Chopra follows up his Million Dollar Challenge, and a short parody

Deepak Chopra desperately needs treatment for Maru’s Syndrome, for he simply can’t stay out of the box. In the last couple of day’s he’s put up two more videos on Randi’s “The Amazing Meeting” (TAM) and Chopra’s own Million Dollar Challenge, in which—mocking James Randi—Deepakity offers a cool million to anyone who can “explain” the Hard Problem of Consciousness (the origin of subjective sensation from brain activity) in a peer-reviewed journal.

The man has serious problems leaving well enough alone.

At about 1:10 in the first video below, Chopra plays the victim card (see also the next video). But he’s really using his clarification to heap more calumny on sceptics for being “bamboozled by their perceptions.” He claims that “whatever we experience as reality is the contents of our minds”.  Indeed that’s true, but that doesn’t mean that there’s not a reality out there, nor that our senses tell us nothing accurate about it. Chopra’s claim reminds me of this old limerick:

There was a faith healer from Deale,
Who said, although pain isn’t real,
If I sit on a pin and it punctures my skin,
I dislike what I fancy I feel!

The heart of Chopra’s argument, and a major part of his “philosophy,” is in the quote below, which he proposes as the SOLUTION to the hard problem. (Does that mean if I publish it, I get the million? Will a peer-reviewed journal take it?):

The Big Claim comes up at 1:55:

“What I basically wanted to do was propose an alternative solution to the hard problem, which is a top-down solution. Instead of assuming that physical reality is fundamental, start with consciousness as being fundamental. Consciousness conceives, governs, constructs—and becomes the physical reality of the world, including our body and also our mental activity. If you assume that, and if you start with consciousness as a field of possibilities that’s [obscure] that produces qualia, which are experienced as both mental and physical world, then you may have a solution.”

This is like saying that urine is fundamental, and that its presence creates the kidneys.

The margins of this post are too small to describe all the problems with this, including the fact that things happened before human consciousness arose—or any organismal consciousness arose—that don’t seem to be the products of our minds. What about those craters on the moon, or the Big Bang? Were those produced by consciousness? (Apparently so, because Chopra once said that the Moon isn’t there until we perceive it.)  If so, then our consciousness has done a very good job of making it look as if there were an external reality that preceded our evolution. Of course, if Chopra thinks that the Universe is conscious, and somehow creates itself, then the onus is on him to explain what he means.

Chopra’s “solution” (which of course would be rejected by any respectable journal on the grounds of sheer lunacy), is also cynical, because it shows that he doesn’t really believe in the Hard Problem that he’s offering money to solve. The Hard Problem is, after all, how neuronal impulses operating in a physical brain produces that notion of consciousness that experienced as subjective sensations (“qualia”).  But that’s not the way he thinks it happens: he thinks that consciousness precedes the brain, and somehow creates it. If that’s the case, then there IS no hard problem.

Or, rather, there’s another Hard Problem: where does the consciousness come from without physical reality, and how does it create physical reality? If I had a million bucks, I’d offer it to Chopra to explain that.  But of course he doesn’t need the dough, for he can already afford diamond-studded spectacles.

But on to his “clarification” of his million dollar challenge (love those glasses!).

Below is Chopra’s rant about The Amazing Meeting. His immaturity is amply on display here, evidenced by both his pervasive insults of the TAM attendees (“militant atheists and professional sceptics and professional debunkers”—not at all true!), and others like Dawkins and Dennett. He calls TAM a “self-congratulatory meeting” full of “hard core materialists” and “those who are self-appointed vigilantes for the suppression of  QSD: creativity, imagination, and legitimate scientific inquiry.”

It goes on and on, but the gist is that Chopra is trying to tell D. J. Grothe to invite him and his woo-ey cronies so there can be a real  conversation: a real “amazing meeting.” The best part is when Chopra says he would bring bodyguards to protect him from the “physical onslaughts” he’d surely experience at TAM. The last part of the video is a tedious reiteration of his theories of mind and matter.

Note that at 5:30 Chopra characterizes Richard Dawkins as “supposedly an evolutionary biologist but doesn’t seem to haven’t really [sic] kept up with epigenetics.” Really? I have kept up with epigenetics, and there’s nothing in it that supports Chopra’s new Big Idea that your mind can permanently change your genes. Even Chopra’s colleague, Rudolph Tanzi, has admitted that there’s no evidence for this. “Epigenetics”, it appears, is replacing “quantum” as Chopra’s new buzzword.

Finally, some unknown wag has produced a short parody of Chopra’s initial “challenge” video:

96 Comments

  1. JChotard
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Jerry – I completely support what you are saying about Chopra – but at this point he needs to be ignored and shunned. He brings the entire debate regarding science vs supersition down – nothing is elevated by the back and forth.

    At this point, I am more appalled that people I respect engage him on any level. He was at the Towards A Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson in April, as an invited speaker, – it lowered the dialogue – and with 50% of the audience in his camp – made me suspect that people there weren’t interested in either science or solving the “hard problem” just self promotion all around.

    It’s funny to point out his short comings, but at this point – are we learning anything or getting anywhere by doing so?

    • rickflick
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

      Maybe he needs a little disdainful neglect? At least I can no longer stand to watch him blather on in these videos. It brings me to the brink of regurgitation.
      There is a point to critiquing him though. I have a few friends who wander the paths of philosophical play in his direction. To read another scathing critique might be just the thing to bring them back to reality.

      • Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        I think that is a good point. Yes, it is wrong to give Deepak the attention he craves, but OTOH the criticism and ridicule dished out to him must be done to keep vulnerable people from falling under his spell.
        So let the mockery continue!

        • JChotard
          Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:44 am | Permalink

          It feels to much like “sport” – and often he is not being directly challenged – at Tucson – he was not ridiculed. Leonard did not and does not ridicule him in his book either. Rather, he is given a platform with the likes of scientists he does not deserve to be included among – but is. Why??? Would Bill Nye debate a creationist again? Or has the point been made. And now it is the Creationists that are using the platform for their own purposes.

    • Chris
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      It’s only the “hard problem” if you believe in magic, really…

      *ahem*

      Not an expert, by the way.

      *ahem*

    • Sastra
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      … but at this point he needs to be ignored and shunned.

      I disagree. That would be like ignoring the creationists in order to “marginalize” them. It minimizes the problem.

