Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rael's Progressive Patronizing Parasitism of Science

The paper titled NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS AND SCIENCE: RAEL'S PROGRESSIVE PATRONIZING PARASITISM by Stefano Bigliardi appears in the journal of religion and science, Zygon® (March 2015, Volume 50, Issue 1, pages 64–83).

The abstract as published is as follows:
The article examines the concoction of religion and “science” contained in the revelation that substantiates a new religion: Raelianism, founded and led by the prophet Claude Vorilhon/Rael after having received a revelation in 1974. After a detailed examination both of Rael's prophetic message and his/the Raelians’ interpretative practices, an ad hoc model is presented to describe such concoction (“progressive patronizing parasitism”), and it is compared to other models. It is in particular claimed that Rael, while seemingly talking about “science,” is actually constructing a science-fictional and even pseudoscientific narrative. The article finally raises the question whether the discussion of the science–religion interaction from the viewpoint of traditional religions can be considered to be immune to the usage of such rhetorical devices.
The paper describes how Rael engages with the concept of science/technology and uses 3 interrelated aspects to make Raelian doctrine appear to be scientific (and therefore, rational and factual), that of being (1) progressive, (2) patronizing, and (3) parasitic. The following is an overview, expressed in my own understanding, of what Dr. Bigliardi means by using these specific terms: