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Physics or biology: ‘Quantum smell’ explains nothing

Posted on January 28, 2013 by James Kohl.

28 January 2013 Last updated at 00:05 GMT By Jason Palmer Science and technology reporter, BBC News ‘Quantum smell’ idea gains ground

Excerpt: “The mechanism, he added, was “inelastic electron tunnelling”: in the presence of a specific “smelly” molecule, an electron within a smell receptor in your nose can “jump” – or tunnel – across it and dump a quantum of energy into one of the molecule’s bonds – setting the “spring” vibrating.”

My comment: A decade ago Greg Bear told me: You can’t market raw insight! Compared to quantum theory, I still prefer the raw insight gained from knowledge of biological facts  — as represented in Greg Bear’s sci-fi novels “Darwin’s Radio” and “Darwin’s Children”.  “Neural networks from beehives to brains solve problems through the exchange and the selective cancellation and modification of signals. Species and organisms in ecosystems live and die like signals in a network. Death—the ax of natural selection—is itself a signal, a stopcode, if you will.

Does death “stink” because it represents the end of nutrient uptake and its metabolism to species specific pheromones? If not, why does the smell of death attract some species but repel conspecifics? What’s the explanation from quantum theory for that biological fact? Theoretical cause and effect explains nothing, which makes it harder to believe in what physicists think they comprehend.

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James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl




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