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Jon Ronson "The Psychopath Test" and Scientology

Discussion in 'News and Current Events' started by AnonLover, May 10, 2011.

  1. AnonLover Member

    Not sure what to make of this... investigative author & unconventional skeptic Jon Ronson visited Scientology according to this book review from Committee of Skeptical Inquiry on his latest works:

    Book Review: The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

    EDIT - Cool Vid w/ author here:
    http://www.amazon.com/Psychopath-Test-Journey-Through-Industry/dp/1594488010

    Lots of Reviews Here:
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9378733-the-psychopath-test
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  2. AnonLover Member

    dang, typo'd the thread title :(
  3. moarxenu Member

    Thanks, AL. Always good to see psychopathy and Scient.ology put together. He talks a lot about Robert D. Hare, the expert on psychopathy. When the SP Times came out with The Truth Rundown it looked pretty clear to me that Miscavige is a psychopath according to Hare's check list. The video at Amazon is cool.

    I also found that Martin Poulter is giving a Skeptic talk in England on May 25: How to Create Your Own Cult the Scientology Way.

    Unfortunately it is sold out. I hope someone will be there who can give us a report.
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  4. Anonymous Member

    Wonder if he interviewed at CCHR? They'd give him plenty of "facts" about pharmaceutical companies.
    No matter what the industry or group you're going to find a percentage of psychopaths. I do agree about TV capitalizing on crazies. There's fewer and fewer programs to watch. The fad will wear off though. It seems like it must be a great deal chaper to produce some of these reality shows and some of the sit coms, plus cheaper to Not use any real talent. It'll be interesting to find out who the author interviewed.
  5. Anonymous Member

    Hubbard and Miscavige are both psychopaths. Check out Hare's PCL-R. Each item gets 0, 1, or 2 points. Normal people get a total score of 1or 2 at the most (meaning they "test positive" for only one of the items).

    Factor1: Personality "Aggressive narcissism"
    Factor2: Case history "Socially deviant lifestyle".
    • Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
    • Parasitic lifestyle
    • Poor behavioral control
    • Lack of realistic long-term goals
    • Impulsivity
    • Irresponsibility
    • Juvenile delinquency
    • Early behavior problems
    • Revocation of conditional release
    Traits not correlated with either factor
    • Promiscuous sexual behavior
    • Many short-term marital relationships
    • Criminal versatility
    • Like Like x 3
  6. Anonymous Member

    Also, psychopaths tend not to be aware that anything is wrong with them. Their narcissism tends to drive them to believe that everything is wrong with everyone else.
  7. LocalSP Member

    Geezus, the first 8 of the above list could be any scientologist.
  8. Anonymous Member

    And the second set as well. Look at the point of "parasitic lifestyle". Wasting huge sums of $ either from family (and sometimes lying about what it will be used for, like drugs, or worst, scientology), or maxing out all credit cards at the same time, then asking for increases, all at the same time, so the issuing banks don't realize what's happening until it's too late. Or lying to bank what loans are far.Or Scientologists who rack up far more than they can pay, going into bankruptcy, and still borrowing from friends (scientologists). Those not gettng paid back, if they're wealthy, will get protected from the "host" (scientology organization). WISE businesses depending on their hosts' blessings which they get if they send enough $$ which is the only feed palatable and digestible to the host. If a scientologist runs out of cash, he/she will, as FSM's, feed other people's cash flows. Sometimes the host will accept a human body to be devoured whole, as long as slave labour agreements are signed.

    Any person, family member, friend, group, business, or thing that does not feed the host will be cut out by the scientologist, sooner or later. It's one sick symbiotic relationship. Scientologists are merely feeders to their insatiable mother host, the ATM machine.
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  9. Anonymous Member

    And the second set as well. Look at the point of "parasitic lifestyle". Wasting huge sums of $ either from family (and sometimes lying about what it will be used for, like scientology), or maxing out all credit cards at the same time, then asking for increases, all at the same time, so the issuing banks don't realize what's happening until it's too late. Or lying to bank what loans are faor; Scientologists who rack up far more than they can pay, going into bankruptcy, and still borrowing from friends (scientologists). Those not gettng paid back, if they're wealthy, will get protected from the "host" (scientology organization).

