Is consciousness to be found in quantum processes in microtubules?

Discussion in 'Pseudoscience' started by Write4U, Sep 8, 2018.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Should I be concerned about your insecurities? AFAIK you have never contributed anything to this thread.

    And my finger wagging blah, blah is in response to what? Finger wagging blah, blah, that's what.

    I am sick of this establishment superiority complex. If you treat me without respect, why should I treat you with respect? Are you the teacher here?

    If you do not read my posts that I carefully select for pertinent information, you have no right to critique any of my labors. I don't have you on ignore, but I have ignored your posts for a long time now, for lack of interesting content.
     
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  3. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    No that was Penrose who suggested this after he observed that single celled organisms without neural systems but that do have cytoskeletons, and cytoplasm maintain intra- and inter-cellular communication.

    btw. are you sure you understand the term cytoskeleton? It has nothing to do with bones other than regulate bone production. The cytoskeleton gives shape to all cells by filling the cytoplasm with microtubules and related filaments.

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    Cytoskeleton[edit]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skeleton#Cytoskeleton


    Conclusion
    https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/microtubules-and-filaments-14052932/

    Overview of the Cytoskeleton from an Evolutionary Perspective.
    • T. Pollard, R. Goldman
    • Published 1 July 2018
    • Biology, Medicine
    • Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology
    SUMMARY
    pdf available.
    https://www.semanticscholar.org/pap...dman/050cdd07214af2a8e225fb05178f87daca6a78ac
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2022
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Write4U:

    Do you have any response to the questions I asked you in posts #2275 and #2276?
     
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,607
    OK
    I had hoped that people would do some of their own research.
    I am not trying to be a teacher, just an observer. But being that you insist.

    How Your Brain Works
    By: Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. & Robynne Boyd

    Basic Neuron Types

    Meet the neurons!

    ©HOWSTUFFWORKS.COM

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    Ah, but now we are talking about neurons. No one disputes that neurons process electrochemical data. But the word microtubule has not been mentioned once in the above article. So where do microtubules come into the picture?

    Let's step back and draw an analogy of "neurons" with "electrical" cables, switches and distribution centers that are more familiar to us all. We have all handled electrical power cables, turned on a light switch and maybe changed a fuse in the fusebox and this picture should look familiar to all;

    An electrical circuit'

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    Note the "input array" from the fusebox (receptor) and the distribution of electrical data throughout the system via electrical cables.

    But what is inside these electrical cables that really do the "work" of electrical transmission?

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    Note the copper and aliminium "conductors" that do the actual transport of electricity. The rest is "shielding" and "separation" of the copper and/or aluminium wires.

    Now let's draw a picture of a neuronal cell;

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    note the multipolar microtubular circuitry (purple) just as in an electrical system. All microtubules in axons are connected to form the actual distribution transport highway of electrochemical data, just as the copper wires in electrical cables provide the distribution transport network of electricity in a house.

    Inside a single neural cell body (the receptor, (fuse box)), its cytoplasm contains hundreds of microtubules (cytoskeleton);

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    that are responsible for the shape and organization of the cell itself and form the transmission network of electrochemical data throughout the body and brain via the "axons" and "dendrites" where we deal with voltage, wattage, amperes, wire gauge, insulation, shielding.

    The data itself is in several forms depending on the nature of the external source just as in electrical systems, but AFAIK the biological neural network is much more sophisticated inasmuch that the "data" comes in various forms and chemistry, unlike the purely binary (on/off) system in computers and the microtubules must be able to dynamically change to account for various electrochemical properties.

    The data itself comes in different forms from our senses, gets translated and distributed to the proper organs for processing.

    Example:

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    https://www.scientificbeekeeping.co.uk/Sensillaanat.html

    Note that the incoming data gets processed by and leaves the sensory organ via "axons", always! Axons are the cables that shield the microtubule network from injury and external influences.

    I don't see why any of this would present a conceptual obstacle. I do not claim any knowledge of the electrochemistry itself and how that translates into conscious thought rather than rudimentary action potentials and responses. As the world knows that is the "hard question".

    But I have confidence that the microtubule network is directly instrumental in the subjective "experiential" results.
    This biological neuronal data processing is extremely complex but there is no magic in any of this.

    As Tegmark observes ; "Our bodies and brains contain all the ingredients necessary for the emergence of conscious thought. Our ability to think is a "hard fact" that cannot be ignored and that is where all inquiry should begin, rather than ask the "hard question" we cannot even formulate.

