Deepak Chopra likes me! He really, really likes me! (Well, not really...)

Orac is currently hiding from the Federation in an undisclosed location (somewhere warm and out of the country, the better to avoid election news after having cast an absentee ballot), where he is charging his Tarial cells, the better to return fully recharged and ready to dive back into the massive piles of woo awaiting him when he returns. Since it’s only a brief respite, I had been planning on either reposting material from Orac’s other known hideout on the web, the better not to let this blog lie fallow and lack for Insolence, Respectful and not-so-Respectful, as indicated depending upon who (or what) is on the receiving end. However, something so amusing happened over the weekend, that, as I sat yesterday morning having for some reason gotten up earlier than I would want to, I decided a brief post would be in order (and even fun). Only one woo-meister could “inspire” that: Deepak Chopra. (OK, there are others, but when someone as high ranking in the pantheon of alternative medicine gurus actually addresses you directly, it’s hard to resist commenting.) Then the brief post grew, because for some reason I was awake fairly early in the morning an no one else was getting up. That’s how this post changed from one that would just post Chopra’s video and leave a brief comment to a full Orac post. Damn, I’ll have to recharge more.

Actually, no I won’t. This was fun, and vacations are meant for fun.

Last week, I wrote a post entitled Why do medical conference organizers keep inviting Deepak Chopra to speak? It was a simple question asked in some frustration in the wake of the American Osteopathic Association’s having invited Chopra to speak at OMED 2016, its yearly conference, and, more recently, at the Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton’s Annual Conference. As you’ll recall, my chief complaints about these invitations is that Deepak Chopra has long promoted a brand of pseudoscience and mystical mumbo-jumbo that sounds all science-y and cool if you don’t know much about science but that is easily recognized as utter bullshit if you have a modicum of knowledge about the relevant disciplines, such as quantum mechanics, epigenetics, and the like, that Chopra twists into pretzels of woo in his articles, books, and talks. Inviting Chopra to legitimate medical conferences, unfortunately, has a tendency to legitimize his particular brand of mysticism as being valid science and medicine when it is not. I wasn’t alone in my complaints. In fact, my complaints were inspired by Tim Caulfield, thanks to news reports from Canada quoting him about the Edmonton conference, a conference I hadn’t known about. Add that to the AOA invitation (which I had known about but felt that I had probably missed my chance to blog about), and you have a post. That’s the tl;dr version; read the full version if you are interested.

In the meantime, here’s Chopra’s response:

He starts out by bragging about a spiritual retreat he’s directing. Hilariously, though, Chopra makes a remark about my having been on his case for close to two decades now. Would that were true! Actually, this blog has only existed since December 2014, and the first post I ever wrote about Chopra was on the old blog on October 11, 2005, a post appropriately called Deepak Chopra misunderstands skepticism. Of course, since the move over to Scienceblogs in 2006, I’ve “featured” Chopra frequently. So I’ve only been on Chopra’s case for 11 years, but I’ll take it as a complement that Chopra thinks it’s nearly two decades, interpreting it as Chopra thinking it feels that way.

Be that as it may, Chopra even read directly from my post extensively. Indeed, I’m thinking of capturing that sound and using it for...something. Chopra is even more unhappy with Tim Caulfield because, as a result of his efforts, there is a movement to disinvite Chopra from the autism conference where he’s been invited to speak, an effort Chopra rather arrogantly dismisses by saying that if he is disinvited he’ll just be saved a flight and fulfil some other obligation. Nice to know that he thinks so highly of the organizers of the Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton’s Annual Conference that he would so blithely dismiss the talk he’s scheduled to give there. He also brags about how he is board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology, which is nothing that I didn’t already know, although I wonder if he is still boarded in those specialties. Of course, it’s quite possible that he’s old enough to have been grandfathered in after the American Board of Internal Medicine stopped issuing lifetime certifications and started requiring periodic recertification and, now, maintenance of certification. He also goes on about how he has a professorship at the University of California and teaches a course at the Chopra Center that is certified for CME credits.

I must admit that I didn’t know that Chopra was so in with the University of California. Indeed, inspired by this statement I did some Googling and found that in March 2016 this happened

The UC San Diego School of Medicine has promoted Dr. Deepak Chopra from assistant professor to full professor to reflect his growing work with the campus to explore and explain how such things as meditation, yoga and diet affect a person's health.

The promotion does not come with a salary. The 68 year-old physician-spiritualist will continue to interact with the university on a voluntary, unpaid basis. He will continue to be based out of the Chopra Center in La Costa, which he co-founded in 1996 to explore and teach about the wellbeing of mind, body and spirit.

OK, it’s an unpaid professorship, which means it’s probably a clinical faculty position, which is similar to adjunct faculty positions, except that it might not even be paid. The reason medical schools dole out clinical professorships is because it allows those with such positions to teach medical students at clinical sites. Not infrequently, private physicians at whose practices medical students and residents rotate for training will have clinical instructor, clinical assistant professor, or even clinical professor positions. The standards for such positions are a lot less rigorous than for full faculty positions, of course. Chopra also brags about regularly lecturing for CME at Beth Israel in Boston for CME credits certified by Harvard and having several peer-reviewed publications.

Of course, the fact that UC-SD is embracing Chopra so tightly, that he can co-author peer-reviewed articles, and that Harvard also certifies one of his courses are all prime of exactly the problem that I’ve been discussing for so long, namely the infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia, or, as I like to refer to this phenomenon, quackademic medicine. Chopra brags about all these things, as well he should because I would too if I had these associations. The fault lies with UCSD and Harvard for actually putting the imprimatur of their respected names on Chopra’s activities over the last 14+ years. So I thank Chopra for bringing this up, because, although he’s proud of it, his boastfulness about his affiliations with major academic medical centers gives me the opportunity to discuss the problem of quackademic medicine yet again.

Particularly amusing is Chopra’s urging that Caulfield and I should “catch up with the times,” so to speak and catch up with the scientific literature. Chopra, of course, doesn’t realize that I am caught up. I read the scientific literature about “integrative medicine” intensively. I blog about it all the time, both here and at my less...Insolent...blog. I also read the scientific literature about epigenetics intensively because I have to. I’m a breast cancer researcher; it’s my job. That’s why I know that what Chopra is spouting about epigenetics is a load of fetid dingo’s kidneys. He even starts launching into said fetid pile by going on about how the mind and body are not separate but are one and should be called “body-mind.” Oh please. Science knew that a long time ago when it rejected mind-body dualism. The mind is a product of the brain. If the brain is injured, the effects on behavior and consciousness can be observed and predicted by the anatomy of the injury.

In fact, it is not I, or other skeptics, who reject the contention that consciousness is a product of brain activity. It’s Chopra! In fact, Chopra has a long history of making statements that can only be interpreted as assuming mind-body duality. He’s even gotten into a spat with James Randi about it and castigated skeptics who have questioned him. As my friend Steve Novella has pointed out, Chopra is “one of the biggest names in dualist woo nonsense.” It is not scientists who are arguing that the mind is separate from the body. It’s Chopra, who basically pioneered the latest fad in alternative medicine, namely that through the magic of epigenetics, thinking makes it so and you can heal the body with your mind, even going so far as to invoke epigenetics, “Epigenetics acknowledges that we are not victims, but masters, for we can change our environment or perceptions, and create up to 30,000 variations for each of our genes.” Oh, wait. Chopra just told us that the mind and body are one. So why even refer to the mind at all?

Worse, thanks to the ill-considered embrace of alternative medicine of the ilk promoted by Deepak Chopra, Chopra can even say he’s doing clinical trials based on his quantum mind-body dualism pseudoscience. Not surprisingly, he invokes systems biology without actually understanding what systems biology, referring to Caulfield, myself, and those who castigate him as “pseudoskeptics.” Of course, as usual, Chopra seems to think that anyone who is not so open-minded that his brain falls out is not a true “skeptic” but rather a pseudoskeptic and must be “frozen in an obsolete world view,” which is what he calls me while referring to Caulfield as a “vigilante.” Yes, it’s good to be open-minded and to question existing paradigms. That’s exactly what we do. However, that questioning must be based on evidence, which is not what Chopra does. He claims to be asking the “big questions,” but if the big questions aren’t based on science, rationality, and reality, then what good are they?

As a last bit of fun, Chopra even addressed me on Twitter last Friday.

And:

To which I responded:

And:

To which Chopra replied:

Leading to my response:

Which is, of course, utterly true. This lead Chopra to Tweet:

Hmmm. Should I take him up on this? He keeps saying variants of “Orac, whoever he is,” apparently not realizing that my pseudonym is perhaps the worst kept secret in the skeptical blogosphere. He might be surprised when he finds out who I am, particularly given that he’s blocked my real life Twitter account in the past. I even brag about it in my Twitter profile!

As for whether or not I take Chopra up on his offer, I’ll think about it. Today, I’ll be too busy relaxing on the beach lowering the levels of those nasty inflammatory cytokines that Chopra so frequently invokes now. You know, I might just take him up on his offer, but only if he signs the book and unblocks my real life alter ego on Twitter! After all, if he’s going to require me to read it as a condition of sending it, the least I can do is require him to sign it.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t resist voicing these musings on Twitter:

I also had one other minor condition: Unblocking my real-life alter ego. Predictably, Chopra was not receptive:

Well, that’s what I get for pushing things a little farther than perhaps I should have. On the other hand, Chopra’s response tells me a lot. For one thing, I’m sure that he still doesn’t know who Orac really is. He just heard that my real life alter-ego was blocked and blocked Orac too. In particular, his reaction also tells me that he almost certainly wasn’t sincere about sending me a copy of his book. I suppose I should be grateful. If he actually did send me a copy of his book based on my promise to read it, my sense of honor would compel me to actually read the damned thing.

I guess I dodged that bullet!

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By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 06 Nov 2016 #permalink

There is no such thing as "infiltration of pseudoscience into medical academia". Quacks are just here because medical academia is collapsing for demographic, bureaucratic and economic reasons. The scientific evaluation system does not work anymore because it is biased toward productivity, high impact and hype, and influenced by power and conflict of interest.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 06 Nov 2016 #permalink

@GC
Consciousness is nonlocal? What is that even supposed to mean?
If we consider the ordinary meaning, it means that consciousness is not characterized by position in space, which makes sense. But I suspect that Chopra uses it in the sense of physic, action at a distance, which opens the way to telepathy, and obvious bllsht. One has to be very careful with the meaning of words. That's why I am not one of those evil materialists, because matter, I don't know what it is, and evil, I am not sure either.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 06 Nov 2016 #permalink

"The universe is an emergent phenomenon of the mind of god"--D. Chopra. Does that mean anything? And how did he find out?

By DANIEL GAUTREAU (not verified) on 06 Nov 2016 #permalink

Upcoming book co authored with a quantum physicist

I see that Kafatos has actually had some items relegated to Vixra.

I disagree that "Chopra has a long history of making statements that can only be interpreted as assuming mind-body duality."

He has a long history of making statements, but those statements can be equally well interpreted as coming from a random phrase generator.

By Chris Preston (not verified) on 06 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ Guy Chapman / DANIEL GAUTREAU

if you assume I am right, thus, I am right.

Precisely.

The sentence "The universe is an emergent phenomenon of the mind of god” is just a complicated way of saying "god did it".
There is a hint of Hindu mythology (IIRC), with the universe being a dream of a sleeping god.
We have an adept of purple prose, here. That's not necessarily bad; like all tools, that's important is how well you use them and for what purpose. If it is to spread pseudo-scientific BS...

The end result is the feeling that Chopra is Captain Obvious, bashing open an unlocked door. (bad translation* of a French saying, "enfoncer une porte ouverte"). A god created the universe, ergo the universe was created by a god.

* kudos to Google translate, which gave me a straight "stating the obvious" as a translation

By Helianthus (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

A 43 year-old woman presented with fever, rash, joint pain and weight loss.

Could you imagine a woo doc like Chopra being in a clinic or ER to diagnosis and treat this patient? Of course not. He's too busy patting himself on the back for being enlightened. Maybe if he took a break from giving self-promoting speeches and actually took on the responsibility of a doctor, he would learn true humility.

But like all woo-doctors, it is better for the wallet and ego to receive applause on stage and sell books. Disgusting.

From Wikipedia:

Kafatos has written and lectured extensively on the convergence between science and philosophy to promote discourse between science, spirituality, and religion.

Well, that explains a lot.

Enjoy the recharge!

By darwinslapdog (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

"The mind is a product of the brain," or, 'The body is a product of the mind'?

If you really reject mind-body dualism then these statements are equally implausible. Subjectively speaking, there is no way to distinguish between mind and body.

If you believe, as I do, in universal intelligence, which I am pretty sure you don't, then you have sympathy for spiritual leadership and mysticism in general. One of the highest spiritual teachings is that spiritual truth cannot be expressed through words. True faith is eidetic. I do fault Chopra for abusing scientific terminology, but it's only one vocabulary among many with which to represent something that is ineffable. I also fault Chopra for profiteering off of primordial human desires such as immortality. No, buying his books and reading the crap he says about epigenetics and quantum mechanics will not keep you young forever. But at least he inspires others to think in unaccustomed ways, to consider the possibility of things that can't be seen. This is the only way to open a door towards the conscious experience of the divine.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Chopra may be off on time values as to how long he's known you because he was time traveling ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4vtuz67DXs ) or possibly his chakras simply got all f**d up from daylight savings time this weekend.

