Prejudice For Hire
Stephen Kent, a sociologist at the University of Alberta, Canada, is part of a small but virulent faction of sociologists active in the anti-religious movement. He has adopted the discredited theories of psychologist Margaret Singer and Richard Ofshe of “coercive persuasion” and “brainwashing,” as applied to new religious movements, and has placed himself in the employ of litigants as a paid expert witness. Such assertions and conduct, along with his unscientific methodology, have earned him the disrespect and ire of true professionals in his field.
Experts Review Kent:
If the measure of the value of a scholar is the level of esteem in which he is held by his colleagues, then Stephen Kent is a poor, poor man.
“Kent’s essays suffer from methodological flaws so grievous as to call into question the validity and reliability of Kent’s conclusions, especially as the foundation for sound legal or legislative action (with regard to conflicts with new religious movements at either the individual or collective levels). In fact the methodological inadequacies detected are indicative of a prejudice inappropriate to the practice of the social sciences (given the consensus on maintaining at least the regulative ideal of objectivity and value-neutrality).”
– Dr. Lorne L. Dawson, Associate Professor of Sociology and Religious Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.
“If Kent really thinks that experts in “cult” cases should make $11,000 for each 13,000-words document based on their previous works they write, he may be right after all and academic integrity may, in fact, be in serious danger.”
– Dr. Massimo Introvigne, Director, Center for Studies on New Religions
“Kent [has] simply constructed a naive fantasy…supported by Kent’s own lack of direct contact with The Family and a rather limited and spotty access to its massive literature.”
– Dr. J. Gordon Melton, Center for Humanistic Studies
“Kent and his cronies (like hollow-earth enthusiasts, big foot believers, and other advocates of the irrational) have responded [to criticism from the academic community] with ad hominem arguments, convinced that any who would oppose their crackpot theories must be involved in some kind of sinister conspiracy against them….I examined [the] data and concluded that Prof. Kent had, indeed, violated the canons of academic research methodology as well as the ethical standards of mainstream scholarship.”
– Dr. James Lewis, Professor, University of Wisconsin
Canadians take pride in their multi-cultural heritage. They teach their children to not merely tolerate the diversities in race, creed and custom that form the foundation of their society, but to celebrate them. When individuals masquerading as “experts” but preaching bigotry and intolerance are permitted to have influence in their teaching institutions and the courts, Canadians undermine the unity they have struggled so hard to preserve. Stephen Kent promotes and profits from divisiveness. His is an influence Canada can ill afford.