Advertisement

Pseudoscience versus Minority Religions

An Evaluation of the Brainwashing Theories of Jean-Marie Abgrall
  • Dick Anthony
  • Thomas Robbins
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)

Abstract

This chapter evaluates the scientific status of the cultic brainwashing perspective of the French psychiatrist Jean-Marie Abgrall, who appears to be playing a similar role in anti-cult crusading in Europe to that which was earlier played in the United States by American psychologist Margaret Singer (Singer, with Lalich, 1995). Abgrall has emerged as a key “cult expert”1 because he was the first psychiatrist in France willing to embrace brainwashing theories. Abgrall has been involved in dozens of legal cases and has become the foremost expert on sects and cults in France and even Europe.

Keywords

American Psychological Association American Sociological Association Religious Movement Mental Manipulation Mind Control 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Abgrall, J.-M. (1990). Rapport Sur “L’Eglise de Scientologie”: Les techniques de la Scientolo-gie, la doctrine Dianetique, leurs consequences médico-legales (trans: “Report on the Church of Scientology: The Techniques of Scientology and the Doctrine of Dianetics, Their Medical- Legal Consequences”). Submitted in “Case for Criminal Prosecution for Fraud,” Case No. 90:6119074, Defendants: Isabelle Archer, et al., Higher Court of Marseilles. (Also submitted in other cases involving Scientology in Lyon and Paris.)Google Scholar
  2. Abgrall, J.-M. (1996). La Mécanique des sectes. Paris: Documents Payot.Google Scholar
  3. Abgrall, J.-M. (1999a). Les sectes de Vapocalypse: Gourous de l’an 2000. Paris: Calmann-Levy.Google Scholar
  4. Abgrall, J.-M. (1999b). Soulsnatchers: The mechanism of cults, English translation of La Mécanique des sectes. New York: Algora.Google Scholar
  5. Allen, C. (1998–99). Brainwashed. Lingua Franca, Dec/Jan. 26–37.Google Scholar
  6. American Psychiatric Association (1980). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 3rd ed. (DSM-III), American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  7. American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th ed. (DSM-IV), American Psychiatric Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  8. American Psychological Association et al. (1987). Am-icus Curiae Brief in Molko and Leal vs. Holy Spirit Association, filed with the California Court of Ap-peal, Case no. A020935.Google Scholar
  9. Anthony, D. (1989). Evaluating key testimony in trials involving brainwashing allegations against Reli-gious movements. In American Bar Association National Institute on Tort and Religion: Course Materials, ABA Division of Professional Educa-tion, Chicago, pp. 139–166.Google Scholar
  10. Anthony, D. (1990). Religious movements and brain-washing litigation: Evaluating key testimony. In T. Robbins and D. Anthony. (Eds.), In gods we trust (pp. 295–344). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.Google Scholar
  11. Anthony, D. (1996). Brainwashing and totalitarian in-fluence: An exploration of admissibility criteria for testimony in brainwashing trials, Doctoral Disser-tation, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA (may be obtained from Ann Arbor, Michigan, UMI Dissertation Services).Google Scholar
  12. Anthony, D. (1999). Pseudoscience and minority reli-gion: An evaluation of the brainwashing theories of Jean-Marie Abgrall. Social Justice Research, 12, 421–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Anthony, D. (2000). The pseudoscientific and totalis-tic character of the brainwashing paradigm: Legal implications and consequences. In B. Zablocki & T. Robbins (Eds.), Misunderstanding cults (pp. 215–317). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
  14. Anthony, D. & Robbins, T. (1992). Law, social sci-ence and the “brainwashing” exception to the First Amendment. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 10, 5–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Anthony, D. & Robbins, T. (1994). Brainwashing and totalitarian influence. In V. S. Ramachan-dran (Ed.), Encyclopedia of human behavior, New York: Academic Press, Reprinted in H. Friedman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of mental health, New York: Academic Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  16. Anthony, D. & Robbins, T. (1995a). Negligence, coer-cion, and the protection of religious belief. Journal of Church and State, 37, 509–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Anthony, D. & Robbins, T. (1995b). Religious totalism, violence and exemplary dualism. In M. Barkun (Ed.), Millennialism and Violence, a special issue of Terrorism and Political Violence, 7, 10–50.Google Scholar
  18. Assemblée Nationale (1999). Rapport fait au nom de la Commission d’ Enquête sur la situation fi-nancière, patrimoniale et fiscale des sectes, ainsi que sur leurs activites economiques et leurs rela-tions avec les milieux economiques et l’Assemblée Nationale. Google Scholar
