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highsea
01-27-2005, 02:43 PM
This was brought to my attention a few days ago, and I thought I would share it here.

These guys are advocating a non-traditional approach to the problem of terrorism and defence technology, based on Transendental Meditation, and are making some pretty broad claims. They say they have the evidence to back it up. I have corresponded with the author of this piece, and another person working with him. Unfortunately I am not expert enough in statistical analysis to be able to make an educated assessment of the claims.

I am hoping that Ross will read this and give me some insight into the process they are using, which is called "Box Jenkins Time Series Analysis"

Anyway, here is the basic idea:[ QUOTE ]
An Explanation of Invincible Defense Technology

At the heart of America's military is its well-trained, patriotic and motivated personnel. This is its greatest strength. Invincible Defense Technology taps into this strength. Part of the American military would practice a non-religious form of meditation daily, in groups, as part of their duties. The specific form of meditation is called Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its more advanced practice the TM-Sidhi program. This human resource-based technology has been proven scientifically to reduce social stress and break the cycle of war. Other militaries have already field-tested Invincible Defense Technology with good success.

Wait a minute! What kind of technology is that? Isn't meditation something only gurus practice in solitude?

No. Anyone can practice Transcendental Meditation. It requires no changes in religious beliefs, and has been shown to reduce stress in both the individual and society.

Protecting the nation is the military's job, whatever it takes. America would need to commit less than 1% of its military force to practice an advanced form of the Transcendental Meditation program in groups daily, as part of their daily duties.

The article excerpt below is a complete and simple explantion. (I have not pasted the entire article, it's pretty long-HS)
__________________________________________

What is Invincible Defense Technology?
(Excerpted from an article written by Dr. David and Lee Leffler, published in a national American magazine called Tikkun.)

We live in dangerous times. Many nations, states, cities, terrorist groups, and even individuals have enough wealth to buy weapons of mass destruction. Lightweight, backback-size nuclear weapons are allegedly available on the black market. Biological and chemical weapons can be transported just as easily. Even high levels of security cannot guarantee total protection, nor can even the most well armed security force prevent terrorist attacks, but that doesn't stop the sales of massive amounts of weapons around the world. Those sales are driven by one thing: fear. Fear is a driving force in the current defense paradigm. This fear-based model applies to opposing factions within countries as well as to conflict between countries. While the cycle of arms build-up enriches arms dealers, it drains resources that could be used to alleviate environmental, social, and economic problems.

Is there a better way? Perhaps. A new defense model is emerging -- one based on prevention rather than fear. Using group meditation, the technique, known as invincible defense technology, can actually prevent an enemy from arising by reducing collective stress in society. Psychologist Dr. David Orme-Johnson, is the Director of Research at the Institute of Science, Technology, and Public Policy (ISTPP) at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. Orme-Johnson explains that collective stress is the sum total of individual stress. The individual is the basic unit of society, he says. When stress, tension, and fear build up in the individual, the rest of society is degraded as well.

ISTPP scientists, including Orme-Johnson, assert that society's collective stress is the root cause of conflict and terrorism. If collective stress is high, fear and anger thrive in the population. Ethnic hatreds flare, old wounds open, and distrust festers. Territorial, political, cultural, and religious differences become more difficult to resolve creating seemingly endless chains of conflict.

Orme-Johnson points out that nothing our government does now addresses the cause. On the contrary, he says, forceful response to conflict increases the problem. "Fear in the world spurs arms build up and the development of arms technology, which only causes more fear," he says. "Disarmament is not realistic because no one can rationally disarm when facing an armed aggressor."

To counteract this fear and promote peace, scientists at ISTPP are encouraging every country to spend about one percent of the military budget to implement an invincible defense technology program that they are calling Prevention Wings of the Military. Soldiers would be given one additional duty: to practice the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program daily in large groups. The theory is that this would result in more peaceful world.

Vedic scholar and physicist Maharishi Mahesh Yogi revived the TM program from the ancient tradition of India. Bob Rabinoff, who has a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Arizona, describes TM as "a simple, easily learned, non-religious meditation practice." Rabinoff is a teacher of the TM technique and an independent computer consultant in the Midwest. He says that over five million people have learned TM worldwide.

"Everyone who learns TM is taught the same way throughout the world," says Rabinoff. Because of this standardization, he says, it is possible to study the TM program scientifically. Indeed, the benefits of practicing TM have been well documented. "Over six hundred scientific studies show that the TM technique can measurably reduce stress and increase coherence in the individual," Rabinoff says.

According to Orme-Johnson, the effects of the TM technique on society have also been extensively studied. "This research has used state-of-the-art statistical methodology and objective sources of data, including official government statistics and databases created by independent researchers," he says. "The researchers have controlled for a wide range of alternative explanations. Results have been repeatedly replicated on different populations, and the studies have been published in leading peer reviewed journals such as Social Indicators Research, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and Proceedings of the American Statistical Association." The results include: statistically significant reductions in war deaths, improvements in economic conditions, enhanced quality of life, and reductions in crime, violence, accidents, and illness.

The research indicates that meditation by one percent of a population can have an effect. In the 1980s, research showed positive changes while an organized group of about two hundred meditators practiced an advanced TM program near Lebanon. War deaths in Lebanon went down seventy-one percent, war injuries dropped sixty-eight percent, and the level of conflict fell forty-eight percent. Cooperation among antagonists rose by sixty-six percent. After the intervention period, these measures returned to previous levels.<hr /></blockquote>Obviously they are claiming that the meditation had an effect on people who were not part of the meditating group. I have a problem with this claim.

The complete article is here:

http://www.invinciblemilitary.org/explanation/explanation.html

Here is a table that summarizes their claims over 50 experiments:

http://www.subcontinent.com/sapra/military/tableii.html

As some here might guess, I have a major scepticism when it come to mysticism as science, and it's usefullness as a defence technology. I want to challenge them, because my common sense tells me that they are shoveling sh*t.

My problem is that:

1. They will not provide me with their raw data, so I do not know what numbers they are using, and what starting assumptions they are making.

2. I am unfamiliar with the techniques of the statistical analysis thay are using, so I cannot judge the credibility of their results.

Ross, you are the statistician here, can you tell me how to approach these guys?
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Chopstick
01-27-2005, 03:12 PM
Interesting. This appears to some kind of take off on Carl Jung's theory of collective consciousness. Based on certain eastern philosophies I studied years ago, it could have some merit. Basically it seems to key on the idea that changing what is inside of one's mind can have a direct affect on external reality. The foundation of this is in the misunderstanding of the ying/yang symbol. It is not a representation of oppsites. It is a representation of an individuals internal life and external life being equivalent to each other. I.E. if you want to change the world, change yourself.

Now the amount an individual would be able to alter reality is directly to their size in relation to reality as a whole. Kind of like when you jump up the earth bounces down a proportionate amount. So, I guess the theory is we can all join hands and think happy, happy thoughts and it will all go away. The only trouble is if you prevented something before it ever happened how would you know.

I was into all kinds of that stuff when I was young. What do you think HS? Has that got your BS meter blinking? /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

highsea
01-27-2005, 03:39 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Chopstick:</font><hr>What do you think HS? Has that got your BS meter blinking? /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif <hr /></blockquote>Initially it did, but I am unable to dismiss it out of hand, because there is too much I don't know. Certainly anger can spread through a population, so why can't calm?

What I want to determine is, are the studies valid? The advocates claim a scientific basis to the theory, but it is one they can't explain in scientific terms, which leaves me cold. I can't buy into the theory of collective consiousness as a scientific principle. There is no evidence of such a thing. So all we are left with is anectodal evidence. When I tried to explain this to one of Dr. Leffler's colleagues, she got somewhat indignant. Lol.

So all I can do is to try to get their raw data, and look at it myself. That's why I need to understand the math behind the Box-Jenkins method. If you look at the tables I linked, the studies are over some pretty long timeframes. In order to determine the effectiveness of their system, I need to know what their basic assumptions were, and what events they factored out of their equations.

Most of the claims seem pretty outrageous to me, such as reducing smoking, car accidents, influencing the stock market, affecting the outcome of battles, etc. It's like a one-size-fits-all solution, and my natural scepticism prevents me from buying into such a program.

The basic principle that your thoughts can affect my actions, from a distance, is pretty hard for me to believe. It's a violation of local causality, which is one of the foundations of General Relativity.

This stuff is taken pretty seriously in India and some other Eastern cultures, and maybe if it was practiced on a wide enough scale, it would have a measurable effect. I just don't believe the numbers that Leffler is throwing out, but I need the math to prove it to myself.

Chopstick
01-28-2005, 12:45 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote highsea:</font><hr>

The basic principle that your thoughts can affect my actions, from a distance, is pretty hard for me to believe. It's a violation of local causality, which is one of the foundations of General Relativity.
<hr /></blockquote>


What about Bell's Theorem? Wouldn't that help with the causality issue?