The Deepakity continues his “million dollar challenge,” and I have one for him!

The WooMeister is up to his old silliness, offering a million bucks to anyone who can explain how neuronal events become subjective experiences. (He did this a while back, and decided to keep himself in the public eye by making another video on Monday about exactly the same stuff .)

That’s the “hard problem” of consciousness that people are working on. But of course Chopra doesn’t want an answer: he wants to show that Science Doesn’t Know Everything.  But what he really wants us to infer from his ludicrous challenge is that because science doesn’t know everything, his Quantum Woo theory of a Conscious Universe is right. It’s just like religion: because we supposedly can’t explain where human morality came from, or why laws of physics are “fine-tuned”, there must be a God.

If you can stand to listen to this, do: it’s only a bit over two minutes long, and you get to hear that unctuous voice going after the militant atheists:

Okay, I’ll offer Deepak a challenge: Professor Ceiling Cat’s Hundred Dollar Challenge!

Here it is:

Deepak Chopra has said that when nobody is looking at the moon, it doesn’t exist. If he can prove that, I will give him a hundred dollars. 

131 Comments

  1. Rafael
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Hell, make it a… (wait for it…) Hundred and One dollar Challenge! [fireworks!] I’m chipping in!

  2. Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Unctuousissimo!! Too intellectually challenging for Dawkins – yeah right!

  3. Kevin
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    I will give Deepak $0 (USD) if he can prove the moon does not exist if no one is looking at it (because he cannot), but I will give him $10k (USD) if he can tell me what I am thinking right now. Hint, it includes Deepak, vaseline, and some very smart hyenas (not that any hyenas are dumb).

    • Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Instead of Vaseline I’m thinkin’ honey. We need a few bees and bears to get in on the action.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        Honey and honey badgers!

        • bacopa
          Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think honey badgers eat the honey. If the canonical source is to be believed, they just eat the larvae.

          Of course, if the badger smells honey on a human it might think there’s a hive inside the human and do what it usually does to get to the larvae. That’s not going to be pleasant.

        • Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

          The honey badger wouldn’t give a shit. Still eating last week’s cobra.

        • Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

          Anything with a honey badger makes it that much cooler as long as I’m not with the honey badger.

          • Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

            Because the honey badger’s so badass.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

        Vinni Pukh will take that jar of med (honey)! And several others.
        I’m trying to find a link to the DVD of Vinni versus the bees. Hilarious, even with my abysmal Russian. Vierotchka (sorry, speelung?) will probably have his/ her/ their two rouble to throw in on the subject.

        • Posted July 17, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

          Wonderful!! Live the way Puh’s feet come loose:-)

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted July 17, 2014 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

            It is absolutely corking.
            I got a DVD some years ago, for a friend of the wife, on the occasion of their first kid making one year old (or two ; I forget), and when I set it playing the wife came through screaming from the kitchen screaming with joy at the introduction theme music. Which I thought a little OTT. Then she dragged her 15 year old daughter out form her bedroom to watch it while talking nineteen to the dozen in Russian. The 15-yo was far too cool to be in the least bit excited by what her mother found a joyful memory of her childhood. which was about as expected.
            I should have ordered two copies of the DVD.

        • Posted July 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

          Vinny the Pooh.

          Because Pooh joined the Cosa Nostra.

  4. NewEnglandBob
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Deepak looks awful. Maybe he is sick. I guess he can’t quantum consciencely make himself look well.

    • Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      He sure does. I noticed that too. Thanks for pointing that out.

      He sounds awful as well.

    • Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      If he is sick, he would not take his own crapola but make sure he gets the best science-based medical care.

      PCC’s challenge brilliantly underscores how ridiculous Chopra’s antics are.

      • Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:01 am | Permalink

        Yes, I have a close relative who not only believes in the whole Aryuveda nonsense; but went as far as to study it for several years to receive some kind of “certification” in it. (I’m not sure what it certifies you to do, maybe speak nonsense to clients — hey, must have been a theology degree!).

        Anyway, when they get seriously ill (things a placebo can’t take care of), they go for medicine (science-based medicine, shown to be safe and effective, as opposed to other crap that doesn’t actually work). Funny how that happens when the “chips are down”!

        Sort of reminds me of that old canard: No atheists in foxholes.

        • Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:07 am | Permalink

          Except in reverse. Brilliant!

          There are no theists in hospitals!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

            +1

        • Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

          Ayurveda *is* theological – that’s the source, or rather the texts of theology and religion are also medical and conversely.

