Cheeky Chopra’s fatuous challenge

Deepak Chopra, the egotistical “guru” with a bee in his bonnet about “debunkers”, issues a ridiculous, nonsensical “challenge” to Randi and the skeptics.

I challenge the non “amazing” Randi & his professional debunkers & skeptics to explain normal experience & offer them a $1 million prize.

It is not the skeptic’s job to prove anything or to explain a complicated, nebulous concept such as “normal” (although they often very good at showing how full of BS some people are). There are professional people who do research on brain and consciousness. They are called scientists – Chopra is not one of them. Here, Chopra states a silly, unanswerable challenge, which reveals how shallowly he understands the world. He fails to provide solid evidence for his own claims, instead taking the coward’s way out through stunts like this. If Chopra did not make such pretentious claims, we wouldn’t bother with him at all. Problem solved!

It kind of sucks to research and write about bullshit woo and debunk that which is exploding with bunkum (as a public service that most of us do). Feel-good nonsense can be SO APPEALING. The better answers are not as desireable to those who would rather have mental massage instead of the true challenge of figuring stuff out. We get vapid stunts like Chopra’s here. Everyday.

*Find out what contemporary skepticism is HERE*

The reason people apply (evidence-based) skepticism is to assess a claim that may or may not be true to find out the best answer. All I’ve ever see Chopra do is spout woo. And whine and complain.

This is another lame ploy for attention, similar to the previous disturbing rants against “militant atheists” (whom he ALWAYS conflates with “skeptics” revealing his penchant to create straw men). As many have said before, this type of behavior is odd from someone with such celebrity status. He’s got issues; he must really feel threatened.

Chopra trolling on Twitter?

Some funny quantum entanglement business on Deepak Chopra’s Wikipedia page


More: Chopra’s new $1 Million Challenge.

Jerry Coyne writes here:

If the paranormal does exist, as you implictly and explicitly claim over and over again, why hasn’t Randi demonstrated it? Why haven’t you won Randi’s prize?

and also includes this link to Pinker (an actual scientist) talking about consciousness.

The Brain: The Mystery of Consciousness – TIME.


  101 comments for “Cheeky Chopra’s fatuous challenge

  1. kompani101
    June 15, 2014 at 1:06 PM

    He’s doing the oldest slight of hand in the book. Deflecting the attention off his trick and to somewhere else, very childish and rather pathetic for such a self declared clever man.

  2. James H
    June 15, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    I always take what Deepak Chopra says with a grain of salt. He hasn’t impressed me.

  3. June 15, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    The original headline was “Chopra’s childish challenge”. I agree how juvenile it seems.

  4. Kathy Moyd
    June 15, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    So where is his peer-reviewd testable theory of consciousness?

    He seems to be falling for “absence of a known natural explanation means there is no possible natural explanation.”

  5. Paul Hunter
    June 15, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    How about “Forty Two”!

  6. Chris Howard
    June 15, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    He seems to be confusing sensation with perception.

    They are often confused, but all you have to do is ask a psychologist who specializes in sensation and perception to explain it to you, and you’ll come to understand the differences fairly well.

    Honestly though, his operational definitions are so nebulous as to be meaningless.

  7. June 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    At least nobody’s going to charge that he doesn’t have the million dollars to give. He has made a fortune as a professional denier of the electromagnetic force.

  8. Aaron
    June 15, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    So wait…what’s the issue? I mean, granted, it’s a bullshit challenge with completely spurious motives, but explaining “normal experience” isn’t terribly difficult. Go get Sam Harris and have done with it already.

    The only real issue is that no amount of evidence will ever work against Chopra or any of the others. They aren’t the ones that need to be convinced, because they’re either believers (which can never be convinced) or they’re con-men (who can’t be convinced because they already know better and just don’t care). Full believers are simply constitutionally incapable of ever changing their views, while con-men can’t change their apparent views because it would cost them their con game.

    So it really comes down to reaching the people who already harbor some sliver of doubt. The ones who believe, but think something’s missing or doesn’t quite fit. Anyone else is a total write-off.

    But once again, explaining consciousness and “normal experience” isn’t much of a challenge. And ignoring it just pushes away those who had that original kernel of doubt.

  9. Beavis
    June 15, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Actually sounds like easy money. Thump down a few research papers as an example and presto! million dollars!

  10. George F
    June 15, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    If you click on the YouTube link and see the thread, it appears to be a stunt in order to push his book.

  11. trog69
    June 15, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    Mr. Hunter, it needs moar cowb…I mean, more “quantum” in the answer for it to be acceptable.

  12. Martin Ellacott
    June 15, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    I have never cared for this smarmy fellow, or his views. Anyone who has made their living out of taking advantage of the gullibility and ignorance of others, sits poorly with me. I must say though, he certainly is glib.

  13. Charles
    June 15, 2014 at 5:13 PM

    Deepak is on the Dark Side since he succumed to materialism, but wants to hide with a false spiritual image. We have lost him.

  14. June 15, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    What Deepak fails to do is congratulate these guys for highlighting how cold reading works, how the Barnum experiment works and so on. All the so called ‘cronies’ are doing are raising awareness to the masses. Deepak is now on the back foot and trying his best to defend his play with words over the years. Galileo was arrested for his findings 400+ years ago by people similar to Chopra, who were too proud to see things through the eyes of logic and reason. Scientists constantly say they cannot explain everything but simply making strides in the right direction. Along the way the Randi challenge is yet another variable that goes a long way to proving the ‘paranormal’ stuff out there is false. Chopra wants them to write a peer reviewed theory, well can Chopra do the same with what’s written in all his books? No he cannot!! Raking in the millions he is though.

  15. jim
    June 15, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Isn’t Chopra the same guy that said instead of spitting out your saliva/toothpaste mixture into the sink, you can wash you eyes with it to cure glaucoma?

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

  16. Omar Guzman
    June 15, 2014 at 5:35 PM

    A million dollars earned deceiving millions of credulous individuals that follow his nonsense, and accept his senseless quotes and pseudo writings as wonderful works of literature. (Just read enough to figure it out)

  17. mike
    June 15, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Chopra , is the biggest bullshiter there is, he is peddling his new age dogma and making lots of money from it, suckers all over the world love to hear this verbal diarrhea, when hitch debated him he looked like a jack ass and i see he hasn’t changed hes still looks like a jack ass.

  18. mike
    June 15, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    This guy is a joke, he thinks he is at the same level as dawkins ,lol , man that’s funny , i think he may be listening to his own bullshit and he is starting to believe what he’s hearing .

  19. Haldurson
    June 15, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    I was thinking more along the lines of the ‘God of the holes’ principle, where if something is unknown, you pick an arbitrary explanation that fits your world-view, instead of actually investigating and testing. “We don’t know what something is, so therefor aliens/ghosts/angels/God/pixies/mole men”. The mistake is not wanting to admit that you don’t know the answer, and so instead, you make crap up.

    “I don’t know” is always a perfectly valid answer to life’s mysteries. Occasionally, ‘No one knows’ is fine as well. Adding ‘yet’ to the end of either statement is even better.

  20. David Harris
    June 15, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    For those who haven’t come across the random Deepak Chopra quote generator try One has to wonder if Chopra gets some of his material from this site.

  21. Frank Gaillard
    June 15, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    He seems to be confusing being and not being a dick. Unfortunately, too many people nod in agreement when he publishes his word salads. Sigh.

  22. DS
    June 15, 2014 at 6:34 PM

    Thankyou Mr Chopra for steering our species back towards the Dark Ages when evidence meant nothing and fantasy everything. Go open a creation museum.

  23. james Brummel
    June 15, 2014 at 6:42 PM

    How does electricity entering the brain become the experience of a 3d world in space and time? Has he been drinking? First I would say there are a billion and ten studies, experiments etc exploring the nature of awareness, consciousness, etc, the place to look is neurobiology journals and texts. What’s this about “electricity entering the brain”, is he talking about neurons firing?
    The pain matrix theory says nerves are perpetually scanned by the brain, so the experience of pain may not be incoming signals. This stuff is so fascinating, but so frustrating. We want firm answers we can rely on, not “well, maybe”s. “God did it” is nice a finite.

  24. June 15, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    I think you need to do a little bit of reading up on the mind-body problem.

  25. Chris
    June 15, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    [Editor: removed] Might as well offer the money for answering “Why is green?” or “Where is blue?”

    [Editor: removed – no name calling]


  26. June 15, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    The issue is this:

    Unlike, so it seems, all other existents, consciousness cannot be given a reductive explanation. A full scientific description of the world leaves out the existence of consciousness.

    So one might say that consciousness contravenes physical laws (we ought to be philosophical zombies). Yet we can be incorrigibly certain of our own conscious experiences. Psi, if it exists, is an ability of consciousness. “Skeptics” frequently assert that psi contravenes physical laws. However, since the very existence of consciousness also contravenes physical laws — yet we know it exists — we cannot be in any position to say any ability of consciousness is impossible. And in fact since psi has been reported throughout history and across all cultures, plus the fact there’s a great deal of scientific evidence to suggest its existence to boot, it seems that we have compelling reasons to accept its existence.

  27. Chris Howard
    June 15, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Have denies electromagnetic force?!


  28. June 15, 2014 at 7:48 PM

    I challenge Chopra to explain why anybody listens to his drivel. A million dollar prize may be available for any answer that is not self-serving bullshit.

  29. Paul
    June 15, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Yes, it is in gross logical error to ask anyone to “prove a negative.” The burden of proof is always on the prosecution, not the defense. That is, we are not required to prove the non existence of a supernatural “god.” it is the believers’ burden to prove the existence of their “god.” Just like in a court of law where it is the prosecution’s obligation to prove that a crime has been committed, not the obligation of the defense to prove that a crime has not been committed.

  30. June 15, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Look, commentators whose comments do not appear here – if you talk gobbledegook and babble, your comment will not be printed. That’s kind of the point. Chopralites, this is not the site for you.

  31. June 15, 2014 at 8:14 PM

    Someone included Deepak in a twitter link to this post. He replied to me with a link to his latest book. I reported him on twitter for spam. He does not follow me and I consider that an unsolicited advertisement.

  32. June 15, 2014 at 8:16 PM

    No surprise there. He links to it at every opportunity.

  33. June 15, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    I trust you’re not referring to my post? The fact you think it’s gobbledegook just reflects your lack of understanding of philosophy and in particular the mind-body problem. And in fact, reading through all the posts you have allowed to be published, I get the impression that every single one of them likewise exhibit a similar lack of understanding.

    And I’m certainly not a “Chopralite”, as you put it. I have heard of his name, but only through “skeptics”. I have never read anything by him, nor seen any videos in which he appears apart from the video on this page. I agree with him on the particular point he’s making. So what? Only someone who doesn’t understand the underlying issues would not.

  34. Aldo
    June 15, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    Good, I agree Haldurson! Also, there are things that are “unknowable”… Not knowing something does not mean there has to be a knowable explanation, nor that that explanation is something of the supernatural.

  35. Ignoramus
    June 15, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    Neural correlate! Magic show indeed. Smoke and mirrors all around.

  36. Angela
    June 15, 2014 at 9:13 PM

    There should be a disclaimer that comes with that link..”warning–may be addictive”. I keep hitting “receive new wisdom” just for the gigglez.

  37. Aaron
    June 15, 2014 at 10:05 PM

    Actually I’d have to say the Mole Men, or at least some sort of Crab People, would be the likely cause of such mysterious phenomena. For example, what could could explain what happened to the sandwich I made for lunch that my roommate said he didn’t eat…

    In all seriousness though, I can’t help but be amused at the feeble, childish attempts of people like Chopra as they desperately cling to what little bit of fame and/or faulty “logic” that they have.

  38. Frederick
    June 15, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Yeah, it will be like : ” Prove me unicorn does not exist!” You can told me that we never saw them, I’ll answer: Maybe they are on a unexplored island or they are extinct but did exist and so on bla bla bla.

    I did not even play the video, I can’t stand that guy, He in for the money anyway. All the efforts he put in defending himself make me believe more and more he do not believe his stuff, and he his just a con artist.

  39. June 15, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Interesting this, that Chopra sounds increasingly shrill over time. Not being a psychologist, I can’t confidently say what’s going on inside his head beyond the views he actually expresses, but I’d say his dislike of criticism is reaching a fever pitch.

  40. James G
    June 15, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    He (or whoever staffs his Twitter account) certainly is persistent.

    Dear, Mr. Chopra,

    Please look up ‘the burden of proof’. May I also suggest ‘the scientific method’ and ‘ad hominem’? Whether sceptics congratulate themselves on what they believe are their successes or not has no bearing on the quality of their assertions or evidence. If you can’t attack their claims, then perhaps you could rethink attacking their character. While such attacks may divert the attention of a few people, many will see it as an indication that you can not successfully counter their arguments. It weakens your position, and casts the debater in a negative light.

