Saturday, 20 September 2008

Consciousness arises in consciousness-experience molecular groups? Similar to photosynthetic photoactive systems?

A thought struck me while I read through the report from SOFTPEDIA on 'Quantum Physics Explains Photosynthesis' and I grabbed it. My mind connected their findings with what is mentioned in the paper by Jonathan CW Edwards of 'Is Consciousness Only a Property of Individual Cells?'

I read in Jonathan CW Edwards thesis that single neurones are responsible for bringing about consciousness,

"Integration of signals inside cells is complex and can mimic multiplication. It may involve patterns. Thus although it might be argued that binding in a cell poses the same problem as in a net of cells, it does not have to. What we know of the brain indicates that binding could not occur between cells linked by discrete signals but might occur in a cell. A sophisticated substrate might be needed in the cellular 'black box' but if patterns are involved at all, this would need to be the place."


" ... consciousness is a basic correlate of function, but a function that only certain fundamental physical substrates can subserve. To know the true function is to know the substrate."

Binding all the elements of information to bring about experience and consciousness is not a task performed by the brain as a unit, but by single neurones? Each neurone creates a version of consciousness? And this is due to a sophisticated substrate? To know the true function is to know the substrate, Jonathan CW Edwards declares.

What can this substrate be? Something similar to the photoactive systems in photosynthesis? As it is mentioned in the SOFTPEDIA entry on the quantum physics explanation of photosynthesis

I read there

"The 2-D electronic spectroscopy can detect the energy transfer between molecules that are grouped in photoactive systems, due to their similar electronic and vibrational states."

Molecules grouped in photoactive systems on the basis of similar electronic and vibrational states? Like the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) molecular complex, the team investigated?

"The team investigated the Fenna-Matthews-Olson (FMO) photosynthetic protein, a molecular complex in green sulphur bacteria. FMO is preferred in photosynthesis researches because of its simplicity: it is made of just seven pigment molecules."

A molecular complex of a number of molecules embedded in the cytoplasm of a neurone cell with the task of creating experience and consciousness? In the same way that is referred to about energy transfer processes in photosynthesis?

"We have obtained the first direct evidence that remarkably long-lived wavelike electronic quantum coherence plays an important part in energy transfer processes during photosynthesis," said Graham Fleming, the main researcher and professor of chemistry at UC Berkeley. "This wavelike characteristic can explain the extreme efficiency of the energy transfer because it enables the system to simultaneously sample all the potential energy pathways and choose the most efficient one."

A system that is extremely efficient in energy transfer as it simultaneously samples all the potential energy pathways and choose the most efficient one? Simultaneity required by consciousness as Jonathan CW Edwards, mentions

"Thus, the key functional requirement of consciousness, as I see it, is that something has simultaneous (cotemporal) access to many elements (of information) in defined inter-relationships (SAMEDI), i.e. access to a pattern".

referred to as the information problem

"The information problem is how to find a neurophysiological unit in the brain that could have access to many elements of information as a pattern; perhaps 1000 elements in a single experience."

Simultaneity incorporated in

"The team detected "quantum beating" signals, coherent electronic oscillations in both donor and acceptor molecules, induced by light energy excitations."

coherent electronic oscillations in a consciousness-experience molecular groups between donor and acceptor molecules, that as it has been detected in photosynthesis

"Two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy detected on a femtosecond (1/1000 000 000 000 000 of a second) time-scale these oscillations meeting and how they interfered, building wavelike motions of energy (superposition states) that can experience all possible energy pathways at a time and reversibly, so that they can go back from incorrect pathways with no penalty."

by an ensuing superposition of states and by the interference of coherent oscillations instantiates consciousness-experience? The non-bitwise mode of integration? Mentioned by Jonathan CW Edwards.

"A non-bitwise mode of integration within cells is probably already supported by experimental evidence."

Wave-like coherence in the oscillations as mentioned by Gregory Engel in 'Quantum Physics Explains Photosynthesis' report,

"In these spectra, the lowest-energy exciton (a bound electron-hole pair formed when an incoming photon boosts an electron out of the valence energy band into the conduction band) gives rise to a diagonal peak near 825 nanometers that clearly oscillates. The associated cross-peak amplitude also appears to oscillate. Surprisingly, this quantum beating lasted the entire 660 femtoseconds."

"The duration of the quantum beating signals was unexpected because the general scientific assumption had been that the electronic coherences responsible for such oscillations are rapidly destroyed. For this reason, the transfer of electronic coherence between excitons during relaxation has usually been ignored," Engel said. "By demonstrating that the energy transfer process does involve electronic coherence and that this coherence is much stronger than we would ever have expected, we have shown that the process can be much more efficient than the classical view could explain."