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, September 23, 2016

Chris Shelton and Marty Rathbun - Critical Thinkers ?

Marty Rathbun has continued his service to David Miscavige in attacking his opponents. One in particular is interesting.

Marty Rathbun recently posted at his blog the post How Gullible Can One Get ?

At the blog entitled Moving On Up A Little Higher.

The name of the blog is meant to say Marty Rathbun is moving up spiritually or beyond Scientology. It implies Scientology got you to somewhere and he can go past that.

So it is intended to establish Marty Rathbun as a guru.

And to answer how gullible can one get my answer is simple: you could be a Scientologist. That is believing in something absurd and to most people obviously false. Now mind you - I was a Scientologist for twenty five years as an adult, so I place myself in that extremely gullible camp. And there's a spot right next to me for you Marty. In this regard we are equal. Both extremely gullible and capable of being completely fooled and utterly wrong. We are brothers in this way.

But the reason I am addressing this particular post by Marty Rathbun is because he brings up an attack on someone else.

He said:"I saw a man calling himself Chris Shelton ‘critical thinker at large.’ It would be difficult to imagine more inflated airs of self-absorbed arrogance than this fellow manages to put on; nor a mind as infected with hive-mentality."

Well, Marty Rathbun wrote an intentionally confusing phrase to confuse his audience. He says he saw a man calling himself Chris Shelton critical thinker at large. If you know he is Chris Shelton then say Chris Shelton, the way Marty Rathbun wrote it he seems to be unsure if Chris Shelton is his name or critical thinker or at large. 

I think it's safe to say he is Chris Shelton and at large. 

Now as to critical thinker. Look at the definition. Wikipedia has the following quotes among many others on Critical Thinking:

Critical thinking is variously defined as:
  • "the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion"
  • "disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence"
  • "reasonable, reflective thinking focused on deciding what to believe or do"
  • "purposeful, self-regulatory judgment which results in interpretation, analysis, evaluation, and inference, as well as explanation of the evidential, conceptual, methodological, criteriological, or contextual considerations upon which that judgment is based"
  • "includes a commitment to using reason in the formulation of our beliefs"

The ability to reason logically is a fundamental skill of rational agents, hence the study of the form of correct argumentation is relevant to the study of critical thinking.

In addition to possessing strong critical-thinking skills, one must be disposed to engage problems and decisions using those skills. Critical thinking employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility,accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, and fairness.


Critical thinking calls for the ability to:
  • Recognize problems, to find workable means for meeting those problems
  • Understand the importance of prioritization and order of precedence in problem solving
  • Gather and marshal pertinent (relevant) information
  • Recognize unstated assumptions and values
  • Comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity, and discernment
  • Interpret data, to appraise evidence and evaluate arguments
  • Recognize the existence (or non-existence) of logical relationships between propositions
  • Draw warranted conclusions and generalizations
  • Put to test the conclusions and generalizations at which one arrives
  • Reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience
  • Render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life
In sum:
"A persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports or refutes it and the further conclusions to which it tends." End quotes from Wikipedia

Okay, there are books and courses that get way more in depth on critical thinking and detail theories and procedures. Some of the most basic ideas support things like Socratic debate and Socratic instruction. 

Some teachers question students to bring out their potential to use reason. They encourage good and clear arguments for or against claims and discourage poor arguments. Lots of poor arguments have been identified and described as logical fallacies. 

Critical thinking involves learning to recognize logical fallacies in thinking and persuasion. You can think in them to persuade yourself or use them on others to persuade them but honestly we all use them on both ourselves and others routinely. It's human nature.

With Socratic debate by people educated in fallacies they can police each other for them and then by habit recognize them in their own thinking and claims. 

That's a part of critical thinking. Now I will try to examine and contrast two people as critical thinkers.

Marty Rathbun and Chris Shelton. Chris Shelton has recommended books by the likes of Carl Sagan on critical thinking. He recommends people look for evidence to support claims and to be willing to reexamine deeply held assumptions. He has admitted to making mistakes. 

Okay, in my opinion Chris Shelton is sincerely trying to use critical thinking and to recommend it. He isn't listing the components of the Paul-Elder model of critical thinking which includes intellectual traits, elements of thought or reasoning, and intellectual standards like accuracy, clarity, depth, precision, relevance, breadth, logic, significance and fairness. There are other standards but those are a great start.

