Searching for Evidence That the Church of Scientology Paid Social Scientists to Shill for Scientology

Shills for ScientologyThere is a claim made by many anti-Scientologists, such as Tony Ortega and others, that the Church of Scientology paid social scientists and other academics in the field of religion to alter their research and write articles favorable to Scientology.

Since objective scientific research is important to critical thinking about Scientology, and since it is important to seek positive evidence in support of a claim, especially one as serious as this one, I’m asking anyone with knowledge to provide actual evidence that this suborning of scientific research actually occurred.

It’s certainly convenient for Anti-Scientologists to believe this, since any objective research results that turn out favorably for Scientology causes an Anti-Scientologist heartburn. But I think even the most staunch Anti-Scientologist would agree that it’s important to have evidence before you slander another person’s career like this.

The person who would probably have been involved in paying these academics to destroy their professional integrity, and their own careers, would have been Mike Rinder as the head of the PR section of the Office of Special Affairs. There were many articles written about Scientology while he was in that position.

Does anyone know of any statements by Mike Rinder confirming that he did this, or statements he or anyone else made that would confirm these slanderous accusations made by Anti-Scientologists are true?

Particularly need evidence for Donald Westbrook being a “shill”. He’s a PhD lecturer at UCLA who Tony Ortega accused of being a shill for Scientology on the Facebook page for the UCLA Center for the Study of Religion last year:

I’ve scoured the Internet for a couple of days now in search of any statements from anyone which would comprise evidence that these social scientists and university academics received even one penny from Scientology to make any statement for or against it in their scientific research or university publications. There has been a lot of mud thrown by anti-Scientologists such as Tony Ortega and Chris Shelton at these professionals, but I can find NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER so far for their slander of these peoples’ careers.

I’ve reached out to Tony Ortega to ask him what evidence he has which justifies this slanderous remark on Donald Westbrook’s work and career, and I am awaiting Tony’s reply.

I’ll let you know if he gets back to me.

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25 Comments on "Searching for Evidence That the Church of Scientology Paid Social Scientists to Shill for Scientology"

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Eileen
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Lecturer is not really faculty. Westbrook is part time, paid on a course by course basis. He may not even be there now.
His dissertation acknowledges “logistical help” from COS. Logistical help is considered payment, that’s why he had to note it.
Let’s forget research standards and apply common sense. Alanzo, if you were studying me, and I gave you a list of 69 people to talk to, would you publish a dissertation claiming to know the truth about me?
If it walks like a shill, and quacks like a shill…

John Doe
Guest

In that we’ve all been paid by big pharma to post negative things about Scientology here and elsewhere, what’s the big deal if Scientology pays a bunch of shills themselves?

By the way, my check from Eli Lilly for this month is late. Anyone else’s late as well?

Richard
Guest

Mike Rinder wants the CoS Inc. to be deleted. My general observation is that five or six people have shown up, particularly on the “Terra Cognita” posts which go into the details of scn (subject of, not the cherch) and claimed benefits. They are usually met with extensive counter essays and most of them gave up.

Richard
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My comment was in response to “trying a social science experiment” mentioned above. The experiment would be trying to post a comment with anything positive about scn in it. Reading Mike’s or Tony’s blogs tends toward materialistic atheism which I choose not to do. A couple of people on Mike’s blog have extensive backgrounds in other philosophical areas. They occasionally go into it a bit, but then sort of apologetically back off since it’s not on the topic of discrediting and bringing down the CoS.

PeaceMaker
Guest

Alonzo, I have several times run across Denice (formerly Larry) Brennan explaining how the CofS engaged and manipulated scholars. I don’t know how you missed that searching – maybe some of it is in videos – but the most obvious example I could quickly find again is in the Declaration of May 6, 2008.

“12. Once religious cloaking was begun in earnest and many self serving documents were
made and images created to reflect a religious image, it was considered vital to get
“experts” to support the concept that organized scientology was in fact an organized
religion., it’s policies “religious scripture”, etc. The entire intention behind the
acquisition and use of such religious and legal scholars was to create and develop
“evidence” to support the religious cloaking that could be used in courts and elsewhere
where needed. While organized scientology today parades out various scholars that say
they are “religious”, I can tell you that this scholar program was started in the Guardian’s
Office and I worked on it as early as 1974. I worked on the obtainment of such scholars
opinions personally and by supervising others to do same and I used such scholars
opinions to obtain recognitions that organized scientology would not otherwise have
obtained.
13. At no point where any scholars briefed on either the real controls of organized
scientology or the reasons why religious cloaking was developed. Instead they tended to
be briefed using the religious cloaking materials developed and/or by speaking with pre
qualified, briefed scientologists who were told what to tell the scholars. If scholars wrote
less than glowing reports of scientology being religious in nature, their opinions were
discarded. For those who would write glowing reports supporting scientology’s “religious
nature”, those reports were kept for further use in legal and/or PR matters.”

That doesn’t specifically address the issue of expenses or grants paid, but a search specific to that turned up an article in the Marburg Journal of Religion Volume 8, No. 1 (September 2003), Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi of the University of Haifa (Israel) writes:

“Scientology at some point decided to cultivate contacts with NRM scholars, and this has taken place through the OSA. Its members have registered as participants at meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. Most recently, scholars have been invited to visit the organization’s headquarters in Los Angeles, with all their expenses paid.”

In Going Clear, Lawrence Wright says:

“Often, such experts are paid to testify in court on behalf of these organizations.”

That gets to the monies that might be made indirectly by scholars who write favorably on Scientology, and it would be entirely in keeping with the established and well-documented modus operandi of OSA/GO to have found less obvious ways to make support of Scientology remunerative, though of course that doesn’t satisfy the desire for more concrete proof.

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