Chopra tries to buy me out

May 29, 2014 • 5:00 am

The stick didn’t work, so the carrot was dangled this morning.

Really, what do you think the chances are that this invitation came because Chopra really wanted to hear my views on science, versus the chance that he could use my name (as he does at the top of this screed) as someone who has participated in these woo-fests? The latter tactic—coopting scientists—is the Templeton Foundation Strategy. (BTW, I’m sad to hear that several well-known atheist/scientists are participating in this year’s Templeton-sponsored World Science Festival, including at least one who said he/she would never take Templeton money.)

At any rate, $4000 is not chump change, California is a nice place to visit, and if this were a reputable science meeting, or even a science-and society-meeting, rather than an instantiation of Big Quackery. I’d consider it. But as it is, I’ve sent my polite regrets. My reputation, such as it is, is not for sale.

My own comments are in bold.

Dear Professor Coyne,

On behalf of Deepak Chopra and The Chopra Foundation, I would like to invite you to participate as one of our speakers at The Chopra Foundation Sages and Scientists Symposium 2014.  The dates are August 22-24, 2014 at La Costa Resort and Spa where my center is located.

It’s a three-day event with rich content on the topics of:

•    Science and Consciousness

•    Leadership

•    Well being

•    Peace and Justice

•    World Transformation: Critical Issues with Creative Solutions

We also infuse the creative arts throughout the program as a form of critical thinking [???] — music, dance, poetry, etc.  All of these components support the foundation’s mission: together we can help to create a more peaceful, just, sustainable, happier, and healthy world.

Past speakers have included Hans Peter Duerr, Henry Stapp, Rustum Roy, Leonard Mlodinow, Michael Shermer [SHAME ON HIM] , Joe Primack, Bruce Rosenblum, Lothar Schafer, Menas Kafatos, Rudy Tanzi [SHAME ON HIM], Subhash Kak,  Neil Theise, Allan Savory, Amit Goswami, Bernard Haisch, Dean Ornish, Dean Radin, Dimitar Sasselov, Donald Hoffman, Duane Elgin,  Elisabet Sahtouris, Elissa Epel, Fred Kuttner, Patrick Flanagan, Daniel Siegel, Richard Davidson,  Stuart Hameroff, VA Shiva, Vilayanur Ramachandran and Murali Doraiswamy.  Below is this year’s confirmed speaker’s list. [I recognize very few of these names, but I know mostly scientists, not sages]

In appreciation of your support, we will provide you with roundtrip economy air travel, hotel room and taxes, and honorarium of USD $4,000.00. [SUBSTANTIAL HONORARIUM, AT LEAST FOR A SCIENTIST] Additionally, we will gift you with complimentary program registration for you and the guest of your choice.  Registration includes program lectures and materials, private Patron/Speaker activities, and program meals.

I am hoping that you will consider joining us.  Should you like to discuss our invitation, I am reachable at [PHONE NUMBER REDACTED].

Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.

Warmly,

[NAME REDACTED]

The Chopra Foundation

About The Chopra Foundation

Mission:  To participate with individuals and organizations in creating a critical mass for a peaceful, just, sustainable, and healthy world.

Core Activities:

1.       Education and Research

–          Self Directed Biological Transformation Study

–          Mediation and the Aging

–          Meditation and digital technology

a.       Annual Sages and Scientists Symposium (www.choprafoundation.org)

b.      Annual prizes to Sages and Scientists for contribution to the understanding of consciousness and their contribution to the betterment of humanity.

c.       Collaboration with universities and institutions on research on the scientific understanding of consciousness.

