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Former Scientologist: CoS Told Brin It Wanted Only "Good" Search Results

timothy posted about a year ago | from the refusing-to-clam-up dept.

Google 205

An anonymous reader writes "Former Scientologist at the highest level Geir Isene reveals that he was brought in to educate top Scientology officials about the Internet, and learned that they had met personally with Google's Sergey Brin (YouTube video), asking him if it were possible for the search giant to filter results so that only positive information about the church would be returned on the word 'Scientology.' You can imagine how that went over. Isene also says that he begged the church's officials to give him a full day to explain the Internet to them before they met with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had regularly criticized the church for its stands against Internet freedom. Apparently, the church is missing Isene's counsel, because just a few days ago, the EFF put the Church of Scientology into its 'Takedown Hall of Shame.' Last month Geir published his journey 'From Independent Scientologist to Just Me' under the GPL v3 license, recognising how being an open source advocate helped with that."

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Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44111915)

Wait! Wait wait wait....

Let me get my popcorn!

Anyone want a beer while I'm up?

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (1)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#44112031)

I'll take one.

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112061)

No, I'll wait until you're flaccid.

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (5, Funny)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44112123)

For a religious fight, I'll take Shmaltz Brewing Company's He'brew. Thanks, and l'chaim!

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (5, Funny)

NoImNotNineVolt (832851) | about a year ago | (#44112615)

He'brew, the chosen beer!

But really, He'brew is terrible. Funny, but terrible.

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44112987)

I won't argue with that, my dad bought it once for a joke during Passover. But the thread was just begging for it.

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44113227)

I won't argue with that, my dad bought it once for a joke during Passover.

Now you know why you use wine for a seder.

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44114075)

No, you don't use wine, you use Manischewitz.

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (1)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#44112147)

/raise_hand. This should be good.

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112269)

Thank you old chap but i already opened my reserve wine...since whining will be served here

Re:Oooo! A scientology thread on Slashdot! (4, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44113553)

That depends...is it a decent beer or some of the piss water that passes for beer in the states? if its the former I'll take a nice cold one thanks.

As for Scientology...it just goes to show how much money and fame can buy you in the USA, because if it weren't for the space pope and the money they have to throw around frankly Scientology would be put down with all the other cults. i mean you look at what those that get out report, so called "marathon sessions" and punishment if you don't parrot the correct responses, even those that felt compelled to "fake" their emotions and responses to keep from being singled out from the rest and targeted...its a fucking cult guys, that is what it is.

And before anybody says its anything like Christianity...bullshit, Total fucking bullshit, yes you have a few marginalized nutballs like the WBC but those are treated as the crazies they are and most churches have preachers that LOVE a good and lively debate on beliefs, hell you get into a debate with a Baptist preacher you better bring the beer and popcorn because a good argument over scripture can last for fricking DAYS with them, whereas with Scientology lively debate about the meaning? Oh hell no, your ass better toe the line, and from what we have seen your ass better not bring up Xenu and space opera before them, they will pull the plug right then and there, compare this to most Christian churches where they will be more than happy to debate anything from Genesis on up, NOTHING is off the table.

So to me Scientology just shows you can have a cult in the USA and be treated as a mainstream religion, all you need is cash.

two words (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44111941)

ad words

Re:two words (3, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#44112369)

Yeah. The problem was scientology wanted preferntial treatment for free. If they had ponied up the cash or somehow connected their cause to an existing moral panic then they probably would have gotten what they wanted. Google is more then happy to shape search results to meet various institution's preferences if you ask the right way.

Re:two words (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113117)

Whew! I was wondering why it took Slashdot so long to dredge up SOME way to turn this into "zomg Google must be TEH EVULZ!!1!"! I mean, reports of Google execs taking a stand and not letting some cult take over its search results? That's great news! We can't let THAT stand, now, can we? Gotta hurry up and start making presumptions and chains of thoughts that would make Markov proud in order to crowbar in some way, literally ANY WAY to make Google out to be evil due to this news! Thanks, jythie, for doing your civic duty towards killing reason and rational thought and replacing it with delicious, delicious blind rage and hate!

Re:two words (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#44114041)

Google is more then happy to shape search results to meet various institution's preferences if you ask the right way.

Cite?

Re:two words (4, Funny)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44114141)

"Yeah. The problem was scientology wanted preferntial treatment for free."

That's not true. They offered a free E-Meter reading for Sergej in return.

never forget (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44111949)

Those bastards shut down Julf Helsingius anon.penet.fi remailer back in '96 and we'll never forgive them for that! The internet is not in any way new to them!

Re:never forget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113419)

Those bastards shut down Julf Helsingius anon.penet.fi remailer back in '96 and we'll never forgive them for that! The internet is not in any way new to them!

By "we" do you mean the hordes of pedophiles and other criminals that used that service and also pioneered trolling on the Internet? Because that's how I read it.

Re:never forget (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#44113697)

Go fuck yourself, clambot.

-jcr

Idiots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44111953)

and learned that they had met personally with Google's Sergey Brin

Why would Brin waste his time on these idiots? Grow a fucking spine already.

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112067)

Why would Brin waste his time on these idiots?

To laugh at them? I know I would.

Re:Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112259)

well he wastes his time with the idiot in the whitehouse so I wouldnt be surprised

Goat fart (0, Flamebait)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about a year ago | (#44111975)

WORSHIP the goat fart! WORSHIP it! Get down on your knees before it and PRAISE it! Goat fart!

They understand the internet. (3, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#44112037)

Clearly, the CoS understands at this point how much control places like Google have over people's web traffic, and they're quite aware that Google can gerrymander the results. Brin seems to mistake understanding the internet as a technology to understanding the technology as a means of control.

Google is a place now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112179)

Lemme check if I can find it on google maps ...

Re:Google is a place now? (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year ago | (#44112753)

Well yes, it is, [google.com] but that's not really the point--the Internet really has altered our fundamental concept of location and distance.

Re:They understand the internet. (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | about a year ago | (#44113005)

Gerrymander? I think I know what that word means. Redraw electoral district boundaries to gain unfair political advantage. I'm truly having trouble understanding how that word applies in this context.

Re:They understand the internet. (1)

Georules (655379) | about a year ago | (#44113277)

It's being used as a metaphor. Repicking search results to gain a positive appearance, which may not represent the actual picture of the thing being searched.

Re:They understand the internet. (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44113663)

Because just as you could get a D elected in an R state or vice versa just by carving the hell out of the map so too can Google (Or Bing for that matter) shape perception just by what kind of search results you get.

I mean imagine you type in the name of a product and "is shitty" pops up as the first choice in auto complete and all the results you get are bad, would you be more or less likely to buy that product? what about if it was the name of a politician running for office and "is a scammer" and similarly bad results came up? Google has also been accused of making their products show up first, and to have results that show them in a positive light...NOW do you see the comparison?

Re:They understand the internet. (1)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44114421)

Type "google is" into google. It's not the first result anymore, sadly.

Re:They understand the internet. (1)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | about a year ago | (#44114211)

GP used "gerrymander" because of the author's vague feeling that gerrymandering is a bad thing that bad people do. It's not even close to applicable, it's just a lazy way to say, "this is something of which I disapprove".

People who choose words almost at random because of how they feel about them are also likely to make other mistakes, such as writing "decimate" when they mean "devastate".

Sigh, okay, flame me, mod me down for continuing to speak standard English. I've been dealing with that since high school.

Re:They understand the internet. (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#44114433)

GP used "gerrymander" because of the author's vague feeling that gerrymandering is a bad thing that bad people do.

Wikipedia says:

In the process of setting electoral districts, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating district boundaries to create partisan advantaged districts.

So let's try:

In the process of returning search results, gerrymandering is a practice that attempts to establish an advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating the results to create a more positive view of the party or group.

