Autism and Scientology?

Is there a connection between Scientology and the mercury militia? Kevin Leitch examines the evidence. As he points out, it’s not as far-fetched as it might seem at first:

Everybody knows that Scientology has an almost rabid outlook on psychiatry and what they deem psychiatric labels. Its so bad that Xenu-lover John Travolta is allegedly hiding the fact of his son’s autism for fear of offending his masters in Scientology.

Scientologists have a natural theoretical affinity with the mercury militia and in particular the DAN! ideology. They are firmly against medication and firmly in favour of ‘detoxification’ when combined with saunas. The belief is that detoxification ‘loosens’ the toxins which are then sweated out in intense saunas. Sounds familiar right?

Just like the moonies, scientology has untold business interests in all-natural and CAM based treatments, particularly detoxification treatments. So, when you combine business interests with religious zeal you get people highly motivated to move in on people they target.

Are there any scientologists targeting autism? Oh yes. Scary but true.

Looking at Kev’s article, although I’m not sure if the linkages described by Kev are just cooincidences due to similar interests in detoxification woo, I do find it rather disturbing just how many Scientologists are involved in selling the dubious mercury-autism connection. I also fear for Kev. Scientology is well known for being exceedingly litigious and bullying when it comes to criticism.


  1. #1 By the way, which one is Pink?
    November 8, 2006
  2. #2 Kev
    November 8, 2006

    I don’t really think there’s a decent connection between the moonies and autism or the moonies and scientology either. Its interesting as an intellectual exercise but there’s nothing in the way of evidence.

    The scientology connection is another matter. So far, there’s at least four DAN! Doctors confirmed as scientologists. There’s also scientologist lawyers who were involved in thiomersal litigation.

  3. #3 Hyperion
    November 8, 2006

    Scientologists were also behind several lawsuits against Novartis, the maker of Ritalin (methylphenidate), one of the drugs used to treat ADHD, another neurological developmental disorder that scientology claims either A: does not exist, or B: can be cured by various ultra-woo (yes, ultra-woo, scientology is light-years beyond normal woo-ness…they are the Branch Davidians of woo).

    The suits were dismissed after (among other things) their non-ABMS-certified “psychiatrist” Peter Breggin was found to have essentially made up most of his testimony from a combination of scientology shtick and the voices in his head. On a more serious note, several different judges in the state and federal courts where these suits were heard all accused Mr. Breggin of perjuring himself in their courtroom. These guys made the TMLC look like Perry Mason.

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they were going after autistic kids next. Soon they’ll probably be claiming to cure deafness, blindness, and erectile dysfunction (oh, wait, maybe that was why Tom Cruise joined).

    The thing is, Scientologists on their own are not horribly dangerous. Everyone knows that they are cranks, and they’re basically the punchline to a joke that everyone but them gets. However, you would be amazed at how their talking points wind up getting quoted by well-meaning but clueless people, having been completely “cleansed” of their original source. I highly doubt that they’ll manage to win a thimerosal lawsuit, even the Geiers or Wakefield wouldn’t work with them, but if they decide to turn their sights on it, just wait a few months and plenty of people will be talking about how “I read somewhere that those vaccines can cause autism, even these groups of scientists are talking about it.”

    The good news is that a group of mentally ill people who militantly refuse to take medication really aren’t going to be too successful in the end.

  4. #4 Marcus Solorio
    November 9, 2006

    While I can agree that with science, we create a great understanding of our physical, and to a lesser degree, our mental experiences. I also feel that it is just that, “an understanding”.
    ONE interpretation of those experiences. One of many…not the definitive, not the final word, by any means. Yet, I can see that the intelligent author of this blog does believe it to be so, “the final word”. Fair enough.

    While I am not a Scientologist or a strict empirical scientist, I do believe that large groups of our population accept– or at least seriously entertain; the ideologies and beliefs of “alties” (a.k.a. “that which is not pure science”), in good part, due to the arrogant, condescending attitude of the scientific community.
    The exclusionary nature of the empirical method, applied to the “human experience”, falls incredibly short on describing all of the details of that experience!
    Does that invalidate science? Of course not!