2.       Global Networks for Global and Personal Transformation

3.       Humanitarian

a.        Collaboration with and support

–          Food for Education – <http://www.foodforeducation.org>www.foodforeducation.org

–          Project Why – <http://www.projectwhy.org>www.projectwhy.org

–          Peace is a Lifestyle – peaceisalifestyle.com

–          Weightless Project – weightlessproject.org

–          Death Makes Life Possible Documentary

The Chopra Foundation Symposium

Sages and Scientists 2014

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS

• Jack Andraka, Gordon E. Moore Award at Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award

• Anirban Bandyopadhyay, Senior Scientist in the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) Tsukuba, Japan.

• Keith Black, MD, Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurosurgery, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center [SHAME ON HIM]

• Gretchen Bleiler, Pro Snowboarder, Olympian, and Chopra Center Certified Teacher [THIS ISN’T A SCIENTIST, SO IT MUST BE A SAGE]

•Josephine Briggs, Director of National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health [DOUBLE SHAME ON ON HER! BUT OF COURSE THAT INSTITUTE, WHICH HAS NOT COME UP WITH ANY USEFUL “COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE” THERAPIES, FITS RIGHT IN WITH THIS MEETING. WILL THE GOVERNMENT LET HER ACCEPT THE $4000?]

• Deepak Chopra, MD. FACP, Founder of The Chopra Foundation, New York Times Bestselling author, Super Brain, War of the Worldviews, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and many more

• Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-At-Large for The Atlantic and National Journal; and Editor-in-Chief of AtlanticLIVE, National Journal LIVE, and QuartzLIVE. He is also Editor-at-Large for Quartz and an MSNBC contributor

• P. Murali Doraiswamy, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Duke University [SHAME ON HIM]

• Dr. Edith Eva Eger, Author and Lecturer, faculty appointment at the University of California, San Diego

• Elissa Epel, PhD, Associate Professor at University of California, San Francisco, in the department of Psychiatry, Co-founder of Telome Health, Inc., 2013 Rustum Roy Spirit Award Recipient

• Stuart Hameroff, MD, physician and researcher at the University Medical Center and Center for Consciousness Studies, and co-author with Sir Roger Penrose – Orchestrated Reduction Of Quantum Coherence In Brain Microtubules: A Model For Consciousness? 2011 Recipient of The Chopra Foundation Award

• Donald Hoffman, Cognitive Scientists and Author, 2013 Rustum Roy Spirit Award Recipient

• Thomas Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health [SHAME ON HIM]

• Sheena Iyengar, ST Lee Professor of Business, Columbia Business School Director of the Global Leadership Matrix (GleaM) Program

• Menas Kafatos, physicist, Founding Dean, Schmid College of Science, Vice Chancellor for Special Projects, Director of the Center for Excellence in Applied, Fundamental and Computational Science Professor, and author – The Nonlocal Universe and The Conscious Universe. 2011 Recipient of The Chopra Foundation Award

• Zoe Keating, One woman orchestra, Creative

• Christof Koch, PhD, Biophysics and Author, Chief Scientific Officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science

• Poonacha Machaiah, cofounder BodyMindand.Me, CEO of ABOVE – A Bunch of Versatile Entrepreneurs

• Fred Matser, Entrepreneur, Humanitarian, and Author

• Leonard Mlodinow, PhD, Author, Subliminal: How Our Unconscious Mind Rules Our Behavior, Co Author, War of the Worldviews

• Efren Penaflorida, Pushcart Educator, 2009 CNN Hero of the Year, Dynamic Teen Company

•  Kyra Phillips, Anchor/Correspondent, CNN, Documentary/Investigative [I HOPE SHE’S DOING INVESTIGATIVE WORK HERE]

•  Masami Saionji, Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai, The World Peace Prayer Society, The Goi Peace Foundation, Author

•  Eric Schadt, PhD, Director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology

•  Erhard Seiler, PhD, Physicist, Max-Planck-Institut fur Physik, Munich [SHAME ON HIM]

•  Shaw-Child Family: Desmond Childs, Curtis Shaw,  Nero and Roman Childs-Shaw, and Angela Whittaker

•  Raj Sisodia, Co founder and Co Chairman of Conscious Capitalism, Inc.

