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by Ian C.

REVIEW: Galileo’s Middle Finger by Alice Dreger

Galileo’s Middle Finger is essentially about the way science is politicized and how activists pillory scientists. Upon review, one can see how LRH never stood a chance with a number of forces working against him.

The main subject investigated in the book is a psychologist named Bailey whose work deals with transgender people. In his work, he used the label of autogyniphilia to apply to some, which is seen by some as insulting, divisive and homophobic when he was trying to be accurate. This is actually an evaluation, though well intentioned and to categorize behavior, and could be the real why behind the fights that ensue. In any case, despite these labels, Bailey is quite comfortable with all kinds of men and women, and actually argues for LGBT rights and to let people be. His main observations concluded that trans people fall into 2 categories: homosexuals who transfer for identity (i.e. gay men become “straight” women to get men) while the others are autogyniphilic meaning hey do so for erotic reasons (i.e. a man becomes a woman because of the fantasy and arousal of being a woman). Or, paraphrased on p. 63 as: “Those who love men become women to attract them [and] those who love women become the women they love.” Bailey’s research concludes that our sexual identity really comes from genes AND society (acceptance, gender norms, etc.). It seems fairly straightforward and progressive, and actually argues for granting freedom and beingness to all so long as they harm no others.

Despite this, a woman named James (who is trans herself), seems to make it a personal mission to hunt him down and destroy his reputation and career. She is offended and infuriated by his term autogyniphilia, which to her seems regressive and pathologizing as if trans people suffer from some sexual and mental sickness. (Some history of the LGBT movement is given in the book and how they were and still are treated by mental health practitioners). It’s also pretty obvious that she falls exactly in this camp per her own personal descriptions and admittance. It would also seem that she is an SP as well who got overwhelmed and attacks, attacks, attacks when at best his statement was politically incorrect (even if probably true). A more insightful reason why some trans people like her bring it up is because it hit a nerve. Yet one can also see the cause for the upset and the anger. “It’s narcissistic injury followed by narcissistic rage” (100) as said by a physician-researcher, which could be true but more likely is plain old suppression. It appears that James not only attacks Bailey, but his family, his team and other openly autogynephilic people in personal ways. She even comes after the book’s author Alice Dreger as she learned of her investigation, and “mental health professionals” are recruited to attack her credentials to boot. Seem familiar?

As a result of the dispute, there is a lot of fallout and PTS-ness as former colleagues, supporters, and subjects of the study are recruited by James and turn against Bailey, only to later be dumped and then feel jaded about everyone. The news media coverage in the meantime ignores the facts and reports only partial truths or forwards only one side, as it seems to make a better narrative of the bigoted straight white male vs. underdog trans minority community, despite this being far from true. It’s actually sad because to some extent, both parties are right and wrong to varying degrees. Though the book (and I) side with the scientist here, it’s worth a read, aside from its attention getting title and cover. Other controversial subjects like rape are also discussed but the theme and pattern are always the same – discredit, malign and smear the person as well as misrepresent the truth and the to suit an agenda when it questions socially accepted norms and rules. Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

The reason I mention this book is because it relates to merchants of chaos in news reporting, as well as how the group bank fills in the blanks when manipulated by an SP. Those who knew Bailey quite intimately knew his work, they saw all drafts, his beliefs, his personality, and knew he was not bigoted, yet they got manipulated for an agenda which sought to suppress truth, one which actually would have helped more people understand and accept trans people. As mentioned, LRH never stood a chance despite his intentions. And he held up well considering the media, psych, and intel attacks on him and the orgs. True, he was imperfect, he made mistakes in handling the press, his enemies, and even the public and though he should be held accountable, he and the subject are not the monster they are made out to be in the public mind. Furthermore, no matter what time and what subject, this book shows how difficult it is to speak the truth as it is by nature politically incorrect (and I use it in the true sense, not the kind which is offensive for its own sake, which is the opposite side of the same coin as political correctness, and both based in untruth). It’s inspiring to ask questions without a fear of asking in the future one day, despite political correctness stifling.

The book also gives one a lot more understanding and empathy for different minority groups (like us!), as well as how one can become both PTS and SP in this very lifetime. It also provides excellent examples of why finding and data stripping, such as noting altered sequence, dropped time, etc. in the midst of knee jerk reactions (and plain jerk reactions). The book is definitely left leaning and somewhat condescending to those who don’t share the author’s views at times, but the author also lambastes liberal politicians and associations like the APA who kowtow to identity politics as opposed to supporting research and science. And it effectively damns news sources like The New Yorker and a number of others whose fact checkers fail to do their work – just like they failed to do in Going Clear – which unfortunately gives credence to bias and false information as people put their trust in authority and news sources.

Definitely a book worth a look at how the media uses misinformation and bias to turn groups against each other and misrepresent science, as well as how scientists and activists with an agenda mislead the public. Particularly relevant in this social media and internet dominated world today.

4 thoughts on “Book review

  1. This business of “political correctness” was invented by the communists. It has now grown to infest our culture. The major social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc.) are all being recruited to enforce this garbage and steps have already been taken to censor these platforms along these lines. The most recent of these appears to be the “Youtube Heroes” program, where average Youtubers are allowed to and enouraged to “blow the whistle” on any content they might consider offensive, even if such content is not offensive to them personally.

