Shermer and Dalton go after science-y woo

November 27, 2013 • 4:50 am

Michael Shermer and Brian Dalton (“Mr. Deity”) analyze the phenomenon of New Wave Quantum Consciousness Gurus.  The target is pretty clear.

The video is described as “A Con Academy mini course in the techniques of New Age Spiritual Gurutry.”

Note: Since people are wondering whose face appears at 1:53, I’ve taken a screenshot. Beats me, but I’m sure somebody here can identify this person:

Picture 1

43 thoughts on “Shermer and Dalton go after science-y woo

  1. That completely blew my quantum consciousness. Now I understand the that the actualization of the theory of everything is the cosmic essence of the reality of life. Less is more or more is less.

  2. At 1:52 (just when it changes to 1:53 and Brian uses the word ’embarrassing’) .. there is a ‘subliminal’ picture to his left ..
    Does anyone know who that is?
    (No, it’s not the Deepster).

    1. Leonard Mlodinow. He’s the co-author with Hawking of “The Grand Design”. I believe he teaches physics at CalTech.

      I wonder why they linked “embarrassing” with him, though…

      1. I think he’s the guy who got into an argument with Chopra (on YouTube, I believe), and then teamed up with The Deepak to write a book, and now is at the Noetic Institute, some academy of Woo. But I’m not sure what happened to him.

        1. I think he’s the guy who was in the audience at the debate at Caltech between Sam Harris, Michael Shermer & Chopra. He supported Sam Harris and Michael Shermer & told Chopra he didn’t understand physics….so that’s why it’s embarrassing (for Chopra).

          Can’t wait for Chopra to flip out about this. He already went on a tear after his debate at Caltech when this happened.

    2. It’s theoretical physicist Leonard Mlodinow. He was in the audience at the Caltech debate between Shermer and Harris vs Chopra and Jean Houston. He got into a humorous exchange with Chopra beginning at 1:03:57 in the video of the debate here.

    1. War of worldviews? Chopra has a nonview.

      Even people who believed the sun went around the earth had some reasonable evidence to suggest that might be the case. Or that the earth was locally flat. Chopra has a worldview like I have paperclips causing my blood to circulate.

  3. It’s Caltech Physicist Leonard Mlodinow
    Co-wrote The Grand Design with Stephen Hawking
    He wrote a book squaring off against Deepak Chopra
    Which I think is why he got a “shout out”

  4. According to Google image search, it’s Mlodinow.

    And Wikipedia states that he co-wrote with Chopra “The War of the Worldviews”:

    “From their contrasting scientific and spiritual perspectives, the two authors answer the big questions about the universe, consciousness, life, and God.”

    1. Thanks for the link it provided the last straw as I was already unhappy when thinking about giving Chopra money.

      At least Mlodinow is on the rational side of accommodating the christian but, I think it is still an unhelpful way to go as religion is such a weighty chain for societies to carry. Mlodinow seems to exhibit an almost reasonable position but his accommodation of the christian is likely what allows him to be deepaked too.

      Mastery, self-determination, and the freedom to write our own life script are admirable goals, and I believe that we—that is, our brains—can achieve those goals. And they don’t have to leave the material world to do it.

      … science draws borders; scientists believe it does that for good reason—to exclude from our worldview that which is not true. But there is plenty of room within those borders for emotion, and meaning, and spirituality. A scientific and a spiritual life can exist side by side.

      1. When I first heard they wrote a book together, I was concerned that physicist had succumbed to the DC woo, thankfully not quite the case.

        I couldn’t buy that book knowing DC would be getting money – library possibly. Without reading the book, I’m not sure if Mlodinow is talking spirituality in the religious sense or a version of Sam Harris’ awe/wonder/chemical reactions in the brain. Again, I’ll have to see if I can find it in the library or an Amazon loaner.

  5. =D

    Evidently there’s free will and cheap thrills to go with the sciency frills and quantum quills.

  6. I think quantum spirituality has a long history of having nothing to do with quantum, but co-opting both science and reason anyway — particularly where it seems to intersect with “Eastern” religions and mystical, esoteric knowledge granted to open-minded, deep-thinking individuals. Consider the Transcendentalist Movement of the 19th century — and Madame Blavatsky’s Theosophy. Lovely-sounding gibberish which hits all the right intellectual notes.

    One contemplates the divine in order to understand the illusion of physical reality. One then goes ape-shit when it seems like any discovery of science is superficially similar. You found a “connection.” Everything in nature is a sign of the divine — if you only have the courage to interpret it through your reliable intuitions.

  7. If I ever found myself in a conversation/argument with Deepak or someone similar, I think I’d be sorely tempted to just say something like:

    “Yes, but the real issue is that, as chaos theory tells us, non-local events can infringe upon local potentialities only to the extent that their wave function collapse remains unobserved. So isn’t the real limiting aspect of any given manifestation of quantum consciousness really the very fact that it /is/ non-local? I mean, this seems to be a problem for your theory right?”

    Then I would see how long we could keep the “conversation” going. I think it would be fun.

  8. I love everything of Brian’s that I’ve seen. I just think it’s a bit unfortunate that they went with “Con Academy”. I get that the pun is a temptation, but I hope nobody watching this comes away with the impression that the real Khan Academy is in any way wooish or unscientific.

  9. Dammit someone here in Australia has already beat me to it and done the “Get Your Guru Going ” course.
    From the Advanced FAQ: (I guess I am not advanced enough to understand this stuff)

    “Quantum Vortex Scalar Wave Photon Pulse™ (QVSWPP™) is the core energy that is found in the model of Creation – the Spiral. The transmission of this energy has become available from 11-11-2011 for humanity, which comes right from Source – through the Galactic Centre. This unique energy signature is brought down from the Twin Ray merger of KaVeeTa and SuNiEL. They hold this ENERGY and stabilize it and pass it on to organic life forms on Earth to Upgrade the DNA strands and the soul vibrations…”

    And it gets worse.

  10. Well Chopra does appear to be part of the target but I thought the parts where Dalton is speaking on a stage sounded just like TED (which is in serious need of lampooning).

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