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TRUTH-A-NETICS: THE QUACKERY OF THE E-METER, DIANETICS, THE OCA TESTS, AND MORE

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The Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA) Debunked

One of Scientology's main recruiting devices is the free "Personality Test" offered by Scientology organisations worldwide. According to the book What Is Scientology? (1992 edition), this test accurately measures the preclear's estimation of ten different personality traits. These rise markedly in auditing, reflecting the preclear's gains. Preclears report being calmer, more stable, more energetic and more outgoing as a direct result of auditing and scores on the OCA furnish corroborative data…

A vital tool in Expanded Dianetics is the Oxford Capacity Analysis. An important use of this profile is to improve specific personality traits with Expanded Dianetics procedures. The OCA helps locate deep-seated pockets of aberration which can then be addressed and erased with these precise auditing techniques. [What Is Scientology? (1992), pp. 163, 220]


The way this works is simple. Scientology recruiters stand on the streets outside a Scientology office, stopping passers-by to offer free "IQ tests". Anyone who expresses interest is invited inside the building to take the test, which consists of a 200-question sheet on which answers can be marked "Yes," "No" or "Maybe". The test is in many ways not unlike the personality tests you see in women's magazines, and is about as scientific (in other words, not very).

Having completed the questionnaire, the testee is then given an "analysis" of the results. Scientology is prescribed as the solution to any problems identified by the test. At this point, the testee is offered a Scientology book or course (for a fee, naturally). Many people — probably a majority — refuse this offer, but for some it marks the start of their career as a Scientologist.

 
The OCA was originally issued under Scientologist Ray Kemp's name, which was later redacted in favor of anonymous "HCO Staff" and much later (since 1968) attributed to Hubbard alone. In 1959, the OCA was reworked and republished to take account of Hubbard's new drive to make "Clears"  (Scientologists without any mental blockages). Hubbard dubbed it "Scientometric Testing", an obvious allusion to more conventional psychometric testing.


For many years now, the answer key to the test has been made available on the Internet.  Several critics of Scientology have completed the test with a perfect score to see what would happen.  One such person described the following:

" One day, out of curiosity, I used the grid to compose a 'perfect' test. I gave the highest score for each question and scaled it out, just as if someone had taken the score. I then graphed it out and ... low and behold! There was no way to reach the top of the scale! The scale goes up to '100'
but there wasn't a single column that was capable of reaching 100! None of the columns could total 100, even with perfect scores! (The highest possible score on one column was 98.) Not only that, but 'responsibility' dipped noticeably low! With a perfect score!"

"So even if a person was 'perfect' according to the OCA score, the graph line wavered across the top, not reaching 100 and dropping on "responsibility," which of course gives the "evaluator" a chance to say, 'Well, good scores here but not quite perfect - I see you are wavering here - and I see your low point is responsibility.' What is especially fraudulent is that this "test" is constantly used on on people in auditing. It is often taken at the end of a rundown or an intensive. Thus EVEN INSIDE, WITH SCIENTOLOGY you cannot hit the top, let
alone bring that that "responsibility" column up to where it belongs. That is why the scoring grid is 'confidential.' It is a fraud. "

And so like everything else about Scientology, reaching the top is impossible by design. If you're curious about the answers to the test, Operation Clambake has made them available. Even though the answers have been made known for well over a decade or more, The Church of Scientology will never change the questions because they were written by L. Ron Hubbard, and their slave-like obedience to him never wavers.


When the British Psychological Society evaluated the OCA for Sir John Foster in 1971, it summed up the immoral and irresponsible consequences of the OCA and the way in which it is delivered:

 "No reputable psychologist would accept the procedure of pulling people off the street with a leaflet, giving them a 'personality test' and reporting back in terms that show the people to be 'inadequate', 'unacceptable' or in need of 'urgent' attention. In a clinical setting a therapist would only discuss a patient's inadequacies with him with the greatest of circumspection and support, and even then only after sufficient contact for the therapist-patient relationship to have been built up. To report back a man's inadequacies to him in an automatic, impersonal fashion is unthinkable in responsible professional practice. To do so is potentially harmful. It is especially likely to be harmful to the nervous introspective people who would be attracted by the leaflet in the first place."

If Scientology courses prove to be of no help, such people may well end up in a worse psychological state than when they started. Worse still, many of those who undertake the OCA but do not buy anything from Scientology may have their insecurities reinforced by the personality test's results. They would end up as collateral damage of Scientology's recruitment campaign, exploited and discarded. One particularly unpleasant example was cited by the 1965 Anderson inquiry into Scientology:

'In addition to "enlightening" people, the test has also been used to intimidate them into joining Scientology. The Australian Inquiry reported that one boy who took the test claims they told him he had a defective character, was mentally unstable, and would have a mental breakdown unless he joined Scientology. (They also suggested that he had homosexual tendencies.) When he refused to join nonetheless, people at the Org took turns for a year writing him personal letters to remind him of his difficulties as reflected on the test, and his need to join them to remedy it."

Unfortunately, Hubbard clearly cared not a jot for this sort of outcome: he told his followers to regard non-Scientologists (or "wogs") purely as "prospects" and "raw meat", of concern only when they are paying fees to Scientology organizations.

A very thorough debunking of the OCA tests can be found here: http://www.xenu.net/archive/oca/oca.html

EMBARRASSING E-METER FACTS

The E-Meter is the device used in Dianetics/Scientology auditing. "E-Meter" is short for "Hubbard Electropsychometer".
The official definition according to Scientology is "An electronic instrument for measuring the psychological and emotional state of the preclear and any changes that take place in this state. (from The Creation of Human Ability)

Well, that certainly sounds impressive...almost as though the machine could measure thought, or maybe even read your mind! The truth of course, is much less impressive. The E-Meter Scientology uses is really no different that a type of device that has been used by Chiropractors since at least the 1920s! The E-Meter is really a GSR (Galvinistic Skin Resistance) Meter that measures skin resistance. It's a type of primitive lie detector. In fact, similar devices were sold in magazines and comic books for years!

A Chiropractor named Volney Mathison actually invented the E-Meter. After Hubbard and Mathison had a falling out, Hubbard discontinued use of the E-Meter in 1954, calling it a "gimick". But when two Scientologists were able to build Mathison's E-Meter 4 years later, the E-Meter was re-introduced to Scientology. Eventually a patent with Hubbard's name (falsley)listed as the inventor was granted by the U.S. Pantent Office.




The current cost of the E-Meter is around $3800 and costs the Church of Scientology about $40 to produce via outsourcing to Japan. One has to question why the high markup. The device is mere a Wheatsone Bridge circuit with a V/U meter and a couple of electrodes.

The parts inside Hubbard's 1950's era E-Meter contained the following:

Batteries:

   B1  1.5 volts
   B2  6 volts


Transistors:

   TR1, TR2 and TR3 - PNP type 0C70


Resistors:

   R1   22K
   R2   5K pot (also listed as "51 ohm pre-set variable resistor")
   R3   No value given
   R4   6.8 ohm (but drawn as a variable resistor)
   R5   20K pot
   R6   2.2K
   R7   4.7K
   R8   470 ohm
   R9   Listed variously as 1 megaohm, 2.2 megaohm, and open circuit.
   R10  5K
   R11  5.6K
   R12  43K
   R13  5K (specified as a "5K ohm pre-set variable resistor")
   R14  22K
   R15  22K
   R16  5K reverselog variable
   R17  4.7K
   R18  22K


Meter:

   M1   Moving-coil meter capable of reading from 0 to 100 microamps  at full scale deflection.

A transistor radio was more complicated to build than the E-Meter!

Scientologists and Hubbard will tell you that the E-Meter infallible. It is said that it never fails to pick out the date on which an incident occurred. Scientologists will tell you to the exact second when something happened to them a trillions of years ago. The E-Meter is used by Scientologists to uncover past lives, in fact.

But apparently, it is less than perfect in picking dates in their current life. Its failure in this task is what caused author Alan Levy, who wrote a piece on Scientology for LIFE magazine, to become disenchanted with the organization. (Along with the fact that his New York contract said Grades V-VII would cost him $390 at Saint Hill, but when he got there he discovered it was $3,150 "plus living expenses.")

Alan Levy's problems in Scientology started when he was told to use the E-meter to locate the date on which he had a fight with his wife. (Present one, current life.) Without the meter, he knew the year was 1958, and that it was a Sunday morning in March.

Although he suggested to his auditor that they consult a calendar, he was told, "There's no need for that.... The E-meter will find out for us." The meter "found out" that the fight occurred on March 18. But when Alan Levy checked an almanac at a bookstore in East Grinstead, he discovered that March 18, 1958 fell on Tuesday, not Sunday.

Levy said, "It seems pathetic to me still, and terribly precarious, that my failure to perform so simple a journalistic chore -- under other circumstances I would have automatically looked up the date -- could have kept me half tied to Scientology, the deep-probing auditing sessions and the damned E-meter.... I am sure that among the millions of words ... [Hubbard] has written, there are some to convince me that the engram I unlocked did happen on a Tuesday -- in another life -- or that March 18 did fall on a Sunday when I was in the womb. But thankfully it no longer matters."

A number of government witnesses in the Food and Drug Administration's case against the meter also agreed that its functioning was considerably less than perfect. George Montgomery, Chief of the Measurement Engineering Division of the National Bureau of Standards, and Dr. John I. Lacey, Chairman of the Department of Psychophysiology and Neurophysiology at Fels Research Institute in Yellow Springs, stated that the E-meter "failed to meet the commonly accepted criterion by which such an instrument is judged."

This was because:

>The E-meter has no device to control the constancy of current.

>Holding a can in the hand permits great variations in the area of the skin in contact with the metal electrodes, and would allow great variation in the amount of actively sweaty tissue that is in contact with it.

>The instrument is subject to polarization.

>It is not a quantitative instrument due to uncontrollable variations in skin contact and current.

It's actually good at measuring how well a person squeezes the electrodes, and not much else.

The E-Meter's lineage as a lie dector becomes much more apprent when it is used during "Sec Checks" in Scientology.

A very thorough debunking of the E-Meter can be found here:

http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/E-Meter/

DIANETICS: THE MODERN PSUEDO-SCIENCE OF MATERIAL WEALTH

In the following part of Jeff Jacobson's excellent essay, Jeff looks at the claims of 'scientific fact' made by Hubbard. Using scientific methodology and inquiry Jacobson shows how there is NO scientific basis to support Hubbard's claims.

http://xenu.phys.uit.no/lrhbare/science.html

Science and Dianetics

L. Ron Hubbard constantly makes the claim that dianetics is a "scientific fact." In fact, he makes that claim 35 times in Dianetics. For example, "All our facts are functional and these facts are scientific facts, supported wholly and completely by laboratory evidence."[1]

Hubbard shows that he regards correct scientific experimentation to a high degree by carefully hedging his approval of another scientific experiment done by someone else. This test was conducted in a hospital to see whether unattended children became sick more often than attended children.

"The test... seems to have been conducted with proper controls,"[2] he cautiously states, not having apparently seen the entire written report.

In The Phoenix Lectures Hubbard is also critical of the early psychiatric work of Wundt in the latter 1800's; "Scientific methodology was actually not, there and then, immediately classified... what they did was unregulated, uncontrolled, wildcat experiments, fuddling around collecting enormous quantities of data..."[3] And in a lecture in 1954, Hubbard complained loudly and long about how poorly psychologists and psychoanalysts conducted research and how they neglected to maintain proper records.[4]

I am similarly cautious about Hubbard's experiments, especially since there seems to be no record of how they were done, what exactly the results were, what kind of control group was used, whether the experiments were double blind, how many subjects there were in each experiment, and other pertinent data. I have asked ranking scientologists for this data, and have fervently searched for it myself, and have yet to see it. This brings up the question about whether Hubbard can call his original research science.


And, in keeping with the need to understand each word we use, it brings up the question of just what science is. What does it take for someone to legitimately make the claim that his ideas are scientifically proven? When can something be called a scientific fact?

As with many subjects in life, the deeper one looks into science, the more complex it gets. There is not even one single agreed upon definition for science in the scientific community. Those people who seek to establish a unifying definition are dealing in what is called the philosophy of science.

One of the most respected and most influential of these is Karl Popper. Popper claims that no theory can be called scientific unless it can be demonstrated that deliberate attempts to prove a theory wrong are unsuccessful. Thus, a theory must open itself up to criticism from the scientific community to see whether it can withstand critical scrutiny.

Popper's formulation for scientific validation is;

1.It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory - if we look for confirmations.

2.Confirmations should count only if they are the result of RISKY PREDICTIONS; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory - an event which would have refuted the theory.

3.Every 'good' scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

4.A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

5.Every genuine TEST of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

6.Confirming evidence should not count EXCEPT WHEN IT IS THE RESULT OF A GENUINE TEST OF THE THEORY; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory (I now speak in such cases of 'corroborating evidence'.)

7.Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers - for example by introducing AD HOC some auxiliary assumption, or by re-interpreting the theory AD HOC in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status.[5]

The falsifiability approach is a good one, because no theory can be proven unless every case possible is individually examined to see that it applies to every possible case, which is normally impossible to do. For instance, a popular example of a "fact" in science classrooms of the 19th century was that "all swans are white." This was, however, shown to be untrue when a variety of swan in South America was discovered to be black.

This "fact" was proven wrong by a previously unknown exception to the rule, and this example points out that it is never entirely possible to prove a theory in the positive without examining every possible case of that theory. (It is, of course, not possible to completely falsify many theories also, but for the sake of brevity I would refer the reader to Popper's Logic of Scientific Discovery for further arguments on this subject.)

Let us go now momentarily to one of Hubbard's scientific claims:

Its [the reactive mind's] identity can now be certified by any technician in any clinic or in any group of men. Two hundred and seventy-three individuals have been examined and treated, representing all the various types of inorganic mental illness and the many varieties of psychosomatic ills. In each one this reactive mind was found operating, its principles unvaried.[6]

After the brief previous discussion of science, we can begin to question Hubbard's claim to scientific validity. Exactly who were these 273 people? Were they believers in Hubbard's theories or a representative sample of the public at large? Exactly how was the experiment conducted that proved the existence of the reactive mind? This needs to be known so others can try it to test for variables that Hubbard may have overlooked, to see if his experiment produced a statistical fluke, and to help in conducting experiments to try to disprove the theory. The more times an experiment is conducted, the more likely it is shown to be true, keeping in mind of course that no matter how many times an expedition went looking for white swans, it would find them, so long as they didn't go to South America.

Was Hubbard seeking confirmation in his experiments or was he attempting to refute his theory, as Popper suggests a true man of science would do? Designing a test that will provide confirmation of a thesis is not difficult. Below is such a test.



A REAL EXPERIMENT COMES UP DRY
Hubbard does mention an experiment to perform that can prove the existence of engrams:

If you care to make the experiment you can take a man, render him "unconscious," hurt him and give him information. By Dianetic technique, no matter what information you gave him, it can be recovered. This experiment should not be carelessly conducted because YOU MIGHT RENDER HIM INSANE.[7] {emphasis in original}
Three researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided in 1950 to give this experiment a try.[8]

If an individual should be placed, by some means of [sic] other, into an unconscious state, then, according to traditional psychology, no retention of the events occurring about him should take place and consequently, no reports of such events can be elicited from the individual, no matter what methods of elicitation are employed (hypothesis I). According to dianetics, retention should take place with high fidelity and, therefore an account of the events can be elicited by means of dianetic auditing (hypothesis II).[9]

The Dianetic Research Foundation of Los Angeles cooperated with the experimenters by providing a subject and several qualified auditors. The subject was a 30 year old male who worked for the foundation and was considered a good candidate for the experiment by the foundation since he had "sonic" recall and had been audited. The experiment was carefully laid out according to dianetic theory and was at all times done under the cooperation and suggestions of the Foundation.

The subject was knocked unconscious with .75 grams of sodium pentathol by Dr. A. Davis, MD, who is one of the authors of the experiment. When the subject was found to be unconscious, Mr. Lebovits was left alone with the subject while two recording devices recorded the session. Mr. Lebovits read a 35-word section of a physics book to the subject, administering pain during the reading of the last 18 words. He then left the room, and the patient was allowed to rest for another hour, at which time he was awakened.

Two days later, the professional auditors from the Dianetic Research Foundation began to audit the subject, trying to elicit the engram, or recording of the spoken text that according to dianetic theory resided in the subject's reactive mind. The auditors did elicit several possible passages from the subject and supplied these to the experimenters.

The results were that "comparison with the selected passage shows that none of the above-quoted phrases, nor any other phrases quoted in the report, bear any relationship at all to the selected passage. Since the reception of the first interim report, in November 1950, the experimenter tried frequently and repeatedly to obtain further reports, but so far without uccess."[10]

The experimenters concluded by stating that while their test case was only one subject, they felt that the experiment was well done and strongly suggested that the engram hypothesis was not validated. I know of no other scientifically valid experiment besides this one by non-dianeticists which attempted to prove Hubbard's engram theory.

Here was an experiment designed to confirm the engram hypothesis which, according to Hubbard, was a "scientific fact." Apparently (or, perhaps, IF) Hubbard did this test he got positive results. But this is a good example for showing that even one type of experiment should be conducted several times in order to be sure of its outcome. Perhaps some neutral party today could be persuaded to attempt it again.

There is one point I consider the most damning to Hubbard's attempt to cloak dianetics in scientific validity. While he seems to be inviting others to conduct their own investigations (and thus seems to be open to attempts to refute his claims), he never explains his own experimental methods, thus closing the door to the scientific community's ability to attempt to verify his claims.

In order to evaluate Hubbard's claims, the scientific community would seek to replicate his experiments to see if the same results were obtained and to check for possible influences on the experiment Hubbard may have overlooked. They would also, as Popper suggests, try to shoot holes in the theory, either on a logical basis or by conducting refutational experiments.

If Hubbard really respected science, he would have welcomed and helped the scientific community in its attempts to both support and attempt to refute his theories. But he and his successors in dianetics and Scientology refuse to join in scientific debate over the merits of Hubbard's ideas, maintaining a dogmatic rather than scientific stance.

My attempts to get the experiments from the Church of Scientology have been in vain. I have never heard of anyone who has seen them, nor even anyone who claimed to know how they were conducted. It is mainly for this reason, I believe, that dianetics cannot claim scientific validity. Until Hubbard's supposed original experiments are released to the public, dianetics can only be called science fiction.

As a footnote, the only references I found to Hubbard's actual notes on any original experiments were on taped lectures by Hubbard in 1950 and 1958. He stated in 1950 that "my records are in little notebooks, scribbles, in pencil most of them.

Names and addresses are lost... there was a chaotic picture..." A certain Ms. Benton asked Hubbard for his notes to validate his research, but when she saw them, "she finally threw up her hands in horror and started in on the project [validation] clean."[11] In another lecture in 1958 he explained "the first broad test"[12] of dianetics, wherein he would audit some patients of Dr. Yankeewitz at the Oak Knoll Hospital without the knowledge of the doctor.

Hubbard called these shoddily done tests "significant", but added that they are "unfortunately not totally available to us".[13]

If this is the type of material Hubbard was basing his "scientific facts" on, then there is probably no need to even see them to be able to reject them with good conscience.

References

[1] DIANETICS, (1987 edition) p. 96

[2] DIANETICS, p.143

[3] L. Ron Hubbard, THE PHOENIX LECTURES, (Los Angeles; Bridge Publications, 1982) p.203

[4] L. Ron Hubbard, "Lecture:Universes", 1954, from the "Universes and the War Between Theta and Mest" collection, cassette tape #5404C06

[5] Karl Popper, CONJECTURES AND REFUTATIONS: THE GROWTH OF SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE (NY; Harper Torch Books, 1963) pp. 36,37

[6] DIANETICS, p.70-71

[7] Dianetics, p.76

[8] Psychological Newsletter (Dept. of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY) 1959, 10:131-134 "An Experimental Investigation of Hubbard's Engram Hypothesis (Dianetics)", by Fox, Davis, and Lebovits

[9] ibid. p.132

[10] ibid. p.133

[11] L. Ron Hubbard, "What Dianetics Can Do", lecture series 2, 1950, cassette tape #5009M23

[12] "The Story of Dianetics and Scientology"

[13] ibid.

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