Tom Cruise: Scientologist shouts “Pseudoscience”

By AnthonyLast updated: Monday, June 27, 2005 • Save & Share12 Comments

Tom Cruise is a superb actor. Forget Top Gun and all the other pretty boy stuff. In Collateral late last year, and in Magnolia in 1999, he shone.

However, like all those speaking outside of their area of expertise (such as: rock stars on politics and Charles Kennedy on any subject you care to name), Cruise runs the same risk as anyone of making stupid statements. Cruise has decided to take on psychiatry saying “Psychiatry is a pseudo science”.

Now, there are criticisms to be made of psychiatry, and of the drugs used for the treatment of depression. However, some people do benefit from them. Cruise in unimpressed:

“She [Brooke Shields] doesn’t understand the history of psychiatry. She doesn’t understand in the same way that you don’t understand it, Matt.

“You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do,” he added.

When Lauer said he had known people who had been helped by anti-depressants, Cruise accused him of irresponsibly advocating drugs about which he knew little on national television.

“Just knowing people who are on Ritalin isn’t enough. You should be a little more responsible,” he said.

Brooke Shields suffered from severe postpartum depression and has come back at Cruise for his comments:

“Tom Cruise’s comments are irresponsible and dangerous. Tom should stick to saving the world from aliens and let women who are experiencing postpartum depression decide what treatment options are best for them.”

She has also offered Cruise a two for one ticket offer. Postpartum depression may be a subject that Cruise may understandly have some difficulty emphasising with, but given his self-acknowledged expertise in the field of psychiatry, he should have perhaps pointed out that Ritalin (methylphenidate) is not an anti-depressant, but a central stimulant. Its main use is in hyperactivity disorders in children. Use in depression is confined to augmenting the effect of standard anti-depressants (and I’m not convinced that occurs all that often).

But most of all the sight of Cruise calling psychiatry a pseudoscience when he himself adheres to L Ron Hubbard’s Scientology, as do other celebs, is hilarious. Here’s Scott Burgess’s round-up of Scientology’s central beliefs, from which you can glean this fantastic insight in the rationalism of Scientology:

earth was originally populated by souls, or “thetans” that were brought from another galaxy, 75 million years ago, by a space overlord called Xenu (or Xemu). These “thetans” were frozen in alcohol and glycol and released on earth, but the evil Xenu was imprisoned in a volcano in the Canary Islands, where he remains to this day.

What can you take to treat that?

Filed in Movies, Quackery

12 Responses to “Tom Cruise: Scientologist shouts “Pseudoscience””

Comment from PooterGeek
Time 30/6/2005 at 5:44 pm

Mind you, contemporary psychiatry is behind this sort of thing too. I’m not aware of anyone successfully trying a “Scientology defence” in an English court. (I seem to remember that it isn’t even recognized as a religion by the law in this country so we will safely be able to continue calling its adherents loons.)

Comment from RS
Time 1/7/2005 at 11:54 am

I don’t think you can blame psychiatry if the courts regard a personality disorder as grounds for diminished responsibility. Psychiatry explicitly makes a distinction between personality disorders and ‘proper’ mental illness.

Comment from Patrice Alexander
Time 2/7/2005 at 12:30 am

Iam a member of the health field, and I feel that he was so postive in his beliefs and rightly so. He is sending a message to the world. and hopefully will reach a portion of the population that will stop. think and question. I have studied in this area and have seen pts, become zombies within a period of time. I would like to be on a television show supporting Tom. He needs support of people who have worked in the area of this exposure. People will relate to those who represent the health area

Comment from RS
Time 2/7/2005 at 12:49 pm

You do realise that scientology opposes psychiatry because it undermines sales and conversions?

Comment from Ray Girvan
Time 2/7/2005 at 3:45 pm

I don’t think you can blame psychiatry if the courts regard a personality disorder as grounds for diminished responsibility. Psychiatry explicitly makes a distinction between personality disorders and ‘proper’ mental illness.

I’ve always felt that this is an artificial distinction. If someone has (say) Antisocial Personality Disorder – what used to be called callous psychopathy – which effectively means they have a much-reduced or absent conscience about their actions, why should this not be a mitigating circumstance?

Comment from Bro_ken
Time 4/7/2005 at 8:56 pm

I am rather worried by Patrice Alexander’s comments. Or am I missing something? Is Patrice serious?

Cruise, as the original post points out, is speaking with an extremely odd agenda as his subtext. Plenty of religions/cults object to psychiatry because it challenges the roots of their world-view. (That’s not to say there’s not plenty to object to, however.) But Cruise’s inadequate grasp of his subject really came out in this encounter as anyone who reads the transcript can see for themselves. To shift the focus from Scientology, I’m reminded here of Xtian fundamentalist attitudes to acute mental distress. Many years ago (in a UK mainstream Baptist church) I remember being told that I was possessed of various demons; and that the remedy was exorcism. The demons included the ‘spirit of nicotine’ and many, many, others connected to my mental health…. What I really needed was to see a good doctor.

Comment from RS
Time 5/7/2005 at 12:43 pm

“I’ve always felt that this is an artificial distinction. If someone has (say) Antisocial Personality Disorder – what used to be called callous psychopathy – which effectively means they have a much-reduced or absent conscience about their actions, why should this not be a mitigating circumstance?”

Many reasons. Personality disorders are nigh untreatable. Secondly they are a label applied to someone’s personality rather than a disease or condition that has afflicted someone that is otherwise normal (which would be the case for something like schizophrenia).

The circumstances for someone with a psychiatric condition or a learning disability is that they are not aware of, or able to understand that their actions are wrong – someone with a personality disorder knows that their actions are wrong but doesn’t care.

To take your reasoning to its logical conclusion, since our brains cause us to do stuff, we shouldn’t be held responsible for our actions. But since we are our brains we most certainly should be held responsible for our actions! To put it another way, someone who kills is clearly abnormal, and is in fact a murderer. But we don’t let them off because they are a murderer, even if we renamed it murdering personality disorder.

Comment from Ray
Time 6/7/2005 at 6:36 pm

someone with a personality disorder knows that their actions are wrong but doesn’t care

But that’s my point: if that not caring is down to some abnormality (whether we call it a disease or not), it makes a person’s perspective on their own actions very different from those of the rest of who do care. I’m not arguing for “letting them off”, just suggesting that the way they are subsequently treated ought to reflect less blame (in terms of privileges during incarceration) than people who commit murder despite having an intact conscience.

Comment from RS
Time 7/7/2005 at 2:06 pm

But your argument fails because everyone who murders has obviously managed to overcome their moral compunctions against killing – they have demonstrated it in the most convincing way.

Next you’ll be arguing that the more obviously brutal and nasty the murder, the more abnormal the person is, and thus the less blame they receive. So serial killers are the least blameworthy of all murderers, and women who kill their husband while they’re being abused, but still know killing is wrong, are the most blameworthy.

Comment from michael hammond
Time 5/9/2005 at 5:22 am

The pharmaceutical industry makes billions of dollars drugging school children and this is a form of genocide: condemning millions of young lives to a drug addicted future. They employ “experts” and lobbyist and hire ex FDA personnel and retired congressman to get pro-drug legislation passed. Newspapers and magazines receive billions of dollars a year in advertising, and investment firms make big bucks touting the latest snake oil; so it would be a rare article indeed that went against Big Pharma. The industry is motivated by the bottom line and shareholders not Science. A Google search of Ritalin and Cocaine, Prozac, chemical imbalance, school shootings, will show even the most skeptical that something is horribly wrong when 6 million school children ( plans are in place to increase this by 40% each year) are on anti-depressant drugs prescribed to handle “disorders” created to sell the drugs. Michael Hammond

Comment from Anthony
Time 5/9/2005 at 4:08 pm

Michael,

I suggest you go away and read up about genocide. Despite the many failings of the pharmaceutical industry, ranting on about “genocide” is an insult to the memory of those who have been destroyed in true genocides and those still suffering them now – as in Southern Sudan. Shouting “genocide”, when it is not, undermines any argument you are attempting to make.

By the way, A Google search of Lady Diana will probably tell you that she was murdered by British security forces as part of a global conspiracy. It does not mean it is true.