Skip to comments.Scientology, Seizures, and Science
Posted on 01/14/2009 8:53:34 AM PST by Ed Hudgins
Scientology, Seizures, and Science
by Edward Hudgins
January 13, 2009 -- Jett Travolta, the sixteen-year-old son of actors John Travolta and Kelly Preston, died recently of what the autopsy found to be a seizure. The boy had a history of seizures and unconfirmed reports suggest that his parents acted responsibly to ensure he was on medication to mitigate his condition.
We dont know yet what caused the seizurea change in medication or dosage, or a worsening of the underlying condition that caused the seizures.
Ive held in my arms a dear loved-one during her seizures, someone who fortunately now survives and flourishes thanks to modern medicine. Thus I can identify personally with the dangers of such conditions and appreciate the imperative to understand and treat them.
And we can all have sympathy for Travolta and Preston and hope that progress in medical science can reduce the number of such tragedies so that other parents can be spared terrible grief and suffering.
But theres a sad irony here: Scientology, the religion to which Travolta and Preston belong, and other irrational belief systems have, in principle and practice, always stood in the way of such progress.
Scientology was created by sci-fi writer L. Ron Hubbard. Its secret teachings apparently maintain that 75 million years ago the galactic tyrant Xenu anaesthetized billions of his enemies; flew them in spaceships to Earth; dropped them into volcanoes and nuked them; and collected their ghostscalled thetansin giant theaters to show them movies that left them thoroughly confused and wandering aimlessly on our planet.
So what? you might ask. All religions have weird beliefs. True! Mormons believe that God lives around the star Kolob with his wife. Catholics believe that the bread they eat at communion is the actual, real, no-fooling flesh of Jesus.
(Excerpt) Read more at atlassociety.org ...
And humanists believe that the entire universe simply popped into existance out of nothing, and then assembled itself into tens of thousands of species of plant and animal life, including humans.
So I guess we all have our strange beliefs.
It is lack of critical thiking that allows true believers like yourself to lump Cults such as Scientology with Catholicism. A little research into the theology of transubstantiation could relieve you of your ignorance.
Someone from the Atlas Society was on Philadelphia Talk Radio the other night talking about Atlas Shrugged. Was that you?
Yes, that was me! I was discussing a piece in the Wall Street Journal on 1/9/09 by my friend Steve Moore on the events of Atlas coming true today with the statists and Obama.
Here’s the link to the WSJ piece:
And a link to our blurb on he piece:
I’m well aware of the twisted, tortured thinking behind transubstantiation as well as the trinity, a guy who was his own father, the historical development of Christianity and the like. At least Protestants consider communion to be symbolic and at least Catholics and Protestants today aren’t fighting bloody religious wars over such nonsense as they did in the past. Today the belief’s averse affects on many might not be much worse than horoscopes and the like.
Well, well, small world, isn’t it? I enjoyed the show! I was out shopping but sat in my car just to finish listening to it. Thanks for the links.
Seizures are common in autism, and word is that the kid suffered from autism.
Scientology does not “believe” in any emotional or mental illness diagnosis it is considered a character flaw that their “auditing” takes care of.
So this poor kid lived his isolated little life not as the victim of a serious illness, but as guilty of something in a former life that brought this on .
In other words his treatment was lousy
And Calvinists believe that Jesus didn't die for everyone's sins, just ours. You can see why there were so many bloody wars.
Problem is your choice is to be a reductionist, materialist, follow scientism, or to have a religious worldview - whatever form that may take. Chances are you have one as well.
And if you think the Trinity is tortured thinking, try quantum physics.
“I find that there are many here at FR who say, If you do not believe like me you are a cultist.”
Read an affadavit from an ex-scienologist who helped the cult with their religious cloaking
Members of Scientology receive a tax deduction that no one else in the country can get.
See the Sklar cases.
This deduction violates the Establishment clause.
How and why did they get it? See Operation Snow White.
Why has no one done anything about any of this?
I guess one could ask why Clinton helped the Scientologists by misusing the State Department.
Or maybe the Feds are worried about another Waco
Terms such as “Twisted” and “tortured” belie your prejudice. Your inability to comprehend a concept as spiritually sound as the trinity only demonstrates your earth bound consciousness. Paul called it “animal consciousness.” Suffice it to say you are not reborn, in Christ’s terms, a spiritual creature with knowledge of spiritual matters.
I don’t believe that reductionist materialism is the only alternative to bizarre and unprovable mystical beliefs. You can go to Aristotle, Ayn Rand or a number of other good secular thinkers and find a different perspective.
the only alternative to bizarre and unprovable mystical beliefs
You've substituted nonsense for the half of my dichotomy which was " religious worldview - whatever form that may take." By this I mean something that includes knowledge beyond the confines of reason/logic. Since pure reason logic is forever conditional, materialism and scientism are the result of those who limit themselves to it.
You can go to Aristotle, Ayn Rand or a number of other good secular thinkers and find a different perspective.
I would disagree with putting Rand in this category. She did not believe anything could or does transcend reason - I think a provably naive position.
Don't get me wrong on Rand. Her books forever change a great many college-age students for the better, myself included. Great stuff. However, we hopefully grow to include more knowledge or our reason/logic has nothing for its foundation.
All serious theistic systems rest on the understanding of the created world as the evidence of creation. Again, one may posit various ideas that explain the universe around us and do not involve a creator, but one cannot say that theism is like Scientology and Tarot cards.
Christianity, in addition to that, rests on the historical evidence of resurrecton of Jesus Christ. One can dispute the evidence recorded in the Gospels but one cannot say that Christianity is on the same plane as Scientology or Tarot cards.
Catholicism, specifically, takes literally certain words of Jesus that other traditions of Christanity do not. Hence the transsubstantiation. Since we believe that a man once killed rose again, it is not illogical to believe in other miracles as well, especially since we witnessed other miracles throughout history.
If you need the Trinity, the Transsubstantiation or anythign else in Catholicism explained to you rationally, I will do so.
It is fine for you to call for parents to act responsibly and avail themselves of the discoveries of science, and advice the Catholic Church gives also. It is fine to ridicule Scientology, superstitions like Tarot cards, astrology, and the like. Stay our of sneering at Christianity, something you have no evident understanding of.
and advice -> an advice
In other words, the Church and most Christian communities of faith fully embrace all therapeutic medicine (we oppose certain procedures sometimes considered a part of medicine that do not cure a disease).
Rational thought, after all, is the source of all truth. Unless, that is, you are interested in the mind of God. But then you have no need of God.
Keep doing what is right in your own mind. It will get you to the edge of your life but not beyond.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling would add immeasurably to your credentials.
Yes, the argument from creation (first cause) and design have been around for millennia, as have many solid refutationsWho created the creator? He/she/it didnt need a creator. Then why not say the same of the universe?
Im glad that excellent work is being done on the tendency of we humans to imbue nature with a will and consciousness (god) and how the nature of our minds and the inherence system that we each possess accounts for this tendency. See, for example, Pascal Boyer, Religion Explained.
But it is exactly the act of accepting every word of the Bible as true without subjecting the belief to true, rigorous, critical thinking that places the Christian in the same category as the Scientologist though, as I suggest, I have evidence that more Scientologists are self-deluded at a fairly fundamental level. These texts were collected and canonized over three centuries after the subject matter they cover, with dozens of books and texts left out. The New Testament is full of internal contradictions that reflect the different early, competing interpretations of ChristianityGnostic, Ebionite, Marcionitethat lost out against what came to be the Orthodoxy. How did the men at the Council of Nicaea sort all this out? Faith, and not by any means that can pass as objective, critical examination.
And faith, in this meaning of the word, is the first and greatest moral vice or sin, if you speak that language. Not a mistaken belief but the mechanism or approach by which you gain beliefs is your problem.
Thats why your belief in transubstantiationwhen a human with testicles talks to a piece of bread, it becomes the skin, muscles, veins, fatty issues, etc. of a 2,000 year old man who was is own father when you crew itis on a par with the absurd believes of Mormons or Scientologists or Calvinists or Hindus or Muslims, all who hold those believes just as strongly as you do yours and with just as little reason.
Many would say that is the definition of a “Fundamentalist.”
“Def: A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.”
“Someone who believes that everyone else is doomed if they do not believe in one of the 600,000 religions that are in this world to believe in.”
By the way Pawtucket Patriot, love your Family Guy beer!
What are your religious beliefs or knowledge?
I would be described as an Objectivist/Aristotelian/secular humanist. The highest value for me is to live a happy, fulfilling, flourishing life. And for the time I'm here, I want to live in a world with similar individuals who love their lives and who pursue their own happiness through their creative activities, whether theyre raising a child to maturity or a business to profitability, whether theyre writing a song or a poem or a business plan or a dissertation, whether theyre laying the brinks to a building or designing it or arranging for its finance. But this kind of world requires that we oppose the irrational ideas and ideologies, whether theyre found in religions or political, that are crippling and destructive. Many individuals find in religion a comfort/inspiration that can be found elsewhere, without the downside of religion. You can find a lot of my work on The Atlas Society website, www.atlassociety.org. I also call your attention to my Objectivist Secular Reader, which is described at this link:
You can find most of the articles The Atlas Society website if you do some looking around but its best to get the book! As to my knowledge, I have a Ph.D. and I'll let you judge from my ideas and writings!
The highest value for me is to live a happy, fulfilling, flourishing life.
Why is this the highest value? Why does "happy" for example have more value than "sad"? While fulfilling than non-fulfilling?
Those are excellent questions and just the sort of discussion I like (oops, there’s a value judgement!) to hear. We are creatures with a capacity for rational thought. We are self-conscious and have subtle minds, emotions, and intellects. And we have, at a certain level, free will and free choice.
To me, the purpose of the science of ethics is to deal with the meaning and implications of these facts, which is what Aristotle, Rand, Cicero, Thomas Aquines, and others do through a critical, rational process.
So everyone, even you, has (assumes or knows) values/knowledge/truths that cannot be proven/known by reason alone.
Yourself included. You too have a religion - defined as truths and values held that are not known/proven by reason alone.
Objectivists blind spot is precisely here, that they have a religion while denying the sphere even exists. That's why I was pursuing yours as an illustration.
I was thinking I may have missed something in your post.
Was it an answer to:
Why does “happy” for example have more value than “sad” fulfilling than non-fulfilling?
But the foundation for knowledge is axioms that cannot be denied, i.e. you must accept their truth in order to discuss them or anything else. They are:
1) Existence exists.
2) A thing is what it is, i.e. A is A.
3) I am conscious.
See Aristotles Metaphysics for the first two especially. To acknowledge the truth of these propositions requires no gods nor is to do so an arbitrary action. You must accept their truth even to discuss them. Aristotle observed that if someone says anything at all, then what they say is something and something distinct from other things they might say and thus assumes that existence exists and A is A. If someone will say absolutely nothing at all, theres nothing to argue about!
Just as I (and you, I assume) reject the moral equivalence, say, between Nazism, Communism, and a free republic that protects individual rights, you must reject epistemological equivalence between faith, that is, holding out certain beliefs as not based on nor subject to rational, critical analysis, and knowledge based on evidence and reason.
And it doesnt do to argue that reason, evidence, etc. are good for some things (science) but not for others. First, Why? And How do you know? By what epistemology? Second, you attempt to use rational analysis in your argument to limit rational inquiry. You cant have it both ways.
Introspection, by the way, does constitute observations upon which some argue for a belief in god. Introspection is a valid place to start but ultimately you must move on to a systematic, critical approach to knowledge.
Yes, axioms or absolute truths.
As you know, these cannot be proven using reason/logic, else they would become conditional and require a new absolute, ad infinitum.
As for requiring no gods, religion does not require gods, deism does.
I am defining religion as that area of knowledge/truths/values beyond the sphere of reason/logic.
The three absolutes you list are foundational for science; however, they do not underpin a system of values. They would, by themselves be as useful to Nazism, Communism, Objectivism, Facism, Christianity, Atheism, etc.
As for the limited value of rationalism, we’ve just discussed it: You must have axioms outside the capacity of reason to know/prove. It does not mean one should not, cannot use reason/logic, it can even be used to prove its own limitation.
The same with pure empirical science.
Which leaves us to how you know/prove what you stated as your highest value: “to live a happy, fulfilling, flourishing life”.
Based only on the limited set of absolute truths you’ve given, one can as easily arrive at a highest value of living a sad, unfulfilling, stagnant life.
Your religion lies in the absolute values in between. What are they?
That the creator Himself has to be uncreated is not a refutation, it is a valid commentary.
I agree that “accepting every word of the Bible as true without subjecting the belief to true, rigorous, critical thinking” is wrong. This is why I am Catholic and not a Bible-alone Protestant. It is my Church who produced the Bible in the first place, precisely as a result of rigorous, critical, painstaking analysis.
Christianity is complex. Faith is an element of it, as it deals with the supernatural, but it also rests on solid reason. Whne people reason, they make mistakes of reason. Hence the endless heresies, that you mention, Protestantism being the modern one. Scientism and materialism, in which you seem to believe, is an error of reason also.
It is true that transubstantiation is a miracle that does not have a scientific explanation. However, the desire of the Creator to be an intimate part of our lives, — something that lead to the begetting of the Son, as well as His death, resurrection and trasnubstantiation — is in itself prefectly rational. Since God is love, it is rational for God to love you, in ways humans cannot love. Hence the miracles.
