The Anderson Report
HUBBARD'S SCIENTIFIC DEFICIENCIES
Hubbard makes for dianetics and scientology a great many preposterous, ridiculous, and entirely untrue claims. He is a great propagandist and believes that, if he repeats sufficiently often his false claims for his "sciences", his pretence to knowledge in all the other sciences, his rabid denunciation of the medical profession, and the imagined villainy of those who criticise him, there will be sufficient people who will uncritically accept his nonsense as true.
In his books and other writings he frequently repeats the same weird idea in a multitude of alternative ways, often becoming quite didactic in an urgent and frenzied fashion. Any statement, even though initially only tentatively made, is thereafter asserted and repeated as true without any further proof as to its truth than Hubbard's repeated assertions. A common practice of Hubbard is to assert that something "could" be so, without any proof that it is, and upon such a foundation to build his false thesis. In most of his writings, as well as writing for the gullible and the anxious who may be mentally ill or on the verge of mental illness, he is writing for the uninformed and ill educated, who are unable to challenge his confident assertions of "fact", and who accept uncritically what he writes because its deceptive simplicity appeals and they think they are reading about facts, scientifically established, simply because Hubbard has said so. They are happy to read science fiction and to regard it as scientific fact.
It would be wasteful of time and energy to take each and every one of Hubbard's untrue or inaccurate statements and condemn it in specific terms, with detailed reasons in each case. Hubbard continually distorts and misrepresents, frequently asserting as fact propositions which are positively wrong. His writings and theories stand condemned en masse as being entirely contrary to conventional learning and experience in the many sciences in which he falsely claims to be knowledgeable. So far as his own theories are concerned, they are either contrary to existing scientific learning or are unsupported by any proof and are generally contrary to reason. If there is a scintilla which Hubbard has written or said that is justifiably excluded from the foregoing general denunciation of his works, it is of negligible content, and cannot serve as a foundation for the fabric of falsehood, fraud and fantasy which he has forged.
The Board heard many expert witnesses, of high integrity, holding the highest qualifications in their respective sciences. The roll call of such experts is imposing. Their names, qualifications, and appointments are listed in Appendix 3. They were uniformly of the opinion that Hubbard's writings revealed him as ignorant and ill-informed in those sciences in which they were expert. In varying degrees they considered that what he wrote was harmful to those who embarked upon Hubbardian treatment and to the community in general. They expressed, in various terms and with varying emphasis according to their personalities, their concern that such nonsense should circulate under the flattering cloak of science and that such pernicious techniques should be practised on the victims of Hubbard's deception. Again, it is unnecessary to repeat in extenso what each individual expert had to say concerning Hubbard and his works.
One remarkable feature of the expert evidence which the Board heard is that the scientology interests, though they were concerned to cross-examine the several experts searchingly and at length, did not call any, or any appreciable, evidence to controvert the opinions and conclusions stated by the experts. It is proper to say that, though the cross-examination was skilfully and painstakingly done on instructions from the HASI, it served only to confirm, and indeed to strengthen, the several opinions expressed by the expert witnesses in their evidence in chief.
The only effect which the cogent and uncontradicted evidence of such an imposing gallery of expert witnesses could have on any tribunal of fact would be that the tribunal should accept it. Such evidence was inherently probable, and the material which it condemned so improbable, that the Board has no hesitation in accepting and acting upon it.
During the course of the Inquiry, the Board made repeated comments on the continued absence of any substantial scientific evidence in support of scientology teaching, in the hope that, if such evidence existed, it would eventually be tendered. The scientology interests evidently had no intention of tendering any such evidence - if, indeed, it existed - and, though they were given the opportunity and were invited to do so, they declined to lead any such evidence. A few scientology witnesses who gave evidence had scientific or technical qualifications and experience, but their evidence was not, except in the most tenuous way, directed towards justifying scientology on any scientific basis. These witnesses merely sought to justify scientology empirically and subjectively. Typical of their defence or justification of Hubbard's theories, which were contradicted by expert evidence, was the comment of one scientology witness, a
medical practitioner who, in relation to Hubbard's theories as to engrams and that ulcers were due to attempted abortions, said, "I don't see how anybody could prove that it was not so. How can you prove it was not so?" Several witnesses sought to justify Hubbard's theories on the basis that they could not be proved wrong, and they took this stand, notwithstanding that they acknowledged that Hubbard's theories were contrary to generally accepted scientific principles. The qualifications and appointments, without names, of these scientology witnesses appear in Appendix 2.
As already indicated, although Hubbard claims that he has degrees, he has no worthwhile academic distinction. He seeks to remedy this deficiency by ridiculing those who possess academic degrees and by denouncing them as rogues and charlatans who perpetuate outmoded and evil ideas and disproved techniques of an earlier century. The Board finds it unnecessary to attempt a vindication of the several professions which Hubbard so abuses. The subject of this Report being scientology, this Chapter is devoted to some discussion of the standards of research said to be engaged in by the founder of scientology, and an examination of the validity of his claims to knowledge in the several sciences on which he claims to write with authority.
Hubbard and Medicine.
Hubbard's completely unjustified claims to speak with authority on medical matters are not confined to psychiatry and psychology. His writings range the gamut of medicine, and many of his theories are based on entirely erroneous ideas of several branches of medicine. A great part of this Report is concerned with the errors of Hubbard in relation to psychiatry and psychology. In this Chapter, other branches of medicine, particularly anatomy and gynaecology, regarding which Hubbard has many fanciful and incorrect ideas, are briefly dealt with. In relation to the matters dealt with in this part of this Chapter, the expert medical evidence which the Board heard included evidence from Professors of Anatomy and Gynaecology and Obstetrics and a Dean of Medicine.
As already mentioned, no good purpose would be served in dealing with the multitude of untrue or inaccurate statements which Hubbard has made in relation to medicine. For the purpose of illustrating the fallacies in his theories, it is sufficient to deal with a few matters which are fundamental to his whole teaching.
Of prime importance to both dianetics and scientology is the "engram" which Hubbard has defined as a moment of unconsciousness containing pain or painful emotion. It was one of the fundamental axioms of dianetics that the engram was the single source of aberration and psychosomatic ills. the most prolific period for engrams was said to be the prenatal period, and Hubbard's writings contain many examples of the ways in which engrams are said to be received in this period. Several examples are set out in Chapter 6.
Briefly expressed, Hubbard's view was that, when a pregnant woman was struck in the abdomen or engaged in intercourse, the child she was carrying suffered pain, and aberratively heard words which accompanied such incidents, and so received an engram.
"Birth," wrote Hubbard, "is a very aberrative affair," and engrams were frequently received at birth because the child, in the process of being born, was experiencing pain, and, accordingly, words spoken at that stage were said to be aberratively heard and recorded.
Hubbard further considered that a person apparently unconscious under an anaesthetic was in such a condition as to be highly receptive of engrams because of the "injury" which the accompanying surgery inflicted upon him.
The Board heard expert medical evidence that the engram as developed in scientology is unknown to medical science, and that Hubbard's engram theories are based on assumptions which are contrary to or unknown to orthodox medical knowledge and principles. Of course, many of them are also contrary to reason. For instance, Hubbard wrote of engrams being received within a few days of conception. He even goes so far in A History of Man as to write,
"Pre-sperm recordings are quite ordinary .... Pre-ovum sequences are on record but are not common"the implication being that engrams may be received, even though conception has not taken place. The Board heard expert medical evidence that such things were not possible. Such assertions as Hubbard makes require that the sperm or the ovum before conception, or the embryo when it is barely visible to the naked eye, is capable of hearing without any aural equipment and of understanding and remembering without a nervous system or a brain. It involves, too, that the sperm or the ovum or the embryo, as the case may be, already knows a language which, when the child is eventually born, has slowly to be acquired over many months and even years.
The development of any equipment capable of receiving sounds does not take place till the foetus is substantially advanced, and the hearing of sounds by an unborn child, except very shortly prior to birth and then only if they are very loud, is not possible; any sort of intelligent understanding or appreciation of the meaning of words spoken prior to or at birth is, of course, impossible.
Hubbard further wrote that auditing procedures produce prenatal recollections of light. In A History of Man, he wrote that
"There is a 'visio' which is quite standard, of the race. There is quite often a light, a spark, in the sequence"and that
"Actual prenatal visio, of course, is black except at such times as when light may be entered for surgical purposes, at which time light is sometimes recorded".The Board heard expert medical evidence that such suggestions were nonsense.
Hubbard has written in many places that many aberrations are the result of injuries inflicted on the unborn child when abortions have been attempted. He writes of the child experiencing terror, fear, and pain,
"when the parents or the professional abortionist start after it and thrust it full of holes"and that ulcers in later life are caused by attempts at abortion in which household instruments are used and
"some of the holes are through and through the baby's abdomen and stomach"and a lot more besides. He writes that attempted abortions are very frequent but generally fail, because
"the ability of the foetus to repair the damage is phenomenal,"brain damage being ordinarily
"repaired perfectly regardless of how many foreign substances were introduced into it",and other damage is also attended to, because the child
"is surrounded by protein and has a food supply and because the sac is like one of these puncture-proof inner tubes that seals up every hole".The Board heard expert medical evidence that all these statements were incorrect. An unborn child does not know terror; a number of holes thrust into a foetus would certainly destroy it; once brain damage occurs it does not repair itself; the punctured sac does not seal itself, and a punctured sac is fatal to the child, unless it shortly precedes the birth of the child.
Hubbard's claim in Dianetics: MSMH that
"a large proportion of allegedly feeble-minded children are actually attempted abortion cases"is medically absurd.
Hubbard has made many claims to the effect that dianetics and scientology can cure ailments. The broad claims are dealt with in Chapter 19. At this stage it is sufficient to mention some specific claims and to outline expert medical evidence which indicates that the claims to cure are quite unjustified.
Hubbard claimed that
"recording begins in the cells of the zygote - which is to say, with conception",and that
"Cancer has been eradicated by auditing out conception and mitosis".Expert evidence was that what was suggested was impossible. Cancer is not of psychological origin and is not cured by any type of psychological treatment. In Chapter 19 are the details of a tragic case where the Melbourne HASI attempted to cure, by auditing, a cancer sufferer. Hubbard's claims that scientology cures cancer, leukaemia, and radiation burns are entirely unjustified and dangerous.
Often Hubbard's ideas are so loosely expressed, and his terminology so inexact, that little meaning can be given to what he writes. In Self-Analysis in Scientology, he writes:
"Arthritis of the knee, for instance, is the accumulation of all knee injuries in the past ... The fluids of the body avoid the pain area. Hence a deposit which is called arthritis. The proof of this is that when the knee injuries of the past are located and discharged, the arthritis ceases, no other injury takes its place and the person is finished with arthritis of the knee. And this happens in ten cases out of ten - except in those cases where age and physical deterioration are so well advanced towards death that the point of no-return is passed."The Board heard expert medical evidence that the assertions in this quotation, if intelligible at all, are quite contrary to accepted medical facts. The fanciful accumulation of "all knee injuries in the past" does not make sense: it is quite incorrect to say that in traumatic arthritis fluid avoids an injured knee, the reverse is the fact; where traumatic arthritis progresses to chronic arthritis due to repetition of injury, the osteo-arthritic condition which develops involves irreversible changes in the cartilage linings of the joint, producing a calcification or ossification of the cartilaginous joints. Such a condition is permanent, and spontaneous retrogression or cure by some mental process is not possible.
In the same book, Hubbard writes.
"Consider the bad heart. The person has a pain in his heart. He can take medicine or voodoo or another diet and still have a bad heart. Find and eradicate or nullify an actual physical injury to the heart and the heart ceases to hurt and gets well."Expert medical evidence was that such a statement did not make sense, and that any actual heart condition, whether congenital or arising from injury or disease, could not be cured by psychological means.
The Board heard expert medical opinion at length on other medical claims made by Hubbard which were quite alien to accepted medical knowledge; but the foregoing selection is sufficient to illustrate the impossibility of Hubbard's pseudo-medical theories and knowledge.
Hubbard and Psycho-Analysis.
From time to time, Hubbard, in his denigration of the various professions concerned with the treating of the mentally ill, has singled out for particular attack and abuse the practice of psycho-analysis. In a long article entitled "A Critique of Psycho-Analysis", published in Com. Mag. Vol. 4, No. 10, October, 1962, Hubbard, while seeking to terrify his followers as to the imagined evils of psycho-analysis, in fact shows both his ignorance and his misconceptions of this particular branch of psychiatric medicine by the patently absurd and erroneous statements contained in the article. For instance, he writes:
"The first solid criticism of psycho-analysis is inherent in its failure to advance . . . Psycho-analysis did not advance or did not evolve. There is little, if any, difference between the writings of Freud in 1894 and the declarations of analysts today unless it is a deteriorated difference . . . Psycho-analysis has not [succeeded], and to-day is almost a lost subject. There are fewer analysts in the world to-day than there were twenty years ago despite the enormous wages which could have been earned by them."All this is quite incorrect. Throughout the world there are several thousand practising psycho-analysts, and their number is growing. In selected cases, where psycho-analytical methods are indicated, psycho-analytical techniques are successfully practised, and they are being constantly developed. Hubbard shows ignorance of the general literature, learning and development of psycho-analysis. He does not know or understand the meaning of many technical terms which he uses. Though using psycho-analytical terms he gives to them a meaning different from their accepted meaning in psycho-analysis, indicating, that he has not understood the underlying concepts. Psycho-therapy has not stood still as at 1894 as Hubbard asserts but has made great advances. He has the mistaken idea that Freud alone is responsible for psycho-analysis as practised to-day, and he ignores or is unaware of the many famous psychiatrists who, since Freud's time, have assisted in developing psycho-analysis into what is practised to-day. He suffers from the popular but erroneous belief, formerly current amongst some to whom Freud was little more than a name, that, as he puts it, of the practitioner (i.e., the psycho-analyst) reads sexual significance into all discourse and evaluates it for the patient along sexual lines".
Such acquaintance as he has with the teachings of Freud seems to be limited to Freud's earlier writings. Many of Hubbard's theories as to the significance of recollections of "past lives" and "engrams", show that he is unfamiliar with Freud's later work.
His acquaintance with Freud's teachings is claimed to have been initiated by and come through a Commander Thompson, a doctor in the United States Navy, but not otherwise identified, who is said by Hubbard to have been a personal student of Freud and a source of inspiration to Hubbard. For no other reason than this attenuated connexion between Freud and himself, Hubbard writes:
"Better than others, then, some sixty-eight years after Freud's original declarations, I could be considered qualified to criticize not only the failure of the basic work of Freud but the later offshoots which, while following his original tenets, yet sought to expand information on psycho-analysis .... Very few living analysts today have as a direct connexion with the subject as I have. . . Having established then my possible qualifications to criticize and having compounded such right by having bettered the results of Freud, I feel it is necessary to overhaul rapidly the points of failure of psycho-analysis as we understand the mind today."All this is patently false. He claims,
"I have used psycho-analysis as a practitioner",but his writings show almost complete ignorance of what it really is, and such practice as he may have made of psycho-analysis must have been as twisted as his practice of other therapies, good and bad, which he has prostituted. How he, as a science fiction writer, who has spent years travelling the world investigating the customs of peoples in many continents and, during the last fifteen years promoting an impudent fraud, can claim to speak with authority on a subject of which he is almost completely ignorant, makes sense only to Hubbard and his deluded followers.
His critique of psycho-analysis contains such dangerous statements as
"The treatment of the insane today is far worse than it was two centuries ago and the brutality practised under the name of 'mental healing' cannot be regarded with equanimity by any civilized man."Such a statement would be likely to cause a person in need of psychiatric care to avoid psychiatric treatments at all costs; and, if a mentally ill person, having read such a dangerous statement, later did undergo proper psychiatric treatment, the prospect of treating such a person successfully would be greatly diminished because of the grave obstacle which fear of the psychiatrist had presented.
The evidence of highly qualified psychiatrists and in particular of an expert psycho-analyst with high qualifications and long experience, makes it clear that far from having any real knowledge or appreciation of what psycho-analysis is and does, Hubbard's knowledge does not extend beyond a scrappy acquaintance with some of the popular misconceptions of Freud's early tentative writings.
Hubbard As a Scientist.
The editorial note to Scientology: 8-80 reads,
"The discovery and isolation of Life Energy in such a form as to revive the dead or dying has been an ambition as old as Man himself. In the last two thousand years a few individuals have claimed the ability without explaining it. With this book, the ability to make one's body old or young at will, the ability to heal the ill without physical contact, the ability to cure the insane and the incapacitated, is set forth for the physician, the layman, the mathematician and the physicist."Scientology: 8-80, which has as its sub-title "The Discovery and Increase of Life Energy in the Genus Homo Sapiens", originally copyright in 1952 and subsequently reprinted at least in 1957, to the extent that it impinges upon anything vaguely resembling the province of the physician, the layman, the mathematician or the physicist, contains just so much nonsense. In this book, Hubbard devises wave lengths for aesthetics, analytical thought, emotion - there are high wave beauty and high wave ugliness - and he gives a "formula" of the energy of life source.
It would be wasteful of time and energy to attempt to discuss aspects of Hubbard's unashamed nonsense in this book. The Board heard evidence from a highly qualified physicist, a master of science and senior lecturer in physics at the University of Melbou rne, who said that much of the text of this book, if written as or claiming to be in any way scientific, was meaningless or just rubbish, and was the sort of nonsense a matriculation or first year student might "dream up" outside his formal study periods. He said none of the views set out in the book bore any resemblance to the theories of physics and that the "bits of science that crop up in this book are not the work of a competent nuclear scientist." Hubbard, this witness said, had not developed at all in physics; he had acquired some familiarity with the language of physics at a high school level - he knew some words existed in a genuine discipline that was physics - but he had not learned physics, and was quite unfamiliar with the scientific usage of the terms which he used.
One witness, called on behalf of the HASI, was also a master of science and had been a senior lecturer in mathematics at an interstate University. He was constrained to admit that as to some of Hubbard's writings in Scientology: 8-80 it would be necessary to ask the author just what he meant, and the witness was unable to reconcile other passages in the book with his own scientific knowledge.
Notwithstanding that the book purported to be written for scientists about a branch of science this witness endeavoured to justify those parts of it which were completely inconsistent with generally accepted principles of science on the basis that Hubbard was writing philosophically, and that "you can say something in the name of philosophy which is completely inconsistent with science." The witness was unable to reconcile Hubbard's writings in Scientology 8-80 with his own scientific knowledge or anything scientific in the generally accepted sense, yet he sought to maintain the validity of Hubbard's writings because, as he said, being written in the framework of scientology there was nothing in such writings which could be "disproven by the science of physics" which was in a different "frame of reference." It is almost incredible that this witness, with such high academic qualifications, could voice such nonsense; yet solemnly he did so, and a careful re-reading of the evidence confirms the impression which the Board had at the time he gave evidence, namely, that he, in common with many other scientology witnesses, appeared to be overborne by some inescapable compulsion which conditioned him to give quite fantastic and incredible evidence on matters scientological, while at the same time appearing to be bright, alert and rational on other matters.
Some scientology witnesses had been processed only shortly before they gave evidence. and this may have accounted for their peculiar attitude. It did not appear in evidence whether or not this particular witness had been processed shortly before he gave evidence.
Hubbard As a Nuclear Physicist.
