Chopra gets brainy

Stop him before he assaults his readers' minds again: Chopra babbles about consciousness and the brain. Supposedly, this is a response to something in The God Delusion, but Dawkins really doesn't discuss mechanisms of consciousness much at all (the book is a little bit excessively broad as it is, so I'm relieved he didn't try to throw that bit of the kitchen sink in there). The most appropriate section I could find in the book was this one:

Human thoughts and emotions emerge from exceedingly complex interconnections of physical entities within the brain. An atheist in this sense of philosophical naturalist is somebody who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence lurking behind the observable universe, no soul that outlasts the body and no miracles— except in the sense of natural phenomena that we don't yet understand. If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural. As ever when we unweave a rainbow, it will not become less wonderful.

So Dawkins' position is that thoughts emerge from complex interconnections in the brain—I'd agree with that. What is Chopra's interpretation of Dawkins' words?

Dawkins holds that humans are conscious because chemicals randomly collide in the brain to produce a phantom we ignorantly call the mind. This is a fashionable view and in fact is the logical outcome of arch materialism. Where else could mind come from if not molecules, assuming that molecules are the basis of the brain and therefore of reality itself?

Common sense finds it hard to take this argument seriously, because it leads to nonsense. The brain contains an enormous amount of water and salt. Are we to assume that water is intelligent, or salt is conscious? If they aren't, then we must assume that throwing water and salt together--along with about six other basic building blocks of organic chemicals--suddenly makes them intelligent. The bald fact is that Dawkins defends an absurd position because he can't make the leap to a different set of assumptions.

That isn't even close to what Dawkins said anywhere in the book.

Neuroscience does not propose that molecules merely combine randomly in the brain. There's also the additional element of organization. A cellular resting potential, for example, is the result of an electrochemical equilibrium of all of the permeant ions (salts in water) across a membrane, and an action potential is the consequence of a change in ion permeabilities, leading to a new equilibrium. The salt and water and membrane aren't conscious, but they do generate patterns of activity that contribute to that property of the whole brain, consciousness. Throwing salt and water in a bucket doesn't set up the non-random distribution of ions that is essential for the process to work.

I presume the six other building blocks he's talking about are carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur. He's right that just mixing these molecules in a bucket doesn't spontaneously generate a living, thinking being, but human brains aren't just a mixture of atoms whisked together (well, most human brains…I'm not so sure about Deepak Chopra's). What we have is all those atoms linked into complex macromolecules—proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, and carbohydrates—assembled into organelles and cells and wonderfully connected tissues. There's nothing random about it.

Now at this point we could just say Chopra is merely grossly ignorant, and mistaking his foolish assumptions for a reasonable reflection of the modern understanding of what's going on in the brain. This is Chopra, though…he has to transcend the trivially stupid to reach new heights of lunacy, and he does not disappoint.

Note his argument so far: Dawkins is wrong because he defends this "absurd position" that a bucket of salt water should be conscious (setting aside the truth of the matter, that Dawkins makes no such claim). What a fool! Only an idiot could believe such nonsense! So what is Chopra's explanation?

That salt and water are conscious.

Really.

--Consciousness is part of existence. It wasn't created by molecules.
--Intelligence is an aspect of consciousness.
--Intelligence grows as life grows. Both evolve from within.
--The universe evolved along intelligent lines.

You see, the whole universe is permeated with consciousness, and in his wacky ideas, you don't need those complicated macromolecules and levels of organization—it's an intrinsic part of all of existence.

I think we can now make alternative predictions from the materialist hypothesis and the Chopra-woo hypothesis. According to us materialists, a bucket of salt water is a bucket of saltwater, with certain physical and chemical properties. According to Chopra-woo, a bucket of salt water is conscious and aware. Unfortunately, I can't think of any way to test the conscious water bucket hypothesis—it seems to be unresponsive. I don't see any indications of organized activity in the bucket, either, since it does seem to be the domain of random interactions, with ions and water molecules bouncing off one another and so forth. I think we can safely say that Chopra does not regard random collisions of molecules as elements of consciousness, so at least on the level of internal consistency, Chopra-woo fails.

