In the previous two posts (see here, and here), I covered the essence of Quantum Healing, Chopra’s book on mind-body medicine. However, despite its name, thus far the book has not made any contact with the scientific theory that adorns its title. Granted that Chopra uses the word “quantum” a few times, but the use is as relevant to the content of the book as the clothing of a person is to his/her intelligence. Eventually, Chopra ventures into quantum theory, but as this final post on Quantum Healing shows, his is one of the most sophomorically absurd interpretations of the theory.
My sneeze causes an earthquake in Mexico City
On page 96 of Quantum Healing is a diagram shown on the right, and on page 97 another one shown on the left. Presumably, A is considered a cause and B an effect. The straight line of the first diagram expresses the “logical connection in the world of our senses.” If A and B are two billiard balls one hitting the other, so Chopra teaches us, the outcome is predictable. However, we cannot apply the same diagram if A is a thought and B is a neuro-peptide, because there is no straight-line connection between a nonmaterial thought and a material object, even one as small as a peptide molecule. Instead one has to draw a different diagram with a U-shaped detour in it:
The U shape shows that a process has to take place that is not above the line, in Newton’s rational, straight-line world. There is some hidden transformation happening that turns a thought into a molecule. The transformation doesn’t take any time and doesn’t happen in any place – it is carried out just by the presence of an impulse of the nervous system. …
The whole area below the line is not a region to be visited in space and time; it just stands for wherever it is you go when you turn thoughts into molecule. One could also think of it as the control room that correlates any mental impulse with the body.(pp.96-97)
This is one of those idiotic syllogisms so very common among the anti-science crowd. You can use this kind of reasoning to prove any preposterous statement. For example, I can claim that my sneeze can disrupt the molten lava under the earth’s crust. How? One of the molecules exhaled during my sneeze can penetrate the earth’s crust and shake the molten lava violently. There is no straight-line connection between a single sneeze molecule and the disturbance of the molten lava above the line. Therefore, I have to draw a U-shaped arrow to connect the sneeze molecule to the disturbance of the molten lava. Here is my reasoning:
The U shape shows that a process has to take place that is not above the line. There is some hidden transformation happening that turns a sneeze molecule into the violent motion of the molten lava. The transformation doesn’t take any time and doesn’t happen in any place. The whole area below the line just stands for wherever it is you go when you turn a sneeze molecule into a disturbance of the molten lava.
What is the significance of these diagrams? The two diagrams are used to construct a third diagram shown above with the following explanation:
The mind and the body are both above the line. A is a mental event, or thought; all the other letters are physical processes that follow from A. … If you feel afraid (A), then the other letters stand for signals to your adrenal glands, the production of adrenaline, the pounding of your heart, elevated blood pressure, and so on. These are B, C, D, et cetera. All the physical changes that take place in the body can be connected in a logical chain of cause and effect, except for the space after A. This is the point where the transformation from thought to matter first occurs – and it must occur, or the rest of the events will not happen.