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Hagelin's Physics

Hagelin claims to be the principal author of the hottest theory in quantum physics. True? Not quite.

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Friday, August 11, 2000
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John Hagelin did begin his career in physics with great promise. He now claims, however, to be the primary author of one of quantum physic's hottest theories. Superstring theory seeks to explain all physical laws in terms of one, neat system. Hagelin, however, was not the primary author on the foundational superstring papers, but co-wrote them with John Ellis, director of the eminently prestigious CERN, and others. (Authors on scholarly papers are traditionally listed in order of their contribution to the paper's contents.) And as you can read below, his co-authors and other noted scientists now distance themselves from -- and sometimes outright ridicule -- Hagelin's current theories linking Transcendental Meditation and the Maharishi's teachings with quantum physics. Meanwhile, his publications have gradually dwindled -- with no new publications since 1994.

  • "Hagelin & Quantum Theory: Holding on by a Superstring," from Nature, Vol. 359, Christopher Anderson, Sept. 10, 1992. In this article from one of the most prestigious journals in science, physicist Hagelin is accused of distorting science to fit his guru's ideas. Hagelin's former colleagues in superstring theory disown his theories of consciousness and politics.

  • "Analyzing the Maharishi Effect." In this balanced and deeply researched paper, philosopher of science Evan Fales and sociologist Barry Markovsky, both of the University of Iowa, discuss the "Maharishi Effect" -- Transcendental Meditation's, John Hagelin's, the Natural Law Party's claim that groups of advanced meditators can bring about peace in war- or crime-torn areas. When the authors analyze the theory, they find the probability of the Maharishi Effect Theory is very close to zero. As an interesting side note, Professor David Orme-Johnson, lead author of the study that was examined by Fales and Markovsky, repeatedly refused to supply Professor Markovsky with his raw data. Within the scientific community, refusal to supply data generally calls into question any findings based on those data, and may severely damage the reputations of researchers who engage in such behavior.

  • "The Myth of Quantum Consciousness, Victor J. Stenger, The Humanist, May/June 1992, Vol. 53, Number 3, pp. 13-15 (cached) Author Victor J. Stenger, Professor of Physics at the University of Hawaii, writes: "Maharishi University 'quantum physicist' John Hagelin, Natural Law Party candidate for President in last year's election, has spoken frequently about quantum consciousness.... But, alas, quantum consciousness has about as much substance as the aether from which it is composed. Early in this century, quantum mechanics and Einstein's relativity destroyed the notion of a holistic universe.... The overwhelming weight of evidence, from seven decades of experimentation, shows not a hint of a violation of reductionist, local, discrete, non-superluminal, non-holistic relativity and quantum mechanics -- with no fundamental involvement of human consciousness other than in our own subjective perception of whatever reality is out there."

  • "Hagelin wins the 1994 Ig Nobel Prize in Physics," from mini-AIR, October 1994, a journal of the Annals of Improbable Research. Unlike the awards won by exemplary scientists, the Ig Nobel Prizes go to individuals "whose achievements cannot or should not be reproduced," according to the official program. A joint production of the "Annals of Improbable Research" (described by some as the "Mad" magazine of science) and the M.I.T. Museum, the 1994 Award in Physics was awarded to John Hagelin "for his experimental conclusion that 4,000 trained meditators caused an 18 percent decrease in violent crime in Washington, D.C." He was in good company: In 1994 , Hagelin was "honored" along with "L. Ron Hubbard, ardent author of science fiction and founding father of [the highly controversial Church of] Scientology, for his crackling Good Book, 'Dianetics,' which is highly profitable to mankind or to a portion thereof."

  • Respected physicist Robert L. Park, who writes the debunking weekly newsletter "What's New," distributed by the American Physical Society, has regularly commented on Hagelin's physics and politics.

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Some topics discussed on this site:Natural Law Party, NLP, John Hagelin, politics, TM, ayurveda, Transcendental Meditation, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Ayur Veda, Alternative Medicine, Psychology, Politics, cult, thought reform, mind control, mantra.

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