Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Orthogonal to reason

As my wife pointed out in these pages a few days ago, a truly spectral spectre is haunting intellectual thought these days: that of 'spirituality'.

As a timely reminder and example of that threat, I can think of nobody better than Deepak Chopra, who, as Dr. Myers at Pharyungula explains, has been blathering again:

I also don't know what Chopra means by this fuzzy word "wisdom" he's throwing out in his little essay, but he writes as if he thinks it is something completely orthogonal to reason, but of course it isn't—unreasoning people can't be wise, although they may pretend to it, and other irrational people may believe them. He's using the word in an utterly meaningless way, the same way his kind of people use the words "spirituality" or "vibrations" or "quantum", as subliminal tokens for indefinable emotions they might have; it's shorthand for empty pseudo-profundity. It's the hook the con artist uses to persuade his mark to fork over his respect, but it's all a lie.

The rest, as well as the other delightful essays Myers has written about Chopra, are well worth reading.

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