Impact of mantra recital, etc.

William F. Sands wfsands at MUM.EDU
Sat May 13 03:59:56 UTC 2000

Re Witzel's posting: When Benson's paper comes out we  will read it
carefully. Clearly the issue should hinge on the scientific evidence, and
not on comments beginning with  'isn't it a trifle surprising that...' .
This isn't a useful kind of argument, and somewhat surprising coming from
someone  who  has, on countless occasions, urged members of the list to
examine the relevant evidence.  (Normally one forms an opinion after
examining evidence, not before.)

While that comment can be set aside as somewhat harmless,  I do find
objectionable the less-than-subtle insinuation that  scientists who conduct
scientific research on Transcendental Meditation are in some way lacking in
objectivity or honesty. Scientists aren't trained that way, and it is a bit
silly to suggest a conspiracy involving several thousand research scientists
to alter data (expanding to the 600+ studies to date). (And of course there
is the issue of normative data to consider...that indeed would be a trick.)
Disagreement on a scientific basis is part of academic life, but this kind
of suggestion is a bit beneath such a respected scholar.

Witzel uvaca: Isn't it a trifle surprising that some claim and insist that
their Mantra (Hare Krishna....), and others that their method (MT) have the
best effect, and Benson :  both/neither?

As I said, I leave the investigation of the METHODS and RESULTS to
non-involved, *independent* scientists. For the time being, it seems a
little too early to come to conclusions, and certainly so for non-medical
people like me.
And, please do not rely on my anecdotal reports, but read Benson's paper,
due now any day.


William Sands, PhD
280 Whispering Hills Road
Boone, NC 28607
Phone: 828-263-0054
e-mail: wfsands at

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