When Ignoramuses Attack!
I don’t do this very often, but a recent comment made me shake my head so hard I felt it needed a response as a post rather than a comment.
Recently, someone named Ian left a comment on an old post, “How To Be A New Age Guru And Get Rich.” The original post’s basic concern: how could so many people could be interested in or believe anything that comes from the mind of Deepak Chopra? And not just Chopra, but other “Self-help Gurus” or “Life-Coaches.” How is it possible that people who sell such obvious and complete rubbish can swindle people out of their senses and money?
Ian’s response to my post?
you call people out for using science (quantum unproven theories at that) and then bolster your attack with a a [sic] totally unproven piece of nonsense about people’s brains shutting down when exposed to the prayers or words of said Gurus, and if that is true ( which it is not) then you fail to ask the obvious question why are the words of such people capable of having the effect. The entire argument is poorly constructed and fails to investigate the science it offers as evidence. I am not a supporter of any guru idea be that main stream nor new age, however if you are going to spout this venom about people’s life choices at least do it intelligently.
Wow. It seems like Ian really gave it to me there, but let’s deconstruct his ‘argument’ a little.
First, I have repeatedly called New-agers out on this site for their misuse of scientific terms to legitimate their BS. There is a big difference: they are not using science; they are misusing scientific terms. The reason for this is quite simple: everyone you know including yourself values Enlightenment categories and ways of thinking.
Every single person in the western world has been inculcated, socialized, and deeply, deeply ingrained into Enlightenment categories of thinking. You simply cannot avoid how much every person values this way of thinking. We live in the scientific age and there is simply no way to avoid it; it is like being a fish in water. However, the big problem is that many of these people who use the magic of cell-phones and modern medicine, do not understand the scientific method. The do not understand how the method probes truth claims and hypotheses. Heck, a lot of people don’t even understand the difference between hypothesis and theory in scientific language.
And it is this ignorance the New-Age guru exploits. He uses polysyllabic words and scientific terms to obfuscate and confound the ignorant with a giant bowl of word-soup. It’s so ridiculous what Deepak says sometimes that there is a site that exists called the Random Deepak Chopra Quote Generator:
It has been said by some that the thoughts and tweets of Deepak Chopra are indistinguishable from a set of profound sounding words put together in a random order, particularly the tweets tagged with “#cosmisconciousness”. This site aims to test that claim! Each “quote” is generated from a list of words that can be found in Deepak Chopra’s Twitter stream randomly stuck together in a sentence.
So that’s the first part. Ian’s not a very good reader, and as we will see, probably doesn’t understand this whole ‘science’ thing very well.
Second, Here’s Ian’s next salvo in his ‘argument: you “bolster your attack with a a [sic] totally unproven piece of nonsense about people’s brains shutting down when exposed to the prayers or words of said Gurus, and if that is true ( which it is not).”
Let’s take a look at this “totally unproven piece of nonsense” according to our great genius.
The article I was using for my post is from the Oxford Journals for Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. The study was conducted by Uffe Schjødt of Aarhus University in Denmark and some colleagues.
Schjødt and his collegues all have these pesky little PhD’s, and they do crazy things like form a hypothesis and then test it, in this case by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
But that’s not good enough for Ian. That’s not science. But then what is?
Apparently, in this case, real science to Ian is his opinion. Yep, that’s right. Look as he wields the mighty sword of his ignorant opinion to sweep aside anything that he disagrees with: you “bolster your attack with a a [sic] totally unproven piece of nonsense about people’s brains shutting down when exposed to the prayers or words of said Gurus, and if that is true ( which it is not).” Phd’s who publish a peer-reviewed article in an Oxford Journal for Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience isn’t science; no, Ian’s opinion is the real truth!
At this point I’m guessing that most of you can see Ian’s not really up to speed on the whole science or argumentation thing; however, I did quite enjoy after reading the unbridled ignorance of the first half of his comment that he still had the unmitigated gall of not only wiping aside a scientific study with his opinion, but further adding, “if you are going to spout this venom about people’s life choices at least do it intelligently.”
Ian, from your above comment, I don’t think you’d recognize an intelligent argument if you saw one.