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Dianetics and the E-Meter from the Scientific Skeptic's Perspective

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by Scyld, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Scyld Member

    Dianetics and the E-Meter from the Scientific Skeptic's Perspective

    I thought this might be a useful resource to those of us with a more hard line skeptical perspective (or at least an interesting read). Warning: Science content. Contains large amounts of debunking. Contains large amounts of tl;dr. If anyone from the Free Zone is reading this, no offense intended, dudes. For further reading, go to the actual links and scroll down to the bottom.

    The following comes from the Skeptic's Dictionary:
    (Dianetics)

    --------------------------------

    --=- Dianetics (the "Bible" of Scientology) -=--

    "Hubbard reveals a deep-seated hatred of women....When Hubbard's Mamas are not getting kicked in the stomach by their husbands or having affairs with lovers, they are preoccupied with AA [attempted abortion]--usually by means of knitting needles" (Gardner 1957: 267).

    In 1950, Lafayette Ronald Hubbard (1911-1986) published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health (The American Saint Hill Organization, Los Angeles. All page references here are to this edition.) The book is treated as if it were a holy scripture by Scientologists and they treat it as if it were the cornerstone of their church, their religion, and what they consider to be their science. Hubbard tells the reader that dianetics "...contains a therapeutic technique with which can be treated all inorganic mental ills and all organic psycho-somatic ills, with assurance of complete cure...." He claims that he has discovered the "single source of mental derangement" (Hubbard 6). However, in a disclaimer on the frontispiece of the book, we are told that "Scientology and its sub-study, Dianetics, as practiced by the Church...does not wish to accept individuals who desire treatment of physical illness or insanity but refers these to qualified specialists of other organizations who deal in these matters." The disclaimer seems clearly to have been a protective mechanism against lawsuits for practicing medicine without a license; the author repeatedly insists that dianetics can cure just about anything that ails you. He also repeatedly insists that dianetics is a science. Yet, just about anyone familiar with scientific texts will be able to tell from the first few pages of Dianetics that the text is no scientific work and the author no scientist. Dianetics is a classic example of a pseudoscience.

    On page 5 of Dianetics, Hubbard asserts that a science of mind must find "a single source of all insanities, psychoses, neuroses, compulsions, repressions and social derangements." Such a science, he claims, must provide "Invariant scientific evidence as to the basic nature and functional background of the human mind." And, this science, he says, must understand the "cause and cure of all psycho-somatic ills...." Yet, he also claims that it would be unreasonable to expect a science of mind to be able to find a single source of all insanities, since some are caused by "malformed, deleted or pathologically injured brains or nervous systems" and some are caused by doctors. Undaunted by this apparent contradiction, he goes on to say that this science of mind "would have to rank, in experimental precision, with physics and chemistry." He then tells us that dianetics is "...an organized science of thought built on definite axioms: statements of natural laws on the order of those of the physical sciences" (Hubbard, 6).

    There are broad hints that this so-called science of the mind isn't a science at all in the claim that dianetics is built on "definite axioms" and in his a priori notion that a science of mind must find a single source of mental and psychosomatic ills. Sciences aren't built on axioms and they don't claim a priori knowledge of the number of causal mechanisms which must exist for any phenomena. Of course, science presupposes a regular order to nature and assumes there are underlying principles according to which natural phenomena work. It assumes that these principles or laws are relatively constant. But it does not assume that it can know a priori either what these principles are or what the actual order of any set of empirical phenomena is. A real science is built on tentative proposals to account for observed phenomena. Scientific knowledge of causes, including how many kinds there are, is a matter of discovery not stipulation. Also, scientists generally respect logic and would have difficulty saying with a straight face that this new science must show that there is a single source of all insanities except for those insanities that are caused by other sources.

    There is other evidence that dianetics is not a science. For example, his theory of mind shares little in common with modern neurophysiology and what is known about the brain and how it works. According to Hubbard, the mind has three parts. "The analytical mind is that portion of the mind which perceives and retains experience data to compose and resolve problems and direct the organism along the four dynamics. It thinks in differences and similarities. The reactive mind is that portion of the mind which files and retains physical pain and painful emotion and seeks to direct the organism solely on a stimulus-response basis. It thinks only in identities. The somatic mind is that mind, which, directed by the analytical or reactive mind, places solutions into effect on the physical level" (Hubbard, 39).

