Explainning the consciousness processes by new physical theories

Joseph Strout jstrout at ucsd.edu
Sat Sep 16 17:39:59 EST 1995


On Fri, 15 Sep 1995, Ken Seto wrote:

> The cell division process is a mystery with regard to the following
> questions: How is a cell know when to divide? What is the force that
> enables a cell to divide? ...

A cell "knows" to divide because of its genetic program -- an appropiate 
term, because genes are indeed tured on and off, regulating and 
controlling each other like parts of a program.  I wonder if the "ISL 
force" is also needed to explain how a computer program knows when to 
execute a certain subroutine?

> As for the consciousness process, neuroscientists have no idea how the
> neurons in the brain communicate with each other. 

!!!!!

> Physicist Roger
> Penrose speculated that the process is quantum mechanical and as such
> it is not computable. Francis Crick theorized that the process is
> electrophysiological. Both failed to provide the details how these
> processes are carried out.

That's funny, I thought we had this pretty well figured out.  Changes in 
the membrane potential in one cell causes an influx of calcium through 
voltage-sensitive channels.  These bind to proteins in the synapse, 
resulting in the release of vescicles which contain neurotransmitter 
(e.g., glutamate).  This diffuses across the synaptic cleft and binds to 
proteins in the postsynaptic cell, causing them to open channels, 
admitting ions which change the postsynaptic cell's membrane potential.  
(Of course, there are many other means of communication, but this is 
probably most typical.)  At which point are we lacking enough detail for 
you?  [Actually, you could get quite a bit more detail by looking up 
"synaptic transmission" in any good neuroscience textbook.]

> Model Mechanics describes the conscious
> process as follows: All the neurons in the brain are connected to each
> other by the E-STRINGS of the E-MATRIX. When a signal is received from
> our senses by a neuron the internal geometry of the E-STRINGS of the
> neuron is modified.This , in turn, will effect the internal geometry
> of the E-STRINGS of the neighboring neurons. This process continues
> until all the neurons in the brain are conscious of the signal and
> react to it accordingly. According to this model, the consciousness
> process is being carry out at the speed of light.

Then is your theory not falsified by the easily measurable and quite 
reliable delays which occur at all levels of cognitive processing?  
Simple reaction-time studies controlled for muscle response time, for 
example.  Or better yet, the activity (measured by EEG or fMRI) in 
various areas of cortex evokes by a stimulus -- measured in hundreds of 
milliseconds after the stimulus.  Much slower, in fact, than the speed of 
light.

I have no objection to new approaches to physics -- a healthy thing.  But 
it appears that you have not done your homework, at least in 
neuroscience.  Your theory, at least as presented here, both seems 
superfluous and incongruous with common phenomena.

,------------------------------------------------------------------.
|    Joseph J. Strout           Department of Neuroscience, UCSD   |
|    jstrout at ucsd.edu           http://sdcc3.ucsd.edu/~jstrout/    |
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