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The Anecdotal Fallacy

March 23, 2011
Ancient storytelling

As a tribute to my years spent as Editor of Advance Magazine, I thought I’d publish a column of “OT Phenomena” Success Stories. See what you think of these:

“I went from a single mom at home trying to work part time as self employed without much success, to having a part time job, and within a few short weeks I had gained a second part time job. I was over the moon. I then decided one day in a session…that I really wanted a full time job. To my surprise the very next day my manager at the dental surgery I worked in offered me a full time job…This stuff really does work. I live each and every day positively happy.”

“I was at a house rebuilding a porch and I lost my balance and fell backwards and landed on a concrete step on my left arm. The bone in my arm immediately snapped completely in half, right above my elbow. My elbow twisted and was pointing towards my stomach and the back of my hand hit me in the face. My arm was completely broken and mangled, and I screamed out for my employee to call 911. …When I got to the hospital…I decided to try to heal my arm. A doctor came in shortly and took x-rays. Later he came back and said they needed to do a CAT  scan. They did that and I waited for a couple more hours before they came back in again looking kind of perplexed and they told me that my arm was not broken. I exclaimed ‘What? I saw the bone break and it was bulging out of the back of my arm!’   The doctor leaned over me and whispered to me: ‘We don’t know what happened, but your bone is not broken anymore.'”

“I was so energized, that I could not stop myself from working on creative projects because I was so inspired… It’s as though all of my barriers have come down and I’m filled with this new enthusiasm and confidence to achieve my full potential…I was able to increase my business sales and double my income in less than 8 months! … I had no idea that I would experience such tremendous results so quickly. I was zapped into action and I haven’t stopped since!”

“I am a lady truck driver and I deal with bad motorists 10 to 15 hours every day. Anyway, I have this ability to tell if another driver is going to pull out in front of me or make some other kind of wild maneuver. Many times I have started braking and my husband (who is my team partner on the truck) has asked me why I was slowing down–only to stop mid-sentence because a car suddenly swerved in front of us.”

“Several months ago the remote to the television went missing…My mother taught me that when something is lost, the best way to find it is START CLEANING! So shortly after their disappearance, I scheduled a full day to clean the living room….It took me 12 hours to clean the place, and by the end of it, I was convinced the dog had buried the remote in the back yard. There is nowhere else it could have possibly disappeared to. …Today I was sitting on the couch reading, I set my book down to rest my eyes a few minutes…when POOF it hit me, there must be a small crevice in the frame of the couch that runs the length of the couch. What’s more, I knew exactly where the remote was- I knew it was underneath where I was sitting. I stuck my hand in and immediately felt it. Amazing!”

“When I retired as a schoolteacher and moved to Florida, I decided I didn’t want to sit at home all day and watch TV, so I hired myself out as a part time nanny and babysitter…As I walked up the steps of a house to introduce myself to a new family, I could feel my sensations becoming more acute.… As I approached the front door, I had the strangest feeling I knew this house. Yet, I was new to the area… As [the wife] gave me a tour of the house, I started telling her in advance what each room looked like. We were both amazed when I described not only the layout of the master bedroom, but the individual pieces of furniture as well as the various things she had strewn around the room. Then I realized…I was simply picking up bits of information from her mind.”

Impressive, aren’t they? As Advance Editor, I would have been proud to publish these. And I’m sure that there are those who would say that these stories prove that Scientology works.

The only problem? They’re not from Scientology. They are from many different sources –  The Secret website, an “Academy of Remote Viewing” site, a “Soul Success Coach” blog, a “female intuition” website, a “psychic consultant” website, and an astrology website. In about a half an hour on Google, I found these and hundreds upon hundreds more.

Do these stories “prove” that these subjects work? No of course not. What do they tell us?

1. People have strange, unexplained experiences and like to write about them.

2. They tend to attribute them to whatever they are into: hypnotherapy, Christian prayer, astrology, channeling, whatever, and

3. The purveyors of those subjects or beliefs love to carefully select these out and display them as “proof” that their particular subject “works.”

Now, this isn’t to say that hypnotherapy, astrology, The Secret, magic healing crystals and so forth don’t work. But stories like this don’t prove it.

Why?

Let’s look at something called the anecdotal fallacy, sometimes referred to as the “person who” fallacy, as in “I know a person who…” or “I heard of a case where…”

We’ve all heard examples: “Smoking doesn’t cause cancer! My grandfather chain-smoked all his life and lived to be 100.” The person generalizes from a single anecdote. This is called hasty generalization or generalization from the particular. “My aunt started eating blueberries and her arthritis went away. See? Blueberries cure arthritis.”

Confirmation bias also enters in. This is the tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or beliefs. People gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a way that conforms to their established beliefs.  Let’s say a person believes that they can perceive available parking places from miles away. One day they are driving downtown and find a parking place right in front of their destination. This proves that they have this ability. Never mind the dozens of times they didn’t find a parking place, this is the story they will remember and retell (and get published in Advance Magazine).

Anecdotal evidence usually lacks documentation. Such stories can get exaggerated (in the interest of telling a good story), and are often passed from person to person, sometimes embellished as they go. “Urban myths” are an example of this.

Anecdotal evidence is often given more importance than is warranted, due to something called the availability heuristic, a phenomenon whereby people overestimate the frequency of a phenomenon in a group based on how easily they can think of an example. “OT stories” are memorable and startling and so come easily to mind. So people tend to generalize: “All OTs can do that.” Memorable anecdotes are often about the exception, not the rule. Examples where the person couldn’t do that tend to be forgotten.

And of course the companies or movements using these stories cherry pick the best ones to showcase as “the wins everyone is getting.”

Anecdotes, “success stories,” testimonials, can be fun to read. They can be entertaining. They can sell things. But using them to prove something can lead to logical absurdities:

“I know a Scientologist who is a millionaire. Therefore Scientology creates millionaires.”

“I know an OT who mysteriously recovered from cancer. Therefore, OTs can cure cancer. “

“I heard of an OT in the 1970s who could leave his body at will. Therefore OTs can leave their bodies at will.”

“I thought about my grandmother and a few minutes later she called. That proves telepathy is a fact.”

“I heard of a boy on the news who remembered a past life, Therefore that proves LRH was right and Scientology can help you recover your past lives.”

I could give more examples, but I think you get the idea.

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194 Comments
  1. Margaret permalink
    March 23, 2011 5:16 am

    All true, except: not all anecdotes are created equal.

    Some anecdotes have set accused murderers free. Some anecdotes have sent them to the electric chair.

    Anecdotes taken in combination with physical evidence sometimes are the deciding factor in both law and science.

    In fact, it could be said that anecdotes are the basis for the whole recent Scientology Independence movement: “I was there when DM was violent. I have no physicial evidence. But believe me, my story is true.”

    Sometimes it is the preponderance of anecdotes — especially taken in combination with some additional physical evidence — that leads jurors, judges, elected officials and scientists to come to the conclusions and decisions that they do.

    “Anecdotes” can indeed be sometimes taken too far or believed too readily. But used in balance and with good judgement, “first hand observations”, “testimony” and other similar “anecdotes” are recognized as invaluable throughout society.

    • SpecialFrog permalink
      March 23, 2011 12:21 pm

      Margaret,

      I feel you are being disingenuous.

      Anecdotes as evidence that a specific event happened is indeed the basis for a lot of legal judgments, though subject to cross-examination, of course.

      Additionally, an anecdote may form part of a piece of evidence in science.

      But that’s far different from using a small number of anecdotes to prove a general rule, particularly when there has been no effort to look for possible counter-examples.

      A few anecdotes about David Miscavige hitting people is evidence that David Miscavige likely has hit people before. It is not evidence that standing in his vicinity will result in you getting hit.

    • March 23, 2011 4:21 pm

      I think you’re lauding oranges where Jeff was criticizing apples. Jeff was talking about specific types of anecdotes wherein the storyteller is attributes certain phenomena as being caused by his/her own extra sensory abilities, which isn’t really comparable to more easily corroborated anecdotal evidence of events occurring in the physical world (which is usually referred to as testimony, whose credibility we can all assess). The latter is ultimately falsifiable and usually not the only source of data as to a particular question, and the former isn’t falsifiable–anecdotes are the only source of data usually because science failed to bear out the claim.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 23, 2011 6:15 pm

        “lauding oranges vs criticizing apples”

        I like that! Yes, that’s exactly right. BUT the title of the article is “The Anecdotal Fallacy”. If the title were “Fruit Fallacy” and one only criticized “apples” … well, you can see where I’m going.

        Not all anecdotes are created equal. That was/is my point. While Jeff’s article, imho, is entirely correct, it did ignore this fact. And so I pointed it out.

      • SpecialFrog permalink
        March 23, 2011 7:24 pm

        It does no such thing.

        It’s talking about the well-defined logical fallacy that involves the misuse of anecdotes. The relative merits of anecdotes is simply not relevant to the article.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 23, 2011 11:42 pm

        As you wish.

    • DagnyLT permalink
      March 23, 2011 5:55 pm

      Courts do not require “proof” of anything. In the United States, criminal courts require that jurors merely overcome what they deem “reasonable doubt” visa a vis the validity of the prosecution’s argument. Such standards are much too lax for a scientific inquiry.

      • DMSTCC permalink
        March 24, 2011 9:58 pm

        “Proof” sure does make the pudding taste better to the jury.

        +not disagreeing with you. 🙂

  2. brendon permalink
    March 23, 2011 5:31 am

    There are many things one learns along at college. How to drop the word “Zeitgeist” into your exam at just the right moment. Discovering the world from a Marxist perspective. And perhaps the most important of all, that “correlation does not imply causation.”

    Knowing that last one would have saved a lot of people a lot of money and grief.

    • newer permalink
      March 24, 2011 3:45 pm

      Brendon, you hit the nail on the head. Another, “Fac quod dico, non quod facio” LRH violated in an almost manic fashion. “Do as I say not, as I do. He purported that if told not to look at something he’d likely look. (Do). But, ANY suggestion to codify and look at OT abilities was met with a tear down of anyone suggesting such.

  3. brendon permalink
    March 23, 2011 5:32 am

    “along the way” — damn!

  4. Joe Doakes permalink
    March 23, 2011 5:45 am

    Fantastic article, Jeff. Thanks for writing. I find your commentary thought provoking. I’ve wondered about these sorts of things (as I’m sure many have) but one thing that also comes to mind is the effect these things can have on the individual.

    Now I’m not making a statement on this subject as I really have little actual data about it, but there’s a truism that people use only a fraction of their potential at any given time. That we all have the potential to be pretty incredible.

    For me I’ve experienced these kinds of things in virtually every -ism I’ve been involved with. There’s a lot of truth to me in what you said because of these observations. But one thing that I can’t ignore is that my “gains” in Scientology have been rather permanent and affecting my life with a pretty wide swath.

    That in itself might just be anecdotal. But I’ve seen guys in various religions that seemed to do very well as long-term members. Maybe they came from humble beginnings but by following the tenets, believe they’ve achieved what they have because of them. Same for virtually all of these types of groups that I’ve directly observed.

    I know I wasn’t in a very good place in life when I found Scientology, and while I can hardly say things are perfect, they’re pretty damn good for me. My ability to be and act and accomplish is quite high. I tend to operate on my lowest days, like I did pre-Scientology on my best days.

    Now, would I have achieved this “state” without Scientology but with something else? Too hard to tell. And is it attributable to Scientology only? Also not able to tell. But it’s worth noting. Maybe it was all in my mind, but by believing and buying into these anecdotes, is it possible I allowed myself to grow or expand in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise? If I was merely tricking myself into thinking I was ultimately all-powerful, that I was completely responsible for everything in my life, that I had massive untapped abilities and that I could accomplish anything — wouldn’t the change be “real” enough to justify some of the lies?

    I’m mainly pointing this out so people don’t feel they have to invalidate anything they’ve gotten from the subject — or to feel the need to defend the subject. You can have had your wins and still come to a new realization about how they came about.

    So, just something to chew on. I don’t know if these things are a complete waste, or 100% lies if in the end people feel better, do better and are better because of them as an aid…

    • Operatingwog permalink
      March 23, 2011 7:15 am

      False beliefs can have functional benefits. A child is likely to do better if it believes that it is a child who was wanted by its parents, even if this is not in fact true. Someone who believes social benefits are distributed fairly, and simply depend upon hard work, may have a better career than he/she would otherwise have had in virtue of this belief. The belief is nevertheless obviously false.

      Do the teachings of scientology have functional value? For some people at some times in some respects, yes. This can be acknowledged while it is recognised that scientology teachings are largely false and that the CoS is a harmful and dangerous social phenomenon which destroys many families and harms many individuals.

      • FiatLux permalink
        March 23, 2011 5:05 pm

        Operatingwog,
        I couldn’t have said it better myself.
        I have seen value in Scn teachings.
        But I’ll never understand why Hubbard took it in the cult direction.
        FL

      • Valkov permalink
        March 23, 2011 9:41 pm

        OW, very good analysis of the functional value of belief, thought, and consideration.

        This “old saw” expresses something similar: If you think you can, or you think you can’t, either way you’ll be right.

        I wouldn’t say offhand that this applies to “OT abilities”, though. It might for some few people, but I wouldn’t jump off a roof expecting to fly down to a gentle landing, just because I “believed” I could……

  5. Lady Lancelot permalink
    March 23, 2011 7:18 am

    OMFG! You totally had me. It is amazing to see that the kinds of wins one comes to accept as being possible only through Scientology and to find out well, it just ain’t necessarily so. What was that I’ve been drinking? “Kool aid,” you say.

    That said, since I had tried a lot of things before Scientology and since nothing worked till Scientology, to me Scientology has some definite workability.

    That is a different issue than “does it deliver what it promises?”

    And is different still from the “does it do more good than harm” issue? Sometimes I wonder about that, not just in my case but in many of the really bad situations I know about.

    Am still waking up from the misconceptions I swallowed–some would call them lies. Still wondering about it all. It’s a foggy mess inside my head right now.

    Anyway, just wanted to weigh in about the power of anecdotes and to thank you for the splash of reality.

    • FiatLux permalink
      March 23, 2011 5:08 pm

      Dear LL,
      Thanks for your comments.
      Good analysis, too.
      For me, once the illusion of Scn collapsed, and I could see Hubbard’s falsehoods, I had to wonder: “How in the world did I get taken in by this guy?”
      But I did get benefits from some of “The Tech”.
      FL

  6. March 23, 2011 8:06 am

    Very well written !
    It proves that people can change conditions by using their minds and some technology and it is in agreement with basic Scientology or better said with basic laws about life. Each time somebody applies some technology about life he gonna have some wins. It doesn’t matter if you call it Scientology, yoga, budhism, common sense or whatever…..if its a basic law it works. the only thing LRH did was putting that knowledge (of what works) which is very old together.
    The basic purpose of Dianetics and Scientology has always been :
    A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology.
    First announced to an enturbulated world in 1950, these aims are well within the grasp of our technology.
    Nonpolitical in nature, Scientology welcomes any individual of any creed, race or nation.
    We seek no revolution. We seek only evolution to higher states of being for the individual and for society.
    We are achieving our aims.
    After endless millennia of ignorance about himself, his mind and the universe, a breakthrough has been made for man.
    Other efforts man has made have been surpassed.
    The combined truths of fifty thousand years of thinking men, distilled and amplified by new discoveries about man, have made for this success.
    We welcome you to Scientology. We only expect of you your help in achieving our aims and helping others. We expect you to be helped.
    There is nothing written here about Otness and all that stuff but about helping other people !
    When somebody is studying Scientology, he should do it with the premise of wanting to help other people and improve himself so far he can better help to create a new civilization.
    I’ve seen many egocentric Scientologists just wanting to achieve OTness, but not at all interested in helping anybody – but in the contrary, misusing the trust of other Scientologists to the extreme- and at the end leaving because of not having achieved OTness and not being able to fly around -what never has been the purpose of Scientology !
    I appreciate your confession that in all those decades you were the editor of the advance magazine, you were marketing the wrong product that wasn’t in accordance with the basic purpose of Scientology (to help) and you were part of creating those misconceptions about the purpose of Scientology and selling snake oil !
    Your postings help me a lot, to better understand what happened and clarifies many questions I had about Scientology and it puts me much more on purpose. Thank you for that ! Continue your work, even sometimes I’m really upset about your writings.
    On the other side, I would be interested in hearing about, if you are interested in and give a try of you auditing just some few people with book 1 and see if you can observe any engramms and what happens to those people when they run them out !
    Have you ever audited somebody ?

    have a nice day ! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • March 23, 2011 5:27 pm

      Have you tried all the other systems and technologies out there to help people?

      • Valkov permalink
        March 23, 2011 9:25 pm

        William,

        I haven’t, have you?

      • March 23, 2011 9:47 pm

        No, but I’m not pushing one and rejecting all others. I am happy to try many things.

    • Jeff permalink*
      March 23, 2011 9:34 pm

      LO: “I appreciate your confession that in all those decades you were the editor of the advance magazine, you were marketing the wrong product that wasn’t in accordance with the basic purpose of Scientology (to help) and you were part of creating those misconceptions about the purpose of Scientology and selling snake oil !”

      It’s always amazing to me that I write something in plain English and people hear something entirely different.

      • FiatLux permalink
        March 24, 2011 4:41 pm

        Phase 2.

      • March 25, 2011 1:43 am

        I hear you, Jeff. Reading these comments has given me a permanent red mark on my forehead.

        ML, CW

    • March 23, 2011 9:45 pm

      My point was that you urge people to go to the trouble of learning Dianetics and then using it without offering any real reason to do so. YouHave rejected other systems and technologies, undoubtedly based on their anecdotes, so why should people accept your anecdotes?

      I’d actually like to know what you think. Why do you think your anecdotes have any higher validity?

    • Karen#1 permalink
      March 24, 2011 12:35 am

      LO ~~

      Jeff Hawkins served in the Sea Organization for some 35+ years.
      He was the Flagship Apollo with me and I consider him a close and personal friend.
      Notwithstanding our views are greatly different, (like you, I know the value of auditing).
      I love Jeff almost like a brother.

      Jeff did the 60 hour weeks, 80 hours weeks, 100 hour weeks for little to no pay, sometimes $10 a week sometimes no sleep for days.
      He really put in 1/2 his life into it.
      As a nice acknowledgment for serving for DECADES on a pittance with sleepless nights and over the top demands for production and in spite of stellar production, Jeff Hawkins was assaulted, punched and in beaten by Monster Miscavige
      (dramatizing his intention to overwhelm by force and pain)
      multiple times.

      This is the conduct of the “Leader” of the “Church”.

      His wife Katherine is still on Gold Base and he lost her when he walked away.
      Given what the “Church” has become, I have a huge respect for those that EXIT no matter what the cost.

      You are asking Jeff if he has ever audited.
      I would like to ask you have you read “Counterfeit Dreams?”
      http://counterfeitdreams.blogspot.com/

      ?

      • It's me again permalink
        March 24, 2011 2:45 am

        Thank you Karen, I was ready to go off again and decided to read this thread. I appreciate what you said about Jeff. I have many, many different points of view than Jeff but I must say, anyone who put that much time and life in the SO is a much bigger person than myself. Almost every person I met in the SO were extremely intelligent, compassionate, dedicated and had a strong purpose to help their fellow man…no matter what their post was…This site is were I first came and still check into once and a while….Personally I think that Jeff has a soft underbelly, but he would never show it to me…but that is what makes his site fun.

        Your loyalty to your friend is very admirable.

    • March 24, 2011 10:32 pm

      LO, suggest you re-read Jeff’s post “Quoting vs. Thinking.”

      ML, CW

  7. March 23, 2011 8:37 am

    I once went to a money regging event (although I didn’t realize it before I went there), about 30 people in the audience. There was an actor (not so famous) who held the event together with another guy (both on OT VII). It was all about the new psychiatry bill and all the money that was needed to stop psychiatry. This was my first time to such en event and people were actually donating lots of money, tens of thousands of dollars etc, calling banks etc. I was thinking about giving away 20 bucks but ended up not doing it.

    Anyway, the actor claimed that one PC he knew during an auditing session had left her body and all of a sudden discovered a tiny small ball she was looking at and wondered what it was. She suddenly realized it was the MEST universe.

    Was it true? I have no idea. Another anecodote that needs further investigation.

    I do really believe that full OT is possible, it might just take a while to get there. And perhaps auditing is not the “only” way?

    I don’t know. But I do know that I have experienced several precognitions myself so I’m very certain that paranormal activity and abilities are a fact. They’re just not so strong as our other five senses at this time of writing.

    • Karen#1 permalink
      March 24, 2011 5:47 am

      ITS ME AGAIN ~~ Michael

      Thank you for this. You are very validating.

      Only walking in the shoes of the EX SO member who has been through “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” …the dark black days of hopelessness and sheer ABUSE is in a position can understand….yet somehow you understand.

      Last night I went to dinner with an Ex SO member that I had not seen for 30 years.
      It was a remarkable dinner.

      Here was a guy who worked like a dog in the Sea Org, had production 2nd to none, a household name in Sea Org circles and he told me the story of being locked in a room, waiting for HOURS with no food or water til David Miscavige entered the room with an entourage.

      This PUNK always has a gang around him for protection. DM never engages in brutality one on one. He is always surrounded by numbers and a gang for his THUGGERY and ABUSE.

      He punched this SO member in the jaw with a heavy blow and then spat on him.
      There was no Committee of Evidence. There was no explanation on what the Sea Org member did or did not do. No charges were ever brought.

      There was just violence and ABUSE from the top command structure. Assault violates the Laws of the Land. But the way the Sea Org is structured, there is no reporting to Law Enforcement. If one did, one would be immediately disconnected from all family members and ex-communicated (expelled with an Sp declare.)

      So DM can get away with his assaults with no reports in a timely manner to Law Enforcement.

      For the next 30 days, after the DM assault, this Sea Org member was thrown into ISOLATION from the rest of the crew, given a hammer had to chip at wood 12 HOURS in the bowels of the complex (Big Blue has layers of interlocking tunnels underground hidden from view.)

      The story goes on and on. He traded his horror stories, I traded my horror stories.
      Now here was was someone who had no communication with me for 30 years. We did not know each other’s stories. We did not pre-plot together to discuss the Church’s deterioration by a Mad Man. But there it was ~~ yet another horror story hidden from the world, yet another
      ASSAULT Miscavige got away with.

      We were just 2 Ex-So members at a random dinner get-together that some mutual friend on Facebook put together.

      The Stories of ABUSE on Sea Org members are beyond anything one can understand in a “RELIGION”.

      I have come to the conclusion that the Church only pretends to be Religion.

      It has morphed into something *UNRECOGNIZABLE*

      Furthermore, it runs like a business, it gouges its public like a vampire vulture and operates with extreme abuse against $ea Org members, and this is deliberate and it’s criminal.

      This veteran ex So member has never told his story on the web. He took a Miscavige assault and suffered in silence.

      The “Church” states upfront that they sell Total Freedom and these DAZZLING RESULTS from “OT LEVELS”. But after having done it all on both the training and auditing side, and after being a serious contributor for 35 years, I will state~~
      $cientology’s current structure is specifically designed to destroy each individual’s freedom, and make everyone completely conformed slave.

      Especially OT VIIIs that Miscavige tries to use as his personnel pool.

      TRUTH REVEALED indeed.

      • March 24, 2011 10:42 pm

        Karen, I agree that stories like these plainly illustrate the abuse that goes on in the Church today.

        Of course, there are also stories of Hubbard doing the same thing: Locking people (including a small boy) in the chain locker of the Apollo, throwing people overboard, and his wives’ accusations of abuse. Somewhere I have a recording of Hubbard screaming at a messenger, I will try to find that.

        Anyway, my point/question is: Are similar abuses OK when Hubbard did them?

        ML,
        CW

      • DMSTCC permalink
        March 25, 2011 2:39 am

        @Caliwog

        When Karen#1 drops a bomb like this, let it be.

      • March 25, 2011 8:00 am

        DMSTCC, I don’t think the goings-on in the current Church are news to anyone.

        But it seems that the goings-on in the Church *before* DM is news to everyone!

        ML, CW

  8. Valkov permalink
    March 23, 2011 9:42 am

    Great article Jeff!

    I was thinking the discussions about “OT abilites” were sometimes more heat than light, belief stated as fact, and with logical fallacies in the arguments, and here you come up with the perfect antidote – an article involving logical reasoning!

  9. Helmuth, speaking for Boskone permalink
    March 23, 2011 12:00 pm

    At an apartment building where I was living, it seemed like every time that I exited from the laundry room with an armful of baskets, the doors of the closest elevator would pop open right in front of me without me having to put down the baskets and press a button. I’d say “thank you” to the empty elevator as I got on.

    I could have taken it as a magical Win, but as a skeptic, I decided to start keeping a log, recording exactly what happened each time.

    As it turned out, the doors were NOT automatically popping open for me. More often than not, I’d have to brace the baskets against the wall or put them down while I pressed the button and waited, and waited.

    What was happening was that memory is selective. I’d remember the good experiences of walking right on to the elevator, but forget dull experiences of having to wait. As well, perhaps the thought that there was some friendly elevator spirit looking out for me was comforting on some level.

    The objective reality was that it just wasn’t happening. (But I still miss my elevator bro.)

  10. Aeolus permalink
    March 23, 2011 1:31 pm

    It seems to be a human tendency to seize on anecdotal evidence to support what we want to believe, and screen out or ignore what doesn’t fit. “Global warming is hogwash! We had the coldest February anyone can remember”. Meanwhile, it’s easy to overlook the shrinking polar ice caps, just like it’s easy to overlook all the times we thought of someone and that person didn’t call us.

    • Cinnamon permalink
      March 23, 2011 7:28 pm

      Maybe he didn’t call you, but he was still thinking of you.

  11. James Anglin permalink
    March 23, 2011 1:44 pm

    Eyewitness testimony at a trial is not anecdotal evidence, because what is at issue in the trial is precisely the single event that was witnessed. For that one event, a single eyewitness account may be an exhaustive sample of everyone involved.

    For example, if a witness in court swears that she saw someone choke on a Twinkie, that might be strong evidence on the narrow question of whether that particular person choked on that occasion. The court will probably get eyewitness testimony from everyone involved in the event. That’s exhaustive, not anecdotal.

    Based on such testimony, the court might determine that that one guy did choke on his Twinkie that day. But the court will not rule, based on just that one event, that Twinkies are a general choking hazard.

    Deciding that Miscavige probably beats his subordinates regularly, because several of his former subordinates have said that on many occasions he has, is not relying on anecdotal evidence. The sample of testimony is a large fraction of everyone involved in the question, over the entire relevant time frame.

    But deciding that consistently useful abilities are conferred by Scientology, based on a few hundred brief accounts selected out of thousands of person-years of life experience, _is_ relying on anecdotal evidence. The stories reported are unlikely to be typical, and you don’t know enough about their contexts.

    • Jeff permalink*
      March 23, 2011 4:29 pm

      Also in a courtroom, witnesses are under oath with criminal penalties for perjury.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 23, 2011 6:44 pm

        There’s also a scale of anecdotal evidence with Joe-Bob the LochnessBigfoot-abductee at one end, and Karl the trained scientist/skeptic at the other. If they both claim a personal encounter with a “UFO”, which “anecdote” carries more weight? (The reality might turn out differently, of course, but lacking additional empirical evidence, the anecdotal evidence might skew the general concensus in a particular direction.)

        Jeff, I’m not denying the truth of your article. But your article does leave out some very important aspects of “anecdotal evidence”.

        And btw, James, yes accounts of direct firsthand experience (i.e. eyewitness testimony) are commonly considered “anecdotal evidence”.

        To me, the wiki article on the subject does a good job handling the topic.

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 23, 2011 6:55 pm

        Margaret, sure, there is a place for anecdotal evidence. To quote from the wiki article:

        “Anecdotal evidence can have varying degrees of formality. For instance, in medicine, published anecdotal evidence is called a case report, which is a more formalized type of evidence subjected to peer review. Although such evidence is not regarded as scientific, it is sometimes regarded as an invitation to more rigorous scientific study of the phenomenon in question…

        “Anecdotal evidence is considered the least credible among scientific information. Researchers may use anecdotal evidence for suggesting new hypotheses, but never as validating evidence.”

  12. March 23, 2011 2:32 pm

    When I opened up my browser this morning, I knew that Jeff would have a new post, and that it would be about the Anecdotal Fallacy.

    I’m not kidding.

    This is proof that being a critic of Scientology for a decade makes you able to predict the future.

    My next prediction: Marty Rathbun will do another fishing video with Mike Rinder, and he will wear a powder blue ascot and will be smoking a pipe. They will talk about the need for a low cost, standard Emeter with all the latest technology in it. It will magically appear on their blog for sale in the $400 to $500 range.

    • March 25, 2011 1:46 am

      Alanzo, we need a name for this phenomenon. SP abilities?

      ML, CW

  13. Bunkai permalink
    March 23, 2011 2:57 pm

    Wow! I just went exterior (but STILL without the ability to read a random card facing away from me!)

    Jeff, do you know what? I know several people who have beaten cancer with Science Based Medicine!

    EPIC WINNING!

    Sure, it doesn’t work EVERY time, but it works a LOT for many people!

    I can’t wait to experience MORE of this tech called “rational thinking.”

    Who knows, maybe I’ll win the lottery (with odds at 1:23,000,000!) And if I do, then I owe it all to Rational Thinking!

    I can also FLY! Yup. No kidding.I can put in my ear buds and listen to my iPad and sit down and zoom across the world in hours!

    But wait, there is more. I can communicate with anyone wirelessly that uses my way cool “texting” tech.

    AND ALISTAIRE CROWLEY COULDN’T DO ANY OF THIS STUFF! Why? Because he just didn’t have the tech.

    Still scoffers abound. They’ll say “Alistaire Crowley could fly in a plane too.”

    Sure but not with an iPAD!

    EPIC WINNING!

  14. March 23, 2011 3:56 pm

    The anecdotal fallacy is closely related to the legal axiom ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc,’ literally meaning ‘after this therefore because of this.’ It’s the mistake so many make in marrying a cause to an effect without first properly eliminating all causal candidates, usually because they’re somehow personally invested in their particular cause as having the effect. Scientology is basically the “parent” causal candidate telling its members that only through it can *you* be that causal candidate. Which is an attractive notion that preys upon one’s ego. If I have it in my head that a chief virtue is to be ‘at cause’ over the MEST universe then I’m also spending a lot of time looking to explain phenomena through this conceited mechanism as opposed to attempting to explain phenomena via the slow and plodding scientific method. The latter is so much less exciting and will very likely fail to fully explain the universe to us before we die. The latter requires patience and the sublimation of ego. And because the latter affords fewer opportunities for hucksterism, the latter will remain unpopular for some time. And where someone is telling you that *you* are that shortcut to greater understanding, hold onto your credit cards no matter how appealing it sounds.

    • Nomnom permalink
      March 24, 2011 4:42 pm

      I personally prefer the legal axiom, “Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?” = Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just happy to see me?

  15. FiatLux permalink
    March 23, 2011 4:57 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    Excellent article.
    When I was still in Scientology, my roommate was a Christian and he would have these Christian magazines in the living room that had “success stories” exactly like Scn magazines. (“I was sleeping at night and had a vision someone was trying to get in my house. The next morning there were marks on my window sill. I knew that Jesus had come down and drove off the burglar.”)
    I did experience tangible results for myself and others in Scn, at the lower end of the Bridge.
    But, the “wins” were always hugely exaggerated like all of Hubbard’s Hyperbole.
    The typical con game has a front end that tastes sweet and gives initial success. Then once the subject is hooked, they are taken for the big money.
    FL

  16. Infinity permalink
    March 23, 2011 5:19 pm

    People interested in telepathy might be interested in this google tech talk by rupert sheldrake. Experimental evidence.

    • Infinity permalink
      March 23, 2011 5:36 pm

      Of particular interest to some at 1:26:00, his experiences with Richard Darkins. He also mentions somewhere how he thinks James Randi is a fraud.

      • Bunkai permalink
        March 23, 2011 9:17 pm

        Okay. What’s the evidence this guy is touting? I went to 1:26 and all he did was give us a bunch of he said/she said stuff and call people names.

        Almost EVERY real kook thinks Randi is a fraud and blame HIM when they can’t perform what they claim.

        Telepathy is EASY to prove if it is real and EASY to believe in because of anecdotal evidence.

      • Infinity permalink
        March 23, 2011 9:42 pm

        Ermm…if you watch it you’ll see he presents the studies and results of these studies throughout.

      • Bunkai permalink
        March 23, 2011 9:52 pm

        Here is some GREAT anecdotal evidence on an ACTUAL Million Dollar Test and what happens to the participants BELIEFS OVER TIME.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 23, 2011 11:15 pm

        Wonderful lecture, Infinity. Thank you very much for posting.

        I do recommend that anyone with some scientific interest in the field of telepathy and psi — and an extra 45 mins — watch it.

        A few details:

        — Yes, the lecture is only 45 mins (the Q+A is the additional 52 mins).
        — The mention of skeptics Richard Wiseman and Chris French are at 0:26:00 and 0:46:00 respectively, but really the whole thing should be watched to get the context imho.
        — The discussion about Randi — and Sheldrake gives perhaps the most intelligent, rational yet no-holds-barred responses to Randi’s $1 million challenge that I’ve ever seen — starts at 0:49:08 (it’s in the Q+A section).

        Really nicely done Sheldrake. Or as the Brits would say “Good show!”

        (As I was watching the Randi skewering, I couldn’t help but think that while the CoS does indeed engage in “thought stopping”, Randi is also engaged in “thought stopping” but at the other end of the pendulum.)

      • Infinity permalink
        March 24, 2011 12:01 am

        I thought we had moved on from anecdotal evidence?

        Anyway here’s my theory on magicians. They want to be OT in the sense of doing things like telepathy and telekinesis and other magical acts. But cannot and turn to deceptive tricks to create a similar effect. And in the case of Randi, because he cannot do real things like telepathy for real, instead of thinking “I can’t do such things” thinks “Such things are impossible” and then goes out on a mission to try and prove it.

        The truth is though, as talented as Randi is, he’s just a magician out to prove real magic doesn’t exist. Sheldrake is a trained scientist. Different things completely and you simply cannot compare the two.

        Have a look at the experimental evidence from a scientist in the video, challenge your beliefs in the face of this evidence. It’s groundbreaking stuff (if science and proof and evidence is your cup of tea).

      • Infinity permalink
        March 24, 2011 1:13 am

        Hi Margaret,

        My previous comment was in response to Bunkai’s comment above yours, just in case there was any confusion on that.

        Good summation.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 24, 2011 2:52 am

        Infinity wrote: “My previous comment was in response to Bunkai’s”

        I caught that Infinity. But thanks for pointing it out just in case. 🙂

    • Jeff permalink*
      March 23, 2011 7:20 pm

      Fascinating talk. I think there should be much more formal research into this type of thing.

      • Infinity permalink
        March 23, 2011 9:36 pm

        My favourite bit was where he showed the evidence of how dogs seemed to be able to know better than cats that their owners has *decided* to go home. But then quipped how this actually doesn’t prove cats are worse at knowing this, it might just be they care less than dogs! 🙂

        I’m a cat person and it made me laugh because it sounds about right!

      • Margaret permalink
        March 23, 2011 11:19 pm

        “But then quipped how this actually doesn’t prove cats are worse at knowing this, it might just be they care less than dogs!”

        LOL. I’m a dog person, but I knew the cat persons out there would love that. 🙂

    • March 23, 2011 8:39 pm

      Infinity has just provided a way to test the results of Scientology’s OT Levels on those who have done them vs. run-of-the-mill wogs!

      • Infinity permalink
        March 23, 2011 10:27 pm

        Hi Alanzo,

        If you watch the video you’ll see that it is rupert sheldrake that created those experiments.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 23, 2011 11:31 pm

        Actually, Alanzo, there’s a great deal of truth in what you’re saying.

        Sheldrake is in fact developing a baseline for what average people are capable of, telepathy- or OOB-wise. This baseline will be invaluable going forward, as a way to test whether specific techniques, “paths” or activities cause people to deviate substantially from the baseline.

        To anyone interested in bringing scientific rigor to auditing’s (or anything else’s) affect on telepathic or OOB capabilities, they would be all over this research.

        I know that’s preaching to the choir here, but these results really are cool.

        Now I have to go find the skeptical argument against it, and see if there really is a there there. (We already know that Randi’s response is in the “dog house” — no pun intended.) 🙂

    • Margaret permalink
      March 24, 2011 12:06 am

      I loved Sheldrake’s conclusion to his lecture (at 0:47:05):

      “The idea of the extended mind — the mind beyond the brain — a mind that stretches out through fields, gives us a way of extending the frontiers of science. We’re not leaving behind science and reason, and descending into a kind of “black mud of superstition” as Freud called it. We’re extending the realm of science to phenomena which are widely known about, which most people are really interested in, and which may well have a perfectly good scientific explanation, but which haven’t been part of the rather narrower kind of science that we’re used to. So I think that this is important because it makes science more relavent not less. It expands science. And it makes science more interesting to more people. So I think this is a good thing.”

      I had heard and read a bit about the morphic resonance theory in years past, but the subsequent research he mentions in the lecture, really appears to help put some empirical, experimental support behind it.

    • Margaret permalink
      March 24, 2011 2:40 am

      One additional thing, as Infinity points out, at 1:26:00 — and really till the end — Sheldrake gives some great examples of the stigma or “taboo” nature of this kind of research. And of a particularly interesting encounter with Richard Dawkins and gang.

    • Bunkai permalink
      March 24, 2011 4:34 pm

      Okay. He at least lists some reproducible experiments. That is good.

      No matter how stodgy a scientist is about accepting really weird things as true, that good old “reproducible results” thing just shuts them up. Especially the more the experiment gets run by people who are competent.

      Some will stay in denial anyway. Why? Because it works. It forces people to really shore up a point to make it stick as a reality.

      Einstein didn’t believe in Quantum Theory because he saw entanglement as “Spooky effects at a distance.”

      KInd of like Brer Rabbit pleading with Brer Fox, “P-P-P-lease don’t throw me in the briar patch! ANYTHING BUT THE BRIAR PATCH!”

      Deny something strong enough and loud enough and it will appear right on cue if …

      … it …

      … actually …

      … is …

      … possible …

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 24, 2011 5:00 pm

        The scientific method enforces a discipline on thinking. I would, frankly, be suspicious of a scientist who “accepted weird things” without adequate testing. Scientists who do not accept weird things on faith, or on skimpy evidence, are not “in denial,” they are doing their job.

  17. March 23, 2011 6:12 pm

    That type thinking namely identification/ association won´t happen if people would study and apply the Data Series, caliwogs favourite policies. *g

  18. March 23, 2011 7:10 pm

    Another prediction just came to me: A grassroots form of hillbilly Scientology will break out across the land with bargain-basement pricing and even better results than the higher priced version.

  19. Sid permalink
    March 23, 2011 8:23 pm

    I’m no longer in the church since I no longer believe in the things I was taught. I was brought up in the religion from a young age, in an environment where everyone believed the same things, so I really had little say in the matter.

    I had broadly positive experiences in the religion. I believed that it provided all the answers I needed about the world and how and why it works the way it does.

    I believed that my religion provided me with a way of understanding people, of knowing why they behaved the way they did, and how to save them from the problems of the world.

    I found comfort from verbalizing my problems. I was taught that simply by verbalizing my problems they were taken care of. If the problems didn’t ultimately go away, that wasn’t a problem, it was just how it needed to be. At least I believed they were being handled. I had great wins from that.

    I believed I was part of something special. Everyone in my church was really great, people who really wanted the best for everyone in the world, and were willing to make sacrifices to try and achieve it. I think just being part of something which was all about making you a better person made me feel better about myself.

    I believed that people outside of my religion could not be as happy or as fulfilled as I was. I felt sorry for them, and could not imagine what their lives could be like without the knowledge I had. I felt as if they could not possibly have any hope.

    My religion offered me a view of the world which made sense, and gave me hope. It meant I wasn’t just a piece of meat who would one day die, it meant I had an eternity. My view of life without my religion was very bleak.

    I was surrounded by people who told me their success stories. Everyone seemed to be verbalizing their problems, and the problems were being dealt with. Everyone seemed really happy and positive. People were really encouraged to disseminate their success stories. I sometimes felt they were exaggerating, and the stories tended to get better each time you heard them, but some stories sounded very convincing.

    There were some quite weird and strange beliefs in my religion, but everyone else seemed comfortable about it, so I didn’t worry too much. Some people thought some aspects of the religion were a bit odd, so you ignored those, and focused on the bits that made you happy.

    In the end I stopped going to the church. I felt uncomfortable about too many things. After several years I really started to examine my beliefs, and came to the horrific (at the time) conclusion that I had been duped (or to be more specific, had duped myself with the material at hand). It was not deliberate, I’m sure my friends and family thought they were doing the best thing by getting me involved, but outside of the daily pressure of the church I decompressed and regained my rational thought.

    It took me a very long time for me to unpick the trained thought processes I had learned. Even today, over a decade after leaving the church, I often find myself automatically responding to news items on the TV in a specific way.

    Although I am no longer part of the religion, I do feel as though I am a better person for having being involved. I think the wins I had can be rationally explained, but it took me a long time to recognize that. At one stage I would have sworn blind that it was the only hope for mankind, now I see it as the adult equivalent of believing in Father Christmas.

    Just to be a little clearer, the above is the story of my life as a Christian. Many critics do not like comparing Christianity with Scientology since there are many significant differences, and please don’t turn my post into a debate about the relative merits/harms of the two.

    However I do recognize lots of similarities between my experiences and the experiences of Scientologists that I read on this and other blogs.

    For me this story is about a person’s convictions, why they have them, and how they can be undone.

    My intention is simply to illustrate that at least in my case these experiences are not necessarily unique to Scientology, and for me it shows some of the general nature of humanity.

    We all want to be part of something special. We are all influenced by those around us. We all from time to time feel low and can grab on to things to try and lift us up. We all feel better when we are trying to improve ourselves. We are all capable of believing in the daftest things (in retrospect), and then struggle to “unbelieve” them. We all want a hope for eternity.

    With genuine love and affection for fellow searchers for truth…Sid.

    • Valkov permalink
      March 23, 2011 9:32 pm

      Thanks Sid,

      Great post!

    • IMMORTAL permalink
      March 23, 2011 9:32 pm

      Very interesting, Sid. Thank you.

    • lurker(not the mostly) permalink
      March 23, 2011 10:48 pm

      Here is the difference Sid, you were able to leave your church, even your religion without being fair gamed. You weren’t pressured and forced to give massive amounts of money to the church(at least most churches). All of christianity is in the Bible, which is free (or very low cost) and its all laid out, not revealed in little segments that you pay huge amounts of money for, so you know what your religion is based on.

      Christianity used to be considered a cult, and there are some christian based cults, but there is no one church to rule them all (as the catholic church was) anymore.. I think someone can believe whatever they want, but they also should have the right to leave whenever they want also, without huge consequences when they change their mind.

    • Bunkai permalink
      March 24, 2011 12:30 am

      Sid. That post hit home with me. I “signed up” for the “Save the World With Jesus” Christianity. It was my life for 24 years. I was not “fair gamed” but I was an outcast. Family disconnected from me. Deep friends became shallow acquaintances.

      I got “churched” – big time.

      And “church” is Christian lingo for “Disconnection.”

      Don’t think disconnection doesn’t happen in Jesus land. It DOES. Not in liberal/moderate Jesus land but in the ultra conservative Jesus land one DOES get “churched” hard.

      And several times I had people from my past either engage me online or in person and when they ask why I left and I tell them KINDLY

      They…

      FREAK

      OUT!

      And of course blame the person for having either bad character, was a victim or just “confused.” But NEVER because the evidence just didn’t stack up. They usually can’t confront that.

      Sound familiar?

      • IMMORTAL permalink
        March 24, 2011 4:00 am

        Yes, it does sound familiar. VERY familiar.

        Interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

      • lurker(not the mostly) permalink
        March 24, 2011 1:17 pm

        LOL, for me it was almost the opposite. I would be considered a liberal Christian, but in my family there are atheists, wiccans, and some fundamentalists….

        We all get along now, but we have had some rousing discussions in the past. I tend to hang out with the atheists and wiccans in the family more though, because the Fox news crowd (though I love them) can drive me up a wall..

        (Jesus was NOT a right wing conservative, he was a peace loving, bleeding heart liberal)…

        I guess that there have been fundamentalist factions in my life who “shunned” or disconnected from me, but the truth is, I didn’t miss them.. I think knee jerk thinkers who reject anyone with a different point of view exist in every facet of life, and dysfunctional families are everywhere.

        But do you really think the form of disconnection that a fundamentalist Christian might give you is the same as the fair gaming and disconnection that goes on in the COS? Seriously? Being followed by PIs? Being fired from your job? Being told you can no longer be married? Having no one who is still in the faith willing to talk to you? Have dirty tricks played on you and make your life a living hell? Be paid less than 50 dollars week, poor food, no health insurance, no social security and then when your sick or infirm, instead of a pension, you get booted in the butt and told your PTS so you can be homeless, penniless and basically friendless?

        Come on, lets get real here. Not saying that some fruitcakes don’t exist. but it bothers me to have in a way, the REAL hardcore issues that a Scientologist faces when leaving their ‘church’ to what a Christian does when they leave their faith… They really don’t even compare (and I have been guilty myself of trying to make connections, but they are really, when you look at it, weak comparisons)

    • lunamoth permalink
      March 24, 2011 12:49 am

      Sid, thanks so much for your wonderful post. You express a really genuine compassion and understanding for your fellow humans, and those are things people can spend a lifetime in a religion and never find or develop, while others have them without any religious influence at all.

      I very much enjoyed reading your beautifully expressed post. You’re truly able to recognize the fundamental rightness in others. It’s a viewpoint with a lot of soul and a lot of love.

      lunamoth

    • FiatLux permalink
      March 24, 2011 4:45 pm

      Great post, Sid! Very beautiful and insightful.
      Best wishes on your journey as well.
      FL

  20. Anna permalink
    March 23, 2011 8:59 pm

    From Science of Survival: “Anything that raises tone level is legitimate processing.”

    Certain activities and associations raise tone level, and with that result in more happiness, success, greater ability and deepened connectivity to the wide, wide universe of life – to name a few. Some more than others, some more effectively than others. Other activities and associations reduce or depress these things. Its just about that simple.

    If I take pleasure from watching a movie, and I say so, this is quite legitimate even if it is wholly subjective. And I do know that I did derive that raise in tone level or other attribute from watching that movie, irregardless of anyone poo pooing my pleasure and good feeling.

    I can tell what is having an effect in my life, be it Reiki, Scientology, prayer or whatever and it is legitimate for me to claim that.

    If I do a communications course and I find that I am better with my communication skills then I am. Somebody can come along and say, well, you could have gotten the same skill increase from meditation makes no difference to this. It could be so, but now I have the skills and until I want further ability that meditation might be able to provide I am unlikely to run off and work away on meditation.

    Does my being aware of changes in myself and my abilities make it scientific? Well, maybe not. But, if jumping out of perfectly good airplanes exhilarates me, then it exhilarates me, even if 99% of the rest of the population doesn’t find it the same way and thinks I’m nuts for jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 30,000 feet.

    I don’t expect everyone else in the world to jump out of an airplane to prove that they are being deep thinkers and are not just taking my word for the exhilaration I feel. Nor do I expect the scientific community to spend billions of dollars proving whether or not skydiving is exhilarating!

    Cripes.

    • Jeff permalink*
      March 23, 2011 9:42 pm

      Anna, I’ve tried to make it clear that people’s individual spiritual experiences (or skydiving experiences!) are not at issue here. People do whatever makes them happy or exhilarated, and that’s fine. The point is when someone attempts to prove the efficacy of a therapy or method or religion or belief by using anecdotal evidence – particularly those who are selling or proselytizing and trying to convince others.

      • Anna permalink
        March 24, 2011 1:54 am

        @ Jeff

        IMHO it is ridiculous to demand that people not speak of their happy, enervating experiences when they participate in whatever self-help, religious or psychological activity they participate in.

        People talk to each other, they do try to help each other and they do tell each other what works and doesn’t work for them. And contrary to the widespread myth that scientific method is only based on experimentation, anecdotal evidence, surveys, case studies and so on are in WIDE use in the fields of human behavior and people are asked about their VERY VERY subjective experiences. Get a basic textbook on psychology and confirm it for yourself. They don’t hide their methods. This doesn’t discount the value of their work at all, it simply means that double blind studies are not feasible or ethical on human subjects.

        Can you really use reverse techniques that clearly upset the living shit out of people or bring harm so you can really do double blind studies? The answer is no, you cannot. So every time the human or “spiritual” area is entered in upon one must resort to methods that cannot be found to be damaging.

        And since much of these types of activities are purely subjective, and often rely on a “placebo” effect, which may or may not be the action of spirit in healing, the best you can do is work out what works best by survey, and avoid using physically invasive methods from which recovery may not be possible.

        I’m quite sure that is why psychiatry falls under medical training — it does use physically invasive methods such as drugs, restraints, operations, etc. Even in the medical area, they can only test so far on animals and after that it is pretty much live human experimentation. As an example, penicillin is considered to be a workable medicine, yet there are instances where penicillin is ineffective. They don’t throw out the penicillin because there are anomalies or instances of unworkability, nor do they state that it isn’t based on science because it did not work on one specific application to a specific individual. Yet, by the rules of scientific method by the method of a single instance of disproving, the penicillin should be thrown out and its back to the drawing board.

        Do you seriously think that scientific method is infallible? Do you really think that all science is perfectly executed and everyone does double blind studies and so on? Do you really think that it is the answer to every phenomena in our beautiful and offtimes magical world? I don’t. I think they just throw it in the bin labeled “unexplained, maybe we’ll figure it out later” and we never hear about it.

        I do know when I have talked to DOZENS of people who have had chiro treatments that helped them that there is a pretty damned good chance that it is a working technique to help people with problems in their joints, etc. How about vitamins? Same thing. How about Reiki massage? Same thing? How about massage therapy? Same thing.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am no “pure” Scientology kind of person — I’ve studied metaphysics, spirituality and religions for a long long time and I would find it surprising if raising tone level or increasing certainty, or renewing a sense of faith and joy by whatever means didn’t result in glowing anecdotal accounts.

        Just because these accounts show up in multiple disciplines doesn’t discount all of the methods. And there can be lots of people reporting to one another and to the people using whatever method. Check up on it, you’ll see that most of the “working” methods of human development/spiritual development are indeed case study or anecdotally proven out.

        As far as the Church of Scientology goes, it calls itself a religion now and IMHO that is exactly what it is. Maybe someday someone will write some Cliff’s Notes for the older books of Dianetics and Scientology to orient people as to the context of the times they were written in. That’s what I think needs to happen.

        Sorry about the rant.

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 24, 2011 2:09 am

        Anna, you are welcome to rant, and I appreciate you giving your opinions. I think if you re-read my post you’ll see that you are arguing against a position that I never took. I never demanded that people not talk about their experiences, or insisted that science is infallable.

    • SpecialFrog permalink
      March 23, 2011 9:43 pm

      Anna,

      Of course your own experiences are perfectly valid. I don’t think anyone is trying to argue that.

      But there is a difference between saying, “The communication course worked for me” and “The communication course works.” And an even bigger difference from saying, “Scientology works”.

      Your own experiences are valid, as are those who got different results.

    • Cinnamon permalink
      March 23, 2011 11:38 pm

      Anna, if this were Facebook, I would be clicking “like” on your comment. I just like it.

  21. Joy permalink
    March 23, 2011 10:37 pm

    If ther are OT abitlits from OT levels so why the need of super pawer process?

  22. Cowboy Poet permalink
    March 24, 2011 12:17 am

    As in anything in life, separate the wheat from the chaff, folks.
    Spooning it up any other way, falls into the realm of marketing.

    • John Doe permalink
      March 24, 2011 4:35 am

      Simply said and amen!

  23. Bryan U. permalink
    March 24, 2011 12:23 am

    I’m going to start a philosophy called “Stop Searching For The Unreachable End-Game”.

    A sample from Chapter One: “It can be easily observed that generally, the happiest people on earth are children. The younger, the happier. These children aren’t reading about philosophy. They aren’t pondering or panicking about their own mortality. They aren’t joining groups of other children in order to think, debate or argue a certain way about God or their possible Superhuman abilities. No. What these children are doing is……PLAYING! That’s right. They’re playing. Playing games. Riding bikes. Making up entire worlds in their sandboxes. Living! Mocking-up universes for their toys, their dolls, their army men. And they’re having a total blast!”

    That’s just a sample of the wisdom contained in my new book. Here’s a bit more, this time from chapter two:

    “You can philosophize. You can organize. You can religiocize. You can pay through the nose. You can propitiate to the proper power terminals. You can drink yourself under a table. Smoke ten pounds of mother nature’s best. Internet porn your way through an entire roll of toilet paper. But most children are still far happier than you.

    So, what do you do?

    Play!

    Could it be that nobody but nobody but nobody has THE answer? Can you confront that bitter pill of reality? Aren’t we really just here to play? Isn’t the truth that while in bodies we cannot possibly ever figure out who or what we really are?

    Well……go pay for more unlearnable lessons. And do the same in the next life. And the next. And in each lifetime, at one point or another, you’ll say to yourself, ‘Now THIS is the IMPORTANT lifetime of all lifetimes! THIS time I REALLY have THE answer to everything!!!! I’ll NEVER forget THIS lifetime! Ever, ever, ever!!!’

    And, of course, come next lifetime you won’t have a clue about the last one. But, you’ll be all too willing, as the author has been, to give away your life savings for somebody else (who happens to also be in a body), to solve it all for you. And then, of course, yet another reformation will occur and y’all will be as angry, hurt and confused as you were before you joined yet another cult/religion…..(same thing).”

    So there you have it. For only $39.95 you can purchase my book and learn the actual truth about the game called “Life in a body must equal zero real answers or the game is kaput!”

    And, on the nicer side, chapter three does offer up some validation from the heart.

    “…and so, while it is important to be acknowledged, to help others, to care for and love our younger generations, it is also just as important to realize that you signed up for this game on earth, with its war-inducing religions of force, power and control, its brutal economy, its ever-present greed. For it is up to you to decide whether or not you’ll keep coming back for more. You are beautiful. You matter. You can and should help. But stop paying people to dupe and ultimately betray you. For you have better answers than anybody else ever will.”

    *The publishers would like to add that, in no way is the above meant to invalidate anyone’s wins with whatever form of counseling they enjoy. The author has indeed made substantial gains using Mr. Hubbard’s philosophy. That said, the author stands by his claim that the answer must not be known or the game is kaput.”

    I’m taking orders NOW so hurry before it sells out!

    • John Peeler permalink
      March 25, 2011 5:29 pm

      “We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.” ~ Dalai Lama

      “When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.” ~ Anais Nin

  24. Quicksilver permalink
    March 24, 2011 1:20 am

    My own view:

    If someone came up to me and told me some personal miracle such as above, then my initial reaction would be ‘Wow, well done!”

    It wouldn’t matter to me if the person claimed it to be a result of a philosophy, a practice, a religious experience, tarot cards, a book, or throwing bones on the floor of a grass hut.

    What is real for that person is what is real for that person and I would validate him for his cognition/miracle.

    For someone to not grant beingness & simply acknowledge that person’s ‘win’ would to me be simple invalidation. It is an origination and they deserve to be acknowledged for it.

    Embellishment, assigning wrong ownership or generalities happen but one always has the option to verify data.

  25. Free and Clear permalink
    March 24, 2011 2:55 am

    But all this hoop la is about gains. But on the grade chart the gains are very mild. Ability to communicate, freedom from problems , even OT III is freedom from overwhelm. These are very mild gains. The flying teapot stuff is discussed as a potential of the thetan in old lectures, long before the grade chart was worked out. but unless I really missed something, that stuff is actually offered nowhere, promised nowhere. what IS promised used to be routinely delivered without much trouble. What say you folks?

    • Marildi permalink
      March 24, 2011 5:58 am

      What you say has been just my understanding too. But others apparently have experience to the effect that there have been other strong implications, at the least, or even promises from various org terminals. I’m talking about many of the posters on the thread of Jeff’s previous article.

    • March 24, 2011 2:53 pm

      Pardon me. “Mild?” I don’t think so. Hubbard’s explicit claims for “Clear” in his Dianetics is anything but mild. His claims for OT in his PDC lectures, and other of that time, are anything but mild. His claims are quite extreme. Scientologists refer to Scientology as “The Bridge to Total Freedom“. That’s extreme.

      Their claim of “Ability to freely communicate to anyone on any subject” is not mild and the other “Abilities Gained” are, for the most part, equally extreme — not mild at all.

      Wherever do you get the idea that Scientology’s claims are “mild”. That simply isn’t the case at all. Especially when you compare their promises with the actual results. The results are quite mild, the promises are not.

    • brendon permalink
      March 24, 2011 2:56 pm

      In the early years the wildest stories about abilities were often published in the magazines (using your ability to move your car out of the way of an impending accident or moving the clouds away to not have them rain on your picnic, that kind of thing). And yes, stories about tipping hats at 50 yards or whatever were published in books. (That was in History of Man if memory serves, with the brilliant admonition to not use it!) And of course the abilities were always fodder for stories among members (my OT friend was certains Scns were on the moon watching the first moon landing). And no OT would tell you they didn’t happen.

      OTIII back then was all about the ability to go exterior at will; at least that was the impression I was given. Remember LRH talking about moving around the Van Allen Belts and almost getting hit by freight trains on Venus?

      Over time, however, as it became evident that those things really weren’t happening and more and more OTs weren’t getting abilities, the stories and claims that were PRINTED really became much more ambiguous. Basically they HAD to. One benefit: you can’t say you didn’t get something when what was offered was nebulous. That’s one of the reasons the abilities threads are so long – 60 years in and it’s totally unclear what Scn really provides one.

    • March 24, 2011 3:43 pm

      I agree you with you some. Hubbards talks about full OT and the potential of man in his lectures, but that is something else from the Grade Chart. The only critique might be that Hubbard called them OT-levels when they probably should’ve been called something else, personal development levels or similair.

      Naturally people will be disappointed since they have been called OT-levels. But again, I think Hubbard is the one who have come furthest of everybody when it comes to who we are, where we came from and how to solve those issues.

      Scientology is far from perfect, but Hubbard has started up a new way of thinking that should be explored much more, especially when it comes to auditing.

  26. March 24, 2011 3:16 am

    Jeff,

    Didn’t have time to read all the comments, so throw this out if someone else has noted this. The argument works in reverse: John is a poverty stricken Scientologist so all Scientologists are poor. I know an OT8 who died from cancer so all OT 8’s are dying of cancer. I couldn’t see her aura so no one can see auras. I’ve never been struck by lightning so no one can possibly be struck by lightning.

    Conclusions really depend on looking at all data available. As you know, bias enters into data selection, which warps conclusions.

    Yes, all these stories are available from other fields because people have these experiences. Those who dismiss these experiences out of hand are just as guilty of being illogical as those who put too much emphasis on them.

    Something is going on. Something. Maybe it’s inexplicable, but there is data, empirical or whatever, to support this. To claim that this stuff is incomprehensible and that one cannot understand it, therefore if doesn’t exist and that anyone who has had these experiences is just plain crazy is somewhat irresponsible.

    Even Einstein, one of the icons of science, recognized that there was something more.

    Here’s something that happened to me this morning. I was sitting in my bedroom reading when I felt this sudden panic and terror. Hmmm, I thought. Nothing causing this for me. Something outside? I got up, looked outside and there was a large Blue Heron come to feed at the koi pond. He had my oldest and largest koi in his beak, the fish struggling sideways. This fish comes up and eats out of hand. I slammed my hand on the window, startling the heron, which flew off, dropping the fish, which swam away.

    You can assign whatever cause/effect you wish. I sure wouldn’t say that I was telepathically linked to a fish, but it was an experience. I sure wouldn’t say that I gained this new ability from Scientology because, hey, I’m not a Scientologist. But, what are the odds?

    Something odd happened. And it happens a lot.

    From what I’ve read of Hubbard, mostly he said that all these things were natural abilities to all of us. Over and over and over in his early works he emphasized that all auditing was doing was getting rid of things that impeded one’s natural abilities. Individuals became OT because they were natively OT.

    He also talked at times about theta endowment, how each of us has differences in power, intelligence, talent and capacity. We also have different cultural, educational, personal experiences which effect the outcome. A cleared cannibal is a cleared cannibal. An educated idiot is still going to be an idiot. And no matter how much processing I get, I will never compose works comparable to Beethoven.

    But, none of this proves that individuals have not removed those things that blocked their ability by doing Scientology processing. It proves that claiming everyone will become eidetic geniuses is false. It proves that those who can’t compose symphonies won’t be able to compose symphonies. It proves that the inherently illogical will remain illogical, regardless of processing level or lack thereof.

    Look at how many Michael Jordans have come to the NBA. Look at how many aspire to play pro ball. The norm does not disprove the exception. Nor does the exception depend on the limits of the norm.

    Exceptions exist. And to say that someone claiming to see what others do not is akin to “the emperor not having clothes” might account for normal limitations, but not for the exceptional. Some people hear notes I cannot and distinguish colors I cannot–and because I used to wear glasses I’m well aware of how much better some can see. But that doesn’t make me conclude that no one can perceive what I cannot. Even psychically. The range of human perception extends well beyond my limits.

    I would say that those interested in your blog range to the right side of the bell shaped curve in intelligence. First of all, your articles are somewhat esoteric and of little interest to those with limited smarts. But, even within this group which ranges above the norm, you witness severe limitations in logic; you see these glaring limitations on both sides of the argument.

    And those stuck in their limitations, including you and me, have varying abilities and inabilities to recognize those limitations.

    Limitations do not prove exceptions.

    The argument really should be can Scientology make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Can you bring a person to ability, intelligence, power, insight, logic, talent which he/she doesn’t possess in a native state as a basic spirit or basic personality?

    Maybe you can educate someone to an improved expression of native talent. But, looking at all the excellent coaches in college basketball who are spending years educating the best talent available, you’ll find very few players making it to the NBA. And this applies to every field you can think of–including the sciences. Including MMA, yoga, engineering, art, music, Scientology, writing, whatever.

    But, just as yoga can improve who we are, not everyone will improve doing yoga. And just as Scientology might free a person’s ability–including his psychic ability– that doesn’t mean that some other field might not have also freed those abilities. Nor does it mean that Scientology wouldn’t have improved that person’s ability which was made manifest pursuing another endeavor. That a hammer is designed to drive nails doesn’t disprove a rock’s utility in achieving a similar result.

    What seems to be occurring here is the examination of a wide range of experience and data, followed by a tendency to come to biased conclusions, sometimes represented as being unbiased by pointing out that people come to biased conclusions. (Raised eyebrow.)

    Aren’t we a bunch of enlightened souls looking to expand our understanding rather than merely a bunch of bickering fools shackled by our own bias?

    Ah! News is over–time for bed. Murder, mayhem and war. Temperatures falling. Chance of freeze. No need to seek ways of improving life. After all, no matter what we try, something else might produce similar results.

    But, hey, if you want to buy enlightenment, let me suggest a simple rule: buyer beware!

    Michael

    • Marildi permalink
      March 24, 2011 7:42 pm

      Michael, another wonderful post. I laughed out loud where you wrote: “Aren’t we a bunch of enlightened souls looking to expand our understanding rather than merely a bunch of bickering fools shackled by our own bias?”

      Are you now or have you ever been a Scientologist? (Just to put it in a jocular way. 🙂 )

      • March 24, 2011 8:42 pm

        Marildi,

        Can I plead the Fifth?

        Ok, what the hell. I have been on staff as an auditor/supervisor. I have studied the subject thoroughly. After a several year hiatus from the church to get a college education and earn a living, I even went off to try to join the Sea Org in a moment of pique over the bane of the banality of having to earn a living.

        Certainly, life offered more! What could be better than creating a civilization without insanity. And all around me I saw insanity, an inability to think and reason.

        Fortunately, I didn’t qualify for the big dance because of military clearance levels and squirrel activities. Gasp! I actually was willing to think for myself and do whatever I fucking wanted!

        Gasp!

        But, even while involved, I normally had trouble envisioning myself as a Scientologist or considering myself one. The reality of what I encountered contradicted so completely what I read that I always felt a little embarrassed. How was this not a cult? How come those involved didn’t examine the contradictions? Why weren’t OTs more….uh….OT.

        And nowhere was the downside of Scientology more apparent than in the Sea Org. In the Sea Org I encountered more confused, dramatizing individuals than anywhere else. If you understand the concept of circuits, I saw all of these circuits forcefully in play rather than actual thetans. To me, the organization was out of valence.

        DM’s rise to power was not a surprise to me. That which is crazy seldom becomes more sane without honest examination, and the Sea Org was not set up to honestly examine itself. The Sea Org was set up to enforce command intention without question.

        Without question? How is that a sane way to live and operate?

        But, the check is in the mail. I’m hiring you as legal counsel, so you can’t tell on me.

        Michael

      • lunamoth permalink
        March 25, 2011 4:36 pm

        Michael

        I am starting my own group. Of course, there are no requirements, no rules, no uniforms and no hierarchy. We do or do not seek to improve life at any given moment (I have been known to remove my hand from a hot stove or step out of the way of speeding, oncoming truck). We tend to think for ourselves, ask lots of questions, respect logic and rational thinking, and allow others to hold their own opinions unmolested (though prefer that those opinions are not promoted as facts). We respect truth, are fascinated by possibility, and adore (as in really really love) irony in all things.

        If there was any formal membership to this thing, I would send you an engraved
        invitation to join.

        lunamoth

        I invite you to join my See Org.

    • Just Me permalink
      March 24, 2011 11:37 pm

      Like!

    • Marildi permalink
      March 24, 2011 11:52 pm

      Michael, I figured you wouldn’t take the fifth – you seem pretty fearless. And what personal integrity you have, to be able to withstand the virtual “brainwashing” so many of us succumbed to!

      I remember myself being dismayed, for example, by the tone level (mainly antagonistic) all around, especially that of senior execs – all the way up to and including DM. But I rationalized/justified it as “probably intentional, to match the supposed average tone of staff and public…”

      And, in contemplating how things were being “run,” I would think “maybe DM knows more than the rest of us, as to what was really happening on the planet or whatever, and is acting accordingly.” He even implied as much. I point out “DM” specifically because I knew (but only admitted to myself) that he was basically a DICTATOR, and I also knew after a certain point of writing many KRs that it was useless.

      But it wasn’t until I started seeing that there was no JOY (simple as that) in my life that I decided to leave staff after 18 years. And it was then that I made the big confession out loud (at least to my inactive, though not disaffected, Scn sister) that I was in fact “disaffected” (one of the worst labels you could have!)and I also admitted that I just plain did not LIKE COB. This was a big advance for me!

      And I remember then trying to see the bright side of the situation and coming up with the idea that maybe this was one big drill LRH was putting us all through, to learn a very big lesson about things he had warned us about. Well, LRH or no, it WAS a big lesson – I just wish I could be sure I won’t have lost it next time around!

      But, you know what? Right or wrong, I haven’t been able to let go of the dream that maybe LRH DID forge a path to freedom (if not total, then at least “perfectly adequate” freedom), and then made fatal mistakes in a “must have/can’t have” yearning to forward it – or whatever type of mistakes they may have been, maybe even coming from case. And this was the next advance I made – to doubt the perfection of LRH.

      So, as you can see, I’m still trying to figure out how much I may be “shackled by bias,” as you say, with regard to Scientology. But also – how much was my own correct perception of truth. When I think about the compelling principles of existence that LRH was able to come up with (even if it was just a matter of having the wisdom to perceive and adopt the great insights of others) plus come up with the brilliant tech he did – I can’t imagine how all this could have been accomplished by someone without great spiritual insight himself and with only material ends in mind. What eventually occurred, due to errors in judgement or even case, might be a different story, because he was still a fellow human being.

      But I do like to think I am one of this “bunch of enlightened souls looking to expand our understanding,” as you so nicely put it. And you, for one, are helping in the endeavor!

      Well, that sure ended up in a lot of itsa – you obviously still have your auditor beingness. As well as a terminal that one can feel certain will duplicate! Thanks. 🙂

      • Marildi permalink
        March 25, 2011 1:55 am

        P.S. Let’s just swap confidentiality agreements. 😉

      • Valkov permalink
        March 25, 2011 11:16 am

        Marildi, this is our “Ethics practical”.

      • March 25, 2011 3:13 pm

        Marilidi,

        Rather than confidentiality agreements as in keeping secrets, let’s just do a little postulate processing and decide that we operate at the highest level of confidence and trust. Being willing to trust, even in the face of ruthless betrayals, just makes the day a little brighter, makes it easier to talk to people, makes us want to be alive and engaged in life.

        That others act in ways undeserving of trust should not put us at effect, should not cause us to crash into an unwillingness to trust. To be unwilling or unable to trust only leads to doubt and confusion. To be unwilling to trust only makes less of us.

        In the face of all the ugliness that living can throw at me, I choose to see the beauty that life also offers. I see the ugliness, understand it, am willing to embrace it for what it is, but I just don’t choose to let it be my master.

        I think with trust in yourself and a willingness to look, all confusions can be undone, leading to a certain peace.

        Let me tell you my experience. I remember sitting in the FEBC course room at Flag sobbing uncontrollably. The vast difference between what I expected and what I encountered was such a shock that I plunged into grief. Such an incredible feeling of betrayal, such an intense sensation of loss. I was so consumed with emotion that I could hardly speak.

        What a cry baby.

        But, let’s put this in perspective. I had trained assiduously in martial arts. In a fight I had the skills, strength and speed to kill a normal person in a couple of seconds. Not hurt, not win, actually kill. I could break boards and ribs with a four inch punch. With leaping kicks, I could break boards held eight to nine foot off the ground. I was tough, and mean, and unrelenting.

        But, there I sat, crying.

        When I was in Da Nang in 1970, I used to spar with some of the ROK marines (Republic of Korea). Very serious killers these guys. We used real knifes in learning self defense, and one time I sliced my hand pretty good parrying a knife thrust. Man, did it start to bleed. Just poured blood. So I stopped, thinking I needed to have this looked at. The gyo-san-nim (instructor) came over and showed me great compassion by beating the shit out of me while screaming loudly. Basically, he said in his weird accent, “You no stop. You never stop. You die. He die. Then stop. You think the enemy say, ‘oh, yooooou poooooor boooooooy, let’s stop and fix cut? He kill you, you stupid mother fucker! You never stop. You alive, you keep going!” And with every word he was screaming and punching and kicking me. “You quit now, you never come back. You stay, you no rest, you stupid mother fucker!” So, while nearly everyone else got to stop between rounds for rest, I had to keep fighting.

        No mercy, no tears, brutal and relentless.

        But, there I sat in a friggin’ course room crying.

        Despite all the wonderful people there, the more I looked, the more betrayed I felt. Such lies! And when I left, I had no intention of ever returning to Scientology. I took all the session notes and pc folders and shipped them home just before I left. (It still took months to leave.) No way I was going back. The place was crazy.

        And this was BEFORE DM took over.

        When the internet came along, I read all the horrible stories about LRH and the OSA and the Guardian’s Office. The lies and criminality were appalling. I ended up burning the folders–but that’s another story.

        So, I’ve had my upsets with Scientology and with Hubbard.

        Then one day I ran across Marty’s site. Just an odd pull to look again. And I decided to handle the upsets for good, and also decided to give the subject one more look to see just why I had been suckered in and if I had actually been hypnotized or “brainwashed.”

        Strangely, the more I read of LRH’s research, the more I realized he was saying pretty much what I had discovered while off on my own quest. Instead of finding the crap I was intending to find, I was discovering some heady insights into the human conditions coupled with a very impressive grasp of logic.

        Sure, LRH could be full of shit. He told stories as examples that just didn’t ring true. Some of his claims were pure hyperbole. But the underlying logic and experience made a great deal of sense. And I couldn’t help but marvel over the being who was coming up with all this stuff. He was definitely a genius. (And he talked freely about flunking in some of his college classes for one reason or other.)

        That I understand what LRH said and wrote doesn’t mean I’m going to become a Scientologist (independent or otherwise.) I’ve written up why in other comments long past on these blogs.

        Nor does my recognition of the flaws and criminality in LRH and The Church of Scientology mean that I’m going to join the ranks of those caterwauling at their keyboards.

