While meditating yesterday it occurred to me that it’s illogical to make fun of Scientology and not throw even more condescension at mainstream religions. A creation story involving a divine being is far less likely than intelligent aliens visiting the Earth and planting the seeds of our existence. The existence of extra-terrestrial life has a significantly high probability, and the probability of one of them making contact with the Earth with the capabilities of manipulating and engineering life is far higher than the probability of existence of a divine being.

4 thoughts on “Scientology

  1. I’d argue that the primary strength of Scientology and theistic religions in general is their reliance on claims that are impossible to falsify. While I’d agree that aliens are far more likely than some “magical” deity/deities, I would at least argue that most theistic religions, unlike Scientology, do tend to have two big benefits: #1) they institutionalize moral codes that probably do increase the general welfare of individuals in their society and #2) they are powerful organizations that often survive many other significant changes in politics and technology. (FWIW, I was raised Roman Catholic, went through an atheist phase as a teen, and am now somewhere between agnostic and apathetic.)

  2. What you say is true and I used to think that mainstream religion has in general been a positive to society but I have started to doubt it recently. The positives you mentioned are there, but I think the negatives outweigh them. Without those major institutions technological progress would’ve been several hundred years ahead of where we are now, and the moral codes would’ve been established by governing bodies of sufficiently wealthy states.

    1. Fair points. I wonder whether any non-trivial probability path of history would occur in which religion or a similar institution doesn’t develop though. I think many cognitive and social scientists believe that religious-like institutions are basically guaranteed to form in societies. It’s impossible to evaluate counterfactuals like that, but it would definitely be interesting to go back a few thousand years, remove that part of our brain/behavior, and see how civilizations develop without that incentive for religion.

  3. Mainstream religion is bad for society.
    I have an idea. Let’s tax religions and see how close we can come to solving the country’s problems…..few of which cannot be solved by $$$$$$$$$$.

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