Keith Alan Raniere isn't a sociopath. He's a simple conman and grifter - who stumbled onto Bronfman millions.

Actaeon: Keith Raniere Subscribed to the Old Testament Standard

By Actaeon

Many religions have an obsession with keeping the womenfolk pure and under wraps. Strict guardianship laws are in effect in many Muslim countries, the hijab mandatory. Christianity wasn’t any different, a few centuries ago. The idea of a woman wearing pants and a tee shirt in the summer is a quite modern concept and part of the liberty of enlightened secular life.

Keith Raniere subscribed to that Old Testament standard. He fit the model of a patriarch, with multiple “wives”, with one set of rules for him, a quite different set of rules for them. The frenzy of moral outrage that one of “his” women so much as kissed another man is indicative. His whole program was quite regressive; the precise opposite of what it sold itself as being– some sort of enlightened new dawn.

It’s bizarre to me that the women put up with him, classic male chauvinist pig that he is. It was all so transparently regressive and completely out of touch with the modern zeitgeist. In this post – Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo era.

Triply bizarre that someone like Allison Mack was on board with this, while proclaiming her feminist goals, all about empowerment. I suspect she was sincere, too, with the Jness and DOS bullshit. And likely was convinced that branding women with her lord and master’s initials really was the road to female empowerment.

People’s capacity to hold contradictory beliefs in their heads can be staggering. Religion is a classic example, modern educated people believing in fairy tales about angels and virgin births and burning bushes that talk. People with PhDs in the sciences who don’t believe in Evolution because it goes against Bible teaching. Millions of people believe the Bible is the literal word of God, perfectly decent people who wouldn’t hurt a fly and yet can read Leviticus without a qualm, with its instructions on how properly to beat your slaves and how witches are to be killed and how to stone your bride to death in front of her father’s house should she turn out not to be a virgin on your wedding night.

People have a deep irrational streak; there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, we are not Spock. But it’s a good idea to keep a careful eye on one’s irrational tendencies, lest one find oneself falling down the rabbit hole.

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News and art, national and local. Began as alternative weekly in 1990 in Buffalo, NY. Publishing content online since 1996.


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  • I would not lump all of those things together – not only is it irresponsible, it’s outright inaccurate. There are multiple scientists who came to believe in the Bible because of what the science said, not the other way around. (I know because I’ve read their accounts of how they came to believe in creation – there are a whole bunch who came across inconsistencies between evolution, which they believed in, and the scientific data they were looking at, and finally decided that the only logical solution was that God had to exist and have created it.) No reputable scientific paper has yet proven any method of abiogenesis (and have you ever looked at how complex a single cell is? Darwin didn’t even know DNA existed when he came up with his theory, or he might have had to think twice), and any observation will tell you that nature does not create order out of disorder, but rather the other way around (the second law of thermodynamics might also have something to do with that). Plus, no mutation observed has ever produced new genetic information (the classic moth example only shows that existing information can be selected for, not that new information can be produced). If you can’t prove how evolution can occur, nor have any experimental evidence for it, you can’t call it a fact. I’m not saying there’s proof for creation either, mind you – simply that it’s irresponsible to call a theory a fact when you can’t prove a bit of it (and more irresponsible to insult anyone who dares disagree with you on that). Even Richard Dawkins admitted that it was possible that life came here from outer space (which only raises the question of how it got here, in addition to the problem of “how did it start?”). Any theory about life’s origins at this point must involve some manner of faith – whether in evolution or God – and it’s not illogical given the evidence that suggests either origin, for someone to decide that God was the more logical answer. To rule out a divine source as possible is actually bad science – because it means one is starting with preconceived notions of what they believe can or cannot be the source. Starting with a biased premise means you can never be sure you’ve ended up with the truth. (Note there IS evidence that suggests creation as much as there is evidence that suggests evolution – it’s just that the former doesn’t fit the party line and scientists who dare even raise a question about evolution are shamed into toeing the party line with words much like yours above. Which is interesting – because that sort of attack is very emotion-based, not science-based – if you don’t have religion, evolution can replace that…)

    It’s also rude to call anyone who has faith or belief in a god irrational – and it’s also clear that you’ve never read the Bible as a whole and tried to really understand it. You don’t have to do the latter – that’s your choice – but there’s no call for insulting people because we’ve studied deeply into the Bible and do find it logical and beautiful when you connect all of the dots. A superficial reading will only give you things to pick apart – much like it would with any very complex set of books. But arguing belief in the Bible with you is pointless – I’m not trying to convince you that it’s right, only that you should probably refrain from attacking people based on emotions and save your anti-religious discussion for debate threads (or forums where anti-religious people gather to post rants about religion). We’re here to discuss NXIVM – but I’m not sure how many are interested in reading how NXIVM matches up with your personal view of the Old Testament. (A note to Frank: I enjoy psychological discussion on the various players’ mindsets, but a post like this best belongs on someone’s personal blog, and not one focused on bringing news to our attention.)

