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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 employ.

John W. Patterson

 STATE OF IOWA        )                  
                                          ) SS

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 therein expressed.

Witness my hand and seal the day and year last above given.
Juanita Lovejoy
Notary Public in and for the State of Iowa

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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 universe.

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 intelligence.

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 Consciousness.

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.