Deepak Attack! Choking on Chopra’s Medical Malarkey

Deepak Chopra believes in positive thinking, which is why he’ll never ever realize that he’s a fool.

In response to Chopra’s latest medical advice antics, Orac over at Respectful Insolence slices Chopra’s arguments to nice digestible pieces, and then Mark Hoofnagle of the denialism blog goes and chokes on those pieces anyway.

Both bloggers are well worth a read, delivering useful insight beyond merely exposing inanity. Hoofnagle in particular makes an extremely important point regarding how alternative medicine stacks up against the conventional variety:

The last half is again just an example of the selection pressure for ineffective treatments for altie medicine. You probably can trust most quack remedies to do nothing, and therefore be pretty safe. And lots of people each year do die in hospitals, therefore hospitals must be dangerous killers of the innocent! Or, maybe, lots of people die in hospitals because that’s where the sick people are, and you know what? No one lives forever. Eventually, something gets you.

Chopra makes it sound like a 20-year-old who goes into the ER to get stitches is going to die of MRSA. What this ignores is that hospitals are responsible for taking care of people who are actually really sick, often very old, and frequently near death. In other words, hospitals take care of patients that no altie practitioners in their right mind would touch with a ten-foot pole, you know, those with real sickness. If you actually look carefully at the reports that the quacks cite to show how dangerous hospitals are, it’s really a reflection of just how incredibly sick and likely to die the patients were in the first place.

In any case, go read. I may have gotten all worked up about Chopra’s inane musings on Quantum Mechanics and Consciousness, but those sorts of bad ideas are ultimately pretty harmless. Chopra’s rambling diatribes about health and medicine, on the other hand, have the potential to truly hurt and even kill the people who might buy into his alternate reality. The more people are out there armed with the knowledge to counter him, the better.

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One Response to Deepak Attack! Choking on Chopra’s Medical Malarkey

  1. nagamurali says:

    Quantum Physics has a great attraction for mystical thinkers. I feel sad when people try to mix proper science with mysticism. I read ‘Shadows of the Mind’ by Roger Penrose. It was surprising to see how a great mathematician/scientist got carried away by the mystical appeal of Quantum Physics. The book was a joy to read though, as it gives some insights into one of the best minds of the modern age. Penrose was fascinated by Plato’s ideas. So was I, for sometime. But I think people need to be aware that ideas that can not pass the verifiablility criterion must be dealt with carefully – no matter how seductive they are !!

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