Author Topic: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?  (Read 2761 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« on: September 22, 2008, 10:12:16 AM »
In my ongoing attempts to bring the "Science" section away from lunar landing hoax and alien discussions, I'd like to start a topic about Margaret Singer.  She was a psychologist who did a lot of work in cult deprogramming.  Though the model of mental programming is no longer in vogue, it's worth examining and discussing her work to see if it had merit.  I don't have any expertise in psychology, but if we intend to kill God, the psychology of the believer and the potential for psychological counteraction is an important topic to examine.

For the record, Margaret Singer gets zero hits on this forum, and only one on the last, a post by member DTE.  That's out of 579,293 posts and over 24,000 threads.  Between the two forums, there are almost 1400 threads that contain the word "alien".
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 09:45:49 AM by Davedave »

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12378
  • Darwins +682/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2008, 11:59:03 AM »
It's a deep subject.  Speaking for myself, I would need to know a lot more about psychology in general before I can even begin to discuss Singer's ideas. 

Another related topic that also seems prudent to know about is how psychologists can recreate religious experiences outside of a religious setting.

Anyway, I found this to be an interesting link http://www.ex-cult.org/General/singer-conditions
Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2008, 01:41:33 PM »
Well, I'd like to find out who here on this forum IS capable of discussing such things, and then I'd like to find out what else around here is so fucking important that those individuals are discussing that rather than this.  If it turns out that no one is capable of discussing such things, then I think that we should attempt to recruit atheists who ARE capable of discussing them.  The focus of this forum community, as reflected by the "Search" function, is appalling.  We need to lift ourselves out of the discussion of aliens, which has ZERO bearing on any of our lives at all, and into the real world.  Here is a clinical psychologist who spent her entire career investigating deconverting radical theists, and there hasn't been a breath about her or her work in nearly three years of forum operation.  Meanwhile, 1400 threads have talked about aliens.  Is this an "X Files" fansite or an atheist website?  We ALL need to hold ourselves to higher standards than this.  Discussions about aliens have no more place here than porn spam or Viagra ads.  I would hope that a community of adult atheists would not have to ask the moderators to intervene on our own behalf about this.

Offline Apotheosis

Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2008, 05:55:23 PM »
You think Margaret Singer might've been an undercover alien?

I read a theory which proposed that aliens have secretly infiltrated our society to help influence it for the better.

Wouldn't it be weird (and make a lot of sense) if a lot of our elected officials were aliens?

Cult deprogramming sounds like something an alien would have the good sense to do. What do you guys think?

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2008, 06:40:03 PM »
What I'm saying is that I'm sick of everyone on this forum whining about theists while doing nothing to fight them.  People spend countless hours discussing aliens and circumcision and memetic vaccines and all kinds of other pointless shit, yet no one talks about things that are actually important and relevant, things that might lead to killing God.  It's a form of doublethink.  We are constantly talking about God and religion and theists here, yet we carefully avoid topics that might result in anything meaningful or real occurring.  Our "Search" function is the slip of paper that reveals the truth.  It shows that, for all the typing and words, there is pathetically little of substance here.  There is little interest in discussion of anything that might really start to get down to the nuts and bolts of religion in society.  Dr. Singer spent her whole life studying the psychology and deconstruction of religious thought.  She was actually DOING it.  We don't talk about her.  The Asch conformity experiments.  Actual data about how groupthink starts and how it can break.  We don't talk about those.  But if it has to do with naughty things like genitals, then we're all about it.  If it involves expounding on our personal guesses on the longevity of Christianity in Western society, then we're all over it.  It's an embarrassingly puerile patchwork we are weaving here and I'd like to start fomenting some awareness and some change.  To call our community's focus here child-like would be an insult to children.

Offline Red McWilliams

  • Illuminati
  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 844
  • Darwins +1/-0
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2008, 08:09:22 PM »
Thanks for the topic, Davedave.  This is most certainly the kind of thing we should spend most of our time on.  I've never heard of Margaret Singer until today, but I'll read up on her work.  The link Screwtape provided seems like a great starting point for all of us.

And yes, it is a sad commentary on this community that it's taken 3 years for this topic to come up.
Today I step into the shoes of a great man, a man by the name of Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.

Offline bahramthered

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 3140
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2008, 03:57:01 AM »
I see margaret singer and immediatly thought some kind of celebrity scandal. Maybe somebody who changed their opinion on god, not useful cult destroying researcher. It's all in the title guys.

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2008, 09:57:16 AM »
I've never heard of Margaret Singer until today, but I'll read up on her work.