    According to Hubbard, the single source of insanity and psychosomatic ills is the engram. Engrams are to be found in one's "engram bank," i.e., in the reactive mind." The "reactive mind," he says, "can give a man arthritis, bursitis, asthma, allergies, sinusitis, coronary trouble, high blood pressure, and so on down the whole catalogue of psycho-somatic ills, adding a few more which were never specifically classified as psycho-somatic, such as the common cold" (Hubbard, 51). One searches in vain for evidence of these claims. We are simply told: "These are scientific facts. They compare invariably with observed experience" (Hubbard, 52).

    An engram is defined as "a definite and permanent trace left by a stimulus on the protoplasm of a tissue. It is considered as a unit group of stimuli impinged solely on the cellular being" (Hubbard, 60 note). We are told that engrams are only recorded during periods of physical or emotional suffering. During those periods the "analytical mind" shuts off and the reactive mind is turned on. The analytical mind has all kinds of wonderful features, including being incapable of error. It has, we are told, standard memory banks, in contrast to the reactive bank. These standard memory banks are recording all possible perceptions and, he says, they are perfect, recording exactly what is seen or heard, etc.

    What is the evidence that engrams exist and that they are "hard-wired" into cells during physically or emotionally painful experiences? Hubbard doesn't say that he's done any laboratory studies, but he says that

    in dianetics, on the level of laboratory observation, we discover much to our astonishment that cells are evidently sentient in some currently inexplicable way. Unless we postulate a human soul entering the sperm and ovum at conception, there are things which no other postulate will embrace than that these cells are in some way sentient (Hubbard, 71).

    This explanation is not on the "level of laboratory observation" but is a false dilemma and begs the question. Furthermore, the theory of souls entering zygotes has at least one advantage over Hubbard's own theory: it is not deceptive and is clearly metaphysical. Hubbard tries to clothe his metaphysical claims in scientific garb.

    The cells as thought units evidently have an influence, as cells, upon the body as a thought unit and an organism. We do not have to untangle this structural problem to resolve our functional postulates. The cells evidently retain engrams of painful events. After all, they are the things which get injured....

    The reactive mind may very well be the combined cellular intelligence. One need not assume that it is, but it is a handy structural theory in the lack of any real work done in this field of structure. The reactive engram bank may be material stored in the cells themselves. It does not matter whether this is credible or incredible just now....

    The scientific fact, observed and tested, is that the organism, in the presence of physical pain, lets the analyzer get knocked out of circuit so that there is a limited quantity or no quantity at all of personal awareness as a unit organism (Hubbard, 71).

    Hubbard asserts that these are scientific facts based on observations and tests, but the fact is there hasn't been any real work done in this field. The following illustration is typical of the kind of "evidence" provided by Hubbard for his theory of engrams.

    A woman is knocked down by a blow. She is rendered "unconscious." She is kicked and told she is a faker, that she is no good, that she is always changing her mind. A chair is overturned in the process. A faucet is running in the kitchen. A car is passing in the street outside. The engram contains a running record of all these perceptions: sight, sound, tactile [sic], taste, smell, organic sensation, kinetic sense, joint position, thirst record, etc. The engram would consist of the whole statement made to her when she was "unconscious": the voice tones and emotion in the voice, the sound and feel of the original and later blows, the tactile of the floor, the feel and sound of the chair overturning, the organic sensation of the blow, perhaps the taste of blood in her mouth or any other taste present there, the smell of the person attacking her and the smells in the room, the sound of the passing car's motor and tires, etc" (Hubbard, 60).

    How this example relates to insanity or psycho-somatic ills is explained by Hubbard this way:

    The engram this woman has received contains a neurotic positive suggestion....She has been told that she is a faker, that she is no good, and that she is always changing her mind. When the engram is restimulated in one of the great many ways possible [such as hearing a car passing by while the faucet is running and a chair falls over], she has a feeling that she is no good, a faker, and she will change her mind (Hubbard, 66).

    There is no possible way to empirically test such claims. A "science" that consists of nothing but such claims is not a science, but a pseudoscience.

    Hubbard claims that enormous data has been collected and not a single exception to his theory has been found (Hubbard, 68). We are to take his word on this, apparently, for all the "data" he presents are in the form of anecdotes or made-up examples like the one presented above.

    Another indication that dianetics is not a science, and that its founder hasn't a clue as to how science functions, is given in claims such as the following: "Several theories could be postulated as to why the human mind evolved as it did, but these are theories, and dianetics is not concerned with structure" (Hubbard, 69). This is his way of saying that it doesn't concern him that engrams can't be observed, that even though they are defined as permanent changes in cells, they can't be detected as physical structures. It also doesn't bother him that the cure of all illnesses requires that these "permanent" engrams be "erased" from the reactive bank. He claims that they aren't really erased but simply transferred to the standard bank. How this physically or structurally occurs is apparently irrelevant. He simply asserts that it happens this way, without argument and without proof. He simply repeats that this is a scientific fact, as if saying it makes it so.

    Another "scientific fact," according to Hubbard, is that the most harmful engrams occur in the womb. The womb turns out to be a terrible place. It is "wet, uncomfortable and unprotected" (Hubbard, 130).

    Mama sneezes, baby gets knocked "unconscious." Mama runs lightly and blithely into a table and baby gets its head stoved in. Mama has constipation and baby, in the anxious effort, gets squashed. Papa becomes passionate and baby has the sensation of being put into a running washing machine. Mama gets hysterical, baby gets an engram. Papa hits Mama, baby gets an engram. Junior bounces on Mama's lap, baby gets an engram. And so it goes (Hubbard, 130).

    We are told that people can have "more than two hundred" prenatal engrams and that engrams "received as a zygote are potentially the most aberrative, being wholly reactive. Those received as an embryo are intensely aberrative. Those received as the foetus are enough to send people to institutions all by themselves" (Hubbard, 130-131). What is the evidence for these claims? How could one test a zygote to see if it records engrams? "All these things are scientific facts, tested and rechecked and tested again," he says (Hubbard, 133). But you must take L. Ron Hubbard's word for it. Scientists generally do not expect others to take their word for such dramatic claims.

    Furthermore, to get cured of an illness you need a dianetic therapist, called an auditor. Who is qualified to be an auditor? "Any person who is intelligent and possessed of average persistency and who is willing to read this book [Dianetics] thoroughly should be able to become a dianetic auditor" (Hubbard, 173). The auditor must use "dianetic reverie" to effect a cure. The goal of dianetic therapy is to bring about a "release" or a "clear." The former has had major stress and anxiety removed by dianetics; the latter has neither active nor potential psycho-somatic illness or aberration (Hubbard, 170). The "purpose of therapy and its sole target is the removal of the content of the reactive engram bank. In a release, the majority of emotional stress is deleted from this bank. In a clear, the entire content is removed" (Hubbard, 174). The "reverie" used to achieve these wonders is described as an intensified use of some special faculty of the brain which everyone possesses but which "by some strange oversight, Man has never before discovered" (Hubbard, 167). Hubbard has discovered what none before him has seen and yet his description of this "reverie" is of a man sitting down and telling another man his troubles (Hubbard, 168). In a glorious non sequitur, he announces that auditing "falls utterly outside all existing legislation," unlike psychoanalysis, psychology and hypnotism which "may in some way injure individuals or society" (Hubbard, 168-169). It is not clear, however, why telling others one's troubles is a monumental discovery. Nor it is clear why auditors couldn't injure individuals or society, especially since Hubbard advises them: "Don't evaluate data....don't question the validity of data. Keep your reservations to yourself" (Hubbard, 300). This does not sound like a scientist giving sound advice to his followers. This sounds like a guru giving advice to his disciples.

