Introuduction

Hello , I am an ex Scientologist , this blog is primarily about that but I may address other topics as the mood hits me to . I was in Scientology for 25 years and spent about 10,000 hours using the indoctrination and thought reform method "study tech " . I also spent time on staff and met hundreds of Scientologists and did hundreds of the cult practices . Many were the "ethics cycles and OW writeups " that really are an attempt to suppress or remove a person's identity and replace it with a mental pseudo clone of Ron Hubbard . To make a fanatical slave for the cult .

I looked outside the cult for answers in about January 2014 and left the cult in about March of 2014 . While in about 99% of members have no idea of the truth .

We are told we are in a mental therapy or spiritual enhancement or religion or science for helping people unlock potential . Or any of several other fronts that all pretend kind and humanitarian goals .

The truth is Scientology is a terrorist mind control cult and this blog is my attempt to understand and expose that . And try to state as clearly as possible the tools that I have found helpful in dealing with this .

Friday, November 15, 2019

Liberal’s and Conservative’s Brains Are Different on Average






FACT
Studies have shown that Liberal's and Conservative's brains are different, both biologically and psychologically, on average.

Do Liberals and Conservatives Think Differently? Do Liberals and Conservatives Have Different Brains?

We know liberals and conservatives think differently, however science suggests differences not only in thinking process, but in brain structure as well.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]
Below we look at the many studies that have looked at the neurological, psychological, and biological differences between people with different political ideologies and moral compasses.
Keep in mind these are peer-reviewed studies (typically with less than 100 participants each), so while the science is notable enough to be published, more studying needs to be done, and nothing is written in stone. Also, keep in mind that what is true for a group on average is not necessarily true for an individual. Also, keep in mind humans are complex and can hold a variety of stances on a given issue and those stances can evolve over time. Simply put, when looking at the data below we want to consider it as interesting neurological and social science that gives us insight to populations, not gospel truth that tells us about specific individuals.
How Are Conservative And Liberal Brains Different?. This video looks at this study: Differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideology. This study focuses on psychological differences, the video and studies below looks at biological factors like brain size and genes.
With the above noted, and while noting that the research done is far from absolute evidence, some studies have found biological and psychological differences between people who identify as American-Conservatives (“right” / Republicans) and American-Liberals (“left” / Democrats). These differences include a difference in the size of brain regions, differences in genes, differences in thinking styles, and importantly differences in morality and ethics.[10]
How Genes Determine Your Political Views. This video looks at Genopolitics from a centered perspective. Check out this video from the Manhattan Institute on the same subject.

Physiological Differences

Importantly, one study of 90 healthy volunteers, showed biological differences include an enlarged anterior cingulate cortex in liberals and an increased right amygdala size in conservatives.
With the above highlighted, takeaways of a 2011 study specifically include:
  • Political liberalism and conservatism were correlated with brain structure
  • Liberalism was associated with the gray matter volume of the anterior cingulate cortex
  • Conservatism was associated with an increased right amygdala size
  • Results offer possible accounts for cognitive styles of liberals and conservatives
In very simple terms this suggests:
  • Conservative brains are more active in declarative and episodic fact-based memory and negative emotions like fear.
  • Liberal brains are more active in terms of emotional awareness and empathy.
The implications of these differences are further explained here and in the videos below. Another study here used different methods and looked at different research, but concluded the same general thing regarding character traits.
Liberal vs. Conservative: A Neuroscientific Analysis with Gail Saltz. This Big Think video explains some of the most recent research on the brain and political leanings. This is the “academic liberal” perspective. This video looks at this study (the one we note above on the biological differences) Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults.
FACT: Liberals and conservatives don’t just have different ways of seeing the world, their brains usually looked different under an MRI. It seems that using just brain imaging alone one can guess whether a person is liberal or conservative with about a 60- 70% accuracy (see the Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults study for exact figures).
What don’t we know? We don’t know what biological differences are in the brains of those who consider themselves independent, and we don’t know if this is nature or nurture (if people are born this way, or if using a thinking type enlarges part of the brain).
Red brain, blue brain — the neurobiology of political values | Hannah Holmes | TEDxDirigo. One last TEDx video on the subject due to the science being young.

Moral Differences

Another study explained in the video below, looked at moral differences between liberals and conservatives. The study looked at five moral factors: purity, in-group, authority, fairness, and harm, and consistently saw those who considered themselves conservative to care more about authority, a tigh-knit in-group, or tended to favor tradition and purity. See the video for details.
The moral roots of liberals and conservatives – Jonathan Haidt. This video looks at the moral differences between liberals and conservatives. 
TIP: When we say liberals and conservatives we generally are talking about the American meanings of these terms (which is important as “liberal” has a unique meaning in modern America). The studies noted on this page are based on how people identify themselves. So “liberal” is modern Democrat (social-liberal) and “conservative” is modern Republican (libertarian-conservative-social conservative). With that said, each study is different and each individual understands the parties and political leanings in a different way. See the basics of the political parties, our model of the left-right spectrum, or our history of liberalism (which is also the history of conservatism).
How Morals Influence If You’re Liberal Or Conservative. Another look at how left-wing-brain right-wing-brain (in terms of politics) affect morality? How does it relate to biological differences? This video takes a look.

Other Differences

The above studies and other peer-reviewed studies that look at political ideology, thought process, and brain structure listed in the citations below don’t suggest one type of brain is better than the other, but they do seem to suggest that the old “right brain, left brain” adage has some weight to it. The studies show that liberals and conservatives favor a type of thinking, not that liberals and conservatives had completely opposite views. For instance, a conservative may be more likely to favor their in-group and view it as traditional, while a liberal might be more likely to think of their in-group as having new experiences.
The simple takeaway: If you want to convince a liberal of conservative views or a conservative of liberal views, then you need to step in their shoes and talk to them from their perspective. For example, a conservative might not respond to emotion-based arguments, while a liberal might not respond to arguments based on fear of “out-groups.” At the same time, one should keep in mind that each person isn’t different and we shouldn’t expect a member of a group will have all the qualities of a group or that a given person might not in practice have a complex mix of left and right qualities. Thus, also we should think about not just how to treat individuals, but how we can express our points and communicate with large political groups on the left and right (where population differences would be more likely to express themselves.)
See Here’s What Science Says About the Brains of Democrats and Republicans or Differences in Conservative and Liberal Brains – 2016 for more in-depth looks at left-brain-right-brain studies in regards to politics.[11]
The Genetics of Politics | Liberals vs. Conservatives | Gene Wars [P2]. This is the same science from a “conservative libertarian” perspective. This video also talks about other genetic aspects of political leanings, including r/K selection theory (which also correlates to “left” and “right.”
TIP: Neither you nor your uncle is actually “crazy” based strictly on your political views. Rather, each is taking a rational view based on their hardwiring and soft-wiring. We must learn to respect and understand each other’s arguments and why certain issues are important to others. That means respecting individuals on their own merit and as part of the groups they indentify with (more than what we indentify them as).
The Science of Political Orientation. Let’s end with a lecture from Berkley Center.


Conclusion

Conservatives and liberals don’t just have differences in thinking, they seem to have biological and genetic differences too.
Arrogating all the studies on this page, i’m left with the conclusion that we are hardwired to be left or right, and “soft-wired” from our families, friends, cultures, and media. Our neuroplasticityplays a role, shaping us, but it seems we have power over the process.
The obvious and simple takeaway is that to be effective you must be able to use your “left-wing” and “right-wing” brain, you must use your liberal empathy to step into the shoes of a conservative, and you must use your conservative flight or fight and fact-based thinking to understand why liberal-style empathy is important.

It seems the left and right both hold a key to the puzzle, sure it is tempting to fight, but a little bit of peace, love, and understanding might just yield better fruit.

Citations

  1. Unconscious Reactions Separate Liberals and Conservatives
  2. Differences in Conservative and Liberal Brains – 2012
  3. Differences in Conservative and Liberal Brains – 2016
  4. Political Orientations Are Correlated with Brain Structure in Young Adults
  5. Biology and political orientation
  6. Red brain, blue brain: evaluative processes differ in Democrats and Republicans
  7. Neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism
  8. Social Justice and Social Order: Binding Moralities across the Political Spectrum
  9. Differences in negativity bias underlie variations in political ideology
  10. Genopolitics
  11. Here’s What Science Says About the Brains of Democrats and Republicans

Monday, November 11, 2019

In Defense of Critical Thinking in full

In leaving Scientology I ended up examining several subjects that are helpful or even necessary in my opinion for understanding Scientology. Critical thinking is definitely one of those subjects.

I occasionally have run into comments from people to the effect that someone who left Scientology may say "I had great critical thinking skills and was fooled by Scientology for years, so critical thinking is irrelevant to the issue." Or something similar.

I have come to the personal conclusion that critical thinking is a subject to study and develop greater knowledge and skill in over time. It gets treated like a knack or natural tendency by some people. It may be in part but in my opinion beyond a surface level it isn't. Some people may be better at certain activities initially like playing a musical instrument or a sport or basic arithmetic but need one to practice and learn more to gain greater knowledge and application of the subjects. A knack may be described in some people more easily learning basic addition and subtraction than others, but actual study and practice is going to be necessary to graduate through multiplication, division and more advanced math like geometry and calculus. A knack won't give to that.

Similarly critical thinking is a subject that has in my opinion a diverse collection of habits, ideas and techniques to apply and expand and requires the effort to learn it, not a partial education or a natural aptitude.

I believe that if you look at several references on critical thinking you can form a defense for an important statement. This statement has been made by several ex cult members, including ex Scientologists, who left cults. It is: "If I I had understood critical thinking BEFORE I was duped by my cult then I NEVER would have fallen for the con, because I would have been aware that it was a con or at least not scientifically validated and not to be treated as valid."

 I want to give a few different references on critical thinking to show that even a moderate education and habit of using critical thinking is sufficient to recognize Scientology as flawed and not supported by sound scientific method and certainty lacking scientific evidence.

First we can look at something Chris Shelton has referenced in his YouTube video How Critical Thinking Destroys Scientology.

Chris Shelton pointed out the baloney detection kit by Carl Sagan. If one just understood this and had a bit more education to support it they would almost certainly reject Scientology.

Here are quotes from The Demon Haunted World and the baloney detection kit.

The kit is brought out as a matter of course whenever new ideas are offered for consideration. If the new idea survives examination by the tools in our kit, we grant it warm, although tentative, acceptance. If you’re so inclined, if you don’t want to buy baloney even when it’s reassuring to do so, there are precautions that can be taken; there’s a tried-and-true, consumer-tested method.

