Cult Expert, London School of Economics Social Science Professor Eileen Barker Submits Herself to the Gearty Grilling

Eileen Vartan Barker OBE, (born 21 April 1938, Edinburgh, UK) is a professor in sociology, an emeritus member of the London School of Economics (LSE), and a consultant to that institution’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights. She is the chairperson and founder of the Information Network Focus on Religious Movements (INFORM) and has written studies about groups she defines as cults and new religious movements (NRMs). (See More at Wikipedia Article)

In this interview (running time 5min 12secs), Eileen Barker is grilled on her views of “cults” after studying them – using science – for 40 years.

Very often because it’s more visible in a so-called ‘cult’, people notice it. And they forget to notice, say a cult member committing suicide could be perfectly true, but it wouldn’t be reported if it happened to an Anglican. It’s not news, whereas if it’s a cult then it’s far more visible. And so we try to make comparisons, use control groups and so forth, and say well this might not be anything to do with the movement in fact the rate [of suicide] in a new religious movement might be lower in the new religious movement than it is in an old religious movement.”

As with so many other areas of life, science can bring new insight into the reality of religions and new religious movements. And yet scientists in these areas are rejected by Tony Ortega and other anti-cultists as “shills” and “quacks”.

Why do you think anti-cultists like Tony Ortega, Chris Shelton, and others reject science so much? And when they call a social scientist a “shill” or a “quack”, where is their quantitative data that disputes the work of the social scientist?

I have never once seen them offer any scientific data to dispute the results of any of the scientists they wish to discredit with this juvenile name calling character assassinations.

So who would you listen to on the subject of ‘cults’?

Scientists with actual data, or anti-cultists with no quantitative data whatsoever?

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john duignanGibmarildiZane XJo Pendleton Recent comment authors

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The Aftermath is focusing on the “horrors” of scn, but I think the overall gist is the eradication of the entire subject. In the 1970’s auditing cost $25/hour which was maybe four or five times a wage earners salary. My e-meter cost $125. If Elron wasn’t so greedy and didn’t jack the prices up so high the thing might still be humming along.

introspection –
1. observation or examination of one’s own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself
2. the tendency or disposition to do this

That’s how I looked at and experienced scn and imo there’s nothing wrong with that.


I’d agree with you except for a few things.

I got involved in dianetics and then scientology because I could go clear and then OT.

Never happened and never will, even Alanzo knows this.

Calling scientology a religion or a science of the mind is not a moot point.

Shoot, even the founder said he failed and wasn’t coming back, but no matter what the founder said, I’ve never see it, that is a clear or OT.

Never happened, never will,


Yes Gib! There are NO Clears or OTs! Thank you! I understand! I got that!

There are several lists by sociologists rating cults and scn ranks high on the lists. After I exited scn in 1983 I looked back and realized I had been in a cult but the broad range of subjects it covered is a basis for comparison. When I got into scn at age 25 I had no background in science, religion or philosophy. I had to start somewhere! laughter!

Joe Pendleton
Joe Pendleton

Your use of the word “hysterical” shows the complete bias of your “analysis.” Of course one could debate the use of the word “scientist” in the above context as well, but for another time. Leah is exposing to the public the stories that TRULY SHOW and are indicative of the CoS’ s attitude toward individuals (what I observed in my 35 years of working in Scientology). This is the MAIN point that she is making and I might add, making fantastically well.


Season 1 of Aftermath was more interesting. They need to come up with something new or the public will lose interest. Promoting that scn causes parental neglect and suicide is running out of gas.


In episode 3 they went back to the “Going Clear” movie format in showing a cartoon of a fetus in a womb and implying scn-ists believe everything written in “Dianetics The Modern Science of Mental Health” which was published in 1950. That was about “pre natals” causing some mothers to believe they need to distance themselves from a child, for anyone who hasn’t watched the show. Ridiculous

john duignan
john duignan

‘So who would you listen to on the subject of ‘cults’? Scientists with actual data, or anti-cultists with no quantitative data whatsoever?’

I observed the likes of Melton, Davis, Lewis and a couple of others from academia being led by the nose through a finely orchestrated production put on by the Office Of Special Affairs and the LRH PPRO Office at Saint Hill, I think that was 2000. Now, the RPF was pulled off of their grueling slave labour two weeks before, they were given good food, lots of rest and very carefully coached on every possible aspect of the expected line of questioning. They were even allowed to watch television and particularly the ongoing FA Cup league so that they would appear up to date on current affairs. I mean, it was a joke, myself and other SO memebers and indeed, the RPFers, were sniggering at how cleverly the wool had been pulled over the eyes of these fuddy-duddy researchers.

Hmmm… Let’s go to Syria for a moment. Who would you believe about ISIS atrocities? The Yazidi people brutalized by ISIS fanatics and the women sold off into sex slavery? Or a CNN account?

Now I would love to know what the ‘actual data’ these scientists have.