      It’s also like ignoring “sophisticated” theology. That would minimize atheism.

      Chopra may be a pseudoscientist poised on the very fringes of science but from what I can tell his ideas and arguments more or less represent the mainstream of self-designated “sophisticated” challenges to naturalism. This is the version of supernaturalism which people who really ought to know better like to throw in our faces, smug in their confidence that THEY understand science and we don’t.

      In other words, Chopra has the public majority on his side. We’re the underdogs. Given this, “shunning” is not good strategy.

      • Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

        Amen.

        And, especially considering just how fragile his ego so clearly is, a really good belly laugh coupled with sincere derision is likely going to be the best medicine.

        No, not for Butthurt; he’s hopeless. By now, he’s so drunk on his own snake oil that he couldn’t reason his way out of a wet paper bag, even if he had a kitten in the bag with him to help.

        The medicine is for his marks. Butthurt’s already showing his true colors, and they’re not exactly stoic and certainly not pretty. Real gurus don’t blow their wads as he’s so eager to do.

        Cheers,

        b&

      • Posted June 18, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think so.
        Chopra is an eastern guru who’s taken Eastern philosophical concepts about consciousness and dressed them up with serious arguments from philosophers like Chalmers and Swinburne who work in philosophy of mind.
        While the clothes are real , it is plain to see that there is no emperor.
        Robin Collins has penned a great critique of Eastern religions and their views on consciousness . You should look it.

    • Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I think that’s always worth considering with this nasty piec of work, but I think if it’s done well — and only if it’s done well — it’s worth doing. And I think Jerry’s doing a fine job here.

      I spent much of the 1990s and 2000s tearing my hair out at Chopra’s Quantum Bloviations. He’s kicked open the door to so much quackery, thievery and boring stupidity that I’m glad to see some push back from the science community.

  2. Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:20 am | Permalink

    Dr. Steven Novella has also addressed Deepak’s stupidity and malevolence and has, in fact, invited him to TAM as his personal guest:

    http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/deepak-challenge-to-skeptics/

    “I will, in fact, offer a counter challenge to Chopra. This one is easy – come to TAM. I invite you as my personal guest. I will even give you an SGU T-shirt. We can sit down and have a pleasant interview.”

    • Sastra
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Hey, I’ll be at TAM and would love it if Chopra came. He should accept. And he certainly wouldn’t be the first person from the “other side” who does so — in audience or as speaker. I remember an enlightening visit once from Gary Schwartz at a CSICOP convention.

      They come with their prepared speeches and powerpoints … and it doesn’t go over well in an informed audience. I still remember Neil Degrasse Tyson deconstructing Schwartz’s physics (which were supposed to demonstrate how souls might be real) with the phrase “sheer drivel” — and a lot of technical follow-up. Priceless.

      • Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I would be interested in watching Deepakity at TAM. There may be a moment that tops my all-time favorite. When Leonard Mlodinow came up after a Chopra and Harris debate and flat out said that the quantum mechanics he was spewing was nonsensical.

        That’s actually a book I’ve been meaning to get and read – their book together. I just can’t imagine what Mlodinow would say about Chopra.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          I’m glad to hear Mlodinow disavowed Chopra. But, my goodness, I wrote to him before he started on the project to say how puzzled I was that he would entertain collaboration with a woomeister. His answer was not very satisfying. I figured after the boost in income from writing with Steven Hawking, he couldn’t resist just a little more boost.

          • Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            I’m deeply puzzles as to Mlodinow’s collaboration as well. But it stemmed directly from that encounter after the debate. Chopra invited him to work together. Ostensibly to get his physics straight, but that has obviously not happened. Here is the clip:

            Chopra was still utterly incoherent.And the best part is Mlodinow flat out said Chopra was wrong on non-locality and Chopra just smuggly said he disagrees and Mlodinow is wrong.

            Anyways, you – and everyone – should watch the clip. It is obvious that Mlodinow is nervous about not wanting to just rudely bash the crap out of Chopra, but that he thinks the guy is utterly wrong and when he is not wrong, just incoherent.

            • rickflick
              Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:59 am | Permalink

              Mlodinow does some explaining in this video from 2011. His view is solid materialism for the most part, but becomes very flexible with respect to the existence of God, and with respect to Chopra.

        • Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          Plusses and minuses. The minuses are that he will regard the event as a great victory, no matter the shellacking he will get. He will also bring a horde of minions with him, bringing down the average IQ of TAM.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Oh if you question him though he will say he will need body guards!

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    “This is like saying that urine is fundamental, and that its presence creates the kidneys.”

    Brilliant!

    • Bea
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s unclear to me how the physical substance of urine is comparable to aware and creative mental mind/consciousness (at any conceivable level of existence or activity).
      [shrug]

    • Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

      Isn’t that just taking the piss?

      /@

  4. Chris
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Awesome, sounds like a new field of study:

    Quantum Epigenetics

    I can haz copyrights?

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      I’m going to start spreading that!

  5. Ian Belson
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    He owes Antonio Damasio $1,000,000. Watch his TED video then read the Wikipedia page plus the two books referenced there if you want to begin to understand consciousness. Then spend the rest of your life sorting it all out from the smallest microbe to us.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Also Christof Koch who has not patience for people like Chopra.

  6. Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Sastra is our resident expert on Butthurt Joker’s brand of woo: Mind as the Ground Round of Being. She can dismantle it with the precision of a surgeon.

    The woo is actually somewhat internally self-consistent. Its main problem is that it’s a giant conspiracy theory, and only makes sense if you assume that everything we think we know about the way the Universe works is deeply and profoundly worng and instead we’ve been deluded at every step of our investigations.

    Sadly for the wooists, the conspiracy fails the ultimate test: recursion. How is Butthurt to know that, even if it turned out that his quantum DNA really is conscious, that said consciousness isn’t itself merely the consciousness of a superduperultramegacomputer somewhere?

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Sastra
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the compliment — though being an expert on bullshit has its down side.

      The particularly frustrating point regarding Idealistic Monism ( besides “We’re not dualists — you are! Haha!”) is that the proponents want to have it both ways.

      On the one hand it is supposed to be a “metaphysics” which stands outside of the physical world and therefore is above evidence and reason. It can’t be falsified with any conceivable test. All outcomes are consistent.

      But on the other hand they claim that the alternative of Materialist Naturalism has been falsified again and again. They’ll bring up paranormal claims or studies, alternative medicine, religious experience, or mysticism supported. Or they’ll argue against the coherency or reasonableness of the “atheist world view.”

