The Deepak shoots but doesn’t score

Sharon Hill has been tw**ting back and forth with The Deepak since Chopra and I had an “exchange of views” in The New Republic.  Chopra, trying his best to be funny, and failing miserably, posted the following ad hominem in response to Sharon Hill’s tw**t about that exchange.


I will ignore the insults and remind Chopra that the proper spelling is Homo erectus, with a small “e” at the beginning of the second word. Oh, and Dr. Chopra, there’s no evidence that Homo erectus was evolutionarily maladapted, unless you mean (and you don’t) that the species may have been outcompeted by H. sapiens. But natural selection doesn’t adapt species to future contingencies, like the arrival of a competitor, so it’s not kosher to call a species that is outcompeted by a new competitor “evolutionarily maladapted.” That’s the nerdy biology lesson for today.

As I said, Chopra is a thin-skinned man, quick to anger when his quackery is challenged.

Thanks to Sharon Hill—geologist, skeptic, and writer of the blog Doubtful—for watching my back.



  1. gbjames
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm | Permalink


  2. Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m laughing, but at Deepak’s ineptitude, not his “joke”.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Chopra probably thought he was so witty using Homo erectus. I can’t wait for him to hulk out in a narcissistic rage.

    • Suri
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

      Yes, he actually had the brains to write Homo erectus and not Homo eructus 😉 …still …take home message: he can call himself a physician but that doesn’t make him a scientist.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 21, 2013 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

        Home eructus would be a good burn come back!

        • Suri
          Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink


  4. truthspeaker
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I think maybe he was saying that, specifically, are maladapted, not the entire erectus species.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Permalink


  5. Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Why the asterisks in tw**ted? Thanks.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Maybe so you can put in twitted instead of tweeted if you think tweeters are twits for tweeting.
      (Too few characters to say anything useful, but just enough to make a fool of yourself)

      • Dermot C
        Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        I don’t know if this works in American but it does in British English.

        It could mean ‘twatted’; ‘twat’ is colloquially an eejit, or in some dialects not quite as strong as ‘cunt’, but getting there.

        So to me, when I read ‘tw**ted’, it’s a bit disconcerting.


        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

          Ha ha I think the same thing and it just makes me laugh a little. BTW “twat” is more sweary to Canadians and Americans than British for some reason.

          • Dave
            Posted November 21, 2013 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            But if I remember, in Canada we always used it to refer to female genitalia – er, I mean, some people did, of course – and it rhymed with “ought” but in the UK I think it is used more generally to mean “idiot”, no matter the “etymology?” and rhymes with “at.” Or did someone already say that?

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted November 21, 2013 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

              It means female genitalia everywhere and also “idiot”. 🙂

              • nickfederale
                Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

                Not in England it don’t. It is just a stronger version of twit.

              • Dermot C
                Posted November 22, 2013 at 1:46 am | Permalink

                I can think of 3 meanings of ‘twat’: 2 nouns, ‘idiot’ and the near-synonym ‘cunt’; and the verb ‘to hit’, all non-standard to one degree or another.

                All used in British English; I think Nick and I must move in different circles, and in this case it’s not to my credit.


  6. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    But he can’t be wrong, he has credentials!

  7. jeffery
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Have you ever noticed that there seems to be a direct correlation between the depth of the emotional response (as well as the USE of an “emotional” response, for that matter) of a “believer” when their views are challenged, and the likelihood that those same beliefs are bull crap? Proselytizing Xtians, when frustrated by a nonbeliever’s refusal to buy their lame arguments, often end up simply condemning the NB to Hell but sidestep the personal responsibility of the threat by claiming that’s it’s YOUR fault, through your nonbelief, that their God’s (not them, personally- they’re concerned for your welfare, of course)going to burn you forever. This is akin to a grade-schooler who, having lost a fight on the playground, retreats while tossing out, “My dad’s gonna GET you!”

  8. still learning
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    “Those in need of criticism are the ones most fearful of it.” Chopra is a prime example of this.

  9. idoubtit
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I had no idea why that attracted his attention. Maybe it was my twitter name that he found offensive.

    BTW, I write a column called “Sounds Sciencey” for CSI.

    I like examining the tactics of those who play pretend scientist, but I’ve never been much into Chopra because it’s just too woo-ey to even read.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Bookmarked. Thanks a bunch, Sharon.

    • Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Deepak seems to write nasty replies to about 75% (just a guess, of course, but he does respond to a lot of them) of the tweets that he perceives to be critical of him in any way. I picture him constantly refreshing his Twitter “mentions” page, on the lookout for some “militant skeptics” to “battle” with. I find it really bizarre that he even bothers to reply, especially because his rebuttals/replies are always ridiculous/pointless in one way or another, but he obviously has the thinnest of skins, and can’t seem to handle even mild criticism in a mature manner.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Oh good. Now I know what I will be doing on the weekend 😀

        • Diane G.
          Posted November 23, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Permalink


      • Suri
        Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        I think he knows deep inside that he is a charlatan that is why he gets so worked up about any comments about him.

  10. DrDroid
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I guess there are lots of New Age types out there who think Deepak’s woo-woo is appealing. Science is a LOT harder than Deepak makes it out to be. I wonder when he will be getting a Nobel to add to his impressive credentials? BTW, I assume his “credentials” are legit, but if so what does that say about the institutions who larded him up with them?

  11. Posted November 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    How disgraceful of Chopra to resort to such an ad hominin attack….!

    • Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Ha–THAT wins the thread!

    • Jimbo
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 9:56 pm | Permalink


    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Brilliant – a genuine laugh out loud.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 22, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        Indeed – very nicely done.

  12. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    THIS Wiki

    In March 2000, President Clinton said:- “My country has been enriched by the contributions of more than a million Indian Americans…which includes Dr. Deepak Chopra, the pioneer of alternative medicine” Bill must have been back on the pot brownies since his Oxford days…

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Bill needs to expand his circle of Indian people he knows. 😀

  13. Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    I just want to mention that Sharon is also the editor of Doubtful News, which is an extremely valuable resource for skeptics and other critical thinkers. I’m not exactly sure how to describe the site in a way that will do it justice, so I’ll just link to their “about” page. Anyway, it’s a fantastic site & highly recommended.

    • Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      Yes, well worth a boo for bizarre stories

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I remember seeing an interview with DC on Fox (far from my favorite) in the mid2000s in which he wss advocating peace and nonviolence to defuse other people’s aggression.
    He doesn’t seem to be practicing it.

  15. Suri
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Funny, coming from the man that said to Dawkins something along the lines of:
    ” ad hominems… are science 101 you should know better”

    @their last debate

    Apparently Deepitty is the one that needs to take a course on logic 101…he would benefit *lots* from taking a science 101 course as well!!!!!

  16. Richard C
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    How can Homo erectus be maladapted when it was probably a subpopulation of H. erectus that evolve into Homo sapiens? They developed tools and culture and spread throughout much of the world, which we inherited from them. We are Homo erectuses (erecti?) in a cladien sense, just as we are apes.

    All species are transitional forms, and they transitioned into us. Of course most weren’t part of that transition and were out-competed by their new bigger-brained cousins.

    Unless I’m mistaken about our line of descent.

    • Dominic
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 2:19 am | Permalink

      Yes – Richard is right – Homo erectus was probably around for over a million years – hardly a failure!

      To ape (pardon me) a certain sword & sandles film, “I’M Homo erectus!”

      • Dominic
        Posted November 22, 2013 at 2:20 am | Permalink

        Sorry! Sandals! Oh dear!

  17. abrotherhoodofman
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see Professor Coyne getting the best of Deepfried Okra.

    Not sure I got that name right, but it seems to adequately summarize his theories.

  18. nickfederale
    Posted November 21, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    Interesting stuff.

    Support from Novella too..

    Novella writes also on this

    Whilst Jerry writes this

    Can we see a Coyne destroys Novella blog or even vice versa? Please. Love Dirky Steele. xx

  19. Christopher
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Funny, in his “debate” with Dawkins, he yelped at Dawkins suggestion that Freeman Dyson should sue him by pathetically deriding ad hominem attacks. Says a lot.

  20. rainbowwarriorlizzie
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 3:28 am | Permalink


  21. Harry
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I refer to Deepak Chopra’s woo bullshit as “choprolalia”. It could actually refer to all sorts of woo. Or would “chopralalia” be better?

  22. Heber
    Posted November 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    One delectable and lolzy moment during the Dawkins vs Chopra debate (now available on youtube)happened when, after having listened to Chopra complain repeatedly about being the target of Dawkins ad hominems, Dawkins corrects him:

    “I shall not make an argument ad hominem. My argument was ad-bullshittem!”


    Watch it at 44:32

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 22, 2013 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Ha ha. I don’t know why people think he doesn’t have a sense of humour sometimes he is pretty hilarious.

  23. Surangika Senanayake
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Deepak Chopra is a joke unto himself! He is the type who doesn’t know that he doesn’t know; he doesn’t seem to know the very basic of evolution- the survival of the fittest- He should be left alone to rule is little world in his well.

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