Affidavit of John W. Patterson
State of Iowa
County of Story
I, John W. Patterson, state that I am a professor who has taught
graduate and undergraduate courses in science and engineering at Iowa
State University of Science and Technology since winter 1966-67. ISU
is a major state-funded university in the Midwest. My Ph.D. degree
was awarded in December 1966 by The Ohio State University for scientific
research on high-temperature materials. Since then, I have had a number
of works published in scientific journals, and have made numerous
presentations at scientific conferences.
I have also been a serious student of the nature of science itself,
particularly as it differs from the counterfeit or pseudoscientific
forms it takes in the hands of quasi-religious evangelicals and cult
leaders. In this connection, I have been a very active member of the
Iowa Academy of Science (IAS) and still serve on its Committee for
Controversial Issues and Pseudoscience. In this role I helped draft the
Academy's position paper concerning the pseudoscience of creationism and
the more recent one on pseudoscience in general. I have also been a
scientific consultant to an internationally recognized group of scientists
and educators known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of
claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP) and have served for years on their
Education Subcommittee, of which I recently became a chairman.
The TM movement, like the creation "science" movement, is in my
considered opinion a religiously-based and fraudulent pseudoscience.
Many of the claims issued by the TM organization in their news releases
and recruitment campaigns are not just badly mistaken and ill-conceived;
they are worse. No competent scientist, on the basis of present scientific
understanding, could seriously subscribe to the TM views. Mass meditation
cannot be used to lessen the force of gravity, to effect levitation, to
modify weather patterns, or to lessen social and economic stresses in
distant places. Religious believers often hold such views, but only for
religious reasons - never on the basis of scientific findings. There is
no compelling evidence to suggest that natural forces exist which are
capable of such "actions through a distance" and indeed the law of the
conservation of energy implies such things are impossible. If no educated
scientists were among the leadership of the TM movement or on the faculty
at MIU, one could write such absurd claims off to mere incompetence.
However, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi professes to hold a degree in physics and
there have been at least two Ph.D. holders in the MIU Physics Department
alone over the years. This, along with other considerations, causes me
to rule out the charges of gross scientific incompetence and opt instead
for the charges of dishonesty, deliberate deceit and or fraud.
Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to prove fraud and deliberate
deception in the legal sense, unless the perpetrators happen to confess.
However, many of the allegedly "scientific" claims and studies made by the
TM organization, including those issued through their Maharishi International
University (MIU in Fairfield, Iowa), have in my view been deliberately
contrived to mislead the public at large and particularly those who might
thus be recruited into the movement.
Much of the research reported by MIU involves elaborate procedures
but also involves what might be called "cleverly poor" experimental controls
and a great deal of unjustified "leaping" to favorable conclusions. Herein
lies another source of circumstantial evidence for the fraud or deliberate
deceit mentioned above. Were the experimental mistakes and errors of
judgment due mainly to naivete or mere incompetence, one would find about
as many unfavorable results as favorable ones as regards the alleged benefits
of TM and the so-called Sidhi and "Maharishi" effect(s). But one finds
nothing of the sort. In virtually all their reports, the results tend to
to never be negative, but are almost always cited as "statistically
significant" confirmations of their hypotheses. So one-sided is the tally,
in fact, that one may justifiably question the honesty if not the competence
of the TM researchers.
State of Iowa
These views have not been arrived at frivolously or with slight
effort on my part. I have personally attended many of the MIU
presentations made at annual IAS meetings and also one of the TM
recruitment lectures to which all viewers of their recent TV programs
were invited. I have read several of the allegedly scientific
investigations reported by TM researchers and have also obtained assessments from other ISU faculty members, including experts in our
Department of Statistics who specialize in the design of experiments.
Typically, their assessments have even been less kind than mine. I
once traveled to the MIU campus to participate in an extensive guided
tour of their university and research facilities and I have read and
compiled rather extensive files on the assessments of TM claims
published by non-TM researchers.
It is not feasible here in this brief affidavit to detail all the
reasons for my present opinions regarding the TM-MIU claims and their
advertizing campaigns, but my concerns are both deep and heart-felt.
