I think it's great that an award is being offered to anyone who can explain the biological basis for a thought. Neuro-researchers of all kinds aren't even close to giving a confident answer. So the more motivation for current researchers the better.
However his challenge is not benevolent. From a deep sense of insecurity he is taunting those who laugh at his quantum woo by laughing at the ignorance that plagues scientists investigation how the mind works. However there are several massive problems with what he is doing:
1: 1,000,000 isn't enough of an incentive. This is something that is currently being researched by many groups in many universities and many many millions have already been spent on it and millions more will be spent. But he will never give away the money even if we find a confident answer. He'll always be able to woo his way out of anything.
2: He implies that since no one can give a confident answer now ... it cannot be done. But most scientists and neuro-philosophers admit that no one can yet confidently explain the biological basis of a thought. In fact they can also admit that there is a long way to go. But they can all demonstrate the progress made and potential models which are based on empirical evidence.
3. He implies that since we cannot give a confident explanation per neuro-science ... that his quantum woo is valid.
The last one is the big stinking whopper. There is a fundamental difference between what scientists are progressing towards and what Deepak languishes in. Scientists are trying to understand consciousness. Deepak is trying to sell his books and his services. Scientists are basing their models on a sound understanding of physics, neuro-psychology, biology etc. Deepak is basing his model on poetry. Scientists may one day have a confident explanation of consciousness. Deepak won't and will probably spend most of his time making stupid youtube videos and will make even more money off of the gullible. Even with his new crusty persona.
That sums it up nicely. I consider his million dollars to be blood money, earned by misleading desperate and dying people.
Dpak Cho (his rap name) is just following the American Dream, trying to make enough money to find an image consultant to help him pick out a pair of glasses that don't make him look like a dweeb.
As the King of Woo he has to keep up his image, besides somebody has to lead the ignorant masses to Shangri-La (which is a golf course and resort in OK, who knew?).
I can't wait to read his new book "How the LHC Proves the Existence of Woo!", it should be a real page turner. :)
The "biological basis for a thought" is the brain itself. Proof? No brain, no thoughts.
That isn't a meaningful demonstration of a thought. That is far too vague and broad.
On the subject of vague and broad: this blogger points out that Chopra's "challenge" resembles James Randi's million-dollar challenge to produce evidence of the paranormal, with the exception that Randi's challenge includes specifics which can actually be met.
It's also worth mentioning that Chopra's "challenge" is a variation of the "God of the gaps" fallacy. You can't explain X, so that means Goddidit. Chopra simply substitutes his own brand of woo-woo for the standard brand of God woo-woo.
Yes I should have mentioned this in the discussion. This is a clear counter-challenge to the million-dollar challenge. I sincerely hope that no one will take the bait and engage with him on it (take up the challenge).
Well, define a "thought." How does one separate "a thought" from other brain activities? Is a decision a thought? A notion? Is a perception a thought? WTF is a thought?
Without a workable definition, one is stuck with vagueries.
Go get your money. LOL
BTW, Deepak makes me throw up in my mouth a bit whenever I hear him speaking.
And his crusty bitter persona makes it even sadder. He used to present a happy breezy almost guru like personality (helped sell a lot of books). Now that he cares about the criticism and wants to be taken seriously ... he's become a crabby man who refusing to admit the crank he is ... trolls the internet with meaningless challenges, empty attacks and more woo.
Thanks for that. I wish I had said it. That was meant for 'Unseen' in reply to the mouth vomit comment. :)
Even if the answers are reached, I don't know if he'd be able to accept them. Humans have a perverse habit of trying to make everything about us and our psychological make up special.
At the risk of a derail, a prime example is emotions in other animals. People insist that a dog doesn't love it's human caregiver. When a dog "loves", it's just recognizing a friendly person, an instinctual appreciation for shelter, safety, food and companionship. To me, that pretty much describes what it is when a human feels love. We can get more abstract with our feelings, but the root of the emotion is probably pretty basic and survival based. Yet many people won't accept this because love is poetry and magic, not survival instinct: humans love, and dogs just aren't sophisticated enough to pull it off.
And I think we'll repeat the same mistake with human intelligence and thought. We will create truly thinking machines -- right proper AI -- and not realize the extent of what we've done. We will decipher what causes thoughts and the running monologue in our head -- our mind --, and still not quite accept that our thoughts are not some immaterial force in our bodies, but rather are just the machinations of our meat computers. I think our problem has more to do with conceptual inaccuracies than anything.
By 'we' I mean the general public and the Depak Choprahs. Resistance to scientific discovery often seems to come from a place of discomfort rather than rational or technical disagreement.