Is consciousness to be found in quantum processes in microtubules?

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by Write4U, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Why don't you just stay away from me? Keep it simple.
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Up till now there have only been "declarations" that there is a problem with the proposition that microtubules may be functional as processors of any kind, let alone quantum processors.
    We have come a long way from microtubules as being part of the cytoskeleton that gives structure to cells.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Ask for something relevant and you will get an answer with something relevant within it.
    Your sub-civil quality discourse is not relevant to this thread and it is you who has been shoveling ad hominem "shite" in all but one relevant post.
    You cannot make the distinction because your only objective here is destruction of this thread and smearing your vile crap all over my floor.
    Stay away, I don't need you!
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  7. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    If the perceptronium conception ever addresses qualia at all, it seems to immediately veer off into the "easy" to explain cognitive aspect of consciousness, which is intelligence and memory related (no manifestations required). "Identification and understanding" transpiring in the dark does not require a new state of matter -- just the pre-existing capacity of matter to interact with itself and be configurable into dynamic organizations.

    But as Peter Hankins pointed-out back then in his blog ("Conscious Entities"), maybe the kitsch label of "perceptronium" is a roundabout way of Tegmark highlighting autonomy or some kind of free-will attribution.

    Obviously, Tegmark's love for multiverse theories(PDF) was bound to cross paths with his speculations about consciousness...

    Perceptronium (Conscious Entities blog)

    EXCERPT: . . . but Tegmark, if I understand him right, adds another requirement for consciousness: autonomy, which requires both dynamics and independence; so there has to be active information processing, and it has to be isolated from outside influence, much the way we typically think of computation.

    The really exciting part, however, is the potential linkage with deep cosmological problems – in particular the quantum factorisation problem. This is way beyond my understanding, and the pages of equations Tegmark offers are no help, but the gist appears to be that quantum mechanics offers us a range of possible universes. If we want to get ‘physics from scratch’, all we have to work with is, in Tegmark’s words: "two Hermitian matrices, the density matrix p encoding the state of our world and the Hamiltonian H determining its time-evolution…"

    Please don’t ask me to explain; the point is that the three things don’t pin down a single universe; there are an infinite number of acceptable solutions to the equations. If we want to know why we’ve got the universe we have – and in particular why we’ve got classical physics, more or less, and a world with an object hierarchy – we need something more. Very briefly, I take Tegmark’s suggestion to be that consciousness, with its property of autonomy, tends naturally to pick out versions of the universe in which there are similarly integrated and independent entities – in other words the kind of object-hierarchical world we do in fact see around us. To put it another way and rather baldly, the universe looks like this because it’s the only kind of universe which is compatible with the existence of conscious entities capable of perceiving it.

    Here's an excerpt from the earlier part of Hankins' blog piece that I would rather have started with, but the above was more directly relevant with respect to autonomy.

    Tegmark’s paper presents the idea rather strangely, suggesting that consciousness might be another state of matter like the states of being a gas, a liquid, or solid. That surely can’t be true in any simple literal sense because those particular states are normally considered to be mutually exclusive: becoming a gas means ceasing to be a liquid. If consciousness were another member of that exclusive set it would mean that becoming conscious involved ceasing to be solid (or liquid, or gas), which is strange indeed. Moreover Tegmark goes on to name the new state ‘perceptronium’ as if it were a new element. He clearly means something slightly different, although the misleading claim perhaps garners him sensational headlines which wouldn’t be available if he were merely saying that consciousness arose from certain kinds of subtle informational organisation, which is closer to what he really means.

    A better analogy might be the many different forms carbon can take according to the arrangement of its atoms: graphite, diamond, charcoal, graphene, and so on; it can have quite different physical properties without ceasing to be carbon. Tegmark is drawing on the idea of computronium proposed by Toffoli and Margolus...

    They can be designed for it.

    Using Selective Attention in Reinforcement Learning Agents

    EXCERPT: While this may seem to be a limitation, such “bottlenecks” observed in nature can also inspire the design of machine learning systems that hope to mimic the success and efficiency of biological organisms.

    In our recent GECCO 2020 paper, “Neuroevolution of Self-Interpretable Agents” (AttentionAgent), we investigate the properties of such agents that employ a self-attention bottleneck.

    We show that not only are they able to solve challenging vision-based tasks from pixel inputs with 1000x fewer learnable parameters compared to conventional methods, they are also better at generalization to unseen modifications of their tasks, simply due to its ability to “not see details” that can confuse it.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2023
    Write4U likes this.
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Grist for much thought!
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    One of the new methods of researching cellular electrical activity.

