Comment by Dustin on December 2, 2013 at 12:19am

Deepak started off great but then fell into his usual ways...hurting my head...with nonsense...

Deep respect for Dawkins for being able to put up with him.  

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on December 2, 2013 at 9:40am

From Deepak Chopra's actual statements in this debate:

"All belief is a cover up for insecurity."
"Biological organisms are purpose driven."
"There is a deeper consciousness that throws out this universe at the speed of light."
"Awareness is a singularity, perceptual experiences are many, and the evolution of species is actually the evolution of consciousness to express itself."
"We are the eyes of the universe looking at itself."

From the Deepak Chopra random woo-woo generator:

"Knowledge grows through the expansion of facts."
"The human nervous system gives rise to universal human observation."
"Quantum physics is rooted in new potentiality."
"Death shapes exponential experiences."
"Your body regulates total excellence."
"Your consciousness illuminates intrinsic energy."

For hours of fun, keep hitting the generator button, then string the output together to construct your own Deepak Chopra debate thesis, best-selling book, or scholarly paper!

"Knowledge grows through the expansion of facts as the human nervous system gives rise to universal human observation. Quantum physics is rooted in new potentiality, which I believe shows that death shapes our exponential experiences. Your body regulates total excellence, therefor, your consciousness illuminates intrinsic energy."

But my favorite part of the debate (0:27:00): Dawkins calls out Chopra for spouting nonsense and confusion, then Chopra actually claims his woo means something, that others understand it, that it's over Dawkins' head, and claiming otherwise is an ad hom attack.

Dawkins absolutely destroys this snake oil salesman. It's a pleasure to watch.

Comment by Ed on December 2, 2013 at 10:04am

Chopra defined spirituality as self-awareness. I suppose I am more spiritual than I ever imagined. He did lose me on the proposal that atoms/matter retain consciousness. The brain is a marvelously complex arrangement of cells that collectively produce a consciousness for the being it resides in.

Comment by Simon Paynton on December 2, 2013 at 12:30pm

I'd say that spirituality is about the things of the ego dropping away to reveal the core of compassion and reality underneath.  The ego contains the conscious mind and self-identity, among other things.  It's still needed, except now it doesn't rule the show. 

I don't believe that Deepak Chopra has had a spiritual awakening.  According to Wikipedia, all he has done is study.  Awakening has to be pummeled into you by life experiences, you can't learn it from books.  That said, spiritual theory and knowledge is very important as guidance.  As well, some people naturally have the gift.  People who have the gift don't come out with all that twaddle that Deepak spouts.  They speak plain English. 

Comment by Simon Paynton on December 2, 2013 at 1:31pm

I think it's also about the dropping away of attachments:  attachment to self-interest, attachment to desire, attachment to emotions, to mental constructs; to a lot of things.  It doesn't mean not having love and affection for another person.  It means if you love someone, set them free. 

Comment by Logicallunatic on December 2, 2013 at 7:16pm

Chopra is such a willfull obscurantist. The only reason he survives is because he thrives on the general public's ignorance of science. 

Comment by Pope Beanie on December 3, 2013 at 2:04am

For several thousand years, humans have assumed that the characters of intention, purpose, design, agency, and so forth exist outside themselves. This might be the only significant assumption Chopra snd Dawkins share. The differences lie in how each of them endeavors to explain those characters.

I think Chopra claims that these characters have always existed, and no other explanation is necessary, except to find various ways to demonstrate their eternal existence. I may be wrong about that, because I have no idea where that's supposed to take us. Others besides Chopra speak similarly but in different languages and periods of history, and it seems to me that they'll never be able to come together to agree on more than just a few feelings, some basic concepts of consciousness, and perhaps a persecution complex that science is out to defeat them all.

