Friday, May 22, 2009

Stuart Hameroff

Stuart Hameroff is a leading proponent of the Quantum Mind. While most scientists are content in relating the mind to neural activity in the brain, Hameroff working with Roger Penrose have developed a theory that places the mind at the quantum level. I’ve had the pleasure of working with him on the Conference (my discussions with him in Tucson three years ago started the process of hosting the Toward a Science of Consciousness Conference here in Hong Kong) and other media related projects. He is inspirational in his dedication to promoting Consciousness Studies (he heads the Tucson Center) and his work on the Quantum Mind.

The Quantum perspective move the goalposts for reductionists attempting to explain consciousness with neurons by applying their own methodology (neurons are made of atoms, atoms are made of sub-atomic particles, governed by quantum mechanics). Physicist David Bohm also presented this idea with his notion of an “implicate order.”

One of the significances of this is that the model leaves room (in the implicate order or at the quantum level) for non-deterministic effects such as free will as well as a “meaning” to all (God, etc.). Quite the character, Stuart give a great account of his reception at an “atheists conference” here: If you are interested in the on-going science vs. religion debates, videos of the presentations at the conference are available online as well:

Stuart's interest in Consciousness Studies stems from his professional career as an Anesthesiologist. He recorded a great welcome to the TSC Conference and Festival and provides a short primer here.


  1. is a non-profit initiative and a great fan of Stuarts work.

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  2. Whoso desires the harvest of the Hereafter, We give him increase in its harvest. And Whoso desireth the harvest of the world, We give him thereof, and he hath no portion in the Hereafter (Holy Quran, Surah 42, Ayah 20).
    Have they not seen that Allah, Who created the heavens and the earth and was not wearied by their creation, is Able to give life to the dead? Aye, He verily is Able to do all things. (Holy Quran, Surah 46, Ayah 33).
    And because the Hour will come, there is no doubt thereof; and because Allah will raise those who are in the graves (Holy Quran, Surah 22, Ayah 7).
    There is not an animal in the earth, nor a flying creature flying on two wings, but they are peoples like unto you.
    We have neglected nothing in the Book (of Our decrees). Then unto their Lord they will be gathered. (Holy Quran, Surah 6, Ayah 38

  3. And he whom Allah guideth, he is led aright; while, as for him whom He sendeth astray, for them thou wilt find no
    protecting friends beside Him, and We shall assemble them on the Day of Resurrection on their faces, blind, dumb
    and deaf; their habitation will be hell; whenever it abateth, We increase the flame for them. (Сура 17, аят 97).
    That day mankind will issue forth in scattered groups to be shown their deeds. And whoso doeth good an atom's weight will see it then. And whoso doeth ill an atom's weight will see it then. (Holy Quran, Surah 99, Ayah 6-8).
    Lo! unto Us is their return. And Ours their reckoning (Holy Quran, Surah 88, Ayah 25, 26)
    Them, by thy Lord, We shall question, every one. Of what they used to do! (Holy Quran, Surah 15, Ayah 92, 93).
    And We set a just balance for the Day of Resurrection so that no soul is wronged in aught. Though it be of the
    weight of a grain of mustard seed, We bring it. And We suffice for reckoners! (Holy Quran, Surah 21, Ayah 47).
    Then whoso is given his account in his right hand; He truly will receive an easy reckoning; And will return unto his folk in joy. But whoso is given his account behind his back, He surely will invoke destruction; And be thrown to scorching fire. He verily lived joyous with his folk, He verily deemed that he would never return (unto Allah).
    Nay, but lo! his Lord is ever looking on him! Oh, I swear by the afterglow of sunset, And by the night and all that it enshroudeth, And by the moon when she is at the full, That ye shall journey on from plane to plane. What aileth them, then, that they believe not; And, when the Qur’an is recited unto them, worship not (Allah)? Nay, but those who disbelieve will deny; And Allah knoweth best what they are hiding. So give them tidings of a painful doom,
    Save those who believe and do good works, for theirs is a reward unfailing (Holy Quran, Surah 84, Ayah 7-25).
    On the day when their tongues and their hands and their feet testify against them as to what they used to do, On that day Allah will pay them their just due, and they will know that Allah, He is the Manifest Truth. (Holy Quran, Surah 24, Ayah 24,25)