  19. Bainbridge, W. S. (1999). The sociology of religious movements. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Barber, T. X. (1961). Antisocial and criminal acts in-duced by hypnosis: A review of experimental and clinical findings. The Archives of General Psychi-atry, 5, 301–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Barber, T. X. (1969). Hypnosis: A scientific approach. New York: Litton.Google Scholar
  22. Barker, E. (1984). The making of a Moonie: “Brainwashing” of choice? New York: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  23. Barker, E. (1989). New religious movements. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  24. Biderman, A. (1962). The image of “brainwashing.” Public Opinion Quarterly, 26, 547–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Blum, J. (1978). Pseudoscience and mental abil-ity: The origins and fallacies of the 1Q contro-versy. New York and London: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  26. Bromley, D. G. (1983). Conservatorships and de-programming. In D. Bromley & J. Richardson (Eds.), The brainwashing/deprogramming con-troversy (pp. 267–294). New York: Edwin Mellen.Google Scholar
  27. Bromley, D. G. (1996). Listing (in black and white): Some observations on sociological thought re-form. Nova Religio, 1, 250–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Bromley, D. G. & Breschel, E. F. (1992). General pop-ulation and institutional elite support for social control of new religions movements. Behavioral Sciences & the Law, 10, 39–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Bromley, D. G. & Shupe, A. (1981). Strange gods: The great American cult scare. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  30. Broussard, P. (1999). Lénquête sur le Temple So-laire rèvéle le monde des sociètès secrétes (Solar Temple investigation exposes the world of secret societies). Le Monde, Dec. 24.Google Scholar
  31. Campbell, R. (1981). Psychiatric dictionary, 5th ed. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  32. Chambre des Repr’esentants de Belgique (1997). Enquête parlementaire visant â èlaborer une poli-tique en vue de lutter contre les pratiques illègales des sectes et les dangers quélles représentent pour la sociètè et pour les personnes, particulièrement les mineurs d’âge. Rapport fait au nom de la Com-mission d’Enquête par MM. Duquesne et Willems, Bruxelles. Google Scholar
  33. Chomsky, N. (1987). Psychology and ideology. In J. Peck (Ed.), The Chomsky reader (pp. 157–182). New York: Pantheon.Google Scholar
  34. Clark, J. & Langone, M. (1981). Destructive cult con-version: Theory, research and practice. Boston: American Family Foundation.Google Scholar
  35. Commission d’Enquête sur les Sectes (1996). Les sectes en France: Rapport, Les Documents d’information de l’Assembl’ee Nationale, Paris.Google Scholar
  36. Condon, R. (1958). The Manchurian candidate. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  37. Conn, J. (1982). The myth of coercion under hypnosis. In J. Zeig (Ed.), Eriksonian approaches to hypno-sis and psychotherapy (pp. 357–368). New York: Brunner Mazel.Google Scholar
  38. Dawson, L. (1999). Comprehending cults. Oxford: Ox-ford University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Erikson, M. (1939). An experimental investigation of the possible anti-social use of hypnosis. Psychia- try, 2, 391–414.Google Scholar
  40. Erikson, M. (1980). The collected papers of Milton H. Erikson on hypnosis: Vol. 1. New York: Irvington.Google Scholar
  41. Freud, S. (1953–1974a). Standard edition of the com-plete works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 13: Totem and Taboo. London: Hogarth.Google Scholar
  42. Freud, S. (1953–1974b). Standard edition of the com-plete works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. 21: The Future of an Illusion. London: Hogarth.Google Scholar
  43. Fromm, E. & Shor, R. (1979). Hypnosis: Developments in research and new perspectives. New York: Al-dine.Google Scholar
  44. Gauld, A. (1992). A History of hypnotism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Ginsburg, G. & Richardson, J. T. (1998). “Brainwash-ing” evidence in light of Daubert. In H. Reece (Ed.), Law and science (pp. 265–288). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Greenberg, L. (1994). What is real in the relationship? Journal of Counseling and Clinical Psychology, 47, 307–310.Google Scholar
  47. Grunbaum, A. (1984). The Foundations of psychoanal-ysis: A philosophical critique. Berkeley: Univer-sity of California Press.Google Scholar
  48. Hunter, E. (1951). Brainwashing in Red China. New York: Vanguard.Google Scholar
  49. Hunter, E. (1960). Brainwashing: From Pavlov to Pow-ers. New York: The Bookmaster.Google Scholar
  50. Huxley, A. (1958). Brave New World revisited. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  51. Introvigne, M. & Melton, J. G. (1996). Pour en finir avec les sectes. Le d’ebat sur le rapport de la commis-sion parlementaire, 3rd ed.. Paris: Dervy.Google Scholar
  52. James, G. G. (1986). Brainwashing: The myth and the actuality. Thought: Fordham University Quar-terly, LXI (241), 241–257.Google Scholar
