Re: "Penrose vs Churchland"- is there n ot more than

Mario Vaneechoutte (
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 08:20:06 -0700

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 08:20:06 -0700
From: Mario Vaneechoutte <>
Subject: Re: "Penrose vs Churchland"- is there n ot more than

Robin Wood wrote:
> Thanks Mario- that's a bit clearer- but could quantum and
> macrophysical effects not both work together? We certainly cannot
> prove or disprove Penrose's hypotheses at the moment.

Well, one last word about it, because I coincidently read an interesting
article about it in the latest Scientific American issue.
Quantum wave collapses have now been observed in the lab (not yet in
ours though).

that there are no quantum mechanics in the macrophysical word and thus
that both worlds are well split apart (something I had always hoped for,
it is already terrible enough that quantum physics exist!)

According to what appears to be the best accepted theory (proposed by
Zurek) the explanation is decoherence. It has to do with leakage of
information. But you should read it yourself, before I tell too silly

> Robin
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mario Vaneechoutte []
> Sent: 13 June 1997 21:44
> To:
> Subject: Re: "Penrose vs Churchland"- is there not more than one valid
> explanation for consciousness?
> 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

Mario Vaneechoutte

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