The Quantum Brain: Theory or Myth?

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The Quantum Brain: Theory or Myth?

The study of neurobiology has long involved the actions and interactions among neurons and their synapses. Changes in concentrations of various ions carry impulses to and from the central nervous system and are responsible for all the information processed by the nervous system as a whole. This has been the prominent theory for many years, but, now, there is a new one to be reckoned with; the Quantum Brain Theory (QBT). Like many new theories, the QBT has merits and flaws. Many people are wholeheartedly sold on it; however, this vigor might be uncalled for. Nevertheless, this could prove to be a valid and surprisingly accurate theory of brain function.

One of the most convincing arguments of the QBT is its explanation of how reality is conceived by the brain. Classically, reality should always be changing, even by the slightest notion, and the brain should be aware of these changes as they occur. According to quantum mechanics, this would be impossible; there is no time during which something is changing. Therefore, the brain cannot be in a state of change, it must be in one state or another, there is no in between. The QBT states that our brain takes in reality one moment at a time, it is never in a state where it is observing something change. It observes reality before the change and then after the change and then fuses these two images together in order to make sense of them.

One question about the QBT comes when reality itself is considered; "why can't reality be a quantum system?" Well, there are a few explanations. One is that quantum systems are usually very small. Quantum mechanics cannot be used to explain the universe as a whole in all venues, however, can explain the movements of an electron, or the actions of a black hole. Another reason why reality cannot be explained by quantum mechanics is that quantum mechanics call for a holistic interpretation of the system. Reality, then, is much too large for all of it to be encompassed in one interpretation. Non-locality, another feature of quantum mechanics, prevents reality from being explained by quantum mechanics. Non-locality means that distance is not an issue in the effects of one part of a system on another. For example, curtains might not be blowing because your window is open and there is a wind, they might be blowing because somewhere in Russia, a woman is beating her rugs.

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