No, it's not the same thing, but the point behind "gerrymandering" is "manipulating borders to gain an advantage", and if you assume that "good" search results and "bad" results are on opposite sides of a border (yes, I know it's really a spectrum and not just a single line, but tell that to someone who has a stake in any emotional argument), then the term isn't really that bad.

And, oh, yeah, by definition, "gerrymandering" is a "bad thing that bad people do'. Re-apportioning districts isn't a bad thing, but doing so to gain a political advantage is.

Re:They understand the internet. (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year ago | (#44114459)

It's a perfectly reasonable and apt metaphor. They asked google to redraw the parameters of Scientology searches to provide biased results. While gerrymandering is a political term by definition, the parallel of the metaphor is indisputable. Google approximates search results by 'secret' informational districts and provides 'unbiased' (or in this case 'biased) results based on totals in those districts. This is also known as the google algorithm. Similarly to voting districts it is constantly tweaked by various methods to provide the correct result (wether than be biased or unbiased, the bias is implied by the term GERRYMANDERING)

>http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gerrymander
1: to divide (a territorial unit) into election districts to give one political party an electoral majority in a large number of districts while concentrating the voting strength of the opposition in as few districts as possible
2: to divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group

I'm sure you've been telling everyone what the difference between a simile and a metaphor is since high school right?

What amazes me most... (5, Insightful)

HerculesMO (693085) | about a year ago | (#44112081)

Is that given recent exploits by Snowden who is making a name for himself by exposing governmental spying, people that leave the Church of Scientology are treated exactly the same way.

You leave your "religion" because it's a sham, and then you're harassed and attacked anywhere. Amazing.

Thankfully I gave up on religion at 13, I can't imagine being lured into a cult like this. That said, Scientologists are stupider than I thought.

Re:What amazes me most... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112539)

Ad hominem while using "stupider"? There is something about a pot and kettle you should be aware of. Before you claim something silly the answer is "NO", the urban dictionary is not a reference for real words.

Re:What amazes me most... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113287)

Obviously. The correct berbbages is 'more stupider'

Re:What amazes me most... (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44113775)

Then you have never had life take a giant extended shit on you for a couple of years friend. I lost a distant relative to religion but even though I will probably never speak to her again i can see why, she had lost no less than 3 close people in her life in less than 2 years, not to mention the loss of her job and her home which she had paid on for many years.

So while I think cults like CoS should be seen for what they are I DO get the appeal, kinda hard for many to accept its all as random as a roulette wheel and some douchebag that treats everyone like shit can have just the most perfect life while no matter how hard they work things just end in tragedy and sorrow. IRL a lot of times the bad guys DO win and the nice guys finish even worse than last, but many simply can't accept the thought of a truly random life so they turn to religion trying to make sense of what IRL is senseless.

Re:What amazes me most... (4, Insightful)

Richy_T (111409) | about a year ago | (#44114485)

For which the essential interpretation is that there is a supreme being who routinely shits all over you for no apparent reason. Must be something you're doing wrong, eh?

Accepting the random and arbitrary nature of existence is a first step a mature person can take in taking control of their life and actually doing something productive about it (or rationally choosing not to).

CoS is a cult ... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112085)

The 'Church' of scientology was started by a bad science fiction writer who said "You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."

It's a complete sham and a fraud.

We're somehow supposed to believe there's thousands of alien souls occupying us? This magic machine you have is going to cure my problems when it has no basis in science?

Seriously, just look at Tom Cruise and his claims that anti-depressants don't work. You think Katie Holmes went running away because of any other reason than the idiocy there?

The CoS is a joke, and how any country has still given them tax exempt status is beyond me. Those idiots standing outside offering you a 'personality test' are just recruiting for the cult, and should be punched in the nose.

Posting as AC to keep these whack-jobs the fuck away from me.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (1, Interesting)

mrclisdue (1321513) | about a year ago | (#44112241)

...Posting as AC to keep these whack-jobs the fuck away from me...

