"But you seem to be under the impression that a real evaluation would be easy. That is simply not the case, if it were, there wouldn't be new minor religions invented every other week."
What do other religions have to do with Scientology and whether or not an evaluation is possible or easy? I don't think it would be easy, and I misspoke if I said as much. But it's certainly possible. And an evaluation of whether or not Dianetics works is, actually, pretty easy. That took about two weeks to really see it working. Heck, it can take just one session to see the Tone Scale in action, and how secondaries work. It's not hard at all. But that's Dianetics, not all of Scientology. In any case, your argument about other minor religions being invented every other week -- I'll assume that you're exagerating here -- has nothing to do with an evaluation of Dianetics or Scientology.
According to the history as provided by the Church, the initial OT-level stuff was not really developed until the 60's, culminating with everyone's favorite, OT III, in 1967. Dianetics was developed in the late 40's, culminating with a book (the Dianetics book) about the technique written and released on May 11, 1950. As near as I can tell, this is correct. Dianetics was not based on the OT-level stuff; the OT-level stuff was developed out of "further research" later on. So, no, it's quite easy to evaluate Dianetics outside the context of Scientology or the upper level materials. Scientology didn't really exist as a subject until late 1951 or early 1952.
As to whether or not Scientology does more harm than good, how can you possibly answer that question without knowing whether or not the practices actually work? Even a competent surgeon can make a mistake, or come across someone with a peculiar anatomy that results in harm to the patient; that hardly makes surgery wrong. Likewise, that Scientology has a number of rather vocal critics of people who claim harm from the activities of the Church doesn't mean that Scientology hasn't been beneficial for those of us who hold the opposing view. I am someone who offers an alternative viewpoint, and that is that it has been helpful to me and others, and that I have practiced Scientology on others with positive results.
The problem is, here in the wild frontier, that the critics are assumed to be right, and anyone with an opposing opinion is assumed to be, at best, hallucinating.
The difficult questions that the critics raise about the upper level materials... what, about the validity thereof? As I've pointed out elsewhere, there are plenty of public materials which make the upper level materials I've seen posted around the Internet (and since I've never actually seen the upper level materials, I can't actually say that these are, in fact, the upper level materials, but the critics have said so) appear tame in comparison. So what other tough question is there? That Hubbard seems to have come up with some pretty crazy ideas? Get in line...
My opinion is that it's not possible to judge the upper level materials without the context of the previous materials. I happen to believe in past lives, for example. Anyone who believes in "One Life To Live" could, of course, hold much of the materials in Scientology up to ridicule. Oh well... It doesn't take the upper level materials to do that. It doesn't take the upper level materials to ridicule Scientology, and all those "difficult questions" could pretty easily be pressed using public materials. "Operation Clambake" needed nothing but History of Man...
For reference, I beleived in past lives long before I found Scientology.
The big point of the upper level materials is that these were private writings of Hubbard which were stolen in the early 70's and then passed around. Just because you happen to disagree with the Church or Hubbard does not mean that you should have access to them. If I stole your private journal and then published it on the Internet, wouldn't you hope to have some recourse against me? These belong to the Church, now, not you, not the "critics". Per law, the rather aggressive attempts by the Church to protect those writings is not unlike the aggressive pursuit of trademark infringement which the law requires. It is part of the beliefs of the Church that those writings be protected. You don't have to agree with it. As someone outside the religion, you're not expected to. But the Church has the legal right and the religious obligation to pursue the protection of those materials, and it will never stop.
Criticize the Church all you want. Bring up the Guardian's Office and slam it in people's faces. (Hmmm... Scientologists can be just as stupid as everyone else sometimes...) Remind everyone that their pets are doomed... (I prefer leaving a dead trout on doorsteps, but drowning dogs could provide some measure of satisfaction...) Point out how much brainwashing is done, and how much it all costs, and how the Church brainwashes people to give up thousands of dollars, and leaves them destitute, penniless, homeless, and starving. Make up anything you want. "My opinion is..." If the Church even so much as looks at you funny, throw the Creed of the Church in its face. The Creed does not distinguish between Scientologist and wog.
For the record, I'm not a Scientologist -- but not because I have found it not to work, or because I have some serious disagreement with the Church. I am on my own path now -- always was, but part of that path included time spent in and with Scientology, and I am grateful for it. But I am not here to defend the actions of the Church, or to argue in favor of upper level materials being kept secret. Personally, I don't care. But I will not just remain silent while the bunch of you who have never once actually done anything but sit in judgment on it without once ever really trying it attempt to determine whether or not it is "doing more harm than good" when the best you can muster is an academic sneer of "of course I've read it and it can't possibly work." It's the same sneer that has blocked the progress of knowledge among mankind for as far back as anyone has challenged the status quo.
How many refused to even look through the telescope offered by Galileo? You are caught in the same trap -- "it's obviously false, so why bother trying it?" You think that just because it was the Church of the day which practiced this that you are somehow superior... but you're just exercising the same kind of human behavior which fills our history. Humanity hasn't evolved beyond prejudice. All the Church of his day had to do was LOOK IN THE DAMN TELESCOPE. All the Church of today (that's you, BTW) need do is TRY THE DAMN TECHNIQUE. Granted, it's a BIT harder than just looking in the telescope, but I don't think it beyond you.
I would respect the opinion of anyone who could tell me that, yes, he had attempted it, and here's what he did, and this is why it's wrong -- because then I could at least discuss the issue, and I would know I was dealing with someone who is past hiding behind his prejudice.
I could tell you about the times that I've practiced Dianetics and Scientology, and here's what happened, and this is how it worked, and here's where I messed up. No, I don't have the records with me, because all those records go into folders which are protected by law, and I don't think you'd want your psychiatrist telling your secrets on the Internet, for example, so excuse me for extending others that courtesy about their personal lives. I could tell you about the times that others practiced Dianetics and Scientology on me, and here's what did work, and here's what didn't, and here's the mistakes I found, and here's how it got fixed, and this is what I realized, and...
The testimony of a single witness is worth more than a thousand expert opinions from experts who've never even seen it. And yet, rather than become a single witness, you seek the comfort of expert opinions which maintain your prejudice.
And yet I am the one whose rationality is questioned?
At least I had the courage to look.
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