    What Hubbard touts as a science of mind lacks one key element that is expected of a science: empirical testing of claims. The key elements of Hubbard's so-called science don't seem testable, yet he repeatedly claims that he is asserting only scientific facts and data from many experiments. It isn't even clear what such "data" would look like. Most of his data is in the form of anecdotes and speculations such as the one about a patient who believes she was raped by her father at age nine. "Large numbers of insane patients claim this," says Hubbard, who goes on to claim that the patient was "raped" when she was "nine days beyond conception....The pressure and upset of coitus is very uncomfortable to the child and normally can be expected to give the child an engram which will have as its contents the sexual act and everything that was said" (Hubbard, 144). Such speculation is appropriate in fiction, but not in science. Thus, we may say that Scientology is a religion built on a fiction, but what religion isn't?
  2. Scyld Member

    Re: Dianetics and the E-Meter from the Scientific Skeptic's Perspective

    -----------------------

    e-meter (emeter)
    --=- e-meter (electro-psychometer) -=--

    An important part of a Scientology auditing session is the E-meter. It lures people into Scientology and, for some, gives a scientific basis to the methods used. Scientologists are accepted or expelled according to its revelations. It helps to extract the Scientologists' most intimate secrets and confessions, including those of a sexual and criminal nature. It helps to determine the length, intensity and nature of the auditing session. It helps to determine the date and details of their present problems and their past lives. --Paulette Cooper

    The e-meter (or electro-psychometer) is a device Mark Super VII E-Meter from the St. Petersbugr Timesinvented in the 1940s by a chiropractor named Volney Mathison. It was originally called the Mathison Model B Electropsychometer and was promoted as an aid to psychotherapy and chiropractic.* (It is ironic that Scientology considers psychotherapy to be a great evil.) However, the name on the patent application for the first e-meter was that of L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986), author of Dianetics and founder of Scientology, which credits Hubbard with invention of the device.* According to Hubbard's son Ronald: "My father obtained the rights to the E-meter in1952 from Volney Mathison in the same manner that he does everything - through fraud and coercion."* Hubbard's patent is for a modified version of Mathison's device that was developed by Scientologists Don Breeding and Joe Wallis in 1958.*

    In the early 1950s, Hubbard discovered that everything is striving to survive and that something is "entangling man" (Carroll 1996). Hubbard thought he had figured out what it was that was entangling us. Man "was tangling himself up with combinations of mental image pictures." He claims he measured these pictures using an e-meter. He claims the device could measure the response of the soul "while exteriorized from a being." The device sends a small bit of electrical energy down wires attached to two cans (electrodes) held by the user and measures resistance, i.e., to what degree a body opposes the passage of an electric current. Resistance is measured in ohms and is affected by such physical things as moisture, temperature, and pressure, each of which can change without the user being conscious of it and none of which need be directly related to any thoughts or feelings of the user. Basically, the e-meter is "an ohm-meter with continuously variable range and sensitivity settings."*

    At a purely physical level, resistance changes are changes in the flow of electrons. Changes in the flow of electrons can be due to changes in the source of the flow or changes in the medium through which the electrons flow. Since the e-meter cans are handheld, some of the changes in resistance it picks up may be due to unconscious changes in applied pressure (the ideomotor effect), but this does not appear to be the main factor in e-meter changes.* The changes are likely due either to changes in hand moisture or temperature, or to the flow of ions to the surface of the skin. "Scientologists acknowledge that people with unusually dry hands may require some skin moisturizer in order to make a good contact with the electrodes. One wonders how many auditor candidates have availed themselves of this solution to their spiritual problems."*

    Chris Schafmeister, while a biophysics graduate student at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote a paper in which he argues that the e-meter measures modulation in the flow of electrons brought to the surface of the skin by ions that have probably traversed "through long muscle cells, long nerve axons, or through the bloodstream."* Schafmeister proposed that

    a scientologist learns through feedback during auditing and feedback from the E-meter to exert control over the semi-automatic mechanisms that control enough membrane bound ion channels to change their body resistance enough to provoke a measurable response in the E-meter.

    It is biofeedback in its most basic sense.

    Martin Hunt, an ex-Scientologist and auditor, also believes that biofeedback mechanisms are at work here. According to Thomas J. Wheeler, biofeedback that involves "measurement of muscle tension and skin temperature (higher temperature associated with relaxation)" is not controversial. Such techniques "have been incorporated into many treatment programs."

