Stuart Hameroff, MD, is an anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Arizona. In one of many articles and videos about consciousness on the Huffington Post, Hameroff describes how anesthesia can help explain consciousness.
If the brain produces consciousness (all aspects of the term), then it seems to follow that turning off the brain will also turn off consciousness. This is exactly how anesthetics work.
While most anesthetics are nonselective “dirty” drugs, they all produce loss of consciousness, amnesia, and immobility by either opening inhibitory ion channels or closing excitatory ion channels in neurons. The commonly used intravenous drug propofol, for example, acts by activating GABA receptors, the ubiquitous inhibitory channels in CNS interneurons. Brain off = consciousness off.
Hameroff does not subscribe to this. He argues that consciousness is an intrinsic part of the universe and that anesthetics simply disconnect it from the brain. He also thinks that by saying “quantum” a lot, he can scientifically prove the existence of the soul.
What’s scary is that Hameroff has “MD” and “Professor” next to his name. Will Joe the Plumber see through the misinformation?
Don’t take the HuffPost too seriously: