I have been an irregular commentator at the HP. Over the past few months, the HP religious section has become a soapbox for new age gurus like Deepak Chopra or Ervin Laszlo. Both of these men, who use the HP to peddle their line of new age products, spread around a strange concoction of pseudo-science with a few dashes of esoteric religiosity. A few months ago, Chopra was slapped around in CalTech by Sam Harris and an audience of scientists as he tried to give his version of neuro-particle physics.
This last week, Ervin Laszlo–who according to the Huffington Post is a system philosopher, integral theorist and concert pianist (only the last one I know what it is) published a piece titled “Why Some Religious People Fear (and Fight) Science–And Why it’s a Sad Mistake” which contained gems such as this one: “The religious experience has aspects and elements that make it consistent with the world scientists discover on the basis of empirical experience.” or even better: “Psychiatrists such as Stanislav Grof find that in meditative, prayerful, or otherwise altered states of mind and consciousness, people have access to the kind of mystical or transcendent realities that make up the substance of all great religions.” (my emphasis)
For a while, each comment I posted to this column got erased until eventually one made it through. That comment, of course, had nothing to do with Laszlo but commented on the fact that my comments were, indeed, not getting through. Thus I sent the following message to the HP (firstname.lastname@example.org):
“I would like an explanation concerning the reason for erasing posts which are critical of the credentials of some of your bloggers: Chopra, Lazslo, etc. The arguments presented in these posts contained no profanities nor were they ad hominem–I have a PhD in philosophy and will be happy to explain to you what an Ad Hominem attack is–but stated the sheer lack of credentials of your bloggers in the matters that they discuss. It is an outrage for the HP to be presenting Chopra and Laszlo as philosophers or scientists when they are merely new age gurus who have no business discussing any of the matters for for which they claim authority and by the lights of the community of scientists,philosophers and theologians they have none. This is not a matter of opinion, this is a matter of fact. Laszlo has an honorary degree and Chopra is an endocrinologist. For the Huffington Post to allow the claims of these men to go unchallenged and to deny us the right of reply amounts to an abuse of public trust for which commentators in politics and media usually like to accuse Fox and friends. Turns out, you are doing much of the same. Quite a shame!”
Yesterday our account was removed.