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RESPONSE TO RECENT ARTICLES IN SKEPTIC MAGAZINE

By James DeMeo, Ph.D.
Director of Research
Orgone Biophysical Research Lab
Ashland, Oregon, USA
E-mail to: info(at)orgonelab.org
(Click or copy into your email program and insert the "@" symbol)

Copyright (C) 1994
All Rights Reserved by James DeMeo


In response to the recent articles by Joel Carlinsky and Richard Morrock (Skeptic, Vol.2, #3) attacking the works of Wilhelm Reich, and my own work as well, I wish to provide the following clarifications:

1. Reich's work is natural scientific in nature, and much of it, even the more controversial findings on bions, orgone energy and cloudbusting, has been experimentally evaluated, and confirmed. I will cite only a few relevant studies: There is the 1988 diploma thesis by S. Muschenich and R. Gebauer (Psycho-Physiological Effects of the Reich Orgone Accumulator) undertaken at the University of Marburg, in Germany.(1) This was a controlled, double-blind experiment demonstrating a statistically-significant verification of the basic parasympathetic stimulation of the orgone accumulator upon human test subjects. Quite a few positive clinical reports on orgone accumulator therapy of cancer patients have appeared in German scholarly journals, the most notable of which is that by Dr. H. Lassek in a documentation volume on natural healing methods, complied by the German government.(2) Dozens of other studies could be cited, from the USA and overseas, including quite a few verifications of Reich's biogenesis experiments. From my own institute alone, there are several Special Reports and four issues of our journal, Pulse of the Planet, all of which summarize more recent scientific evidence corroborating Reich for anyone willing to take an honest look.(3) A Bibliography on Orgone Biophysics I edited contains an additional 400 separate citations by Reich and 100+ other natural scientists, most of whom hold the M.D. or Ph.D. degrees, taken from various published journals between 1935 and 1986.(4) From 1986 to today, another 100 or so additional citations could be gathered. My own work, undertaken as graduate student at the University of Kansas, was the first at any university to address Reich's biophysical findings, and produced generally positive confirming results. My 1979 Thesis evaluating the Reich cloudbuster demonstrated unusual increases in rainfall and cloud cover over the state of Kansas during field trials.(5) My 1986 Dissertation provided the first global geographical maps of human behavior, demonstrating a previously-unknown historical and cross-cultural connection to the large Old World desert belt (Saharasia), and a powerful vindication of Wilhelm Reich's sex-economic theory of human behavior.(6) My other cloudbuster experiments, during droughts and in desert lands in both the USA and overseas (Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Namibia) have been evaluated by using measured National Weather Service or other official weather data, and employ generally-accepted case-study methodology; these field studies on cloudbusting and related issues of drought and desertification have been presented for open discussion and debate to the Association for Arid Lands Studies, the Association of American Geographers, the International Society for Biometeorology, and to various International Symposia, such as the Congress on Geo-Cosmic Relations and Symposium on Biological and Physico-Chemical Processes with Solar Activity and Other Environmental Factors.(7) This, in addition to various papers at professional Symposia devoted specifically to Reich. I can also mention the independent inference or outright discovery of an orgone-like energetic principle in space, in living creatures, and in high vacuum by scientists other than Reich, such as Giorgio Piccardi, Dayton Miller, Halton Arp, Hannes Alfven, Harold Burr, Louis Kervran, Frank Brown, Robert Becker, Bjorn Nordenstrom, Jacques Benveniste, and Rupert Sheldrake.(8) These latter findings collectively challenge the currently popular ideology of the "big-bang" and "empty-space" universe, and similarly the supremacy of biochemical theory for explaining fundamental life processes. But I wonder how many in the skeptics movement are genuinely interested in evidence?

2. Regarding the articles in Skeptic, nearly every active researcher who has studied Reich's works knows about Joel Carlinsky, through his many different persona: There is "Joel the Reichian" who claims more knowledge about Reich and orgonomy than anybody else, and "Joel the cloudbusting expert", who claims to have undertaken many cloudbusting operations around the world, raising money through his "Blue Sky Research" cloudbusting company; And we cannot forget "Joel the environmentalist", who has condemned me and other cloudbuster operators for allegedly creating severe weather damages with the cloudbuster. In a recently published environmental magazine (9), Carlinsky denounced me for creating terrible weather havoc around the world, passionately urging everybody to "stop DeMeo"! Of course, "Joel the skeptic" says cloudbusting does not work at all -- but such contradictions never bothered Carlinsky before. Indeed, in an unsolicited 1990 letter to me, he bragged about using a cloudbuster to purposefully create severe weather, which killed people. In this additional role as "Joel the environmental terrorist", Carlinsky also repeated his often-stated mission to "disable nuclear power plants" by pointing cloudbusters at them -- a lunatic threat notable only for its expressed goal. He once repeated this threat to a group of radical environmentalists and animal-rights activists, apparently hoping to win their favor and confidence. Unfortunately for Carlinsky, this group had just previously been investigated by the FBI regarding plots to bomb power transmission towers at a nuclear power plant, and for another bombing plot against the US Surgical company animal laboratory. Carlinsky was, rightly or not, publicly identified in an animal-rights magazine as an FBI agent provocateur.(10) But his most widely-known action, in relationship to Wilhelm Reich, was the burglary of the Wilhelm Reich Museum (11) -- he served time in prison for that escapade. Carlinsky seems to have found his true self in his role as emotional pest (he brags about it on page 110 of Skeptic), and he has written various wild and threatening letters, disinformation flyers, and smear articles attacking me and other Reich scholars. A few of his items, cleaned up of the more libelous statements, have even appeared in the skeptics press. Sooner or later, I suspect he will get into another legal entanglement, dragging one or another skeptic group down with him. I could provide additional evidence, but the point is made. Somehow, the readers of Skeptic magazine are supposed to believe that Carlinsky is a serious researcher, sane and rational, while Reich and me and other working scientists interested in orgone are the crazy ones. Give me a break!

3. Let's review a few specifics from the articles by Carlinsky and Morrock: They take the usual tiresome and well-worn approach widely used by skeptics -- firstly, selected research findings are magnified and exaggerated in a spectacular manner, purposefully concealing essential facts from the reader (such as the scientific evidence backing up those findings); the distorted findings are then smashed down like straw men, without serious examination. Or, facts established by experiment are presented as "allegations" in quote marks, while sensationalist, false and misleading materials are presented as fact. Here are some examples:

A) In Carlinsky's articles, the first paragraphs discussing Reich and his experiments places quotations around the words "discoverer", "science", "scientific", and "orgone", in an effort to portray not only Reich, but anybody engaged in studying his works as not being a "real" scientist. The truth, however, is that Reich and his main followers are trained scientists with all the top degrees from established universities, generally with decades of clinical, laboratory, and field research experience. In reality, it is Carlinsky and Morrock who lack sufficient scientific background to make penetrating criticisms. Carlinsky knows the findings of Reich sufficient to use the correct terms (bion, orgone, etc.), but always in a dismissive context.

B) Carlinsky states the FDA "did not accept Reich's medical claims", but fails to note that several Freedom-of-Information Act searches of FDA files show the FDA, from the start, acted not to honestly investigate Reich, but to get him on any pretext they could find.(12) Firstly, they attempted to "prove" the existence of a non-existent "sex cult". Failing to find evidence supporting that nasty allegation, they turned towards examination of the orgone accumulator. Here, they mostly took an "armchair analysis" approach, condemning the results of his experiments as "impossible". The few orgone energy experiments which were undertaken by FDA scientists failed to reproduce the original necessary protocols and control procedures outlined by Reich. Even so, the FDA orgone experiments often showed anomalous results in keeping with Reich's original claims; but these results were ignored or overlooked. My own F.O.I.A. search of FDA files indicated the complete absence of any valid evidence which could be used to justify the FDA's sweeping condemnation of Reich's work.(13) This point is important, because the skeptics continually write about Reich's imprisonment as if the FDA had undertaken its investigation in an ethical and honest manner. The evidence suggests the opposite is true.

C) Both Carlinsky and Morrock issue blanket condemnations of everyone who obtained positive results investigating Reich's claims. While they do mention the names of a few individual workers and various research journals, everything is subject to quotation-marked ridicule, and twisted to present a ridiculous image. Regarding the American College of Orgonomy, for example, Carlinsky vastly overestimates the membership, journal circulation and funding of that organization. They both portray the conservative politics of the ACO as being characteristic of other followers of Reich, which is not necessarily the case. For example, my own cross-cultural research on behavior in subsistence-level cultures around the world suggested that the most peaceful, sex-positive and social cultures were characterized by a "collective" type of matrilineal clan or village ownership of the means of production, which is an idea generally opposed by most political conservatives.(6) Reich clearly identified far-left and far-right politics as being functionally identical, in that both are power-seeking and opposed to genuine human freedom. Others have openly challenged the theory that Reich was persecuted by a Soviet-leftist conspiracy working through the FDA, or that Reich himself had become politically conservative to the point of rejecting completely his former Marxist-socialist beliefs.(14) Hot and open disagreements on these and other issues exist between the followers of Reich, just as they do in any scientific discipline, although there is general agreement about his central findings on sex-economy, orgone energy, and other matters. Carlinsky and Morrock inaccurately portray all "Reichians" as being in lock-step uniform nodding agreement about all controversial aspects of Reich's life and work. They are not, and such a portrayal is but another straw-man tactic. Indeed, because of this diversity (which I feel is healthy, so long as individuals make open criticisims and continue to communicate) there is today no one central individual or organization who can rationally claim to fully represent Reich or orgonomy, which is a scientific discipline, and is neither a religion nor a personality cult.

D) Some additional examples of inaccuracies: Carlinsky knows that I am not a member of the American College of Orgonomy, and that I have my own private institute. He also knows I have many published articles in science journals, and he deliberately misspells my name. A larger example from the Morrock paper: The US government's legal case against Reich was darkly colored in a manner that should alarm everyone concerned with civil rights and due process of law. Every technicality which could work against Reich was magnified by the courts into "major concerns", in a very calculated manner; his conviction for contempt of court resulted entirely from a purely technical violation of the original court injunction by a co-worker, at a time when Reich was engaged in desert-greening field work, thousands of miles away. By contrast, every technicality which would benefit Reich was systematically ignored as "irrelevant"; Reich's former personal attorney was the prosecutor of the case, and his written Response to the FDA complaint, presented to the Judge, was completely ignored and trashed. More significantly, every prosecutor and judge who reviewed the Reich legal case, from the district court in Portland to the U.S. Supreme Court which reviewed the final appeal, knew the court order specifically demanded the banning and burning of books... and yet, not a single judge objected! Morrock portrays Reich, a dead victim of judicial and medical-bureaucratic tyranny during the McCarthy period, as being responsible for his own death. This is blaming the victim.

The Skeptic articles are saturated with numerous similar dismissive statements and twists of truth, and a simple listing would require too many additional pages. The most factual representations in the articles were the artistic drawings, but even these carried a dismissive caption criticizing Reich's 1950s haircut, as if that also were an important issue in the evaluation of his research findings. If this is the best the skeptics can do, to once again attack Reich and his followers by ignoring and distorting the positive published evidence, using the usual smear methods,(15) then I feel confident that interest in Reich will continue to grow. In fact, the Skeptic articles will surely stimulate even more positive interest in Reich's work, and in my work also. I suspect a growing percentage of those who read the skeptics literature today do so to see "what is new" on the scene which is being attacked by the New Inquisition. No genuine scientific thinker will be convinced by the admit-nothing-positive, adolescent "make-fun" and contemptuous tone of their articles.

I again suggest the skeptics read up on the principles of scientific ethics, stick to rational and open, constructive criticism of unorthodox ideas, provide an open forum for rebuttal and response, and work to keep their organizations clean of deceptive truth-benders, law-breakers and threat-makers. Every branch of science is benefited by genuine scientific criticism, and Reich's work is no different in this respect -- but so far, I have seen little in the way of honest or rational criticism of Reich from the "skeptics".

James DeMeo, Ph.D.
Editor, Pulse of the Planet
Director of Research
Orgone Biophysical Research Lab
Ashland, Oregon, USA

Citations:

1. Rainer Gebauer & Stefan Muschenich, "Die Psycho-Physiologischen Wirkungen des Reich-schen Orgonakkumulators auf den Menschlichen Organismus", University of Marburg-Lahn, Germany, 1987. Extended English-language abstract in Pulse of the Planet #2, 1989.

