Chopra Finds Flaws in Scientific Method

Ayurveda  is a system of Indian traditional medicine evolving throughout South Asia during the span of about two millennia. The Sushruta Samhita and the Charaka Samhita are the two authoritative encyclopedias of medicine compiled from diverse sources from the mid-first millennium BCE to about 500 CE.  According to legend, the serpent-king Shesha, the recipient of Ayurveda, once visited the earth. As he wandered over the planet and found it full of sickness, he became heartbroken and determined to incarnate himself in the son of a Muni for alleviating disease. And part of the task with which Maharishi charged Chopra was to find a scientific explanation of how and why the serpent-king Shesha’s medicine works! Chopra decides that the explanation ought to be microscopic. And since quantum theory is the theory of atoms and molecules, the explanation must be there! But what is the connection between quantum physics and serpent-king Shesha’s medicine?

Chopra claims that research on spontaneous remission of cancer in the US and Japan has shown that just before the appearance of the cure, “almost every patient experiences a dramatic shift in awareness. He knows that he will be healed, and he feels that the force responsible is inside himself but not limited to him – it extends beyond his personal boundaries, throughout all of nature.”(p. 17) What kind of research can show that the force “extends throughout all of nature”? What measuring instrument does the researcher use to measure the entire nature? Did the researcher know which patients were going to be cured to measure all of this – which were all happening “just before the cure”? Chopra gives no references to the research; no details of what the “dramatic shift in awareness” is; no explanation of what exactly the “force” is. It is a pity that hundreds of thousands of adult US citizens – and by mindless emulation, the world – read books like Quantum Healing and shoot them up the scale in the New York Times’ best selling list, only to attract even more citizens to such nonsense.

All this said, let’s see what the dramatic shift has to do with quantum healing anyway. The layman uses “quantum” to describe a “leap.” Chopra interprets the presumed shift in awareness of the patients as “apparently jump[ing] to a new level of consciousness. The word that comes to mind when a scientist thinks of such sudden changes is quantum. The word denotes a discrete jump from one level of functioning to a higher level – the quantum leap. Therefore, I would like to introduce the term quantum healing … .”(pp. 17-18) So, Chopra with an MD can call himself a scientist and feel qualified to invent quantum healing. I hold a PhD in physics. Therefore,  I believe that I am as qualified – if not more so – to invent my own quantum disciplines. Are there any other occasions on which the word quantum may come to mind? Let’s see. Bursting into laughter is a jump in the volume of our voice. Therefore, I would like to introduce the term quantum laughing. Burping is a jump in the level of air released through the mouth. Therefore, I would like to introduce the term quantum burping. And what about that sudden release of gas accompanied by a loud noise that many times goes out of control and causes embarrassment? I would like to introduce the term quantum farting. … Is this how “scientific” explanations come about? Maharishi Mahesh Yogi – if he had any rational thinking in him –  must have been very disappointed in Chopra!

3 thoughts on “Chopra Finds Flaws in Scientific Method”

  1. Thanks for the great post – and for some hearty “quantum laughs”. It’s an invaluable public service you’re providing, by not merely dismissing Chopra’s work as mysticism and pseudoscience but also showing precisely where he “fudges”. That’s the educational component, and all too often it’s sorely lacking in these discussions.

    I’m looking forward to reading more posts, and I encourage you to keep writing, and to get these posts seen by more people. We need a “quantum shift” in reasoned thinking.

    1. David,

      Thank you so much for your heartening and humbling praise. I will certainly continue to write and expose mystagogues who use physics to fool the unsuspecting public. The ideas may be slow in coming, as I am, as of now, the only contributor of my blog.

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