Procedure is the script which allows the commonly intelligent man to pretend among the truly brilliant. Researchers are slowly finding that it is not solely the prospect of money which prompts persons to dishonest, rather it is how they are trained inside the rules of process.
In the end, it is not the diabolical but brilliant Lex Luthor’s and Dr. Evil’s of cultural mythology whom we must fear. Rather we must fear the cabals of cheating B students who inhabit the executive suites of the oligopolies and the institutions which dominate us. These are the ones who can justify evil by institutionalizing it as an aspect of the rules of process. No manner of comic book super hero, gadget or super power can overcome this force which threatens us.
Some people think that knowledge of this, constitutes musical acumen and talent:
It does not.
Some people think that knowledge of this, constitutes academic acumen and adeptness:
It does not.
Some people think that knowledge of this, is indicative of one’s business acumen and prowess:
It is not.
Some people think that knowledge of this, is indicative of scientific acumen and rationality:
It is not.
Do They Really Understand? Or is Their Proficiency Simply an Act?
One of the essentials to successfully leading a corporation of any significant size, is the vital ability to discern people; an ability learned through many years of fighting in the trenches in a successful multi-faceted and multidisciplinary career. That discernment resides around understanding the difference between those who brilliantly wield their subject, and those who must follow procedure, quotes, others’ opinions, buzzwords, articles, word, cheats, social inertia, catch phrases and propaganda in order to get by. The truly skilled, act as thought leaders inside their respective disciplines. They re-invent their subject, sometimes single handedly. They perform in their discipline as does a virtuoso playing his instrument.
Social Skeptics on the other hand, are the method dependent B-students, the script followers, of the scientific realm. They know what a grand staff is, but have never written a song, they know what a Laplace Transform is, but have never reduced an actual systemic taper curve, they know the scientific method, yet have never generated even one original groundbreaking idea in their entire lives.
All through our academic lives, we are instructed as to the importance of process and procedure. Indeed, process and procedure are of utmost importance. The standards by which we develop our technology, our taxation and finance systems, our medical understanding and scientific knowledge are rightfully procedurally driven. Early in the learning process, one needs to follow rote protocol to aid in workplace safety, or to act as the foundation inside of which to understand a profession or trade skill. Setting this agreed reality aside for a moment, as with many things when pushed as panacea, scripts and guides can also become onerous, counterproductive influences and can serve as a tool employed to undertake misdeed. In our modern education, we are not instructed so much as to how to execute specific procedures, as much as we are taught the importance of following protocols and instructions to begin with. There is no doubt that our entire lives are imbued with the overarching lesson that we must follow the rules in order to be deemed acceptable.
But why is it important to be able to distinguish those who can grasp the essence of understanding, from those who are simply good at following instructions?
The Symbiotic Nature of Procedure and Cheating: Procedure masques ignorance, provides a playground for greed
But what if this strength of standards, also resides as our most abject vulnerability? There are very few procedures I was taught in 8 years of undergraduate and grad school, which I actually can recall and recite, save for the fact that two things were paramount, or I would face a grade of C, or worse – Follow the Instruction – Master the Procedure. If these two things were not dutifully pursued, one would fail the exam, paper, test, course.
As a result, my eight years of undergrad and grad school were the LEAST educational years of my life. Save for lessons in how to date, how to drink and how to compete academically with students who cheated, and how to handle TA’s or professors who abused their newfound taste for power over others. The contacts I made with those who would become friends and associates were probably more beneficial than were any of the academic principles.
The most difficult classes, the ones which everyone dreaded, those where the instructor challenged students to observe, think, theorize, solve and create, were my best classes. These instructors could care less about what you memorized the night before. They sought to ascertain your ability to truly comprehend, learn, and apply. Fraternity word, old test copies, instructor hacks, cellphone images from the previous morning’s exam, none of this would assist those who cheated, if the instructor were truly brilliant. The rote classes, fraught with mathematical reduction methods, course notes/textbook trivia bingo, memorization, principle regurgitation, or classes which were “word” driven – old copies of instructor exams passed around in libraries at fraternities and in some study clubs and hack websites, – these were my worst classes. The latter constituting a completely useless waste of everyone’s time. Serious students studying extra hours in order to compete with the grade inflation brought on by those who sat in class like lumps on logs, and obtained the requisite ‘B’ by cheating. In other words, they followed the procedure.
Grades would consistently break out thusly:
A – The procedurally diligent
B – Smart procedurally minded students who applied methods of cheating
C – Smart procedurally minded students who did not have access to methods of cheating
A/B/C – The truly brilliant, who could care less about things which waste their focus
Drop – Smart students, who did not care
By some estimates, and according to the Education Portal, as much as 75% or more of college students reside in the Cheating B-student category above. This indeed was what I experienced, particularly in undergraduate school. Of interest to note for me, was the fact that in my experience, instructors were less displeased about the B-students who cheated, than they were about the truly brilliant A/B/C students, who just did not care to waste time on frivolous busy work. There existed a tacit turn of the back to the deeds of the cheating student, contrasted by a seething disdain for those who refused to play the game. It was not the ethics of the grade after all, which they were instructing; rather conformance to the adoption of process. One could cheat, but you had to participate in the way directed. The lack of student compliance thereof is what angered instructors even more than cheating. A conformance to protocol, not the love or ethic of knowledge, was the lesson.
In other words, procedure and protocol are fertile ground for those who cheat. They are a way of feigning knowledge of the subject, allowing those who wish to manipulate processes to hold a script which enables them to pretend to their position. A malady of ignorance which provides opportunism for those who seek a loophole or control.
An Honest Mind Trained for Dishonesty
But while students might cheat in their own industry, academia, studies show that they do not however cheat in another person’s industry, say banking. In other words, people are not inherently dishonest, they are trained to be that way by process. A recent study by Researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Zurich recruited 128 bank employees from a large international bank to anonymously cite the results of a coin toss. Obviously, given enough tosses the chaos of this binomial iterative should bring its observed mean to 50/50 balance between heads and tails. What the researchers did was split the group into two, a control and a measure group. The control group was asked genetic questions before the coin toss and the measure group asked detailed questions about their career in banking (both groups being the same bankers). They were both then instructed that the procedure would be to self-report the number of heads which came up in a series of coin tosses, and that they would received $20 for each head which they flipped. What the researchers found was that those who had been asked questions about their banking profession prior to the coin toss, even though these persons came from the same profession source pool, reported a 58.2% rate of heads, versus a report average of 51.6% from similar professionals who were not put into the mindset of ‘thinking in the mindset of their job.’
To further confirm their findings, the researchers compared the bank employees tested to a group of 222 university students, who completed this same coin-tossing test. The students in their case as well were asked either control questions or questions related to banking (e.g. naming tasks a bank employee might perform) at the start of the study.
“The primed students showed no higher level of dishonesty than the control students, suggesting that being in the banking industry, and not simply the thought of money, changes behavior.” †
In other words, it is not solely the prospect of money which prompts persons to cheat, rather the rules of process. Much like in banking. This reality of the procedurally minded cheating B-student, portends ill winds inside of society, commerce, media, government, business and finance. We have just suffered through The Greatest Theft of Wealth in History¹ during the 2007/8 collapse, wherein $1 trillion was stolen from US citizens and passed into Elite Oligarch hands and employed for bailouts.¹ This process was undertaken by persons who should have never been in the positions to which they ascended in the first place. A key example of the damage caused by venerating following the rules and playing the game, in lieu of the ethical application of true talent. These individuals were, contrary to the popular McLean and Elkind Enron scandal book moniker and premise, not “The Smartest Guys in the Room.” These thieves simply had the best grades.
Myth – People who flout the rules, and live a life of diabolical creativity, constitute the majority of economic fraud.
Reality – The majority of economic fraud is perpetrated by cabals who have been trained to know, observe and game the rules; enacted by those who only understand the compartmented process they are directed/taught to execute.
Compartmentalization and procedure are the modern version of the National Socialist Workers Party plea “I was only following orders.”
In similar fashion, Social Skeptics are the Cheating B-students, of science. They are the pawn rules gamers, speaking of it often; nonetheless the abusers of process. Not fully comprehending, but memorizing the right things to say, targeting ill gotten gains. Conducting a masquerade of self indulgence in celebrity, self aggrandizement and power, foisted in lieu of the love of the subject.
The Two Misuses of Procedure
1. As a means for scripting the cheat.
Our Tax Codes are procedurally driven. Procedures allow for cheating. The more detailed the procedure, the more iron clad is the cheat. It is estimated that $3.09 Billion has been lost through tax evasion which takes advantage of a cheater’s ability to follow the script, to avoid paying taxes.² I have been offered avenues of this nature numerous times in business, and I have refused to participate. I am not here to maximize a number. I am here to contribute what I can to the betterment of mankind and our common plight on this planet.
