Deepakities: Chopra gets into the box with Brian Cox

June 21, 2014 • 10:58 am

Here’s a question: If Chopra were put in a box, could he pass the Turing test? After all, we do know he love boxes!

At any rate, he’s supposed to be on a safari in Africa but he’s tw**ting as furiously as ever. The first tw**ts below weren’t generated by the automatic Deepak Quote Generator, but they could have been.  If I had a million bucks, I’d offer it to anyone who could explain them to me. At any rate, it shows how you can’t distinguish between Chopra and the computer.

Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 11.51.24 AM Screen shot 2014-06-20 at 11.52.03 AM


This morning, though, Matthew Cobb (who sometimes works with physicist Brian Cox on his broadcasts), emailed me that Chopra had a flare-up of Maru’s Syndrome, and got into a box with Cox. I love the fifth tw**t below, by Cox.


That’s gotta sting! Poor Chopra—he just can’t win. But he tried:

Screen shot 2014-06-21 at 11.52.13 AMThere’s that passive-aggressive behavior again: stroke with one hand and slap with the other. I’m not quite sure what a “naive realist” is, but I suspect, from Chopra’s history of deepities that it’s someone who’s simply too wedded to the naturalistic worldview of science to realize that there is no reality independent of consciousness. Chopra is, after all, a man who said that the Moon simply isn’t there unless we look at it. It would help Deepak a great deal if he could tell us what he means by claiming that the Universe is conscious, and that consciousness and that, “top down” gave rise to all reality.  For surely Chopra’s definition of a conscious Universe is not a universe that experiences “qualia,” or subjective sensations. Yet that is what he means by consciousness when applied to humans.

I’m torn between advising Brian Cox to not to catch his own case of Maru’s Syndrome, for there is no way that Chopra will ever change his mind. So what’s the point, except to either engage in Chopra-baiting (which has its own small joys), or to hope that the people on the sidelines see what a charlatan the man is?

Nevertheless, after the fifth tw**t in the second conversation above, I score Chopra 0, Cox 1.

UPDATE: (h/t to reader Alex): This is like a soap opera. After having insulted Cox, Chopra goes into Groveling Mode and begs Cox to come to his “Sages and Scientists” meeting—the same one I refused to attend.  Notice his prominent mention of “honorarium”!

Deepak grovels




121 thoughts on “Deepakities: Chopra gets into the box with Brian Cox

  1. “Objectifying the universe is a mistake of the intellect…”

    No, trying to cash in on an inflation if the fact that we must know the universe via our senses, a process which involves interpretation and possible fallibility to some extent, is the mistake.

    This is just a brand of solipsism. It’s the same non-starter postmodernists try to hawk as profound philosophical insight.

    The age-old refutation is: then you’re invited to step off a tall building.

    1. The lack of thought from Chopra is extraordinary. Naive Realism is the idea that a person only believes what’s seen with the senses which ironically is precisely what he does ie refutes the explanatory power of science or suggests it can’t match his faultless subjective experience – very sciency. It appears that most scientists are not naive realists ie they suspect the explanatory power of pure imagination which Mr C is blissfully not bound to. Its an extraordinary hubris and such a wonderful example of the Dunning Kreuger effect.

    1. Also, Chopra respects Cox, yet thinks Cox is naïve?

      The only context I can think of in which that would make sense would be one in which you’d expect someone to be naïve, like a young person. I don’t know how I’d simultaneously respect an established scientist but also think s/he’s naïve and getting things all wrong.

      Just more evidence that Chopra only says things that seem to sound good, but don’t actually make any sense.

      1. A naïve realist isn’t a realist who’s naïve!

        Naïve realism, also known as direct realism or common sense realism, is a philosophy of mind rooted in a theory of perception that claims that the senses provide us with direct awareness of the external world.

        — from the Wikipedia article Chopra links to.


        1. Huh. It would be interesting and possibly enlightening to identify who refers to it as “Naïve Realism” and who refers to it as “Direct Realism”.