    That said, I do believe Allison Mack believed Raniere to that great degree – but I have a feeling that the starvation diet and lack of sleep had a lot to do with limiting her ability to think. If you can disrupt someone’s ability to think to that degree, you can’t expect them to be able to logically think through things. It’s also very difficult for someone to admit that they’ve been wrong – and they’ve wasted so much of their life and energy on a sham, even when the evidence for it is so obvious in front of them (Raniere’s hypocritical behavior).

    • oh dear, Doranwen, you really need to check the definition of a scientific theory. it’s not some kind of educated guess, it’s tested and provable. “A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified” – Wikipedia

      • If that’s the case, then evolution fails. (And I mean macro-evolution here – I am not suggesting that micro-evolution as a process is wrong – species diversification has been observed and that can be verified. It’s the transformation of life forms to completely different types of life forms and such that lacks the testing and verification.) Neither evolution nor creation can be proven to be true – no one alive on this earth was there to see either one happen at the beginning, no one has been able to make either one happen by doing anything now, and the evidence that suggests one or the other may have taken place is by no means conclusive to prove evolution true (by the same reasoning it’s also impossible to prove creation true, but no one is trying to argue that). And yet textbook after textbook and teacher after teacher will blithely tell students that it’s been proven. Really? Where are all the transitional forms between types of organisms? Decade upon decade after they were predicted to be located, they still haven’t been found. It takes as much faith to believe in evolution as it does to believe in creation, I would think. In some ways, more. The law of probabilities alone, for instance – and where are the macroevolutionary changes on a molecular level? No one can yet demonstrate any – so how would it happen? DNA is a language – and anyone who looks at information theory knows that the content of a message is distinct from the way the message is conveyed. The method of conveyance may be physical, but the content of a message is nonmaterial. Nonmaterial things do not have a material origin so there can be no material explanation for DNA. And since you said a theory is provable and verifiable – how about the second law of thermodynamics? Evolution fails that test. If it fails that test, how can it be relied on for anything else? A scientist who claims evolution has been proven and dismisses these well-documented issues has at that point ceased to be a scientist and started to be a believer in a religion.

        I’m not trying to argue that everyone needs to teach creation or even intelligent design in schools (because I don’t think public schools have any business teaching any kind of religion, no matter what it is), but I think they should stop telling students outright falsehoods about evolution – people blindly accept it because “they teach it” but the origin of life is not something that can be proven, and macro-evolution has too many holes in it to claim that it is a fact – even as a theory it has issues. Any “science” that relies on belief in the face of serious challenges to its logic, where other “scientists” dismiss valid work just because it doesn’t fit a big idea they have about how things should work, is no science at all, but religion. Whatever scientists’ personal beliefs may be, as long as they are intellectually honest about their work and don’t try to rely on any kind of belief to “prove” something is right or not (and I’m including evolution in this) – which means being aware of how their biases may affect the information they find as well as their presuppositions when doing research – then their results will be good science and worth paying attention to.

        Sadly, modern academia has clung to the idea of evolution so tightly (probably because they want to dismiss religion so badly – people get very irrational when they have strong emotions underneath) that they’ve moved beyond actual science to religious-based science, while still denying that there’s any element of faith to it. Disbelief in evolution does not make one a bad scientist, because the theory of evolution isn’t good science (it might’ve been fine when Darwin first came up with it – but consider all the things he *didn’t* know that he even acknowledged would make his theory moot if they were found – irreducible complexity in so many organisms, for instance). Leave the question of origins out of things, acknowledge that we don’t actually *know* how life got here (because all of the theories come up with so far cannot be proven or verified so they aren’t proper theories), stick with what you *can* observe and document and test, and stop shaming everyone who doesn’t toe the party line – it makes science look more like a bad form of government than a process of research and testing designed to discover new things.

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