The following is the full commentary by WTM Patron Tim Macartney-Snape on the momentous vindication of Jeremy Griffith’s treatise on the origins and amelioration of the human condition. An of this commentary was published as a on 16 December 2010.
Court of Appeal overturns finding of truth
regarding biologist Jeremy Griffith’s
treatise on the human condition
Commentary by Tim Macartney-Snape AM OAM on the recent NSW Court of Appeal
Judgment that unanimously overturned an earlier Supreme Court finding of truth
concerning a defamatory 1995 ABC Four Corners program about the World
Transformation Movement (WTM), formerly the Foundation for Humanity’s
Adulthood (FHA). Tim is a patron and member of the WTM.
In April 1995, a highly defamatory Four Corners program was broadcast nationwide by the ABC concerning the World Transformation Movement (WTM), its founder Australian biologist Jeremy Griffith, myself and our members.
On 7 October 2010, the NSW Court of Appeal unanimously overturned a 2008 Supreme Court finding that lack of scientific support for Griffith’s biological treatise (particularly as put forward in his 1991 book Beyond The Human Condition) was because it was of a poor standard. This allegation, which underpinned a horrific fear campaign that caused immense damage to our project, has now, 15 years later, been found to be untrue. As I will explain, the real significance of this finding is that it represents a crucial victory for science and the human race.
This momentous finding by Justices Hodgson, Basten and McClellan follows a series of adverse rulings against the ABC and the program’s architect Reverend David Millikan (see the summary at the conclusion of this commentary of official rulings condemning the 1995 campaign against us).
Recognising the unorthodox nature of Griffith’s explanation of the origins and amelioration of the human condition, Justice Hodgson, who wrote the leading judgment, found the lower Court did ‘not adequately consider’ ‘the nature and scale of its subject matter’, in particular ‘that the work was a grand narrative explanation from a holistic approach, involving teleological elements’ (paras 89-91).
Justice Hodgson (who himself has written books about consciousness) also found other important submissions ‘were not adequately considered by the primary judge’ (para 90) that could account for Griffith’s work ‘not attracting support’ from ‘the scientific community’. Those submissions were that Beyond ‘makes very strong claims’, ‘crosses disciplines and even entire fields of endeavour’ and can make ‘those who take the trouble to grapple with it uncomfortable’ because it ‘involves reflections on subject-matter including the purpose of human existence which may, of its nature, cause an adverse reaction as it touches upon issues which some would regard as threatening to their ideals, values or even world views’ (paras 20, 88-90).
Moreover, and significantly, while Justice Hodgson was prepared to make his own findings on all the other key issues, he carefully avoided endorsing the finding in the lower Court as to the standard of Griffith’s work, making the point that ‘the question of the standard of a work like this is problematic’ because it ‘is a matter on which reasonable minds can very widely differ’ (para 50).
While the Court of Appeal found that what the program said about Griffith’s work was not justified, the ABC’s defence of ‘comment’ was upheld in respect of the nationwide broadcast. The Court of Appeal also failed to recognise and condemn the malicious intent of the program. We maintain that because of other findings by the Court—including findings that Millikan misled us; that damaging allegations in the program were not made in good faith; and that Millikan said he’d ‘relish’ the opportunity to ‘harass’ Griffith—the so-called ‘comment’ defence should not be allowed because it was untrue, it was unfair and it was made maliciously. An appeal has now been filed in the High Court of Australia *(see result of appeal at conclusion of this commentary) to have these remaining issues addressed. It is for the health of our society that we continue to pursue these wrongs because in terms of what the program said about us, full vindication has now been achieved, although reparations and an apology remain outstanding.
The scientific heresy of teleology
With regard to work such as Griffith’s that is ‘holistic’ and ‘teleological’—an approach that Justice Hodgson’s ruling said could explain why Griffith’s work had not received support from the scientific establishment—a 1991 feature article by the Australian journalist Deidre Macken titled ‘Science Friction’ described the resistance to the emergence of ‘holistic’, ‘teleological’ thinking in science that was occurring in the early 1990s. Macken wrote of a ‘scientific revolution’ and a coming ‘monumental paradigm shift’, reporting that the few scientists who have ‘dared to take a holistic approach’ are regarded by the scientific orthodoxy as committing ‘scientific heresy’. She wrote that scientists taking the ‘holistic approach’, including the scientists ‘physicist Paul Davies and biologist Charles Birch’, are trying ‘to cross the great divide between science and religion’, and are ‘not afraid of terms such as “purpose” and “meaning”’, adding that ‘Quite a number of biologists got upset [about this new development] because they don’t want to open the gates to teleology—the idea that there is goal-directed change is an anathema to biologists who believe that change is random…The emerging clash of scientific thought has forced many of the new scientists on to the fringe. Some of the pioneers no longer have university positions, many publish their theories in popular books rather than journals, others have their work sponsored by independent organisations…Universities are not catering for the new paradigm and…scientists who try to tackle radical ideas that weave across different disciplines cannot get funds for research, much less intellectual support from colleagues’ (Good Weekend mag. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 Nov. 1991). (This article can be viewed in full at .)
