Deepak Chopra/Deadbat Chopstick semi-feuds with Brian Cox on Twitter

If you follow “spiritual” guru Deepak Chopra on Twitter, you know how annoying he can be, especially when he feels challenged. He regularly gets into social media semi-feuds with actual scientists, and I say semi-feuds because most of his opponents don’t bother to reply. That leaves Deepak by his lonesome, furiously spitting out 8,000 (mostly nonsense) tweets with no response. It reminds me of grade school, when you could watch a bully self-destruct in real-time as his victim employed the effective tactic of simply ignoring his oppressor.

Jerry Coyne’s website brought the most recent Twitter semi-feud to my attention yesterday, this time between Deepak and rock-star English physicist Brian Cox. I’m a big fan of Brian Cox – he’s almost a perfect meld between Dawkins and Sagan in that he’s especially adept at expounding the wonders of science (ala Sagan) and equally intolerant of nonsense, woo, and superstitious thinking (ala Dawkins…also, Cox is British). Anyway, Cox ends the feud with a knock-out blow, what I believe the internet calls a “pwn”. Here’s the summarized feud (though you should check out some of the responses from followers of each):

1pm on the 19th, Deepak posts some of his regular science-sounding nonsense:

Twitter 1

The next morning, Brian Cox, an actual scientist, decides to correct Deepak with this tweet:

Twitter

Which unleashes a rapid pack of “Deepak crazies” who swarm Brian’s twitter feed (if you think Deepak is defensive, you should see his followers):

Twitter 2

And all the while Deepak is of course tweeting out 9,000,000 of his own responses:

Twitter 3

And tries to throw the hammer down with this one:

Capture

Which sets him up for this wonderful pwn:

Capture

 

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4 comments

  1. This blog is utter nonsense. Lame name calling that honestly is not even on grade school level.
    Anyone who actually follows the dialogues Deepak Chopra has on Twitter notices that prominent scientists keep engaging with him in dialogue, confirm his views, expand on knowledge together, and shrug at self- appointed superstars like Cox or Dawkins, who display such perfect combination of arrogance and ignorance.

    Not only that, but Cox is the one who knocked on Chopra’s door, who simply responded to his tweets, later commented by many others including Toronto physicist I.S. Kohli.

    Those who are not utterly busy with inventing childish insults and who actually want to learn something worthwhile, please read the Twitter dialogue in its entirety:

    Deepak Chopra tweeted:
    “No scientific cause can be ascribed to the Big Bang the sudden appearance of energy & matter or cosmological constants.”

    Cox answered him :
    “@DeepakChopra: No scientific cause can be ascribed to the Big Bang … ” Yes it can, read about eternal inflation #CosmicConsciousnessmyarse

    *congrats to Cox for the elegant hashtag – it truly adds to his “status” !

    Chopra answers:
    “Real scientists have epistemic humility,reverence for existence, value transcendence, have healthy skepticism ”

    Cox answers:
    “The most important attribute for a ‘real scientist’, as you put it @DeepakChopra , is to actually understand some science.”

    Chopra:
    “Eternal inflation is neither experimentally verifiable nor falsifiable”

    Cox:
    “inflation addresses what happened before big bang and is best fit to the data. Linde argues Eternal inf. Is natural extension”

    From here, Toronto physicist I.S. Kohli ( @ikjyotsinghk) responds to Cox with a long stream of explanations, countering his arguments:

    First, inflation occurs AFTER a Big Bang singularity, NOT before
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481012372438405120

    Inflation is good fit to the CMB data, but leaves many unanswered questions: isotropy problem, init. Low entropy
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481012665033048065

    Eternal inflation by it’s very nature is untestable, for one, cannot count an infinite number of objects.
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481012813045825538

    Also, inflation requires very precise initial conditions, so makes the initial condition problem much worse.
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481012947959820291

    Inflation is also not A theory, but a collection of theories, it’s more like a framework, some things work.
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481013114658238464

    Also, prof. Kohli continues to explain why Cox’ argument is not valid, in dialogue with another person:

    There can be no TESTABLE idea of what caused the Big Bang, and is therefore metaphysical/philosophy
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481137792991657984

    To test that idea, one would have to go beyond the cosmic horizon, which is not possible even in principle!
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481137994020433920

    It is metaphysics if it can’t be tested, and a singularity is a necessary feature of the equations.
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481139775857250304

    There could be an epoch of quantum gravity after geodesic incompleteness, but singularity can still exist.
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481140003565998081

    Einstein field eqs -> Raychaudhuri equation -> Penrose-Hawking -> Borde, Guth, Vilenkin -> univ had a beginning
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481141425699295234

    Geodesic past incompleteness which implies some type of singularity comes out of the equations!
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481142893487603712

    One can also have a completely diff type of singularity for closed universes, this is for recollapse
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481143184672960512

    You should really read: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0521381150/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1403548510&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40 … , the section on singularity theorems.
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481143576093413376

    A necessary singularity for closed universes: http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-iarticle_query?1986MNRAS.223..835B&data_type=PDF_HIGH&whole_paper=YES&type=PRINTER&filetype=.pdf
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481143777894350848

    No, expansion is for LOCAL GEOMETRY, closed refers to the GLOBAL TOPOLOGY, which can indeed be of S^3
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481147817164283904

    Flat refers to the local 3-geometry, but that 3-geometry can be embedded in a closed torus, for example
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481154172465987585

    Here is a presentation I made on this topic a while ago: http://youtu.be/FgrTe8PFJE0
    https://twitter.com/ikjyotsinghk/status/481154402024456192

    Prof. Kohli’s explanations continue in this same manner. Of course it is nothing that will actually be read or understood by those who are busy throwing insults from ignorance. But luckily, there are other kinds of people and I have bothered to gather the above links for them 🙂

    1. Normally I wouldn’t approve the above comment because it’s a bit rude, obnoxiously long (note: you can just link to a Twitter conversation), and full of errors. However, I think it perfectly demonstrates the over-defensiveness of Deepak’s fans.

      I will just point out the two most obvious errors which could have been avoided by simple googling – 1) The Toronto “physicist” referred to, “Prof. Kohli” is not a professor or even a physicist at all, he’s a Ph.D. student at York University (http://www.yorku.ca/kohli/Site/About_Me.html). And 2) apparently “Prof. Kohli” has been too busy learning old models of physics to keep up with the modern understanding, which is that cosmic inflation occurred prior to what we call the Big Bang (which refers to the beginning of the universe as we know it, not an actual beginning, since we don’t know if there was one).

      Here’s a brief and recent conversation in Scientific American with an actual physics professor on why the physics community thinks cosmic inflation (particularly in light of the BICEP results) occurred prior to what we call the Big Bang: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/critical-opalescence/2014/04/03/gravitational-waves-reveal-the-universe-before-the-big-bang-an-interview-with-physicist-gabriele-veneziano/

      1. Sir, I’m sorry that you were offended, but if it helps at all, I was only trying to offend the original commentator (this is what you get when you call someone’s blog “utter nonsense”) by pointing out how lazy she had been in mistakenly referring to you as a “Professor” – an obvious attempt to bolster your credibility against an established physicist, Brian Cox, in the spat between he and Deepak.

        Second, my definition of a physicist is someone with a Ph.D. who makes a living as a physicist, and while you seem well on your way to that, I’m not sure I was wrong in excluding you for now from the category.

        Third, I, like Cox, assumed (and still assume) Deepak was talking about the “apparent big bang” not a singularity, in order to inject some sort of speculative mysticism into our understanding of cosmology/science (as he so often does).

        Fourth, in your blog response (available here: http://ikjyotsinghkohli24.wordpress.com/2014/06/24/reply-to-theuncertaintyblog/), I’m a little confused by the following claim: “First, inflation occurs AFTER a Big Bang singularity, and this is based on known and modern physics 100% correct.” Are you saying it’s 100% established that there WAS a singularity or simply that IF there was a singularity, then inflation must have occurred after? Your arguments re: Deepak and Cox seem to hinge on there being a singularity, but my understanding is that many physicists disagree that one is even necessary (Hawking, et al).

        Anyway, I apologize again that you were personally offended as that wasn’t my intention (and a gentleman never insults someone on accident). However, if you’d like to clarify your thoughts or explain to a lay audience why the Scientific American piece was “incomplete” as you say, I’d be more than happy to have you publish a guest post here.

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