I wouldn't put it past him to call in a medium to channel the thoughts of the water bucket, though. Chopra does give me the impression of a man who will spend hours talking to his nightstand, at least, so I can't be too surprised at anything he might suggest.

By the way, we also get that standard hallmark of a Chopra article, the closing plea for support from his readers.

First I'd like to hear responders' views. Do you think you are conscious and intelligent, or are you being fooled by random chemical reactions inside your skull?

Silly false dichotomy. I am conscious and intelligent, but those properties of my brain are not the product of random collisions, nor are they the result of magic consciousness molecules. Most of his readers over there aren't falling for it. The flim-flam artist is losing his magic—I'm beginning to think his exposure at the Huffington Post might not be such a bad thing after all.

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It seems like only yesterday that I was fisking yet another piece of seriously irritating woo from that expert purveyor of woo, Deepak Chopra. In fact, it was only yesterday that I was fisking part two of Chopra's woo-filled The Trouble With Genes series. As I mentioned in my previous fisking, I…
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I tried not to do it. I really did. I tried to resist the temptation to respond to Deepak Chopra's latest incursions into woo as he flailed futilely at Richard Dawkins' arguments for science. Fortunately, PZ Myers and MarkCC have been around to take down his idiocy. But then I thought about it Why…

"Consciousness isn't just plausible as part of Nature, it's totally necessary. Not just to keep God around but to keep science around. That will be the next stage of the discussion."

Uh-oh. Are we headed for ye olde Berkeleyan idealism?

All the choir of heaven and furniture of earth - in a word, all those bodies which compose the frame of the world - have not any subsistence without a mind. - George Berkeley

That isn't even close to what Dawkins said anywhere in the book.

But how could Chopra possibly know what Dawkins said in the book?

But how could Chopra possibly know what Dawkins said in the book?

Indeed. It's become mind-numbingly clear that Chopra has not read The God Delusion.

I had thought of taking this one on, but it's so similar to the "matter is conscious" crap he spewed a month or two ago when beating up the straw man that "materialists" claim that brain activity and consciousness can be explained only through genetics that I just couldn't motivate myself to do it. I'm glad someone did.

Why do so many people assume that if there's not a supernatural intelligence behind something, the only alternative is randomness?

PZ: I find two things objectionable here. First, it seems entirely disingenuous thing for a *physician* to misleadingly talk about 'salt and water'. Chopra knows dare well that action potentials, the basis of much information flow in our bodies, are essentially produced by membrane 'capacitors' that store/release voltages through the flow of salts.

Second, more ironically, is that Chopra essentially segues from 'salt and water' to the Argument from Incredulity, which of course is one of Dawkins' critiques of Design Arguments in general. Has Chopra even bothered to read anything that Dawkins has written other than 'The God Delusion'? I'd say I was disappointed but I already hold his brand of mumbo-jumbo in such low regard that's impossible....SH

By Scott Hatfield (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

Interesting point that it may be good that Chopra is laying out his views at Huffington Post.
Before he started attacking science over the past year or two, my suspicion is that most liberals had very little idea of what Chopra believed, and might express vague approval in order to be open minded about his new age beliefs in order to be consistent with liberal views on freedom of religion. His views were mysterious, with no reason for liberals to necessarily care or be offended.
The more Chopra describes his views, the clearer it becomes that he is not just a writer expressing his religious views. Many of us are accustomed to just ignoring those whose religion is used to fill in the gaps left by current scientific knowledge. If they want to say a god initiated the big bang or set evolution in motion, there are the obvious logical problems but the view is harmless (as long as such a view doesn't interfere with science ultimately answering these questions and making such religious beliefs as outdated as those who blamed earth quakes on the anger of the gods before we had a scientific answer.)
One problem with Chopra is that his beliefs compel him to attack both established science and the scientific method. Even worse, Chopra quite frequently repeats the exact arguments used by the religious right when he both attacks science and argues for the existence of a creator (or that the universe is conscious).
The more Chopra gives specific descriptions of his views, the less they are a vague new age viewpoint which we can just ignore and the more they are clearly attacks on science and reason which are every bit as dangerous as those from the religious right. His tactics also become obvious with the manner in which he is now ending his posts with falso dichotomies. Intelligent readers will both realize that neither choice offered by Chopra is the one that is most plausible, and will see the logical fallacies inherent in Chopra's views.
(This started out as a brief comment but as it grew will most likely become a blog post at Liberal Values, where I already commented on Chopra's latest idiocy yesterday. I hope you don't mind a bit of "blog whoring" as I propose my blog as one that readers here might find of interest. Liberal Values came into existence partially over opposition to Chopra's attacks on science. I previous wrote at The Democratic Daily, but the person I formed the blog with has an on online business selling new age paraphanelia and thought that any criticism of Chopra would be harmful to her business! Being restricted by such views is hardly why most of us get into blogging. The ultimate reason for my leaving Democratic Daily was her defense of Mel Gibson after his anti-semitic tirade, but disagreements over Chopra had already brought me close to leaving.)

Sorry, I meant to say 'darn well'. Shows you what happens when a fella gets angry....SH

By Scott Hatfield (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

I am amazed! simply amazed.

Why do otherwise intelligent people need magic to explain the already explained? to make beautiful the already beautiful? to give meaning to the already meaningful?

Life is just so great and wonderful and precious in its nature real form ... why must these "believers" be so bloodly intellectually INsecure, INadequate and shallow to need fantasy to obscure the otherwise magnificient.

Blows my mind!!!

By ConcernedJoe (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

See. I am NOT being silly when I feel sorry for the penny that fell behind the dryer. It IS sad and lonely back there.

I for one do not think Chopra a fool. He is, I feel, very aware that fools and their money are easily split in twain.

I stumbled across the writings of David Brin early in the process of expanding my science-fictional horizons beyond Isaac Asimov. One of the miracles of the modern age is that we can have meaningful, two-way interactions with people who back in TwenCen would only have been the authors of the paperbacks we found in the SF aisle. When we finally crossed paths at the International Conference on Complex Systems this past summer, we had the oddest feeling we had met before. A relevant quotable Brin moment:

I carefully separate indignation junkies of "the left" — sourpusses who channel Cotton Mather and hate engineering almost as much as right wingers hate science — from the modernist, problem-solving liberals who can claim credit for most of the good and miraculous accomplishments of America and Western Civilization across the last hundred years.

Yes, there is some overlap. And yet, nothing is more likely to lead us further into hell than if we continue to conflate these two profoundly different groups...

...the way Karl Rove conflated sincere "conservatism" with fanatical dogmatism, racism, kleptocratic theft and outright neocon lunacy.

Chopra is a nominally leftist loonball, not a modernist problem-solver. It may be a very good thing indeed that HuffPo readers of the problem-solving persuasion see this fraud for who he is.

Hmmm, maybe he's been reading The Hidden Messages in Water. Talk about woo-woo.

The Hidden Messages in Water is an eye-opening theory showing how water is deeply connected to people's individual and collective consciousness. Drawing from his own research, scientific researcher, healer, and popular lecturer Dr. Masaru Emoto describes the ability of water to absorb, hold, and even retransmit human feelings and emotions.

Just think: the world is as it is because we don't hug our water enough. Who knew?

That shite wouldnt bother me at all except for the fact that there are droves of people commenting on how wise Deepak is and how he's really enlightened them with his nonsense. Aargh. The fact that he is actually paid to spout this crap also really really irks me. What a sonofabitch.

The one thing that really bothers me when I read apologists for universal intelligence is their insistence on misinterpreting evolution and naturalistic explanations for concepts such as consciousness. They, like standard creationists and IDiots, insist that natural explanations rely on this "randomness" bogeyman.

I know that they can't be so stupid as to not be able to understand the scientific concept of randomness as a means to test hypotheses; so I can only chalk it up to willful ignorance.

By Mike Haubrich (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

Somebody said this on an earlier Chopra thread, but his line "Dawkins holds that humans are conscious because chemicals randomly collide in the brain to produce a phantom we ignorantly call the mind." is basically a big "Up yours!" to Buddhism. Maybe Taoism too, come to think of it--don't they also consider the mind to be illusory?

Which is kind of weird, because a lot of the new-age folks you'd expect to like Chopra also highly respect Buddhism. But I guess they can do without any of its claims that might be vaguely discomforting as well as probably correct.

