G’DAY WORLD 193 – On Scientology.

I was listening today to an episode of The Infidel Guy’s show and he was interviewing a bloke by the name of Dan Garvin. Dan Garvin was a Scientologist for 27 years and a Sea Org member (their senior ranks, so-called because all the secret stuff happens on an ocean liner) for 25 years. He worked for ten years in their intelligence, PR, and Legal branch, the Office of Special Affairs (OSA). Dan got out two and a half years ago because a series of realizations that lead him to atheism and skepticism. All this got me thinking about how ludicrous the claims of the Scientologists are. But are they any more ridiculous than the claims of other religions?

Links from the show:
Infidel Guy interview with Dan Garvin
Wikipedia “Scientology“.

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The G’Day World Theme Song is “Save Me” by The Napoleon Blown Aparts.

16 thoughts on “G’DAY WORLD 193 – On Scientology.

  1. Hey Cam,
    Sorry I didnt get back to you re your last podcast and yes I think that its very good that you presented the other side of your arguement with christianity. John Dickson was very interesting to listen to and by the amount of umming aand err’ing I heard you do, I think he got you on the back foot on a couple of things…. or was it that the wikipedia site was running a little slowly on that day ?? 🙂

    A couple of points I would like to make though.

    Lets say for a minute that your right and that god doesnt exist. if you and I were to die, what would I have lost ?? what would you have gained ?? being right is no good if you cant tell anyone about it.

    If on the other hand I am right and god does exist, Then Ive gained a life in heaven and you get to go to purgatory where you would get time to think about your renouncing of god.

    the other point is that perhaps your personal mission to convert the 1,000,000,000+ christians out there is as dellusional as you think we are ???

    Surely the phrase “pissing in the wind” comes to mind ??

    Im looking fwd to the 2nd Half of John Dickson.

    Cheers

    John M

    John M

  2. Interesting show. I was warned when I was a kid by my dad to stay away from the church of scientology and anything related to them after they set up a table outside our supermarket getting kids to promise not to take drugs.

    I listened to the infidel guy show too and I have to say you have a far more polished and easy to listen to manner than him. I found myself struggling to keep listening because whilst the content was really really interesting I found the way he interrupted the flow of the show all the time with stupid comments really irritating.

  3. John, Dickson certainly made some points that I hadn’t prepared for. But, as I said at the beginning of the show, it doesn’t really matter to me whether someone called Jesus actually lived or not. What matters are the claims of his divinity and whether or not we should worship him as some kind of supernatural being.

    If I’m right, and let’s not forget that the evidence is overwhelmingly on my side, then you have spent your entire life not being truly AWARE. I find that not only sad but it worries me what the consequences are when so many people around the world are walking around in a dream. As I’ve said before, for the human race to achieve its full potential, we need all hands on deck.

    I don’t think the idea of converting the 2+ billion Christians out there is delusional. And here’s why – two hundred years ago, the entire population of the planet thought slavery was acceptable. Today we think of that as a disgrace. The day will come when most of humanity will look upon religion as disgraceful and an embarrassing part of our history, the same way we, today, look back on slavery, torture, the inquisition, the crusades, segregation, and human sacrifice.

  4. Well Cam if thats your opinion your should go for it…..

    I still think that the idea and the spirit of religion is a good thing. But Religion like Politics and Unionism are all fine ideas until you get people involved. Its the clerics that whip everyone up into a frenzy. Its always been the same. Religion has been been the tool of ambitious, unscroupulous people to further their own political ends throughout history from the dodgy popes way back in the 1200’s (including a woman I believe) through to the right wing christian fundamentalists in the united states today.

    Seperation of church and state was introduced to protect one from the other and to prevent the the sort of things that you talk about.

    You talk about the need for everyone to be on deck in the brave new world without religion. But the truth is (in the USA at least) everyone is far from ‘on deck’. People are illeducated and uninformed, because that what the government wants. The last thing they want is a well educated, well informed, free thinking society….. they question too much. These people are reviving the idea that religion can be used to control the thoughts of the masses.

    Unfortunately the same thing is happening here in australia, education standards are dropping, media coverage of events are less diverse, all things that lead to a less informed, less likely to question public. Australian politics is taking a more right wing christian approach as well

    all very worrying.

    Perhaps Cam you would be better off having a crack at these people in the first place. the ones who commit attrocities in the name of religion.

    This is the real evil in the world today.

