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PHYSICAL REVIEW E 80, 021912 2009

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

>From the 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.


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