By Anton Mates (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

Maybe Taoism too, come to think of it--don't they also consider the mind to be illusory?

You'd have to define which version of Taoism you're referring to. There's the philosophical version, the religious version, and then the traditional version practiced in Asia. They all stem from the same source but, like the Judeo-Christian religions, branch out drastically on some important points.

Andy, that is really hysterical. Where objects and processes in Nature can make fine metaphors in some literary sense, this is just as loony as Chopra's ideas:

He found that water from clear springs and water exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns, while polluted water and water exposed to negative thoughts forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. Emoto believes that since people are 70 percent water, and the Earth is 70 percent water, we can heal our planet and ourselves by consciously expressing love and goodwill.

Oh, that's the best laugh I've had today - I will try not to be negative to my water! Geesh, seriously, we can "heal our planet" by simply just trashing it less - no abstractions will save it. Do these people get their hands dirty in the mud? They are so out of touch with Nature it's amazing.

You'd have to define which version of Taoism you're referring to. There's the philosophical version, the religious version, and then the traditional version practiced in Asia.

Some versions of Sanatana Dharma (aka Hinduism) also feel this way I think.

Eastern Religions are so much more interesting than Western Religions. As a Cultural Anthropology student, I mean.

` I used to believe in Chopra until I understood how skepticism and the scientific method worked. Then I kicked myself in the butt for not being able to see that he and others had no regard for checking to make sure there's evidence.

The brain contains an enormous amount of water and salt. Are we to assume that water is intelligent, or salt is conscious?

As someone has said, whatever substance consciousness is made of, it is soluble in ethanol.

THE GURU DELUSION, Canto 4, Chorus 1

"At a certain point we must leave Dawkins behind, since he is riding a hobby horse. He feels compelled to attack the onslaught of irrational forces that pose a crisis to the very existence of science."

~Deepak Chopra
http://www.intentblog.com/archives/2006/11/the_god_delusio_3.html#more

***
"At a certain point we must
leave Dawkins behind,
since he is riding a hobby horse."

And we must go ahead riding
with our guru who is a
worshipper of Krishna,
lover of 100 milk maids,

Who fought the war of
righteousness in the fields
of Kurukshetra - not far from
where our guru comes from.

And who also worships Shiva
who advised his wife, Parvati
to drink her own urine,
to attain eternal life.

Dawkins is rational.
The Guru is anything but rational.
Why should irrational forces pose
any crisis to the survival of science?

Is it not the opposite - the irrational
spiritual forces science demolishes?

O dear guru of ours, would
you please tell us,
how come you're so deluded?
how come you're so messed up?

~white wings
http://whitewings.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-guru-delusion-episo…

Chopra is right, in the sense that a tautology is right: brains are matter, (some) brains are conscious, therefore matter is conscious. Beyond that lies nonsense.

Salt and Water

HOW TO MAKE A BRAIN, Canto 4, Chorus 2

"The brain contains an enormous amount of water and salt. Are we to assume that water is intelligent, or salt is conscious? If they aren't, then we must assume that throwing water and salt together--along with about six other basic building blocks of organic chemicals--suddenly makes them intelligent."

~Deepak Chopra

***

Ya, salt and water make the brain
Ya, salt and water
...................................water is intelligent
...................................and salt is conscious
throw them in a pan
and add six more ingredients

and mix them together
mix them together
there's your brain
...................................ya, there is your brain
...................................there is your brain
intelligent and conscious
intelligent and conscious
there is your brain

but no one makes such claims
only guru labels others
for such claims

and then to show
how smarty pant he is
he says they are wrong
and rebuts his own claims
made in others names
.......................................no, no way, claims the guru
.......................................this is no way to make a brain
where is God?
where is soul?
without God and soul
.......................................there is no brain
.......................................no brain

he claims, he claims, he claims...

~white wings

http://whitewings.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/how-to-make-a-brain-can…

V

My computer processes information. My computer contains an enormous amount of silicon and aluminum. Are we to assume that silicon can calculate, or aluminum processes information? If they aren't, then we must assume that throwing silicon and aluminum together--along with about six other basic building blocks of semiconductor devices--suddenly makes them a computer. The bald fact is that something outside the material is responsible for my computer working.

Emergent properties, bitch.

By Nick Tarleton (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

Hmmm, maybe he's been reading The Hidden Messages in Water. Talk about woo-woo.

Dr. Emoto has been featured in the past on my regular feature Your Friday Dose of Woo. He seems to believe that by singing at the water or thinking at it "with intent" he can alter its structure and imbue it with all sorts of health benefits.

Utter rubbish, of course. Naturally, he's set up shop in Southern California.

Anymore, when I even hear the word "randomly" a red siren starts flashing in my brain and I start hearing "DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!"

Take on someone more your own size:

Godel's Ontological Argument
http://www.stats.uwaterloo.ca/~cgsmall/ontology.html

Consciousness and Common Sense
http://www.stats.uwaterloo.ca/~cgsmall/conscious.html

"If consciousness seems to be affected by disruption or damage to the brain, and if there is no evidence that neural activity is affected by immaterial "forces" beyond the undertanding of the natural sciences, why cannot consciousness be identified with the workings of the brain? To answer this question, we must begin to say something about the nature of consciousness."

Let me add to the above:

"If the materialist viewpoint is to be accepted, then the cosmos is full of unimaginable gulfs of emptiness in which the universe is blind to its own existence and true nature. Somewhere towards the rim of an unremarkable galaxy, matter has reached a sufficient degree of complexity to be conscious. There may be other such pockets of complexity, but they are at tremendous distances of space and time from our own coordinates in the continuum. Perhaps when matter first evolved into a conscious organism, the universe turned its eye on itself and reached self-awareness.

It is reasonable to question this viewpoint. Is it correct to try to localize consciousness in space and time at all? There are many questions and few answers. What answers we may find will undoubtedly bring us a clearer understanding of the role of consciousness in the universe. However, the answers may be few and far between. "

Nick: Didn't you know your computer is haunted by a spirit of calculation? I see you don't work in computer manufacturing. Rounding up all the appropriate spirits and binding them into the computers so that they will actually compute something is hard work. In some cases if even one of those intricate metal lines that create the spirit-binding spell is broken, the spirit may escape and no calculation can be performed.

"If consciousness seems to be affected by disruption or damage to the brain, and if there is no evidence that neural activity is affected by immaterial "forces" beyond the undertanding of the natural sciences, why cannot consciousness be identified with the workings of the brain?

It can. Work on the precise details of this identification is already underway.

To answer this question, we must begin to say something about the nature of consciousness."

Saying something about consciousness is easy. Saying something *accurate* about consciousness (and demonstrating its accuracy) is hard.

I see you don't work in computer manufacturing. Rounding up all the appropriate spirits and binding them into the computers so that they will actually compute something is hard work. In some cases if even one of those intricate metal lines that create the spirit-binding spell is broken, the spirit may escape and no calculation can be performed.

You cannot forget the magic smoke! Even the most neophyte of computer users knows that if the magic smoke escapes, the computer no longer functions.

By Mithrandir (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

I don't know how much water or salt the brain contains, but I can say in all honesty and with an infinitesimal probably of mistake that Deepak Chopra's brain contains a large amount of hig-strength concrete.

By valhar2000 (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

What an idiot, he should know that when salts are dissolved in water they form ions and are called electrolytes ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salt ). He can't even get his strawman argument right.

You cannot forget the magic smoke! Even the most neophyte of computer users knows that if the magic smoke escapes, the computer no longer functions.

You beat me to it...

I should also mention that, based on my own experimental observations, one cannot deduce the spiritual level of any device simply by measuring the quantity of magic smoke it contains.

It turns out, for instance, that a humble collection of 10 or so nickel-cadmium D-cells contain an extraordinary amount of magic smoke. As gleaned during a rather embarrassing (for somebody else...) reverse-polarity episode... ;-)

By Millimeter Wave (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

Chopra writes as if his head is full of magic smoke. Could he be a computer?

I'd assume that Chopra is safe from zombies?

Wrong question. You'd best be asking: 'Am I safe from Chopra's zombies?'

Carbon doesn't taste of apple, Hydrogen doesn't taste of apple, are we really to believe that apples taste of apples?

Why do so many people assume that if there's not a supernatural intelligence behind something, the only alternative is randomness?
Posted by: JD

Because finding a third alternative requires science and science is difficult.