          Subjective idealism poisons everything.

  5. Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Sigh. It is true that a particle only has a wave function associated to it and that an observable only assumes a specific numerical value upon observation.

    But the status still exists.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:23 am | Permalink

      And observation in this context does not imply or require a mind.

      • Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        Of course you are right; it can be a detector or something.

  6. Bruce Gregory
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    “QBism personalizes the famous dictum of Asher Peres. The outcome of an experiment is the experience it elicits in an agent. If an agent experiences no outcome, then for that agent there is no outcome. Experiments are not floating in the void, independent of human agency. They are actions taken by an agent to elicit an outcome. And an outcome does not become an outcome until it is experienced by the agent. That experience is the outcome.”

    – Christopher A. Fuchs,1, 2 N. David Mermin,1, 3 and Ru ̈diger Schack1, 4
    1Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study,
    19 Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
    2Raytheon BBN Technologies, 10 Moulton Street, Cambridge MA 02138, USA 3Laboratory of Atomic and Solid State Physics,
    Cornell University Ithaca NY 14853, USA
    4Department of Mathematics, Royal Holloway
    University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      So it ain’t there unless we poke it?

    • Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      “What is the sweating professor trying to say?”

      If I don’t go out in the rain, I won’t get wet. Can we therefore conclude that rain isn’t necessarily wet?

      This is just solipsism. Not only that, but the wording is more than reminiscent of the brainless woo trope: “Well it’s true for me/you/them/etc”, where everyone is walking around in their very own custom-made truth bubble – because truth conforms to your desires, donchaknow?

    • Chewy
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Love them Stellenboschen! But what is they saying here? Dunno. But I am Determined To Study those last 8 lines to discern their meaning.

    • Sastra
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      If an agent experiences no outcome, then for that agent there is no outcome.

      True, but trivial. Now watch them try to turn this into a deepity about the nature of reality

      • Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

        I wouldn’t even concede that.

        I thought about interpreting it as a deepity, but the problem is the construction “for that agent there is”. That’s not accurate. That agent may be unaware of an outcome, but there *is* an outcome. On top of which, not experiencing an outcome is still an outcome. Absolutely no outcome is not possible. The universe would have to stop existing.

        It is equivocation, though. The author of that passage is trying to substitute “for that agent there is no outcome” for “that agent was unaware of an outcome”.

        • Sastra
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

          From what I can tell virtually all religious and spiritual thought processes are forms of or derived from equivocation.

          They can’t handle abstractions or changes in levels of perspective or description.

    • Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:08 am | Permalink

      #1: This only says something about the observer, not the reality surrounding them.

      #2: Argument from Authority. (Well, if M. Fuchs, M. Mermin, and M. Schack say it, well, then it must be true. Q.E.D.)

      — Prof. Boschkopf Scheissfresser, PhD, QED, ABC, 123 (you and me!) Oxford, New York, Paris, and Punta Arenas

  7. Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    To put it diplomatically, this man is pathetic. And he has no clue at all about his patheticness,

    I’m confident that one day, his picture will appear right next to the word in the OED.

  8. GBJames
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    sub

  9. Karl Withakay
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    The JREF has the $1,000,000 set aside in a special account, and can prove that the prize money exists and is available for payout. They also have clearly spelled out guidelines for the applicants of the MDC (Million Dollar Challenge).

    Until Deepity does likewise and demonstrates that his challenge is sincere, we can safely ignore this desperate grab for attention.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Deepak’s money is there only if you imagine it is there. If you require evidence then it ceases to exist. Quantum, you know.

    • Draken
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I’m pretty sure Chopra can pony up that money like it were change at the grocer’s. But that’s a bit of the point here, isn’t it… WHO THE HELL GIVES THEIR MONEY TO THIS DOLT!?

      Treat yourself to a good restaurant meal. Buy a new acknowledgedly too-expensive suit. Buy shares in a slightly shady tropical reforesting project. Anything, but don’t-give-your-money-to-this-man!

      • Karl Withakay
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

        Two points:

        1 It’s not unusual for multi-millionares to not have $1,000,000 in cash or highly stable liquid assets (Money market funds, CDs, High Quality bonds) readily available.

        The JREF has the prize money sequestered in a fairly liquid and stable high quality bond based mutual fund, or at least they did the last time I checked. Deepity has not demonstrated that said funds are readily available to pay out anyone who meets and beats his so called challenge. I question the seriousness of such an “I’m good for it” challenge.