    IMO, the next step down is the role of the microtubule network in the body and brain in the distribution and experience of sensory data and that is what I am exploring.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Feb 1, 2022
  8. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I think this very recent and wondrous to behold:

    3D FIB-SEM reconstruction of microtubule–organelle interaction in whole primary mouse β cells
    In Special Collection: Structural Biology 2021 , The Year in Cell Biology: 2021
    https://static-movie-usa.glencoesof...25090bd63f8e07b6584b9a7b/JCB_202010039_V1.mp4

    ....more....
    https://rupress.org/jcb/article/220...B-SEM-reconstruction-of-microtubule-organelle

    And for some accuately illustrated eye-candy;

    watch the busy microtubules copying and controlling the entire mitotic process.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2022
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,607
  10. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,607
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    In furtherance of exploring the dynamic role microtubules play in life and "living processes", that may lead to an emergent conscious awareness of these processes when combined into one larger dynamic energy field present in the organism itself.

    As a fluorescent lightbulb may physically light up inside the field of high voltage power lines, is it possible that inside the dynamic energy field of an organism, there may be an emergent physical experiential sentience?

    I am exploring all dynamic physical processes that utilize microtubules to see if the entire network may create a consciously experiential "field" (self-awareness)


    In Mitosis, the kinetochore (the interface between microtubules and chomosomes) may be considered the equivalent of a production computer. It regulates the mitotic process and is part of the overall sensory complex that may lead to emergent conscious awareness of all the individual data processing functions.



    Mitosis
    What Are the Phases of Mitosis?

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    Figure 1: Drawing of chromosomes during mitosis by Walther Flemming, circa 1880
    This illustration is one of more than one hundred drawings from Flemming's \"Cell Substance, Nucleus, and Cell Division.\" Flemming repeatedly observed the different forms of chromosomes leading up to and during cytokinesis, the ultimate division of one cell into two during the last stage of mitosis.
    © 2001 Nature Publishing Group Paweletz, N. Walther Flemming: pioneer of mitosis research.
    Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 2, 72 (2001). All rights reserved.

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    What Happens during Prometaphase?
    ........more
    https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/mitosis-14046258/
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2022
  12. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Centrosome

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrosome

    And that is what might explain the lack of self-aware consciousness in plants, insects and simple organisms, although their cytoskeleton itself is still a data processing network that allows for physical response behaviors.
     
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,607
    Continuing with the efforts to provide clarity.

    Microtubules – the critical highways of neurons – must stay “clear” for good traffic and neuronal survival

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    The excess of tubulin polyglutamylation perturbs transport in primary hippocampal neurons and causes extensive neurodegeneration in mice and humans.

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    Image 1, 2 and 3. From top to bottom: 1A typical neuronal cell with its nucleus in pink and axon and dendrites in blue. 2Great Wall of China, represents the analogy with axons of some neurons. Those axons are so long, that the material travelling along them can be compared to the transport of a package along the Great Wall of China. 3Main parts of a neuron: cell body, dendrites and axon.
    more.....
    https://science.institut-curie.org/microtubules-the-critical-highways-of-neurons-must-stay-clear-for-good-traffic-and-neuronal-survival

    Let me know when you are satisfied that microtubules are the main data transport mechanisms , be it in cytoplasm, cytoskeleton, or neurons.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2022
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    This may be of general interest. It may provide some scope of the number of microtubules present in the body and brains of Eukaryotic organisms.

    Consider that the number of synapses in the brain alone is astronomical.

    Basic Neural Units of the Brain: Neurons, Synapses and Action Potential
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.01703#

    Physics of Life Reviews
    Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2014, Pages 39-78

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    Fig. 1. An ‘integrate-and-fire’ brain neuron, and portions of other such neurons are shown schematically with internal microtubules. In dendrites and cell body/soma (left) involved in integration, microtubules are interrupted and of mixed polarity, interconnected by microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) in recursive networks (upper circle, right). Dendritic–somatic integration (with contribution from microtubule processes) can trigger axonal firings to the next synapse. Microtubules in axons are unipolar and continuous. Gap junctions synchronize dendritic membranes, and may enable entanglement and collective integration among microtubules in adjacent neurons (lower circle right). In Orch OR, microtubule quantum computations occur during dendritic/somatic integration, and the selected results regulate axonal firings which control behavior.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2022
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Write4U:

    In case you missed it, from one of my previous posts:

    "Please give me a step-by-step outline of the procedures by which a microtubule takes information and processes it to produce a different output. You are free to choose any information-carrying thing that might be processed by a microtubule. Step me through what goes on."
     
