It's hard enough being a layman consumer of science without people like Deepak Chopra making it more difficult.
PZ Myers helps make it easier with entries like this.
See, Mr. Chopra has an MD. He's got what we ordinary folks view as science cred. And he's got Oprah on his side, and THAT never hurts. He's got a medical license, he's got exposure, celebrity, and a great photographer and publicist.
When Mr. Chopra talks about science, he speaks in a way that is lyrical and poetical. He emphasises the romance of the "unknown", (though as Prof. Myers points out, some of the romantic "unknown" is only unknown to Mr. Chopra and his intended audience.)
Hey, I love the unknown as much as anybody. The unknown is cool because it is a blank space upon which you can write anything you want to believe, as long as it sort of fits in with the known somehow along the blurry edges. Just match up the grain, and you'll never know the difference, no matter how crazy things get towards the center of your little creation. It's a fun little playground. Who doesn't love science fiction, especially when it tells us that we can live healthy, happy productive lives forever?
I also enjoy the lyrical and poetical. It is somehow rewarding when science seems to point to some great, unifying universal truth, and if you can somehow believe that you can tap into that truth and use it to make your life better...well, that's very appealing as well.
We aren't all like Prof. Myers. We can't all be hard-nosed realists. I would like to be, but try as I might, I fall short. I occasionally let loose with a lyrical and poetical metaphor for how some scientific thing I read about is a great metaphor for some fluffy spiritual truth. And I enjoy the illusion that the metaphor is an indication of some mystical connection between the two.
Which is what, I suppose, makes Mr. Chopra so successful as a writer/speaker/health expert/celebrity, and also why Prof. Myers is left laboring away as a scientist, educator, and activist. If I had my way, I'd like to see people like Prof. Myers with the rewards of society, the million dollar homes, the expensive cars, the books with his huge picture on the front, and the even huger royalty checks...
But he would probably just blow it all on a huge laboratory filled with aquariums full of squid and zebra fish. Oh, and booze. He'd also probably spend a lot of the money on booze.
I guess as long as ordinary people feel the pull of the mystical/lyrical/poetical/miraculous, there will always be people like Deepak Chopra waiting in the blurry edges between the "known" and the "unknown" to use it to make a buck.
I can only hope that there will always be people like Prof. Myers to keep us from getting carried away.