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Junius replied 11 years ago (Jul 16th 2012, 11:20:47 pm)
In his 1989 book Penrose says that he also sees randomness as useless for human understanding. This is why he distinguishes between the 'normal' random wave function collapse and what he calls objective reduction (OR) which is proposed to happen to quanta that are isolated from the environment for a sufficiently long time. It is only this type of collpase which is proposed to access the 'fundamental spacetime geometry. The camp statement you quote is a bit misleading if that is what it says. Quantum computation, in the form that researchers are trying to develop, has wave functions collapsing as a result of interaction with the environment, which relates to randomness. It's not really clear from Penrose's theory if all or only some quantum computation in the brain would be linked to objective reduction. This post is not about whether the Penrose stuff is a good idea, but just what is actually proposed in the theory.
richwil replied 11 years ago (Jul 16th 2012, 8:00:22 pm)
Hi Junius I would go further than Penrose, randomness is not just useless, it has a negative effect. Hameroff's idea, as i recall, was that quantum indeterminacy allows for or supports free will: that's always been a mystery to me - how can a random process have anything but a destructive effect on a free choice? I don't understand what Penrose is proposing - is it panpsychism: is the "fundamental geometry of spacetime" conscious? I do, however, understand computation. The camp statement says that "In 1989 Sir Roger Penrose proposed that consciousness is a sequence of quantum computations". I don't see that quantum computation makes programs conscious, hence the question at the start of my previous post.
Junius replied 11 years ago (Jul 13th 2012, 12:51:43 am)
Penrose himself points out that randomness is not of much use for neural processes. It leads on from here that he proposes the idea of objective reduction - the reduction of wave functions that are isolated from the environment. He suggests that this form of reduction accesses the 'fundamental geometry of spacetime'. This may or may not seem far fetched, but at any rate he does not base his ideas for the mind on randomess. In Q&A sessions he has actually rated himself a 'don't know' on freewill.
richwil replied 11 years ago (Jul 12th 2012, 9:29:29 pm)
I'm interested to know whether Orch OR camp supporters consider quantum computation to have special attributes over and above non-quantum computation. In an article in the Journal of Consciousness Studies (i forget the ref), Stuart Hameroff claimed that Orch OR saves free will from determinism because quantum events are indeterministic. We quickly came to a disagreement on this issue in email discussion as i recall. I don't see that randomness has anything to do with free will - perhaps camp supporters have a view on this? IMO the function of microtubules (present in all our cells) is limited to cellular scaffolding and transport - they provide tracks along which molecular motors ferry cellular cargo. The idea that they provide the home for quantum computation that somehow usefully connects with the electrochemical functioning of the neuron seems far-fetched speculation to me. While studying intracellular transport in neurons, i managed to talk to Jack Tuszynski about this issue but could find no grounds for agreement and very little in the way of evidence. Can i ask why it seems convincing to honourable members of this camp?