Well, it reveals the inefficiency of our communications system as a community.  That's a place where this web forum could theoretically help, but that depends on the community.  It's up to us to pull this forum out of the mire.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2008, 10:04:21 AM by Davedave »

Offline Goodkat

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1193
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • A man's delusion is insanity, a nation's, religion
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2008, 12:34:37 PM »
I am considering ordering that "snapping" book.

Offline Inactive_1

  • Emergency Room
  • ******
  • Posts: 2242
  • Darwins +10/-2
  • Gender: Male
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2008, 10:01:20 AM »
... but if we intend to kill God, the psychology of the believer and the potential for psychological counteraction is an important topic to examine.

We could create a new board on the forum specifically for serious ideas ideas and discussions related to the topic of killing God.

What would be your preferred title for the board?

What topics (other than this one) already existing on the forum would you want to be moved to this new board to start it off?

What other ideas would you have for this area?


Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2008, 11:55:19 AM »
I thought that this forum was going to be entirely focused on stuff like this.  Creating a new board for it makes it seem like it ought not be the primary focus of everything.

To be clear, I'm not asking for increased moderation here.  I'm trying to encourage the community to do better on our own.  It would be a sad statement if we found we could not bring ourselves to do this without moderator or admin intervention.  We are supposedly adults here.  We ought to be able to, as a community, improve ourselves.

Furthermore, I am increasingly convinced that part of this must involve real-world recruiting.  Unfortunately, I am not sufficiently proud of this community to feel like I could invite people I know or could contact here.  This place should not be a place where quality people come out of pity.  If we strive to do better, we will improve, and we will be able to invite people to participate out of pride, not out of desperation.  There are people I know at my local university that study cults and cult leaders.  I have little doubt these people are atheists.  Yet why would I invite them here?  The conversations about aliens and God's erection are embarrassing.  What a waste of time.  If this community decided to become a clearinghouse for information relevant to God-killing, however, I'd gladly go have a conversation with these folks, and I have no doubt that I could get them to join and contribute.  If this forum became truly active and resolved to be a frontrunner in atheist activism, we'd attract more people that wanted to be a part of that and this thing could snowball.  When I joined, this forum was looking like it could be that.  Then it just sort of stalled.  In that vacuum, it became a dwelling for dawdlers and victims.  However, the past year has shaken many of those people off and we are again at a point where we could retake the baton.  I think we should.  I'm doing what I think of.  A long conversation about God-killing, where a number of the best members agreed to the premise.  I saw some pessimism there, and that's okay, but it can be overcome, I think.  I have started some conversations about more serious topics related to God-killing, such as this one and the one about the Asch experiments.  Maybe we'll see some shifting.  Who knows?  I know of nothing else to do but try.

Offline trustno1

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 833
  • Darwins +0/-0
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2008, 12:48:18 PM »
Given her mainstream approach to contrasting Moonies and Scientologists as something particularly aberrant, evil and cultlike, with mainstream religionists standing in as the sane control group, I personally got no use for her.  It's the mainstream Abrahamics who've launched the territorial takeovers, created apartheid societies and who've built the nukes.   
With a free will to except him or reject him

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2008, 01:02:19 PM »
I agree with that characterization, but I wouldn't toss away the ideas that quickly.  I think the better question is what we can learn about effectiveness of various approaches, particularly given certain (hypothetical) key pieces of knowledge about an individual.  For instance, what if did an analysis of the first post of every theist that ever came to this forum?  It's at least imaginable that we would discover that there were only about 8 (say) categories of first posts of theists, that classified (say) 85% of the entirety of the first posts by theists here.  Might it be fair to classify theists according to their first response to encountering assertive atheism?  Upon further study, might these categories be found to have distinct reactions to different types of deconversion approaches?  Even if the methods Dr. Singer applied to cultists were not found to be universally applicable, the idea that an effective deconversion method might be tailored to a major and particular sub-set of theists that was somehow identifiable seems to me to be worth examining.

Offline screwtape

  • The Great Red Dragon
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 12378
  • Darwins +682/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Karma mooch
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2008, 01:39:11 PM »
For instance, what if did an analysis of the first post of every theist that ever came to this forum?  It's at least imaginable that we would discover that there were only about 8 (say) categories of first posts of theists, that classified (say) 85% of the entirety of the first posts by theists here.  Might it be fair to classify theists according to their first response to encountering assertive atheism?  Upon further study, might these categories be found to have distinct reactions to different types of deconversion approaches?  Even if the methods Dr. Singer applied to cultists were not found to be universally applicable, the idea that an effective deconversion method might be tailored to a major and particular sub-set of theists that was somehow identifiable seems to me to be worth examining.