Either way, he's still an utter and complete moron.

By Chris Hickie (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

The brain assembles a variety of electrical inputs and activity into a simulation of the external. The external may be objective, but each individual brain simulates it differently, meaning that ALL individual experience is subjective. In truth, there are no colors, no tones, no textures, flavors, or scents. Perhaps in truth there is equally no time or space. Truth as we know it will always be a reflection of our embodiment; it will be evolving through time and always in some sense arbitrary. It's obvious that we cannot perceive the external in its totality; hence we infer dark matter and energy while dreaming of a unified field theory. I'm not trying to knock science here, I'm just pointing out that we still don't understand half of anything, and what we can all agree upon is necessarily anthropocentric. But in fact every living thing allows the universe to witness a fraction of itself. My favorite synonym for the universe is 'god'. It's you.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Daniel G @4

Is that not one of the tracks on Yes' Tales From Topographic Oceans?

It is a damning indictment that prog rock lyrics make more sense than woo merchants...

In truth, there are no colors, no tones, no textures, flavors, or scents.

Well, that's a load of bollocks. While individual perceptions may vary, we can objectively define all of those things. A wave of light with a length of 450–495 nm is blue. That causes specific nerve firings in the eyes and brain. Similarly, sounds have objective definitions of what frequency is what note. Barring serious defects or damage (and perhaps not even then), a middle C will never be perceived as a G above high C. Nor will a perceived G above high C have a frequency equal to that of a low B.

Perhaps you should slip off back to the Matrix and practice your spoon bending. Oh, right. There is no spoon.

If he doesn't realize who Orac is, there's still time to approach Chopra with an offer to co-author a book.

Suggested title: "Mind-Body Dualism: Why Your Body Doesn't Believe The Stupid Things You Tell It".

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Deepak Chopra writes to Orac,

Upcoming book co authored with a quantum physicist. Will send it to you as a gift if you read

MJD says,

Yin and Yang (Orac and Deepak), tremendously entertaining!

But, such a debate on RI would be like watching a soft white bunny (Deepak) being chased by a scruffy pack of hungry wolves (Oracs minions).

By Michael J. Dochniak (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Darn. The image tag didn't work. Just imaging a picture of Han Solo asking "Who's scruffy looking?"

@ Todd

While individual perceptions may vary, we can objectively define all of those things.

As a more talented poet than me once wrote, a rose by any other name is still a rose.

Moreover, in the cases of biological molecules; we can actually say that most of these things - colors, smells, textures... - exist, and exist objectively, precisely because there is some living being nearby to experience them. There is a biological purpose to sensations. Flowers' colors are telling the bees where to find the nectar and the pollen. Fruits' color, smell and flavor tell animals where to find food. Animals' smell and taste tell carnivores where to find fodd. Animals using venom to defend themselves are brightly colored so predators remember them and recognize them as dangerous...

We may have defined arbitrarily what is "blue", and experience it in slightly different ways.
But I think arguing that there are no colors is actually confusing the name and that is designed by the name. The label is not the thing.

There is no spoon.

Ceci n'est pas une cuillière.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

i thought when I turned my clock back yesterday it was only for an hour! Not a couple of hundred/thousand years to when mind-body dualism was accepted as truth. What a crazy daylight savings time!

By Missylulu (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

True faith is eidetic.

Oh bloody hell, here we go...

I would say 'prove it', but you've already given yourself the get out of jail free card by claiming that spiritual truth cannot be expressed through words. You might claim to have perceived spiritual truth, however briefly, but for all the rest of us know you could be permanently off your tits on acid.

If you can't express a new concept clearly, nor wish to do so, why should you expect anyone to believe that you're on to something new and worthwhile?

By Rich Woods (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Not a couple of hundred/thousand years to when mind-body dualism was accepted as truth

"Frontiers" journals have become good outlets for publication if you want to put Descartes before the horse and re-invent some version of his pineal-gland-wibble where brain and mind somehow interact.

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnint.2012.00103/full

By some yet undiscovered mechanism, consciousness “reads” the neuronal events into conscious experience. Absent a particular specialized brain region or sufficient relevant transmitters and receptors, relevant information cannot be processed and the individual cannot be conscious of that informational state. In natural and many artificial communication systems, communications proceed bi-directionally. By an argument of symmetry, if neuronal activity can communicate with consciousness, there is no reason to preclude consciousness from communicating back and influencing neuronal function.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Recapping this week's episode of The Streisand Effect Game: The contestants were Tim Caulfield, Dr. Orac, and Deepak Chopra.

In round one, Tim lost his entire bank to Deepak, and was eliminated, after boosting attendance and publicity for Deep's upcoming talk in Edmonton by telling the press that Deep should not have been invited to speak, creating enough noise the talk's sponsors faced calls to have Deepak dis-invited.

In round two, Orac lost half his bank to Deepak for echoing Caulfield. But Orac stayed in the game since his loss was limited by being second-in, and by appearing on a science blog rather than in the popular press.

In round three, Orac's apparent error emerged as a risky but brilliant, and ultimately successful strategy. Perhaps over-confident with his big lead, in round three Deepak engaged Orac in a hilariously entertaining Twitter feud, turning his superior celebrity into inadvertent mass advertising for Orac's blog, "Respectful Insolence'. Deepak was thus eliminated from the game, as Orac wound up in possession of ALL the bank. Well -played, blinking box!

I see that Kafatos has actually had some items relegated to Vixra.

I had never heard of Kafatos before, so I looked him up on Wikipedia. The article says of his research:

Kafatos' research has focused on cosmology, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, quantum biology, natural hazards, climate change, Earth system science, and remote sensing.

This is evidently some usage of "focused" of which I was previously unaware.

For many years he was at George Mason University, before moving in 2008 to Chapman University, which according to Wikipedia is a religious-affiliated university in Orange County, CA. (Said Wikipedia page does not list Kafatos as being one of its distinguished faculty.) Readers who have been following climate change denialism may recall, as I verified by looking at the appropriate Rational Wiki page, that George Mason University is home to Edward Wegman of the infamous Wegman Report, as well as the Mercatus Center, a libertarian "think tank" largely supported by the Koch brothers. I don't know what Kafatos's views on climate change are, but the combination of GMU plus climate change research raises a yellow flag.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ MJD:

Although we are ocasionally hungry as wolves, we are NEVER scruffy looking.
Well, at least I'M not.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Shhhh...I'm embracing my inner-Chopra

Orac once again displays his vastly superior intellect by fleeing the US during the present election mishigosh**

Lots of it is taking place in his own beloved state of MI. Even nearby where he works and lives ( city and suburbs Detroit)

Yours truly has a special ringside seat*** to the Great F@cking Mess whilst working on my "literary project" for whomever.

