Quantum minds, quantum souls: does quantum theory give insight into mind/body/soul interactions?
Andrew Wood

May 25, 2018, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Catholic Theological College, UD, Catholic Theological College, UD

Treacy boardroom
278 Victoria Pde, East Melbourne
Melbourne 3002

This will be an accessible event, including organized related activities



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According to St Paul, following death, "we shall all be changed". A number of Christian writers have offered insights on how this transformation might 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). 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 has to be equal or greater than a certain very small number (about 10-34 J.s). Events occurring within this uncertainty are "hidden", allowing non-physical influences. A number of celebrated scientists (such as Sir Roger Penrose and Sir John Eccles) have invoked quantum effects in cellular systems as a key mechanism to understanding consciousness. 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.


Professor Andrew Wood is currently Professor of Biophysics at Swinburne University of Technology and a Chief Investigator with the Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research, which has received Program Grant funding from NHMRC since 2004. He has served on committees at the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and World Health Organisation. He is a Scientific Expert Group member of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. He has taught in the area of Medical Biophysics for over 30 years and until recently chaired the Department of Biomedical and Health Sciences within the School of Health Sciences. As a Fellow of ISCAST (Christians in Science and Technology) he has been studying the findings of modern brain imaging and monitoring technologies in relation to religious belief and expression.

Public Transport: Trams: 109 (to Box Hill), 12 (to Victoria Gardens): Tram, stop 13 (Landsdowne St. ACU).

Buses: From City: 302, 303, 304, 305, 309, 318, 350, 905, 906, 907, 908. Stop: ACU.

Nearest Train Station: Parliament Station. Exit Macarthur St, go north until Victoria Parade, Turn right, 400 metres (CTC building corner of Victoria Parade and Eades St, - the Southern Side of Vic Parade, located across from what was until very recently the Dallas Brooks Hall).

Parking along Vic Parade and at the ACU (on Young St).

Wheelchair accessible - all on ground/street level, with a disabled/wheelchairable toilet close to the boardroom.

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