A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

Discussion in 'Education, Research and Inside Reports' started by sorticidal, Feb 15, 2008.

  1. sorticidal Member

    A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

    It's a bit long and purely academic, but seeing as my main interests are science and philosophy, I found it a very interesting read. There are a lot of philosophical terms used though.

    Robert Carroll basically tears apart LRH's work.

    This quote best describes one of my main gripes with LRH's "philosophy":

    Wall of text:
  2. ITT a "philosophy" needs to be "internally consistent" to be successful, credible, and accepted.

    scientology failz
  3. Consensus Member

    I've got a degree in philosophy (and one in psychology).

    I've tried reading some LRH, and, frankly, it's not coherent enough to critique. You're right, though, he does make a number of metaphysical claims that can easily be refuted. Anybody with an understanding of Descartes, Hume, Liebniz, Berkely, Locke, Gilbert Ryle, Donald Davidson, Paul Churchland, John Searle, Daniel Dennett, and David Chalmers (and many others) should immediately see through Hubbard's claims about the mind, or spirit, or whatever.

    Furthermore, anybody with a clear understanding of logical fallacies, of methods of persuasion, of the myriad psychology experiments that demonstrate the power of social pressure (the Asche conformity experiment, the Milgram Experiment, the Stanford Prison experiment, the Kitty Genovese case, the bystander effect, and so on) should RECOGNIZE that LRH is utilizing every single one of these to his advantage - along with teaching techniques through behaviorist conditioning (for example, the 'point' system for osas, where they send people who don't score well to shovel shit, and people who score well get rewarded). Oh yeah, and the Fundamental Attribution Error is a big part of why people don't doubt Hubbard's sincerity.

    Brainwashing is not what people think it is. It's not drugging someone, suggesting something to them, encoding a key-word, and then controlling them remotely. You don't 'program' a person the way you program a computer. And 'unbrainwashing' a person isn't as simple as injecting them with the antidote.

    Consider the following experiment.
    A participant walks in. An upperclassman says 'Hey, welcome! thanks for helping us out. For today's experiment, we're going to have you do a sorting task. We're looking for the fastest time, so... y'know, make a game of it. It should be fun.'
    The participant is then given a very large stack of index cards with words, and is told to alphabetize them. It's the most boring, tedious work a person can do. There is nothing fun, nothing rewarding, nothing interesting about it. An hour later, a man in a labcoat walks in and explains "Thanks again for helping us out. The guy that was running the experiment had to take off, he had a medical emergency. Could you do us one last favor? Can you explain the task to the next participant? And, y'know... sell it. Make it seem interesting. We'll pay you for your time."

    They did this for, say, 100 participants. In half the cases, they gave the person $5. In the other half, they gave them $25.

    A week later, they sent a survey out to each participant, asking how fun it was, how interesting it was, and so on. The results?

    On average, the person that was only paid $5 reported that they had a LOT more fun performing the task than the person paid $25. Why?

    Cognitive dissonance. The task was boring for all of those people. They also *all* said the task was fun when they finished the experiment. The people that were paid $25 can say 'It wasn't fun, but I said it was 'cause $25 is a lot of money.' The people who were only paid $5 have to say 'it really was kinda fun, I wouldn't lie about that for a mere $5.'

    Hell, Con men use the same sorts of techniques. So do social engineers. As I understand it, we call them 'confidence men' because some thief in the 1800s would strike up a conversation with a random person in the crowd, be friendly, and then, as if to make a point, ask the question 'Say, do you have the confidence to lend me your watch?' Then, after they do, he disappears into the crowd.

    Additionally, a large block of non-sense words can create a sort of 'trance state.' Hypnosis is not what most people think it is, and 'mesmerism' and such is largely debunked. Nonetheless, when you read a bunch of words without a coherent story of argument behind it, your eyes kind of glaze over and you become confused. Some use this in literature. William S Burroughs (who was himself once a scientologist) invented the 'magnetic poetry' that people have today when he was writing 'Naked Lunch.' As I understand it, he wrote some essays, cut it all up, and put the words back together in a loosely coherent way. Naked Lunch and Dianetics really read in a similar way. Thankfully, Burroughs didn't try using this technique to start a cult.

    (irrelevent side note: I'm presently reading 'Breaking open the head' by Daniel Pinchbeck, and it reads very similarly to Dianetics. I'm quite convinced he's trying to start his own cult. Oddly enough, he's connected to Patrick Kroupa, who is both a member of the Church of Transition (a ibogaine cult in eastern europe) and an old-school member of the Cult of the Dead Cow (a hacker group that declared war on scientology in 1995). Pinchbeck's mother dated Keroac, so she would've known Burroughs. Kroupa is friends with the son of one of the founders of the Village Voice newspaper. All this ties together through a drug named Ibogaine, which Dr. Deborah Mash, who is regularly cited in Pinchbeck's book, introduced Kroupa to. In any case, that's all a curiosity I'm persuing, but they're simply nowhere near as evil and nefarious as Scientology)

    Okay. So brainwashing isn't what people think it is. It can be innoculated against, and it can be beaten.

