With all the talk of astrology and other bogus ideas over the past week or two, I really got a good laugh from this item emailed by a reader, via James Randi. Deepak Chopra, new age charlatan, takes on the age old favorite of charlatan, astrology. The question is raised of whether we should believe an astrologer who provides a prediction of bad things to come. Here’s the question raised to Chopra:
Q: How does one let go of ideas that were implanted in our minds at such a young age? For example, when I was in the 7th grade, an astrologer told me that I would have a nervous breakdown at 35. All these years, I have been plagued by anxiety and now as I approach my 35th birthday, it’s getting worse.
Does Chopra come through and tell the questioner that its all a bunch of bunk, and that an reading taken in 7th grade has no predictive value for age 35, or even when in 7th grade. Well, no. Here’s his answer:
A: First of all, any astrologer who tells you that you are going to have a nervous breakdown, without telling you what you can do to avoid or eliminate the problem beforehand, is doing you a grave disservice. The value of an astrological reading is to discover the likelihood of certain potentialities and then to provide information and techniques to help you manifest the outcome that you actually want. It should empower you with knowledge of how to shape your destiny, not make you fatalistic about it.
Don’t allow your anxiety about this prediction of a nervous breakdown to manifest the very thing you fear. If you have psychological issues and defenses that you think might make you susceptible to a nervous breakdown, then work on those issues now to develop the emotional strength and resiliency you need to face whatever the future brings.
Well, Deepak sure put that charlatan in his place, or some place, but clearly not a place which makes much sense.
Update: What a difference a week makes. Last week, Liberal Values was the target of a vicious smear campaign for taking a stand against astrology, conspiracy theories, anti-Semitism and Holocaust Denial. Today my views on astrology earned the blog a link from Pharyngula. This post is linked in a post responding to Chopra crying about “nastiness of the blogosphere’s reaction to his idiocy” as one of several examples of such idiocy.