      This is a contradiction. Once again you’ve got something which is only “outside of science” and completely absolved from Occam’s Razor when the studies go the wrong way.

      • Posted June 18, 2014 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        @Sastra
        Chopra’s basically teaching the concepts of Eastern religion, where consciousness is fundamental and idealism is true.
        He’s thrown in some ideas from quantum mechanics (where quantum entities exist in superposition before the act of observation) to elucidate (or obscufate) his ideas on how consciousness creates reality from superpositions or possibilities.
        Then he throws in some woo about how consciousness can change our genes and heal yourself with meditation and quantum healingso he can rake in the cash

        I think because of his approach from Eastern religion he’s taking a totally different approach from what someone in a western religion would take. Someone in the West would take the material world to be real and ask if there are any signs of a creative intelligence behind it.

        IMO his view is totally implausible , but its still more plausible than naturalism for me.
        Chopra says our sense of reality and matter are an illusion created by consciousness.
        Naturalists say our feelings of free will, objective morality and religious experience are illusions created by the matter in our brains.
        Both of them seem totally implausible to me.
        I stick with dualism , because it is the best of both worlds.

        • Posted June 19, 2014 at 3:49 am | Permalink

          “dualism … is the *worst* of both worlds”

          fify

          /@

        • Sastra
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

          Chopra’s basically teaching the concepts of Eastern religion, where consciousness is fundamental and idealism is true.

          And I’m pointing out that “Eastern” and “Western” religions basically still meet on this point, in that the Abrahamic God is also a Consciousness which is fundamental to reality. Only the bells and whistles — the details — differ. Supernaturalism has a common ground the world over because the human brain is not only shaped by culture, it shapes it.

          Chopra says our sense of reality and matter are an illusion created by consciousness. Naturalists say our feelings of free will, objective morality and religious experience are illusions created by the matter in our brains.

          Yes …. but no. There are different connotations in the term “illusion” and how both sides are using it. In Naturalism, if something is called an “illusion” that doesn’t mean that it’s not real; it only means that it’s not what it might appear to be on the surface. If you dig deeper and break it down into history of development, its parts, and how it works, you’re no longer looking at the exact same thing. Cranes can create what seems to be a skyhook.

          Chopra just says “skyhook.”

          As for dualism, there are all kinds of dualism. Some of them are consistent with Naturalism. Substance dualism, however, isn’t. And substance dualism is testable.

          • Posted June 19, 2014 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            And I’m pointing out that “Eastern” and “Western” religions basically still meet on this point, in that the Abrahamic God is also a Consciousness which is fundamental to reality. Only the bells and whistles — the details — differ. Supernaturalism has a common ground the world over because the human brain is not only shaped by culture, it shapes it.
            I guess somewhat. I think approach to get there is fundamentally different though. Chopra starts with his own consciousness and says matter is not real. Theism starts with God’s consciousness and says matter is real and was created by God.

            Yes …. but no. There are different connotations in the term “illusion” and how both sides are using it.
            I was using it to refer to something that isn’t real. Have you heard of Alex Rosenburg? Read the critique of his book by Edward Feser. Rosenburg concludes that naturalism implies that many features of conscious experience (Free will , intentionality , morality , continuous sense of self) are just illusions.

            In Naturalism, if something is called an “illusion” that doesn’t mean that it’s not real; it only means that it’s not what it might appear to be on the surface. If you dig deeper and break it down into history of development, its parts, and how it works, you’re no longer looking at the exact same thing. Cranes can create what seems to be a skyhook.
            Chopra just says “skyhook.”

            Chopra says that matter isn’t what it appears to be and if you go deeper all there is is conscious experience.
            Chopra’s on the second floor (conciousness) and going down the escalator to the first floor (matter). Naturalists start on the first floor and try to up.
            You guys both do the same thing , just with different starting points. You guys both end up trying to say the things that don’t fit in your worldview are illusions.

            As for dualism, there are all kinds of dualism. Some of them are consistent with Naturalism. Substance dualism, however, isn’t. And substance dualism is testable.
            Property dualism is consistent with naturalism
            Substance dualism and hylemorphism (Thomistic dualism) are the supernatural types.

            I agree that some aspects of dualism are testable. For example Schwartz and Beaugard have been testing the hypothesis that the mind can influence the brain in nueroscience and psychology.

            • Sastra
              Posted June 19, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

              No they haven’t tested that. My understanding is that their results are perfectly consistent with materialism and exactly what you’d expect from mainstream neurology. Mental states are brain states. Your thoughts change your brain — of course.

              Here’s a way to falsify naturalism and support dualism. Let’s see some well-documented carefully controlled experiments with people having thoughts, learning things, making decisions — but their brain just sits there the entire time like an inert lump and there’s no activity going on inside at all.

              That ought to be possible if substance dualism is true, but not under naturalism (given my definition.)

              • Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

                No they haven’t tested that. My understanding is that their results are perfectly consistent with materialism and exactly what you’d expect from mainstream neurology. Mental states are brain states. Your thoughts change your brain — of course.

                Well they can be made to be consistent with materialism , in the same way you can make anything consistent with your theory if you make enough assumptions.
                But this was a hypothesis predicted by dualists , based on dualism and put forward and is now being tested.

                I think you’re attacking a bit of a straw dualist . I think all dualists agree there is an interdependency of the mind on the brain and brain state correlations with mental states. John Eccles, a Nobel price winning neuroscientists , said that the mind uses the brain to think , like a man uses a piano to make music.

                The closest thing to the case you outlined is near death experiences , where people claim to have mental experiences while braindead. Its a bit difficult to verify those things though. See for example the recent debate between Harris and Eben Alexander. Harris argues that Alexander’s brain might have been partially functional during the NDE even though Alexander says the neurlogical exams shows they could not have been functional.

    • Sastra
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Actually, I usually argue that Chopra’s “brand of woo” is not his unique brand at all. The category of “the supernatural” is best defined by the inherent characteristic of Mind (or mental products) as primary. You can’t find a good example (okay, a proposed example) which doesn’t involve either mind/body dualism or idealistic monism in some form or another. In Naturalism, everything mental depends on something non-mental; in Supernaturalism, at least one thing does not.