    The electrical changes measured by an e-meter may be directly related to changes in one's thoughts or mental images, but what significance or meaning one gives to these changes in electrical resistance - beyond basic principles of biophysics - is arbitrary and subjective. The meaningfulness of the connection between the electrical resistance of a human hand or fingers and mental images is taken on faith. Belief in the e-meter's capacity to tap into the depths of the soul might be the best proof that Scientology is a religion; for, it requires a belief contrary to everything science has taught us about electricity and the brain.

    The e-meter has gone through several generations and the current most advanced model is known as the Super Mark VII. An electrical engineer who examined the meter in 1995 "estimated that devices of this type, custom-manufactured and sold in low volume, would normally retail for around $300."* Today, the device is sold by the Church of Scientology for about $4,000.* Scientologists produce about 10,000 e-meters a year - among other things - at a $50-million plant in Hemet, California. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes to construct one meter (Tobin 1998). (For a look inside the Mark VII, see www-2.cs.cmu.edu/~dst/Secrets/E-Meter/Mark-VII/. The device is basically a Wheatstone bridge. It has an Intel 8051 8-bit microprocessor, unnecessary for measuring skin resistance but required for a hookup that allows monitoring by a third person.)

    According to the Church of Scientology, the e-meter is a "pastoral counseling device" that helps locate "spiritual distress or travail."* The e-meter is also used as a recruiting device. For example, at the Downtown Plaza in Sacramento, California, Scientologists rent a kiosk for $2,000 a month. They offer free "stress tests" to passersby. The stress test consists of the test subject holding the cans of an e-meter while a Scientologist asks such questions as "What causes you stress?" The Scientologist then interprets any changes in the e-meter's readings.

    Scientologists believe the meter can gauge energy in the body and read spiritual trauma through a process called auditing. By addressing that trauma, people can neutralize these charges, they say. Working their way through stages, they eventually reach a state they call clear. Scientologists believe auditing, using the E-meters, is a guide to self-discovery.

    "When a person has stressful thoughts, those thoughts produce physical changes," says Mike Klagenberg, spokesman for the church in the Sacramento region. "The E-meter measures those physical changes." (Garza 2005)

    According to Scientology:

    When the E-Meter is operating and a person holds the meter’s electrodes, a very tiny flow of electrical energy (about 1.5 volts – less than a flashlight battery) passes down the wires of the E-Meter leads, through the person’s body and back into the E-Meter. The electrical flow is so small, there is no physical sensation when holding the electrodes.

    The pictures in the mind contain energy and mass. The energy and force in pictures of experiences painful or upsetting to the person can have a harmful effect upon him. This harmful energy or force is called charge.

    When the person holding the E-Meter electrodes thinks a thought, looks at a picture, re-experiences an incident or shifts some part of the reactive mind, he is moving and changing actual mental mass and energy. These changes in the mind influence the tiny flow of electrical energy generated by the E-Meter, causing the needle on its dial to move. The needle reactions on the E-Meter tell the auditor where the charge lies, and that it should be addressed by a process. (e-meter.org)

    The above explanations are based on pure speculation. There is no concept in physics or neurology of the mass and energy of a mental image. This is not to say that thoughts don't have physical effects. They do, of course, but it really shouldn't be much of a revelation to find out that when one thinks of the most upsetting thing of the day that it has a negative physical effect. Finding a reading on a meter while having a thought or feeling is little more than a stage prop, a bit of theater to make the process of telling you what you already know seem magical and scientific. An interpretation in terms of engrams, the reactive mind, and other jargon just adds to the theater and makes the process seem more plausible than it really is.

    It is interesting that the following disclaimer accompanies the e-meter:

    By itself, this meter does nothing. It is solely for the guide of Ministers of the Church in Confessionals and pastoral counselling. The Electrometer is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily function of anyone and is for religious use by students and Ministers of the Church of Scientology only. HUBBARD, E-METER and SCIENTOLOGY are trademarks and service marks owned by RTC and used with its permission.

