Rebutting “The Historical Context of Scientology”


A World In Need of Change

The past century has been the most turbulent in man's history.

I recommend a great book called The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker. It offers a very long and in depth counter-argument to this common idea.

Fifty million people died in the two World Wars alone. Additionally, there have been millions of deaths due to radically or politically motivated massacres in Africa and Asia. Violent revolutions subjected more than a third of the world's population to totalitarian political rule and, to this day, constant human rights abuses take place in many developing nations. It doesn't take much imagination to think that some change occurred in man, something that turned him into a violent, uncaring and dangerous being.

It doesn't take much imagination to imagine a monster under the bed.

The lessons of history would question that premise, for man has often resorted to war and revolution to solve his problems. Yet never have the results of war been so destructive. And never have the consequences of man's other actions been so potentially disastrous.

Something about man has changed.

Mankind's weapons technology improved. It was like giving a psychotic toddler a gun, but it was not as bad as if we had the same technology two thousand or even five hundred years ago when it doesn't take much for me to imagine we would've blown up every competing nation from the face of the planet and exterminated everyone we could pin a charge of witchcraft against with the industrial efficiency of the nazis.

Anyway, now we turn the page and see a homeless man lying on the ground, the first picture in what will be a parade of scary imagery to set the dismal tone of our propaganda that will juxtapose pictures of Darwin with the holocaust and lightning strikes with psychiatrists.

Something caused a deterioration to man's sense of community. People today can live in an area for years and never know their neighbors. Long held social values such as charity have been replaced by alienation. The United Nations reports that more than one hundred million people lead isolated lives, without ties to family, work or community.

Something affected society's attitude toward marriage and divorce. In 1895, there were fifteen marriages to every divorce. In 1990, there were two marriages for every divorce, a drastic change.

After peaking in the late 70s and early 80s, divorce rates have actually gone down (and have never exceeded 41%) according to an article in the New York Times (April 19, 2005). In the old days, getting a divorce required both spouses present and in many states domestic violence wasn't considered grounds for divorce, trapping women in abusive relationships. That changed in 1969 when Ronald Reagan introduced no-fault divorce and by some estimates reduced female suicide by twenty percent (Stevenson, Betsey and Wolfers, Justin, Harvard University, 2000).

Something has caused this disregard for the earth itself.

Wait . . . I thought we were discussing divorce and the connectedness of society and now we've turned to a page with a picture of birds flying above smog,

More than two-and-a-half million square miles of forest have been denuded. With every passing second, an area of rainforest the size of a football field is cut down. And hundreds of species of birds, mammals and other creatures have become extinct, never to be seen again.

True, you would've never heard these kinds of statistics being quoted 100 years ago, not because we all respected the earth but because we didn't give a shit about the planet enough to raise the concerns we do now. And while technology and population has threatened the earth in modern times now more so than in olden times, human society cares more about the planet than it ever did before.

That said, while environmental issues have grown has a topic of discussion and concern in society at large, Scientology is not known for its environmental activism.

And seriously, you're gonna blame our treatment of the world outside our species on us becoming worse? Hundreds of years ago people enjoyed public cat burnings, and I'm pretty sure most named species extinction happened in the 1800s and early 1900s, although that was when we were encroaching on species limited to small islands.

Something has led man to spend more money on drugs today then he does on food.

While Americans spent 374 billion on prescription drugs in 2014 and slightly less in recent years they spent 1.46 trillion on food and drink that same year. Though that includes the government and businesses. So calculating the average American spending 151 dollars a week on food the number's more like 2.5 trillion.

But the numbers aren't really what's important here. What is important is the fear mongering, the tenuous explanation for the world's problems you're building up and your even more tenuous positioning of Scientology as the only solution, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

More and more people depend upon drugs to relieve their ailments, escape boredom and prop up their ability to face the day.

Personally, I blame the pervasive marketing by drug companies, and obviously the technology of these drugs existing. I can make an argument that rates of illicit drug use are affected by making drugs cheaper, but it's interesting you mention the use of drugs to prop up one's ability to face the day. As you can see by this chart(📉) from the USDA coffee use peaked in the 1940s at over twice the current use and has been dropping ever since. Also here's the rate of alcohol use(📉) peaking in the 70s and 80s before dipping a bit. It's almost like human behavior is more complicated than an ideology you don't like turning us all into immoral hedonists.

Even children now take drugs. And millions more are given tranquilizers in the classroom, justified by a fictitious condition called "hyperactivity."

Many of the drugs used to treat ADD such as Ritalin are stimulants, not tranquilizers. Ritalin for example boosts the amount of dopamine in the brain to allow better focus. Concerns about how we deal with hyperactive kids are well and good, but we are not sedating them into obedience.

What has changed man's attitudes about dealing with existence to the point where he rubs a chemical salve on every part of his life?

It's almost like we're saturated with quick fix solutions for every facet of life by advertising.

Something has sparked a sharp increase in man's violence towards his fellows. In Los Angeles, for instance, 150,000 of the city's youth belong to gangs and, of these, 80 percent have been wounded by gunfire at least once.

Well, let's ask the LA Times about that. Violence in both Los Angeles and America at large has been dropping since the 90s with LA becoming less violent than the rest of the country around 2010.

Man has always had rituals of manhood where young men were welcomed into adulthood and adult society. Never before have these rituals required bullet wounds.

These have absolutely nothing to do with rituals. I'd more inclined to look at economic and political factors to understand the gang problem, rather than use phrasing that implies we accept killing as a more acceptable childhood pastime today.

It's here the essay finally addresses an elephant in the room; technology..

More violent, more callous, more careless, more antisocial ... what has happened to man?

One could blame science and technology. These have magnified man's ability to affect himself, his fellows, his environment and all life. Sure, we have always had wars, but technology now allows wars capable of total destruction. Yet technology also conquers disease to prolong life, raises standards of living and creates many other positive effects. While it increases man's capability for evil, it also increases his power for good.

No, undoubtedly the change is within man himself. The something, whatever it is, has affected the ways in which man thinks, and the ways in which he behaves.

So . . . technology can't be a factor because . . . it does good things too? And therefore cannot possibly be responsible for bad things as well? The change, whatever it is, must be universally bad?

Oh wait, you're basing your argument on the belief society isn't using technology for good and is objectively worse and more violent across the board which is statistically bunk. Society HAS gotten better, violence of almost every kind has gone down, life expectancy is up marred by the fact that age-related diseases have increased and most importantly the issues people care about have expanded toward wider circles of compassion than ever before; from compassion for the earth, for animals, for minority groups, for people of other nations and belief systems and so on. Yes, there are still problems. Lots of problems. But they are caused by everything from flaws in the court system to politics to bad laws to technological and market forces to population growth to poverty and cannot be boiled down some universal difference in man's internal nature like . . . well . . . that's the part of the essay we get to now.

The "Man is an Animal" Theory

You do talk about humans like they're a single, uniform species if not one single creature. Do you ever in your whole entire writing career use the word “people”?

Along with the increased turbulence, this century has seen the rise of another view of man. From this have come many repercussions in the way man looks at and treats himself and his fellows. And from this grows the most fundamental challenge facing man as he approaches the year 2000.

*gag* I rest my case.

The thing that most separates man from any life form is his ability to understand and reason. And perhaps the thing he has most universally tried to understand is himself. How is it that, despite being able to act rationally, man could also act so irrationally ? Philosophers, religious leaders, scientists and scholars — the greatest minds among men — have wrestled with this riddle, but never arrived at a satisfactory explanation.

Actually I think cognitive psychology has a pretty promising explanation. We are pattern seeking creatures and use patterns, cognitive biases and various mental shortcuts to predict the world around us from anthropomorphizing anything that appears alive to inventing stereotypes to predict behavior. While our complex minds and reasoning processes usually help us in the long run, when they screw they can screw up really, really bad.

Many great thinkers in history believed that life consisted of both the material and immaterial, that the mind was separate from matter. This idea is called "dualism." Other people throughout history, known as "materialists," believed that everything is made of matter.

The two philosophies lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the materialists attacked.

In nineteenth century Europe, the Industrial Revolution caused many changes in Western culture and materialistic theories became dominant in man's thinking. And it is in this view that we find the source of what troubles man and casts the longest shadows over his happiness and, indeed, his very survival.

There we go again, talking like “man” is a single monolith entity apart from yourself. For someone writing a whole essay about how describing humans like you would animals is the root of all the evil in the world, this is really hypocritical.

I also want to point out that about 99.82 percent of the world's population was religious and believed in the soul in 1900. Most of the people on both sides of both world wars were religious. And America was still 80% religious (mostly Christian) when this essay was written. So no, materialism was not dominant in “man's thinking”.

One of the first of these materialistic theories in modern times came from British naturalist Charles Darwin who spent several years on a scientific expedition studying plants and animals in many parts of the world.

In 1858, he wrote Origin of Species, a book which explained a theory of evolution to show how life forms had gradually developed from common ancestors. His ideas were bitterly contested by religious scholars because they seemed to provide evidence for those who wished to deny the existence of a Creator or creative force in the universe. Naturally, this upset many other people who believed man was not merely a hairless ape.

Darwin was a scientist, not a philosophical writer or proponent of philosophical theories. When you look up a basic overview of the history of materialism in the modern era you get names like Pierre Gassendi, Baron D'Holdbach and Ludwig Feuerbach. Ludwig Büchner though did use Darwin's theories among his defenses of materialism, as well as other recent discoveries in physics, chemistry, biology and geology.

It's unfair to associate Darwin directly with materialism and doing so is something done by creationists wanting to deny the theory of evolution. At this point, I feel like I'm reading a creationist writing.

Still, Darwin's ideas gained general acceptance and created the groundwork for another theory to take root.

It came from a German, a Professor Wilhelm Wundt of Leipzig University. In 1879, Wundt advanced the theory that man could be totally understood by studying material things only.

Here are some quotes from Wilhelm Wundt

“The materialistic point of view in psychology can claim, at best, only the value of an heuristic hypothesis.”

“Some say that everything that is called a psychical law is nothing but the psychological reflex of physical combinations, which is made up of sensations joined to certain central cerebral processes... It is contradicted by the fact of consciousness itself, which cannot possibly be derived from any physical qualities of material molecules or atoms.”

Not to mention what sources I could find talking about his philosophy agreed that he was anti-materialist.

But he was an atheist, and really his actual beliefs are beside the point in an essay about demonizing a philosophy.

Wundt had been trained in physiology, the study of physical structure and function in living things. Through his training, he arrived at the notion that investigating the soul or spirit was a waste of time because a man could be studied in the same way that a frog or a rat is studied. His teachings refuted the dualist idea that mind and matter were different. From this it was only a short hop to the conclusion that man was just another animal who had merely evolved to a higher level of intelligence than all the others. It was simply a matter of brain cells, the theory went.

Le gasp! Insert horrified reaction at being related to nature and the mind not being endlessly mysterious here! That is the core emotional reaction this essay counts on after all. This is honestly no better than an atheistic essay treating belief in god as inherently repulsive.

In spite of the fact that Wundt never really proved any of his ideas, the school of experimental psychology was born.

Wundt is remembered not for his theories but for first studying psychology in a laboratory setting and founding the field of experimental psychology.

As for his theories that were never really proven, wikipedia has this to say on the subject, citing the second edition of the textbook "Psychology":

Wundt believed that scientific psychology should focus on consciousness and therefore centralizes on structuralism. Wundt analyzes the constituents of the mind by using a method called introspection, which involves the subjective observation of one's own experience. This became the reason why structuralism gradually faded out, based on the unreliability of this method.

Sure glad Scientology doesn't rest on positing a structure to the mind and a large element of introspection . . . No wait . . .

The word psychology means "study of the soul," from the Greek word "psyche," meaning "the soul." But today, psychologists proclaim that there is no soul and instead study human and animal behavior.

Psychologists are people and have various beliefs, some believe in a soul and some do not. But scientific tradition does tend to ignore spiritual claims in favor of things that can be measured and tested because you can't study something that can't be measured or tested, and the assumption of such things leads to accepting the kind of evidence that justifies witch burnings. It's comparable to the fact that journalists don't interview animals, not because they deny animals have their own experiences but because they can't be reliably interviewed. And so, since the scientific method can't interrogate spiritual matters, scientists leave the soul to the domain of philosophers, spiritualists and theologians.

This makes as much sense as a baker claiming there is no such thing as bread.

Burgers made without bread are measurably and observably extremely different from burgers made with it. Can you point to a similarly dramatic difference when accounting or discounting the soul? It sure isn't positive testimonial evidence. Every therapy has that, including psychiatric drugs and electric shock treatment.

The original definition of psychology died with the unproven idea that an individual's actions were simply a response to stimuli perceived by the organism and were not related to any nonmaterial part of a person. According to Wundt, there was no nonmaterial part of man, no mind, no soul.

Ultimately, then, man was no more than a higher order animal. And if a person could be convinced of this, his ideas of personal responsibility could be changed.

A person's ideas of personal responsibility can be changed by being convinced all they have to do is pray to god to be forgiven, that they're possessed by demons, that they are affected by the reactive mind, that there are people who know how to manipulate other people, that alcohol dulls judgement,  that there's a divine plan or they're doing god's work, that they have to follow the orders of an authority, that whoever makes the first move is at fault and anything that follows is justifiable provocation, that criticism is caused by missed withholds or evil people, that someone else is at fault, that people bring bad things on themselves, that fixing something is someone else's job, that peer pressure is a thing, that if someone doesn't think what you wrote makes sense it was a misunderstood word or other barrier to study, that people are incompetent, that people have it out for you.

That people rejected your ideas because they deny the soul and want to destroy mankind.

That people follow a philosophy you disagree with.


The German Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, had definite militaristic ambitions at the time, and Wundt's ideas lay the foundation for seventy years of attempts to solve Germany's problems through warfare. After all, went the thinking, if a dog can be trained to salivate, a man can be trained to fight. It merely required that he become conditioned to different ideas about the value of human life and the makeup of those in the enemy camp.

Well . . . humans CAN be conditioned to different ideas and be convinced to dehumanize the enemy. Being aware of these facts and how that kind of conditioning works can make us less susceptible to it . . .

It can help us be more responsible for our minds when it starts to happen.

Experimental psychology began to amass data to support this view. One of Wundt's students at Leipzig was the Russian physiologist Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. After returning to his country, Pavlov formulated his principles of mental conditioning, best known for his demonstration that a dog will salivate when a bell rings, if he was earlier fed to the accompaniment of a ringing bell. From this grew the idea that men could be conditioned like dogs.

Pavlov's work in the field of conditioning led to the attempted brainwashing of individuals and entire populaces. Avidly utilized by both Lenin and Stalin for political ends in the then USSR, it helped spread communist rule over almost half the world.

And physicists lead to the atom bomb.

It is no wonder that these new psychological theories, this wholly materialistic view of man, found great favor with governments during this restless period of revolutionary social thought; the control of populations was much on their collective minds. If man could truly be understood in purely physiological terms, then one could control or solve the problems of man on a purely physical basis, much like moving a recalcitrant cow by prodding it with a stick.

Governments have been trying, and succeeding, to control their populace for centuries. Information control. Widespread illiteracy. It really seems like government is the bad guy here. Who's up for some hot and tasty Libertarianism?

This was the "new" view of man and life. All is material. Man and all life rose spontaneously from a sea of ammonia. The theory was not new, however. It had appeared thousands of years earlier in Egyptian mythology and was repeated in Greece by the philosopher Thales who believed that everything had water as its essence. Nevertheless, as man advanced into the twentieth century the traditional concepts of Soul and Spirit went the way of the horse-drawn cart and buggy whip.

Yeah, nobody believes in the spirit today. It's certainly not a required belief for the afterlife of every major world religion. No siree.

Materialism quickly ascended to supremacy in many fields which had traditionally held nonmaterial views of man, society and life. Sociology, philosophy, psychology, politics, education and biology, among others, began to reflect the materialist's view of the world. And soon, the effect of their theories began to be felt throughout society.

You'll need a lot more rigorous data than your fear-mongering supposition.

This is not to say it was all bad. Applying the principles of materialism to material things brought about remarkable increases in our scientific knowledge about the earth and the universe. It has given man a host of tangible improvements in his way of life.

The grave error, however, has been to apply these same materialistic principles to man himself. This is, in fact, the something, the basic source of the troubles in our modern era.

The materialistic view provided man with numerous false solutions to his problems.