        2 My point was also that the lack of any guidelines or protocols required for applying for the challenge and claiming the award demonstrates that this is just short of a drunken boast, and not so much a legitimate challenge.

  10. gravityfly
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    True, what’s there to guarantee that Deepak won’t stiff the winner out of his/her money?

    • Draken
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think he would any more than I would try to cheat you out of a fiver.

  11. exsumper
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    If the moon doesn’t exist when you’re not looking at it, how come the tide continues to rise and fall when I’m in the bunk inside my boat?

    • microraptor
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s because Deepak is looking at the moon.

      • Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

        That’s maybe a tough challenge, because one could argue that someone, somewhere, is ALWAYS looking at the moon. Maybe … a statue placed in a cave? That way, one could control when it was being looked at.

        • Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Don’t blink!

        • moarscienceplz
          Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

          The Apollo landing sites can be seen, but only with a very powerful telescope. Since powerful telescope time is usually reserved for other things, it is quite rare for anyone to be looking at them. Do the Lunar Lander stages and the mooncars and such pop in and out of existence? What if some one took a photo through the telescope, but did not personally look through the scope? Is that sufficient to cause materialization? How about when someone bounces a laser beam off the reflectors our astronauts placed there? Just how removed from personal observation can we get and still cause things to pop in and out?

          • Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            Don’t be silly; the lunar landings were all faked remember? Oh am I mixing up my bullshit? Sorry, nevermind. :)

            • Pete Taylor
              Posted July 18, 2014 at 1:44 am | Permalink

              Ah but there were good reasons for faking it; no doubt you’ve seen this but it’s worth a repeat :)

              //www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw

              • Pete Taylor
                Posted July 18, 2014 at 1:45 am | Permalink

                Sorry – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6MOnehCOUw

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

                I love Mitchell & Webb!

              • Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:11 am | Permalink

                Are they on Canadian TV?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

                No, I’ve only found them on the interwebs.

              • Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

                Thanks. I looked and found one of their series on DVD at our library.

              • Pete Taylor
                Posted July 19, 2014 at 2:22 am | Permalink

                Merilee – check their “Homeopathy Hospital” sketch, it’s brilliant!

              • Posted July 19, 2014 at 5:50 am | Permalink

                Will do. Thsnks!

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 19, 2014 at 6:02 am | Permalink

                And the “are we the baddies?” one. That is one of my favourites.

      • Draken
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Yep. If he does so at full moon, it’s spring tide.

      • GBJames
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        Ah ha! Deepak causes the tides! You can’t explain that!

        • Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

          Only when he howls.

        • Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          Ah! It’s because of Derpak.

          Someone call Bill. I’m sure he’ll be relieved to know we finally have the explanation.

        • microraptor
          Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

          Of course I can’t explain it.

          There’s a miscommunication.

      • Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

        But if you take what he says at face value (er!) then you cannot conclude anything exists except in so far it is perceived. Even him. Utter madness.

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:30 am | Permalink

          Hang on a sec, does that mean that I just have to stop looking at my bills or does it mean I don’t exist?

        • microraptor
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          Deepok is in the Mountains of Madness?

    • Scientifik
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Good point. Puts Deepak’s fantasy to rest.

      If anyone wants to learn more about the effects the moon has on our planet, I highly recommend this documentary.

    • Chewy
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      And if only no one had looked at New Orleans around Katrina time … no, wait wait, what if no one had looked at Katrina! What a life-saver. Forget tides and moons, let’s get serious about Not Looking At Things So They Won’t Do Bad Stuff.

    • Latverian Diplomat
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

      If you define “looking at” broadly enough, noticing the tide counts a perceiving the moon. If current tide requires that the moon existed for the last six hours, then it can retroactively count as “looking at” the moon for those six hours.

      The game of tying together perception and existence has been a metaphysical dead end since Bishop Berkeley used it as an argument for God that convinced almost no one. At least, unlike Chopra, he tried to explain his ideas forthrightly and did not have or need quantum woo to try and make himself sound smart.

  12. jdhuey
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    “…explain how neuronal events become subjective experiences.”

    As Dennet has pointed out, a big part of the problem is that our language about consciousness is not really up to the task. As an example, here we should not say that ‘neural events become subjective experiences’. Better (but not great) is that neural events are our subjective experiences.’ I suspect that once we get the verbiage accurate the so-called ‘hard problem’ will simply disappear – not solved but obviated.

    • Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      And this is where even other materialist philosophers go wrong. For example, John Searle says that brains cause minds. No, because events are the relata of the causal relation so brains no more cause minds than stomachs cause digestion. Rather, stomachs digest and brains mind.

