If AntiCultists Love Science So Much, Why Don’t They Use It?

One of the most hysterical and unscientific beliefs of the Anti-Cult movement is that “brainwashing” and “Mind Control” is at work whenever anyone becomes a member of a “cult”.

These ideas are assumed and unquestioned by members of the anti-Cult Movement. They’re the basis of their anti-cult beliefs. But when asked for any study that has been conducted which shows evidence of the existence of cult mind control – including an objective definition for “cult mind control” itself – they come up with nothing.

You are then usually accused of being a cult member for asking such a question.

I’m not kidding.

So how can it be shown that anti-Scientologists, and other anti-cultists, reject science?

The Null Hypothesis:

“a general statement or default position that there’s no causative relationship between two measured phenomena, or no association among groups. Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis – and showing no relationship between 2 measured phenomena – is a central task in the modern practice of science.”

Despite constantly asking for evidence which proves the relationship between ‘cult mind control’ and membership in a minority religion, I’m still not aware of any reference to any study in the anti-cult movement which shows any relationship between them whatsoever.

In fact, many studies have been conducted which show there is no evidence that mind control has any effect on ‘cult’ involvement, or that ‘cult mind control’ even exists.

This is the Null Hypothesis: There is no relation to ‘mind control’ and ‘cult’ involvement. This null hypothesis has been proven by social scientists over and over again.

The following is an example of just one study where the null hypothesis has been proven. This seminal study was completed as far back as 1984 searching for evidence that proves that “mind control” actually exists.

Here’s what was found:

One of the most comprehensive and influential studies was The Making of a Moonie: Choice or Brainwashing? by Eileen Barker (1984). Barker could find no evidence that Moonie recruits were ever kidnapped, confined, or coerced.

“Participants at Moonie retreats were not deprived of sleep; the lectures were not “trance-inducing”; and there was not much chanting, no drugs or alcohol, and little that could be termed “frenzy” or “ecstatic” experience. People were free to leave, and leave they did.

Barker’s extensive enumerations showed that among the recruits who went so far as to attend two-day retreats (claimed to be Moonie’s most effective means of “brainwashing”), fewer than 25% joined the group for more than a week and only 5% remained full-time members one year later.

And, of course, most contacts dropped out before attending a retreat. Of all those who visited a Moonie centre at least once, not one in two-hundred remained in the movement two years later. With failure rates exceeding 99.5%, it comes as no surprise that full-time Moonie membership in the U.S. never exceeded a few thousand. And this was one of the most New Religious Movements of the era!”

This scientific study shows that if mind control exists, then more people would have joined and remained in the Unification Church because that is exactly what the “brainwashing” was supposed to do, right? It was supposed to make these people do things that the Moonies wanted them to do against their own self interests and better judgment.

Yet with a 99.5% drop out rate, that was obviously not happening.

So where is the actual scientific evidence that mind control exists?

There is no evidence for it.

It is an hysterical claim with no basis in fact.

And yet anti-cultists keep making it.

Empirical Evidence As a Scientology Staff Member

From my position as course supervisor in 3 different parts of the United States, I saw a very similar drop out rate among new people coming in to Scientology. Others with similar positions in Scientology organizations who I have spoken to report a similar drop out rate.

With regard to Scientology, in my experience, the fundamental reason that a person spends any money or time on Scientology is because it is helping them, and they are getting something of value out of it in their own estimation.

That’s the bottom line truth – the Null Hypothesis – regarding participation in Scientology which disproves the theory that brainwashing, cult mind control, hypnosis, and even social coercion is the main reason people participate in it.

All the hysteria surrounding Scientology distracts from the simple but fundamental fact that people participate in Scientology because they like it, and they find it beneficial. They don’t participate in Scientology because they are brainwashed or coerced to do it.

Although social coercion does exist on staff – especially in the Sea Organization  – and through draconian legal contracts and threats of expulsion – these tactics do not apply to the vast majority of public and even staff who are scientologists.

Simple real world common sense gets lost in all these frenzied claims, and Ex-Scientologists just coming out of the Church can begin to give up their own power of choice and delude themselves by believing that the “the devil made them do it”, or “I was BRAINWASHED and Hy-NO-TIZED!”

The non-dramatic and unhysterical fact is that lots of people got benefit from Scientology – until they didn’t.

Then they left.

Null Hypothesis


7 thoughts on “If AntiCultists Love Science So Much, Why Don’t They Use It?”

  1. IMO, “brainwashing”is a poor substitute for a word that may not exist, indicating immersion into a foreign culture that changes what is ‘normal’ via isolation from our usual environment, redefinition of words to mean something new, often now describing something already named something else in our usual environment.
    Re-norming to the new culture’s expectations is the functional equivalent to what I believe is often described as “brainwashing”. I found myself in such a new environment a few years ago when our whole company was sent off to “do” the ‘Human Potential Project’ , which seems to be est “light”, an offshoot of a scn offshoot. I saw the warning signs before we were sent to the 5-day introduction, yet still found myself caught up in the group’s enthusiasm and altered norms. Billed as team building, I soon realized that they were actually harming our company’s extraordinary teamwork ethos, teaching us ‘followership’ instead. Later, comparing notes with a guy who’d been subjected to that cultish experience at his previous earlier company, we determined that it seemed designed to allow Management to decimate the ranks yet still maintain stats through the use of the new buzzwords we’d been taught. Less than 6 months later, 30% of the company was let go in one August afternoon (not me for some reason). About 6 months after that, our whole company was outsourced to three or four firms in India — and our building was shuttered. The earlier company suffered a similar fate. So beware if you’re subjected to HPP a/k/a HP2 and get your resume up-to-date beforehand. If you’re like me, it might not be easy to update things and get the networking going after the hatchet has fallen.

    • Fascinating story!

      I agree – ideological loyalty works in capitalism, communism, and any business enterprise.

      Unfortunately, free speech and diversity of opinion is the only fertile soil any of those could ever survive over time. This is where Marty, Mike and Dave were wholly incompetent.

  2. The Brainwashing Hypothesis can be useful to a new Ex, even though it is not supported by any facts. Adopting this, the Ex, becomes the victim of some evil cult; they have been duped, deceived, and abused. They never have to admit or confront the fact that they made the decisions they made all along the way. They adopted the Scn framework, without critical analysis, or due diligence. That’s a lot of wrong to admit to, after getting kicked in the teeth on their way out of Scn.
    I agree with your proposition, but I can also see that is an attractive hypothesis, regardless of facts.

    • It is as seductive as the hypothesis that you can read thoughts, leave your body at will, and knock hats off at 50 paces.

      But in that hypothesis, it was at least positive and constructive to your ego.

      The brainwashing hypothesis is negative and destructive.

      So, given the two fantasies that are offered for a person to adopt about themselves – which is a step up?

      As long as you deny yourself your own factual power to decide the course of your life – which is what the brainwashing fantasy offers – you will never “recover” or learn from anything. You will become like so many anti-Scientologists are, marauding crusaders out for revenge, convincing themselves how “naive” and horrible they were everyday, and how they wasted so much of their lives.

      In the overwhelming majority of cases, this simply isn’t true. After adopting the brainwashing theory of their own decision making, they are stuck in a negative nightmare about themselves that goes on day after day. It is a horrible fate after Scientology. But it’s presently the only one on offer for people leaving the Church and getting on the Internet to find out what happened to them in Scientology.


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