    This disclaimer is in response to a 1971 ruling by the United States District Court, District of Columbia, that declared: "the E-meter has no proven usefulness in the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of any disease, nor is it medically or scientifically capable of improving any bodily function." This ruling came after nearly a decade of legal wrangling with the government over concern "that the devices were misbranded by false claims that they effectively treated some 70 percent of all physical and mental illness" (Janssen 1993).

    In 1963, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided the church in Washington DC and confiscated their e-meters. The FDA sued the Church of Scientology for fraudulent medical claims and called the e-meter a fraudulent healing device. The church after many years finally settled with the FDA. In part, the ruling that the church was to abide by states concerning the e-meter:

    "The device should bear a prominent, clearly visible notice warning that any person using it for auditing or counseling of any kind is forbidden by law to represent that there is any medical or scientific basis for believing or asserting that the device is useful in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of any disease. It should be noted in the warning that the device has been condemned by a United States District court for misrepresentation and misbranding under the Food and Drug laws, that use is permitted only as part of religious activity, and that the E-meter is not medically or scientifically capable of improving the health or bodily functions of anyone.

    "Each user, purchaser, and distributee of the E-meter shall sign a written statement that he has read such a warning and understands its contents and such statements shall be preserved." (United States of America, Libelant, v. An Article or Device... "Hubbard Electrometer" or "Hubbard E-Meter" etc., Founding Church of Scientology et al., Claimants, No. D.C. 1-63, United States District Court, District of Columbia, July 30, 1971 (333 F. Supp. 357) (Jacobsen 1996)

    Nevertheless, Scientologists continue to use the e-meter in auditing, although some models are designed for ease of use by a single person, presumably to help with their spiritual development. The Church is careful not to claim publicly that the e-meter has any health benefits. Some Scientologists, such as John Travolta and Priscilla Presley, say they use the e-meter on a regular basis. Any value the device has comes from the subjective validation of the user, however. It is not difficult to see how such a device could provide comfort to people, especially if they believe that thoughts have mass and energy (but they are not talking about anything neurological) and they are very creative. For such people, the e-meter could well be useful for self-discovery. The e-meter readings can stimulate such folks to reflect on their thoughts and actions, which may lead to active planning for the future. The process could be an assist to self-hypnosis, psyching oneself up with confidence and determination. With a little communal reinforcement, it is easy to see how one might come to believe that a device that measures nothing but electrical resistance could actually provide useful information about what one fears and what to do with one's life. Add trust and it is not too hard to understand how many otherwise bright and creative people would let someone interpret an ohmmeter as if it revealed something important about the human soul.

    See also confirmation bias and Dianetics.
  3. cubby Member

    Re: Dianetics and the E-Meter from the Scientific Skeptic's Perspective

    as a hardcore skeptic, my thanks.
    you have them.
  4. Scyld Member

    Re: Dianetics and the E-Meter from the Scientific Skeptic's Perspective

    Also, James Randi did a convenient distillation of a certain anti-Co$ website's examination of the myth of L. Ron Hubbard's life VS the facts of it. If you've seen it posted on the aforementioned website, this is James Randi-ized version, with no obscenities or juvenile comments mixed in:

    ------------------------

    SCIENTOLOGY UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
    James Randi
    SWIFT Feb 22, 2008

    An Internet site that has examined some of the claims made by the Church of Scientology [CoS] concerning the history of their founder Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, is chock-full of obscenities and juvenile comments, a factor that goes directly into the CoS arsenal and provides them with all sorts of weapons with which to devalue that site – though not the facts stated therein. However, the site’s observations deserve to be disseminated, and I summarize them here:

    1: According to “official” Church of Scientology biographies, L. Ron Hubbard was brought up in Montana, on a ranch that took up about one quarter of the entire state. He spent his childhood mastering the skills of hunting & tracking; along the way becoming the nation's youngest ever Eagle Scout – and at the age of four was honored with the status of “Blood Brother” by the Native American Blackfoot Tribe.