(Excerpt quotes from Brain Pickings article)



  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
  2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  3. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
  4. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
  5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.
  6. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
  7. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  8. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.
  9. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.
Just as important as learning these helpful tools, however, is unlearning and avoiding the most common pitfalls of common sense. Reminding us of where society is most vulnerable to those, Sagan writes:
In addition to teaching us what to do when evaluating a claim to knowledge, any good baloney detection kit must also teach us what not to do. It helps us recognize the most common and perilous fallacies of logic and rhetoric. Many good examples can be found in religion and politics, because their practitioners are so often obliged to justify two contradictory propositions.
He admonishes against the twenty most common and perilous ones — many rooted in our chronic discomfort with ambiguity — with examples of each in action:
  1. ad hominem — Latin for “to the man,” attacking the arguer and not the argument (e.g., The Reverend Dr. Smith is a known Biblical fundamentalist, so her objections to evolution need not be taken seriously)
  2. argument from authority (e.g., President Richard Nixon should be re-elected because he has a secret plan to end the war in Southeast Asia — but because it was secret, there was no way for the electorate to evaluate it on its merits; the argument amounted to trusting him because he was President: a mistake, as it turned out)
  3. argument from adverse consequences (e.g., A God meting out punishment and reward must exist, because if He didn’t, society would be much more lawless and dangerous — perhaps even ungovernable. Or: The defendant in a widely publicized murder trial must be found guilty; otherwise, it will be an encouragement for other men to murder their wives)
  4. appeal to ignorance — the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa (e.g., There is no compelling evidence that UFOs are not visiting the Earth; therefore UFOs exist — and there is intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Or: There may be seventy kazillion other worlds, but not one is known to have the moral advancement of the Earth, so we’re still central to the Universe.) This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
  5. special pleading, often to rescue a proposition in deep rhetorical trouble (e.g., How can a merciful God condemn future generations to torment because, against orders, one woman induced one man to eat an apple? Special plead: you don’t understand the subtle Doctrine of Free Will. Or: How can there be an equally godlike Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the same Person? Special plead: You don’t understand the Divine Mystery of the Trinity. Or: How could God permit the followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam — each in their own way enjoined to heroic measures of loving kindness and compassion — to have perpetrated so much cruelty for so long? Special plead: You don’t understand Free Will again. And anyway, God moves in mysterious ways.)
  6. begging the question, also called assuming the answer (e.g., We must institute the death penalty to discourage violent crime. But does the violent crime rate in fact fall when the death penalty is imposed? Or: The stock market fell yesterday because of a technical adjustment and profit-taking by investors — but is there any independent evidence for the causal role of “adjustment” and profit-taking; have we learned anything at all from this purported explanation?)
  7. observational selection, also called the enumeration of favorable circumstances, or as the philosopher Francis Bacon described it, counting the hits and forgetting the misses (e.g., A state boasts of the Presidents it has produced, but is silent on its serial killers)
  8. statistics of small numbers — a close relative of observational selection (e.g., “They say 1 out of every 5 people is Chinese. How is this possible? I know hundreds of people, and none of them is Chinese. Yours truly.” Or: “I’ve thrown three sevens in a row. Tonight I can’t lose.”)
  9. misunderstanding of the nature of statistics (e.g., President Dwight Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence);
  10. inconsistency (e.g., Prudently plan for the worst of which a potential military adversary is capable, but thriftily ignore scientific projections on environmental dangers because they’re not “proved.” Or: Attribute the declining life expectancy in the former Soviet Union to the failures of communism many years ago, but never attribute the high infant mortality rate in the United States (now highest of the major industrial nations) to the failures of capitalism. Or: Consider it reasonable for the Universe to continue to exist forever into the future, but judge absurd the possibility that it has infinite duration into the past);
  11. non sequitur — Latin for “It doesn’t follow” (e.g., Our nation will prevail because God is great. But nearly every nation pretends this to be true; the German formulation was “Gott mit uns”). Often those falling into the non sequitur fallacy have simply failed to recognize alternative possibilities;
  12. post hoc, ergo propter hoc — Latin for “It happened after, so it was caused by” (e.g., Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila: “I know of … a 26-year-old who looks 60 because she takes [contraceptive] pills.” Or: Before women got the vote, there were no nuclear weapons)
  13. meaningless question (e.g., What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? But if there is such a thing as an irresistible force there can be no immovable objects, and vice versa)
  14. excluded middle, or false dichotomy — considering only the two extremes in a continuum of intermediate possibilities (e.g., “Sure, take his side; my husband’s perfect; I’m always wrong.” Or: “Either you love your country or you hate it.” Or: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”)
  15. short-term vs. long-term — a subset of the excluded middle, but so important I’ve pulled it out for special attention (e.g., We can’t afford programs to feed malnourished children and educate pre-school kids. We need to urgently deal with crime on the streets. Or: Why explore space or pursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?);
  16. slippery slope, related to excluded middle (e.g., If we allow abortion in the first weeks of pregnancy, it will be impossible to prevent the killing of a full-term infant. Or, conversely: If the state prohibits abortion even in the ninth month, it will soon be telling us what to do with our bodies around the time of conception);
  17. confusion of correlation and causation (e.g., A survey shows that more college graduates are homosexual than those with lesser education; therefore education makes people gay. Or: Andean earthquakes are correlated with closest approaches of the planet Uranus; therefore — despite the absence of any such correlation for the nearer, more massive planet Jupiter — the latter causes the former)
  18. straw man — caricaturing a position to make it easier to attack (e.g., Scientists suppose that living things simply fell together by chance — a formulation that willfully ignores the central Darwinian insight, that Nature ratchets up by saving what works and discarding what doesn’t. Or — this is also a short-term/long-term fallacy — environmentalists care more for snail darters and spotted owls than they do for people)
  19. suppressed evidence, or half-truths (e.g., An amazingly accurate and widely quoted “prophecy” of the assassination attempt on President Reagan is shown on television; but — an important detail — was it recorded before or after the event? Or: These government abuses demand revolution, even if you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs. Yes, but is this likely to be a revolution in which far more people are killed than under the previous regime? What does the experience of other revolutions suggest? Are all revolutions against oppressive regimes desirable and in the interests of the people?)
  20. weasel words (e.g., The separation of powers of the U.S. Constitution specifies that the United States may not conduct a war without a declaration by Congress. On the other hand, Presidents are given control of foreign policy and the conduct of wars, which are potentially powerful tools for getting themselves re-elected. Presidents of either political party may therefore be tempted to arrange wars while waving the flag and calling the wars something else — “police actions,” “armed incursions,” “protective reaction strikes,” “pacification,” “safeguarding American interests,” and a wide variety of “operations,” such as “Operation Just Cause.” Euphemisms for war are one of a broad class of reinventions of language for political purposes. Talleyrand said, “An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public”)
Sagan ends the chapter with a necessary disclaimer:
Like all tools, the baloney detection kit can be misused, applied out of context, or even employed as a rote alternative to thinking. But applied judiciously, it can make all the difference in the world — not least in evaluating our own arguments before we present them to others. End quote