        Critics here tend to deal in problems, problems, problems; complaints, complaints, complaints without recourse to solutions. Specific, detailed and applicable solutions that yield a predictable result. The comments tend to be only logical within fixed systems of logic that industriously exclude relevant data. Too many generalities. Too much misplaced importance and biased data passing for logic and truth. In other words, confusions and misunderstoods masquerading as insight.

        You also see a lot of failure to differentiate here: things that are similar are considered identical, things that are completely different are seen as similar or identical. Too much binary logic.

        Lots of mental loops just going round and round and round.

        None of those things helps a person overcome confusion by increasing understanding. Focusing attention on a fixed idea can create the illusion of handling confusion, but when that datum begins to destablilize, the confusions just come right back.

        So, I guess what I’m trying to say, is that all of us go through some upset and confusion on leaving Scientology. The severity varies from person to person, from complete rejection to blind servitude. I chose understanding. I chose to look at what people said and why they said it and how they said it. I chose to understand not only what they said, but the factors which caused the communication to be as it was.

        Passionately holding onto bad data doesn’t suddenly make it good data. We can always throw data off to the side. We can even throw “good” data aside and come back to it later after we’ve examined what is manageable.

        Nothing says we have to understand everything right now.

        We can always set aside our confusion and just enjoy the day.

        Plus, there’s always tomorrow, brimming with hope and trust and possibility.

        Michael

      • Marildi permalink
        March 25, 2011 10:42 pm

        Valkov, I stand corrected. Not a drill – a real life practical!

      • Valkov permalink
        March 28, 2011 9:57 am

        Michael wrote,

        “That others act in ways undeserving of trust should not put us at effect, should not cause us to crash into an unwillingness to trust. To be unwilling or unable to trust only leads to doubt and confusion. To be unwilling to trust only makes less of us.”

        My take on this is “Trust freely but keep your eyes open and carry a big stick.”

        Thanks for the ack of my post, too. I enjoy your posts a lot and I’m glad you’re posting a lot!

        My brother in law was posted, I believe it was, at CamRanh Bay, and he talks with awe about the ROK who were there. They essentially guarded the bridge and forayed out if the VC were even suspected to be about, and I think everyone on base felt a lot safer with them around. When they went out, all the locals stayed home! And it was basically a small group.

      • Marildi permalink
        March 28, 2011 8:48 pm

        Thanks, Valkov. From Michael’s post it seemed he got the idea from me that I’ve become unwilling to trust – not so. Actually, my take pretty much yours.

        And I too can appreciate the martial artists, just from the viewpoint of Chinese wisdom in general (based on a bit of study of Qigong).

        In fact, you and I are in agreement a lot, it seems. One of these days maybe you’ll say something that I can “spar” with you on. 😉

      • March 29, 2011 1:31 am

        Marildi,

        Nah, I didn’t really get the impression that you had become unwilling to trust. The fact that you’re here communicating–actually communicating–means you’ve got a high degree of ARC. There’s a difference between having clever arguments and actually communicating. And, to actually communicate requires a great deal of trust.

        I mean, a great deal of trust.

        Usually, I just get an idea and run with it because I think it has general relevance on a broader scale. Or because it amuses me. Or because I’m figuring it out as I write. Sometimes, the person I’m addressing exists on the high side of the issue, but what I’m saying includes the low side. By implication, it might seem I’m saying, “Ah, Marildi, I detect a lack of trust”.

        But, guess what? I actually figured you could perceive that high level, which would be impossible if you were operating at a low level of trust.

        So, put that in your pipe and smoke it, Sweetie Pie.

        Michael

      • March 29, 2011 1:38 am

        Valkov,

        I enjoy your stuff too.

        CamRanh Bay, uh? Lots of fun. I was up in Cua Viet and Quang Tri, sitting at the DMZ. Then got kicked out because I didn’t play well with others. Ended up working in a gym and being a life guard for the remainder of my tour. Somehow, the reports that should have lead to a courts martial got “lost.” Oh, dang! War is hell.

      • Marildi permalink
        March 30, 2011 4:55 am

        Michael, that was one of the nicest validations a person could ever have, in my book. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        And I did get in your earlier post that you were basically speaking your mind/heart – which itself came across as a real granting of beingness! And that was noted too. 😉

    • Marildi permalink
      March 25, 2011 10:37 pm

      OnceUponaTime/Michael, thanks for the riveting stories! And the words of that old Master made me laugh with their audacity. Hey, you could write a book, or maybe a screen play. (Who do you want to play you, if Brad Pitt or George Clooney can’t do it? And we’ll need a young Bruce Willis type to play the young Michael.)

      As fate would have it Marty was my first “pull-in” too. I “happened” to see him on that Nightline show a year or more ago, knew he was telling the truth, and after a comm lag of several months, found his blog, Right there began a far ruder awakening than the one I had already had from the comparatively little I knew firsthand.

      But in case I wasn’t clear in my previous comment to you, even with the variety of blogs I’ve been reading I never really felt brainwashed by LRH’s philosophy or tech, only by the powers that be of the organization and how they really “took us in.” I have to admit that my stable datums were shaken, not so much about the Church by that time, but about LRH and thus his teachings – even though I do see that a lot of the stuff you read on these blogs is full of confusion and misunderstoods, or at best are from a certain bias or even “context.”

      But actually, I never really stopped trusting in what I still like to think of as my “knowingness” about straight Scientology. Not that I’ve stopped looking at this, either, or that I couldn’t change my mind if at any point I saw things differently. And I do appreciate your assurance that things will resolve for me.

      Too bad I missed your posts about why – after you saw in a whole new unit of time the “impressive insights and logic” of LRH – you still decided you are not a Scientologist. Maybe you would care to repeat it, at least in a “nutshell”, sometime?

      Anyway, I guess it has to do with “purpose line” for me – I still have that “old time feeling” (maybe just the sentiment of a wonderfully sentimental old song, eh?) that I’d like to help make a better game and I’m still hoping LRH’s path will do it. I haven’t seen any others that give me that hope, as of yet. But the other reassuring thing you said was “Nothing says we have to understand everything right now.”

      Oh, by the way when I suggested we swap confidentiality agreements that was just playing with your retainer “check in the mail.” (I was going to send the check back but now I think I’ll keep it. 😉 )

      • March 27, 2011 12:57 pm

        Marildi,

        I think some of the explanation for why I don’t consider myself a Scientologist is in an introductory post about myself on David St Lawrence’s Possible Helpful Advice site–linked at Marty’s. Part of the reason is my refusal to stop thinking and researching what I want merely to satisfy the “ethical” considerations denigrating “squirrels.” To think freely makes you a squirrel? Valkov said it pretty well below.

        Part of the reason is associating with the self-righteous indignation that accompanies those who follow any religion. “You think Ron had flaws?! Why you 1.1 son of a bitch! How dare you! You’re just trying to undermine my religion!”

        Sigh.

        As for who would play me in the movie, I asked my wife and she thought about it a bit, then said, “Richard Chamberlain.” Ah, love is blind. Some people think I look and act like Jim Carey. Some think I look and act like your common street derelict, sort of a smudge on one’s periphery when rushing to the ballet. I would think a drunken William Macy or Steve Buscemi might fit the bill.

        Michael

      • Marildi permalink
        March 28, 2011 7:25 pm

        Once…Okay, I got your viewpoint and couldn’t fault it even if I wanted to. Also got a composite picture of you in my mind to go with your posts now. And I like the image of a smudged opera-goer (i.e. a bit “coarse” on the outside sometimes, but “cultured” underneath) 🙂

  27. Lady Lancelot permalink
    March 24, 2011 6:17 am

    Michael,
    The point is that SCN proclaims that it works and works all the time for everyone. That is in big bold letters. The exceptions are in small print– as long as you aren’t A to J or PTS or Suppressive, don’t have MUs and it was applied correctly.

    And not only does it work all the time for everyone, but your very existence and the future of every man, woman and child depends on it.

    With statements of that ilk, the sense of play kind of goes out of it, at least for me. The freedom to embrace or not embrace it, is diminished. The author of KSW isn’t encouraging a “look and see if it works for you” view point. It is presented as a do or die with blood on your hands if you don’t proposition.

    I am not comfortable with that and believe it is counter productive to enlightenment and freedom, which are the stated goals. Which in turn make the stated goals suspect.

    Just thinking out loud here. Not sure where I am going with this. Just wanted to share.

    • March 24, 2011 7:37 pm

      Lady Lancelot,

      Probably the greatest periods in dramatic theater (Greek and Elizabethan) came when audiences were allowed merciless response to what occurred on stage. Go figure.

      There’s something about a merciless audience that forces one to produce better products.

      For certain reasons I won’t address here, KSW has a certain validity: for one, you want to keep the same recipe going into every coca-cola so the customer can trust the product. But, I never was interested in Scientology the business. That’s been covered elsewhere, and spiritual freedom cannot come from adding more and more constrictions and restrictions on what you do, feel or think. So, from that position, KSW is a failure.

      In my opinion, religion fares better with a laissez-faire interchange of insight. Theoretically, those with the best product sell the most, though this isn’t constant. So, if one’s ideas are sooooooo superior, let the best ideas win. Why else squelches competition except a reluctance to compete?

      Excuse my french, but I think each of us has the right to say, “Fuck you, I don’t buy into that. But, thanks for the donuts.” To anyone, including Hubbard, your boss, your parents, your teachers, your friends, your spouse, whomever. (Of course, you might want to refine your choice of words. For some reason, some people find vulgar expletives disrespectful.)

      But really, the only way to make Scientology work is by using personal integrity, by being allowed to accept or reject any part of it. And KSW, ironically, threw a monkey wrench into that.

      You can’t enforce understanding. You just can’t.

      And when you try, the advance of awareness stops.

      Period.

      Michael

      • Valkov permalink
        March 25, 2011 11:02 am

        Yo Michael, have you seen Eminem’s movie “8 Mile”? Ad hom as an art, as practiced in the Rust belt, but in the end Rabbit(Eminem) wins by being totally honest about himself and showing up his opponents pretensions.

        True to life in The Big Dirty(Detroit) and definitely worth seeing!

      • March 27, 2011 12:41 pm

        Valkov,

        Yep, saw the movie and loved it. Love it when truth prevails, when honesty derails all the other crap.

        Liked your post below about squirreling. Explains why I do not consider myself a Scientologist while being a great admirer of LRH.

        Michael

    • March 25, 2011 4:47 pm

      I´d like to throw in my two cents worth. I remember Hubbard said in KSW that he does not
      claim that SCN is THE ONLY possible system. He just claims to be a workable system. Although
      everything which is not SCN is called “squirrel” activity. The administrative frame does not allow “squirrel action”-. In fact they fight them: PSychs, Freezoners, EST, and so on or discriminate (A-J-check). I bet if the church would be much bigger and more influence the even would fight or discrim Buddhism because its a “squirrel activity” (from their view).
      Does not sound like tolerance.

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 25, 2011 6:19 pm

        I have heard this statement from Scientologists: that Scientology is not a perfect system, only a “workable” one. The workability of Scientology could be debated, but the point is that although it is an admittedly imperfect subject, any further research and development is forbidden by KSW. Therefore the system is frozen in time, one cannot improve it, do further research, or incorporate possible breakthroughs in other fields.

      • Sidewinder permalink
        March 25, 2011 7:53 pm

        No Jeff, SCNists probably said:( A.) “not perfect System”!!
        LRH said (B:) ” (not) the only possible system”. This is alter-is by SCNists.
        B) could implicate that there would be space/frame for further reseach. But in fact any research is forbidden (even church external)!!! This gives people (SCNists )the idea that it IS the only system which frees people. clever clever.
        And thanks for censoring my personal opinion on the current SCN scene *looool
        Whenever it is possible I try to look through a humorous view at life. Therefore it is extremely difficult to make me upset.

      • Valkov permalink
        March 25, 2011 11:46 pm

        Jeff and Sidewinder,

        Here is what Hubbard actually wrote. This is only the first paragraphs, there is more:

        HUBBARD COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE
        Saint Hill Manor, East Grinstead, Sussex
        HCO POLICY LETTER OF 14 FEBRUARY 1965
        Remimeo
        All Hats
        BPI
        Keeping Scientology Working Series 4
        SAFEGUARDING TECHNOLOGY

        “For some years we have had a word “squirreling.” It means altering Scientology, offbeat practices. It is a bad thing. I have found a way to explain why.
        Scientology is a workable system. This does not mean it is the best possible system or a perfect system. Remember and use that definition. Scientology is a workable system.”
        (end quote)

        I have an entirely different take on KSW. KSW forbids squirreling WITHIN THE CHURCH, or BY CHURCH MEMBERS. It forbids augmenting auditing with drugs, for example, within the Church.

        This makes complete sense to me. If you have something that works and produces results, just leave it be and use it as is, and call THAT “standard scientology”.

        It seems obvious that neither God nor Hubbard can prevent human beings from squirreling, altering, experimenting, changing, developing or whatever.

        The only “authority” there is, is any authority we agree to. Reality really is agreement, when it comes to social institutions. We proved that in the 1960s and 1970s when the gov’t gave a party in Vietnam and a lot of people wouldn’t go. Result? The military draft has been suspended ever since.

        My point is, that just as Hubbard suggested, the thing to do is DISAGREE.

        Now, I certainly hope that some group somewhere preserves and holds to the standard of what I think of as “Standard Tech”. It is a compendium of unique skills, just as kung-fu or karate or qigong or acupuncture are.

        Obviously these kind of crafts and skills ought to be preserved. Just because we have fuel-air bombs and robot drone aircraft and machine guns, should martial arts be forgotten? All add to and enrich human knowledge.

        But it is a reification to say “it is forbidden therefore we must not do it and therefore it won’t happen because it is forbidden.” Is it forbidden by anyone who matters? No, of course not.

        Perhaps someday what we know as the CoS will be the “First Catholic Church of Scientology”. Another might be “The First Catholic Church of Scientology, Reformed”. And so on. Hubbard himself wrote a moral code that says in part, That all men might think freely.

        So why not “think freely”? Who’s to stop you, me, or anyone else from thinking freely? Only your own consideration that you shouldn’t or can’t.

        The Scientology universe had these two channels running through it even back in the 1970s. I don’t know what to call them. The Dionysian vs. the Apollonian is too kind, although given the name of Hubbard’s ship, perhaps appropriate. The gnostic vs. the hidebound conservative literalist. The freethinking vs. the doctrinaire.

        All the latter seem to be oriented towards stopping things from happening. It’s a “police” orientation that’s prone totalitarianism. That’s exactly the problem, because even I have to admit there is validity to the idea of holding to a form and not just letting everything dissolve in flux. But when the formalists gain the upper hand, they stifle life. As though they are trying to stop the river of life from flowing entirely, rather than just providing and maintaining appropriate channels through which it might flow.

        Thus “eternal vigilance” against them is indeed the price of liberty. And gnosticism.

        Scientology tech at it’s best provides a means for people to have gnostic experiences in an orderly and predictable fashion. Since it does do that with some reliability, it is worth preserving without alteration, and I think that is the sole intent and purpose of KSW. And not only do I think there is nothing wrong with that, I think it’s a good idea.

        However, as soon as KSW is in some way used as a barrier to achieving gnostic experiences, then it already has itself been “squirreled”, misinterpreted, and misapplied.

      • Marildi permalink
        March 26, 2011 4:05 am

        Really like this post, Valkov. Thanks!

      • Margaret permalink
        March 26, 2011 11:49 am

        Great post, Valkov. This is very much in line with my thinking as well.

      • It's me again permalink
        March 26, 2011 4:45 pm

        Valkov,

        Wow, that was about the best post I have seen on this or any other site. It is a very good logical explaination of how things were and are.

        Of course a form needs to be held and that was the reason for KSW.
        People who complain about it is kind of like the employee that works at the Noodle place complaining that they tell him how to cook the noodles.

        From me and maybe others like me that are free thinkers who looked at the Tech and saw it useful and workable, who didn’t give to the IAS just because we were suppose to, who didn’t give to Ideal Orgs because we didn’t want to play that game, who may have had disagreements with some of the Admin Tech and only used what worked for us in our own businesses….who just didn’t answer the phone calls of the “doctrinaire” because we just didn’t want to talk or argue with their realitiy on having to give to the chruch or having to go to events..Thank you, there are more of us out here than some may think.

      • Valkov permalink
        March 28, 2011 10:26 am

        Thanks folks, I do have my good days. I appreciate the acks, and I read youse guys posts too. Many good ones there!

        It’s great to have a place where we can freely express our views, so Thanks to Jeff also.

      • March 28, 2011 6:46 pm

        @Valkov:

        It is nice that you have found a way to justify what’s in KSW to fit your own individual viewpoint.

        However, I think Hubbard made his points abundantly clear:

        1) Scientology is the only route to spiritual freedom;
        2) Any alteration of Scientology “tech” is squirelling;
        3) Squirelling is a bad thing and makes you not a Scientologist.

        The fun part for a wog/protester like me is watching the Independents argue about which group is squirelling the tech and which group is doing it right.

        ML,
        Caliwog

  28. James Anglin permalink
    March 24, 2011 11:03 am

    I’m not really familiar with Sheldrake’s work, and I’m afraid I’m not going to learn much about it. It’s not my field, and the brief investigation I’ve just done does not suggest that it would be worth my time to investigate further.

    It’s not that I’m dismissing him as a crank or an idiot. On the contrary, from checking his CV and reading a couple of his shorter pieces, I’ve concluded that he’s a smart guy who writes well and thinks scientifically, at least at the tactical level of experimental design and analysis.

    There does seem to be something unusual about his thinking at the strategic level, though. Not in how he fights battles, as it were, but in how he chooses which wars to fight. He seems to give outside chances more consideration than scientists usually bother with, and he seems happy to accept levels of background noise that would make most scientists abandon a hypothesis as hopelessly untestable. Reading his stuff is a bit like watching a decent soccer player earnestly trying to play underwater, against a school of fish. It’s not that his moves are bad, though the water makes them clumsy and awkward. It’s that he doesn’t seem to notice that the fish aren’t actually playing.

    It is conceivable that he’s onto something real and will someday be seen as a great forerunner. But at this point it certainly looks more likely that he’s a decent but unexceptional researcher and communicator, who has found an economic niche as the token scientist of “woo”. On this theory of Sheldrake, he is going through the motions of science, muttering “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” as a perpetual mantra, in order to keep on selling books to the faithful. Maybe quite sincerely, or at least unconsciously. I’m afraid I find this explanation most likely, in an Ockham’s Razor kind of way, for the curious case of Rupert Sheldrake.

    • Margaret permalink
      March 24, 2011 5:55 pm

      James wrote: “It’s that he doesn’t seem to notice that the fish aren’t actually playing.”

      James, he definitely notices. In fact, he keeps reminding his fellow fish that soccer is much more easily played on land, instead of underwater. When you have a chance, I hope you watch the whole video and check out the research, and its replication by others (including reputable skeptics). It’s fascinating.

  29. March 24, 2011 12:18 pm

    I predict that Jeff will take a break now, and wonder why so many Scientologists can not read.

    • Valkov permalink
      March 25, 2011 10:28 am

      Al, would you please quit showing off your OT ability to precognosticate or whatever it’s called which you undoubtedly gained while you were in the CoS getting your ball-bearings squashed?

      It’s so show-offy! Especially as you seem to be the only one who is able to do it, on this blog anyway, therefore it proves nothing and it’s probably an ability you had before anyway so you’ll never convince me you got it from Scientology!

      But thanks for trying to inject a little humor into this logfaced serious bunch!

      Wouldn’t it be something if all your precognostimications turned out to be spot on??!! 🙂

  30. Expelled 4 Life permalink
    March 24, 2011 2:14 pm

    As I read the stories I thought these must be current C of S sanitized OT wins as they seemed pretty mundane except for the broken arm one. I assumed he was just a kook. But your point is well made.

    Jeff: What’s your take on the EP of the Suppressed Person R/D? That seems like a verifiable OT kind of deal.

    • Jeff permalink*
      March 24, 2011 5:05 pm

      It seems like it – but, again, where’s the evidence?

      • Expelled4Life permalink
        March 24, 2011 11:32 pm

        Did anyone out there receive the Suppressed Person R/D and get it’s EP?

      • Expelled4Life permalink
        March 24, 2011 11:35 pm

        By the way why would someone want an SP to originate comm to them? Better watch out Jeff, next thing you know, you might have a sudden urge to call DM!

      • SpecialFrog permalink
        March 25, 2011 12:18 pm

        I’m curious. Do most independents believe that SPs exist or is it just a fun thing to call Miscavige at this stage?

      • Margaret permalink
        March 25, 2011 11:35 pm

        SpecialFrog wrote: “Do most independents believe that SPs exist …?”

        You mean “Anti-Social Personality Disorder”? You don’t have to be a Scientologist to “believe in SPs”, SpecialFrog. According to the DSM-IV-TR (from 2000), “the prevalence of this disorder is 3% in males and 1% from females”.

        Or right around 2.5% of the population. 😉

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 26, 2011 12:46 am

        Ant-social personality, psychopath, narcissist, etc. are NOT the same as “SP.” You cannot take some Scientology term and say it means “the same thing” as clinical terms.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 25, 2011 11:56 pm

        p.s. There was also a very good discussion of a related item — “PTSness” — and some supporting scientific research for its potentially negative physical effects on a person here:

        http://www.scnforum.org/index.php?t=msg&goto=6847&S=#msg_6847

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 26, 2011 12:44 am

        The study was not about “PTSness” it was about bullying, abuse and stress. There was no scientific study on “PTS” – that’s a Scientology term.

      • Valkov permalink
        March 25, 2011 11:59 pm

        SF,

        There is a clinical meaning to the term which is IMO just as valid as terms like “sociopath”, “narcissist” etc.

        But the CoS uses it as a political control tool entirely, in a context of “situation ethics”. Like “If the situation is,you don’t agree with us, then you are an SP.” I believe Jeff has a great blog post recently about all the different types o f”SP” the “Church” has come up with.

        None of them have anything to do with the original technical clinical meaning. They are all totally from “down the rabbit hole” a la Franz Kafka or Joseph Heller.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 26, 2011 3:47 am

        Yes Jeff, I’m aware that they are not identical. That’s why I used “quotes” and smilies.
        Overall, though, the concepts are very similar, imho.

      • SpecialFrog permalink
        March 26, 2011 6:14 pm

        Margaret / Valkov,

        It seems the definitions of an SP are a mix of “clinical” characteristics and policy. For example, the Introduction to Scientology Ethics and the Technical Dictionary seem to include this as one of the definitions:

        8. is one that actively seeks to suppress or damage Scn or a Scientologist by suppressive acts. (ISE, p. 48)

        Suppressive acts of course are:

        1. acts calculated to impede or destroy Scn or a Scientologist. (HCO PL 23 Dec 65) 2. actions or omissions undertaken to knowingly suppress, reduce or impede Scn or Scientologists. (HCO PL 23 Dec 65)

        The association of unrelated things is a common technique in propaganda (and advertising :)).

        If the clinical meaning of SP is in fact the same as ASPD why not just use that instead of the heavily loaded Scientology term?

        The other thing I was getting at was the question of whether people believe in the contagion aspect of SP. The CoS seems to want people to believe that an OT VIII could lose all their gains by talking to an SP.

        Do you really think the effect of talking with an anti-social personality is that powerful?

      • Margaret permalink
        March 27, 2011 5:50 am

        SpecialFrog wrote: “It seems the definitions of an SP are a mix of “clinical” characteristics and policy…”

        Indeed, that was a major organizational/policy mistake in my view. The use of the term “SP” should never have been equated with “high crimes” in the Scn justice codes — one of a handful of policy mistakes, I believe.

      • SpecialFrog permalink
        March 27, 2011 5:35 pm

        Sorry, a handful? 🙂

      • Margaret permalink
        March 27, 2011 8:46 pm

        I’ve estimated that maybe 5-10% of the policies should be either amended or cancelled.

        I believe that the “Dirty Dozen” that Jeff wrote an article about can all be traced back to admin issues and not technical/philosophical ones. I think that a combination of poor policies and then extremely incompetent leadership after the 1982’ish coup created the “Dirty Dozen”.

        The conflating of “SP” between tech and admin was a huge mistake, imho.

        The application of KSW across everything that LRH ever wrote, said, thought and did — when it’s purpose was just to keep The Tech (i.e. auditing) standard — was another.

        There are a handful of policy/admin mistakes of this magnitude, imho, yes, which, combined with the RTC incompetence, created “the cult”.

      • Valkov permalink
        March 30, 2011 4:21 am

        We had a number of discussions of the concept of “SP” and especially “clinical SP” versus “treat with the same admin policy as”, “declared”- type SP on Geir’s forum last year. Here’s one good thread, because Geir posted about his experience as a management consultant involved with helping companies hire good employees more successfully.

        Geir interviewed thousands of people over several years and was able able to establish to his own satisfaction that the 12 anti-social and the 12 social characteristics did exist in people, and had a bearing on how well employees worked out, and how much of an asset or liability theywere to the companies they worked for.

        Here’s a link to that thread:

        ARE 2.% % OF THE POPULATION SPs?

        http://www.scnforum.org/index.php?t=msg&th=332&prevloaded=1&S=be3e5dcd47eed80b77bff607ddb1ef78&start=0

      • Valkov permalink
        April 2, 2011 10:26 am

        Jeff wrote:

        “Ant-social personality, psychopath, narcissist, etc. are NOT the same as “SP.” You cannot take some Scientology term and say it means “the same thing” as clinical terms.”

        You are right about this of course, but “The map is not the territory”. It is a logical fallacy to claim they are all the same, but it is equally a fallacy to claim they are necessarily different or not the same.

        The reason I say this is, each of the observers may be looking at the same phenomenon, but describing it differently.

        Example: Take a “verified SP” (Geir did identify a few when he was doing his management consulting work) to several different practioners (psychologists, psychiatrists etc) for a thorough psych valuation and diagnosis, and you may get several different ones, but I would guess they would be some where on that continuum of “labels” – psychopath,sociopath, narcissistic personality disorder etc., with each evaluator likely noticing and focusing on some of the personality traits more than others, depending on his POV, observational skills, theoretical orientation etc.

        It would be very interesting to have such “verified SPs” psychologically tested by a current uniform standardized set of psych tests, to see those results!

        Conversely, identified “psychopaths”, “sociopaths”, and criminals diagnosed primarily as “narcissists” already in forensic prisons could be observed and interviewed for the 12 anti-social and12 social characteristics, and their histories studied to see to what degree they might fit the “SP profile” as developed by Hubbard.

        Until such studies are done, we won’t know either way, whether Hubbard and psychological or sociological researchers from other disciplines were viewing and trying to describe “the same elephants” or not.

        Hubbard also wrote some about the “criminal personality” without specifically referring to these as “SPs”. It’s a question in my mind, was he referring to the same people there? Werethese terms interchangeable for him?

  31. newer permalink
    March 24, 2011 3:52 pm

    Here’s an anecdote that is a little larger than 1. Over the last ~15 years as a business exec I’ve stayed in semi regular contact with about 100 peers around the world (couple times a year). They are in my age group and are all non-scn. I have/had about the same number of Scn’ers I’ve seen regularly in that same time frame and same age group/range.

    In those 15 years I’ve had one “wog” friend die. It was a traffic accident. Of the Scn friends? >15.

    You do the math.

  32. Lady Lancelot permalink
    March 24, 2011 5:40 pm

    To Newer,
    Thank you for sharing your antedote. I have suspected that the death rate among Scientologists was higher than the norm. And although your story is not “proof” it does validate a perception.
    Endless wishful thinking coupled with unrealistic expectations coupled with financial and time stressors, I believe take their toll.
    The route to total freedom could actually be the route to a shorter life span. Ironic, eh?

  33. Lady Lancelot permalink
    March 24, 2011 6:04 pm

    Hi Sid,
    I found myself thinking about your post this AM.

    Psalms 55:22 ‘ Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.’

    Christianity can be very powerful and there are parallels. But when it comes to problems, one does not turn them over to the Lord in Scientology. Actually, the existence of the “Lord” is never spoken of. And as for creation We did that. This is in the Factors.

    Anyway, as for problems, all problems can be handled by buying a service or doing your next step on the Bridge.

    And there is the rub. Belief is one thing. Taking your money and promising a result is another. This is unique, I believe, to Scientology. Scientology only works as long as you have the money to pay for services.

    And it gets a little nasty after that because if you don’t have the money, then the cop out is that Scientology is for the able and if you don’t have the money, well, then you aren’t among the able.

    I believe that this is also a unique “religious” view.

    Anyway, I very much appreciated your post. Well thought out and well spoken. Thank you for that.

    • Sid permalink
      March 24, 2011 9:33 pm

      Hi Lady Lancelot

      Thank you so much for thinking about my post, and taking the time to reply to it.

      I must have typed up about three different replies to your post, but it’s near bed-time for me so I really must decide on my final version….

      I think that Psalm is beautiful. There are many wonderful verses in the Bible, many move me to tears.

      It’s a lovely sentiment isn’t it? Give me your troubles, I will never let you fall. If only that were actually true. If you honestly, really honestly assess that verse you can see it is an aspiration of how we would want a God to behave towards us. I’m sorry but it is. I cast my troubles on the Lord plenty of times, and I fell plenty of times. I’m not bitter or angry about it, I’m just realistic about it! Here comes the controversial statement – BibleTech very often does not work, despite quite clear statements from the supposed author.

      However, I really just want to reinforce that my original post was not intended as a criticism of Christianity. I totally understand that there are many, many differences between the two.

      In my response to you now I did start typing up some of the key differences, but then changed my mind since that’s really not the point, and I don’t want to get into it here – it changes the dynamic of the topic.

      I wrote it because I relate to some of the key questions I hear from Scientologists.

      You see I believe many of the answers are all around us. I look at my 5 year old daughter and see how she believes so easily in Santa. This shows me that human beings are capable of believing in the most amazing things, given the right environment.

      I look at all the religions around the world, each full of very fervent believers. However many of them are very contradictory of each other. This shows me that at least one of them must be substantially incorrect, even though it is full of fervent believers. I therefore know for sure that it is possible even for adults to fervently believe in something which is not true.

      I also know that all the religions of the world claim great benefits for their adherents, and all the adherents likewise rave about their experiences.

      Given that I have proved that some believers must be mistaken, I therefore realize that some people are capable of believing in something which is incorrect, and still claim great gains from it.

      A couple of years ago I realized I had no way to prove I was not in this latter group.

      • Just Me permalink
        March 25, 2011 12:27 am

        Sid,

        I really like your posts — because they’re written by a good thinker and because I sense the kindness and patience and maturity of the poster.

        Just Me

  34. Marildi permalink
    March 24, 2011 8:37 pm

    Jeff, I would love a discussion concentrated more on the ACTUAL tech results of Scientology, rather than the issues of administration and promotion (which obviously, to almost everybody, have gone completely awry – regardless of whether it was LRH to blame, or others or both, and regardless of the underlying intentions).

    Actually, maybe even better would be a discussion of how to draw up some sort of survey of auditors (not pcs) who have had a lot of experience auditing many hours, to get some sort of “statistics” on the matter. That still wouldn’t be scientific proof, I suppose, but wouldn’t it point in a direction of workability, degree of?

    • Jeff permalink*
      March 24, 2011 9:05 pm

      I might include some surveys. I think if you limit it only to “auditors who have audited many hours,” you might increase such things as confirmation bias and “sunk cost” bias.

      • Marildi permalink
        March 24, 2011 9:55 pm

        That would be so cool. I think this kind of thing is needed – and wanted.

        And right you are. The survey itself would have to be drawn up without logical/scientific outpoints (and the drawing of inferences and conclusions as well!) But I imagine it would have to include informed questions about background, so as to categorize the results with relevant “context”.

        You seem to have all the necessary quals to do the job – I realy hope you have the interest too!

      • Margaret permalink
        March 25, 2011 3:26 am

        Wait, what? Jeff, you’re agreeing to collecting a bunch of anecdotes under your article “The Anecdotal Fallacy”?! Dayum, I think I was too hard on you! 😉

        But seriously, what Scientology really needs — if there really is going to be a scientific study of this stuff — are before and after tests. Real ones. Ideally, we could find someone doing graduate work in (preferably a PhD) — or even better, working in — physics, biology, medicine, or psychology/psychiatry. In fact, there are even degrees in “consciousness studies”, where a “Study on the effect of scientology auditing” might be a perfect fit.

        Find a half a dozen “indie auditors” and ask them if they are interested in participating, by having their pcs do before and after tests — perhaps IQ, “Sheldrake telepathy”, RV and other appropriate tests (even the vaunted OCA test, though I think a few updates to the questions would be needed). Figure out a couple proper control groups, and off we go.

        Honestly, I don’t think collecting more anecdotes will add much to the argument. For one thing, “confirmation bias” on both sides will be in full play … and Jeff’s site will be a magnet for those agreeing with his views. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But it certainly wouldn’t be scientific.

      • Marildi permalink
        March 25, 2011 5:17 am

        Margaret, you’re so right, a full-blown, classic scientific study would be far better. But I’m thinking of all the logistics involved and how long it would take, etc. etc. Plus, so far it seems no one with the means or opportunity has had the inclination…

        In the meantime, though, since anecdotal evidence hasn’t ever been collected and studied in any systematic way, it seems like a “workability study” based on survey alone might be very helpful (and might even inspire the kind of thing you suggest, which would determine the actual scientific basis for any apparent workability). Besides, I have the idea that Jeff would have the ability and intellectual honesty to put any bias aside if he were to conduct it.

        By the way, from reading a number of your posts, I can tell you and I share very similar viewpoints about Scientology (and about crediting anecdotal evidence!) and Jeff’s site attracts the likes of us too – not that there’s anything wrong with that. 🙂 )

      • Marildi permalink
        March 25, 2011 5:54 am

        One other thought, Jeff. I think you have friends across the spectrum of viewpoints, who have blogs or other connections, and many of them would probably be interested in promoting your survey to their readers. You sure got some of them jumping on the “OT abilities bandwagon” recently, being smart enough to know a good thing when they saw it. Anyway, just sayin’.

      • Margaret permalink
        March 25, 2011 6:46 am

        “Besides, I have the idea that Jeff would have the ability and intellectual honesty”

        Marildi, I think he would too. My concern isn’t Jeff, it’s the idea that it would all still be anecdotal. Also, being online, the difficulty of verifying the authenticity of the people providing the data adds another layer of unreliability.

        But anyway, I’m just thinking outloud. There may be advantages and/or solutions that I’m not thinking of.

      • Marildi permalink
        March 25, 2011 11:31 pm

        Margaret, good point about the problem of verifying authenticity of those who answer. My original idea of just surveying auditors would make it easier on that score, because you can pretty well spot the “trolls” – i.e. auditors “give away” their background, and by that I don’t just mean the use of tech terms. Plus, well-experienced auditors would have a broader base of info.

        And I still think a valid, well-done survey, in spite of being basically anecdotal and not actual proof, would have great value. Anyway, all this is far above my pay grade too – but not Jeff’s, I don’t think. Trouble there, though, is that it seems he’s mainly interested in the claims about OT as compared to the results, and might not be interested in a survey of results of the tech overall.

        Jeff, not to talk about you like you’re “not in the room”! And I wanted to mention again what I said in my original comment above, that maybe a general discussion on how this survey could be done would help.

  35. Bunkai permalink
    March 25, 2011 3:25 pm

    Here is some Anecdotal Evidence from this morning! This post was censored from Marty’s blog. And amazingly enough, getting someone to be a whole-hog kool-aid drinker is key to getting them to accept the anecdotal fallacy!

    POST: “Imagine”

    I FIND THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS AS CREEPY AND POTENTIALLY ENSLAVING:

    “The auditor necessarily owns the pre-clear. He owns the pre-clear on a lessening basis until the pre-clear owns himself.” – LRH

    THERE IS NO DOCTOR OR PERSON ON EARTH ONE SHOULD GIVE “OWNERSHIP” OVER UNLESS SAID PERSON IS MEDICALLY INCAPACITATED. AND EVEN THEN ONLY A FAMILY MEMBER SHOULD HAVE THAT POWER.