    As I understand it, debunking is a process where a claim is shown to be false by presenting evidence that it is so. There is plenty of legitimate mystery in the universe, why would we want to muddy our perceptions with fantasies? Every time a falsifiable claim is shown to be false is just as much a victory as when one is shown to be true. Knowledge is a garden, and gardens require weeding from time to time.

    Love James

    p.s. I want my five minutes and thirty-five seconds back.

  41. Anon.
    June 15, 2014 at 10:50 PM

    Thank you. I’m glad I’m not the only one who understood what he was saying.

    And I’m a non-Christian AND fan of James Randi. Fancy that.

    Chopra’s talking Eastern spiritualism/psychology in the video. He clearly doesn’t understand the purpose of James Randi’s “Million Dollar Challenge”, but the point that he is making is not crazy “babble”.

  42. Jean
    June 15, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    No, don’t say that. The world doesn’t need another one of those “museums”.

  43. James Johnston
    June 15, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Glad to see we’re getting under his skin so badly. Purveyor of claptrap and bunkum.

  44. Phil
    June 16, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    I think you exhibit a lack of understanding for the real world around you if you agree with any of Deepak’s hippie babble. And don’t start up with ‘you don’t understand philosophy’ BS. I understand deception and that’s all this is. Pandering to the human need to feel superior to all the other humans but rather than use real knowledge to do this, you’ll use scraps of fact embellished with vast swathes of fiction that sound great on the ear and are easy to remember because of this appeal. And then when you’re called on the ‘fiction’ part of your wonderful newfound belief, you’ll turn around and say ‘well that’s because you’re not smart or superior enough to understand it like I am’ and attempt to win them over the exact same way they probably got you. Sounding familiar yet? It’s a vicious cycle…

  45. Bill D'Arcy
    June 16, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    Sharon – Is that an intentional pun on coprolite?

    Bill (geologist too)

    June 16, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    What skeptics have done is pull back the curtain and expose the charlatan, which equals loss of revenue.

  47. Bill D'Arcy
    June 16, 2014 at 12:49 AM

    I’m curious…. can someone please post a translation of the tee-shirt?

    Also, I don’t think Chopra is “…a native of the culture that speaks that language”; does that mean that he too “doesn’t understand the language on my tee-shirt…”?

  48. Graham
    June 16, 2014 at 1:04 AM

    That site *is* highly addictive. I’m reminded of one of the lesser known Gullivers Travells (sic) stories in which he ends up in a kingdom where they have built what amounts to a random quote generator and propose to use it to create a complete library of all knowledge from the output. I would not be too surprised if someone does not try it from the output of this.

  49. DannyX
    June 16, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    He’s pointing the way to a bigger truth, and you poor skeptics are too scrupulous to see it. His deeper message is obviously this: The world is full of suckers with disposable income, ready to throw it at you. All it takes is conviction and colorful malarkey.

    It’s so blindingly beautiful. I’m trading in my skepticism and moving on over to the dark side.

    On a an unrelated note, buy my book.

  50. DannyX
    June 16, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    This is a guy who blows his nose on a million dollars precisely because people are eating that drivel out of his hands. He has probably sold enough books to buy a Chevrolet in the time it took me to type that sentence, and I type fast. Bullshit sells.

  51. CJ
    June 16, 2014 at 5:17 AM

    Are we allowed to laud the enemy here?

    Because it was a smart move. Childish perhaps, but still smart. “If you can’t prove normal, then how can you disprove/prove abnormal” is a fantastic start to a debate since their counter is now on the defensive. Reverting to insults simply backs up their point too, ad hominems (and let’s be honest, this wasn’t a kind article) aren’t used by the winning side. Makes you look weak. Makes it look like you’re arguing from a subjective basis with no scientific foundation.

    Might be scientifically unsound (although arguing that militant atheists don’t exist is just as unsound), but it’s politically smart. I don’t even like the guy, but it was a decent move and the response so far is working in his favour. This is how you give people adherents, basically.

  52. CJ
    June 16, 2014 at 5:24 AM

    Come now, let’s not be unscientific here. Our data is extrapolated, and while the existence of a deity hasn’t been proven, it hasn’t been disproven either. Doesn’t mean you have to prove it, just that you accept that arguing an unknown is false is about on the same level as arguing the unknown is true.

    Scientifically you should be the bigger person here and not respond. Don’t claim one is true, don’t claim one is false, because until we can know exactly what happened at the start of our universe then we can’t say “this is so” for certain. We can make a damn good guess based on known data extrapolated out to billions of years, but finance advisors would laugh you out of the room if you pretended 5s worth of data is good for 5 years, and that’s just about the scale we’re talking about here. Makes it hard to argue to the uneducated basically.

    No insults. If you insult someone, you’ve lost. Or at the very least made it needlessly hard for yourself later on.

    Stick to the topic. Which is remembering that the person you’re arguing with is a licensed doctor effectively arguing solipsism. Doesn’t mean you have to accept it out of hand (and since it can neither be proven nor disproven means you shouldn’t accept it at this stage), but dismissing it out of hand against someone who’s probably got more degrees than you will not help you. Be smart about this.

  53. DJNrrd
    June 16, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    How many paths must an electron spin *down*?

  54. June 16, 2014 at 8:21 AM


  55. June 16, 2014 at 8:38 AM

    I already succinctly explained why the guy concerned was right on this particular point in my first post. But people are not being allowed to see it. Nothing I can do about that.

    I have no idea what you mean when you say I don’t understand the real world — you need to be more specific.

    What deception is there here? What belief are you referring to?

  56. Brian
    June 16, 2014 at 9:03 AM

    I propose the following: What if there is NO supernatural- and the ‘unexplained’- everything from ghosts to UFOs CAN be explained scientifically. No woo, no supernatural gobbledey gook, Nada. There is no higher spiritual anything, and for crying out loud- can the word ‘quantum’ be left out of stuff??? All it’s used for is to check the spin on an electron, which is then used for various applications. I have seen some wild stuff- and I can tell you right now- I did not once, not *ever* have any sort of ‘spiritual experience’. In my experience- which there is a lot of it- anyone claiming to a) understand the supernatural, and b) create/ control/ manipulate the supernatural is just manipulating the ignorant and clueless for money.

  57. Miłosz
    June 16, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    But actually in the “first part” of the movie he is talking about rather interesting issue 🙂
    Not that he is not running away, but the truth is that we really don’t know how concious is being created.
    That’s all i have to say:)

  58. Eric M.
    June 16, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    James Randi is not a “debunker,” but an investigator. It just so happens that he’s debunked a lot through his research.
    The difference between “normal” and “paranormal” in this context is what can be explained by application of the scientific method and what can’t.
    James Randi would be more than happy to believe and maybe even propagate something paranormal (if it benefits mankind) if it can be tested and recreated successfully multiple times.
    Deepak’s challenge to explain consciousness is plain silly because it puts the thought into the viewer’s head that Deepak might actually know what consciousness is. (Which he practically says no one does later on anyways)
    I would say that instead of posing silly, unanswerable questions to someone of which whose field of work doesn’t really involve, he needs to get educated on neuroscience and assist scientists in unlocking the secrets of the brain.

  59. Bill T.
    June 16, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Have you ever seen any of his air debating? He’s a master at debate when he has no opponent.

  60. Bill T.
    June 16, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    You had me for a minute there. Thanks for the laugh.

  61. June 16, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I didn’t allow this post at first because it does not add to the post and is unsupported conjecture, not referenced. But I will allow it since you refer to it. Others can have a go at it if they want.

    Just because we can’t explain something yet does not mean it’s unexplainable. Obviously we have much more to discover about the brain. Also, psi behaves like experimental error, nothing solid. Time to give it up.

    Please note our comment policy. This is not a soapbox for alternative views.

  62. June 16, 2014 at 10:20 AM


  63. Chris Howard
    June 16, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    That’s largely a matter of operational definition, and a possible false (philosophical) distinction between “mind” and body.

    The scientific perspective is brain, not mind, as a part of the body rather than as distinct from the body.

    You can prove brain, but we would be hard pressed to prove mind.

    That’s the whole problem with Chopra. He uses a lot of weasel words, and changes his operational definitions all the time.

  64. Louis Filosa
    June 16, 2014 at 11:29 AM

    Well said! It’s the problem I have with the “militant skeptics”. They tend towards smarminess and personal insults-and they are sometimes very wrong in feeling that lack of proof of something is, in fact, disproof. Stick to science and observe with “soft eyes”.

