Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Excerpt from this link:
The salon was held at the Philoctetes Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of the Imagination....a roundtable about the quantum mind, the theory that quantum mechanical phenomena, such as quantum entanglement and superposition, may form the basis of an explanation of consciousness. The discussion was moderated by Deepak Chopra, MD.
Among the discussants was Stuart Hameroff, MD, professor of anesthesiology and psychology and director of the Center of Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. Together with British physicist Roger Penrose, Hameroff espouses the idea that perception and consciousness arise from the collapse of the wave function of a Bose-Einstein condensate of quantum-entangled electrons in the brain.
Alford, a theoretical physicist who studies quark matter, was invited to join the discussion because he had previously defended a position that severely limits the metaphysical implications of physics. In an article that appeared in the Foundations of Physics in 2006, he asserted that physics can “only cover limited aspects of our experience.”
Alford questioned the idea of quantum mind, explaining that quantum entanglement is “usually very delicate” and “difficult to arrange.” Physicists struggle to entangle even a few particles for any substantial period of time. It seems improbable, he said, that “these very delicate processes are the crucial feature of the functioning of the human brain,” which is “not a suitable environment” for quantum subtlety.
“It’s more likely,” he said, “that consciousness arises from other, more conventional bits of science, and you don’t need to reach all the way to this, the most exotic, the most delicate, the most bizarre bit of modern physics. You don’t need to reach all that way."
Chopra went on to say “matter is an illusion and only consciousness is real.”
The entire two-hour debate over the quantum mind can be viewed at the Philoctetes website.
"Chopra, the mystic, had begun the debate by saying he wanted “to home in on the limitations of science” and in the end it was Alford, the scientist, who emphasized those limitations, asking that science be understood in a humble way and not as the key that unlocks the door to the “ultimate” reality."
Chopra to Alford: Is there an observer-independent reality in your opinion?
Alford: "Yes, I don’t think that anybody seriously thinks the jug of water on this table is dependent on you or dependent on me."
Chopra is wholly correct in questioning the notion that jugs of water exist intrinsically, by their own self-being, independently of an imputing consciousness. What doesn't follow from that though, is that consciousness, as opposed to the jug of water, is now existing by way of its own self-being. Chopra: "Matter is an illusion and only consciousness is real." I say, if you're gonna do an emptiness analysis, you need to take it all the way.
Thanks for sharing the article, Theurj!
Recall the video debate with Chopra and Harris (and others) at this prior thread. Chopra's main "proof" for quantum mind is the Penrose-Hameroff model, so I'm trying to understand it and its critiques. There is quite a bit of "science" involved on both sides so it's not just woo woo. From the wiki:
"Penrose claimed that such information is Platonic, representing pure mathematical truth....at the Planck scale."
From the last footnote (39) of the wiki article, citing Phys. Rev. E 80 (2009):
"Penrose and Hameroff have argued that the conventional models of a brain function based on neural networks alone cannot account for human consciousness, claiming that quantum-computation elements are also required. Specifically, in their Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR) model [R. Penrose and S. R. Hameroff, J. Conscious. Stud. 2, 99 (1995)], it is postulated that microtubules act as quantum processing units, with individual tubulin dimers forming the computational elements. This model requires that the tubulin is able to switch between alternative conformational states in a coherent manner, and that this process be rapid on the physiological time scale. Here, the biological feasibility of the Orch OR proposal is examined in light of recent experimental studies on microtubule assembly and dynamics. It is shown that the tubulins do not possess essential properties required for the Orch OR proposal, as originally proposed, to hold. Further, we consider also recent progress in the understanding of the long-lived coherent motions in biological systems, a feature critical to Orch OR, and show that no reformation of the proposal based on known physical paradigms could lead to quantum computing within microtubules. Hence, the Orch OR model is not a feasible explanation of the origin of consciousness."
And this from footnote 38 in NeuroQuantology 7 (4) 2009: 538–547:
"Neurons have a large fraction of stable brain microtubules forming the cytoskeleton of the cell, which provide a mechanical support for the extended dendrites and axonal arborizations and serve as railroads for molecular and vesicular transport. Except for the latter two functions it has been hypothesized that these stable microtubules might also act as quantum or classical computers, the function of which is based on electron hopping associated with kinking of the tubulin α/β-dimer. Hameroff, Tuszyński and others have supposed that the energy needed for such computation could be somehow delivered via cycles of tubulin bound GTP hydrolysis with subsequent GDP exchange for GTP. Here we review the microtubule biophysics and present structural data explaining why the proposed tubulin-bound GTP energized classical or quantum tubulin dimer computation is a fiction and cannot occur in stable microtubules. In addition, we point a flaw in Satarić-Tuszyński ferroelectric microtubule model and show a physical inconsistency in Hameroff-Penrose Orch OR based on the fact that the energy released from a single GTP molecule is 1013 times greater compared to the gravitational energy needed to collapse the relevant number of tubulins for 25 ms."