From: John Conover <john@email.johncon.com>

Subject: forwarded message from Kimberly Bodelson

Date: Thu, 21 Nov 1996 08:32:07 -0800

One of the great epistemological arguments in contemporary science concerns the Godel and Turing theorems. In a nutshell, these theorems state that the next theorem of mathematics can never be formulated by a computer, no matter how powerful the computer-which some have interpreted as job security for mathematicians. The epistemological issue is that the human mind does the next theorem of mathematics on a regular basis. So, it would appear to some, namely Roger Penrose, that the human mind is qualitatively different than a computer, ie., it is not a "meat machine." The question now arises that if it is not a meat machine, what is it? Leaving aside the Godelian issues of such a question, (ie., if we knew what it was, would we know that we knew,) Penrose, et al, have proposed that it operates on quantum mechanical principles. The arguments are presented in the talk. John BTW, Penrose did the mathematics for Stephen Hawking, and is regarded as the chairman of the intuitionist movement in mathematics. He extended the quantum mechanics into a description of the cosmos. Apparently, the universe at the atomic level operates differently than the 3 dimensional universe we are familiar with. For example, an electron in a transistor arrives at its destination before it departs for it. Electrons can also disappear, only to reappear at the speed of light, somewhere else in the universe. At the atomic level, the concept of time itself has a peculiar interpretation. In some sense, time can run backward. This prompted Hawking's famous statement that there is no physical reason why we can not remember the future. The direction of time remains an enigma in quantum mechanics. Penrose's argument is that because the human mind operates on these principles, the human mind can transcend the limitations of computational machinery. ------- start of forwarded message (RFC 934 encapsulation) ------- Received: (from root@localhost) by johncon.com (8.6.12/8.6.12) with UUCP id HAA09611 for john@email.johncon.com; Thu, 21 Nov 1996 07:41:01 -0800 Received: from sfi.santafe.edu by netcomsv.netcom.com with SMTP (8.6.12/SMI-4.1) id HAA28548; Thu, 21 Nov 1996 07:18:27 -0800 Received: by sfi.santafe.edu (4.1/SMI-4.1) id AA21866; Thu, 21 Nov 96 08:12:18 MST Message-Id: <9611211512.AA21861@sfi.santafe.edu> Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" Sender: owner-activities-announce@santafe.edu Precedence: bulk From: ksb@santafe.edu (Kimberly Bodelson) To: activities-announce@santafe.edu Subject: SFI Informal Talk: Stuart Hameroff (Wed, 11/27, 11AM) Date: Thu, 21 Nov 96 08:12:14 MST The Santa Fe Institute is pleased to announce an informal talk Is consciousness a self-organizing quantum process in brain microtubules? The Penrose-Hameroff Orch OR model Presented by Stuart Hameroff Professor, Anesthesiology and Psychology University of Arizona, Tucson HOSTED BY: Steen Rasmussen, SFI Wednesday, November 27, 11:00 AM Santa Fe Institute Large Conference Room Abstract: What is consciousness? Panpsychist/panexperiential philosophers (e.g. Leibniz, Whitehead, Wheeler, Chalmers) conclude that "qualia", or an experiential medium from which consciousness derives, exists as a fundamental feature of reality. If so, Planck-scale spacetime geometry (e.g. Penrose's quantum spin networks) may encode raw "protoconscious" experience. A self-organizing quantum process could select Planck-scale "funda-mental" experience resulting in consciousness. Is there such a process? "Objective reduction" (OR) is Penrose's quantum gravity solution to the problem of wave function collapse. In OR, a quantum coherent superposition system able to avoid environmental decoherence will reach an "objective" quantum gravity threshold causing instantaneous self-collapse (OR). Superpositioned states each have their own spacetime geometries; OR events select (non-computably) particular system states, spacetime geometry and funda-mental experience. In OR the size of an isolated superposed system is inversely related to its coherence time until self-collapse (E=h/T): large systems (e.g. Schrodinger's 1 kg cat) would self-collapse (OR) in only 10^-37 sec; an isolated superposed beryllium atom would OR only after 10^6 years. A 25 millisecond brain event (e.g. occurring in coherent 40 Hz) would involve nanograms of superposed mass. Could OR events occur in the brain? In the Penrose-Hameroff "Orch OR" model, quantum coherent superposition develops in microtubule subunit proteins (tubulins) within brain neurons and glia, are isolated from environmental decoherence by actin gels and connected among cells by quantum tunneling across gap junctions. When the quantum gravity threshold is reached, self-collapse, or objective reduction (OR) abruptly occurs. We equate the pre-reduction, coherent superposition ("quantum computing") phase with pre-conscious processes, and each instantaneous (and non-computable) OR, or self-collapse, with a discrete conscious event. Sequences of events give rise to a "stream" of consciousness. Microtubule-associated-proteins "tune" the quantum oscillations; the OR is thus self-organized, or "orchestrated" ("Orch OR"). Each Orch OR event non-computably selects (a) microtubule subunit states which classically regulate synaptic/neural functions, and (b) funda-mental experience. The Orch OR model is testable, consistent with known neurophysiology and addresses enigmatic features of consciousness. Implications for evolution will be addressed. || 0======///===>>===========\\//============<<===\\\======0 \/ Kimberly S. Bodelson 505-984-8800 (phone) Santa Fe Institute 505-982-0565 (fax) 1399 Hyde Park Road ksb@santafe.edu Santa Fe, NM 87501 http://www.santafe.edu USA || 0======///===>>===========\\//============<<===\\\======0 \/ ------- end ------- -- John Conover, john@email.johncon.com, http://www.johncon.com/

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