Nightline’s Chopra and Shermer Showdown at Cal Tech

Nightline filmed a two and half hour debate between True/Slant blogger (Skeptic publisher) Michael Shermer and Huffpo blogger (best selling author) Deepak Chopra titled “Does God Have a Future?” at Cal Tech yesterday. An edited version will air on March 23rd with the entire conversation to be available online on the same date.

The two men, while going back and forth online for many many years had never met in person before the event moderated by Nightline’s Dan Harris. Chopra has appeared on the cover of Skeptic for his claims about quantum mechanics and consciousness. Chopra often getting irritated by the call out.

It was clear from the sold out crowd at the Beckman Auditorium full of mostly science students that Michael Shermer with his wingman Sam Harris of The Reason Project, were the home team. Chopra and his partner Jean Houston also had their fans in the audience, just far fewer.

The debate, heated at times, was largely civil. Chopra was the only person on the panel booed by the crowd, twice. Shermer commented,”How very unspiritual of you.”

Chopra shot back,”You bring out the worst in me.”

A theoretical physicist in the audience offered to teach Chopra about quantum mechanics, an offer the author accepted. Then Chopra in trying to explain what he means by consciousness said,”In this life you’re pretending to be a physicist–” Which drew the second boo of the night from those noting the criticism against Chopra is that he’s the one pretending to be a physicist.

Several times through out the debate Chopra denounced “woo woo” a term Shermer uses to describe Chopra speak, by accusing Shermer of just not being able to grasped his meaning. “Give me proof that what I say is wow woo just because you can’t understand it,” demanded Chopra.

The question of whether God has a future was never answered. It was really a debate between a man who’s co-opted the words of science while denouncing science, along with denouncing religion as a basis of his religion and two scientists who have no problems slaughtering sacred cows.