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(io9)   Is consciousness quantum?   (io9.com) divider line 130
    More: Interesting, quantum, consciousness, Roger Penrose, historic preservation, anesthesia, classical mechanics  
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4576 clicks; posted to Geek » on 14 Sep 2013 at 9:43 PM (43 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



130 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-09-14 07:59:29 PM
That cat might know.
 
2013-09-14 08:06:51 PM

Nefarious: That cat might know.


the cat is both in and not in aruba.

Also, what if our physical beings are just an elaborate prison designed to trap energy beings in an alternate reality, and people who die are just being paroled from their sentences?
 
2013-09-14 08:07:38 PM
Only until you think about it.
 
2013-09-14 08:07:56 PM
50/50, i'm going with no. Because if it's no it's easier to fathom, so i'm hoping. Otherwise I might have to read the article.
 
2013-09-14 08:10:30 PM
Is it quantized?

Like, are there integer values of possible conscious states?
 
2013-09-14 08:10:43 PM
It's articles like these, that kinda get me excited about the afterlife.
 
2013-09-14 08:12:53 PM
Fraa Jad knows the answer, but it would be tedious to explain it to you.

/obscure?
 
2013-09-14 08:19:02 PM
A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.

Nice idea though
 
2013-09-14 08:19:25 PM
Why not. Solace is a quantum thing, evidently.
 
2013-09-14 08:20:17 PM

Bathysphere: It's articles like these, that kinda get me excited about the afterlife.


Why's that?
 
2013-09-14 08:29:28 PM
I have learned from COD we just re-spawn.
 
2013-09-14 08:33:49 PM
I'm not saying it's quantum
Because it's actually ancient aliens.
 
2013-09-14 08:37:17 PM
Did Deepak Chopra write this piece of drivel?
 
2013-09-14 08:47:26 PM

Morchella: Why not. Solace is a quantum thing, evidently.


Spider Robinson fan?
 
2013-09-14 08:51:04 PM

timujin: Bathysphere: It's articles like these, that kinda get me excited about the afterlife.

Why's that?


It just adds more mystery for what separates the mind from the soul, the question of whether souls exist, and the whole, "where 'we' go when we die?", topic.
 
2013-09-14 08:53:22 PM
Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.
 
2013-09-14 09:03:53 PM

Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.


Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.
 
2013-09-14 09:04:23 PM

DamnYankees: Did Deepak Chopra write this piece of drivel?


Here ya go, Random Deepak.  http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/ & just as, um profound.

2wolves: Morchella: Why not. Solace is a quantum thing, evidently.

Spider Robinson fan?


Yeah, but I was thinking of a movie title.
 
2013-09-14 09:05:44 PM

Morchella: DamnYankees: Did Deepak Chopra write this piece of drivel?

Here ya go, Random Deepak.  http://www.wisdomofchopra.com/ & just as, um profound.

2wolves: Morchella: Why not. Solace is a quantum thing, evidently.

Spider Robinson fan?

Yeah, but I was thinking of a movie title.


Jimmy Bond no doubt.
 
2013-09-14 09:08:13 PM
I'm not sure I'm ready to take that leap
 
2013-09-14 09:13:22 PM
I've found that if a question is posed in a FARK headline, the answer is usually "NO."

Nefarious: That cat might know.


Maybe.
 
2013-09-14 09:15:32 PM

xanadian: I've found that if a question is posed in a FARK headline, the answer is usually "NO."

Nefarious: That cat might know.

Maybe.


Well let's open that damn box and ask him
 
2013-09-14 09:44:58 PM
Quantum... a great word to throw around when you want to say something mystical but with a veneer of scientific credibility.
 
2013-09-14 09:46:16 PM

FrancoFile: Fraa Jad knows the answer, but it would be tedious to explain it to you.

/obscure?


Farking Incanters.
 
2013-09-14 09:48:04 PM

SomeAmerican: Quantum... a great word to throw around when you want to say something mystical but with a veneer of scientific credibility.


It can be anything you want it to be!
 
2013-09-14 09:49:24 PM
I never know if mine is going to be there or not, so in that respect...
 
2013-09-14 09:53:49 PM

DamnYankees: Did Deepak Chopra write this piece of drivel?


Seriously.  I thought it might be an article about quantum effects driving certain important brain processes like the quantum effects that are part of photosynthesis.  But no, it was total drivel.

The first red flag went up when the author talked about wave function collapse as if it were a "thing" and that was quickly followed by "non physical".  There's nothing "non physical" about quantum mechanics, people!
 
2013-09-14 09:54:17 PM

SomeAmerican: Quantum... a great word to throw around when you want to say something mystical but with a veneer of scientific credibility.


The technical term is "quantum woo".
 
2013-09-14 09:55:05 PM

DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.


You have a study to cite on this or experience as a physicist?

/Physicist, and spiritual.
//Alibiet in a weird, reverse-pascal's-wager-way. And I do not base it on physics/quantum mechanics. FARK depak chopra.
///In that I have some vague spiritual beliefs, but believe what is most important, regardless of god or not, is to try and help others/live a good life.
////That said: FARK Deepak Chopra.
 
2013-09-14 09:57:26 PM

Felgraf: DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.

You have a study to cite on this or experience as a physicist?

/Physicist, and spiritual.
//Alibiet in a weird, reverse-pascal's-wager-way. And I do not base it on physics/quantum mechanics. FARK depak chopra.
///In that I have some vague spiritual beliefs, but believe what is most important, regardless of god or not, is to try and help others/live a good life.
////That said: FARK Deepak Chopra.


shiat the question in that last one sounded snarkier than I meant it!
I meant, did you actually have a cite for scientists being less spiritual, I would be curious.
 
2013-09-14 09:59:21 PM

Felgraf: DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.

You have a study to cite on this or experience as a physicist?

/Physicist, and spiritual.
//Alibiet in a weird, reverse-pascal's-wager-way. And I do not base it on physics/quantum mechanics. FARK depak chopra.
///In that I have some vague spiritual beliefs, but believe what is most important, regardless of god or not, is to try and help others/live a good life.
////That said: FARK Deepak Chopra.


http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_scien ce #Perspectives_from_the_scientific_community
 
2013-09-14 10:02:05 PM
Sure, what the hell.
 
2013-09-14 10:05:17 PM

Baryogenesis: Felgraf: DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.

You have a study to cite on this or experience as a physicist?

/Physicist, and spiritual.
//Alibiet in a weird, reverse-pascal's-wager-way. And I do not base it on physics/quantum mechanics. FARK depak chopra.
///In that I have some vague spiritual beliefs, but believe what is most important, regardless of god or not, is to try and help others/live a good life.
////That said: FARK Deepak Chopra.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_scien ce #Perspectives_from_the_scientific_community


Interesting, although it's a bit confused about the 'spirituality' part. Since the wikipedia article seems to talk about how a large number of scientists don't believe in god... but also mentions how several scientists seem to consider themselves spiritual without religion or belief in a specific god (And I suspect I fall into that category).

The difference between physicians and scientists is interesting, too. They make conjectures about the possible social factors at play,b ut.. that's still really fascinating!
 
2013-09-14 10:07:17 PM
img.gawkerassets.com


I refuse to seriously consider any medical theorizing from members of a goddamned shock rock band.
 
