Penrose-Hameroff orchestrated objective-reduction proposal for human consciousness is not biologically feasible

McKemmish, Laura K., Reimers, Jeffrey R., McKenzie, Ross H., Mark, Alan E. and Hush, Noel S. (2009) Penrose-Hameroff orchestrated objective-reduction proposal for human consciousness is not biologically feasible. Physical Review E, 80 2: 1-5. doi:10.1103/PhysRevE.80.021912

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Author McKemmish, Laura K.
Reimers, Jeffrey R.
McKenzie, Ross H.
Mark, Alan E.
Hush, Noel S.
Title Penrose-Hameroff orchestrated objective-reduction proposal for human consciousness is not biologically feasible
Journal name Physical Review E   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1539-3755
Publication date 2009-08-13
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1103/PhysRevE.80.021912
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 80
Issue 2
Start page 1
End page 5
Total pages 6
Editor Gary S. Grest
Margaret Malloy
Place of publication United States
Publisher American Physical Society
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
220312 Philosophy of Cognition
060112 Structural Biology (incl. Macromolecular Modelling)
030799 Theoretical and Computational Chemistry not elsewhere classified
970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Abstract Penrose and Hameroff have argued that the conventional models of a brain function based on neural networks alone cannot account for human consciousness, claiming that quantum-computation elements are also required. Specifically, in their Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR) model [R. Penrose and S. R. Hameroff, J. Conscious. Stud. 2, 99 (1995)], it is postulated that microtubules act as quantum processing units, with individual tubulin dimers forming the computational elements. This model requires that the tubulin is able to switch between alternative conformational states in a coherent manner, and that this process be rapid on the physiological time scale. Here, the biological feasibility of the Orch OR proposal is examined in light of recent experimental studies on microtubule assembly and dynamics. It is shown that the tubulins do not possess essential properties required for the Orch OR proposal, as originally proposed, to hold. Further, we consider also recent progress in the understanding of the long-lived coherent motions in biological systems, a feature critical to Orch OR, and show that no reformation of the proposal based on known physical paradigms could lead to quantum computing within microtubules. Hence, the Orch OR model is not a feasible explanation of the origin of consciousness. © 2009 The American Physical Society
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article no. 021912

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences
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Created: Mon, 22 Mar 2010, 14:30:35 EST by Jennifer Falknau on behalf of School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences