The following first appeared in the private email list IVy-subscribers,
which was available to all those who subscribed to the
printed magazine, International Viewpoints.

Science meets philosophy and religion
by Phil Spickler
19 Jan 2000

Going back at least as far as that amazing pre-Common Era Greece, her
learned people did quite a bit of speculating (philosophizing, if you will)
about the nature of things, and these speculations greatly contributed to the
beginnings of what might be called modern science and modern philosophy.
Greek mythology, as religion, was frequently intertwined into the
explanations of phenomena; and at one point, as an explanation of what
constitutes matter, the notion of the atom as the tiniest indivisible part of
the material object was introduced.

      The Greeks of this period did a great deal of postulating, not
necessarily based on any of the rigor that we now demand of present-day
science for anything to be considered a scientific "fact."  And yet,
throughout history, here and there, there have been cases where a given
individual seemed to know something without any experimental effort, and
later that knowledge was verified or proven to the levels that science

      On the religious side of things, we have people like St. Thomas
Aquinas and his 23 (yes, count them -- 23) volumes devoted to the proof of
the existence of God; and yet all that effort didn't go any further than
before or since to make the case.

      I personally find it quite interesting, as I sit this evening in a
small room in the hollowed-out trunk of a giant redwood tree with my only
light a dim candle, my best friend at the laptop taking this dictation whilst
a very black cat sits looking deep into my eyes with a most intense
expression while her tail lashes to and fro, that I exist in a world in which
words like "atom" or "electron" or "proton" or "neutron" or "lepton" or
"quark" are sometimes bandied about by the people of this planet, who have
come to believe that all these things exist as physical facts, when as a
matter of fact, no living or dead human being has ever observed, physically
or with the aid of scientific instruments, an atom, let alone subatomic

      And yet, that is a truth, a fact, that is the case.  Folks who ply the
trade of theoretical physics and theoretical mathematics will tell you, if
you talk to any of them, or if you study these subjects yourself, that the
atom is a theoretical postulate, not a hard-and-fast indisputable fact, that
is known by phenomena in connection with it that seem to verify the theory;
and one of the strongest points of verification is the practical visible
results that can be seen and experienced when the theory is put to a test;
and that these results can be repeated and repeated and repeated, thus we end
up with something called a fact or a scientific truth.

      But never do the real people of science consider that to be some form
of concrete immovable never-to-be-disputed ultimate and discrete fact.  But
obviously the practical result has been sufficient to predictably produce
atomic bombs and thermonuclear bombs, and that gives rise to the belief that
the theory is indisputable, even though no one with their bodies' eyes or
scientific instruments has ever seen a single atom.  As many already know,
the particles that are considered the things that make up an atom are
themselves and always have been completely invisible -- they are only known
by the effect they have in experimental chambers and on photographic plates,
from which their strength and velocity and other things can be deduced.

      I have found in presenting this information to a number of people that
they are hard-pressed to accept the idea that no one has ever seen an atom;
but there are plenty of sources of information available that will confirm
that bit of information.

     Now at different times throughout the forty-eight-odd years that I have
been associated with Dianetics and Scientology, going back to the early
'50's, in which I might be giving a lecture regarding engram theory,
inevitably and appropriately there would be the question of proof -- is there
any way you can take an engram and put it on the table, and we can touch it
and feel it and smell it, etc.?  And I would have to say, in response to such
questions, "No, we can't put it on the table or prove it, because it must
remain until otherwise verified for each person a theoretical postulate, and
we don't want folks going around stating that engrams exist because we
BELIEVE they do -- that's bad science."

       Now, in what context is it important to test the notion of "Is there
such a thing as an engram or not?"  Well, the theory about engrams claimed
that they were a very strong hidden influence on the behavior of human
beings, as well as their health and their sense of self-determinism.  So
there's the theory.  Is it ever possible to reduce that theory to an article
of faith or belief, or some form of absolute verification?  I would say
,"No."  I would say it then, and I will say it now; but I can also say, with
some degree of conviction, that a pretty fair number of people went looking
for the engram, either on themselves or others, and found that a great deal
of that which had been predicted could be experienced, and that the results
did greatly change a lot of the automatic and unconscious behavior of
individuals, that their health did indeed improve, and that their innate
sense of self-determinism was often greatly increased.

     Now I don't think that the experiences of early Dianeticists have ever,
by modern 20th century scientific standards, been given the kind of rigorous
testing and evaluation that has been required in order to constitute a
scientific fact; but I do believe that there will come a day when that work
is done, and its results will be by the aforementioned conditions considered
factually scientific.

      Let us leap, as though we were a charged atomic particle ascending to
a lower or higher state of energy, to the subject of thetans, whether they be
body thetans or non-body thetans who in recent years have been given quite a
number of different names.  Over the years, I've run into different folks who
have appropriately asked questions like, "Where do thetans come from?"
"Where do body thetans come from?"  These are not easy questions to answer.
If a child asks "Why is the grass green?" I and many others can give him a
canned answer such as "Well, there is this stuff called chlorophyll, and
that's its color as it reacts with light and the human eye."  But I can't
really and straightforwardly answer that question, nor can I tell a child why
the sky is blue; and it might take half a lifetime to prove that point, if I
really could.

     So we've reached the point where we know where human babies come from,
but "where do thetans come from and what are they" are questions that have to
some degree been answered by someone, Hubbard if you will, with once again
theoretical postulates that are not provable as material facts.  There are
certain experiments that come under the heading of auditing that can and
frequently do produce phenomena that match the theoretical postulate of what
a thetan or body thetan is capable of.  There are people walking around who
personally claim, without being able to prove their claim in the slightest,
that they are thetans, or other names such as spiritual being or immortal
spiritual being; but that's just as laughable as scientists running around
and saying "I believe there is an atom -- I can't prove it, but I believe

      No, at this range of reality, there are no hard, certain, fixed,
immutable truths.  For example, seat a person in a chair in a room, with an
E-meter and get the person attached to the meter, and get the meter and the
person calm and relaxed, and then have someone throw open the door of the
room suddenly and go "BANG!", and you'll see all kinds of things happen on
the meter, as well as the person that's attached to it.  And you can repeat
that little event over and over again, with different people, but one thing
you can say for certain is something is having an effect on something,  Then
an hour, a day or a week later, you can take that same person, if they'll let
you, and put them on the meter, and when it's nice and calm and they're nice
and calm, ask them if they remember the door being thrown open and someone
jumping in going BANG.  And as they recall that, the meter will repeat the
various changes that it was recording, which suggests that it's possible to
store in something connected with human beings the shock of the moment.

     It's also possible to perform an experiment where the person is sitting
in the room, with the meter calm, and somebody in another room, perhaps at a
fair distance, makes a psychic effort to impinge on the person in the room,
and once again you can observe meter phenomena occurring, as well as some
sort of effect that is reportable by the person experiencing it.  This
suggests that something is capable of having a negative or positive effect,
something hidden, and have such an effect on the life and well-being of a

      This is a rather crude example of postulated thetans and body thetans
having effects whilst remaining hidden on the life, the consciousness, of a
human being.  Once again, we are looking at things that are not hard,
immutable, concrete, completely provable facts, but simply experimental
verification of predicted phenomena; and so we don't need to try to subject
these things to the criterion of physical fact.  Even in the material world
of the physicist there is the open admission that even when we look at a
material object we are mostly looking at empty space, and it is imagined to
be otherwise by the interactions of whatever our physical makeup is with the
makeup of the object we are interacting with.

     I can no longer continue with these notions, since my candle is almost
out, and I must say that I've been burning it at both ends of late -- "My
candle burns at both the ends/ It will not last the night/ But ah my foes and
oh my friends/  It gives a lovely light" (E. St. Vincent Millay).  And so in
closing, let me say that whilst I may have a great deal of personal certainty
as to the possibility of many of Hubbard's theoretical constructs and their
experimental verification, I would never speak about them (I hope) as
articles of faith or belief, but I would only suggest that others, if they
possibly can, perform the experiment and perform it well, and then we may
have a common ground for discussing the invisible.  Thank you and good night