David C. Lane
David Christopher Lane (born April 29, 1956 in Burbank, California) is a professor of philosophy and sociology at Mt. San Antonio College, in Walnut, California. He is notable for his book The Making of a Spiritual Movement: The Untold Story of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar which exposed the origins of Eckankar and demonstrated the plagiarism of its founder, Paul Twitchell. He is also notable for introducing to a wider audience the teachings of Baba Faqir Chand, the Indian exponent of Surat Shabd Yoga from Hoshiapur. Among writings on Chand, he edited and published a book entitled The Unknowing Sage: Life and Work of Baba Faqir Chand. Lane wrote the first critical exposé of John-Roger Hinkins and MSIA in 1983 entitled The J. R. Controversy. and was instrumental in helping Peter McWilliams write the controversial book Life 102: What to Do When Your Guru Sues You. Lane served as a research assistant to Professor Mark Juergensmeyer while in India in 1978 and helped trace the genealogical history of various offshoot gurus in Radhasoami connected to its founder Shiv Dayal Singh. Lane's work resulted in being included in Juergensmeyer's Radhasoami Reality (Princeton University Press, 1991) and in Lane's own book on guru politics in The Radhasoami Tradition: A Critical History of Guru Succession (Garland Publishers, 1992). Some of Lane's work on Adi Da, Father Yod, Ken Wilber, Kirpal Singh, and others can be found in his book, Exposing Cults: Where the Skeptical Meets the Mystical (Garland Publishers, 1994). Lane's recent books include, Cosmic Creationism: Ken Wilber's Evolutionary Theory (Mt. San Antonio College, 2014); The Great Mystery: Matter vs. Spirit (Mt. San Antonio College, 2014); Digital Philosophy (Mt. San Antonio College); You are Probability (Mt. San Antonio College); and Adventures in Science: From Quantum Thinking to Alien Encounters (Mt. San Antonio College).
Lane has a Ph.D. and an M.A. in the sociology of knowledge from the University of California at San Diego, where he was also a recipient of a Regents Fellowship. Additionally, he has another M.A. in the history and phenomenology of religion from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a B.A. from California State University, Northridge. Lane received his A.A. from Los Angeles Valley College. Attended Notre Dame High School.
Lane was a lecturer in religious studies at California State University from 2001 to 2013 who specialized in the study of new religious movements including cults and the interface between science and religion.
Lane was raised Roman Catholic, but went on to be initiated in 1978 by Charan Singh of Radha Soami Satsang Beas. He later has become critical of some but not all of the teachings of Radha Soami Sant Mat. Lane has been a strict vegetarian since the age of 16 and in a recent interview on Skeptiko mentions that he meditates from 2 to 3 hours daily.
He previously taught at the University of California, San Diego, The California School of Professional Psychology, the University of Humanistic Studies, Palomar College, Mira Costa College, and the University of London and other academic institutions. He has given invited lectures at the London School of Economics, California State University, Fullerton. In 2010 was a keynote speaker at the SPIRCON conference at the Dayalbagh Educational Institute in Agra, India, featured in the book Spiritual Consciousness. In 2014 Lane gave the plenary talk at QANSAS (quantum and nano computing systems and applications) International Conference in Agra. This talk was published as the book, The Oceanic Metaphor.
In an interview in the San Diego Reader published on June 22, 1995, Lane complained about receiving death threats from defenders of several new religious movements or cults. He has also been involved in a number of lawsuits due to his critical stance of these groups.
Lane's booklet, Why I Don't Eat Faces: A Neuroethical Argument for Vegetarianism, was published in 1993 and later incorporated into a short movie. Lane has written skeptical articles on the Bhrigu Samhita, reputedly an ancient astrological treatise in India.; UFO's; religious visions; and Sathya Sai Baba's reported miracles. Lane's most recent work has focused on evolutionary philosophy, neuroscience, quantum theory, and consciousness.
Lane has also produced a number of short films, including "Vertical Geometry", "Moving Water", "Is the Universe an App?", "Inner Visions and Running Trains", "Evolution Explained in Four Minutes", "The Quantum Mechanical Basis of Photosynthesis," among others.
Lane frequently joins discussions and debates between current and former members of new religious movements, especially on Yahoo! group he set up for use with his classes (as well as occasionally posting on Brian Hines' Church of the Churchless blog). He puts some of his discussions on The Neural Surfer, the Mt. SAC philosophy department web site which also contains Lane's online diary and essays of a satirical nature on religious topics.
Lane has won the International Bodysurfing Championships held in Manhattan Beach eight times (1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2011, 2014, 2015, and 2016). Lane won the World Bodysurfing Championship held in Oceanside, California, in 1999. He placed second in 2012.
Lane is married to Dr. Andrea Diem, a professor of philosophy at Mt. San Antonio College. They have two children, Shaun-Michael Plato Diem and Kelly-Joseph. Lane has two brothers and one sister, Michael S. Lane, professor of business at West Virginia (deceased), Joseph A. Lane, Clerk of the Court, Second Appellate, and Kimball Ann Lane, attorney at law.
- Lane, David Christopher (1993) , The making of a spiritual movement : the untold story of Paul Twitchell and Eckankar, Religious information systems series, vol. 11.; Garland reference library of social science, v. 891., Garland Publishing, ISBN 978-0-8153-1276-5, retrieved 6 September 2013
- Lane, David Christopher (1992), The Radhasoami tradition : a critical history of guru successorship, Sects and cults in America., Bibliographical guides ;, v. 14; Garland reference library of social science, v. 623., New York, ISBN 978-0-8240-5247-8
- Chand, Faqir; Lane, David Christopher (1993), The unknowing sage : the life and work of Baba Faqir Chand, Mt. San Antonio College Press, ISBN 978-1-56543-022-8
- Lane, David Christopher (1994), The Making of a Spiritual Movement: The Untold Story of Paul Twitchell & Eckankar (revised ed.), Del Mar Press, ISBN 978-0-9611124-6-2
- Lane, David Christopher (1994), Exposing cults : when the skeptical mind confronts the mystical, Garland reference library of social science, v. 890.; Religious information systems series, vol. 10., Garland Pub, ISBN 978-0-8153-1275-8
- Lane, David Christopher (1995), The enchanted land : a journey with the saints of India, MSAC Philosophy Group, ISBN 978-1-56543-053-2
- Lowe, Scott; Lane, David Christopher (1996), DA : the strange case of Franklin Jones, MSAC Philosophy Group, ISBN 978-1-56543-054-9
- Retrieved on 2013-01-06.
- Eckankar: A Former Member Revisits the Movement, Dodie Bellamy, San Diego Reader, June 22, 1995, Archived July 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Church of the Churchless
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- Online diary of Lane, other writings, Runnebohm digital collection
- The Neural Surfer website
- Document from CESNUR describing Lane's battle against MSIA
- Legal document from CESNUR MSIA versus David C. Lane