          I would assume there’s a reason some people choose to use “naïve” as the qualifier.

            1. I don’t know. The wiki on NA says that people who want to convey a pejorative connotation avoid the term.

              Even if the accumulation of context has taken some of the teeth out of the term, I don’t think you can get away from the fact that the term must’ve originally been coined to cast the art as simplistic or unsophisticated, even if you then turn around and say “not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

              1. Of course I meant “people who *don’t* want to convey…”

                And I can’t bring myself to address the other topic you’ve raised here on this public forum. Have you no decency?!

        2. Actually, yes, they are, at least if they are a contemporary, since we have known for quite a long time that the thesis is false. (See, e.g., Churchland et al, “A Critique of Pure Vision”.)

  2. #CosmicConsciousnessMyArse – I love it!

    Chopra makes his millions by preying on vulnerable people. He deserves the contempt he receives from the intellectually honest.

  3. Wendy Kaminer has noted the similarity of many of Chopra’s ideas to Western pre-New-Age movements like New Thought and Christian Science (and perhaps Theosophy)

    I find this ironic as these movements are largely Western in origin and rather haphazardly borrow ideas from Eastern religions to suit their own purposes, in ways that are not historically sound. This makes Chopra an Asian who is complicit in the Western New Age appropriation of Eastern ideas. (And he wouldn’t be the first.)

  4. A good Brian Cox slam is always fun to watch. I remember I first learned of these strange folk who hate “materialists” after Brian Cox and Robin Ince wrote a great article in the New Statesman. People were all over Cox and naive was used a lot. I like it when Cox just calls the, twats or threatens to hit them with a big book.

    1. It is fun to see someone I respect acting so immature. Brian Cox is taking Deepak as seriously as he takes creationists, moon land conspiracy people and those people who thought that the LHC would destroy Earth. Only Brian Cox hasn’t called Deepak a nobber yet.

      1. You GO, Brian, for as long as you can stomach it…Cox looks so sweetly and naively young until he comes out with his zingers…

      1. Brian Cox’s twitter tag line came out of those twitter fights I believe in December 2012. Tag line: Ultra-naïve positivist-ish, although science can’t explain the existence of antipositivists

  5. Astonishing. And I foolishly thought that in his debate with Sam Harris and Shermer that Harris had brow-beaten at least some
    humility into Deepak. But no, he’s right back to his extravagant claims.

    “Real scientists have epistemic humility…..”

    That’s sweet, coming right after 5 tweets where you claim to explain to us the nature of reality.

    “…..have healthy skepticism….”

    Except, apparently, when an actual scientist aims his skepticism at your own extravagant claims huh Deepak? Then come the charges of militant, blinded materialism, etc.

    Nice racket you’ve got going there.

  6. The only argument that I am aware of which doesn’t assert that consciousness is a product of natural processes is panpsychism, the notion that consciousness is inherent in matter. But I don’t know if that can ever be demonstrated or refuted anymore that the notion that we are a higher order simulation from aliens. Since there is no cause to assert it, and no evidence that consciousness occurs in anything other that certain creatures with a sufficiently complex nervous system or equivalent, there is no reason not to posit that consciousness is a naturally evolved process, even if the “hard problem of consciousness” remains elusive.

    But Chopra’s ideas aren’t even as clever as this, they are pure mystical rubbish disguised as science.

  7. The universe is a subjective experience in the field of awareness”.

    Dear Mr. Chopra:

    Please explain what evidence supports this assertion. Also, how is the field of awareness measured?


    Mark Joseph

      1. Provided the walls aren’t actually brown.

        If they are, it’s a perfectly legitimate statement of fact.

        Just saying.

        *puff puff*

            1. My HS art teacher spoke of ” horse what- not” brown, which would be the perfect shade for Deepfried’s quantum messes.

              1. Strictly speking it’s a broad statement covering all species, but the gist of it is the same.

  8. “Chopra is, after all, a man who said that the Moon simply isn’t there unless we look at it.”