    Therefore, I would expect that the same consideration be given to other sound, but “as-of-yet-not-completely-proven” ideologies/theories, etc! Or…the two sides can continue to bitterly slap each other around until someone finally gives in or one side burns the other side “at the stake”, so to speak.
    In the meantime, I (like most of the population, I expect) will just continue to live my life and draw on both extremes at various times to SERVE me and my experiences, rather than DEFINE me and my experiences.

    “Keep up the good fight, o’ great scientists/Scientologists”!…and remember to have fun doing it!

  5. #5 HCN
    November 9, 2006

    Marcus wrote: “Keep up the good fight, o’ great scientists/Scientologists”!…

    I’m not quite sure what you meant (even though English is my first language, what you wrote does not make any sense), but please do not put “scientists” in the same catagory of “Scientologists”! They are not the same, nor are they compatable.

    It is kind of like the folks who call themselves “Christian Scientists”, but are the most anti-medical science bunch you could ever find. The term that comes to mind is “oxymoron”.

    On to other parts of the post… Hyperion, do you not find it interesting that one of the major law firms in the ritalin suit that was dismissed had a website call “ritalinfraud”: ? … is the same one that comes up with “” (which is still boasting about their absestos suit, which was still a while ago, though may have been their last real “win”)?

  6. #6 Marcus Solorio
    November 9, 2006

    HCN: By lumping together scientists and Sceintologists, I am making my point.
    The point: science and religion purists are two sides of the same two-headed coin. The “I am right” coin!

    It is not that they are incompatible, it is they never TRY to see each other’s point.
    Therefore, the pig-headed opinions, put-downs, and name-calling from both sides is really unnecessary.

    Neither side is completely right, therefore, I submit that the rest of the population just work on enjoying life and not completely subscribe to such extreme points of view.


  7. #7 Lucas McCarty
    November 9, 2006

    I’d have to disagree with that of course Marcus.

    Scientists are not neccessarily “I am right” kind of people, they are more “This is right” kind of people. They know that the objective truth of something does not change depending on who or how many people hold it for a point of view. They do not say that something is right or is the truth “because I say so”. Science begins with the most humble sign of wisdom when a person admits “I do not know”. Their whole purpose is to not only find out what the truth is but the best method for doing so.

    Scientologists and alties care nothing for the method unless it begins by automatically supporting their pre-determined conclusions. They believe it’s true if certain people believe it is, usually themselves. It’s harmful.

    Scientists do in fact see other points of view, they need to for the purpose of validation. Can’t investigate a claim if it isn’t understood to begin with and non-scientific claims are not in fact given the same amount of scrutiny as evidence-based claims and real scientists seem to be angry with that which is how the impression that they are arrogant or impersonal comes about. Too many people are not science-literate and so are unable to see things from a scientist’s point of view, so of course they will think ridiculous things about scientists.

  8. #8 Calli Arcale
    November 9, 2006

    But science isn’t an extreme point of view. You misunderstand what science is. It is not the opposite of religion. It is something else entirely. You accuse the scientific method of being “exclusionary”. It isn’t. It’s methodical, is what it is. It’s a way of making sure you’re not getting fooled by false data or subconscious wishful thinking. Wishful thinking isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s a perfectly human thing. It takes discipline to avoid being tricked by it, though.

    It is a common argument that skeptics such as Orac believe science to be the “final word”. This is an argument which often puzzles skeptics, because they don’t generally think they’ve found the final word on a given subject. That’s part of the point of science. There is no final word, not ever, and one should be disciplined enough to know that.

    You suggest we should all just try to get along, and that’s good advice generally. But it’s no good for trying to figure out when to bring your child in to the emergency room and when to treat them at home. Sooner or later, you need to make a decision, and science can always help. Even with religious questions. Seriously. I’m a fervent Christian, and I use critical thinking even when I’m in a quandry over spiritual matters. I use it precisely because there are so many people peddling wildly different interpretations of scripture. I can’t just blindly pick one and go with it. How can anyone in good conscience do otherwise? That’s what I don’t understand.

    So many people act as if science and religion are incompatible, or worse, in some sort of war with one another. But they’re not. It’s a red herring. Most of the time, the only conflict comes from religious folks upset that they can’t reconcile some bit of dogma with scientific discoveries, or the occasional scientist who considers all religion absurd because of particular religions with doctrines incompatible with the observed facts (such as young-Earth creationism).

    Science is not the last word, and it does not present itself as *being* the last word. Nor are scientists generally arrogant on this point. They understand that science is not a collection of indoctrinated facts. Rather, science is a process for discovery, and for sorting fact from fiction. It will never have the last word. But it might point you to the last word. 😉

  9. #9 HCN
    November 9, 2006

    Another big difference between scientists and scientologists…

    Scientists are very willing to share their knowledge and understanding of the world. They do it here on Scienceblogs, they try to through science programs like NOVA and American Science Frontiers… and write books that they hope you buy, but you could actually just as easily check out of your local library.

    While on the other hand Scientology keeps its “knowledge” a big secret. A member must pay to take courses as they learn more and more of the “World According to L. Ron Hubbard”. Things like humans were descended from clams, that Xenu flew a bunch of aliens to Earth in a DC-8 and tossed them into a volcano. Just the kind of thing that would be thought of by a science fiction writer!

    So, dear Marcus, if you wish to learn about science, scientists and how they work I would suggest you get yourself down to your local library. There you will find a whole section devoted to science… This might be a good start for you:,,9781592572588,00.html

    As far as Scientology goes… actually go to and download the South Park episode.

  10. #10 sparky
    November 10, 2006

    go to and download the South Park episode.

    That’s a terrific episode. What I want to know is, how come so many of ’em were in the closet…..what were they really trying to hide? =GD&R=

    But seriously, LRH was a science fiction writer. It was his job to have a vivid, strange imagination.

  11. #11 sparky
    November 10, 2006

    go to and download the South Park episode.

    That’s a terrific episode. What I want to know is, how come so many of ’em were in the closet…..what were they really trying to hide? =GD&R=

    But seriously, LRH was a science fiction writer. It was his job to have a vivid, strange imagination.

  12. #12 sparky
    November 10, 2006

    Sorry about the double hit. It was at least partly a meatware malfunction. The post and go back to original message thing hung and I didn’t know if the post got through, so I tried again.

  13. #13 HCN
    November 10, 2006

    sparky wrote: But seriously, LRH was a science fiction writer. It was his job to have a vivid, strange imagination.”

    Except, what was with the use of a DC-8 jetliner that Xenu used for transport? Personally, that was not one bit imaginative… or it was deliberate attempt to see how gullible some people are.

  14. #14 Coin
    November 10, 2006


  15. #15 James
    November 10, 2006

    Defeat Autism Now! – typical anti-vaxer group.

  16. #16 Marcus Solorio
    November 11, 2006

    Lucas and Calli: Thank you. I understand your views better after reading your posts. I would have to say that you both are intelligent and apparently humble enough to disagee with me in a civil manner without referring to me as an “idiot”.

    HCN: Thanks for the witty reading recommendation…I am sure that you could be funny, if you stopped trying. Take care, man!

  17. #17 HCN
    November 11, 2006

    Marcus, you are a repetitive guy.

    Remember, you brought on to yourself… or was the weird comment that scientologists and scientists are the “same” some form of humor?

  18. #18 sparky
    November 11, 2006

    Except, what was with the use of a DC-8 jetliner that Xenu used for transport? Personally, that was not one bit imaginative… or it was deliberate attempt to see how gullible some people are.

    Maybe he was “riding the bus” while his flying saucer was in the shop getting a tuneup and whatever passes for tires on a UFO rotated. You know, the old 3-billion-mile maintenance.

    You don’t want to have a breakdown out by Arcturus somewhere. The towing service takes forever to get there, and the prices are astronomical. (Yes, I know what I just said. So sue me.)

    Excuse me, I need to call the shop and see if they’ve got my Heim drive fixed yet. “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon……”

  19. #19 Coin
    November 11, 2006

    Defeat Autism Now! – typical anti-vaxer group.

    Ah. I notice they don’t have a wikipedia page, though there’s a dead link with their name on it in the “list of autism topics” page. Maybe someone should look into fixing that.

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