 I believe that the ideas presented in the baloney detection kit and The Demon Haunted World legitimately if I had applied them to Scientology as it was initially presented would have been sufficient for me to reject Scientology or to be even more clear, if I had the understanding and skills and good habits from all of a group of references and worked hard to develop these habits and disciplined myself to keep at it it and to improve my habits then I could have easily rejected Scientology.

Let's look at Scientology against just a bit of this.

  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
Scientology entirely lacks independent or scientific confirmation by independent sources.


  1. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
Scientology FORBIDS debate with numerous rules and practices and a student rapidly is indoctrinated into never debating the merits of Scientology and the doctrine of Scientology. 

  1. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
Scientology has a total embrace of and submission to the authority of Scientology founder, Ronald Hubbard, and just keeps on reinforcing the claim of Hubbard's infallibility.


  1. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
Scientology doesn't have a record of scientific research with testing of hypotheses and efforts to disprove Hubbard's ideas. 

  1. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.
Hubbard was consistently happy to come up with an idea, claim it as proven, treat it as an infallible fact and then move forward with it untested and unexamined from that point forward.

  1. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
Scientology uses some  metrics to measure itself such as size but presents false statistics to seem more successful than it truly is.

  1. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
In Scientology many links in the chain just rely on the authority of Hubbard as they have no  proof. Some concepts are "proven" by the fact that mental phenomenon occur in Scientology indoctrination and auditing and Hubbard interpreted these phenomena as proof his methods are beneficial but the existence of euphoric trances and feelings of confusion then relief existing isn't scientific proof that the doctrine surrounding the phenomena is true. 

I dig deep into this in the posts Insidious Enslavement: Study Technology http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/01/insidious-enslavement-study-technology.html

Basic Introduction to Hypnosis in Scientology
http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2015/01/basic-introduction-to-hypnosis-in.html


Scientology - The Evidence What Convinces Scientologists ?
http://mbnest.blogspot.com/2019/04/scientology-evidence-what-convinces.html

  1. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.
Hubbard entirely rejected this idea and went in a very different direction

  1. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.
Finally, Hubbard presented many unfalsifiable claims and a reading of his doctrine against this standard makes it completely clear that his authority is largely the foundation of Scientology. 

If we went through the twenty most common logical fallacies against the doctrine in Scientology it would be well demonstrated that a significant portion of Scientology is fallacies stacked on fallacies and not logical or scientific.

When I was coming out of Scientology and looked at logical fallacies and reexamined the most central ideas and doctrine in Scientology such as Keeping Scientology Working, I realized the references at the heart of Scientology are frankly fallacy on top of fallacy. If I understood these fallacies well when I first examined Scientology I would have understood it doesn't have a toe to stand on intellectually. I wouldn't have understood the other phenomena that persuade members but I think that I would have still left Scientology and perhaps thought members were especially gullible or stupid but the point is that I wouldn't have stuck around to be recruited. 




There is a reference from a top educator on critical thinking that in my opinion demonstrates a good understanding and application of critical thinking as a true academic subject.

The video Why Intellectual Standards ? Why Teach For Them ? by Richard Paul has enough information in it that if a person developed a good understanding of the information and even a modest application of the ideas presented they would not be in my opinion vulnerable to Scientology. 

Here is a description of the critical thinking model used by Richard Paul and the content of his video.

Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking – about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them. (Paul and Elder, 2001). The Paul-Elder framework has three components:
  1. The elements of thought (reasoning)
  2. The intellectual standards that should be applied to the elements of reasoning
  3. The intellectual traits associated with a cultivated critical thinker that result from the consistent and disciplined application of the intellectual standards to the elements of thought
Graphic Representation of Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework

According to Paul and Elder (1997), there are two essential dimensions of thinking that students need to master in order to learn how to upgrade their thinking. They need to be able to identify the "parts" of their thinking, and they need to be able to assess their use of these parts of thinking.