•  Jason Silva, Media Artist

•  Sonima Foundation: Eugene Ruffin, Executive Director of Sonima Foundation, Dr. David Miyashrio, Superintendent of Cajon Valley Union School District, Dr. Timothy B. Baird, Superintendent of Encinitas Union School District, Scott Himelstein, former deputy Secretary of Education and Acting Secretary of Education for the State of California, Stedman Graham, Chairman and CEO of S. Graham Associates

•  Steven Steinhubl, MD, Director of Digital Medicine at the Scripps Translational Science Institute, Clinical Cardiologist at Scripps Health

•  Tara Stiles, founder and owner of Strala

•  Eddie Stern, Co Director, Ashtanga Yoga, New York

•  Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D., Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Director, and coauthor – Super Brain, 2012 Recipient of The Chopra Foundation Award

•  Neil Theise, MD, Pathologist, Adult Stem Cell Researcher, Professor of Pathology and Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine [SHAME ON HIM]

• Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, Author, Co Foun

• Eric Topol, MD, Scripps Translational Science Institute, Professor of Genomics at The Scripps Research Institute

• Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mpho Tutu [PITY I WON’T GET TO MEET HIM]

•Pim van Lommel, MD, NDE-researcher, author of ‘Consciousness beyond Life’. [LOL. BUT I’M SURE THAT THE HEAD OF THE NIH’S CENTER FOR COMPLEMENTARY AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE WILL ENJOY CHATTING WITH DR. VAN LOMMEL]

• Bruce Vaughn, Chief Creative Executive Walt Disney Imagineering‹

In fact, shame on them all. But four thousand bucks is four thousand bucks, especially when you get paid to spend a weekend at a resort and spa in California.

What I’m wondering is why a man who has repeatedly engaged in invective against me, to the point of calling me an “evolutionary maladapted Homo Erectus” [sic], as evidenced below, would suddenly dangle this carrot before me?

1457632_10201505656616507_567410956_n screen-shot-2014-05-23-at-7-34-36-am

In other words, why would Chopra invite an “ignoramus and a buffoon”, and someone “incapable of abstract thinking,” to such a distinguished gathering of woosters?

The answer’s pretty clear.

 

95 thoughts on “Chopra tries to buy me out

    1. Indeed, well done professor Takkatt. (Tak-katt, ‘roof cat’, since we lack a specific term for “inner roof”.)

      1. As it was the only language I studied at school, I prefer Prof. Coyne’s French title: Professeur Chat Le Botté – “Prof. Puss in Boots”.

        >^._.^<

    1. Agreed.

      This site is one of the few out there to maintain very high standards for credibility and rigor.

  1. That last guest is “Chief Creative Executive Walt Disney Imagineering” – well, if nothing else that serves to show that Chopra’s is a Mickey Mouse outfit.

    1. By the way, shame too surely on past speaker Leonard Mlodinow who has worked with Stephen Hawking…

            1. It’s an opinion whether he “sold out”, from the description of that book in the link:

              “[the] two men came to realize in their subsequent discussions how deeply their worldviews, the very principles that they accepted as fundamental starting points for discussion, differed from each other.”

              “this book was born, as an attempt to have a candid, side-by-side presentation of two extreme and contradictory ways of looking at the world: the approach of science-based materialism and naturalism and the approach of transcendent spirituality.”

              Though you may argue that this gives attention to Chopra, it doesn’t sound like positive attention. Much like Dr. Coyne here.

              1. Not quite the same dynamic as with Jerry.

                By taking Chopra seriously enough to write a point-counterpoint book, Mlodinow gives Chopra (far too much) credibility.

                /@

    2. An Imagineer? When I was young I worked on several projects involving Imagineers. I quickly came to really dislike dealing with them.

