The brain is only real in 3-dimensions. We can all agree about that.
But now scientists are trying to claim our knowing and awareness exists in 11 dimensions. Isn’t that just another way of saying that mind and Being is non-material and NOT brain-based?
The so-called Blue Brain Project claims to have discovered a multi-dimensional universe in brain networks. This is being billed as “ground-breaking work that is beginning to reveal the brain’s deepest architectural secrets.”
The research, published 12th June 2017 in Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, claims (they say “shows”) that these structures arise when a group of neurons forms a clique: each neuron connects to every other neuron in the group in a very specific way that generates a precise geometric object. The more neurons there are in a clique, the higher the dimension of the geometric object.
“We found a world that we had never imagined,” says neuroscientist Henry Markram, director of Blue Brain Project and professor at the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, “there are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.”
Markram suggests this may explain why it has been so hard to understand the brain. “The mathematics usually applied to study networks cannot detect the high-dimensional structures and spaces that we now see clearly.”
If a 3 or 4 dimensional world stretches our imagination, worlds with 5, 6 or more dimensions are too complex for most of us to comprehend. This is where algebraic topology comes in: a branch of mathematics that can describe systems with any number of dimensions. The mathematicians who brought algebraic topology to the study of brain networks in the Blue Brain Project were Kathryn Hess from EPFL and Ran Levi from Aberdeen University.
“Algebraic topology is like a telescope and microscope at the same time. It can zoom into networks to find hidden structures – the trees in the forest – and see the empty spaces – the clearings – all at the same time,” explains Hess.
In 2015, Blue Brain published the first digital copy of a piece of the neocortex – the most evolved part of the brain and the seat of our sensations, actions, and consciousness. In this latest research, using algebraic topology, multiple tests were performed on the virtual brain tissue to show that the multi-dimensional brain structures discovered could never be produced by chance.
Experiments were then performed on real brain tissue in the Blue Brain’s wet lab in Lausanne confirming that the earlier discoveries in the virtual tissue are biologically relevant and also suggesting that the brain constantly rewires during development to build a network with as many high-dimensional structures as possible.
It all sounds very plausible, except for one thing: why does the brain suddenly erect 11-dimensional structures? In response to what?
Neuroscience has long struggled to find where the brain stores its memories (because it doesn’t). “They may be ‘hiding’ in high-dimensional cavities,” Henry Markram speculates. So, in non-material dimensions then, Markram!
Note that extra mathematical dimensions are pure abstractions; they do not actually exist, except to make formulas balance up when the formula is otherwise WRONG!