Wednesday, August 24, 2005

don't go there

While I'm a a big fan of Bob Somerby's "The Daily Howler" blog at www.dailyhowler.com I have to say that he should stay out of the deep end of the scientific pool until he learns how to swim. In today's post, he discussed the Larry King show presentation yesterday on evolution vs. "intelligent design" and quoted Deepak Chopra, a man who, judging by his educational background, should know better.

In what Somerby characterized as a "good, solid, thought-provoking quote," Chopra wondered "how do we explain simultaneity in the university, how does a human body think thoughts, play the piano, kill germs, remove toxins, and make a baby all at once? How does DNA, which is very intelligent, emerge from inorganic chemicals? And they say, who designed the creator? If you think of the creator in human terms, which is the human imagination, then you're in trouble. But you know, in quantum physics, they refer to this field of infinite possibilities as a-causal, which means without cause, non-local, beyond space-time, infinitely correlated inter-relatedness, and when you start to understand that the very fundamental levels of nature are a-causal, they are beyond time, they're without—they transcend time, then you can have a different idea of the creator."

I read the Daily Howler every day that it is published, I often agree, and sometimes disagree, but I have to speak up and say that the "good, solid, thought-provoking" quote from Deepak Chopra is utter unscientific gibberish.

"Simultaneity in the universe?" What is that even supposed to mean? Is it somehow puzzling that things occur at the same time?

"The ability to think, play piano, kill germs, remove toxins and make a baby all at once?" What is so astounding about that? Other than the fact that as a pianist for almost fifty years, I have yet to make a baby while I'm playing, the rest of this puffery. Thinking and playing piano can't be separated. Killing germs and removing toxins is what living things do, imperfectly, every single second of their existence. Making babies? With the surplus of humans on this planet, that's clearly not that big of an accomplishment. Life makes more life. That's what the purpose of living things is.

"DNA, which is very intelligent?" That hardly deserves a comment. A chemical substance does not possess any intelligence. How do chemicals come into being? Simple. Atoms and molecules constantly mix in different ways.

"In quantum physics, they refer to this field of infinite possibilities as a-causal, which means without cause, non-local, beyond space-time, infinitely correlated inter-relatedness, and when you start to understand that the very fundamental levels of nature are a-causal, they are beyond time, they're without—they transcend time, then you can have a different idea of the creator." This deserves comment even less. This is a sentence with no scientific meaning or content. It is psychobabble. It is gibberish. It is nonsense. It is the uninformed nattering of those who believe in alien UFO pilots, the powers of crystals and pyramids, extra-sensory perception, and all of the other fluff that our scientifically illiterate population of self-important hayseeds believe to be true.

Finally, just because somebody is enamored of the phrase "the creator" does not mean that there actually is such a thing, and that seems to be tacitly accepted as a premise by both Chopra and Somerby.

Please, let science be science, let philosophy be philosophy, and let religion be religion, but don't transmute ignorance into science because of the pompous verbosity of a clowning pundit.

It's time for some low, mordant chuckles...

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home