Sam Harris & Michael Shermer crush Deepak Chopra & Jean Houston on Nightline

Although PZ Myers thinks watching the latest Nightline debate is a waste of time, I highly recommend it, particularly because Sam Harris in particular simply demolishes Deepak Chopra and the other woman. Actually, aside from a few needlessly drawn out stories that go nowhere, Jean Houston was almost nonexistent in this debate and I almost even liked her.

The real debate though was between Sam Harris and Michael Shermer against Deepak Chopra, who couldn’t have made more of a fool of himself. Even a guy in the audience during the Q & A session exposed Chopra’s ignorance.

The common theme in the debate seemed to be exposing Deepak as hack who incorrectly co-opts terminology from both science and religion in order to formulate his own brand of meaningless New Age gibberish. The debate was about whether or not the god concept has a future and Deepak refused to actually address the very topic he was invited to discuss, ignoring the god concept that 99.999999% of the world means when they talk about god in order to promote his own “god” in name only that has no resemblance to what almost everyone on the planet would consider “god.” So then why did you agree to the debate in the first place, Deepak?

This is like if I were invited to debate free will versus determinism and instead demanded that we discuss homeopathy, which I renamed “determinism.”

Deepak was also frequently corrected on his constant misuse of quantum physics as a justification for his incoherent magical claims.

Anyway, it’s a fun debate to watch, so check it out. Here’s the first part:

Oh, and check out Shermer’s post-debate debate with Chopra here. No, I didn’t accidentally type “debate” twice. Chopra and Shermer have continued debating a particularly idiotic claim Chopra made on their blogs.

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5 Responses to Sam Harris & Michael Shermer crush Deepak Chopra & Jean Houston on Nightline

  1. Eric Jensen says:

    Good synopsis. I couldn’t figure out why Jean Houston was on the panel. Her perspective is interesting and I liked some of things she had to say, but they didn’t have anything to do with the questions or the general topic. Wasn’t this supposed to be a debate? Deepak did not come off well. He wouldn’t shut up, he didn’t listen and he was all over the map, showboating his brand of whatever it is he does. Sam Harris was the voice of reason as always and Michael Shermer was intelligent and open-minded. Harris tried to focus the conversation at the beginning to discuss what most people commonly referred to as “God” but Deepak continually avoided the issue.

  2. han says:

    I never realized that Deepak Chopra was that much of a dick. He really didn’t come off as very enlightened at all; he was disrespectful and had no control over his emotions. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I used to look up to him as a sort of spiritual authority, looking to his books for answers about the universe. But I’m also proud of how far I have come mentally since I started identifying as a skeptic and applying my critical thinking skills to claims like his. I’m no longer buying the bullshit this guy is peddling.

  3. Lance Drake says:

    The relatively recent emergence of voices such as Michael Shermer, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins is an incredibly important step in the cultural evolution of the people’s of the planet earth.

    Mr. Shermer is to be commended for his dismissive characterization of Mr. Chopra’s new-age prattle as “Woo-Woo”. The contributions to the discourse by Sam Harris were astoundingly brilliant in their surgical disembowelment of the amorphous blobs of nonsense uttered from the other side of the debate table as well as bringing reason and intellect to bear on the otherwise unchallenged mystical pronouncements of Mr. Chopra and company.

    Jean Houston served no useful purpose in support of Mr. Chopra’s cause and was a poor choice of ‘wingman’.

    Many many important points were clearly and effectively presented during the discussion and I, personally, found many of my own perspectives to be clarified and supported by what I saw and heard.

    The only question I would like to have asked is whether the bright, shiny objects affixed to Mr. Chopra’s glasses were, in fact, diamonds as it seemed like the only thing to which he could have responded that I would not have discarded and discounted as “Woo-Woo”.

  4. Ras says:

    Sam Harris simply destroyed Deepak.

    And I did not notice Jean Houston was there anyway – did she actually say anything associated with the debate’s topic? I think she was sputtering platitudes like “children are great…”. Perhaps she was on medication (or forgot to take her medication) — either way I think whatever she did offer could be plugged into any segment of “The View” and it would actually work.

    Yes I agree with PZ that listening to Deepak is excruciating… BUT I think the positive result is the more he talks, the more he is exposing himself as a phony. It does not surprise me that a self-absorbed blowhard like Oprah finds quarter under his self-important “woo-woo” house of cards.

  5. Alan Salman says:

    Finally Deepak exposed for what he is.
    He is an ignorant person with one thing in mind; make money.

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