2013-09-14 10:08:47 PM
www.smbc-comics.com
 
2013-09-14 10:11:52 PM

Baryogenesis: Felgraf: DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.

You have a study to cite on this or experience as a physicist?

/Physicist, and spiritual.
//Alibiet in a weird, reverse-pascal's-wager-way. And I do not base it on physics/quantum mechanics. FARK depak chopra.
///In that I have some vague spiritual beliefs, but believe what is most important, regardless of god or not, is to try and help others/live a good life.
////That said: FARK Deepak Chopra.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_scien ce #Perspectives_from_the_scientific_community


Hrn and your first link doesn't define what they meant by 'personal god' (as it could exclude non-deistic religions like Buddhism, and might also exclude animistic religions.) And without a definition of human immortality, I'm not sure of buddhism counts or not. (Since you don't necessarily remember your 'previous' incarnation, so... are you still you?)

I am probably overthinking this.

Or I'm skimming too fast due to being tired. Either or!
 
2013-09-14 10:14:00 PM
Argument from ignorance -- it might be hard to figure out though we haven't really made a good go at it yet, so it must be magic quantum!

Thermodynamic processes at body temperature and living cell conditions will overwhelm any processes that the quantum woo people are supposing will happen inside a neuron. No quantum tunnelling. Not yours.
 
2013-09-14 10:18:13 PM

Nefarious: That cat might know.



i470.photobucket.com
 
2013-09-14 10:21:33 PM

Felgraf: Baryogenesis: Felgraf: DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.

You have a study to cite on this or experience as a physicist?

/Physicist, and spiritual.
//Alibiet in a weird, reverse-pascal's-wager-way. And I do not base it on physics/quantum mechanics. FARK depak chopra.
///In that I have some vague spiritual beliefs, but believe what is most important, regardless of god or not, is to try and help others/live a good life.
////That said: FARK Deepak Chopra.

http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relationship_between_religion_and_scien ce #Perspectives_from_the_scientific_community

Hrn and your first link doesn't define what they meant by 'personal god' (as it could exclude non-deistic religions like Buddhism, and might also exclude animistic religions.) And without a definition of human immortality, I'm not sure of buddhism counts or not. (Since you don't necessarily remember your 'previous' incarnation, so... are you still you?)

I am probably overthinking this.

Or I'm skimming too fast due to being tired. Either or!


I imagine phrasing the questions differently, like including 'spiritual' as a choice, or asking about Buddhism would end up with similar results.  Scientists are much less likely than the general public to believe in God(s), souls, reincarnation, ghosts, etc.
 
2013-09-14 10:22:02 PM

DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.


Not always

www.quantonics.com
 
2013-09-14 10:23:33 PM
So in other words, they can't explain consciousness.
 
2013-09-14 10:23:59 PM

Kit Fister: Nefarious: That cat might know.

the cat is both in and not in aruba.

Also, what if our physical beings are just an elaborate prison designed to trap energy beings in an alternate reality, and people who die are just being paroled from their sentences?


lucien0maverick.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-09-14 10:24:45 PM

jamspoon: A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.

Nice idea though


Which doesn't mean 1billion yrs of evolution could have found a work around. But it seems unnecessary. There's plenty of weirdness in classical statistical mechanics that go overlook cuz quantum sounds cool.
 
2013-09-14 10:26:59 PM
Meta
 
2013-09-14 10:32:25 PM
It's punctuated... with long pauses of irrelevance and trolling in between.
 
2013-09-14 10:34:15 PM
Physicists I've known have been hard-nosed realists eschewing superstition. Mathematicians, on the other hand, seem more susceptible. I suspect it derives from the experimentalist's experience with ugly, noisy, inexplicable, and contradictory data whereas theorists work with scribblings on notebook paper. Empiricism very quickly disabuses one of any notions of design in nature.
 
2013-09-14 10:41:35 PM
I think the brain is a quantum transducer.
 
2013-09-14 10:41:42 PM

Kit Fister: Nefarious: That cat might know.

the cat is both in and not in aruba.

Also, what if our physical beings are just an elaborate prison designed to trap energy beings in an alternate reality, and people who die are just being paroled from their sentences?


If coffee was a horse would you ride it?
 
2013-09-14 10:43:28 PM
This is hypothesis and not theory. Theory is a working explanation of a phenomenon based on observation. Even hypothesis should be extrapolated from observation not pulled out of your ass.
 
2013-09-14 10:49:04 PM
This is so...I can't even...
Does anyone else find it interesting that the Godhead's name in Hebrew is I AM ?
 
2013-09-14 10:58:30 PM

A theory is an assumption based on limited information or knowledge, basically a conjecture. One of the more recent theories that turned out to be completely wrong:

: As peptic ulcers became more common in the 20th century, doctors increasingly linked them to the stress of modern life. during the latter half of the 20th century was, essentially, for patients to take antacids and modify their lifestyle. In the 1980s Australian clinical researcher Barry Marshal discovered that the bacterium  H. pyloricaused peptic ulcer disease, in 2005.

 
2013-09-14 11:03:43 PM
I plan on being classically unconscious in about 20 minutes.
 
2013-09-14 11:04:25 PM
Thanks for the TF,  Nefarious
 
2013-09-14 11:11:31 PM

DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: Argument from ignorance -- it might be hard to figure out though we haven't really made a good go at it yet, so it must be magic quantum!

Thermodynamic processes at body temperature and living cell conditions will overwhelm any processes that the quantum woo people are supposing will happen inside a neuron. No quantum tunnelling. Not yours.


Not to mention that the article states that we are "computational".

About as much as cave drawings are "digital".  We are barely procedural at the best of times.  Sure, we've come up with a structure for using rationale in a studious environment, but left to our own devices, most decisions are made on the fly without a lot of forethought.  Any real structure we utilize is learned. Most of our natural processes are very simple, things like association.

The reason we don't understand our brains is that they're so far from logical in their natural processes so as to be alien.  It's the inverse of "Any technology advanced far enough would be indistinguishable from magic."(a principle others have paraphrased above)

Article and original doctor stink of, "What if dog was spelled CAT?!" deep thought born of way too many drugs or too little by far.  Even if those things are as mundane as eating paint chips and suffering severe oxygen deprivation, or being a crack baby.
 
2013-09-14 11:14:46 PM

jamspoon: A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.

Nice idea though


In the interview (which was really interesting, btw), this guy claims that some kind of quantum activity has been definitively found in plants in some part of photosynthesis (which I seem to remember reading something about on Fark not too long ago), which would mean that it clearly can happen at warmer temperatures. Maybe the study is flawed or something, but I don't think that humanity is at the point where we can start assuming that we definitively know anything specific about quantum mechanics.
 
2013-09-14 11:18:26 PM
Everything is quantum if you look closely enough. And if you look even closer, it's analog.
 
2013-09-14 11:20:26 PM

Nefarious: That cat might know.


Yup.
 
2013-09-14 11:22:25 PM

arkansized: This is so...I can't even...
Does anyone else find it interesting that the Godhead's name in Hebrew is I AM ?


Wait... are you saying God is POPEYE?
 
2013-09-14 11:26:11 PM

arkansized: This is so...I can't even...
Does anyone else find it interesting that the Godhead's name in Hebrew is I AM ?


I am that I am.

It is a little-appreciated pun deliberately written into what is now the Bible. It is an answer to the question of when God calls you, you answer "here I am".

Unless you are Noah, in which case you answer "what".
 
2013-09-14 11:29:11 PM
I really hate it when people misuse the word "quantum".
 
2013-09-14 11:30:56 PM
An interesting question. My girlfriend has DID and there are at least 13 in there, and one is new since we met. She had a concussion and they took a few days to get sorted out. One is hard core OCD. Six are adult and seven are children who never age. The new one orgasms hard to pain, something that was extremely disconcerting. This new one is also blind because light hurts her eyes so she can't see me. She is linked to a child personality who came out of the concussion way too strong, she is able to overpower the others to get out but she can't know any others exist because none of the children could handle sharing daddy/poppa/papi. The "editing" personality tells me that there are many more "fragments" floating about that may or may not develop into new personalities. They are all linked but only three personalities know of all others and only one of those ever interacts directly with me. Each is a fully formed individual with distinct tastes ans aversions, emotional needs and mannerisms. All existing in one brain. None of them hold direct first person knowledge of the abuse that caused it, instead it is described as more like reading about it in a book. Memories are compartmentalized. One personality, who has no mouth in her self image, is "the keeper of secrets" but what she keeps is unknown even to her. But when something traumatic happens it is like it is put into a vault that she guards.

Is consciousness quantum? It is the only real way to describe what I see in her. She is undiagnosed and even her four grown kids are ignorant of her condition. What I see in her makes me laugh at the Wikipedia articles on personality, consciousness and the like.
 
2013-09-14 11:36:46 PM
imgs.xkcd.com
 
2013-09-14 11:39:26 PM
Everything is or isn't quantum when you only have a popsci-level of physics understanding. Cat lol. Entanglement derp.
 
2013-09-14 11:41:07 PM

BolloxReader: An interesting question. My girlfriend has DID and there are at least 13 in there, and one is new since we met. She had a concussion and they took a few days to get sorted out. One is hard core OCD. Six are adult and seven are children who never age. The new one orgasms hard to pain, something that was extremely disconcerting. This new one is also blind because light hurts her eyes so she can't see me. She is linked to a child personality who came out of the concussion way too strong, she is able to overpower the others to get out but she can't know any others exist because none of the children could handle sharing daddy/poppa/papi. The "editing" personality tells me that there are many more "fragments" floating about that may or may not develop into new personalities. They are all linked but only three personalities know of all others and only one of those ever interacts directly with me. Each is a fully formed individual with distinct tastes ans aversions, emotional needs and mannerisms. All existing in one brain. None of them hold direct first person knowledge of the abuse that caused it, instead it is described as more like reading about it in a book. Memories are compartmentalized. One personality, who has no mouth in her self image, is "the keeper of secrets" but what she keeps is unknown even to her. But when something traumatic happens it is like it is put into a vault that she guards.

Is consciousness quantum? It is the only real way to describe what I see in her. She is undiagnosed and even her four grown kids are ignorant of her condition. What I see in her makes me laugh at the Wikipedia articles on personality, consciousness and the like.


Good luck with that
 
2013-09-14 11:51:27 PM
pressthebuttons.typepad.com
 
2013-09-14 11:53:09 PM

2wolves: Morchella: Why not. Solace is a quantum thing, evidently.

Spider Robinson fan?


"She" wasn't really a product of quantum computing as I recall...
 
2013-09-14 11:54:07 PM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: arkansized: This is so...I can't even...
Does anyone else find it interesting that the Godhead's name in Hebrew is I AM ?

Wait... are you saying God is POPEYE?


LOL. No- that would be I YAM.
 
2013-09-15 12:00:43 AM
I wasn't trying to be flippant.
It's just that self-consciousness might be described but never explained.

In that sense it is like a god, the great unknowable OTHER.
Kind of makes sense that the writer of the Hebrew Bible stood in awe of self-consciousness.

/Laphroig intelligence. I will get over it.
 
2013-09-15 12:01:01 AM
What is mind? No matter.
What is matter? Never mind.
 
2013-09-15 12:04:30 AM

BolloxReader: Is consciousness quantum? It is the only real way to describe what I see in her.


I certainly don't want to insult either of you - mental illness is a difficult and troubling problem to deal with - and it sounds like you care deeply for her, so I'll phrase this as gently and as diplomatically as I possibly can: is it possible that that biatch be totes cray?

Because it sounds like that biatch is totes cray-cray  yo.
 
2013-09-15 12:05:46 AM

jamspoon: A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.

Nice idea though


This is only because we are trying to measure a deterministic state of quantum information. In a near-absolute zero environemtn, you can probe the quantum states of atoms to determine binary information stored in them. This is a bastardized form of what really goes on because in the act of finding out whether the qbit is 1 or 0, you affect it's quantum states so it no longer behaves as a quantum object in context of "quantum flow." This flow is probabalistic in nature, and cannot be deterministic by nature. We are using it in a deterministic fashion because we only know how to perform computations in a deterministic manner. Therefore we have a need for deterministic measurements of qbits, and that can only be performed in an enviroment that is conducive to letting us measure it without a lot of background noise.

This is where I've understood consciousness to come into play. Take humanity as a whole and notice it behaves according to, more or less, deterministic principles imparted on it from the environment. True consciousness is an awareness that this is happening, and an awareness that you are not subject to deterministic forces and that you act according to your own will specifically because you are aware of the deterministic forces. (This tends to occur without an intellectual knowledge, just an unspeakable psychological awareness and feeling that it occurs.) This is different from what we normally think of being conscious, that is, a state opposed to being asleep. Herein lies the most essential truth of all religions, that "moment of zen" thing. I've come to understand religion is a practice humans have that opens them up to this deeper awareness to deterministic forces, at least if they are serious about seeing them.

Think of it as a machine that suddenly knows it is a machine. If it is aware of this fact and is aware of what it's purpose is and what the inputs for which is was designed are, it can act in opposition to them and do what it wants. It breaks free of it's deterministic qualities. Likewise, this is the same for most all humans where they are little more than walking supercomputers, unaware that they are far more intelligent than their iPhones.

Take of it what you will, but that's my understanding. It's pedantic and obvious, but that's usually the case with profound teachings.
 
2013-09-15 12:25:53 AM
Hmm, so is there a (peer-reviewdd) paper that outlines this so-called "Orchestrated Objective Reduction" thing?

It's widely thought that the brain processes events at the quantum level (e.g., eyes can be sensitive to single photons), but as far as I know, the best hypothesis of consciousness is Integrated Information Theory (http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/5/42/ ).  It would be easy to dismiss this other nonsense, except that Penrose is not a hack.
 
2013-09-15 12:31:05 AM
Consciousness is a physiological process.  Indeterminateness is not necessary for it.  If it turns out that some sort of "randomness" is beneficial to survival, there is probably enough noise in the system to get suitably random without having to resort to quantum indeterminate states.

I say this as someone who is absolutely theist and believes in the soul.
 
2013-09-15 12:55:51 AM
Consciousness is a by-product of your complex meat machine.  It's an emergent property and it's a spectrum.  It's natural to want to think you're special, but most people aren't even special enough to realize they're not special.
 