  53. Kaminer, W. (1992). Tm dysfunctional, you ’re dysfunc-tional: The recovery movement and other self-help fashions. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  54. Katz, S. & Liu, A. (1991). The codependency conspir-acy. New York: Warner.Google Scholar
  55. Kirsch, I. (1995). Foreward to the 1995 edition of T. X. Barber, Hypnosis: A scientific approach. New York: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  56. Langone, M. (1997). Report in Francon Marini vs. Church of Gaia, District Court, County of Boul-der, State of Colorado, Case No. 96-CV-1450, Division 5.Google Scholar
  57. Langone, M. (1998). Deposition in Francon Marini vs. Church of Gaia, District Court, County of Boulder, State of Colorado, Case no. 96-CV-1450, Division 5.Google Scholar
  58. Leahey, T. & Leahey, G. (1983). Psychology’s occult doubles: Psychology and the problem of pseudo-science. Chicago: Nelson Hall.Google Scholar
  59. LeMoult, J. (1978). Deprogramming members of re-ligious sects. Fordham Law Review, 46, 599–634.Google Scholar
  60. Lifton, R. (1961). Thought reform and the psychology of totalism: A study of “brainwashing” in China. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  61. Magee, B. (1985). Philosophy and the real world: An introduction to Karl Popper. LaSalle, IL: Open Court.Google Scholar
  62. Mallinckrodt, B. (1996). Capturing the subjective and other challenges in measuring transference. Jour-nal of Counseling Psychology, 43(3). Google Scholar
  63. Marks, J. (1980). The search for the Manchurian can-didate. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  64. Martin, P. (1993). Post-cult recovery: Assessment and rehabilitation. In M. Langone (Ed.), Recovery from cults (pp. 201–231). New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  65. Meerloo, J. (1956). The rape of the mind: The psychol-ogy of thought control, menticide, and brainwash-ing. Cleveland: World Publishing Co.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Melton, J. G. (1999). Anti-cultists in the United States: An historical perspective. In B. Wilson & J. Cress-well (Eds.), New religious movements (pp. 213–234). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  67. Moss, C. (1965). Hypnosis in perspective. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  68. Nathan, D. & Snedeker, M. (1995). Satan’s silence: Rit-ual abuse and the making of a modern American witchhunt. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  69. O’Hear, A. (1980). Karl Popper. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  70. Orne, M. (1961). The potential uses of hypnosis in interrogation. In A. Biderman & Zimmer (Eds.), The manipulation of human behavior. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  71. Orne, M. (1962). Antisocial behavior and hypno-sis. In G. Estabrooks (Ed.), Hypnosis: Current problems (pp. 136–192). New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  72. Paloutzian, R., Richardson, J. T. & Rambo, L. (1999). Religious conversion and personality change. Journal of Personality, 67, 1047–1079.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Peele, S. (1989). Diseasing America: Addiction treat-ment out of control. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  74. Popper, K. (1959). The logic of scientific discovery. New York: Harper Torchbooks.Google Scholar
  75. Popper, K. (1963). Conjectures and refutations: The growth of scientific knowledge. London and New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  76. Rapping, E. (1996). The culture of recovery: Making sense of the self-help movement in women’s lives. Boston: Beacon.Google Scholar
  77. Reber, A. (1995). The Penguin dictionary of psychol-ogy, 2nd ed. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  78. Richardson, J. & Kilbourne, B. (1983). Classical and contemporary applications of brainwash-ing models: A critique and comparison. In D. Bromley & J. Richardson (Eds.), The brain-washing/deprogramming controversy (pp. 29–45). Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellon.Google Scholar
  79. Richardson, J. T. (1991). Cult/brainwashing cases and the freedom of religion. Journal of Church and State, 33, 55–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Richardson, J. T. (1992a). Public opinion and the tax evasion trial of Reverend Moon. Behavioral Sci-ences & the Law, 10, 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Richardson, J. (1992a). Mental health of cult consumers: Legal and scientific controversies. In J. Schumaker (Ed.), Religion and mental health (pp. 233–244). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Richardson, J. T. (1993a). Religiosity as deviance: The use and misuse of the DSM in assessing par-ticipants in new religions. Deviant Behavior, 14, 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Richardson, J. T. (1993b). A social psychological cri-tique of “brainwashing” claims about recruit-ment to new religions. In J. Hadden & D. Bromley (Eds.), The handbook of cults and sects in America (pp. 75–97). Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  84. Richardson, J. T. (1996a). “Brainwashing” claims and minority religions outside the United States: Cul-tural diffusion of a questionable legal concept in the legal arena. Brigham Young University Law Review, 1996, 873–904.Google Scholar
  85. Richardson, J. T. (1996b). Sociology and the new reli-gions: “Brainwashing,” “the courts, and religious freedom.” In P. Jenkins & S. Kroll-Smith (Eds.), Witnessing for sociology: Sociologists in court (pp. 115–134). Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  86. Richardson, J. T. (1999). Letter re Charlotte’s Allen’s article, (“Brainwashed,” Dec/Jan. 1998–99), March, 61–62.Google Scholar
  87. Richardson, J. T. & Kilbourne, B. K. (1983). Clas-sical and contemporary applications of brain-washing models. In D. Bromley & J. Richard-son (Eds.), The brainwashing/deprogramming controversy (pp. 29–45). New York: Edwin Mellen.Google Scholar
  88. Robbins, T. (1985). Cults, converts, & charisma. Bev-erly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  89. Scheflin, A. & Opton, E. (1978). The mind manipula-tors. Washington, DC: Paddington.Google Scholar
  90. Schein, E. (1959). Brainwashing and totalitarianiza-tion in modern society. World Politics, 2, 430–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Schein, E. (1961). Coercive persuasion. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  92. Seeburger, F. (1996). Addiction and responsibility: An inquiry into the addictive mind. New York: Cross-road.Google Scholar
  93. Shermer, M. (1997). Why people believe weird things: Pseudoscience, superstition, and other confusions of our time. New York: W. H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  94. Shupe, A. & Bromley, D. G. (1980). The new vigilantes. Beverley Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  95. Singer, M. (1983). Testimony in Robin and Marcia George v. International Society of Krishna Consciousness of California et al., 25–75-65, Orange County California Superior Court.Google Scholar
  96. Singer, M. & Lalich, J. (1995). Cults in our midst: The hidden menace in our everyday lives. San Fran-cisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  97. Singer & Ofshe vs. American Psychological Associ- ation et al. (1993), United States District Court Southern District Of New York, Index No. 92 Civ. 6082 (LMM).Google Scholar
  98. Singer & Ofshe vs. American Psychological Associa- tion et al. (1994), Superior Court of the State of California, County of Alameda, Case No. 730012–7 [Civ. Proc. Code 425.16].Google Scholar
  99. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, et al. (1988). Amicus Curiae Brief for George v. ISKCON, filed with the California Appeal Court, Case no. D007153, 29 Feb.Google Scholar
  100. Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Amer-ican Sociological Association, et al. (1989). Amicus Curiae Brief for David Molko and Tracy Leal v. Holy Spirit Association, et al., filed with US Supreme Court, Case no. 88–1600, 1 May.Google Scholar
  101. Spanos, N. P. (1996). Multiple identities and false mem-ories: A sociocognitive perspective. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Tavris, C. (1992). The mismeasure of women. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
  103. Timpanaro, S. (1998). Error’s reign. In F. Crews (Ed.), Unauthorized Freud: Doubters confront a legend (pp. 94–105). New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  104. Victor, J. (1993). Satanic panic: The creation of a con-temporary legend. Chicago: Open Court.Google Scholar
  105. Von Derschau, V. (2002) French court fines Church of Scientology over data violation, acquits church of attempted fraud and false advertising. Associated Press, May 17. Reprinted on CESNUR website, http://www.CESNUR.org.
  106. Wright, S. (1987). Leaving cults. Washington DC: Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.Google Scholar
  107. Zablocki, B. (1998). Exit cost analysis: A new approach to the scientific study of brainwashing. Nova Re-ligio. 2, 216–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Ziskin, J. (1981). Coping with psychiatric and psycho-logical testimony. Venice, CA: Law and Psychol-ogy Press.Google Scholar
  109. Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 US 579 (1993).Google Scholar
  110. Frye v. United States, 293 F. (D.C. Circuit, 1923).Google Scholar
  111. George v. ISKCON, No. D007153 (Cal. App. 4th Dist,1988), deceit. Vacated, 109 S. Ct. 1299 (1991).Google Scholar
  112. Green and Ryan v. Maharishi Mahesk Yoga et al.,(U.S.D.C. No. 8700015 and 0016 (1991).Google Scholar
  113. Kropinski v. World Plan Executive Council, 853 F. 2d 948 (D.C. Cir. 1988).Google Scholar
  114. Meroni v. Holy Spirit Association, 119 App. Div. 2d 200, 506 NYS 2d (1986).Google Scholar
  115. Molko and Leal v. Holy Spirit Association, 46 Cal. 3d 1092, 252 Cal. Rptr 122 (1988), cert denied 109 S.Ct. 2110 (1989).Google Scholar
  116. United States v. Fishman, 743 F. Supp. (N.D. Cal. 1990).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dick Anthony
  • Thomas Robbins

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations