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How valid is Orch-OR model? Quantum affect brains?

  1. Oct 31, 2011 #1
    I have read several threads about Penrose-Hameroff Orch-OR model trying to explain (human) consciousness by processes within microtubules (brains stuff) using quantum interpretation.

    I only saw beliefs and opinions, but no strong argument, less so evidence, for or against Orch-OR...

    I am inclined to think this is worthy to investigate further on, even if most of the current scientists are not fond on this (simple) idea.

    Can anyone point me to serious article/discussion regarding this?

    Your personal view interests me too.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 31, 2011 #2


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    The Orch-OR model has pretty much been discredited. If you check the wikipedia entry you will find explanations and links to studies that have shown its premises and conclusions to be false. The most relevant passage is the final one;
    EDIT: Also note that this thread does not conform to the philosophy guideline rules (they are right there at the top of the philosophy forum). Due to this the thread has been moved to Biology and the free will question removed. Please read the discussions that have already occurred regarding the latter topic and if you think you have something separate to say start a new thread along those lines in the correct (i.e. rule abiding) manner. Please do not try to include Orch-OR until you have learnt about it.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2011
  4. Oct 31, 2011 #3
    My main point was connecting the ideas of free-will and Orch OR model, and I'd say that discussing free-will shall stay a philosophical question for some time.

    It is quite obvious that we have a great model of micro-cosmo (quantum mechanics, where common logic fails) and macro-cosmo (classical model, where logic seems natural and highest truth of known reality), yet we aren't able to connect the two well, and here is where Orch OR stepped in. It might be false, but it also might just be incomplete...

    I don't believe that Penrose would spend years of dedicated thinking and in writing three books on something which would be so far away from the truth.

    Anyway, if known physical and biological truths can explain consciousness then why don't we see a simplest of life forms which would be made in a laboratory? And if we once achieve that, will we ever be able to make a self-aware robots?

    Orch OR says nope, while leading AI scientists says yes, by claiming consciousness can be perfectly explained by current science, while not giving us anything real to base that belief on.
  5. Oct 31, 2011 #4


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    And as I said there have already been many discussions regarding free will that you should familiarise yourself with first. Also if you do not understand Orch-OR or any of the science involved how can you possibly hope to have a good discussion of it?
    It's hard to see how you could class a flawed theory as "incomplete". Its very premise has been shown to be untenable; it requires huge energies and temperatures that do not and cannot occur in biology. You are being highly unscientific here; the case for Orch-OR has not been made and you cannot get around that by just assumption that it is incomplete.

    Nether-the-less consciousness is an active area of research and there are many different groups working towards solving the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard_problem_of_consciousness" [Broken]. If you are interested you should read up on this before latching on to a theory that has been mostly discredited.
    First things first; get rid of this notion of "truth". Science works on data and predictive models to explain said data. And seriously, you can't believe that someone would spend years dedicated to a personal theory that doesn't comply with what we know? Billions of people do that daily.
    We cannot explain consciousness yet; see the hard problem of consciousness link above.
    No one has said this. At the most they may say that there is currently no reason to think that anything but classical physics is needed to produce consciousness and that quantum effects play no special role.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Oct 31, 2011 #5
    Just when I'm starting to tackle another topic here comes an issue regarding consciousness.:biggrin: Very fast reponse and brief comment before my guests arrive for dinner and kids knock at the door for Halloween! Update on October 27, 2011 from the U.S. National Library of Medicine – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Institutes of Health said , “If you've ever fainted, you are not alone - at least one third of people faint sometime in their lives. Fainting is a temporary loss of consciousness. You lose muscle control at the same time, and may fall down. Most people recover quickly and completely. . . Some causes of fainting include heat or dehydration, Emotional distress, Standing up too quickly, Certain medicines, Drop in blood sugar, Heart problems . . ." http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/fainting.html
    I don't consider those causes to be a 'quantum affect that pertains to the brain'.
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