Dawkins represents more of a standard, unified way of discovering and describing universal laws that can be repeatedly demonstrated in any language or circumstance. Science is the universal method and language, always humble enough to admit and document what it doesn't know, intentionally leaving itself open to scrutiny and correction. Science is poor at explaining feelings, emotions, consiousness and so on, just as it used to be poor at explaining cancer, gravity, chemistry, physics, biological processes, and so forth.

Our Chopras et al may feel they have some kind of over-arching explanation for what science has explained and for what science is not yet able to explain, but the Chopras et al of the world cannot ever catch up to the millions of books and other sources of accumulated, scientific knowledge. Diffferent sciences have to come to closer and closer agreement because they all recognize each other's differences, correct each other, and they all endeavor to explain the same, physical reality.

Now, back to my opening paragraph. We humans need to perceive reality and conceive thought metaphorically. It's ok to say a ball "wants" to roll downhill, or a mountain is "designed" with a slope, and that's why the ball rolls. The purpose of chlorophyl is to convert light into chemical energy. I can even guess what Chopra might mean when he says an atom can be "aware". Fine, let's say that electrons can be aware of each other in the sense that they affect each other's position or behavior. But in science, that's where the metaphor ends, and the questions begin. Like what is the nature and mathematics of the electrons' interactive forces? Chopra means to take that word "aware" and connect it with some kind of quantum jump to a universal form of consciousness!? Wtf good does it do to extend metaphors that far? Maybe it helps some people feel some kind of mystical connection, but it does nothing for science. (While we're at it, the "we're all star stuff" doesn't give me goose bumps, either, but I won't put down anyone who gets all goose bumpy over it.)

Let Chopra et al have their goose bumpy metaphors. Science should care less about proving or disproving the meta-physical metaphors, and just keep moving on to deeper discoveries, descriptions, predictions, and vocabulary.

Comment by Simon Paynton on December 3, 2013 at 5:10am

"Biological organisms are purpose driven."  - Deepak Chopra (quoting from above)

"All beings everywhere desire to be happy."  - Buddha.  We could add, "well" and "healthy" too. 

As for the other stuff - oh my God Deepak, just shut the fuck up.  You don't understand it and it doesn't make sense. 

Comment by Gallup's Mirror on December 3, 2013 at 10:50am

I can even guess what Chopra might mean when he says an atom can be "aware".

Chopra claimed Freeman Dyson said an atom has consciousness. Here is what Dyson actually said:

“It is remarkable that mind enters into our awareness of nature on two separate levels. At the highest level, the level of human consciousness, our minds are somehow directly aware of the complicated flow of electrical and chemical patterns in our brains. At the lowest level, the level of single atoms and electrons, the mind of an observer is again involved in the description of events. Between lies the level of molecular biology, where mechanical models are adequate and mind appears to be irrelevant. But I, as a physicist, cannot help suspecting that there is a logical connection between the two ways in which mind appears in my universe. I cannot help thinking that our awareness of our own brains has something to do with the process which we call "observation" in atomic physics. That is to say, I think our consciousness is not just a passive epiphenomenon carried along by the chemical events in our brains, but is an active agent forcing the molecular complexes to make choices between one quantum state and another. In other words, mind is already inherent in every electron, and the processes of human consciousness differ only in degree but not in kind from the processes of choice between quantum states which we call "chance" when they are made by electrons.”

Dawkins was right, even if he was half-joking. Dyson should sue Chopra for attributing that "atoms have consciousness" quackery to him.

Not that anyone who acceptsTempleton Prize, nee the "Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion", nee the "Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities", is likely to mind as much as Dawkins.

Comment by ɐuɐz ǝllǝıuɐp on December 3, 2013 at 9:47pm

So much for Deepak's understanding of Love and consciousness, by not having a chat with Richard again even when not on air or on show... anyway did not like the time limitations as it was an interesting debate, but Richard Dawkins actually seems to have more points and I agree with his views on consciousness, under the limitations on what the universe is. Say the universe had consciousness and if identified as an organism, it would not be aware of the thoughts, actions and motions of people on the planets it may contain within its structure.

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