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NEW Spiritual Solutions by Deepak Chopra(Hardcover)

NEW Spiritual Solutions by Deepak Chopra(Hardcover)
Spiritual Solutions: Answers to Life's Greatest Challenges ( AUDIOBOOK Available )  "Great advice directly from the master on virtually any subject, it just doesn't get any better...

Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui

Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui
ABOUT THE BOOK: Feng Shui is the ancient oriental art of enhancing and harmonizing the flow of energy in your surroundings.  Over the last twenty years, Karen Kingston has pioneered the study...

Brotherhood - by Deepak & Sanjiv Chopra (Hardcover)

Brotherhood - by Deepak & Sanjiv Chopra (Hardcover)
BROTHERHOOD Dharma, Destiny, and the American Dream DEEPAK & SANJIV CHOPRA   “BROTHERHOOD is an uplifting account of sibling affection and success, and of the promise and infinite...

Book Of Secrets

Book Of Secrets
2005 Nautilus Book Award Grand Prize Winner! New York Times Best Seller! Every life is a book of secrets, ready to be opened. The secret of perfect love is found there, along with the secrets...

Ten Poems to Change Your Life

Ten Poems to Change Your Life
ABOUT THE BOOK: This is a dangerous book. Great poetry calls into question not less than everything. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind. It opens us to pain...

Joyful Wisdom

Joyful Wisdom
ABOUT THEBOOK: Yongey Mingyur is one of the most celebrated among the new generation of Tibetan meditation masters, whose teachings have touched people of all faiths around the world. His first...

GOD: A Story of Revelation (Hardcover)

GOD: A Story of Revelation (Hardcover)
“God is an empty term except through the revelations of all the saints, prophets, and mystics of history. They exist to plant the seeds of spirituality as a direct experience rather than a...

Soul of Leadership (Hardcover)

Soul of Leadership (Hardcover)
ABOUT THIS BOOK Leadership is the most crucial choice one can make—it is the decision to step out of darkness into the light.      Bestselling author and spiritual guide Deepak Chopra invites...

Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy Tanzi, MD (Hardcover)

Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy Tanzi, MD (Hardcover)
Learn about Deepak Chopra and the Chopra Center's Super Brain dietary supplement - Ayurvedic Brain Support NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Super Brain by Deepak Chopra, MD & Rudy...

Events

 
 
 
November 03 2013

The Rise and Fall of Militant Skepticism

Category:  SF Gate

By Deepak Chopra, M.D., FACP

Skepticism has gotten itself into a pickle - perhaps something a lot more serious than a pickle - that is undermining its good name. The credibility of Wikipedia may be at stake (see below). We live in a skeptical age, because the cornerstone of science, "Everything must be verified," is a skeptical position. When a researcher claims to have accomplished something remarkable, such as cold fusion, his experiment must be replicated before it will be believed. The need to verify, to lay out credible facts, has become second nature, and not just for scientists.

Facts, data, information, research findings, statistics - these are woven into every aspect of our lives. Which means that skepticism is woven in, too. Hence its good name. Without accurate polls, politicians would be lost (consult Mitt Romney, who believed in skewed polls all the way to election night). But there is no reason for skepticism to become a militant crusade. Facts are facts, as the saying goes, and when a political ideology like Fascism identified Einstein as someone who conducted "Jewish science" (a term coined by the Nazis), such a label is not simply abhorrent - it misconstrues what science actually is, a universal enterprise that has no place for personal, religious, or political prejudice.

The rise of militant skepticism clouded the picture, however, beginning with its popular attack on religion. The aim of Richard Dawkins, as stated in his best seller, The God Delusion, was to subject "the God hypothesis" to scientific scrutiny, the way one would subject anti-matter or black holes to scrutiny. In fact he did no such thing with God, for the scientific method requires experiments that can be replicated and facts that can be verified. Dawkins offered no experiments to prove or disprove the existence of God. What he actually did was to subject religion to a barrage of scorn and ridicule, attacking it on the rational improbability - as he sees it - that a deity could possibly exist.

The commercial success of his book wasn't hard to explain. Long ago Darwin's theory of evolution had toppled the creation story found in the Book of Genesis, and through a domino effect the toppling continued. By the time The God Delusion appeared in 2006, organized religion was still in decline, and millions of readers were happy to seize on a "scientific" book that relieved them of any guilt over not going to church or temple. Atheism was held out by Dawkins as the only enlightened position one could take on the God question. He anticipated that readers would flock to become atheists with himself in the lead, a social movement that never, in fact, materialized. Polls continue to show that well over 80% of people believe in God, and something like 1 in 8 atheists go to church, while no massive surge in unbelief has occurred.

The God Delusion, aided by a handful of other best sellers attacking religion in the same vein, did have one decisive effect, however. Science became yoked to the tools of rhetoric and demagoguery, going so far as to lose any trace of objectivity. These tools, once shunned by science, were useful to Dawkins, given that he had no actual scientific proof that God doesn't exist. Hostile reviewers cried foul, but the complaints came from a mixed lot of religious fundamentalists, philosophers, and theologians who hardly presented a united front. Among the most educated and the least educated groups, Dawkins had no credibility. But the job had been done. It was now "scientific" for militant skepticism to practice forms of intellectual dishonesty that have only proliferated.

Thanks to the Internet, skepticism can spread with the speed of light, carrying in its wake all forms of unfairness and bad faith. A distressing example has been occurring at Wikipedia, where a band of committed skeptics have focused their efforts to discredit anyone whom they judge an enemy. The problem has been slow to gain traction in the public arena, because Wikipedia has constructed an elaborate set of rules to minimize editorial bias. Ironically, the skeptics have turned these rules, which run to hundreds of pages, to their advantage. They have become so skilled at thwarting anyone who disagrees with their point of view that a small swarm of skeptical editors is capable of outnumbering, bullying, and even banning all those who oppose them.

You can see the results at the Wikipedia entry for Rupert Sheldrake, the British biologist who has served as a lightning rod for militant skeptics for several decades. Intelligent, highly trained, an impeccable thinker, and a true advocate for experimentation and validation, Sheldrake had the temerity to be skeptical about the everyday way that science is conducted. He made his first splash by questioning the accepted assumptions of Darwinian evolution, and most recently he published a cogent, well-received book about the hidden weaknesses in the scientific method, titled Science Set Free. His avowed aim is to expand science beyond its conventional boundaries in the hope that a new path to discovery can be opened up.

But you'd never know it from Sheldrake's Wikipedia entry, which is largely derogatory and even defamatory, thanks to a concerted attack by a stubborn band of militant skeptics. Since I am close to Sheldrake personally and have Wikipedia woes of my own, it's not fair for me to offer accusations over the extent to which Wikipedia is under attack. But the skeptics have been caught in the act, which is the pickle they find themselves in, as I mentioned at the outset of this post.

You can read a detailed account in a series of online posts written by Craig Weiler at his blog The Weiler Psi. Confronting the militant pests at Wikipedia resembles taking hold of a tar baby, as Weiler relates in his most recent post, pointedly entitled "Wikipedia: The Only Way to Win Is Not to Play." The unsavory fact is that skeptics have figured out how to game Wikipedia's attempts to provide fairness, and we are all the loser for it.

Dawkins and the militant skeptics are symptoms of a deeper problem that turns out to have fascinating implications. Noisy as they are, these hostile crusaders have had no impact on the everyday activity of doing science or keeping faith. But that is about to change. The deep question of what is real is one that contemporary science can no longer avoid. How this is leading to the decline of skepticism makes for an intriguing mystery story, which will be discussed in the next post.


(To be cont.)
Deepak Chopra, MD is the author of more than 75 books with twenty-one New York Times bestsellers. Coming soon What Are You Hungry For? (Harmony, November 12, 2013)


The Rise and Fall of Militant Skepticism

Top comments

  • Well, if you are going to meet Richard Dawkins with this prejudiced attitude, discussion will not give any fruit at all. It`s not like you at all dear Deepak. You used to be open to every One. Guess being open to every ones opinion is the only way to establish something REALLY innovative... Science has become a mess with all those papers nowadays that have to be delivered to magazines in order to get money for research. It is not at all to the benefit of society anymore. I hope YOU and RICHARD DAWKINS both will bring science back to reason and to the benefit of the ordinary people who pay the taxes for all this research!

    heartphone // 2013-11-03 17:07:22 // //
  • @Ron Greenstein: unfortunately the West has not grown up with the wisdom of the east. Deepak said life will be a matter of survival of the wisest. According to your entry hereunder I now understand what he means. So the West is doomed and the East will survive. Well, this may be true during this age but balance will shift again in a couple of ages to another point of view. This is evolution as it has always been. Mankind believes it has all the answers but that is only the EGO both in the East and the West. Evolution or nature just passes us by. We are not that important. Therefore in my vision: it is all just as it is. That`s what meant with compassion in my humble view. I truly hope there will be a couple of "opinion leaders" that also see the relativity of it all and come up with a combined vision like I did in all my videos together with people around the world...........

    heartphone // 2013-11-04 12:52:18 // //

 

 

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  • Militant skeptics undermined allready many websites and webtools like Wikipedia, WebOfTrust, AmazonBook-review, GoogleMaps and more. Don`t loose any time to discuss with them. They lie, use manipulated evidence and put your words into another context to make you a criminal. The best is to ignore them. They are well organised in international networks using RSS-feeds and other tools. If you start to correct their lies, they attack you with shitstorms from anonymous servers. Just look at all the learning-videos on http://skeptools.wordpress.com/ and you know, what`s going on and who is the source. We saved all these videos on separate tapes (evidence for future court cases). In other words: Militant skeptics have allready shouffled their own graves. A whole bunch of other skeptics will join them, because they missed to distance themselfes from the militant web-criminals, instead they supported these internet-terrorists with comments and/or linked to their slanderous websites.

    skeptexposer // 2013-11-25 22:39:52 // //
  • meanwhile when was the last time you provided any facts or evidence for your claims and the snake-oil cures you peddle? Science is not about fairness, its about verifiable knowledge, if your claim holds no water and can`t be replicated then what use is it for anyone? And yet you sell it at your clinic? You`re just plain intellectually dishonest.

    sickgenius // 2013-11-25 11:04:04 // //
  • When will you stop speaking gibberish. You are ridiculous.

    sickgenius // 2013-11-25 10:59:00 // //
  • Anyone using Wikipedia as a source for info or verification for anything other than who were the actors on Gilligan`s Island, has pretty much lost all cred from the point of the Wiki reference forward. Wikipedia`s useful for old movie history or to see if somebody`s still alive. But, to reference important questions of the day? It was never able to do that. Not even in the early days. Case in point, look up chiropractic on Wiki. It is the most useless paragraphs of gobbledygook, that the reader leaves with nothing but the feeling the wiki writers intended. Abject disdain. No surprise this Wiki-tude extends to other topics with which I`m less familiar.

    Vibrant1 // 2013-11-17 16:56:48 // //
  • Listen, I am not fan of militant scepticism but you have got all this wrong. There were no guerrilla skeptics attacking Sheldrake. The conspiracy theory started with a posychic called Craig Weiler and has no basis in fact.

    truthseeker // 2013-11-09 12:38:01 // //
  • I read the wikipedia entry for Rupert Sheldrake and can`t find anything derogatory there. Quite contrarily to what you say, his goals and views are given a lot of room. What is it you don`t like about it? That wikipedia also mentions his critics, perhaps?

    what are you talking about? // 2013-11-08 04:59:54 // //
  • Who expects bad, gets bad. His theory is right. Some people blame everyone without reason. Some said who wants to find mistakes, he will find mistake.

    Ala // 2013-11-07 03:23:58 // //
  • " The deep question of what is real is one that contemporary science can no longer avoid. " The answer: real is One. =

    MJA // 2013-11-06 09:50:50 // //
  • So True...

    Simonette Edwards // 2013-11-05 15:40:23 // //
  • En español

    Raquel Ramponi // 2013-11-05 14:04:50 // //
  • Oh, Deepak,... such a poor, over reaching stereotype of non believers of religion, and of those who are firmly rooted in science... you know better. Do better.

