Stuck in the (18)90’s…

The Impasse…

Science of the nineteenth century was dominated by materialistic determinism — a belief that the universe and everything in it can be reduced to two constituent aspects: Elementary components (particles and forces), and universal laws (such as Newton’s Laws of Motion). This thinking cast events and processes as local, limited physical interactions. Consciousness itself was attributed to a series of predictable physical and chemical interactions within the brain.

Quantum theory has since demonstrated that the universe (and everything in it) is characterized by absolute indeterminism. Quantum laws yield probabilities that can be interpreted as purely subjective — that is, they refer to what we observe. The act of observing denotes consciousness. Many features of quantum theory, such as complementarity and entanglement, place consciousness at the center of the discussion. Scientists and philosophers alike — Wigner, Faber, Toben and Donald, among others — have interpreted that consciousness is essential to the existence of the physical universe.

So why are so many people philosophically stuck in the (18)90’s on this point?

Can consciousness be explained by quantum theory?

The quantum mind hypothesis suggests that quantum mechanical phenomena may play an important part in the brain’s function and could form the basis for an explanation of consciousness. Research has shown that events occurring on the membranes of human neural cells are triggered by shifts in the energy levels of sub-atomic particles; the Penrose-Hameroff model of consciousness suggests a specific form of quantum computation which underlies neuronal synaptic activities.

Can the universe be explained by consciousness?

Probably… But applying the anachronism of nineteenth-century thought will not advance our understanding of the universe or the nature of consciousness, let alone answer this question. Finding the answer will require an examination of consciousness from a quantum theory perspective and, perhaps, vice versa.


Quantum Approaches to Consciousness (Stanford University)


Hameroff on Quantum Consciousness


~ by theobservereffect on January 12, 2008.

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