The Great Afterlife Debate: Michael Shermer v. Deepak Chopra

February 28, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More

Shermer and Chopra traded articles at Skeptic Magazine, but they really didn’t communicate. 

Shermer got me on board with comments like this:

Here is the reality. It has been estimated that in the last 50,000 years about 106 billion humans were born. Of the 100 billion people born before the six billion living today, every one of them has died and not one has returned to confirm for us beyond a reasonable doubt that there is life after death. This data set does not bode well for promises of immortality and claims for an afterlife. But let’s review them one by one . . .

Shermer proceeds to show us all the skepically-driven scientific homework he’s done.

On the other hand, Deepak Chopra disappoints me immensely, always.  With comments like this:

I cite a University of Virginia study that to date has found over 2,000 children who vividly remember their past lives . . . Even more astonishing, over 200 of these children exhibit birthmarks that resemble the way they remember dying in their most recent lifetime.

Really . . . ?!  Check out this birthmark “study,” (and here)if you have time to waste.  Totally anecdotal and unstructured.  It starts with a group of children who “remember their past lives.”  Good grief!

I don’t know if he is sincere, but it seems to me that Chopra is always hiding behind a thick veil of vagueness.  It just has to be intentional, in my opinion. His response to Shermer was also condescending as well.  For example, Chopra claims that the soul that survives birth is all about “consciousness.” 

I specifically rooted the afterlife in ordinary states of consciousness that no one doubts, such as dream, imagination, projection, myth, metaphor, meditation, and other aspects of awareness that give us clues about the workings of the mind overall. 

If you read on, though, it seems that, for Chopra, he’s referring to a extremely peculiar type of consciousness: an unconscious type of consciousness. 

OK, Chopra’s got a big following, he’s from a faraway land and he’s got an exotic-sounding name.  Sorry, Deepak.  If you’re going to convince me of anything, I need evidence I can believe and theories I can understand.


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Category: Reading - Books and Magazines, Religion, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. grumpypilgrim says:

    There's an old joke in the business world about how to recognize an expert: it's someone who travels more than 500 miles to work for you. Of course, the joke is that the "expert" is merely perceived as an expert because of the distance involved, not necessarily because of any special skill: distance alone creates the appearance of expertise.

    Chopra, in my opinion, is a good example of such an "expert."

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