2013-09-15 01:18:58 AM
I just want to know what flavors my dreams are...
 
2013-09-15 01:19:17 AM
Pseudoscience at its finest.
 
2013-09-15 01:28:42 AM

Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.


You're an atheist that believes on souls? Now I've seen everything.
 
2013-09-15 01:31:20 AM
"quantum" is the new "turbo" was the new "supercharged" was the new "futuristic" was the new "advanced" was the new "new"

its a bullshiat word and isn't even being used correctly, the devices are simply fuzzy processors
 
2013-09-15 01:51:35 AM
Um, according to well accepted and experimentally proven physics theory, everything is the result of a quantum mechanics.   Everything.  (We haven't quite nailed down the gravitation yet, but are getting closer)   If it is a state of matter or energy, then it is a quantum thing.  The silliness of the article headline is the fault of the article writer for not quite grasping the subject matter, not Roger Penrose.

And this thread is pathetic.


Lady Indica: [www.smbc-comics.com image 540x662]


Except the answer in this case is yes.
 
2013-09-15 03:05:08 AM

ThrobblefootSpectre: Um, according to well accepted and experimentally proven physics theory, everything is the result of a quantum mechanics.   Everything.  (We haven't quite nailed down the gravitation yet, but are getting closer)   If it is a state of matter or energy, then it is a quantum thing.  The silliness of the article headline is the fault of the article writer for not quite grasping the subject matter, not Roger Penrose.


There's ensemble physics. At a macroscopic scale at the level of a cell, the quantum states of all the atoms in the cell are in a distribution so tightly coupled to the rest of the environment by thermodynamics, that there is little chance to discern quantum states of the cell or its substructures.

The quantum transitions in that ensemble will be so freaking tiny as to be physiologically meaningless and will be dominated by transitions in rotational and vibrational energy, aka heat.

So, yea, if you want to get specific, everything is quantum, but the transitions between molecular quantum states of a specific cell or its substructure is completely dominated by rotation and vibrational state transitions and is incredibly stochastic and distributed on heat energy.

 
2013-09-15 03:07:09 AM

ThrobblefootSpectre: Um, according to well accepted and experimentally proven physics theory, everything is the result of a quantum mechanics.   Everything.  (We haven't quite nailed down the gravitation yet, but are getting closer)   If it is a state of matter or energy, then it is a quantum thing.  The silliness of the article headline is the fault of the article writer for not quite grasping the subject matter, not Roger Penrose.


Blah, ftfm

There's ensemble physics. At a macroscopic scale at the level of a cell, the quantum states of all the atoms in the cell are in a distribution so tightly coupled to the rest of the environment by thermodynamics, that there is little chance to discern quantum states of the cell or its substructures.

The quantum transitions in that ensemble will be so freaking tiny as to be physiologically meaningless and will be dominated by transitions in rotational and vibrational energy, aka heat.

So, yea, if you want to get specific, everything is quantum, but the transitions between molecular quantum states of a specific cell or its substructure is completely dominated by rotation and vibrational state transitions and is incredibly stochastic and distributed on heat energy.
 
2013-09-15 03:57:28 AM

FrancoFile: Fraa Jad knows the answer, but it would be tedious to explain it to you.

/obscure?


No dude, Neal Stephenson is not obscure.
 
2013-09-15 04:02:35 AM

HempHead: A theory is an assumption based on limited information or knowledge, basically a conjecture. One of the more recent theories that turned out to be completely wrong:
: As peptic ulcers became more common in the 20th century, doctors increasingly linked them to the stress of modern life. during the latter half of the 20th century was, essentially, for patients to take antacids and modify their lifestyle. In the 1980s Australian clinical researcher Barry Marshal discovered that the bacterium  H. pyloricaused peptic ulcer disease, in 2005.


Of course, the rise in H. pyloricaused infections was the result of weakened immune systems caused by stress...
 
2013-09-15 04:29:13 AM

DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: The quantum transitions in that ensemble will be so freaking tiny as to be physiologically meaningless and will be dominated by transitions in rotational and vibrational energy, aka heat.


Quantum entanglement has already been demonstrated on macro-scale objects at room temperature. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=room-temperature-ent a nglement
So you can stop repeating that quantum effects are "meaningless" at larger scales.  That's very 1980's.

In any case, Penrose isn't discussing a macro-scale object.  He is discussing structures in the brain that are only a few nm wide.  So it is probably not reasonable to arbitrarily hand wave away possible q effects at the scale of light wavelengths, just because you don't like it.  (Time may show Penrose is wrong this once, but it will take more than a dismissive handwave and some incorrect statements about quantum physics to make that case.)

/As a side note, one should probably be extra circumspect before saying one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists alive today is presenting an "Argument from ignorance".
 
2013-09-15 04:55:59 AM

ThrobblefootSpectre: DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: The quantum transitions in that ensemble will be so freaking tiny as to be physiologically meaningless and will be dominated by transitions in rotational and vibrational energy, aka heat.

Quantum entanglement has already been demonstrated on macro-scale objects at room temperature. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=room-temperature-ent a nglement
So you can stop repeating that quantum effects are "meaningless" at larger scales.  That's very 1980's.

In any case, Penrose isn't discussing a macro-scale object.  He is discussing structures in the brain that are only a few nm wide.  So it is probably not reasonable to arbitrarily hand wave away possible q effects at the scale of light wavelengths, just because you don't like it.  (Time may show Penrose is wrong this once, but it will take more than a dismissive handwave and some incorrect statements about quantum physics to make that case.)

/As a side note, one should probably be extra circumspect before saying one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists alive today is presenting an "Argument from ignorance".


Except that those same "microtubules in the brain" mentioned in TFA are part of neuron cells, which means that every life form more complicated than a sponge has them. They are in no way unique to humans, or even mammals or vertebrates. In fact, jellyfish have them. I don't see anyone calling these things conscious.

t0.gstatic.com

I have no problem with the hypothesis that there may be quantum elements involved in neural functioning, as quantum effects in biology have already been demonstrated. However, everything that makes humans different from other animals and permits us to have more elaborate cognition happens at the macroscale, because the microscale structures mentioned in the article would necessarily be shared in basic function with every other animal that has neurons.

So this in essence reduces the idea of consciousness being due to quantum effects down to the nearly trivial statement that consciousness is due to us having neurons. I think it's interesting to study whether neuron functions have quantum interactions - but anyone who wants to start bringing up consciousness as a result in a causal fashion is seriously indulging in woo. This looks to me like a clear case of a very smart man who is an expert in his field making a basic error about a topic about which he is most definitely not an expert.
 
2013-09-15 05:06:39 AM

KiltedBastich: This looks to me like a clear case of a very smart man who is an expert in his field making a basic error about a topic about which he is most definitely not an expert.


pathological science
 
2013-09-15 05:09:03 AM

Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.


They get caught up in the coincidences
 
2013-09-15 05:11:34 AM

KiltedBastich: Except that those same "microtubules in the brain" mentioned in TFA are part of neuron cells, which means that every life form more complicated than a sponge has them. They are in no way unique to humans, or even mammals or vertebrates. In fact, jellyfish have them. I don't see anyone calling these things conscious.



