Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The brain has not enough computing capacity

Marko Rinck Says: July 31st, 2006 at 2:18 pm It seems to me that consciousness as an epiphenomenon of the brain has already been proven by science to be untrue. A number of courageous scientists have started to do research on Near Death Experiences, for instance the Dutch cardiologist Pim van Lommel who from 1988 on did research on patients that had cardiac arrest and came back to life.
He comes to the conclusion that consciousness exists independent from the brain (off course this doesn’t solve the hard problem but he has some interesting hypotheses on this subject, and his and other NDE researcher’s conclusions still don’t seem to have filtered through to other parts of science although his original research was published in the Lancet - perhaps they don’t want to hear it)
He says in his article “On the Continuity of Consciousness”: “With lack of evidence for any other theories for NDE, the concept thus far assumed but never scientifically proven, that consciousness and memories are localized in the brain should be discussed. Traditionally, it has been argued that thoughts or consciousness are produced by large groups of neurons or neuronal networks. How could a clear consciousness outside one’s body be experienced at the moment that the brain no longer functions during a period of clinical death, with flat EEG? Furthermore, blind people have also described veridical perceptions during out-of-body experiences at the time of their NDE. Scientific study of NDE pushes us to the limits of our medical and neurophysiological ideas about the range of human consciousness and relationship of consciousness and memories to the brain.”
Further on he continues: “Simon Berkovitch, a professor in Computer Science of the George Washington University, has calculated that the brain has an absolutely inadequate capacity to produce and store all the informational processes of all our memories with associative thoughts. We would need 10 to the power of 24 operations per second, which is absolutely impossible for our neurons. Herms Romijn, a Dutch neurobiologist, comes to the same conclusion. One should conclude that the brain has not enough computing capacity to store all the memories with associative thoughts from one’s life, has not enough retrieval abilities, and seems not to be able to elicit consciousness.”
He then brings in Quantum physics: “Quantum physics cannot explain the essence of consciousness or the secret of life, but in my concept it is helpful for understanding the transition between the fields of consciousness in the phase-space (to be compared with the probability fields as we know from quantum mechanics) and the body-linked waking consciousness in the real-space, because these are the two complementary aspects of consciousness. Our whole and undivided consciousness with declarative memories finds its origin in, and is stored in this phase-space, and the cortex only serves as a relay station for parts of our consciousness and parts of our memories to be received into our waking consciousness. In this concept consciousness is not physically rooted. This could be compared with the internet, which does not originate from the computer itself, but is only received by it”.
And his conclusion about death and consciousness: “When we die, our consciousness will no longer have an aspect of particles, but only an eternal aspect of waves. With this new concept about consciousness and the mind-brain relation all reported elements of an NDE during cardiac arrest could be explained. This concept is also compatible with the non-local interconnectedness with fields of consciousness of other persons in phase-space. Following an NDE most people, often to their own amazement and confusion, experience an enhanced intuitive sensibility, like clairvoyance and clairaudience, or prognostic dreams, in which they “dream” about future events. In people with an NDE the functional receiving capacity seems to be permanently enhanced.”
He suggests DNA as being the interface: “In assessing all the theories mentioned above, it seems reasonable to consider the person-specific DNA in our cells as the place of resonance, or the interface across which a constant informational exchange takes place between our personal material body and the phase-space, where all fields of our personal consciousness are available as fields of possibility.”
Pim van Lommel has written a very interesting article “On the Continuity of Consciousness”: See the whole article here: The article that was published in The Lancet can be found here: under “documentatie” but this is more on NDE than on consciousness (site is in Dutch, article in English). Perhaps his hypotheses are not new (see f.i. Lazslo), but his backing it up with evidence from NDE research, as far as I know, is.

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