Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guilt by Association with Jeff Prather

Here is another great list of websites and names of people who have associated with Jeff Prather in the past or who continue to do so. Jeff Prather runs the cult called Warriorschool. Many of the people who claim to have trained with Prather in the past may not have known about his problems. But now they are easily discovered with a quick google search.

Thanks to Richard Van Donk Jeff Prather can sell his DVD courses online.


VH1 lists Prathers film accomplishments


Miracle at Sage Creek a movie with David Carradine.

and Christmas Miracle at Sage Creek

Also see an old school seminar Prather did in 2000.

The Bujinkan Yamaneko

Fudo Myo Dojo

Dojo-Cho: Shihan Jeff Prather, 15th Dan

Shibu-Cho: Domonic Lees, 4th Dan

Mr. Domonic Lees is a true believer, if he is still affilliated with Mr. Prather. They appear to be one of Prather's franchise dojos in Albuquerque.

Here is yet another Yamaneko Prather Dojo, but in Las Vegas of all places.

Bujinkan Yamaneko Dojo: Las Vegas Shibu
David Estorga, Yondan, shibucho

Go to the web site to see his happy clappy pictures.

Mr. Estorga is a Warrior and father with 16 Years experience in the martial arts. He has trained in judo and kenpo and has black belt rank in both. He has trained in the Bujinkan for 10 years. In 2006, he earned his Warrior bracelet under benefactor Tim Pinnow. Mr. Estorga is also contracted with Warrior School to help teach Close Quarter Combat to military personel.

Bujinkan Yamaneko Dojo: Las Vegas Shibu is a satelite dojo under Jeffery Prather, Jugodan, dojocho, and his Bujinkan Yamanenko Dojo in Tucson, AZ. Mr. Estorga is a student of Prather Shihan's and teaches with license from Prather Shihan.

E-mail Mr. Estorga: dav.ten@gmail.com

Tim Pinnow is definitely one of Prather's super cult members.

Yet another victim of Prather's indoctrination. I am surprised that these people advertise their affiliation with Mr. Prather. Don't they have access to Google. Don't they know his reputation. I guess they just don't care. Well then, here it is for all the world to see. All in one spot.


Assistant Instructor - Martin Hucik III, 3rd Dan

Marty has been training in several different martial arts for over ten years. His primary interest has been under the guidance of Greg Stough and the fellow members of the York Bujinkan Dojo. In addition to training regularly at the York Dojo, Marty has trained in Japan with Hatsumi Sensei and many other Japanese Shihan. To continue his training in the warrior arts he has attended many seminars conducted by top Bujinkan Instructors. These instructors include Phil Legare, Mark O'Brien, Ed Martin, Charles Daniel and Jeff Prather to name a few.

In addition to martial arts training Marty has attended a variety of wilderness survival workshops offered by Larry Neubaum and Greg Stough, and he also finished the student version of Warriorship School headed by Jeff Prather, under the tutelage of Phil Legare.

Marty has been a self-employed construction contractor for over 15 years. He is also a certified Shiatsu Therapist. In addition to his martial arts training Marty's hobbies include nature identification, hiking, fishing, just hanging out with friends, and enjoying life.


About the Instructors

The instructors of the Bujinkan Taka-Seigi Dojo Vancouver hold black-belt ranks of sandan (3rd degree black belt) or higher in the art of Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and teach according to the philosophies, techniques, and guidelines of Soke Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, Shihan Phillip Legare, Shidoshi Scott White, and many of the senior Bujinkan Instructors of Japan. In addition to ranks in Budo Taijutsu, all of the instructors have several years of training in other martial arts styles such as kung-fu, karate, kick boxing, etc., which helps them to better bridge and accommodate the previous training of students coming from those styles.

About Paul Mann

Dojo leader Paul Mann , Shidoshi-ho under Shidoshi Scott White, is a registered member of the Bujinkan Shidoshikai (Bujinkan Instructor's Organization) and has been studying the art of Budo Taijutsu since 1997.

Over the past five years, he has made three trips to Japan to go to the "source of Budo". In Japan, he has had the privilege of training under Soke Hatsumi and senior Japanese Shihans such as Nagato, Noguchi, Oguri, Shiraishi, Nagase, and Someya. Each of these Shihan have focused their training on different aspects of Budo Taijutsu and they are all phenomenal!!

In addition to training in Japan, Paul has attended many seminars by respected Bujinkan instructructors such as Phil Legare, Michael Pearce, Jeff Prather, Brin Morgan, Natasha Morgan, Bill Atkins, Ed Martin, Dale Seago, Jeff Mueller, Shawn Gray, Ed Lomex, and Tim Bathurst.



Jay currently holds the rank of Judan (10th dan) in Budo Taijutsu; with 20 years of Budo training and 9 of them spent studying Budo Taijutsu. Jay has, in the last nine years, attended 55 seminars and TaiKai here in the USA with the likes of Shihan Dick Severance, Shihan Phil Legare, Shihan Joseph Adriance, Shihan Jack Hoban, Shihan Mike Pearce, Shiahn Larry Hamilton, Shihan Ed Martin, Shihan Jeff Prather and more. Jay has made 5 trips to Japan since 2003 and has trained with Soke Hatsumi Sensei, Nagato Sensei, Noguchi Sensei, Seno Sensei, Oguri Sensei and Someya Sensei. Jay and his wife Beth (also Shidoshi) travel to Japan twice a year for training; trying to understand Hatsumi Sensei’s budo. Jay has preformed seminars for the Fort Wayne, Indiana Army National Guard, Bluffton, Indiana Army Air Cavalry National Guard, performs seminars in the United States and host seminars for many high-ranking Shihan. Jay is head teacher at Bujinkan Goshin Budo Dojo in Garrett, Indiana (www.bushindojo.com). Jay is currently employed as an Industrial Maintenance Technician, owner of Midwest Blanks LLC (www.midwestblanks.com), and involved in real estate. Jay is involved with physical fitness via Crossfit (thanks Mike P.) and an avid handgun (trying long-gun) shooter, as well as a drummer.



(A Profile of John-Paul Michael Hodnett)

I've studied Budo Taijitsu, "the divine body arts", for about six years now. The pictures above are from the Bujinkan group I belonged to in Tucson Arizona (I'm third from the right in the back row) which happen to have me in them. This style has taught me much on how to be a better man, a warrior in modern times, and to have a broader awareness of my surroundings (which includes reading people and to walk softly with open eyes). This style, most commonly referred to Ninjitsu, is one of the most extreme fighting styles taught to today. My sensei, Shihan Jeff Prather (above picture: taking on his students. I'm the one facing right in front of him) has been one of my greatest teachers and his influence still is with me today. His discipline and experience harden both mind and body to take on any event in life. The biggest lesson I learned is that there are few true warriors in the world who help the common man. I try to live by the warrior code and help those in need.

More mentions of people training with Prather


Jeff Prather Shinkengata

Default Shinkengata Summit June 2006
The First Annual Shinkengata Summit

Shinkengata (real combat methods) was originally developed by Takamatsu Soke and then refined by Hatsumi Soke. Through Menkyo Kaiden, a Judan in Shinkengata was given to Phil Legare, Jeff Prather, and Michael Pearce for the purpose of further development into Shinken Taijutsu to be a relevant art in the 21st century. Shinken Taijutsu was formed from the Shinken of Shinkengata, the Taijutsu of the Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and the modern application of many combat methods.

In the spirit of the Bujinkan honoring the tradition established by Dr. Massaki Hatsumi Soke

Featuring Shihans: Jeff Prather, Phil Legare & Michael Pearce
with special guest: Shihan Dick Severance

Saturday, June 24, 2006 & Sunday, June 25, 2006

Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs - Phoenix Arizona
602-866-7500 for lodging and reservations

Registration: 8:00 AM
Training times: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM & 1:30pm - 4:00pm
Price: $125 - students of featured/guest Shihans (for those registered and PAID by June 10th, 2006)
$150 - all others and at the door
$80 - one day only

For more information, see http://www.bujinkanusa.com/seminars.htm

Jeff Prather Cult Leader Info Compiled By Another Web Page

Here is a clever web site that keeps track of peoples names. It did a really good job of compiling negative data on Jeff Prather.


Related Videos

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Related Blog Posts

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Warriorschool - Cult Deception of Jeff Prather: Names associated ...
By: somebody121 on Mon, 27 Jul 2009 15:12:00 GMT
Names associated with Jeff Prather and Darin Ashley. Here are three comment responses to an older post. Not sure if it has been prominently displayed before. Can't hurt to do it again. Blogger Kamereon said. ... ->

Warriorschool - Cult Deception of Jeff Prather: Negative Reports ...
By: somebody121 on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 07:21:00 GMT
Warriorschool - Cult Deception of Jeff Prather. Warriorschool Initiation Camp Warrior School Cult Analysis Recovery and Skepticism with Compassion. Wednesday, July 22, 2009. Negative Reports On Warriorschool Cult and Prather ... ->

Warriorschool - Cult Deception of Jeff Prather: Mike gives more ...
By: somebody121 on Mon, 27 Jul 2009 15:18:00 GMT
Warriorschool - Cult Deception of Jeff Prather. Warriorschool Initiation Camp Warrior School Cult Analysis Recovery and Skepticism with Compassion. Monday, July 27, 2009. Mike gives more information on Warriorschool Prather Jeff and ... ->

BULLSHIT Detection Kit for Warriorschoolers
By: somebody121 on Fri, 07 Aug 2009 04:58:00 GMT
Here is something I learned about from Shermer's Skeptic Society. Sometimes called the Baloney Detection Kit, here it is the Bullshit detection kit. Read, learn and apply to liberate yourself from Jeff Prathers' Warrior Cult. ... ->

Dr Persinger and the God Helmet and God
By: somebody121 on Mon, 27 Jul 2009 14:50:00 GMT
That is a video of a church service. You can see mob think and mass hysteria at work here. If you get the right leadership, the right followers and the right experiences you can give people outrageous feelings. ... ->

Science and Reason
By: somebody121 on Fri, 07 Aug 2009 05:20:00 GMT
If you want to improve the world and improve yourself then keep these quotes in mind. Russell’s Rule Try to convince people not to believe in things for which there is no evidence. Or It’s better not to believe in things for which there ... ->

Melvin Conner Review of Beyond Belief Lecture
By: somebody121 on Fri, 07 Aug 2009 05:09:00 GMT
I highly recommend you watch the video. The link is here. But for those of you who want to copy and paste the best points, look no further. Read, watch and weep at the brilliant analysis of God belief. Jf Prathr if only we had all known ... ->

Warriorschool - Cult Deception of Jeff Prather: Darin Ashley and ...
By: somebody121 on Thu, 16 Jul 2009 12:49:00 GMT
If Jeff Prather is removing his bad name from Warriorschool, then Darin Ashley must be the next guy in line to expose. Here is a quick biography of him. Instructor Darin Ashley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, ... ->

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Around the Web

Results are courtesy of Yahoo!

Jeff Prather
Stunts: Seven Mummies. Visit IMDb for Photos, Filmography, Discussions, Bio, News, Awards, Agent, Fan Sites. ... Jeff Prather has 1 in-development credit available on IMDbPro.com. To view these credits click here. Stunts: Seven Mummies (2006) (stunt coordinator: fights) (stunts) ...
At: www.imdb.com/name/nm0695365 -- last found on 2008/08/31 ->

Staff Bio Bo
Jeff Prather. With decades of experience in the food and wine business, Jeff Prather shares his wealth of knowledge through engaging, and often amusing, wine ... Having been an actor in his earlier years, Jeff is a natural as one of our entertaining tasting class instructors. ...
At: www.fpwm.com/about_us/jeff.html -- last found on 2009/02/24 ->

Elevation of Wine - Program
HOME FORUM PRESS / ARTICLES TRANSCRIPTS PHOTO GALLERY RESEARCH SPONSORS MAP / LODGING REGISTRATION PROGRAM. Jeff Prather. Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant. With decades of experience in the food and wine business, Jeff Prather shares his wealth of knowledge through engaging, and often amusing, wine ...
At: www.theelevationofwine.org/program/jeff_prather.shtml -- last found on 2009/06/12 ->

Jeff Prather: All About Jeff Prather - Moviefone
Jeff Prather - Associate Producer ... Enemies. Shrink. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. The Ugly Truth. Up. Jeff Prather ... See All Jeff Prather Filmography. Netflix FREE Trial. Rent as many movies as you want! Start Your FREE Netflix Trial Today. New on Moviefone. Horror Squad ...
At: www.moviefone.com/celebrity/jeff-prather/453312/main -- last found on 2009/08/02 ->

Jeff Prather Filmography - Yahoo! Movies
Jeff Prather : find the latest news, photos, filmography and awards at Yahoo! Movies ... Jeff Prather. Main Page. Biography. Filmography. Photos. Awards & Nominations. Msg Boards & Groups. Web Sites. Often Works With... DJ Perry. Garret Dillahunt ...
At: movies.yahoo.com/movie/contributor/1808905228 -- last found on 2009/08/13 ->

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Science and Reason

If you want to improve the world and improve yourself then keep these quotes in mind.

Russell’s Rule
Try to convince people not to believe in things for which there is no evidence.
It’s better not to believe in things for which there is no evidence.
-Bertrand Russell

Bertolt Brecht
The aim of science is not to open the door to infinite wisdom, but to set some limit on infinite error
The Life of Gallilleo

Religion is humanities best effort to ease the fears and yearnings that remain after science has done all that it can do.
-Melvin Conner

Melvin Conner Review of Beyond Belief Lecture

I highly recommend you watch the video. The link is here. But for those of you who want to copy and paste the best points, look no further. Read, watch and weep at the brilliant analysis of God belief. Jf Prathr if only we had all known this before we met you. We wouldn't have been such easy victims.

Melvin Conner Beyond Belief 2007
Arguments Against Belief
Thoughts on the God Belief / Lack of Belief

There is almost no evidence to support religious claims, and all testable claims fail.

Science has closed the “gaps”.

What is called the soul is just brain activity.

Religion has evolved just like any other trait.

Religion causes violence, hatred and war.

Religion is “the opium of the people”

God is the product of human yearnings for

A perfect parent

Reward and punishment



Life after death

And of the human penchants for agency-detection and imagining other minds.

Religion more generally is the product of human yearnings for



A sense of superiority

Blameworthy enemies


All sacred texts are characterized by…

Errors and lies

Internal contradictions

Mutual contradictions

“Supernatural” (i.e. highly implausible) origins

Silly or cruel behavior of gods and religious heroes

None of these objections in the slightest way are new

All have been heard or independently thought of by most intelligent people.

