Sometimes people surprise you. When Deepak Chopra, author and promoter of spirituality and mind-body medicine, was on Bill O’Reilly’s The O’Reilly Factor early last November, he and Bill-O vied with each other in put downs of famed evolutionary biologist and atheist, Richard Dawkins.
Here’s a little of the exchange:
O’Reilly: So what do you say to a guy like Daw… I mean Dawkins, I had him on twice; and you never talked to him face-to-face…
Chopra: Oh yes. He ambushed me when I was in Oxford. He used a subterfuge. Channel 4 called me and wanted to do an interview. I went to the interview and…
O’Reilly: And it was him.
Chopra: It was him.
O’Reilly: Why didn’t you kick his butt? I kicked his butt.
Chopra: I did. For 3 hours I kicked his butt…
Apparently O’Reilly touched some raw nerve in Chopra (you can view the whole exchange here) who went on to accuse Dawkins of using his scientific credentials to “camoflage his bigotry.”
But now the Guru of Woo (scientists and others often complain that Chopra misrepresents physics and quantum mechanics to support his spiritual claims) seems to have had second thoughts about his comments and yesterday (Nov. 30), Chopra released a public apology to Dawkins via Youtube (you can find the video at left). Here’s how it begins:
Chopra:Good morning. The purpose of this video blog is an official apology to Dr. Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist. Recently I appeared on the Bill O’Reilly Show and I unfairly and mean-spiritedly represented Dr. Richard Dawkins. Dr. Dawkins has been critical of my work for the last seven years and, unfortunately, I reacted by being personally offended and was unfair in my criticism of him in both my television appearances and in my written criticism of him.
Chopra went on to say that while their worldviews are different (“Dr. Dawkins represents the worldview of evidence-based science…” said Chopra. “I represent the worldview that consciousness is a fundamental reality and facts and evidence are more descriptions of modes of human perceptions and knowing than descriptions of reality.”), he’s more aligned with Dawkins viewpoint than Bill O’Reilly’s. He also said that he understood totally where Dawkins is coming from and he gets how “dogmatic fundamentalism and religion can hurt and damage mankind and humanity…”
You don’t have to agree with Deepak Chopra’s worldview and certainly there are plenty of us who think that his brand of woo isn’t exactly harmless to humanity either, but you have to admit that it’s unusual to hear a public figure apologize for an error without being indicted by a grand jury first.
I don’t buy into many of Deepak Chopra’s convictions but at least he has the courage of them.
How about you, Bill O’Reilly?
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