  13. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I think it might be interesting to take up Deepak’s challenge by first explaining that a “modern scientific understanding” in quantum mechanics, to choose his favorite field on which to urinate, depends on our ability to reliably make predictions concerning the outcomes of experiments. Verbal explanations of ‘wave/particle duality’ of light, for example, may be heuristically useful, but are actually not relevant to whether a physicist think s/he “understands how light behaves”. Only the ability to predict and control the behavior of light is relevant.

    Once that is established, Deepak would seem to be rather vulnerable to the loss of his million bucks, or he will once again be exposed a phony who doesn’t honor his promises (vastly more likely) – Because I think modern pharmacological or neurological researchers could very well demonstrate that they can introduce specific chemical or physical stimuli to brains to elicit pretty explicit and specific conscious thoughts.

  14. Sidd
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    This is a fantastic BBC documentary on the Moon: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140219-do-we-really-need-the-moon — even the most scientifically literate among us are bound to learn something. It presents the theory and evidence of the moon’s formation in great detail. No humans or “consciousness” were around to witness it, yet there is still much we can infer from evidence. Real science is so much more interesting than Chopra’s quantum flapdoodle.

    • Sastra
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      The claim is usually that the moon itself was manifested by a pre-existing “Consciousness.” Humans are only part of what has Always Existed for no reason and with no developmental history or reducible or mechanical components or processes.

      That’s why this argument is a little bit different than just a run-of-the-mill God of the Gaps. God doesn’t “explain” mind: God IS Mind.

      • Scientifik
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        We already know how the moon was formed, a natural process explains this. There’s no need for the God hypothesis.

        • Sastra
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          That God must be behind all natural processes (including moon formation) is derived from the assumption that God must exist because mind exists and Mind = God. So if it’s already established that God exists and the material world comes from said mind, then it’s no longer a hypothesis for the formation of the moon. It’s the necessary precondition for the formation of the moon. See?

          I know.

          • Scientifik
            Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:09 am | Permalink

            Again, God is not the necessary precondition for the formation of the moon. The gravitational force is.

          • Scientifik
            Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

            “God must exist because mind exists”

            Is the existence of mind the necessary precondition for the formation of God?

            • Scientifik
              Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

              Would a universe composed entirely of mindless matter (stars, planets, radiation, gases, etc) indicate that god didn’t have anything to do with it?

      • Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

        Mind the god gap!

        b&

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

          Unless you’re on a French railway station, in which case, mind the absence of a God gap.
          (Since the enforced separation of rail track owner companies and operator companies, someone measured the platforms wrongly and ordered fsck-knows how many giga-Euros of engines and carriages of the wrong size.)No. Seriously.

          • John Scanlon, FCD
            Posted July 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

            Is someone now going round all the stations with a grinder?

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted July 18, 2014 at 3:27 am | Permalink

              Essentially, yes.
              Actually, it’s not all stations (from the reports I’ve heard). The newer stations (post-War?) near Paris were the ones that they measured ; it would seem that no-one at the new company’s “head office” was aware that the clearances allowed for platforms changed at some point in the past, so they just did their measurements on the most convenient stations. Crunch!

              • Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

                Weeeeeeee- crunch! D’ya suppose Acme-France was involved?

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted July 18, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

                No-one so sophisticated. Just SNCF and whoever the new, separated, track&station owning body are.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:36 am | Permalink

          I read that as mine the god gap. Now that would be militant indeed.

          Metaphorically speaking.

          • Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:53 am | Permalink

            And in yet another sense theists are constantly mining the gaps for “proof” of god.

  15. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    If we can accept that no one is looking at the moon during a new moon, which is when it is not visible, then we can test if there are tidal effects from the moon at that time. If there are tidal effects, then we can infer that the moon exists when no one is looking at it.

  16. Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    So, he’s looking to give a million dollars to a militant atheist? Doesn’t that mean funding terrorists?

    But he’s pretty much just shot himself in the foot. Color science has the biology of visual perception down cold, and has had for about a century, now. Add on top of that the recent experiments of reconstructions of what a subject is looking at based on brain scans, and…well, what more does he want?

    b&

    • Scientifik
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      What’s more, neuroscientists are finally zeroing in on the brain region responsible for our consciousness…

      Consciousness on-off switch discovered deep in brain

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think it’s fair to say that an off-switch is responsible for consciousness, any more than a beaker of cyanide or a shotgun would be, or a gene for albinism would be responsible for pigmentation.

        An on-switch might be, but only if it could be shown to work in a system that hadn’t previously evinced consciousness.

        Nevertheless, interesting article – considering it’s based on one patient, who’d already had a fairly important part of her brain removed.

        • Scientifik
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 12:36 am | Permalink

          “I don’t think it’s fair to say that an off-switch is responsible for consciousness, any more than a beaker of cyanide or a shotgun would be, or a gene for albinism would be responsible for pigmentation.”

          That’s a completely different situation.

          It’s interesting that Francis Crick, who worked on the consciousness, pointed to this very brain region as a potential “orchestra conductor binding all of our different external and internal perceptions together.”

          It looks like he was right on the money!

    • Sastra
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      What does he want? Well, if thoughts are material then he wants someone like you to come up to him with a bucket and dump out a load of subjective experiences. Then he’ll prod them with his toe, pick one of them up, and concede you won the million.

      Deepak’s conception of what “materialism” and “physicalism” entails is so childishly literal that this may well be the bar. “Here ya go — Consciousness is made out of this!” while waving it triumphantly in your fist. It turns out to be a tiny little piece of Pure Consciousness with weight, dimension, and the ability to be stuck willy-nilly into a bucket .

      • Posted July 17, 2014 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

        You mean, something like this?

        b&

        • Sastra
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

          Perhaps so. Magic.

          Which is rich irony, since finding that consciousness is an actual material irreducible thing which works with its own rules is what’s known as mind/body substance dualism. “Spiritual” substance.

          So either way, he wins.

      • Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        I thought anatomists found the consciousness gland decades ago.

        It secretes consciousnesterone.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      Color science has the biology of visual perception down cold,

      Up to and including the prediction of the existence of tetrachromatic women, and their discovery about a decade ago.

  17. Pliny the in Between
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    Make sure you have him conduct his demonstration of non-persistence during high tide.

  18. john frum
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see the problem with this.
    There have been many experiments with epileptic patients that have had electrodes implanted in their brains.
    There was a recent article where a man was having the procedure done and apparently he was conscious as the surgeons need to know if they are implanting them in the correct place.
    When they triggered one of them the patient said it immediately transformed him to his parents restaurant where he could see and smell everything as it used to be and that the medical team had become his family and staff that used to work there.
    So, triggering neurones, a neuronal event, caused a subjective experience which is what the bet is for.
    Either Deep Chops accepts the evidence of these types of patients or he has electrodes implanted himself.
    I’m guessing neither of those things will happen.

  19. Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Ok who is keeping lookout on the moon tonight? I’m sleepy and can’t do it all night this time. Let’s work together people! For the moon!

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      The Moon sure is a harsh mistress! ;-)

    • GBJames
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Not me! It is up to the rest of you to keep the tides flowing.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      If I had better contacts in the meteorite community, I might use this as an excuse to try to get a fragment of a lunar meteorite. Would it help if I kept it under my pillow, to scare away Tooth Fairies?
      Actually, just on the off-chance, is Ted lurking in the woodwork here?
      (We can do without the “I’m Spartacus” jokes. Please.)

      • john frum
        Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        I’m Brian, and so is my wife.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted July 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          Glad to know you’re not Spartacus.

          • Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:19 am | Permalink

            Spartacus had to drop out of the TdF. :(

  20. Ian
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    On drugs or drunk – something about this is not normal

  21. M Janello
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Oh come on, this is so easy a theologian can do it:

    1. We define ‘that which exists’ as that which is being looked at.

    2. Therefore, if no one is looking, it does not exist.

    Q.E.D.

    oh, and therefore God, if you were wondering what caused the tides and whatnot.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      If no one is looking at the moon, does a bear shit in the woods, and does it make a sound?

      • Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

        More importantly, does the Pope shit in the woods?

      • Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. -Jack Handey

    • moarscienceplz
      Posted July 17, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      God is invisible, right? So… ;-)

  22. eric
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    The WooMeister is up to his old silliness, offering a million bucks to anyone who can explain how neuronal events become subjective experiences.

    I think the phrasing of this challenge is a pretty strong indication that he’s already lost the war and this is a rearguard action.

    Consider, for the moment, that he’s not posing the challenge over whether neuronal events become subjective experiences, because that would be relative easy to test and show. In fact we already know that they correlate, and everyone pretty much accepts that it’s at least partially causal; so Deepak et al. are forced to fall back to the question of how

  23. Keith Cook
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    In regards to the ‘moon’ statement,the fact that he can’t see his own arse, does that mean it is not there. Well may be he can confirm it by holding on to it and that pretty well sums the guy up.
    More to the point though, he is what I call, taking the piss and the problem is, we are all taking the bait and gnawing on it.