2. Heiko Lassek, "Vegeto-Orgontherapie nach Dr. med. Wilhelm Reich", Zentrum zur Dokumentation fur Naturheilverfahren e.V., Dokumentation der besonderen Therapierichtungen und naturlichen Heilweisen in Europa, Bd.I, 1.Halbband, Im Auftrag des Niedersachsischen Ministeriums fur Wirtschaft, Technologie und Verkehr vom ZDN erstellt und vom FFB herausgegeben, Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe, VGM - Verlag, 1991, p.1213-1237.

3. Pulse of the Planet, and Special Reports, available from the Orgone Biophysical Research Laboratory, at this weblink: http://www.naturalenergyworks.net

4. James DeMeo, Bibliography on Orgone Biophysics, 1935-1986, Natural Energy Works, 1986. Now posted online:
http://www.orgonelab.org/bibliog.htm

5. James DeMeo, "Preliminary Analysis of Changes in Kansas Weather Coincidental to Experimental Operations with a Reich Cloudbuster", Geography-Meteorology Department, University of Kansas, Lawrence, 1979. Reprint available from http://www.naturalenergyworks.net

6. James DeMeo, "The Origins and Diffusion of Patrism in Saharasia, c.4000 BCE: Evidence for a Worldwide, Climate-Linked Geographical Pattern in Human Behavior", World Futures, 30(4):247-271, March-May 1991 (This article summarizes the 560+ page University of Kansas dissertation "On the Origins and Diffusion of Patrism: The Saharasian Connection", Geography Dept., 1986.) Now available in the book Saharasia

7. James DeMeo, "A Dynamic Biological-Atmospheric-Cosmic Energy Continuum: Some Old and New Evidence", Abstracts, 11th International Congress of Biometeorology, Int. Society for Biometeorology, Purdue University, September 1987; also published in Geo-Cosmic Relations: The Earth and its Macro-Environment, Proceedings, First International Congress on Geo-Cosmic Relations, April 1989, Amsterdam, Netherlands, G.J.M. Tommassen, Editor, PUDOC Science Publishers, Wageningen, 1989.

8. See chapter on "Discovery of an Unusual Energy by Scientists Other than Reich", in James DeMeo, The Orgone Accumulator Handbook, Natural Energy Works, 1989; also see: J. DeMeo, "The Orgone Energy Continuum: Some Old and New Evidence", Pulse of the Planet 2:3-9, 1989, and the citations in #7, above.

9. Joel Carlinsky, "Warning: The Coming of the Cloudbuster", Green Living, Winter 1993-1994, p.4-5.

10. "Earth First! Founder Busted in Possible Set-Up", Animals Agenda, September 1989, p.20.

11. "Not So Good News", Friends of the Wilhelm Reich Museum, Newsletter, Fall 1980, #8.

12. Richard Blasband, "An Analysis of the Food and Drug Administration's Scientific Evidence Against Wilhelm Reich, Part 1: The Biomedical Evidence", Journal of Orgonomy, VI:207-222, 1972; Courtney Baker (pseudonym: C.F. Rosenblum), "An Analysis of the FDA's Scientific Evidence Against Wilhelm Reich, Part 2: Physical Concepts", Journal of Orgonomy, VI:222-231, 1972, and "Part 3: Physical Evidence", Journal of Orgonomy, VII:234-245, 1973; Jerome Greenfield, Wilhelm Reich Versus the USA, W.W. Norton, NY, 1974.

13. James DeMeo, "Postscript on the Food and Drug Administration's Evidence Against Wilhelm Reich", Pulse of the Planet, 1:18-23, 1989.

14. See the letter exchanges: "Objections and Response", Journal of Orgonomy, 9(2):266-270, 1975, and "On the Appropriation and Distortion of Orgonomy", Journal of Orgonomy, 16(2):284-289, 1982.

15. James DeMeo, "Response to Martin Gardner's Attack on Reich and Orgone Research in the Skeptical Inquirer", Pulse of the Planet, 1:11-17, 1989. Also online, here:
http://www.orgonelab.org/gardner.htm



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