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2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it. 
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Post 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Deepak Chopra is not an expert. But to some people, he sounds like one.

Unfortunately, this is the state of our discourse. Some quack hears technical jargon, then spews it back out in front of people with no experience in the topic and they can be taken as seriously as the people who spent years ACTUALLY studying the topic.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badas ... -is-wrong/

More in depth.

http://skepticblog.org/2009/11/16/deepa ... ics-again/

Quote:
Chopra is using a common trick of the pseudoscientist – exploiting cutting edge science, which the public is not likely to understand, and pretend as if there is proof where there is uncertainty. Take some interesting experiments, then leap way ahead to conclusions that serve their metaphysical purposes, but which are not settled science.

...

Chopra really needs to have a conversation with a real quantum physicist. You would think that before someone makes a career out of promoting a specific scientific interpretation to the public they would make sure they got the science right. But I suspect Chopra doesn’t care about getting the science right. He seems to be working backwards from his metaphysics, and then happily misinterpreting QM to suit his needs.



You see that in the evolution debate, young earth creationism, the study of the brain, radiometric dating... oh and don't even mention the laws of thermal dynamics.

It's easy. You just slap two people on a split screen, say that they have a degree and just like that, POOF, instant expert.

nevermind that the opposition has a degree in "truthology" from falwell university.


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In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


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Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:00 pm
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Chopra is horrible, I don't know how that guy sells books or whatever he does. I posted a debate of him with Sam Harris a while ago where he was spouting some quantum nonsense.



Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:12 pm
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
This makes me think of something that I have heard more than once. It is usually when I am talking with someone about "consciousness", or right after I have told them that I teach chemistry (at a community college in MN). They will tell me about an experiment where you can take two electrons and separate them by 100 miles and if you alter the spin of one, the other will instantaneously alter correspondingly. I don't know what to say. First, I don't know what they are talking about, and they can't actually tell me, and second, even if that is the case, it doesn't imply any consciousness to the electron anyway and I very much doubt that this would be an actual measurable event. Actually, I get lost at the concept of taking a paired set of electrons and splitting them up by 100 miles in the first place. So, I am asking. Is this a result of this Deepak Chopra stuff, or is there something else they are referring to here? I really am curious and don't know who to ask about this.



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Tue Jul 19, 2011 10:19 pm
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Lois wrote:
This makes me think of something that I have heard more than once. It is usually when I am talking with someone about "consciousness", or right after I have told them that I teach chemistry (at a community college in MN). They will tell me about an experiment where you can take two electrons and separate them by 100 miles and if you alter the spin of one, the other will instantaneously alter correspondingly. I don't know what to say. First, I don't know what they are talking about, and they can't actually tell me, and second, even if that is the case, it doesn't imply any consciousness to the electron anyway and I very much doubt that this would be an actual measurable event. Actually, I get lost at the concept of taking a paired set of electrons and splitting them up by 100 miles in the first place. So, I am asking. Is this a result of this Deepak Chopra stuff, or is there something else they are referring to here? I really am curious and don't know who to ask about this.


Quantum entanglement is a real thing, it's pretty mind-blowing. My impression is that scientists really don't understand it yet; of course that doesn't mean you can just interpret it however you want like Chopra does.

There are lots of popular books on quantum theory, I'm trying to think of one off the top of my head that talks about quantum entanglement. Brian Greene probably covers it in his books. Uncertainty by David Lindley is a good, short book on some of the history -- I know he talks about the Heisenberg principle, don't remember if he goes into entanglement.



Last edited by Dexter on Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:22 am, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:22 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Chopra's wiki page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepak_Chopra is worth a read. He is an interesting phenomenon, packaging Indian myth as the foundation of 'mind-body-spirit' wholistic healing. Chopra told Richard Dawkins that his use of the term "quantum theory" was a metaphor and that it has little to do with the actual quantum theory in physics. The trouble is that a philosophical critique of mechanistic science easily goes over the edge into alternative quackery, with medical claims that do not work. Chopra has a fair point that the drug industry has corrupted medicine and led people to neglect the need for wholeness and community. It is rather hard to find a mid point between the extremes of magical delusion and reductive scientism.

It was George Burns who said if you can fake sincerity you've got it made. Chopra seems to be a master at faking sincerity. And it was Chesterton who said when people stop believing in religion they don't start believing in nothing, they start believing in anything. Chopra is a rather strange hybrid, speaking to the emotional draw of religious ideas but claiming a scientific framework, in a way that is unfortunately mostly bogus. It shows there is a big market out there for putting religious ideas into a scientific framework, if anyone ever manages to do it coherently. With nearly half of all Americans sympathetic to creationism, there is a sucker born nearly every second.

A year or so ago a friend gave me a DVD promoting claims that quantum entanglement and wave theory provide an intellectual basis for astrology. I am actually somewhat sympathetic to astrology, but I am more sympathetic to science, and I cannot stand it when astrologers speculate beyond the bounds of evidence. This DVD was quite plausible, but it verges on pseudoscience. Advocates of such ideas need to be very humble about the absence of any clear statistical evidence for their claims.

Pseudoscience speaks to a strong desire among many people for proof of the supernatural, because it gives religious comfort. Total confidence in delusory ideas, whether from Chopra or Billy Graham or Hitler, can take millions of people down a false path. That is why falsifiability is such a bedrock, not only for science but also for ethics. Observation trumps imagination, except where imagination is firmly grounded in observation.



Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:32 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Thank you for these answers.
I looked at the Deepak Chopra wiki page, and then I searched for quantum entanglement on wikipedia and read that. This has given me some insight into where these comments are coming from. I had never heard of quantum entanglement before. Or, at least, I don't remember it.
Also, I'm going to look up some books by Brian Greene.
I hadn't heard this before either, but I like it.
"It was George Burns who said if you can fake sincerity you've got it made. "



Wed Jul 20, 2011 9:19 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Robert Tulip wrote:
It was George Burns who said if you can fake sincerity you've got it made. Chopra seems to be a master at faking sincerity. And it was Chesterton who said when people stop believing in religion they don't start believing in nothing, they start believing in anything. Chopra is a rather strange hybrid, speaking to the emotional draw of religious ideas but claiming a scientific framework, in a way that is unfortunately mostly bogus. It shows there is a big market out there for putting religious ideas into a scientific framework, if anyone ever manages to do it coherently. With nearly half of all Americans sympathetic to creationism, there is a sucker born nearly every second.
...
Pseudoscience speaks to a strong desire among many people for proof of the supernatural, because it gives religious comfort. Total confidence in delusory ideas, whether from Chopra or Billy Graham or Hitler, can take millions of people down a false path. That is why falsifiability is such a bedrock, not only for science but also for ethics. Observation trumps imagination, except where imagination is firmly grounded in observation.


My brother (Robert Schadewald) was a science writer who wrote extensively about pseudoscience. He died in 2000 at the age of 57. After his death, I went through his writings and organized a sampling of them into a book titled "Worlds of Their Own: A Brief History of Misguided Ideas"
I chose samples of Bob's writings from four pseudoscientific areas that he wrote about extensively; creationism, flat Earth belief, perpetual motion schemes and Immanuel Velikovsky's theories. I would like to use booktalk as a means of generating more exposure for my brother and this book of his writings that I edited, but I don't want to misuse the discussion forums. To that end, if this comment is out of place, please let me know.
You can see some examples of his writings (including "Six Flood Arguments Creationists Can't Answer" and "The Flat Earth Bible") here http://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/schadew.htm
A description of the book is found here http://www.worldsoftheirown.com/



Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:22 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
I just watched a program on the durability of our civilization.

Then they say, our civilization could be wiped out. That's true.

Then they say that for all we know there were other civilizations just like ours in the past that completely vanished and we would never know any better.

Not true.

"Maybe there was a civilization on earth a billion years ago, and now it's all gone?"

There wasn't. We have oodles of fossil history up to two and a half billion years in the past showing conclusively that there was ONLY microscopic life for roughly 80% of life's history on earth.

This isn't some fuzzy nebulous world where anything at all could have happened and nobody would know any different.

There is real knowledge to be had on this subject, and myriad others. Why don't people look into the things they talk about?

What drives me nuts about this is that it was on the history channel. I would be perfectly fine with this kind of baseless speculation being on the SYFY channel. But not history. This is supposed to be a place to find information real information. How is it that garbage like this makes it on the air with credulous investigators nodding their silly little heads at every rediculous claim, and real experts are replaced by guys like this?

Image


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:13 pm
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Lois wrote:
Thank you for these answers.
I looked at the Deepak Chopra wiki page, and then I searched for quantum entanglement on wikipedia and read that. This has given me some insight into where these comments are coming from. I had never heard of quantum entanglement before. Or, at least, I don't remember it.
Also, I'm going to look up some books by Brian Greene.
I hadn't heard this before either, but I like it.
"It was George Burns who said if you can fake sincerity you've got it made. "

Major revelation: It was apparently not George Burns who originated the quip, according to the website Quote Investigator.

Chopra's quackery is evident. He's just an example of the brilliant exploitation of science in the name of mysticism. Where things get trickier is the less blatant instances of an 'expert' giving a gloss to his conclusions by claiming that science in some way confirms them. This is many times just a fakery of its own.



Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:59 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Objective does not mean treating all opinions as though they are equally valid.

Objectivity has become an excuse for media outlets to become craziness launch pads. Objectivity doesn’t mean “anything at all could be right, so let’s pretend opinions are just as valid as research.”

In point of fact, NOT all opinions are worth considering. In fact, a great many of them are just flat out wrong and it is a disservice to present them as though they are on equal footing with well-understood science, research, and historical record.

Presenting flat earth world views next to a scientist explaining a galaxy is wrong. Putting this guy on the history channel is wrong.

Image

Mis-informing the public with bogus magical fairy tales when well-understood naturalistic explanations are not only available, but known to be the correct explanation due to overwhelming confirming evidence is wrong!


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:20 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Have you seen the Southpark Thanksgiving episode? It's super funny and it's all about how the History Channel has gone completely off the board with their fantasy science and what-if History. That channel is getting to be like MTV where in order to see real History or real Music Videos you have to be awake at 3 a.m. in the morning.



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Wed Dec 28, 2011 11:57 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
We were flipping channels just today and came across the History Channel. Some show was talking about the "evidence" in the Bible for extraterrestrial visitation. I didn't linger for long, but was quite surprised that this is the kind of crap that is aired on the "History Channel" nowadays.


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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
Prof. Brian Cox talking about the counter-intuitive realm of quantum mechanics, and how that doesn't mean magic is real. (so shut up, Dedpak.)

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/02/ ... nderstood/


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:15 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
johnson1010 wrote:
Prof. Brian Cox talking about the counter-intuitive realm of quantum mechanics, and how that doesn't mean magic is real. (so shut up, Dedpak.)

http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2012/02/ ... nderstood/


Good article, I want to read his book:
http://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Universe- ... 485&sr=1-1



Tue Feb 21, 2012 11:46 am
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Post Re: 2 ways to be an expert: Science or Fake it.
I've got Quantum universe sitting in front of me!
I also picked up his book on relativity. Good reads, both of them!


_________________
In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:59 pm
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