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:

(1) Raelism is Progressive

The term progressive here doesn't represent the political term where societal change is influenced by new liberal ideas, but simply how Rael progressively updates Raelian doctrine by abandoning or refining outdated scientific concepts found in his writings with the latest ones.

Examples of this doctrinal progressivism include replacing the idea of the television being the "nervous system of humanity, which enables each individual to be aware of the existence of others and to see how they live" (Intelligent Design, p. 158) with the Internet as "a huge collective consciousness is beginning to form and the internet is like the electric pulses linking neurons.  We  are  all  neurons  of  an  enormous  brain  called Humanity, and the internet is the message flowing between us" (Yes to Human Cloning, p. 68). Or, abandoning the discredited idea of Chemical Education, in which the Elohim "can transmit information by the injection of brain memory matter, thus [their] children have almost no work to do. They regularly undergo injections of brain matter taken from people possessing the information necessary for instruction" (Intelligent Design, p. 114). Also, introducing the recent transhumanist concept of up/downloading memory into cloned bodies (Yes to Human Cloning, p. 37) to replace his original notion that each cell in our bodies contains all our memories making the former unnecessary when cloning to achieve "eternal life" (Intelligent Design, p. 109).

(2) Raelism is Patronizing

The term patronizing here represents the staunch defense of science as the best solution for humanity's continued progress more than a condescending treatment of other processes with an apparent kindness that betrays a feeling of superiority. In the Raelian mindset, intelligence is inevitably ethical and the unhindered pursuit of science and technology will unquestionably result in a unified paradisaical world.

Related to the first factor, Rael has progressively downplayed his advocacy for Geniocracy, a world government run my genius-level scientists and implementation of an economic model that is an hybrid of Communism and Capitalism coined Humanitarianism, in which the Global State owns all property that individuals can only rent to exploit in order to create more wealth to enjoy while living. After death, the State would claim the wealth created. These concepts appeared in Rael's 1st book in 1974 (Intelligent Design, pp. 95-100). Instead, Rael has recently introduced Paradism, based on his alleged visit to the Planet of Eternal Life in 1975 as related in his 2nd book (the Elohim apparently reside on 2 planets; one on which 7 billion mortals live while a select minority of 700 genius-level immortals live on a paradisaical planet). A world without money and work, Paradism is defined as:
Paradism is a political system that is similar to communism but has no "proletariat." In a paradist system, robots, nanobots and computers take the place of the proletariat or workforce. Paradism is based on new technologies, such as robotics, genetic engineering and nanotechnologies. All production, tools, services and resources that can be efficient without even one human involved can be nationalized. The nationalization of all production, services and tools provided by robots renders money obsolete since these products, services and tools can now be free.
It's interesting to note that while science/technology has Rael's patronage, his original idea of having genius-level scientists ruling over the rest is being repackaged as "a society that abides to the natural law where people freely follow the leadership of those whose ideas and actions contribute the most to their happiness. It is anarchism with geniocracy where a council of geniuses without any power meet to guide humanity" to make it more palatable.

(3) Raelism is Parasitic

The term parasitic is intended as a semantic metaphor that indicates a relationship between two living beings, one of which benefits at the expense of the other. Dr. Bigliardi identifies 4 four different yet intertwined levels in Rael’s discourse:
(a) The meaning of “science” in Vorilhon’s revelation parasitizes that of “(contemporary) technology”, no distinction being made between the two.
(b) The religious message exploits the prestige commonly bestowed on science and technology.
(c) The religious message exploits the visibility of specific science-related debates.
(d) Vorilhon’s usage of “science” and “technology” as well as the mention of supposed Elohim devices is simply and generally parasitic on the notions already entertained by his reader regarding such terms.
Basically, when Rael uses the term science/technology, he takes advantage of the reader's own established understanding without elaborating on the actual science behind his claims and expecting them to be taken at face value. Rael's claims, therefore, appear more convincing as revealed truth when the gullible reader has a weak scientific foundation and cannot differentiate them from science fiction and pseudoscience.

Rael relies on the naive assumption that given enough time, anything of the imagination can be made manifest through science and technology. This allows Rael to claim 7 times faster-than-light space travel by the Elohim (Intelligent Design, p. 89), for example. Another example is Rael's usage of the term anti-gravity (Intelligent Design, p. 47, 73). Both concepts are beyond current scientific understanding.

One of the central thesis of Raelism is the notion that if it is possible to scientifically create life, that is to say, artificially synthesize life forms in the lab, then why couldn't this have happened in the distant past that resulted in the existence of life of Earth. Currently, oligonucleotide synthesis allows for sequencing designer DNA. It is certainly possible for us to perhaps terra-form other planets and introduce synthetic life forms (or, even existing terrestrial ones) into virgin environments in the near future. Where Rael's proposition falls short is in its insistence that life on Earth didn't evolve (Intelligent Design, p. 92) in direct contradiction to the robust scientific evidence supporting the latter. If only Rael had left out that part claiming biological evolution was a myth. The study of the origin of life and biological evolution are two separate fields. Panspermia, even as a deliberate attempt by intelligent beings, does not necessarily contradict biological evolution.

Rael's parasitism is demonstrated in his attempt to replace traditional supernatural religious notions with modern scientific terminology in his books and teachings that sound almost prophetic in retrospect. Hence, "For a long time, humanity has held the truth in its hands but could not understand until it was sufficiently evolved scientifically to decode it" (Intelligent Design, p. 60).

In recent years, Rael took advantage of contentious science-related debates through initiatives like Clonaid to successfully promote Raelism from the media hype surrounding human cloning. In response to Dr. Bigliardi's paper, prominent Raelian biologist Damien Marsic, who was once showcased as one of Clonaid's scientific team, surprisingly had this to say:
"Globally, I find your analysis of science in Raelianism well documented and quite accurate. It echoes my personal frustrations with what I often see as pseudoscience in the Raelian discourse that uses science as a marketing tool instead of an attitude or a method. But you should keep in mind that the Raelian Movement is still very young and is constantly evolving, with sometimes very strong internal debates. I have confidence it is learning from its mistakes and moving in the right direction, even if slowly."
Regarding Clonaid, Marsic candidly admitted:
"Clonaid is only about unsubstantiated claims, it has always been extremely secretive, and it clearly lacks any credibility whatsoever."
Rael is now attempting to piggyback on medical advancements in genital reconstruction and social/religious issues relating to FGM by combining them with Raelism's concept of pleasure and free sex with its Clitoraid initiative. Only this time it has managed to draw support from credible surgeons such as Dr. Marci Bowers to lend some credibility to a cause that is failing to keep its promises.

Rael's cult has just celebrated its 40th year of his alleged 2nd encounter with the Elohim, and on the 1st Sunday of April, they will commemorate the day as being the day when the Elohim created the first human beings on Earth. Sadly, Rael's progressive patronizing parasitism of science is expected to continue sustaining him in the expense of his adherents' complete surrender and acceptance of him as the scientific "Final Messenger".

Science should be your religion, for the Elohim created you scientifically. (Intelligent Design, p. 206)

Advocatus Diaboli 


  1. more:

  2. Torrent doesn't work this does

    1. Hey... thanks a lot for the link to the e-book (.pdf)!! :D

  3. You are a spitting image of Shere Khan in the Jungle Book.