So he definitely lied.
The fact that no one has found neurons to be dependent upon quantum effects doesn't prove anything. Observing such an effect would probably be extremely hard. Conversely, AFAIK the behaviour of even individual neurons is quite complex and not always predictable. It's not just a "transistor". You could also argue that the consciousness-quantum effect would not necessarily be present when looking at one neuron in isolation - it could be that the effect only "cares" to be there when there's a fully functioning neurological system.
Personally, I believe that the processes human brain, as understood by classical physics, does produce part of human intelligence and behaviour (i.e. I don't believe it is just a mediator/amplifier of some quantum action). Also, there are known processes that are not under conscious control at all, and others that are only partly so (e.g. breathing). So it might be some very complex interaction between the "thing" that provides us with the "inner experience of consciousness" and with the physical/biological layer of the brain, that is required to fully explain all of human experience and behaviour.
1) Firstly, it's hard to see how biology and classical physics can explain consciousness. Note that I'm not talking about human intelligence etc. because there are at least plausible ways to imagine how this could be "implemented" via classical physics. What I'm talking about is "the inner experience" i.e. the experience of existing, the subjective. Isn't it weird that we have such an experience? What would be the substrate of such an experience? Within classical physics, I could perhaps accept a world full of zombies running around seemingly intelligent but without an inner experience. It's not that I don't accept emergent phenomenon in general. I accept that intelligence can result from very simple building blocks. But I don't see how this is true for the subjective experience of existing.
Now this is Slashdot, so a coding analogy would be in order: Understanding consciousness within classical physics is like trying to play a sound on a computer without a sound card - it can't be done no matter what clever programming you use, since the basic building block or "API" isn't there!
Now, the problem to this idea is that it is very hard to measure this "inner experience" for anyone else than the person experiencing it. This is what it means for it to be subjective, and this is what is "magic" about it. But for the individual, the experience is valid and real. And at least to me, there seems to be no way of understanding it within classical physics.
2) There's some experimental evidence. For instance, the element xenon is almost chemically inert. Still, it is a powerful anaesthetic. However, note that as an anesthetic it doesn't just shut off all cells. It doesn't even shut off all of the brain or anything of that sort. Rather, it selectively shuts off consciousness! A person sedated with xenon can still breath, the heart is still beating etc. However, the experience of existing is (temporarily) gone. Now, how can such a primitive one-atom entity as xenon have such selective effects on consciousness? If consciousness was some complex emergent phenomenon, wouldn't it take a complicated molecule to go into the brain and find out exactly what neurons to affect so as to leave the vital functions intact while retaining consciousness? Xenon doesn't appear to be capable of this!
No one really know how xenon does it - but since it is chemically inert it must at least be at the "van der Waal" level. Some experiments indicate it might affect special pockets in certain proteins via at least semi-quantum effect. Given this evidence, it doesn't seem much of a jump to consider these pockets essential to consciousness - perhaps mediating it?
Everyone knows stories of someone who had relatively minor symptoms for a prolonged period of time... that ultimately turned out to be caused by cancer, which was then in a late stage. We are also being reminded every day of how important it is to go to the doctor with symptoms early, where there's a chance for a cure etc. etc. I think most people know that in all likelihood, what they have is nothing. They know the odds it is cancer this particular time around may only be 1 in 10,000. But they also know that 30-40% of the population will get diagnosed with cancer at some point, and they have all heard of some case where it hit early and where the first symptoms were vague. What if THEIR case is the unlucky one? They have only this one life, so if it turns out to be serious, the fact that the risk was low will be little comform - they will have the disease in full-force, perhaps detected at a late stage.
Given all this, isn't it understandable that people might want to have tests, second opinions etc.? Isn't it what they are asked to do by all the cancer campaigns? The problem is we know too much and the whole concept of "risk" has become embodied into everything we do. This means we focus on disease even when we are relatively healthy. But it also enables us to sometimes detect diseases early, and to cure otherwise fatal illnesses (some of those cures being heavily dependent on early detection).
I think short of outlawing screening tests or massive programs to change people's attitude towards life and death (i.e. changing the perception that "a long life is good, a short life is bad" and the almost sense of entitlement of a long life), nothing is going to stop patients from wanting tests and nothing is going to stop doctors from providing it and profiting on it.
Comparing information and knowledge is like asking whether the fatness of a pig is more or less green than the designated hitter rule." -- David Guaspari