Okay, let's use your argument on something other than microtubules....

Humans have neurons, and are conscious.  Jellyfish have neurons but are not conscious.  Therefore neurons must not be involved in human consciousness.

I don't think that last statement is a valid leap.  :)
 
2013-09-15 05:41:27 AM
Is i09 stupid?

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-09-15 07:50:32 AM

ThrobblefootSpectre: Humans have neurons, and are conscious. Jellyfish have neurons but are not conscious. Therefore the presence of neurons must not be involved in human is not sufficient to produce consciousness.

I don't think that last statement is a valid leap. :)


FTFY

KiltedBastich: I have no problem with the hypothesis that there may be quantum elements involved in neural functioning, as quantum effects in biology have already been demonstrated. However, everything that makes humans different from other animals and permits us to have more elaborate cognition happens at the macroscale, because the microscale structures mentioned in the article would necessarily be shared in basic function with every other animal that has neurons.

So this in essence reduces the idea of consciousness being due to quantum effects down to the nearly trivial statement that consciousness is due to us having neurons. I think it's interesting to study whether neuron functions have quantum interactions - but anyone who wants to start bringing up consciousness as a result in a causal fashion is seriously indulging in woo. This looks to me like a clear case of a very smart man who is an expert in his field making a basic error about a topic about which he is most definitely not an expert.


This is probably a better plain-text refutation than what I was going to come up with. My go-to explanation more involves the fact that the size of a cell is pretty solidly in the regime where the probabilistic nature of electrons in QM converges towards the deterministic (due to the fact that neurons firing is an aggregate effect.) In CMOS, you start to have problems related to quantum tunneling when your gate oxide drops below about 50nm - hence the reason for high-k dielectrics in the last few generations of microprocessors. A quick google search reveals that the average dendrite is on the order of 10 um wide and dozens to hundreds of microns long. Moreover, we deal with QM stuff in electronics all the time - it's called "shot noise," and it sure as shiat doesn't mean your circuit is conscious.
 
2013-09-15 07:55:01 AM
FTFA: The theory presents a new kind of wave function collapse that occurs in isolation...

Stopped reading right there. There is no such thing as wave function collapse (it's a handy approximation that works really well when your "measuring" instrument is many orders of magnitude larger than your "measured" system).

Amateur Tip: if your pet theory depends in an essential way on "wave function collapse", it's already wrong.
 
2013-09-15 07:58:12 AM

Kit Fister: Nefarious: That cat might know.

the cat is both in and not in aruba.

Also, what if our physical beings are just an elaborate prison designed to trap energy beings in an alternate reality, and people who die are just being paroled from their sentences?


So what are parole violations in that regard?
 
2013-09-15 08:10:07 AM

jamspoon: A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.


DO NOT WANT Poster Girl: Thermodynamic processes at body temperature and living cell conditions will overwhelm any processes that the quantum woo people are supposing will happen inside a neuron.


Actually... that's about the only part of this wacko theory that does make sense. Quantum processes are turning up in some surprising places. Baryogenesis mentioned photosynthesis, and they have also been implicated in how some birds navigate using tiny ferrous particles in the eye, and potentially in the sense of smell. Quantum computing researchers are actually very interested in how these natural systems manage to sustain their quantum states for so long (relatively speaking) in the presence of so much environmental noise.

To be clear, I'm not in any way defending this nutty theory, for the very good reason that Baryogenesis (again) already mentioned: it doesn't matter how much quantum you throw at a physical process, it's still a physical process, and there's nothing in currently described physical processes that remotely describes what we imagine "consciousness" to be. Whatever consciousness is, describing it is going to take a physical theory that is as radically different from quantum physics as quantum physics is from classical physics. We're missing an entire conceptual leap. To suggest otherwise is not even wrong.
 
2013-09-15 08:16:56 AM

Baryogenesis: Seriously. I thought it might be an article about quantum effects driving certain important brain processes like the quantum effects that are part of photosynthesis. But no, it was total drivel.

The first red flag went up when the author talked about wave function collapse as if it were a "thing" and that was quickly followed by "non physical". There's nothing "non physical" about quantum mechanics, people!


FWIW I actually have a hypothesis about how consciousness might work that is consistent with what little we know about it (e.g. that it doesn't appear to operate in the absence of a working brain; that it is limited in capability and localized in space and time). It exploits quantum effects but neither (1) suggests that quantum effects by themselves are enough of an explanation nor (b) suggests that quantum effects are in any way non-physical or not described incredibly well by existing quantum theory.

However, I'm reluctant to post it here because the last time I mentioned it, numerous Farkers completely misread it as advocating some kind of non-physical quantum woo and it got very ugly...
 
2013-09-15 08:26:29 AM
i0.kym-cdn.com
 
2013-09-15 08:51:52 AM
Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and let's hear it for  quantum phenomenon!

Great band name.
 
2013-09-15 08:59:58 AM

yagottabefarkinkiddinme: Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and let's hear it for  quantum phenomenon!

Great band name.


go for plural. Quantum Phenomena sounds better.
 
2013-09-15 09:54:23 AM

derpy: yagottabefarkinkiddinme: Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together and let's hear it for  quantum phenomenon!

Great band name.

go for plural. Quantum Phenomena sounds better.


By an odd coincidence, my bluegrass/grunge crossover band is called Spontaneous Waveform Collapse.
 
2013-09-15 10:15:39 AM

jamspoon: A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.

Nice idea though


Good thing the brain doesn't really function anything at all like any computer we've build then.  When you add 2 + 2 in your mind, the processes you go through do not have any relation to this:
izatxamir.files.wordpress.com

Given the complexities of conscious thought, it seems inevitable that we will have to look beyond classical models to define it.

/off to read the Orch OR paper
 
2013-09-15 10:37:03 AM

DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.


You're kidding, right?
 
2013-09-15 10:37:09 AM
I'm not against the idea of some quantum shenanigans going on in the brain but having read Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind I can't shake the impression Penrose believes this for no other reason that he strongly needs the human mind to be non-computational.  He comes across as terrified of the possibility of emulating this in computer hardware/software (AI) and simply refuses to acknowledge the possibility.  Therefore something non-computational must be going on in our brains, if we don't understand it now it *must* be quantum.  But his "evidence" all falls back on our not understanding how consciousness works whatever the method.  No, Penrose, we might just not understand its perfectly-classical workings.

Also, even if consciousness does require quantum trickery that doesn't mean we won't figure out how to emulate as well.  It might push the effort back to some degree but I refuse to believe that if evolution managed it we won't be able to manage it as well.
 
2013-09-15 10:57:48 AM

jamspoon: A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.

Nice idea though


But photosynthesis uses quantum tunneling. You can't explain that.
 
2013-09-15 11:22:48 AM

the opposite of charity is justice: I'm not against the idea of some quantum shenanigans going on in the brain but having read Emperor's New Mind and Shadows of the Mind I can't shake the impression Penrose believes this for no other reason that he strongly needs the human mind to be non-computational.  He comes across as terrified of the possibility of emulating this in computer hardware/software (AI) and simply refuses to acknowledge the possibility.   Therefore something non-computational must be going on in our brains, if we don't understand it now it *must* be quantum.  But his "evidence" all falls back on our not understanding how consciousness works whatever the method.  No, Penrose, we might just not understand its perfectly-classical workings.

