Minds in Chains: A Sociocybernetic Analysis of the Abrahamic Faiths

  • Bernard CE Scott Center for Sociocybernetics Studies, Bonn


I address the troubling matter of ‘pathological belief systems’, which I have previously defined as those that ‘restrict the right of actors to interact’. In particular, I consider the tangled ‘Gordian’ knot of beliefs that constitute the Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is my belief that an analysis based on well-defined cybernetic principles can help cut through this knot and lay bare just what is pathological. The attraction of such an analysis is that it does not require one to pass judgements and ‘take sides’ with respect to the major controversies that divide the faiths. More generally, a properly formulated sociocybernetic analysis does not require one to pose any fundamental opposition between ‘science’ and ‘religion’. What the analysis does is help identify what are the key differences between ‘science’ and ‘religion’ as routes to knowledge and understanding, whilst noting that there are ‘undecidable questions’ about which an individual should be permitted to formulate her own beliefs without opposition or condemnation from others. 

Author Biography

Bernard CE Scott, Center for Sociocybernetics Studies, Bonn
Dr Bernard Scott graduated from Brunel University, UK, in 1968 with a first class honours degree in Psychology. He completed a Ph.D. in Cybernetics from the same university in 1976. His supervisor was Gordon Pask, with whom he worked between 1967 and 1978. Bernard is former Head of the Flexible Learning Support Centre, UK Defence Academy and former Reader in Cybernetics, Cranfield University, UK. He retired from these positions in August, 2009, and September, 2010, respectively. He now works as an independent researcher. He holds an honorary position as Senior Research Fellow with the Center for Sociocybernetics Studies, Bonn. Bernard is a Fellow and founder member of the U.K.'s Cybernetics Society. He is an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, a Fellow of the American Society for Cybernetics and an Academician of the International Academy of Systems and Cybernetics Sciences. Bernard is Past President of Research Committee 51 (on Sociocybernetics) of the International Sociological Association. In 2013, Bernard was presented with the McCulloch Award by the American Society for Cybernetics.