    WISE businesses depending on their hosts' blessings which they get if they send enough $$ which is the only feed palatable and digestible to the host. If a scientologist runs out of cash, he/she will, as FSM's, feed other people's cash flows. Sometimes the host will accept a human body to be devoured whole, as long as slave labour agreements are signed.

    Any person, family member, friend, group, business, or thing that does not feed the host will be cut out by the scientologist, sooner or later. It's one sick symbiotic relationship.

    Scientologists are merely feeders to their insatiable mother host, the scientology ATM machine.
    • Like Like x 3
  10. Anonymous Member

    That's not a coincidence. They are, after all, taking after a psychopath. People close to psychopaths tend to be intoxicated by their charm/charisma. They become subconsciously pulled towards the traits in the psychopath that they admire. Thus you have Scientologists who (try to) charm the people around them by mimicking the charming characteristics in the psychopath.

    Another place you can hear this is listening to interviews of members of other cults (nearly all cult leaders are psychopaths), like Charles Manson's gang.
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  11. Anonymous Member

    My favorite quote so far in the book comes from none other than Tommy Davis, when Ronson had asked him about the musical chairs incident, if it was true that DM ordered it.

    "Yes, well, Mr. Miscavige did make us do that," Tommy said. "But it wasn't anywhere near as bad as it was reported."

    still reading.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Anonymous Member

    In his brief epilogue, Ronson sums up
    “Thanks to Alistair Stevenson for giving me a beautiful line that summed up my feelings about those ideologues whose love of polemics and distrust of psychiatry blind them to the very real suffering of people with unusual mental health symptoms.”

    “I decided that if I was to go on a journey to try to spot mental disorders in high places, I needed a second opinion about the authenticity of the labels.
    And so I asked around. Was there any organization out there dedicated to documenting the occasions psychiatrists had become overzealous in their labeling and definitely got it wrong? And that’s how I ended up having lunch three days later with Brian Daniels.     Brian is a Scientologist. He works for the British office of an international network of Scientologists called the CCHR (Citizens Commission on Human Rights),…”
    
    
    “I pulled up assuming Brian would be there to put me in a room so I could quietly study the documents detailing the early days of the Church’s war on psychiatry. But as I turned the corner, I saw to my surprise that a welcoming committee of some of the world’s leading Scientologists had flown thousands of miles with the express purpose of greeting me and showing me around. They were waiting for me on the gravel driveway, dressed in immaculate suits, smiling in anticipation.” [note: Brian Daniels, CCHR, accompanied by Bob Keenan, sci attorney, Bill Walsh, Tommy Davis, some names Ronson identifies]
    
    “The CCHR visualized psychiatry as Hubbard had depicted it, as a Dark Empire that had existed for millennia, and themselves as a ragtag rebel force tasked with defeating the Goliath.”
    
    “There are a lot of ill people out there whose symptoms manifest themselves in odd ways. It seemed untoward for Lady Margaret—for all the anti-psychiatrists, Scientologists, or otherwise—to basically dismiss them as sane because it suited their ideology. At what point does querying diagnostic criteria tip over into mocking the unusual symptoms of people in very real distress?”
    
    Interesting: (they referring to sci) He talks about BBC and sounds like Truth Rundown, Miscavige beating, musical chairs)
    
    “(Actually, they had recently asked for something in return. The BBC was planning a documentary attacking them, and they e-mailed to ask me if I’d take part in a riposte video, testifying about how helpful they’d been over the time I’d known them. I said no. They quickly said okay, that was fine.)”
    