ELEMENTS OF THOUGHT (REASONING)

The "parts" or elements of thinking are as follows:
  1. All reasoning has a purpose
  2. All reasoning is an attempt to figure something out, to settle some question, to solve some problem
  3. All reasoning is based on assumptions
  4. All reasoning is done from some point of view
  5. All reasoning is based on data, information and evidence
  6. All reasoning is expressed through, and shaped by, concepts and ideas
  7. All reasoning contains inferences or interpretations by which we draw conclusions and give meaning to data
  8. All reasoning leads somewhere or has implications and consequences

UNIVERSAL INTELLECTUAL STANDARDS

The intellectual standards that are to these elements are used to determine the quality of reasoning. Good critical thinking requires having a command of these standards. According to Paul and Elder (1997 ,2006), the ultimate goal is for the standards of reasoning to become infused in all thinking so as to become the guide to better and better reasoning. The intellectual standards include:
Clarity
Could you elaborate?
Could you illustrate what you mean?
Could you give me an example?
Accuracy
How could we check on that?
How could we find out if that is true?
How could we verify or test that?
Precision
Could you be more specific?
Could you give me more details?
Could you be more exact?
Relevance
How does that relate to the problem?
How does that bear on the question?
How does that help us with the issue?
Depth
What factors make this difficult?
What are some of the complexities of this question?
What are some of the difficulties we need to deal with?
Breadth
Do we need to look at this from another perspective?
Do we need to consider another point of view?
Do we need to look at this in other ways?
Logic
Does all of this make sense together?
Does your first paragraph fit in with your last one?
Does what you say follow from the evidence?
Significance
Is this the most important problem to consider?
Is this the central idea to focus on?
Which of these facts are most important?
Fairness
Is my thinking justifiable in context?
Am I taking into account the thinking of others?
Is my purpose fair given the situation?
Am I using my concepts in keeping with educated usage, or am I distorting them to get what I want?

INTELLECTUAL TRAITS

Consistent application of the standards of thinking to the elements of thinking result in the development of intellectual traits of:
  • Intellectual Humility
  • Intellectual Courage
  • Intellectual Empathy
  • Intellectual Autonomy
  • Intellectual Integrity
  • Intellectual Perseverance
  • Confidence in Reason
  • Fair-mindedness

CHARACTERISTICS OF A WELL-CULTIVATED CRITICAL THINKER

Habitual utilization of the intellectual traits produce a well-cultivated critical thinker who is able to:
  • Raise vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
  • Gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
  • Come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
  • Think open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
  • Communicate effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems
Paul, R. and Elder, L. (2010). The Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools. Dillon Beach: Foundation for Critical Thinking Press.



Richard Paul pointed out many relevant issues regarding critical thinking in his lectures. One issue he dealt with is different degrees of understanding of issues.

One lecture in particular is worth serious examination.

 It's on YouTube with the Title Prove: Why Intellectual Standards ? Why Teach For Them ?

From CriticalThinkingOrg published on April 23, 2015 with a length of fifty five minutes and nineteen seconds. This post addresses the content of that lecture.


He described sophisticate believers and vulgar believers. He said vulgar believers really don't understand the logic of the content, they don't understand the ideology.

He pointed out that a person could be what he called a vulgar believer. He gave the example of a person who claims to be a Marxist who has a handful of slogans like "seize the means of production, power to the people, down with the bourgeois" and so on. The person never read Marx or any related authors or contemporaries of Marx. The person doesn't understand ANY of the ideas of Marx besides these slogans in the barest manner possible. They don't understand the terms in the subject or anything else.  They may be willing to die for Marx or Marxism but don't understand anything about it.

He described sophisticate believers and vulgar believers. He said vulgar believers really don't understand the logic of the content, they don't understand the ideology.

He said a step up from a vulgar believer regarding a subject is a sophisticate believer. The sophisticate believer understands the ideas in a subject far more than the vulgar believer. But they are predisposed to not understand how the subject they are aware of can be critiqued by other systems and interacts with subjects outside the one subject they defend. He gave the test that they don't see the flaws and weaknesses in their system and the answers that other systems can give to incorporate them and improve their system. They are aware of no flaws in their system. They see no other system as necessary. He described them as being able to recite six volumes of very narrow minded reasoning that never entertains another system. Crucially they try to understand the system outside their own system to negate it and defend their own system. He defined this as apologetics and said you ought to apologize for it.

This is worth strong emphasis. He described it as trying to show everyone why you are right and everyone else is wrong all the time.

He described the challenge of critical thinking as trying to get students to not be vulgar believers or sophisticate believers.





Huh ? The examples with this are plentiful in life. It's a defining characteristic of  cultic groups. If you have a philosophy or subject that is only seen as superior to and in conflict with all other subjects that is a huge red flag.

We have various extreme sects that take virtually any religious beliefs and refuse to give any subjects whether scientific or medical or of any other kind a chance to be used to be seen as legitimate also then you have a cult.

In all major religions you also have sects that do not reject all other subjects and get called moderate that are not cultic, so the approach to thinking and degree of control that a subject is enforced with determine a lot.

A sophisticate believer knows enough to attack other subjects, but not usually enough to understand them really as anything other than something to attack and degrade, not really a deep understanding.

Imagine that you see physics as superior to everything else. And you see chemistry and biology as worthless and inferior. And teaching and study as things to not learn because they are not physics.

You would be less capable in physics than you potentially could be obviously because study and teaching are essential to learning physics itself. Other subjects that involve human beings like psychology and influence and our biases and behavior affect ANY subject we interact with as they affect how we do and learn EVERYTHING.

A sophisticate believer has such poor understanding of how subjects can interact and help each other with being applied to each other that they really don't understand their own subject completely.

Richard Paul described a thinker that understands a subject as itself and how other subjects can interact and be used to evaluate a subject as a critical thinker. If you can look at physics and use the subject of critical thinking to see the strengths and weaknesses in physics you have an advantage. If you can use logic to look at the logic within physics and see what is what you are free to be objective and not just defend orthodox beliefs.

A subject that is too sacred to be observed through the lens of other subjects is immune from criticism and critical thinking. Whatever beliefs one holds of a religious or spiritual or philosophical nature that cannot be treated as anything besides sacred cannot be critically thought of. I have also encountered the phenomenon of people believing in atheism or their idea of critical thinking (what Richard Paul would probably have called a pseudo critical thinker) or a physical science or political philosophy that also is seen as sacred and beyond criticism or evaluation by any other subjects. So, this is not limited to religion in any way.

I hope the three categories of vulgar believer, that really understands nothing and follows a few slogans to the sophisticate believer that understands a subject just as superior to others and might understand it from the inside better than the vulgar believer but not really fully to the critical believer who understands the subject they study and the content in the subject and that other subjects are worthwhile for analyzing the subject in question illustrate how approaches to subjects determine or prejudice understandings that are achieved.


Richard Paul also described indoctrination as producing people that just comply with feeding back what is told to people in indoctrination without even needing to really comprehend the subject or terms. He described indoctrination as producing no understanding of terms or a superficial understanding.

Richard Paul described content as something we produce by the reasoning mind, conceived and constructed by the reasoning mind and one hundred percent dependent on thinking.

People often say they have no time to foster thinking with the content they need to instruct people in. They are describing the rote memorization that is briefly used to just feed back information that is only fed back then forgotten.


In earlier systems like Bloom's taxonomy knowledge is meant to occur before evaluation. Richard Paul believes this is backwards and only results in brief memorization.

Thinking requires organization of information. All new ideas must fit the existing system of ideas and a mind must change its own content to adapt to needs.

Students must understand the logic of their thinking because it affects their ability to take on any content. To Paul the system in any subject isn't first nature to the mind and so it takes discipline to take on the thinking required in any subject, it's difficult and not normal for people to seek the truth.

Paul sees his intellectual standards as naturally required for all thinking in all situations for all subjects, that is why they are universal. They are minimum criteria he feels are necessary.

We need clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, precision, logic, significance and fairness in our thinking. Imagine presenting something that is unclear, inaccurate, irrelevant, shallow, too narrow minded, imprecise, illogical, insignificant and unfair. It would have no logical cohesion.

Reasoning is the attempt to figure something out in a way that displays the intellectual standards. They are natural criteria.

He feels the standards come from the logic of language, which requires clarity and accuracy, he emphasized the importance of understanding terms that apply to reasoning that are relevant.

He emphasized that most words must remain unchanging if we make a case for changing some words. He says words must be used carefully like indoctrination and training and education, they don't mean the same thing.

He says you must use words carefully to think clearly.

He said discipline requires a standard to conform to. Whether it is a sport or art or other discipline. He said you wouldn't understand a language if you had your own private language.

He described the logic of questions as also being a part of the origin of the logic of the standards.  A legal question has standards from the law while a moral question has moral standards as the standards for examination.

He described questions of fact as having right and wrong answers and questions of reasoned judgement have a better and worse answer while questions of personal preference have a different answer possible for each person.

He quoted a description of math instruction today as being fraudulent. It is just getting people to plug numbers in equations with no further understanding.

He described the logic of historical reasoning as never occurring in instruction in history.

The logic of reality is the third as being the third component of the logic of the student.

He described the contrast between chemistry which consults the logic of reality and depends on it and astrology which doesn't. Astrology consults it's own unverifiable internal non-reality based system and seeks to maintain that system.

He described the ultimate question for a critical thinker as do you confirm your system to the logic of reality or do you conform reality to your system.

He said if reality isn't what you are trying to conform to your thinking will be deeply flawed.

He said if you try to conform your thinking to reality you are a critical believer. Whether Christian, mathematician, sociologist, American, or whatever. They understand they can make mistakes and the system can make a mistake and they can make a mistake within the system. The system can be falsifiable.

He said if students don't see something to discipline their reasoning to then they won't be critical thinkers. He described the difference between beliefs and knowledge. He said educators should work to get students that can achieve knowledge through their reasoning and that anyone can believe but belief doesn't require reasoning and understanding.

He described disciplines as being constructed by reasoning. He referred to disciplines like anthropology and sociology and biology. He said there are many questions which no discipline has yet answered. There are many questions which have not even been asked yet. He said education is concerned with developing the mind to be able to answer the questions.

He said it is only the uneducated mind that is impressed with how much is known, "the more you know the more you know you don't know" was his description. He said it takes reasoning and precise use of language to see that.

He described getting students to understand and apply the intellectual standards of critical thinking as a tremendous challenge. It's a paradigm shift.

He said this is a lifetime endeavor. He recommended looking up the terms for the standards in a good dictionary. He emphasized the differences between the standards and the interrelationships between the standards.

He said the logic of learning is the logic of somebody's thinking. He said in teaching you should get lots of questions. No questions means no understanding because if you understand something you see unanswered questions not addressed.

He described using questions to encourage students to think more broadly within disciplines and stretching the breadth of what students think of, bit by bit and very gradually.

He said this paradigm is resisted by people that deeply believe in the other paradigm of giving information that is fed back with a little critical thinking thrown in and that critical thinking cannot effectively be taught by people that don't practice it.

There are people that assume critical thinking is always there when it isn't at all. Their only standard is memorization of material and feeding it back.

That concludes my summing up of the lecture. I give it my absolute highest possible recommendation. It has more sound reason than EVERYTHING in Scientology. It truly exposes the stark difference between a real critical thinker and Ronald Hubbard. I believe everyone can benefit from seeing this video.

The work of Richard Paul in critical thinking is too notch in my opinion. I endorse it and feel his books are worth looking at.




Okay, now for my two cents. Veteran Scientologists will see many if not all my points coming, bear with me, I am going to try to cover all my bases.

First off the indoctrination in Scientology obviously encourages vulgar believers at first. You are instantly taught that your difficulties or confusions regarding study are always due to no contradictions or errors in the doctrine in Scientology but always due to fictional barriers to study.

