Andrew Wood is Professor of Biophysics at Swinburne University and an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University. He is an expert in the area of the interaction of (non-ionizing) electromagnetic radiation (NIR) with living tissue, including the modelling of tissue absorption of various forms of NIR. He has served on committees at the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and with the World Health Organisation. He has had research funding from NHMRC continuously since 1998. He is currently a Chief Investigator with the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR), a Centre of Research Excellence supported by NHMRC. He has recently co-edited a major textbook on the topic of NIR protection.
Description: Following death, “we shall all be changed.” A number of Christian writers have offered insights on how this transformation could be achieved, in particular: just as computer programs and data can be transferred from one hardware system to another one, so can information be transferred from an earthly body to a heavenly body. However, this is not without its difficulties, particularly in defining the interface between information and neural circuits, or mind/body interface (or indeed, mind/body/soul). Computer programs are executed by hardware, the basic ‘flop’ being Boolean algebra operations carried out by electronic circuits (flip-flops). There appears to be no obvious equivalent in neural processing. The basic question is how an intention (a mind event) can produce a physical response (such as a muscle movement) without a measurable flow of energy. The question is similar in some respects to how divine intervention or miracles might occur in a world of otherwise interlocking physical events. A number of writers invoke quantum indeterminacy as a way in which the immaterial might affect the material. In effect, this states that the uncertainty in time events (such as nerve spikes) multiplied by the uncertainty in the associated energy (which can be quantified, for nerve membrane events) can be around a certain very small number (about 10^-34 Joules), but indeterminate nonetheless. Regarding the emergence of consciousness, Hameroff and Penrose (Phys Life Revs, 11:39-78, 2014) have invoked quantum coherence in cellular microtubules as a key mechanism. However, as Baars and Edelman (Phys Life Revs, 9:285, 2012) plants also possess microtubules, without being conventionally conscious. This presentation will review these theories in relation to non-reductive physicalism or body/mind/soul trichotomy, in the light of recent advances in studies on quantum effects in nature.