    Looks like we are making great strides in nano scale observation and measurements.
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    What are good examples of applying dynamical systems in cognitive science?
    "Dynamical Systems Approaches to Cognition" by G. Schoner gives this example that seems a very good example:
    Dynamical Systems Thinking From Metaphor to Neural Theory
    Gregor Schöner

  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    No. There's no problem with the proposition/hypothesis.

    The only problem is that there's no convincing evidence that the proposition is true. At least, none you have presented.

    Also, don't think I didn't notice that you ignored most of the substantive questions I put to you in posts #2573 and #2574.
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    But this is where you miss the point. It's all relevant. Because the one thing all motile organisms share are microtubules as the "translators" of raw data into ordered informational experiences.

    What is thought? Thought is a mental processing of information, no. And what is the substrate that does that mental processing? Mictotubules, no? Can anyone think of a better candidate? If so, please list it here, I want to know.

    No one has come up with an answer that is remotely meaningful to the question of what process must be responsible for the emergence of conscious information processing.
    I don't claim tho have the answer as to the "hard question". I do agree with Max Tegmark that we already have all the necessary physical ingredients that allow for the emergence of consciousness and if that is true, there is only one candidate that appears to meet all the necessary qualifications if arranged in a pattern that already exists in humans and all other sentient organisms.
    Every bit of thought is generated in a microtubule or a set of microtubules and it is clear that all sensory information is gathered and transmitted by microtubules.

    What you see as unrelated is in fact overwhelming evidence of the role microtubules play in the phenomenon of "neural information processing" also dubbed "thinking".

    IMO, biological thought began with single celled organisms that "learned" to navigate via cilia. The rest is just an evolutionary process in the refinement of sensory data processes in all its diversity that you call unrelated.
    All of them are forms of "thought", from the heliotropic abilities of flowers, to the use of the Fibonacci sequence to maximize storage space, to the construction of mathematical honeycombs, to the triangulation by predatory organisms to calculate the trajectory of a fast-moving prey, to echolocation in aquatic and terranean animals, and finally, to abstract predictive

    Why is science such a vibrant area of interest and research? Because we want to find out how things work and the more we "learn" to navigate the hidden obstacles in that effort, the more skilled we become in evaluating the data and even anticipating what as yet "unknown" data may look like or become expressed in reality.

    To say that all the magnificent feats of information processing by a natural self-assembling transistor is irrelevant is completely missing the point of its extraordinary versatility that makes it the a priori candidate for consideration as the causal substrate for emerging self-experiencing thought. "I think, therefore I am".

    But I am absolutely sure there are many animals that are self-aware and this is another expression of evolutionary dynamism.

    p.s. I am working on answers to #2573 and #2574. I am never purposely neglecting to answer any question in regard to MT. But the field has grown enormously and there is much information available now.
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Another example of shared evolutionary origins.

    Squid and human brains develop the same way despite diverging 500 million years ago
    By Ben Turner

    It seems that the blueprint for complex brain development remains the same, despite 500 million years of divergent evolution.

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    Why has this process remained the same in 2 otherwise completely evolutionary divergent organisms and facilitated the emergence of highly intelligent brains in both species?

    Can a case be made that the growth process has not changed because both species use the very same chromosomal mitotic process? And the mechanism for mitosis is the mitotic spindle which consists of microtubules that have not changed since the emergence of Eukaryotic life and are also responsible for neural growth and function.

    The circumstantial evidence keeps piling up......

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    Last edited: Jan 18, 2023
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    And continuing on this path;
    Related: Octopuses may be so terrifyingly smart because they share humans' genes for intelligence
    A squid retina with its cell membranes marked with a fluorescent dye to make them visible. (Image credit: Kristen Koenig)
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2023
  15. exchemist Valued Senior Member


    Hox and pax genes regulate body plans in almost all multicellular organisms are there are surprising commonalities. Research has shown that the compound eye in arthropods and the human "camera" eye both make sure of the same pax 6 gene. Very likely something similar goes on with brains.

    Microtubules are important in the mechanical process of cell division. They don't do the job of genes.
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2023
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  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I agree. Microtubules are not the blueprints, they regulate the execution of the blueprints.
    When that control goes bad the result can be cancer (uncontrolled cell growth).
    IOW, the body's homeostasis begins with the copying and growth of new healthy cells. Microtubules regulate this process.
    As noted above, homeostasis already begins at the mitotic stage, by regulating the process via electrochemical signaling. Keyword: regulated growth.

    Autoregulation and repair in microtubule homeostasis

    Autoregulation of eukaryotic transcription factors

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2023
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    This may be of interest from a different perspective.

