Talk:Church of Scientology/Archive 1

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This archived Talk: page is the archived Talk: page of [Talk:Scientology (doctrine)]; see Talk:Church of Scientology/Archive 2 for the laterer archive of that Talk: page, and its history.


In its current form, this article is very difficult to understand. I would recommend writing to make it more accessible. --Peter A. Lipson 14:09, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

I've rewritten what I think you might be referring to, but please post more comments if you would like. I've tried to present the reason why Hubbard called it "a study of knowledge". I've tried to be specific about what he was talking about re:knowledge, as specifically as possible. Terry E. Olsen 18:16, 1 May 2007 (CDT)

I think it is still quite difficult to understand. And philosophically it sounds a little incoherent - perhaps its terminological. I think the problem might be that it is not a good idea to write about a topic from the inside - if ones a Christian it might be hard to write about Christianity objectively, since it's the framework with which one approach the world. More seriously, though, it seems to be making assumptions about epistemology that are quite sweeping and a little ill-informed: this area of philosophy had, for example, ideas of knowledge more sophisticated than 'book learning' about 2500 years ago with Plato. There is also a long tradition of ideas of practical wisdom, know-how contra know that, and so forth which seems to be relevant, but unmentioned in the article. Hope this helps. Damien Storey 18:47, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

I'm inclined to think that this article should be deleted on grounds that it probably has little usable content, and its sole author has left CZ. It says virtually nothing about the body of doctrine that is called "scientology" and in its current form is extremely misleading precisely because it omits everything that is essential to scientology. The Wikipedia article at least has an account of things like "auditing" and "thetans" and the rest of it. --Larry Sanger 23:42, 22 May 2007 (CDT)

Per discussion on Larry Sanger's talk page, I'm going to do my best to take over the responsibility of making this page a proper introduction to this topic, and bringing it up to snuff. As such, I'm going to remove the deletion notice for now, and do what I can. If I misunderstood this, do forgive. Michael MacNeil 10:10, 23 May 2007 (CDT)
Deletion would be music to my prejudices, but I agree that if it can be replaced with some informative, neutral content then this would justify its existence. A mammoth 'criticism' section perhaps. Damien Storey 18:47, 24 May 2007 (CDT)

Thoughts, anyone?

I don't know if anyone else will be interested in this article besides me, but I've decided it'd be a good idea to document my actions on the talk page and put anything I remove on here so it can be replaced if someone finds me to be in error.

I don't think the quotes from Hubbard are that useful. They're interspersed oddly throughout the article, and aren't simple or broken down enough to seem of use in an encyclopedic article. I plan to remove, for instance, these, which made no sense even to ME at first.

  • "If we understand what we know--you know, that's an interesting thing; you have to understand what you know--if we understand what we know, we can go a long way ....."

This one strikes me as, well, rambling, and not pertinent to its placement.

  • The Scientology religion comprises a body of knowledge, says the Church of Scientology

Err, this, aside from being a truism, is kind of equally irrelevant and would be quoted better in prose than as a sentence sourced all on its own. Also not to mention the "Dit-dah" quote.

  • Don’t be like the signalman who goes up on the bridge of a battlewagon ... and there is a flashing light going dit-da, dit-da. And somebody says to this signalman, "All right, what’s he saying?" ..."Well, just a moment, I have to give it some more study." Oh no, he doesn’t. If he’s a signalman, dit-da means "A" to him. And a whole string of dots, sort of read en masse together, mean a word to him. He has conquered the barrier of meaning in light flashes.

While all of these may be significant to inductees of the Scientology doctrine, I think some clarification would be aided by converting it all to prose, and making the article about its topic: the doctrine. It should explain what Scientologists believe, their practices (I have experience and research about these, within my purview, and feel I can write ably), and generally I think should analyze the doctrine without espousing/using the language of the dogma. Just thoughts for now, though I'm already writing a version incorporating the information of the current in a more introductory form. So, do speak out if anyone has recommendations for what to include. Michael MacNeil 10:10, 23 May 2007 (CDT)

I quit working here because of a lack of discussion. Just because I know some of Scientology doesn't mean its actuality is going to get presented, I guess. How about this, here's a link to Beliefnet, their language might be more easily understood. [1] Put plainly, Scientology is a study of knowledge. There is simply no plainer way to say it. Its methods study knowledge toward understanding knowledge and, apparently, this is a confusing idea for people because it seems too simplistic to require any attention. Dianetics was the forerunner of Scientology. By Dianetic methods, people understood what they already knew. For example, a guy KNEW he had a hurt foot, through Dianetics he understood what he already knew and his foot got better. And Scientology simply follows that idea, that you understand knowledge. Because when you understand your knowledge, you can use it right away in all kinds of circumstances. Am I suggesting that scientologists understand the things they are criticized for? I guess I am, yes. Terry E. Olsen 02:46, 5 August 2007 (CDT)

Old article contents

Scientology would be the study of knowledge, said L. Ron Hubbard in a lecture on March 3, 1952.[1] He was lecturing Dianetics students in Wichita, Kansas and began his first lecture of the series with the idea that a study of knowledge was his subject and what he was going to talk about. He expanded his statement to make it clear that he intended scientology to mean a "study of knowledge" [2] and illustrated his subject.
Don’t be like the signalman who goes up on the bridge of a battlewagon ... and there is a flashing light going dit-da, dit-da. And somebody says to this signalman, "All right, what’s he saying?" ..."Well, just a moment, I have to give it some more study." Oh no, he doesn’t. If he’s a signalman, dit-da means "A" to him. And a whole string of dots, sort of read en masse together, mean a word to him. He has conquered the barrier of meaning in light flashes.

He addressed what he saw as a gap. On one side of the gap lies recallable data, memorized data, information that can be remembered. On the other side of the gap lies action based on practiced experience, useable data, i.e. the signalman uses what he knows. If the signalman has bridged the gap then he can tell you what is being said. But if the signalman has not bridged the gap, then he can not. Hubbard addresed this gap by saying scientology is a "study of knowledge" because the gap is between "known data that can be recalled" and "known data that can be acted with". Stated in another way the gap lies between "known data" and "understood data".

Study knowledge to understand knowledge

"If we understand what we know--you know, that's an interesting thing; you have to understand what you know--if we understand what we know, we can go a long way ....."[3]
This is the gap Hubbard addressed, the gap that scientology is about. Hubbard's study of knowledge applies itself to this gap, or potential gap. This gap between "I know" and "I understand and can use what I know". He defined the gap in his 1952 lecture but he attempted to span that gap earlier, with Dianetics.

Traditionally, knowledge is something you aquire and then recall. Whereas Hubbard states you have to understand what you know, i.e. a signalman sees a pattern of flashing lights and can tell you what it said. Compared to traditional "book learning"; it centers in the gap between "book learning" and "able to skillfully use book learning." Stated another way, scientology doesn't present that a person has knowledge; but presents that a person understand what they know, in understanding it, becomes able to use what they know.

For example: In theory, an engineer who is fresh out of university could engineer a modern bridge. In actual practice, no engineering business would hire a fresh graduate to engineer a modern bridge by himself. But hypothetically, the engineer could confidently engineer a modern bridge if the fresh engineer had used scientology methods he would be able to apply what he gained by education. His knowledge would include, understanding application of his education. Hubbard's method doesn't stop with, "I know", but goes a step further to, "I understand this significance and can apply this information".

Applications of study

In 1949 he first used this method of bridging the gap as it applies to memory, with Dianetics. In 1952 he spelled out the difference of his approach to a study of knowledge and called it scientology. Finally, in 1954, today's Church of Scientology was created with Hubbard as its founder. However, he continued to develop applications of scientology until his death in 1986.


Hubbard first applied this idea of bridging the gap within a specific subject, the subject of the mind. His first writing was Terra Incognita: The Mind [4] Dianetics applies bridging the gap of what is known, but not understood, to an individual's memory. You have memory and can recall past events. This is personal information, personal knowledge and an individual will understand most of what they can recall. Dianetics bridges the gap with difficult, traumatic memories. It has an individual recall, examine and understand memories they already know, but don't yet fully understand. Those sorts of memories tend to "stick out", an individual thinks about them often. By this method you come to understand what you already knew.