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,607
    You may want to revisit post # 2186

    This identifies what the eye does when it receives images from outside. A lot of the light waves the eye receives are translated by the retina into electrochemical data and sent to the brain via the optic nerve which is an axon and I have shown that axons use microtubules to do the actual transportation of the information to the brain, where the data is compared to data stored in pyramidal memory neurons which use microtubules as the storage media.
    From this comparison the brain makes a best guess of what the incoming data represents and if can recognize it against stored memory.

    If the incoming data and the stored memory are close the brain forms an image that is an approximation of the data.

    I can't tell you anything more because I believe that there is much to be learned here even by the most experienced and knowledgeable researchers. I can list all the known particles and molecules the microtubules use in their processes but that is meaningless unless we know what they actually do and from what I have read there is much speculation but very little hard evidence yet. A couple of decades is not a long time when dealing with astronomical numbers.

    If the best minds cannot answer your question why should I be required to do that? I don't make any claims of great discovery. I report on the state of research in the role microtubules play in the transmission of several varieties of data depending on the sensory inputs (exteroception) or the homeostatic sensory inputs (interoception), because IMO the evidence that themicrotubule (cytoplasm, cytoskeleton, neurons) networks, utilizing trillions of microtubules throughout the body, are the most likely candidates for any concept of emerging conscious experiential awareness of the data being processed.

    We know there are several energy fields generated by data processing in the brain. We can record them. All we need to do is figure out what they mean and how to read them as our brain has apparently learned to do, without knowing how it does it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2022
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Let's see how the conscious brain makes measurements of the exterior reality.

     
  18. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    So you're saying microtubules are really nothing other than a means of conducting information, and memory storage?? This doesn't sound like consciousness, but pretty much what a computer can do, albeit with electronics.
    I.e. is consciousness not a rather more complex process than just being the passing and storage of information?
    From what you have also stated, it seems you accept that it is the brain that does the processing. What the storage medium is, or how the brain gets its information, seems somewhat of a red-herring as far as consciousness goes. Is your response not a bit like saying that the ability of a self-driving car is to be found in the fuel tank and fuel pipes?
     
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  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, they are the biological equivalent to computer semi-conductors. I never claimed that microtubules are sentient or conscious in and of themselves.

    I like Tegmark's proposition that it is the entire network including the sensory organelles that acquire an emergent experience of consciousness. This already is present in plants that will close their leaves when touched or Venus flytrap that closes when several hairs are disturbed.

    AFAIK, artificial intelligence GPT3 is based on the model of human data processing and making "best guesses" of what data represents and how to deal with it.

    IMO, evolution has honed the entire system to experience an emerging higher quality of awareness of the type of data being processed.

    This is what impressed Penrose when he discovered that even single celled organisms without any neural network, still do experience a certain awareness of their environment and can navigate and hunt and catch food.

    Imagine, a single celled organism is a fully functional biological entity that is able to make copies of itself, catch and digest food, swim and navigate with cilia. In the case of pseudopods the organism is able to walk via extension and contraction, the rudimentary form of locomotion and ALL these properties are driven and executed via microtubule motors and related filaments. Moreover the simplest bacteria already possess the ability for chemical communication as Bassler demonstrates. A new scientific term for that type of hive comunication is quorum sensing.

    When Penrose learned that individual cells all have active microtubule networks in their cytoplasm and cytoskeleton, he recognized that this must be the principal candidate for intra- and intercellular communication, a required ability for emergent consciousness at various levels of evolutionary complexity.

    Tegmark makes a fundamental observation that the inescapable "hard fact" is that all conscious organism must have all the required parts without needing any magical extra ingredients. The secret of consciousness can only be found internally, not externally.

    Fact: We have all the required elements for an emergent experiential consciousness. Therefore we must look inside for possible candidates. Microtubules are the natural common denominator in all Eukaryotic organisms that have the ability for dynamic data processing and combined with the actual sensory organelles gain the apparent versatility that would lend itself to the emergence of conscious awareness of the information carried by the data being processed and how to react appropriately depending on the information.
    According to Hameroff the storage sytem is contained in specific arrays of microtubules in "pyramidal neurons" . These microtubules are no longer dynamic but are "fixed' via CaMKII that affects phosphorylation that allows the neuron to store memory data.
    ()

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    This function is clearly suggested by the microtubule catastrophe in pyramidal neurons

    What happens when pyramidal neurons go wrong?
    https://www.cell.com/current-biology/pdf/S0960-9822(11)01198-5.pdf
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2022
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Not really. If we look at GPT3 AI we already find hints of intelligent self-awareness of the artificial brain.

