Does H-Atom Smell Like a Rose or a Rotten Egg? Chopra Answers!

Anyone who has a basic understanding of chemistry knows that a molecule can have substantially different properties than the atoms that went into it. Hydrogen – which is a gas that  can cause headaches, ringing in ears, dizziness, drowsiness, unconsciousness, and … – combines with oxygen – which is also a gas – to form liquid water, which is the most essential substance for life.

Chopra2Deepak Chopra, however, thinks otherwise. Since he is a mind-body doctor, he is interested in intelligence, a property of the brain, composed of trillions of neurons. But Chopra doesn’t want to study individual neurons, because the process is “too complicated.” Instead, he points to neurotransmitters as the “carriers of intelligence.” Where do they get that intelligence from? Stretching the intelligence of neurotransmitter molecules further, Chopra arrives at the heart of his theory of quantum healing: (the following is a quote from pp. 65-66 of Quantum Healing)

“You may find it easy to think of DNA … as an intelligent molecule; certainly it must be smarter than a simple molecule like sugar. But DNA is really just strings of sugar, amines, and other simple components.

If these are not ‘smart’ to begin with, then DNA couldn’t become smart just by putting more of them together. Following this line of reasoning, why isn’t the carbon or hydrogen atom in the sugar also smart? Perhaps it is.”

To measure Chopra’s ignorance of chemistry, consider the following conversation between Chopra and one of his readers about geraniol, the chemical name for the rose fragrance, which consists of 10 carbon atoms, 18 hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom. 1

Reader: Why does geraniol smell so sweet?
Chopra: Because hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen atoms smell sweet.
Reader: Hydrogen sulfide consists of two hydrogen atoms and one sulfur atom. Why does hydrogen sulfide stink like a rotten egg?
Chopra: Because both hydrogen and sulfur atoms smell like rotten eggs.
Reader: Wait a minute! How can a hydrogen atom smell like a rose and stink like a rotten egg?
Chopra (after some thinking): A hydrogen atom is intelligent enough to know when it belongs to a geraniol molecule and when to a hydrogen sulfide molecule!

Fragrance is a property of a chemical compound that can be explained only by deciphering the electrical interaction and spatial configuration of the atoms of which it is made, plus the interaction of that compound with our olfactory nerves.

  1. Although the conversation is hypothetical, it clearly reflects Chopra’s vivid ignorance of (or inattention to) the difference between compounds and elements.

One thought on “Does H-Atom Smell Like a Rose or a Rotten Egg? Chopra Answers!”

  1. I would love to hear Chopra’s answer to this question: “Must the hydrogen atom act the way it does, or does it have the freedom to choose to act differently?”

    If his answer is that it must act the way it does, then his entire composition fallacy achieves nothing. We still have humans with the capacity to choose to act differently even though the things they’re composed of do not have this ability. The capacity to choose still arises from a clever arrangement of things that do not have this capacity, precisely the claim he was trying to refute.

    If his answer is that hydrogen is free to act differently than it does, then his position is essentially just arguing that everything works the way it does by caprice and magic, and yet always happens to manage precisely as it would if it was required to follow strict natural laws.

    Follow up questions can show how ridiculous this point of view is. For example, asking whether a hydrogen atom can choose to weigh a ton and, if not, what constrains its choices. How does he know it can choose how to smell but not how much to weigh? Nobody has seen a hydrogen atom smell “wrong” just as much as nobody has seen a single hydrogen atom weigh a ton.

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