None has posed or is likely to pose a serious obstacle to belief in the minds of the vast majority of believers

Once upon a time there were major religious leaders who thought they could explain how the physical world works, they also cared a lot about proofs of God’s existence.

Thanks to Galileo, Newton et al. these people have been in retreat for four centuries.

But most religious people don’t care about proofs…

It is not news to them that religion has caused great harm.

Or that their sacred texts are flawed.

Or that science explains most things.

They have been meeting those objections with aplomb for centuries.

Most don’t care, they will proudly tell you about argument. They don’t care about evidence. They don’t even care that they can’t clearly define “God.”

Most think that all these conversations are silly.

So what do they care about?


The assurance of things hoped for the assurance of things not seen

Hebrews 11 1

Some aggressive critics of Religion say:

Religious faith forms a kind of perverse cultural singularity a vanishing point beyond which rational discourse proves impossible.
-Sam Harris (author of the controversial book The End of Faith)

Dr. Conner thinks it is futile to tell people not to believe in God and says if you don't understand that fact then....
If you don’t understand it then try this

When you present arguments against religion to a person of faith, you might as well tell her to care as much about other people’s children as about her own…

Or urge her to stop her ears, give up music, and learn sign language…

Or harangue an oenophile about the dangers of alcohol and try to enlist his support for a return to Prohibition.

BULLSHIT Detection Kit for Warriorschoolers

Here is something I learned about from Shermer's Skeptic Society. Sometimes called the Baloney Detection Kit, here it is the Bullshit detection kit. Read, learn and apply to liberate yourself from Jeff Prathers' Warrior Cult.

How does science deal with such subjective biases? How do we
know when a claim is bogus or real? We want to be open-minded
enough to accept radical new ideas when they occasionally come
along, but we don’t want to be so open-minded that our brains
fall out. This problem led us at the Skeptics Society to create an
educational tool called the BULLSHIT Detection Kit, inspired by
Carl Sagan’s discussion of how to detect “BULLSHIT” in his marvelous
book The Demon-Haunted World. In this BULLSHIT Detection
Kit, we suggest ten questions to ask when encountering any
claim that can help us decide if we are being too open-minded in
accepting it or too closed-minded in rejecting it.

1. How reliable is the source of the claim? As Daniel Kevles
showed so effectively in his 1999 book The Baltimore Affair
investigating possible scientific fraud there is a boundary problem
in detecting a fraudulent signal within the background noise
of mistakes and sloppiness that is a normal part of the scientific
process. The investigation of research notes in a laboratory affiliated
with Nobel laureate David Baltimore by an independent
committee established by Congress to investigate potential fraud
revealed a surprising number of mistakes. But science is messier
than most people realize. Baltimore was exonerated when it
became clear that there was no purposeful data manipulation.

2. Does this source often make similar claims? Pseudoscientists
have a habit of going well beyond the facts, so when individuals
make numerous extraordinary claims, they may be more than
just iconoclasts. This is a matter of quantitative scaling, since
some great thinkers often go beyond the data in their creative
speculations. Cornell’s Thomas Gold is notorious for his radical
ideas, but he has been right often enough that other scientists
listen to what he has to say. Gold proposes, for example, that oil
is not a fossil fuel at all, but the by-product of a deep hot biosphere.
Hardly any earth scientists I have spoken with take this
thesis seriously, yet they do not consider Gold a crank. What we
are looking for here is a pattern of fringe thinking that consistently
ignores or distorts data.

3. Have the claims been verified by another source? Typically
pseudoscientists will make statements that are unverified, or
verified by a source within their own belief circle. We must ask
who is checking the claims, and even who is checking the checkers.
The biggest problem with the cold fusion debacle, for example,
was not that scientists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman
were wrong; it was that they announced their spectacular discovery
before it was verified by other laboratories (at a press
conference no less), and, worse, when cold fusion was not replicated,
they continued to cling to their claim.

4. How does the claim fit with what we know about how the
world works? An extraordinary claim must be placed into a
larger context to see how it fits. When people claim that the
pyramids and the Sphinx were built more than ten thousand
years ago by an advanced race of humans, they are not presenting
any context for that earlier civilization. Where are the rest of
the artifacts of those people? Where are their works of art, their
weapons, their clothing, their tools, their trash? This is simply
not how archaeology works.

5. Has anyone gone out of the way to disprove the claim, or has
only confirmatory evidence been sought? This is the confirmation
bias, or the tendency to seek confirmatory evidence and
reject or ignore disconfirmatory evidence. The confirmation bias
is powerful and pervasive and is almost impossible for any of us
to avoid. It is why the methods of science that emphasize checking
and rechecking, verification and replication, and especially
attempts to falsify a claim are so critical.

6. Does the preponderance of evidence converge to the
claimant’s conclusion, or a different one? The theory of evolution,
for example, is proven through a convergence of evidence
from a number of independent lines of inquiry. No one fossil, no
one piece of biological or paleontological evidence has “evolution”
written on it; instead there is a convergence of evidence
from tens of thousands of evidentiary bits that adds up to a
story of the evolution of life. Creationists conveniently ignore
this convergence, focusing instead on trivial anomalies or currently
unexplained phenomena in the history of life.

7. Is the claimant employing the accepted rules of reason and
tools of research, or have these been abandoned in favor of
others that lead to the desired conclusion? UFOlogists suffer
this fallacy in their continued focus on a handful of unexplained
atmospheric anomalies and visual misperceptions by eyewitnesses,
while conveniently ignoring the fact that the vast majority
(90 to 95 percent) of UFO sightings are fully explicable with
prosaic answers.

8. Has the claimant provided a different explanation for the
observed phenomena, or is it strictly a process of denying the
existing explanation? This is a classic debate strategy—criticize
your opponent and never affirm what you believe in order to
avoid criticism. But this stratagem is unacceptable in science. Big
Bang skeptics, for example, ignore the convergence of evidence of
this cosmological model, focus on the few flaws in the accepted
model, and have yet to offer a viable cosmological alternative that
carries a preponderance of evidence in favor of it.

9. If the claimant has proffered a new explanation, does it
account for as many phenomena as the old explanation? The
HIV-AIDS skeptics argue that lifestyle, not HIV, causes AIDS.
Yet, to make this argument they must ignore the convergence of
evidence in support of HIV as the causal vector in AIDS, and
simultaneously ignore such blatant evidence as the significant
correlation between the rise in AIDS among hemophiliacs
shortly after HIV was inadvertently introduced into the blood
supply. On top of this, their alternative theory does not explain
nearly as much of the data as the HIV theory.

10. Do the claimants’ personal beliefs and biases drive the conclusions,
or vice versa? All scientists hold social, political, and
ideological beliefs that could potentially slant their interpretations
of the data, but how do those biases and beliefs affect their
research? At some point, usually during the peer-review system,
such biases and beliefs are rooted out, or the paper or book is
rejected for publication. This is why one should not work in an
intellectual vacuum. If you don’t catch the biases in your
research, someone else will.
There is no definitive set of criteria we can apply in determining
how open-minded we should be when encountering new
claims and ideas, but with mathematical calculations on the
odds of weird things happening and with an analysis of the sorts
of questions we should ask when we encounter weird things, we
have made a start toward coming to grips with our weird and wonderful world.

Monday, July 27, 2009

God on the Brain Documentary BBC

Another great BBC Documentary. Called "God on the Brain". They interview Dr. Ramachandran and the before mentioned Dr. Persinger and also Dr. Dawkins about the God experience in the Brain.

There is controversy regarding the research of Dr. Persinger.

Mike gives more information on Warriorschool Prather Jeff and Darin Ashley

Yet more comments from posters. More prominently displayed.

"The Hidden Mountain Bujinkan Dojo"
1 Comment - Show Original Post

Blogger Mike said...

Go to Google and type in warriorschool manual torrent. The manual is out there. Download it and look at page 32 and 33. List of bracelets. Compare the list of bracelets to staff members (http://www.budosites.com/hmbd/index.cfm?page=4)

Check out these web sites:

March 15, 2009 8:02 PM

Names associated with Jeff Prather and Darin Ashley

Here are three comment responses to an older post. Not sure if it has been prominently displayed before. Can't hurt to do it again.

Blogger Kamereon said...

You should also add the tags:

Attention to the Crisis (Prather's bogus charity)

Women's Fightback (Prather's intro to drinking kool-aid)

Passages (Karl Koch's offshoot branch of Prather's cult (see: http://www.budosites.com/hmbd/index.cfm?page=15))

You might also consider adding tags for his chief worshippers as well:

Amber Meesenburg
Jocelyn Meesenburg
Darrin Ashley
Christa Ashley
Amber Pinnow
Tim Pinnow
Rachel Prather (formerly Rachel Breton)
Louis Breton

Of course there are many others, but the above list are still active and have caused the most damage.

February 27, 2009 3:00 PM
Blogger somebody121 said...

Thanks Kamereon,

I will post up your information right now.

March 11, 2009 9:46 PM
Blogger Spuds said...

He used to use an alias of Jay Frazier or Frasier.

May 20, 2009 9:04 PM

Dr Persinger and the God Helmet and God

That is a video of a church service. You can see mob think and mass hysteria at work here. If you get the right leadership, the right followers and the right experiences you can give people outrageous feelings.

I had already posted other videos that mentioned Dr. Persinger. Here is another quick and short video. Also at the bottom there will be small wiki article on him. He is the creator of the "God Helmet". There appears to be a slight controversy concerning his device and his research. But if you notice, the things he talks about and describes are very similar the other activities that bring about the same effects. Extreme stress, astronaut training, sleep deprivation, food deprivation, isolation chambers and all can bring about these mystical / alien experiences. In Dr. Persingers case he is proposing that electromagnetic fields can powerfully influence the most creative and suggestable people. Especially those with a tendency towards wishful thinking.

Early life

Persinger was born in Jacksonville, Florida and grew up primarily in Virginia, Maryland and Wisconsin. He attended Carroll College from 1963 to 1964, and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967. He then obtained an M.A. in physiological psychology from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. from the University of Manitoba in 1971.

[edit] Research and academic work

Persinger focuses much of his work on the commonalities that exist between the sciences, and aims to integrate fundamental concepts of various branches of science[citation needed]. He organized the Behavioral Neuroscience Program at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, which became one of the first to integrate chemistry, biology and psychology[citation needed].

During the 1980s Persinger stimulated people's temporal lobes artificially with a weak magnetic field to see if he could induce a religious state (see God helmet). He claimed that the field could produce the sensation of "an ethereal presence in the room".

Susan Blackmore, a former academic psychologist and parapsychology researcher: "When I went to Persinger's lab and underwent his procedures I had the most extraordinary experiences I've ever had." "I'll be surprised if it turns out to be a placebo effect." [1]

Michael Persinger has also contributed to research into the Miracle of the sun at Fatima and other Marian apparitions. He theorized that the stimulation of the cerebral-temporal lobe may have been the actual cause of the Marian apparition phenomenon. He believes the religious content of the experiences many have been a result of their obsession with religious themes and their lack of education. He has contributed to 2 papers about The Fatima UFO Hypothesis. [2]

The last video is probably the best of all. It offers testimonies of the test subjects.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Negative Reports On Warriorschool Cult and Prather

Older Posts from February 2009

Not sure if I posted these before, but I reread them and they sounded interesting.


I can see that, espically in this Warriorschool case. I also think that there is something going on in our (western/American) society where males feel as if their "normal lives" are not enough. I refrence an article on my blog about the "Suburban Warrior Syndrome":


The author there states:

"A friend of mine is dissatisfied with the modern world–its strip malls and ATM machines, its speed limits and mediated experiences. “I would rather try my luck at a horde of orcs with a broad sword,” he says, “than pay the Visa bill and look for parking.”"

Which I think illustrates part of the reason behind this phenomena. People (mostly males) long to be seen as brave, powerful, respected..and they dont seem to be finding it in their daily lives. People like this Prather character seem to be tapping into this.

Ive read your posts about the whole "lack of western rites of passage", and I agree with you. There are obvious rites of passage in our society but for some reason they do not seem to be enough for some.

26 October, 2008 20:03
Blogger JL said...

Hello everyone,

This is all fascinating to me. I trained in Tucson with Jeff, Todd, PJ, all the bracelets. I apprenticed and went through 2 initiations (one as "initiate" and one as "apprentice"). I went all the way thru Questing before that "uneasy feeling" I'd had since joining finally brought me to my senses. After Prather claimed he was "born, died, and resurrected," I came to my senses and got the hell out of there. This is the first I've heard of all these allegations and accusations albeit I have no doubt of there validity. I saw and heard many very questionable things during my time in WS. I spent many nights at the Prather home in Sonoita "training."

I started training in WS because I thought it would be a great melting-pot of disciplines: Native American, Christian, Japanese, etc. After some time as an apprentice, I was asked to help with "ceremonies" (aka exorcisms). Whenever I asked a question or somehow tried to bring up concerns that I didn't completely buy into the whole thing, I was reprimanded. I left with only a letter to my benefactor explaining my concerns. Since then I was deployed to Iraq with the army and now live and work near Phoenix for Homeland Security.

I hate to think of the people that have been hurt and continue to be hurt. I'm glad I got out when I did...

02 February, 2009 10:10
Blogger jarad said...


Thank you for writing. It is a relief to read your post. Very few people who get that far along...well, most of them are completely brainwashed.

It's nice to see that there are people who can still keep their wits about them. Glad you got out.

I would still love to speak with you if you get the time. You can find me over at www.myspace.com/warriorschool

02 February, 2009 13:51
Blogger Mike S. said...

Warriorschool is now called Passages. Only difference is that the name has changed and Karl Koch is the leader now. (URL http://www.budosites.com/hmbd/index.cfm?page=15 ). They practice all the same stuff that Warriorschool was doing; using the same Warriorschool manual. They practice the use of putting people in fear of something to control them. Then they use group to lie about and undermine people that do not believe in or practice the Passages program. People that practice Passages program, must be in the Bujinkan under a instructor that in Passages program. Jeff Skillman has been teaching and recruiting at various Bujinkan seminars for the Passages program. Jeff Skillman is one of higher ups in the organization. At dojos that run Passages, they rank people in Passages program real fast to increase there ego. Even if there very bad at doing the Bujinkan training.

13 February, 2009 21:04

Why people believe in Religions

I will do an analysis of this movie as I get a chance. This man talks about all the reasons people follow religion or say they believe in God. What issues do people have with Religion and God, but do not affect them? Why do they not care?