That is a really good idea.
Links:
Rules
Guides & Tutorials

What's true is already so. Owning up to it does not make it worse.

Offline Goodkat

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1193
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • A man's delusion is insanity, a nation's, religion
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2008, 03:11:11 PM »
I am actually in the process of doing something similar to this
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?topic=1594.msg32169#msg32169
No one interfere, I'm experimenting.

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2008, 04:20:55 PM »
What's your sample size?

Offline Alkan

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1051
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • Mt. Lemmon, AZ. Challenging, but wondrous ride.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2008, 08:19:23 PM »
Davedave, I already proved that it is impossible to kill God from being within the real of reason. Not a biblical God, but a purely causal one.

Because of that, religion will live on forever. Humans will philosophize more as they grow more intelligent.

Rememeber this:

Existence can't come from something due to infinite regress, existence can't come from nothing by the definition of nothingness and infinite regress. That means, the cause of everything is neither something nor nothing, which for all intents and purposes in the human psyche, in human reasoning, in a physics metapor, and much more is God. This is because of the infinite possibility aspect for existence.

It's weird, but it at least prove's you're not necessarily right about how to deal with religious problems.

Now, I am expecting some sort of line like "Thats all a load of crap."

Before you post a sentence, ask yourself, "Could I say this to anything?"

In that, logically show where I am flawed.

Offline Goodkat

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1193
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • A man's delusion is insanity, a nation's, religion
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2008, 08:38:35 PM »
Davedave, I already proved that it is impossible to kill God from being within the real of reason. Not a biblical God, but a purely causal one.

Because of that, religion will live on forever. Humans will philosophize more as they grow more intelligent.

Rememeber this:

Existence can't come from something due to infinite regress, existence can't come from nothing by the definition of nothingness and infinite regress. That means, the cause of everything is neither something nor nothing, which for all intents and purposes in the human psyche, in human reasoning, in a physics metapor, and much more is God. This is because of the infinite possibility aspect for existence.

It's weird, but it at least prove's you're not necessarily right about how to deal with religious problems.

Now, I am expecting some sort of line like "Thats all a load of crap."

Before you post a sentence, ask yourself, "Could I say this to anything?"

In that, logically show where I am flawed.
If something is not bound by time, and thus has no beginning, does it really require a creator?

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2008, 09:44:33 AM »
...

GTFO of this thread.  You don't know the meaning of "proof" and you are contributing nothing to this conversation.

Offline Ambassador Pony

  • You keep what you kill.
  • Administrator
  • *******
  • Posts: 6858
  • Darwins +71/-4
  • Gender: Male
  • illuminatus
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2008, 06:50:09 PM »
From what I've just read about her work on "brainwashing", seems like she just applied standard learning theory.
You believe evolution and there is no evidence for that. Where is the fossil record of a half man half ape. I've only ever heard about it in reading.

Offline xphobe

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5364
  • Darwins +12/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • the truth is out there
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2008, 02:05:11 AM »
Anyway, I found this to be an interesting link http://www.ex-cult.org/General/singer-conditions

Reading that list just gave me a chill.  It describes nearly everyone around me (I don't know that many non-theists in real life).  I feel like Donald Sutherland in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

It also makes me think that atheism will have a tough time competing.  We don't promise anything except mental freedom from delusion.  We know that's worth any price, but on the surface it's hard to compete with "living the abundant life" , "going to hell if you reject Jesus", and the huge social networks.
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline Goodkat

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1193
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • A man's delusion is insanity, a nation's, religion
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2008, 02:59:56 PM »
Have any of you checked the rest of that website? There's more scary stuff from more people
http://ex-cult.org/General/lifton-criteria

Offline kevyrat69

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1209
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • oh rats.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2008, 08:16:49 PM »
DaveDave,
 I have been in a group called attitudinal healing.  It first began as a group for kids that had cancer and it was for them just to talk about there feelings about what they are going through.  The guy that started it is a doctor that treated kids with brain cancer and all the other stuff that kids of course get.  I became a facilitator in one of the groups.  I would help people talk about what they go through in there daily lives.  It was not about religion but of course it wasn't against it either.  I am not a college person here of high intelligence.  I can talk with people and just listen to them talk.  It was a positive group to help people know that they are of importance and that somebody does care.

