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Book Review: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief 353

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
benrothke writes "In its first week, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief was #3 on the New York Times Best Sellers list and will likely be #1 soon. The fact that the book is in print is somewhat miraculous given the voracious appetite Scientology has for litigation. It is the first time that such an expose could have been written and found such wide-scale reading. An interesting analysis of this fact is found in Why the Media Is No Longer Afraid of Scientology by Kim Masters. But as mesmerizing an expose as the book is, I doubt that this will be more than a speed bump to Scientology's growth and fund raising." Keep reading to be clear about what Ben has to say.
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
author Lawrence Wright
pages 448
publisher Knopf
rating 10/10
reviewer Ben Rothke
ISBN 978-0307700667
summary Compelling and engrossing book, thoroughly researched and extensively fact checked
Scientology has long called anyone who has written against them as having a vendetta. It calls former adherents heretics with a vendetta. But after such hyperbole, it is illogical and questionable that Pulitzer Prize winning author Lawrence Wright would risk a distinguished career to write an expose simply based on those with a vendetta. But to cover all bases, including those of litigation, the books nearly 50 pages of notes puts Wright and his publisher in a strongly defensible position in case the church decided to litigate.

Wright is aware of the dangers of writing against the church, as he details the story of Paulette Cooper. Cooper, whose 1971 book The Scandal of Scientology, was sued nearly 20 times by the church and harassed for years due to its contents. The book details that an FBI raid a few years later found a Scientology file about Operation Freakout, which had the purpose of getting Cooper in a mental institution or jail.

The book places Church President David Miscavige is a negative light (over 20 people in the book accuse him of abuse, including being kicked, punched, slapped, choked and more). Karin Pouw, a Scientology spokeswoman states that details about Miscavige are false and defamatory.

The church created a web site for what it believes are errors in the book. While Wright is short on drama, the web site hyperbolically states that the book is "so ludicrous it belongs in a supermarket tabloid". The web site states that British publishers have chosen not to print it "which speaks volumes about their confidence in its factual accuracy". The truth is that British libel laws are so onerous and archaic, that publishers are reticent to publish such a work. While it might not be published in the UK, it is easily available via the Amazon UK web site.

In Going Clear, Wright has created a fair and balanced overview (if such a thing is actually possible) about Scientology. The book has interview material and facts from over 200 current and former members of the Church of Scientology, and takes a historical look of its history, and that of its founder L. Ron Hubbard and successor, current President David Miscavige.

In the introduction, Wright notes that he was drawn to write the book by the questions that many people have about Scientology; such as: what is it that make the religion so alluring? What do its adherents get out of it? Why do popular personalities associate themselves with a faith that is likely to create a kind of public relations martyrdom? He notes that these questions are not unique to Scientology, but that they certainly underscore its story.

As 372 pages covering 3 parts and 11 chapters, Wright is a mesmerizing author that creates a non-fiction spellbinding page-turner. The 4 main characters of the book are Hubbard, Miscavige and actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

In chapter 2, the book details the many discrepancies between the legend of L. Ron Hubbard and fact. While Scientologist's may think that Wright has a vengeance against the group, he writes that it is a fact that Hubbard was genuinely a fascinating man. He writes that Hubbard was an explorer, best-selling author and the founder of a worldwide religious movement. At the same time, Wright's research found that the truth is counter to some of the postulated facts about Hubbard's naval career, his miraculous recovery from wartime injuries and overall naval accomplishments.

As to the manipulation of facts, in the final pages of the book, Wrights notes some of Hubbard's medical records do not corroborate his version of the actual events. Some of the naval medals that Hubbard supposedly won were not created until after Hubbard left active service. The supposed Purple Heart medal for being wounded while serving on duty that Hubbard claimed to receive was also different from the Purple Heart medals given out at the time.

In Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, Hubbard specifically names psychotherapy as being dangerous and impractical. Hubbard felt that other methods of mental science are based on principles that are opposed to the principles of Scientology, and Hubbard had an anathema of psychiatry and psychology until his dying day.

