Is Scientology legitimate? Full debate at TCD Philosophical Society

On October 27 Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland took part in a debate at the TCD Philosophical Society on the motion that Scientology is as legitimate as any other religion. Other speakers included Mike Rinder, former chief spokesperson of the Church of Scientology; Irish anti-Scientology activist Matthew McKenna; and former Scientologist John Duignan. Here is the full debate. You can also read Michael’s contribution here.

1. First proposition speaker: Oisín Brogan Sch., JS engineering student and ex-Pro-DC of the society.

2. First opposition speaker: Matthew McKenna, a prominent Irish anti-scientology activist.

3. Second proposition speaker: Mike Rinder, former chief spokesperson of the Church of Scientology. Mike Rinder left the Church in 2007 and is now an independent scientologist.

4. Second opposition speaker: Glen Rogers, JS law student, ex-Pro-Librarian and current Treasurer of the society.

5. Third proposition speaker: Derwin Brennan, who is currently studying for an MA in law in TCD.

6. Third opposition speaker: John Duignan, who was part of the Church of Scientology for 22 years before leaving the religion. Mr. Duignan is now a prominent speaker against scientology and an undergraduate in UCC.

7. Fourth proposition speaker: Michael Nugent, Chair of Atheist Ireland.

8. Fourth opposition speaker: Ricky McCormack, JS Drama & Theatre Studies student and Registrar of the society.

Michael Nugent

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    JohnMWhite October 30, 2011

    I have yet to watch the debate, which will likely make me more informed, but having watched a few documentaries about Scientology and read a fair bit about it, I don’t really see it being an easy job convincing me that Scientology is any less legitimate than any other religion. The only real difference is its modernity, and the fact that modernity comes with the trappings more closely associated with science fiction than fantasy. Angels are all right, but aliens are too out there? It seems a very inconsistent position.

    Scientology being as legitimate as any other religion, though, certainly does not speak well for other religions. Perhaps this is why many try to put it in a totally different box, because we’ve been able to see it born and watch it grow, and it is a perfect case study in how manipulative and patently false a faith-based doctrine can be.