    “There are a lot of ill people out there whose symptoms manifest themselves in odd ways. It seemed untoward for Lady Margaret—for all the anti-psychiatrists, Scientologists, or otherwise—to basically dismiss them as sane because it suited their ideology. At what point does querying diagnostic criteria tip over into mocking the unusual symptoms of people in very real distress?”

    Ronson, Jon (2011). The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
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  13. Anonymous Member

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  14. Lorelei Member

    A quick caveat, not intended to dismiss anyone's observations or discussion of the topic: Hare did not intend for his diagnostic criteria to be used by laypeople. Actual diagnosis of mental disease or disorders, including psychopathy (which is actually relatively rare and often confused with sociopathy) should be left to professionals who have the education and training to make those diagnoses.

    And, of course, that would preclude Scientologists, too, making irresponsible claims that so-and-so is a psychopath / psychotic / sociopathic as well, something we have observed them doing before. In fact, you can almost certainly dismiss any such claims by a Scientologist, as they reject psychiatry and similar professions, and thus are unlikely to have any credentials or education or background that would permit them to make a relevant or accurate diagnosis of ANY mental disorder.

    When I have discussed this sort of thing elsewhere, it always provokes lively discussion as well as unqualified diagnoses of past and present acquaintances as "psychopaths," even if I stress that none of us (including me) is a psychiatrist and that Hare's list is not a guideline intended for laypeople to play at being psychiatrists. Entertaining as it usually is, it is good to remember that a snippet of information shared on the Internet is no substitute for years of in-depth study and hands-on, IRL application of that scholarship.

    A good way to use it: If a past or present acquaintance racks up a high score based on Hare's list, it is a good idea to give him or her a wide berth. Use it more as a warning label / guide rather than a flawless diagnostic tool.

    /digression

    Carry on!
    • Like Like x 1
  15. The difference between sociopathy and psychopathy depends on the professional describing the difference. Neither word (psychopath and sociopath) is currently used professionally as a diagnosis in the US.
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  16. Miranda Member

    It's an interesting book. I read it along with Simon Baron-Cohen's The Science of Evil, which takes the topic a little deeper. I recommend both.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. I find conscience to be the most interesting aspect of life, without one animals are just biological machines. I have "The Psychopath Test" but haven't started reading it yet.

    Cold-Blooded Kindness: Neuroquirks of a Codependent Killer, or Just Give Me a Shot at Loving You, Dear, and Other Reflections on Helping That Hurts by Barbara Oakley is a true story about a woman who probably doesn't have a conscience. The author teaches engineering but is very interested in consciousness.
  18. Anonymous Member

    wow. what a title.
  19. Anonymous Member

    is that Sascha's brother?
  20. Anonymous Member

  21. Miranda Member

    Try the Baron-Cohen book. He redefines some of the categories we think of as related to Theory of Mind (sociopathy, borderline, autism) in terms of empathy: a lack of empathy ("Zero Empathy") may be negative (sociopathy, borderline) or positive (autism), depending on the will (or not) to do evil. That's obviously oversimplified, but it's an interesting perspective.
  22. Miranda Member

  23. Anonymous Member

    really interesting. i just read that time interview.
  24. Anonymous Member

    http://psychcentral.com/lib/2011/the-psychopath-test-a-journey-through-the-madness-industry/

    "Whether you enjoy The Psychopath Test may depend on your expectations. If you’re looking for an entertaining read that raises curious questions and traces some of psychopathy’s riveting history, then this is a fine read. But if you’re looking for a book that delves deeper into psychopathy and its extensive science and offers an unbiased look into psychiatric labels, you might be disappointed. "
    Psych Central's Recommendation: Worth Your Time! +++

    What caught my attention was at the lower half of the page, first a listing of "Latest Articles", and then "Related Articles" Jan Eastgate article

    Latest Articles

    Related Articles

    • Like Like x 1
  25. Miranda Member

    Ronson describes some dealings he had with Scientologists in the book. He doesn't condemn CoS, and he describes them fairly sympathetically as advocates for one particular prisoner (and also makes it clear what their motives are in terms of psychiatry). It isn't clear that he thinks they were doing the right thing or the wrong thing. Later in the book he makes it clear that he is not a Scientologist. I wasn't sure what to think of that aspect of the book, but I don't think he did any harm by mentioning them. It may be that he didn't want to get sidetracked into that issue. The book certainly doesn't make Scientology look appealing.

    Edit: I agree that Ronson's book is not all that "deep." It's more about how Robert Hare's psychopathy test has influenced the field than about psychopathy itself. Baron-Cohen's book was more interesting to me, but it's not technical or particularly profound either.
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  26. Anonymous Member

    Re: Scientology's "victim" in this book, Tony, who claimed he was just faking being crazy, and when he tried to get out of the institution, was denied. For many years. Jon Ronson, at the end, began to realize or should I say at least strongly suspect that Tony was, indeed, mentally ill but sharp enough to be a consumate actor and manipulator. The CCHR rep comes off looking like, well, typical scientologist and that is Not good for them.

    Yes, not deep, but interesting, in a very creepy way.
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  27. Anonymous Member

    “I wondered if sometimes the difference between a psychopath in Broadmoor and a psychopath on Wall Street was the luck of being born into a stable, rich family,”

    This is a tired topic in the realm of ASPD.

    Psychopaths tend to be more impulsive. Sociopaths rarely come in conflict with the law because they "play the game" with the legal system.
    • Like Like x 1
  28. Anonymous Member

    "Tony, who claimed he was just faking being crazy, and when he tried to get out of the institution, was denied. For many years. Jon Ronson, at the end, began to realize or should I say at least strongly suspect that Tony was, indeed, mentally ill but sharp enough to be a consumate actor and manipulator"

    Tony is a sociopath, and if you guys think scientology has a chance in hell of truely turning him, I laugh at the idea. He would be using scientologists for his ends.. Not the other way around.
    • Like Like x 1
  29. Anonymous Member

    Thank you, now everyone who reads this will know the definitive difference.
  30. Anonymous Member

    Just finished this and came to see if anyone else had read it. Good to see Anons are widely and well read :) He quotes Jan Eastgate in the book....rather disturbing considering her current criminal charges. It was a light read, funny, but also makes one thing about the nature of mental illness. He makes outstanding points about the diagnosis of children with Bi-polar disorder...but i was not so bemused by his interactions with the clams. He failed to mention some key points on Lcon, which makes one think he didn't do any research beyond the fluff they showed him. When he was running on about how LCON helped in some gov. psyops you knew he hadn't done his research. If he had he surely would have seen Lcons hand written letter begging the gov. for psychiatric help. Clearly this is a man with the balls to take on the Haitian psychopath but without the steel to question the shore story the clams fed him. He alludes to being concerned about fair game....but not in so many words.
  31. Anonymous Member

    He also fails to mention the assertion by the clams that Psychiatrists caused the Holocaust. AND he leads one to believe that their analysis is spot on. Yes there were and still are abuses in psychiatry. There have been and still are abuses in $cientology. Which witch is which?
  32. Anonymous Member

    I suspect it was simply beyond the scope of his book--since the book isn't specifically about Scientology, it would have been a tangent that an editor would have cut out.
  33. Anonymous Member

    Not really, he does discuss the character of Lcon and as it relates to the clams anti psych hate, I think it is highly relevant to include that lcon once sought psychiatric care and was refused....there is MUCH more in the book than I would have normally expected....about scientology. They were not mentioned as a flash in the pan....
  34. Anonymous Member

    Jon Ronson's For The Love of Scientology


    This is an old video which has resurfaced on the net of Jon Ronson interviewing some uk scios. Dr Hamlyn, Sheila Bulger, Georgina Roberts, Lizzie Calcioli Kenneth Ekersley Not sure how long ago this was filmed but i would think about 10 years ago?
    • Like Like x 1

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