Wright observes that Dianetics arrived at a moment when the aftershocks of World War 2 were still being felt. And that behind the exhilarations of victory, there was immense trauma for millions of Americans. With Dianetics, Hubbard offered a do-it-yourself manual to that claimed to demystify the secrets of the human mind and produce guaranteed results, for free, and that was bound to attract a large audience.

Wright notes that given Hubbard's biography, it would be easy to dismiss Hubbard as a fraud. But that would fail to explain his total absorption in his project. Hubbard would spend the rest of his life elaborating his theory and obsessively construct the intricate bureaucracy design to spread and enshrine his understanding of human behavior.

Wright notes that for all of Hubbard's enormous wealth, he spent much of his time in his ship cabin alone, auditing himself with an E-Meter (the electronic device used Scientology auditing sessions) and developing his spiritual technology. Wright rhetorically notes that while Hubbard may have been grandiose and delusional, if Hubbard was a fraud and a con, why would he bother creating such a system?

As objective as Wright is, he takes no quarter when he details Scientology's approach to children. Hubbard viewed children as adults in small bodies. While they were physically small, Hubbard felt that they were responsible for their own behavior. Young children would be sentenced to virtual prisons for weeks, for minor infractions such as messing up an incoming telex.

In Scientology parlance, such an individual was a suppressive person. One young girl, who was deaf and mute was placed in a locker for a week because Hubbard thought it might cure her deafness.

A large part of the book deals with celebrities and how Scientology sees celebrities as a boon to the church. Wrights notes that Scientology orients itself toward celebrities and by doing so, the church awards famousness a spiritual value. People who seek fame in the entertainment industry will gravitate to Hollywood, where the Scientology Celebrity Center is waiting for them, validating their ambitions and promising a recruits a way in. The church has long pursued a marketing strategy that relies on celebrity endorsements to promote the religion.

Some celebrities prominent in the book are Paul Haggis, Travolta, Nancy Cartwright (famous for being the voice of Bart Simpson) and Tom Cruise. Haggis is an ex-Scientologist, recently leaving the church after nearly 40 years, who is interviewed in the book.

Wright is highly critical of Cruise, who he notes that probably no member of the church derives as much material benefit as Cruise does. Cruise then consequently bears a moral responsibility for the myriad indignities (which the book points out in great detail) inflicted on members of the Sea Organization (a unit of the Church, encompassing its most dedicated members), sometimes directly because of his membership.

Wright concludes with the notion that Scientology wants to be understood as a scientific approach to spiritual enlightenment, but has no grounding in science at all. Serious academic study of the church has to date been constrained by the church's vindictive and litigious reputation. Researchers and academics are terrified by Scientology and reluctant to direct their research into the church. The book observes that compared with other religions, the published literature on Scientology is improvised and clouded by bogus assertions.

In Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, Wright has composed a bombshell of an expose. This is a compelling and engrossing book, thoroughly researched and extensively fact checked. The book is a perfect read for a long flight as it is riveting and fascinating. Wright has a unique ability to keep the narrative flowing and interesting.

But with all that, it is not a Silent Spring, which 50 years ago helped launch the environmental movement. Had the book come out 20 years ago, it is likely that lawsuits from the church would have prevented its release until today. Yet the passive public has a short memory and Scientology has believers that sign billion year contracts with the church. As salacious as every page of this book is, one is hard-pressed to envision the church of Scientology contracting or being hurt in any way by this book.

Ben Rothke is the author of Computer Security: 20 Things Every Employee Should Know.

You can purchase Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Book Review: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

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  • The Real Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:04PM (#42718849)

    The real problem isn't people who believe in invisible martians (for fun and profit), it's the legal system that lets them torment other people with flagrant abandon.

    If you have enough money and a good team of lawyers you can effectively destroy someone else's life.

    We live in a nightmare world.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:06PM (#42718867)

    They are still doing these acts, most other churches have been forced to stop.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:11PM (#42718919) Journal

    The only thing I can think of that separates Scientology from any of the "legitimate religions" is that Scientology is so new that there are people outside of the religion old enough to remember seeing it be created by a person.

    Well, as a fellow atheist to another atheist, I recommend you add a few evaluation factors when comparing religions and faiths: power structure, transparency, material cost, financial cost, temporal cost, preservation of individual sovereignty including right to leave and preservation of inalienable rights ... to name just a few.

    all have done unethical acts ( read your history )

    At least some allow us to document said unethical acts ... hell, the Church's response to child molestation charges against priests was a primary motivator to me leaving organized religion permanently. And, you know, it was super easy to get out of Catholicism ... you should talk to the lucky few who escape Scientology.

  • by TimeandMaterials (2826493) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:11PM (#42718925)
    No one would say that ALL religions have not done bad things. But with Scientology, it seems like it is much more pervasive.
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:14PM (#42718955) Journal

    Certainly the beliefs seem equally absurd, but I would country that Scientology is in some important respects considerably different than, say, Roman Catholicism or Hinduism. Scientology is still very much a cult of personality of L. Ron Hubbard. There are no layers of retelling and recasting as you find in an ancient religion like Hinduism, nor is there really a regular theological system like you find in Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity or the older Protestant faiths. There are no real further testaments, nothing like Church Fathers who followed after the founder and enlarged, and in some ways normalized the beliefs to the wider society. Scientology has not really grown from its roots as a sort of vehicle for Hubbard's ambitions and prejudices.

    Perhaps some day it will grow out of that and become more expansive, but for now it still firmly clings to the more cultish aspects. You can call down many Christian churches for absurd beliefs and fantastical mythos, but few behave towards errant members as Scientology still insists on doing to those who won't accept its absolute authority.

  • Re:Bias (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:17PM (#42718979)

    Not all opinions are valid. If I have a green rock and ask two people what color it is, and one says green, and the other angrily insists that it's red, I don't consider both opinions to have equal merit.

  • by neminem (561346) <neminem&gmail,com> on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:18PM (#42718993) Homepage

    I would say that the difference is: any religion will have crazy fringe sects encouraging their members to do completely absurd things, and punishing those who choose not to in horrible ways... but Scientology is one of a rather small number of religions where that isn't a fringe sect, but the entire body. (By which I mean recently - several hundred years ago, the world was a very different, far more violent place. Yes, mainstream religions were going around killing everyone, but *everyone* was going around killing everyone.)

    That and, while all religions have some absurdities in their holy works... to my knowledge, no other religions feature alien space ships that just happen to look almost identical to modern commercial airliners.

  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:19PM (#42719003)

    But as mesmerizing an expose as the book is, I doubt that this will be more than a speed bump to Scientology's growth and fund raising

    From reports I've seen Scientology continues to grow in the sense of buying up property and growing its bank acount, but is not growing and even losing members. Lets not give this science fiction religion credit for anything it really isn't doing.

  • by Joehonkie (665142) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:23PM (#42719051) Homepage
    Please show me the list of Jains who have comitted such hideous and opressive acts against their fellow man.
  • by s.petry (762400) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:31PM (#42719169)

    Where your logic fails is blaming Religion for Human actions. There have been a lot of shitty people in the world that do shitty things to people. Blaming Religion is idiocy. Mao for example was an atheist and has the highest body count ever at 80million, followed by Stalin at roughly 20 million (Mao's numbers are easy to find, I used the standard average for Stalin though this is interesting [distributedrepublic.net]). Hitler was into the occult, not Religion, and boasts some hefty numbers as well.

    Blaming Religion becomes rather foolish rather quickly if you actually study history and ignore rhetoric. None of the people I mentioned were in the distant past, like the Crusades (which was more a war for territory than Religion.. but you need to understand history to get that).

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:33PM (#42719193)

    If you read the news you can find plenty examples of long established, "legitimate religions" still doing shitty things to people.

    For the most part, those shitty things aren't officially sanctioned parts of the religion. Some of the things (I'm thinking of the handling of catholic pedo priests) are widespread enough that you could make a reasonable argument that they are instuitional, but they are not doctrine To the best of my knowledge, Scientology has not had any sort of reformation yet.

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:39PM (#42719263) Journal

    Really? When I look at this country and count the problems caused by religion, I don't see many that can be attributed to Scientology. I see a lot of them that can be attributed to mainstream Christianity though. Anti-gay bigotry. Anti-birth control. Anti-seperation of church and state. Pro-censorship. Pro-creationism in science classes. etc.