    Moreover, a little item occurred which you may not have heard of. Barack Obama has, unilaterally, abandoned control of the Internet’s senior authority in the last few days. It now rests in limbo while the US Congress tries to act to reverse this action. If they are unsuccessful, the authorities which govern the Internet (you know, that free-for-all place where you can say whatever you want whenever you want?) will devolve to the UN. This means that oppressive regimes like the communist Chinese, the Russians, the Turks, Saudi Arabia and others will come to govern the Internet. One might try to make the case that prying control away of the Internet from the US government could be a good thing. But remember this one thing: the Internet has so far been governed by the US in consideration of our Constitution, which guarantees the right to free speech to all. Other countries (in particular those mentioned above) don’t have such protections. Even western countries like Scotland are now prosecuting what they perceive as politically incorrect speech. What do you think they will do if they have control of the Internet?

    I have said this before and will again echo it. The Internet scares the pants off the governments of Earth. It actually gives everyone a more or less equal voice and is a significant threat to repressive regimes. Thus all the threats to derail or control it (most of which you will never read about).

    I veered off the main subject there slightly to deliver a rant about political correctness, censorship and the Internet. I’ve talked before about how modern science is (and truthfully always has) treated ideas which deviate from orthodoxy. This is not science as we typically thing of it, but more science as religion. “Heresy” is not a concept which should be (or logically is) associated with science. And yet, “heretical shaming” has been practiced in science for hundreds of years. (Not that I would consider psychology, as above, in any way a “science”.)

    And now, “science” has muddied its own reputation by telling us one month that eggs are bad for us, and then eggs are good for us. And salt is bad for us, but later, salt is good for us. Science has more or less dead agented itself.

    You can no longer rely on “authority” to tell you what the story is (as if you ever really could). It’s up to you to stay engaged and apply critical thinking to everything you see and read and hear. Want some tech to help? Try the Data Series. Most particularly, the outpoint and pluspoint lists.

    And if you end up out there all alone, the only one who seems to have thought your way through this morass of contrary “facts” and ideas to come up with the proper conclusion, don’t automatically do what everyone else on Earth does: assume you’re the crazy one. Assume the viewpoint of LRH: If it’s true for you, it’s true; and if it’s not true for you, it’s not true. (And by the way, LRH didn’t mention it much, but this attitude comes with a little proviso tacked on the end: You have to have actually looked and investigated.)

    Paul

  2. Thanks Paul. Yes you went off a little bit but that’s OK. 🙂

    For what it’s worth, American citizens trust their news sources less these days.

    There’s good and bad in that – good if one can question authority and investigate on their own to find the truth, but bad if they become cynical and trust none/hate every authority. We need to replace this with honest reporting and being unbiased to interests, nor trying to get clicks/views and ads over the truth. Unfortunately ones who question the media are often trying to further their own agenda and spin, so it’s really tough to know who is honest.

    (Take for example the COS vs. the critics – it’s either all good or all bad, both playing a game with facts to make the other wrong and destroy them.)

    This Gallup poll article shows that we are at all time lows in this country with trust (32% – that’s less than 1 in 3!) and unlikely to rebound any time soon. This is self-inflicted in my opinion and well deserved. IMO, this is a “YUGE” reason why Trump is ahead as he has capitalized off of this public distrust, whether you like him or not.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx

    Hopefully some reform will change as this conflict of interest in reporting becomes brought to the forefront. We as a people deserve better reporting, investigation, research and fact checking which sadly is all too often lacking.

  3. See there (sorry, CofS site) http://www.lronhubbard.org/articles-and-essays/researching-in-the-humanities.html

    The money quote: “The hidden secret of the attacks of nineteen years was Research Funds.”

    (Unfortunately, the essay’s title and content don’t match, it’s a description of Ron’s struggle and Scientology’s evolution with regard to funding and support.)

    Plus that he certainly didn’t conform to their habits or standards. Academia mostly was an upper-class activity. Not something for middle class daredevils like Ron.

    That said, I experienced similar things. Academia is a fierce competition over (usually small) research grants (perhaps you know the saying “Academic politics is the most vicious and bitter form of politics, because the stakes are so low.”). Plus vanity. Plus arrogance. The majority of academics are actually pretty passionless from what I found out. As Ron described, the less certainty is in the field (STEM very high, humanities very low), the more they depend on authority and social games.

    From what we know, he dropped out of his engineering studies. But he learned more in the two years and on his own in the years afterwards about the scientific methods and logic than existed in the humanities and the psych department. In some of his lectures (e.g. “Command of Theta” about the computational and logical aspects of epistemology) or writings (e.g. “Data Series”) it’s obvious that he knew about the important issues. Things that humanities or psych don’t know still today. For that reason alone (transferring an engineering approach to issues of the mind, making things replicable and systematically applicable) Dn & Scn are more advanced and useful than most of the stuff coming out from academia even today. Neuroscience is catching up with some of the stuff, validating Ron’s statements that are 60 years old. Like other fields do (e.g. business admin or organizational psychology that come to validate OEC stuff). Dn & Scn are a functional approach to the mind like cybernetics was (Ron’s writings from 1948 and early 1950 are close to 1940s/1950s cybernetics literature). The structural sciences are just catching up.

    Summary: Ron rules. Academia (as an organization) sucks — today perhaps even more than then. Dn & Scn is an engineering approach to the mind and humanities and they work better than what the establishment produces.

    • Beautifully written, and spot on, Sherry. I experienced similar attitudes and arrogance in my pursuit of a MSc. degree. Only a couple of professors told me to go “dig my own hole” as opposed to what “Academia” directed, which was to dig a deeper hole in some “safe” field of study that someone had already started and was therefore approved, but don’t go suggesting anything out of what was the conservative gamut of studies or research.

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