  4. This day We seal up mouths, and hands speak out and feet bear witness as to what they used to earn (Holy Quran, Surah 36, Ayah 65).
    Then We shall rescue those who kept from evil, and leave the evil doers crouching there (Holy Quran, Surah 19, Ayah 72).
    And they are set before thy Lord in ranks (and it is said unto them): Now verily have ye come unto Us as We created you at the first. But ye thought that We had set no tryst for you. And the Book is placed, and thou seest the guilty fearful of that which is therein, and they say: What Kind of a book is this that leaveth not a small thing nor a great thing but hath counted it! And they find all that they did confronting them, and thy Lord wrongeth no one (Holy Quran, Surah 18, Ayah 48-49).
    And Satan saith, when the matter hath been decided: Lo! Allah promised you a promise of truth; and I promised you, then failed you. And I had no power over you save that I called unto you and ye obeyed me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can ye help me. Lo! I disbelieved in that which ye before ascribed to me. Lo! For wrong doers is a painful doom (Holy Quran, Surah 14, Ayah 22).
    And those who disbelieve are driven unto hell in troops till, when they reach it and the gates thereof are opened, and the warders thereof say unto them: Came there not unto you messenger's of your own, reciting unto you the revelations of your Lord and warning you of the meeting of this your Day? they say Yea, verily. But the word of doom for disbelievers is fulfilled. It is said (unto them): Enter ye the gates of hell to dwell therein. Thus hapless is the journey's end of the scorners. And those who keep their duty to their Lord are driven unto the Garden in troops till, when they reach it, and the gates thereof are opened, and the warders thereof say unto them: Peace be unto you! Ye are good, so enter ye (the Garden of delight), to dwell therein; They say: Praise be to Allah, Who hath fulfilled His promise unto us and hath made us inherit the land, sojourning in the Garden where we will! So bounteous is the wage of workers. And thou (O Muhammad) seest the angels thronging round the Throne, hymning the praises of their Lord. And they are judged aright. And it is said: Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds! (Holy Quran, Surah 39, Ayah 71-75

  5. O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commandeth them, but do that which they are commanded. (Then it will be said): O ye who disbelieve! Make no excuses for yourselves this day. Ye are only being paid for what ye used to do. (Holy Quran, Surah 66, Ayah 6-7).
    And for those who disbelieve in their Lord there is the doom of hell, a hapless journey's end! When they are flung therein they hear its roaring as it boileth up, As it would burst with rage. Whenever a (fresh) host flung therein the wardens thereof ask them: Came there unto you no warner? They say: Yea, verily, a warner came unto us; but we denied and said: Allah hath naught revealed; ye are in ought but a great error. And they say: Had we been wont to listen or have sense, we had not been among the dwellers in the flames. So they acknowledge their sins; but far removed (from mercy) are the dwellers in the flames. Lo! those who fear their Lord in secret, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward. And keep your opinion secret or proclaim it, lo! He is Knower of all that is in the breasts (of men). Should He not know what He created? And He is the Subtile, the Aware. He it is Who hath made the earth subservient unto you, so walk in the paths thereof and eat of His providence. And unto Him will be the resurrection (of the dead). Have ye taken security from Him Who is in the heaven that He will not cause the earth to swallow you when lo! it is convulsed? Or have ye taken security from Him Who is in the heaven that He will not let loose on you a hurricane? But ye shall know the manner of My warning. And verily those before them denied, then (see) the manner of My wrath (with them)! Have they not seen the birds above them spreading out their wings and closing them? Naught upholdeth them save the Beneficent. Lo! He is Seer of all things. Or who is he that will be an army unto you to help you instead of the Beneficent? The disbelievers are in naught but illusion (Holy Quran, Surah 67, Ayah 6-20)

