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The Skunk at an Atheist Convention

I’ve posted a new video here on the Grail, a rather technical (though fascinating) lecture by ‘quantum consciousness’ research Stuart Hameroff – given at Google HQ – titled “A New Marriage of Brain and Computer – Why ‘The Singularity’ Is Bogus“. Hameroff (along with the highly respected scientist Sir Roger Penrose) submits that the current theory of consciousness may be severely lacking – and that consciousness may actually be a quantum process with ground-breaking implications for our model of reality:

Consciousness defines our existence and reality, but the mechanism by which the brain generates thoughts and feelings remains unknown. Most explanations portray the brain as a computer, with nerve cells (“neurons”) and their synaptic connections acting as simple switches. However computation alone cannot explain why we have feelings and awareness, an “inner life.”

We also don’t know if our conscious perceptions accurately portray the external world. At its base, the universe follows the seemingly bizarre and paradoxical laws of quantum mechanics, with particles being in multiple places simultaneously, connected over distance, and with time not existing. But the “classical” world we perceive is definite, with a flow of time. The boundary or edge (quantum state reduction, or ‘collapse of the wave function”) between the quantum and classical worlds somehow involves consciousness.

In recent years I have considered that such a connection to the basic proto-conscious level of reality where Platonic values are embedded is strikingly similar to Buddhist and other spiritual concepts.

You can find out more about the topic at Stuart’s website. He also has just started a blog, and over there you’ll find an amusing look at his talk last year at the “Beyond Belief” Conference, which also featured Richard Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Sam Harris and Patricia Churchland. The title of the blog entry says it all: “Being the Skunk at an Atheist Convention“. Remember also that we interviewed Stuart here at TDG a few years back and he certainly had some interesting things to say.

  1. Great scientists
    Hi Greg,
    I first wrote about Hameroff and Penrose back in 1995. I thought then, and still do, that their work represents one of the greatest efforts to understand consciousness.
    Few scientists have shaped my own ideas in the way they have.

    Reality, like time, is relative to the observer

    Anthony North

  2. Quantum and standard
    This is where great difficulties arise in matching the quantum theory with the standard model.

    One describes the behavior of the material universe whereas the other describes the surface behavior of the next inner plane of reality at the sub-atomic level.

    This next level will eventually lead Cartesian scientists to a face off with this reality that the invisible only exists because we can’t directly detect it with material world based functions, such as the senses or instrumentations, and that science tomorrow will have to work from what we now call the invisible towards the visible.

    Only then will the consequentiality of applied science become obvious and will scientists stop making mistakes due to a purely mechanical view of the universal laws.

    It is not only consciousness that has its ramifications at ever more subtle levels of energy but everything that is manifested in matter, organized energy at a high architectural scale underpinned with laws, laws that are in fact intelligences, for as soon as you have organized energy you are faced with a principle of intelligence, whose intelligence has for purpose an order dictated by yet subtler levels of energy.

    The further back we go in those levels, the more evolved and perfected the hierarchies and their mastery of the science of energy that gives them the power to create. This is where man comes from and man’s consciousness does not just stop at the quantum level, this is just a first peek into what the immensity of man’s consciousness really is.

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