  65. LM
    June 16, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Arguing a negative is not equivalent to arguing a positive in the context of the rational, scientific domain. The negative is assumed until a positive claim can reach one of the following two thresholds:

    1) definitive proof
    2) sufficient explanatory value as to necessitate the presupposition

    As such, a negative claim has the following requirements:

    1) demonstrate that there is no definitive proof for the affirmative
    2) demonstrate that the explanatory value of the affirmative is low

    Those are not the same thing, and asserting “‘Not X’ is indefensible without conclusive proof of Y” is a ludicrous assertion. That’s basically what Chopra is trying to do here. It is the logical equivalent of saying “If there isn’t a Ceiling Cat, then why are there ponies?” The demanded explanation has no bearing on the matter-at-hand.

  66. June 16, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    The counter is on the defensive only for people who actually respond to him on his terms. That’s why Bill Nye was dumb to debate Ken Ham. (That’s unless we’re counting his personal 15 minutes of fame ticker, in which case he was smart to prop up his own Q ratings, which had been sagging for some time.)

  67. terry the censor
    June 16, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    > we have compelling reasons to accept its existence.

    Ian, with respect, your argument is indeed gobbledy goop.

    You claim that consciousness is A1) unexplainable yet B1) incorrigible (using the philosophical sense of the term).
    You claim that psi is A2) not impossible, and B2) that it is well-documented, scientifically and popularly.

    A1 and A2 are not the same thing. A1 implies the unexplained subject at least exists to be explained; A2 does not necessitate existence — the subject is supposed.
    Likewise, B1 and B2 diverge. Consciousness is incorrigible because we all have it; psi is incorrigible only in the colloquial manner — as a pejorative for cranky ideas or bad character.

    Also, you do not explain how you can hold that consciousness cannot be scientifically explained yet psi is scientifically verified!

    Put another way, you argue psi exists because it is an aspect of consciousness, yet you also say, “A full scientific description of the world leaves out the existence of consciousness.” How then does “scientific description” leave out consciousness all together while at the same time providing “a great deal of scientific evidence to suggest” psi exists?

    Not logically coherent — not at all.

  68. terry the censor
    June 16, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    > The fact you think it’s gobbledegook just reflects your lack of understanding of philosophy

    Ian, some modesty, please. I believe I have shown your understanding of philosophy is not as great as you imagine. Though I really appreciate you using “incorrigible” in its philosophical sense. Marks to you — I never see that in a comments section!

  69. feloneouscat
    June 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    I’ve now heard of him. I will now promptly forget him.

  70. DS
    June 16, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Yep. If he were indeed compelled to help continue unlocking real secrets of conciousness he’d add his considerable wealth to that cause. But he’s not actually interested in discovery. He’s infatuated with himself and ‘proving’ his own hypotheses through constant assertion. Reminder – serious scientists understand it’s about trying to destroy ones own ideas. It’s about honesty. What is currently understood about the mind would if presented to our ancestors be regarded as pure magic. Maybe Deepak belongs back there with his demons.

  71. June 16, 2014 at 6:12 PM

    What does philosophy have to do with the medical/physiological matter of how the brain works – in all species?

  72. June 16, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    a) I never said that consciousness is “unexplainable”. I said that a full scientific description of the world leaves out the existence of consciousness. How on earth that can be construed as “unexplainable” I have no idea.

    b) I never said psi is “incorrigible”.

    c) I never said that psi is scientifically verified.

    d) You said “you argue psi exists because it is an aspect of consciousness”. No I do not argue that or anything like it.

    You have failed to understand anything I’ve said.

    And I talk gobbledegook?

  73. David H
    June 16, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    His tee shirt contains a real deep message (for Deepak)

    It is Bulgarian and translates to: “I read every day! How about you?”

    The translation was supplied by Acilim in his comment posted June 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

  74. DS
    June 16, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    Louis – be careful about being sucked into the ‘militant’ diversion. Yes if we’re serious about education and the truth of claims we should stick to the rules and avoid ridicule as a standard. It is after all about ideas not the people. However the degree of hubris and extraordinary lengths to which some individuals will go to protect their cherished beliefs requires us to consider on occassion humor as a weapon of reason. Watch some of Harris using the example of elvis when responding to claims that a rabbi could see ‘more in him than just the mere physical’. It exposed the claim indeed the entire debate for what it was. A tissue of fantasy and worthy of ridicule. The trouble with that approach is if not handled well and used judiciously the audiences mind will shut down in a second and our communication end.

  75. June 16, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    Wow. I’m glad I’m not Sharon, or I would have had to read all these comments. Not to mention all those we can’t see.

    As for Chopra: He’s good for a chuckle, and then very easy to ignore.

