Friday, 24 July 2009

13b Annexe to 13 The E-Meter Experts

Here's a short annexe on why one expert thought that Scientologists didn't know how to operate their own e-meter.

From “The E-Meter Experts”:

Curiously enough, when Kirchner drew up his 1994 report, it had been the defendant Alain Rosenberg who had demonstrated the use of the e-meter for him. But according to Kirchner, Rosenberg had not only failed to observe this basic zero-reading procedure but had made another mistake that rendered the readings meaningless.

Below is a translation of the relevant extract from Kirchner’s report, followed by an explanation from former Scientologist Bruce Hines; and a devastating summary from a veteran critic of Scientology.

You can see the original French version here, starting at the top of page six (“J’ai pu effectivement, constater…”).

I could actually see during the auditing session the movement of needle, which indicated variations in the electrical resistance of subject. During the session, the auditor, by working the T.A. [tone arm], keeps the needle on the dial. He does not bother to bring the needle back to the position that corresponds to the balance point of the bridge [known to Scientologists as the ‘Set’position].

During the session, the device’s counter adds up the tone arm movement’s downward movements. The total thus obtained in the course of the sessions is used by the auditor to judge the behaviour of the subject. And this tone arm motion only has any sense if the needle is brought back each time to the position corresponding to the balance point of the bridge [‘Set’].

This is not what the auditor does at all, moving the tone arm in a quite chaotic manner simply to keep the needle on the dial. It is notable that the needle frequently moves in one direction and then the other without leaving the dial. Such movements are not taken into account.

It also happens that the auditor, who has a finger permanently on the tone arm knob, makes it move without there being any corresponding natural movement of the needle. Thus the meter records movements that have nothing to do with the subject but rather depend on the auditor.

Former Scientologist Bruce Hines was considered a good enough auditor to run sessions with celebrity members such as Nicole Kidman (no longer a member) and Kirstie Alley. Here is how he sums up the auditor's mistakes.

“The auditor was randomly adjusting the tone arm even when this was not necessary to bring the needle back to 'SET'.

“Also, an auditor is supposed to adjust the tone arm with the thumb and not leave the thumb resting against the tone arm. So the counter on the e-meter would not accurately show the actual downward motion of the tone arm for the session.”

In other words, even by Scientology standards, this was sloppy work.

Dr. Dave Touretzky, a longstanding critic of Scientology whose website offers a detailed critique of the e-meter as pseudo-science, offered the following remarks.

“Scientifically speaking, all of this is utter rubbish. Scientology equates mass with charge, and ‘mental mass’ with physical mass, and makes lots of other laughable errors. It's just mumbo-jumbo designed to impress the scientifically illiterate.

“The point the Swiss expert makes is that if the auditor is randomly running the TA knob back and forth instead of responding precisely to what the needle is doing, then he will accumulate lots of drops in TA (since rises don't count) that make it look like there is lots of auditing progress when in reality nothing is happening.

“It's a small technical point, since auditing is such complete bullshit, but I guess the argument is that the Scientologists are so sloppy and incompetent they can't even apply their own bullshit properly.”


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