I'm glad it'll be over soon because, although I give advice about how to deal with nerve shattering adversities like the election, I also suffer from stress, misery and an upset GI system.
HOWEVER ( big however) these methods work.
I know, I'm not only a spokeman, I'M A CLIENT!

Again, I'll advise the nervoius and the upset**** to
- look at the data
- breathe deeply
- meditate
- have a drink or whatever
- let your mind relax and drift
- remember, nothing is real
- your mindstuff is just an illusion in the mind of g-d
- strawberry fields
- psycho killer qu'est-ce que c'est run run run run
- sail away
- oh wait, I've lost my focus
- anyway you catch my drift

** I'm not entirely sure how to spell this appropriate
description of the current state of media coverage
*** virtiual of course
**** you'd be surprised how many people ask me about this over the phone

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

I see that 'mishegoss' and other variants are listed

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ Eric Lund:

"Remote sensing" tells us all we need to know.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

If you believe, as I do, in universal intelligence, which I am pretty sure you don’t....

It's true that D. D. Palmer doesn't have a lot of traction in these parts.

@Narad #32: Neither does Elisha Perkins.

I'll get my coat.

By Guy Chapman (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

“Remote sensing” tells us all we need to know.

Only if you're REALLY GOOD at it.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ Herr Doktor Bimler

From the Frontier's journal:

In natural and many artificial communication systems, communications proceed bi-directionally.

Ah. An amateur philosopher trying to pass as a biologist and a physicist, and failing on all three accounts.

Hint for the lurkers: your ears are fully unable to do your mouth's job (flapping them will only communicate so much).
Or think about your TV set. the little people inside are definitively communicating with you, but yelling back at them is fruitless.

IOW: most communication systems use different devices for sending and receiving. And there are plenty of cases of mono-directional communication.

if neuronal activity can communicate with consciousness, there is no reason to preclude consciousness from communicating back and influencing neuronal function.

I think the author was trying to say that, when he is surprised, he blinks.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ Todd

You're off-track on the Wesley-Woo. "In truth, there are no colors, no tones, no textures, flavors, or scents," is not bollocks, it's just not clear in meaning when taken out of context. Helianthus has it more or less 'correct' at the end: We have defined arbitrarily what is “blue”. The label is not the thing. But i think it's you, not so much Wesley, who's confusing the name (concept) and the objective physical reality ('the thing'). That is, Wesley is trying, I think, to say that colors, tones, textures, flavors, scents are concepts we employ to structure meaning, inherently subjective heuristics for dealing with the properties of physical reality. Objective reality doesn't have meaning, doesn't prescribe fixed or stable concepts or word-labels for it's multitude of properties.

This is basic language theory per semiotics (Peirce, Saussure) and post-structuralist philosophy (Derrida). And the thing is. All of these folks would just laugh derisively at Wesley's attempt to derive 'spirituailly' out of it. Language philosophy no more evokes universal intelligence, spiritual leadership, mysticism or (Gaack!)" the conscious experience of the divine" than does quantum mechanics. These languagetheories, Derrida especially, are fundamatenally philosphically materialist, and, no, you can't get to idealist babbling about the universal god-spirit of the cosmos from there. I mean, once you've observed that "Truth as we know it will always be a reflection of our embodiment; will be evolving through time and always in some sense arbitrary, and what we can all agree upon is necessarily anthropocentric" (all of which is 'true'*), your grounds for propositions about "spiritual truth" and "true faith" rest on awfully shaky grounds. (he he he! LOL!)

*YOU can 'objectively' define 'blue' as " wave of light with a length of 450–495 nm, but you'll never get a painter(or Pantone) to agree with you, or the folks who made this chart that IDs blue as 450-500 (http://tinyurl.com/hoassnp), or 'objectively' force me off a contrarian assertion that 425 nm is, in fact, a shade of 'blue'. Nor will any of us ever be able to escape any or all of the subjective semiotic baggage of 'blue', from blue bloods to blue states to blue skies to deep blue seas, to 'the blues' as slang for sadness or 'blues' as an artform expressing affirmation and defiance..

“Remote sensing” tells us all we need to know.

Remote sensing is a legitimate research tool in certain fields of study, and climate change and Earth systems science (as well as, obviously, astrophysics) are among them. But it's not something that makes sense as a tool for probing quantum physics. Quantum biology is probably the biggest single offender on that list; I'm not sure what the term means. And the combination is an odd bunch: some of the pairwise combinations make sense, but quantum physics seldom arises in geophysical contexts.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

Rich Woods @23: True Faith is an awesome New Wave song with a really interesting music video.

Does anyone else think Wesley@14 sounds like a stoned freshman philosophy major?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ Guy Chapman

Yes! Get your coat, because it's Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! and Bigfoot is coming to the Five Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids for the Budweiser Mega Tractor Pull and Monster Truck Jam! It's three hours of engine-blowing, car-crushing Traction Action you won't want to miss!

... What? You're from the UK, and have no idea what monster trucks or tractor pulls are? No, they're not exhibiting a Sasquatch. 'Bigfoot' is a truck with 10' tall tires (that's ~ 3 metres fer you Euros).t
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Rwd7nsF98M
The monster trucks just drive over and crush obstacles made mostly out of old car bodies. In a truck/tractor pull, a form of oversized hot rod hauls a sled rigged with a massive weight that increases resistance the farther it travels. The idea is to see which competitor can pull it the farthest before the tractor/ truck stops dead, often enough as a result of the engine exploding into spectacular bursts of fire..

In short, it's like reading or listening to Chopra, the farther you go with the worthless load, the more of a drag it gets, until you just can't get any farther, and your mind-motor just shuts off, spins its wheels, or blows up with flames firing off as a result.

Also, a monster truck rally, like a Chopra talk, can only really be safely experienced with the use of earplugs.

Sadly, the popularity of tractor pulls appears to have declined of late. I can't help but note that Chopra's new-age--'we are all god' DIY--faith-healing double-talk has gained more traction over the same time period. I prefer Bigfoot.

But, talking about Deep is kind of a waste of time, yes? What say we get onto more significant questions: Which do you think is better, rugby union or rugby league?