    Kristy Kateri // 2013-11-05 09:04:47 // //
  • Buen día ♥ Namaste ...

    Beatriz Vzla // 2013-11-05 06:26:12 // //
  • There is no putting the other down simply by not agree to the other point of view. Thank you for sharing your view <3

    Kuna Nykjær // 2013-11-05 06:00:35 // //
  • A must read for the mass.

    Konchita Mitra // 2013-11-05 04:53:07 // //
  • Feeling a little threatened, are we?

    Paula Lancaster // 2013-11-05 04:31:26 // //
  • Respected sir , Religion and science are both true . They both are part of a bigger reality . from where they both originate . both have their role to play for the better of mankind . There is a link between both which science and religion will both accept . The journey towards the absolute is very very complex . The absolute truth is the answer to all religious and scientific questions .

    Dinesh Sinha // 2013-11-05 01:23:21 // //
  • Respected sir , Religion and science are both true . They both are part of a bigger reality . from where they both originate . both have their role to play for the better of mankind . There is a link between both which science and religion will both accept . The journey towards the absolute is very very complex . The absolute truth is the answer to all religious and scientific questions .

    dinesh sinha // 2013-11-05 00:47:36 // //
  • great

    Aizaz Khalid Qureshi // 2013-11-04 23:27:32 // //
  • Que Bien !

    Nina Marin // 2013-11-04 22:27:52 // //
  • Every master that has walked this earth has had assistance in his/her evolution by the process of DNA activation. Babaji has done this for many masters. Our DNA is our connection to the Divine. Spiritual growth is intricately connected with DNA activation. Manifestation abilities ("siddhis") are related to your current DNA activation level. Our energetic circulatory system consists of meridians, axiatonal lines, chakras, nadis, energy centers. The primal life forces from source enter continously into our fields (called "kshetra"). Any energetic blockage in our fields will prevent flow of life sustaining currents from the source and manifest as physical dis-ease. Eg a blockage in the 5th or throat chakra may manifest as thyroid problems and blockages in 4rth or heart chakra may manifest as heart disease unless energetically removed. Golden DNA activation leads to an upgrade of your existing DNA template to one that has been untouched by auric/k......armic imprints and is the original divine DNA template as intended by source....It is like an upgrade of your operating system (OS) to the latest version with no spyware, malware etc. Kriya yoga has a similar purpose. Golden DNA Activation strand activation leads one to accrete more frequency and is one requirement for the ascension process. It leads to attracting a higher grid of person, places, things and events in your life. Register for a free webinar on how to activate your Golden DNA for optimal health and well being on Nov 9th 2013 at 10:10 am. https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/.../7002235757623707393

    Sanjit Ananda // 2013-11-04 22:23:03 // //
  • Namaste!

    Florinda Oliveira // 2013-11-04 22:20:30 // //
  • During meditation, send love to the person that hurt you in the past <3

    Goddesses // 2013-11-04 21:47:34 // //
  • I felt a little bit skeptical about Protandim but I'm hearing testimonals and peer reviewed honest studies that say it works and there's nothing else like it.

    StevexNew Age Mystic // 2013-11-04 20:46:58 // //
  • Recent news articles about Wikipedia have focused on it being attached by a PR company who pays people to edit the online encyclopedia on behalf of their clients. Wikipedia editors and top brass are up in arms about this. They are so busy guarding the back door the skeptic community has walked right in and taken over hundreds of articles to promote their national agenda and topical bias. http://monkeywah.typepad.com/paranormalia/2013/03/guerrilla-skeptics.html They openly recruit Wikipedia soldiers through web their websites, train them and tell them which articles to create or change. They say they are playing by the rules but one glance at their tactics and their self serving, self published sources and you see its a big scam and Wikipedia doesn`t seem to give one hoot about it.

    Ova Knight // 2013-11-04 20:34:24 // //
  • So the fact that people call bullshit on your bullshit is of concern to you? You feel that it is being "intellectually dishonest" to ask you to prove what you claim? I for one rely on Wikipedia to tell me the truth, not your spin and lies. The fact that editors there choose this rather than believing in garbage makes it a useful reference tool - as opposed to the unquestioning propaganda machine some people want of it. I`m not militant - I just don`t believe in fairy tales, and would like evidence before I accept the implausible.

    Postulator // 2013-11-04 20:33:07 // //
  • I think there is a divine Dance of the Bumble Bee Bee'liefs that Deepak and Dawkins are engaged in and I love how regardless of our position or attainments, we will alway meet another in the Mirrorcle of life who challenges us and calls us to action. The Bee is a pollinator and can sting as well as facilitate growth. Thank you for sharing your article Deepak, I also watched your youtube video you posted and I recognise two strong spirited men engaged in strong spirited debate with very different Realities at play.

    The Big Girls Little Colouring Book // 2013-11-04 20:27:43 // //
  • Consider this: "Never put other people down to lift yourself up" "Never put yourself down to lift everybody up" Love is kind <3 Peace on earth, always <3 <3

    Goddesses // 2013-11-04 20:25:02 // //
  • One Love to You ALL. Love will win through always <3

    Niel Bowie // 2013-11-04 20:03:27 // //
  • <3

    Lic Francisco Javier Miranda Rivera // 2013-11-04 20:02:41 // //
  • Mr. Chopra, don`t you think arguments like yours would be more readily accepted were you to employ more honesty? When you invent arguments and put them in the mouths of those with whom you disagree, or when you claim ridiculous things like "science has lost all trace of objectivity", your words lose their effectiveness. I understand your worldview and the worldview of materialists are often at odds, and can probably never be reconciled, but that does not give you the right to knowingly spread falsehoods. The discourse among us should be honest above all else.

    mlennon // 2013-11-04 13:23:17 // //
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/TheHeartphone

    heartphone // 2013-11-04 13:05:29 // //
  • @Ron Greenstein: unfortunately the West has not grown up with the wisdom of the east. Deepak said life will be a matter of survival of the wisest. According to your entry hereunder I now understand what he means. So the West is doomed and the East will survive. Well, this may be true during this age but balance will shift again in a couple of ages to another point of view. This is evolution as it has always been. Mankind believes it has all the answers but that is only the EGO both in the East and the West. Evolution or nature just passes us by. We are not that important. Therefore in my vision: it is all just as it is. That`s what meant with compassion in my humble view. I truly hope there will be a couple of "opinion leaders" that also see the relativity of it all and come up with a combined vision like I did in all my videos together with people around the world...........

    heartphone // 2013-11-04 12:52:18 // //
  • from the supplement section of GOD SPEAKS; The Theme of Creation and Its Purpose --Meher Baba Let us for a moment discuss the difference in the attitude of East and West towards miracles. The East, which possesses a long record of familiarity with Perfect Masters and advanced souls, has come to accept that God, because He is infinite, cannot be comprehended by the finite mind. The East knows that human intellect, which is limited in scope has its use only up to a certain stage in tackling metaphysical problems. As sung by the philosopher Dr. Iqbal: "Intellect, though not far away from the threshold (of the Beloved) is not destined to enjoy the Divine Presence." The East thus knows that at the point where intellect gives up its efforts in grappling with that which is transcendental, love must take up the link. The West sets great store by the intellectual approach, and that which refuses to come within the orbit of intellect is apt to be either denied or scoffed at.

    Ron Greenstein // 2013-11-04 09:16:17 // //
  • Shame for wikipedia. This is not expected from such an organisation. There is really some bias over there I personally noticed. Organisers of such site must realise that in long term it will hurt there business adversly.

    Gypsyspirit // 2013-11-04 04:50:16 // //
  • Well, if you are going to meet Richard Dawkins with this prejudiced attitude, discussion will not give any fruit at all. It`s not like you at all dear Deepak. You used to be open to every One. Guess being open to every ones opinion is the only way to establish something REALLY innovative... Science has become a mess with all those papers nowadays that have to be delivered to magazines in order to get money for research. It is not at all to the benefit of society anymore. I hope YOU and RICHARD DAWKINS both will bring science back to reason and to the benefit of the ordinary people who pay the taxes for all this research!

    heartphone // 2013-11-03 17:07:22 // //