  24. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, Moon, tides, etc.
    And just last weekend I was videoing the Falls of Lora (a tidal rip on a Scottish sea-loch). I guess I’m going to have to upload that now, and link to it somehow. [SIGH] Tomorrow!

  25. Jeffery
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    If I don’t listen to Deepcrap Chokeya, he doesn’t exist.

  26. RossR
    Posted July 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    He’s not really taking much of a risk, is he – I think if I had a million dollars even I would bet them on Chopra not being able to understand anything about neuronal events.

  27. Posted July 17, 2014 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Oh sweet jebus he’s thick.

  28. Posted July 18, 2014 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I will happily match your 100 dollars ten fold.

    Perhaps, like James Randi, you can start a shared fund. Wasn’t Hitchens a namee on that fund actually?

  29. Posted July 18, 2014 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    Thinking in computer engineering terms that are familiar, to me that’s like asking people to explain how transistor events become a computational process. I’ve fabricated integrated circuits and can tell you that you can’t see the flow of a computational process at that level, you can tell transistors are switching and know what the current state of an IC is, but that’s not a flowing algorithm.

    This is even described in the classic text Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs.

    A computational process is indeed much like a sorcerer’s idea of a spirit. It cannot be seen or touched. It is not composed of matter at all. However, it is very real.

    It even involves Chopra’s favorite word, “quantum.” Quantum effects are a concern when you get small enough, like quantum tunnelling.

    • Posted July 18, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      That’s because processes are composed out of other processes. But processes are *in* matter, i.e., they involve material change in state. (That said, last I checked a good mereology of events still awaits us.)

    • darrelle
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Back in the mid 80s I learned the basics of IC design, culminating in designing an IC and having the design sent off to be made.

      If I recall correctly the process was as follows.

      1) Determine what the inputs will be, and what the desired output is.

      2) Using the various types of logic gates figure out and diagram how to generate the output you want from the inputs.

      3)Convert to Boolean equations and simplify.

      4) Use Karnaugh mapping to further simplify.

      5) Diagram final circuit from Karnaugh map results.

      I bet it isn’t done like that anymore.

      When you reduce things down to that level it takes the woo right out of it, but not the wonder. Seems more awe inspiring to me. I think the only reason people can’t seem to grasp how consciousness could result from similar processes in meat circuits is a yearning for human specialness.

      • Posted July 18, 2014 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        I learned about Karnaugh maps in the early 2000s and did them by hand, but yeah I think tools in the industry automate that for you.

        • Merilee Olson
          Posted July 18, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

          Wow, I had forgotten completely about Karnaugh maps but remember really enjoying doing them – by hand- in the late 70s/ early 80s. ( yes, some of us are weird…)

          Typo ergo sum Merilee

          >

  30. Posted July 18, 2014 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    He’s a theologian, obviously.

    Define things the way you please and tell people they aren’t “deep” enough or haven’t read enough of his books to criticize his emissions.

  31. Posted July 18, 2014 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    Is it possible to set up an Indiegogo fund to sponsor his prize – get it up to few million …?

  32. Posted July 18, 2014 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    so, if more people aren’t looking at the moon than are, does that mean that the moon will wink out of existence for those who are looking at it?

  33. Posted July 18, 2014 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Deepak: Explain the fossils.

    Your “logic” works for the sun too. Long before any critter on earth got to the point it had any form of consciousness, the sun was providing the energy for life. Re.: The fossil record.

    Was the sun not there?

    Was the universe not there before consciousness evolved?

    What about the part of the universe beyond our event horizon? Does it “not exist”?

    What a moron (a rich moron, I’ll grant you: P. T. Barnum would be proud!)

    It’s not actually the universal consciousness that creates the universe — it’s the bright purple unicorn that sits just outside our event horizon. Yes it is! Because I say so! It has quantum consciousness!!!

    • microraptor
      Posted July 18, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he’s just gotten rich enough that he’s taken to believing that the world revolves around him?


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  1. […] The WooMeister is up to his old silliness, offering a million bucks to anyone who can explain how neuronal events become subjective experiences. (He did this a while back, and decided to keep himself in the public eye by making another video on Monday about exactly the same stuff.) [Read more] […]

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