Indeed, to know what I do and not openly oppose such deceptive and
pseudoscientific claims, would be most unconscionable; especially for
a professional scientist and educator such as I who is in the public
John W. Patterson
STATE OF IOWA )
COUNTY OF STORY )
On this 30th day of June, 1986, before me a Notary Public
in and for the county and state aforesaid, appeared John W. Patterson,
to me personally known to be the person whose name is subscribed to
the foregoing instrument, and acknowledge that he executed said
instrument as his free and voluntary act for the uses and purposes
Witness my hand and seal the day and year last above given.
Notary Public in and
for the State of
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Creation has two sides: intelligence, which is the cause of
everything, and the manifestations of intelligence, which are the
physical and psychological features of the everyday world. Because
Transcendental Meditation directly approaches intelligence, rather
than the manifestations of intelligence, it solves problems by
introducing harmony and well-being at the most basic level, and not
by dealing with problems themselves. That's why it is so effective.
Consider this example: The gardener supplies water to the root of
a tree. That water, that nourishment, then reaches all parts of the
tree - leaves, branches, flowers, fruit - through the sap. We can
think of the sap as analogous to intelligence and the green leaves or
yellow flowers as analogous to the manifestations of the
intelligence. The leaves and flowers are the intelligence of the sap,
after it has been transformed. So intelligence - like the leaves and
flowers of a tree - appears as the many different forms of manifest
life. Those manifestations include every aspect of existence, from
the material and physiological, through the psychological,
intellectual, and spiritual. All of those features of life come from
transformations of intelligence. In meditation, we directly meet this
essential intelligence. Therefore, we have the possibility of
nourishing all of its other levels, and thus all levels of
manifestation, in a way that is harmoniously related to the whole
How is Transcendental Meditation different from the various other
forms of meditation?
Maharishi: The basic difference is that Transcendental Meditation,
in addition to its simplicity, concerns itself only with the mind.
Other systems often involve some additional aspects with which the
mind is associated, such as breathing or physical exercises. They can
be a little complicated because they deal with so many things. But
with Transcendental Meditation there is no possibility of any
interference. So we say this is the all-simple program, enabling the
conscious mind to fathom the whole range of its existence.
Transcendental Meditation ranges from active mind - or performing
mind - to quiet mind - or resting mind. In this resting mind, one has
purity and simplicity, uninvolved with anything other than the mind,
uninvolved with any other practice. In Transcendental Meditation,
because we deal only with the mind, we nourish all expressions of
The mind meditates, gains Transcendental Consciousness and brings
about transformation in different fields of manifestation. All fields
of life, which are the expression of intelligence, are nourished or
transformed and made better through experiencing Transcendental
The mind, of course, is always concerned with other aspects, such
as the physiology of the body, the environment, and the whole
universe for that matter. But since Transcendental Meditation deals
only with the performance of the mind, from its active states to its
settled state, it remains unconcerned with those other aspects,
though it deals with them all, because intelligence deals with them
all. -- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, unknown interview, copyright presumablyheld by Maharishi Vedic University, The Maharishi Foundation, or another group within the TM family.
Cults come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Categories of cults that are recruiting successfully today include:
Eastern meditation: characterized by belief in God-consciousness, becoming one with God. The leader usually distorts and Eastern-based philosophy or religion. Members sometimes learn to disregard worldly possessions and may take on an ascetic lifestyle. Techniques used: meditation, repeated mantras, altered states of consciousness, trance states.
Religious: marked by belief in salvation, afterlife, sometimes combined with an apocalyptic view. The leader reinterprets the Scriptures and often claims to be a prophet if not the messiah. Often the group is strict, sometimes using physical punishments such as paddling and birching, especially on children. Members are encouraged to spend a great deal of time proselytizing. (Note: included here are Bible-based neo-Christian and other religious cults, many considered syncretic since they combine beliefs and practices). Techniques used: speaking in tongues, chanting, praying, isolation, lengthy study sessions, many hours spent evangelizing, "struggle" (or criticism) and confession sessions.
Political, racist, terrorist: fueled by belief in changing society, revolution, overthrowing the "enemy" or getting rid of evil forces. The leader professes to be all-knowing and all-powerful. Often the group is armed and meets in secret with coded language, handshakes, and other ritualized practices. Members consider themselves an elite cadre ready to go to battle. Techniques used: paramilitary training, reporting on one another, guilt, fear, struggle sessions, instilled paranoia, long hours of indoctrination. -- Captive Hearts, Captive Minds, Lalich and Tobias, Hunter House, 1993.