One of the many claims made by Hubbard about himself, and oft repeated by his followers, is that he is a nuclear physicist, and his boast is that he was even one of the first nuclear physicists who, in 1932, were studying on lines which finally led to the atomic bomb. He claims to be an authority on the atom bomb and on radiation and he has written a book to prove it. This book, All About Radiation, is in two parts. The first part, being entitled "The Facts about the Atomic Bomb" and written by "a medical doctor", deals with certain medical aspects of atom bomb damage and is written in temperate language and, within limits, is
reasonably accurate. The second part of the book is entitled, "Man's Inhumanity to Man", and Hubbard is its author. In the book he is described as "Dr. Hubbard" and as "A Nuclear Physicist".
The Board heard evidence from a highly qualified radiologist who has made a special study of radiation and its effects. He said that Hubbard's knowledge of radiation, as displayed by his writings in All About Radiation, was the "sort of knowledge that perhaps a boy who has read Intermediate Physics might, with a lot of misapprehensions and lack of understanding, demonstrate". One of Hubbard's assertions is that "a 16-foot wall cannot stop a gamma ray but a body, that is to say human, can". This witness said that this was a complete denial of physical truths and was a basic scientific fallacy which would lead to disastrous consequences in this community at this time if it were not resisted. He said that such a statement "shows complete and utter ignorance of physics, nuclear science and medicine". Speaking in general terms about Hubbard's contribution to All About Radiation which he described as "ravings and ramblings", the witness said:
"There is no attempt to present precise data or conclusions from precise data; no attempt to clearly present his views coherently and progressively in terms the reader can follow; colloquial and extraordinary terminology is used to confuse rather than enl ighten; the more basic fundamental established truths of science are ignored and replaced by imaginative fiction without a vestige of corroborative experiment designed to support such hypotheses."In All About Radiation, Hubbard states that "the danger in the world today in my opinion is not the atomic radiation which may or may not be floating through the atmosphere but the hysteria occasioned by that question". This is in line with much of his teaching that most illnesses are caused by the mind, and he claims that man can be exposed to radiation and escape illness or damage, so long as no hysteria is associated with the event. This contention, the witness pointed out, is absolutely untrue and contrary to all authority on radiation which is uniformly of the view that damage done by radiation is quantitatively related to the magnitude of the physical dose received. "Radiation", writes Hubbard, "is more of a mental than a physical problem". This, said the witness, is completely false. Hubbard's ignorance and confusion of thought are further illustrated by his contention that sunburn is the same sort of burn as that caused by atomic radiation. This, of course, is not so, as the evidence made clear.
The witness gave many other examples as appearing in All About Radiation of Hubbard's lack of knowledge, misunderstanding and positively wrong views on matters of radiation and biology. It is unnecessary further to itemize instances of Hubbard's i gnorance on the subject of radiation except, perhaps, to refer to a formula which he claims to have evolved for a tonic called "dianazene", for which he claims almost magical powers. He wrote:
"Dianazene runs out radiation - or what appears to be radiation. It also proofs a person against radiation in some degree. It also turns on and runs out incipient cancer. I have seen it run out skin cancer. A man who didn't have much liability to skin cancer (only had a few moles) took Dianazene. His whole jaw turned into a raw mass of cancer. He kept on taking Dianazene and it disappeared after a while. I was looking at a case of cancer that might have happened."This, said the witness, was "utter nonsense". Hubbard gave the formula for dianazene in the book, but there was, as the witness said, nothing remarkable about it; it was much the same sort of formula which is found in many proprietary medicines which are given for vague ill health, though the dosage in dianazene may be a little higher than is generally the case in such medicines. The fact that many Melbourne scientologists have taken dianazene is indicative of the degree of influence exercised by Hubbard over them.
One cannot but agree with the witness that it is a tragedy that anything so ridiculous should be inflicted on the general public.
From this witness's evidence it is apparent that Hubbard is completely incompetent to deal with the subject of radiation and that his knowledge of nuclear physics is distorted, inaccurate, mistaken and negligible. No evidence was called which disputed in any way these conclusions.
The dissemination of such nonsense as Hubbard has written in All About Radiation may well have dangerous consequences, for people reading and accepting it may develop a sense of false security or neglect or mistreat a condition which might otherwise respond to appropriate treatment.