    The human race really needs to address this issue. We need to overcome our differences, come together and develop some kind of rota to ensure that at least one of us is looking at the moon at all times. If not, the pesky little critter is gonna disappear and the tides’ll go apeshit.

        1. That could be a new argument for god. He’s there to observe things to keep them from disappearing. But who watches god. It’s gods all the way down.

      1. I’m reminded of The Simpson’s episode where a bunch of giant “monsters” came to life and the way they went away was to not looks at them. There was a song, “just don’t look”.

        I’m also reminded of Doctor Who’s Weeping Angels.

  9. Deepak is really missing his calling.

    He needs to sit on a nice rug, surrounded by flowers and project deep-packed thoughts:

    Consciousness is the fruit of the mango and reality is the pits.

    You are not One with the Universe, rather the Universe is One with you.

    As you Breath in the Universe Exhales.

    There is no inside a box; the box is unaware of the outside.

    (This is EASY! I could sell these for a dollar each. I take MC and Visa.)

  10. Y’all are just jealous of Mr. Chopra’s deep insights into Quantum Consciousness and his well earned success.

    History will prove him right and show that atoms and particles are just tiny instruments that can be utilized by the Conscious Mind.

    It’s all about self-control and keeping an honest open mind.

    Yay Chopra!

      1. The scary thing is while that comment is probably incredibly tongue in cheek, Xenu knows how many hundreds of thousands of people would really say such a thing!

            1. It’s Danish. Torbjörn and Hempenstein got the Swedes covered, but I wonder if there’s any Norwegian’s or Finns on here?

              Anyway, despite the Y’all i was certain the final “yay Chopra” was a dead giveaway. 🙂

              1. Close enough. You’re now considered a fully functional Scandinavian. 😀

  11. My favourite from Prof Cox was the one preceding his last tweet mentioned above:

    “Just landed from US to a timeline full of drivel from Deadbat Chopstick’s army of crazies tweeting meaningless ‘spiritual’ yodaspeak.”

    I have a massive man-crush on Prof Cox. He’s a laid-back take-no-crap Mancunian joker (and ex pop star) who goes out of his way to troll creationists, moon hoaxers, astrologers, and pseudo-scientists of all stripes whenever he’s on national TV.

    The astronomy live shows that he’s presented with Dara O’Briein for the past couple of years on the BBC have been hilarious. With Robin Ince he’s also good fun.

  12. Oh man, I’m having a party tonight. Who can help me score some of that consciousness modality shit – then we can get seriously wasted.

    1. Next my ipad is going to become self aware and kill me. It is starting by autocorrecting in a passive way that gets me socially ostracized.

    2. [Beat me to it!

      Here’s my original comment, now partly mooted:]

      Let me see. The Deep Pockets machine gave me the following fortune cookie:

      “Knowledge relies on essential mortality”.

      Rounds of variation and selection gives me no change in meaninglessness:

      1. “Perception relies on essential mortality”.

      2. “Perception relies on universal mortality”.

      2. “Perception relies on universal awareness”.

      Yup, the japanese boxed Deep Pockets has a deepakities distance to the Deep Pockets machine of 0. They share their universal awareness of their zero perception.

      [Since Deep Pockets is on vacation, one may suspect that he uses the very same machine to make his economical backers, aka suckers, aware of his awareness for the time being.]

      By the way:

      Deep Pockets, Small Change “respect” Cox, but he doesn’t respect the response showing him ignorant on the science he makes anti-science claims on!? And once again the irrelevancies of philosophy is used to push anti-science. :-/

  13. “Nature is a self regulating ecosystem of awareness.”

    Chopra, since I prefer my word salad dressed, I suggest:

    Sublime nature is a patient, self regulating, but trembling (think of the earthquakes!) ecosystem of diamond-studded eyeglasses through which you count your quivering Jello mountains of liberated-from-others’ cash .

    I am still not giving you any of my money though. 🙂

  14. I was looking for something to poke at Deepcrak Chokera, but instead I visited his website on the SAGES & SCIENTISTS thing he’s sponsoring.