2. As a means of squelching undesired input or results.
The fact that there exists a list of a priori disposition on specific subjects, embargoed from being addressed or researched by science, is an indictment of the Social Skeptic agenda. I do not believe any of these subjects in particular, but my skeptic hackles are nonetheless raised, whenever someone pretends to be competent to dictate to me in advance of any research, what is considered to be ‘true,’ and ‘untrue.’³ This is epistemological fraud, and even if 99% correct, stems nonetheless from the procedural mind of those who exploit process; for the bedazzlement of others and cultivation of ignorance and personal power. It is process sleight-of-hand, taught and approved by the systems which encourage it.
¹ “The Greatest Heist in History,” Tilsen, Whitney; Business Insider, Jan 20, 2009; Business Insider, Inc., New York, NY.
² Tax Evasion: The Real Costs, April 11, 2011, Our Fiscal Security, US Government: (http://www.ourfiscalsecurity.org/taxes-matter/2011/4/15/tax-evasion-the-real-costs.html).
³ The Skeptic’s Dictionary (http://skepdic.com/).
† Bethany Hubbard, Bankers’ Bad Behavior Is Driven By Workplace Culture, Discover Magazine, Blogs, Nov 19, 2014.
The Social Skepticism movement manifests its goals through support of several specific special interest groups. These are interests of allegiance without exception, in which Social Skepticism seems to have an irrationally high focus, were it solely comprising an unstructured movement of individual ethic alone. Key among these partner special interests are the very familiar laundry list of control groups which manage our economically inflating agriculture, healthcare, health insurance, education, pharmaceuticals, universities and unions.
Merriam-Webster defines oligarchy as such:
- ol·i·gar·chy – noun \ˈä-lə-ˌgär-kē \ : a government, business, etc. in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes; also : a group exercising such control
Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page have applied analytical intelligence to quantified indicators within studies testing 1779 predictive United States policy enactments across 18 years. Enactments which indicate that US public policy is administered not by the influence of democratic concepts and republic will; rather by the powerful influence of an oligarchy of elitists and special interests. As you will see below, in the paper (Gilens, Page, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens; April 9 2014), special interest groups have a combined 5x greater influence on public policy than does the citizenry at large.¹ That influence is 5 times greater than ALL of us combined, not simply one individual’s will. Add to this the net effect of a small group of elites, who in reality act in concert with these same special interest groups and you see the model in play, which is not only employed by Social Skepticism to control scientific outcomes, but is also enacted by their oligopoly partners and they themselves, inside the determination of Public Policy.
As might be ascertained from the graph on the right, I contend that the “Business interest groups” can be regarded as moot, by a fortiori relationship, since every advocacy on the part of an elite or a special interest group, will ultimately express itself inside an inflating industry or business group. This intelligence signal is dependent and redundant. So the core constituencies of the principle related in the graph are in their essence, the elites and the special interests. I contend as well, that the two work in a symbiotic, non-conspiratorial, axis of control and pathological opportunism. Activities from which we all suffer inflation and economic decline.
The Resurrection of Socialist Oligarchy
As you can see in the graphic to the right,² it has not been since the heyday of the Bolsheviks and the rise of National Socialism that we have seen so much wealth aggregated into the hands of so few. Notice a key indicator in the graphic to the right, provided by The Economist on November 8, 2014 – that the aggregation of wealth into few hands, preceded our last greatest economic depression. WWII as much as anything in this graphic, served to break the chains clasped around Europe by elitists and socialists, who are the same thing – freeing us for 70 years of economic justice, which ends basically during our current period.
And what are those specific oligopoly special interests of which we speak? Aggregated from the 1779 policy enactments, and provided in the Gilens/Page Study (see list at bottom compared to Bloomberg Visual Data release to the right of that list, below as well, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-18/college-tuition-costs-soar-chart-of-the-day.html):
*** It is no coincidence that Mike Burnick at Banyan Partners, LLC (http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/inflation-on-the-rise-five-sectors-set-to-rise-44308) cites these five sectors as those with the most dominant rates of inflation in our economy. Compare this to the inflating industry vertical graphic below, posted beside the Gilens/Page Study listing of oligarch institutions. This is no coincidence. This conforms with something I have observed in my company’s work with nation after nation globally:³
Corruption Produces Inflation and Suffering
From the Gilens/Page Study itself (Martin Gilens, Princeton University, Benjamin I. Page, Northwestern University, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens; April 9 2014):
These results suggest that reality is best captured by mixed theories in which both individual economic elites and organized interest groups (including corporations, largely owned and controlled by wealthy elites) play a substantial part in affecting public policy, but the general public has little or no independent influence.
Similarly, organized interest groups (all taken together, for now) are found to have substantial independent influence on policy. Again, the predictions of pure theories of interest group pluralism are not wholly upheld, since organized interest groups must share influence with economically elite individuals. But interest group alignments are estimated to have a large, positive, highly significant impact upon public policy. (Gilens, Page, p. 16).
Special Interest Groups
American Council of Life Insurance Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers
American Farm Bureau Federation Recording Industry Association
American Hospital Association Securities and investment companies
American Medical Association Telephone companies
Association of Trial Lawyers Tobacco companies
Computer software and hardware Mass-based groups
Credit Union National Association AFL-CIO
Electric companies American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
Health Insurance Association Christian Coalition
Independent Insurance Agents of America International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Motion Picture Association of America United Auto Workers union
National Association of Broadcasters National Education Association (includes a mass base
Oil Companies of teachers but also university professors)
¹ Martin Gilens, Princeton University, Benjamin I. Page, Northwestern University, Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens; April 9 2014.
² Emanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, The Economist Preview; NBER Working Paper No. 20625, Nov 9 2014.
³ Mike Burnick at Banyan Partners, LLC (http://www.moneyandmarkets.com/inflation-on-the-rise-five-sectors-set-to-rise-44308.
“You ever hear the expression ‘Simplest answer’s often the correct one’?”
“Actually, I’ve never found that to be true.”
– Gone Girl, 2014¹
Indeed, the actual role of Ockham’s Razor, the real scientific principle, is to begin the scientific method, not complete it in one felled swoop. Rational thinking under Ockham’s Razor (ie. science) is the demonstrated ability to handle plurality with integrity.
FALSE ONE-LINER which is NOT OCKHAM’S RAZOR:
“All things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the correct one.”
The above statement is NOT Ockham’s Razor. It is a sleight of hand expression (called by SSkeptics, “Occam’s Razor”) used to force a disposition, dismiss observations and data as if they were ‘claims’ and further squelch disdained topics which would otherwise be entertained for research by Ethical Skepticism. The weakness of the statement resides in the philosophical principle that the simplest answer is typically the one which falls in line with the pre-cooked assumptions. Moreover, implicit within this statement is the claim that all data and observations must immediately be ‘explained’ so that a disposition (read that as dismissal) can be assembled a priori and anecdotally; as a means of preventing data aggregation or intelligence development steps of science. In these two ways, the statement is employed to obfuscate and abrogate the application of the scientific method. This trick is a common sales technique, having little to do with rationality. Don’t let your integrity slip to the point where you catch yourself using it to deceive others. The two formal and one informal fallacies introduced via this errant philosophy are:
Transactional Occam’s Razor Fallacy
The false contention that a challenging claim or observation must immediately be ‘explained.’ Sidestepping of the data aggregation and intelligence steps of the scientific method. The boast of claiming to know which question should be asked under the scientific method.
Existential Occam’s Razor Fallacy
The false contention that the simplest explanation tends to be the scientifically correct one. Suffers from the weakness that myriad and complex underpinning assumptions, all of which tender the appearance of ‘simplicity,’ have not been vetted by science.
When simplicity or parsimony are incorrectly applied as excuse to resist the development of a new scientific explanatory model, data or challenging observation set, when indeed the participant refuses to consider or examine the explanatory utility of any similar new model under consideration.
Indeed, the actual role of Ockham’s Razor, the real scientific principle, is to begin the scientific method, not complete it in one felled swoop of denial.
“Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate” or “Plurality should not be posited without necessity.”
The words are those of the medieval English philosopher and Franciscan monk William of Ockham (ca. 1287-1347).²
This apothegm simply means that, until we have enough evidence to compel us, science should not invest its resources into outside theories. Not because they are false or terminally irrelevant, rather existentially they are unnecessary in the current incremental discourse of science. This statement is more commonly recognized in research science in the principle of parsimony:
Parsimony – the resistance to expand explanatory plurality or descriptive complexity beyond what is absolutely necessary, combined with the wisdom to know when to do so.