    Cheers

    John M

  5. Hey John! We agree on something!
    I agree with you that “Religion like Politics and Unionism are all fine ideas until you get people involved”. I agree 100%. So let’s UNinvolve all the people of the world from religion and it’ll all be okay. There is *no* religion until people get involved so it’s the same as saying that religion is fundamentally a bad thing in practice and hence we’ve found something we can agree upon).

    I also agree with you that there are people using religion to justify atrocities as there have always been and always will be. But you can’t “have a crack” at them until you can get people to stop believing their bullshit. Otherwise they can always pull the religion card to justify their actions. If we can get the populace to stop believing in religion FULL STOP, then we pull the rug out from under the feet of the evil-doers.

  6. Hey Cam, well almost.

    We both agree that people use religion to their own ends. We both agree that the people who do this are evil.

    Thats where we part company Im afraid. You can only focus bad side of Religion and because of this you want to kill it. I on the other hand acknowledge that some terrible things have happened in the name of religion but choose to focus on the good bits of religion, the bits that talk about loving one another, the bits about acknowledging we are imperfect but trying to be better people and the bits that offer comfort when we are lonely or bereaved.

    Surely there is no harm in this

    Say you were to get 1000 people to read homer’s odyssey, they would take different messages from it. Some might say that it was about how you shouldnt piss off the gods (neptune) others would say it was about how love can concour all(what was the Ulysses’s wifes name? ). still others would focus on bits where there was sex involved (the bit where he got stuck on the island with calypso). Or that it was about how if you take advantage of someone (the suitors) then you will eventually come unstuck big time (ulysses returns 20 years later dressed as a begger and slaughters them).

    scuse if some of the details are inaccurate its bin a while since I read it.

    The same can be said about the bible. People read it and take differing messages with them. They interpret it differently. Some focus on the words literally, others think about the spirit of the whole thing.

    I still reckon religion aint all bad

    SO you’ve poked fun at scientology who are you gunna have a go at next…… the Jehovah’s witnesses, the mormons or are you gunna go big and dare to have a crack at the muslim fundamentalists ?

    (Mind you I would change your name and get the family into the witness protection program before doing this as recent history tells us that SOME of them arent as easy going about this sort of stuff as us christians).

    looking fwd to the next pod cast

    John M

  7. John, you say “Surely there is no harm in this” but that’s where we differ. The main harm in religion is the perpetuation of instilling in people, especially in defenseless, impressionable children, the erroneous idea that there is something other than nature. It is willful corruption of their minds and that’s why I think it is evil, even in the best of situations.

    In the worst of situations (and I think if you tally up the results of religion over the last 2000 years we will find that the bad far outweighs the good) it has been (and still is) used to justify the most horrendous of crimes.

    I have no problem with loving one another but, let’s be honest, religion doesn’t teach that. At best it teaches “love one another… as long as they look like you and believe what you believe. If they disagree with you, either avoid them or, better still, torture and kill them. Love them – as long as they aren’t gay. Or want to use condoms. Or are black or yellow skinned. Or of a different religion. Then they are going to hell and you might as well do them a favour and send them their quickly.”

    When we’ve taken care of the Christians, THEN we’ll take on Islam. In the history of the world, the Christians have done WAY MORE harm than the worst Muslim fundamentalists can even dream of.

  8. Hi Cameron,

    I have been deconstructing this mentally myself over the last couple of years, For instance intelligent people do not even consider the fact that in their theology billions of souls will be roasted eternally by God. This makes any evil done by humans, holocaust or genocide, look pretty puny in comparison.

    Having said that I belive there is alot to religion and faith in a higher order or power. If you are touched by these kinds of experiences or have a heart opening it becomes pretty apparent. This human impulse can get corrupted and warped pretty quickly though.

    The whole idea that there is an objective thing called ‘nature’ and scientists are it’s curators is a newer notion has no less holes in the premis then what relgionists buy into. Every week there is a new theory like string thoery, the gay gene, evolutionary anthopology telling us why we scratch our asses towards the north, that turn out to be purely hypothetical BS.

    The worst crimes in the 20th century were commited by the communists who were anti religion. Maybe a better course than getting rid of culture and mythology is to deconstruct why we attack one another and study and propagate that. If isn’t ‘Jesus is the son of god’ it’ll be nationalism or racism or whatever.

  9. Mark, how can there be “a lot” to something which is entirely based on fraud and deception? There is no evidence for any higher power so any philosophy built on that premise is based on a deception.