You get doctrine with hundreds of contradictions and unclear terms, unclear and contradictory definitions as well. You have extensive Orwellian reversals. Not mere euphemisms, these words and phrases say the opposite of what they describe in Scientology, of what actually is done.

There are dozens and dozens of slogans in Scientology. They function as thought stopping cliches as Robert Jay Lifton described. The loaded language from his eight criteria for thought reform serve as the language of non thought as Lifton put it. Exactly what you use to equip vulgar believers.

Long term Scientologists can achieve a degree of sophisticate belief as Richard Paul described it. It lacks the good cohesion believers in most other disciplines achieve because it has so many inconsistencies and lacks any logic of reality in many aspects. It has so many poorly defined terms and thousands of interconnected terms that all link one to another and another to form chains of hundreds of poorly and inconsistently defined terms that create a kind of fog of the mind.

The sophisticate believer level is really the highest level of thinking Scientology lends itself to. Scientology is presented as far superior to life itself. It's presented as being beyond criticism with criticism being automatically seen as irrefutable proof that the critic has hidden crimes of serious magnitude promoting all criticism. Doubt in Scientology is seen as a lower condition by Scientologists. Questions regarding doctrine are always interpreted as demonstrating something to address regarding the student having a deficiency in understanding or character.

The system is designed to defend itself preemptively by attacking all other systems. It has a method to invalidate and counter all ideas that disagree with Scientology including study technology and false data stripping. Of course subjects that contradict Scientology like psychology are even attacked in the materials preparing the student before they start the false data stripping procedure. Numerous experts in politics, economics, psychiatry, theology and many other subjects are thoroughly attacked in Scientology doctrine to establish that as the only subject far, far above all others.

It's not an exaggeration to say criticism of Scientology is sacrilegious to Scientologists. It violates what Robert Jay Lifton described as the sacred science, a doctrine that is treated as entirely logical and scientific by believers but if any inconsistencies or failures in logic are brought up the doctrine is immediately treated as too sacred to be doubted.

Hubbard designed it as an extension of his identity and incredibly defensive of itself and always attacking all other systems. Not an inch of room for critical thinking there.

 Recall - We need clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, precision, logic, significance and fairness in our thinking. Imagine presenting something that is unclear, inaccurate, irrelevant, shallow, too narrow minded, imprecise, illogical, insignificant and unfair. It would have no logical cohesion.

Well Scientology lacks clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, precision, logic, significance and fairness. It is unclear, inaccurate, irrelevant, shallow, too narrow minded, imprecise, illogical, insignificant and unfair. It has no logical cohesion.

Outsiders that do not believe in and practice Scientology cannot understand why people believe in it. In several blog posts on psychology I have taken on how Scientologists interpret mental and physical phenomena as evidence that Hubbard's doctrine is true. Lifton in his system, the eight criteria for thought reform, described it as mystical manipulation.

Several systems outside Scientology can interpret or explain weaknesses and inconsistencies in Scientology far better than anything in Scientology. Aspects of psychology address this and seeing principles and techniques in Scientology as being plagiarized from hypnosis is a use of that system or cultic studies to understand Scientology. But Scientology preemptively discredited everything and everyone else.

Really from a critical thinking standpoint Scientology is a total mess. Richard Paul would easily point out the lack of reality based beliefs in Scientology. Scientology requires members to conform reality to fit Hubbard's system.

Regarding the logic of language Hubbard inverts it. He used his own made up language jam packed with contradictions and inconsistencies and thought stopping cliches as Lifton called it, the language of non thought as he termed it.

Hubbard was always extremely impressed with his own mind and knowledge and impressed this attitude upon Scientologists. Arrogance is deadly to critical thinking.

As the materials in Scientology inspire questions on course the Scientology student rapidly learns questions lead to word clearing and so students learn to stifle all questions which nips critical thinking in the bud. No independent thinking in Scientology.

In Scientology Socratic questions have no place, Socratic debate has no place. Everything is authority and obedience based. That's it.

Really if we look at all the concepts Richard Paul brought up for good critical thinking regarding instruction and teaching and the reality of Scientology point by point the critical thinking model of Richard Paul exposes Scientology as pseudoscience and inadequate as a serious subject of any kind.

if I just understood and really applied the ideas from the video by Richard Paul I would have been effectively inoculated from Scientology.

I am sure other people can think of other points that this description exposes. Scientology is just jam packed with them.

I hope lots of people from all different backgrounds look at the critical thinking framework by Richard Paul and his videos and books. I hope to make it first nature for the rest of my life. (Quoted from 

Scientology versus Critical Thinking - Extreme Contrasts)


Scientology judged against the intellectual standards of the model Richard Paul promotes fails utterly. 

Recall - We need clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, precision, logic, significance and fairness in our thinking. Imagine presenting something that is unclear, inaccurate, irrelevant, shallow, too narrow minded, imprecise, illogical, insignificant and unfair. It would have no logical cohesion.

Well Scientology lacks clarity, accuracy, relevance, depth, breadth, precision, logic, significance and fairness. It is unclear, inaccurate, irrelevant, shallow, too narrow minded, imprecise, illogical, insignificant and unfair. It has no logical cohesion.

Outsiders that do not believe in and practice Scientology cannot understand why people believe in it. In several blog posts on psychology I have taken on how Scientologists interpret mental and physical phenomena as evidence that Hubbard's doctrine is true. Lifton in his system, the eight criteria for thought reform, described it as mystical manipulation.

Scientology fits the model of a sophisticate or sophistic sysyem, it is intended to not consult other subjects and to invalidate other subjects. A good understanding of the ideas Richard Paul presented in this video and his book Critical Thinking would be sufficient to safeguard many minds from Scientology in my opinion. 

