Scientology Logic™

I have often sarcastically referred to “Scientology Logic™” when discussing various statements and arguments made by the Church of Scientology and Scientology’s true believers.  It is very true that Scientology’s version of “logic” is very, very strange, but what you might not know is that Scientology Logic is deliberately built into the Scientology belief system itself by L. Ron Hubbard.

Note that I am not talking here about how logical or illogical Hubbard’s actual “technology” is.  I am talking about the actual “logic” mechanisms themselves that exist and are used throughout Scientology.

Note, also, that this “logic” exists inside Scientology and only rarely shows up on the outside.  This is why discussing Scientology with a Scientologist can be so weird.

Technically, Scientology Logic is made up of a number of logical fallacies which Hubbard used extensively in his lectures and writings.
Here is a partial list:

Appeal to Authority
An appeal to authority is the argument that a person judged to be an authority verifies that the statement is true — therefore it must be true.

In Scientology’s case, the authority is, of course, L. Ron Hubbard.  Scientology claims that all their “solutions” are “highly effective”.  What is the basis of their claims?  “Ron said so“.

When the raw facts show their “solutions” are failures, it is quickly agreed by all Scientologists involved to cover the failures up, because “Ron said his solutions were highly effective”.

They won’t look any further for any facts or hard evidence because “they don’t need to, Ron said it, so it’s true”.  This is the absolute, bedrock foundation of Scientology:  If L. Ron Hubbard said it, then it is completely true.

While this theme of “Hubbard’s Infallibility” crops up in Hubbard’s teachings from the very beginning, it became cast in stone with his infamous “Keeping Scientology Working” (KSW) policy letter.  In that policy, Hubbard denied that anyone else had contributed anything of value to Scientology and that he, and he alone, had created this “miraculous tech” that was “100% workable”.  From then on, it became a High Crime for any Scientologist to deny Hubbard’s perfection.

In any disagreement between Scientologists, the one who can find the best L. Ron Hubbard quote to support their side is automatically the winner.  No logic is ever applied.

As non-church Scientologists discover how many of Ron’s statements have been irrefutably debunked, they struggle to fit that into Scientology’s Absolutism.  The most popular approach is to label all of Ron’s lies as “allegories, not to be taken literally.” This, however, puts them on very shaky ground as more and more of Scientology’s “truths” become “allegories”.

In an odd and completely bizarre twist to this illogic, some Scientologists will insist that, if L. Ron Hubbard didn’t say something, it isn’t true.  So, for instance, because Hubbard never talked about the dangers and effects of asbestos, there is no danger or bad effects from breathing asbestos.

Ad Hominem
This logical fallacy attempts to use personal attacks to discredit the source of contrary evidence.

This was, by far, Hubbard’s favorite and most effective logical fallacy and has become woven throughout Scientology’s belief system.

In Scientology, anyone possessing and disseminating any facts that are contrary to Hubbard’s words is automatically “evil”.  This is one “truth” that is hammered into Scientologists again and again throughout their studies.

Even in its press releases, the Church of Scientology carefully refers to the Scientology whistle-blowers as “apostates” — and they do intend all the negative connotations of that word: “traitor”, “heretic”, “untrustworthy”, etc.  The outside Scientologists aren’t much better, refering to critics as “haters” and worse.

Because they are labelled “evil” by Scientology, any source of contrary information is automatically “invalid” and any statements coming from that source must be automatically and quickly discarded lest one become “contaminated” by it.

This automatic, built-in ad hominem attack is marvellous to behold.  One “bad” word and the Scientologist immediately shuts down and runs away, never to accept any data from that source again.

Genetic Fallacy
The genetic fallacy is committed when an idea is either accepted or rejected because of its source, rather than its merit.

In Scientology, this follows directly from both the ad hominem and the appeal to authority fallacies, above.

Hubbard has assured his faithful followers that anyone who dares to criticize him or Scientology is guilty of horrendous crimes “for which they could be arrested.” Hubbard even instructed his secret police to dig up or manufacture evidence of crimes on every critic — and they have done so with enthusiasm.  The church’s attempts to frame their critics for crimes they did not commit are quite well documented.

Scientologists completely believe this characterization of Scientology critics.  Given the allegations of such crimes, Scientologists automatically reject all criticisms of Hubbard and Scientology from any source.  No logic required.

In a more generic form, Scientologists pretty much distrust any source that isn’t L. Ron Hubbard (or, in the church, David Miscavige).

Straw Man Fallacy
A straw man argument is one that misrepresents a position in order to make it appear weaker than it actually is, refutes this misrepresentation of the position, and then concludes that the real position has been refuted

Scientologists work very hard to pervert and obfuscate the very simple and clear messages that the Scientology critics and whistle-blowers present.

Any criticism of one of Scientology’s “solutions” is misrepresented by Scientology as an attempt to halt all efforts to help anyone.  You will often find Scientologists claiming that critics’ messages are “No one can be helped” and “All help is bad” — but no serious Scientology critic ever said that.

Red Herring
The fallacy gets its name from fox hunting, specifically from the practice of sabotaging a fox hunt by using smoked herrings, which are red, to distract hounds from the scent of their quarry.  It is simply an attempt to distract one from the current subject.

Hubbard famously said, regarding attacks against himself or Scientology, “Make enough threat or clamor to cause the enemy to quail. Always find or manufacture enough threat against them to cause them to sue for peace. Don’t ever defend. Always attack.”

Because of this policy, Scientologists work very hard to distract any discussion away from the lies, crimes and abuses of the Church of Scientology and onto anything else.  “Look over there!  Look how bad those other people are, over there!”

This is the primary motivation for the creation of many of Scientology’s front groups such as CCHR, “Youth for Human Rights”, etc.

As a bonus for Scientology, the general public tends to think that any organization “promoting Human Rights”, for instance, is unlikely to be violating those exact same Human Rights.

Hasty Generalization Fallacy
A hasty generalisation draws a general rule from a single, perhaps atypical, case.

This is the most common response by a Scientologist when confronted with Scientology’s consistent failure to deliver any of its promised results.  Scientologists will inevitably say, “I got wonderful gains from Scientology!” This ignores the primary point that none of these “wonderful gains” were what was actually promised — or even expected.

This also ignores all the other times when Scientology didn’t deliver any “gains” at all to the Scientologist.  It is very much like the compulsive gambler who remembers every time they won some money but ignores the huge amount of money they’ve lost.

After all that time, all that effort and all that money, instead of the promised miraculous results, the Scientologist once or twice got “wonderful gains” that are only a memory now.  From those few, fleeting moments, the Scientologist makes the very general statement that “Scientology works!”

The situation isn’t necessarily that illogical people are drawn to Scientology.   The situation is that bad logic is intrinsic to the core teachings of Scientology and that not enough people are educated so as to recognize this when they run into it.  Once someone has accepted the core teachings of Scientology, they have automatically accepted all of Hubbard’s illogics as well.

(Yes, such an education would help people as consumers and as voters.)

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14 Responses to Scientology Logic™

  1. Anonymous says:

    Excellent! This should help people (including scientologists) better understand the scientological mindset. Well stated Bill. Regards, Panda

  2. Anonymous says:

    Regarding the Hasty Generalization Fallacy the most common response by a Scientologist when confronted with Scientology's consistent failure to deliver any of its promised results:I’m sure people do get “wonderful gains from Scientology.” This doesn’t surprise me in the least. But if you do anything for 30 years: t’ai chi, yoga, bodybuilding, meditation, visualization, prayer, martial arts, affirmations, boxing, or read self-help books, you are bound to eventually get some wonderful gains. If Scientology works, so does everything else.

  3. Just Bill says:

    Exactly. Just living life for 30 years will create changes and even "wonderful gains". The questions is, for Scientology to have any unique value, "what specific 'gains' does Scientology actually and reliably provide that are unavailable with other disciplines."If you ignore their promises (as you should) and look only at their results, the answer is "Nothing". The results one gets from Scientology are easily available from many, many other sources, just as you list — for much less heartache and money.But Scientologists cannot and will not see things that way. It's part of their indoctrination.Bill

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. And the curious thing about that generalization fallacy (and maybe some of the others you mentioned) is that Hubbard said this was the kind of thing the Antisocial Person, the Anti-Scientologist was guilty of. This from Introduction to Scientology Ethics:"He or she only speaks in very broad generalities. 'They say…' 'Everybody thinks…' 'Everybody knows…' and such expressions are in continual use, particularly when imparting rumor." When asked 'Who is everybody?' it turns out to be one source and from this source the antisocial person has manufactured what he or she pretends is the whole opinion of the whole society."(Refile, fixing garble.)

  6. Just Bill says:

    L. Ron Hubbard, the one who said "all" his critics are criminals, "all" psychiatrists are evil, "all" failures in Scientology are somebody elses fault. That must mean that Hubbard was, in his own words, an anti-social personality. Well-spotted!

