Perhaps this is a bit self-aggrandizing, but I’ll note it anyway. Steven Salzberg, a professor of Biostatistics and director of the Center for Computational Biology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has written a post for Forbes called “Deepak Chopra gets upset, tries the Harvard gambit.” It’s largely about Deepak’s trying to pwn me by touting his credentials, but Salzberg gets his own licks in.
Chopra’s claim that photons have consciousness, I have to say, is the purest nonsense. Does Chopra even know what a photon is? (Doubtful: he’s been throwing around the term “quantum” for decades with apparently no understanding of what it means.) Chopra says this sort of stuff all the time; Coyne also gives us this example:
“The gaia hypothesis says nature does have a mind, that the globe is conscious.”
So both photons and the entire planet are conscious. I can see why Coyne called this psychobabble. If Chopra doesn’t want to be ridiculed, he shouldn’t make ridiculous claims. (He also claims that telepathy is a serious research topic. Right.)
Chopra has become very wealthy spouting this kind of nonsense. His website heavily promotes his line of nutritional supplements, books, videos, and seminars (which he calls “meditation experiences”). He’s particularly fond of Ayurvedic supplements, which he claims provide a wide range of vague health benefits. One example: $35 for a 25-ounce bottle of fruit juice called Zrii (or 2 ounces for $4.75). This is little more than modern snake oil.
Visiting Chopra’s website is a deep dive into the world of pseudoscience. Jerry Coyne got this one exactly right – which is not surprising, because he went to Harvard.
I had visited The Chopra’s website only briefly, so I missed all the woo-ish goodies, but, inspired by Salzberg’s post, I made a longer visit to the Chopra Marketplace. Oh, the goodies that lie within! Here are but a few ways that The Chopra Regimen can improve your life:
Cleanse and detoxify yourself!
Rejuvinate your nervous system and become more fertile at the same time. It’s also an aphrodisiac!
Scavenge those nasty free radicals, and improve your digestion at the same time!
And (I can hardly say this without laughing): GUGGULU! Clean out those “unhealthy tissues,” raise your white blood cell count, and rejuvinate your skin. (It also helps you lose weight and “cool inflamed joints.”)
Remember, Chopra flaunts his credentials as an M.D. I wonder how many of these health claims have been tested in double-blind studies?
But wait–there’s more! For only twenty-four bucks you can have your own Deepak-approved double-walled tea tumbler, embellished with a soothing lotus bud and some Tibetan symbols.
For a man who boasts of his impeccable scientific credentials, he sure pushes some weird remedies.