As I trawled through the nation’s op-ed pages for my ongoing Media Bias project, I came across a true gem that’s making the rounds of its smaller community papers, a column so inane that apparently the big boys at the Toronto Sun wouldn’t touch it:
Science has Death Knell for Skeptics
by Tom Harpur
This article is an astonishing piece of hokey, superstitious claptrap. Let’s start with Harpur himself: paradoxically, an Anglican priest who believes that Jesus Christ was a myth cooked up by the early church. But apparently that doesn’t stop him from believing all manner of other nonsense, and dressing it up as “science,” for whatever good that will do him.
The gist of the article is that science has proved the existence of a soul. By “science,” Harpur doesn’t actually mean scientists. He musters all of two supposed scientists to support his position. The first is a Montreal psychologist (Harpur says “neurosurgeon”) named Mario Beauregard, whose work on the subject is technically philosophy of science, not science, and in any case amounts to a creationist-style tantrum that because science can’t currently explain every aspect of the functioning of the brain, therefore the parts science doesn’t understand — conveniently labelled with the magic word “quantum,” which is a synonym for God — must be spiritual.
And the second… well, the second is Ervin Laszlo, whom he introduces as a “Nobel Prize nominee.” Nobel Peace Prize, he should have said, and Laszlo isn’t a scientist either. Apparently he has a degree from the Sorbonne, but most of his collection of letters, if not all of them, are honourary degrees. The fact that Laszlo claims consciousness “persists” after death in the form of a “hologram” which goes on to possess “autonomous existence” after death apparently appeals to Harpur. I’m not clear what makes it “science” or why, as a skeptic, I should be persuaded to believe in this sort of preposterous hocus-pocus.
After all, everyone knows that souls don’t exist in the form of holograms. They exist in the form of avatars, which levitate from the body after death and go on to enjoy immortality in a quantum field. And that, dear readers, is pure science.