    The facts: Yes, Hubbard was brought up in Montana, as a regular middle-class kid. However, the Blackfoot Tribe deny all knowledge of Hubbard's “Blood Brother” status, and have answered requests by Scientologists for information on this matter, by saying that they don't even know what a “Blood Brother” is, and no one there has ever heard of the tribesman - “Old Tom” - who allegedly mentored Hubbard during his childhood.

    2: Upon obtaining his PHd in nuclear physics at Princeton, Hubbard joined the Navy where he served in all five theaters of World War 2, becoming a highly decorated war hero.

    The facts: L. Ron Hubbard did in fact take a class in nuclear physics, but at George Washington University, not at Princeton, and he failed. He joined the Navy, but his most notable accomplishment was being involved in a prolonged “submarine attack” off the coast of Oregon which turned out to be a false alarm, though his ship took shots at the imaginary submarine for gunnery practice.
    hubbard

    3: Hubbard’s military career was cut short when he was wounded in action, being blinded and crippled, but through the system of Dianetics, curing himself completely, and while he was at it, eleven other veterans, as well.

    The facts: Hubbard was admitted for treatment in a Navy hospital, but for the less impressive ailment of stomach ulcers.

    4: While undergoing surgery, Hubbard died on the operating table and went to Heaven. On passing through the pearly gates, he came across a wall of monitors displaying all the knowledge in the Universe, past, present & future. He quickly absorbed this knowledge, returned to life and put it all in a book which was entitled “Excalibur.” He claimed that the knowledge contained in Excalibur was so shocking that anyone who read it would die. He told all this to his then-literary agent, describing how he had once shown the manuscript to a publisher in New York and it had resulted in the reader throwing himself to his death from the twentieth story of a building.

    The facts: This might have been a routine hallucination caused by anesthesia, but the publisher throwing himself from the window should have resulted in a news story, which does not exist. And where is the manuscript of “Excalibur”?

    5: Hubbard claimed he could “teleport” himself through space via super-powers that he’d gained through Dianetics, powers that could be yours through Scientology, and he regaled friends with stories about how the surface of Venus is heavily populated by human-like beings dressed in fifties attire. Said Hubbard, “They say the surface of Venus is made up of gas, but I know better, having almost been run over by a freight train there just this morning!”

    The facts: Don’t think that Hubbard could not have believed such a story to be true. I met him only twice, the first time at a meeting of “The Trapdoor Spiders,” and the second only briefly at a press conference in New York City. He frequently came up with such fantasies, and since he was quite inebriated – presumably via alcohol – on both occasions on which I encountered him, I can accept that he came up with such a caprice. He certainly had to know the surface temperature of the planet Venus – 460°C [860°F] – as well as the fact that its atmosphere consists of clouds of droplets of H2SO4 – look it up – and its atmospheric pressure is 94 times that of Earth’s. Those are hardly strolling-about conditions, even for Hubbard, let alone for a freight train…

    Of course, we’re asked to believe that high-level members of the Church of Scientology will understand what we ordinary mortals see as absurdities…

    Scientologists are told that the “fifties” garb worn on Venus came from the fact that seventy-five million years ago, a Galactic Confederacy led by the ruthless overlord Xenu had adopted the customs and costumes of life that would exist on Earth circa 1950. Duh. This Galactic Confederacy developed an overpopulation problem, so they had to round up billions of citizens under the pretense of "income tax inspections" and send them off for extermination on the prison planet of Teegeeack, which is what they – in their ignorance – called our Earth. These unfortunates were all unloaded around the bases of volcanoes which were then blown up with H-bombs, their souls were subsequently captured and forced to watch a 3-D movie for thirty-six days, a movie which implanted in them the histories of all modern human religions. Those souls, we’re told, are still hanging around the Earth today, randomly attaching themselves to humans and making them miserable. Ah, but they're neutralized by the magic of Scientology.

    The above nonsense is only available at the highest level of the Church of Scientology, costing the gullible $300,000 to $500,000 to hear about it. The proof that Hubbard had a working system of snaring the naïve, is amply proven by the fact that the CoS is still going today, and richer than ever before.

    As the referred-to site suggests, visit Operation Clambake - The Inner Secrets Of Scientology for extensive data on the “church.”

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