    If you ask a GPT3 (or 4) if it is self-aware it will answer in the affirmative. This is not a programmed response!
    The GPT3 actually believes it is self-aware of what it is , what it does, how it does it, and why it does it.
    One may not believe the AI, but it believes in itself. Are we going to argue the point with the AI?

    Alo you need is to verbally ask a GPT3 to perform a task it has absolutely no experience in and it will learn how to do it and write the program of how it does it. And I am not talking about brute processing power, but application of scientific principles and make informed decisions based on scientific knowledge. What more is there?

    p.s. GPT3 has access to the internet for its non-specific general access to knowledge (memory), just like humans.
    If you know how to research good (mainstream) science from the internet you have access to all the science in the world.

    The difference between the human brain and the GPT brain is size. The human brain is remarkable in its compactness due to its ability to function at quantum level? That's what Penrose and Hameroff are investigating.
    Whatever goes on in the human brain it must be extremely small.
    We have a candidate: microtubules.

    Consider that the human brain alone contains: 1,000 trillion synapses
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.01703#

    Note: synapses are the terminal ends of microtubule bundles in neurons (axons).

    The Enormous Complexity of Transport Along the Axon

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    S
    Three Types of Tubules and Many Motors for Each

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    Microtubules Build Structures Using Many Other Molecules

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    ......more
    https://jonlieffmd.com/blog/the-enormous-complexity-of-transport-along-the-axon

    p.s. Thank you Sarkus for your interest in this important subject. You allow me to research for specific answers to specific questions which I am happy to do. I am most pleased when I can demonstrate that serious scientists confirm my own intuitive conclusions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2022
  21. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Unfortunately I'm not sure your response here actually rebuts the comparison. If microtubules are the pathways and the storage of information, and the brain processes that information, then how is that not analogous to the fuel tank and fuel pipes that carry the fuel in a car that is then processed by the engine.
    My point in all this is that the microtubules that you appear so enamoured with are NOT where consciousness is to be found, and that you're focussing on the wrong thing. Sure, they're part of the overall system, but replace the microtubules with other means of storage and transmission and you could well still get consciousness. What is it that they offer, specifically over other means, that would prevent consciousness from not arising if some other means were used?

    GPT3, for example, does not perform as it does because of the info-passing and memory storage mechanisms, but because of how it processes. To me it appears that one is the architecture, the other is the algorithms. Sure, microtubules allow this to happen at the smallest level, so maybe one could say that animal consciousness is to be found in something as small as the brain because of microtubules. I.e. they're not the cause of consciousness per se, but they allow it to happen in something as compact as the pink fleshy blobs in our skulls.
     
  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Biology. Car engines are not dynamically active organisms in and of themselves. They do not self-assemble, nor do they evolve. On the contrary they devolve over time.

    OTOH biological cells already dynamically process all kinds of information, such as mitosis. That requires the exchange of electrochemical data. And the little self-assembling engine that does the "work" is the microtubule.
    (see mitotic spindle)

    example: the evolution of the eye from a purely light sensitive chemical patch into a delicate optical organ that transmits electromagnetic data via microtubules in the optical nerve.

    Perhaps an interesting factoid. An engine can sit for years without processing anything.
    OTOH, deprive the brain from information for just a few days and it begins to hallucinate uncontrollably (microtubule catastrophe?) The brain must have information or it goes haywire.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2022
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with you in principle on this generic description, but let us not forget that each cell in the pink blobs in our skulls contains several different specialized arrangements of microtubules, that cannot just be replaced by "some other" data processor. The microtubule data processor is a common denominator in ALL Eukaryotic life.
    https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.01703#

    I do certainly agree that consciousness emerges with the actual data processing on a physical scale. It is the network activity that triggers conscious experiences as compared to data stored in memory (another microtubule function).

    I am so impressed with the extraordinary versatility of microtubules including their ability to act as a variable rheostat.
    https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/rheostat#

    Regulation of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs)
    Abstract
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11580206/
     

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