    “Now, when I say imagine that it was in, I do not mean “sorta in”, “a lot in”, “a little in”, or “most of the time in”. I mean, in unconditionally.” – MR

    “I mean, unconditionally “willing to talk to the auditor” with no consideration present that there are any adverse ramifications possible for what one might say to the auditor.” – MR

    ABSOLUTE PSYCHOLOGICAL TRUST GIVES SOMEONE ABSOLUTE PSYCHOLOGICAL POWER OVER YOU. AND SPIRITUAL TEACHERS ARE PROVEN HISTORICALLY INABLE TO HANDLE SUCH DEVOTION ETHICALLY.

    WHAT IS IMAGINED HERE IS ABSOLUTE TRUST WITH NO LEGAL RECOURSE OR REVIEW BY INDEPENDENT, OUTSIDE SOURCES OUTSIDE OF THE CONTROL OF THE ORGANIZATION DOING THE AUDITING.

    • March 25, 2011 8:45 pm

      Imagine what an organization would be like whose Founder sought such ownership of its patrons…

      • Margaret permalink
        March 26, 2011 12:13 am

        Like a Zen Buddhist monastery?

      • Bunkai permalink
        April 1, 2011 1:52 am

        Some Zen Monastaries are very cult like. But they haven’t ruined as many people so they aren’t on the radar right now.

  36. Valkov permalink
    March 26, 2011 12:21 am

    Yo Bunkai and Al,

    I am wondering which part of this you didn’t read or include in your considerations about what Marty posted:

    until the pre-clear’s subcontrol center is established under his own control center’s command. The role of the auditor ceases at that moment.

    “The auditor necessarily owns the pre-clear. He owns the pre-clear on a lessening basis until the pre-clear owns himself.
    If the auditor wishes to successfully own, to the end of NOT owning the pre-clear, he MUST NOT use the pre-clear to the service of the auditor for this establishes and confirms the ownership and inhibits the pre-clear from owning himself.”

    This is in fact the relationship of every child to his parents, for example. It has always also been the relationship of a disciple to his teacher or mentor or sensei.

    The dangers you point out are exactly what Marty addresses, which you will see if you actually read the entire quote, and read the comments.

    The point is, the sky has already fallen, in that the CoS has long since failed to put Act One in on itself and has for years been using all it’s members, public and staff, “To the service of itself” rather than serving them selflessly as it ought to have been doing.

    Try clearing the word “own”. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” describes it pretty well.

    To “own” can be to treat as part of oneself and as well as one wants to be treated.

    Or you can run around crying the sky is falling, when those horses left the barn long ago.

    Seriously, read the whole post and the comments.

    “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”

    • Marildi permalink
      March 26, 2011 4:21 am

      Or as the folks down home say it, “A little learnin’ is a dangerous thing.”

      Valkov, this post is another contribution you deserve a big ack for. 🙂

    • SpecialFrog permalink
      March 26, 2011 6:23 pm

      Valkov,

      While the parental metaphor has some validity I don’t think the student / teacher relationship is the same. A teacher is helpful but ultimately unnecessary and you shouldn’t put absolute trust in a teacher.

      A key idea in (non-Tibetan) Buddhism (and a lot of mystical traditions) is that everyone is capable of enlightening themselves. The teacher may be farther along the path but it doesn’t mean they have all the answers, or even that their answers are applicable to you.

      On the other hand, some groups have the notion of a guru. A guru _is_ necessary — there is no progress without them. A bit like a priest in the Catholic church.

      A teacher is not inherently a power relationship whereas the relationship with a guru / priest is.

      Marty’s description sounds more like a priest or a guru than a teacher to me.

      If that’s what you are looking for, fine.

      • Valkov permalink
        March 28, 2011 9:27 am

        SF, Bunkai, et al,

        SF,

        I am not looking for anything, except that readers understand the ACT ONE post. It’s clear to me some folks do not understand it at all,
        possibly because they haven’t read the whole thing, and possibly because the way Hubbard expressed it is a bit difficult. I suppose my
        first post didn’t help with that, so here comes more.

        Your differentiation of the situations I used as analogies, parent/child, teacher/pupil, etc are fine. I have no problem with them.

        What we are missing here is the core issue ACT ONE addresses.

        ACT ONE is not primarily about the external relationship between the auditor and the preclear. It is about the auditor’s internal attitude
        and intention, which then becomes reflected in reality. It is when the auditor fails to have his ACT ONE “in”, that abuse and power
        issues can arise. The quality of the external relationship depends on whether ACT ONE is done or not by the auditor.

        ACT ONEis totally about the auditor’s intentions.

        In a session, an auditor must be 100% focused on the well-being and advancement of the preclear 100% of the time.

        Another way LRH said this is, “An auditor has no case(of his own) in session.” In other words, he must be completely selfless and free of any
        concerns of his own, in order to minister to the pc without any reservation, for the time being putting every one of his own concerns aside, AND needs to makesure it is his actual intention to help THAT person in front of him

        Here, I posted this example on Claire’s forum a couple of days ago:

        “True power is in being able to maintain love, compassion, caring, reason, granting of beingness to the other guy.

        It is, for example, being able to hold a position in the auditor’s chair for 2, 3, 4 hours to a point of release of the problem being addressed, totally for the benefit of the preclear, without a thought or concern for one’s self. Granting beingness, caring and understanding, completely for the other guy, the guy one is helping.

        That’s real power to me. That’s also having one’s “Act One” in. And when the session is over, the preclear is 100% free to take his F/N or release and
        go, no strings attached, never to return if that’s what he decides.”

        That is the kind of “ownership” Hubbard is talking about. The auditor must be 100% willing to take responsibilty for the outcome of the session and the preclear’s success in the session, and the ultimate improvement of the pc’s well-being.

        The auditor must be willing to “own” and take on the preclears liabilities and inabilities, the preclears confusions, depressions, anxieties and fears, his
        negative thoughts and emotions, all the preclear’s “baggage”, in order to help the preclear dissolve and break free of all these barriers and become more free and self-determined. He must be able to accept everything he dislikes about the pc, as well as everything he likes about the pc, and have no thought of any gain for himself from the pc. The auditor has to look inside himself and make sure his own “altruism” is unalloyed.

        If an auditor starts a session, and it does take 4 hours to reach a satisfactory end-point for that session, too bad. If Allah Himself is waiting to take the auditor to virgin heaven, or worse yet, his wife is waiting at home and dinner is getting cold, too bad, the auditor is 100% bound to complete the session to a tolerable result. Without thought of ANY possible consequence to himself. 100% focus on the well being of the preclear.

        That is the essential meaning of ACT ONE.

        All this is also reflected in the “moral code” of auditors – the Auditors Code. And in the Code of a Scientologist, thus:

        “3. To refuse to accept for processing and to refuse to accept money
        from any preclear or group I feel I cannot honestly help.”

        That’s ACT ONE right there. The scientology practioner must look within himself and ascertain his intention to help is 100% clean and
        unalloyed, that he has no strings attached and is working solely towards the resolution of the preclear’s problems and greater freedom for
        the preclear, IN THE PRECLEAR’S OWN ESTIMATION.

        For a comparable concept, try Carl Rogers’ concept of “Client-centered therapy” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_Rogers

        It should be obvious by now, it is the exact opposite of what the Church of Scientology is practicing.

        It is not about some kind of relationship of external power and domination of the preclear by the auditor. It is about the auditor being enough in control of himself and his own intentions that he can really be trusted. Anything else is an abuse of his position as a counsellor.

        Let’s keep that in mind when we talk about ACT ONE.

        Frankly, I feel anyone who wants to discuss scientology with any authority, ought to be familiar at least with the basic codes and concepts of what auditing is all about.

      • SpecialFrog permalink
        March 28, 2011 5:27 pm

        Hello Valkov,

        Thank you for the clarification. I was overly hasty in my response.

        However, language is important, and many oppressive organizations require people to give over their will to another, so you can see why the word “own” in relation to Scientology evokes such a strong reaction.

        Regards

      • Valkov permalink
        March 30, 2011 3:17 am

        SF, thanks for your kind reply. I can get kinda cranky on the subject. In fact the CoS has totally abused this aspect of ownership, and they probably justify their actions by spinning ACT ONE in their own favor. I find it sickening the way they have betrayed the goals of the scientology philosophy and continue to do so. It is no different than preists of any religion abusing children etc.

        If an auditor does not instill or convey enough confidence, if peace and acceptance of you does not so clearly outflow from him towards you that you can feel and perceive it, then possibly, keep looking.

        Like in all else, Caveat Emptor. I get second opinions from doctors, lawyers, auto mechanics, carpenters etc on anything that matters. Don’t suspend your reasoning ability and critical faculties. Even in an auditing session. The virtue of a good auditor is, if you do get lost in your own mind, he is there to make sure you find your way back out, hopefully carrying some long-lost treasure withyou.

        That’s true of any good psychotherapist, auditor, Idenics practioner, whatever. Their motto may well be, “We bringem back alive”. (and better off than they were before)

        And I do think ACT ONE applies to teachers, too. They have codes to follow, to prevent their abuse of the students under their care. Children are naturally trusting; it doesn’t occur to them not to trust.

    • March 28, 2011 6:35 pm

      @Valkov:

      >Try clearing the word “own”

      From Merriam-Webster: Own (v)

      transitive verb
      1
      a : to have or hold as property : possess
      b : to have power or mastery over
      2
      : to acknowledge to be true, valid, or as claimed : admit

      Don’t know about you, but that doesn’t make me feel any better about “Act One.”

      ML,
      Caliwog

      • Valkov permalink
        March 30, 2011 2:55 am

        CW, try clearing the word “necessarily”.

        Where are you coming from? No-one is suggesting the abandonment of prudence and common sense. That would be folly and unreason. Ethics is “reason and the contemplation of optimum survival”. Whose optimum survival?
        Yours, duh.

        ACT ONE addresses any would-be auditors, but it ought to reassure you, as it clearly tells anyone who is considering getting some auditing that the slightest sense that the auditor has anything other than your well-being in mind needs to be dealt with.

        Why “own”? It’s based on the fact that if the preclear wholly owned himself, he would not be seeking auditing. He has things going on that are out of his control. Thus the dictum “Auditor + Preclear are greater than the bank”. If the preclear could totally handle his own sh*t he wouldn’t be there. That’s why “The auditor lends himself as the control center to the group”(of auditor + pc), until the pc is back in command of himself. ” The role of the auditor ceases at that moment”, per ACT ONE.

        ACT ONE is telling any would be auditor that if he is unable to clear his own heart and mind of any counter-intention to helping the preclear 100%, he better not be auditing him!

        Of course there are people who have been betrayed in the past who will find achieving any trust at all very difficult. That’s unfortunately pretty normal, and the CoS has not improved matters any by failing to do ACT ONE on itself.

        However, I hope I have clarified why Hubbard said the auditor “necessarily” owns the preclear. Unfortunately for the auditor, he does not have a choice. He has to temporarily own the pc, no choice about it.

        Unfortunately, because who the H*ll would want to own the likes of you, or me? Or, God forbid, Alanzo? 🙂

      • March 30, 2011 7:16 am

        >No-one is suggesting the abandonment of prudence and common sense

        Well, one might argue that that’s what happens in Scientology.

        I appreciate your explanation. But I don’t think Hubbard’s choice of “own” needs that much explanation or exploration. Scientology is largely about giving up control. It’s about suborning one’s owns needs and desires to those of the group.

        I disagree that anyone needs “ownership” taken of them. There are much better ways of handling one’s own problems.

        > Ethics is “reason and the contemplation of optimum survival”.

        Not in the dictionaries most of the world uses, Valkov. 🙂

        ML,
        Caliwog

      • Valkov permalink
        March 30, 2011 10:12 pm

        Hey CW, if you don’t want yourself and those you care about to survive, there is no-one around who’s going to stop you from succumbing. Perhaps for you to not survive would be TGGFTGNOD, ya know? It’s not for me to say. Only you can decide for sure. Your fate is in your own hands, you hold the scales of justice by which you judge yourself. (There’s that word “own” again)

        If you don’t care for Hubbard’s definition of “ethics” that’s OK, we don’t have to use it. If you want to propose a different definition, we can discuss around that. Personally, I think his definition is as good as any I’ve seen for the purpose of what are called ‘normative ethics’.

        Beyond that, I feel you made no attempt to understand what I said in my post. Did you clear the word “necessarily”?

        If you had ever been in session with a good auditor, or a good therapist or counselor of any kind, you would know it’s not about “giving up control” or “suborning one’s owns needs and desires to those of the group.”

        Because in a session, the “group” is you and the therapist. ACT ONE clearly states that auditing is defined as a “client-centered” process that has “client-centered” goals, in the Carl Rogers sense. And that the reason an auditor needs to do ACT ONE on himself is to make sure he is able to work for the client’s best interest without reservation. ACT ONE clearly states that.

        No-one here denies the CHURCH of Scientology is a control-mad entity that seeks the utter submission of everyone connected with it.

        But you know very well that’s not what I’m talking about, Caliwog. This is not about some reified entity you are calling “scientology”, it is about a one-to-one relationship. As in client-therapist, client-counselor. There is no “Big Brother” looming here, except in your mind.

        It istrue that therapies have often been subverted by ‘the State” as in Communist or Fascist regimes; in the Soviet Union, dissidents were labeled “mentally ill” by psychiatrists at the behest of the Soviet state. In the USA itself, at one time psychology was largely the “psychology of adjustment and the goal of psychological treatment was largely to make a person “fit in” to society.

        That does not negate the fact that therapy can have the purpose of forwarding the individual’s goals and purposes rather than the State’s or the therapist’s. The majority of psychologists, auditors, social workers, alternative self-development counselors, and yes, even psychiatrists, are “client-centered” these days, in the USA at least, and have the client’s own well-being and best interest in mind, not their own or that of the organization they maybe allied with.

        You often do not actually respond to the substance of my posts. You are the one who brought up you reservations about the word “own”; I replied to your concerns about it; now you want to shift the discussion elsewhere apparently because you didn’t care for my take on the subject. Suddenly, you don’t think “Hubbard’s choice of “own” needs that much explanation or exploration.”

        Well, I guess I think it does need as much exploration as it needs, no more and no less. Uhhhh, like it’s a blog, I can continue to comment on it, right? If you’re tired of talking about it, you know what you can do, right?

      • March 31, 2011 7:04 am

        @Valkov:

        >if you don’t want yourself and those you care about to survive

        Where and when did I say that?

        >If you don’t care for Hubbard’s definition of “ethics” … If you want to propose a different definition, we can discuss around that.

        How about we use the English definition?

        “A system of moral principles; he rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.; moral principles, as of an individual.”

        I fail to see how “reason and the contemplation of optimum survival” even comes close to the actual meaning of ethics.

        >Did you clear the word “necessarily”?

        Yes.

        >[therapy/auditing is] not about “giving up control” or “suborning one’s owns needs and desires to those of the group.”

        Correct. But I have never had a therapist (good or bad) say he or she needed to “own” me in order to fix me.

        “Own” is a word. It is defined in the English dictionary. It has a meaning. Just because Hubbard made up his own meanings (which, for “own,” I don’t think he did), and just because he talked in circles about it for an hour-long lecture, does not change that meaning.

        >It istrue that therapies have often been subverted by ‘the State” as in Communist or Fascist regimes

        Oh, please.

        >You often do not actually respond to the substance of my posts.

        Sure I do, Valkov. But you don’t see it. We have different realities. I think you are so deeply invested in the Hubbard culture of micro-analyzing the smallest details that you miss the big picture. Forest and trees. And that, my young padawan, is what I’m trying to communicate.

        Hubbard’s “tech” is FULL of red herrings. When Hubbard says “own,” does he mean that the auditor purchases and takes title to the PC? Of course not. But that doesn’t mean he’s not speaking literally.

        The PC really does need to be trained to give up control to others. It’s how the whole thing works. It’s the only way you can get perfectly sensible adults to believe that they are aliens from outer space whose bodies are covered in other aliens (and pay $300,000 for the privilege).

        Hubbard says what he says, then he does a 3-hour lecture about why it means something else. But in fact, Hubbard sometimes does really say what he means.

        ML,
        Caliwog

      • Valkov permalink
        March 31, 2011 8:21 am

        CW wrote:

        [begin quote]
        How about we use the English definition?

        “A system of moral principles; he rules of conduct recognized in respect to a particular class of human actions or a particular group, culture, etc.; moral principles, as of an individual.”

        I fail to see how “reason and the contemplation of optimum survival” even comes close to the actual meaning of ethics. [end quote]

        Valkov sez: That is a general definition of the word, and does not address any specific system of ethics or ethical decision-making.

        The scientology ethics materials comprise a system of “normative ethics”. From Wikipedia:

        “Traditionally, normative ethics (also known as moral theory) was the study of what makes actions right and wrong. These theories offered an overarching moral principle one could appeal to in resolving difficult moral decisions.”

        LRH’s system revolves around the idea that the best actions are those that promote or enhance or contribute to the survival and growth of all of one’s dynamics. That would be ‘optimum survival’.

        If you don’t care for that definition, I asked you to choose another one, and we could discuss things around your preferred definition. As usual, you didn’t do so, offering instead a vague general definition.

        Please note, that definition is all in English, there’s not a single foreign word or neologism in it.

      • Jeff permalink*
        March 31, 2011 4:22 pm

        See my earlier comments on Scientology’s ethics system here.

      • Valkov permalink
        March 31, 2011 11:23 pm

        Thanks Jeff,

        that’s a great article that exposes how the CoS has completely corrupted the subject of ethics, whether scientology ethics or ethics period. What the CoS pushes are not ethics, but compliance with their own arbitrary and self interested “moral code”, and there’s even really nothing “moral” about it.

        That is why any group or individual that tries to set itself up as an “ethics authority” and tries to evaluate for one, as to what is ethical and what isn’t for one to think, feel, or do, needs to be ignored, rejected, scorned, vilified, lynched, tarred and feathered, ridden out of town on a rail and burned to the ground, boiled, skinned, and shot from guns.

        Well, not necessarily all the above, but several of them at least. Of course “established churches” have throughout history tried hard to be in that business. That’s why the we have “separation of church and state”. When that’s lacking and the “moral authorities” of a church become allied with the police, courts, and guns of the state, watch out! we have “1984” or North Korea, or the Soviet Union or Hitler’s Reich, or the Spanish Inquisition or or or or.

        Always based on the taking away of the individual’s right, to be ethical in his own eyes and by his own judgement and decision. It’s the road to a caste system in which a ruling elite makes all the decisions and feeds off the labor and goodwill of the majority of the people. It’s the same old story regardless of whether it is cloaked as the Calvinist theory of “the Elect”, Hindu “brahmins”, Plato’s “philosopher-kings”, whatever. Examples abound. All are totalitarian gimmicks for the few to rule the many and deceide for others “for their own good”.

        Ethics is for an individual to decide for himself what his best courses of action in life are.

        The stupidity of the CoS lies right there, in the fact that they are trying to operate over an irreconcilable contradiction – the CoS has it’s members study the very materials that will cause them to blow, once awareness of the truly unethical nature of the CoS sinks in.

        No-one can tell you what is ethical for you, in or out of scientology. The principles and concepts of any system or school of ethics are for an individual to apply to his own life, in accordance with his own conscience, period. Beyond that we are out of the realm of ethics, and into the realms of morals, and laws, and all that stuff.

        I won’t go into how this relates to the Dynamics, utilitarianism, ends/means, etc. except to say I understand how elitists like the CoS uses them and the semi logical edifices they construct to justify their lines, but disagree with them, because they are based on false or questionable assumptions.

      • Valkov permalink
        March 31, 2011 11:49 pm

        I just wanted to highlight this from my earlier post – it seems to me to be an often overlooked point, and one it took me along time to grasp:

        “LRH’s system revolves around the idea that the best actions are those that promote or enhance or contribute to the survival and growth of all of ONE’S dynamics. That would be ‘optimum survival’.”

        Each of us is looking at his own individual set of the 8 Dynamics. Ethics then is ONE’S OWN considerations about how best to care for, nurture, enhance, and make thrive ONE’S OWN set of the 8 Dynamics, not anyone else’s set of the 8 Dynamics.

        It’s a bit hard to grasp, or was for me, considering there are billions of individuals on the planet, etc. Lends itself to a lot of diversity of considerations about what is right and what is wrong!

        But it does lend itself to the idea that the world and societies we live in are “co-created” by all the individuals living in them. We are born into and live in barrels and are shaped by the barrels we live in, but we also shape those barrels right back and grow and amend them, too. It’s a participatory process. Each individual contributes to it.

        The Dynamics could be described as the sum total of all barrels the individual finds meaningful to him in his life. And as his awareness grows, he may become aware of more barrels that are meaningful to him.

        That’s why no-one can dictate to another what is “ethical” for that other to do.
        Sure, groups or governments or churches or whatever can set up rules or laws and moral codes for their members to follow – “If you want to be a member of the club, here’s what you have to do, and what you have to abstain from, etc”.

        But that’s not ethics. Ethical philosophy has always been about individuals trying to ascertain what is good and right against the highest most comprehensive standard. Hubbard defined this standard as as something like “the optimum survival of all the barrels that are meaningful to you in your personal sphere of living”.

      • April 1, 2011 12:57 am

        >LRH’s system revolves around the idea that the best actions are those that promote or enhance or contribute to the survival and growth of all of one’s dynamics.

        If that’s the definition of ethics, then does that mean it is ethical for me to kill you if you try to make a pass at my wife? After all, if she likes you better than me, you are contributing to the non-survival of my second dynamic, and I would only be harming your first dynamic. What about the police opening fire on intoxicated or reckless drivers? TGGFTGNOD, after all.

        >I asked you to choose another one… As usual, you didn’t do so, offering instead a vague general definition.

        Vague and general? Valkov, are you serious? I used the definition FROM THE DICTIONARY.

        Ethics is a word. It has a definition. That definition is in the dictionary. That is the definition I used.

        One does not “choose a definition,” Valkov. We are not shopping for socks. We are talking about words. Just because Hubbard re-defined a word, that does not change the meaning of that word. That is Hubbard trying to further isolate you from real life.

        Just because something is true for you and your fellow Scientologists, that does not make it true.

        So, we have our definition of ethics – the definition that the vast majority of English speakers agree on. Shall we discuss? Or are you going to continue to try to take the conversation further off track?

        ML, CW

      • Valkov permalink
        April 1, 2011 11:30 am

        CW,

        You are asking good questions.

        What I mean by”general” rather than specific definitions of ethics is thatt here are many different “systems” of ethics, normative ethics studies th ebasic question of how does one decide what to do? What is the “good” and what might be the “highest good”? There have been many different answers developed throughout history – Buddhist ethics, Judaic ethics, Christian ethics, utilitarian ethics, even Marxist or socialist or communist ethics etc etc. Scientology ethics is another one.

        Each one has developed some kind of “yardstick” against which one can try to judge possible courses of action and make a decision of what to do to handle a life situation.

        That’s why I said your definition was “too general”. It is a book definition of the general subject of ethics which has many branches or subsets of study. “Normative ethics is one subset which itself has many different subsets like the different schools ones I mentioned above.

        So all I was saying really, is, What do you go by? How do you decide whether some action or situation is good or bad, right or wrong?

        It’s waaaaay past my bedtime already, so I’ll leave you with this to ponder. It relates to your first conundrum, the one about your wife…..

        Much of the world’s best music,dance and song involves situations of an ethical nature. How would you go about judging this one?

      • April 2, 2011 5:27 am

        *forehead smack*

        ML, CW

      • Valkov permalink
        April 2, 2011 9:47 am

        CW,

        OK. ( I work on weekends, my first chance to respond again…) So, you posted:

        “If that’s the definition of ethics, then does that mean it is ethical for me to kill you if you try to make a pass at my wife? After all, if she likes you better than me, you are contributing to the non-survival of my second dynamic, and I would only be harming your first dynamic.”

        Actually, no. You would not be “only harming my first dynamic”. Perhaps I failed to make it clear in my prvious post, but each person is all 8 dynamics. I can only make decisions from my POV about my relationship to my8 dynamics, and can’t tell you how to handle yours (because I am not looking at them from your POV), but each person’s dynamics interact with and affect those of others.

        Some examples of how this works: If you kill him because he flirts with your wife, it probably effects all the dynamics, both yours and his and also those of others.
        First off, as you say, you destroy him as a first dynamic.

        But, he may be married himself, with children. Or divorced and paying child support as well as having a meaning full role in their lives.

        When you kill him, then, you are adversely affecting some of your own 3rd dynamics. As in, he and his family live in the same community or town perhaps, you live in.

        He is also part of your 4th dynamic, and his own 4th dynamic. He is part of “mankind” or “humanity”, after all, and by killing him you destroy part of that. Who knows what he did or could contribute to that? Whatever he did or could have done, you have put an end to it.

        The 2nd dynamic is often viewed as “sex and children” but it goes beyond that. It includes “creativity”. You have put his creativity on the dynamics to an end.

        Then, he is a life form, part of “all living things”- 5 th dynamic, both yours and his and everyone else’s actually.

        Now, perhaps killing him doesn’t effect the 6th(MEST) very much. “Ashes to ashes”, after all. But it does reduce by one the number of active life units that is organizing and possibly improving the MEST in his vicinity, including the matter of his body.

        Perhaps you don’t believe in the existence of spirits or “God”, so maybe you leave these out of your ethical computations. Buddhists mainly deal with about 7 dynamics, not messing with the 8th.

        Even so, perhaps you believe in the existence of “life energy” or “units of consciousness” or some such, that can exist apart from a body. If so, obviously you are effecting that thing by taking away his embodiment in his current life.

        If we are each one of us in some sense part of God or originating from God, need I say more?

        My point here is that each of our actions cause effects that spread like ripples across the water of the dynamics, our own and those of others. Ultimately maybe those of all others.

        Buddha focused a lot on this interrelatedness of lives and the consequences of our actions on the lives of others. That’s why Buddhists are so reluctant to take any life.

        So did Jesus; “Love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

        When Hillel was asked to explain the whole of the Torah in a few words, he replied without hesitation, “what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor”.

        This is a common teaching because it is literally true – on some level, you are your neighbor, he is also you, and you are both part of All and Everything so that your actions effect the universe and the actions of each and every other person do also.

        When you cause grief or hardship to another, the ripples spread out across his dynamics and your own, effecting each one of them.

        As that poet guy said, “No man is an island”. We are co-equal, co-creators of the world we live in. Each of us has our own unique POV of the overall dynamics, such that each one of us is responsible for and “owns” his own set of the 8, and hopefully strives to do the best he can for them.

        This is how I understand the Dynamics. They are a good tool that helps keep in mind the effects one might create by one’s actions and tracing the possible consequences of the things one does.

        I believe this kind of understanding is “instinctual” or “native” to humans in a deep-down way(of course!), but the problems of existence and the struggle to survive make it difficult to live up to the ideal scene of it. And aberrations, compulsions and obsessions such as “the seven deadly sins”, for example, can overwhelm a person’s ability to live in accordance with his Dynamics.

        Example of the inborn sense of knowledge of the 8 Dynamics: Many of the Native American and Siberian “animistic” peoples communicated routinely with their food, apologizing for having to take the life of a deer, squirrel or bison and thanking them for their sacrifice. Many of the so-called”primitive” peoples of Earth have in some ways had a greater appreciation of some of the Dynamics like the 5th, 6th, and 7th than us “civilized white folks”.

      • lunamoth permalink
        April 6, 2011 10:30 pm

        Oh my god, Valkov, that was a work of art. Thank you for that post.

        You can add, of course, the effects that would play out across the dynamics of the one who shot the other. No man is an island, as you aptly quoted “that poet guy,” and the jealous husband will certainly suffer consequences from his action, as will his wife, any children, parents, friends, employer, community members, etc. The more aware one becomes, the more one sees how impossible it is to act in a vacuum. Every action has reactions. Every pebble thrown causes ripples. The wings of the butterfly and all…

  37. Ex$cnAnon permalink
    March 27, 2011 8:06 pm

    [My comments & observations in brackets]

    “The basic purpose of Dianetics and Scientology has always been :
    A civilization without insanity, without criminals and without war, [This, obviously, has NEVER been achieved but more than a few “criminals” & “insanity” has, at least, ensued or come forth – whether any blame is to be placed directly on the subject of Scientology; which IS debatable] where the able can prosper and honest beings can have rights, [Prosper by donating huge amounts of one’s assets to Scientology & David Miscavie & previously, LRH? Rights of disconnection, fair game, coerced abortions, child neglect, slave labor, human trafficking, humiliation & other verbal and physical attacks, to name a few ah, rights?] and where man is free to rise to greater heights, are the aims of Scientology. [If by “greater heights” is meant running one’s business better, or better relations with one’s loved ones, maybe but, again, no OT abilities or anything like it; otherwise, whoever thinks they possess these, please raise my hand]

    First announced to an enturbulated world in 1950, [Still quite enturbulated by my own account -and though somewhat disrelated, speaking of “own,” someone equated this word with “love,” be your brother’s keeper or some such concept which I guess it’s what someone mean s when they say THEY OWN YOU or you were OWNED.] these aims are well within the grasp of our technology. [I say NOT. They were not, then, and they are not, now. You be the judge.]

    Nonpolitical in nature, [Scientology IS political in nature. Whether one claims it contains an intrinsic “take over the world – clear the planet” or that it has a permeating ultra conservative outlook or that it even blackmails or pays off politicians, etc., it is most definitely political in nature, at least for all PRACTICAL intents & purposes] Scientology welcomes any individual of any creed, race or nation. [As long as they eventually are willing to do as the song, “Losing My Religion,” at some point during the line; as in “toeing the line,” that is. And to quote from another popular song of the day; in this case, Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” but replacing it with “Scientology Nation,” yeah, Scientology doesn’t care where you’re from, or the color of your skin as long as you’re willing to work towards “the greatest good for the greatest number of dynamics,” OR SCIENTOLOGY!]

    We seek no revolution. We seek only evolution to higher states of being for the individual and for society. [Actions speak louder than words is all I can say about that. When we stop hearing Scientology being associated with things like “Operation Snow White,” “Op Freak Out,” crime, suicide & murder for some extended period of time, we might have another look at that. In the meantime, they’re merely “flowery words” printed on a page.]

    We are achieving our aims. [I beg to differ]
    After endless millennia of ignorance about himself, his mind and the universe, a breakthrough has been made for man. [Oh, Idk, mankind was NEVER as or that ignorant as this statement purports, IMHO but neither Dianetics nor Scientology have been such “breakthrough” as claimed here. This sounds more like wishful thinking PR. I think LRH was applying his own dictum about “If it isn’t written, it isn’t true,” SO, he wrote it. Very clever, huh?]

    Other efforts man has made have been surpassed. [Says who? Again, I beg to differ]
    The combined truths of fifty thousand years of thinking men, distilled and amplified by new discoveries about man, have made for this success. [The combined truths of 50 thousand yrs of thinking men were distilled -but not amplified- INTO ONE SOURCE -another word for God: LRH]

    We welcome you to Scientology. [But don’t ask too many questions or be open minded, PTS Type H, nor in any other way, overextend such welcome. Stay “in ethics,” and keep moving UP the bridge(tm),i.e., PAYING; for we’re known to remove ALL CI (counter intention) or other-intention from the environment.] We only expect of you your help in achieving our aims and helping others. [Make money, make more money & get others to work so as to make more money. And donate, donate, donate.] We expect you to be helped. [Or we’ll declare or label you if you say you weren’t helped.]”

    There is nothing written here about Otness and all that stuff but about helping other people ! [Maybe not “here” but I always thought the product of Scientology were Clears and OTs. As well as auditors who help to make them.]

    Sometimes, when all is said and done, it’s what one leaves behind; one’s actions and/or good deeds & the attendant goodwill, not what’s printed on a page, nor any amount of propaganda PR, that is one’s legacy.

    • Marildi permalink
      March 28, 2011 9:25 pm

      Hi, Ex$ScnAnon. I don’t think you’ll get much disagreement from anyone here about almost all of your post. The only big dispute I know of is that some of us are still holding out the idea that time will tell whether “straight” Scientology (the philosophy and the tech) – and not the “organizational” activities – will eventually accomplish its aims. Jeff’s most recent post, A Poll, is “touching” on that, I would say. Check it out, if you haven’t. 🙂

      • Ex$cnAnon permalink
        April 1, 2011 12:13 pm

        Hello, Marildi. We “meet” again. 🙂
        You said:
        “…some of us are still holding out the idea that time will tell whether “straight” Scientology (the philosophy and the tech) – and not the “organizational” activities – will eventually accomplish its aims.”

        Which “aims?” The “Aims” of Scientology, OT abilities, or both?

        And yes, I answered the poll. It said, mostly, that Scientology DOESN’T “work.” At least, not as purported & definitely not 100% of the time – which IS a consideration. That’s what I tell all my bill collectors, anyway. If I want something done PRONTO, I talk about “neccessity level,” “speed of particle flow = POWER” (usually my own) LOL … or “moving A to B” (snap of the fingers)

        So, you see, I still “use” Ron’s TACK! :X

        I’ve always said this: That with all my certificates from Scientology, including my Clear, LOC & KTL certs; AND a buck fifty, I could get myself a cheap cup of coffee at Starbucks. ;D

        You *might* get a drop out of a dry orange but don’t try to make orange juice. It’s not worth the effort, and a waste of time.

        That’s my 2 cents worth. But I still wish you the best in your endeavors. Besides, one thing I’ve learned is people only learn from their own mistakes & rarely take others’ advice, unless they agree with what they already believed.

        Peace! And Love! <=terse rewording of "The Aims of Scientology" ;D
        Ex$cnAnon

      • Marildi permalink
        April 1, 2011 6:22 pm

        Hi, Ex$cnAnon.

        To answer your question, it was the broad “Aims of Scientology” I had in mind, or at least progress in that direction.

        I agree, giving advice is usually pretty futile. But let’s keep putting in our 2 cents worth and these discussions might help us see past our own biases – and then, as you say, “learn from our own mistakes.”

        BTW, can’t help but think that KTL might have contributed to your comm/writing abilities. 😉

        Peace and love back at ya!

  38. VaD permalink
    March 29, 2011 9:50 pm

    “Smith & Wesson beats 4 Aces”.

    Your logic, Jeff, beats any of the claims by CoS, FZ or Scientologists.

  39. Mimsey Borogrove permalink
    March 31, 2011 6:32 am

    I know the discussion has left sp’s and moved on, but I thought I’d relate an experiance I had, and for what it is worth, was revalatory.

    I suppose there is a reason you give “fruit” dates when drilling processes. But this was back in the late 60’s and I was sitting on course drilling myself on R3R – in my head – just sort of running through the commands “move to 1697″ What do you see?” (or what ever the commands were for old style R3R) to make sure I had them down, and Bam – I keyed some sort of nasty track incident.

    I had an immediate change in perception. Everything looked different -everything looked a bit brown ish – fuzzy ish and as I looked at the different people in the course room – I knew who I had to GET! The bright, lite colored, aware ones. The dull, introverted people were not worth noticing – but the aware ones… they were dangerous – especially if they looked my way and saw me for who I was…

    And forget mirrors – I couldn’t look into them. I knew at that moment what it was like to be an SP, not the political definition – the case definition. In a couple days it had faded away.

    I never used pretend dates again.

    MB

    • Ex$cnAnon permalink
      April 1, 2011 11:37 am

      The Power of “suggestion” or “suggestibility.” You were predisposed.

      • Valkov permalink
        April 2, 2011 9:57 am

        Predisposed to what? She wasn’t studying the material on SPs, she was doing an auditing drill using a random date. Judging from what Mimsey posted, I don’t see where any “suggestion” to have that particular kind of experience might have come from.

        It was entirely random, and by Occam’s Razor the simplest explanation is that that particular random date activated some specific pre-existing content in her mind.

        Just as doing a Google search for a particular date might produce and display some results.

      • lunamoth permalink
        April 6, 2011 10:38 pm

        Ex$nAnon;

        You obviously have not had the sort of experience that Mimsey had, but that doesn’t make it a fabrication or a trick of her mind. Your dismissive evaluation of her account is typical of someone for whom this sort of thing CAN NOT be true. If it simply IS NOT true, one can reject it without any need to invalidate another for believing it.

        That it CAN NOT be true for you indicates a bias. Of course, I don’t know anyone who has no biases, you just have to be aware of them.

        Lunamoth

    • Cinnamon permalink
      April 1, 2011 12:55 pm

      Interesting post. Answers a question I had. Thanks.

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