My point is; there is no blue, there is only the wavelength. The wavelength is registered by a sensor and transmitted electrically to the brain. In the brain the electrical input produces a sensation of blueness. Same with tones...the objective reality is a waveform, it is translated into the brain electrically, and the brain synthesizes perception. Physicists ask if the universe is a simulation, but human experience is definitely a simulation; it is a subjective representation of objective wavelengths, chemical configurations, and kinetic forces which have all been translated into electrical signals before being rendered by the brain into a seamless experience of the world.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

What is the meaningful difference between "there is such a thing as blue, which I see" and "my eye picks up these wavelengths, the optic nerve transmits that signal to the brain, and I experience it as blue"?

You may imagine yourself into a seamless experience of the world; lots of other people notice gaps in theirs. One subjective moment I am lying in the dark with a cat on my foot; the next is bright daylight and no cat. The seams are pretty good, but I do notice the difference in the fabric.

So I looked up Menas Kafatos to see who this physicist is, and the guy seems a little wooey. I certainly can't decipher his physics work. Some of it looks like ordinary cosmology, but a lot is also weird quantum gibberish that may be about quantum consciousness - I can't tell, and I feel like reading too much would be a waste of my time.

I did look at the only thing I feel I'm actually qualified to judge, Kafatos' work on systems biology, and I was definitely unimpressed. His paper on the subject seems to be nothing more than an extended exercise in intellectual masturbation that carries no information that would be a surprise to anyone familiar with the subject. I threw up and then stopped reading after he reported the discovery of moving parts within the cell as if this was some groundbreaking finding that will rock the world of medicine.

Physicists ask if the universe is a simulation, but human experience is definitely a simulation

Wesley, you're merely putting plural minds and tat tvam asi in a blender. It's fundamentally incoherent.

But in fact every living thing allows the universe to witness a fraction of itself. My favorite synonym for the universe is ‘god’. It’s you.

If I'm G-d, then why aren't you scared senseless?

sigh...Sadmar in post-modernist mode again. Even referring to the über-mountebank, Derrida.
An antidote:
http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/dawkins.html
keywords: intellectual impostures

Wesley Dodson (how does he get his posts in the boss's colour?) can at least rise to the dizzy heights of trivial platitudes from time-to-time.
Yes, we cannot experience another person's consciousness, and like last night's hamburger, we are one with everything.

By Peter Dugdale (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

how does he get his posts in the boss’s colour?

Other way around, sort of.

Physicists ask if the universe is a simulation

Really? Which physicists? The ones I know have real problems to think about.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ HDB
The ones he knows simulate.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 07 Nov 2016 #permalink

"No, buying his books and reading the crap he says about epigenetics and quantum mechanics will not keep you young forever. But at least he inspires others to think in unaccustomed ways, to consider the possibility of things that can’t be seen. This is the only way to open a door towards the conscious experience of the divine."

Not that the divine can be measured, but on those accounts, I, for one, fully agree. What I find so irksome about Chopra is that he seems to gloss over the fact that the material world functions according measurable laws. In short, even enlightened people, of which there are any number of examples from India and elsewhere, become ill and eventually die from known causes.

By Lighthorse (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

You know, I thought about adding a line about how the labels we use to define things are arbitrary constructs, and going into linguistics and such, but I thought that part was pretty self-evident. Apparently not.

For example, we like to think about animals having limited, arbitrary perceptions of the universe. We say that due to their physical configurations, they are still limited in their capabilities while humans perceive reality as it really is. Of course, a human is an animal and his or her experience of the world is as idiosyncratic as a crow's. Carlos Castaneda explains this by saying the universe is made of filaments; there are filaments outside of the organism in the universe at large, which connect to the organism through a "luminous" interface. Every species, do to its different configuration, assembles different filaments into an experience of the world, but never all of the filaments the universe consists of. We know there are plenty of things humans can't perceive that are objectively all "around" us: not just the subatomic and infrared but also dark matter and energy. We are no more privy than the crow to objective perception. That doesn't mean there is no objective, or that we don't possess techniques the crow lacks that allow us to investigate aspects of the objective that we do not directly perceive. Castaneda is basically describing brains, and the bottom line is that neuroscience and spirituality are THE SAME FIELD. Whether you believe the brain attunes or reflects a universal presence, or you believe (per rationalists) that the brain creates the illusion of the soul or the supernatural, it makes no difference. All you will ever perceive directly is your subjectivity. At that's why I will always have sympathy for Chopra, Hinduism, even occultism, because spiritual seekers are dealing with the very nature of our reality.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

"Carlos Castaneda explains this by saying the universe is made of filaments; there are filaments outside of the organism in the universe at large, which connect to the organism through a “luminous” interface."
Looks a lot like a universe of magic mushrooms.

By Daniel Corcos (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

#52
Rev JC Flannel alive and well, I see.

neuroscience and spirituality are THE SAME FIELD

neuroscience is, or should be, about verifiable predictions. Spirituality is about whatever anyone wants to make up, and the gullible to swallow.
i.e they are opposite poles.

spiritual seekers are dealing with the very nature of our reality

corrected: spiritual seekers are avoiding dealing with the very nature of our reality

By Peter Dugdale (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

Shorter #52:

1 - Some animals are able to sense things that we cannot, and vice-versa
(comment 1: completely true; look at a bear's nose, a whale's song, or a mantis shrimp's vision. Coming on a scientific blog and telling the readership this is preaching to the choir)
(comment 2: "we like to" - my hayfever is kicking in, there must be strawmen prancing around)

2 - and then a miracle occurs
(top right cartoon on page 1)

3 - thus, neuroscience and spirituality are THE SAME FIELD

I think you should be more explicit here in step 2.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

Carlos Castaneda? Oy...Don Juan. I am in need of another hand, because a double face palm is just not enough.

I just spent a moment looking into Menas Kafatos. He is a physicist and has a background in the field (as opposed to a "quantum physicist" from Quantum University). He even has awards. What he appears to be very good at is astrophysics. His quantum mechanical publication record seems to focus mostly on fairly low impact work on non-locality, and only basically once in the last ten years. His recent book publication record makes him look like a fellow traveler to Deepak, which makes me think that his quantum background is not very good. Having not read any of these books, I don't know if he's mangled the science. He has a recent conference paper on "retro-causation and non-locality", but this is a conference presentation which may mean a lot less than he would like it to --the bar for a conference presentation is not set that high. He has not actually published in the primary literature on quantum mechanics in the last fifteen years... not surprising, I suppose, since he is not young, but his active period work is astrophysics, not quantum. I get the feeling he's a very confident astrophysicist who has suffered a Penrose break as he's gotten older and has taken to talking a little bit outside of his real area of expertise. Just saying you've got a physicist helping you doesn't mean everything, Deepak: that's an argument by authority and it depends on the quality of the authority.