    These are all positions held by mainstream christians. Not every church has these problems, but the ones that do are pretty common. I don't remember the last time Scientology affected the national discourse the way Catholics or Baptists do.

  • Re:Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Unnngh! (731758) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:44PM (#42719347)

    I'm a Scientologist. NOT in the cult known as the "Church of Scientology"

    Funny that, the cult would consider you to be a "squirrel," a dangerous renegade who seeks to destroy LRH's perfect life-saving and soul-redeeming "technology", so I think that by both the general "wog" public and the church's standards, you would be considered crazy;)

    It is unfortunate that no serious journalism has thoroughly investigated the tech itself. Not the OT stuff, but the tens of millions of words of non-OT tech that Hubbard wrote/spoke during his lifetime. I guess it is not a very compelling story, but it is what draws people in, and what presumably keeps you self-identifying as a Scientologist. It's certainly what drew me in years ago, and is mentioned casually in the review: the promise of a better life, neatly packaged in a repeatable, formulated, "scientific" manner. It tends to draw a person of a spiritual but non-religious bent, and of above average intelligence -- to read through all of Hubbard's writing is no mean feat, to be on staff requires a high IQ (determined by a non-standard test), and to progress far requires a fair amount of money, which most people in the Western world get by some level of professional acumen. This draw will grow only more popular with the general secularization of society and increase in disposable income, and the church has largely edged out competition for this lucrative niche through very shady practices over the last 50+ years.

    I know that journalists are regularly screened for, and have been ejected from, the church for trying to report on it, so the general public is destined to stay ignorant of the techniques used to draw in, retain, and ultimately bleed dry its target market. Celebrity is only one of those techniques, and it clouds public perspective on the issue, as Hubbard undoubtedly knew would happen. Everyone knows celebrities have eccentricities, but everyone secretly admires them and fancies themselves capable of celebrity in some sphere of life, so this type of reporting will doubtfully chase away many potential recruits.

  • by FrankSchwab (675585) on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:45PM (#42719367) Journal

    Well, an interesting rant, but it starts out with a fallacy - the OP didn't profess ignorance in any way.

    Being an Atheist certainly doesn't imply a lack of knowledge of religions. You certainly appear to think that's true ("they never actually look for...", "care so little for curing your ignorance".), and that seems to form the entire basis of your attack.

    I think a few conversations with thoughtful atheists would do you good. That might be an education, and might help cure your ignorance, both things you argue strongly for.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @04:53PM (#42719483)

    Am I the only one bothered by the hideous abuse of grammar and incredibly juvenile writing of this review? I literally could not get through the second paragraph, it was so distracting and off-putting. Tenses are constantly switching, sentences are stilted and disconnected, even basic grammatical constructs are misused. It's not like you have to wait -- the very first sentence ("Scientology has long called anyone who has written against them as having a vendetta") is a complete abomination.

  • Re:Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday January 28, 2013 @06:07PM (#42720369)

    I'm not crazy.

    And yet, you believe that an alien warlord named Xenu put alien souls in volcanoes on Earth and blew them up with hydrogen bombs while flying a spacecraft that looked like a DC-8. And if you read about that without proper spiritual preparation, you will get pneumonia. [wikipedia.org]

    My point being that you don't need a large sample of Scientologists since by definition they all believe this.

  • Re:Bias (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Monday January 28, 2013 @06:24PM (#42720537)

    What's your problem w/ the review?

    The grammar and typos. Things like this:

    Scientology has long called anyone who has written against them as having a vendetta.

    How about this instead:

    Scientology has long accused anyone who has written against them of having a vendetta.

    Several typos like these:

    The book places Church President David Miscavige is a negative light

    While Scientologist's may think that

    He refers to the author as "Wrights" a few times:

    As to the manipulation of facts, in the final pages of the book, Wrights notes some of

    Wrights notes that Scientology orients itself toward celebrities

    Also, I don't think this is the way you use "anathema":

    and Hubbard had an anathema of psychiatry and psychology until his dying day.

    It just seems like he didn't bother to proofread the review.

