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Dick Anthony
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Dick Anthony, cult apologist

Dick Anthony

Dick Anthony


Dick Anthony is a research and forensic psychologist who specializes in so-called "New Religious Movement." He is an outspoken opponent of brainwashing theories.

Anthony's work - including legal testimonies - on behalf of various cults and sects has caused many people to view him as a cult apologist.

In critically reading Mr. Anthony's work, one must always bear in mind who he is and what he does. His vocation is that of a paid advocate, which means that he prepares partisan submissions and gives counsel and testimony on behalf of NRMs, primarily, at least recently, for the purpose of suppressing adverse testimony. ("Since 1981, I have also conducted a private forensic psychology practice specializing in cases involving minority religions and other organizations accused of so-called brainwashing, or other forms of coercive influence. I have served as an expert and/or consultant both in criminal and civil cases, and both for the defense and the prosecution." - p.292) While he has said that he has been "largely" successful, in this chapter he omits any facts indicating how many times and on what basis his position has been rejected. Neither does he furnish details of any lawsuit in which he has participated. Without that information, it is impossible to evaluate his claims of success, for litigation is fact and issue based as opposed to scholarship, which requires continual revision. Certainly, Mr. Anthony is aware of the elementary legal proposition that omission of information warrants an inference that it is adverse.

To put Mr. Anthony's expressions in context, one should emphasize the difference between scholarly inquiry and legal advocacy and always view Mr. Anthony's work as the latter. The legal system does not call for scholarly balance or objectivity on the part of an advocate. Rather, it embraces the adversary process in seeking resolution of a particular dispute and leaves it to the opponent to achieve balance by eliciting information through cross-examination. See: Confronting The New Challenges of Scientific Evidence, 108 Harvard Law Review, 1218, (1995).

Mr. Anthony's employment as an expert witness requires him to support his clients in the strongest possible manner; otherwise, his clients would purchase a stronger advocate. See Weinstein, Improving Expert Testimony, 20 Rich L. Rev. 473, 482 (1986). As observed in a handbook prepared for experts, "when a party or attorney selects or retains experts, there is an inherent potential bias in the expert's testimony because experts are more likely to be retained in the future if they express opinions favorable to the party that has selected them." (Court Appointed Scientific Expert's Handbook, Version 2.0, prepared by the American Association for the Advancement of Science at page 19). This inherent bias not only relates to the particular testimony, but, because of the expert's vested interest in maintaining consistency so as to assure future employment, pervades all of his or her interactions. Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer criticizes that kind of frozen perspective in Chapter 9 of the Science and Technology Policy Handbook of 1999 in an article entitled, The Independence of Science and Law. He points out that in areas where conclusions are "highly uncertain and controversial" with respect to scientific matters that come before the courts, it is unreasonable "to expect scientists always to be certain or always to have uniform rules, yet when they become experts uncertainty leaves their vocabulary. A historic view of controversies in various disciplines evidences analogies, such as the rigid suppression of the views of Galileo with ultimate vindication many years later. See: Cheeseborough, Galileo's Retort: Peter Huber's Junk Scholarship 42 American University Law Review 1637 (1993). Mr. Anthony's experience and long history as an expert leads one to draw persuasive analogies to the well-financed campaigns to bar scientific evidence and exclude it as "junk science" in the areas of product liability claims, toxic torts, injuries caused by asbestos and tobacco, and many forms of civil rights litigation (Compare Huber, Galileo's Revenge, Junk Science in the Courtroom, (1991) with Galileo's Retort, supra).

So, Mr. Anthony, in seeking to exclude from judge or jury consideration theories and analyses supported by competent and credentialed scholars and professions, are you comfortable being in the company of the discredited advocates of the tobacco industry and those who sought to bar testimony leading to the decision in Brown v Board of Education? In utilizing the methodology of suppression, can you still paint yourself as a defender of human rights?

In your continued criticism of your version of "brainwashing theorists," how aware are you of research carried on since you started testifying as an expert witness? There is an absence in your criticism of Mr. Zablocki's theories of reference to recent research. Where are citations to research in the past five or six years, and how have you factored into your analysis recent admissions, such as those of ISKCON, about NRM members providing false or misleading information to NRM researchers? Prior to ISKCON's revelation in their own journal that child abuse was rampant in their gurukulas, did you join the chorus of criticism of "anti-cultists" of the early 1980's for alleging that child abuse was occurring in ISKCON?
Source: Questions from the Balcony: A Critique of Dick Anthony, Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq., Cultic Studies Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2002

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• Subject: Dick Anthony
• First posted: Sep. 16, 2003
• Editor: Anton Hein
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