  6. O mankind! Fear your Lord. Lo! the earthquake of the Hour (of Doom) is a tremendous thing. On the day when ye behold it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling and every pregnant one will be delivered of her burden, and thou (Muhammad) wilt see mankind a drunken, yet they will not be drunken, but the Doom of Allah will be strong (upon them). Among mankind is he who disputeth concerning Allah without knowledge, and followeth each froward devil; For him it is decreed that whoso taketh him for friend, be verily will mislead him and will guide him to the punishment of the Flame. O mankind! if ye are in doubt concerning the Resurrection, then lo! We have created you from dust, then from a drop of seed, then from a clot, then from a little lump of flesh shapely and shapeless, that We may make (it) clean for you. And We cause what We will to remain in the wombs for an appointed time, and afterward We bring you forth as infants, then (give you growth) that ye attain your full strength. And among you there is he who dieth (young), and among you there is he who is brought back to the most abject time of life, so that, after knowledge, he knoweth naught. And thou (Muhammad) seest the earth barren, but when We send down water thereon, it doth thrill and swell and Put forth every lovely kind (of growth). That is because Allah, He is the Truth. Lo! He quickeneth the dead, and lo! He is Able to do all things; And because the Hour will come, there is no doubt thereof; and because Allah will raise those who are in the graves. And among mankind is he who disputeth concerning Allah without knowledge or guidance or a Scripture giving light. Turning away in pride to beguile (men) from the way of Allah. For him in this world is ignominy, and on the Day of Resurrection We make him taste the doom of burning. (And unto him it will be said): This is for that which thy two hands have sent before, and because Allah is no oppressor of His slaves. And among mankind is he who worshippeth Allah upon a narrow marge so that if good befalleth him he is content therewith, but if a trial befalleth him, he falleth away utterly. He loseth both the world and the Hereafter. That is the sheer loss. He calleth, beside Allah, unto that which hurteth him not nor benefiteth him. That is the far error. He calleth unto him whose harm is nearer than his benefit; verily an evil patron and verity an evil friend! Lo! Allah causeth those who believe and do good works to enter the Gardens underneath which rivers flow. Lo! Allah doth what He intendeth. Whoso is wont to think (through envy) that Allah will not give him (Muhammad) victory in the world and the Hereafter (and is enraged at the thought of his victory), let him stretch a rope up to the roof (of his dwelling), and let him hang himself. Then let him see whether his strategy dispelleth that whereat he rageth! Thus We reveal it as plain revelations, and verily Allah guideth whom He will. Lo! those who believe (this Revelation), and those who are Jews, and the Sabaeans and the Christians and the
    Magians and the idolaters. Lo! Allah will decide between them on the Day of Resurrection. Lo! Allah is Witness over all things. Hast thou not seen that unto Allah payeth adoration whosoever is in the heavens and whosoever is in the earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the hills, and the trees, and the beasts, and many of mankind, while there are many unto whom the doom is justly due. He whom Allah scorneth, there is none to give him honour. Lo! Allah doeth what He will. These twain (the believers and the disbelievers) are two opponents who contend concerning their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads. Whereby that which is in their bellies, and their skins too, will be melted; And for them are hooked rods of iron. Whenever, in their anguish, they would go forth from thence they are driven back therein and (it is said unto them): Taste the doom of burning. (Holy Quran, Surah 22, Ayah 1-22)

  7. And those in the Fire say unto the guards of hell: Entreat your Lord that He relieve us of a day of the torment. They say: Came not your messengers unto you with clear proofs? They say: Yea, verily. They say: Then do ye pray, though the prayer of disbelievers is in vain! (Holy Quran, Surah 40, Ayah 49-50)