Highly recommended: ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’

If you’re fascinated by irrational beliefs and the people who hold them, HBO’s new Scientology documentary is a must-see:

It premieres on HBO Sunday, March 29th, at 8 pm. For more airtimes, go here and mouse over “Schedule” in the lower right corner.

(I saw it yesterday in a San Francisco theater. They’re doing a very limited theatrical release so that the film will be eligible for Oscar nominations.)

228 Replies to “Highly recommended: ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’”

  1. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    Oh hush Phoodoo you tragic hypocrite. How old is the universe | life | world and how do you know this? If you’re unwilling to answer perhaps you might want to look at your own belief system.

  2. phoodoo
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    says:

    Neil Rickert,

    Who uses the word “teleology” to describe behaviors that we see in nature?

    I will tell you who does, theists do. And there is a good reason for that, teleology means purpose. So if you are using the word to mean purpose, how can you describe accidental badly copying replicators as having a purpose? You can’t. Because the idea is that its an accident and not a purpose. Once we have a purpose, we have a plan.

    So the problem is not in the concept of purpose, but rather your hijacking of the meaning of words.

    The nature of nature is teleological, for no reason? That is just nonsense speak.

  3. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    And gravity’s purpose is to pull!1111111oneone

  4. Creodont2
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo,

    So then, it’s not “accidental badly copying replicators”, it’s intentional “badly copying replicators”, eh? And is that all there is to evolution?

    What is your chosen, so-called ‘God’s’ intent/purpose in designing-creating-guiding deadly viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.? What is your chosen, so-called ‘God’s intent/purpose in designing-creating-guiding extinctions?

  5. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Creodont2: What is your chosen, so-called ‘God’s’ intent/purpose in designing-creating-guiding deadly viruses

    I suspect it’s quite simple.

    All the things phoodoo likes are “designed” and “part of the plan”. All the things phoodoo does not like are “evolution destroying existing things” or “evolution corrupting working designs”.

    It’s quite simple really!

  6. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: So if you are using the word to mean purpose, how can you describe accidental badly copying replicators as having a purpose? You can’t.

    You just did. To say that the copying was done badly is to say that there was a purpose of copying. If there was no purpose then one cannot use “badly”.

    But this is an example of making up stories. Nobody has asked the DNA whether it is doing anything purposely.

  7. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert,

    Sorry, but that is an extremely dumb reply. What does the quality of a replication have to do with intent? To replicate, simply means to make more of the same-but according to the Darwinian principal, life is about this replicators not being very good at copying themselves exactly, and that is the whole reason we have diversity, and progress in organisms. Darwininsts don’t claim there is a purpose to these replicators, they claim that it just so happen, accidentally, to have happened. Haven’t you ever heard of the primordial soup, electric spark argument?

    So where is the teleolgy, the purpose, you see in nature, and what is its purpose. Why does it have a purpose?

  8. phoodoo
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    says:

    Creodont2,

    Why is there evil in the world? What a sophomoric argument against the existence of a creator. You seem new to the subject of deep thought.

    There could be all kinds of reasons, not of which say anything about the fact that the world is clearly created.

    Seriously, if the best retort you have is, how can there be a good, I don’t like what God did…well, save it for five graders. That is about is high as the sophistication level of that argument reaches. Maybe he likes it that way. Maybe it is the dualistic nature of all things; in order to have good, there must be bad. I guess he didn’t ask your opinion.

    “Oh, but why did he have to choose THAT bad, I wanted him to choose other bad..wawa.”

  9. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: Seriously, if the best retort you have is, how can there be a good, I don’t like what God did…well, save it for five graders. That is about is high as the sophistication level of that argument reaches. Maybe he likes it that way. Maybe it is the dualistic nature of all things; in order to have good, there must be bad. I guess he didn’t ask your opinion.

    Funny how you can talk about god but not science.

  10. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: There could be all kinds of reasons, not of which say anything about the fact that the world is clearly created.

    There *could* be a teapot orbiting Jupiter. Prove there is not! No?