    What strikes me is the number of speakers he apparently has scheduled to appear. Among them are some individuals with, what I would characterize as, well credentialed in science, medicine, and biology. Therein lies what I consider to be a big hurdle for the skeptic/rationalists movement. Average persons will look at that the credentials and immediately assign credibility to anything the say.

    If we have a goal, it should be to discourage rational thinkers from inadvertently lending credibility to such promotions of nonsense by way of participation in events like this.

    1. If we have a goal, it should be to discourage rational thinkers from inadvertently lending credibility to such promotions of nonsense by way of participation in events like this.

      As noble as this goal sounds I’m reminded of the old saying about herding cats…

  15. “If we have a goal, it should be to discourage rational thinkers from inadvertently lending credibility to such promotions of nonsense by way of participation in events like this.”

    Pointing and laughing is good, too.

  16. Deepak: “Real scientists have epistemic humility” bla bla bla. Deepak is the epitome of humility, isn’t he. And also making a career out of being a professional scam artist like Dr Oz. All his quantum medicine has lead to epic fits of twittering scientists like a teenager to show off how little he knows about actual science.

  17. I often notice that Chopra’s followers, like that Kimberly C in the exchange shot above, always are harping on about “mutual respect” being needed and how we can all learn from each other, etc.

    What that’s really saying is, everyone else can learn from *them* and we all need to stop dismissing their ideas as new agey woo because they hold the truth

    There are many things in life where the answer is far from black and white. And indeed, scientists and critical thinkers on the whole believe in keeping an open mind (doxastic openness, to borrow a term I enjoyed from Peter Boghossian)

    But that doesn’t mean that truth is relative and we should have to respect charlatans that are making millions off of preaching absolute garbage. I don’t have to respect someone’s belief that unicorns exist or that the earth is flat. I can respect their humanity and other qualities but I certainly am not going to encourage this idea that any idea is as valid as another

    And for all their relativist BS, they don’t believe that either. They believe they’re correct and their way of looking at things is the right way. Relativism always works great when you’re trying to convert others over to your minority cult

    1. “A fool never learns from a wise man, but a wise man can always learn from a fool”
      Or vice versa, or something like that, I don’t remember who said it, or who said it first, anyway, ’cause I just said it, but you know…

        1. I do; I just went to my favorite Italian place and I was a bad girl. Maybe thick as several bricks.

      1. In Shakespeare, the fool is the guy that actually knows the truth of things. So, you can totally learn from a fool.

  18. For surely Chopra’s definition of a conscious Universe is not a universe that experiences “qualia,” or subjective sensations. Yet that is what he means by consciousness when applied to humans…

    Actually, though I don’t know the man personally, I think that is exactly his definition.

  19. A tweet from one of Deepak’s minions (Ikjyot Singh Kohli) to Prof. Cox regarding Lawrence Krauss’s book references an article Kohli recently published in a journal on the history and philosophy of physics. I decided to check the wiki page on Krauss’s book and noticed that it included a sentence that referenced this article. I did a quick IP look-up of the editor and, surprise surprise, the IP is from the same city (Toronto) Deepak’s minion is from. Nothing like trying argue against two physicists by promoting your own work published in a journal of history and philosophy and not an actual physics journal. Of course Deepak and his other minions latched onto this one and retweeted.

    Many of Kohli’s tweets just spam his own article over and over.

    1. Doesn’t surprise me at all. I called Kohli out on my blog yesterday (kind of by accident) and he’s been tweeting about it all day. And Brian Cox actually responded to him recently on Twitter, but the ratio of his tweets to Kohli’s is like 1:9,000.

  20. If as Deepak claims, things (like the moon) don’t exist until you perceive them, could he do the following experiment for me?

    Close his eyes, and walk across a motorway (freeway) in rush hour, according to his philosophy, he should arrive at the other side unscathed…. I, and many others expect the reality to be slightly different….

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