sKepptiksowat – April 16, 2010 – Dr. Stephen Wiseman is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, and Consultant Psychiatrist at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, BC. For a number of years he has been researching Scientology, its inventor L. Ron Hubbard, and the organization’s anti-psychiatry arm, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights This is his first public talk about Scientology’s war on Psychiatry, given at Vancouver’s annual “Skepticamp” at UBC on March 20, 2010, and is of monumental significance in this long conflict.
Hubbard started a campaign against psychiatry 60 years ago that is supported by every Scientologist with either money or time. 24 years after Hubbard’s death, this campaign has reached a fanatical level of hostility with multi-million dollar attack-media offensives and legal and extralegal programs to harm or destroy the profession and subject of psychiatry generally and psychiatrists’ careers individually. Scientology’s war on psychiatry under current Scientology head David Miscavige has not attained its goal, but it has negatively impacted public understanding and threatens to drive an extremely vulnerable set of citizens away from the option, science, hope and help that psychiatrists can be for them.
Dr. Wiseman describes what he and two colleagues have undertaken as a push back against Scientology in the name of his profession. This is the first such effort, certainly in the English-speaking world, and is long overdue. In the past, several individual psychiatrists speaking for themselves have stood up to Scientology and faced its organized and heavily-funded hostility. For this, Drs. Jolly West and Jack Clark remain respected figures to this day. Until now, however, no group of psychiatrists or professional organization such as the American Psychiatric Association has confronted or pushed back against the distortions and falsehoods of Scientology, and this has emboldened Miscavige’s organization considerably over the years. With the work of Dr. Wiseman and his colleagues, these days are now over.
The Skeptics and related reason-promoting groups and individuals have been speaking out against Scientology’s deceptions and anti-science for many years. Dr. Wiseman’s talk and Q & A period are short because of the SkeptiCamp format, but he imparts considerable new information and many insights. It is obvious he has educated himself about Scientology and its war, and he says that the research he and his colleagues have done is at a level now where publication and further presentation options are under consideration. He has taken their endeavor this far while working full time in his medical specialty at a major metropolitan hospital. He is clearly articulate, well-informed, human, and reasonable, and for these reasons represents a formidable force against the shrill, destructive rage of Scientology.