As mentioned in an earlier post, Deepak Chopra and neuroscientist Rudolph Tanzi have written a book claiming that you can “use your thoughts to alter your biology” including your DNA. What’s more, you can even pass on your spiritual virtues to your off-spring via epigenetics. It all disproves Darwin, apparently, and enables something they call self-directed evolution.
The human genome is set to be the stage for future evolution that we ourselves direct, making choice an integral part of genetics…
Self-directed evolution is the emerging paradigm.
(Hmmm, I thought the whole point of a paradigm shift is that it happens fairly swiftly and is only clear in retrospect, but who am I to say?)
Customers can demand some good evidence for these claims, given that Tanzi (unlike Chopra) is a reputable academic with impressive credentials. (Dr Rudolph Tanzi is Professor of Neurology at Harvard University and Director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. Deepak Chopra MD, is a holographic expression of the entire universe that is manifesting as a continuum of probability amplitudes for space/time events.)
Chopra & Tanzi display their Super Brains on CNN
Together, they claim that science is currently dominated by an “old paradigm” of genetic determinism, (which they characterize as the view that genetics alone determines behavior). This is not true — modern genetics acknowledges a vast array of influences on behavior. But whatever the case, let’s not allow that to spoil the story, because Chopra and Tanzi’s new paradigm has transcended genetic determinism and replaced it with…..
According to genetics, each individual gets to make a clean start at trying to make the best of their genetic heritage. The sins of the fathers are thankfully NOT passed on genetically. Nor, (according to the evidence so far), are acquired traits such as habits or learned behaviors passed on epigenetically either.
But many New Agers believe that acquired traits are mystically transmitted via some kind of “genetic memory” in their DNA. They probably turn to Chopra and Tanzi (or the many other DNA-altering crackpots), hoping to update their genome, purge the past, and now, thanks to Chopra and Tanzi, to enforce their spiritual nutbaggery on subsequent generations as well, through the supposed power of epigenetics.
There is no evidence for any of this…. unless Chopra and Tanzi can produce some. And who knows, maybe they have — they’ve already written a book about it (with an entire support program), called:
Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being.
As mentioned in the earlier post on this, Chopra and Tanzi were roundly criticized by biologist Jerry Coyne. In response, Tanzi and his Super Brain appeared in the comments on Coyne’s article to defend his work.
So then — does he have evidence that thought can really alter DNA in controllable ways? Or that such changes, if they exist, can be passed on to subsequent generations via epigenetic mechanisms? And if so, will this enable self-directed evolution?
Or as one commenter put it to Tanzi directly:
Can you provide any kind of evidence that human thought can voluntarily influence gene expression, that this supposed effect is epigenetic, that it can be stably inherited and that it can be adaptive?
Tanzi’s answers were clear and incisive:
Typical of a professed atheist to only attack the person and not address the science put forward…
…It is you who is using the militant and fundamentalist religion of atheism to attack a fellow colleague unprovoked.
And your insults and bullying will not work here…you are accountable for your defamations of reputation and character. You cannot hide behind a website and assume you are immune to libelous behavior…
Man, this is a dark website! Rest assured…this is my last post. Over and out! Phew!
Of course, in true New Age style, after his “last post” Tanzi returned, possibly realizing that the only insulting comments on the thread came from a certain “Rudy Tanzi”; and that several of his critics were well qualified academics who had asked important questions.
Eventually after much evasion, complaining, insults, obfuscations, threats of libel suits, and hand-waving, he mentioned, among other things, a study on mice. Here, epigenetic changes relating to stress were inherited by offspring for a generation or two, before disappearing. Well and good. But making a grand leap from lab mice to humans — isn’t that rather a lot like the very worst of the “old paradigm”? And just because it works for stress in mice, will it also work for consciously directed thought in humans? Is it heritable by epigenetics? And if so will it be stable enough to eventually affect evolution?
Tanzi finally admitted he has no evidence for any of that…. “yet”. In his words:
So, no, we do not yet have direct molecular evidence of humans changing their DNA epigenetically in response to life experience and perceptions accompanied by biochemical and molecular genetic reactions…..
Uhuh, so all that stuff in the Super Brain Kit –
HARDCOVER BOOK, SUPER BRAIN
SOFTCOVER BOOK, SUPER BRAIN – THE HANDBOOK
SOFTCOVER GUIDE, SUPER BRAIN – GETTING STARTED NOW!
1. Super Brain (program DVD)
2. Super Brain Steps for Permanent Weight Loss
3. Your Super Brain & Your Money
4. Stop Worrying Now!
5. 10 Steps to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
6. Super Memory Now!
7. Steps to a Super Soul
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD APP, BLISSFUL SLEEP
teaching customers how to
Use your brain instead of letting it use you
Create the ideal lifestyle for a healthy brain
Reduce the risks of aging
Promote happiness and well-being through the mind-body connection
Access the enlightened brain, the gateway to freedom and bliss
Overcome the most common challenges such as memory loss, depression, anxiety, and obesity
was just based on speculation? — Sure, what’s wrong with that?
Well maybe they could have could have chosen a title that reflected the reality of the situation a little better. Like maybe –
Super Brain: hypothetically Unleashing the possibly Explosive but so far purely speculative Power of Your presumed Mind to Maximize or at least minimally affect Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being if we ever figure out how.
So that’s what an “emerging paradigm” looks like. Impressive isn’t it. Especially when it comes from a Harvard professor. And that’s what a bunch of speculative bullshit looks like when it’s promoted by a sleazy hack like Chopra.
And finally, why are they so insistent about all this self-directed evolution nonsense?
Tanzi doesn’t seem to realize it, but his co-author has already been self-directedly evolving for some time now. That’s right, D-Bag Chopra is a certified Evolutionary Leader!
Evolutionary Quacks & Scammers (Source)
Chopra and the other fine specimens in the picture are the herald of a future species of Quantum Humanity! Gaze in wonder upon people like Bruce Lipton, (cancer quack), Gregg Braden (cancer quack), Jack Canfield & The Reverend Michael Beckwith (scammers from The Secret)…. The list goes on.
And as always, once you start pulling on a thread of New Age Scammery, an avalanche is released. This Foundation for Conscious Evolution is a tax free religious foundation that rakes in about half a million dollars a year. Funny how such a highly evolved new paradigm remains true to the “old paradigm” of religious tax evasion.
Perhaps Tanzi doesn’t realize it, but this elite cross-promoting network of scammers and cancer quacks will use his book as just another brick in the wall of manipulation and quackery that they are building around their unsuspecting fans/customers/victims.
And, incidentally, Chopra’s special evolutionary status was probably behind an earlier twitter message that he sent to his critic, the afore-mentioned Jerry Coyne:
Happy to give this joker Coyne some publicity -evolutionary maladapted Homo Erectus
That is more, I suspect, than just a random insult. Chopra really seems to believe he is somehow “more highly evolved” than the “maladapted Homo Erectus[sic]” Professor Coyne, and anyone else who has failed to develop their quantum consciousness according to God’s divine plan. It all sounds like a form of — I don’t know — epi-eugenics. He really seems to think he’s part of a spiritual master race from the future.
Posted by Yakaru