Indeed, because posting using your usual nom de plume: i'm.afaid.of.CoS would lead them right to your door.

You dismiss their *magic*, yet you fear using a pseudo on /. ?

THAT is irony, Alanis....

cheers,

Re:CoS is a cult ... (3, Insightful)

RoknrolZombie (2504888) | about a year ago | (#44112395)

Well, to be fair, while their magic isn't anything to fear, they have better lawyers than the WBC. If I wasn't already on their shitlist I'd probably want to post as AC as well.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (1)

Soluzar (1957050) | about a year ago | (#44113635)

The organization known as the Church of Scientology are sham artists, confidence tricksters and shysters whose actions may border on the criminal. I have no reason to be afraid of a group of lunatic confidence tricksters, because I'm too smart to fall for the bullshit they are peddling. This is the same username I use everywhere on the internet. If they want to find me, they are quite welcome to do so. Nothing they can do (including legal action) represents a credible threat. They are laughable.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44112419)

It may actually lead them to his door, and it would certainly cause down modding. That ain't magic friend, that's what they do.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (5, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44112817)

Dismissing their magic is very different than dismissing their potential for dirty tricks. That madman staggering toward you with a knife babbling about the New World Order and lizard people? He's still got a knife.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112959)

Well... They wouldn't get him, but they'd be able to mod everything he writes as troll, killing his karma. Also, if he uses the same pseudonymn elsewhere, they'd be able to harass him there as well. So yes, posting as AC does make sense.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113011)

You dismiss their *magic*, yet you fear using a pseudo on /. ?

Do you have *any* clue what they've done to people who have crossed them in the past, asshole? And I mean the recent past too. I would be less afraid to fuck with the CIA (seriously).

Re:CoS is a cult ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114291)

Do you have *any* clue what they've done to people who have crossed them in the past, asshole?....

And do you, asshole, realize that mrclisdue could be one of them, and is using the CIA to track you down, right this very minute? Yes, you! The CoS is SO FUCKING POWERFUL, that we should all cower in fear!

Scientology has won!

That's right, asshole.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#44112451)

We're somehow supposed to believe there's thousands of alien souls occupying us?

They can be detected if you wave a network toner around your body. That staticy noise is the alien ghosts.

Seriously, does anyone know if you could use an E-meter as a network toner in a pinch?

Re:CoS is a cult ... (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44113023)

It's a complete sham and a fraud.

So is every other religion.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (5, Insightful)

Dishevel (1105119) | about a year ago | (#44113069)

I do not think L Ron meant to start a religion.
I think it started as a joke.
As more and more people started to believe, he made the religion crazier and crazier, but they just believed more.
So he charged the stupid money and got rich.
L Ron is my hero.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113503)

That's not exactly how it started. But it is a sham, fraud, joke, etc. However it's a cult with a lot of money and a VERY vindictive streak.

If anyone is interested, I recommend the following two books I read recently: Beyond Belief [amazon.com] or Going Clear [amazon.com]

Both are excellent insights into this cult. Going Clear is more or less a history and documentary, and Beyond belief is from the perspective of a lifelong member who managed to escape.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#44113157)

Most reasonable, rational people would recognize it is a fraud. The problem is there are a lot of unreasonable, irrational people who don't. I suppose the same could be said of most religions but generally mainstream religions they don't have people screaming at walls, "disconnecting" from families, harassing ex-members, tithing substantial portions of their earnings, taking out second mortgages to buy training materials, or working as virtual slaves on billion year contracts. The more ridicule this horrible nasty money grubbing cult gets the better for everyone.

On the subject of tax exemption, it's a wonder to me that *any* religion qualifies for exemption unless it is transparently not-for-profit, i.e. all money going in is accounted for in its operations with limits on the salaries, expenses and other overheads of that organisation. If it cannot do that to the satisfaction of the revenue services, it should lose exemption. Religion or not.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44113609)

I suppose the same could be said of most religions but generally mainstream religions they don't have people screaming at walls, "disconnecting" from families, harassing ex-members

I suppose you've never known a gay person from a devoutly Christian family.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (1)

cdrudge (68377) | about a year ago | (#44113265)

We're somehow supposed to believe there's thousands of alien souls occupying us? This magic machine you have is going to cure my problems when it has no basis in science?

As oppose to believing that some woman who never had sex somehow born a child that later died after being nailed to a piece of wood and has saved everyone in the 2000 years after his passing who pray to him.

CoS isn't a religion IMHO, but at least they try to make you believe based on some silly meter and not just say "have faith" that $religious_deity exists.

Re:CoS is a cult ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113879)

Then again... let's be honest: If you and me could create a sham like that, to trap the morons of the world to hurt themselves and make us rich in the process...
would we really not do it?

I mean really?

Of course we would! ^^

I mean really, I don't hate Hubbard, just like I don't hate Jobs or Gates. They have done so much good to the world by being the angel of natural selection and weeding out the morons by reaping their money and sanity and free will.

You may not agree with how they come across... but you have to admire the beauty of it! ;)

I think people who complain about the CoS really don't get it. Just like their victims. ;)
Enjoy! The world will be a better place! ^^

So is every other church (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#44113929)

It's a complete sham and a fraud.

I would say the same about any religion. I don't regard christianity or islam or judaism as any more sane. They are all deceitful enterprises. The only difference between a church and a cult is scale.

Seriously, just look at Tom Cruise and his claims that anti-depressants don't work.

Look at the catholic church's claims that abstinence is a realistic option for birth control. Or the various claims that is a punishment from god for . A lot of religious doctrine from the mainstream religions is absolutely just as bonkers.

The CoS is a joke, and how any country has still given them tax exempt status is beyond me.

Again, I would say the same about any church or cult. As nuts as scientology is, I don't regard any other church as being more or less worthy of special tax treatment.

I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (5, Insightful)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about a year ago | (#44112089)

OK, I try to keep an open mind and really don't care what people believe so long as A) they don't get into people's faces about it and B) the message is peaceful.

I don't even mind their big back-story about aliens and what-not. Ignoring the fact that a sci-fi writer wrote it, who's to say that's any more laughable than other stuff. And you could say that maybe he was just inspired by the spoken word or universal secrets to write his other stuff, which isn't that much more implausible than where many of the stories for the Bible came from.

But... in practice Scientology is making it quite hard to like or respect them. Between the lawsuits, making people's lives hell for leaving or speaking out against them, the pay-to-learn thing they have going on, etc it's hard for me to say "fine whatever"

And now this... sigh. It's just making it hard to respect you. I mean, lots of people HATE the Catholic church but you don't see them trying to stifle people's thoughts and comments about it.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112249)

NOBODY EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!!1

  Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!
Filter error: Don't use so many caps. It's like YELLING.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114167)

Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!

Next time, please take the hint.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112303)

Between the lawsuits, making people's lives hell for leaving or speaking out against them, the pay-to-learn thing they have going on, etc it's hard for me to say "fine whatever"

This.

It's not about the aliens. It is about the coercive tactics.

All religions have beliefs that sound strange to nonbelievers. I give it three minutes until a Scilon shill says something about the Xenu story being no sillier than Jesus in order to derail the story into a flamewar of Atheists vs Christians, instead of talking about a cult that has been at war with the Internet itself [wikipedia.org] for almost 20 years.

Starting with a forged rmgroup message, moving on to a sporgery campaign of random text to flood out commentary on USENET, the compromise of anon.penet.fi (at the time, the Internet's most important anonymizing remailer), the Mickey Mouse Protection Act [wikipedia.org] (named after noted Scilon Sonny Bono), the near-immediate application of the DMCA in order to out a critic [cnet.com] , and of course the the 2001 DMCA attack against Slashdot itself [slashdot.org] , and black SEO activities too numerous to count, including this latest one against Bing.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (4, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44112853)

The Xenu story *is* no sillier than Christianity. But the difference between the Scientologists and the Christians is that the latter won't send lawyers after you if you post the Bible on the internet or make a webpage saying "The Pope is a dickbag". Silliness is perfectly fine; silliness that attempts to impose itself via lawyers on others is not.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44113101)

Letting the conversation be diverted to the relative silliness of world religions* takes the focus off the clams and will draw the one holy roller still on /. that will make the Hubbardists look sane.

*Eris for the win. Hail Eris, all hail Discordia!

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113495)

Try that with muslims. Yet, theirs is a real religion while Scientology isn't.

You were optimistic. 3 minutes it took. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113413)

That's right, rather than 5 minutes, it took about half that time for a Silon to post "No nore silly than jeebus!!".

Yes.

We know.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (1)

Maso (78542) | about a year ago | (#44112327)

I don't even mind their big back-story about aliens and what-not. Ignoring the fact that a sci-fi writer wrote it, who's to say that's any more laughable than other stuff. And you could say that maybe he was just inspired by the spoken word or universal secrets to write his other stuff, which isn't that much more implausible than where many of the stories for the Bible came from.

I guess if you have read any of his fairly pedestrian SF (sadly I have) and his even crappier dianetics stuff you would see that it was a cynical attempt to mold some crappy SF ideas into a religion. All the cliches are there - mixed in with your mumbo jumbo you have super men, good and evil aliens, spacecraft that look exactly like dc-8's, volcanos...it only gets stupider.

A true testament to how idiotic you can be and still raise followers...

Regard to the catholic church - here in AU they are in a bit of a stink about the whole child molestation cases getting somehow shredded.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_sexual_abuse_cases_in_Australia [wikipedia.org]

Organised religion - fuck...who would even

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#44112399)

And that is the key point. Scientology is not widely mocked because of their belief, but because of their actions.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113613)

At the root of it, however, much as certain sects of Islam, their actions are guided by their beliefs. Excommunication. Harassment of critics and former scientologists. Lawsuits. Generally being creepy. It's all built in.

Until something happens to spur a reformation of some sort, perhaps a virtual scilon Martin Luther nailing his theses to the door of the main office, there isn't going to be a breakthrough. El Ron built protections against that into his cult, though. Anyone who goes against the Grand Poobah's one true way is regarded as a heretic, and destroyer of all that is good in the universe.

It's pretty hard to compete with that, in the mind of someone who is brainwashed.

Re:I try to keep an open mind... but it's hard (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#44112871)

Part of what's been going on since the death of L Ron Hubbard, as I understand it, is that there are significant numbers of people who are leaving the CoS but retaining the belief system, as sort of a "protestant" version of Scientology. And the CoS is reacting to that about as well as the Catholics did to Martin Luther, because its current leadership has really retained the paranoid and conspiratorial streak that the CoS has had throughout its history.

The thetans, the auditing, etc I see as no more harmful than any other religion. It's the efforts to hide their activities and sometimes terrorize people that I'm not so cool with.

Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with them? (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44112163)

I think it's pretty clear where the CoS stands on internet freedom, and what they want from you if they ask you for a meeting. Why would anyone in their right mind even talk with these people? What, do you think you're going to REASON with them?!? Do you want to give them a chance to threaten you *in person*?!?

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (1)

omnichad (1198475) | about a year ago | (#44112295)

I wouldn't turn it down. Should be a good laugh.

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112535)

If you can plan it, keep a 9 volt battery and a damp cloth in a pocket first. If they hook you up to an e meter, damp your pocketed hand periodically apply the 9v contacts to your palm.

Totally fuck with their heads.

Re: Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with th (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#44113349)

That is fairly complicated, since it has been demonstrated that E Meters are sensitive to pressure. Squeezing the probes would be more effective.