    And if the world is “clearly” created then presumably you are a YEC? As last I heard the world was “created” by rocks collecting together in space forming a planet.

    Hence Richards questions. How old is the earth? How do you know that?

    Pathetic.

  11. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: What does the quality of a replication have to do with intent?

    What does teleology have to do with intent?

    You are anthropomorphising. You are using the idea of intent, that comes from human discourse, and expecting to apply that where no humans are involved.

  12. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert,

    Neil, do you understand the definition of teleology?

    You are not displaying that you do .

  13. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert: What does teleology have to do with intent?

    This is the $64,000 elephant in the room, at least as far as my own position is concerned.

    Okrent (in Rational Animals; review here) takes as his favored example the Sphex wasp, which engages in complex behaviors such as paralyzing an insect, building a burrow, checking for predators after the burrow is built, dragging the insect into the burrow, and laying its eggs on or in the insect. Teleological discourse plays a role in successful prediction of the wasp’s behaviors, so at least quasi-realists of a Dennettian stripe should find “the teleological stance” scientifically acceptable. More complex behaviors provide the grounds (Okrent thinks) for attributing beliefs and desires to certain kinds of non-human animals.

    So if the Sphex wasp displays purposive or purposeful behavior — if it indeed has goals — then we might inquire into how widespread goal-directed behavior is among living things. If wasps do have goal-directed behavior, but mushrooms do not, we shall want to explain exactly why that is the case. I think it’s plausible that there’s something really distinctive about metazoans, but I want to understand what exactly that is.

  14. Kantian Naturalist Kantian Naturalist
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: Neil, do you understand the definition of teleology?

    You are not displaying that you do .

    Allow me to turn that challenge around: do you understand that there is no intention in Aristotle’s teleological physics or teleological biology? That should clarify that the bare concept of teleology does not require intent or planning. (If that were the case, the millennia-old debate between Platonism and Aristotelianism could have been resolved by semantic legislation!)

    The more interesting question to me is whether Aristotelian teleological biology can be grounded in contemporary scientific methodology. That’s where I find autopoiesis quite fascinating.

    However, I’m less sure that there’s a good scientific method for treating the question, “why are the basic parameters of the universe such that autopoeisis is even possible under any conditions in the first place?”

  15. Richardthughes Richardthughes
    Ignored
    says:

    What is the purpose of nature , Phoodoo?

  16. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: Neil, do you understand the definition of teleology?

    The meaning of “teleology” is very much in dispute. And not just at TSZ.

  17. Neil Rickert
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: So if the Sphex wasp displays purposive or purposeful behavior — if it indeed has goals — then we might inquire into how widespread goal-directed behavior is among living things.

    Let’s look at some human examples:

    (A) I prepare a lecture, then present it to my class.

    (B) I eat because there are uneasy feelings which we describe as hunger.

    In case (A) there are clear goals, intents and even planning. In case (B) we might ascribe goals but it is far from clear that there are actual goals or intents. I tend to think of case (B) in terms of biological drives.

    I see biological drives, as in case (B), as important examples of natural teleology, and I see examples such as (A) as derived from the more basic cases such as (B).

    When we try to boil it down to physics and chemistry, examples such as (B) seem to be due to homeostasis (including feedback systems involved in maintaining that stasis).

  18. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist,

    I don’t know that much about Aristotle, but he certainly still believed in the metaphysical. So he obviously used logic to determine there was an organization outside of the physical forms we see. If even a hardcore proponent of logic still realizes that what we see is not all, or that what we see has an underlying cause, why would you be skeptical?

    Also, I have a hard time delineating the purpose of an animal which moves, from the purpose of a plant, which nonetheless strives. Plants are really not all that much different from animals. Plants have cycles, they even communicate to other plants during times of stress. Can accidental replicators account for that? Can chaos which took an unusual turn account for that? I think not.

  19. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Neil Rickert,

    But why look at such a small picture Neil? We eat, out of intent, sure, but don’t we also exist out of intent? Even if you are willing to dismiss the grand cosmological scheme of things that is so obviously orchestrated to work, why do you dismiss our intent to live as accidental? Do you think the cell accidentally intended to exist?