      SOP was, I would figure out how to make their dreams come true. They would come look at it and decide that no, I think we should go with something else. Then they would come up with a new artist rendering and expect you to create that for them, and demo the first one, for no additional cost. And Disney was very slow paying. The kicker though was that they were, fairly uniformly, distinctly unimaginative.

  2. Re the World Science Fair:

    Participants: Sean Carroll, E.L. Doctorow, Jo Marchant, Joyce Carol Oates, Steven Pinker

    A couple of names there that raise eyebrows …

    /@

    1. Am going to World Science Fair – it has nothing to do with woo. These are two different things. There are no woo speakers or sessions at WSF. There is a real effort to educate the public on real science. If Templeton wants to sponsor straight science – let them. Sean Carroll sees the difference too. With Chopra the idea is to gain credibility for his “consciousness woo” by saying it is legitimately up for debate. That’s playing his game on his terms, and even if you think you are winning – you are losing.

      1. Well, the religious views of the Templeton Foundation’s president, John Templeton Jr. together with his association with far right wing political activists should give anyone pause before lending their name or attending any conferences sponsored by this dubious organization.

        In particular, Mr. Templeton contributed a quarter million bucks to a PAC that supported fascist theocrat Rick Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign. When one gets down in the pen with the pigs, one should not be surprised to emerge with a coating of mud.

        http://goo.gl/Sm3azd

        1. Templeton is just one of 30 sponsors including Alfred P. Sloan, Simons and Columbia University. Are we supposed to boycott everything they contribute to??? Really???

  3. It would appear that Chopra inhabits a space bordered at one end by anosognosia and the other by the Dunning-Kruger effect.

  4. Chopra: Come, boy, see for yourself. From here, you will witness the final destruction of the Alliance and the end of your insignificant rebellion.

    [Jerry’s eyes go to his lightsaber]

    Chopra: You want this, don’t you? The hate is swelling in you now. Take your Jedi weapon. Use it. I am unarmed. Strike me down with it. Give in to your anger. With each passing moment you make yourself more my servant.

    Jerry: No

    Chopra: It is unavoidable. It is your destiny. You, like your father, are now mine.

    1. Many Bothans accepted substantial honoraria to bring us this information… It’s a trap!!!

      1. Chopra: Jerry, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.

        Jerry: I’ll never join you!

        1. This whole thread had me laughing… why? Because the tableau was summoned, unbidden, to mind. Chopra on his throne, face half-shadowed by a cowl, Dr. Coyne defiant, hands shackled. *laughs again*

  5. We also infuse the creative arts throughout the program as a form of critical thinking

    Too bad you’ll miss out on the free-will and consciousness interpretive dance. 😀

  6. Well being

    Peace and Justice

    World Transformation: Critical Issues with Creative Solutions

    I’m sure they’ll get that lot sewn up by cocktail time on day 1.

  7. Sorting this lot out:

    Well being

    Peace and Justice

    World Transformation: Critical Issues with Creative Solutions

    What are they going to do for the other 2 and a half days?

  8. Well, I must say I do think you are being a little closed minded. Speaking as one of those scientists(now retired) who have found much to commend in many of those traditional disciplines and have learned a lot through them, calling shame on science people who also have found much to commend is not worthy of a true open minded scientist.

    1. After you apologize for insulting the host, which is a Roolz violation, could you please tell us what, exactly, it is that you’ve found “much to commend” in “many of those traditional disciplines”? As I said, the NIH’s Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, set up to investigate that stuff, has found not one traditional “discipline” that has any scientific value.

    2. Ah, yes, the argument from tradition. Bloodletting was a tradition for several hundred years. No doubt the next time your body malfunctions you’ll ask your doctor to perform that traditional therapy. Presumably you’re also meditating multiple times each day to slow down the aging of your body. How’s that working out? We can see that it isn’t doing squat for Chopra.

      Lastly, what is “Meditation and digital technology” supposed to mean? I suspect it’s a reference to experiments done by Dean Radin and others that purport to show how human consciousness can affect the behavior of digital computers. What a crock of shit.

