Open Letter to the Royal Ontario Museum:  Inviting “Quantum Mystic” Deepak Chopra Was a Big Mistake!

May 22, 2010

The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is sponsoring an evening with "quantum mystic" Deepak Chopra.  An open letter is being circulated.  Please sign it at http://ap.io/cfi/chopra/ .  E-mail me with any questions (justin.trottier@gmail.com).  See Larry Moran's blog post for more details.  The idea is to collect as many signatures, especially from prominent academics, and then meet face to face with ROM staff to present it. Since PZ Myers signed this yesterday the attention has really soared!

    William Thorsell
    Director, the Royal Ontario Museum
    100 Queen's Park
    Toronto, ON
    M5S 2C6

    Mr. Thorsell,

    We at the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) at the Centre for Inquiry (Canada) and its supporters were dismayed  to learn that the Royal Ontario Museum will be sponsoring a talk by Deepak Chopra at the University of Toronto in connection with the Director's Signature Series: The Warrior Emperor and China's Terracotta Army.

    While we fully support the concept of academic freedom, we are baffled by this invitation and wonder how it fits into the mandate of the museum to "serve as an advocate for science in the study of nature," as stated in your message on the ROM website.  Mr. Chopra's new age psycho-babble may be attractive to the general public, but by inviting him to speak at the ROM, you lend undeserved scientific credibility to his pseudo-scientific claims about quantum physics, psychology, chemistry and medicine. These claims are rightly rejected as absurd by the scientific community and by promoting them you tarnish the otherwise excellent scientific reputation of the Royal Ontario Museum.

    CASS will be publishing the standard rebuttals of Deepak Chopra's fanciful quackery in order to help the public understand where he goes off the rails. Our hope is to turn this otherwise embarrassing event into a learning opportunity.  We are also contacting the sponsors of the event and the ROM's other private donors in order to voice our concern about Mr. Chopra's presentation. We would like the ROM to clarify how Mr. Chopra's visit fits into this lecture series, as it seems this is just another opportunity for him to promote his new book.  

    We look forward to hearing from you.

Comments:

#1 Jordin Agnew (Guest) on Saturday May 22, 2010 at 11:06am

It is disappointing to see a mystic invited to speak at a scientific place. I disagree with his invitation and hope that it is rejected.

#2 John Foland (Guest) on Monday May 24, 2010 at 3:02pm

Chopra and others of his mystic ilk are simply charlatans who feed off the fears and hopes of folks looking for simplistic answers to many of life’s difficult questions. His invitation to appear should be quietly and quickly withdrawn.

#3 EllenBeth Wachs (Guest) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 5:40am

It seems obvious that the Museum is having trouble attracting the common folk so they taken the easy way, by appealing to lowest common denominator of the “followers” - using a famous feel-good celebrity who spouts nonsense that makes perfect sense in a life incapable of higher reason.

#4 bits on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 7:07am

I have signed the letter and posted about this on our favorite facebook fan page for Deepak Chopra http://www.facebook.com/pages/Physically-kicking-Deepak-Chopras-meta-physical-nuts/378371068909?ref=ts

Hope to see more and more signatures.

#5 Elmer (Guest) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 10:04am

It is hilarious to watch skeptics build their own careers by taking pot shots at people like Deepak Chopra.  It’s a great business model: one part righteous indignation and two parts damning (yet often outdated or untrue) information from the James Randi foundation.  Skeptics pretend to hold themselves to a higher standard of academic thought, well let’s see something better than ad hominem attacks.  Smarty Pants.

#6 Pamela Kerr (Guest) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 at 10:33am

I’m going to be sending my own letter.  I’ll restate much of what Justin has written, add some of my own comments, and let them know that my membership at the ROM will not be renewed this month (as is due) because I will not allow my money to support psuedo-science.

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