Thursday, January 2, 2014

Richard Dawkins and Deepak Chopra

I enjoy watching videos that debunk, or attempt to debunk, commonly held notions. There is a philosophical reason for my interest. It is a philosophical concept introduced into philosophy of science known as falsifiablity, a term brought into philosophy by the late and renowned philosopher of science Karl Popper.

Here in a nutshell is Popper's thought about this. Logically, no number of positive outcomes at the level of experimental testing can confirm a scientific theory, but a single counterexample is logically decisive: it shows the theory, from which the implication is derived, to be false. (Wikipedia)

This is a strong view of falsifiablity in science. But it is helpful to explain the concept that it is often more edifying to seek to disprove a notion than to prove it, at least at first. For while absolute proof is often impossible, disproof often is possible.

There are two results to such exploration from the other side of confirmation of one's assumptions. One is that one may come away at some point convinced that one can let a view go. This lightens one's load of baggage. However, another consequence occurs when one's attempts to discredit a view fail. This, in some level, does more to confirm the possibility of a belief than all the "proof tests" in the world.

This, in fact, is a general principle of science today. Science is conducted on the level of disconfirming theories, and the survival of such tests adds to the weight of that theory, even if nothing is ever proven in all certainty.

Anyway, this is a complicated introduction to this interesting confrontation below. In this video Richard Dawkins, one of the most famous and outspoken atheists in the world, and the coiner of the concept of "memes," has a talk with Deepak Chopra, one of the world's most famous advocates of a holistic life-view. Dawkins has his background in evolutionary biology, and Chopra in medicine.

Here Dawkins asks rapid piercing questions of Chopra. I am no great fan of either person, but found their conversation fascinating. I was especially impressed how well Chopra held his ground, against one of the most intelligent critics of the holistic view in the world. I certainly would not want to be standing in Chopra's shoes during this interview. I think he did marvelously well. His meeting such a challenge fearlessly does more to increase my faith in a holistic view than a thousand infomercials. For he must address every kind of objection.


  1. Deepak is so inspirational and everything he said is so reflective. No wonder even Oprah learned from him: