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Old June 20 2013, 11:40 PM   #98
Maxwell Everett
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Does Data have a soul?

Nightdiamond wrote: View Post
Maxwell Everett wrote: View Post
Wow, what rock did you kick over to find that website? What a smorgasbord of nonsense... 9/11 trutherism, Earth changes, channeling. The woman who runs it (Laura Knight Jadczyk) appears to be a total crank and woo peddler. Yikes!

Anyway, the Penrose/Hameroff Orch-OR (Orchestrated objective reduction) theory of consciousness mentioned in that article doesn't hold up, as it turns out. Basically, the human brain's temperature is too high for quantum effects to last very long. Microtubule quantum states could exist, but would be sustained for only femtoseconds (a quadrillionth of a second), rather than the 25 milliseconds (1/40th of a second) required by Orch-OR theory. Read more here:
The keyword for me is "claims" because I don't know where this proof is. Seems more like a wild theory, but he claims he can prove it.

The article have been around for a while, so a lot of different websites are posting it. Popular Mechanics picked it up too:

When anyone claims they located exactly where the soul is, it's time to turn on the BS meter. Especially when people throw in words like "quantum".

OTOH, what if he's possibly right? He claims his theory stands up to that argument. There might be evidence to back it up;

Here's snip of it;
...these quantum states are notoriously fragile. Even in laboratory systems, atoms are cooled to near–absolute-zero temperatures to maintain entanglement for more than a few thousandths of a second. Biological systems would seem too warm and too wet to hold quantum states for long, yet that’s exactly what they appear to do.
I'm no scientist, but supposedly this can be used to refute the argument of the brain being incapable of quantum effects due to its warm temperature.

Maybe science has saved us after all.

Maybe all that quantum technobabble stuff they say in Trek is true after all
Well, I'm glad you seem to be appropriately skeptical about these claims. Unfortunately, the Popular Mechanics article you link to wasn't much better than the SOTT article, to be perfectly honest.

The writer of the PM article uncritically presents the work of a guy named Dr. Andrew B. Newberg who was featured in that awful What the Bleep Do We Know film (really a pseudoscientific infomercial) from 2004. Newberg is trained in medical sciences (professor of Radiology) rather than physical sciences so he's not in a position to make assertions (his so-called "Nuerotheology") about how quantum mechanics may or may not work in the macroscopic world. The author of the article does not point this out and doesn't provide a counterpoint to his claims.

The Wired article was of much higher journalistic standards, however. As to the claims made there, you'll note that the other scientist the journalist speaks to, Physicist Klaus Schulten (who was not involved in the work in question, but who was the one who originally proposed the as-yet-unknown biochemical reaction taking place in the birds' eyes) points out that the paper uses "a hugely simplified [mathematical] model," so it is not at all clear that the findings in the paper are conclusive.

Entanglement occuring for tens of microseconds longer than previously thought (100 versus 80) possibly pertaining to bird navigation is a long way off from saying consciousness in humans arises from similar quantum effects. 100 microseconds, or 0.0001 seconds is quite a bit different from the 25 milliseconds (0.025 seconds) required by Orch-OR theory. That's a gap of more than two orders of magnitude.

And even if they were able to bridge that gap, it would still not constitute proof of a human soul.
"Shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion." -Thomas Jefferson
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