      1. As I point out below, Dean Radin is a big proponent of PK and ESP, along with statistician Jessica Utts of UC. Irvine. I am rather surprised she isn’t showing up at this “conference”.

      2. I read a book about the influenza pandemic of 1918/1919. One of the problems they had fighting the disease was the fact that some doctors still believed that disease was caused by unbalanced humors rather than bacteria or viruses. Forget vaccines – leeches for everyone.

    3. Sorry, but I think you are being even more closed minded.

      As Prof Coyne clearly pointed out, Chopra has insulted him repeatedly and not addressed a single one of the serious criticisms that he raised. Rudolph Tanzi even came on this site itself and after attacking and threatening Prof Coyne repeatedly, he eventually admitted he had no evidence at all to support the product he and Chopra are selling together.

      I’ve studied a lot of spiritual stuff for several decades. Despite being an atheist theses days, I’m actually quite sympathetic to some forms of spirituality. I even think it may have something to contribute to medicine — some good techniques and insights might possibly arise, even from a shaky theoretical platform. But spiritual people need to find a way of exploring this without letting in blatant quacks. And they need to learn how to distinguish between speculation and established fact. (I don’t mean stop speculating, I mean flag speculations as such!)

      Until spiritual folk like Chopra learn to do that, they have absolutely no right pretend to be on equal footing with science.

      Chopra is happy to mix with blatant and dangerous cancer quacks like Bruce Lipton and Gregg Braden. He is happy to have ignorant fakes like Dean Radin in his program. No scientist should have anything to do with this.

      I applaud Professor Coyne for opposing this deceitful and dangerous nonsense.

  9. As Prof. Coyne indicated, most of these “scientists” are obscure individuals who are unknown to him and most of the commentors here. However, I did recognize the name of Dean Radin who has a legitimate degree in physics and is a proponent of ESP and PK. Just the type of individual likely to be drawn to a fraud like Chopra.

  10. Good to know that Prof CC isn’t tempted by Derpack’s dollars, although there would be something amusing about being paid to tell a whole bunch of people that they’re wrong/not even wrong/loons.

    Still, as has been said many times before, this will look a lot better on Derpack’s CV than on the Prof’s!

  11. Surely Christof Koch deserves a large modicum of shame? CSO of the Allen Institute for Brain Science attends woo-fest?

    They’re in the middle of doing actual brain science research, and he’s taking time out to chant “Hare Krishna”?

    My actual question: Besides a 4K honorarium, what do the scientists get out of it? They’re giving up their time, granting a modicum of respectability… what do they get in return? They don’t learn anything from these conferences. Science is harmed, not helped, by the pseudoscientists like Chopra. They would benefit humanity far more to donate a little of the time otherwise wasted to a local high school or community college, sparking a real interest in the wonders of science and reality.

    How can they trade gold for dross?

    1. Maybe they take the money and bank it (because scientists may also have families and debts etc. and are generally not paid very well), and attend for the laffs and the noms, and to know the enemy. That could be an appropriate response if it could be managed without significant loss of professional credibility.

    2. Beat me to it! Indeed, I found Christof Koch’s book “Consciousness” to be very interesting and charming. However, he does believe in some form of “universal consciousness” and so maybe he’s not entirely out of place. Also, shame on Leonard Mlodinow!

  12. Chopra doesn’t want to buy out Coyne, he merely wants to be able to say “See? I gave him the opportunity to meet me in an open debate, and he refused.”

    1. But the invitation isn’t to a debate. It isn’t even clear what section they want to put him in.

  13. Totally agree with your polite refusal, but I can’t work up much “shame on…” feelings for the past speakers. I’d have to see their speeches first. If they used their woo-institute time to lecture wooey people about good science, I’m okay with that. An analogoy would be getting an offer to go to some fundie church and talk evolution – as long as the speaker doesn’t dilute or downplay the real science, I have no problem with someone accepting that sort of speaking engagement. It’s called outreach for a reason – because you go out to the people you’re trying to reach; they don’t come to you.

    I’m also ambivalent about NCCAM. While the congresscritters who set it up may have had bad motives for doing so (i.e. to lend government imprimatur to pseudoscience), my understanding is that the organization now does mostly debunking. I’m fine with a government agency that spends my tax dollars debunking pseudoscience and telling the public what products on the shelves don’t work.

    1. I have mixed feelings about this approach. I agree that it could create an opportunity to expose people to honest critical thinking… but it also legitimizes the woo factor. It’s easy for Chopra to make claims that real scientists support his pseudoscientific claims.

      To your analogy of creationism, Richard Dawkins refuses to debate creationists because of this specific issue. A pseudoscientific podium is the wrong place to launch a scientific message.

      If you like a starker contrast: imagine a serious academic historian attending a Holocaust denial meeting, but only talking about the many fallacies demonstrated by other speakers… many would consider that legitimating a position of debate.

      As David Gorski puts it; “When you mix apple pie with cow pie, neither of them gets any more appetizing.” (paraphrase)

      1. The Dawkins analogy might make sense if Chopra were some small-time huckster looking to ride the coattails of people more famous than himself.

        But he isn’t. He’s already more famous than anybody on his speaker list with the possible exception of Desmond Tutu. Chopra’s audience is huge. Don’t you think it might do that audience some good to hear from people who disagree with him?

      2. I respect the no-debate stance, but neither my example nor Jerry’s invitation was about a debate. It was for a talk, with Jerry deciding the content. I think the opportunity to give pro-science talks to the sorts of people we want to reach could be valuable. Having said that, I think this is the sort of matter best decided by the individual. The only “wrong” choice Jerry could make would be the option he doesn’t feel comfortable doing. With Chopra’s history of insulting him, I think his refusal makes perfectly good sense.

  14. In other words, why would Chopra invite an “ignoramus and a buffoon”, and someone “incapable of abstract thinking,” to such a distinguished gathering of woosters?

    I think it’s likely that Chopra himself doesn’t decide whom to invite…he probably has a staff that looks for prospects and invites them, the goal being to maximize the amount of revenue generated.

    1. No, in this case it was Chopra who decided to invite me. I have a copy of an email from Chopra himself, sent on Saturday to the person who invited me, asking her “please invite Dr Coyne to speak and join a panel discussion at our next Sages and Scientists conference . Please include a list of previous distinguished speakers/scientists and also a list of scientists who will be coming this year. Also include usual offer of honorarium and travel expenses & accommodation.”

      The people at that foundation don’t know me from Adam. The conclusion, which is substantiated fully, is that this was Chopra’s decision.

  15. So if they’re offering $4K to all the people on the list, what’s the tab for the sheeple? Any idea what typical attendance at these things is? Or does he fund this off the surplus from his ointments?

  16. Economy air fair? What cheapskates! It’s not like you’re coming from across the pond.

    If Deepity was really following this blog closely he’d have offered you a wildlife photography outing and a kitten.

  17. Even if he likes to define himself as a ‘romantic reductionist’, I am sad to find Christof Koch on this list. After all, he is a long term collaborator of Francis Crick and should know better than associate with Chopra.

    Desnes Diev

  18. This is his new strategy. Go take a look at his Wikipedia talk page. He has even had the guy he hired to “fix” his Wikipedia page try to invite some of the editors over there to one of his seminars.

    They shut him down pretty quickly.

  19. We also infuse the creative arts throughout the program as a form of critical thinking — music, dance, poetry, etc

    For some reason I’m reminded of Kurt Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions:

    A flying saucer creature named Zog arrived on Earth to explain how wars could be prevented and how cancer could be cured. He brought the information from Margo, a planet where the natives conversed by means of farts and tap dancing. Zog landed at night in Connecticut. He had no sooner touched down than he saw a house on fire. He rushed into the house, farting and tap dancing, warning the people about the terrible danger they were in. The head of the house brained Zog with a golfclub.

