Does RMIT endorse quackery?

RMIT’s Alumni Relations department has just emailed me, inviting me to attend a workshop on “The Soul of Leadership”, with none other than Deepak Chopra. (The link goes to his entry at The Skeptic’s Dictionary, and has some great coverage of all of his quackery.)

Here’s the invitation: Up Close with Deepak Chopra.

Ed note: if this post looks a bit too long and boring, skip right down to the bottom – there’s a challenge there for you! Otherwise, hit the “Read More” link…

Now, Chopra’s a quack and a half. He thinks that quantum mechanics can somehow cure cancer, and claims that the afterlife is (quoth Wikipedia) “created uniquely for each of us by our present level of consciousness”. (I’d love to see how he proposes to test this hypothesis.)

In 1991, he was caught lying to the Journal of the American Medical Association about his financial involvement in Ayurvedic products that he was writing about. When his involvement was disclosed, he sued the AMA and the authors of the exposé. (The suit was later withdrawn.)

And now, the trained endocrinologist (really, he is, I’m not arguing that) and quantum-physics expert is fashioning himself as a management consultant. I’m not quite sure what he’s offering, but here’s some quotes from the invite:



At this full day seminar, Deepak Chopra offers an entirely new approach to the exciting possibilities of leadership, […] Chopra defines the leader as the heart and soul of any group and explains how leaders and followers experience predictable responses to competitive situations, which drive every decision we make.

Great leaders, therefore, must have a conscious understanding of how these responses affect their decisions. The program offers insights into group dynamics, loyalty, creativity, vision, security, and achievement with the conscious intent of bringing out excellence at every level.

[…]

Every level of achievement provides the opportunity for new expressions of development. You will learn specific skills that will enable you to be a successful leader in any environment and Chopra will provide the tools and inspiration to boost start yourself.

Let me know if you can make head or tail of that. I think it’s something about teaching leadership skills, which would be fine if it came from someone who had run something larger than a hospital and a resort. And preferably someone a bit more clear-thinking.

And the cost for this guru-a-riffic leadership insight, and “the tools and inspiration to boost start yourself”? $1,400 ($1,200 for RMIT alumni!) per seat for the one-day seminar. Sheesh.

The challenge: Oh, and see if you can spot the two invented quotes on the page advertising the conference. I’ll post the answers in an hour or so.

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