“You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” – L Ron Hubbard. [1]

In 1953, science-fiction writer L Ron Hubbard set out on a mission – create a new religion based on his book Dianetics.

Hubbard truly believed in the psychological benefits of the practices suggested in the book. So he released it to the psychological community – expecting to be hailed as a genius for discovering these new ways of understanding and improving the human mind.

"The scientific community couldn't make heads or tails of it," said Lawrence Wright in his groundbreaking book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief. "The psychological community had no idea how he came up with the ideas. It didn't have any empirical evidence or testing."

But L. Ron believed in his practices. And he was determined to show the scientific the community wrong. [2]

So, not only did he start running workshops to help people implement the practices in Dianetics, he used those practices as the foundation of his new 'Church of Scientology.'

Over the second half of the 20th century, the Church of Scientology would register millions of members and amass over $2 billion in assets from membership counseling and “donations." [3]

Scientology Today

Today, despite having billions of dollars in assets, Scientology memberships are declining – because most people now know what Scientology really is. [4]

  • We know that L. Ron Hubbard wasn’t a prophet, he was a science-fiction writer.
  • We know that Dianetics wasn’t based on real science.
  • We know that L. Ron Hubbard started the Church of Scientology just to make money. [2]

In other words, we know the truth about Scientology.

That's why, despite the fact that they invest millions of dollars in advertising, the number of Scientologists continues to fall.

That wasn't always the case. Before the invention of Google, people were seduced by Scientology's message of self-improvement. They couldn't read the stories of former members who were beaten, imprisoned, and scammed out of their life savings.

They were sold a lie – and had to suffer the consequences of that.

In today's world, people can search Google, immediately see the tragic stories of past members, and make a wise decision based on the evidence to avoid Scientology.

With this access to new information and ability to see the facts, why do we regard the second half of the 20th century as a 'Golden Age' for the truth, and today as a 'Post-Truth Dystopia'?

Enlightenment

From the late 17th century until today, we have been living in the enlightenment. Much of the world was once unknown, but thanks to the scientific revolution, we have shone a light on nearly every corner of it – learning all the truths that once hid in the dark.

This enlightenment accelerated rapidly with the invention of the Internet.

30 years ago, most people had no idea what the culture of another continent was like. They had no idea of the true suffering done by dictatorships in other countries, nor did they have easy (often free) access to the art, literature, or culture of people living on the other side of the world.

Now we have the unprecedented ability to connect with people, understand more about our objective world, and the subjective experience of the people living within it.

The truth, in other words, has never been more accessible.

So how do we find it?

Scientific Method

The best way to navigate through the noise of our world, is through implementing the principles of the enlightenment – specifically the scientific method.

This may sound boring or overwhelming, but it really isn't.

To find the truth, just follow this simple process:

1. What Question Are You Trying to Answer?

The first step in designing an experiment is to state the question you are trying to answer.

Using our example above, the question would be “should I join Scientology?"

Your inner scientist has significant questions about the world – embrace them. Don’t take the easy path by pretending you have the answers. Instead, write down “What precisely do I want to know?

2. What Is Your Hypothesis?

To answer this question, you must come up with a clear and testable hypothesis.

Let’s say that I was seduced by Scientology’s message of self-improvement. So my hypothesis is:

I should join Scientology to improve my personal and spiritual life.

In designing your experiments, be clear and specific about your hypotheses. Make sure that you can test them.

3. That Hypothesis Will Fail If...

Here's where many of us make mistakes when it comes to designing experiments.

You shouldn't design an experiment to prove yourself right – rather, you should design an experiment to try to prove yourself wrong.

So my hypothesis that Scientology will improve my life will be proven wrong if I learn there is a greater chance that my life will be made worse by Scientology.

If your hypothesis survives the attempt at failure, you have more reason to believe in it.

4. What Specific Steps Do You Need to Take to Test That Hypothesis?

Now that you have a clear benchmark for failure, it's time to create the experiment.

Testing your hypothesis does not necessarily require that you create a whole new experiment. In our example, I would just need to read the stories of 10 real people who have been through Scientology. If the majority of those stories were of people whose lives were ruined by Scientology, then my hypothesis would be proven wrong.

As you can see from this simple Google search, that is clearly the case.

When designing your experiment, isolate the variables as much as you can. And do the little things to get the details right.

The truth is more prevalent and easier to find than ever before. You merely need to implement the tools of science to find it. Using this simple experimentation formula has helped me find the truth within the noise.

Conclusion

The truth always wins. Because it is real.

The world will continue to get brighter – and the truth is the only thing that survives the light.

Lies that were once peddled by people like L. Ron Hubbard cannot survive that light.

Lies have a shelf life. The truth endures for generations. Science has propelled humanity forward to accomplish incredible things in a short period because one scientist built on the work of the scientists who came before her.

No one will build on the work of L. Ron Hubbard. There is nothing to build on. It is simply a house of cards. And that's why, despite having over $2 billion of assets, Scientology continues to lose members. [4]

There was no golden age of the truth. People have been lying since the dawn of communication roughly 70,000 years ago.

Our problem with the truth today is simply different than it was in the latter half of the 20th century when Scientology could sell you a compelling story without you being able to “Google it.”

So don't believe anyone who tells you that we're living in the 'Post-Truth Era' when there's more truth illuminated today than any other time in human history.

*Sources