    What holes do you see in science? Of course we have new theories. That’s what science is – the search for truth about how our universe works. Theories are just that – theories. Until there is significant evidence to either prove or refute them they are considered theories not “the truth”, which is the position religion takes. Surely the position of “theory until tested” is far, far superior than the alternative?

    And I have to disagree with you about the worst crimes being committed by people who were anti-religion. I know that’s a common piece of mythology trotted out by the Christians and US neo-cons but it is completely false.

    Somewhere around 180 million people were killed in one Twentieth Century atrocity or another — a far larger total than for any other century in human history. The vast majority of those occurred during WWI and WWII – and the countries fighting in those were well represented by religion. Nazi Germany was very much a Christian nation and both the Protestants and Catholic churches supported Hitler. Who can forget the immortal Nazi version of Silent Night:

    Silent night! Holy night!
    All is calm, and all is bright
    Only the Chancellor steadfast in fight
    Watches o’er Germany by day and by night
    Always caring for us.
    Silent night! Holy night!
    All is calm, and all is bright
    Adolf Hitler is Germany’s wealth
    Brings us greatness, favour and health
    Oh give us Germans all power!

  10. “…SOME of them arent as easy going about this sort of stuff as us christians).”

    John – that’s some serious FUD right there. Fear the others, they’re not as nice as “us”.

    Regardless of what religion you are or aren’t, that’s prejudice, plain and simple.

  11. Hi cameron,

    I agree that alot of religious dogma is absurd. That it is entirely based on fraud and deception isn’t accurate either. About there being no proof, just that we are conscious to ask the question is a pretty good proof. People gravitate towards a need for truth, the sacred, community and right conduct and transcendance. The symbolism and narratives of religion are part of humanity’s inherited wealth.

    Have you looked into the postmodern critique of science? Darwins description of the animal kingdom and the way species interacted with each other strangely mirrors the victorian society of his time. The whole concept of ‘nature’ devoloped in the 18th century, and wasn’t the immaculate conception of pure vulcan logic but was shaped by other social forces as well.

    I am all for a ‘science’ that examines it’s own motivations and short comings being part of larger world view. That science-ism should become the new world view is pretty suspect, we are not going to end up with a scientific shangra-la if we all buy in. Corporations run on a kind of capitalist science and that doesn’t stop them from acting pretty ruthlessly towards human beings.

    There is no need to throw the baby out with the bath water with either science or religion.

  12. scienta – funny you should say that, I was thinking about John’s muslim comments while I was driving around yesterday. Christians have *easily* been the most bloodthirsty of all of the religions. The Holocaust, Inquisition, Crusades, the invasions of India, The Americas, Australasia, the Africas, and subsequent treatment and destruction of the indigenous “heathens” of those countries, etc.

  13. Mark, exactly what *is* the baby of religion that you are worried about throwing out? What is worth keeping that genuinely emanated from religion? I’ve never suggested that we shouldn’t keep books like the Judaeo/Christian bible as literature, just that people stop believing there is any basis of truth in them.

    How is consciousness proof of religion?

    Science aka the pursuit of truth is always affected by the mores of the times. Nothing too surprising about that. Darwin was only human.

    Why should the rational pursuit of truth, which is all that science is, be suspect? What is the alternative? Fraud and self-deception?

  14. Hi Cameron,

    What kind of Truth are you looking for in religious books? how to create a planet in 6 days? Haven’t you read anything in the bible or heard quoted that touched you?

    I saw an actress photgraphed at a red carpet event and she had written in marker down her arm ‘Bach is proof of God’. I am not into classical music but I have had simular experiences when things hit you in that way, you say “wow, this certainly is not the product of an accident”. If you look at how a fetus grows from a single cell or the operation of the human eye it is freakin amazing.

    The activity of Science = the pursuit of Truth? that is an assumption. This is just the new indoctrinated paradigm, we need a way to explain things so we say ‘Science’ “your just atoms boy”. As you said before they do not even know what energy is, but we assume they must know without checking. I also heard doctors do not know how Aspirin works. If you pin down a religionist about doctrine his crap will unravel pretty quickly as well.

    There are some way modernity can incorporate ‘religious’ understanding. Simon Weil said that Faith is “The intellect Enlightened by Love” and that the “athiest in pursuit of Truth will eventually meet God, who is Truth”. Robert A. Heinlien in Stranger in a Strange Land has a human raised in a martian culture who returns to earth, the famous line in it is “I am God, thou art God, everything that Groks (understands, percieves) is God”.

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