Hawking is quoted as saying: “I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” Hmmm. That’s odd. I’ve recycled various components of one computer into another. In fact, I think the laptop on which I’m typing has the memory and data files from three previous computers. In class, when we talk about the difference or the similarities between computers and humans, all students agree that memory is transferred from an old computer to the new one; and this makes them think about whether or not the same is true of the human species. Why Hawking doesn’t consider the same is that perhaps he’s run down from a life of focused  thinking, and the students are still free to roam.

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