A good critical thinker would rapidly spot Scientology as sophistic and Scientologists as at best sophistic believers of a subject that closes them off from reality. They try to get reality to conform to Scientology and not to get Scientology to conform to reality. 

I  think between the intellectual standards, the lack of coherent and consistent language, the failure to fit into a critical thinking and reality based model as opposed to a sophistic model and the other glaring flaws that the information and understanding one could have if moderately educated in the Paul-Elder critical thinking model would provide more than enough for most people to reject Scientology if they applied them even a bit..





In the series Cornerstones of Critical Thinking parts 1 - 8,  I took on eight basic ideas that are relevant to critical thinking and gave each a brief article. The eight topics covered were:

1) Looking at Both sides, which explored the ideas from On Liberty by John Stuart Mill regarding needing to understand the best arguments and evidence for the different sides of an issue, including ones pro and con, to really understand an issue.

2) Logical fallacies and biases, which have references for finding the two dozen fallacies and two dozen cognitive biases covered by two websites, so anyone can look at them with descriptions and examples and get a starting point in the subject.


3) Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework, which shows the model Richard Paul and his wife Linda Elder created with a description of it.

4) Being a Pain in the Ass, which covered ideas from the book How to Become a Really Good Pain in the Ass: A Critical Thinker's Guide to Asking the Right Questions by Christopher DiCarlo.

In this post I discuss certain ideas from critical thinking the book covers including Socratic debate, Socratic questions and how arguments are constructed. I go over the strong and weak points of the book.

5) Show The Work, I address the issue of believing we understand something when in fact we don't have an educated opinion or enough knowledge on a topic to form an educated opinion and just agree with the opinion of people who think like us. It's important to know what we actually understand well and what we have little understanding of, but follow out group or an authority regarding. They might be right, but we should know which ideas are ours and which are not, and which are carefully considered educated opinions and which are not.

6) Propaganda: 7 Most Important Techniques of Propaganda, I quote from experts on the recognized seven most important techniques of propaganda and comment that every serious student of critical thinking should know them and be able to recognize their use.

7) Rhetoric and Sublime Writing, in which I quote definitions on the basic concepts in rhetoric of ethos (appeal to authority), logos (appeal to reason), and pathos (appeal to emotion), along with sublime writing and are ( works intended to create ecstasy, a trance state of awe) and explore the basic ideas in rhetoric. 

8) We Learn Together, in which I analyzed ideas from numerous sources on collective learning, the habit of using ideas from other subjects to increase our understanding of particular subjects and the gaps we may have in our understanding and how to address them.

I wrote: It takes a lot of humility to understand where you are weak or uneducated and look far and wide for relevant subjects and ideas in those subjects to understand the things you don't know that are relevant and necessary to understand what you want to know. And that is the heart of critical thinking.

I sincerely believe that a student who has a good education and understanding of all the ideas I just referred to who habitually applied good critical thinking techniques as routine behavior would be extremely unlikely to have fallen for Scientology and been duped as I was. 

I hope that people understand that critical thinking is not a knack or natural inclination we might have, but a method of thought that requires study, development and above all practice. It isn't being slightly more knowledgeable about science or slightly more careful and deliberate in thinking, although to the uneducated it may appear that way. 

Critical thinking is a full subject in its own right and takes much from many other subjects because it embraces the effort to analyze thought, to understand thought, to improve thought and those things are covered by many subjects. And many efforts. 

I think critical thinking is not merely a tool to aid in cult recovery and education, which it is superb at for some people, but is a vital subject for anyone who does any thinking and is affected by thinking of anyone in any way. It is not a perfect or infallible subject, ideas in critical thinking can be debunked, falsified or be improved or rendered outdated. It is a group of efforts and ideas related to thinking about thought to understand it and improve it. 

I think it is something we should all pursue but obviously don't get to decide for everyone. But as a start I hope the information I presented here is sufficient to demonstrate that we weren't great critical thinkers when we fell for Scientology. Not close. 


Unfortunately there is no way to absolutely remove human gullibility. That is a profoundly humbling lesson that was hard won for me. But it doesn't mean that the effort to improve critical thinking cannot drastically lower the chance that we get fooled or get fooled again. 

I know that a devotion to critical thinking can take dozens or hundreds of hours and may need to include strenuous effort at reflective deliberation and development of counterintuitive habits. It's hard work or it's not critical thinking. 

When you take on critical thinking you take on efforts to understand thinking, to analyze thinking and errors that occur in thinking and how it occurs and what can be done to improve it. That takes you to a lot of subjects and a lot of ideas. It's not a quick or easy trip. As Richard Paul points out if you are doing it right you should be generating more questions and they should be inspiring exploration further into subjects, sometimes to new and unanswered questions and sometimes to other subjects. It involves figuring out where subjects and sources are weak, are not backed by reality based observations and reality confirming principles, in other words when they lack scientific evidence for their ideas and you have to look to other subjects to remain in the reality based area of knowledge. Reality based knowledge involves observations of the world, in other words science.  It is a lot of work with a lot to figure out. 

But I sincerely believe it is worth the time and effort. After all, we all engage in thinking and are affected by the thinking of others. Doesn't that make it something worth doing well ? And defending ?

I wrote further information on critical thinking in the posts 

The Knowledge Illusion full series 1 - 16

This series covered the book The Knowledge Illusion and how it thoroughly examines many of the ideas from earlier posts with scientific evidence and research by two cognitive scientists regarding human knowledge and ignorance and the reality and our beliefs regarding both. 

And The Easiest Person to Fool parts one and two.