      Chopra’s view differs from other religious/spiritual beliefs only in that he is more explicit up front. It’s clearer. But all supernatural beliefs will eventually involve the same sort of thing re Mind as Skyhook.

      • Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

        You can’t find a good example (okay, a proposed example) which doesn’t involve either mind/body dualism or idealistic monism in some form or another.

        …well, there is cryptozoology, ufology, zero-point energy, and related non-mystical crank theories. Granted, many will also buy into the mental mystical stuff and / or attribute mental superpowers to the cryptids or aliens or quantum energy, but that’s secondary and not at all a guarantee or requirement.

        I will certainly grant you, though, that most woo fits your “idealistic monism” model, perhaps even more “overwhelming” than “most.” Especially once you classify religion as woo, the “Mind of God” / “Ground of Being” / “Sustainer of Existence” threads inseparably woven into the base of all religions takes care of those numbers — never mind Pagan-style gods who raise an eyebrow in intense thought and cause the water to turn into wine. And I have an hard time imagining any of the Sedona crystal vortex types not being comfortable with that mold.

        …again, not that even the Mind of God would have any method of knowing that it itself wasn’t a subroutine of one corner of the Matrix….

        b&

        • Sastra
          Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

          Do we consider cryptozoology, ufology, zero-point energy, and related non-mystical crank theories to be dealing with the supernatural though? No. If anything, this helps make the case that in order to be “supernatural” a claim can’t just be unevidenced or nonscientific or beyond the known laws of physics.

          They’d be good examples “woo” which isn’t supernatural. The “woo” category is not easy to define either.

          It’s interesting. Idealistic Monism and Substance Dualism are different supernatural world views — technically. One holds that the physical world is only a manifestation of Mind and the other has it that Mind and Matter are ultimately separate (though mental things are usually ‘spiritual’ and therefore ‘higher’ and more important.) But they pretty much cash out the same. That is, strong scientific evidence for ESP, God, souls, ghosts, psychic powers and so forth would count for either view. That’s because they’d count against naturalism, the common enemy.

          From what I’ve seen it’s not only hard to tell Idealistic Monists apart from Substance Dualists, but proponents themselves will flip back and forth between them. It’s a distinction without much practical difference.

          A weird thing to watch out for though is how often the Idealists love to insist that we ‘materialist atheists’ are in the same category as dualists — because as they see it ‘dualism’ entails power and control. WTF? Well, Reality is really just One Thing, a vague mishmash of Consciousness, Bliss, and Love. Whole. Eternal. Harmonious.

          It is only when you break it down — or try to break it down — that all the mean, bad, arrogant things happen. One side tries to control the other. Reason is control. Science is control. Religion is control. Conflict ensues.

          Only Idealistic Monism avoids this creation of conflict.

          Unless you have the Secret Woo Decoder Ring, if you engage long with the New Agers you’re likely to be blindsided with what seems like an accusation out of nowhere and for no reason: atheists are dualists.

          But it isn’t for no reason: it’s for BAD reasons. And it isn’t coming out of nowhere: it comes from a long and ancient tradition of pulling things out of one’s butt.

          • Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            Do we consider cryptozoology, ufology, zero-point energy, and related non-mystical crank theories to be dealing with the supernatural though? No.

            If by, “we,” you mean “you,” then, clearly, “no”; if “me,” then, “yes.” This would perhaps be a good place to insert a long-winded discussion about definitions and descriptivism v prescriptivism, but I’m not sure what it would take to move either of us on that one.

            The “woo” category is not easy to define either.

            About as easy as using boiled spaghetti to nail jello to a jellyfish….

            It is only when you break it down — or try to break it down — that all the mean, bad, arrogant things happen.

            That seems to be the most consistent thread: that analysis is evil. One must take an holistic approach that embraces the totality of the integration of the something-or-other — you know the lingo better than I. Of course, what it really means in practice is, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

            Rather than try to figure out what it is that makes the rainbow, how light can be split into different colors and recombined, what it is about light that permits it to do that — and what’s with this light-like effect right next to the red but where I can’t see any light, and why is this light over here now acting like a particle, and…?

            …rather than that, we’re supposed to look at the pretty rainbow and feel warm and happy that <insert mentally-powerful parental figure here /> loves us so much as to create it for us. Looking too closely is like taking apart that nice toy that mommy and daddy gave us, and even if you don’t break it how will you ever put it back together again so you can play with it as it’s meant to be played with?

            Of course, it’s always the sage dispensing the wisdom who acts as the proxy for the authority figure and thus cloaks himself (or, rarely but increasingly, herself) in the power of the invisible parent. Depak here is the perfect example. He has all the answers; all you have to do is buy his books and open your hearts and your wallets and he’ll tell you all you need to know, so long as you don’t have the arrogance to question his authoritay….

            b&

            • Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

              “analysis is evil”

              Bingo. Too many people think any reduction is bad reduction. Which is sad. They’re the ones missing out on most of the beauty in the universe.

              • Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

                Exactly.

                Anybody can look at the pretty colors that shine off the unprinted side of the CD or DVD and appreciate that it’s…well, pretty.

                But if you also happen to know the diffraction grating equation, you can cut up that disc and turn it into a spectroscope…at which point you can measure the spacing between the grooves, you can figure out what chemical elements are in the Sun, you can differentiate between several shades of the same color that all superficially appear identical…and, yes, you can still admire the pretty colors.

                How could anybody not want to unweave the rainbow? It’s like saying, “No, thanks; I don’t want any of the rest of the meal, only some of that cake. And I don’t even want cake; just give me some of the frosting, and be sure it’s frosting that hasn’t been contaminated by any of that cake stuff.”

                b&

              • Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

                Perfect analogy.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        I think the scenario would be: as soon as one guru ages and retires with their millions (just too many wrinkles to appear messianic and charismatic simultaneously) , another arises to restate the same lucrative argument in a slightly different way. Taking advantage of changes in the media environment.

      • Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        As far as I can tell, he’s only marginally different because he (like a few others) throws in “quantum” and a few other pseudoscientifically used words.

        The rest is just subjective idealism. Yawn!

      • Bea
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        But logic, evidence, and reason themselves exist “outside the physical world”… being mental/abstract in kind (just like every single perception and conception anyone has ever had of “the physical world”).

        That’s why it’s inherently futile to try to use them to demonstrate that only the physical world exists or is causal. Your mind cannot logically or reasonably find evidence that mind/mentality plays no role in reality, that mind doesn’t make sense of and purposefully organize physical stuff within its range of awareness and influence.

        What all do we know right now about the potential range of mind(s)? A bit. More to follow, no doubt. But IF nonphysical/mental equates to “supernatural,” the existence of the latter is already undeniable.

        Still, naturalism is no one’s “enemy”… methodological naturalism is useful for building mental models of how physical stuff operates (precisely because it focuses upon primarily physical stuff).

        Metaphysical naturalism, on the other hand, is the interesting mental belief that reality consists of nothing but “physical activity,” occasionally but narrowly decorated with “mental activity” that is both “advantageous” yet [somehow] “illusory”… to itself!… which is [somehow] illusory… to ITself… Did someone mention “recursive”? ;)

        Thing is, if you’re looking for a fundamental kind, you have to pick something with the nature and capacity to hold/describe all the stuff (of all kinds) that there is to be held (in any conception of reality).

        That’s why Planck picked mind/consciousness, and I can see his point. It’s okay if you cannot… but it’s also okay that other people can. No cause for ridicule.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

          “But logic, evidence, and reason themselves exist “outside the physical world” “.

          Used like this you have to stop and ask what you mean by “exist”. It seems there could be a confusion because we usually take existence to mean physical. For logic to exist it has to be carried on by some computer/brain, I would think. We do not say logic exists as oranges exist. “logic” defines a process executed by a computer. Otherwise, what is it?

          If a car runs by combustion, in what sense does combustion exist? How would a combustion look traveling down the road without a car? Processes exist, but not apart from their material setting. Brains and car engines alike. I think the burden of proof is with the alternative claim.

          • Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

            “How would combustion look traveling down the road without a car?”

            Excellent. Ok, Bea. You show me a flame without a source for either fuel or ignition and then we’ll talk.

          • Bea
            Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:37 am | Permalink

            Mental/nonphysical entities surely “exist”… else there’d be no minds and no thoughts for them to think. Any “reality” exists in the sense that it seems “real” to some thing, and that thing is mind(s).

            Once you fully acknowledge that mental entities exist, using the term “supernatural” as a pejorative for “nonphysical” loses a lot of its oomph.

            Oranges, renal function, and combustion are all perfectly describable (by mental mind, no less) in completely physical terms. So are brains and brain activity.

            Not so for minds and mental activity (which, of course, contain all possible perceptions and conceptions of physical activity, and more stuff, besides).

            It simplifies nothing to pretend that mental activity and neural activity are the same thing. We know them to correlate…tightly…during life in the body. Full stop.

            • Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

              How do you know that minds are not material? How does the non-material interact with the material without violating conservation laws?

              • Posted June 20, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

                Bea’s made similar points before across several different posts, but she’s incorrigible.

                Like so many of the “oh, but — mental” people, she just does not realise or refuses to accept just how far physics fixes the possibilities. While science might not yet have a very good understanding of “mind” or “consciousness”, physics has a very, very, very, very good understanding of matter and we know, to a very high degree of confidence, that the only things which can interact with the protons and electrons in our brains are the forces/particles/fields that are described by the Standard Model. Anything else is just magical thinking.

                /@

              • Bea
                Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

                Why would nonphysical stuff have to obey [our human conceptions of] physical “laws”? There’s an unnecessary assumption embedded within your question.

              • Bea
                Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

                Hi Ant,
                Feel free to speak directly to me. I don’t bite (not much).

                As with Keith, your physicalist assumption makes it hard for you to understand that it is an unnecessary assumption. Beliefs/assumptions have a certain tenacity (they fear death, so to speak).

                And as you [sorta] said, physics represents our best mental models for matter/energy set in spacetime. As I’ve pointed out previously, current physics models involve mentality only in ways that you will not care for.

                But it’s at the level of neuroscience (where mind and matter most intimately interact), where we are “purposefully” busy, “mentally” detailing correlations between mentality and physicality. It’s both intuitively and demonstrably obvious that the correlations work in both directions.

                For more general detail (an oxymoron?), read my recent overlong post to Sastra. Apologies to all for that length. Too fun a topic.

              • Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

                I have in the past, but you’re obdurate.

                /@

              • Bea
                Posted June 20, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

                As are you, Ant.

              • Posted June 20, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

                Bea, if you’d like to convince us, here’s what you’d have to do.

                Imagine a modern airliner. It makes two trips. On one, the captain pilots the plane fully manually, old-style. On the other, she lets the autopilot do everything and the captain just sits there with her hands in her lap and her feet on the floor.

                (In case you don’t know, modern autopilots are capable of fully controlling aircraft from terminal to taxi to takeoff to landing to taxi to terminal without any human intervention, and the input to the autopilot is exactly the same as the instructions air traffic and ground control give to the pilots. Take taxiway such-and-such to this-and-that runway, after takeoff climb to an altitude of something-or-other on an heading of so-and-so, and so on.)

                What, in principle, is the fundamental difference between the pilot’s cognition and the autopilot’s computation?

                And, how do you reconcile whatever it is that the pilot does differently from the computer with the laws of physics, especially the conservation laws, as we currently understand them?

                If you can give satisfactory answers to both questions, you’ll at least make significant strides towards convincing us. But, if you can’t clear both of those hurdles, nothing else you might wish to bring to the table will have any interest for us.

                Cheers,

                b&

              • Posted June 20, 2014 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

                Since you still haven’t answered my questions from earlier threads regarding (a) what you imagine the mental *is* if it is not an emergent property of the material brain and (b) how you imagine it interacts with the material brain, I must remain so.

                /@

              • Bea
                Posted June 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

                Hi Ben,
                Your questions have been answered previously.

                Once again, your proposed “autopilot as mind” is a simple conflation of physical activity with mental activity (as though you do not discern the difference, and have no “interest” in discerning the difference).

                Minds are “aware” and “purposeful”… not true for a machine designed by minds. Unless you’d like to classify brains as meat machines, designed by minds. I suppose, in a proximal, individual sense, that is what they are. But that’s built from the inside out, as neural processes “fire and wire” during conscious [mental] experience/usage.

                You seem to disagree with Sastra, who stated that “reason… can only be performed or mentally modeled by brains” (not by autopilots, for instance). I too disagree with Sastra… because mental entities & activities can often be reflected/represented in many different ways, in many different physical media (or even held merely as ideas, unmanifest, physically unexpressed).