Study technology

Old time education, he said in 1956, could be defined in this wise: placing data in the recalls of others.[5] He went on to say that old-time education does not address how useable the data in a person’s recall is. It does not address how well a person can do things with their information. It does not address what a person could have with the data placed in their recall. It causes a person to rely on their experience to make use of their data. Remembered experience, he said, is quite different than perception and estimation of the situation. i.e. the signalman can remember his data, but he can’t use it as he sees light flashes and cannot translate those flashes into words. The step between "data in recall" and "useable knowledge" is what Scientology studies to improve. Said briefly, there is a difference between knowledge and the application of same. Scientology applies itself to this area, hence why it is a "study of knowledge". One of its areas of application is "Study Technology"[6]


Hubbard developed a body of literature that comprises scientology, it is in the area of 40 million words. On his passing in 1986, he entrusted it to the Church with its attendant copyrights and trademarks. The Church presents an orderly series of courses to practitioners that begins with its most basic principles and moves through a number of specific applications. Alternatively, the Church will sell almost all of Hubbard's literature to anyone. Public libraries have some copies of some of Hubbard's many books. Not every word of scientology deals with the difference between "knowledge in recall" and "skill developed with the use of knowledge." A portion of it applies to organization. The Organizational Executive Series volumes (10 large volumes and an index and large dictionary) apply scientology to organization. He also wrote about that gap can be bridged (about how scientology applies) to education, to morality, to the use of morality information in rehabilitating criminals, to freeing a person from drug residues, to business, work, and other areas. The Church uses scientology toward its goal of rehabilitating of the human spirit. The two main methods it uses are apply scientology to what a person already knows in memory, and education.

The Scientology religion comprises a body of knowledge, says the Church of Scientology. [7]

Scientology is an applied religious philosophy developed by L. Ron Hubbard says the "what is scientology" website. [8] The word Scientology literally means "the study of truth." It comes from the Latin word "scio" meaning "knowing in the fullest sense of the word" and the Greek word "logos" meaning "study of."[9]

Hubbard's vision of scientology

In his 1952 lecture he first laid out his vision of scientology. He said it could not help but address personal responsibility and religion. Hubbard is known as the creator of that body of information which is called scientology, and the founder of the organization today responsible for it, the Church of Scientology. He entrusted the Church with his copyrights and trademarks before his death in 1986. NOTE[10]


  1. Scientology: Milestone One, a lecture on 3 Mar 1952, Wichita, Kansas, Hubbard
  2. Scientology: comes from the Latin scio, which means "know" and the Greek word logos, meaning "the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known." Thus, Scientology means knowing about knowing. scientology glossary
  3. The Hope of Man, lecture, Hubbard, 3 June 1955, Washington DC, Bridge pubs.
  4. Terra Incognita: The Mind, published in 1948, online as an article.
  5. Education a lecture on 25 Oct 1956, Washington DC, Hubbard
  6. Study Technology
  7. the Church of Scientology
  8. the scientology glossary
  9. Church of Scientology's website
  10. NOTE: Although the term had seen rare earlier use, Hubbard adopted the word as the title for his study of knowledge.

Further discussion

Reconsidering the directon of the article

I am new to Citizendium, so may not be quite in keeping with the requirements for interacting with fellow authors. One of my areas of expertise is Dianetics and Scientology, having been involved with these subjects for close to four decades.

I see the earlier write-up was shy of the goal of providing a clear understanding of the subject. I am concerned with the current tack, too, as available so far, because it is based on third-party information that is misleading and in some cases, completely incorrect. I would like to suggest that I take over the lead on this subject, with all due respect to Michael McNiel, who has obvously put some thought and work into the article but whose sources are not providing him with balanced and neutral content that wll result in a useful understanding for the Citizendium readership.

I am proposing to lighten Mr. McNiel's load because, to do justice to the subject, I believe a bottom-up re-write is required, more than minor edits of the current offerring.

All the best, ...said Steven Ferry (talk) (Please sign your talk page posts by simply adding four tildes, ~~~~.)

Steven, you have offered this courtesy post, which you did not really have to do, but was a very nice gesture given that you plan to replace the article. You don't need my "permission" or anyone else's here, but let me just go ahead and say it: Be Bold!, right on the article space here.  :-)  —Stephen Ewen (Talk) 23:14, 22 August 2007 (CDT)

Very good

Thanks, Steve. I shall begin work on this tomorrow. It's a large subject and my schedule is somewhat tight, so it will take a few weeks to complete the first draft. Steven Steven Ferry 23:50, 22 August 2007 (CDT)