Re: [asa] Archives on the web

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Wed Mar 28 2007 - 13:17:28 EDT

At 11:07 AM 3/28/2007, James Mahaffy wrote:
>I always think twice before I post knowing that anyone in the world
>can read what I say. If it were not public and just internos I
>would be a bit more open. .."

@ Your fears are no different from those of most of the scientists
who are afraid to go "public" about what they really think
of "AGW". How many have the guts to openly oppose the "orthodoxy"
of the trinity comprised of Deepak Chopra, AlGore, & James
Hansen - who are the "saviors" worshipped by the environmental
religious movement because they have a plan to "Save the Planet" and
"End the war on Terra"

~ Janice

 From the Fall 1991 issue of ScienceWriters:
The Newsletter of the National Association of Science Writers


Peer Review Not Foolproof

....Science writers know that the peer-review system of scientific
publications is not foolproof. Drummond Rennie, MD, deputy editor
(West) of JAMA has written: "There seems to be no study too
fragmented, no hypothesis too trivial, no literature too biased or
too egotistical, no design too warped, no methodology too bungled, no
presentation of results too inaccurate, too obscure, and too
contradictory, no analysis too self-serving, no argument too
circular, no conclusions too trifling or too unjustified, and no
grammar and syntax too offensive for a paper to end up in print."
Peer review determines where rather than whether a paper should be
published, Rennie says. However, from time to time, "shoddy science"
ends up in the most prestigious of journals.

It may be hard to understand how a system so effective in sifting out
errors in experimental design, statistical analyses, and faulty
conclusions could fail to catch blatant deceit.

However, errors are usually easier to spot than outright deceit.
Journals do not have the staff and resources to investigate
contributing authors and must rely in large part on trust. Obviously,
failure to disclose their conflicts of interest is a serious betrayal
of that trust.

The editors who handled the Maharishi Ayur-Veda manuscript did not
know about the history of deception associated with the TM movement,
but they did know that two of the three authors had excellent medical
and academic credentials. In addition, the authors were able to cite
studies that were published in peer- review journals to support their
claims. (One study listed in their references was published in the
prestigious Yale University publication, The Journal of Conflict
Resolution [December 1988]. This study purported to show that a group
of yogic fliers in Israel was able to reduce the level of violence in
war-torn Lebanon.) They also could point to the National Cancer
Institute research grants awarded Sharma and others to study the
herbal elixir, Maharishi Amrit Kalash.

Few people are aware of how far the TM movement has been able to
penetrate into the halls of medicine and academia. According to the
letterhead for the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine, its
research council and advisory council include physicians at many
prestigious medical schools and institutions. Sharma is professor of
pathology and director of the Division of Cancer Prevention and
Natural Products Research at Ohio State University College of
Medicine. Others associated with Chopra include Steele Belok, MD, and
Amy Silver, MD, both clinical instructors at Harvard Medical School;
Agnes Lattimer, MD, medical director of Cook County Hospital in
Chicago; Kelvin O. Lim, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and
behavioral science, Stanford University School of Medicine; Barry
Marmorstein, MD, associate professor, University of Washington School
of Medicine; S.M. Siram, MD, director of the Surgical Intensive Care
Unit and Trauma at Howard University School of Medicine.

With the help of such well-placed physicians and academicians, the TM
movement has been able to project a respectable front in its scheme
to market Maharishi Ayur-Veda. In June, the American College of
Preventive Medicine accredited Maharishi Ayur-Veda courses for
Continuing Medical Education for physicians, for the second time. The
National Cancer Institute is currently funding 11 studies testing the
anti-cancer potential of the concoction of herbs and minerals called
Maharishi Amrit Kalash -- even though its exact composition has not
been revealed. The National Institutes of Health allows its
facilities to be used for monthly introductory seminars on Maharishi
Ayur-Veda. And for years, U.S colleges and universities have allowed
their facilities to be used by the TM movement to teach yogic flying.

JAMA'S Goof Not Unique

The TM movement has an extremely aggressive p.r. operation with a
remarkable record in getting favorable reports in newspapers,
magazines, and the broadcast media. Like mushrooms after a spring
rain, articles on Chopra, TM, and the Maharishi's medicines keep
popping up in places like The Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal,
The Washington Post, and even American Medical News (also published
by the American Medical Association). Favorable reviews of Chopra's
books on Maharishi Ayur-Veda have appeared in many leading medical
journals. Joanne Silberner, medical reporter for U.S. News and World
Report, says that Dean Draznin, former director of public affairs for
Maharishi Ayur-Veda, used to call her about twice a month with
another angle to pitch.

In August, Johns Hopkins Magazine published an uncritical profile on
Nancy Lonsdorf, MD, medical director of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda
Medical Center in Washington, DC. Lonsdorf is the physician who, in a
fund-raising letter distributed to members of the TM community, is
described as having recommended a $11,500 yagya for a patient with a
serious health problem. The Maharishi's yagyas are Hindu ceremonies
to appease the gods and beseech their help for ailing followers.

Despite the extraordinary costs of these ceremonies, patients do not
take part or even get to see them performed. (Chopra and Lonsdorf
both deny that they recommend yagyas. Chopra insists that yagyas are
not part of the Maharishi Ayur-Veda program. Nevertheless, I have a
copy of another patient's health analysis from Chopra's center in
Lancaster, Mass. that recommends the performance of not one but two
different yagyas.)

In its 1989 September/October issue, Harvard Magazine published a
cover story on Chopra by associate editor Craig Lambert that touted
the Maharishi's wares. Reprints of this article were widely
circulated by the TM movement. The magazine's readers were not
informed that the author practices yogic flying.

[N.B.: After this article had been written for ScienceWriters Lambert
informed me that, at the time he wrote his article for Harvard
Magazine he had not yet started yogic flying although he was a TM
practitioner. He also said that Harvard Magazine's managing editor
had misinformed me about the movement's ordering/circulating reprints
of his article. -- AAS]

Lambert wrote JAMA a letter protesting my investigation and accusing
me of "sleazy" and "deceptive" behavior. This letter was one of many
sent to protest my inquiries. Among them were repeated requests from
Chopra and his attorney that they be allowed to preview my article
before publication, along with warnings that they may sue if defamed.

In the February 1984 NASW Newsletter, Patrick Young wrote, "Reporting
any story that might prove embarrassing to a publication is filled
with delightful irony. Editors, writers and others who believe in and
argue the public's right to know, suddenly react as any good group of
company executives, government bureaucrats, or union officials would
in a similar situation. They draw up the wagons in a tight circle."

When I reported my findings to my editors, I feared that they too
might choose to circle the wagons. Instead, they asked me to recount
how the journal had been deceived and backed me against a stream of
protests and threats from Maharishi's followers and attorneys.

The Maharishi Caper: Or How to Hoodwink Top Medical Journals by
Andrew A. Skolnick
Andrew Skolnick is associate editor for the Journal of the American
Medical Association's Medical News & Perspectives Department.

[N.B.: In the summer of 1992, Deepak Chopra and two TM associations
filed a $194 million libel suit against the AMA, JAMA's editor, and
me. The suit was dismissed without prejudice in March 1993.
-AAS] =====fini =======

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Wed Mar 28 13:18:20 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Mar 28 2007 - 13:18:20 EDT