Thought of the day

As it turns out, the back bumper of a Ford F150 is way stronger than the hood of my Honda Accord.

Deepak Chopra is not an intelligent person

Deepak Chopra is capable of saying some of the most incoherent things imaginable.

The idea that we live in an intelligent universe has thrived for quite a while. It’s an important idea because it would explain many things, including how we got here. I keep my eye out for any bit of evidence to support the theory, and a beauty surfaced recently on the PBS program, Nature, entitled “Clever Monkeys.” It turns out that monkeys are far more than clever. They may be tapping into the basic fabric of the cosmos.

Wow! The whole wide cosmos? Goodness gracious. The rest of this article is going to be amazing!

But the red colobus [monkeys] recently made a life-altering discovery. They found that if they eat a bit of charcoal from the abandoned fires of local villagers, their indigestion is cured. This had made them happier monkeys, and as a result their numbers have dramatically increased; not only that, but they are free to explore other food sources. These advantages aren’t felt by the white-and-black colobus, who haven’t hit upon the charcoal-eating trick. New generations of red colobus learn the habit by having it passed on from mother to child.

Oh. A population of monkeys started eating something random (because that’s what monkeys do) and it helped settle their stomachs.

Again. Oh.

It’s amazing how much critical knowledge is contained in this one anecdote. Self-medication is well known, but here the red colobus has hit upon the same property in charcoal that emergency room doctors use when a patient arrives with acute poisoning. Medical science is able to explain how charcoal absorbs toxins in the stomach. Monkeys can’t explain anything or do laboratory research. It is completely untenable to claim that they eat substances at random until they hit upon just the one perfect remedy — such random behavior isn’t seen among them.

God damn it. They’re monkeys. They eat whatever is in front of them. And no, Chopra, they aren’t doing it with the intent of hitting “upon just the one perfect remedy”; they discovered they felt better after eating charcoal. That’s it.

But this is not an intelligent man. He continues.

What we are witnessing is an intelligent discovery on the part of creatures who stand far below Homo sapiens on the evolutionary chain, and that discovery is being passed on from mother to child without genetic adaptation. To me, this means that quite a blow has been struck for intelligence being innate in the universe. It suggests that evolution itself has never been random but is guided by the principle of intelligence — not “intelligent design,” which is a red herring supplied by religious conservatives. The intelligent universe is a cutting-edge idea, not a throwback to scripture. As a theory, it gives us a much more elegant explanation for many things that are clumsily explained by falling back on randomness to explain every new development in Nature.

So many things wrong. Brain explode.

1) Homo sapiens do not stand atop any chain. In fact, there is no chain. Those monkeys are perfectly well adapted in their intelligence for the sake of being monkeys. Evolutionary success is not measured in particular characteristics or traits (should one want to compare species), but rather in survivability and longevity.

2) This does not indicate any sort of intelligent guidance. It indicates that monkeys eat a lot of crap. Sometimes that crap makes them feel good.

3) This is not an example of evolution. Chopra has no grasp of the concept.

At the moment, evolutionary theory refuses to abandon the notion of random selection, and geneticists cling stubbornly to the doctrine of random mutations to explain why new things appear in the unfolding story of life.

Evolutionary theory is so much more than Chopra knows. Selection is not random, plenty of mechanisms exist which help to explain the appearance of new characteristics and traits, and again, he hasn’t even offered an example of evolution in the first place. But just to be clear, he eventually comes right out and says it:

We all have a stake in this argument, however. Seeing the red colobus evolve before our eyes cannot be denied.

No, no, no, no.

Rather than saying that a larger brain made intelligence possible, why not say the opposite, that intelligence dictated a larger brain so that it could expand?

Because you have no evidence for the ridiculous claim that inherently says natural selection has foresight?

This guy is such a fucking joke.