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Debunking the Myth of Mind-Control

Margaret Singer

Margaret Singer's career as an expert witness in defense of the mind-control theory was quite successful until the theory had been debunked.


Diane Richardson <referen@bway.net>

13 Apr  97

http://x9.dejanews.com/getdoc.xp?AN=234782344

martinh@islandnet.com (Martin Hunt) wrote:

>referen@bway.net (Diane Richardson) wrote:

>> I'm wondering where you comments on the excerpts I've already posted are, Martin. I thought you'd agreed to comment on them, but I haven't seen any lately. Perhaps zippo isn't picking up all your posts again?

> I've commented on a few, and I did agree to comment on the critiques of Singer you agreed to post, but I haven't seen any yet. If you find a critique of Singer, I'd be happy to review it. Is she really an academic outcast? I cannot find a single scholarly critique of her theories....

I've never claimed that Singer is "an academic outcast." I believe she is respected as an outstanding therapist, with a long record of assisting ex-cult members.

Singer developed her theory of "mind control" years before she published "Cults in Our Midst." That book was written for the general public, not as a scholarly treatise. Dr. Singer presented her theory of "mind control" to her professional colleagues years before she explained them to the general public in her book.

In addition to Dr. Singer's long career as a therapist, she was quite active as an expert witness in cult-related litigation. I believe she appeared as an expert witness in more than 30 different cases. As an expert witness, Dr. Singer presented to the court her "mind control" theory. She was often quite successful in presenting her theory as proof of cult abuse. Larry Wollersheim's lawsuit against the CoS in the 1980s is probably the best-known example of her success as an expert witness. The jury bought her theory that Wollersheim was mentally harmed by his cult experience and awarded damages to him for this harm.

Dr. Singer's last appearance as an expert witness was in the criminal case the U.S. government brought against Steven Fishman for mail fraud. Fishman's defense against the charges was that he was not responsible for his actions because he was insane. He presented a long history of mental instability, which was not challenged, to prove he was insane. He also wanted to present Dr. Singer as an expert witness to explain how the CoS used "mind control" techniques to force him to commit illegal acts which he would not have committed if he had not been subjected to "mind control."

The government prosecutor (*not* the CoS) challenged the validity of Dr. Singer's "mind control" theory and objected to her appearing as an expert witness to present her theory to the court. The government contended that Dr. Singer's theory was not accepted by the majority of her colleagues as valid and presented evidence to support their contention.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the federal judge hearing the case ruled that Dr. Singer's "mind control" theory was not accepted by the majority of her peers. Dr. Singer was allowed to appear as an expert witness *only* to testify about Steven Fishman's mental status -- his history of mental instability. Dr. Singer was *not* permitted to present her "mind control" theory as an explanation for why Steven Fishman committed mail fraud.

When the judge issued this ruling, Steven Fishman then opted to plea bargain rather than continue on to trial without being able to present Singer's "mind control" theory as a defense.

As a result of the judge's ruling, Dr. Singer sued the APA, who had testified that her "mind control" theory was not considered valid and was not endorsed by the APA. She sued the APA for interfering with her ability to earn money as an expert witness in cult-related court cases. Dr. Singer's lawsuit was dismissed. She has not been able to appear as an expert witness on "mind control" since that decision.

This brings up a related matter. Several people here are making pointed accusations against those who have provided testimony to support the CoS in litigation for a fee. The epithets being flung about include "cult whore," "paid dupe," "cult apologist," and most recently "moral coward."

While I can understand the fierce emotions leading to the use of such loaded language, I'm not sure how anyone can rationalize away the fact that folks like Margaret Singer and Vaughn Young engage in exactly the same activity for the opposing side.

The only explanation for this seeming hypocrisy is that Singer and Young are doing what is "right," while Hadden is doing what is "wrong." Monica appears to be convinced that Hadden even *knows* he's doing wrong, but does so nonetheless.

Professor Hadden may have received a fee for providing his services as an expert in a legal action -- although I'm just guessing he was paid, since I don't know that as a fact. I do know for a fact that Dr. Singer and Vaughn Young have been paid to provide the same expert services for the other side.

I know you've addressed this question previously, Martin, but if I remember correctly, your comments were that what Vaughn Young did in his spare time was no concern of yours, while what Hadden did in *his* spare time was and should be a matter of great concern to everyone.

Diane Richardson
referen@bway.net


 


Defense Introduction - Announcement - William's Sins Bainbridge - Timothy Miller - Hunts Attack - Robert Jay Lifton - Pattern of Defense - Loaded Language - Margaret Singer - DSM -1V - Clark's Defense -Kaplan and Saddock - Sociologist Vs Psychologist - Milieu Control - Hugglung's Reaction  Salibo on Singer - APA Statement - The Rabbits Foot



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This web site is NOT created by a Scientologist. It is created by a Scientology EX-MEMBER who is critical of Scientology. However, this ex-member is ALSO critical of the anti-Scientology movement. This does not make him a Scientologist, nor a defender of Scientology.

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