I just watched that ABC debate off this very website: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi2IC6e5DUY
First of all before i go on to talk about what this topic is really about - the debate format…..was unbelievable. An actual proper debate. A debate where opposide sides Got to talk, at length, on a Specific issue, where ‘the good side’ (harris/sherma) were allowed the chance to deal with specific points Chopra was making, or to pin him down on particular words he was using, and to gain a common definition, to then respond to. And, for once, the mediator didn’t keep chiming in going ‘oh we’re short on time here’ ‘oh i’m going to have to cut you off there’...
It was an actual proper debate. What is it with America, and these weird debate systems you see on virtually every other youtube video - ‘you get 5 minutes. Then I get 5 minutes’. Its one of the dumbest things ever - and nothing ever gets resolved or concluded.
Anyway - about this topic. What Deepak’s fundamental message boiled down to was this:
‘How can we just be flesh and bone? How can we just be a material object, with a material brain, eventually leading to death and nothingness? How can we ever reduce the human ‘experience’ (whatever that means) down to scientific data on a graph? We are so much more than that! WE are so special!’
EGO. Nothing but EGO, from start to finish. Only a massively ego centric, self centred, insular person can think that. That there is more to life than birth and death, that we are more than our mere material brains.
Deepak can try as hard as he likes to differentiate it from your orthodox religions, but the thought processes which give rise to what Deepak believes in, are EXACTLY the same ones that give rise to the beliefs in religious people. Deepak would never admit it, but he finds value in exactly the same ideals as religious people, Coated in a layer of ‘new age’ waffle.
Whats even more amazing is, he contradicts himself constantly. 1 minute he’s applauding whenever Harris/Sherma acknowledge ‘the unknown’, but He himself is then hypothesising that there is a mind and a soul, a concious being which lives outside of the material body!
Its all about ego, and I guess, horror of the inevitable. I for one couldn’t care less if I was reduced down to sets of data on a piece of paper, if I was reduced down to a series of complex genes and molecules, all interacting with each other. That IS all we are, and the more that neuroscience develops, The more that That view - that all our human experiences are happening in the material brain - is holding true.
you cannot define ‘a higher purpose’ the way Deepak is trying to. Our experiences are all subjective (though happening in an objective material brain), and therefore life is simply what you make of it - we are ultimately constructs and conditioned by the environments we grew up and live in, and therefore there could NEVER be a specified, defined, written in literature higher purpose and meaning that Deepak subscribes to.
one persons higher meaning and ‘spirituality’ could be entirely different from another persons spiritual enlightening.
In a way Deepak is more dangerous than ANY priest or Imam, because he spouts the same values as religion (the same nonsense) but shrouded in a sea of mumbo-jumbo, which people will take more seriously. His play on words is frightening, and he has this uncanny ability to frame words into a sentence that is so woolly, that it almost numbs a sceptical mind - you’d struggle to even argue against it, because his semantics of words were so different to Harris/Shermas/a rational person.
very worrying indeed. I was even more alarmed when he started talking about ‘diabolical science’. This is EXACTLY the kind of sentiment that religious people will cling on to, to defend their faith. Science in of itself is a methodology, the use of it for destructive purposes has got absolutely nothing to do with science itself, and more to do with politics and selfish human interest, and lack of education.
i hope Sam writes a book one day that completely dismantles this new form of religion, which is in some ways a more potent weapon against humanity than any of your established religions.
I did not watch the clip, but will when I have a chance and I’m in the right frame of mind. I am Christian but I do not roar, at least that is not my intention. Its unfortunate that one’s belief can be so painful to another. I understand that some folks attribute a lot of death to religion and that may be true (if the murderers did do it in the name of religion, I believe they would have found any other excuse…), but if you read Steven Pinker’s book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” you will discover that although religion is doing well in today’s world the violence of mankind as diminished… so I guess the religious murderers are sharpening their crosses on something else to relief their violent nature??? Now in consideration of Deepak Chopra avoiding the religious alliance, you might want to read, Richard Davidson’s, “Training the Emotional Brain” perhaps he in onto the “New Religion”... self control??? As a Christian, what I can relate to you from my own experience is this intense feeling to be connected to the Creator… please don’t come unglued, I am trying to explain a feeling that obviously a good deal of the world’s population does not have, but that obviously a good deal of the earth’s population does have (hence the need to bend a knee to one larger then oneself). I have no idea why I feel this way. (1) I was not raised in a church, (2) God has done nothing special in my life as a matter of fact my life has always been basically a living hell, I am almost always in the survival mode. But, having said that I read scripture daily and pray several times a day (privately), I have only been to church maybe 10 times in 30 years, so there is no church group influence. I just have this deep drive to give Thanks to the Lord and to ask Forgiveness for my shortcomings. Why does it bother you so much is my question. I love the fact that we are not all cookie cut outs and that we can share data and differences and grow as individuals as we pick and choose what resonates within. Just my 2 cents worth of confusion! Have a Great Day… and dont worry I won’t Bless You, LOL!
I’ll watch it tomorrow and get back to you… going into it I doubt Depak has the horsepower to counter Sam in any meaningful way ....btw everybody has an ego including you me and sam so it’s not really an indictment of Depak per se to say that he’s .....human.
Ack I had to turn it way down b/c Depak’s voice was so irritating. So her’es what I see. Depak is guilty as charged- he’s trying to overlay the woo-woo with physics and QM not just as a way of validating the woo-woo but in an attempt to make science subordinate in some way to the woo-woo. That’s what he’s being called out on.
I like Harris’s observation that humility and hedging is all you see at conferences- it’s true but it’s not really because those personalities are humble (not that Harris said that) it’s that they don’t want to be humbled and lose their reputation The reason they might be humbled is because a lot of of those personalities are ego-driven assholes who wouldn’t miss a chance to undermine their nearest rival’s career in the most destructive way they could manage. The thing that makes science great is not the great personalities involved, it’s the peer review system everyone is committed to. Without that, it would quickly degenerate into politics. As it is, politics don’t matter as far as results and the truth seeking process is concerned.
Depak missed a chance to defend his woo-woo when they got talking about non-locality. Actually, the Bell’s Theorem does imply that no effect can be fully accounted for using local variables alone. That means that what happens on one side of the universe subtly but distinctly effects what happens on the other side of the universe. This also implies the existence of faster than the speed of light communication. As you can imagine, people are suspicious of Bell’s Theorem but AFAIK, it’s still presented as a fundamental law in physics. One day it might be shown to be false of course.
Harris’ point that any weirdo QM effects are not causal on the macro-level is true in fact as far as anyone has shown but not in principle. It’s a statistical thing. There’s a very very very (etc) small chance that my keyboard will spontaneously turn into something else the next keystroke because of QM randomness. It’s never happened to me and I don’t think it ever would in the lifetime of the universe, but t’s there as some infinitesimal possibility. I wondered about this early on and the guys I talked to who are physicists said yes it’s true, so that’s the source for that near meaningless factoid.
Deepak’s problems were manifold. Many of his constructs were just muddled thinking with no real world referent. Literally, he’s just confused. Referring to these confused things, he starts making assertions about how they cause real things in the real world without offering one iota of proof which, of course, he can’t since the things he’s talking about exist only as a state of confusion in his own mind.
Then he’s trying to simultaneously use physics and the breakdown of physics as we know it at the Big Bang as proof for his assertions. Essentially he want QM to support him and ALSO leaps upon the break down of QM (at a certain small slice of the universe’s history ) to rush in and fill in that void with his won woo-woo theory about just everything and anything.
So he wants the imprimatur and gravitas of physics to support him and then when he finds a place where physical theory is empty, as it were, he gleefully starts stocking the shelves with Brand Depak. Yikes.
In a nutshell, he’s trying to defend his idea of himself against reductionism. That’s why he brings up free will. Free will is probably a “imaginary construct” that doesn’t correlate to anything in the real world. I am not sure the thinking mind can actually grasp and hold in conscious thought any legitimate referent that the concept of “free will” is a proxy for. People intuit things about themselves that they can’t articulate or even represent conceptually. This is indistinguishable from being confused. To alleviate that confusion, they build theories and make assertions about How The World Works which then are vulnerable to being attacked. Those people then feel they have to defend those theories in order, they think, to preserve the thing they could only intuit or feel or sense or know outside of consciousness or however you want to express immediate apprehension of the “nature of existence”. Don’t do that. Don’t be that guy.
You don’t know what experience is, really. As it’s commonly conceived of, it’s a property of individual nervous systems. We think rocks don’t have any. That’s a rough outline of the parameters of the problem of experience expressed in such a way as everyone gets what you’re talking about; we’re all on the same page. Confining ourselves to that framework of understanding and using it to do science , which is what is done now, will yield huge benefits for humanity. Let’s do that.
But that doesn’t mean you should live your life from the outside in, where you let current scientific theory dictate to you the reality or non-reality of something you inwardly perceive where “inwardly perceive” is a vague term I am using to signify something I am at a loss to make clearer. Yes that is like being confused, yet I claim I am not confused. But then so does every lunatic, so there, softwarevisualization.
My fall back defense of this non-clarity on my part is - what I am talking about in on the order of physical perception or apprehension. No, I am not good at expressing something so basic in words, in fact, words and concepts seem to be diametrically opposed in some way to that “experience” which itself isn’t even a good word for it . I wouldn’t have much more luck trying to express colors to a blind person. If you see what’s there then you see what’s there and if you don’t what exactly is it you want me to do about it?
There’s a basic problem that is ignorable for now that’s related to all this and that is- why should firing synapses, however complicated, give rise to what we call experience in the first place? Why not have them fire, control all behaviour , so far so good., but without any experience? Who needs experience? The organism could still work the same way without it, in theory.
Dennnet tried to take on this problem in Consciouness Explained and IMO just failed Usual “explanations” unconsciously and subtly change my question to “what is consciousness good for… how does it help the organism? ” But that’s not the question. The question is why does it exist at all?
Anyway I am meandering now. Hope some part of this was useful.
deepak’s not dangerous, just creepy.
deepak’s not dangerous, just creepy.
I half agree. Certainly creepy, and my underlying hunch - that he doesn’t believe his own bs - makes him all the more so.
Duping vulnerable people with scientific-sounding nonsense is not a safe activity to be engaging in.
deepak’s not dangerous, just creepy.
>> Deepak is a multi-millionaire from feeding the masses with his garbage. Nobody’s dangerous until they have followers who do their bidding. We wouldn’t even know who Hitler was if he didn’t have followers. Deepak is a powerful threat to reason (along with Oprah and many others) only because they are amassing followers.
These debates are so exciting. I can’t believe Chopra agrees to do them. He always looses. He got on stage with Richard Dawkins, too. They’ve debated at least twice! And in the debate referenced by the OP, there was a physicist in the audience who kinda challenged Chopra… they shared the stage, too! You can look for it on YouTube. Search for Chopra and Susan Blackmore.