I imagine if we could start a group and call it the deconverters or something that would be kind of strange.  It is just a thought on what you are talking about.  Helping people get religion off of there backs.  I am not sure how to start something without us putting ourselves out there.  We would need some money and help with this.
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

whatever people are experiencing when they experience God, it's not something they're perceiving in the external world. It's something their brains are making up.
Greta Christina

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2008, 09:54:52 AM »
Well, better than groping around in the dark would be undertaking a serious investigation into how to really do this.  Perhaps it's simplistic, but imagine a flow chart that we could develop where, using the answers to a few fairly basic questions, you might really be able to effectively target the belief system of a particular theist.  Hard to say what sorts of questions those might be and hard to say how effective the end result would be, but if we could perform a scientific investigation and come up with even something that was 10% effective for 10% of theists.  That's still tens of millions of converts, if widely applied.  That's a pretty high reward for the effort.  You see, the creator(s) of this webpage have a video on youtube.  It asks ten questions.  It has generated a lot of attention and, I would imagine, some converts.  However, it's pretty clear that it was created simply by guesswork or inclination, not a product of an investigation into the ideas that most evoke theist deconversion.  It's good, but how much better might it be?  Why does it appear that even atheists are so loathe to turn to what has proven to be the most powerful tool for finding answers known to mankind - scientific investigation?  Why are we still operating by guesswork and feeling in this day and age, knowing as we all must by now the potency of rational investigation.  We've split the atom.  We've decoded DNA.  We've determined the age of the universe and put a man on the moon and brought him back alive.  It's high time we really applied ourselves to this problem.

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2008, 10:48:55 AM »
It describes nearly everyone around me (I don't know that many non-theists in real life). 

Just curious, xphobe, are you openly atheist with the "everyone" around you?

Offline xphobe

  • Professor
  • ********
  • Posts: 5364
  • Darwins +12/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • the truth is out there
Re: Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2008, 11:34:38 PM »
It describes nearly everyone around me (I don't know that many non-theists in real life). 

Just curious, xphobe, are you openly atheist with the "everyone" around you?

Not everyone.  I am with my family and co-workers, but one of my clients is a church.
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline kevyrat69

  • Reader
  • ******
  • Posts: 1209
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • oh rats.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2008, 11:01:49 AM »
Hi DaveDave, Thanks for the input on what I said.  I have started coming out about being an atheist and I am finding it is hard for me to keep my voice down.  I am passionit about this and feel if I can set up some kind a test with questions for thiests and how they believe in there god.  I am reading a great book called the finger prints of the christ.  Just remember how the smoking issue went and maybe we can have it start small.
Oh, each time I go to the laundry mat, I allways find a ladder day saints mag and rip it up.  Also at work I am talking to people a little at a time.  It is one of the most touchy subjects that seems so personal to people in how they believe.  I will do what I can to stop this where ever I can.
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

whatever people are experiencing when they experience God, it's not something they're perceiving in the external world. It's something their brains are making up.
Greta Christina

Offline Davedave

  • Emergency Room
  • *******
  • Posts: 2995
  • Darwins +0/-0
  • Gender: Male
  • I'm back, hoes.
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #27 on: December 02, 2008, 11:06:42 AM »
Well, what is really needed is for atheists to demonstrate some actual strength of their convictions.  I believe that a scientific approach could crack the secrets of religious propagation.  It has split the atom, put a man on the moon, and decoded DNA.  I think taking a rational approach to investigating the question of the stickiness of religion in the human mind would eventually give hard answers much better than the guesswork we engage in here.

Offline cruguru

  • Undergraduate
  • ***
  • Posts: 179
  • Darwins +0/-0
Re: Dr. Margaret Singer - Was She On To Something?
« Reply #28 on: December 02, 2008, 12:49:45 PM »
davedave (love the name),
I think the difficulty in your task can be found in your sentence:
"what is really needed is for atheists to demonstrate some actual strength of their convictions"
Convictions aren't based on reason.  They're statements of faith and are often unprovable.  The conviction that society would be better off without G-d may have very rationale proofs, but the conviction itself is based in emotion and faith.  So ultimately, you may kill a certain concept of G-d, but you won't have killed faith.  And if you don't kill faith, G-d will come back. 

If you want some practical advice, though, I would look into the history of the early Christian chruch (pre-constantine) and how they grew.  One thing that really helped was that early Christians tended to plague victims.  They would go to areas no one else would touch and help the sick, bring them water and food, etc.  When people saw Christians tending to lepers, they knew they were serious and that there was somethign behind their convictions.
Also, the missionsaries that the LDS church sends out really help indoctrinate their youth (they don't really help convert anyone).