since it increases the entropy of the cations and lowers their potential energy. By setting up this living universal anomoly, with respect to the first and second laws, the two countering universal potentials will make memory and consciousness an inevitable consequence; neuron firing.

    The brain and neurons will continue to expend 90% of their energy going contrary to these two powerful universal potentials. The brain and neurns will not only restore the dual contrary potential, after firing, but the overall structures of the brain can also progress and will bring this contrary feature to higher and higher levels of order. This evolving situation requires the universe find other ways to restore the first and second laws. Quantum effects are among some of these universal tricks. Quantum effects can be used to increase the entropy within the stubborn contrary nature of the lowered neural entropy matrix. It is a very simply yet slick living trick.

    An analogy is building a water tower out of wood. To contain the water we need this tank shell to help lower the water entropy via the shape of the tower, while also increasing its potential energy. If we took away the walls, the water entropy would increase and its energy would lower. But in this case, the wooden walls are sturdy so we can maintain two contrary potentials. Humans are an extension of life, so we carry on the tradition using energy.

    The universe would still like to reverse this water tank into higher entropy and lower energy. This can occur with a random leak or seepage. This leak is favorable since it goes in the direction of the universe. However, we see the leak and use energy to repair it (restore membrane potential). The universe gets frustrated. However, the universe does not give up, but will need to make other leaks or others forms of seepage, since this puny water tank is no match for the universe. But the puny water tank has energy to use and continues to repairs its leaks.

    With the tank still able to hold water, inspite of universal inductions into leaking and seepage, we may decide to upgrade our tank by adding a tank onto this tank, using energy (brain evolves). This violates the universal potentials even more, so the universe has even higher probability to act; complex chain reaction reversals. Maybe the universe can use stress and strain in the wood structure. But the tank is again repaired, by expending energy, and now ready for the next upgrade, which is more contrary to the universal potential. The universe needs to be even more clever and starts to increase the entropy via aspects of the tank that the chemical ion pumping can't repair as easily; quantum effects (rust the nails as concealed damage).

    For these advanced tier universal quantum effects to linger, we would need the contrary nature of life to linger. If life stopped, (stop repairs) the potentials would lower and not renew. One may see the quantum light of the universe, after life, but it would dim as the tank slowly drains without nobody there to repair the leaks. You would need a quantum aspect of life that can perpetuate opposition to universal quantum potentials.
  13. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    By definition, methodological naturalism doesn't explain, describe, interpret, or speculate in terms of occult nomenclature. Such inferences about QM, being incommensurable with the former system, are better pursued in either the philosophy or subculture forums, depending on whether there's an actual argument or only loosely connected thoughts.

    Imagine proposing an analogy between basketball and woodworking at either a basketball practice or in a woodworking class -- it may get nowhere because it is infringing elements of one practice on the turf of another. Presenting the analogy in an eclectic medium or one that specialized in bridging between different systems would at least allow the possibility of discursive dialogue.
  14. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    I do agree that, regardless of the validity of the theory of microtubule mediated quantum consciousness, the idea that our consciousness could persist after death seems like a stretch. Nevertheless, it is intriguing.

    Did you read the article I linked to? It claims that the quantum theory of consciousness gives rise to testable predictions and that several of them have been confirmed over the past decade.

    Here's a link to an article by Dr Stuart Hameroff that goes into great detail on the theory of quantum consciousness and appendix 2 includes the testable predictions.
    That's silly. All of medicine was once the realm of magic and witchdoctors. The creationist/evolution controversy is a perfect example of science venturing into territory that was previously strictly the domain of religion.

    The difference between science and the occult lies not so much in the nomenclature or even the nature of what is studied, but in the systematic method by which a hypothesis is tested in science.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2011
  15. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    "Life" has been succinctly defined as "a local reversal of entropy." This is allowed by the Second Law, which only says that entropy tends to increase over time, not that it does so monotonically.
  16. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    What's nescient is equating two different meanings or definitions because they're represented by the same word.

    LOL. Yes, droves of evolutionists started demanding mention of evolution in the Bible for Sunday School class. What other personal interests besides creationism would you like to inject into biology -- militant basketweaving, maybe, Lovecraft references to the Necronomicon, etc.?

    What's silly is suggesting that supernatural explanations and terms like "soul" can be part of a naturalistic methodology.

    What's testable is that which is part of the natural order, which a soul is not. If you'd rather make-up or introduce a new word without such baggage -- for what you're projecting onto the Hamerof/Penrose theory -- and claim it would be natural, then perhaps that dodges the problem, albeit currently lacking evidence in the context of such methodology.
  17. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Er, wtf are you talking about? The point was that the origin of man was once solely the province of religion. Knowing this, Darwin himself was afraid to publish his work and delayed publication for 20 years.

    No area of study should be exempt from scientific inquiry. I find your prejudice against any.scientific speculation into such matters as the existence of what we traditionally call a " soul" (or anything else you deem the province of the occult) to be just as irrational as a creationist's resistance to scientific study of the origin of man.
    I'm not projecting it, Hamerof himself suggested the possible survival of consciousness after death in his appearance on Thru the Looking Glass and specifically used the word "soul". Here's a quote from an interview with Dr Hamerof
    Your distaste for a word that seems entirely appropriate in this context seems irrational. I mean, suppose we found a species of horse with a horn or horn like structure sticking out of it's head. Why not call it a Unicorn? Do you object to the term Komodo dragon?
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  18. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    Which ones were validated? Got any links?

    I must say that I view anybody who collaborates with Deepak Chopra with suspicion, and the more I read from this Hamerof guy the more he sounds like a woo woo.
  19. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

    Here are a couple:
    As to Hamerof being a "woo woo", maybe so. Isn't physics your field? You're probably a much better judge than I.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2011
  20. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

    I'm watching this Hameroff presentation, and I'm reminded of this quote:

    "It has been said that metaphysics is the finding of bad reasons for what we believe on instinct."
    - W. Somerset Maugham

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