  • by Dave Emami (237460) on Monday January 28, 2013 @06:28PM (#42720579) Homepage

    One major difference: other religions don't sue you for quoting their writings. When was the last time someone got sued for publishing passages of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Koran, the Upanishads, or the Buddhavacana? What other religions claim to have legally-enforceable trade secrets?

    Mind you, I'm a little bit biased here. For several years I worked at a business whose management was made up almost entirely of Scientologists. There's nothing wrong with that per se -- if you start a small business, you're likely to give jobs to people you know, and if you're religious, then it's likely a lot of people you know go to your church. However, they ran things using what's called "Hubbard Management Technology", which is really just a thinly-veiled rebranding of Scientology itself. Again, there's nothing wrong with using one's religion as an ethical guide at work -- "thou shalt not steal -> don't bill clients for more hours than it took", for example. But this stuff was all-pervasive, including advocating "sue your critics to shut them up", how proper training should be conducted, assigning employees positions on the Scientology "conditions" scale and making them do "rehabilitation projects" if they weren't high enough (luckily they never tried that on non-Scientologist employees), decisions on how to do safety classes (always done by a chiropractor due to Scientologist opinions on regular doctors), etc. There was also a lot of silly cargo-cult stuff, basically "Hubbard did this when running his church, so we have to do it that way now." Hubbard reviewed stats on Thursday? We have to do stats on Thursday. Hubbard used certain color marks on different types of memos? We have to use those colors on our memos. It's basically akin to a Christian coming up with a "Jesus Management Technology", with rules like "your company has to have twelve departments, because Jesus had twelve apostles. Also, the water in the drinking fountains must be either hot or cold, but not lukewarm."

    One non-sinister incident, which we programmers (non-Scientologists all) found hilarious at the time: We were working towards releasing a new version, and keeping track of the daily open bug count as we fixed things. To give us an idea of our progress, we had a line graph on a whiteboard. Company president comes in, looks at the graph, and frowns. Apparently, there's a Scientology rule somewhere that when you make a graph, "good" must be "up." (They set enormous store by "stats"). Obviously, bugs are bad, so having more bugs be higher on the graph than fewer bugs is wrong verging on blasphemy. He then proceeds to carefully redraw our graph with the Y-axis inverted, 0 at the top, and the previous peak bug count at the bottom of the whiteboard, so that as bugs were fixed we'd be "up-stat", and the graph would go "up" towards a bug-free release. Objections from us were met with a firm "no, no, you have to draw it like that" -- but in a nice, gentle way, as if we programmers just didn't have the deep understanding of such things that trained Scientologists do. We went along with it, along with much chuckling among ourselves, until the testers started in on a major feature they hadn't gone over yet -- and the bug count went higher than the previous maximum, so that drawing the graph would now involve drawing lines on the air below the whiteboard.

  • by martyros (588782) on Monday January 28, 2013 @06:35PM (#42720647)

    However, when you look at they claim, how they act and what they do, it all seems the same, from an atheists point of view.

    Well if you squint funny everything looks the same. But there are pretty important differences in practice. The thing that has people up in arms about scientology isn't the belief system. It's how they treat the outside world, their own members, and in particular how they treat former members. I grew up going to churches, including some pretty fundamentalist ones. But no one would ever disown or harrass people who left. Nor if anyone was talking about leaving would they be threatened with death (as a Muslim friend of mine was threatened by his brother, when he even tried to bring the subject of Christianity up).

    The other thing is this: Have you ever been in or seen an abusive, manipulative, controlling relationship? A lot of times on the outside everything looks pretty normal. A lot of the external activities and things that manipulative / abusive people say look similar to those in a real, loving relationship. Both the abuser and the abusee frequently distort reality to maintain the fiction that they have a normal, loving relationship. But inside it's *very* different; but often in a way you can't really see clearly at first.

    The same thing happens with religion. Human feelings surrounding religion, just like human feelings surrounding love, are very powerful. Most religious groups that have been around for a long time satisfy these feelings in a fairly healthy way. But just like there are people who can take feelings of love and affection and use them to manipulate people, resulting in an abusive relationship, there are religious organizations that can take the feelings that motivate people to follow a religion and use them to manipulate people as well, resulting in the cult.