Beyond Belief '06 - Melvin Konner (Part 3 of 4)


This is 3/4 of the video. Feel free to watch all of them. I highly recommend you read all of his slides. They are very informative as to the nature of Religion. Once I saw it all laid out like this, I thought to myself: "I am reasonable, mature and intelligent. I don't need all this BS about God and Religion. I'm just going to give it up." Might help some of you.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Creepy Pictures of Prather Cult Disciples and Future Dojo Victims

Here are some pictures from one of Prathers Dojos Bujinkan parties. Don't these people have access to Google? You'd think these people would do a quick search and realize that the people they are involved with are shady and troubled. Good luck people.

Darin Ashley and the Bujinkan Yamaneko Dojo Cult Leader Enabler - Prather Lite

Darin Ashley
The Cult Leader Enabler

If Jeff Prather is removing his bad name from Warriorschool, then Darin Ashley must be the next guy in line to expose. Here is a quick biography of him.

Darin Ashley graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD and received an M.S. from the University of Arizona in Tucson. He served in the active duty Marine Corps for five years and is a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He also served in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was the commanding officer of a Reconnaissance unit. In the Marines he received certifications for dive, parachute, mountain leader, and combat swimmer. He is currently the Chief Operations Officer for Warriorschool in Tucson, AZ where he teaches tactical shooting, driving and fighting skills under contract to government and corporate personnel, as well as to private citizens. He began training in the Bujinkan in 1992 under Jeffrey Prather. He is currently a Yondan and teaches both adult and kids classes. He resides in Marana with his wife Christa.

Here are more people who are associated with Prather through the dojo:

Amber Meesenburg is a Nidan (second degree black belt) and has been training under Shihan Jeffery Prather since 2004. Amber currently serves as the Shibu Liaison coordinating training opportunities between shibus (branches of the main dojo) around the country, and issuing the dojo newsletter. She is also an Assistant Instructor for both women's FightBack and children's Safe Kids courses through Warriorschool. She graduated with a B.A. in Art History in 2002 from New Mexico State University. She has a fourteen year background working with children and families in recreational and educational programs in the southwest. She is an artist, teacher, daughter, sister, and friend. Amber believes in "finding what is of real value to humanity and putting yourself in service to it", and it is that philosophy that leads her to dedicate so much of her time and attention to this dojo.

James Webb first found out about the Bujinkan while attending the University of Arizona in 2003. Having been interested in Martial Arts for some time, but not wanting to learn a tournament or sport driven art the Bujinkan was a perfect fit due to its emphasis on natural, relaxed movement. James is a Nidan and received his black belt in January of 2008. In his spare time he enjoys, reading, painting, drawing, snowboarding, travel, studying Japanese and playing video games.

imgGuest Instructor
Mitch Hayes is the former Sempai of the dojo and started training in the Bujinkan in June of 1997. Mitch received his 1st dan (first degree blackbelt) in November of 1998. Since then he has achieved 4th dan and has been instructing for over 10 years. He has also taught courses for the military CQC (Close Quarter Combat) and Fightback (women's self-defense), both of which were developed by Shihan Jeffrey Prather from this art. In August of 2008 Mitch moved from Tucson and stepped down from being Sempei, he travels to Tucson and teaches as often as time permits. Mitch dedicates much of his time to the dojo because he loves the art and loves teaching. He also enjoys spending time with his wife and learning to play guitar.

Coming soonKids Instructor
Mike Delich is a Shodan and has been training in the Bujinkan for more than six years and is currently teaching the weekday kids classes. He enjoys working with young people and has extensive experience in coaching a number of sports, including at the junior Olympic level. Mike has three daughters, two of which graduated from the U of A. His hobbies include sailing, surfing, and Guitar.

And then of course, how could we forget these folks?

Who are the Founders

imgBujinkan Founder
Grandmaster Hatsumi is the founder and International Director of the Bujinkan Dojo with it's Hombu Dojo residing in Noda City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, in an office attached to his home. Dr. Hatsumi is the inheritor of the three Ninjutsu and six Samurai traditions from the late Toshitsugu Takamatsu Soke in the early 1970's, just before Soke Takamatsu's passing in 1972. Hatsumi is an accomplished painter who's art has been presented to various leaders throughout the world. Hatsumi also has received Honorary Doctorates from the USA Human Sciences and Philosophy, Honorary Texas Ranger, Title of Knighthood from Germany, and Blackbelt magazine's Instructor of the Year, and the list continues. For more information on Hatsumi Soke's Dojo located in Japan, please visit his website at www.bujinkan.com.

imgYamaneko Dojo Founder
Jeffrey Prather has trained for over 35 years in Japanese martial arts and is one of a very few 15th-degree blackbelt Shihan (master or gentleman instructor) in the world. He is licensed by Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, Bujinkan Soke, the grandmaster of Budo Taijutsu. The Yamaneko Dojo is an official branch of Hatsumi Soke's dojo. Shihan Prather is a double recipient of Hatsumi Soke's Gold Medal. The first was awarded for his development of the Close Quarter Combat course for the U.S. Marine Corps. and the Army Special Operations Forces, the second for hosting the 1995 Tai Kai, which he had the honor of hosting a second time in 99'. Shihan Prather also has a 10th degree blackbelt in Shinkengata (real life combat). He has written for publications such as Black Belt magazine and has taught the police and military all over the world. Documentation and references available.

Who are the Instructors

imgHead Instructor
David Petersmarck was introduced to the Bujinkan and Budo Taijutsu while living in Germany in 1988. After leaving Germany in 1991, he found it difficult to find a school teaching authentic Budo Taijutsu and continued to train in a variety of martial arts until arriving at the Yamaneko Dojo in 2004. David is currently a Yondan and in 2008 he stepped into the role of Sempai for the dojo. He has also taught courses in Special Weapons and Tactics, Law Enforcement Defensive Tactics, and Hand-to-Hand Combat, as-well-as the military CQC (Close Quarter Combat) Course, which was developed by Shihan Prather. David is an accomplished musician and enjoys playing guitar. Click here to email Dave Sempai.

Warriorschool Contact Info

How do you like that retarded image of the Warriorschool training manual for Airline De-fence? Sweet.


Amazing what is disclosed on the internet.
I like how it says Woman-Owned Business
Maybe it is true that Prathers new wife owns the business. Clever. I wouldn't be surprised if their are benefits to this as well.

8987 E TANQUE VERDE RD #309-245
TUCSON AZ 857499610 USA
Email: darin.ashley@warriorschool.com
Phone: 5208184510 Contracts, For-Profit Organization, Limited Liability Company, Service Provider, Woman-Owned Business 928110, 922120, 611430, 611519, 611699

Courses Registered

U--Weapons Handling Training
Solicitation Number: M0026409T0152
Agency: Department of the Navy
Office: United States Marine Corps
Location: Marine Corps RCO - Northeast Region/Quantico/National Capital Region

U--Defensive Driving Course
Solicitation Number: M0026409T0149
Agency: Department of the Navy
Office: United States Marine Corps
Location: Marine Corps RCO - Northeast Region/Quantico/National Capital Region

Leadership Structure of Prathers Warriorschool Cult


Here is an article written by Jarad that I didn't recognize. Nicely put.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What Does It Take?
Current mood: awake
Category: News and Politics
I am agitated. Recently I have learned that an acquaintance of mine is still involved with WarriorCult (Warriorschool). This is the same guy that asked me if Prather had done anything harmful to his daughter (meaning: is Jeffrey Prather a pedophile). So, a year ago he is asking me if he needs to take action against Prather for harm against his daughter and now he is cool with training with Prather and co. Freakin' sick! To me this is a lot like saying "you know Hitler - crazy guy, he just isn't for me, but those Nazis...wow, what a gang!". Sounds nuts, but take a look. Yes, there was a mass exodus, but Prather still has a number of mindless followers. These automatons are roaming various campuses seeking new recruits. I can't stress enough how important it is to encourage Prather's worshipers to divest themselves of this lunacy. Recently I met with a former insider and heard of horrors that I hoped weren't true. I will expound on this later, but suffice to say Jeff is the homophobe racist and possible pedophile that I thought he was. We all should be looking at everyone involved in this. Anyone who is supporting Prather needs a serious evaluation. Prather has had rape charges filed against him. Prather has purposefully given third degree burns to one of his students. Really, we should consider anyone who helps somebody like Prather as aiding and abetting. Think about it, if you have heard that Prather had possibly raped a young girl and you go to a school and recruit a new young girl - what does that make you?! I have noticed that Prather has become aware that his name is a deficit. Darrin Ashley is in charge of all the military-wanabee aspect of WarriorCult and his borrowed wife (Rachel Breton-Prather) is in charge of the rest. All the leftovers have been relegated to the Meesenburgs (Amber and Jocelyn). I am kind of getting of on a tangent here. What I want to say is that any affiliation with Warriorschool (warriorcult) is detrimental to society at large. If you are training with Dominic Lees, Jeffrey Prather, Jocelyn Meesenburg, Amber Meesenburg, Christa Ashley, or Darrin Ashley - then your are headed down a very wrong road. My personal opinion is that you are evil. Please Take Care and contact me if you need help. God bless, Jarad (aka Kamereon)
9:58 AM

Quick review:

Nice exposition of who is in charge of what. As to Prather being a homophobe, I would say that sounds very unlikely. There were many homosexuals that were part of Warriorschool. Some of Prathers top people were gay. So I don't see how that could be true. I also clearly remember Prather talking about gay people, how he had seen their souls and there is no difference or damage between them and non-gay people.

Jarad Talks about Warriorschool on CNN Blog


Above is the link of an article written by James Polk CNN Senior Producer about cults. I have also pasted the actual article at the very bottom of the page.

One of our anti-Warriorschool activists, Jarad, makes a great post on this CNN blog. Nice promotion. I am surprised it is so hard to find with Google. Well no longer will that be the case. Your post will be presented here front and center. It can be read below.

Jarad November 13th, 2008 6:47 pm ET

A couple of years ago my wife left me for a cult – Warriorschool. It was quite traumatic on me when that happened…and even with that experience in my background, I can’t imagine what it must have been like to live through Jonestown. Every time I read about cults injurying people, it just tears me up. Koresh, Bent, Alamo, Prather – seems like there is no end to Christ wannabees exerting their influence over others.

November 13, 2008
What I’ve always remembered: the children were killed first
Posted: 03:52 PM ET

James Polk
CNN Senior Producer

Thirty years ago, I walked out on the doorstep to pick up the Sunday paper and learned NBC reporter Don Harris, a colleague and friend, had been shot to death on a Guyana air strip.

Like much of the rest of the world, that was the first I’d heard of Jonestown. As an NBC correspondent in those years, I flew to San Francisco to help dig into the background of the Peoples Temple. Soon I became aware it was the children who had been the first to die in Jonestown, and I profiled the unhappy past of one teenager who had been taken there as a welfare ward.

That’s what I’ve always remembered to this day: the children were killed first. To me, it is that unforgivable act which defines the tragedy that was Jonestown.

I’m now a senior documentary producer for CNN, and when I finished a two-hour project in April, “Eyewitness to Murder,” on the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., my boss came up to me and said this will be the 30th anniversary of the Jonestown suicides.

Frankly, I did not want to do the story. It always has been a very ugly event in anybody’s history. PBS’ Stanley Nelson did a great documentary only a couple years ago, and there was no reason to try to repeat his fine work.

But I flew out to San Diego to meet with the two dedicated individuals who run The Jonestown Institute out of their own house as the repository of all the worthwhile research, maintained quite objectively.

I was aware there were survivors of the airport ambush and I thought CNN might be able to tell a different story – one of human survival in the most trying of circumstances — by focusing on those who did manage to live.

By then, I had done enough reading that I also knew of the group who walked away separately that morning. With the Jonestown Institute’s help, I began looking for Leslie Wilson, then 21, who had carried her 3-year-old son to safety in a sheet on her back.

It took another month to find Leslie, not in California where I had been looking, but rather, living in the same suburban Atlanta county as I do, only a few miles away. Her story is remarkable. What’s more, she and my wife have become quite good friends.

The Parks family was the first family to ask to leave Jonestown with Congressman Leo Ryan the day he was murdered on the nearby air strip, and the only church member killed there was Patricia Parks, the mother in the family. I wanted to reach out to them. I kept finding wrong addresses. Finally, the right one popped up for the 12-year-old daughter who was the youngest survivor of that ambush. I wrote her – I don’t like to make cold phone calls, they come as a surprise and there’s no way to make it a personal conversation – and so I send letters first to explain what we’re trying to do.

Tracy Parks phoned me the very next morning, and said she had been praying for someone to take her back to Guyana to say goodbye, after 30 years, to her mother.

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien stood with Tracy at the side of that air strip as she left flowers, a cross and candles as a memorial to the mother whose funeral she had been unable to attend.

The moving moment for me, however, was seeing a network anchor down on her knees in the dirt, digging with her hands, to help Tracy bury a small memorial stone on the site.

Those are the glimpses one rarely gets into the true humanity of the people in television who work to bring stories like these to the public at large, and I do hope this humanity and concern does come through in our documentary, “Escape from Jonestown.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Want to be “Warriors” for the power, fear and respect that they believe comes with it

Here is an article that references our web sites. I got this picture from his page.

The guy makes a good point, that Prather very well could have lied about being in combat. I know that Prather supposedly was Shinkengata Certified by Hatsumi. Whatever the spelling is. It means that he has had real life combat experience. I don't know how he supposedly proved that to Hatsumi, but there were very few people in the Bujinkan that even advertised such a designation. Any one have any ideas how Prather proved this? Is it legit? I always figured it was.

Anyway read below for a guys opinion on his third party perspective on Warriorschool and Jeff Prather the cult master.

A site I stumbled across doing some research on “Warriorship” …do a google on that term and take a look at the results. It shows you what the problem is IMO.


This looks like the dark side of having a wanting and/or needing to be a warrior but taking the wrong path..into cultism. No offense meant to any Ninjutsu/Bujinkan folks out there, but they are amongst the biggest offenders of MY whole warrior rant here (again this is just MY OPINION…Im not implying that there is anything inherently wrong or Bad with emulating warriors, I just dont personally agree with it). The Ninjutsu folks really play up the whole “Warriorship” angle, some outright proclaiming themselves warriors. I grew up in the 80’s “ninja craze” days, which as a kid was great. I gobbled up all the Hayes/Hatsumi books I could find…still read them every once and a while…but :

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I
thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish
things.” -1 Corinthians 13:11

Some people are apparently so invested in being “Warriors” that they can become victims of some unscrupulous instructors with “issues”. In those links the main offender is described as a former USArmy Officer with combat experience (claimed..people lie about that sort of stuff). If true, it only goes to show yet another issue with this whole topic. He could very well be a “True Warrior” (combat vet etc.) yet still be a slimy bastard. Being a Warrior and being a “good person” are not always necessarily the same issue. People..deep down..if they can be honest with themselves…want to be “Warriors” for the power, fear and respect that they believe comes with it. That desire is natural as I see it, but once recognized it has to be tempered with thought and reason. Most people just cloak those base desires with the “high minded” gobbledy gook rather than face the truth and deal with it.

Allergic to Critical Thinking


Excerpts from a Bullshido article

Warriorschool: The cult in the Bujinkan's backyard.
Warriorship. What is is, who is it and why is it? It's a cult based on pseudo-native American mythology set up by Jeffory Prather. The following blog articles deal with a personal brush with the cult by a former bujinkan member, and detail some of it's inner workings. Makes for interesting reading.

[Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

It's interesting how this cult has sprung up within the bujinkan. It's because it's a "martial art" and "martial arts" (especially one that claims to teach ninjitsu) are very cultish in the first place. Who's ever heard of a boxing cult?

LOL irony--did you see the part about how the WarriorSchool cult guys went way overboard with the table ceremony? They wanted people to pray and thank plants and stuff as if they were Apaches, when they should have been lovingly bowing to a table with a twig on it as if they were feudal Samurai.

Imagine the nerve of those people!

The type of chap drawn to the Bujinkan will always be susceptible to this crap. When I was young and naive I used to train in it. Some of the lads there effectivly worshipped Hatsumi and refused to see through the psuedo-yoda bit. Only a short step and boom you're praying to rocks next to Mr Prather.

I thought Hatsumi was the only 15th dan. But then he does give them out like candy, even my sensei thought so

I seriously need to start a cult. Who volunteers to be my "Cardinals?" (95% cut of your chapter's earning you keep, and I promise to visit once per year. Downside - LARPing.)

This stuff was going around a few years ago. It looks like Prather has toned things down a bit lately. At least publicly. The "Warriorschool" site look like a Blackwater wannabe now rather than some Native American based cult.

Prather apparently was an Army officer. His resume appears carefully worded to imply that he was a Green Beret in the 7th SFG, but there are some people claiming that while he worked at 7th he was not a Green Beret.

Theres a renewed interest for some reason now over on Budoseek.


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Apache Ninjas?
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Will this cult involve recruiting hot women and fornicating with them? If so I'm in as long as there's no Systema involved

Can I handle the money angle? You can have the women.....with money I can buy all of the hot women I want....

Wow. They are certainty out there aren't they?...Everyone wants your money....

Didn't Dale Gribble from King of the Hill attend this warrior school?

I knew a guy that was into this when I was in college (circa 2002). He used to advertise for it on campus and even spoke in front of some the anthropology classes about their initiation rituals.

He used to teach Bujinkan classes on campus that were totally ridiculous. I nearly choked him unconscious in front of about 10 people while he tried some lame defense. I finally let him go when he turned purple. Bear in mind, this wasn't a RNC or anything, I was just standing in front of him with my hands around his neck.

He was a nice enough guy, but he had just drank too much of the kool aid. He actually got his ass kicked one day after talking about how tough you had to be to do Bujinkan.
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Most people in the Buj are allergic to critical thinking. I don't remember the exact quote so I'll just paraphrase Hatsumi from one of his books (can't remember which one) 'Science should take second place to ninjutsu'.

Sometimes my soke embarasses me to no end.

btw which choke escape and gun disarms did they show? just curious

Yeah, sounds like he was trying to use an omote gyaku (outside wrist break) for the disarm. I'll take a guess at how the gaps filled in. The gun was held in the uke's right hand. After stepping to the left (and forward at a 45deg. angle of course)., the sensei's left hand covered the back of the gun hand while his right came up underneath like you said. The sensei then uses both his hands to twist the gun hand clockwise from the uke's perspective, during which the uke let's go of the gun for "safety reasons". That does sound like a pretty awful waza from what you describe.

Omote gyaku is generally a pretty low percentage technique if the uke can easily adjust their position, and is actively resisting/defending against the wrist lock specifically. It has been my experience that when you give a person a weapon their instinct is to focus entirely on the weapon, which would naturally mean they would be immediately aware of attempts to manipulate it into a joint lock.

Sounds shitty, I don't know why that instructor thought it would work. But like I said, lots of bujers are allergic to critical thinking.

Did they leave because of Prather, or do they still adhere to his wacky-ass teachings?
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I knew Jeff quite well when he and I were in law school together. He was one of the best black belts that I have met, very dedicated and very good. He had been a police officer and ended up heading for the military. He had a very good sense of humor and was the type of person that would stand beside you through thick or thin. Have not seen or heard of him since 1984 so I am glad he is doing well.
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Unread 01-24-2009, 01:41 PM #33

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They left Jeff Prather, because of the way he was doing things and the things that he was doing to people. They still are using the same Warriorschool manual to teach with and the wacky-ass teachings. Jeff Skillman, one of the Warriorschools top people, has been with them. Jeff Skillman has been teaching Passages program and recruiting at various Bujinkan seminars for the Passages program.
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Unread 01-25-2009, 08:06 AM #34

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Sounds like a good way to make money.People will sign up to anything without looking into its background eg swan type groups etc
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Unread 03-17-2009, 08:23 PM #35

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Warriorschool Manual
Someone put the Warriorschool Manual, on some torrent web sites call isohunt.com. So if you need a manual to help you get started in the job of being a cult leader and/or what BS to watch out for. Download it and read.
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Unread 04-23-2009, 05:58 AM #36

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i wnet to a MA school that admitted they were a cult , i also discovered that they were using brainwashing tequniques on me. i found this out when i went to a conference in germany on cults and their recruitment tequniques .

vist - Trance institute ( trance abuse / scizophrenia and trance )

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lisa Warns that Warriorschool and Jeff Prather are a Destructive Cult

A courageous new comment by Lisa on the Action Skeptics anti-Warriorschool Blog


Lisa said...

If anyone ever actually reads to the end of these comments....

Let me just make some things very clear for those of you on the outer fringe of Warriorschool, or those of you in the "new" WS. It was and is very much a cult and something to be avoided at all costs. IT IS NOT WHAT IT SEEMS!!!

How can I make such a claim? Because I've been to hell and back and was personally responsible for writing and distributing all of the Devil's propaganda. Translation - I used to be Prather's PR manager.

Those of you still refuting WS as a cult: I published most of the WS tag lines you're quoting. These are not your free thoughts, these are seeds that were planted. Some of you may be too new to realize you're quoting Prather word for word, and he is more than "weird" He is destructive and has created this cult to prey upon the weak. He wants your money, your validation of his divinity and he will take it by force if necessary. He is a rapist, a liar, and a charming illusionist. And most importantly, very sane in his mission to create an army. He told us that even if we all left him, he would start all over from the ground up. As long as there are people willing to tell him he's right, he will keep abusing his brainwashed followers. He thinks he is Jesus reincarnated, but that little gem was reserved only for his "enlightened elite". To everyone else, he was just a guy trying to make the world a better place. Don't believe him! And don't let him near your loved ones.

I was in the cult for nearly 10 years and it took me nearly 3 more of being out to realize the full gravity of what I had been involved in. I barely survived WS. The cult and its followers took almost everything I had, and that is fact, not exaggeration.

I was so brainwashed by Prather's textbook cult practices that I took it on as my personal mission to spead his filth and poison. I put him on the radio (but he didn't use his real name, I wonder why), I wrote his brochures and websites (when they still contained the real truth of what actually went on before it went underground). And I recruited poor saps to come his Initiation. Please forgive me! I didn't know!

You poor, poor people have no idea that you are spreading the ideas of a sick, sick power hungry man. I won't judge you as being crazy or psychotic. But I will say that you are under the carefully crafted work of a mastermind that created a cult.

Everything that this blog has accused WS of being is hauntingly accurate. If you have been spared some of the disgusting events, then consider yourself lucky. These terrible events did go on, and yes, under the guise of a charitable organization.

There are horrors still not mentioned that I will attest to.

As a former top member, I can tell you, if evil does exist, then Prather embodied it.

If you're still involved, get out while you can. And if you know someone involved, stage an intervention, NOW!
12 June, 2008 06:19

Retardation of Warriorschool Videos Outdoes Itself Again

I have to keep this website updated with new content so people can keep finding it easily. I just saw that Warriorschool released yet more videos. The retardation level becomes increasingly more substantial. Jeff Prather and his followers have published more ridiculous content. Watch it and be amazed.

Here is a supposed Tactical Medicine Video. It is 30 seconds worth of footage of random people leaning over dummies. It has zero teaching value.

This is also a great video. A woman shouts: "Noo" and easily pushes a man to the ground while entering her vehicle. I don't know what sort of robber or car jacker would be pushed over so easily, but obviously Warriorschool thought this was awesome enough to post for the world to see.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Deconvert from Religion or Spiritual Delusion

Any of you who are part of Prathers' cult or may have been a part of the cult in the past probably have some questions floating around in your mind. You probably have some doubts and unanswered issues you were not able to resolve.

When I was part of Warriorschool I always wondered what was true? Was it what I had been taught? Was it what the majority did and believed? Was Prather right? Religion? Was it personal mystical experience? So on and so forth.

Having been part of Warriorschool was an inspiring and powerful experience. I still value many of the lessons to this day as extremely valuable. Prather taught us things and made us aware of things, most will never have the luxury of contemplating nor experiencing. But then again, many of the lessons were taught by using brainwashing methods and were designed to open you up to extreme manipulation and exploitation. That's what I have a problem with.

When it came to spiritual experiences, the 6th sense, god hand, psychic abilities, dreaming body, out of body experiences, void, connecting with god, visions, seeing auras, prophecies, revelation or whatever it may have been for you, I remember being fascinated by the possibility that these things existed and worked. It was intriguing and the more I practiced them and searched for them the more I found them. Well I don't believe in any of that garbage any more. At least I don't believe those experiences are supernatural, god related or anything like that.

Below I will post a video that I saw that changed my perspective on these things. It is a video of a man named Michael Shermer. He used to be a strong believer in all kinds of garbage, probably similar to us ex-Warriorschoolers. He is now the head of the skeptics society. He doesn't believe any supernatural stuff any more. Anyway, he was one of the first people to do a practically non-stop bike ride from the east coast of the USA to the west coast. It was extremely stressful, with barely any sleep and he was able to accomplish it in 10 1/2 days or so. His friend did it in 7 1/2 days or something like that. Well anyway, Michael Shermer started having the most bizarre experiences as he was pushing his human body and mind to limits most of us could never even dream of. He reports having psychotic delusions, in which he thought his friends were aliens from outer space, trying to keep him from finishing his bike race. He is aware that the beliefs were delusional, but the stress placed on him was so extreme that he could not really prevent the beliefs from taking root. Replace the words aliens, with God and replace bike race with Warriorschool apprenticeship. That is my conclusion. Jeff Prather and his apprenticeship Warriorschool program puts such a stress on people that they start having psychotic delusions under his care. Then Prather keeps directing people to associate those brain malfunctions with spiritual god experiences. Once he dupes them into believing that, and that Prather is the minister of those super powers, he becomes a god like cult super hero figure.

Here is the video that let me see that extreme stress can bring any human being to believe absolutely false, ridiculous and nonsensical things:

Also read his book called:
"Why people believe weird things"
Michael Shermer goes into great detail explaining the whole event

Ridiculous new Warriorschool Videos

Alright, we have some more videos from Warrior School Cult. Wonderfully enough Jeff Prather himself stars in them. If anyone is unfamiliar with Jeff Prather then this first video will be a real treat. It actually shows his best side. A patriot, a charismatic, caring, gentle and strong guy teaching the troops how to survive in a combat environment. I especially liked what he said about winning hearts and minds in the middle east. The fact that he mentioned it is a war of ideas and that we need to respect the Iraqi's cultural differences pleasantly reminded me of the times I spent with Prather, before everything went absolutely insane. If you have never seen Prather at his best, then this is a decent example of what people are attracted to. But stay tuned, it gets better or dare I say much much worse.

Here is an advertisement they made for one of their products. I don't know if they designed it or are merely marketing it for profit. Nothing wrong with that. But I just remember watching it and thinking it was utterly ridiculous. Watch it for yourself. No major analysis here. Just check it out and see if you don't get some laughs out of it.

And now for the final video review. This one is just fantastically embarrassing. The video titled Air Defense will teach you how to rescue everyone on a hijacked airplane. The words fail me to express my initial reaction. Maybe later I can get into it a bit more. I don't know where they got those poor actors from. The ones sitting down in the airplane. Whenever Prather talks about slitting someones throat or however he puts it, the passengers have this look of shock and horror on their faces. I wonder how much he paid them to do the video. Where did he find them? I am sure they are embarrassed to be associated with something so cheesy. But for those of us who want to laugh at Warriorschool and Prather it is a great video.

Watch it and laugh.

Monday, March 30, 2009

WarriorSchool Manual

There appears to be a WarriorSchool Manual online, but I was not able to retrieve it. Anyone know if it is the real deal? Is the cult manual interesting? Is it still available? I am not that savy with the torrent download stuff, so if anyone can give me some quick advice on the Warriorschool Manual I would appreciate it.

Here is the address of the torrent link.


Books > Manuals - Mininova

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jarad Myspace Prather Expose

Here is a guy named Jarad who has had a bad experience with Prather. I can't remember if I posted this before. It looks like there is some new content there. It is worth checking out.



Prather Warrior School and Karl Koch


aswp writes in a forum post:
Is the Bujinkan a Religion?

Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1
“Bujinkan has never been a religion and is still not “ is correct. Problem is groups that train in the Bujinkan, that use it to recruit or force people into there religions and/or other things. Like Jeffrey Prather “Warrior School” and Karl Koch “PASSAGES” program (URL http://www.budosites.com/hmbd/index.cfm?page=15 ); That uses Native American religions at their dojos, but there are other dojos that are doing the same thing.

Ex Apprentice Escapes and Tells about It

Here is some new activity from the ActionSkeptics Site:

JL said...

Hello everyone,

This is all fascinating to me. I trained in Tucson with Jeff, Todd, PJ, all the bracelets. I apprenticed and went through 2 initiations (one as "initiate" and one as "apprentice"). I went all the way thru Questing before that "uneasy feeling" I'd had since joining finally brought me to my senses. After Prather claimed he was "born, died, and resurrected," I came to my senses and got the hell out of there. This is the first I've heard of all these allegations and accusations albeit I have no doubt of there validity. I saw and heard many very questionable things during my time in WS. I spent many nights at the Prather home in Sonoita "training."

I started training in WS because I thought it would be a great melting-pot of disciplines: Native American, Christian, Japanese, etc. After some time as an apprentice, I was asked to help with "ceremonies" (aka exorcisms). Whenever I asked a question or somehow tried to bring up concerns that I didn't completely buy into the whole thing, I was reprimanded. I left with only a letter to my benefactor explaining my concerns. Since then I was deployed to Iraq with the army and now live and work near Phoenix for Homeland Security.

I hate to think of the people that have been hurt and continue to be hurt. I'm glad I got out when I did...
02 February, 2009 10:10
jarad said...


Thank you for writing. It is a relief to read your post. Very few people who get that far along...well, most of them are completely brainwashed.

It's nice to see that there are people who can still keep their wits about them. Glad you got out.

I would still love to speak with you if you get the time. You can find me over at www.myspace.com/warriorschool
02 February, 2009 13:51
Mike S. said...

Warriorschool is now called Passages. Only difference is that the name has changed and Karl Koch is the leader now. (URL http://www.budosites.com/hmbd/index.cfm?page=15 ). They practice all the same stuff that Warriorschool was doing; using the same Warriorschool manual. They practice the use of putting people in fear of something to control them. Then they use group to lie about and undermine people that do not believe in or practice the Passages program. People that practice Passages program, must be in the Bujinkan under a instructor that in Passages program. Jeff Skillman has been teaching and recruiting at various Bujinkan seminars for the Passages program. Jeff Skillman is one of higher ups in the organization. At dojos that run Passages, they rank people in Passages program real fast to increase there ego. Even if there very bad at doing the Bujinkan training.
13 February, 2009 21:04

Post a Comment

The Hidden Mountain Bujinkan Dojo

The Hidden Mountain Bujinkan Dojo
Karl Koch's Dojo

Check out this link below


Kamereon says that this site is

Passages (Karl Koch's offshoot branch of Prather's cult (see: http://www.budosites.com/hmbd/index.cfm?page=15))

Check out their schedule. They train two days a week. :) That doesn't sound very dedicated for a cult offshoot branch. How are you going to defend the world from a demonic super onslaught?

Well this hidden mountain bujinkan site doesn't seem too incriminating. It appears to be a 100% budo site and doesn't mention Warriorschool or Prather at all. I have never heard of Karl Koch so I can't really say anything about him.

I do however like the pictures of him being awesome, with his hair and mustache. There was of course the picture of Phil Legaire who was a total Warrior school cult member under Prather. I think he has since left the group on bad terms. I was never a fan of the guy myself, but he must have some wits about him if he has removed himself from Prather.

I love how these Budo sites always want to glorify their black belts and tell exactly how they accomplished their great feat. Ah, they paid money and just showed up for a lot of training sessions. You don't have to be a great athlete or genius to get your Budo black belt.

Also notice how it says on the left:

OUR MASTER (if you click on it it talks about Dr. Hatsumi)

That is always how you can sense a cult in the making if they actually refer to someone as 'My Master'. It is just asking to be brainwashed.

Can anyone else verify that this Karl Koch guy is directly linked to Prather? Got any links?

I want everyone and anyone who is associated with this stuff to be clearly linked. Information = power. I hope all the future victims of these people know how to use google and find this info before it is too late.

Ok, I just re read the Hidden Mountain site and found the incriminating info. It is totally linked to Warriorschool. Notice how they have all the same cycles and use the same terminology. Purification, empowerment etc etc.



In addition to the physical and spiritual development provided by traditional martial arts training, the Hidden Mountain Bujinkan Dojo is pleased to offer the intensives based on concepts transposed from Native American traditions for introduction into adulthood. These intensives are designed to introduce participants to the concepts of native chivalry provided by Native American cultures. Students ritually experience the cycles of childhood, youth, maturity, and old age. Each session is devoted to a cycle of life:

Purification - Discovering something worthwhile beyond just the physical, i.e. the non-physical -the spiritual.

Empowerment - Accessing and strengthening the spiritual through practical, physical training.

Impeccability - Deciding right and wrong. Knowing good and bad. Balancing the spiritual and physical in selfless service.

Quest (Boys)/Changing (Girls) - Integrating all of the training via rite of passage, to a defining moment of adulthood.

All are welcome. For further information on this program, contact Karl Koch.


For those having completed the Passages Intensives, Connection Intensives provide further training to enhance and improve skills obtained in the Passages Intensives. This training is held simultaneously with the Passages Intensives.


For those students desiring to go beyond the adulthood training offered in the Initiation Cycles, Apprenticeship programs are offered to provide further training as warriors or healers. This program is not to be entered lightly and all prospective apprentices must complete the Passages Intensives prior to being eligible for acceptance. It is recommended that they complete Connection Intensives prior to apprenticing, as well.


The Southeast Intensives are held on private property in Durham and Creedmoor, NC. To register for or receive information on Passages Programs in the Southeast region, contact Karl Koch at 919-384-1400 or email tengu1@msn.com.

Names and Class Titles

A poster named Kamereon suggested I add some of this information to the blog.

New Comment Posted

Blogger Kamereon said...

You should also add the tags:

Attention to the Crisis (Prather's bogus charity)

Women's Fightback (Prather's intro to drinking kool-aid)

Passages (Karl Koch's offshoot branch of Prather's cult (see: http://www.budosites.com/hmbd/index.cfm?page=15))

You might also consider adding tags for his chief worshippers as well:

Amber Meesenburg
Jocelyn Meesenburg
Darrin Ashley
Christa Ashley
Amber Pinnow
Tim Pinnow
Rachel Prather (formerly Rachel Breton)
Louis Breton

Of course there are many others, but the above list are still active and have caused the most damage.

February 27, 2009 3:00 PM

I recognize 90% of the names you listed. I have never heard of Koch's website. Also make sure you check out the Official Warriorschool page. It looks like they have updated it. Looks interesting.

Take care

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Jefferey Prather Update

Jeff Prather has a simple name. Sometimes it is spelled differently. It could be written as Jeffrey Prather, Jefferey Prather or many other ways. I have posted many videos and pictures on this site so that you can conveniently de-convert yourself from the cult that he started called Warriorschool. Warrior school can be referred to in multiple ways as well. It can be abbreviated to WS or given nicknames like Warriorcult or Warrior Cult. I am including all the different spellings here so that the search engines will be able to find them. Good luck in your search to find out the truth about Prather, Religion, Cults, God, Spirituality or whatever it is you are seeking.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Introduction Speech to Skepticism TED

Here is a quick explanation of what skepticism is in video format. Approximately 15 minutes long.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Critical Thinking What is it and why should you know about it


The tradition of research into critical thinking reflects the common perception that human thinking left to itself often gravitates toward prejudice, over-generalization, common fallacies, self-deception, rigidity, and narrowness.

The critical thinking tradition seeks ways of understanding the mind and then training the intellect so that such "errors", "blunders", and "distortions" of thought are minimized. It assumes that the capacity of humans for good reasoning can be nurtured and developed by an educational process aimed directly at that end.

The history of critical thinking documents the development of this insight in a variety of subject matter domains and in a variety of social situations. Each major dimension of critical thinking has been carved out in intellectual debate and dispute through 2400 years of intellectual history.

That history allows us to distinguish two contradictory intellectual tendencies: a tendency on the part of the large majority to uncritically accept whatever was presently believed as more or less eternal truth and a conflicting tendency on the part of a small minority — those who thought critically — to systematically question what was commonly accepted and seek, as a result, to establish sounder, more reflective criteria and standards for judging what it does and does not make sense to accept as true.

Our basic concept of critical thinking is, at root, simple. We could define it as the art of taking charge of your own mind. Its value is also at root simple: if we can take charge of our own minds, we can take charge of our lives; we can improve them, bringing them under our self command and direction. Of course, this requires that we learn self-discipline and the art of self-examination. This involves becoming interested in how our minds work, how we can monitor, fine tune, and modify their operations for the better. It involves getting into the habit of reflectively examining our impulsive and accustomed ways of thinking and acting in every dimension of our lives.


Developing as Rational Persons: Viewing Our Development in Stages

Humans are capable of developing into rational beings. This is our ultimate assumption. At some level all of us want to effectively analyze and solve our problems. We want to live significant, meaningful lives. We want to be persons of integrity. We did not consciously choose to be selfish and egocentric, any more than we consciously chose to think unclearly, inaccurately, irrelevantly, superficially, narrow-mindedly, or illogically. Nevertheless, we often think and behave egocentrically. We often think unclearly, inaccurately, irrelevantly, superficially, narrow-mindedly, and illogically.

In this paper, we focus on one multi-faceted tool — a theory of the stages required for rational development. We can use it to think less egocentrically and irrationally in our personal lives. If we can understand where we are in our own development, if we can envision a series of stages through which we can imagine ourselves moving, we will be more likely to develop along those lines. If we can more concretely and realistically conceptualize how to go about acquiring the knowledge, skills, and dispositions which characterize highly developed critical thinkers, then, we will more effectively gain that knowledge and acquire those skills and dispositions.

Stage One

We Begin as Unreflective Thinkers

We all begin as largely unreflective thinkers, fundamentally unaware of the determining role that thinking is playing in our lives. We don’t realize, at this stage, the many ways that problems in thinking are causing problems in our lives. We unconsciously think of ourselves as the source of truth. We assume our own beliefs to be true. We unreflectively take in many absurd beliefs merely because they are believed by those around us. We have no intellectual standards worthy of the name. Wish fulfillment plays a significant role in what we believe. Whatever we want, we believe we should have. We create and maintain pleasant illusions. If it feels good to believe something, we believe it.

At this stage, we may think well intuitively within certain domains of our lives. For example, we may have high quality thinking skills with respect to our work, or we may be good at balancing our personal budget, etc. But when there are problems in our thinking, we usually fail to recognize them as such. We have no knowledge of the "moves" our minds are making. Therefore, we cannot correct its errors.

We begin to move beyond this stage when we develop real insight into the "flawed" nature of our own thinking. This insight, to be effective, must be concrete and specific. Virtually everyone will agree in the abstract that they have some "prejudices" and that their thinking is "not perfect." But these unelaborated admissions have no functional value to those who concede them. They are not based on any real knowledge of the nature of thinking. They are not based on a realistic sense of the skills they would need to develop to improve. They are not based on an accurate appraisal of the kinds of motivation they would have to develop to improve over an extended period of time.

Stage Two

We Reach the Second Stage When We Are Faced with The Challenge
Of Recognizing the Low Level at Which We and Most Humans Function as Thinkers

We cannot solve a problem we do not admit to. We cannot deal with a condition we deny. Without some knowledge of our ignorance we cannot seek the knowledge we lack. Without some knowledge of the skills we need to develop, we cannot develop those skills. When we develop through this stage, we begin to become aware of the fact that as thinkers we routinely and inevitably make assumptions, use information, make inferences, generate implications, define problems, use concepts, reason within a point of view, and that, given that, we are capable of making many "mistakes" in thinking. For example, we are capable of making false assumptions, using erroneous information, or jumping to unjustifiable conclusions. This knowledge of our fallibility as thinkers is connected to the emerging awareness that somehow we must learn to routinely identify, analyze, and assess our thinking.

The hallmark of the second stage, then, is that we are faced with a crucial challenge to our development. We are confronted with the idea that our thinking is often flawed, and that if we are to improve the quality of our thinking and of our lives, we must become serious students of our minds and how they operate. The important question at this stage is: Will we take up, or back away from this challenge? Put another way, will we squarely face the fact that our thinking is often unsound. Will we take seriously the implications of that fact? Or will we retreat into that comfortable self-complacency that is "natural" to the human mind? Are we ready to begin the process of long-term development as thinkers? Or will we rationalize our way around it?

To fail to recognize the value of developing as rational persons, to deny the fact that our thinking is flawed in many directions, has the consequent that we remain at the unreflective thinker stage.

Stage Three

We Reach the Third Stage When We
Accept the Challenge and Begin to Explicitly Develop Our Thinking

Having actively decided to take up the challenge to grow and develop as thinkers, we become "beginning" thinkers, i.e., thinkers beginning to take thinking seriously. We are in the preparatory stage of taking explicit command of thinking. We realize that we know very little about the constituents of thinking, very little about how to analyze thinking for its soundness, very little about how to upgrade and improve thinking. Yet we have begun to see the necessity of learning how to take charge of our thinking.

As "beginning" thinkers, we recognize the egocentric nature of our thinking in one or more contexts of our lives. For example, we may sometimes catch ourselves trying to dominate others to get our way, or, alternatively, acting out the role of submitting to others (for the gains that submission will bring). We may begin to notice the powerful role that conformity to group norms and values plays in our lives.

As novices, we are beginning to analyze the logic of situations and problems we face, beginning to question our purposes and goals, beginning to struggle to express clear and precise questions when addressing a problem. We are beginning to see that whenever we gather information to address problems, we need to check that information for accuracy and relevance. We are beginning to understand the difference between raw information and our interpretation of it, beginning to question our conclusions, beginning to recognize assumptions guiding our inferences. We are beginning to recognize prejudicial and biased beliefs and how they lead us to unjustifiable conclusions about people. We are beginning to notice that we often misuse words and fail to follow out implications. We are beginning to recognize that whenever we reason, we think within a point of view, and that our viewpoint is often biased toward our selfish interests. We are beginning to recognize that we often think without giving due consideration to the rights and needs of others.

Thus, as beginning thinkers we are becoming aware of how to deal with the constituents of our thoughts (i.e. our purposes, questions, information, interpretations, etc.). We are beginning to appreciate the value of consistently applying intellectual standards––standards such as clarity, accuracy, relevance, precision, logicalness, justifiability, breadth and depth in reasoning.

To reach this stage, our values must begin to shift. We must experience some sense of the importance of intellectual humility. For if we do not come to value knowledge of our own ignorance, we will not be motivated to gain that "knowledge." What is more, as "beginning" thinkers we must find ourselves developing some confidence in reason. In other words, we must become persuaded that developing our skill in reasoning is crucial to solving our problems, and that we are capable of developing that skill. We notice ourselves talking more to others about the importance of reason and reasoning, and noticing more the negative consequences of those who fail to value them. We find ourselves struggling to develop some intellectual perseverance. We notice ourselves being quick to give up as soon as a problem becomes difficult. We have not yet found a way to systematically and successfully develop the skills and the dispositions that we now want to develop. Even though our ability to reason well may still be greatly limited, our values are beginning to shift. We are learning to want what is rational to want. In short, the foundation is beginning to form on which we can re-build our identity and character.

Stage Four

We Reach the Fourth Stage When We Begin to Develop
A Systematic Approach to Improving Our Ability to Think

If the hallmark of the third stage is beginning to take thinking seriously, although without a successful plan for achieving what we now want, the hallmark of the fourth stage is the development of just such a plan. In this stage, we move from an unorganized to an organized approach to the improvement of our thinking.

