I have just arrived home from a premiere screening put on by the Cult of Scientology. One of their many arms to be precise, known as the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. The CCHR is the arm of the Cult that attacks Psychiatry, spreading misinformation and blatant lies about the profession in an attempt to lower peoples connections to reality and soften them up for when the Cult of Scientology comes along with their Dianetics books, though they do not pimp the books directly themselves.
Tonight the CCHR were having a premiere screening of a new DVD they were releasing titled “The Marketing of Madness”. They had posted an invitation to an email distribution group concentrating on health, and from this location a friend who subscribes to this list forwarded it on to me. I tried to get some others to join me, but they were smarter than I was and never showed up. 🙂
After walking in I signed up, handing over some of my details. I was of two minds about this, on one hand I don’t want them visiting / harassing me, on the other hand I’d be interested to see what else they mail out. Unfortunately I don’t have a P.O. Box so I had to give them my real address if I wanted to receive any marketing material. They then handed me a copy of the DVD (shown left), and pointed me to some round tables where people were seated, each one had numerous brochures (shown right) which I took a copy of and will be scanning in tomorrow after I’ve had some sleep.
The CCHR did a quick intro, then played one chapter, had a discussion about it, another chapter, discussion. It took a whole 5 seconds of the first chapter for me to be facepalming at the stupidity of it. What was said in the “movie” was so blatantly stupid and false it was as though they weren’t even trying to be legit. How anybody could fall for this crap is beyond me.
I got the impression I was the only non-CCHR person there. I was scanning the room every so often trying to pick who was/wasn’t going by who they knew and were talking to, every time I thought I spotted someone who seemed to not know the clear organisers, within 5 minutes they’d be called by name and respond by name.
They said some seriously stupid stuff in the movie, one example being that medicine is performed by actual measurable/observable differences in the body such as germs, but with psychology it’s things that cannot be measured or observed. Made constant claims that chemical imbalances were just a guess that could not in any way shape or form be verified. They’d stop at the end of that chapter, ask questions and people would pipe up repeating word for word what they had just watched, acting all proud of themselves. It was like observing a 3rd grade class.
I left early, though it had already been going for 2 hours. Couldn’t stand the stupidity much longer and I didn’t want to have to wait for the last bus home.
The stupidity in the room tonight burned so hot we just needed a few water tanks and some batteries, we could have generated enough electricity to run the entire country for a year.
9 thoughts on “Cult of Scientology – Premiere night for their new DVD.”
Thanks for your bravery tonight, bastard. I look forward to the literature.
Wow! I am in England I can see you calling those loonies a ‘cult’ from here. Are you sure you are free to do that when our libel laws can be used by just about anyone in the world to sue anyone else in the world?
Hey Skepticat – Scientology would certainly lose if they brought an action for being called a cult. A British High Court Judge has already declared them as such
It could just be my own ignorance, but I’m yet to see a definition for the word “cult” that doesn’t also appear to me to apply just as adequately to any organisation that currently goes by the name “religion”. In other words, I fail to see any difference between the two.
I tend to say “they’re all just a bunch of cults”.
I think in legal circles though they judge it based on the degree of coercion used to prevent defection. If it’s hard to leave, it’s a cult.
[IANAL: pinch of salt, all that]
Many mainstream “religions” can be just as hard to leave as cults, it’s just that the pressure to not leave is indirect.
Oh, I absolutely agree. I’ve heard horror stories about defectors from “mainstream” churches having their families ripped apart by ostracism and church-based venom. Generally, though, a “normal” church doesn’t centrally organise the disconnection and enforce it through church policy. It seems to be emergent (from the congregation) rather than a top-down effort at control.
Of course there are other aspects that make Scientology far more culty than, say, your local anglican nuthouse. The layers of secrecy certainly don’t help. Even the catholics look open and transparent in comparison to Scientology’s frankly paranoid management practices.
Thanks for the links, Jason.
There are similarities between religions and cults (or ‘New Religions’ as they tend to be called in scholarly research) but there are also important differences. One, as Jonathan says, is the top-down control, which is much stronger with cult members having no say at all and when they are put out on the streets to collect money, it all goes to the cult leader. Scientology is pretty clever recruiting rich people and making a big show of charitable activity.
There are other differences but the most important one to my mind is the use of real brain-washing techniques like sleep deprivation, time disorientation, ‘love-bombing’ and starvation. That’s how people get lured in very quickly and it’s damn hard to get them out and they need a long recovery period.Hmmmm…I think I’ve got an idea for a blog post. I blogged on a visit to science and homeopathy I went to recently and that felt a bit like being at a cult meeting but actually joining a cult would be so much….adventurous. 😉
Good on you mate. Taking one for the team, and all that 😉
It sounds like they’re parroting Thomas Szasz, and saying a bunch of things that have some truth – but not what they would like to think. Szasz declares that because we are unable to do ‘the test’ to see the thing that’s gone wrong in psychiatric illnesses, that they are not real diseases. He raises interesting ethical and philosophical challenges, but that one is just not logical. But it’s an easy one for a group like the $cientologists to latch onto.
The thing is that Hubbard was clearly psychotic. Just have a listen to his recorded lectures floating around youtube. I’ve been told that at some point a couple of shrinks did in fact commit him – there was apparently a lot of pressure from the government in the US to shut him up – and at that point we (psychiatry) picked a fight with $cientology.