Letter from Dennis E. Roark, Ph.D.
MIU Dean of Faculty and head of Physics Dept: 1975-1980
Pat Ryan July 11, 1987
P.O. Box 2520
Philadelphia, PA 19147
This is to confirm to you our previous discussions regarding my
time as Chairman of the Physics Dept. at Maharishi International
University. As you know, since than I have ceased doing TM and I
am Chairman of the Physics Dept. at a small liberal arts Christian
College, The King's College in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
During my time at M.I.U. I had occasion to examine the scientific
claims of the movement, to interact with those who had purportedly
performed the research, to study the metaphysics, philosophy and
religion associated with the T.M. technique, and to work with the
founder of the movement and the college. It is my certain belief
that the many scientific claims both to factual evidences of
unique, beneficial effects of T.M. and physics are not only
without any reasonable basis, but are in fact in many ways
fraudulent. I will briefly try to detail a few of these errors
and false claims in this letter.
While serving on the faculty I discussed the EEG work which
purported to show "increased brain wave coherence while practicing
the flying technique" with one of the faculty investigators who
had participated in the development of the study, Dr. Michael
Dillbeck. My suspicions were generated by knowing the near
impossibility of making EEG measurements of weak electric signals
coming from an array of electrodes attached to the subject's scalp
while the subject is moving. (The claims and advertisements show
a picture of an apparently "flying" meditator along side the
claimed coherent brain wave pattern. The initial claim of
"flying" as my personal experience discovered is merely an
energetic muscular "hopping.")
The T.M. investigator confirmed to me that contrary to the implied
claim, the pattern displayed was not of the flying or hopping
meditator since the measurement was indeed impossible. A similar
degree of deception is to be found in the movement's claimed
reduction of crime and other negative social phenomena if enough
people in the country or in the world begin to meditate. Confirmed
to me by investigators at M.I.U. was the suppression of negative
evidence that these investigators had collected.
Strong bias was present in selecting only data favourable to a
conclusion that was made prior to the data collection. Because of
the strong authoritarian (essentially cultic) aspects of the
movement, only results supporting ideas generated by the movement
leadership could receive any hearing. The scientific research
is without objectivity and is at times simply untrue.
While Chairman of Physics at M.I.U., I was asked to develop a
quantum theory, a unified field theory, which would incorporate
consciousness in such a way as to explain the "flying" technique
as non-ordinary and which would give to the subjective experience
of meditation a fundamental role in physics. I found then and I
continue to find now such claims preposterous. This is what is
normally called "crackpot science."
Although there is substantial work in the physics of quantum
mechanics giving to consciousness an essential role, even a causal
role, there is no evidence or argument that could connect some
sort of universal consciousness to be subjectively experienced
with a unified field of all physics. In fact, the existing
scientific work suggests just the opposite. If consciousness can
be talked about at all with regard to the physical world, then it
must be in the sense of lying wholly outside of the physical
Of course quantum mechanical explanations of "flying" in such a
way as to suggest that this "flying" is an apparent violation of
the simpler laws of nature, such as gravity, is entirely
inappropriate because nothing unusual is happening in the "flying"
technique which is only hopping. (On the psychological level,
something unusual and probably dangerous is happening during this
and other advanced T.M. techniques.)
The early attempts to relate the experience of T.M. to the
physical nature of reality were by fuzzy analogies. Analogous
reasoning may be useful to clarify ideas, but never to establish
Subsequent attempts to produce some sort of physical theory
involving T.M. merely carry the analogies further into the realm
of obscure thinking that can perhaps fool the person not
conversant with the language of physics but will be usually
quickly described as crackpot by the expert physicist.
My belief is that the T.M. is in its practice and in its theories
religious in nature and is based on a pantheistic Hinduism that
has been reformulated to make it attractive to Western minds. We
in the West have great respect for science and often look to
science and technology to explain our world and to solve our
problems. (We probably have an over-reliance on science in fact
and may turn it into a religion itself.)
By T.M. claiming to be scientific in a most fundamental way, it
tries to demand of us a respect we reserve for things thought
scientific, rational, efficient, and effective. Under the guise
of this false scientific claim then, Hinduism seeks its entrance
into our lives. Many innocent individuals who sought only for an
effective (scientific) relaxation technique are then exposed to
the real dangers of this T.M. technique and to the misleading
philosophy and metaphysics claimed by its proponents.
Dennis E. Roark, Ph.D.
From TM-EX Newsletter, Spring 1992.
Reprinted with the permission of TM-EX.
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