At this stage, we now know that simply wanting to change is not enough, nor is episodic and irregular "practice." We recognize now the need for real commitment, for some regular and consistent way to build improvement of thinking into the fabric of our lives. We realize now that a hit-and-miss approach to developing our thinking abilities will not result in our learning to live a rational life.

Although the manner in which regular practice designed to improve our thinking might take many different forms, it may be useful to look at some possible components of a reasonable plan. Consider the following strategies:

* Begin to ask yourself "fundamental" questions about the character and nature of your life. If someone were to follow you around for a year and knew absolutely everything that you were thinking, feeling, and doing, what would that person say are your fundamental values and beliefs? To what extent would that person conclude that you unconsciously conform to group-imposed values? To what extent would that person conclude that you pursue your desires at the expense of the rights and needs of others? To what extent would that person conclude that you fail to empathically enter the point of view of others? To what extent would that person conclude that you are committed to living your life as a rational person would? To what extent would that person conclude that you are often guided by irrational emotions?
* Begin to keep an "intellectual" journal in which you record your analysis in the following way. Describe only situations that are emotionally significant to you (that is, that you deeply care about). Describe only one situation at a time. Then describe (and keep this separate) what you did in response to that situation. Be specific and exact. Then analyze, in the light of what you have written, what precisely was going on in the situation. Dig beneath the surface. Then assess the implications of your analysis. What did you learn about yourself? What would you do differently if you could re-live the situation?
* Whenever you feel some negative emotion, systematically ask yourself: What, exactly, is the thinking leading to this emotion? How might this thinking be flawed?" What am I assuming? Should I? What information is my thinking based on? Is that information reliable? . . . and so on.
* Whenever you have a complex problem, a problem that you need to think seriously about, take the time to analyze the elements of thinking through the problem. Figure out your purpose for addressing the problem (be precise). Write out, clearly, the exact question you are trying to answer. Write down the information you need to address the problem rationally. Do you have that information? Where can you get it? Think of alternative ways a reasonable person might interpret that information. Restrain yourself from jumping to a conclusion. Identify the main assumptions you are making. Analyze and evaluate those assumptions. Focus on the key concepts you are using in your thinking. Explicitly state the point of view from which you are approaching the problem. Consider some alternative points of view. Examine the possible consequences that might follow if you make this or that decision. Check to see if you are considering all the plausible alternative possible decisions.
* Look closely at your behavior to determine how you use, and relate to, "power" in your life. See if you can isolate some common events in which you use egocentric thinking to get others to do what you want. For example, systematically analyze your behavior to determine whether, as a general rule, you tend to "dominate" others in order to get your way, or whether you tend to "submit" to them to get what you want.
* Notice how you react in situations when you don’’t get what you want. What exactly are your emotions? What exactly do you do? If you find that you act in a dominating or submissive way, you will be alerted to the fact that you are thinking egocentrically. You can then work to replace your egocentric thought with more rational thought through systematic self-reflection. What would a rational person feel in this or that situation? What would a rational person do? How does that compare with what you did? (Hint: If you find that you continually conclude that a rational person would behave just as you behaved you are probably engaging in self-deception.)
* Closely analyze the behavior that is encouraged, and discouraged, in the groups to which you belong. For any given group, what are you "required" to believe? What are you "forbidden" to do? If you conclude that your group does not require you to believe anything, or has no taboos, then conclude that you have not deeply analyzed that group. Review some introductory text in Sociology to gain insight into the process of socialization and group membership.
* Target the key areas in your life where you are experiencing difficulties or where you need to think through significant issues with potentially long-term implications. Ask yourself what "strategies" you are presently employing in those areas. How did you come up with those strategies? What strategies did you consider and reject? On what grounds? If you find that you have trouble answering these questions, entertain the hypothesis that your thinking about these areas of your life may not be very deep.

These are a few of the many things that we might do in seeking a systematic approach to the development of our thinking and rationality. We are not in the stage we call "the practicing thinker" until we are engaged in activities analogous to what is suggested above. When in the practicing thinker stage, we devise specific strategies which we believe will prove useful in cultivating our own development as a thinker. We act on those strategies and assess their viability for us. If one set of strategies does not work, we devise another. The key is that we devise some strategies, that we embody them for a reasonable time in our behavior, and we assess how well they are working. We continually monitor those strategies to make them more and more effective. When a given strategy proves ineffective we abandon it and seek another. In other words, we routinely re-evaluate the methods we are using, assessing them, and altering them when necessary so that we continue the slow but steady process of development.

Stage Five

We Reach the Fifth Stage When We Have Established
Good Habits of Thought Across the Domains of Our Lives

We know that we are reaching the stage we call the Advanced Thinker stage when we find that our regimen for rational living is paying off in significant ways. We are now routinely identifying problems in our thinking, and are working successfully to deal with those problems rationally. We have successfully identified the significant domains in our lives in which we need to improve (e.g. professional, parenting, husband, wife, consumer, etc.), and are making significant progress in all or most of them. We find that it is no longer a strain to aspire to reasonability. We continue to find evidence of egocentricity in our thoughts, emotions, and behavior, but we are also finding that we can often, if not usually, overcome those thoughts and emotions and shift our behavior accordingly. We no longer find it difficult to admit when we are wrong. We are attracted to people who give us constructive criticism.

We are now enjoying the process of observing our minds in action. We enjoy entering into the points of view of others. We take satisfaction from learning from the thinking of those with which we may have significant differences. We now see assumptions in our thinking in every direction we look. We are no longer concerned with the "image" we maintain, are largely indifferent to what others may think of us, are comfortable standing up in opposition to popular beliefs in the groups to which we belong.

We find the process of assessing our behavior, motivations, and feelings in order to determine the extent to which they result from faulty thinking a satisfying and fulfilling process. We continue to find many ways in which we need to "correct" our thinking and "shift" our feelings. We continue to make many mistakes, but we are rarely so ego-identified with those mistakes that we cannot "abandon" them and admit we were wrong. Since we have used our thinking as the leverage point for changing our feelings, desires and action on many occasions, we now find ourselves doing so intuitively, and without significant effort.

We have come to understand, through routine analysis of our behavior and thoughts, the havoc that egocentricity and sociocentricity play in human lives. We have personally experienced that havoc in our own lives. We find ourselves continually assessing our effectiveness in living in accordance with our deepest values. We now have deep insight into the fact that our development is directly dependent on the extent to which we are successful at decreasing the role of egocentric thinking in our daily lives. We have come to understand the conditions under which we tend to use "domination" or "submission" to get what we want.

We now know what types of behavior on the part of others tends to elicit our dominating or submissive ego. We know whether we tend to more predominantly rely upon submissive or dominating behavior. But most important, we recognize that egocentric thinking is never a reasonable mode of thinking--however "natural" it might be. Thus, at the advanced stage we become skilled in identifying our egocentric thoughts, and we refuse to make use of the rationalizations we could easily concoct to justify them.

We are now skilled not only in detecting egocentric thinking in ourselves, we are also skilled in identifying it in the behavior of others. We now routinely figure out the logic of the thinking of other people, and frequently recognize when others are operating from egocentric thinking. We recognize when others are attempting to inappropriately manipulate us into submission, or when they are trying to force us to back down through domination.

At the advanced stage, we are now skilled at monitoring the role in thinking of concepts, assumptions, inferences, implications, points of view, questions, purposes, and information. We routinely and often intuitively assess our thinking for clarity, accuracy, relevance, logicalness, depth and breadth. We often engage in dialogue with ourselves in an attempt to check our thinking and upgrade it. This type of internal dialogue might be "represented" in the following examples:

"I’m not clear about what this person is trying to communicate to me. I need to ask questions of clarification so that I can understand what she means. I should ask her to elaborate on her point. I think I need an example of what she is talking about to understand her better."

"I am trying to figure out whether what she is saying is relevant to the issue at hand, whether her information is relevant to the question we are trying to solve, whether her question is relevant to the question which is the focus of this meeting."

"It seems that there is something illogical about the way I have interpreted this situation. Perhaps I have jumped to some conclusions before gathering all the relevant information. Perhaps I have come to this conclusion based on inaccurate information. Perhaps my interpretation is based strictly on my self-interest. It could be that my egocentric mind does not want to rethink my conclusion because then I will be forced to consider another person’s feelings and desires and I will not get what I want in the situation."

"I am beginning to realize that I don’t want to hear what this other person is saying because then I will have to rethink my position. Whenever I feel this type of defensiveness I know that I am being egocentric, that my mind is not allowing me to enter the other person’s point of view because if I think within his or her view, I will have to alter my self-indulgent position. My mind will recognize its absurdity in pursuing its own desires at the expense of other’s needs and desires. I must force myself to rationally consider this opposing position, to operate in good faith rather than try to hide from something my egocentric mind doesn’t want to see."

I see what my mind is doing. Instead of trying to resolve a conflict, I am trying to force this other person to accept my views. I want to make him do exactly what I say, even if that means I must hurt him to do so. I detect my dominating ego at work, and I know that whenever I am thinking within this logic I am being irrational, and I am likely to hurt someone. I must recognize my dominating ego as a hurtful mode of thinking and reject it in any form."

"I wonder why I am allowing this person to intimidate me. I feel like I must submit to his will in order to function. Whenever I am being submissive, I need to ask myself what I am trying to achieve in the situation. What is it that I want from this other person? Why do I let him treat me like this? Why do I think I must be submissive, instead of being rational, in this circumstance? Perhaps I am not willing to admit that I am simply manipulating him to get what I want. If I told him the truth would I still be able to get what I want, or would I detect absurdity in my desires?

In the advanced stage we are becoming skilled at this sort of inner dialog, and we understand its value, although it is not yet completely intuitive to us. We recognize that we must give active voice to what is going on in our minds because of our natural tendency toward deception. We routine write down our thoughts so that we can better analyze them. We articulate our thoughts to other rational people as a check to ensure that we are not illogically interpreting the situation, to ensure against our unconsciously thinking in a self-centered manner.

Because the mind is tremendously complex, to reach this stage of development normally takes many years of practice. The more committed the person, the more active the practice, the more likely, and more quickly, we are to move to this advanced stage.

Stage Six

We Reach the Sixth Stage When We Intuitively Think Critically at a
Habitually High Level Across all the Significant Domains of Our Lives

The sixth stage of development, the Master Thinker Stage, is best described in the third person, since it is not clear that any humans living in this age of irrationality qualify as "master" thinkers. It may be that the degree of deep social conditioning that all of us experience renders it unlikely that any of us living today are "master" thinkers. Nevertheless, the concept is a useful one, for it sets out what we are striving for and is, in principle, a stage that some humans might reach.

To some extent, the emergence of "master" thinkers may require the emergence of a "critical" society, a society that so values critical thinking that it systematically rewards those who develop it, a society in which parenting, schooling, social groups, and the mass media cultivate and honor it. When persons must develop their rationality in the face of large-scale irrationality in virtually every domain of their lives, it is much less plausible that any one will achieve the highest possible stage of development.

With these qualifications in the background, we will characterize the master thinker in three ways. The first in terms of "defining feature," "principal challenge," knowledge of thinking," "skill in thinking," and "intellectual traits." The second in terms of most significant "qualities" of mind. The third in terms of inner logic.

Defining Feature: Master thinkers not only have a successful plan for taking charge of their thinking, but are also continually monitoring, revising, and re-thinking strategies for effective thinking. The basic skills of critical thinking have been deeply internalized so that critical thinking is highly intuitive at this level. Through extensive experience and practice in engaging in self-assessment, master thinkers are not only actively analyzing their thinking in all the significant domains of their lives, but are also continually developing new insights into problems at deeper levels of thought. Master thinkers are deeply committed to fair-minded thinking, and have a high level of control over their egocentric nature.

Principal Challenge: To make the highest levels of critical thinking intuitive in every domain of one’s life. To model highly effective critical thinking in an interdisciplinary and practical way.

Knowledge of Thinking: Master thinkers are not only actively and successfully engaged in systematically monitoring the role in their thinking of concepts, assumptions, inferences, implications, points of view, etc., but are also regularly improving that practice. Master thinkers have not only a high degree of knowledge of thinking, but a high degree of practical insight as well. Master thinkers intuitively assess their thinking for clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, logicalness, etc. Master thinkers have deep insights into the systematic internalization of critical thinking into their habits. Master thinkers deeply understand the role that egocentric and sociocentric thinking plays in the lives of human beings, as well as the complex relationship between thoughts, emotions, drives and behavior.

Skill in Thinking: Master thinkers regularly, effectively, and insightfully critique their own plan for systematic practice, and improve it thereby. Master thinkers consistently monitor their own thoughts. They effectively and insightfully articulate the strengths and weaknesses inherent in their thinking. Their knowledge of the qualities of their thinking is outstanding. Although, as humans they know they will always be fallible (because they must always battle their egocentrism, to some extent), they consistently perform effectively in every domain of their lives.

Intellectual Traits: Naturally inherent in master thinkers are all the essential intellectual characteristics, deeply integrated. Master thinkers have a high degree of intellectual humility, intellectual integrity, intellectual perseverance, intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual autonomy, intellectual responsibility and fair-mindedness. Egocentric and sociocentric thought is quite uncommon in the master thinker, especially with respect to matters of importance. There is a high degree of integration of basic values, beliefs, desires, emotions, and actions.

The Qualities of Mind of a "Master" Thinker

The most significant qualities of mind of a master thinker are as follows. Master thinkers are 1) conscious of the "workings" of their minds, 2) highly integrated, 3) powerful, 4) logical, 5) far-sighted, 6) deep, 7) self-correcting, and 8) emancipated. Let us spell out each in more detail now:

• Master thinkers are conscious of the workings of their minds.
- aware of their own patterns of thought and action
- deliberate in the intellectual moves they make
- give explicit assent to their inner logic

• Master thinkers minds are highly integrated.
- transfer knowledge between different categories of experience
- use insight into foundational concepts and principles to organize large bodies of information.

• Master thinkers minds are powerful.
- able to generalize knowledge
- in command of the logic of language
- function well with the logic of concepts and questions
- able to reason multi-logically
- using the mind so as to "multiply" comprehension and insight

• Master thinkers minds are logical.
- routinely analyze the logic of things
- committed to comprehensive principles of reason and evidence
- a keen sense of the need for deep consistency

• Master thinkers minds are far-sighted.
- take the long view
- plan their own development
- focus on ultimate values

• Master thinkers think deeply.
- have insight into their own foundational beliefs and values
- grasp the roots of their own thought & emotion
- make sure beliefs are rationally grounded
- consider the deep motives that guide thought, feeling, and action

• Master thinkers minds are self-correcting.
- apply intellectual criteria to their own thoughts, feelings, and behavior
- recognize and critique their own egocentrism & sociocentrism
- sensitive to their own contradictions

• Master thinkers minds are free.
- are energized by rational passions
- have a passion for clarity, accuracy, and other intellectual standards and for getting at root causes
- are able to make fundamental changes in own life patterns, habits, and

The Inner Logic of a Master Thinker

Since master thinkers achieve a high level of success in bringing their thoughts, emotions, and actions in line with their espoused ideals, it follows that they would function with a high level of fulfillment and sense of well being. Having formed their identities in terms of reasonability, not in terms of any particular belief or belief system, they are able to shift beliefs without trauma or self-doubt. Seeing through the strategies used by those who would intimidate them by status and external authority, they are able to quietly dissent where others shy away in fear. Being keenly aware of the brevity of human life, they are able to prize and savor ordinary pleasures of daily life. Being committed to growth and deep honesty, they are able to form intimate relationships without mutual self-deception, hidden agendas, or bad faith discontent. Being aware of their place in a much larger world, they act with a realistic sense of what one person can and cannot achieve. They can plan without being possessed by their plans, believe without being trapped in those beliefs, and act without being blind to mistakes implicit in those acts.

The Ideal Thinker

Whether there are or shall ever be master thinkers, and however successful they may come to be, they can never be "ideal" thinkers, for it is not possible for the human mind to function in an "ideal" way. All actual human development is in the context of an innate tendency toward imperfection. However much we develop our potential for rationality, our native egocentricity and conditioned sociocentricity will sometimes become activated. However much we develop our integrity, some contradictions and inconsistencies will escape our notice. However much we develop our insights, there will be other insights we will not develop.

However many points of view we internalize, there will be others that we have no time to enter, master, or profit from. However rich our experience, there will be experiences we shall never have the benefit of. Our minds, however well developed, will always be the minds of finite, fallible, potentially egocentric, potentially sociocentric, potentially prejudiced, potentially irrational creatures. Master thinkers would, as such, be keenly aware of these limitations in themselves and therefore of how far they were from becoming the "ideal" thinker. They would therefore never cease to appreciate the need to grow and learn, never cease to make mistakes but never cease to learn from those mistakes, never cease to discover dimensions of their minds in need of critique and re-thinking and never cease to develop those critiques and perform that re-thinking.

{Elder, L. with Paul, R. (1996). At website www.criticalthinking.org}


Critical Thinking, Moral Integrity and Citizenship: Teaching for the Intellectual Virtues


Many are tempted to separate affective and moral dimensions of learning from cognitive dimensions. They argue that the cognitive and affective are obviously separate since many intelligent, well-educated people lack moral insight or sensitivity and many less intelligent, poorly educated, or uneducated people are morally good. By distinguishing “strong” and “weak” senses of the terms ‘critical thinking’, ‘moral integrity’, and ‘citizenship’ Richard Paul suggests a novel answer to this objection.

Critical thinking, understood as skills alone separate from values, is often used to rationalize prejudice and vested interest. Moral integrity and responsible citizenship, understood merely as “good heartedness”, are themselves susceptible to manipulation by propaganda. The human mind, whatever its conscious good will, is subject to powerful, self-deceptive, unconscious egocentricity of mind. The full development of each characteristic — critical thought, moral integrity, and responsible citizenship — in its strong sense requires and develops the others, in a parallel strong sense. The three are developed together only in an atmosphere, which encourages the intellectual virtues: intellectual courage, intellectual empathy, intellectual good faith or integrity, intellectual perseverance, intellectual fair-mindedness, and faith in reason. The intellectual virtues themselves are interdependent.

Educators and theorists tend to approach the affective and moral dimensions of education as they approach all other dimensions of learning, as compartmentalized domains, and as a collection of learning more or less separate from other learning. As a result, they view moral development as more or less independent of cognitive development. “And why not!” one might imagine the reply. “Clearly there are highly educated, very intelligent people who habitually do evil and very simple, poorly-educated people who consistently do good. If moral development were so intimately connected to cognitive development, how could this be so?”In this paper, I provide the outlines of an answer to that objection by suggesting an intimate connection between critical thinking, moral integrity, and citizenship. Specifically, I distinguish a weak and a strong sense of each and hold that the strong sense ought to guide, not only our understanding of the nature of the educated person, but also our redesigning the curriculum.

There is little to recommend schooling that does not foster what I call intellectual virtues. These virtues include intellectual empathy, intellectual perseverance, intellectual confidence in reason, and an intellectual sense of justice (fair-mindedness). Without these characteristics, intellectual development is circumscribed and distorted, a caricature of what it could and should be. These same characteristics are essential to moral judgment. The “good-hearted” person who lacks intellectual virtues will act morally only when morally grasping a situation or problem does not presuppose intellectual insight. Many, if not most, moral problems and situations in the modern world are open to multiple interpretations and, hence, do presuppose these intellectual virtues.

We are now coming to see how far we are from curricula and teaching strategies that genuinely foster basic intellectual and moral development. Curricula is so highly compartmentalized and teaching so committed to “speed learning” (covering large chunks of content quickly) that it has little room for fostering what I call the intellectual virtues. Indeed, the present structure of curricula and teaching not only strongly discourages their development but also strongly encourages their opposites. Consequently, even the “best” students enter and leave college as largely mis-educated persons, with no real sense of what they do and do not understand, with little sense of the state of their prejudices or insights, with little command of their intellectual faculties — in short, with no intellectual virtues, properly so-called.

Superficially absorbed content, the inevitable by-product of extensive but shallow coverage, inevitably leads to intellectual arrogance. Such learning discourages intellectual perseverance and confidence in reason. It prevents the recognition of intellectual bad faith. It provides no foundation for intellectual empathy, nor for an intellectual sense of fair play. By taking in and giving back masses of detail, students come to believe that they know a lot about each subject — whether they understand or not.

By practicing applying rules and formulas to familiar tasks, they come to feel that getting the answer should always be easy — if you don’t know how to do something, don’t try to figure it out, ask. By hearing and reading only one perspective, they come to think that perspective has a monopoly on truth — any other view must be completely wrong. By accepting (without understanding) that their government’s past actions were all justified, they assume their government never would or could do wrong — if it doesn’t seem right, I must not understand.

The pedagogical implications of my position include these: cutting back on coverage to focus on depth of understanding, on foundational ideas, on intellectual synthesis, and on intellectual experiences that develop and deepen the most basic intellectual skills, abilities, concepts, and virtues. A similar viewpoint was expressed by Whitehead:

The result of teaching small parts of a large number of subjects is the passive reception of disconnected ideas, not illuminated with any spark of vitality. Let the main ideas which are introduced into a child’s education be few and important, and let them be thrown into every combination possible. The child should make them his own, and should understand their application here and now in the circumstances of his actual life. From the very beginning of his education, the child should experience the joy of discovery. The discovery which he has to make is that general ideas give an understanding of that stream of events which pours through his life. (The Aims of Education, p. 14)

To accomplish this re-orientation of curriculum and teaching, we need new criteria of what constitutes success and failure in school. We need to begin this re-orientation as early as possible. Integrating teaching for critical thinking, moral integrity, and citizenship is an essential part of this re-orientation.

Teaching for “Strong Sense” Skills

The term “critical thinking” can be used in either a weak or a strong sense, depending upon whether we think of critical thinking narrowly, as a list or collection of discrete intellectual skills, or, more broadly, as a mode of mental integration, as a synthesized complex of dispositions, values, and skills necessary to becoming a fair-minded, rational person. Teaching critical thinking in a strong sense is a powerful, and I believe necessary means to moral integrity and responsible citizenship.

Intellectual skills in and of themselves can be used either for good or ill, to enlighten or to propagandize, to gain narrow, self-serving ends, or to further the general and public good. The micro-skills themselves, for example, do not define fair-mindedness and could be used as easily by those who are highly prejudiced as those who are not. Those students not exposed to the challenge of strong sense critical thinking assignments (for example, assignments in which they must empathically reconstruct viewpoints that differ strikingly from their own) will not, as a matter of abstract morality or general good-heartedness, be fair to points of view they oppose, nor will they automatically develop a rationally defensible notion of what the public good is on the many issues they must decide as citizens.

Critical thinking, in its most defensible sense, is not simply a matter of cognitive skills. Moral integrity and responsible citizenship are, in turn, not simply a matter of good-heartedness or good intentions. Many good-hearted people cannot see through and critique propaganda and mass manipulation, and most good-hearted people fall prey at times to the powerful tendency to engage in self-deception, especially when their own egocentric interests and desires are at stake. One can be good-hearted and intellectually egocentric at the same time.

The problems of education for fair-minded independence of thought, for genuine moral integrity, and for responsible citizenship are not three separate issues but one complex task. If we succeed with one dimension of the problem, we succeed with all. If we fail with one, we fail with all. Now we are failing with all because we do not clearly understand the interrelated nature of the problem nor how to address it.

The Intellectual and Moral Virtues of the Critical Person

Our basic ways of knowing are inseparable from our basic ways of being. How we think reflects who we are. Intellectual and moral virtues or disabilities are intimately interconnected. To cultivate the kind of intellectual independence implied in the concept of strong sense critical thinking, we must recognize the need to foster intellectual (epistemological) humility, courage, integrity, perseverance, empathy, and fair-mindedness. A brief gloss on each will suggest how to translate these concepts into concrete examples. Intellectual humility will be my only extended illustration. I will leave to the reader’s imagination what sorts of concrete examples could be marshaled in amplifying the other intellectual virtues.

Intellectual Humility: Having a consciousness of the limits of one’s knowledge, including a sensitivity to circumstances in which one’s native egocentrism is likely to function self-deceptively; sensitivity to bias, prejudice, and limitations of one’s viewpoint. Intellectual humility depends on recognizing that one should not claim more than one actually knows. It does not imply spinelessness or submissiveness. It implies the lack of intellectual pretentiousness, boastfulness, or conceit, combined with insight into the logical foundations, or lack of such foundations, of one’s beliefs.
To illustrate, consider this letter from a teacher with a Master’s degree in Physics and Mathematics, with 20 years of high school teaching experience in physics:

After I started teaching, I realized that I had learned physics by rote and that I really did not understand all I knew about physics. My thinking students asked me questions for which I always had the standard textbook answers, but for the first time it made me start thinking for myself, and I realized that these canned answers were not justified by my own thinking and only confused my students who were showing some ability to think for themselves. To achieve my academic goals I had to memorize the thoughts of others, but I had never learned or been encouraged to learn to think for myself.

This is a good example of what I call intellectual humility and, like all intellectual humility, it arises from insight into the nature of knowing. It is reminiscent of the ancient Greek insight that Socrates was the wisest of the Greeks because only he knew how little he really understood. Socrates developed this insight as a result of extensive, in-depth questioning of the knowledge claims of others. He had to think his way to this insight.

If this insight and this humility is part of our goal, then most textbooks and curricula require extensive modification, for typically they discourage rather than encourage it. The extent and nature of “coverage” for most grade levels and subjects implies that bits and pieces of knowledge are easily attained, without any significant consideration of the basis for the knowledge claimed in the text or by the teacher.

The speed with which content is covered contradicts the notion that students must think in an extended way about content before giving assent to what is claimed. Most teaching and most texts are, in this sense, epistemologically unrealistic and hence foster intellectual arrogance in students, particularly in those with retentive memories who can repeat back what they have heard or read. Pretending to know is encouraged. Much standardized testing validates this pretense.

This led Alan Schoenfeld, for example, to conclude that “most instruction in mathematics is, in a very real sense, deceptive and possibly fraudulent”. He cites numerous examples including the following. He points out that much instruction on how to solve word problems in elementary math “… is based on the “key word” algorithm, where the student makes his choice of the appropriate arithmetic operation by looking for syntactic cues in the problem statement. For example, the word ‘left’ in the problem “John had eight apples. He gave three to Mary. How many does John have left?” … serves to tell the students that subtraction is the appropriate operation to perform. (p. 27).”

He further reports the following:

“In a widely used elementary text book series, 97 percent of the problems “solved” by the key-word method would yield (serendipitously?) the correct answer. Students are drilled in the key-word algorithm so well that they will use subtraction, for example, in almost any problem containing the word ‘left’. In the study from which this conclusion was drawn, problems were constructed in which appropriate operations were addition, multiplication, and division. Each used the word ‘left’ conspicuously in its statement and a large percentage of the students subtracted. In fact, the situation was so extreme that many students chose to subtract in a problem that began “Mr. Left . . .”

Schoenfeld then provides a couple of other examples, including the following:

I taught a problem-solving course for junior and senior mathematics majors at Berkeley in 1976. These students had already seen some remarkably sophisticated mathematics. Linear algebra and differential equations were old hat. Topology, Fourier transforms, and measure theory were familiar to some. I gave them a straightforward theorem from plane geometry (required when I was in the tenth grade). Only two of eight students made any progress on it, some of them by using arc length integrals to measure the circumference of a circle. (Schoenfeld,1979). Out of the context of normal course work these students could not do elementary mathematics.

He concludes:

In sum: all too often we focus on a narrow collection of well-defined tasks and train students to execute those tasks in a routine, if not algorithmic fashion. Then we test the students on tasks that are very close to the ones they have been taught. If they succeed on those problems, we and they congratulate each other on the fact that they have learned some powerful mathematical techniques. In fact, they may be able to use such techniques mechanically while lacking some rudimentary thinking skills. To allow them, and ourselves, to believe that they “understand” the mathematics is deceptive and fraudulent.

This approach to learning in math is paralleled in all other subjects. Most teachers got through their college classes mainly by “learning the standard textbook answers” and were neither given an opportunity nor encouraged to determine whether what the text or the professor said was “justified by their own thinking”. To move toward intellectual humility, most teachers need to question most of what they learned, as the teacher above did, but such questioning would require intellectual courage, perseverance, and confidence in their own capacity to reason and understand subject matter through their own thought. Most teachers have not done the kind of analytic thinking necessary for gaining such perspective.

I would generalize as follows: just as the development of intellectual humility is an essential goal of critical thinking instruction, so is the development of intellectual courage, integrity, empathy, perseverance, fair-mindedness, and confidence in reason. Furthermore, each intellectual (and moral) virtue in turn is richly developed only in conjunction with the others. Before we approach this point directly, however, a brief characterization of what I have in mind by each of these traits is in order:

Intellectual Courage: Having a consciousness of the need to face and fairly address ideas, beliefs, or viewpoints toward which we have strong negative emotions and to which we have not given a serious hearing. This courage is connected with the recognition that ideas considered dangerous or absurd are sometimes rationally justified (in whole or in part) and that conclusions and beliefs inculcated in us are sometimes false or misleading. To determine for ourselves which is which, we must not passively and uncritically “accept” what we have “learned”. Intellectual courage comes into play here, because inevitably we will come to see some truth in some ideas considered dangerous and absurd, and distortion or falsity in some ideas strongly held in our social group. We need courage to be true to our own thinking in such circumstances. The penalties for non-conformity can be severe.

