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Academic article on Dianetics and Scientology in Science Fiction Magazines From 1949 to 1999

Discussion in 'Evaluating and Criticising Scientology' started by CommunicatorIC, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. CommunicatorIC

    CommunicatorIC @IndieScieNews on Twitter

    Hubbard Bubble, Dianetics Trouble: An Evaluation of the Representations of Dianetics and Scientology in Science Fiction Magazines From 1949 to 1999.

    Sage Open Journal: Hubbard Bubble, Dianetics Trouble: An Evaluation of the Representations of Dianetics and Scientology in Science Fiction Magazines From 1949 to 1999

    Christopher Benjamin Menadue
    First Published October 17, 2018
    Research Article

    * * * * * BEGIN ABSTRACT * * * * *


    Dianetics was unveiled to the public in the May 1950 edition of Astounding Science Fiction. Dianetics was the brainchild of science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard, and became the foundation for scientology toward the end of the decade. Dianetics was marketed as a “scientific” method for mental improvement—a robust alternative to conventional psychiatry—and was strongly debated in science fiction (sf) magazines. This article follows the trajectory of this cultural phenomenon from 1949 to 1999 as it appeared in this form of popular culture. A proximal reading method was applied to analyze 4,431 magazines, and identified 389 references to dianetics and scientology. References were found in advertising, reader letters, stories, feature articles, and editorials. Significant fluctuations in the prominence and perception of dianetics became clearly visible in the source material across a broad spectrum of content. Negative criticism was present from the outset, and based on logical and scientific arguments. This was countered by obfuscation, or attacks on the authors of these critiques. The followers and promoters of dianetics did not provide scientifically rigorous proof of their claims, and by the mid-1980s, dianetics and scientology were no longer serious topics in the magazines but had been added to other fads and fallacies of sf history. This article demonstrates the effectiveness of a digital humanities proximal reading method to underpin objective classification and analysis of this culturally significant phenomenon.

    * * * * * END ABSTRACT * * * * *
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2018
  2. pineapple

    pineapple Silver Meritorious Patron

    "Toward the end of the decade"? Hubbard was calling it scn in 1952 and CoS was founded in 1954. That's not "toward the end of the decade." Two sentences in, and already I'm starting to think the author doesn't know what he's talking about.
    phenomanon and Clay Pigeon like this.
  3. Gib

    Gib Crusader
  4. Gib

    Gib Crusader

    Kościół scjentologiczny zmaga się obecnie z lawiną wyrażanych publicznie negatywnych opinii na temat systemu przekonań, struktury organizacyjnej i praktyk Kościoła. Pomimo licznych kontrowersji, przywódca duchowy David Miscavige w swoich przemowach nieustannie sławi dokonania Kościoła, lecz pomija temat wyzwań, przed którymi stoi jego zgromadzenie. Artykuł ma na celu: (a) przedstawienie wstępnej charakterystyki Kościoła scjentologicznego, (b) analizę retoryki Miscavige’a w świetle praktyk Kościoła, oraz (c) przedstawienie wstępnych sugestii dotyczących tego, w jaki sposób charakter i retoryka Kościoła odnoszą się do siebie nawzajem. Wstępne wnioski sugerują, że w najlepszym przypadku Miscavige dostarcza swoim wyznawcom pozytywnej wizji Kościoła; w najgorszym razie jego retoryka grozi wzmożeniem krytyki i dalszej izolacji Kościoła.

    The Scientology Church is currently struggling with an avalanche of negative public opinions about the system of beliefs, organizational structure and practices of the Church. Despite numerous controversies, the spiritual leader David Miscavige in his speeches continually praises the achievements of the Church, but omits the subject of the challenges facing his congregation. The article aims to: (a) present an initial characterization of the Scientologist's Church, (b) analyze Miscavige's rhetoric in the light of Church practices, and (c) provide preliminary suggestions on how the character and rhetoric of the Church relate to one another. Initial conclusions suggest that in the best case Miscavige provides his followers with a positive vision of the Church; in the worst case, his rhetoric threatens to increase criticism and further isolation of the Church.
  5. Gib

    Gib Crusader

    unfortunately these people have not analyzed Hubbard's scientology system of belief which is to go "clear" and then "OT", of which none exist.

    If only they would write about that false promise of clear and OT. ReaLLY ANNOYING, BUT A STEP CLOSER, SO YAH.
  6. Gib

    Gib Crusader

    here's another one:

    "This article contributes to the growing body of work on the Church of Scientology, arguing that the Church’s Web site from 2005 to 2010 engages a rhetoric of consumerism. The Church’s site does not merely exemplify consumer capitalism through a haphazard collection of marketing techniques; rather, consumer capitalism is the site’s very language: at the level of vocabulary, syntax, visual design, and site architecture, consumer capitalism is the site’s mode of discursive engagement. In turn, the site’s rhetoric of consumerism crafts the process of spiritual seeking into an act of capitalist consuming.
    The Seeker-Consumer: Scientology and the Rhetoric of Consumerism. Available from: [accessed Oct 18 2018]."

    I'm glad people are looking at dianetics and scientology as rhetoric, the art of persuasion, it's about time. That's all it is, persuasion.
  7. Gib

    Gib Crusader

  8. SFNomad

    SFNomad New Member

    If you have a look, the article is specifically about how scientology appeared in sf magazines - not how it has been recorded elsewhere, and it doesn't appear as the Church of Scientology until later in the 50s in the magazines if you look at the dataset he references in the appendices - he could have specified it more clearly, but abstracts don't allow for many words
  9. SFNomad

    SFNomad New Member

    Just checked to make sure and the list of magazine sources in the appendix shows 'The Founding Church of Scientology' first appearing by name in an sf magazine in 1956, but no mention of scientology before that.
  10. pineapple

    pineapple Silver Meritorious Patron

    The author apparently overlooked this issue of Spaceway Science Fiction, of which I actually have a copy.


    The date on the cover is Feb. 1955, but if you open it to the first page it says Feb. 1954. I'm not sure which is correct.

    The magazine contains an interview with A. E. van Vogt about Dianetics. On a casual skim, the word "scientology" appears three times, once on page 48 and twice on page 49. So here's one example, at least, of scientology being mentioned in an SF magazine before 1956.

    Edit: Welcome to the board, by the way. :)
  11. SFNomad

    SFNomad New Member

    A good find! Looks like it's 1955 according to the isfdb, but still in the first half.
  12. SFNomad

    SFNomad New Member

    ... and hello there too! :)
    phenomanon likes this.