Re: "Penrose vs Churchland"- is there not more than one valid

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Fri, 13 Jun 1997 13:43:53 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 1997 13:43:53 -0700
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: "Penrose vs Churchland"- is there not more than one valid

Robin Wood wrote:

> Can you explain why the quantum wave collapse in microtubules is
> "opposed" to neuronal mass oscillations?

Maybe opposed is too strong, but it has nothing to do with each other
and it leads to opponents in the consciousness discussion.
This is not directly related to memetics, so only a brief comment, also
because it gives me a possibility to react to Tim Perpers' question
whether we shouldn't let in quantum mechanics into memetics.

The difference between microtubule explanations and concerted neuronal
oscillations is that the latter are macrophysical processes. Using QM to
explain 'consciousness' (another term with so many meanings) is like
explaining one 'mystery' by another. Moreover, I wonder why we all of a
sudden would need QM to explain macrophysical biological and cultural
processes like consciousness and memes, when we could do without
to explain physiology, morphology, evolution,...

> Robin Wood wrote:
> > Cognitive science is demonstrating how consciousness arises from
> the
> > interaction of specialised processors in global workspace (Baars-
> even
> > Dennett is glowing about this theory!). Our minds are an emergent
> > phenomenon which produce brainwave patterns as a by-product of the
> > complex electro-magnetic fields generated by the neural networks in
> > our brains. Like all quantum phenomena, these fields exhibit the
> > uncertainty principle, and produce "random" effects as well as
> > coherent effects.
> I think you present the convictions of two opposite camps in the
> discussion on consciousness, as if they were one. Francis Crick,
> Koch,
> (and the Churchlands) explain consciousness as neuronal mass
> oscillations at certain wavelengths. But this has nothing to do and
> is
> opposed to the quantum wave collapse (supposed to occur in neuronal
> microtubuli) explanation of Roger Penrose and Stuart Hameroff.
> --
> Mario Vaneechoutte


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