Something that was pointed out in an anti-Scientology book or interview I read/heard recently (there were a couple) — L. Ron Hubbard’s use of the word “data.”
LRH uses the word “data” (correctly) to refer to pieces of information. But now we get into one of the slicker elements of Hubbard’s con: The reliance on dictionary definitions (only of words he didn’t redefine, of course) rather than accepted usage.
The word “data” implies facts — in fact, the definition in Webster’s dictionary is “facts or information used usually to calculate, analyze, or plan something.” (Oddly enough, the definition of “datum,” the singular form, does not mention facts.) At the time Hubbard re-wrote his own language, the word “data” was also being associated with then-new electronic computers, which were not broadly understood and often assumed to be infallible.
So by skillfully using the word “data,” the ol’ fraud subtly implied that the information he was giving was factual.
Hubbard would say “Here is a datum concerning blah blah blah,” and give some sage-sounding piece of nonsense advice: “A stuck flow always reverses on the terminal,” or some shit like that. Scientologists would refer to this as a “datum” and regard it as factual.
In fact, what Hubbard should have said was “Here’s an idea I have about blah blah blah.” or “Here’s a theory.” I wonder how Scientologists would have reacted to his ideas then? They’d probably still buy in, but at least they wouldn’t think they were somehow flawed for not understanding it. (Of course, then the con wouldn’t work.)
It’s a subtle use of language that should remind us all what a brilliant con man L. Ron Hubbard was — and that Scientology outside of the Church is just as dangerous as Scientology inside the Church.
Here’s a bit of “data” for you: If you live your life by the advice given by L. Ron Hubbard, you’re still in a cult, and you’re still giving over your mind to a dangerous con man who only had the answers to one thing: How to line his own pockets with his victims’ money.