A Letter to the Royal Ontario Museum

The Centre for Inquiry Canada’s Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) is putting together an open letter to the director of the Royal Ontario Museum. This is in light of their recent announcement that they would be sponsoring a talk by world-renowned pseudo-scientist Deepak Chopra.

The CASS is looking for people to support/sign the letter. If you are interested, Larry Moran is taking names in the comments of his post, here.

Here’s the full text of the letter:

William Thorsell
Director, the Royal Ontario Museum
100 Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON
M5S 2C6

Mr. Thorsell,

We at the Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) and its supporters were dismayed to learn that the Royal Ontario Museum will be sponsoring a talk by Deepak Chopra at the University of Toronto in connection with the Director’s Signature Series: The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terracotta Army.

While we fully support the concept of academic freedom, we are baffled by this invitation and wonder how it fits into the mandate of the museum to “serve as an advocate for science in the study of nature,” as stated in your message on the ROM website. Mr. Chopra’s new age psycho-babble may be attractive to the general public, but by inviting him to speak at the ROM, you lend undeserved scientific credibility to his pseudo-scientific claims about quantum physics, psychology, chemistry and medicine. These claims are rightly rejected as absurd by the scientific community and by promoting them you tarnish the otherwise excellent scientific reputation of the Royal Ontario Museum.

CASS will be publishing the standard rebuttals of Deepak Chopra’s fanciful quackery in order to help the public understand where he goes off the rails. Our hope is to turn this otherwise embarrassing event into a learning opportunity. We are also contacting the sponsors of the event and the ROM’s other private donors in order to voice our concern about Mr. Chopra’s presentation. We would like the ROM to clarify how Mr. Chopra’s visit fits into this lecture series, as it seems this is just another opportunity for him to promote his new book.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

The Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism (CASS) at the Centre for Inquiry, Canada

7 Responses to “A Letter to the Royal Ontario Museum”

  1. RankUT says:

    I think you do a disservice to the group when your use slang like terminology like ‘psycho-babble’. Why not keep the letter as professional as possible?

  2. RankUT says:

    Because there are better and more professional ways to go about communicating your position. By referring to slang like terminology you already partially discredit your entire effort with the letter.

    • You keep calling it slang, but I don’t think that word means what you think it means. Either that, or your definition of slang is too broad to give merit to your point. Either way, the authors of this piece clearly didn’t think that using that word took away either from the professionalism, or the credibility of the letter.

      However, CASS is an open group and we’re constantly looking for new volunteers. We would be happy to have another individual who is willing to help draft the wording for these letters. You should let me know if you’re interested.

  3. RankUT says:

    Of course they did not feel that way that is why they wrote it but it doesn’t mean the letter could not have been improved.

    You are right in saying that technically the term is not slang perhaps I was using the term liberally. A very informal and unprofessional term would be more adequate in describing it.

    I would be happy to provide my view of any letters you send in the future if you so desire. Please post your email address and I will contact you, the one I have provided in the form is not my main one so please provide me yours.

  4. RankUT says:

    Contact me at my updated address please, thanks.

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  • Mitchell Gerskup

    Mitchell Gerskup recently graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Economics and Philosophy. An avid atheist and skeptic, he has served as the President of the University of Toronto Secular Alliance, helping to promote science, reason and critical thinking around Toronto. He also volunteers with the Centre for Inquiry’s Ontario branch, and currently sits on the CFI’s Committee for the Advancement of Scientific Skepticism. Mitchell is also an accomplished competitive debater, having debated all across Canada. In addition to issues of economics and philosophy, Mitchell is interested in the fields of science and technology.