    This is the distinction between the modern words "cult" and a "religion". A religion is like a healthy friendship or romantic relationship: there's no element of control or manipulation. A cult is like an abusive relationship: all about control, manipulation, and abuse.

    And what people are saying about Scientology is that it shows a lot of the classic signs of a cult -- and in some ways a particularly nasty one. That's certainly not to say it's the only cult out there; and it's not to say that there aren't other religious organizations that dabble in manipulation, or tend towards the controlling side. But it is particularly important given their size, and their history of attacking critics.

  • by SolitaryMan (538416) on Monday January 28, 2013 @07:11PM (#42720997) Homepage Journal
    Confused here: are you talking about Islam or Scientology?
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @12:41AM (#42722921)

    I'm sorry... but a religion is a ideology, its dogmas and beliefs inform and direct the actions of its adherents and these dogmas and beliefs are handed down by clerics and church leaders, so when the leader of a church, like the misbegotten slime mold inhabiting the Phelp's Compound in Westboro go out and commit atrocities, its consistent with their religious views and the fact that they've turned Christianity inside out belies the fact that the Southern Baptists Churches they came from had already done a pretty decent job of reinterpreting the word of Jesus Christ in such a way that hatred, murder and assaults against otherwise innocent children is perfectly consistent with their world view, and I'd be only too happy to pick specific examples. Without the religion the people would not act and without the people the religion vanishes, so you cannot separate the two, they must be viewed as a single whole. The meme and the mind dance together.

    Religion is an ideology, with self proclaimed clerics, but then again, so is the NRA. There is nothing unique about a religious based ideology versus any other ideology other than a belief in a supernatural power. However, that only changes how the rules are handed down, but not how the individual actual acts out.

    Using Westboro as an example, most other christian groups denounce what they are doing. They are an example of a human being using religion for their own purpose NOT religion causing the atrocities. If their behaviour is consistent with their religious views, it is only because they have re-shaped the christian doctrine to fit what they want their views to be. It's not the first time something like that has happened nor will it be the last and it doesn't just happen with religion.

    You say that without religioun people would no act like this, however, there are examples of non-religious societies throughout history and they pretty much committed the same atrocities as those that believed in a deity. That is not a condemnation on religion as much as it shows that human nature is what it is, regardless of ones ideology. Religion attempts to establish a moral code for its followers, but even without religion, for society to exist, there has to be an agreed upon moral code.

    Even for an atheist, in the US, whether they like it or not, their value system is heavily influenced by judeo-christian thinking, because the culture they were raised in was influenced by judeo-christian thinking. Why is an adult sleeping with a child wrong? It is because it is unacceptable based on the religious principles that have been established for centuries. In non-christian countries, however, it was common practice and still is in parts of the world. Why do we not marry our first cousins? It's not because of genetic problems, but because biblically, first cousins were considered brothers and sisters and fell under the taboo of incest. They interpreted the genetic problems that arose as their god's displeasure, but until we had DNA, we didn't have scientific proof to "know" why it was problematic.

    In otherwords, whether one believes in a deity or not, our modern culture in the West is so steeped in religious tradition (who do we give thanks to on Thanksgiving and and whose mass do we celebrate on Christmas) and practice, why did men used to where hats? It wasn't to keep the sun off their head, but a carry over from showing humility before god. We may have forgotten the reasons, but like it or not, even athiests are wrapped up in judeo-christian practices. (That's not all bad - those 10 commandment things tend to be good for society as a whole).

    Which comes back to the point that whether you want to call it an ideology or a philosophy or whatever it is, removing the deity does not change they dynamics from any other ideology or philosophy or whatever. Any and all of them can be corrupted by the people leading them. The meme and the mind do dance together, they just don't need a deity to play the music.

  • Re:Bias (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday January 29, 2013 @07:38AM (#42724293)

    Stupid: Believing the myths and stories of a religion as truth.
    Ignorant: Ignoring all kind of proof of the opposite.
    Crazy: Making people suffer for not sharing your delusion.

    Now every religious person can choose for himself where he is on that ladder.

"All my life I wanted to be someone; I guess I should have been more specific." -- Jane Wagner

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