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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Scientology: Faith or Fact?

One of the things that Scientologists will stridently assert, is that Scientology is fact-based. They get upset when anyone says it is only faith-based. But what does it mean, "fact-based"?

It means that there is proof. Something that is fact-based is something where an independent party can look at the facts and will admit, "Yes, based on the data, that is true."

So where are the facts?

When pressed, the Scientologist will begin to present some anecdotal data. "I feel happier", or "My fear of widgets went away." But those are not facts.

Now, I'm real happy that someone feels better, but that's just not factual. There is no clear cause and effect here. It is well known that if you expect something to make you feel better, it is very likely to do just that, no matter what the activity is.

Scientologists also claim that Scientology "raises IQ", but the only tests involved are Scientology's own tests. These tests are not standard tests. These tests are not independently accepted tests and no independent testing has been done. Using a Scientology-developed test to prove that Scientology is effective is a bit self-serving and is certainly not unbiased.

All the "evidence" presented by a Scientologist is unsubstantiated, opinion or anecdotal.

Now, that's called "faith" where I come from. When hard, independent facts are completely unavailable, you can't claim the activity is fact-based, or worse, science-based.

So, what about all these abilities that Scientologists say they have? What about all the "success stories"?

Well, I'll tell you how this goes.

The person, called a "pre-clear" (or "pc"), buys a bunch of "auditing hours". These are hours spent one-on-one with a Scientology "auditor". The auditor asks the pc questions, the pc answers. The questions are all centered around a specific subject, such as "communication", depending on the level being audited. This goes on until the pc has a new realization about themselves or life regarding that subject. When the pc has this new realization, this is usually the end of that session. After these sessions, the pc normally feels pretty good. They've had this nice realization, they're happy.

Then, perhaps the next day, the pc gets another session, on the same subject, but different questions. Many sessions go on until the pc has a major realization about that subject.

At this point, the pc is sent to the "Examiner" (person who does this check) to attest to completion of the level. The examiner asks the pc if they want to attest to completing the level and to having gained the very specific abilities of that level.

Does the pc go out into the world and test out these "new abilities" to see if there has been a change and he or she now definitely has these abilities? Is there any test for these "new abilities"? Absolutely not. It's not about what the pc can actually do, it's about how the pc feels.

For example, the examiner might ask something like, "Do you attest to being able to communicate with anyone on any subject?" And the pc thinks, "Well, I couldn't do that before now, but I'm feeling really good about this, I can picture myself doing that now." And the pc says "Yes!"

The pc then goes and writes a "success story" about how they have this wonderful new ability ... that they haven't actually experienced in the real world. So the success story is about how they imagine having the new ability would be like.

And then they go out into the real world, and they believe they can now talk to anyone. They feel like it should be true, now that they've reached this magical level. It is entirely possible, because of some of the things they realized, or simply because they believe, that they actually might perceive some improvement. But is it the ability to talk to anyone on any subject?

Of course it isn't. It isn't difficult to see this. There are tons of people a Scientologist cannot talk to. There are lots of conversations that Scientologists cannot listen to. They see this and they know this but they cannot admit it. In the flush of the moment, right after session, they attested it was true. It turns out to not be true, but, you see, it's all their fault. They attested. They are told that only bad people falsely attest, and only bad people fail to get gains from auditing. And they don't want to be a bad person, so they keep quiet.

What they don't know, because no one can talk about it, is that everyone experiences the same thing. They think they are flawed. They think everyone else is doing fine. They think that everyone else got all their gains. No one talks about this so no one knows that this is the common result of auditing.
  • Scientologists can't talk to anyone on any subject (Grade 0). That's obvious to anyone trying to have a conversation with a Scientologist.
  • Scientologists have major problems (Grade I). Typically, Scientologists are deeply in debt. Usually, Scientologists are struggling to accomplish their goals. They can't cope with Anonymous, they can't cope with their secrets spilling out, they can't solve their many problems.
  • The Church of Scientology and a number of Scientologists have major "overts and witholds" (crimes and secrets) which were supposed to be handled with Grade II.
  • And so on, straight up their levels. In the real world, they don't have the abilities that they attested to. Clears get sick and don't have "perfect recall". Difficulties persist.
When Scientologists claim they have all these wonderful abilities, it is belief and faith speaking. Usually, it is belief despite obvious evidence to the contrary. There are no facts to back up those claims.

So what? What difference does it make if Scientology claims to be "based on scientific fact"? Who cares?

Everyone should care. When Scientology claims to be fact-based, it means that they believe their techniques will work on you, whether you believe or not. It means that they believe that the techniques should be used on you, for your own good. It means that they believe that, if their techniques don't produce the expected results on you, that all they have to do is hammer it in until it does produce that result. It means that they believe, in their campaign to bring about the conversion of the world into a "Scientology World", that any opposition is supreme evil. They believe that any expression of doubt is evil. They believe that anyone who fights against their conquest of the world is fighting against proven betterment.

Because Scientologists believe all this, they believe they are justified in taking any action to accomplish their world conquest; they believe they are justified in taking any action against their critics.

And this is something we all need to be very concerned about.

1 comment:

  1. Early on in the development of the subject, Hubbard claimed that there were hundreds of cases upon which he based his discoveries. Unfortunately when asked for case studies and records - they don't exist. So we are left only with Hubbard's word that such cases exist - again, an article of faith. The so-called "workability" of Scientology is all subjective and anecdotal, and any subjective information or anecdotal data which tends to show a failure of the "tech," well, of course that is discounted as "the tech wasn't properly applied," or "the person was PTS," or any one of dozens of other excuses forwarded to explain away the obvious failures. That only a tiny percentage of people ever make it to the "higher levels" indicates a huge failure rate, one that is not noticed by the faithful.


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