Daily Archives: May 10, 2012

Science catches up to L. Ron Hubbard

When I set out to write my series on the Credo of a True Group Member, I promised myself I would spend a straight week writing about LRH tech and not get distracted by any Marty Rathbun fuckery. But then he posted Life After Death and the Scientology Axioms, and it’s so farging funny that I just… can’t… help… myself!

Here’s the gist of the post: Marty starts off with a few of LRH’s “Axioms” – I’ll get to those in a minute – and then cites a pair of articles by Robert Lanza as evidence that LRH was right. Robert Lanza is an acclaimed doctor who has made great strides in the field of stem cell research. He is also a proponent of “biocentrism,” the theory that biology is the highest of the sciences and that the presence of life is what brought the universe into existence, and not the other way around. It’s a belief that loosely aligns with LRH’s idea that “thetans” (spirits) “postulate” the universe into existence.

Marty links to two of Lanza’s articles,¬†Does the Soul Exist? Evidence Says Yes and Is Death An Illusion? Evidence Suggests Death Isn’t The End. (If Dr. Lanza owned L. Ron Hubbard’s album The Road To Freedom, he’d know that “Death is only an invention.”) Here’s the over-simplified version: Since what we experience of the world around us (sights, sounds, smells, etc.) is actually our brain’s interpretation of stimuli, and since experiments seem to indicate that the act of observing an experiment affects the outcome, then the universe around us is actually our own creation; and since¬†fields like quantum physics have shown that many of our scientific theories break down at a certain level, science is wrong about the nature of life and all bets are off. Dr. Lanza’s opinions have met with mixed reactions; personally, I think they’re a bit too simplistic, indicative of the human need to come to firm conclusions rather than accepting that there are things we can’t quite understand. (It’s the same phenomenon that leads to our belief in God.)

Anyway, back to Marty, who uses these two controversial articles as proof that science is finally catching up to Hubbard. Wait, let me use his own words, because the jab at the organized Church makes them even funnier:

“Is it not a travesty that corporate Scientologists would be burned at the stake (figuratively) if they were to dare to even take a peek at such a magazine? Is it not a travesty that Scientology Inc is busy using the billions you have donated to them to stage public demonstrations of their flat earth mentality while science catches up with L Ron Hubbard?”

Lesson learned: Do not drink soda while reading Marty’s blog. My nostrils still hurt.

(Marty’s “burned at the stake” comment stems from the fact that the articles appeared in Psychology Today, which Scientologists are about as likely to read as Pedophelia Today. Shame, though, since Scientologists usually grab right onto anything that purports to prove Hubbard right. That said, given the scientific community’s mixed reactions to Lanza’s biocentrist theories, the Church might be smart enough to think twice about casting their lot with him.)

Marty’s evidence is the first ten of Hubbard’s “Axioms” (if you don’t want to read them on Marty’s site or a Church site, here they are in PDF). The Co$ says the Axioms are “truths which are proven by all of life and which represent the most succinct distillation of wisdom regarding the nature of the human spirit.”

In fact, they are made-up baloney that rely on a) careful redefinition of words and b) the utter certainty that Hubbard knew what he was talking about, and wasn’t just a blowhard who couldn’t tell an ion from an eon.

Let’s look at a couple of examples:

“AXIOM 1. LIFE IS BASICALLY A STATIC. Definition: a Life Static has no mass, no motion, no wavelength, no location in space or in time. It has the ability to postulate and to perceive.”

One could spend hours arguing the intellectual merit of this. (A jellyfish has no brain; it can perceive but probably not postulate. So does it lack a life spirit? Or is each jellyfish inhabited by the spirit of some poor fucknob who meant to inhabit the body of a dolphin, but missed?) However, to accept this as a “truth” is completely and totally absurd. There is no proof and no way to prove it. But that doesn’t matter to Scientologists, who accept what Hubbard says as fact.

“AXIOM 4. SPACE IS A VIEWPOINT OF DIMENSION.”

Not according to Webster’s dictionary it isn’t. It amazes me how a man so obsessed with dictionary definitions was so willing to abandon them when it suited his purposes to do so. Scientologists do the same thing; tell them LRH was a fraud, and they’ll whip out their dictionary, look up “fraud,” and explain why, even if Scn is a scam, LRH isn’t, by definition, a fraud. But give them something ridiculous like “Space is a viewpoint of dimension” and they’ll buy it without question. Unfuckingbelievable.

“AXIOM 9. CHANGE IS THE PRIMARY MANIFESTATION OF TIME.”

Sounds legitimate and defensible. But there are a host of other theories about time, and ironically, both of the Lanza articles Marty mentions cite an argument, based on an experiment, that time is more liquid than we thought, and that change can occur irrespective of time. But I don’t want to get into an intellectual debate, because that is another Scientology tactic: Argue the minutiae of something until your audience’s brain turns to mush and they just accept it, assuming that the reason Hubbard’s arguments make no sense is because Hubbard is smart and they are stupid. (Considering they’ve probably just paid $1,000 for a “course” that involves screaming at ashtrays, they might be right.)

“AXIOM 10. THE HIGHEST PURPOSE IN THIS UNIVERSE IS THE CREATION OF AN EFFECT.”

I love this one, because after nine axioms that can be explained away, Hubbard drops in this non-sequitor. I’m tempted to say that I could just as easily claim that “THE HIGHEST PURPOSE IN THIS UNIVERSE IS THE CREATION OF A PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY SANDWICH,” but Hubbard apologists will dismiss that as a “glib” non-argument. Fair point, so let’s try this:

I would argue that since Hubbard’s axioms say that change is the primary manifestation of time, and a change in relative position of particles is a natural occurrence, then the creation of an effect is not the highest purpose, since effects are a by-product of the passage of time. A higher purpose would be to impose one’s own order on the universe – to stop the effects of time. So I would say that the highest purpose in the universe is the cessation of an effect.

That makes sense, right?

Of course it fucking doesn’t. I made it up without the slightest bit of thought. But because I can talk my way around it, it seems to make sense. I always talk about Scientologists mistaking verbosity for intelligence. There we are, I’ve just made it work for myself. (Give me a grand and I’ll give you an ashtray to scream at.)

Let’s get back to Marty’s premise: The fact that someone wrote an article in 2011 that happens to correspond with some of Hubbard’s writings does not lend even the slightest shred of legitimacy to his theories, let alone prove the absurd idea that science is “catching up” to L. Ron Hubbard. Both Lanza’s and Hubbard’s theories are questionable, and Hubbard wasn’t the first one to think of them, although he would like his followers to think he was.

That said, I will accept that science is catching up to L. Ron Hubbard when they prove the following theories, which you can hear in Hubbard’s own words:

ML,
Caliwog

Read more about Hubbard taking legitimate concepts and completely fucking them up in Positioning, Misunderstanding Of.