MP: No science in Scientology

14 September 2006
Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia

A SCIENTOLOGY exhibition attacking psychiatry was last night condemned as dangerous by the Federal Government's mental health spokesman.

The exhibition, run by a Church of Scientology offshoot, will have its Australian opening in Sydney on Monday.

"It's incredibly irresponsible," said MP Christopher Pyne, parliamentary secretary for health with special responsibilities for mental health.

"What if a patient, after seeing this exhibition, decided to stop seeing a psychiatrist? The outcome could be tragic."

The exhibition will be run by the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, founded by Scientology in 1969 to "investigate and expose psychiatric violations of human rights".

"It's ill-informed and it's dangerous to undermine a highly respected and important part of the medical profession," Mr Pyne said. "Patients who see a psychiatrist shouldn't have their faith in psychiatry shaken by crackpot claims."

The best-known supporter of the anti-psychiatry campaign is Tom Cruise, who in May last year publicly clashed with fellow actor Brooke Shields.

Cruise, who is understood to have introduced his friend PBL executive chairman James Packer to Scientology, condemned Shields for using a drug to get over post-natal depression, saying she should have taken vitamins.

In June last year he told an unconvinced interviewer: "You don't know the history of psychiatry. I do."

Executive director of the CCHR exhibition Shelly Wilkins said the campaign was not against psychiatrists, but their treatments.

Ms Wilkins said her group recognised people had problems but did not believe they were caused or could be cured by chemicals.

"None of psychiatry's so-called disorders or illnesses or diseases are actually based on any scientific proof," she said.

"There is absolutely no test for ADHD or schizophrenia."

The CCHR has invited several politicians, including Mr Pyne, to the exhibition at Darling Harbour.

The CCHR argues that attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other "mental disorders" have no biological, genetic, or chemical basis.

It strongly opposed the use of drugs to treat disorders, particularly with children and refers to psychiatry as a "pseudoscience".