  76. Al Dunbar
    June 17, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    “Chopralites”! LOL, at first I misread it as “coprolite”. Then again, maybe I didn’t:

  77. Bill D'Arcy
    June 17, 2014 at 2:20 AM

    Many thanks David (and indirectly to Acilim)…. Fairly trite message for a tee-shirt.

  78. Brewster
    June 17, 2014 at 2:45 AM

    I like his trick of precluding the actual answer to his challenge (“….and don’t just give me neural correlates…”). So even if Randi “and his cronies” were able to solve and explain the “hard problem of consciousness” (an impossibly tall order at this time and will be for some years), which will require explaining the neurology or neuroscience of consciousness, Chopra gets to say “Well I said you can’t use an explanation that involves neural correlates.”

  79. June 17, 2014 at 10:42 AM

    Actually, DC makes his millions selling magical cures to very sick people. He is far from harmless. The basis of all magic is “Mind over matter.” Actually, not really mind but words supposedly reporting “mind.” Thus, words over matter. Silly and sad claim.

  80. Aaron
    June 17, 2014 at 11:22 AM

    Thank you LM for pointing out the lack of logic in this post by CJ and Louis Filosa.

    CJ’s appeal to authority/education is yet another logical fallacy.
    “Dismissing it out of hand against someone who’s probably got more degrees than you will not help you.”
    Educated people have indefensible beliefs all the time that run counter to science. Their emotions and psyche make it possible for them to believe in things that are not scientifically sound. i.e. the physicist that says he will never believe in an old earth because his faith in the scriptures runs contrary to any scientific evidence that he could be presented. He clearly states that no evidence will sway his mind. Yet he has a doctorate. (I forget his name at the moment)

    The facts: No evidence whatsoever points to the beliefs that Mr. Chopra espouses. Sensational beliefs require sensational evidence.
    The fact that no evidence exists to directly counter Mr. Chopra’s claims does not lend ANY potential validity to them.

  81. Tom Funk
    June 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM

    I think all you reading this just need to re-ionize your electrons!
    There, don’t you feel better? Can’t you feel the depths of your conscious nebulae of the amalgamation of immortal humanity?

  82. Lin
    June 17, 2014 at 2:56 PM


  83. Eric
    June 17, 2014 at 4:56 PM

    Agreed. (I think you meant e.g. 😉

  84. DannyX
    June 17, 2014 at 5:28 PM

    “…and they are sometimes very wrong in feeling that lack of proof of something is, in fact, disproof.”

    Does “soft eyes” mean giving credence to any claim that any person might pull out of their ass, despite that person presenting no supporting evidence whatsoever, on the grounds I can’t disprove it? Seems naive to me, given the absolutely proven existence of liars.

  85. DS
    June 17, 2014 at 7:10 PM

    Ian – while a coherent theory of conciousness is elusive it is now rationally undeniable that a considerable amount of scientific evidence places subjetive experience and behaviour squarely within the bounds of biology and as such those of physics and chemistry. That fact is easily delt with by shifting goalposts and continually failing to provide definitions for what we assert as deepak does almost seemlessly and as you have done as well.

    psi has been tested again and again and comes up as chance. Meanwhile there are literally reams of stuides in the cognitive sciences on bias, crowd and expectancy effect, pattern recognition, attentional blindness and a vast array of other fascinating illustrations as to why otherwise intelligent people believe extraordinary and often ridiculous things. I’m afraid your argument is technically an appeal to ignorance. In philosophy its called a logical fallacy. Because you don’t understand what you perceive, instead of just saying I dont know you provide a reason which in this case is not supported by what we know about reality. .

  86. Bill T.
    June 17, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Actually, total lack of proof is reason to be skeptical of a claim.

    There’s lack of proof of all kinds of things that I suspect you believe to not exist, the classic being the teapot in co-orbit with Mars around the Sun. Or maybe you believe that there’s a case for the teapot.

    No proof? I don’t believe. Show me some valid proof, then I’ll reconsider.

  87. June 17, 2014 at 7:42 PM

    If “consciousness”/subjective experience were behaviorally and biologically meaningful:

    1. It wouldn’t have taken 500m years to show up
    2. In one sub-sub-sub species

    In addition, what is called “consciousness’ is just locally normed everyday language……duh

  88. Fran
    June 17, 2014 at 9:41 PM

    More on that tshirt: here’s a flashmob of young Bulgarians wearing it in celebration of UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day. But why is Deepak Chopra wearing it?

