This old Bob Enyart Live program happened to air on a Friday, and it's been seven years since then, so here at BEL we're not sure if this qualifies to be a special edition of Real Science Radio. We put it on this list hoping that someone in our BEL family of friends could give this a listen and then email Bob@KGOV.com to let us know if this show should be listed as a RSR program! (Also, if you'd like to, feel free to try your hand at writing a brief summary of the show.) Thanks! -The Crew at BEL
Who holds this view that human consciousness is qualitatively different from what computers do, and that physics - even quantum mechanics - as presently understood, is insufficient to explain consciousness? None other than Roger Penrose, one of the greatest mathematical physicists of our time. (You may have heard of one of his students, Stephen Hawking.) Penrose is famous for Penrose tilings and work dealing with black holes. Others also hold to this view concerning consciousness, including Stuart Hameroff.
In fact, Penrose argues in his book, Shadows of the Mind 1, that it is impossible for man to build a computer that can do what humans do. Now, he does not claim that there is a spirit or a soul, but he certainly questions the assumption that human mental activity/understanding/consciousness is basically the same as what computers do. And the difference is not a matter of degree, or quantity - it is a basic, qualitative difference.
"...the arguments I have been presenting require more than just quantum coherence on a large scale. They require that the biological systems that are our brains have somehow contrived to harness the details of a physics that is yet unknown to human physicists!" (pp. 372-373). (emphasis Joe's)
See more at rsr.org/materialists#vs everything.