Saturday, March 07, 2020

Comparing Penrose-Hameroff theory with TGD inspired theory of consciousness

Robert Paster made a question about the relationship between the Penrose-Hameroff and TGD approaches to consciousness. In the following I try to give a short explanation.

For both approaches state function reduction is central notion but what is meant with state function reductions is something
quite different. Also gravitation is important for both approaches but in totally different manner.

Penrose and Hameroff could give a better view about Penrose-Hameroff theory but I try.

  1. Orch OR is not postulated but there is no explicit proposal for what it really is since quantum theory of gravitation is not proposed. There seems to be an idea about reduction of state function reduction to deterministic time evolution and that the experience of free will somehow due to the loss of computability. There is a visualization for analog for quantum superposition of space-time geometries and selection of geometry from this virtual superposition, which I fail however to understand. It is not clear to me whether Orch OR is meant to correspond to ordinary state function reduction - maybe not.
    Also a duration is assigned to Orch-OR, maybe it could correspond to the duration of conscious experience.

  2. Microtubule hypothesis represents the biological part of the conjecture. Somehow microtubules would be the seat of consciousness and gravitation would be important. There is also the idea that somehow Planck scale is important: here I however fail to understand.

Concerning TGD view about the situation one can also discuss the aspects related to consciousness and biology separately.

In the attempt to understand state function reduction and consciousness one starts from two problems. The problem of quantum measurement theory is that state function reduction and time evolution for Schrödinger equation - unitary evolution or counterpart for that for Dirac equation - are not consistent with each. Second problem is that free will - which we experience directly - is not consistent with classical physics nor with determinism of unitary time evolution. Physicalism is the basic obstacle here.

  1. The solution of is zero energy ontology (ZEO): quantum states are deterministic time evolutions - preferred extremals of action analogous to Bohr orbits - connecting "initial" and "final" states. In standard ontology quantum states are 3-D snapshots of these time evolutions. In neuroscience/biology/computer science behavior/function/program as deterministic temporal pattern would be the counterpart of zero energy state. Mathematician could say that initial value problem is replaced with boundary value problem.

  2. "Small" state function functions (SSFRs) ("weak" measurement in standard quantum theory) occur between zero energy states with initial state fixed but final state changing. In statistical sense the temporal distance between initial and final states defining clock time increases. Sequence of SSFRs defines the flow of subjective time correlating with the clock time. The two basic problems are solved since there are two causalities: the causality of free will as state function reduction=moment of consciousness and causality of field equations.

  3. The roles of "initial" and "final" states can change. This "big" state function reduction (BSFR) corresponds to ordinary state function reduction. The arrow of time changes. One can say that self defined by the sequences of SSFRs dies and reincarnates with opposite arrow of time. The experiments of Minev et al last summer gave strong support for this. See this.

  4. Consciousness is universal - not only associated with microtubules or reducing to gravitation. Cognition is taken as a central and universal aspect of consciousness and p-adic number fields and their fusion to adele is identified as correlates of cognition -even at elementary particle level. One generalizes the notion of space-time surface to p-adic space-time surfaces and adelic space-time surfaces as representations of "thought bubbles". The fact that p-adic field equations are not completely deterministic, means that they only partially correspond to real space-time space-time surface - are "realistic". One can say that one has intention realizable only partially as real action. Imagined sensory percepts and motor actions are indeed partially realized percepts and motor actions.

  5. Each extension of rationals defined by roots of irreducible polynomial defines its own adele and one obtains evolutionary hierarchy since the dimension n of extension of rationals increases in the sequence of SSFRs and BSFRs in statistically sense and therefore the algebraic complexity - kind of IQ - increases. n has interpretation as effective Planck constant heff= n×h0 so that evolution corresponds to the increase of quantum coherence lengths. The interpretation for these phases of ordinary matter is as dark matter.

  6. Cognitive representation as a set of points consisting of points of H with H-coordinates belonging to an extension of rationals defines a unique discretization ofthe space-time surface, and provides a number theoretical representation of finite measurement resolution.

    The higher the dimension of extension, the large the number of points in the discretization. At the never achievable limit one would obtain algebraic numbers and cognitive representation which is dense at space-time surface. Quantum TGD in finite measurement resolution can be formulated using quantum superpositions of cognitive representations as states and the Galois group of representation becomes symmetry group.