                Next (once again), we humans describe the “laws” of physics based on human observations of relatively simple “physical stuff.” For characterizing exactly how aware, purposeful, [mental] minds interact intimately with/through [physical] brains… naturally, we must study aware, purposeful, minds interacting intimately with/through brains. You can’t leave out the particular nature of [at least] half your story [mental/physical].

                All of science, the sensory observations, the inductive, deductive, and abductive inferences, the predictive and explanatory models, principles, theories and “laws”… their existence is mental, within mind(s), and nowhere else. That’s only the simplest reason we cannot pretend minds and mental events are external to science. Science is actually internal to mind(s).

              • Posted June 25, 2014 at 10:04 am | Permalink

                Unless you’d like to classify brains as meat machines, designed by minds.

                Brains most emphatically are meat machines, but they’ve been designed by Evolution. That was Darwin’s brilliant insight: that design spontaneously arises over the course of generations whenever you have variable heredity.

                But even leaving basic biology out of it, of what possible relevance could the source of the design be? Using your criteria, one would have to conclude that there’s some fundamental difference between a sharp piece of chert somebody happened to find laying around and used as a knife, as opposed to a piece of chert somebody chipped away at before being able to use it as a knife. At best, that’s some sort of animism — a superstition that fell out of vogue more centuries ago than I can count.

                b&

              • Bea
                Posted June 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

                Hi Ant,
                I’ve answered your questions previously as well. Again…

                a) Mentality *is* simply another undeniable aspect of reality. (as you would concede regarding [apparent] physicality)

                Mental minds and [apparent] physical brains interplay/correlate (for a while). It makes no sense to me to ignore the immediate and nonphysical nature of mind (it’s what *I* am… it’s what *you* are)… just to be able to say that only physicality exists. Why bother saying that only physicality exists? Minds are not like fanciful fairies and leprechauns lurking in the woods, you see. The central observer/observed distinction applies.

                b) I don’t have to explain “how” aware, purposeful, mental minds interact with physical brains any more than you have to explain “how” physical brains “create” aware, purposeful mental minds.

                Regardless, nothing could be more evident to our aware, purposeful mental minds than the fact that they interact/correlate with physical brains/bodies/world during life in the body, in this world. Additional assumptions are currently unnecessary.

              • Posted July 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

                @ Bea

                (Apologies for the tardy response. I’ve been travelling a lot over the past few weeks, and had overlooked this.)

                I can say only that you have responded to those questions, but answered them? No.

                Of course, mentality exists, but it is continuous with physicality.

                If you continue to assert that mentality is discontinuous with physicality, yet interacts with it, then I’m afraid you *do* need to explain how that happens, because we understand incredibly well, theoretically and experimentally, how things interact with physicality, and there is no evidence for anything nonphysical that does so, up to very high energy scales, and certainly not at human energy scales.

                This is /not/ symmetrical with the assertion that “physical brains ’create‘ aware, purposeful mental minds,” as that assertion does not fly in the face of the physics (in fact, we continually note that it *must* be consistent — to quote Alex Rosenberg, “physics fixes everything”).

                Sure, we cannot yet /explain/ how minds arise from matter, but even if it was not contradicted by physics, asserting that mentality exists as (another) aspect of reality gets you no closer to an explanation — “you still have all your work before you”. So, “why not save a step”?

                /@

        • Sastra
          Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Bea wrote:

          But logic, evidence, and reason themselves exist “outside the physical world”… being mental/abstract in kind (just like every single perception and conception anyone has ever had of “the physical world”).

          That’s why it’s inherently futile to try to use them to demonstrate that only the physical world exists or is causal.

          No, you can’t place abstractions, logic, experience (“evidence”?), or reason (which can only be performed or mentally modeled by brains) into the supernatural realm by fiat — any more than you can just assert that mind itself is outside the physical world. That’s naive dualism. Materialism doesn’t deny mentality, it explains it via cranes instead of skyhooks. It’s only an “illusion” in that it’s not what it appears to be on the surface.

          Thing is, if you’re looking for a fundamental kind, you have to pick something with the nature and capacity to hold/describe all the stuff (of all kinds) that there is to be held (in any conception of reality).

          Thing is, that’s not a rule. That’s a game which inserts the player into its description.

          Matter can exist without mind, but not the other way around. There’s no consilience or consistency otherwise — contrary to your claim that it’s really the opposite.

          It’s also falsifiable.

        • Bea
          Posted June 20, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          Greetings, Sastra,
          But physicalism doesn’t explain mentality at all… it simply breeds faith in the future advent of a viable physical theory for same (and then it forgets that it’s still awaiting even a glimmer). Correlations do not a glimmer of creation prove (especially not from mechanistic toward creative) (and not that we ever really “prove” anything in science).

          In our current physics, we have not even a nascent theory of why or how bare matter would begin to become aware, and learn to understand and purposefully utilize itself (not to mention crack jokes).

          Your claim that “reason” can “only be performed or mentally modeled by brains” is just a restatement of a physicalist assumption… in fact, a rather narrow version of it (since many physicalists believe that computers also “reason”… but I don’t currently find that reasonable).

          I (and most other people) consider logic and reasoning (and the very idea of “evidence”) to be inherently mental in kind (no less than awareness and intention). The first can be reflected/modeled in (and correlate with) any number of different systems, composed of any number of different substances. It’s kind of how the idea of “chair” could still exist even if all the chairs in the universe no longer existed, and how chairs can be manifest in a whole lotta different ways. Only it’s more complicated (chairs being physical and thus relatively simple).

          Abstractions, logic, experience, evidence, reason, you name it… these are mental. You can label them in any additional way you like, nonphysical, supernatural… but they simply do not qualify as physical in the way that [correlating] neural activity does (mass/charge/spin/spacetime).

          It’s not that mental realms are external to (“outside of”) [physical] science… it’s that [even physical] science is completely contained and described within mental realms (along with everything else we can know or imagine). All perceptions and conceptions (including space and time, including cause and effect) are ultimately mental. (yes, during “life in the body” these things have neural correlates… not a problem)

          The same cannot be said of what we call the “physical” realm… it does not completely contain or describe mental realms and abstractions. The “physical” realm is a subset of our mental contents, one that is observably and evidently shared among our minds, one that happens to behave consistently and persistently, one that happens to make abstract, mathematical, and causal sense to our minds.
          ______________________________

          Your comment at 7:21 speaks of a contradiction… but there is no contradiction. The claim that “only physical causation exists” can be (and is) falsified by examples of mental causation. The claim that mental causation is “mental in kind” is hardly falsifiable, and it need not obey physical laws (why should it? they stem only from the observable behavior of simple physical stuff!). This is the logical and complete ontological situation.