Carlos Castaneda explains this by saying the universe is made of filaments

I am not entirely sure what we are supposed to gain from the fabrications of a particularly mendacious fraudster.

By herr doktor bimler (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

So, Wesley @52 does this statement " the bottom line is that neuroscience and spirituality are THE SAME FIELD." mean that you would be perfectly happy to have a televangelist treat your epilepsy? Or let the Pope do brain surgery on you?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

Carlos Castaneda was a fraud, but he was also a master student of spiritual and philosophical ideas. When I say spirituality (and much of philosophy) is in the same field as neuroscience, it does not mean they use the same methodologies, it doesn't mean they're related or even near each other. A field is a wide open place. Neuroscience and spirituality both confront the nature of the relationship between our subjective conscious experience and an objective universe. What is consciousness, how and why does it occur, what are the implications, what does it tell us about reality? They ask the same questions. And they will get the same answers. People dismiss soundbites like "the kingdom of God is within you" but if you endeavor to understand this as a literal description of a physical phenomenon it makes more sense. The universe as you know it is entirely within you, it is simulated electrically by your brain, but at the same time you are part of the universe and it extends beyond your body. Alternately, consider the fact that we don't know where most of the universe is. It's "dark." Maybe it exists in "inner space" in a way we cannot dimensionally conceive. Compare these analogies to the Hindu conception of the Atman and Brahman, the god within and the god without. "God" is the most tainted word in the English language. We always relate it to an authoritarian man on a throne of clouds but in fact a better definition for god is: everything that exists.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

In fact, Castaneda explains psychedelics by saying they shift the "assemblage point" of our perceptions, allowing us to perceive filaments of the universe that we usually cannot. For example, in the first book, Don Juan uses mushrooms to transform his perception of the world into that of a crow's. Gotta love a good Master's thesis in Anthropology.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

The thing rationalists don't understand is this. They think spiritualists are trying to explain something they haven't seen. But they are explaining something they have seen. Just like the color blue, it can be real to them. One can call that hallucination or mental illness but the fact is it happens to all of us in the same way. It is the source of religious understanding. It does not require drugs to achieve or maintain. But just like we can agree on the color blue, we can agree on magic mushrooms. In order for us to have this consensus you would need to experience the way psilocybin affects the electrical operation of the human brain. If you don't eat the shrooms, you will never sense things that many other people have sensed. Contrary to popular opinion, psychedelic drugs do not produce a photorealistic, idiosyncratic madhouse in the brain. As the latest research is showing, in general, psychedelics have predictable and consistent effects, just like all drugs and foods. And these effects, again contrary to popular opinion, allow flower children et. al. to *release* addictions and gain a better understanding of their lives and their place in the universe. This is not always a pleasant experience. But clinically, risk of bad trip becomes acceptably low when mitigated with the proper precautions. Because seriously though, like last night’s hamburger, we are one with everything, dude.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

When I say spirituality (and much of philosophy) is in the same field as neuroscience

Ah, but that is not what you said. You said that "neuroscience and spirituality are THE SAME FIELD". Did you just make a mistake and leave out the word "IN" in your original comment?

I just want some Insolence laid on me. :'( Also #64, it's a field of inquiry.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ Daniel Corcos

I think you hit the nail on the head.

@ Wesley

consider the fact that we don’t know where most of the universe is. It’s “dark.”

Actually, no, we perfectly know where the universe is.
We know there is "dark" matter over there because, while we cannot observe it with our eyes, we can observe its gravitational interaction with the non-dark matter around it.

Seriously, drop the shrooms.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 08 Nov 2016 #permalink

I just want some Insolence laid on me.

Would you settle for a plonking?

Wesley -

A suspicion has been creeping up on me that you are a Poe.
Either that or you're using the equivalent of the Postmodernism Generator in the link I included above, but set for spiritual flim-flam.
Perhaps you and Deepak have a franchise on it.

As for your cosmic vapidities, all I can say is.....ommmmm...

By Peter Dugdale (not verified) on 09 Nov 2016 #permalink

"It's all French to me."

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 09 Nov 2016 #permalink

“Graecum est; non potest legi.”

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 09 Nov 2016 #permalink

What if turns out psilocybin has a quantifiable spiritual effect?

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 09 Nov 2016 #permalink

What if turns out psilocybin has a quantifiable spiritual effect?

Earlier you said that "spiritual truth cannot be expressed through words." Are you now suggesting that it can be expressed through numbers?

@ Helianthus:

" Seriously, drop the shrooms."

*Au contraire, mon ami*, perhaps ( in light of recent earth shattering events ) we should ALL partake of the sacred fungi. It might be better than reality.

I didn't remote sense any of the giant wave of crap approaching . Perhaps if I had had a shroom or two, I might have had the sensibility to foresee its power and to go
HIDE SOMEWHERE.

I had an inkling early on when a wonk on television began typing furiously on a tablet without comment. Then a supporter of HRC had a very blank look on her face which is certainly unusual.

Somebody I Know ( Not Me) is predicting the end of the world as we know it and doesn't feel fine.

Maybe if we're very nice to her, JP will teach us how to meditate more effectively and erase our recent memories.

Oh wait, it doesn't work like that . ( Guess who studied memory?)

At any rate. we will all survive this.Be happy if the place you live 1. isn't in the US, 2. is not a hot bed of Trumpism ( i.e is Blue) or is right down the road from Beyoncé's place ( like me- no joking)

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 09 Nov 2016 #permalink

"Perhaps if I had had a shroom or two, I might have had the sensibility to foresee its power and to go
HIDE SOMEWHERE."

Lol. You Godless/souless dems got pwnd!

We won; Yay!???

By sullenbode (not verified) on 09 Nov 2016 #permalink

Not much help on the meditation front today, sorry.
I just crawled out of bed with a massive hangover.

Oh wait, it doesn’t work like that

On the IWW CD Rebel Voices, the late Utah Phillips attributes the quote (IIRC) "the long memory is the most radical idea in politics" to Pacifica's Clare Spark.

Anyway, I rarely check Jake's blog (and I'm still waiting for that Hooker PNAS paper), but after glancing at the amusingly empty-headed AoA comments, it occurred to me to look.

He's really been putting his self-perception on display. He's a "deplorable," weirdly trying to rage against AoA, etc.

I'm idly wondering whether that doctorate program isn't going so well. (I've been there.)

#71

WTAF does "quantifiable spiritual effect" mean?

Can someone give me a definition of "spiritual" which actually means something? Pretty much all of those I have seen become very circular very quickly.

@ Denice

I didn’t remote sense any of the giant wave of crap approaching .

