Some years ago I remember reading an account of Aldous Huxley lecturing on the Bates Method. I think it was a book by a well-known skeptic (maybe Gardner or Sagan?) but I don't remember exactly.

According to this account (from my memory) he was well known to need strong glasses. But he came on stage without glasses and started reading from his notes. This was an amazing demonstration of the truth of what he was saying. But the half way through he faltered, and started peering closely at his notes. It dawned on the audience that up until that point he had been reciting, not reading, and the Bates Method hadn't worked for him after all.

Does anyone know more about this story?

  • 3
    I think this question needs to have a specific source to fulfill the notability criteria of this websites. Even then the question would look to be very specific and hard to verify.
    – Christian
    Commented Mar 6, 2016 at 18:19
  • This story is present in Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science By Martin Gardner-books.google.co.in/…. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 10:41
  • @pericles316 Yes, that would be where I read it. Thanks. Can I suggest you post that as an Answer, and I'll accept it. Commented Mar 7, 2016 at 17:45
  • @pericles316 I had never heard of that book, but it looks fantastic and timely fifty years after its publication, and I might have to pick up a copy. Were you already aware of it before this question, or did you just come across it while researching an answer? Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 20:20
  • @Iamnotmaynard-I have the book's copy as a pdf version and might have read this story before but the truth is I came across this book from the wikipedia reference for this story when I researched for the answer! Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 7:08

1 Answer 1


Referring to Martin Gardner in the book 'Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science' Chapter 19 'Throw Away Your Glasses', there had been no changes in the cornea opacity of Aldous Huxley to indicate better or improvement in vision due to the alternative Bate's method therapy.

The following quotation is from Bennett Cerf's column in The Saturday Review, April 12, 1952: "When he arose to make his address he wore no glasses, and evidently experienced no difficulty in reading the paper he had planted on the lectern. Had the exercises really given him normal vision? I, along with twelve hundred other guests, watched with astonishment while he rattled glibly on. . .

Then suddenly he faltered— and the disturbing truth became obvious. He wasn't reading his address at all. He had learned it by heart. To refresh his memory he brought the paper closer and closer to his eyes. When it was only an inch or so away he still couldn't read it, and had to fish for a magnifying glass in his pocket to make the typing visible to him. It was an agonizing moment. . ." Source: Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science

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