          Sure, mentality is more complex and unpredictable than [apparent] physicality, but that’s no reason to pretend it doesn’t exist. Nor is it a reason to pretend mentality is equivalent to some fancy, as yet unknown, form of physicality.

          And don’t forget neutral monism…the idea that, whatever the stuff of reality is, it has both mental/abstract/knower and physical/sensory/knowable aspects (and who knows what else).

          But again… if one feels a need to peg their needle to one side or the other, mind or matter, only mind can (and already does) contain all possible perceptions and conceptions of matter (and more stuff too).

          It is actually only physicalism, NOT physics, that holds firmly to belief in the localized isolation of both mind(s) and matter/energy/spacetime. That belief makes it understandably difficult to picture [localized] human minds having anything to do with creating reality as a whole.

          But that’s not really the big idea. The idea is that any shared conceptions of reality are shared among what must be connectable minds (at who knows how many levels). Minds that can at the very least infer and communicate with one another on meaningful levels of mentality. As we do.

          Maybe it doesn’t matter which way we picture it, 1) bottom-up (matter->mind), 2) neutral (mattermind), or 3) top-down/looping (Mind->matter->mind->Mind). There remains one thing that minds cannot deny, the existence and nature of minds. Reality necessarily includes the kind of thing (mental/mind) to which reality “seems” real. Option 3 does allow a natural means of closing the loop, an ultimate consilience. Option 2 probably does as well.
          ______________________________

          I cannot support Deepak’s manner or manners. Everybody here is a fallible human. But to the degree that he veers toward Max Planck’s conception of “realities” as held within a collective mindful/mental container (of sorts)… he’s probably not entirely wrong.

          Reality can still be every bit as [apparently] obedient and [seemingly] concrete (and “real” to us all!). Makes it so much easier to “share” it among minds, doesn’t it? ;)

          True, Sastra, your belief/claim that “mind cannot exist without matter” is falsifiable. By minds, no less. Perhaps it has been falsified. Have you ever heard of minds reporting experiences beyond this particular [apparent] physical realm? Would you ever believe them if you had? If [reflexively] not, I must ask you, “why not?”

          On the other hand, your belief/claim that “matter can exist without mind” is logically UNfalsifiable. Not that Popper has the last word, but since you brought it up… to clarify, “matter cannot [be known to] exist without [some kind/level of] mind” (a truism, but true nonetheless).

          Mind you this important point: we’re not talking exclusively human minds here, busy correlating with human brains. We’re talking about a larger and more comprehensive concept of mind/Mind than physicalism can allow, but which physics in no way precludes. Just ask Max.

          Warm wishes to all…

  7. Ken Elliott
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    For someone who doesn’t think matter is real he is very concerned with the more expensive pieces of it that he’s acquired. His first video kills me in which he places himself in a corner so we can see his expensive furnishings. The second video in which he centers himself at the bottom is so we can view his expensive painting, expensive rug, and presumably expensive high ceilinged house, not to mention the expensive result of the decorator who so brilliantly arranged the rug in the window.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed, you would think that a new age guru would want to portray himself as humble and lovable. But, I think his real audience, in their gullibility, see a show of wealth as a sign of power and success. All those hours meditating ain’t fer nothin’.
      Perhaps the hope is that some of these spoils of corruption might somehow rub off.

    • Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Hmmm, like the prosperity gospel. Follow me and you can have inner peace, zap cancer with your thoughts, and change your DNA. IF you are a true believer you can afford a pink Cadillac and have a marble statue of a nude cherub peeing into a fountain.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      It just shows that what he does is a damned good racket.

  8. Kevin
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Ground of Urine creates Kidney Being!

    How about: bikes are fundamental, that’s why we have roads. Oh wait, most people drive on roads with cars. The Chevy Nova is fundamental, that’s how all other cars can never be the worst in their class.

  9. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    So now it’s enough that the proposed solution to the hard problem is peer review published? Then as per yesterday I think we already have a winner!

    Instead of assuming that physical reality is fundamental, start with consciousness as being fundamental.

    So Deep Pockets is a solipsist. Just a diamond studded one, he has to add his sparkling perception of “quantum”.

    But why? Speaking of inferior theory predicting that we see what we see when we see reality, solipsism has exactly as many discovered rules as reality. But the brain has to contain them which adds the complex monist brain to reality. Alternatively it adds the dualism of Deep Pocket’s simple consciousness to the template of reality.

    Deep Pockets, repeat after me: “The least over-determined model always win the statistic game. Always.”

  10. Nell Whiteside
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Hehe! Some wonderful ‘wootruths’ from Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator (via @jref). Chopra ‘hoist on his own petard’.

  11. Sastra
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    “What I basically wanted to do was propose an alternative solution to the hard problem, which is a top-down solution. Instead of assuming that physical reality is fundamental, start with consciousness as being fundamental. Consciousness conceives, governs, constructs—and becomes the physical reality of the world, including our body and also our mental activity.

    Yep, I called it in the other Chopra thread: the ‘solution’ to the ‘hard problem’ is to use the question as an answer. Consciousness is explained by … Consciousness. Skyhook vs. Cranes. All the virtues of theft over honest toil.

    Adopting Idealistic Monism (“Mind is fundamental”) as a solution is similar in strategy to presuppositionalism. The way to justify belief in the existence of God … is to just start with God. Ta da! It’s basic. And we all know it. Those who deny it are either lying, defective, or just perverse.

    (By the way, I’m having a problem accessing any responses to my posts. When I hit that little quote balloon in the upper right corner of my screen, instead of a list it just goes round and round in a circle, forever loading. Is anyone else having this problem? It means I’m not easily able to respond to any responses — which is the main virtue of nested comments.)

    • Andrikzen
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

      Chopra is still using the 60′s New Age play book.

    • Posted June 18, 2014 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      I would be delighted to explain the issue you are experiencing with the quote balloon, but the upper right corner of my screen does not display one presently and never has in the past. Not that I would have the first clue about how it works even if I could see it.

