Old Scientology News

This is ‘old news’ in 2 senses. (Sense 1) It’s old news because it’s from the the Times of 6 August 2009. (Sense 2) And it’s also really old news because it’s “formerly secret news” from 3 decades ago. The gist of it is:

L Ron Hubbard was a fraud….. No, really. (It is also rumoured the Pope is Catholic. There may be secret files on this.)

The Times filed a Freedom of Information request to access the National Archive files on Scientology. The Department of Health yielded the information on diplomats’ efforts to find out if Hubbard was really a PhD.

(Quick pause to wonder how confusing the government filing system must have been if this item ended up in the Dept of Health.)

Britain’s secret mission to expose Scientology leader as ‘fraud’
The founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard, was exposed as a fraud 30 years ago by British diplomats who were investigating his qualifications.
The science-fiction writer, who invented a religion now followed by celebrities such as Tom Cruise, awarded himself a PhD from a sham “diploma mill” college that he had acquired, the diplomats found. …..

Bit of a damp squib. Given the relatively enticing headline, I was hoping for something more shocking than L Ron’s postgraduate qualifications being imaginary. I suppose at that point maybe the claim that

“…L. Ron Hubbard was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Sequoia University on February 10, 1953, in recognition of his outstanding work in the fields of Dianetics and Scientology and that the said degree was recorded with the Department of Education of the State of California,” John McMaster stated.

might have passed for academic support for the idea of the sciencey- sounding Dianetics actually being a science. It’s still hard to imagine a world in which any reasonable person would accept that, even if it turned out to be supported by a PHd or a full professorship or an NVQ Level 1 in Customer Service.

Links to the Times Scientology Archive don’t work today, but this Times link did:

Simpsons producers ‘have a cow’ as Bart lends his voice to Scientologists
Bart Simpson used to be an underachiever and proud of it. These days, it seems, he’s an Operating Thetan VII in the Church of Scientology and proud of that, too.
At least, that is what Scientologists were led to believe this week when they received an automated telephone message featuring the voice of Bart inviting them to the Scientology Flag World Tour, an event being held in Hollywood tomorrow.

Blimey, those Scientologists are real celeb-magnets. Even the voice of a cartoon character – whose defining characteristics are mischievousness and stupidity – is grist to their celeb mill.

Although, it turns out that, in the real world, Bart’s voice belongs to a woman who is an Operating Thetan VII “and therefore an individual who can operate independently of her body” (The Times). Hmm, sorry, did I say “in the real world”?

Well, it seems her body can operate independently of her mind anyway, because

Ms Cartwright, who earns an estimated $400,000 (£280,000) per episode, was recently awarded Scientology’s Patron Laureate Award after reportedly donating $10 million to the organisation

As it happens, I have a Nobel prize from Oak University, awarded for my sterling work in Camillanology. I have produced a rigorous science-filled training plan that will allow dedicated students to gain the mystical power to talk out of their bottoms. And I love cartoons.

Don’t pay out another dollar please, Ms Cartwright until you have checked out the secret system that I was taught by hyper-intelligent entities from the planet Zeta,

Scientologist Woo Spread Over eBay

Well, the internet really is a wonderful, entertaining, educating thing…

Today, I was looking over eBay trying to find some things to buy (as you do). I started off my search looking for camera filters but after a while I got fed up reading page after page of “UV Filters” for sale from Hong Kong (I have a UV filter…) and searched for other things. I have a certain amount of interest in philosophical topics, so I thought checking out what philosophy books were available would be worthwhile.

So, off I go to books -> educational textbooks -> philosophy and I am presented with a list of books. Second on my search is one titled “ALL ABOUT RADIATION.” Now, call me old fashioned, but I really found it hard to work out what was philosophical about radiation, so I had a look. Boy was I in for a treat. Now this auction (see it for yourself) only has 11 hours left to go as I write this, so in case it is gone by the time you read this post, I have taken a screenshot of it for you:

Scientologists disguise dianetics book to sell on ebay

This priceless bit of nonsense reads:

Written by L. Ron Hubbard and two well-known medical doctors, this book provides the facts surrounding the effect of radiation on the body and spirit and offers solutions to those harmful effects. An immediate sellout in bookstores when originally released, All About Radiation tells the truth about the little known and talked about subject of radiation, and introduces the Purification program as the technology to handle its cumulative effects. (See companion lecture series, Radiation and Your Survival where L. Ron Hubbard details the subject of radiation and its effects.)

Amazing. It almost beggars belief that people actually fall for this sort of nonsense, but that is a topic which has been done to death many a time in the past. The idea that radiation is harmful to the “spirit” is comical, as is the idea that these two unnamed yet “well-known” medical doctors have had any scientific input into this drivel.

What interests me in this auction, is the way this woo-filled nonsense is being sold.

Obviously the proponents of this dianetic / scientologist gibberish are aware that if they label it as scientologist people will steer clear en masse. To get round this, and obviously draw some level of interest, they have:

  1. Marked it as a Medical / Nursing book (which I suppose is almost close to the truth… almost)
  2. Placed it in the “philosophy” category
  3. Been strangely not-forthcoming in the title (most ebay titles read like the whole item description…)

I cant help but think that if Scientology / Dianetics is such a “sensible” and genuine “school of thought” (sorry for all the sneer quotes, but I cant help but sneer at this), then they wouldn’t have to resort to underhand tactics. Sadly, and in a blow against my innocent view of the world, it seems scientologists rely on this as their main form of recruitment.

The one bit which really made me laugh was the idea that radiation is “little known and talked about…” That might have been true in 1920, but this is 2007. People shouldn’t be jumping to mad ideas about electromagnetism and radiation. (Ah… I might be wrong here…)

Bad Journalist

Following two posts on Nullifidian’s blog (here and here), and a bit on BBC News 24 this morning, I couldn’t help but start to feel sorry for John Sweeney. In a nutshell, this guy is a BBC reporter who has been looking into the ridiculous cult which calls itself the Church of Scientology. From Nullifidian’s site:

John Sweeney investigates the Church of Scientology, endorsed by some major Hollywood celebrities, but which continues to face the criticism that it is less of a religion and more of a cult. Some former members claim the Church uses a mind control technique to put opponents at a psychological disadvantage. During the course of his investigation, Sweeney is shouted at, spied on, visited in his hotel at midnight and chased around the streets of LA by strangers in hire cars.

Sadly, Sweeney is far from a “good” investigative journalist. I suspect he planned to use this Scientology thing to get a “big break” into the real world of hardcore investigators. When faced with fairly obvious methods, Sweeney falls for them and hands the Scientologist Cultists a few (albeit minor) PR victories. In typical Cult fashion, the Scientologists have pounced on any apparent weakness shown by Sweeney and a video clip of him loosing it (after goading it should be added) has been getting lots of hits on YouTube. Continue reading