    Could it be that Chopra is but a well meaning alien charitably trying to impart vital information that we in our hubris and ignorance continue to ignore at our peril ?

    Or do his ideas just stink to high heaven ?

  20. I can’t believe you passed up the chance to become a Wise Sage!!!! lol

    And are these examples of Quack Shaming!?!?! lolz

  21. Deepak just tweeted this:


    I apologize to @Evolutionistrue for my mean remarks. I hope he will accept invitation to speak at our conference Choprafoundation.org

    Somehow, though, I don’t think he’ll woo Jerry.

  22. Woo is cheap but useless except for good wooers, science is the reverse so a good investment for all.

    Stuart Hameroff, MD, physician and researcher at the University Medical Center and Center for Consciousness Studies, and co-author with Sir Roger Penrose – Orchestrated Reduction Of Quantum Coherence In Brain Microtubules: A Model For Consciousness? 2011 Recipient of The Chopra Foundation Award

    Oh joy, the centerpoint of dualist mind woo, the Penrose/Hameroff collaboration.

    [Besides the woo the specific idea isn’t even funny, microtubules is the cellular cytoskeleton so neither mysterious nor special.]

    1. Centerpoint of dualist mind-woo? How about this one:

      Experienced Practitioners Reap Genetic Changes After a Day of Mindfulness Meditation
      http://nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/111513
      http://www.investigatinghealthyminds.org/pdfs/KalimanRapidPNEC.pdf

      The study was jointly funded by NCCAM and Templeton and claims to offer mechanisms to explain clinically relevant biochemical benefits of mindfulness for inflammatory conditions – though a search on Pub Med produces scant support of such benefits. No mechanisms are offered to explain how mindfulness causes beneficial epigenetic changes, however, in their own study. So the mysterious cause of the biochemical clinical benefits, if there really are such, is still not explained. Microtubules, perhaps?

    2. Just noticed that one of the authors of the Mindfulness Meditation study which I linked to is on the list of past Chopra Foundation speakers: Richard Davidson of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds. Nice little mind-bending money-go-round they got there.

    3. I didn’t notice that Sir Roger Penrose was part of this symposium when I originally read Jerry’s post.

      By coincidence, I was alerted to the Penrose/Hameroff “Orch OR” theory by a commenter to a YouTube video. The guy was C&P stuff to supposedly support his dualistic mind-body nonsense. He could barely manage to compose a sentence and then he would post what I could tell were unattributed quotes from research papers.

      I discovered where it came from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513001188

      I noticed that Deepak Chopra was listed as commenting on the theory and immediately thought of Dr. Coyne-wondering if he had heard of this “Orch OR theory” of consciousness?

      I have read a couple of the articles from Science Direct and Elsevier and one of the responses from Penrose/Hameroff. I’m just not sure that their theory is dualistic…it seemed to me that the “Orchestrated reduction of quantum coherence in brain microtubules” is a naturalistic mechanism. Am I wrong?

      I sure would like to hear what Jerry thinks about it.

  23. I know Deepity Pockets thought this would be a good strategy (but only if Jerry hadn’t such integrity!), but maybe his mail would have suited the Weekly Weird comments?

    At least if it was relabeled as Weekly Weird Woo.

  24. It seems that the motivation here is exactly like with the creationists who insist that science must be religion-like, because that’s all they know. In this case Chopra is really all about the $, so that’s what he thinks motivates everyone.

  25. The director of the National Institute of Mental Health is supporting this nonsense? That is the kind of thing that makes me very afraid of seeking counseling, and this has just reaffirmed my fears. That should not stand.

  26. Probably the only chance you’ll ever have to share billing with a Pro Snowboarder; and you blow it.

    😀

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