Scientology's Kryptonite 2 Fallacies of Scientology
In discussing Scientology and other subjects it quickly becomes clear that there are different ways to communicate with people. Some are more logical and effective at using and encouraging reason.
I noticed certain methods of thinking and persuasion are encouraged in Scientology and even in people outside Scientology at times.
The bad news is the harm they do - which is significant. The good news is that by exposing and examination of them their effects can possibly be lessened.
The same things that are not helpful keep getting said and done. Don't get me wrong - if people want to argue with no advancing of understanding or use of organized methods of analysis of thought and claims they are free to do so. Knock yourself out.
But if they talk to me and use logical fallacies or other examples of less than perfect reason I can point it out. Just like they can with me.
That is something Scientologists are not allowed to do or encouraged to ever do with Scientology doctrine. That is part of why Scientology is a cult. No opposing or dissenting opinions are allowed and no open discourse as Socratic debate or reasoned debate is allowed.
To address this issue I am going to quote and discuss several references. It will be spread out over several blog posts and likely to be extensive. That is because the methods to overcome poor reason are the opposite of Scientology and usually not taught in most schools. They are known and many were established long ago but just not usually in most curriculum.
I will start with a series of quotes from Glen Whitman at his blog. They are appropriate and clearly written for laymen with no prior education in the subject.
Begin Quotes by Glen Whitman
Debate is, fortunately or not, an exercise in persuasion, wit, and rhetoric, not just logic. In a debate format that limits each debater's speaking time, it is simply not reasonable to expect every proposition or conclusion to follow precisely and rigorously from a clear set of premises stated at the outset. Instead, debaters have to bring together various facts, insights, and values that others share or can be persuaded to accept, and then show that those ideas lead more or less plausibly to a conclusion.
Logic is a useful tool in this process, but it is not the only tool -- after all, "plausibility" is a fairly subjective matter that does not follow strict logical rules. Ultimately, the judge in a debate round has to decide which side's position is more plausible in light of the arguments given -- and the judge is required to pick one of those sides, even if logic alone dictates that "we do not know" is the answer to the question at hand.
Besides, let's be honest: debate is not just about finding truth, it's also about winning. If you think a fallacious argument can slide by and persuade the judge to vote for you, you're going to make it, right? The trick is not getting caught.
Second, and maybe more importantly, pointing out a logical fallacy is a way of removing an argument from the debate rather than just weakening it. Much of the time, a debater will respond to an argument by simply stating a counterargument showing why the original argument is not terribly significant in comparison to other concerns, or shouldn't be taken seriously, or whatever. That kind of response is fine, except that the original argument still remains in the debate, albeit in a less persuasive form, and the opposition is free to mount a rhetorical offensive saying why it's important after all. On the other hand, if you can show that the original argument actually commits a logical fallacy, you put the opposition in the position of justifying why their original argument should be considered at all. If they can't come up with a darn good reason, then the argument is actually removed from the round.
It is therefore not enough simply to point out a logical fallacy and move on; there is an art to pointing out logical fallacies in your opposition's arguments. Here are a few strategies I've found useful in pointing out logical fallacies in an effective manner:
- State the name of the logical fallacy, preferably in both Latin and English, and make sure you use the phrase "logical fallacy." Why? Because it is important to impress on everyone that this is no mere counterargument you are making, nor are you just labelling the opposition's viewpoint as "fallacious" for rhetorical effect. Stating the fallacy's Latin name helps, because some people just aren't sure something's a fallacy unless Aristotle or some other authority called it one. Say something like, "The opposition points out that the voters supported X by a wide margin in last year's referendum. But this is just the logical fallacy ofargumentum ad populum, appeal to public opinion!"
- Tell everybody what the fallacy means and why it is wrong. But be careful -- you have to do this without sounding pedantic. You should state the fallacy's meaning as though you are reiterating what you assume your intelligent judge already knows. To continue the example above, say, "It doesn't matter how many people agree with you, that doesn't mean it's necessarily right." There, now you've defined for everyone what's fallacious about argumentum ad populum.
- Give a really obvious example of why the fallacy is incorrect. Preferably, the example should also be an unfavorable analogy for the opposition's proposal. Thus: "Last century, the majority of people in some states thought slavery was acceptable, but that didn't make it so!"
- Finally, point out why the logical fallacy matters to the debate round. "This fallacious argument should be thrown out of the debate. And that means that the opposition's only remaining argument for X is...."
From Glen Whitman Associate Professor of Economics California State University, Northridge
Someone could say "I don't care about fallacies I talk and think how I like." Fine, just like you have that freedom I also have the freedom to object to or point out fallacies. If someone really does not like it they can ask me to not talk to them.
I in the process of tearing apart Scientology doctrine after leaving the cult developed certain habits. One is looking for and pointing out logical fallacies in Hubbard's doctrine and then my own words and thoughts and those of others. It's not perfect or error free, but it becomes a habit after a while.
Then pointing it out to others becomes a natural habit too. So, it isn't a personal attack but can be treated as one.
This first post just introduced the subject and a tiny bit on why it's worth learning what fallacies are and that in my opinion a person that knows fallacies and other elements of critical thinking well is extremely unlikely to be duped by Scientology.
It's built on fallacies. But being able to dissect them and expose them can remove the influence of Scientology and expose the incompetence of Ron Hubbard.
It can also help a dedicated student to improve their reason in general and not just for arguments or debate.
The person most people influence the most is themselves. By thinking things and not understanding aspects of them they reinforce some ideas and rule out others, but with less than perfect logic and reason.
By seeing neutral examples of fallacies in others a person can learn which fallacies they have been using too.
Fallacies aren't just intentionally used persuasion tools of language - they are ways of thinking that use poor reason or errors in logic to poorly support beliefs. Those beliefs support behaviors and emotions too.
If you do something, feel something and believe something it's good to understand why and if errors or bad habits affect those things then hopefully reason can expose them. To me that is worth the effort to learn.
Glen Whitman link to his blog below
Return to main debate page.
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All quotes :
From Glen Whitman
Associate Professor of Economics
18111 Nordhoff St.
Northridge, CA 91330-8374