Science-fiction author L. Ron Hubbard
published "Dianetics - The Modern Science of Mental Health" in 1950. Hubbard's junk science
) lies at the foundation of his "Church" of Scientology
Hubbard ranks his creation of Dianetics as "a milestone for man comparable to his discovery of fire and superior to his invention of the wheel and arch". According to the jacket of his book and advertising material currently distributed in Ontario, "The hidden source of all psychosomatic ills and human aberration, has been discovered and skills have been developed for their invariable cure." It is explained that "the skills offered in this handbook will produce the Dianetic Release, an individual who has been freed from his major anxieties or illnesses". The study of and training in Dianetics will "prepare you for the attainment of even higher states of existence in Scientology". "Dianetics is used for training purposes only," the advertising material explains; but it adds that training in Dianetics is "prerequisite to higher training".
Dianetics and Scientology are inseparable; the former is used as a technique in the practice of the latter, and the doctrines of the former are incorporated in the latter.
Hubbard wrote one of
Scientology's sacred texts, Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, in 1950. In it he introduced a crude psychotherapeutic technique he called "auditing." He also created a simplified lie detector (called an "E-meter
") that was designed to measure electrical changes In the skin while subjects discussed intimate details of their past. Hubbard argued that unhappiness sprang from mental aberrations (or "engrams") caused by early traumas. Counseling sessions with the E-meter, he claimed, could knock out the engrams, cure blindness and even improve a person's intelligence and appearance.
Hubbard kept adding steps, each more costly, for his followers to climb. In the 1960s the guru decreed that humans are made of clusters of spirits (or "thetans") who were banished to earth some 75 million years ago by a cruel galactic ruler named Xenu. Naturally, those thetans had to be audited.
When it was first published in 1950, "Dianetics" rode bestseller lists for several months before sales dwindled. But it has remained the bedrock -- "Book One" -- of Hubbard's Scientology movement.
In "Dianetics," Hubbard said that memories of painful physical and emotional experiences accumulate in a specific region of the mind, causing illness and mental problems. Hubbard said that, once these experiences have been purged through cathartic procedures he developed, a person can achieve superior health and intelligence.
So revered is the book that Hubbard scrapped the conventional calendar and renumbered the years beginning with the date of its publication. To Scientologists, 1990 is "40 AD" (After Dianetics).
From the outset, the Scientology movement has made the book the centerpiece of its campaign to generate broad interest in Hubbard's writings.
In the last few years, millions of dollars have been spent on "Dianetics" advertising to reach a targeted audience of young professionals who want to improve their lives and careers.
Hubbard books that for decades had no audience outside Scientology are scheduled to be mass-marketed into the next century, complete with costly promotional campaigns as big as that for "Dianetics."
The selling of the late L. Ron Hubbard has only begun.
What Hubbard touts as a science of mind lacks one key element that is expected of a science: empirical testing of claims. The key elements of Hubbard's so-called science don't seem testable, yet he repeatedly claims that he is asserting only scientific facts and data from many experiments. It isn't even clear what such "data" would look like. Most of his data is in the form of anecdotes and speculations such as the one about a patient who believes she was raped by her father at age nine. "Large numbers of insane patients claim this," says Hubbard, who goes on to claim that the patient was actually 'raped' when she was "nine days beyond conception....The pressure and upset of coitus is very uncomfortable to the child and normally can be expected to give the child an engram which will have as its contents the sexual act and everything that was said" (Hubbard, 144). Such speculation is appropriate in fiction, but not in science.
Hubbard's book Dianetics first appeared in print in a notably different format.
"It was while Ron was hacking out science fiction that he conceived of dianetics," Gardner writes.
"In this hilarious parody of psychoanalysis, ills are said to spring from `engrams' recorded on an embryo's brain by what it overhears even before it develops ears.
"After engrams have been erased by `auditing,' one becomes a `clear,' with perfect memory and robust health. The new science was released to the world in a rousing article by Hubbard in Astounding Science Fiction..." (Ibid, p. 247).
Appearing first as science fiction this new discovery later appeared as the book Dianetics. According to Gardner, "Ron saw at once that by combining dianetics with reincarnation he could fabricate an exotic `religion' capable of raking in millions of tax-free dollars," (Ibid).
(a) The claim is made for dianetics, which is part of scientology, and inferentially for the whole of scientology, that between them they can positively cure all psychosomatic ailments, which it is claimed represent 70 per cent. of man's illnesses.
(b) These claims are entirely unjustified.
(c) On the contrary, scientology techniques, beyond the elementary stages, are potentially and, in some instances, positively harmful to mental health.
(d) Scientology is practised by "auditors" who have no medical training; they use dangerous techniques; they are unable to recognize symptoms and diagnose particular mental and physical conditions of ill health; they indiscriminately apply dangerous techniques irrespective of the circumstances; they not only administer the wrong treatment, but also poison their patients' minds against orthodox medicine and thus prevent them from obtaining proper medical treatment which they may require.
The Anderson Report, Chapter 30, point 8.
The history and claims of Dianetics are described in John Atack's excellent book, A Piece of Blue Sky: Scientology, Dianetics and L. Ron Hubbard Exposed
(See Chapters 1-3 in Part 3). Also available in PDF format
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The purpose of this website is to help explain the conflicts inherent within Scientology's efforts to forge relationships with education communities. We also want to equip parents, educators, and media with the tools to not only spot these front groups when they creep into town, but to question politicians, school boards, and principals who might knowingly or unknowingly support such intellectual fraud.
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