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Scientology Books and Media: Scientology: One of Psychology’s Occult Doubles
1983 | Psychology’s Occult Doubles: Psychology and the Problem of Pseudoscience
Thomas Hardy Leahey and Grace Evans Leahey
This site began as an attempt to compile a comprehensive and up-to-date list of books examining Scientology from an academic and critical perspective. It branched out partly because I was running out of books. However, now and again, an overlooked but very valuable text turns up – and this is one such.
The book begins by using the work of Thomas Kuhn and Karl Popper in the philosophy of science to clearly draw the distinction between real science (specifically psychology) and pseudoscience.
The authors go on to examine the influence of early psychoanalytic theory (particularly abreaction therapy) on Dianetics, and an assessment of the early Dianetic Foundation. This includes (on pg 219) a description of a scientific study which disproved a the most basic assumption of Dianetics – that engrams were formed from things people heard things which occurred when a traumatic experience rendered them unconscious – which is available here.
Scientology ‘Training Routines’ are also described, and an early ‘squirrel’ group called “The Power”, which split away from the mainstream Church of Scientology, is described. This is particularly interesting because the book upon which the analysis is based (Satan’s Power by William Simms Bainbridge) is out of print, rare and expensive.
Used copies of “Psychology’s Occult Doubles” are still available relatively cheaply. While it contains very little about Scientology what is there is extremely insightful. It is also valuable in that it shows that Scientology was once part of a thriving ecology of fringe ideas which strongly influenced Hubbard - Scientology was not an original creation but a patchwork of obsolete fringe ideas.