The history of humankind is filled with false solutions to problems, it just used to come from religious treatments like exorcism. Don't pretend we used to have a handle on mental health then suddenly became bad at it.

Man was placed in the confounding position of being materially rich, but spiritually and morally poor.

I just want to point out a couple statistics on criminal behavior. The rate of Christianity in American prison populations is 75% which is the same as its rate in the country at large. The rate of atheism in the prison population is about .1% Although about seventeen percent give no religious preference, per the Federal Bureau of Prisons, while 3.1% of Americans identify as atheists (up from 2% in 1991). So no, more materialistic worldviews, as far as criminal behavior goes, does not have a negative effect on morality.

Here the propaganda gets heavy though, delving full force into Scientology's anti-psychiatry rhetoric, as we turn to the page to see a picture of jews in a concentration camp with a three page leg of the essay titled “the results”.

The Results

Broad application of Wundt's "man is an animal" theory had disastrous and widespread consequences. And nowhere is this heritage more apparent than in the field of psychiatry.

So what has been the consequence of the treatment of mental illness abandoning spirituality and embracing the reduction of man to meat? Did patients become objects, coldly sent through a production line as dehumanized beings? Has the rejection of the soul worsened the treatment of the mentally ill? Were we better off in the good old days where we treated mental problems as spiritual problems?

According to David Eagleman, a neuroscientist, and the director of Baylor College of Medicine's initiative on neuroscience and law, “We used to punish people and say if you're schizophrenic or depressed it's because you don't have enough free will or you're not being tough enough, and we're going to beat you.,. . . and over the last hundred years we've evolved to say you are your brain and there are organic disorders of the brain, and we now try to figure out how to fix those instead of punishing the person.”

I'm reminded of the werewolf case of Jean Grenier, a 12 or 13 year old boy who today may have been called mentally disabled was arrested in 1603 after a girl accused him of attacking her in the form of a wolf. He confessed to that and several other attacks on children, but where previously he would have been executed, here the court saw him as mentally unfit and took pity on him and instead of killing him he spent the rest of his life in a monastery.

Nineteenth century psychiatry, with its long history of mistreatment of the insane, leaped onto the coattails of experimental psychology to enter the universities of Europe and America. Thus, in short order, the psychiatrist expanded his sphere of influence from insane asylums to the halls of political power and other institutions. Now, however, he carried with him not only the creed of materialism, but the attitudes of his heritage: that the insane needed to be controlled through any necessary means of force and duress. Applied to populations at large, these attitudes have had disastrous consequences for society.

Oh yes. Things were so much better for the mentally ill before that.

“At the start of the 18th century, the "insane" were typically viewed as wild animals who had lost their reason. They were not held morally responsible but were subject to scorn and ridicule by the public, sometimes kept in madhouses in appalling conditions, often in chains and neglected for years or subject to numerous tortuous "treatments" including whipping, beating, bloodletting, shocking, starvation, irritant chemicals, and isolation. There were some attempts to argue for more psychological understanding and therapeutic environments. For example, in England John Locke popularized the idea that there is a degree of madness in most people because emotions can cause people to incorrectly associate ideas and perceptions, and William Battie suggested a more psychological approach, but conditions generally remained poor.” - Wikipedia's summation of the study Psychiatric therapy in Georgian Britain in its article on Moral Treatment

It was actually the nineteenth century when attitudes toward the mentally ill started improving, thanks to the materialists you are demonizing.

During the Enlightenment attitudes towards the mentally ill began to change. It came to be viewed as a disorder that required compassionate treatment that would aid in the rehabilitation of the victim. In 1758 English physician William Battie wrote his Treatise on Madness on the management of mental disorder. It was a critique aimed particularly at the Bethlem Hospital, where a conservative regime continued to use barbaric custodial treatment. Battie argued for a tailored management of patients entailing cleanliness, good food, fresh air, and distraction from friends and family. He argued that mental disorder originated from dysfunction of the material brain and body rather than the internal workings of the mind.” - Wikipedia citing Psychiatric therapy in Georgian Britain in its article on the History of Psychiatry.

In that time, mental illness started to be seen as something that could be treated and cured.

The belief that force can monitor thinking, personality and behavior, laid the foundation for two world wars -- the most destructive in mankind's history. Psychiatrists in Germany developed the pseudoscience of eugenics, with its ideas of "racial purity."

The idea of eugenics to decrease the birth of “inferior” people existed since William Goodell in the 1800s who advocated the castration and spaying of the insane. He was an American gynecologist.

The idea of a modern effort for improving the population through a statistical understanding of heredity in order to encourage good breeding was invented by Francis Galton, who coined the term “eugenics” itself. He was an English statistician and sociologist as well as many other things. Psychologist was among his many fields of expertise (along with proto-geneticist, anthropologist, meteorologist, geographer) but not a psychiatrist.

Then there's American biologist Charles Davenport who took eugenics from a scientific idea to a worldwide movement implemented in many countries starting in the early 1900s and spread to many countries before hitting Germany and being co-opted by Hitler's Nazi party.

"Super races," they claimed, could be bred to improve racial characteristics in the same way that farmers breed horses to get bigger, stronger animals. From this idiocy came Hitler's political ideology that the race could be improved by cleaning it of inferior stock. And thus resulted the wholesale slaughter of entire populations during the Nazi Holocaust. The German people were duped into believing their problems stemmed from the presence of genetically inferior races within its population. Their "solution" is forever imprinted upon human history.

While this involves ideas such as genes affecting intelligence, none of this has anything directly to do with the idea of the soul. And as for indirect causation . . .

 . . . Religion. Seriously, the whole history of religion. Witch burning, inquisitions, wars. You're being extremely selective in which ideologies you hold responsible for indirectly inspiring genocide.

The genocidal activity in the former Yugoslavia, euphemistically termed "ethnic cleansing," is but a continuation of this brutal mind-set. In the late 1980s, a psychiatrist traveled widely throughout the region and stirred up Serbian nationalism, inflaming long-buried ethnic hatreds.

Are you referring to Jovan Rašković? Scientology's “Freedom Magazine” claims

“theories of the superiority of the Serbs and the ethnic inferiority of Muslims and Croats were used as justification for Serbs to murder and expel other ethnic groups from the former Yugoslavian states of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo and Serbia — thus “cleansing” the land of “inferior” peoples.”

Wikipedia reports that he was soon seen as a leader of the Serbs by the Croatian government. During negotiations the Croation government used a tape of Raskovic saying “Serbs were crazy people” to try to discredit him but many Croatian Serbs simply lost trust in the government and embraced extremism that would ultimately lead to armed conflict. He was later removed from power by "more radical, hard-line Serb nationalists" who created the Republic of Serbian Krajina. Rašković retired from politics in 1991.

I don't know much about what politics he actually used while in office, but ultimately it doesn't matter. Perhaps it was fraudulent science to stir racial tension. Had this taken place hundreds of years earlier, it would've been religion.

Are you referring to Radovan Karadžić? He's a Bosnian serb and former politician who served as president of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian war and was indicted for war crimes including genocide. He was educated as a psychiatrist, but that title seems more inconsequential than going after, say, the fact he was a politician or the other co-founder of the Serb Democratic Party.

Another psychiatrist, a pupil of the first, became a Serbian political and military leader and it is his troops who initiated the bitter warfare which erupted in 1990 and conducted the campaign of terror to rid the area of "inferior" Muslims. It was psychiatrists who stirred up the hatreds that are so horrifying the world.

I have actually no idea who you're talking about, why don't you use names instead of making vague accusations that are difficult to track down?

Even if what you're saying is correct, this has nothing to do with what psychiatry does or is, only that it's been misused. It seems like politicians are more the profession to blame here. Why don't we get rid of them?

If this strikes one as outrageous, it is. Nevertheless, it is true. The facts speak for themselves.

If it strikes one as outrageous, it's because it's logically flawed bullshit with poorly cited “facts”.

The materialist idea that some peoples are genetically inferior to others and need to be wiped out for the greater good of mankind is a lunacy created and perpetuated to this day by psychiatry.

It's as much a “materialist idea” as the fact that gay people should be beheaded is a “religious idea”. You're poisoning the well by phrasing it in a way that ties it to an idea you dislike rather than to the real problem of bigotry.

And it is not perpetuated by “psychiatry” unless the field itself endorses it in official publications. You're grabbing at the sins of individual people who happened to be psychiatrists or educated as such.

And what of mental illness, the area psychiatry officially claimed expertise in?

We should totally do away with such categories, and instead categorize people as “aberrated” or “suppressive” when they engage in behavior we dislike. This seems much better.

Materialism decrees that any personality problem is physical in nature. Thus psychiatry treats it with physical means: drugs to tranquilize or shock the system; electricity to convulse the person out of his current patterns of behavior; and, operations to incapacitate the nervous system and make unacceptable behavior impossible. Today's extensive use of psychotropic drugs is simply an extension of this philosophy. After all, if a living being has no soul, it does not really matter what one does to it.

First, not all psychiatry is Biological Psychiatry, the psychiatric model you are railing against here. There are other models such as Behavioral Medicine which use different approaches incorporating sociology among other disciplines. Social psychiatry focus on the interpersonal and cultural context of mental well-being. Though I'm sure you'd find a way to demonize them both almost as much.

A number of people, including psychiatrists, dispute biological psychiatry and have had their position represented in psychiatric journals. Thomas Szasz, a distinguished lifetime fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a life member of the American Psychoanalytic Association, best known as a social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, commented frequently on the limitations of the medical approach to psychiatry and argued that mental illnesses are medicalized problems in living. R. D. Laing, a Scottish psychiatrist who wrote extensively on mental illness, argued that attributing mental disorders to biophysical factors was often flawed due to the diagnostic procedure. Psychiatrists are not an ideological monolith and perhaps if you took the time to get to know them instead of demonizing, you could actually find allies.

Second, Biological psychiatry and other approaches to mental illness are not mutually exclusive. In practice, psychiatrists may advocate both medication and psychological therapies when treating mental illness. Psychiatric treatment, like psychiatrists, are not a monolith.

Psychiatry has had almost half a century in which to gauge the success of this approach.

And religious approaches had hundreds of years. It obviously wasn't working.

And governments the world over have poured money into its coffers, based upon its promises of a new world with a docile populace. The success of this grand experiment would be easily provable by improvements in apparent mental disorders, emotional problems and a general bettering of the quality of life. Instead we have exactly the opposite — a drastic deterioriation in all the above.

I think this article cites some very good sources, including surveys by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the US department of Health and Human Services that controls for over-diagnosis, on why the last sentence is not the case. When it comes to depression though, I'd wager there probably is an increase. This article which cited a whole bunch of studies including this study which used a complex survey to probe for symptoms in 1938 and 2007 and found a threefold increase concluded:

“The increase in mental health issues is most consistent between the 1930s and the early 1990s. There is little doubt that anxiety and depression increased between these decades. After that, trend shows an inconsistent pattern, with some measures leveling off at historically high levels, some continuing to increase, and others declining.”

Other than that the studies and articles I looked that were a safari overviewing the problems with mere numbers and studies. From the issue of widening diagnostic criteria over time to longer life spans inflating numbers through mentally ill elderly people to recall studies that rely on people remembering whether they were depressed 20 years ago to the fact that mental illness has become more socially accepted over time so more people come forward reporting experiencing depression or other issues and seeking treatment.

According to the abstract of this study, the rates of things like suicide attempts or drugs/alcohol abuse and dependency “show rapidly changing upward and downward variations. Thus, they are more comparable to criminality rates that vary over time and culture.”

And it seems to me that, like with crime rates, emotional and mental problems are a complex issue. While it seems appealing to look at a simple number over time and call a verdict, you wouldn't look at an increasing crime rate and decide to disband the police force as ineffective, and even if the rates of mental illness were decreasing that wouldn't mean psychiatry wasn't deeply flawed. For example the rates of crime were decreasing in the 90s, that doesn't mean prisons were our savior or that they aren't locking up tons of innocent people. Numbers don't tell you how those numbers came to be.

I'm reminded of a line in the book Better Angels of our Nature by Steven Pinker:

“Narratives without statistics are blind, but statistics without narratives are empty.”

Psychiatry has consistently invented more and more mental illnesses during the last fifty years,

Then your claims about the increase in mental illness according to people you consider evil are meaningless. Those numbers come from the people who came up with them.

and the pharmaceutical industry has been quick to jump on the gravy train by inventing the chemical "cures."

I don't think psychiatrists claim any of them are cures . . . They're always described as treatments.

The effects of these drugs create yet more categories of mental illness profiting everyone but the patient.

I also don't think anyone categorizes drug side effects as mental illnesses.

In the mid-1800s, 1 in 1,000 individuals in the US was deemed mentally ill; today, psychiatrists claim that 20 percent of the population is in need of psychiatric treatment.

But you admit psychiatrists have a vested interest in inventing mental illness so that number doesn't really mean anything.

That said, the numbers from the National Alliance of Mental Illness is that 1 in 5 Americans experienced mental illness in the past year. That is not the same as being deemed as needing presently needing treatment. That number is also not counting mental illness that substantially interferes with life activities, which is 1 in 25.

Also, I don't know where you got your number for the mid-1800s as our culture has become a lot more open to admitting to mental problems in the first place but in the mid-1800s the mentally ill of any age were incarcerated alongside criminals and left naked in the dark without heat or bathrooms, many being chained and beaten. So I doubt a lot of people would've come forward as mentally ill if they could help it. I also doubt these numbers of mentally ill that they chose to lock up included people struggling with depression or anxiety that you see getting diagnosed today.

Like I said before, it's important to understand the narrative that forms the numbers, for numbers alone are empty.

It is not just mental illness, however. All societal problems which existed before the rise of materialism have drastically worsened through the use of materialistic solutions. And, in particular, it is easily provable by statistics that any segment of society in which psychiatry has dabbled has considerably deteriorated.

The statistics of violent crime and US government funding of psychiatry are disturbingly parallel. According to Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) figures, the violent crime rate increased 560 percent between 1960 and 1991. And crimes against property have tripled.

Nice cut-off point for your statistics given crime started plummeting in the 90s. Though this might actually not be your fault since I think this was written in the early 90s. The murder rates in 1986 and 2005 were 8.6 to 5.9 during those same years mental health expenditures tripled from 32 billion to 113 billion. So psychiatry funding clearly isn't causing the apocalypse. In fact it doesn't seem to be correlating much with crime rates at all.

Meanwhile, psychiatric funding increased from $254 million in 1960 to $17.4 billion in 1990, an increase of 6,750 percent. Is the solution to give them more tax money? That would be like feeding the wolf in the chicken coop.

Assuming you're numbers are even accurate, correlation is not causation. For example, the funding could've been a response to the increase in crime, rather than the cause.

Psychiatric methods in our prisons have resulted in an 80 percent rate of repeat offenders.

What, pray tell, are these psychiatric methods you are talking about?

Recidivism rates are high because non-violent drug offenders are surrounded by an environment of seasoned criminals that teach them the ropes and mindset of crime, if they don't outright join a gang in order not be a lone wolf for other prisoners to exploit, and then when they get out they can't get a job or place to live because nobody will hire or rent to ex-convicts, but finding a job is often a requirement of their parole and they still have to pay for their own ankle bracelets and other fees associated with their incarceration. A large chunk of California's higher than average recidivism rate is likely from parole violations.

My sources for this are the words of prison guards and Daryl Atkinson (an ex-convict who became a lawyer at the US Department of Justice and advocates for criminal justice reform) as well as documentaries that interviewed people who end up in and out of the prison system.

What are your sources?

Also, the re-arrest rate for prisoners released in 1994 over the next three years was 67.5% according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Finally, I wasn't able to find a graph for mental health spending in the time period you mentioned but here is a page from the National Institute of Mental Health with a graph showing mental health funding increasing during the time the crime rate was going down

The rehabilitation of criminals is no longer even discussed as a possibility.

This is because of the tough-on-crime 90s when no politician wanted to seem soft and since then we've gone from 350 college degree prison programs in America to twelve.

And psychiatrists are in favor of rehabilitation programs, or at the very least of applying psychiatric treatment with the stated intention of rehabilitation. How the heck do you make the connection between psychiatric approaches and the lack of effort to change criminal behavior? Behavior modification is what treatment is all about!

And ever since psychiatry began to meddle in matters between men and women, counseling them, filling popular magazines with their "solutions," and influencing the messages put forth by our gullible philosophers and artists, interpersonal relationships have, to put it kindly, become more strained than at any earlier time.

