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London Thinks - What has Scientology got to Hide?

Journalist Tony Ortega, Panorama journalist John Sweeney and the publisher Humfrey Hunter, explain what it is like to question the word and the worth of The Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology has a problem with free speech, according to three speakers who have dared to question the Church’s self-certification of itself as a religion and the claim made by its apostles, Tom Cruise and John Travolta, that it is a force for good.
US journalist Tony Ortega, author of an acclaimed biography, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, John Sweeney, the BBC Panorama journalist and author of Church Of Fear: Inside the Weird World of Scientology and the publisher of both books, Humfrey Hunter, explain what it is like to question the word and the worth of The Church That Likes To Wear Dark Glasses.
Tony Ortega has written about Scientology as a journalist for nearly 20 years, and began working with Paulette Cooper about her life story while he was still at the Voice. Ortega appears in Alex Gibney’s HBO-produced documentary about Scientology, Going Clear, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
John Sweeney is a writer and journalist. His philosophy as a reporter is: ‘I poke crocodiles, if crocodiles they be, in the eye with a stick.’ He’s helped free seven people falsely accused of killing their babies and reported on wars, revolutions and trouble in 80 countries, but he’s most famous for doing an impression of an exploding tomato while investigating the Church of Scientology.

Could these visions become real, and why do they have such a grip on our imaginations? How has culture informed AI research? Should we be more worried about sentient machines, or the dumb algorithms and data integration being worked on today? Do we still have privacy under the dead, uncaring gaze of a machine intelligence? What does humanism mean to an artificial intelligence anyway?

Science writer, broadcaster and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford will chair a panel of human intelligences at this talk, including leading roboticist Professor Alan Winfield and Dr Kathleen Richardson.

Professor Alan Winfield is Director of the Science Communication Unit at UWE Bristol. Dr Kathleen Richardson is Senior Research Fellow in the Ethics of Robotics at De Montfort University.


Tony Ortega | talks
Moderator John Sweeney | talks
Humfrey Hunter | talks


Date and Time:

4 August 2015 at 7:30 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Conway Hall
Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
0207 242 8034

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