    Intentional Systems Theory
  19. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    What does "intentional systems theory" have to do with microtubules? Shouldn't this be a separate topic? (Mind you, I guess it's useful to have Wrtie4U's random cut-and-pastes confined mostly to one thread.)
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Nonono, James, The topic of consciousness is one of the most expansive topics of any science.

    Roger Penrose proposes that "quantum collapse" throughout the universe produces an instant of "consciousness"
    Theists believe in an eternal supernatural conscious creative agency.
    Buddhists believe that Tulpas are autonomous products of mind and acquire an independent existence.
    Max Tegmark proposes that consciousness emerges from specific data processing "patterns"
    Bonnie Bassler demonstrated that bacteria "communicate" via "quorum sensing", a form of hive consciousness.
    Anil Seth proposes that our brain experiences "controlled hallucinations, best guesses of what's out there.

    I quote Daniel Bennet, who proposes that "consciousness arises from interaction of physical and cognitive processes in the brain."
    Dennett describes consciousness as an account of the various calculations occurring in the brain at close to the same time. He compares consciousness to an academic paper that is being developed or edited in the hands of multiple people at one time, the "multiple drafts" theory of consciousness.[/quote]
    more ......

    And you tell me that Dennett's views are not relevant? Open your mind, please.

    You presume to set boundaries on a subject that has intrigued mankind since the ability of "problem solving" is apparent in even the earliest life forms on earth.

    It is all relevant if you look deep enough.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2023
  21. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    My comments referred to "intentional systems theory" (whatever that might be*), not consciousness.
    Yes, yes. He proposed (a long time ago) that this happens in microtubules. But I asked: what does this have to do with "intentional systems theory"?
    None of these things is relevant to the thread topic, as far as I can tell.
    I've read that book. Its title is over-reach, since Dennett doesn't actually explain consciousness. Well, not a full explanation, which is what you believe you have with your microtubules. I've met Dennett and I guess I'd class myself as something of a fan of his. Nevertheless...
    Yes. And so? Relevance to the current discussion?
    There's nothing in the quotes you have provided (or, indeed, in the entire book you reference, IIRC) that mentions microtubules. Not a single reference.
    No. The boundaries are set by the thread topic, which is about the question of whether consciousness is to be explained with reference to quantum processes in microtubules.

    Virtually everything in your latest post is off-topic.
    *It seems to me that we can probably add "intentional systems theory" to the long list of things you quote without understanding. At least you have explained where you cut-and-pasted that term from, however. That's something. Still irrelevant to the microtubules discussion, however.
  22. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Dennett is an advocate of the illusionism theory (a subset of eliminativism), which many construe as a position that denies that there are phenomenal properties (qualia or sensory and thought manifestations). Or IOW contending that we have no consciousness at all, apart from outward body behavior and language-mediated cognitive activity. (One might alternatively call this stance "phenomenal nihilism".)

    But it can be difficult to determine exactly what some eliminativists really are asserting due to the imprecision or overall sloppiness of consciousness nomenclature. I.e., are they claiming that perceptions and thoughts are literally devoid of qualitative content or is it instead a conceptual issue -- protesting over slotting such as mental/subjective? (Folk theory labels.)

    From the standpoint of personally favoring something along the line of Russellian monism (related to the Lee Smolin quote posted earlier), I could even toy with the idea of labeling myself an eliminativist.

    Except that I don't deny phenomenal properties are present in our sensations and thoughts -- I just don't classify such manifestation in general as psychological, subjective, mental, etc. Except when recruited by brain processes to create complex experiences.

    Otherwise (in the context of physicalism), I'd regard their potential [primitive] presence anywhere else as receiving ontological classification, instead of the psychological kind. In that elsewhere properties of manifestation would have to do with how non-represented matter exists to itself (sans the memory-based identification of brains) rather than with the abstract description of matter (a representation) that physics deals with. Inner (intrinsic character) contrasted with outer (extrinsic character).

    Charles Peirce: "Viewing a thing from the outside, considering its relations of action and reaction with other things [measurements], it appears as matter. Viewing it from the inside, looking at its immediate character as feeling, it appears as consciousness." --Man's Glassy Essence
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  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    ALL my cut-and-paste quotes are accompanied by links to the original papers.
    I should think that the term "intentional systems" is self-explanatory.

    An intentional system is based on "sufficient" resources.
    When sufficient resources are present it makes it "necessary" for an effect to occur. It creates the existence of an unconscious intentional system, but that is where evolution (via natural selection) of adaptive specialization begins.

    IMO, the microtubular network and its associated connective properties, such as synapses, make the MT network an "intentional system" from which conscious sentience emerges from necessity.

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