Chris Shelton actually recommends experts in specialties to people. He recommends Lifton and Singer on harmful groups, like the Scientology cult.

He speaks clearly in plain English. He avoids loaded language and has good accuracy, precision and many other standards for his own communication.

Now to be clear I don't agree with him on everything or think he is always right. But judging him as a critical thinker isn't judging his agreement with me or absolute rightness. It's judging his use of the habits and tools of critical thinking.

In my opinion his use of those is certainly well above the level I expect from the average person or even many people with college degrees or who have studied skepticism and logic.

I would not say he is a professor or has displayed the expertise to write books specifically on critical thinking but he is not a fraud in saying he is a critical thinker. He is making a legitimate effort and successfully using many of the tools and habits of critical thinking. He also encourages pursuit of critical thinking in others with relevant references. That counts.

Chris Shelton recently interviewed Kevin deLaplante who has explored many aspects of critical thinking including rhetoric, philosophy, psychology and sociology that are used in critical thinking and related to why people are resistant to information on critical thinking. Chris Shelton admits the parts of the relevant subjects he doesn't know and advises going to experts on those for help.

Marty Rathbun on the other hand  lacks accuracy, clarity, depth, precision, relevance, breadth, logic, significance and fairness. 

He routinely makes claims lacking accuracy, uses confusing phrasing to not have clarity, makes vague insults and accusations that lack depth, uses generalities that have no precision, says things about people that have no relevance, utterly defies logic. 

The logic point can't be stressed enough with Marty Rathbun. He uses logical fallacies like ad hominem, the genetic fallacy, burden of proof, bandwagon, no true Scotsman, red herrings and a bucket of others over and over. You can literally take a list of the three dozen most common logical fallacies from the internet, put them on a cheat sheet with a sentence definition for each one and simply take a blog post by Marty Rathbun and circle and label each fallacy he uses with a description why it's poor reason and see for yourself how well Marty Rathbun uses reason. 

He gives things bizarre and arbitrary significance because he lacks fairness. He writes everything from a vested interest. 

He has no place mentioning critical thinking. Marty Rathbun critiquing critical thinking is like Helen Keller judging paintings and singing. 

He has never displayed the slightest ability to use critical thinking. He figured out a little bit about Scientology at a glacial pace and got lots of that wrong. He has never displayed above average aptitude at anything in my awareness. 

He has no history of embracing critical thinking in his own life or encouraging it. He can project his own irrationality onto others but it doesn't change that he isn't a scintilla of a critical thinker. He's like Hubbard - the opposite an irrational persuader that thinks in and uses fallacies on others routinely. 

Marty Rathbun has to use words like purport, profundity, pontificating etc.

He can't just say said, absurd, lecture or even lie or claim. Those words are too plain for Smarty Marty who has to pretend to be outraged and intellectual. 

If you strip it down to saying this person claimed or lied it's clear what you are claiming. But Marty Rathbun can't write without trying to hammer people with pretentious words. He just isn't capable of using normal words. 

Like Hubbard he lacks clarity. Hubbard in some references like The Way To Happiness uses simple words with odd qualifications. He clarifies those in Scientology doctrine to show Scientology has exceptions and portions where people don't get rights. But you have to look long and hard at the right references to get that. 

Marty Rathbun isn't at Hubbard's level as a propagandist so he uses the long loaded language and repetition. He uses repetition of insults with lots of emotion but no evidence. Just like Hubbard himself. 

Like many Scientologists and ex Scientologists Marty Rathbun uses the fallacies of personal incredulity , black and white thinking , magical thinking, the Texas sharpshooter fallacy (aka apophenia), ad  hominem , no true Scotsman (Scientologist), Appeal to authority (their own or Hubbard), begging the question, genetic, burden of proof, ambiguity, bandwagon, anecdotal and of course tu quoque. He uses proof by verbosity and proof by repetition. He literally just uses terms and claims over and over without supporting evidence to get people to believe them . 

I certainly can challenge Marty Rathbun to write in plain English with the standards of critical thinking and without using fallacies. It would be interesting to see what he could say under those circumstances. 

I honestly don't think he can do it, certainly not over a sustained period of time. But he can surprise me and try to take on the challenge. I would be interested in seeing the results. 

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