    What you are describing as nature, is what others describe as signs of a plan.

  20. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: What you are describing as nature, is what others describe as signs of a plan.

    You’ve gone from “obviously designed universe” to “signs of a plan”.

    Way to back off when things get specific.

  21. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain,

    A plan IS a design for crying out loud!! Do you think a plan is a swirl of directionless bits of unrelated chaos? Design!, plan!, organization!!

    Oh brother.

  22. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    So, what’s the plan?

    1. An orderly or step-by-step conception or proposal for accomplishing an objective: a plan for improving math instruction.
    2. A proposed or intended course of action: had no plans for the evening.
    3. A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts; a configuration or outline: a seating plan; the plan of a story.
    4. A drawing or diagram made to scale showing the structure or arrangement of something.
    5. In perspective rendering, one of several imaginary planes perpendicular to the line of vision between the viewer and the object being depicted.
    6. A program or policy stipulating a service or benefit: a pension plan.

    If there is no objective, there is no plan. What’s the plan?

  23. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    phoodoo: What you are describing as nature, is what others describe as signs of a plan.

    Is the parasitoid wasp part of the plan? What about Loa loa filariasis? Is that deliberate on behalf of the designer?

  24. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain,

    3

  25. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Then what is the story? Summarise it for me.

    A systematic arrangement of elements or important parts to what end?

  26. Alan Fox Alan Fox
    Ignored
    says:

    Kantian Naturalist: …we might inquire into how widespread goal-directed behavior is among living things. If wasps do have goal-directed behavior, but mushrooms do not, we shall want to explain exactly why that is the case.

    Run and tumble as exhibited by E. coli bacteria – is it goal-directed? Plants will grow where they can. Why do they do that? Why do cells grow and divide wherever the opportunity presents itself? Why is every form of life that we examine, including ourselves so keen to go on living? I know this can easily be answered by the Darwinian paradigm – selection will weed out any organism, gene etc that isn’t “motivated” to survive, but it seems a bit unsatisfactory.

  27. GlenDavidson
    Ignored
    says:

    Alan Fox: Run and tumble as exhibited by E. coli bacteria – is it goal-directed? Plants will grow where they can. Why do they do that? Why do cells grow and divide wherever the opportunity presents itself? Why is every form of life that we examine, including ourselves so keen to go on living? I know this can easily be answered by the Darwinian paradigm – selection will weed out any organism, gene etc that isn’t “motivated” to survive, but it seems a bit unsatisfactory.

    If you consider all of the organisms that will die for kin rather than living, under the right circumstances, evolution seems, to me at least, to be the only satisfactory explanation around. Males of a number of species (spiders, some insects) will risk a pretty good chance of becoming the female’s next meal in order to mate–and why not? Mating’s the point.

    I really don’t see the teleology in biology. Birds will make exquisite nests. Why? For the eggs, of course. Except if you make a hole in the bottom of the nest, the female will lay egg after egg, apparently not caring that the eggs fall out, just laying eggs ‘until she has a clutch’, aside from the fact that it can’t happen. Repairing the nest doesn’t occur to the pair. We see a telos, they just do what they know needs doing (apart from malicious acts of researchers, anyway).

    Is a computer teleological, just because it chugs away until it reaches a “goal”? Yes, I know that we have usually put a teleological goal into the proceedings, but the computer doesn’t worry about that, GIGO also being a possibility. Well, then why do we? Oh, we have a goal? What’s that? Mating, dying if it saves enough kin? OK, we do think things through to goals, which makes us generalists, and, although born not knowing how to make anything, end up making a great many things. Better thinking animals seem to act reasonably similarly, but then why not evolve flexibility of response, the ability to conjure strategies to desired sensations and states of mind?

    I’m more impressed that our own telic endeavors tend to serve biologic drives than that we can actually think teleologically. Biology isn’t always well-served thereby, but evolutionarily-shaped mental rewards typically are.

    Glen Davidson

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