Also, even if consciousness does require quantum trickery that doesn't mean we won't figure out how to emulate as well.  It might push the effort back to some degree but I refuse to believe that if evolution managed it we won't be able to manage it as well.


Pretty much this.

Penrose understands, correctly, that if the brain is computational (or equally, completely described by conventional biology => chemistry => physics), then there is no possibility whatsoever that anything remotely like "free will" or "choice" exists. And he finds this conclusion so unacceptable that he concludes that the premise is impossible. His reasoning is, of course, completely backwards.

However, as you rightly point out, attributing something in the brain to quantum effects does not make the problem go away. The fact that quantum effects contain randomness doesn't make them any better as an explanation for directedness, which is the essence of free will.

The most pessimistic worldview is that we are simply not equipped to understand consciousness. If free will is not an illusion, it may well require a physical theory entirely beyond QM, and it may be that the physical brains we are currently equipped with are no more capable of formulating the necessary understanding than a dog is of understanding quantum mechanics.

(Mind you, as a I mentioned above quantum effects might provide a way for actual directness, if such a thing exists, to interact with known physical laws without violating what we already know with great certainty about QM, and also without invoking any kind of mystical woo. Unfortunately, as I found out last time, the argument is too subtle for a Fark thread.)
 
2013-09-15 11:57:43 AM

Mister Peejay: DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.

You're kidding, right?


He's right. Scientists are far, far more likely to be atheists than the average person.
 
2013-09-15 12:00:04 PM

czetie: The most pessimistic worldview is that we are simply not equipped to understand consciousness.


We are not.  It's not pessimistic, it's rational.  A classic idea with computing does apply, a rough paraphrase: a computer with software to build a virtual computer, the virtual model will never rival the original computer in performance.

Factor in the huge amount of variability, how different individual brains function and can even re-learn and re-assign tasks, and you've got an area of study that is hard to pin down with anything resembling precision.

There will never be an up to date "understanding it all out".  If we advance far enough we'll theoretically be able to figure out how we functioned today.  As I hinted at in my former post above, a complete understanding would have to come from an advanced intelligence, one advanced enough to contain ours(with all it's variables) within itself(and arguably with enough spare room to maintain its own individuality).

Sure, it doesn't hurt to try, because along the way you do discover useful things, but it is a natural limitation of studying one's self.

As to free will....you're(collective) mixing and matching philosophical terms and ideals, indeed whole schools of thought.  Makes it a matter of perspective.  I have the ability to choose what I type next, so I do have free will.  But I am also limited greatly by past experience, maybe to the point where that choice, with the theoretical(and nearly impossible) full understanding, makes that choice inevitable, even predictable.

Humanities(and other philosophical perspectives) don't mesh well with more technical and logical sciences for that reason.  There is no such things as "for all intents and purposes" universal things like "free will".  It's a concept that applies only to certain discussions/schools of thought.

It's a similar principle to the fallacy of equivocation.  X can equal 1, 2, and sometimes 3, but only in certain applications.  For the purposes of a real technical science, "free will" is about an irrelevant topic as God is a rational explanation for physics or math.

/Disclaimer: I am not trying to school anyone, just airing out my brain a bit.

I'm also not up on quantum science much at all, but to my limited understanding, it's no different than talking about reality on a specific scale.  If everything at base is a quantum mechanic, trying to explain human consciousness with it exclusively, as if it plays some unique role, is preposterous.  Akin to saying atoms and molecules explain our brains, as if they're not the building blocks for every physical object that we can see, touch, and feel.
 
2013-09-15 12:11:46 PM

StrangeQ: Good thing the brain doesn't really function anything at all like any computer we've build then.  When you add 2 + 2 in your mind, the processes you go through do not have any relation to this:


Doesn't really in a computer, either.  That design uses too many transistors.  And for inputs with a larger number of bits, a ripple carry adder is too slow.
 
2013-09-15 12:15:17 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: Okay, let's use your argument on something other than microtubules....

Humans have neurons, and are conscious. Jellyfish have neurons but are not conscious. Therefore neurons must not be involved in human consciousness.

I don't think that last statement is a valid leap. :)


It's also logically invalid (it's actually a non sequitor logical error) and not at all the argument I am making, as Martian_Astronomer pointed out. The better phrasing of the last part is "Therefore neurons are not sufficient to explain human consciousness". You have to look at the macroscale organization of the network of neurons and the cognitive processes so allowed, i.e. the brain and it's structures, not just the neurons.
 
2013-09-15 12:48:33 PM
As I understand it, the current mathematical theory shows the universe is composed of at least 11 dimensions. Most humans can comprehend 3-5 dimensions of reality. Why is it so hard to accept that those other dimensions could contain what we know as God and Heaven/hell? I believe most are coiled around themselves but as I know little mathematics the concepts of the upper dimensions elude me. We also accept the concept of the multiverse but deny the possibility of a higher being that could exist in some part of it. This strikes me as illogical.
 
2013-09-15 01:03:13 PM

arkansized: This is so...I can't even...
Does anyone else find it interesting that the Godhead's name in Hebrew is I AM ?


Or that he loves foreskins and hates bacon? Yeah, kinda...but the dude's clearly psychotic.
 
2013-09-15 01:11:01 PM

KiltedBastich: It's also logically invalid (it's actually a non sequitor logical error) and not at all the argument I am making, as Martian_Astronomer pointed out.


Martian_Astronomer corrected your argument, not mine.  It wasn't my argument to begin with.
 
2013-09-15 01:58:20 PM

omeganuepsilon: A classic idea with computing does apply, a rough paraphrase: a computer with software to build a virtual computer, the virtual model will never rival the original computer in performance.


As a computer scientist, I'm not convinced this is a classic idea in computer science.  Why couldn't the computer just have instructions to build two (or more) of itself working inparallel. That does, certainly, outperform the original.

Also, this only applies if the computer is using algorithms.  Perhaps the instructions could instead be probabilistic - i.e.try something random, see if it works better, try something else random....  It's non-deterministic, but it is, after all, how evolution works.
 
2013-09-15 02:25:08 PM

Gunther: Mister Peejay: DamnYankees: Bathysphere: Physicists and mathematicians have been know to be very spiritual people, and as an atheist, I'm curious to know what knowledge they have that provokes their spirituality.

Scientists, especially physicists, are WAY LESS spiritual than other people.

You're kidding, right?

He's right. Scientists are far, far more likely to be atheists than the average person.


Atheist =/ spiritual.
 
2013-09-15 02:46:28 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: KiltedBastich: It's also logically invalid (it's actually a non sequitor logical error) and not at all the argument I am making, as Martian_Astronomer pointed out.

Martian_Astronomer corrected your argument, not mine.  It wasn't my argument to begin with.


No, it was your argument, as you tried to misrepresent what I was saying in a logically invalid manner. Come to think of it, that's also a straw man, not just a non sequitor. Martian_Astronomer got the point I was making immediately.
 
2013-09-15 03:31:40 PM

KiltedBastich: ThrobblefootSpectre: KiltedBastich: It's also logically invalid (it's actually a non sequitor logical error) and not at all the argument I am making, as Martian_Astronomer pointed out.

