Michael Shermer reviews two new books about Scientology, one of the most blatant and obvious scams ever perpetrated on the world. Those two books are:
Two recently published books argue that there is no science in Scientology, only quasireligious doctrines wrapped in New Age flapdoodle masquerading as science. The Church of Scientology, by Hugh B. Urban, professor of religious studies at Ohio State University, is the most scholarly treatment of the organization to date, and investigative journalist Janet Reitman’s Inside Scientology is an electrifying read that includes eye-popping and well-documented tales of billion-year contracts, aggressive recruitment programs and abuse of staffers.
Wonder how long it will take before the authors end up sued? On his No Refunds DVD, Doug Stanhope says, “I’ve done Christian bashing and Mormon bashing. I’ll do more Scientology bashing once I have a stronger legal team.” The Scientologists make Larry Fafarman look non-litigious. But here’s the interesting part of the review to me:
So did its founder, writer L. Ron Hubbard, just make it all up—as legend has it—to create a religion that was more lucrative than producing science fiction?
Instead of printing the legend as fact, I recently interviewed the acclaimed science-fiction author Harlan Ellison, who told me he was at the birth of Scientology. At a meeting in New York City of a sci-fi writers’ group called the Hydra Club, Hubbard was complaining to L. Sprague de Camp and the others about writing for a penny a word. “Lester del Rey then said half-jokingly, ‘What you really ought to do is create a religion because it will be tax-free,’ and at that point everyone in the room started chiming in with ideas for this new religion. So the idea was a Gestalt that Ron caught on to and assimilated the details. He then wrote it up as ‘Dianetics: A New Science of the Mind’ and sold it to John W. Campbell, Jr., who published it in Astounding Science Fiction in 1950.”
And that is where it should have stayed.