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Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Danish neuroscientist Penkowa, found guilty of misconduct, reappears as Scientology group headliner

with 12 comments


Penkowa, via press release

Milena Penkowa, the Danish neuroscientist who has had four papers retracted and was found to have committed misconduct, is in the news again, this time for speaking at a museum exhibition by a Scientology-founded group.

Titled “Psykiatri – Dödens industri — “Psychiatry, Industry of Death” — the exhibition is at the museum of the Commission on Human Rights, which, according to a press release,

was established in 1969 in the United States of the Church of Scientology and psychiatry professor Thomas Szasz, the world’s most famous psychiatry critics, and in 1972 in Sweden, to investigate and expose abuses of human rights in mental health care and to clean up the field of mental healing.

As the Swedish Dagens Medicin newspaper reported (via Google Translate):

The exhibition was opened with a keynote speech by Milena Penkowa from Denmark. She is presented in Scientology’s press release as “physician and professor of neurology.” But she is actually an ex-professor and it is in my opinion fitting that just Penkowa inaugurates an exhibition that is more fantasy than fact.

It’s unclear whether Penkowa has had a long-term relationship with the group. According to her site, Penkowa is now working as a health navigator, offering to connect people with doctors who will provide second opinions.

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Written by Ivan Oransky

October 15, 2013 at 1:23 pm

12 Responses

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  1. Sad, really. Going from a position of honor and responsibility to selling patent medicine to ignorami. Scientology is an evil and predatory organization.

    Statistical Observer

    October 15, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    • Anyone is allowed to do as they wish, within the law, in their personal or non-professional life.

      If she is wishing to be linked to whatever religion/cult – live and let live I say.

      Are there any more retractions from her or her group?
      If not, let her be, let her live her life. In peace. Everyone is entitled to be happy and have a bit of peace.

      Health navigator! I like the phrase :)


      October 15, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      • I disagree when the alternative involves support to a criminal organization.


        October 15, 2013 at 5:54 pm

  2. I am considerably upset at the name Thomas Szasz being mentioned in your blog in the same phrase as Scientology. Dr. Szasz was a crusader for social justice, and immensely influential, most famously for this book “The Myth of mental illness’. He clarified ideas of many people with novel insight into mental illness, and was amazing for his brilliance and his dedication.

    I realize that this was not the point of the post, but wanted to rectify this notwithstanding- and remind anyone who may not have read it that the book is still worth reading.

    elaine newman

    October 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    • To be fair, while Dr. Szasz wan’t a Scientologist himself, he did have a connection with the Church. According to the New York Time article listed below

      “In 1969, in a move that damaged his credibility even among allies, he joined with the Church of Scientology to found the Citizens Commission on Human Rights,…”

      Dr. Thomas Szasz, Psychiatrist Who Led Movement Against His Field, Dies at 92 (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/health/dr-thomas-szasz-psychiatrist-who-led-movement-against-his-field-dies-at-92.html?_r=0)


      October 15, 2013 at 5:04 pm

      • Sorry I am startled that he had anything to do with them. I even looked up his o bituary before I wrote to see if they mentioned scientology, which they didnt. I hope that their Citizens commission was a worthwhile effort,

        But none of this changes my respect for his views on mental illness.

        elaine newman

        October 15, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      • It goes on: “Dr. Szasz was not a Scientologist himself, and he later distanced himself from the church, but he shared the religion’s critical view of psychiatry.”

        Klaus K

        October 19, 2013 at 8:48 am

    • “Social justice” is a load of crap anyway. It’s a code word for “advancing a left-wing political agenda by any means possible.”


      October 16, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      • Social justice for me means an attempt to assure the best life we can manage for all citizens. Perhaps it means something else to you

        elaine newman

        October 16, 2013 at 12:44 pm

  3. Milena Penkowa and Thoma Szasz may be crusaders for social justice, world peace, the liberation of the oppressed, the healing of the bereft, etc., etc…….but they also believe in the existence of the Evil Intergalactic Warlord ‘Xenu'; the paralyzing and abduction of billions of Federation citizens by this warlord, many millions of years ago, in a galaxy far, far away; the preservation of these abducted citizens’ bodies to prevent them from decaying; the transport of these billions of comatose citizens across intergalactic space to Teegeeack (Earth), in spaceships resembling DC-8 jet planes; and the placement of the paralyzed abductees into volcanoes, into which Xenu dropped a multitude of H-bombs in order to kill everyone and spread their atomized particles across the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Xenu lives still…watching….waiting…..


    October 16, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    • I always thought that Xenu was Mork from Ork.
      Nanu Nanu


      October 17, 2013 at 4:28 am

  4. Hey, is there a better way for a fake religion to attack a real profession than with a fake scientist? The CoS must not read Retraction Watch–shame on it!

    Theresa Defino

    October 17, 2013 at 7:52 am

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