  7. scnethics says:

    Very enjoyable and true, Bill.
    As a master of the straw man fallacy, I can attest to it’s efficacy. Only someone well-versed in the topic at hand can combat it. And who makes time to be well-versed in anything these days 🙂

    For example, it was a breeze to make friends and family believe that there was no wrongdoing in the death of Lisa McPherson. I explained to them that the cause of death was an embolism, and then pointed out that an Olympic track athlete had died of an embolism before and that embolisms are a medical anomaly. Therefore, the people who were saying that the church caused her death were being deceptive, weren’t they? Easy.

    Scientology produces the most facile liars. You become a great liar, and feel good about it when you use these techniques “for the greatest good”.

  8. Reader says:

    Scientology Logic Essay. An absolutely brilliant analysis. A concise and an illustrative expose much in line with some of your previous writings. I am not sure how you are able to protect yourself, but make sure that all your previous writings and articles are well preserved and available to the general public.on the internet. No one else has analysis like yours.

  9. overall10 says:

    Brilliant! Thank you for your brilliant analysis.
    I believe now that Scientology is the ultimate Bait and Switch operation. The drills and processes can produce an enlightenment experience–the awareness of you as a spirit. And auditing can erase s painful memories. These are good things.
    But next thing you know the Church has ingratiated itself into your life and the more you study Scientology the more the teachings corrupt your mind and thinking with lies and falsehoods which ultimately lead to suffering. And that is also why it is Black Magic. It can do things that seem magical (auditing and some drills) but it leads ultimately to suffering.

  10. Reader says:

    Scientology promises attainment of super-human powers and intellect upon completion of its courses and mental exercises called “auditing”. For now, let’s leave aside the financial and personal investment which can run to the tune of $400,000 and several years if not a lifetime endeavor. Instead, ask if the promises were true, then why did the inventor die a very rich man at the young age of 76 years, and in a pathetic and a crazy mental and physical state with injested drugs? After all, scientology claims that an OT (operating thetan – a person who has achieved high level of training and exercises) cannot be killed by a bullet, get diseases, and has super powers over his body. Take the great yoga teachers of this age like B.K.S Iyengar who practice similar ancient Hindu teachings modestly, yet are active above the age of 90 and 100 years. Essentially, the inventor combined Hindu, Buddhist, and Aleister Crowley’s black magic teachings with his science fiction writings into a philosophy and subsequently called it religion.

    Ask why are the scientology powers not visible in scientific investigations, nor demonstrated by scientologists, nor used to fight evil in the world? The answer must lie in that these powers are no more than pure indoctrination of beliefs reinforced through threats and disciplinary action, and that as such they are unprovable. If they were provable, then we see ample evidence in scientology organization and followers. That is why scientology disciplines its believers not to demonstrate them or to question their attainment or scientology writings. Bear in mind that any physical or mental exercise repeated many times, frequently, and in different forms will have some positive Seratonin-like effect on mind or body and will be temporary if the exercises are not sustained. That is the lure and can be achieved without scientology cost. Followers take that initial lure or mental candy early on in the expectation that further scientology training and exercises will lead to super-human powers. But they never get those powers, and get too entrenched in the belief system to extricate themselves through critical thinking.

    So what we see as evidence is that those who have paid large sums of money, completed high levels of training and exercises, and subsequently left scientology, claim no attainment of super powers. It goes back to the fundamentals of consumerism, “buyer beware” and that goes for buying religion as well. The US government will do nothing to protect the public from religious fraud and deception, as long as the IRS empowers scientology tax-free transactions under the guise of religion, and as long as public leaders and media support scientology as a “religion” without factually investigating the underlying scam that has been in operation over 50 years.

    • LAM says:

      Excellent! Were it possible I would have every human being on earth read your post. Beginning with every gov. official in the good ole USA. Starting at the top, and working downward. What an impact that would produce. I believe. Thanks for your writing Reader.

  11. aqua clara says:

    Cross-posted to the Rodeo Watchers from the Village Voice on google groups. Love this excellent description of false logic.
    Here are a couple to add to the list:
    argumentum ad numerum: “Fastest growing church”, “10 billion members”, “3000 churches”, blah, blah, blah. Just because you cite big numbers doesn’t make it real. Or good.
    argumentum ad nauseum: I love Latin when the words still tell you exactly what they mean! Yes, LRon, you have made us nauseus with all your repeated gibberish. Keep saying it, sir. I still don’t believe it.
    Using language of certitude, used to fool people into accepting dubious premises by trying to convince someone through the use of intimidation. Jenna’s whole book is a testament to this one.
    Thanks for your site.

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