The latter points Macken has made are particularly relevant in appreciating Justice Hodgson’s ruling that ‘In my opinion, the circumstances that the appellant had no affiliation or association with a university or scientific establishment, had no recognition from a university or scientific establishment other than an undergraduate degree, had apparently not published in peer review publications, and had self-published the work under consideration, are not elements of the standard of the work itself, but are nevertheless factors counting heavily against the work receiving consideration and support from the scientific community’ (para 91).
So while it is disappointing that aspects of the decision in the lower Court relating to the defences of comment and statutory qualified privilege were upheld (and are now the subject of appeal to the High Court *(see result of appeal at conclusion of this commentary)), the Court of Appeal’s recognition of Griffith’s work as a variety of science that is heretical rather than the equivalent of meaningless non-science—that it is a scientific ‘grand narrative explanation’ of human behaviour ‘from a holistic approach, involving teleological elements’—is of the utmost significance because it leaves the door open to the possibility that Griffith’s treatise, while being unpalatable to conventional scientists, is groundbreaking science of crucial importance to the future of the human race, which we’ve always maintained it is. As Macken recognised, such heretical science has had to be self sufficient, which is why Griffith founded the FHA/WTM as an independent organisation nearly three decades ago.
The human condition is the underlying issue in all
human affairs and the issue that had to be solved
for there to be a future for the human race
It needs to be explained why Griffith’s, and a rare few other scientists’, such as ‘Davies’ and ‘Birch’, ‘teleological’ ‘holistic’ acceptance of the ‘purpose and meaning’ of ‘goal-directed change’ has been, as Macken pointed out, an ‘upset[ting]’ ‘anathema’ to the scientific establishment—in fact why Griffith’s work, as Justice Hodgson’s ruling recognised, can make ‘those who take the trouble to grapple with it uncomfortable’ because it ‘involves reflections on subject-matter including the purpose of human existence which may, of its nature, cause an adverse reaction as it touches upon issues which some would regard as threatening to their ideals, values or even world views’. ‘Holism’ in the dictionary means ‘the tendency in nature to form wholes’ (Concise Oxford Dict. 5th edn, 1964), and ‘teleology’ means ‘the belief that purpose and design are a part of nature’ (Macquarie Dict. 3rd edn, 1998). All Griffith’s books present the psychological reason why belief in the ‘goal-directed’, ‘purpose’, ‘design’ and ‘meaning’ in nature of developing ever larger and more stable ‘wholes’ has been resisted. He explains that the problem with accepting that the ‘purpose’ of existence is to integrate or order matter into ‘wholes’ (atoms integrate to form molecules → compounds → virus-like organisms → single-celled organisms → multicellular organisms → societies of multicellular organisms → full integration), is that it implies we humans should be cooperative, loving and selfless because for a larger whole to form and hold together the parts of that whole need to consider the welfare of the whole above their own welfare. Put simply, selfishness is disintegrative while selflessness is integrative. The problem with accepting that we should be selfless, cooperative and loving is that it confronts us squarely with the problem of the human condition, namely the issue of why are humans so selfish, competitive and aggressive, seemingly the opposite of integratively behaved. Conventional science has been mechanistic/reductionist not holistic/teleological, it has denied the truth of the ‘goal-directed’ integrative ‘purpose’, ‘design’ and ‘meaning’ of existence because without explanation of the human condition, explanation for the good reason why we humans are so divisively behaved, admitting that truth was unbearably confronting and depressing—as the ruling mentioned, it can leave ‘those who take the trouble to grapple with it uncomfortable’. Humanity’s unsaid plan was to first explain the human condition because only then would it be psychologically safe for the human race to admit the truth of the negative-entropy-driven, integrative ‘purpose’, ‘design’ and ‘meaning’ of existence. Griffith’s books are precisely about explaining the human condition and by so doing making it possible for all scientists to be holistic (and humanity to become a peaceful integrated whole at last), however, while his ‘grand narrative’, which is necessarily truthfully ‘holistic’ and ‘teleological’ in its approach, is yet to be accepted by the mechanistic scientific establishment, Griffith is committing ‘scientific heresy’—but that doesn’t at all mean his work is poor science. The visionary Jesuit palaeontologist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw the future of acceptance of ‘holistic’, ‘teleological’ thought when he said, ‘I can see a direction and a line of progress for life, a line and a direction which are in fact so well marked that I am convinced their reality will be universally admitted by the science of tomorrow’ (The Phenomenon of Man, 1938, p.142 of 320). Indeed, in recent years some very eminent holistic scientists ‘of tomorrow’, such as Stephen Hawking and Nobel Laureate Charles Townes, have been impressed by Griffith’s synthesis (see ), but until this ruling the stigma from the Four Corners presentation remained all-pervasive.
