Scientology and Science

Anybody know how Scientology reconciles their creation story with actual science/evidence?

I recently read the book Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief, and I was struck by how ridiculous the entire Xenu story is. I’ve heard general descriptions about it before, but this time I was finding it difficult to believe how anyone could believe this themselves.

For those not familiar, Wikipedia has a pretty good summary of the publicly available information. Key points include the fact that the universe is four quadrillion years old (4,000,000,000,000,000!), and that people were around at least 75 million years ago as part of a galactic empire ruled by Xenu.

These assertions contradict our current understanding of the universe and how life evolved on Earth, to put it mildly. Has anyone associated with the Church of Scientology attempted to reconcile this story with actual science in any way?

How is this any different from people believing the earth and all of creation is roughly 6,000 years old and man was created complete and unique? It’s religion, it doesn’t have to jibe with science.

I guess what I’m getting at is that here in the USA there is an entire industry around reconciling fundamentalist Christianity with science. Is there anything similar to Creationism v. Evolution in Scientology, or is it all just hand-waved away/ignored?

I thought that very, very few Scientologists knew the Operating Thetan level III secrets. Remember that, until recently, that information was closely guarded and it would take tens of thousands of hours and/or dollars to progress to level OT III.

Until high-level former Scientologists [bravely] left the organization, Scientology didn’t need apologetics because OT III knowledge was very exclusive information. They also had a prophet who didn’t exactly encourage critical thinking surrounding Scientology’s tenets.

Other exclusive societies (Masons, Mormons, Stonecutters) don’t defend their secret rituals and knowledge either, possibly because keeping traditions is more important or because they’re fine with them as dogma.

regginbrow, you’re right that there is a need for some Christians to reconcile their faith and Biblical events with science. That may be because they feel like science is constantly attacking or discrediting their views by pointing out inconsistencies. Many other Christians don’t care or “just take it on faith”. I’d argue that the USA’s Creationism Defense Industry is the exception among major religions, instead of the rule.

The abundance of information from the internet has raised lots of questions for Scientology, just as it has for many other religious organizations. How many of us knew what a Xenu was in 1980?

Keep in mind that they don’t reveal the Xenu stuff to you right away. You usually have to be in the church for years before they tell you about that, at which point you’ve presumably already bought into a whole bunch of other crap, and spent tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars working your way up the ranks.

And as Telemark mentioned, the word of scientists hasn’t stopped many established religions from continuing to exercise faith in their own creation stories.

As others have commented I guess it’s no sillier than other religions’ myths, although reading it is like wading through a particularly bad science-fiction novel. I find myself wishing sometimes that one of the great writers of SF had decided to start a religion rather than the third-rate Hubbard; someone like Weinbaum, Asimov, Heinlein, Dick, Vance, Cordwainer Smith, Alfred Bester - now that would be some religion! I might even join a well-written religion myself!

The Church of All World’s is “inspired” by the religion described in Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” and has a few active groups, but its tiny compared to Scientology.

There is? I’ve never noticed it. Scientists aren’t losing any sleep over what fundamentalist Christians believe and vice versa.

I always love how the Scientology creation story is so ridiculously stupid that when South Park explained itverbatim they had to keep flashing “THIS IS WHAT SCIENTOLOGISTS ACTUALLY BELIEVE” on the screen lest anyone watching think it was their joke they were making!

That wasn’t the question. The question was how they reconcile their mythology with science. That fact that other religions don’t do so is irrelevant.

My question is why does the OP think that Scientology is unique or special compared to other religions? The way other religions deal with the same issue could be instructive. And I don’t see any reason that Scientology should be expected to reconcile their religion with science in the first place - that way my point.

Moderator Note

It may be your point, but it’s not the question the OP is asking. Let’s try to stick to the OP rather than deflecting this into some other discussion. If you want to discuss that, open a new thread in Great Debates.

General Questions Moderator

(I think I’m the third poster to comment on this salubrious remark. :slight_smile: )

You might appreciate some of the nifty religions that Kurt Vonnegut gave us.

From Cat’s Cradle, we get Bokononism.

And straight from the maw of the Chronosynclastic Infundibulum in Sirens of Titan, Vonnegut gives us the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent:

(ETA: To say nothing of Cthulhuism!)

Since they don’t reveal their secrets for free - I’m not sure how there would be an explanation - it isn’t how cults/religions work.

I am unaware of any attempt to actually try and get their story to jive with science / and obviously any attempt to do so would have to involve hand waving or misleading info.

Since there are hundred of millions if not more people that literally believe that a boat was filled up with 2/7 of every animal - presumably including fruit flies - and sailed around the ocean.

I realize stuff like this - doesn’t answer your question. I just don’t think you are going to get one - mainly due to their secrecy.

The consider their beliefs to be copyrighted intellectual property. They don’t go around discussing it. No one would be allowed to stay in Scientology if the decided to do so. So it isn’t really like how you COULD find someone to try and argue how Noah got the fruit flies safely around for 40 days. You can find a Christian - who will argue this - and other than the Catholic branch of Christianity - there aren’t any real official authorities like in Scientology.

They don’t feel like they need to defend their beliefs - and as others have mentioned - this stuff isn’t even known by the vast majority of scientologists.

So why I can’t say 100% - I am 99.9% sure that no official member of the CoS has ever attempted to reconcile the most secret parts of their religion (which as already mentioned cost $$$) with science. I think the most you’ll ever get is their views on stuff like antidepressants and the like.

Of course if they wanted to - a perfect out would be - “Science is in our name.”

Roman or Anglican Cthulhuism? There is a difference…:wink:

My favourite Vonnegut religion is the Church of Jesus Christ The Kidnapped. This explains exactly why the Second Coming is delayed, perhaps indefinitely.

Fair enough, point taken.

Since these beliefs are secret, any attempts to get them to jive with modern science would – presumably – be secret as well.

So it may well be that a Scientological (is that a word?) equivalent to creationism exists, but just hasn’t leaked out to the rest of us.

This opens another question, which… I now realise is off-topic, so imma gonna start a spin-off thread rather than derail this one.

Which religion believes that.

That would be creationism, a subset of christianity.

This is a complete WAG, but my thinking is that by the time they’re far enough along to hear these secrets, they’re probably so immersed in Scientology thinking that there’s very little chance that outside ideas or thoughts are going to even make it into their brains, let alone cause conflict.