Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bogus Negative Results on 50-year-old Orgone Energy "Experiments".

Bogus Negative Results on 50-year-old Orgone Energy "Experiments".

The Failed Efforts and Unprofessional Bias of Robert L. Spitzer

(Is this the best the organized "skeptics" can come up with?)

>Dr. DeMeo,
>
>You probably have already read this:
>
> http://www.srmhp.org/0401/reich.html
>
>No pictures, no data, strange conclusions.
>
>Regards,
>
>Eduardo Hering

Dear Mr. Hering,

Thanks for informing me about this paper by Robert Spitzer "WILHELM
REICH AND ORGONE THERAPY AN EXAMINATION OF WILHELM REICH'S
DEMONSTRATIONS OF ORGONE ENERGY"
http://www.srmhp.org/0401/reich.html

As I read it through, I agree with your negative assessment. It
strikes me as utterly unscientific, lacking in details about
protocols, the environment and weather (which can affect accumulator
functioning), the accumulator constructions and other essential
details needed in any experiment involving orgone energy. Also, no
citations to anyone but Reich, as if all the existing replications
were irrelevant. And we know, the supportive experiments verifying
Reich are abundant, including many doctoral dissertations and theses.
http://www.orgonelab.org/bibliog.htm

One can hardly evaluate the results of Spitzer's experiments and
claims, however, given the complete lack of details about the
experiments, the equipment used to carry them out, and other
essentials. Also, the claimed range of the experiments is stunning
-- observations of orgone energy phenomenon, electroscopical
experiments, bion experiments, To-T experiments, all slapped together
and reported on in a few pages. One could devote months of time and
study to even one of these experiments, and many have devoted years,
producing very good results... Author Spitzer devotes a few
paragraphs to each of several important experimental matters on
orgone research which, by themselves, deserve full papers with pages
of information and documentation. In total, an unscientific
collection of ad-hoc and amateurish uncontrolled "experiments" and
observational claims, fully lacking in sufficient detail for their
evaluations, and with some kind of poison-hatred motivations to
publish it 50+ years after-the-fact. And fully contradicted by much
more professional experimental work by others, over many years.

So who is author Robert Spitzer, and who are these people behind such
a high-sounding organization which would publish such an incomplete
report?

The publication itself is listed as follows:

* The Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health
* The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice
* Objective Investigations of Controversial and Unorthodox Claims in
Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, and Social Work...

The Spitzer paper in fact appears in the Spring-Summer 2005 Volume 4
~ Number 1 issue of this group's publication, which has several items
on Reich:
http://www.srmhp.org/0401/index.html

* The Resurrection of Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Therapy
GERALD D. KLEE

* The Story of Robert L. Spitzer's Paper, 'An Examination of
Demonstrations of Wilhelm Reich's Orgone Energy'
ROBERT L. SPITZER

* An Examination of Demonstrations of Wilhelm Reich's Orgone Energy
ROBERT L. SPITZER

In the second item above, it is revealed that the author Robert
Spitzer did this "research" in 1953 (!) during his spare time when he
was an undergraduate pre-medical student, and then only after having
apparently had some unpleasant personal experiences in an
unidentified form of "Reichian therapy". Spitzer tried to get the
paper published in several medical journals, who rejected it. But he
claims he was approached by the FDA in the 1950s and asked if he
wanted to act as an expert government witness -- a claim which may be
bogus as I cannot recall this man's work or name ever showing up in
the FDA files on the Reich case (of which we have a relatively
complete copy at our institute).

But more to the point, Spitzer is:

* Adjunct Fellow of the Discovery Institute, a "conservative
Christian think-tank".
http://www.homestayfinder.com/Dictionary.aspx?q=Discovery_Institute

* Author of the "Spitzer Report" which was partly responsible for the
removal of homosexuality from the APA's list of mental disorders.
http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_spit.htm

* Prominently listed as a member of the CSICOP "skeptics" affiliated
"Council for Scientific Mental Health Practice", of which Paul Kurtz
(CSICOP founder and Skeptical Inquirer editor) is listed at the very
top. This list is a "who's who" of the American anti-science
"skeptic" movement.
http://www.scientificmentalhealth.org/council.html

For the record, CSCIOP ("Committee for the Scientific Investigation
for Claims of the Paranormal" http://www.csicop.org), is a group with
a history of attacking and smearing Reich since its very beginnings,
and indeed, a closer look indicates that is precisely the background.

From all these contexts, and due to a mis-reading of Reich, as well
as his early questionable therapy experiences, Spitzer appears to be
someone with an "axe to grind" against Reich, which has nothing to do
with the scientific facts of orgone energy, but which certainly
suggests a strong bias.

But there is more:

The publication's website carries prominent links to CSICOP and
Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
http://www.srmhp.org/0401/index.html

The contact information webpage for the SRMHP organization also
reveals further CSICOP-skeptics connections. CSICOP officer Barry
Karr is listed as Editor, revealing an Amherst, NY address (where
CSICOP has its headquarters), and the CSICOP-created "inquiring
minds" website as a contact email address for this same
Spitzer-article publication.
http://www.inquiringminds.org/

This "Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health" and its
publication "The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice"
therefore appear as total creations and "front-groups" for CSICOP.

CSICOP is thick with people who hate Reich's guts, and who have
happily distorted facts and committed numerous lies and
lies-of-omission regarding his work, and verifications of his work,
over decades. That an old student-research paper would be dusted off
for publication, some 50 years after-the-fact certainly suggests some
hate-anger motivations against Reich's work. See my articles on
CSICOP, which have previously exposed some of this stuff -- it is a
most reprehensible history of malicious attacks, smears and lies, and
even criminal offences:
http://www.orgonelab.org/skeptics.htm

But we should take heart from this as well. If the best the
organized "skeptics" can do is to reach back to a 50+ year old
unpublished paper which even the Reich-prejudiced medical journals of
the 1950s refused to publish, then orgonomy is secure, and as I wrote
in the "Orgone Accumulator Handbook" as early as 1989, "the effort to
kill the discovery of the orgone has failed".

Best wishes,
James DeMeo


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