By Patrick Quigley (not verified) on 25 Nov 2006 #permalink

it´s funny. none of you science people understand chopra. the reason is simple. you are not aware of your own consciousness and are have no feeling of real existence. Too bad.

A Brain of Salty Waters, a poem
.
THE GURU DELUSION - A Fountainhead of Poetry
.
When he says
brain is only salt and water
plus a pinch of six ingredients,
and it has intelligence
only when God breathes
into it consciousness,
It seems as if the rishis
of the ages of Vedas
are speaking through him,
like the angel Gabriel spoke
to our prophet Mohammad
(peace be upon him).

And I start writing on the
divine revelations of the guru,
surprising myself I end up
with poems I never expected.

This is pure pleasure.
You cannot kill a man,
dead already.

~white wings
http://whitewings.sulekha.com/blog/post/2006/11/the-guru-delusion-fount…

V

Hmmm... I believe computer processors are made from silicon, but that doesn't mean I think a bucket of sand is programmable. :)

The really amazing thing is how he can get away with saying things that are so obviously ridiculous. At least people falling for his quantum babble can be forgiven on the basis that they don't have any idea what he's talking about, but this example should be really obviously stupid to anyone, given a moment's thought. Eggs, sugar, butter, flour and water are not necessarily a cake.

Chopra writes as if his head is full of magic smoke. Could he be a computer?

Actually, I drew the opposite conclusion; I think the magic smoke has long since escaped...

By Millimeter Wave (not verified) on 26 Nov 2006 #permalink

At first I read the title of the post as "Chopra gets a brain".
Alas, he didn't.

If Chopra is recycling creationist arguments such as the Strawman of Randomness and the Unsupported Fabulation of Innate Intelligence I assume he is paying hefty license money on unintelligent property rights.

But what is up with a poster that invites responses and then flags them as 'abusive'? At least, being a con artist he should be more careful with his potential victims.

By Torbjörn Larsson (not verified) on 26 Nov 2006 #permalink

See. I am NOT being silly when I feel sorry for the penny that fell behind the dryer. It IS sad and lonely back there.

Craig--thanks for the laugh. And the half-pint of hot black tea up the nose.

Chopra is a nutbag. He follows a long line of mystic nutbags. All he needs is a few shrunken heads on sticks to wave at us.

It is disappointing that science is constantly defending itself against the mystics. Rather the mystics should do a bit more explaining, without the usual cop out of "faith". Faith is the "Get Out of Jail Free Card" that mystics have awarded themselves.

mlb said:

it´s funny. none of you science people understand chopra. the reason is simple. you are not aware of your own consciousness and are have no feeling of real existence. Too bad.

But how can this be true? After all, even us science people are 70% salty water...

I'm sorry, I'll read that again:
mlb said:

it´s funny. none of you science people understand chopra. the reason is simple. you are not aware of your own consciousness and are have no feeling of real existence. Too bad.

But how can this be true? After all, even us science people are 70% salty water...

George: To answer your question, yes. Someone on an earlier thread found evidence that Chopra is a subjective idealist.

JD: Simplicity of thought. Not all thought-economy is any good ...

andy: Like Chopra, that sort of book makes me angry, because it diverts attention from what is really important, namely the conservation and distribution of water.

Anton Mates: Pop Buddhism converts the subjective idealism of less-popular Buddhism into a version that is easier to understand, so I wouldn't be surprised if Chopra actually thinks (or would pretend to think) that he understands Buddhism.

quork: If you recall an attribution for that saying about solubility, let me know, I might want to borrow it.

re: Chopra and his thoughts on mind and consciousness.

Lets, for the sake of argument, say that there is such a thing as a "mind" ...

I've had some "brains" demonstrate the notion of "mind" (e.g. PZ and most of the posters here).

I have also seen "brains" that do not demonstrate "mind" (e.g. those that are in a vegetative state).

But, I have never ever seen "mind" demonstrated without "brain".

Chopra can flap his gums all he wants about the "intelligent" universe, but until he can make some needle move on some graph that DEMONSTRATES this OBJECTIVELY, all I can say is that his self delusion is "mind" boggling.

...John