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112725)

Will you still be laughing when they make false claims about what happened in the meeting, release edited clips from it to make you look bad, and file a criminal complaint claiming you physically threatened them during the meeting?

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44112409)

You talk to people like this for the audience. You won't convince the deluded person talking to you about enrams*, but you might get people who are watching to think about how mind boggling stupid it is. That IF you are polite and dissect the argument.

*At least not during the conversation. Hopefully it will add a grain of sand to getting those people to actually think.

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44112647)

Except that these meetings were apparently private. Speaking personally, there is no way would I meet with anyone from the CoS without at least several witnesses, legal counsel, and someone video recording the whole thing.

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (2)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a year ago | (#44112923)

Ahhh, Google Glass makes sense now. :D

[John]

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about a year ago | (#44112579)

I think it's pretty clear where the CoS stands on internet freedom, and what they want from you if they ask you for a meeting. Why would anyone in their right mind even talk with these people? What, do you think you're going to REASON with them?!? Do you want to give them a chance to threaten you *in person*?!?

Wouldn't you? Probably wide-eyed optimism is the best explanation for why such meeting happened, but if there was any chance at all in getting them to see reason, and you had the time (or it was your mandate to try getting people like them to see reason, as is the case with the EFF), wouldn't you take the time to try? I would.

And who cares if they threatened me? Google isn't doing anything illegal with how they filter their search results, and they're within their rights to keep the algorithm by which it's tabulated proprietary. If CoS doesn't like that there's lots of anti-scientology hits on google, they can buy the ad word, or they can do something about why people are posting this stuff against them in the first place. Or they could try to Google bomb themselves, but that probably wouldn't go down very well if it were made public....

Besides which, if you search Google for "church of scientology", the first hit is their own website. It's not like Google is deliberately treating them badly...

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44112843)

Wouldn't you?

Absolutely NOT. Those guys do not fuck around. When they come after you, it's not a game.

Why don't you ask John Sweeney [wikipedia.org] what can happen after an "innocent meeting" with CoS officials?

And who cares if they threatened me?

They can (and often do) do a *helluva* lot more than that. They've had people put in prison, ruined lives, destroyed careers. You would be amazed at what they can do to you if you get on their bad side.

Re:Why were Brin and the EFF even meeting with the (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112653)

Money. CoS is a powerful group. They have people in all levels of government and the law, not just here but all across the world.

Free Speech is not Propaganda. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#44112205)

Nothing is perfect in the world and they are tradeoffs. If you believe that something is perfect (terrestrially speaking (I don't care to debate if God Exists or is perfect or not, today)) Then you are probably wrong.

Everything has an up side and down side to it, whether or not the upside make it worth it or not, is open to debate. That is why we have free speech, it is so we can be allowed to look at the universe with our own objectives and try to measure if the up side or down side is worth it. However Free Speech often comes with broadcasting misinformation, outward lies, or just ignorants. In order to keep free speech working we need to keep our education levels up so we can help spot this.

Propaganda, is sending one side of the issue and blocking debate about it. If your side is well thought out and expressed, there could be a lot less idiocracy about the topic, but it is limited and prevents growth, however this is often abused and used to spread lies as well.

Saying you should block all sites that say something negative about your beliefs is trying to say I want you to be part of our propaganda engine. And restricting free speech.

Now Google biggest value is in Good Will, an accounting term to express Brand Recognition and Trust. If Google were to degrade their customers trust, they will go to different sites and ruen Google.

Re:Free Speech is not Propaganda. (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44112381)

Perfect is determine by the parameters set by the conversation.
If I say a hinge moves 100 degrees, and it moves `100 degree it's perfect within the confines of the statement.
Of course it has to be provable.

Re:Free Speech is not Propaganda. (3, Interesting)

monzie (729782) | about a year ago | (#44112445)

I could not resist bringing up Orwell. Do go through his "All Art is Propaganda" - http://www.amazon.com/All-Art-Propaganda-George-Orwell/dp/0156033070 [amazon.com] - If you haven't already. His writings are still relevant today and do apply to this discussion.

This is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112219)

asking him if it were possible for the search giant to filter results so that only positive information about the church

Naive, perhaps, but not at all surprising. I'll bet other businessmen have sidled up to the Google twins and Schmidt and conferences and asked for the same.

Re:This is news? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44113719)

I bet the other businessmen had the sense to show-up with a suitcase full of money and only asked for the negative information to be pushed off the first page.

EFF (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112243)

Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had regularly criticized the church for its stands against Internet freedom. Apparently, the church is missing Isene's counsel, because just a few days ago, the EFF put the Church of Scientology into its 'Takedown Hall of Shame.' Last month

This is all EFF is good for anymore creating childish lists that have no bearing on anything. I have a hard time wanting to support them after reading there questionable involvements with Big named companies, among other things I have read about, and before you go off I do read more then just one source to try and see if there is some bias against the EFF.

As far as the this idiot cult, this only proves my theory that because people can allow themselves to be brainwashed into believing this crap, it is possible to create government agents or outsiders to kill or become brainwashed into committing far worse.

Then do only good things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112329)

Let me fix that for 'ya, Geir: You and your underlings do only good things.

The only good thing to come out of scientology (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#44112361)

was last Sundays episode of Venture Bros.

Re:The only good thing to come out of scientology (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113171)

There was that classic episode of South Park too... :)

Re:The only good thing to come out of scientology (1)

CaseCrash (1120869) | about a year ago | (#44113219)

"Go to Hell-ron, L Ron!"

Yeah, awesome fight scene

"Em grams.. get out of my head!"

Why they can't take criticism (1)

monzie (729782) | about a year ago | (#44112597)

Disclaimer: I'm an atheist. I'm going to sound like an atheist ( because I'm going to attack Scientology ) - But please do understand the broader message.

And the message is very simple.

Any organization/group which sells bullshit will be criticized. The only way for the organization to grow is to continue selling bullshit. The organization cannot sell bullshit if sane people criticize it. Or put sane arguments against it. Thus the only way for this organization to survive is to do one of the three below:

- Supress opposition to their bullshit to the extent possible ( and they can go to quite an extent - especially in the case of totalitarian religions or totalitarian governments )
- Taint the person criticising the organization
- Both of the above.

Religion has been guilty of this all along.

So have all totalitarian governments

There is nothing to be surprised about this. There is only one thing to be sad about - that the members/followers of such organizations cannot 'see' the bullshit they are being sold.

Re:Why they can't take criticism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113433)

- Taint the person criticising the organization
then
Religion has been guilty of this all along.

The irony of your statement is seriously amazing!

Re:Why they can't take criticism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44114329)

I'm not sure you read his post correctly. The "taint the person..." sentence is about religious tactics, and yes they have been doing this throughout history.

XENU is not pleased! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44112727)

If you're gonna pick a cult.. errr... religion at least choose one with kick ass holidays and days off work.

ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD! (3, Funny)

jfdavis668 (1414919) | about a year ago | (#44113169)

Burzrzrzrzrzr...

"Open source" license or "document" license? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113329)

Last month Geir published his journey 'From Independent Scientologist to Just Me' under the GPL v3 license, recognising how being an open source advocate helped with that.

Does that mean he consider it to be "source code", not a "document"?

Wouldn't it have made more sense to use e.g. The GNU FDL [wikipedia.org] instead?

Nice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113905)

"I can't take Scientology seriously. It's the belief that humans were brought to earth by aliens on a spaceship carried by two massive lizards, which landed in a volcano and dispersed humans throughout the world. Then the aliens take off, and the lizards go and hide under the sea in massive caves.

Add two Italian plumbers to that and you've got the first five levels of Super Mario! "

Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113927)

Scientology.

Taking the heat off of Jehovah's Witnesses since 1952.

Reminds of the old saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44113983)

I used to be fucked up on Scientology, now I'm fucked up on Open Source

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