Martian_Astronomer corrected your argument, not mine.  It wasn't my argument to begin with.

No, it was your argument, as you tried to misrepresent what I was saying in a logically invalid manner. Come to think of it, that's also a straw man, not just a non sequitor. Martian_Astronomer got the point I was making immediately.


Hmmm. If it's any consolation, I didn't intentionally try to misrepresent it. Going back and re-reading I still don't think I did.

In any case, I still disagree that the objection refutes anything. Micro tubules being not sufficient to produce consciousness doesn't refute the idea that they are somehow involved in consciousness in some way. In other words, I don't think anyone claimed they are the sole generator and totality of intelligence, just that they are involved. You were trying to refute something no one said. (Which, btw, is definitively a strawman argument.)
 
2013-09-15 03:59:02 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: omeganuepsilon: A classic idea with computing does apply, a rough paraphrase: a computer with software to build a virtual computer, the virtual model will never rival the original computer in performance.

As a computer scientist, I'm not convinced this is a classic idea in computer science.  Why couldn't the computer just have instructions to build two (or more) of itself working inparallel. That does, certainly, outperform the original.


I don't really agree with the person you're responding to's whole post, but surely, if you're a computer scientist, surely you didn't miss that it was a "virtual computer"?  A virtual computer can never be more powerful than the computer simulating it, which is not so much a "classic" idea as a completely obvious one.

Anyway, even if he were talking about a physical computer, a computer by itself build another physical computer, it'd have to be controlling a robot or something.

All of this is beside the point.  Just because there are ineffible things in this universe doesn't mean consciousness is one of them.
 
2013-09-15 04:40:08 PM

aerojockey: ThrobblefootSpectre: omeganuepsilon: A classic idea with computing does apply, a rough paraphrase: a computer with software to build a virtual computer, the virtual model will never rival the original computer in performance.

As a computer scientist, I'm not convinced this is a classic idea in computer science.  Why couldn't the computer just have instructions to build two (or more) of itself working inparallel. That does, certainly, outperform the original.

I don't really agree with the person you're responding to's whole post, but surely, if you're a computer scientist, surely you didn't miss that it was a "virtual computer"?  A virtual computer can never be more powerful than the computer simulating it, which is not so much a "classic" idea as a completely obvious one.

Anyway, even if he were talking about a physical computer, a computer by itself build another physical computer, it'd have to be controlling a robot or something.

All of this is beside the point.  Just because there are ineffible things in this universe doesn't mean consciousness is one of them.


The constraint of "virtual" on the second machine is entirely arbitrary. A zygote has instructions to build a human brain. But certainly a zygote can't be considered conscious, or more intelligent than a human. Also the resulting human is not a virtual entity inside the zygote.


@All of this is beside the point.

This part I completely agree with. It's kind of what i was saying above. People keep introducing rather vague and hand wavey objections to....something.
 
2013-09-15 04:40:50 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: Hmmm. If it's any consolation, I didn't intentionally try to misrepresent it. Going back and re-reading I still don't think I did.

In any case, I still disagree that the objection refutes anything. Micro tubules being not sufficient to produce consciousness doesn't refute the idea that they are somehow involved in consciousness in some way. In other words, I don't think anyone claimed they are the sole generator and totality of intelligence, just that they are involved. You were trying to refute something no one said. (Which, btw, is definitively a strawman argument.)


The point is that if this is the case then consciousness isn't special, certainly cannot be a trait unique to humans, and all the rest of the woo brought up in the article is just so much malarkey.

If quantum effects in microtubules were all you needed, everything with such microtubules (a.k.a all animals from jellyfish on up) should evince consciousness. If they are not all you need for consciousness, then they are simply an antecedent condition to consciousness in that literally every animal with neurons has them, and you have reduced the claim of quantum microtubules as the source of consciousness to the utterly trivial claim that "consciousness requires neurons" to which the average highschool biology student will reply with "duh!" At that point you are back to looking a the macroscale interactions of those neurons, from neural nets to the CNS, for the source of cognition and consciousness, just with a modified understanding of how neurons work.

The goal here is not to dismiss the possibility of quantum effects in neurons. It is to dismiss the idea that this is somehow special and mystical, a claim which gives rise to the rest of the woo in the article about quantum souls and so on.
 
2013-09-15 04:42:01 PM

aerojockey: A virtual computer can never be more powerful than the computer simulating it, which is not so much a "classic" idea as a completely obvious one.


The russian doll is very classic.  It is obvious, yet also an idea that gets bandied about a lot in variable forms.

IE if we were in The Matrix, we'd never know.
Sufficiently advanced technology would be indistinguishable from magic

It's all based on the same principle, we would almost need a great advancement in understanding reality as we know it.

Yes, we can trace a route out on a given computer, follow a signal, and link those individual memories together, but rare is the ability to envision the mechanics of the whole thing at once, if it exists at all.

It is the same way we learn about our environment.  First, we learn the area around us, then we widen our range and learn a new area and link it to the first.

Anyone who plays modern 3d video games grasps the concept.  I use that as an example because one needs not even to leave mom's basement.

Any given system we study we slowly develop a familiarity with it, but we can only observe so much at once.  Electronic schematics to the way our vision itself functions with focus and peripheral vision.

This is how man has learned as much as he has, as I mentioned above, it's largely associations.  The signals you use to move your fingers to type are all very similar, for example, we don't consciously do it, it's mostly muscle memory.

It is how we function with everything, we give a general notion, and there's a processing of information through informational and physical means, that decompresses it in a way we still cannot puzzle out.  We can grasp some of the general notions, but a complete understanding simply requires better hardware and software.

Same way you can't play, say, Halo 4 on windows 3.1.  Without upgrades in both departments, we're pretty much shiat out of luck.

The way we actually process information is alien to our own established logical thinking.  All animals do as we do without anything but the most rudimentary logic(X hurts, so avoid it.  Y feels good, do it as much as possible).

I'm not saying it's impossible to completely understand consciousness, only that its impossible for humans as we are today.  Much the same way an ant, dog, or butterfly will never truly understand itself.

If our minds are "computers", our understanding, the "virtual computer" will never be as powerful.  We can know certain things about how certain things work, but given human limitations, some things are just beyond our capabilities.  Some subjects are simply so complicated that most people cannot understand most of it's parts, much less the whole thing.
 
2013-09-15 04:55:21 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: The constraint of "virtual" on the second machine is entirely arbitrary


No, you're just a little bit dense.  Here, i'll break it down for you.

Look at this picture then read the following.

static.urbantimes.co

The big one will NEVER fit into the smallest one.  If you do manage, it takes a LOT of work, grinding it up, but then it's not functional, not even a russian doll at all anymore.

Your DNA argument is irrelevant, you're talking about pieces of code involved in what is a physical process at root, not whole computers processing information.

You use one byte, one instruction, one single bit of data for anything but the virtual machine, you've now got less resources than you need to fully replicate said machine.
 
2013-09-15 05:02:51 PM
KiltedBastich:

I don't necessarily disagree with what you just posted.

But, what I am saying is that my post that you were originally responding to was only about the possibility that consciousness involved quantum phenomena.  That's all.  None of the woo about incorporeal intelligences.  Simply put, there were some people before 6am, making objections based on false assumptions.  ("quantum transitions in that ensemble will be so freaking tiny as to be physiologically meaningless.") I corrected that fallacy, factually, and by citing credible references.  You responded to my correction with something that appeared, to me at least, to be completely tangential to my post.  Thus the misunderstanding.  Cool?

I
 
2013-09-15 05:10:12 PM

omeganuepsilon: Your DNA argument is irrelevant



Hmmmm.  DNA is not relevant to a discussion of human consciousness, but somehow Russian dolls are?  :)

That plus the childish insults tell me there's probably not much point in trying to have a rational discussion with you.
 
2013-09-15 05:19:33 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: I don't necessarily disagree with what you just posted.

But, what I am saying is that my post that you were originally responding to was only about the possibility that consciousness involved quantum phenomena. That's all. None of the woo about incorporeal intelligences. Simply put, there were some people before 6am, making objections based on false assumptions. ("quantum transitions in that ensemble will be so freaking tiny as to be physiologically meaningless.") I corrected that fallacy, factually, and by citing credible references. You responded to my correction with something that appeared, to me at least, to be completely tangential to my post. Thus the misunderstanding. Cool?


Fair enough. As I said in my Boobies, I have no real problem with the idea that quantum effects might occur in biology. They've been documented in photosynthesis, and there's really no reason to assume that evolution could not take advantage of quantum effects. That said, as far as I know, the more recent work on microtubules has shown the specific proposed mechanisms to be impossible, although I no longer remember the reference for that claim so I can't be certain.

Overall I am just saying that the claims made in TFA about quantum consciousness amount to woo for some reasons that should be blindingly obvious to anyone who stops to think about humans in the context of their evolutionary history and relation to other life forms, and that those claims should be treated accordingly.
 
2013-09-15 05:40:06 PM

KiltedBastich: Overall I am just saying that the claims made in TFA about quantum consciousness amount to woo for some reasons that should be blindingly obvious to anyone who stops to think about humans in the context of their evolutionary history and relation to other life forms, and that those claims should be treated accordingly.


Gotcha.  I ignored the woo, and focused on the headline which was just a question of biological quantum processes.  Most early objections seemed to focus only on the quantum aspect.  My admonition was, Penrose, being who and what he is, the quantum aspect is probably the one thing he got right, so try a different angle of attack.   Like - "Why would a quantum process in the brain, supposing there is one and regardless of what exactly it is,imply or even remotely allow for non-material intelligent systems?"
 
2013-09-15 05:54:04 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: "Why would a quantum process in the brain, supposing there is one and regardless of what exactly it is,imply or even remotely allow for non-material intelligent systems?"


Yep, this is the essential flaw in Penrose's argument. His answer, as near as I can tell, is "the alternative is too terrifying to contemplate" -- which, it has to be said, is not much of an argument.
 
2013-09-15 06:02:43 PM

jamspoon: A casual Googling of the idea says "No". The main reason being a quantum computer has to be very cold to avoid quantum "noise" disrupting the process.

Nice idea though


Yeah, the idea isn't totally crazy (and it's been around a looong time), but this is basically the problem with it.

I love that we live in a world where someone can come up with a pretty good answer to such an esoteric question with "a casual Googling".
 
2013-09-15 06:08:10 PM

ThrobblefootSpectre: omeganuepsilon: Your DNA argument is irrelevant


Hmmmm.  DNA is not relevant to a discussion of human consciousness, but somehow Russian dolls are?  :)

That plus the childish insults tell me there's probably not much point in trying to have a rational discussion with you.


The discussion within the thread you are talking about(supposedly as a computer scientist) is computing, where in you miss the entirety of the russian doll reference(here's a hint, it's a widely used symbology in the computing world and in science fiction, even in math AND physics).  Do try to keep up.

Not only do you lie about your career(or grossly fail at it, or grossly mislabel it, I'd believe you may be a receptionist who uses a computer on occasion, but that's really about it. ), you can't even follow a fark discussion.

References:
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2010/09/29/nesting-computers-minecra ft -hardware/
http://www.cloudcomputingexpo.com/node/2773353
http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc4127
http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/mathematical-matryoshka-counti ng -numbers-integers-.html
http://website.acternity.com/?page_id=20">http://website.acternity.c om/?page_id=20
http://matrioshkaworld.blogspot.com/2011/02/physical-limits-of-infer en ce.html
http://diglib.eg.org/EG/DL/LocalChapterEvents/TPCG/TPCG07/097-105.pd f. abstract.pdf
http://www.csupomona.edu/~ftang/courses/CS240/lectures/recursion.htm

But by all means, continue to talk as if you know what you're talking about.
 
2013-09-15 06:29:14 PM

omeganuepsilon: Not only do you lie about your career(or grossly fail at it, or grossly mislabel it, I'd believe you may be a receptionist who uses a computer on occasion, but that's really about it. ), you can't even follow a fark discussion.


Omega, I've seen you be rational and constructively contribute to other science threads.  So I am going to refrain from being dragged into a ITC insult fight, while you are in an insulting and emotionally combative mood.  Perhaps tomorrow, if you calm down, we could meet up in this thread again.
 
2013-09-15 08:04:28 PM
Sure, play it all off as me being juvenile(or whatever ITC means, unless you meant ITG), and you wonder why I resorted to that in the first place.

If you refuse to be rational and honest, there's no point in picking up tomorrow. Re-read the thread if you don't believe you were in error.  Do your own research on the relevance of matryoshka dolls.  You will see where you made your errors if you've an iq over 90 and are not deluding yourself.  I don't even care if you admit it, you're just some random stranger on the internet among thousands, you're easily replaceable so I've got no need to conform to your standards of behavior(Welcome to Fark![and the internet at large]).  I'm simply happy knowing I was in deed technically correct.
 
2013-09-15 08:59:14 PM
1) Anyone who doesn't think there are scientists who are spiritual/investigate the spiritual need to get out more often

2) Unless you are describing a train whistle, using the word "woo" in normal conversation makes you sound retarded.
 
2013-09-15 10:15:22 PM
No matter which model you ascribe to, everyone should at least acknowledge how fragile cognition is in the first place. We need to get over the anthropocentrism of cognition. We consider ourselves special but we used to claim we were the only species which used toos and that vanity has been smashed to pieces.

It doesn't take a lot to derail cognition: disease, trauma, chemicals, lack of sleep, even simple viral ideas can derail critical thought. Vision is 2.5D not 3D and we fill-in the missing data where our blind spot is. We fill in speech when we can't hear entire words, etc. look at what it takes to derail a life when memory-loss hits... it's all a massive, fragile, con game of filtered data which we call "cognition".

Like photosynthesis uses quantum tunneling to break up CO2, I wouldn't e aurised that we have low-level quantum effects working at the nuron/synapse level but that's not what drives the illusion of cognition. I think it's due to the act we can multi-task a bit better then ther animals because we're domesticated and don't have to use all our bandwidth for survival. We can waste time thinking about higher subject matter and we have the physiology to act on it. For all we know whales and dolphins are smart but their bodies and ecosystem limit their ability to act on their higher brain functions.

I don't know. I'm drinking.
 
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