Author: Martin Gardner
Online Extract: HTML
Reader beware – this is an excellent book about fringe beliefs circa 1950, however Dianetics is discussed only in one chapter of 17 pages. Consequently, it is only recommended for purchase by completists and collectors.
The ‘Fads and Fallacies’ are mostly long-forgotten ideas, for example Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone theory and Dr W H Bates unique method of improving eyesight (which included the recommendation to stare into the sun). However, it also includes a few more persistent beliefs – for example creationism and, of course Dianetics.
This said, the material concerning Dianetics consists of an excellent, literate and scholarly introduction to Hubbard’s life and the early history of Dianetics. It also includes a brief but insightful critique of Transcripts of early ‘Dianetic Therapy’, as discussed by Dr Joseph Winters in his book on the subject.
In the interest of being fair to Winter’s, Gardner’s critique is based on two-an-a-half pages of transcriptions from Winters book, which are reproduced in the chapter.