From Abracadabra to Zombies
Deepak & the Emptiness of Spiritual Gibberish
17 Feb 2011. Deepak Chopra is a master of the vague, cognitively empty but emotively charged expression. Science and spirituality should be friends, says Deepak. Like Dick and Jane, I suppose. The only sensible thing he says in his entire article published in Michael Shermer's Skeptic magazine (vol. 16 No. 2, 2011) is "With no data to support the existence of God, there is also no reason for religion and science to close the gap between them." Of course, he asserts this truism only to deny it.
Deepak gets aligned with reality by proclaiming that "God is inside the consciousness of each person." (In each of us, I suppose, there is a divinity trying to escape.) Does this mean anything more than that God is a thought? Yes, according to the Master:
The physical building blocks of the universe have gradually vanished; that is, atoms and quarks no longer seem solid at all but are actually clouds of energy, which in turn disappear into the void that seems to be the source of creation. Was mind also born in the same place outside space and time? Is the universe conscious? Do genes depend on quantum interactions? Science aims to understand nature down to its very essence, and now these once radical questions, long dismissed as unscientific, are unavoidable....
It is becoming legitimate to talk of invisible forces that shape creation - not labeling them as God but as the true shapers of reality beyond the space/time continuum. A whole new field known as quantum biology has sprung up, based on a true breakthrough - the idea that the total split between the micro world of the quantum and the macro world of everyday things may be a false split. If so, science will have to account for why the human brain, which lives in the macro world, derives its intelligence from the micro world. Either atoms and molecules are smart, or something makes them smart. That something, I believe, will come down to a conscious universe.
Yes, the universe might be conscious, and Deepak might be giving it a giant headache with his frequent, noisy jabbering about quantum this and that. Deepak ought to read Democritus or Epicurus, since he seems to be attracted to ancient texts and ideas. Those guys never heard of quantum anything, but they were smart enough to realize that big and complex things made from many different kinds of small things could be, and often are, qualitatively different from one another. Conscious beings are composed of chemicals, which are composed of atoms, which are composed of other stuff, and there is no need that that other stuff be conscious for a conscious being to be conscious. Trees are composed of the same kinds of atoms that humans are composed of, but trees aren't conscious and neither are their constituent parts down to the smallest wave/particle packet. Atoms are mostly empty space, but trees and conscious beings are solid. Atoms have no taste or color, but things made of atoms, like tomatoes, do have taste and color. There are no blue atoms but the sky is blue. How is that possible, Deepak? And how can sodium and chlorine join together to make salt? Or hydrogen and oxygen to make water? The mysteries are boundless when you bring in quanta and energy, and ignore basic logical rules and physical facts.
If Deepak were to read Democritus or Epircurus, he'd not only find that his logic is warped, but that materialism and atheism are not the inventions of modern science or the New Atheists. More than two millennia ago, some philosophers realized that both materialism and atheism are reasonable alternatives to the superstitions promulgated by religions and accepted by the masses out of fear, ignorance, and hope.
To Chopra I say: God can get inside your consciousness only if you let your amygdala trample your frontal lobes with quantum gibberish. Trying to reconcile science and religion is like trying to get the fly back into the bottle after the bottle's been broken.*
* AmeriCares *