Wednesday, February 06, 2008

My pals Ray and L. Ron...

Believe it or not, I don't actually dislike Ray Comfort. He seems like a decent sort of fellow, and I'd probably trust him to watch the apartment if I was on vacation. He just happens to be staggeringly wrong about reality, though to all appearances he genuinely believes all the nonsense he spouts to be true. I'm even willing to attribute his truly heroic amounts of quote-mining to just having a bad handle on the process of academic writing. Also he's got that easy-going koala sort of look to him.*

On the other hand, L. Ron Hubbard was a malevolent huckster who I wouldn't trust not to pee on a public toilet seat just for kicks. While the argument could be made that by the end of his life he really did believe in his crazy pseudoscience/religion, it's pretty obvious that at the start he was just plain pulling it all out of his backside to see how far he could run with it. Plus he just plain looked creepy.

The problem here is, regardless of what I personally think of these two guys, their claims about reality were equally specious, and some of their methods for gaining converts are equally disingenuous. If you live in my area and you've ever picked up a LEO, then you've probably seen a Scientology questionnaire. If you hang around outside the humanity's building at U of L long enough it's also even money that someone will eventually hand you one. Pretty much the same thing goes for Ray's "Are You A Good Person?" test, though you're more likely to get it handed to you at the mysterious creationist booth at the regional flea market.

The best part about both of these tests is that you can't pass. Try it. You can take Ray's test at the link I gave above - the "right" answers should be obvious. You can take the Scientology Test here. I probably wouldn't put in my real name and address. The "correct" answers for that one are on the link from the last paragraph.

The results? Even with the BEST POSSIBLE ANSWERS, both tests are quick to point out how flawed and needy you are and how only their respective purveyors can help you. Ray and L. Ron's tactics are one and the same. They already know what they want to see in the people they purport to help - weak-minded, worthless people that can't be trusted to make their own decisions. What an arrogant and shallow view.

Sorry Ray, I'd trust you with my stuff, but not with my mind.

*For reference.

1 comment:

Jason said...

[13:12] me: OMG
[13:13] me: RAY COMFORT LOOKS LIKE A KOALA
[13:13] me: http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/ray_comfort-heretic.jpg
[13:13] me: I NEVER NOTICED BEFORE
[13:13] coworker: hahaha
[13:13] me: i'm peeing on myself down here
[13:15] coworker: hehehehe
[13:15] coworker: Pee on someone else too!
[13:15] me: i will pee on loud people next to me.
[13:15] me: (not Ann)
[13:15] coworker: do it
[13:15] coworker: not ann