Divorce rates began dropping in the 80s and, dive bombed at the turn of the century and continued a downward trend since.

If divorce rates continue to increase during the next twenty-five years as much as they did in the last, divorces will outnumber marriages in the United States.

Because that's what trend lines do. They continue at the same trajectory at the same rate without any change.

Morally, mankind has often skated on thin ice, but it could be argued that the ice has never been as thin as it is today. In virtually every arena of life — from business to politics to our young — morals are at a low ebb. This too can be traced to materialistic ideas. If everything is material, who can say what is moral or immoral?

Please, there are hundreds of years of ethical philosophy from Hobbes' description of the social contract to Kant's rational imperatives to Aristotle's virtue ethics on deciding what is moral without relying on the immaterial or divine to exist. Even the eight dynamics in Scientology, which is nothing but dressed up utilitarianism, doesn't require spiritual beliefs to be relevant and applicable. Every society inherently comes up with boundaries and virtues to uphold in order for that society to be stable, every relationship between two people comes with rules to follow in order for that relationship to work. You can't even lock criminals up together in a building without them inventing social codes and right and wrong and if you dump the criminals on a gigantic island they just end up forming their own functioning society with laws and order anyway. Humans are moralizing beings, basing their morals on their conscience, values and the pragmatic necessities of getting along and making a society stable.

Who can truly pin responsibility anywhere?

You have sooooooo many problems here beyond the idea there is no free will; such as all the luck-based environmental factors that lead to what kind of person someone turns out to be or the disposition they were born with, neither of which are in a person's control even if you believe in the soul.

Turning this around, who can pin responsibility anywhere when you blame criticism on the crimes of the critic or deviant behavior on the reactive mind? Scientology is full of rules that make the question of responsibility a one-sided rule of thumb. Missed withholds, barriers to study, blaming things on psychiatry, etc. In my personal, anecdotal experience Scientology does not breed responsibility. My whole Scientologist family always has answers as to why something is not their fault, especially the most Scientology devoted member of all of us. The church itself never admits fault for screwing anything up.

This whole article is about telling people that they are not truly responsible for their immorality, that it's all the fault of psychiatry or not having the right metaphysical beliefs.

And THAT is the load of responsibility-dodging bullshit that is the worst thing about this article. You are treating a lack of belief in a soul as a valid excuse for unethical behavior. It is not. I can still examine how I can change my behavior to have better effects on others, regardless of my metaphysical beliefs.

The truth is regardless of either free will or what causes you to attribute to immoral behavior, the purpose of pinning responsibility is to discourage unethical behavior. And whether doing so works is the only question I think matters. So long as holding people responsible for an immoral behavior causes a decrease in that behavior, it will be worth it to hold people responsible for it, regardless of philosophical debates.

Encouraging responsibility gets beneficial results, not just in others but in yourself. And that doesn't change no matter whether we're brains or spirits.


Nobody looks to psychiatry for morality.

No field in the humanities or sciences is more ethically bankrupt than psychiatry, which encourages licentiousness as therapy in many cases,

 . . . how?

avidly chases the dollar without providing any valuable product in return,

One man's opinion. The psychiatrist's themselves definitely believe their product is valuable and helping people. You may debate whether it is, but don't pretend an entire occupation is filled with humans that entirely lack a moral compass.

and heavily attacks the entire concept of morality — right and wrong. Many aspects of society have suffered for it. Psychiatrists have the stated goal of redefining the concepts of right and wrong to suit the arrogant-beyond-belief attitude they are the ones best suited to shape mankind's values and his future.

Again . . . . How? Where do psychiatrists state their goal of redefining the concepts of right and wrong?

And this from people who have the highest suicide rate of any profession.

Per this article and this article physicians have the highest suicide rate, not psychiatrists.

This 1979 review of studies found no significant increase in suicides among psychiatrists. (I had trouble finding more recent data)

In our educational systems, Wundtian-based psychological and psychiatric theories have left a legacy of spiraling illiteracy.

*sigh*, US illiteracy has been decreasing for decades based on every graph(📉) I could find. The upward trend for literacy goes for(📈) numbers worldwide(📈) as well.

With the broad introduction of psychiatric mental health programs into the US school system in 1963, Scholastics Aptitude Test scores declined nationwide for sixteen straight years and have leveled off in a much lower range.

I assume you're referring to the Community Mental Health Act of 1963?

Do you have any evidence but scapegoating to indicate psychiatric programs were responsible for this? I mean, I found someone blaming it on the year 1963 being the peak of US nuclear bomb tests.

This study in 1983 gives the reasons of the decline as “changes in the composition of test-takers, decreases in the quantity of schooling which students experience, curriculum changes, declines in student motivation, and deterioration of the family system and social environment. These factors, in combination, have contributed to the test score decline for more than the past fifteen years.”

Per this study from 1961 to 1977, the number of SAT tests taken each year doubled, indicating the culprit was demographic changes and most (up to about 75%) of the test decline in the 1960s could be explained by compositional changes in the group of students taking the test but only about 25 percent of the 1970s decrease in test scores could be similarly explained. And per another study ("The Great Test Score Decline: A Closer Look". In Kaestle, Carl. Literacy in the United States) up to 40 percent of the 1970s decline in scores could be explained by demographic changes”

So you've got some unexplained room to fill in whatever scapegoat you like, but you still need to provide evidence.

While illiteracy has always been with us, it has generally been because of lack of schooling. These figures have worsened in spite of the availability of schooling for everyone.

All of these trends yield a clear conclusion: materialistic solutions applied to human problems do not work.

Even if your numbers were correct, which I've shown they're not, you didn't provide anything to actually, conclusively tie them to “materialistic thinking”. At the very best you've got the circumstantial coincidence of all these things happening in the same rough time period. But that doesn't prove anything. You'll also find correlation between ice cream sales and the number drownings at the beach (summer heat tends to cause both). Correlation is not causation. You need to actually provide evidence that isolates materialism as the cause, not just places it at the same time or even place of the crime.

Without massive public funding, the methods of nineteenth century psychology and psychiatry would quickly go the way of that horse-drawn cart and pass from view.

Interesting theory. By the way, private insurance makes up around 24 to 27 percent(📊) of mental health funding, while the government spends about 5.6 percent of its total health care spending on mental health in 2012.

In fact, if funding for unworkable psychiatric solutions was simply cut off, this alone would improve the general state of mental health throughout society.

There are also a large number of people who don't get mental health care for various reasons (money, time, the problem being handled without it, etc.). Comparing those groups who do and do not get mental health treatment would lend a lot more credence to your argument.

The trends are clear to those who are willing to look.

I did look.

It would not be an exaggeration to project, after another century of materialistic influence, a slave society on earth where a small class of technocrats rules a drugged, illiterate and violent populace — a virtual planetary bedlam.

 . . .

No, I suppose it wouldn't be an exaggeration.

Exaggeration implies that something is blowing up the truth into a larger scale.

What you just said is just the truth's polar opposite. Also known as total bullshit.

The Flaw in the Theory

Oh good, I was looking forward to this point. We're finally talking philosophy. Personally, I find the analysis of thoughts and viewpoints much more interesting and easier than googling things constantly.

No matter how many mechanical tricks the materialist can demonstrate through manipulation of matter, his basic assumption contained a serious flaw. Experimental psychology has never produced one convincing explanation for feelings, memories, expectations, desires, beliefs, thoughts, imaginings or intentions. Materialism cannot account for either the towering clouds of sound in a Beethoven symphony or the sense of delight in a child's laughter. By denying even the possibility that life itself was influenced by something other than mechanical factors, the materialist started off in a hole out of which he has never been able to dig himself.

And he ignored one of the most powerful forces in man.

First, I'm gonna risk being pedantic and ask what definition of “explaining” something is actually meaningful here? If you explained what events or additions trigger or have caused certain feelings or beliefs, does that suffice? What answers are actually helpful in therapy?

Second, in what way is the soul a better explanation? All you have done is made a list of what feelings and imaginings are not; they are weightless, non-chemical, non-physical, outside of time, outside of space, and cannot be touched. Scientology has not described what a soulis, beyond being an “awareness of awareness unit”, Your description of the soul actually uses the vague place holder word “unit” which is as specific as describing fires as originating from a “spontaneous combustion unit”. You could discover that that “unit” is a brain and it would be an “awareness unit”. All you've done is put the cause of feelings, memories, imaginations and desires behind a fence of being untouchable and mysterious. You say psychiatrists have not proven they come from the physical, but you've yet to prove they come from the spiritual. All you have is appeals to ignorance (You don't know “who” is looking at mental images, it must be the spirit”) and unverified past life stories.

Lastly, there is evidence to correlate physical and emotional processes. Drugs and brain parasites both manipulate the urges and feelings of people and animals, experiments spraying people with oxytocin or dopamine makes people more trusting and these chemicals are correlated with the emotion of love, cognitive abilities correlate with the brain development from age to species and selective breeding of dogs has created different personalities and temperaments associated with different breeds. Different animals have evolved to have different fears or other temperaments across their species, not randomly based on whatever soul happens to inhabit their body, personalities have been altered through both brain surgery and brain injuries, and for the better as well as for the worse. Thinking registers as brain activity and decisions even register before the person has the conscious experience of them.

I've been told that the spirit just acts like it's affected by these things to follow the rules of the game, which is like saying God just makes fossils look millions of years old to test our faith. You can argue that these things are caused by ancient memories of past trauma but that's no better proven than the words of psychiatrists.

But all that said, I stated before that correlation does not prove causation, and it cuts both ways. Maybe brain chemicals are just signals of certain emotions at play rather than the cause. This . . . actually doesn't seem feasible given some of the examples I listed but let's compromise.

Psychiatrists don't know everything, but do not flat out deny therapy.

You don't know everything, but you do flat out deny psychiatry.

If man is not an animal, as Wundt declared him to be, then what other view is there?

It is no coincidence that the declining influence of religion in our society has seen a large increase in our problems.

True it's not, coincidence implies both things are actually happening.

While religion may not have successfully dealt with the host of new problems brought on by the Industrial Revolution, this should not have totally invalidated its value.

Now that you bring that up, how has religion addressed the internal mechanisms causing emotional problems any better? I am curious to know what knowledge you think religion has given us that helped us solve anything.

That is, however, exactly what the materialists did. Religion was entirely jettisoned in favor of "All is matter. There is no soul. Man is an animal. God is dead."

Any progress man had made due to the civilizing influence of religion was dismissed.

“Any progress man made”, that's pretty speculative phrasing. What progress was that?

Far as I can tell religion has been a tool that's bent to people's whims, used to justify whatever violence people wanted to commit at the time.

Religion was criticized as "the opiate of the masses." No matter that such ideas ran counter to everything decent man has ever done.

Who the heck is “decent man”? Are we talking about the people that watched public executions, gladiatorial death battles and public cat burnings for entertainment? People that tortured people into confessions and used those confessions as proof of their testimony with no understanding of the mind whatsoever? People that believed children were too innocent to lie in court and accepted the accusations of people accusing neighbors of witchcraft? What did religion teach us about the mind that prevented the simple and important understanding of false testimony?

Looking at history, I see neither “decent man” nor a species that understands people.

Belief in God was thought to be outmoded.

God had hundreds of years to steer us right. Now it's time to fumble through the hard questions ourselves. Personally, I think it's looking pretty good so far but maybe that's just me.

There has never, throughout history, been a culture that did not have some form of religion. The most so-called primitive Aboriginal of Australia had a sophisticated and organized system of religious belief and worship. As did the tribes of Central Africa, and those of the Amazon. From our earliest records, one of man's firmest convictions has been that he has a relationship to superhuman powers of some kind.

And a giant percent of the population is still religious. Psychiatrists aren't trying to get everyone to believe humans have no connection to the divine. That's not the same thing as explaining emotions through chemicals.

Also, there has throughout history never been a culture without war or prejudice against those who are different. Cultural ubiquity is not an argument that something is good and necessary.

The word religion has many definitions, all of which can embrace sacred lore and wisdom and knowledge of God or gods, souls and spirits. Religion deals with the spirit in relationship to itself, the universe and other life. Essentially, religion is belief in spiritual beings. As it relates to the world, religion is a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life.

Doesn't mean it actually knows anything about these topics though.

Science is no less educated on spiritual matters, it just ditches the wild speculation.

These concepts describe a condition that is as natural to man as breathing. Just as man has tried to understand the material world around him, so too has he always sought to understand the part of existence that was not material. That is the essence of religion.

Let's ignore the arbitrary borders here.

Humanity has always strived to understand the world around it and asked unanswerable questions; where do we come from? Is this life all there is of our consciousness? What is the greater order of this universe, and where does it come from? How should we live our lives? What is a meaningful life? What is moral? And so on and so forth. Some of these questions seem to be about the origins of the material, some are philosophical or even social. To say these are material or spiritual questions is to assume we already know something about where the answers come from. We do not.

For centuries humans have sought answers to these questions through religious concepts. Now we are trying rigorous testing and only answers that can, in theory, be tested.

Mankind as a whole has been and is religious, regardless of how his belief in spiritual beings manifests itself. Civilization in large part exists because of man's belief in spirituality and his aspirations to something higher than his current existence.

Eh, civilization is in large part a result of the need to work together and become something greater than any one individual in a very earthlysense.

Even science is an attempt to overcome anxiety by providing an understanding of life and the forces of the universe.

Science and religion come from the same place, that place is not inherently one or the other.

Medicine, psychiatry and psychology, however, try to solve the problem of human nature by classifying man in material terms: body and brain — motivated by force. Yet, Darwin's theory of evolution does not necessarily contradict religious belief, for it does not rule out the fact that God or life may simply be using evolution as a means to provide ways to design the structure of physical organisms. That bodies evolved from lower to higher forms doesn't prove a thing except that they evolved.

So . . . if you can accept evolution as a means with which God affects life why can't you accept chemicals as a means through which the soul affects the mind?

But to blindly assert that no spiritual factors were involved can only be called bad science, for it is based solely on opinion.

It is opinion, but so is the opinion that spiritual factors were involved, thus neither really has a place in science at all.

There is a difference between not accounting for something that's subjective, and denying the matter altogether. You have not shown that psychiatry formally and institutionally does the latter beyond your mere assertion.

Humanity has paid dearly for materialism's many false solutions. Whatever failures religious, political or social institutions had prior to the seminal year of 1879, when Wundt's themes took root, the situation has deteriorated with the denial of man's essential spirituality.

I didn't know “themes” took root in a single year. I thought societal change took longer than that. Anyway, I think I've already given you a taste of how history and the numbers disproved this assertion.

It is now we reach the final leg of our wade through this swamp of an essay; a bright-eyed and bushy tailed endorsement of Scientology.

A New Hope for Man

Let's take a break from the facts and philosophy, I'm gonna be the fashion police for a second.

Only Rod Serling, host of the Twilight Zone, can use the word “man” repeatedly to refer to the human species and sound awesome.

And he also has the excuse of his show airing in the early 60s.

This essay was written in the 1990s, after Hubbard died, especially this last leg of it.

And yet it's still written to sound like it was written in the 50s or 60s by Hubbard himself.

Get with the times. Hell, even just get with your own individual voice.

How can I accept something as a rational science of anything, if the people involved can't even update the way they write when a science is expected to be able to update everything down to its ideas.

Modern text on the theory of evolution does not sound like it was written by Darwin in the 1890s, thousands of explanations of gravitational physics exist without sounding like they were written by Newton, yet Scientology isn't solid enough that its practitioners can write about and describe its ideas in their own way with their own voice without screwing it up?

If it's so sensitive that it can only be pure if it sounds like it came fresh out of Hubbard himself than its doomed, because we mentally interpret and change things when translating thoughts to action.

It is not because it is in man's nature to “alter-is” like Scientology says, as if we alter things willy-nilly like some child that can't get anything right. It is in man's nature to personalize, because we are all individuals and made up of a composite of all the people and ideas we've been exposed to which are then filtered through us to become our own voice.

It is this lack of personalization, this lack of people speaking naturally with their own voice, that makes Scientology sound like a cult to people.

Instead, Scientologists let the church of Scientology take their voice. They let the church decide what they think about critics and respond to them. They let the church hold a monopoly on all positive information about the good the organization does. Rarely does any of them publish anything, online or in print, for non-Scientologists or for each other. And as we see here, when they do write about Scientology, they try to sound like L Ron Hubbard.

The church of Scientology does all the legwork for them; of spreading information, of speaking to non-Scientologists. Meanwhile, Scientologists sit around listening to the church tell them who the enemies are and how it's making things better.

They don't speak up. They don't get heard. They have that choice, but I don't see any of them being loud and proud and speaking with their own voice. Unless there's a case where that was something the church had them do as a supervised interview.

Scientologists do not find their voice.

But they should.

The church handles critics terribly, with no care for logic or understanding the other side.

And to let the church decide what is and isn't true about the world at large is to let the church think for them.

Being a cult is all a matter of practitioner's relationship with their church.

The casual Scientologist who gets their information from multiple sources, who does not feel the need to agree with everything the church says, is not a member of a cult.

The Scientologist who lets the church think for them is and who actively tries to think or speak more like Hubbard is.

In 1950, something new appeared. L. Ron Hubbard, who had traveled extensively in the Orient and been educated in Western science, broke through the barrier of ignorance that had stifled man's progress in the humanities. The result was an entirely new subject, Scientology, which means "knowing about knowing."

Knowing about knowing is epistemology. It's been around for hundreds of years and Scientology has very little on the subject of the nature of or criteria for knowledge.

Also, do we have anything besides anecdotes to show that Scientology has broken through the ignorance that stifled the humanities? Near-nonexistent divorce rates among Scientologists? Drastically lower life problems among Scientologists compared to followers of other religions or therapies? How does the life and emotional health of the average pre-Clear compare to that of the average OT 8?  That seems to be the most vital statistics and yet such surveys have never been done. Maybe Scientology works, but I would love to see something other than testimonials.

My Little Pony fans have better studies and information about the makeup and mental health of their group than Scientologists do, and they've been around as a connected group for only a few years.

This goes into what I said earlier about having a voice. Scientologists do neither journalism nor science to keep up with the state of their own group.

They do not make their own discoveries to share with others.

Scientology is an applied religious philosophy which contains workable answers to the problems people face in their lives. The subject matter of Scientology is all life. It contains practical means through which predictable improvement can be obtained in any area to which it is applied.

You're told what's true is what's true for you. Those whom it works for are counted as triumphs of the technique, those for whom it does not are assumed to have done it wrong, or worse. It is the same double standard through which companies perpetuate phony diets; blame the victim if it doesn't work.

The philosophies of materialism and dualism can, and have been, endlessly argued, for they are opinions and not based on any hard evidence. Today, Scientology has the evidence to prove the existence of man's spiritual nature. It is based upon thousands of research hours,

Where may I examine these thousands of hours of research?

and the results attained by millions of people.

Do you mean the auditing of past lives? Which only proves that people can be made to report vivid memories of events there's no physical evidence of? Because I don't think the rest of Scientology making people better actually says anything about whether we're a spirit.

Scientology recognizes that man is not just so many vials of chemicals fortuitously combined into a remarkable stimulus-response machine.

Making the opposing argument sound like it states humans were randomly thrown together into something that worked by chance. Noted.

The human circulatory and nervous systems are just as much “vials of chemicals thrown together”. And they're amazing.

Scientology views man as a spiritual being with native capabilities which can be improved far beyond what is generally believed possible. In fact, it has been demonstrated that man deteriorates to the degree that he denies his spiritual nature and ceases to live with moral values, such as trust, honesty, integrity and other sometimes intangible characteristics.

You're needlessly and disingenuously bringing up belief in moral values to tie them to belief in a spirit. Religion has done that for centuries but there is no reason to toss the two together hand in hand other than to make those who don't share your religious ideas seem evil.

By seeing man as essentially spiritual, Scientology follows in the traditional view of man and his relationship to the universe. Scientology, however, is unique in that it contains practical means of enabling man to resolve his material concerns and so come to achieve his spiritual aspirations. In this regard Scientology is an improvement over any earlier practice in terms of what it can actually do to help man.

Scientology tries to make itself look good by using ancient, popular religions as its comparison for practical ideas, but there are dozens if not hundreds of pseudoscientific therapies and other small newer religious sects that also attempt to use practical methods and spiritual beliefs to resolve material concerns and achieve spiritual aspirations.

The problems of drugs, education, morals, relationships, trust and others contain solutions in Scientology which do not beget further problems.

It is this area which I'm sad to say we have but anecdotal evidence, both for and against. We have Scientology counting all its members who are happy and it's skeptics counting the Scientologist families they know with relationship troubles and people walking out of Scientology after having been in it for decades being called criminals and immoral by the church. We have failures for Scientology's answers to drugs and education to make the impact on the world they should be expected to without excuses of conspiracies against them.

But generally, we just have people on both sides counting the heads that agree with their worldview and nobody that I know of doing a good study of the numbers.

The matters which affect one most intimately, the concerns with oneself, family, friends and associates are understood through L. Ron Hubbard's work and are able to be resolved for the benefit of all concerned.

Hubbard and only Hubbard. Anyone with alternate takes on his ideas his “squirreling”. The work of anyone else studying his techniques is meaningless.

The situations to which Scientology can be applied are as varied as human activity itself.

For example, a child cannot read well and is falling behind the rest of the class.Scientology can help him dispense with a liability that would otherwise affect him for his entire life.

I'm not sure the barriers to study falls outside principles any good teacher is aware of but let's give you the benefit of the doubt. The value of its basic techniques, the good of which should be spread regardless of a Scientology label, does not warrant a commitment to the entire ideology.

Your best friend and her husband are having serious marital problems. One can say with a shrug of the shoulders that 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce anyway. But does that relieve any part of the anguish these people you care about are going through? With Scientology many, many marriages have been saved and strengthened.

Studies please? Numbers matter, because in my anecdotal experience my undivorced Scientologist parents are in an unhappy marriage that should've never been in the first place.

A neighbor is having trouble with his business. Failure will mean severe hardship for him and his family. Can a condition like this be turned around, or is it inevitable that most small businesses fail each year? Scientology can raise the abilities of a man in all aspects of his life, increasing his awareness, certainty and knowledge. Such a man would be more likely to deal successfully with his business -- and everything else.

I see that Scientology has a course on the answers to Public Relations.

I've seen Scientology in word of mouth discussion and media. I've seen polls. Scientology has an 8% of people who view it in a positive light which is actually surprising given people who say anything about Scientology that's more positive than “It's no crazier than other religions” is a diamond in the rough. Scientology's public relations is almost as bad as North Korea; where only those inside sing its praises while everyone else laughs at it.

Sure there are reasons behind this. Leaks of upper level documents. Scandals. And Scientology couldn't handle it.

I would not buy Scientology's course on public relations any sooner than I would by a Get Rich Quick scheme from a homeless man.

Someone you know has been arrested for drug usage. Is he doomed to a life in and out of rehab centers or could you do something effective to get him off drugs for good? Scientology not only has the most effective drug rehabilitation program in existence,

Are there studies demonstrating this other than one funded entirely by Scientology?

but also precise methodologies which enable a person to uncover the reasons why he began using drugs in the first place.

I imagine more individual-specific reasons can be uncovered with little more than some sincere introspection, but I think broader reasons are poverty and a lack of healthy community and relationships.

My point is, I don't think the reasons are so elusive that only Scientology can find them.

Scientology addresses and can handle the spiritual factors underlying the drug scourge and has helped hundreds of thousands live drug-free lives.

Okay, I'm gonna be as unbiased as I can be.

Narconon was founded in Arizona state prison

On their website they say they've published a compilation of 23 studies. In one, 24 of 36 graduates were reported clean and arrest free 1-4 years later. In another report I found the Arizona Correctional Authority reported on 76 Narconon students who had been released from prison. 32 were found. 24 of these were clean. (That's 75% of 32, but ignoring the selection bias of finding the ones alive and stably living enough to be found, that is 24 out of 76, which is less than a third confirmed clean and not missing or dead).

They have a page of studies and studies elsewhere with odd sounding numbers. “A study of 13 graduates showed that four years after completing the Narconon program: 78.6% drug-free”, that's 10.2179 people recovered. (A website debunking Narconon reports the same study with different numbers but a similar oddity in percentage; 78.6% of 61 people were drug-free, which is 47.946 people).

I found a better description of the study which cleared things up; 61 enrolled, 13 completed it and 4 did not use any drugs.

The page also cites the study A Simplified Method for Routine Outcome Monitoring after Drug Abuse Treatment, claiming that “323 graduates showed that six months after completing the Narconon program, 73.5% of graduates had not used any illegal drugs.” (That's 237.405 people drug free).

The study itself is not even about the program's efficacy but about “precise methods for an economical staff-based routine outcome monitoring (ROM) system”, it's discussion and conclusion being about efficacy in contacting participants after the study.
That said, it does say 73% of participants did not use illegal drugs “since graduation” but I couldn't find in the study itself how long “since graduation” actually was.

The study is also not entirely independent in that one of the authors was Dr. Paredes, a member of Narconon International's volunteer science advisory committee.

Other studies I either couldn't find or were funded entirely by Narconon.

Here are a couple outcome studies Narconon lists:

Here is a study by the main author of the previous study and Narconon executive Marie Cecchini about drug education for High School students and here's Narconon's page giving all the information on it. It was funded by Narconon's parent organization ABLE and the graphs for students answers to questions about drugs are actually the same or worse in the Narconon group than in the control group. A greater percentage of the control group felt they can easily resist pressures to take drugs than the drug education group (78.8% compared with 74.5%), though both were a 4% increase from the baseline (which would be no effect). There was less difference in students saying they wouldn't use drugs in the future in the Narconon study, but 3% more difference in students saying drugs were bad and a bigger increase in students saying they had resisted drugs before (rising from 66 to 69% in the control, and 59 to 68% in the Narconon group)

Here is a study by the American Detoxification Foundation and Narconon's page detailing it.

Finally, on the independant research side, a systematic review on Narconon done by the Norwegian Knowledge Center for the Health Services on behalf of the Norwegian Directorate of Health said:

“Collectively, one quasi-experimental and five non-experimental studies document lack of evidence of the preventive effects of these programs. Thus, there is currently no reliable evidence for the effectiveness of Narconon as a primary or secondary drug prevention program. This is partly due to the insufficient research evidence about Narconon and partly due to the non-experimental nature of the few studies that exist.”

So there, the most unbiased review I could give of Narconon. Most of the favorable information is tied to narconon itself and independent research is insufficient.

It is from the individual problems of men and women that the larger concerns of the world grow: drugs, crime, the environment, war, hatred, the economy, and others. Each stems from individuals who dealt unsuccessfully, to a greater or lesser degree, with different aspects of living.

I don't really see how this applies to issues of the environment, which are often issues of resource use and management. Scientology has specific programs for drugs but where is Scientology's program helping people with the fifth dynamic? Everything else you listed involves people's relations with other people. The environment not so much.

The emphasis in Scientology is on the application of exact methodologies in order to bring about change in the conditions of an individual's life. Scientology's aim is to put a person into a condition where he can be more self-determined about living a happier, more fulfilling life.

Scientology's end result however seems to be that people give their lives to Scientology, not that they go elsewhere and succeed in their own lives.

It is a firm conviction in Scientology that the way to a true resolution of a person's problems is to work toward putting him in a position where he is brighter and more able and where he can identify the factors of his life more easily. When this has been achieved, he has been put in a condition where he can understand the underlying sources of any situations he may face and so deal with life more successfully.

Can he than reach the point where he doesn't need to buy more Scientology courses?

The complete materials of Scientology contain more than 40 million words in dozens of books, thousands of articles and thousands more recorded lectures. It is highly probable that this is the most extensive body of knowledge ever assembled on the subject of man, his mind, his capabilities and potentials and the different aspects of his existence.

Body of writing written by one person, maybe. I wouldn't actually know. But body of writing in general . . . No.

Also, body of writing is the better phrasing. Let's not be too presumptions throwing around the word knowledge.

Millions of people all over the world have used Scientology to improve their lives and help their fellows. Can any subject guarantee that it will help you solve all your problems? Maybe not, but basic Scientology principles and methods have been used countless times and, when honestly and exactly applied, have brought about invariably beneficial results.

See this is where we see the wording that allows Scientology to never examine itself; it is invariably beneficial, and failure is only caused by the failure to correctly apply it.

And Scientology does not require that one change his beliefs or convictions to use it successfully. All you have to do is apply the data and observe for yourself whether or not it works.

Really? Because you've been pretty adamant about religious convictions and beliefs for the large majority of this essay.

A sincere look at the conditions around you will reveal situations in the lives of people you know who would benefit from your help. Factually, there isn't a person you know who doesn't have something in his life he would improve if only he knew how.

You only have to avail yourself of the tools Scientology offers.

All too often, the solution seems to be “get auditing until it goes away”, which seems kind of bumbling and haphazard to me.

As for courses, I suppose my skepticism lies in at least a couple areas. First is the idea that you always have to go to a course room. If your idea is really valuable, it should be able to spread through word of mouth and change the world that little bit at a time, and not only be sold in bookstores but have other people restate the same ideas in their own books and publications. The real truth isn't constricted to the writings of one person you must re-visit repeatedly for your whole life.

Second is the idea that the real problems of life will be solved by studying books. You can't convince someone who believes he will fail that he will not fail through self help courses. The greatest personal growth comes from life experience and study of a number of subjects personal to whatever your goals may be. Courses however are not personalized, they are the same books telling people they all need to do the same thing and explaining things the same way..

Sometimes you need a well-educated person to talk to. Not to run through your past traumas or follow a script, but to talk to, to work things out together.

Ironically, my problem with Scientology's solutions is that it's too mechanistic. There's not enough humanity in it.

Not enough soul.

Solving problems through the spirit isn't about whether you believe your emotions are supernatural or chemical.

It's about you making connections, person to person.

If enough people used them it would solve enough of the problems in their own spheres to elevate the entire society to a higher plateau. And ultimately, a civilization would form on earth based on trust, decency, honesty and tolerance.

Science, the environment, trust in people to think for themselves, logic and debate, individuality, tolerance of other viewpoints, investigative people, people living by their unique passions.

Scientology has failed to be the change I want to see in the world.

It has failed to be the change other people want to see in the world.

If people looked at it and saw people they could aspire to be more like, not just Hollywood actors . . .

If people and the press were invited to Scientology events and came back with glowing reviews of how awesome and friendly and sincere the people were . . .

We might be seeing a different world.

But knowing such tools exist and not using them would be like pouring water into the sand beside a man dying of thirst. It is an observable fact that nothing stays the same for long. Things either get better or else they worsen. Even if only by tiny increments, the conditions in a person's life, his environment and the society as a whole are always changing.

I'm gonna be pedantic and say that often things are getting better in some ways while worse in others, and some changes are not so easy to classify in one of those two categories.

Man is at a crossroads in his history as man. He can begin to move upward towards a golden age or continue his descent into a new dark age of slavery to mechanistic principles where individuality and freedom are lost.

Yeah, because that's what I see with Scientologists. Individuality and freedom.

With Scientology, you can change conditions for the better. Such an opportunity never existed before.

It has always existed, for as long as the human spirit has been shaping society.

All man had was unreliable advice, superstition, unworkable remedies and the dim hope that somehow he would be saved.

This is the sentiment that every Scientology book I've looked at seems to open with, regardless of topic. The effect if repeated enough is to condition those who'll listen to believe in nothing but Scientology. And that is perhaps the most harmful belief, that if the Scientology bubble bursts there is no hope left in the world.

The dream of Abraham, Moses, Zoroaster, Lao-tse, Buddha, Confucius, Christ, Mohammed and the other spiritual leaders of man throughout the ages is still with us. Peace, harmony, happiness,

Believe it or not, these things are dreamed of by just about everyone, including the psychiatrists you have villainized. The vast majority of people,  if not every single one of us, really do want the world to be a happier, more peaceful and harmonious place.

higher states of spiritual awareness are as desired by man today as they ever were. The wisdom of Scientology can be used by followers of any faith to achieve the goals man has cherished for so long.

As someone lacking faith, I found this essay intolerant and exclusionary in its attitude.

But really, everyone, make up your mind. Don't be enslaved by the need to agree or to disagree with a specific person or group. Wisdom and foolishness both come from many sources, and can often only be discerned by calm analysis and the effort to understand. It's found by talking to different people and looking at different viewpoints.

I will not argue against the last line of this essay.

Wisdom is for any man who chooses to reach for it.