    If any of you are interested, I'd love to make specific posts on behaviorism, methods of persuasion, logical fallacies, the bystander effect, the stanford prison experiment, the ashe conformity experiment, the Fundamental Attribution Error, and so on. There are great pages on each of these on Wikipedia, but I'd be happy to answer questions on each and tie them all into Scientology.

    edit: forgot 'learned helplessness' as a relevent psychological concept.
  4. Manco Member

    Re: A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

    I'd say just about anyone with a passing familiarity with any one of those would be on safe ground vis-a-vis L. R. Hubbard's gibberish, which, from what I've read is not only invalid, unsound and incoherent, but also unbearably tedious...
  5. Anonymous9999 Member


    There's another trick that gets used more in Hubbard's books than this, to my eye. And it's a sales technique.

    No degree here, but I used to sell people shit on the phone - and I was good at it. You can hate me now, but let me finish my point first.

    Consider this: Get a person to say yes three times in a row, and they'll say yes again, as long as you're moving pretty quickly.

    Now imagine that you're reading along through one of the Hubster's books. He tells some lame ass story, transparent as can be, and you think, "sure, right, I get your point". Then he starts in on his *ahem* logic, and pauses to define a word. You glance down the page and read the definintion, and think "yes, right, I understand"....

    And then he hits you with whatever bullshit fallacy he has up his sleeve, and you gloss right on over it. If you were expecting bullshit, or are naturally skeptical, you catch yourself a half-a-second later, go back, and go "Wait. You're full of shit". But if you're naturally credulous, or in an accepting kind of mood, you won't catch yourself. And on it goes.
  6. Consensus Member

    Re: A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

    Good point. I hadn't considered that. Is there a name for that effect?
  7. Anonymous9999 Member

    Re: A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

    It's part of "the hard sell".

    But Hubbard is the only one I've ever seen use it in that kind of context.
  8. Consensus Member

    Re: A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

    Oh, I do know that. That's a version of the 'foot in the door' technique.

    A couple techniques:
    Foot in the door - if you want to get a dollar from someone, start by asking for a dime. You're more likely to get a buck if you ask for a dime, then up it to a dollar, than if you simply ask for a dollar.

    The 'door in the face' technique - ask for a hundred dollars. They slam the door in your face. Then you ask if you can have just one dollar. Again, not gauranteed success, but you'll have more luck getting a buck that way than just asking for a buck.

    I know I learned a whole list of these when I took my first social psych class, but can't really recall them all...

    Since you have experience as a salesman, I'd love to hear more.

    My background is philosophy, so I studied sales techniques and logical fallacies simply as things to identify, avoid, and generally be innoculated against. I've never tried employing them myself. I imagine you'll have some good insight.
  9. Anonymous9999 Member

    Re: A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

    Well, most of this would happen at the offices, rather than in the books, but here's a few choice bits you may be able to spot in use within Scientology...

    The Objection Cycle
    Anytime someone is about to object, if possible, raise the objections first. Even if they get to it first, follow these steps (let's say you're selling a newspaper subscription):
    1. Repeat part of the objection. (Oh, you get the newspaper at your office?)
    2. Empathise with their life as lead-up, highlighting their need for the product (Yes, we deliver quite a lot to the offices of the city. Business people NEED their news, after all).
    3. Using that empathy, turn the bug into a feature by claiming authority. Use fallacies as needed (We've found that many business people are so busy that they hardly have time to read all the news they need, in fact. Which is why many of our clients also choose to have a home delivery.)
    4. Close with a question that can only be answered yes. (You do need to be as completely up-to-date as possible, don't you?)

    While running an objection cycle, MOVE FAST, or they'll catch on

    Always Close, Close Again, Close Again
    Don't ask the buyer to say yes. Instead, arrange a detail of commitment - use a question they must break the pattern to say "no" to (would you like it on your doorstep OR in your mailbox?). Do this three times in a row. They won't normally even realise that they didn't actually say yes.

    Object to yourself, to seal the deal
    If the purchase is easily cancelled, or buyer's remorse matters in some way, wait until you are certain that you have a sale. Then object to the sale with something easy - get them to defend their purchase to you, and be impressed by their defense, no matter how pathetic. Do this twice more, pushing a little harder; once they defend the purchase a few times, they will thereafter stay sold on their own power.


    I quit sales because it made me feel dirty. Gah.
  10. Tom Socrates Member

    Re: A Critique of Hubbard's "Philosophy". Any philosop

    Cognitive dissonance is ever present among Scientologists and wogs alike. The bitch of it is that most people don't know what that means, let alone recognize the fact that they're guilty of it. For those unfamiliar with the concept, cognitive dissonance (or doublethink) refers to the firm belief in two mutually exclusive things. Orwell's 1984 makes a big deal of it.

    Thing is, most of the time, doublethink goes unchecked, because we're trained to "respect others' beliefs", even though said beliefs are unequivocally false. To the Scientologist, pointing out cognitive dissonance is just another example of hate mongering and bigotry. In reality, it's a sign of the absence of critical thinking.

    I don't really know where I'm going with this. SUffice it to say, people need to know about doublethink and the dangers it enables.

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