In retrospect (eh, hindsight is 20/20), we should have seen it coming.
(I did say to people around me it's a big mistake to ignore the former birther, and I always had the feeling it was going to be a close match - after all, he became the official candidate for his party, and that's all that's counting for many people)

We already know - and have seen before - the strong political divide between rural counties vs megacities in US. Other countries have similar divisions (for us French, the strongest divide of elitism vs countryside is, or was, Paris vs "la province").
Ignoring these people is a big political mistake, although they are never going to vote for anyone they perceive as a New York elitist snob, no matter that.
Another factor is that angry people from the sides of the political spectrum are more likely to go vote than shruggies from the middle.
With a 50% participation, 50% of people voting for a big-mouthed clown may only mean that 25% of voters are actually that far off the political spectrum.

It's something we have seen in France, time and time again (like in 1995). 20% of people liking the far right, but with a poor turnaround, they made up 40-45% of the votes.
We French may see it again in 1997.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 10 Nov 2016 #permalink

Ah, I meant 2017.
I'm wanting to turn back the clocks, too, apparently.

By Helianthus (not verified) on 10 Nov 2016 #permalink

@ Helianthus:

Actually, one part of me ( which I kept trying to silence) did think that there was a chance he might prevail : after all, the odds were ( variously) 80/ 20, 60/40, 70/30 and kept shifting.30% is NOT nothing.

I kept hearing the word "wave" in my mind and also heard it once or twice from television wonks. I thought also ( last year), " Maybe he's the Second Coming on Reagan". I tried to quash that thought.

You're correct about the 50/ 50 participation. Something like that occurred in 2004. Obama rode a bigger wave which swept him into office.

I worry about France - esp with Le Pen.

By Denice Walter (not verified) on 10 Nov 2016 #permalink

#77
spiritual (adjective) - circular
god (noun) - reality

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 10 Nov 2016 #permalink

Todd:
Well, my point was that no reasonable concept of "the subjective nature of reality" leads in any way to the 'cosmic consciousness god stuff' that's the woo-ey heart of Wesley's comments. But what's more important here is that ragging on Wesley's mysticism misses how Copra's spiritualism is different from others, and why that difference makes him dangerous.

Now that he's piped in with more, I think I know what Wesley means, and it's not the language issue that 'there are no colors' evokes for me. By "simulation", I think he means the raw mental constructs of sense perception, not any cultural assignment of meaning to them – something like the difference between how you and I see, and how a Jordi LaForge (if he was real) would see. Or how an AI fit with a video camera would see, etc. This observation is not bollocks, but it's nothing more than trivial. It's also, I think not a premise of Wesley woo, just an appendage tagged on to the underlying unquestionable first principle, an so even it was disputable, countering it wouldn't get you anywhere.

Unpacking any 'reality is subjective' idea, we have to consider what 'subject' and 'object' mean. One way to distinguish between them is that a subject acts with some purpose, while an object is inert, re-active and devoid of motive. When the thinkers I'm familiar with say 'reality is subjective', they mean reality as we perceive and process it is filtered, labeled and ordered toward some human purpose. They aren't making claims about the physical material universe outside of our minds. That 'reality' is objective by definition. No so with spritualists. For them the universe was created by some acting subject, and embodies a corresponding subjectivity. For the traditional spiritualist, this acting subject – be it 'god' or the cosmic consciousness is unknowable and most importantly uncontrollable. The whole idea of the 'seeker' in Eastern theology is about gaining insight into the god-consciousness-of-the-universe and placing oneself in harmony with it. The 'seeker' follows the cosmic order of reality, but does not transform it. This form of spiritualism makes no promises for wealth or anything else material, only inner peace. Wesley's hippy-trippy god-consciousness doesn't DO stuff in our everyday pragmatic lives. It's all in the realm of the astral plane. Which makes this perspective relatively benign as woo goes. Wesley doesn't want to get in the way of good science, since he thinks that if we view it in the correct mind-enlarging way, it will "open a door towards the conscious experience of the divine." To be fair, some fairly accomplished scientists have had similar views – John Lilly, various computer/internet pioneers... While you and I may gag at their spiritual kookiness, these 'seekers' have actually contributed to the advance of science. And while science and this form of spirituality are not "the same field" at all, it seems they can go hand in hand.

Chopra's spiritualism is not that at all, and Wesley knows that. He defends Chopra here in the land of the anti-spiritual, simply because he takes any sort of spirituality to be better than a perspective that pooh-poohs the whole ball of wax. But he gives us a clue to where Chopra reverses the trajectory of the Eastern tradition: ""I fault Chopra for profiteering off of primordial human desires such as immortality. No, buying his books and reading the crap he says about epigenetics and quantum mechanics will not keep you young forever."

What Chopra is saying is the each of us as individuals have the ability to transform the concrete reality of our bodies, each of us are the subjects creating our own reality – not metaphorically, or perceptually, or on the astral plane, but in the realm of physical matter. He's claiming we are our own gods-of-one inside our bodies, maybe not that we can "live forever" exactly, but rid ourselves of disease at least, all by some telekinesis of will into our DNA or something like that. Where traditional 'seeker' spirituality is all about humility, submission, and subverting the ego, Deep's is all hubris, ego projection, and command.

Consider the woman who wrote to Deepak Chopra that her breast cancer had spread to the bones and lungs: “Even though I follow the treatments, have come a long way in unburdening myself of toxic feelings, have forgiven everyone, changed my lifestyle to include meditation, prayer, proper diet, exercise, and supplements, the cancer keeps coming back. Am I missing a lesson here that it keeps reoccurring? I am positive I am going to beat it, yet it does get harder with each diagnosis to keep a positive attitude.”

Chopra’s response: “As far as I can tell, you are doing all the right things to recover. You just have to continue doing them until the cancer is gone for good. I know it is discouraging to make great progress only to have it come back again, but sometimes cancer is simply very pernicious and requires the utmost diligence and persistence to eventually overcome it.”

This isn’t meaningless babble. It’s cavalier cruelty. You know how this goes: If the cancer doesn’t go away after all the unburdening, forgiving, and mediating, this woman can only conclude It’s All Her Fault for falling short of “the utmost diligence and persistence”. And this is what Chopra is doing, not just in correspondence with one patient at a time, but on a mass scale, over and over again, all for the sake of puffing himself up, acquiring power, and stuffing his bank account.

It's not the mere fact that Chopra is 'spiritual' that's the problem, it's how he shapes it and what he does with it. It's just the higher-concept 'quantum' version of, "if you think it, it will happen" And that's a non-science that not only can't walk with science, not only actively hurts science, but hurts vulnerable people. And I submit that these things, not the broad arcane theological/philosophical fine points, is what we should be addressing here.

#81

Hello, Humpty Dumpty...