      • Sastra
        Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, but nevermind; I kept playing around and apparently fixed it by accident.

        • Sastra
          Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:02 am | Permalink

          And — now it’s broken again. No idea where the problem is…

          • Sastra
            Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:18 am | Permalink

            Fixed! Whee.

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        That makes two of us.

  12. moarscienceplz
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    “The Hard Problem is, after all, how neuronal impulses operating in a physical brain produces that notion of consciousness that experienced as subjective sensations (“qualia”). But that’s not the way he thinks it happens: he thinks that consciousness precedes the brain, and somehow creates it. If that’s the case, then there IS no hard problem.”

    Sure, that’s the whole point of his million $ challenge: He is certain that consciousness precedes the brain, so nobody will evarr prove the opposite, so he will nevarr have to pay out. And of course, if someone does provide a good demonstration that brain creates consciousness, he will insist that it can’t be correct because he knows consciousness precedes brain. QED

  13. Jonathan Dore
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Some personalities seem to have a perpetual attraction to the idea that consciousness creates reality, despite scientific discoveries showing it to be ever more ludicrous (e.g. when the world was thought to be only 6,000 years old people assumed that human consciousness was as old as the universe; now we know it occupies only the latest and briefest instant of the universe’s age). With an ancestry that goes back through idealist philosophers like Kant and Berkeley all the way to Plato, this strand of thought always seems to have existed in parallel to the analytic one, beginning with Aristotle, that eventually flowered into the scientific method. I suspect the attraction of this mode of thought has something in common with the mental attraction of religion, originating in the instinct to attribute agency to natural forces.

  14. Faustus
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    So he wants a single experiment to show all the aspects of mind that he listed are material? By that criterion evolutionary theory must be false; as there is not single experiment to demonstrate it in its entirety. He’s not even offering a well-posed problem. It’s astonishing that anyone takes him seriously.

  15. Mobius
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Chopra seems to be engaging in a fallacy common with Creationists, the false dichotomy, aka the excluded middle. He makes the argument that if you can’t explain X (fully) then HE must be right. He, like Creationists, fails to explain anything.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Exactly.

      He is also like creationists in insisting you have to answer my unanswered question before you can reasonably claim my ideas are false.
      Can’t explain bacterial flagellum (at least couldn’t 20 years ago)- well, you can’t dismiss my creationist theories out of hand then.

  16. Posted June 18, 2014 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    “Consciousness conceives, governs, constructs—and becomes the physical reality of the world..”
    So we live in The Matrix! Of course! But what is the real reality? Are we in pods within vast, underground chambers? Are there ruined cities above us, patrolled by huge tentacled robots under scorched skies?

  17. Andrikzen
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    So, let me get it straight, a conscious universe, a little short of 14 billion years old, evolves a primate, on a speck of a planet, with a quantum computer organ that channels this consciousness, thereby creating the universe a little short of 14 billion years old.

    Is this an individual or collective effort?

    • Posted June 18, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Well, if you put it that way!
      Actually, the universe you describe, and our significance in it, is only a mental construct that forms in our minds b/c of our cravings for materialism. ‘Far as we know we are Transcendent Beings made of Pure Energy, traveling on beams of light.

  18. sambricky2013
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I am merely a bricklayer and I can tell that consciousness exists because the process of evolution of the brain. Thank you can I get my Nobel prize now. Sheesh

  19. Diana MacPherson
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Marginally related to this post, I heard a psychiatrist on CBC at lunch say that understanding why people commit crimes (I think this was the question) is as much the duty of theologians and philosophers as psychiatrists. Ugh! No. Just no.

    • Sastra
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Ugh indeed. Apparently the old is new again among the theologians and we can’t rule out that people commit crimes because they’re possessed by demons.

  20. Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Someone else (I think on this site) put it really well (well enough for me to remember it):

    “Any time you hear some one who is not a particle physicist use the term “quantum”, you know they spreading weapons-grade bullshit.”

    • Andrikzen
      Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

  21. Heather Hastie
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Chopra quote: “People need to think less and feel more”. Nuff zed really.

    The reality is Chopra wants people to think less so more will be sucked in by his BS as he drains them like a parasite.

    He needs his victims. They would all be better off without him, especially those who think they wouldn’t be.

    Chopra is a charlatan whose particular brand of woo needs to be exposed for the fraud it is.

    If enough speak out about f*#kwits like him, perhaps a few can be saved from their influence.

  22. Shwell Thanksh
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    “self-appointed vigilantes for the suppression of QSD”

    Quantum Self-Delusion?
    In that case, I hereby appoint myself to the posse.

  23. Posted June 18, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    For me, on antipsychotics and now grounded in reality I believe that “I am therefore I think” and not the “I think therefore I am”. I now see pseudoscience for what it is, as opposed to the science that I used to think it was.
    I feel sorry for Chopra’s gullible and suggestible followers.
    Perhaps some of his followers could perform a “conscious uncoupling” from his pseudoscience??

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:38 am | Permalink

      As you aptly point out, consciousness is material enough to be altered by chemistry.

  24. Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    It seems that the only book on Quantum physics that Chopra has ever read is The Dancing Wu Li Masters.

    The weird, whacky, and wonderful world of physics has moved on since then – and perhaps become even stranger and more fascinating.

  25. Zoot
    Posted June 18, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Blah blah blah, all I get from this is choprah is butt hurt because he isn’t invited. He rambles on but you can tell he craves to be included. He has NOTHING to offer science. He is one of those loons that thinks we need to teach creation as if it conflicts with evolution.

  26. Richard C
    Posted June 19, 2014 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Chopra’s philosophy strikes me as rather solipsic. He’s convinced that *he* exists (his thoughts), but he’s not so sure about the rest of reality.

    He does accept that other people exist, or at least our minds do. Maybe we’re all plugged into The Matrix and he’s the philosophical oracle who sees it?

  27. Posted June 19, 2014 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Also lol at the new *hard* problem Jerry identified. Someone should confront Chopra with the hard problem of hard materials at TAM

  28. Brian Walker
    Posted June 20, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Nice post.
    Sincerely,
    The unknown wag who did the parody video :)


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  1. […] Deepak Chopra desperately needs treatment for Maru’s Syndrome, for he simply can’t stay out of the box. In the last couple of day’s he’s put up two more videos on Randi’s “The Amazing Meeting” (TAM) and Chopra’s own Million Dollar Challenge. [Read more] […]

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