Quantum Healing is Deepak Chopra’s trend-setting book on mind/body medicine. It is filled with scientific mistakes and outrageous claims (see here, here, and here). In this post, I want to point to two blunders. One is in the book and it should make Chopra and his publisher ashamed of themselves! The other is on a website to which Chopra contributes on a fairly regular basis.
Chopra has been heralded by Time Magazine as one the top 100 heroes and icons of the century and the poet-prophet of the alternative medicine. The words of poets/prophets are extremely powerful. They become maxims and proverbs for the followers. And when these words are fogged with a plume of scientific terminology, their power becomes manifold. Chopra has a habit of decorating his speeches and writings with the names of famous physicists of the last century and attributing his own ideas about mind and matter to them, driving his unsuspecting audience to believe in whatever he is saying because “it must have a scientific basis.” But science demands accuracy and honesty. How accurate and honest is Chopra in his delivery?
An intellectually honest author of a nonfiction work writes a second edition only when there are substantial changes in the content of the work, usually several years after the original edition. These changes, and the reason and purpose behind them, are clearly stated in the preface of the new edition.
First Blunder: Disappearance of Maharishi
The hardcover edition of the book came out in 1989 and its paperback edition in 1990. In the Introduction, Chopra narrates his meetings with “one of the greatest living sages,” who imparted to him some ancient techniques that “would restore the mind’s healing abilities.” In one of the meetings, the sage tells Chopra, “I have been waiting a long time to bring out some special techniques. I believe they will become the medicine of the future. They were known in the distant past but were lost in the confusion of time; now I want you to learn them, and at the same time I want you to explain, clearly and scientifically, how they work.”1
- A technique that is in any way related to science comes after the prerequisite scientific knowledge has been gained. One doesn’t start with a technique and then ask for (or order) a scientific explanation. It is like the Pope asking a devout Catholic doctor to find a scientific basis for the Hail Mary! ↩