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Cosmic Consciousness and the Ptolemaic Principle

A review of You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters


If you follow the literature of scientific research in medicine, you may have raised your eyebrows at the list of authors credited in an article that came out in the October, 2016, issue of the journal Scientific Reports. With the arcane title “Identification of altered metabolomic profiles following a Panchakarma-based Ayurvedic intervention in healthy subjects: the Self-Directed Biological Transformation Initiative (SBTI),” the article named 13 of them. They included Eric Schadt, who founded the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and Harvard professor Rudolph Tanzi, co-discoverer of all three familial early-onset Alzheimer’s disease genes, who is said to be a serious candidate for a Nobel Prize. Seeing names like these on a paper describing serious scientific research wouldn’t budge anyone’s brow, but those who read further down the author list could be excused if they did a double take: included at the end of the list of accomplished scientists was one Deepak Chopra.

Yes, this Dr. Chopra was indeed the same Dr. Chopra who has on many occasions been roundly criticized in the pages of this magazine, and on many other occasions by those who consider their mission to be that of defending science from myth and misunderstanding. So what to make of this involvement in serious research, and his acceptance by serious researchers? The dictionary defines a skeptic as “a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others.” But true skeptics don’t just challenge the views of others. They also challenge their own views And so it was with an open mind that we read You Are the Universe, another collaboration between Chopra and a scientist, this time Chapman University physicist Menas Kafatos. In the book, the authors offer what they purport to be a scientific argument for what they call the “participatory universe,” the proposition that the universe and human consciousness are inextricably linked.

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About Skeptic

SPECIAL SECTION Skeptic’s Science Dialogues: Bill Nye in Conversation with Michael Shermer on Climate Change, Travel to Mars, Artificial Intelligence, Nuclear Power, GMOs and more… ARTICLES Miracle Water: Why Zamzam Water is Not a Valid Medical Treatment; Lone Wolf Terrorism: The Convergence of Mental Illness, Marginality, and Cyber Radicalism; Torturing Data; Mass Hallucinations and Shoddy Journalism; What Would it Take to Change Your Mind?; ET v. Earth Pathogens; Trouble in the Multiverse; Science v. Subjectivity: Football Playoff Teams Selecting College Football Playoff Teams as a Case Study COLUMNS The SkepDoc: Functional Medicine; The Gadfly: The Multi-headed Hydra of Prejudice REVIEWS The Stealth Determinism of Westworld—a Review of the television series Westworld; Back to the Future and Forward to the Past—a Review of Time Travel: A History; Cosmic Consciousness and the Ptolemaic Principle—a review of You Are the Universe: Discovering Your Cosmic Self and Why it Matters; Science International—a review of Courting Science: Securing the Foundation for a Second American Century; Conjuring Magic—two books on the history of magic: Conjuring Asia: Magic, Orientalism and the Making of the Modern World and Making Magic: Religion, Magic, and Science in the Modern World JUNIOR SKEPTIC An Easy Guide to Baloney Detection