Falun Gong and science: origins, pseudoscience and China's scientific establishment

Farley, Helen (2011) Falun Gong and science: origins, pseudoscience and China's scientific establishment. In: Handbook of religion and the authority of science. Brill Handbooks on Contemporary Religion (3). Brill, Leiden, Netherlands, pp. 141-163. ISBN 9789004187917

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It seems that any farmer’s market or large social gathering will somewhere boast a small stand with a few pamphlets, fronted by gentle people with smiling faces, espousing the health benefits of Falun Gong or Falun Dafa as it is also known. Practitioners are ready to regale those with an ear to listen personal testimonies of how a set of five meditational exercises were able to transform their lives from being stressful and conflict-ridden to being healthful, peaceful and enriched. The media and the Falun Gong media machine have ensured that most are familiar (and outraged) by China’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, and yet these same people so passionately opposed to the movement’s suppression, remain unaware of what ideologies lie behind this movement; of what makes Falun Gong tick. For example, most remain ignorant of the problematic discourse that exists between Falun Gong and the scientific community; ironic given that the movement is so heavily reliant on the science of telecommunications to spread its word. This chapter scrutinizes the uneasy relationship between Falun Gong and science by examining the emergence of Falun Gong from the larger qigong movement in the 1990s. Qigong itself was a formulated tradition that appeared just before the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The relationship between qigong and science is considered, with the latter being both friend and foe to the movement at different times. The nature of this association has to some extent influenced the relationship between science and Falun Gong. The chapter concludes with an examination of the ideologies of Falun Gong in relation to the contemporary scientific worldview as expressed by its charismatic founder, Li Hongzhi.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: c. 2011 Brill.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Australian Digital Futures Institute (8 Dec 2010 - 6 Jul 2016)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Australian Digital Futures Institute (8 Dec 2010 - 6 Jul 2016)
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2012 03:57
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2017 05:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: meditation; stress; peace; mental health; ideologies; censorship
Fields of Research (2008): 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220406 Studies in Eastern Religious Traditions
16 Studies in Human Society > 1608 Sociology > 160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210302 Asian History
Fields of Research (2020): 50 PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES > 5004 Religious studies > 500406 Studies in eastern religious traditions
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4410 Sociology > 441007 Sociology and social studies of science and technology
43 HISTORY, HERITAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 4303 Historical studies > 430301 Asian history
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/ej.9789004187917.i-924.45
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/18475

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