  89. Jonathan V
    June 18, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    It is an interesting challenge. I would like to know the basics of how consciousness works and the mechanisms behind it. Figuring that out is worth a million dollars.
    However its a logical fallacy that just because we don’t current understand how one thing that exists works, that we cannot claim that a different thing that has to tangible proof doesn’t exist.

  90. Allie Orozco-Newton
    June 18, 2014 at 1:52 AM

    Thank you for saying this.

  91. Ray
    June 18, 2014 at 2:37 AM

    It cuts both ways, Louis. The “militant believers” are even more intolerant than the non-believers. In fact, most believers are, too. Try going to a believer’s web site and then post some disagreement there – and watch the fur fly.

    Is a lack of proof equivalent to disproof? Sometimes, yes. When a claim is continuously made and yet is never supported by proof, one is justified in wondering why. Why, when asked for proof, do the believers not take the opportunity to supply it? In that case, the lack of proof must mean something. Otherwise we’d have been presented with the proof.

  92. Ray
    June 18, 2014 at 3:05 AM

    Frankly, I don’t see how your post addresses the issue here. I see no one arguing that an unknown is false or anything like that. All Sharon Hill and everyone else is saying is that the burden of proof is the responsibility of the claimant. The “bigger person” is the one who acknowledges that fact. It’s not being scientific to hide one’s head in the sand whenever an unsupported claim is made, as if that’s somehow being fair and logical. Being scientific is putting the claim in proper, honest perspective and not being bamboozled into reversing the responsibility for doing the work of supplying evidence.

    And was it really your intention to argue that having more degrees means something? This is especially laughable given the fact that Chopra is way out of his league when he preaches his personal brand of physics. He’s an M.D. and that’s not a scientific degree. I searched his bio online and found no mention of any other degrees. So, in short, what the heck are you talking about?

  93. Steve Packard
    June 18, 2014 at 5:12 AM

    The more we have learned about the brain the more it seems consciousness does not sit in one spot and is certainly not magic. It is a combination of functions and it is, in a sense, an illusion, caused by a complex and highly evolved piece of meat in our heads.

    The pictures we think of do not exist in any literal sense. At least no more than an image stored on a computer. They are just impulses in neurons and the more we learn the more this is validated.

    There is one thing he is right about: we don’t have all the answers. The brain is very complicated, especially on its cellular level and it has thrown us many surprises. We do know more than we used to and we are discovering more, but there is still much to be discovered and many mysteries of the brain. It is extremely difficult to study a living brain in the kind of detail we would like to. But the tools are improving and these mysteries are being unlocked.

    There is one thing I am sure of: as we learn more about the brain we will discover what we always have. It works through biology, chemical reactions, electrical impulses, neurotransmitters etc. There is no magical spiritual energy.

  94. Bill T.
    June 18, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    Much is also made of the comment “It’s impossible to prove a negative”. Actually that is a false statement. Often to illustrate the argument, a negative statement that it is difficult to impossible to prove is is used.

    Here’re a couple of counter examples:
    1. There are no positive integers in the set { x: x > -7 and x < -1 and x is x is a member of {integers}}.
    2. There are no elephants in this room.

    Either is trivial to prove. Unless you believe in invisible, intangible elephants, of course.

  95. marcus
    June 19, 2014 at 1:35 AM

    Thank you!..
    I was pretty saddened to scroll down the list of comments,
    to just see bunch of insults, and slander…

  96. June 19, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    It is interesting to see how fearful-angry behavior, by men, dominates the web and comment streams. Human nature. Fear is 10xs greater driver of behavior.

  97. DS
    June 20, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    Thanks Brain. I see you’re putting that molecule to good use!

  98. June 24, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    He’s good at getting attention. Even if it means being a total asshat. He can’t tell that he is though. No need for skepticism, says the guru. Well, wouldn’t he like that…

  99. DannyX
    June 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    I don’t think his challenge is aimed at skeptics or scientists. Pretty sure the idea is for his actual intended audience (current and potential customers/suckers) to get the idea that he has thoroughly addressed all rational doubt concerning his claims. Confidence and showmanship do more to sell woo than any amount of veracity.

    This is a marketing ploy disguised as a challenge.

  100. June 24, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    It appears DC has gotten rich selling new age “cures” to sick people. A classic charlatan.

    The appeal and pitch of magical thinking is always the same – “Mind over matter.” Pretend and wish and it is true. Apparently our brains crave that message. It had to be adaptive long ago.

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