Hillary is Humpty Dumpty.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

If we're done with Castaneda, can we discuss how orthogonal timelines were revealed to Philip K. Dick by Jesus Christ? Spoiler alert: everything happens for a reason.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Or maybe ever ascending spirals? The wheel of time? Eschatology? Bowie? Crowley?

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

The devil himself?

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Or should we focus on quantum mechanics.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

How about Crowley? He'd eat you for lunch, and I'm not only speaking metaphorically.

Do you know the secret of the 5th elephant?

By JustaTech (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Spoiler alert: everything happens for a reason.

OK, what's the reason for your sudden flood of really dumb comments?

#90 1) Probably because of the unceasing torrent of dumb comments from "experts" and even scientists about the Presidential race that turned out to be 100% false. 2) Because there are two orthogonal axes of cause and effect; in other words, the future is written. This is where Dick comes in. ALSO, the most important thing to remember about Castaneda is that he died of cancer at the age of 72.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Again, if you want proof of any of this, see comment #61. Enroll in a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins. Don't speak about that which you do not know.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

#89 Crowley, horrible person. Practicioner of black magic. The point in Crowley is this: you can appeal to the power of god in 2 ways. You either subsume yourself to god's will (i.e. wu-wei) or you demand that god enrich and glorify your earthly existence. The former is faith, the latter is satanic. Crowley was satanic. But the amazing thing is that, satanism never prevails. Every human dies with nothing. Will you be ready to go?

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

OK, what’s the reason for your sudden flood of really dumb comments?

The audio is really bad, but -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GK6cct0Vjs

"...as Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum physics means anything can happen at any time, for no reason..."

Spoiler alert: everything happens for a reason.

In the real world we call that "causality".

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Every human dies with nothing. Will you be ready to go?

Sounds like I don't have to pack, which will be a time saver. Do I need paperwork? Is my passport good enough?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Thank you for the citation #94. Could quantum mechanics possibly be responsible for Trump presidency?

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Probably because of the unceasing torrent of dumb comments from “experts”

Yah. Or perhaps you're a sophomoric halfwit, Wes. How fυcking old are you at this point, anyway? What do you do?

Girl I'm an artist.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

@Narad,

The "sophomoric" comment made be right on target.

I was thinking that practically all of Wesley's comments remind me of the sort of dormitory babble that we students would banter with each other on Friday nights in the lounge room.

I think it was a combination of letting off steam before the football game the next day and the subsequent frantic studying for the next week's assignments with trying to assimilate and make sense of some of the ideas from the previous week's classes. And, maybe a bit of just trying to impress each other.

But, seriously, Wesley, if you want to convince anyone of something, you should at least state a prima facie argument for it.

I'm happy to discuss philosophy and tend to a mix of stoicism and epicureanism, but I much prefer my medical treatments to be tested and shown to work.

But, I am curious, which version of string theory corresponds most closely with those philosophical filaments you mentioned and how would you test to see if that were correct or false?

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 11 Nov 2016 #permalink

Wes must be on a wind up: no-one takes that sort of old stylee student stoner stuff seriously, surely?

Starting to remind me of Pinto in Animal House...

Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 12 Nov 2016 #permalink

Really the best you people can muster is ad hominem prejudice against stoners, hippies, and young people? Nixon would be proud.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 12 Nov 2016 #permalink

Nixon would be proud.

Oh, do show everyone the breadth of your historical understanding.

The Tao of Physics asserts that both physics and metaphysics lead inexorably to the same knowledge.

Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but man needs both...

Capra struggled to reconcile theoretical physics and Eastern mysticism and was at first "helped on my way by 'power plants'" or psychedelics, with the first experience "so overwhelming that I burst into tears, at the same time, not unlike Castaneda, pouring out my impressions to a piece of paper"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tao_of_Physics#Origin

Things that make you go "hmmm."

By sullenbode (not verified) on 12 Nov 2016 #permalink

@wesley (103),

I did ask a question. So you have an answer?

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 12 Nov 2016 #permalink

What's. the over/under on conflation of the Landscape with Everett?

""So you have an answer?

Answers can change the question line every time; And now the truth in confidence tells a lie.

What's going on?

-- Pete Belotte, Adam Ant, Giorgio Moroder

By sullenbode (not verified) on 12 Nov 2016 #permalink

Hah, I completely forgot that this was on-line. I can't remember whether it was a Swedenborgian or a Rosicrucian book sale where I picked up a roughly 18mo perfect-bound copy, along with a matching The Wit and Wisdom of Spiro Agnew.

@103

Nope: I was a student and young and got stoned and spouted bullsh!t like that, as did most of my mates. I worked for many years with teenagers and heard some very similar things.

It's not prejudice, it's a description based on experience. And it isn't an ad hom, either.

You haven't actually said anything that we can properly engage with really, so I have to comment on the form of what you have said. Give me some substance and we shall see...

sullenbode, thank you for your comments, namaste.

squirrelelite, I know next to nothing about string theory although I do expect there are 10 or 11 dimensions. I think the simplest explanation for one of Castaneda's filaments is a wave/particle. Again, you can conceptualize it as a sensory interface (between the brain and the universe) or a physical interface (between outer and inner space) but either way, that which appears without is within, and that that appears within is without. It's a MONOdeific UNIverse. One with everything.

Narad I won't tell you all the awful things I know about Nixon. Suffice to say that he shut down promising medical research for decades and gave us the War on Drugs because he was AFRAID of a few academic, intellectual, free-thinking hippies. He was a paranoiac of the highest order and deserves every ounce of his disgrace.

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 13 Nov 2016 #permalink

We were talking
About the space between us all
And the people who hide themselves
Behind a wall of illusion
Never glimpse the truth
Then it's far too late
When they pass away.

We were talking
About the love we all could share
When we find it
To try our best to hold it there
With our love, with our love
We could save the world
If they only knew...

Try to realize it's all within yourself
No one else can make you change
And to see you're really only very small
And life flows on within you and without you.

We were talking
About the love that's gone so cold
And the people who gain the world
And lose their soul
They don't know, they can't see
Are you one of them?

When you've seen beyond yourself
Then you may find
Peace of mind is waiting there
And the time will come
When you see we're all one
And life flows on within you and without you.

[The Beatles]

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 13 Nov 2016 #permalink

If Castaneda and Aldous Huxley are not your cups of tea, what about Newton? Max Planck? Einstein? And so many others?

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” -Planck

By Wesley Dodson (not verified) on 14 Nov 2016 #permalink

Quoting philosophers and deep thinkers of yore? Right, I can do that.

"All diseases of Christians are to be ascribed to demons" - St Augustine.

By JustaTech (not verified) on 14 Nov 2016 #permalink