    The first conjecture is that geometry and number theory provide complementary views about TGD so that all physical quantum states could have representations in terms of quantum states assignable to Galois groups of extensions. Spin and color represent two example of this. M8-H duality would be one aspect of this duality.

    Second conjecture is that the sequence of SSFRs reduces to a sequence of purely number theoretical state function reductions for the wave functions in Galois group forming a group algebra. This state space has decomposition to a tensor product of subspaces associated with the normal subgroups of Galois extensions which is extension of extension of ... of rationals. SSFR would be a cascade of reductions leading to a product of states assignable to groups with prime order. The primes defining decomposition of the dimension n of extension to prime factors. Conscious experience would represent a sequence decompositions of integers n to their prime factors! See this.

The biological part of the story relies two key ideas. The notion of magnetic body (MB) and dark matter consisting of phases of ordinary matter labelled by the value of heff residing at it and controlling as intentional agent biological body (BB).

  1. Space-time as 4-D surfaces of H=M4xCP2 provides TGD view about quantum gravitation allowing geometrization of classical fields of standard model and leading also to a geometrization of entire quantum theory. One ends up with the notion of many-sheeted space-time.

    In particular, the systems have space-time sheets carrying classical fields assignable to them and defining what one can call field identity/field body. This is new as compared to Maxwellian theory. Magnetic body (MB) is of special importance in TGD inspired quantum biology.

    MB would be the wise guy controlling ordinary matter: one would have master slave hierarchy consisting of layers of MB and ordinary matter at bottom.

  2. TGD view about gravitation is very different from standard proposals for quantum gravitation. The dark matter hierarchy is crucial for explaining coherence of living systems. heff can be rather large and correlates with the scale in which interaction is important.

    Since gravitation is mediated by massless quanta and is not screened, heff is expected to be very large for the flux tubes mediating gravitational interaction, and gravitation should be crucial for understanding higher evolution levels of consciousness.

    heff= hgr= GMm/v0 for Mm => v0mPl2 was originally postulated by Nottale can be very large and central for quantum biology in TGD Universe. For water the condition can be satisfied in M=m case for water blocks with mass below Planck mass. Also h_em as its electromagnetic analog would be important in atomic and molecular physics. These values of heff would characterize dark matter at the flux tubes and sheets of MB mediating particular interaction.

  3. The quantum coherence of MB would force coherence of ordinary bio-matter and one would overcome the basic objections against quantum coherence against quantum biology. In particular, the change of arrow of time for dark matter at MB in BSFRs would induce apparent change of the arrow at BB.

    Self-organization as generation of quantum coherence would require increase of heff requiring energy feed quite generally. In ZEO self-organization would reduce to dissipation in reversed arrow of time. The decay of structures in opposite arrow of time implied by generalized second law looks like their generation in the standard arrow of time. No separate theory of self-organization is needed. Metabolic energy feed would be just loss of energy by dissipation with opposite arrow of time. System extracts - or should one say steals - its energy from environment if it is available.

  4. Microtubules are predicted to be important level in the evolutionary and p-adic length scale hierarchies but not the fundamental seats of consciousness. There would be hierarchy of conscious entities and we would be only one level in it. Even astrophysical objects would be also conscious entities and the hypothesis that Mother Gaia controls biosphere must be taken seriously.

See for instance the articles

Why TGD and what TGD is?,

Getting philosophic: On the problems in Physics, Neuroscience and Biology,

Some comments related to Zero Energy Ontology (ZEO) .

For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.

Articles and other material related to TGD.


Matti Pitkänen said...

