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Scientology

Louis Theroux on Neo-Nazis, Jimmy Savile, UFO Cults, and Scientology

Shermer and Theroux discuss: how documentary films are made • religious fanaticism • UFO cults • Scientology • neo-Nazis • anti-Semitism • prisons, pornography, and prostitution • Jeffrey Epstein and Jimmy Savile • self-help movements and gurus • deception and self-deception • social proof and human conformity • are humans naturally rational, irrational, or both?

eSkeptic for April 30, 2022

Michael Shermer Speaks With Louis Theroux About Neo-Nazis, Jimmy Savile, UFO Cults, and Scientology. PLUS: In SRC Report PCIS-006, we take a look at Conspiracy Theory Endorsement by Media Viewership.

Cults, Myths, and Religion

Dr. Michael Shermer considers the characteristics of cults, how they differ from sects, religions, and myths, the role that myths and religions play in culture and people’s lives, and what Scientologists really believe.

eSkeptic for April 3, 2020

Dr. Michael Shermer considers the characteristics of cults, how they differ from sects, religions, and myths, the role that myths and religions play in culture and people’s lives, and what Scientologists really believe.

Diana Pasulka — American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology

More than half of American adults and more than 75 percent of young Americans believe in intelligent extraterrestrial life. This level of belief rivals that of belief in God. In Science Salon # 105 Michael Shermer speaks with Diana Pasulka about her book: American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology.

eSkeptic for February 25, 2020

In Science Salon # 105 Michael Shermer speaks with Diana Pasulka about her book: American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology. PLUS an excerpt from How to Have Impossible Conversations: A Very Practical Guide provides some tools to help people navigate contentious conversations.

Tony Ortega’s Scientology Book Tour

Jim Lippard reports on the ongoing book tour of a prominent critic of the Church of Scientology.

eSkeptic for August 12, 2015

Paulette Cooper could be called the poster child for Scientology’s “fair game” abuses against a critical journalist. The story has been told many times with varying levels of detail, in most books about the history of Scientology written in the past four decades. But the story has, until now, been incomplete. In this week’s eSkeptic, Jim Lippard reviews Tony Ortega’s comprehensive account of Paulette Cooper’s story. The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology Tried to Destroy Paulette Cooper.

Stranger Than Fiction: A Review of the HBO documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

Donald Prothero reviews an explosive new documentary film about the controversial Church of Scientology.

eSkeptic for April 1, 2015

On the heels of Sunday’s HBO documentary film by Alex Gibney, Going Clear, in this week’s eSkeptic we present an article by Dr. Michael Shermer from Skeptic magazine 17.1 on the cult-like nature of Scientology.

13-04-10

In this week’s eSkeptic, Jim Lippard reviews three books: Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), The Church of Fear: Inside The Weird World of Scientology by John Sweeney (Silvertail Books, 2013), and Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill with Lisa Pulitzer (William Morrow, 2013).

The Decline and (Probable) Fall of the Scientology Empire!

Jim Lippard reviews two books: Janet Reitman’s book Inside Scientology: The Story of America’s Most Secretive Religion (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011, ISBN 978-0618883028) and Hugh Urban’s The Church of Scientology: A History of a New Religion (Princeton University Press, 2011, ISBN 978-0691146089). This article was published in Skeptic magazine 17.1 in 2011.

08-03-05

In this week’s eSkeptic, we present Michael Shermer’s Los Angeles Times opinion editorial on Scientology, followed by several Letters to the Editor that ran in response. And then, we present, in part, Jean E. Rosenfeld’s Los Angeles Times op-ed rebuttal to Michael’s piece.

06-05-12

In this week’s eSkeptic, Michael Shermer presents a Rolling Stone article on Scientology that he calls “one of the most thoughtful, reasoned, and highly-readable pieces on the Church.” Also, Shermer explores the “Sham Scam,” based on Steve Salerno’s book SHAM: The Self-Help & Actualization Movement.

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