To illustrate the resistance Griffith has encountered from the mechanistic scientific establishment, in December 1983 he travelled to England to personally submit an 8,000 word summary of his explanations of the human condition, of the origins of our species’ altruistic, moral instincts and of the origins of our fully conscious mind to John Maddox (the late Sir John Maddox), the then editor of Nature magazine, which at the time was considered the leading science journal in the world. Maddox declined to publish the article. In fact, it took much insistence by Griffith of the immense importance of his submission for Maddox to finally agree to even see him. However, when Griffith began the meeting by trying to convince Maddox of the foundation truth of integrative meaning, purpose and design Maddox became quite agitated in his denial of it, saying to Griffith twice that the concept of integrative meaning arising from the law of negative entropy ‘is wrong’ (from audio recording of the 15 Dec. 1983 meeting), before terminating the meeting. Griffith learnt then the futility of seeking ‘peer review’ for his teleological work. Time will confirm that what Maddox rejected was the all-important liberating explanation of the human condition, the great breakthrough that the whole of the enterprise of science (which his journal was supposed to represent) had specifically been dedicated to finding! Such is the blindness of integrative-meaning-denying mechanistic thinking, a blindness I will talk more about shortly. (Griffith’s 1983 submission to Nature and New Scientist magazines can be read on our website at .)
Since Griffith’s work does dare to deal with the issue of ‘self’—it goes where angels fear to tread as it were, right into the heart of the unbearably depressing subject of our less-than-ideal human condition which, as Macken mentioned, is also the realm of enquiry where religion and science, faith and reason, finally overlap—some people do find his treatise extremely unpalatable but that does not justify the relentless attack that he and the WTM have been subjected to. In fact, the motivation for our attackers’ accusation that Griffith is a deluded megalomaniac leader of a dangerous anti-social organisation was precisely because he was daring to look into the human condition—which they clearly admitted when, in Reverend Millikan’s case, he said, ‘You realise you [Griffith] are attempting the impossible, you will be fighting to have this material accepted right down to the last person on the planet’ (16 Feb. 1995), and in the case of the other architect of the attack on Griffith’s work, one of a very few intolerant parents of WTM members, he said to Griffith, ‘You know you are encroaching on the personal unspeakable inside people and you won’t succeed’ (12 Feb. 1995). He similarly told his son, ‘You are trying to rattle the black box inside people and you just can’t do that’ (18 Mar. 1995).
The core injustice of our detractors’ attacks has been the extreme dishonesty of trying to brand Griffith as a deluded megalomaniac leader of a dangerous anti-social organisation, but how could he be sound enough to look into the human condition—which his detractors’ statements, such as ‘You know you are encroaching on the personal unspeakable inside people’, recognise he is doing—and at the same time be so unsound as to be a deluded megalomaniac? As that great human-condition-confronting-rather-than-human-condition-avoiding, holistic, teleological, denial-free, sound, honest and thus insightful, prophetic thinker Jesus Christ pointed out when he was accused of being ‘possessed by Beelzebub…the prince of demons’: ‘How can Satan drive out Satan?’ (Mark 3:22, 23). Christ reiterated the point when he said, ‘A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit’ (Matt 7:18).
For Justice Hodgson to have recognised Griffith’s work as serious science, albeit heretical, is most significant because it was vitally important to our detractors to be able to say that Griffith’s work really wasn’t science at all because the public could then be led to believe that our support for his work must be due to the kind of meaningless, mind-controlling dogma that so characterises dangerously deluded sects.
This recognition of Griffith’s work as serious science is incredibly important because it undermines the whole malicious campaign against us and by so doing allows our human-condition-ameliorating, world-saving project to survive. In fact, this ruling represents the crossing of a great divide, a watershed moment, a great breakthrough for our work and, because that work is so important, a great breakthrough for science and the world. I hope I’m clear, this ruling is world-saving. Finally, the 20-year hate campaign that was maliciously fabricated to prevent Griffith’s all-important work from being taken seriously has been defeated and brought to an end.
There has been such a deep sense of animosity towards Griffith and the WTM in the Australian community for over 20 years now as a result of the relentless fear campaign waged against Griffith for daring to address the forbidden subject of the human condition, and for daring to envisage a world beyond it, that this ruling will leave the perpetrators of that campaign in shock. Apparently they have been completely wrong about Griffith. A highly respected figure, supported by two others of standing, has looked into what has been going on and said that the ABC was wrong about this man’s work. Having to consider the implication that this man is not mad, that there is real substance in his work—and therefore that he and his supporters have exhibited great courage and fortitude in the face of such a long and sustained ruthless attack, will be extremely confronting for some. There will be many people who have been part of the feeding frenzy of hatred towards Griffith who will feel exposed, confronted and bewildered by this ruling. They won’t want to deal with what they have been doing and have done to us and indeed to the whole enterprise of the human race to achieve liberation from the human condition and will simply deny what they did, imagine that it all never happened. Others will even try to maintain their rage. But a great watershed has been crossed and from here on everything changes. This is the beginning of a new world for the WTM, a world that takes us seriously and treats us fairly. The world changes for us now with this ruling. We have won our freedom, our right to exist.
Plato saw all this coming!
Griffith describes in his books how, in approximately 360 BC, that awesome philosopher of the Golden Age of Greece, Plato, warned of the great danger of intolerance threatening to prevent the emergence of the humanity-liberating understanding of the human condition in his famous cave allegory—undoubtedly the most honest and penetrating account ever given of the human condition prior to it being able to be explained. As evidence of the stature of Plato, Alfred North Whitehead, one of the most highly regarded philosophers of the twentieth century, described the history of philosophy as merely ‘a series of footnotes to Plato’ (Process and Reality [Gifford Lectures Delivered in the University of Edinburgh During the Session 1927-28], 1979, p.39 of 413). Of all his writings, Plato’s most celebrated work is The Republic, the centrepiece of which is the allegory of the cave. Thus if Plato is regarded as being one of the most profound and penetrating thinkers of all time then his cave allegory must be all significant, and it is.
Plato began his allegory with what must be one of the earliest recorded mentions of the term human condition: ‘I want you to go on to picture the enlightenment or ignorance of our human conditions somewhat as follows. Imagine an underground chamber, like a cave with an entrance open to the daylight and running a long way underground. In this chamber are men who have been prisoners there’ (The Republic, tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, p.278 of 405). He described that between the all-visible, sunlit world and humans’ ‘cave’ existence stands a ‘brightly burning fire’ that prevents humans from leaving the cave. The allegory makes clear that while ‘the light of the fire in the cave prison corresponds to the power of the sun’ (ibid. p.282), with ‘the sun…making things we see visible’ (ibid. p.273) such that without it humans can only ‘see dimly and appear to be almost blind’ (ibid. p.272), having to hide in the ‘cave’ of ‘illusion’ and endure ‘almost blind’ alienation was infinitely preferable to facing the ‘painful’ light of the ‘fire’/‘sun’ that would make ‘visible’ the unbearably depressing issue of ‘the imperfections of human life’ (ibid. p.282), which is the issue of the human condition. Plato’s description of humanity having to live in a cave of blind alienation is clearly a description of humanity having to live in deep denial of the unbearably exposing (the ‘sun’) and confronting or burning (the ‘fire’) issue of the human condition, and of any truths that bring that searingly depressing issue into focus, in particular the ‘holistic’, ‘teleological’ truth of integrative meaning.
Having described humans as being imprisoned in a state of alienating denial of the issue of the human condition Plato went on to describe what would happen when understanding of the human condition was found. To quote from a helpful summary of the cave allegory from the Encarta Encyclopaedia, under the entry for ‘Plato’ (the underlinings are Griffith’s emphasis): ‘Breaking free, one of the individuals escapes from the cave into the light of day. With the aid of the sun [living free of denial of the foundation truth of integrative meaning and of the issue it raises of the human condition], that person sees for the first time the real world and returns to the cave with the message that the only things they have seen heretofore are shadows and appearances and that the real world awaits them if they are willing to struggle free of their bonds. The shadowy environment of the cave symbolizes for Plato the physical world of appearances. Escape into the sun-filled setting outside the cave symbolizes the transition to the real world, the world of full and perfect being, the world of Forms, which is the proper object of knowledge’ (by Professor Robert M. Baird. Accessed 11 Jul. 2008, see <>). To return to Plato’s own words, ‘if he [the cave prisoner] were forcibly dragged up the steep and rocky ascent [out of the cave of denial by the person who has broken free of the cave] and not let go till he had been dragged out into the sunlight [shown the truthful all-liberating—but at the same time all-exposing and confronting—explanation of the human condition], the process would be a painful one, to which he would much object, and when he emerged into the light his eyes would be so overwhelmed by the brightness of it that he wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things he was now told were real [this inability to absorb discussion of the human condition is what we in the WTM refer to as the ‘deaf effect’]’ (The Republic, tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, p.280). Plato didn’t stop there, going on to say, ‘they would say that his [the person who tries to deliver understanding of the human condition] visit to the upper world had ruined his sight [they would treat him as if he was mad, which is how Griffith has been treated], and [they would say] that the ascent [out of the cave] was not worth even attempting [recall Griffith’s detractors saying such things as ‘You know you are encroaching on the personal unspeakable inside people and you won’t succeed’]. And if anyone tried to release them and lead them up, they would kill him if they could lay hands on him’ (p.281). In fact Griffith’s persecutors have done everything they can, short of physical attack, to ‘kill’ him.
Plato’s description of the whole saga surrounding the finding of understanding of the human condition and resulting liberation of the human race from that condition makes it clear how truly enlightened and special this ruling is. In fact, this ruling reminds us in the WTM of the judgment given by ‘Gamaliel, a teacher of the law’ that allowed the early Christians to survive (see Acts 5:34-38). While the WTM is not a religion because religions are based on dogma whereas our movement is based on understanding/knowledge, ours is nevertheless a movement that does transform humans (enable humans to ‘transition to the real world’ through ‘knowledge’, as Plato said) which is what religions have endeavoured to do in their dogma-based limited way—and, like early Christianity, the WTM is in the vulnerable early stages of its development, so what the early Christian apostles experienced is relevant. So, Christ’s apostles had been jailed and were threatened with death for defending his human-condition-confronting, denial-free, teleological, truthful words when Gamaliel counselled tolerance and ‘They…Let them go.’ Gamaliel’s intervention was so crucial because it allowed the Christian movement to survive its most vulnerable, early stage when only a few people were aware of the immense importance of the movement and where the persecution of those few supporters could have very well meant its end. People are sometimes tempted to think that good ideas will survive persecution, but that is not true. In John Stuart Mill’s 1859 essay, On Liberty—a document considered a philosophical pillar of western civilisation—Mill emphasised this point when he said, ‘the dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of those pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes. History teems with instances of truth put down by persecution. If not suppressed for ever, it may be thrown back for centuries.’ Indeed, prejudice has tried to stop all the great breakthroughs in science—instance Bishop Wilberforce trying to stop the emergence of Darwin’s idea and how crucial Huxley’s defence of Darwin’s work at that time was.
There are two other comments I would like to make about the content of the ruling. Firstly, it included the important acknowledgment that when considering ‘the standard of a work like this’ where ‘reasonable minds can very widely differ’, it also ‘very much depends on what the work is being assessed as’ (para 50), concluding that Griffith’s work should ‘be assessed as a scientific publication for general readership’ in order ‘to promulgate original scientific ideas of the author’ (para 56). At the beginning of Griffith’s 1988 book Free: The End Of The Human Condition he explained that ‘This book is a condensed version of a much larger 500,000 word book’, so what was presented in Free and Beyond was just the summation of all his thinking, reasoning and research. Griffith’s hope was that the accountability of the explanations alone that he was presenting for the human condition, for the origins of our moral instincts and for consciousness would be enough to greatly interest everyone, including the scientific establishment; so, yes, it was ‘for general readership’ ‘to promulgate original scientific ideas’. What we in the WTM subsequently learnt was that virtually everyone, including the scientific establishment, was living in such deep denial of the issue of the human condition and of the importance of nurturing and of the fact of the existence of alienation in the human mind (the elements involved in Griffith’s three main explanations) that rather than being interested in Griffith’s explanations virtually everyone (outside a rare few holistic scientists) was repelled, and that it would only be through the human-condition-ameliorating, transforming effects of these explanations that support for them would come.
Secondly, in his judgment Justice Hodgson wrote on a number of occasions that he was concerned about Griffith’s ‘expressions of certainty when at best the appellant’s arguments could justify only tentative conclusions’ (see paras 60 & 92). Firstly, as explained in the previous paragraph, there is the point that Griffith’s pre-1995 books Free and Beyond were meant only as summaries, with the great bulk of the detailed ‘arguments’ and reasoning in the half-million word book that wasn’t published at the time. With regard to the ‘certainty’ about the accuracy of Griffith’s thinking, what needs to be considered is the difference between the authority of a human-condition-confronting, integrative-meaning-accepting, denial-free mind and the arrogance of a deluded mind. While human-condition-avoiding, integrative-meaning-denying, evasive, dishonest, mechanistic thinking is blind, uncertain, insecure and thus egocentric, unevasive, integrative-meaning-acknowledging, holistic thinking is none of these things. Evading such fundamental truths as integrative meaning, the significance of nurturing in human life and the existence of humans’ alienated state means denial-based, evasive, mechanistic thinking progresses from a false basis and as a result is not in a strong position to know if ideas are true or not. Operating in a false framework, denial-based, mechanistic thinking is insecure and uncertain. Denial-free thinking on the other hand, progressing as it does from a truthful basis, has an infinitely greater capacity to know if an idea is right or wrong.
The distinction between the blindness of mechanistic thinking and the clarity of holistic thinking was described earlier by Plato in his cave allegory when he talked about ‘the sun [the true world that acknowledges the issue of the human condition and the existence of integrative meaning]…making things we see visible’, such that without it humans can only ‘see dimly and appear to be almost blind’, whereas ‘the individual’ who ‘escapes from the cave into the light of day’ ‘sees for the first time the real world and returns to the cave with the message [the explanation of the human condition] that the only things they have seen heretofore are shadows and appearances.’
Elsewhere in his writing Plato further describes the destructive effect denial has on our intellect’s capacity to think effectively, saying, ‘...when the soul [our original instinctive self’s integratively orientated moral conscience] uses the instrumentality of the body [allows the use of the body’s intellect with its preoccupation with denial] for any inquiry…it is drawn away by the body into the realm of the variable, and loses its way and becomes confused and dizzy, as though it were fuddled…But when it investigates by itself [free of intellectual denial], it passes into the realm of the pure and everlasting and immortal and changeless’ (Phaedo, tr. H. Tredennick). Plato also referred to the need to be able ‘to look straight at reality’ if we are to effectively ‘learn’ when he said, ‘this capacity [of a mind…to see clearly] is innate in each man’s mind [we are born with a truthful, instinctive orientation to the cooperative, loving, integrative meaning of existence—we have a moral conscience], and that the faculty by which he learns is like an eye which cannot be turned from darkness to light unless the whole body is turned; in the same way the mind as a whole must be turned away from the world of change until it can bear to look straight at reality, and at the brightest of all realities which is what we call the Good [integrative meaning, or what we have been personifying as ‘God’]’ (The Republic, tr. H.D.P. Lee, 1955, p.283 of 405).
Mechanistic science has suffered very greatly from an inability to think truthfully and thus effectively, it certainly has ‘los[t] its way and become confused and dizzy, as though it were fuddled’. Psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott highlighted the danger of mechanistic science’s denial of so many critically important truths such as integrative meaning when he asked, ‘Can you see the one essential way in which science and intuition contrast with each other? True intuition can reach to a whole truth in a flash (just as faulty intuition can reach to error), whereas in a [mechanistic] science the whole truth is never reached’ (Thinking about Children, 1996, p.5 of 343). The great German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer made a similar point: ‘the discovery of truth is prevented most effectively…by prejudice, which…stands in the path of truth and is then like a contrary wind driving a ship away from land’ (Essays and Aphorisms, tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1970, p.120 of 237).
