Deepak Chopra’s rant against “militant skeptics” (i.e., those who dare question his woo and obscurantism) continues on SFGate with “Part 3 of the rise and fall of militant skepticism,” coauthored with Jordan Flesher. I’ll give you just one delectable chunk of woo from this deeply muddled (but wealthy) quack. I’ve put the money quotes in bold:
In a word, while Dawkins makes a crude claim that the five senses are reliable indicators of what is real, Harris makes a sophisticated claim in the same area, by assuming that the human brain, a physical object that evolved over millennia, is reliable as the model for everything that happens inside our minds. But if the five senses can’t be trusted, neither can the brain, which processes the input of our sense organs and fashions them into a three-dimensional model of the world. The model isn’t the same as reality. At best it is only provisional; at worst it may be very far from the truth, as witness hundreds of models from the past that have been thoroughly exploded (e.g., the Earth is the center of creation, blood washes back and forth in the body like the tide, etc.)
Harris may argue that the scientific method can “stand on its own” apart from the nervous system of the experimenter via the use of technological systems that run on the logic and language of mathematics, etc. However, the data which computers churn out still has to come in contact with the nervous system of the scientist in order for a theory of morality and human consciousness to be constructed. (The deep question of whether mathematics is universal or somehow mediated by the human nervous system has yet to be answered with any certainty.)
If Harris hadn’t stretched his assumptions to the breaking point, he wouldn’t have revealed that he was making the same mistakes when arguing against God. For God, of all things, exists on the cusp between what we know, what we think we know, and what is indisputably real. An arthritis patient’s pain is indisputably real, even though subjective – in fact, it is real because it is subjective. There is no scientific proof that a report by a mystic that she feels the presence of God isn’t real, and the subjectivity of the experience is the measure of its realness, not the measure of its illusory quality.
In a word, Harris and Dawkins, by turning their backs and scorning subjectivity, have fallen into traps of their own devising. Militant skepticism builds upon their mistakes, amplifies them, and employs scurrilous personal attacks to cover over their own intellectual flaws. In the end, the militant movement will collapse, not because the people who like God outnumber the people who dislike fear, and are suspicious of God. Skepticism’s agenda is doomed because its thinking is basically unsound.
Where is that damn cusp? I want to see it!
That second bit, about subjectivity equaling realness, is the basic fallacy of all religion, and the reason why science wins; for science has ways of separating what you want to be true from what is really true. There is, after all, a difference between pain, God, and the Moon, which Chopra thinks doesn’t exist unless people are looking at it). You could, I suppose, claim that scientific truths are mass delusions, but then why do they make verifiable predictions? Are those “subjective” too? And does a mentally ill person who’s sure he’s God mean that he really is God?
And. . . TWI**ER WARS:
And Michael Shermer gets in a few licks, too: