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New Age medic Deepak Chopra responds to Darwin’s man Jerry Coyne in The New Republic. Warning: Messy.

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Deepak Chopra/ BankingBum

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Has Jerry Coyne connected with a big tub of sticky marshmallow goo?

Recently, he took it upon himself to brag in The New Republic that some of his buddies had done a number on Chopra’s Web site. They had, Coyne also boasted, done the same to Rupert Sheldrake.

Chopra responds,

I have a suspicion that readers of The New Republic aren’t aware that skepticism has become a bullying, strident movement redolent of the worst aspects of the Internet. Jerry Coyne tosses around the term “pseudoscientist” as if it were a given when applied to Rupert Sheldrake and by implication to me. He, then, must represent real science, a standard that his article doesn’t meet.

I can’t speak for my respected friend Rupert Sheldrake, although it’s typical of Coyne’s slash-and-burn tactics that he refers to Sheldrake as having trained at Cambridge University while leaving out that he held respected senior positions in biology there. In my own case, to be sneeringly tagged as a pseudoscientist is an absurd allegation.

Readers can peruse his considerable credentials there; here is a source for some of his articles. You decide.

Chopra continues:

The bulk of his article is riddled with defamatory remarks, and the links he provides are to the same sort of fellow skeptics. They are proud of their underhanded tactics. They operate from the same basic ethics as their leader, Richard Dawkins: “I know I’m right, so why be fair?” No doubt Jerry Coyne will wriggle out of this embarrassing episode, but The New Republic, without being a science journal, should respect the fairness principles of accurate reporting. It owes that much to its trusting readers.

Then Coyne fires back (same venue)

He apparently sees me as part of an establishment bent on silencing his profundities—a group of what he calls “militant skeptics” who have the temerity to purge the woo from his Wikipedia page. Ours is, he says, a “bullying, strident movement,” and in response parades his credentials like thoroughbred horses before a race. In light of his education and honors, how dare we question things like telepathy, minds without bodies, and “quantum consciousness”?

Actually, if you look into it, you will soon discover that people like Coyne and his wikitroll buddies simply insist, beyond the reach of evidence, that telepathy is false. Not so, it exists as a low level effect greater than chance but not nearly enough to justify the claims of typical psychics (see The Spiritual Brain).

In any event, a better encyclopedia than Wikipedia would long since have found a way to protect its entries from organized assaults of such as Coyne’s troll buddies.

Among others, Coyne singles out as “pseudoscience, pure and simple” Chopra’s statement that

Intelligence doesn’t “appear” at a late stage of evolution. It seems to be inherent in nature.

announcing that “no set of credentials, however impressive, can launder it into real science.”

Curious, because great physicists have frequently said similar things to Chopra’s comment.

Coyne did not like the term “new atheist,” so he promoted, for a while, gnu atheist. Perhaps there also needs to be a new term for an evolutionary biologist whose attachment to Darwin is so strong that he actually doesn’t see the problems that other atheists recognize.

Is it possible that The New Republic has set Coyne up to say this stuff? Then he’ll be defending himself a while. One big fat tub of marshmallow comin’ up.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG A friend says you can’t make this stuff up, and we say no need to bother, just keep it comin’

13 Replies to “New Age medic Deepak Chopra responds to Darwin’s man Jerry Coyne in The New Republic. Warning: Messy.

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    Does Coyne and other dirt worshipers like him know how living organisms evolved the capacity to evolve. Of course not. I am deeply skeptical of self-appointed skeptics like Coyne who parade their voodoo science as legitimate science while disparaging those who disagree as pseudoscientists. Legitimate according to whom, their own self-congratulating circle of voodoo scientists? Intellectual incest at its worst. What a bunch of cowardly hypocrites.

  2. 2

    They’re overreaching. The question is if they are overreaching far and hard enough to create a significant, culture-changing backlash.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    The GNU Republic?

  4. 4
    Axel says:

    Not only has abiogenesis been proved to be fanciful conjecture, but the life of even something as primitive as a lichen seems to be as far as ever from man’s comprehension. Yet they seem to blether on about evolution as if somehow it explained life.

    They’re lost in a little sand-pit of their own making. The Mark Thatchers of science.

  5. 5
    Robert Byers says:

    Telepathy is a option for being true? Naw! Its gibberish from India.
    Our souls don’t communicate beyond our bodies.
    Its funny to see these folks fighting each other.
    They are all card carrying establishment accepted people.
    I’m banned from Coyne’s forum on the internet so its odd he believes in interfering with others forums.
    They want to give it out but can’t take it back even from ernest folks like me.
    I love the NEW atheists movement because it gives attention to evolution that otherwise would keep its mouth shut.
    They are doing creationism a service by insisting on evolutions truth.
    All that does is bring criticism.

  6. 6
    selvaRajan says:

    Jerry Coyne tosses around the term “pseudoscientist” as if it were a given when applied to Rupert Sheldrake and by implication to me

    He is not a pseudoscientists ?!I am sure his Dream Weaver is as scientific as the study which found Oreos addiction is equivalent to cocaine. 🙂

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    selvaRajan @6,

    The real pseudoscientists are the dirt worshipers who believe and teach others to believe that inert dirt can self-organize into complex, self-reproducing living organisms. Jerry Coyne, Stephen Hawking and Richard Dawkins are prominent among those. Come to think of it, has any of those con artists contributed anything to the betterment of humanity?

    At least, one can say that Chopra’s Dream Weaver does do what he claims it does: it uses light and sound pulses to create visual hallucinations based on a known scientific phenomenon in psychology.

  8. 8
    selvaRajan says:

    Mapou @7,
    I agree that the mechanism of abiogenesis is still not understood but Jerry Coyne, Stephen Hawking and Dawkins are engaged in other non-controversial scientific endeavors too, so at least they are scientists.
    AFAIK, None of any of those psychological phenomenon have been validated (if you are talking of alpha, beta waves and their effectiveness in meditation)

  9. 9
    Mapou says:


    those guys believe in something for which there is no scientific evidence whatsoever. The correct word for it superstition. Take Stephen Hawking, for example. This is a man who believes in the possibility of time travel! He believes that Einstein’s theory of general relativity does not forbid it even though it is a known fact that there can be no motion in spacetime. If that is not the ravings of a crackpot, I don’t know what is. And we are to believe in the rest of his Star Trek physics about black holes, wormholes and Big Bangs? Here it is from someone who really understands spacetime:

    There is no dynamics within space-time itself: nothing ever moves therein; nothing happens; nothing changes. […] In particular, one does not think of particles as “moving through” space-time, or as “following along” their world-lines. Rather, particles are just “in” space-time, once and for all, and the world-line represents, all at once the complete life history of the particle.

    Source: Relativity from A to B by Dr. Robert Geroch, U. of Chicago

  10. 10


    . . . Oreos addiction is equivalent to cocaine

    Thanks! That explains why I’m such a mess! 🙂

    Now where did I leave that bag of cookies . . .

  11. 11
    Lilly Anne says:

    Pretty sure the word “skeptic” doesn’t mean what Coyle and co. think it means.

  12. 12
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: How do we reconcile the problem of suffering and the goodness of God? Hear Ravi Zacharias answer at Johns Hopkins University tonight! The livestream starts at 7pm EST tonight!


  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    OT: Grace and Compassion amidst Tragedy – Part 1 – video
    Grace and Compassion amidst Tragedy – Part 2 – video

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