Intellectual Empathy: Having a consciousness of the need to imaginatively put oneself in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them, which requires the consciousness of our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions or long-standing thought or belief. This trait correlates with the ability to reconstruct accurately the viewpoints and reasoning of others and to reason from premises, assumptions, and ideas other than our own. This trait also correlates with the willingness to remember occasions when we were wrong in the past despite an intense conviction that we were right, and with the ability to imagine our being similarly deceived in a case-at-hand.

Intellectual Good Faith (Integrity): Recognition of the need to be true to one’s own thinking; to be consistent in the intellectual standards one applies; to hold one’s self to the same rigorous standards of evidence and proof to which one holds one’s antagonists; to practice what one advocates for others; and to honestly admit discrepancies and inconsistencies in one’s own thought and action.

Intellectual Perseverance: Willingness and consciousness of the need to pursue intellectual insights and truths in spite of difficulties, obstacles, and frustrations; firm adherence to rational principles despite the irrational opposition of others; a sense of the need to struggle with confusion and unsettled questions over an extended period of time to achieve deeper understanding or insight.

Faith in Reason: Confidence that, in the long run, one’s own higher interests and those of humankind at large will be best served by giving the freest play to reason, by encouraging people to come to their own conclusions by developing their own rational faculties; faith that, with proper encouragement and cultivation, people can learn to think for themselves, to form rational viewpoints, draw reasonable conclusions, think coherently and logically, persuade each other by reason and become reasonable persons, despite the deep-seated obstacles in the native character of the human mind and in society as we know it.

Fairmindedness: Willingness and consciousness of the need to treat all viewpoints alike, without reference to one’s own feelings or vested interests, or the feelings or vested interests of one’s friends, community, or nation; implies adherence to intellectual standards without reference to one’s own advantage or the advantage of one’s group.

The Interdependence of the Intellectual Virtues

Let us now consider the interdependence of these virtues, how hard it is to deeply develop any one of them without also developing the others. Consider intellectual humility. To become aware of the limits of our knowledge we need the courage to face our own prejudices and ignorance. To discover our own prejudices in turn we must often empathize with and reason within points of view toward which we are hostile. To do this, we must typically persevere over a period of time, for learning to empathically enter a point of view against which we are biased takes time and significant effort. That effort will not seem justified unless we have the faith in reason to believe we will not be “tainted” or “taken in” by whatever is false or misleading in the opposing viewpoint. Furthermore, merely believing we can survive serious consideration of an “alien” point of view is not enough to motivate most of us to consider them seriously. We must also be motivated by an intellectual sense of justice. We must recognize an intellectual responsibility to be fair to views we oppose. We must feel obliged to hear them in their strongest form to ensure that we do not condemn them out of our own ignorance or bias. At this point, we come full circle back to where we began: the need for intellectual humility.

Or let us begin at another point. Consider intellectual good faith or integrity. Intellectual integrity is clearly difficult to develop. We are often motivated — generally without admitting to or being aware of this motivation — to set up inconsistent intellectual standards. Our egocentric or sociocentric side readily believes positive information about those we like and negative information about those we dislike. We tend to believe what justifies our vested interest or validates our strongest desires. Hence, we all have some innate tendencies to use double standards, which is of course paradigmatic of intellectual bad faith. Such thought often helps us get ahead in the world, maximize our power or advantage, and get more of what we want.

Nevertheless, we cannot easily operate explicitly or overtly with a double standard. We must, therefore, avoid looking at the evidence too closely. We cannot scrutinize our own inferences and interpretations too carefully. Hence, a certain amount of intellectual arrogance is quite useful. I may assume, for example that I know just what you’re going to say (before you say it), precisely what you are really after (before the evidence demonstrates it), and what actually is going on (before I have studied the situation carefully). My intellectual arrogance makes it easier for me to avoid noticing the unjustifiable discrepancy in the standards I apply to you and those I apply to myself. Of course, if I don’t have to empathize with you, that too makes it easier to avoid seeing my duplicity. I am also better off if I don’t feel a keen need to be fair to your point of view. A little background fear of what I might discover if I seriously considered the consistency of my own judgments also helps. In this case, my lack of intellectual integrity is supported by my lack of intellectual humility, empathy, and fair-mindedness.

Going in the other direction, it will be difficult to maintain a double standard between us if I feel a distinct responsibility to be fair to your point of view, understand this responsibility to entail that I must view things from your perspective in an empathic fashion, and conduct this inner inquiry with some humility regarding the possibility of my being wrong and your being right. The more I dislike you personally or feel wronged in the past by you or by others who share your way of thinking, the more pronounced in my character must be the trait of intellectual integrity in order to provide the countervailing impetus to think my way to a fair conclusion.

Defense Mechanisms and the Intellectual Virtues

A major obstacle to developing intellectual virtues is the presence in the human egocentric mind of what Freud has called “defense mechanisms”. Each represents a way to falsify, distort, misconceive, twist, or deny reality. Their presence represents, therefore, the relative weakness or absence of the intellectual virtues. Since they operate in everyone to some degree, no one embodies the intellectual virtues purely or perfectly. In other words, we each have a side of us unwilling to face unpleasant truth, willing to distort, falsify, twist, and misrepresent.

We also know from a monumental mass of psychological research that this side can be powerful, can dominate our minds strikingly. We marvel at, and are often dumfounded by, others whom we consider clear-cut instances of these modes of thinking. What is truly “marvelous”, it seems to me, is how little we take ourselves to be victims of these falsifying thoughts, and how little we try to break them down. The vicious circle seems to be this: because we, by and large, lack the intellectual virtues, we do not have insight into them, but because we lack insight into them, we do not see ourselves as lacking them. They weren’t explicitly taught to us, so we don’t have to explicitly teach them to our children.

Insights, Analyzed Experiences, and Activated Ignorance

Schooling has generally ignored the need for insight or intellectual virtues. This deficiency is intimately connected with another one, the failure of the schools to show students they should not only test what they “learn” in school by their own experience, but also test what they experience by what they “learn” in school. This may seem a hopeless circle, but if we can see the distinction between a critically analyzed experience and an unanalyzed one, we can see the link between the former and insight, and the latter and prejudice, and will be well on our way to seeing how to fill these needs.

We subject little of our experience to critical analysis. We seldom take our experiences apart to judge their epistemological worth. We rarely sort the “lived” integrated experience into its component parts, raw data, our interpretation of the data, or ask ourselves how the interests, goals, and desires we brought to those data shaped and structured that interpretation. Similarly, we rarely seriously consider the possibility that our interpretation (and hence our experience) might be selective, biased, or misleading.

This is not to say that our unanalyzed experiences lack meaning or significance. Quite the contrary, in some sense we assess all experience. Our egocentric side never ceases to catalogue experiences in accord with its common and idiosyncratic fears, desires, prejudices, stereotypes, caricatures, hopes, dreams, and assorted irrational drives. We shouldn’t assume a priori that our rational side dominates the shaping of our experience. Our unanalyzed experiences are some combination of these dual contributors to thought, action, and being. Only through critical analysis can we hope to isolate the irrational dimensions of our experience. The ability to do so grows as we analyze more and more of our experience.

Of course, more important than the sheer number of analyzed experiences is their quality and significance. This quality and significance depends on how much our analyses embody the intellectual virtues. At the same time, the degree of our virtue depends upon the number and quality of experiences we have successfully critically analyzed. What links the virtues, as perfections of the mind, and the experiences, as analyzed products of the mind, is insight. Every critically analyzed experience to some extent produces one or more intellectual virtues. To become more rational it is not enough to have experiences nor even for those experiences to have meanings. Many experiences are more or less charged with irrational meanings. These important meanings produce stereotypes, prejudices, narrow-mindedness, delusions, and illusions of various kinds.

The process of developing intellectual virtues and insights is part and parcel of our developing an interest in taking apart our experiences to separate their rational from their irrational dimensions. These meta-experiences become important benchmarks and guides for future thought. They make possible modes of thinking and maneuvers in thinking closed to the irrational mind.

Some Thoughts on How to Teach for the Intellectual Virtues

To teach for the intellectual virtues, one must recognize the significant differences between the higher order critical thinking of a fair-minded critical thinker and that of a self-serving critical thinker. Though both share a certain command of the micro-skills of critical thinking and hence would, for example, score well on tests such as the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal or the Cornell Critical Thinking Tests, they are not equally good at tasks, which presuppose the intellectual virtues. The self-serving (weak sense) critical thinker would lack the insights that underlie and support these virtues.

I can reason well in domains in which I am prejudiced — hence, eventually, reason my way out of prejudices — only if I develop mental benchmarks for such reasoning. Of course one insight I need is that when I am prejudiced it will seem to me that I am not, and similarly, that those who are not prejudiced as I am will seem to me to be prejudiced. (To a prejudiced person, an unprejudiced person seems prejudiced.) I will come to this insight only insofar as I have analyzed experiences in which I was intensely convinced I was correct on an issue, judgment, or point of view, only to find, after a series of challenges, reconsiderations, and new reasonings, that my previous conviction was in fact prejudiced. I must take this experience apart in my mind, clearly understand its elements and how they fit together (how I became prejudiced; how I inwardly experienced that prejudice; how intensely that prejudice seemed true and insightful; how I progressively broke that prejudice down through serious consideration of opposing lines of reasoning; how I slowly came to new assumptions, new information, and ultimately new conceptualizations).

Only when one gains analyzed experiences of working and reasoning one’s way out of prejudice can one gain the higher order abilities of a fair-minded critical thinker. What one gains is somewhat “procedural” or sequential in that there is a process one must go through; but one also sees that the process cannot be followed out formulaically or algorithmically, it depends on principles. The somewhat abstract articulation of the intellectual virtues above will take on concrete meaning in the light of these analyzed experiences. Their true meaning to us will be given in and by these experiences. We will often return to them to recapture and rekindle the insights upon which the intellectual virtues depend.

Generally, to develop intellectual virtues, we must create a collection of analyzed experiences that represent to us intuitive models, not only of the pitfalls of our own previous thinking and experiencing but also processes for reasoning our way out of or around them. These model experiences must be charged with meaning for us. We cannot be indifferent to them. We must sustain them in our minds by our sense of their importance as they sustain and guide us in our thinking.

What does this imply for teaching? It implies a somewhat different content or material focus. Our own minds and experiences must become the subject of our study and learning. Indeed, only to the extent that the content of our own experiences becomes an essential part of study will the usual subject matter truly be learned. By the same token, the experiences of others must become part of what we study. But experiences of any kind should always be critically analyzed, and students must do their own analyses and clearly recognize what they are doing.

This entails that students become explicitly aware of the logic of experience. All experiences have three elements, each of which may require some special scrutiny in the analytic process: 1) something to be experienced (some actual situation or other); 2) an experiencing subject (with a point of view, framework of beliefs, attitudes, desires, and values); and 3) some interpretation or conceptualization of the situation. To take any experience apart, then, students must be sensitive to three distinctive sets of questions:

1. What are the raw facts, what is the most neutral description of the situation? If one describes the experience this way, and another disagrees, on what description can they agree?
2. What interests, attitudes, desires, or concerns do I bring to the situation? Am I always aware of them? Why or why not?
3. How am I conceptualizing or interpreting the situation in light of my point of view? How else might it be interpreted?

Students must also explore the interrelationships of these parts: How did my point of view, values, desires, etc., affect what I noticed about the situation? How did they prevent me from noticing other things? How would I have interpreted the situation had I noticed those other things? How did my point of view, desires, etc., affect my interpretation? How should I interpret the situation?

If students have many assignments that require them to analyze their experiences and the experiences of others along these lines, with ample opportunity to argue among themselves about which interpretations make the most sense and why, then they will begin to amass a catalogue of critically analyzed experiences. If the experiences illuminate the pitfalls of thought, the analysis and the models of thinking they suggest will be the foundation for their intellectual traits and character.

They will develop intellectual virtues because they had thought their way to them and internalized them as concrete understandings and insights, not because they took them up as slogans. Their basic values and their thinking processes will be in a symbiotic relationship to each other. Their intellectual and affective lives will become more integrated. Their standards for thinking will be implicit in their own thinking, rather than in texts, teachers, or the authority of a peer group.


We do not now teach for the intellectual virtues. If we did, not only would we have a basis for integrating the curriculum, we would also have a basis for integrating the cognitive and affective lives of students. Such integration is the basis for strong sense critical thinking, for moral development, and for citizenship. The moral, social, and political issues we face in everyday life are increasingly intellectually complex.

Their settlement relies on circumstances and events that are interpreted in a variety of (often conflicting) ways. For example, should our government publish misinformation to mislead another government or group that it considers terrorist? Is it ethical to tolerate a “racist” regime such as South Africa, or are we morally obligated to attempt to overthrow it? Is it ethical to support anti-communist groups that use, or have used, torture, rape, or murder as tools in their struggle? When, if ever, should the CIA attempt to overthrow a government it perceives as undemocratic? How can one distinguish “terrorists” from “freedom fighters”?

Or, consider issues that are more “domestic” or “personal”. Should deliberate polluters be considered “criminals”? How should we balance off “dollar losses” against “safety gains”? That is, how much money should we be willing to spend to save human lives? What is deliberate deception in advertising and business practices? Should one protect incompetent individuals within one’s profession from exposure? How should one reconcile or balance one’s personal vested interest against the public good? What moral or civic responsibility exists to devote time and energy to the public good as against one’s private interests and amusements?

These are just a few of the many complex moral, political, and social issues that virtually all citizens must face. The response of the citizenry to such issues defines the moral character of society. These issues challenge our intellectual honesty, courage, integrity, empathy, and fair-mindedness.

Given their complexity, they require perseverance and confidence in reason. People easily become cynical, intellectually lazy, or retreat into simplistic models of learning and the world they learned in school and see and hear on TV. On the other hand, it is doubtful that the fundamental conflicts and antagonisms in the world can be solved or resolved by sheer power or abstract good will. Good-heartedness and power are insufficient for creating a just world. Some modest development of the intellectual virtues seems essential for future human survival and well-being. Whether the energy, the resources, and the insights necessary for this development can be significantly mustered remains open. This is certain: we will never succeed in cultivating traits whose roots we do not understand and whose development we do not foster.

{Taken from Paul, R. (1993). Critical Thinking: What Every Student Needs to Survive in A Rapidly Changing World, Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation For Critical Thinking).