I glue here the comment of Robert Paster to the same post in FaceBook.
Thank you to Matti Pitkanen for your informative and succinct overview of the TGD view of cognition!
However, I’m wondering if you’re being unfair to the Hameroff/Penrose Orch OR theory. Specifically, I’m wondering if you’re thinking more of Penrose’s early work such as 1989 Emperor’s New Mind, rather than later work such as 2013 Consciousness in the Universe.
My understanding of the later Hameroff/Penrose work is that microtubules operate at such a small scale that they differentially identify mass-induced tiny curvatures in spacetime of different superposed quantum states.
At moments of “proto-consciousness,” a microtubule thus aligns physically with one of the superposed quantum states. Human moments of synchronous conscious awareness across wide brain regions then result (via several levels of fractal-like self-similarity). Hameroff/Penrose also entirely explicitly view consciousness as an intrinsic feature of the action of the universe.
In my view, this 2013 development of Orch OR differs from the early (1989) initial development in not appealing to some vague to-be-developed theory of “quantum gravity” or reconciliation between quantum physics and general relativity. Instead, the 2013 Orch OR does not (again, in my view) require a theory of quantum gravity or a quantum physics/general relativity reconciliation because, basically, microtubules “act at the Planck level” (my terminology) and therefore are physically responsive to and guided by both quantum physics’s superpositions and general relativity’s reshaping of spacetime.
I stand by my understanding that the (2013) Hameroff/Penrose Orch OR is enormously or entirely consistent with TGD, and that in fact TGD expands on Orch OR and answers a number of questions that Hameroff/Penrose acknowledge as unanswered.
I just want to be sure that your criticisms or dismissals of Orch OR are based on their latest (2013) proposals, specifically that microtubules operate in both the quantum physics and general relativity worlds (i.e., in the world of “quantum gravity”) and therefore obviate the need for a “quantum theory of gravitation” because they physically operate in the world of quantum gravitation in an entirely real sense.

Matti Pitkänen said...

Here is my FaceBook response to the above comment by Robert Paster.

I have no intention to be unfair to P-H theory. I just disagree that consciousness would emerge from microtubules- as you say P and H have changed their views to the direction of panpsychism - this is nice. Consciousness does not emerge - it is is present in all scales. For me microtubules could mean the emergence of a new level in h_eff hierarchy - or hierarchy of extensions of rationals - bringing in a new kind of complexity.

Concerning the gravitational part of the hypothesis: Orch OR is represented as a mere picture and it is impossible for me to gather from that what it could really mean. Penrose has suggested that one could understand the whole thing classically: I see this as impossible and adds even more my confusion.

The view that microtubules act at Planck level is especially hard for me.

a) Planck length is one of the ad hoc aspects of recent day physics. It is deduced from Newton's constant which is macroscopic parameter. For gravitational Planck constant h_gr the analog of Planck length is of order solar radius
in case of Sun. In TGD CP_2 length replaces Planck length as a purely geometric notion, unlike Planck length which is purely formal.

b) What about Planck mass? Planck mass cam make sense but in very different manner directly related to biology. In TGD framework it emerges as a mass of a mass M of water for which gravitational Planck constant h_gr= GMm /v_0 for self-gravitational (M=m) can be larger than h for v_0-->c. This volume corresponds to the size of large neuron: 10^-4 meters. Roughly, in this scale quantum quantum gravitation in macroscopic scales would become possible. One obtains also smaller size scales for v_0= m_Pl^2. Master-slave relation is one possible association. Or the smaller the system -its mass m- is, the larger the system - its mass M - able to get information about it must be.

See the application to mysterious water bridges forming between two beakers in presence of electric field impossible to understand in standard physics at . Planckeons as water blobs with Planck mass emerge from this model involving also Pollack effect.

Still about state function reduction.

a) Could ordinary state function reduction work? Cold one have superposition of different 3- geometries - already Wheeler talked about quantum states in super-space. They would be superpositions of 3-geometries with different curvatures. State function reduction in this sense makes sense but would be generalization of ordinary state function reduction, not Orch OR, whatever it is. Now one cannot however understand that conscious states have some duration. Ordinary quantum ontology is not enough and also leads to the well-known problems of measurement theory and notion of time. The experiments of Minev et al could serve as a guideline: they find that state functions seem to correspond to deterministic smooth time evolutions to the final state of the reduction.

b) In TGD framework based on zero energy ontology (ZEO), superposition of 3-geometries is replaced by that for space-times as 4-surfaces and state function reduction would replaced this superposition with a new one. One quantal behavior mode replaced with a new one would be the interpretation.: Minev's findings follow from quantum clasical correspondence coded by ZEO. Macroscopic change in the structure would happen. This would however involve all interactions since flux tube notion is central. The function of gravitation would be to make possible quantum coherence in macroscales.

To sum up, the microtubules are certainly crucially important objects but connecting them with Planck length scale is unrealistic and I cannot understand the basic idea of Orch-OR.