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← The Nightline 'Faceoff'

The Nightline 'Faceoff' - Comments

irate_atheist's Avatar Comment 1 by irate_atheist

It could be worse.

It could be Dinesh d'Douchebag.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:19:00 UTC | #451455

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 2 by MattHunX

Wow, I just saw a mention of Sam Harris being in a debate somewhere, this is probably it.

Thank you!

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:20:00 UTC | #451457

remijdio's Avatar Comment 3 by remijdio

I wonder how much of the debate will make the cut to tv. Nightline is only half an hour long.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:21:00 UTC | #451459

helena!'s Avatar Comment 4 by helena!

Deepak is looking desperate in his debates.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:24:00 UTC | #451463

Alric's Avatar Comment 5 by Alric

"Does God exist?" Where two learned scholars debate a raving lunatic and an adorable crazy aunt. Good enough for me.

More importantly, Deepak states that "non-locality" is essential for morphogenesis and development. Woo.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:26:00 UTC | #451464

anetchi's Avatar Comment 6 by anetchi

I am so glad to see a debate on religion broadcast in the states! I just wish it was on earlier, it's on in California at 11:30pm.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:31:00 UTC | #451467

wald0h's Avatar Comment 7 by wald0h

This is why I love Sam Harris. Chopra looks like such a hack compared to him, and actually gets visibly frustrated/mad. Any reasonable person, on the fence or otherwise, would say that Sam absolutely slaughtered Deepak.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 16:39:00 UTC | #451472

helena!'s Avatar Comment 8 by helena!

Sam and Michael are so funny here calling Deepak on his WOO. It's so entertaining to watch this. Why is Deepak so emotional? It's like he's going to have a heart attack. He's acting like an idiot.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:00:00 UTC | #451482

theinquisitor's Avatar Comment 9 by theinquisitor

I enjoyed Deepak's ridiculous blithering and Sam and Michael's demolition of it, but all the time Jean was talking it was pure white noise. What the hell was she even talking about? It's like she wasn't even listening to the rest of the conversation. White noise!

Deepak was so fucking angry. He was constantly interrupting and rolling his eyes. I wish the moderator would have held him back a bit. He talks about the arrogance of scientists and yet is the more arrogant than any scientist I've ever seen. I can't dismiss my bias, but I find it hard to see how even a supporter of Deepak would see this as a good showing from him. I'd like to see Hitchens tear into this prick. Did they ever debate? Just try interrupting Hitchens, he won't let you do it.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:10:00 UTC | #451486

DreamDevil's Avatar Comment 10 by DreamDevil


I disagree, Dinesh would have been a vast improvement over that lady. All she did was blurb out meaningless drivel. I was almost lulled to sleep by it.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:46:00 UTC | #451500

Quine's Avatar Comment 11 by Quine

I posted this on Sam's facebook after attending the debate:

Deepak had called consciousness a "superposition of possibilities" in the "non-locality." He tried to use John Searle to challenge Sam on the ability of molecules to embody "feelings." The moderator from the TV network was totally lost, and said so. Deepak was also upset that Michael Shermer kept calling Deepak's arguments "woo" or "woo woo" but went on to justify them with more woo that both Michael and Sam called "woo."

I felt that Michael soon regretted any attempt to be fair to these woo merchants (Someone asked Deepak about the lucrative nature of being in the spirituality business and Deepak dodged the question by jumping to the lucrative nature of manufacturing weapons of mass destruction as products of "demon science"). You could watch Michael become more fed up as it went along. Accommodation was pretty much out of the question given what he was forced to face.

Sam was excellent, better than I have ever seen him before. His arguments polished and ready. No falling back and "flying under the radar" anymore. It would be great if we could get a link to the raw video of this to put up on so all could see. I think we can all be very proud of Sam, but I don't expect much reason left on TV after it is chopped up in editing.

Jean Houston is an accomplished word-slinger who blasts out great strings of poetic images that she expects to hang in the air supporting themselves with no direct connection to any established reality. One ungrounded metaphor after another inferring absolutely nothing. While she was going on and on and, and, and, and, I turned to my friend and said "when you are an expert with words, every problem looks like a metaphor." After a point, when she started talking about seeing the shape of the female reproductive system in Hubble pictures of star forming nebulae, I could no longer look at her, but just had to hang my head down in despair of human intelligence. Near the end, when she would start on a prolonged squawk, many in the audience would just proceed to talk among themselves.

When the theoretical physicist got up and asked what the physics words Deepak was using actually meant, I called it a "Marshall McLuhan Moment" as you can see from this Annie Hall clip:

P.S. I want send out a special thank you to Titania who gave me a ticket and provided great company as we watched this.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:52:00 UTC | #451505

Tack's Avatar Comment 12 by Tack

I'm trying to post direct download links, but when I submit the URLs and post the comment, the site comes back with an insightful "yes" and the comment is not posted.

So here I try again, with more text and fewer links. There are 9 URLs in the series, just change the last digit:

The content looks geolocated so it'll probably be fastest in Canada, but I suspect should work anywhere.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 17:57:00 UTC | #451508

Quine's Avatar Comment 13 by Quine

Tack, if you put more than 4 links in a post is gets auto-rejected. See Comment Posting Guidelines:

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:02:00 UTC | #451509

NewEnglandBob's Avatar Comment 14 by NewEnglandBob

Chopra showed up as a fool with his hand caught in the cookie jar. Houston was very impressed with herself, even though she said little of any relevance.

Shermer was very good and Harris was fantastic.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:07:00 UTC | #451514

musicdesign's Avatar Comment 16 by musicdesign

What the hell is Jean Houston talking about? Seriously, write down any sentence that she speaks in this show and look at it on paper. It makes no sense what so ever. I can't believe that she gets mistaken for a person with a brain. No offense intended Jean, but if you want to have a go at me, do us all a favor and do it in less than 10,000 words - cheers

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:14:00 UTC | #451520

LWS's Avatar Comment 15 by LWS

Chopra speaks gibberish. That man is in LaLa-Land.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:14:00 UTC | #451519

Richard Dawkins's Avatar Comment 17 by Richard Dawkins

Chopra talks nonsense, but at least you can identify the nonsense for what it is. You can tell where his nonsense is coming from. Jean Houston is even worse. She is not even talking identifiable nonsense.

Both Sam and Michael are excellent.


Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:22:00 UTC | #451523

MarcCountry's Avatar Comment 18 by MarcCountry

She should only do one-woman-shows, very far away.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:26:00 UTC | #451529

Saerain's Avatar Comment 19 by Saerain

The strangest thing from Jean, I thought, was the bit that began with, 'I'm looking at this as a woman,' and proceeded to append a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with being a woman. Something about the women causing the development of 'wisdom traditions with spiritual meta-technologies and processes'? Say what? Quite a head-spinner.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:28:00 UTC | #451531

blaine's Avatar Comment 20 by blaine

I wish Jean would shut the hell up. Though I disagree strongly with everything Deepak says, his proposals are interesting enough that I learn from the refutation of them. Every second that Jean spends speaking is a waste of my listening time and just makes me sad that the mentally weak (such as the host here) give a serious listening to such rubbish.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:31:00 UTC | #451533

Quine's Avatar Comment 21 by Quine

I enjoyed sitting there and watching Sam and Michael deliver sense against all the nonsense, but it was not just that the nonsense was intellectually painful, Deepak sent me into such a high rate of face-palms per minute (FPPM) that both the hand and face became painful.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:38:00 UTC | #451535

tpr007's Avatar Comment 22 by tpr007

When are we going to get a proper forum again?
This site isn't the same without one.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:39:00 UTC | #451536

helena!'s Avatar Comment 23 by helena!

I suspect Jean is suffering with the onset of some sort of dementia which is quite equal to the mental state of the religious. My brain went automatically to sleep mode every time she began to speak her nonsense. She just went on and on and really seems disconnected from the conversations. In her own little fantasy world especially at the end. Crazy woo woo.

Yes I agree you can somewhat sort out what Deepak is saying but he is all over the map. This debate made me laugh so many times it was like a comedy show.

I thought Sam and Michael were equally brilliant and full of clarity and logic. I like what Michael said at the end that he is considered an accommodationist amongst his peers and they got off easy.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 18:51:00 UTC | #451540

Aratina Cage's Avatar Comment 24 by Aratina Cage

Chopra's mic is a little too loud, but at least he doesn't appear to lose his temper and start raving like a maniac as Boteach or D'Souza always do when they are losing, and I can laugh at Chopra and Houston's cheesy New Age jokes.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:02:00 UTC | #451544

debaser71's Avatar Comment 25 by debaser71

Someone please edit out the woo speakers and only leave in Sam Harris and Michael Shermer. Honestly, listening to all that crap turns me off.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:03:00 UTC | #451545

geneticreplicant's Avatar Comment 26 by geneticreplicant

Chopra comes across as a nut-bag, his scatter gun yapping bastardizes scientific thought and language.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:08:00 UTC | #451546

mirandaceleste's Avatar Comment 27 by mirandaceleste

Chopra has written about this: It's painfully ridiculous, even by Chopra standards. For example:

Now we arrive at the moment when the rabbit can be pulled out of the hat. God is the rabbit. If there is infinite consciousness upholding the physical universe, if that consciousness is intelligent and creative, God has a future. Only He isn't a he. He isn't a person sitting above the clouds. Instead, God is the field of consciousness that creates, governs, and controls the manifest world. This consciousness has an invisible aspect beyond space and time. We can posit that because there was no space or time before the Big Bang, yet there had to be something that allowed the universe and the laws of nature to coalesce with such amazing orderliness than with the slightest deviation, life could not have evolved.

Consciousness, or God, also permeates creation once it appeared. We know this because we partake of consciousness, creativity, and intelligence. Where could we get those qualities if God, the source of consciousness, were gone? To give God a future, you must give consciousness a place in the universe as a primary ingredient, not an element that appeared by chance when the human brain evolved.

And the moon? It exists as an event in consciousness, first and foremost. Because you are also conscious, you not only see the moon, but you participate in the field from which the moon arises. At the core of existence, consciousness operates with no separation of observer, observed, and the process of observation. They come as a three-in-one package. The fallacy all along was to assume that the observer could be erased from the picture. He can't. Consciousness observes itself, and it observes its creations. God does the same thing, which is why sages have wondered if everything doesn't take place in God's mind. Ultimately, it does. But you have to adopt a new model of God that is consciousness-based. Once you do, a host of issues becomes clear. Not just about the moon, but about human beings and what our own future will be like.

Wow. Be right back- have to bang my head on my desk for a bit.

Also, "God is the rabbit"? Way to steal my idea, Chopra ;)

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:11:00 UTC | #451547

Chrysippus_Maximus's Avatar Comment 28 by Chrysippus_Maximus

I have no idea why they call Jean Houston a "philosopher". She is nothing of the sort. She is a philosopher in the same way that Chopra is a scientist, i.e., not. This abuse of the word 'philosophy' is rampant and really ought to be combated, but most actual philosophers take the position that ignoring nonsense is probably mostly a good idea. They might be right. ... Ugh...

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:20:00 UTC | #451551

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 29 by Steve Zara

Comment #471669 by mirandaceleste

Unbelievably, I think it gets even worse:

Without an observer, there is no collapse, no particle, no matter, no measurement. Alternative quantum theories such as transactional interpretation and many-worlds theory try to get around the need of consciousness or an observer, but fail in the end. Essentially they don't fulfill the requirements of quantum physics because any quantum measuring device still must be physical and ultimately exist as quantum wave probabilities. One set of measuring waves superimposed on other waves to be measured, only leaves more waves, not particles, not a quantified measurement.

This is just raving nonsense. Simplified (which is painful to do), all it actually says is "the interpretations of quantum mechanics which aren't the Copenhagen Interpretation (collapse via observation) fail because they aren't the Copenhagen Interpretation."

Chopra should be ashamed of himself for so abusing science.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:21:00 UTC | #451553

MattHunX's Avatar Comment 30 by MattHunX

Wow! I've never heard Chopra before, just his name. After listening to half of the debate, I have to say, Chopra is a definite pest. Arrogant, pretentious and either dishonest or truly narrow-minded.

Tue, 23 Mar 2010 19:23:00 UTC | #451554