Physicist Paul Davies also revealed the truth about the ‘fuddled’, ‘confused and dizzy’ outcome of mechanistic thought when he said, ‘For 300 years science has been dominated by extremely mechanistic thinking. According to this view of the world all physical systems are regarded as basically machines…I have little doubt that much of the alienation and demoralisation that people feel in our so-called scientific age stems from the bleak sterility of mechanistic thought’ (‘Living in a non-material world—the new scientific consciousness’, The Australian, 9 Oct. 1991). As Griffith’s professor of biology at Sydney University, the late Charles Birch, once bravely admitted, ‘Science can’t deal with subjectivity…what we were all taught in universities is pretty much a dead end’ (from 1993 WTM Open Day address)—an admittance which, incidentally, reiterates Deidre Macken’s earlier comment that ‘Universities are not catering for the new paradigm.’ Birch similarly said that ‘the traditional framework of thinking in science is not adequate for solving the really hard problems’ (ABC Radio National, Ockham’s Razor, 16 Apr. 1997), with the ‘hard[est] problem’ of all for humans to confront and thus solve having been the ‘subjective’ issue of self, the issue of the human condition. With comments such as these it is not surprising that Davies and Birch were the two main scientists Macken referred to as holistic heretics in her article. More is explained about the comparative effectiveness and thus authority of denial-free thinking in Griffith’s book , beginning on p.454.
Finally, on the issue of fair comment and qualified privilege, we would like to say that while the ruling upheld the defence that our attackers were not motivated by malice, we at the WTM remain of the view that they obviously were. While we maintain the Court of Appeal should have gone much further, it did record various adverse findings in the Court below about the conduct of the ABC and Millikan, including the following:
- When Millikan first approached Griffith and the FHA/WTM to make the program it was ‘a misrepresentation of his real view to say “I probably got it wrong” ’ (para 440 – Judgment of Kirby J) [in relation to Millikan’s dismissive review of Beyond in 1991].
- ‘It was inappropriate and unfair that Dr Millikan should have made such remarks [claiming that Griffith was acting like a cυlt leader in splitting up families] before each expert [Professor Tim Flannery and Professor Colin Groves] was interviewed’ (para 313 – Judgment of Kirby J).
- ‘... the publication of serious allegations, based on hearsay, given great prominence, without the rudimentary step of seeking Mr Macartney-Snape’s commentary upon them cannot, in my view, be said to be publication in good faith for the purposes of public information or the advancement of education.’ (para 922 – Judgment of Kirby J).
- Millikan said to the intolerant Belfield parents that he would ‘relish’ the opportunity to ‘harass’ Griffith (para 309 – Judgment of Kirby J).
Even on the basis of these findings, it is a complete and utter mystery to us why malice wasn’t found and why the statutory defences of qualified privilege and comment findings in respect of part of Griffith’s science imputation weren’t also overturned as a result.
We don’t understand why the court didn’t recognise the malice driving this program, and this program’s obvious agenda to stigmatise us as an anti-social organisation to the extent that we could never show our face in public again—which indeed we weren’t able to do for many years. We completely agree with this journalist’s report after Millikan’s defamatory Four Corners program went to air on the ABC in 1995: ‘The guest journalist…did a job on the organisation known as the Foundation For Humanity’s Adulthood…It was plain that Dr Millikan had his own agenda here…He simply wasn’t courageous enough to let the facts speak for themselves in dealing with this group. Blind Freddy could see, that this was not an objective assessment of this group’s agenda’ (Robert Broadfield, Radio 6PR Perth, 25 Apr. 1995). Yes, ‘Blind Freddy’ could see that it was a hatchet ‘job’, a blatant attempt to contrive the impression that we are a dangerous threat to society—through the use of weird spiritual background music in the program, the misuse of Griffith’s ‘Adam and Eve’ pantomime to portray him as a maniac in the promotional trailer for the program, and the mind-controlling voice-over commentary etc, etc—everything was so obviously twisted to convey an impression that in reality didn’t exist. Millikan had to go to absolutely extraordinary lengths to twist and misrepresent the evidence to create an impression that we were some kind of horrible threat to society. In our view, even without such evidence as the agenda-revealing letter to Four Corners’ executive producer Ian Carroll and the extract of Millikan talking with the aforementioned Belfield’s etc, ‘Blind Freddy’ could see what was going on—that it was an all-out attack.
Also, it is a total mystery to us why the court didn’t recognise the very real scientific support originally given to Griffith’s work, from eminent scientists such as Professors John Morton, Paul Davies, Charles Birch and Colin Groves—and even those who hadn’t yet taken a position on the substance of his work, like Tim Flannery—or how that support was seriously undermined by our detractors’ fear campaign, which incidentally shows how negatively the public at large was going to be, and indeed was, affected. For instance, before being sent all manner of misinformation by our detractors Paul Davies was so enthusiastic about Beyond that he sent Griffith a letter telling him how much even his mother had enjoyed the book.
The ABC has behaved with appalling
irresponsibility and we await its apology
As we have said so often, the greatest care needs to be taken where the subject of the human condition is at issue because while, as the ruling mentioned, it is the most discomforting of subjects, and the realm where all manner of charlatans have operated, it is also the realm from which the liberating understanding of the human condition must come. So while the realm where the subject of the human condition resides is the area where the most prejudiced and serious misrepresentations can occur, it is also from where the greatest benefits to humanity come.
Addressing the issue of the human condition represents both a very toxic and muddied pool to have to wade into but doing so is the most important of all tasks taking place in science—as Plato’s cave allegory emphasised, the ‘enlightenment…of our human condition’ that leads to humanity’s ‘transition to the real world’ ‘is the proper object of knowledge’—an objective reiterated by the renowned Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson when he said, ‘The human condition is the most important frontier of the natural sciences’ (Consilience, 1988, p.298 of 374). In fact, as the underlying issue in all human affairs, the human condition is the issue that had to be solved for there to be a future for the human race. If blatant intolerance and prejudice is allowed in the realm of inquiry where the issue of the human condition resides then humanity can never hope to free itself from that devastating condition; it will perish. The fundamental purpose of democracy is to allow freedom of expression, and thus the development of new ideas, ultimately the development of the dreamt of and hoped for totally transforming and now desperately needed breakthrough understanding of ourselves, of our human condition.
The ABC has behaved with appalling irresponsibility, publishing and then defiantly standing behind such an obvious hatchet job and now, as is summarised below, an utterly discredited program, on work of the utmost importance to the future of the human race. We await its apology. In fact, because we think the ABC should be held accountable for behaving so abominably, we are appealing *(see result of appeal at conclusion of this commentary) the outstanding ‘fair comment’ and ‘qualified privilege’ aspects of the ruling.
The major events in our struggle to ‘clear our name’ since this campaign of persecution went public in 1995:
- In 1995 an ABC Four Corners program and feature article in the Sydney Morning Herald—both produced by Reverend Millikan—were published about the FHA/WTM and its then directors Jeremy Griffith and Tim Macartney-Snape.
- In 1998 the Australian Broadcasting Authority, Australia’s then official media watchdog, found the Four Corners program to be ‘inaccurate, unbalanced and partial’ and took the unprecedented step of recommending to the ABC that it would be ‘appropriate to apologise’ to the FHA/WTM.
- When the ABC refused to apologise defamation actions were taken against the ABC and the Herald, and in 2003 and 2005 respectively each report was found to be defamatory by NSW Supreme Court juries.
- In 2008 two of the three defamatory imputations found to arise from the Four Corners program resulted in a payout of $700,000 to Tim Macartney-Snape for the loss and damage caused by the broadcast.
- The key finding in relation to the truth of the third imputation about the scientific support for Griffith’s work has now, 2010, been successfully overturned with the three Appeal Court judges unanimously concluding that the first judgment failed to ‘adequately consider’ ‘that [Griffith’s] work was a grand narrative explanation from a holistic approach, involving teleological elements’.
- In the case of the Sydney Morning Herald, in 2009 it published this apology to the FHA/WTM: ‘On 22 April 1995, the Sydney Morning Herald published an article by Reverend Doctor David Millikan which implied that the Foundation for Humanity’s Adulthood placed demands on its members which tore families apart. The Herald withdraws such inference and apologises to the Foundation for the harm caused by the publication.’
* Result of High Court appeal application
Like the great majority of appeals to the High Court, our application for special leave to appeal the remaining defences of ‘comment’ and ‘qualified privilege’ was unsuccessful, with High Court Judges French and Gummow on 8 April 2011 declining to allow our appeal to be considered. However, as emphasised in my commentary above, these two remaining defences were unimportant in terms of clearing our name because they relate not to our behaviour but to the ABC’s conduct and to Millikan’s motives. Our name has been cleared by the litany of rulings in our favour including, most recently and importantly, the Court of Appeal unanimously vindicating our fundamental complaint that what the defamatory 1995 Four Corners program published about Griffith’s work was untrue.
With our name cleared it was only in the public interest of holding our national broadcaster fully accountable that we decided to appeal the two residual matters, so although our application for special leave to appeal to the High Court was unsuccessful we remain elated that, after 16 years, complete vindication of the World Transformation Movement and its patrons Jeremy Griffith and myself has now been achieved. It is an extraordinary and fabulous achievement. We have succeeded in laying the foundations for a new world for humanity based on reconciling understanding of the human condition.