But this begs the question, “How to you have knowledge outside of experience or evidence that is subjected to reason and logic?” All you can appeal to is a feeling—you probably call it “faith”—the same basis for the alleged knowledge claims that are asserted just as strongly by members of other religions, claims that are contrary to yours as a Christian. So you ultimately have no objective standard by which to discover or, in the case of axioms, validate truth.
On the methodology and logic of deriving values via reason, that's a book-length discussion. I'll simply refer you to Ayn Rand short essay, “The Objectivist Ethics,” which does a fine job on this issue.
Everyone either 1) knows 2) assumes they know 3) just assumes - some truths or values in this category.
As to whether one actually "knows" or assumes, we can leave to another discussion on epistemology if you wish.
My point here is that everyone, yourself included, hold truths and values that are outside the faculty of reason/logic to know/prove. And that you and most Objectivist would deny the category even exists. A self-provable fallacy.
We were examining yours begining with your stated highest value of "happy..."
We can start there or another place if you will, but we will inevitably get to (quite quickly) a value statement (truth) that you know or assume outside of your faculty of reason.
So, for you, why is "happy" better than "sad"?
So, all other conditions being equal, why is "happy" better than "sad"?
I will mention that when discussing ethics you don't start with, “Why is it better to be kind rather than cruel?” or any other such dichotomy. The key is to ask, “Why do we need ethics in the first place?” “What facts of reality give rise to the necessity for a code of values?” Aristotle's Nicomacheon Ethics is an entire book on the subject. I obviously like Rand's approach.
I will mention one example from her to whet your appetite. She asks, “Would an indestructible robot need ethics?” She says “No” because 1) It can't choose, it has no free will; and 2) No choice would make any difference to its existence anyway since it's indestructible.
Good luck in your search for the true and the good! Just use a methodology that will get you there, not the fuzzy fallacy of faith!
Good luck in your search for the true and the good!
Don't you want to join me?
check out Rand's short essay Objectivist Ethics,
As I said, I'm quite familiar with Rand.
I studied her quite extensively. The problem with her ethics is very simple:
Ethical values known using reason/logic alone are, by definition, conditional. This is a foundation for, once again by definition, relative values, also known as relativism.
This, as I said earlier is the hole or blind spot in Objectivism - and it's a big one that stunts it considerably. Perhaps in your position you can change that and achieve a significant accomplishment.
I was inviting you to prove the Objectivist problem for yourself. I'm not asking for a dissertation, but one simple proof.
I don't believe you hold that ethics are relative. This is where Objectivism fails even you.
I'm don't why you would avoid this simple request if you have confidence in your beliefs. Would you care to tell me?
"I don't know why you would avoid this simple request if you have confidence in your beliefs. Would you care to tell me?"
Obama’s Mixed Inaugural Rhetoric:
Thought on Racial Thinking:
Your simply request is simply answered by reading Rand's piece. I won't waste time summarizing what she said so well. If you see a fatal flaw in her approach, post about that.
One other point: She makes the positive case for her understanding of morality. Religious people need to do the same and simply can't appeal to pronouncements in ancient books. Rand starts with axioms, turns to relevant facts such as the life-based foundations of choice and ethics, and ties her understanding together using tight logic. And she rightly argues that this rational appraoch is the only route to knowledge.
You need to show how your non-rational, faith-based approach to knowledge can be validated which, by its nature, it can't be, which is why religions always differ in terms of the absurd things they postulate and have no basis by which to determine the truth.
I posted extensively about the blind spot, hole in Objectivism before. Review that if you need to.
You need to show how your non-rational, faith-based approach to knowledge can be validated which
I do not claim a non-rational, approach to knowledge; I claim that no one has a completely rational approach to knowledge.
Point 1) Logic/reason is a subset of knowledge - causal, relative, conditional. Everyone, yourself included, knows, or assumes they know truths/values beyond the sphere of logic/reason. In a nutshell this is Rand's point of ignorance. Try arguing against this if you'd like.
Point 2) Truths/values outside the sphere of logic are not "non" or "anti" rational any more than logic truths, outside the sphere of pure empirical science are "non" or "anti" scientific.
Point 3) I do not claim that all my values or knowledge can be validated/proved by reason/logic. I do claim that it is impossible for healthy sane people to limit their truths and values to only those validated/proved by reason/logic.
Point 4) You, apparently, claim the opposite: all your values are completely provable by logic.
Point 5) Prove. Just. One.