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L. Ron Hubbard's Dystopia On Earth: An Ex-Scientologist Speaks Out PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Penn Bullock & Brandon K. Thorp   
Saturday, 27 March 2010 17:45

Aaron-Saxton-gallery

Aaron Saxton

If, as is claimed to prospective members, Scientology is the “only major religion to have emerged in the 20th century,” then it is currently experiencing a growing pain common to all religions entering adolescence: The schism. David Miscavige, the slick little salesman who took over the Church of Scientology after the death of noted junkie and fugitive L. Ron Hubbard, has lately been accused of abusing his underlings and lying to his flock to obfuscate his own failures as a spiritual leader. Scientologists around the world are breaking off from the official Church, claiming that it has “strayed from the original philosophy and purpose of the group which Hubbard first researched and developed."

But some ex-Scientologists have less regard for the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard. One of them is Aaron Saxton, a New Zealander who spent eight years — from his mid-teens through his early 20s — as part of Scientology’s elite paramilitary corps, Sea Org. Read on to learn his thoughts on Independent Scientologists, Sea Org, violence, coerced abortion, rape, false imprisonment, and the many other delights allegedly awaiting those who take seriously L. Ron Hubbard’s declaration that “your search is over, but the adventure has just begun.”

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Lady Gaga Is Probably Not An Illuminati Shill PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Penn Bullock   
Thursday, 25 March 2010 15:03

Telephone_OfficialConspiracy theorists have seized on Lady Gaga’s latest music video, “Telephone,” as evidence that she’s a mind-controlled agent of the CIA. If that sounds like a stretch, consider that VigilantCitizen.com has raked in over 1,300 comments on its conspiratorial analysis of “Telephone.” Hundreds of thousands of people have likely read it, and perhaps many believed.

Vigilant Citizen’s warning to America is that Gaga and other singers have been given the full Manchurian-Candidate treatment under the CIA’s “Monarch Program” and unleashed on pop culture to rep the devil-worshipping Illuminati. The wider goal of the conspiracy remains hazy, but it has to do with seducing and softening up the hoi polloi with a mind-controlling pageantry of outrageous sex, decadence, murder, madness, and technological excess — all elements in “Telephone” and preparatory ingredients in a transhumanist, authoritarian New World Order.

But let’s backtrack. What is this CIA “Monarch Program”? Vigilant Citizen talks about it as if it’s a well-established fact. Curious and unwilling to put anything past the CIA, I went in search of credible sources testifying to its existence. But the whole notion of the program originates with one woman named Cathy O’Brien and I wouldn’t call her credible. I would call her batty.

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Help The Skeptics of Gen Con PDF Print E-mail
Newsflash
Written by Don Riefler   
Tuesday, 23 March 2010 15:04

Editor's Note: This here fellow, Don Riefler, is a good guy. Please read about his plan to bring a skeptical perspective to the freaks'n'geeks of Indiana, and consider helping out. Danke. - BKT

Gen Con is coming to Indiana from August 5-8, a Thursday through a Sunday. It's an enormous convention ostensibly oriented toward gaming (pen and paper RPGs, tabletop games, wargames, etc.), but in reality serving just about every aspect of geek, nerd, and dork culture: comic books, sci-fi/fantasy, anime, video games, board games, card games. You name it, Gen Con has it. It's roughly equivalent to a midwestern Dragon*Con, and pretty much the same size, too.

Our guerrilla skeptical symposium (“symposiums” are Gen Con's equivalent of Dragon*Con's "tracks") is so-called because those of us working on it have been doing it from the bottom up with no official recognition (as yet) from Gen Con itself. It started back in 2008, when some friends and I attended and sat through a panel by the Indiana Ghost Trackers called “The Science of EVP.” Suffice to say, it wasn't worth the price (free) and, after a few polite but pointed questions about the nature of their research, we decided that 2009 would see a skeptical response. We organized a panel called “Skepticism, Critical Thinking, and Pop Culture,” and spent a couple of hours riffing on logical fallacies, alternative medicine, the antivax movement, bigfoot, and a whole host of other skeptical topics.

We expected to have maybe 15 or 20 people in attendance. We had closer to 40 or 50, and many of them came up afterwards to thank us for bringing some critical thinking to Gen Con. They were surprised and excited to see that someone had put on a panel like ours. Our success led to bigger dreams, and thus, in 2010, we are bringing skepticism to Gen Con in force.

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Last Week at Science-Based Medicine PDF Print E-mail
Newsflash
Written by Harriet Hall, MD (The SkepDoc)   
Monday, 22 March 2010 19:59

Here is a recap of the stories that appeared last week at Science-Based Medicine, a multi-author skeptical blog that separates the science from the woo in medicine.

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For Good Reason: Jennifer Michael Hecht - The Poetry of Skepticism PDF Print E-mail
Swift
Written by Jeff Wagg   
Monday, 22 March 2010 17:28

Jennifer Michael Hecht discusses art, poetry and literature as an entree into skepticism and critical thinking. As an historian of science, she contrasts the poetic stance with the scientific worldview. She talks about temporal biases within science, and urges scientific humility, as opposed to scientism. She criticizes some forms of skepticism within the humanities that consider science to be just one mythic narrative among many others. And she explores how poetry and ritual may enrich the skeptical life.

Listen at ForGoodReason.org.

 
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