There's science, then there's pseudoscience

2nd December 2011 at 00:00

Your article on the Maharishi Schools Trust ("Maharishi hopes DfE lets it be for school No.3", 18 November) did not fully cover our concerns about transcendental meditation (TM) schools.

Contrary to what school trustee Richard Scott says, there is no robust evidence to show that TM is more effective than other meditation and relaxation techniques, or well-taught health education. Many practitioners of TM believe in levitation, with the yogic flying technique starting with hopping, before (supposedly) progressing to flying. Last week, when I spoke to the Maharishi Schools Trust, it was unwilling to make publicly clear that it does not teach children that they can levitate. It has since done so.

However, the British Humanist Association also has other concerns. The Maharishi Free School's website explains: "All the subjects are taught separately and integrated by the science of creative intelligence. This enables the pupils to more easily comprehend the deeper and more subtle aspects of each subject." In explaining what the science of creative intelligence is, the Maharishi Vedic Education Development Corporation says: "The practical aspect of the science of creative intelligence is the transcendental meditation program. The transcendental meditation technique is a simple, natural, effortless technique for experiencing transcendental consciousness, the simplest form of human awareness. Transcendental consciousness is the home of all the laws of nature, the pure field of creative intelligence from which all of creation arises."

None of this is science; it is pseudoscience based on faith.

Richy Thompson, Campaigns officer (faith schools and education), British Humanist Association, London.

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