However, it is the latter half of this definition which is routinely ignored. Ockham’s Razor most importantly also means that once there exists a sufficient threshold of evidence to warrant attention, then science should seek to address the veracity of a an outside claim, or multiple explanatory approaches, or more complex versions of standing theory. This condition is called plurality. Plurality is a condition of science which is established by observations and sponsorship, not by questions, peer review or claims. To block the aggregation and intelligence of this observational data, or attempt to filter it so that all data are essentially relegated as fiat anecdote, is pseudoscience. It is fraud, and is the chief practice of those in the Social Skepticism movement today. The claim of “Prove it” – or Proof Gaming Fallacy, embodies this fundamental misunderstanding of Ockham’s Razor on the part of those who have not pursued a rigorous philosophical core inside their education.
This threshold of plurality and in contrast, the ‘proof’ of an idea, are not the same standard of data, testing and evidence. Muddying the two contexts is a common practice of deception on the part of SSkeptics. Proof is established by science, plurality is established by sponsors. SSkeptics regard Ockham’s Razor as a threat to their religion, and instead quote the former substitute above, which while sounding similar and ‘sciencey’, does not mean the same thing at all. An imposter principle which rather seeks to blur the lines around and prevent competing ideas from attaining this threshold of plurality and attention under the scientific method. Their agenda is to prohibit ideas from attaining this threshold at ANY cost. This effort to prohibit an idea its day in the court of science, constitutes in itself, pseudoscience.
This method of pseudoscience is called the DRiP Method.
Misuse of “Occam’s” Razor to effect Knowledge Filtering
One of the principal techniques, if not the primary technique of the practitioners of thought control and Deskeption, is the unethical use of Knowledge Filtering. The core technique involves the mis-use of Ockham’s Razor as an application to DATA and not to competitive thought constructs. This is a practice of pseudoscience and is in its essence dishonesty.
Ockham’s Razor, or the discernment of plurality versus singularity in terms of competing yypotheses, is a useful tool in determining whether science should be distracted by bunk theories which would potentially waste everyone’s time and resources. Data on the other hand is NOT subject to this threshold.
By insisting that observations be explained immediately, and through rejecting a datum, based on the idea that it introduces plurality, one effectively ensures that no data will ever be found which produces a competing construct. You will in effect, perpetually prove only what you are looking for, or what you have assumed to be correct. No competing idea can ever be formulated because outlier data is continuously discarded immediately, one datum at a time. This process of singularly dismissing each datum in a series of observations, which would otherwise constitute data collection in an ethical context is called “Knowledge Filtering” and stands as a key step in the Cultivation of Ignorance, a practice on the part of Social Skepticism. It is a process of screening data before it can reach the body of non-expert scientists. It is a method of squelching science in its unacknowledged steps of process and before it can gain a footing inside the body of scientific discourse. It is employed in the example graphic to the right, in the center, just before the step of employing the ‘dismissible margin’ in Social Skepticism’s mismanagement of scientific consensus.
Plurality is a principle which is applied to constructs and hypotheses, not data.
I found a curious native petroglyph once while on an archaeological rafting excursion, which was completely out of place, but who’s ocre had been dated to antiquity. I took a photo of it to the state museum and was unable to find the petroglyph in the well documented library of Native American Glyphs. I found all the glyphs to the right and all the glyphs to the left of the curious one. However, the glyph in question had been excluded from the state documentation work performed by a local university professor. The museum director, when I inquired replied appropriately “Perhaps the Glyph just didn’t fit.” He had hit the nail on the head. By Occam’s Razor, the professor had been given tacit permission to filter the information out from the public database, effectively erasing its presence from history. He did not have to erase the glyph itself, rather simply erase the glyph from the public record, our minds and science – and excuse it all as an act of ‘rational thinking.’
The Purpose of Ockham’s Razor is to BEGIN the scientific method, not screen data out and finish it.
Data stands on its own. Additionally, when found in abundance or even sometimes when found in scarcity, and not eliminated one at a time by the false anecdotal application of “Occam’s” Razor, can eventually be formulated into a construct which then will vie for plurality under the real Ockham’s Razor. A useful principle of construct refinement, prior to testing, under the scientific method.
As you might see below, plurality resides at the heart of scientific research. But the unsung heroes of plurality are the sponsors of original, creative, persistent and perceptive research who drive the process of plurality (Scientific Method Steps 1 – 5, below). They, even more so than authors and studies undergoing the process of Peer Review, bear the brunt of disdain from faking scientists and SSkeptics who seek to prevent the process of plurality from occurring at all costs.
Map of Deskeption 7.8.1: Misuse of “Simplicity”
Think through this comparative and your ethics will begin to change. Simplicity can be a deceptive tactic, when used to obfuscate:
1) Simple explanations have complex underpinnings. Our “simple” explanations are only simple, because we choose to contort reality in extremely exhaustive complexities in order to force simplicity. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. But if he does drink, that is not a simple action by any means, it may appear to be simple but that is an illusion on the part of the casual observer. Simplicity, many times, is only an illusion.
2) Beware of the tyranny of the simple. Simplicity as a principle of discretion is best suited for the clear application of judgments and governances, and as such is usually based on sets of laws and procedure which change only slowly and under great necessity. Laws only change as men change, and men are slow to change. Because of this, laws of governance are always behind current understandings. Unassailable principles of governance have little place in discovery and science.
3) Simplicity conveys neither straightforwardness, nor elegance; which are central tenets of understanding. “The simplest vehicle I know of is a unicycle. I’ll be damned if after all these years of trying, I still have not managed to learn how to ride one.”
4) Simplicity implies that enough data exists to warrant a conclusion regarding an observation, then further implies that a disposition must be tendered immediately. Simplicity in this fashion is sold through construction of a false dilemma, a fatal logical fallacy.
5) Simplicity which does not give way to the utility of an incrementally more complex, yet better explanatory paradigm, is not simplicity, rather utility blindness or Kuhn Denialism. Science is a progression of incrementally better utility in the explanatory basis of successive models. As this process progresses, models tend to gain more accuracy or applicability at the cost of added complexity. A focus on simplicity rather than utility can bias a person against the incremental nature of scientific explanatory progression.
When rational thinking becomes nothing more than an exercise in simply dismissing observations to suit one’s inherited ontology, then the entire integral will and mind of the individual participating in such activity, has been broken.
¹ Gone Girl, screenplay by Gillian Flynn, motion picture by 20th Century Fox; September 26, 2014; David Fincher.
² The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, William of Ockham; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ockham/
Social Skeptics are not selling debunking of ridiculous topics like orgone energy, pyramid aliens, leprechauns and expanding Earth. What they are selling is their method of approaching the disposition of these topics. By contending that their method afforded them the basis of understanding from which to debunk these topics, they further then hope to employ that same method, before your eyes, to challenge surreptitiously a priori targeted subjects.
No, their conclusions are not necessarily wrong. The method is wrong, by which they arrived at them - AND – Indeed, it is the method itself, which they are selling.
SSkeptics are contending
if R, then Q : and if Q, given P : therefore P ≡ R
They hope that you fall for the trick of assuming that their false method is equivalent to science method (P ≡ R), justified by public displays of gladiator / arena style debunking, media domination and celebrity. This is not simply a magician’s trick, rather a sham.
noun \ˈsham\ : something that is not what it appears to be and that is meant to trick or deceive people
I would place Fair Use Act compliant thumbnails up or cite examples of famous stage magician skeptics who practice this sleight-of-hand, but their organizations scour and regularly censor my blogs of thumbnails and text without my knowledge. They are allowed to defame organizations, professionals and all manner of people, without evidence, and with significant damage to reputation and business. But no one is allowed to hold them accountable, and they have full power to censor your personal speech if they find that they do not agree with it. This has happened probably 12 – 15 times. So it is typically a waste of time for me to post observed examples.
This sham they employ is designated for further application in discrediting other very valid and pluralistic arguments, including but not limited to:
- pharmaceutical and medical cost inflation and oligarchy
- health damage from furtive food modifications targeting profits
- freedom from certain information they do not like
- destruction of religions competing with Nihilism
- control of media channels
- intimidation of scientists and researchers
- promotion of educational agendas
- restriction of supplements and treatments which compete with big pharma sponsors
- elimination of certain subjects from public and scientific discourse
- promotion of specific politics, movements and parties
- promotion of hate agendas for specific gender and races
- a shift of power from public to private hands.
All enabled via the deception techniques employed, along with the rush enjoyed, by a performing magician. Only, this process is a sham, since the difference between a sham and the work of a magician is that the magician admits that his process is one of deception.
Power is intoxicating. But power derived through sleight-of-hand is exhilarating.
For more information, click on The Ethical Skeptic’s Reference to Commonly Employed Fallacious Skepticism
Skeptic - One who practices the method of suspended judgment, engages in rational and dispassionate reasoning as exemplified by the scientific method, shows willingness to consider alternative explanations without prejudice based on prior beliefs, and who seeks out evidence and carefully scrutinizes its validity.
This definition of the makeup of a skeptic is absolutely valid. There exists a problem however, in that a sufficiently detrimental portion of those who call themselves ‘skeptics’ teach and purposely practice a different ethic. Let’s set aside the mendacious activities of these false skeptics, those who are simply promoting their religion of Nihilism, and teach a corrupted form of doubt, woven into a methodology designed to enforce that one religion. Below we retract Social Skepticism back to its core basis of Descartes’ Cartesian Doubt and outline how Ethical Skepticism, in contrast, draws its tenets from the most value laden elements of the three classic (and one modern) approaches to the knowledge development process. The contrast resides in no better form than inside much of the false wisdom put forth by celebrity SSkeptics over the years. For example, in the oft touted words of Carl Sagan:
“What is Skepticism? It’s nothing very esoteric. We encounter it every day. When we buy a used car.”
Point 6 of the Baloney Detection Kit: Where does the preponderance of evidence point? – Carl Sagan¹
Carl Sagan was wrong here, as this is not skepticism. This is simply a guide to methodical cynicism (a method of being a cynic, while at the same time convincing yourself you are not a cynic). Carl has purposely conflated human tactical presumption and the exercise of dogma with the ethical mindset which facilitates the process of knowledge development. True Skepticism alerts to the condition of not holding sufficient evidence, or in the asking of the wrong question. A used car salesmen will burn you if you do not collect your data, and you do not ask the right question. They do not burn you simply because you are involved in the sale of a used car. That is simply an exercise in human tactical presumption and prejudice. So on everything else in our lives besides used cars, we can relax and not question? This example has nothing whatsoever in common with skepticism.
Nor does true skepticism simply combine “empirical rigor and imaginative whimsy” either, as Michael Shermer puts it. Rather, true skepticism challenges the notion that we have completed the knowledge development process, eschews the idea that we must immediately tender a disposition or rejection based on current knowledge, it detects fake or premature empirical rigor, and dismisses the idea that humans naturally know how and when to ask the right question, and what data to base that question upon. True skepticism examines (even our own) furtive claims to knowledge first, before pretending to examine seemingly contradictory claims.
This fundamental mis-definition resides at the heart of the conflict between those who squelch science in the name of their own religion, and those who conduct actual research. Skepticism is NOT the “evaluation of claims based on personal experience;” rather, it is the mindset which allows that experience to be accrued in the first place. In science, and I know this is a shocker, science evaluates claims, not our pre-prejudices. And the only way science can accrue the tackle necessary in conducting this evaluation, is through Ethical Skepticism. Not prejudicial doubt and data filtering, as that constitutes a process which will only result in finding what one is looking for. One is not born magically all knowing, nor does an academic youth correct this weakness – and if one presumes such – much deleterious result will come from such a boast. If you presume all used car salesmen to be fraudsters, you will make just as many mistakes as those who presume them all to be honest. It is your ability to truly understand the nature of car sales which exhibits skepticism on your part.
This boast, this a priori prejudice of ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ indeed stands as the most extraordinary claim in the fake skeptic’s quiver of boasts. The claim to absolute knowledge along with the divorce of one’s mind from the need to accrue any more. Our pre adopted prejudices are the weak link in our skeptical minds, the practice which allows us to fall prey to religious thinking. Skepticism in reality is a method of preparing the mind and data sets to do actual science.
The Essential Code of Ethical Skepticism: Epoché vanguards Gnosis
Ethical Skepticism is a blend of Empirical and Philosophical Skepticism, the tenets of both of which are vetted as to their efficacy in delivering value and clarity inside man’s knowledge development process. It rejects Cartesian Doubt as a racket of a priori simplistic predictive based knowledge, self delusion and methodical evasion. Instead, Ethical Skepticism dictates a mute disposition on any topic which science has not studied or the Ethical Skeptic himself has not studied. Ethical Skepticism petitions for Ockham’s Razor plurality in research when sponsorship has shown adequate necessity, and opposes all efforts to squelch such research.
The Fulcrum of Ethical Skepticism: Ockham’s Razor and The Principle of Plurality
The inputs into the Ethical Skepticism process involve three key steps necessary in introducing Ockham’s Razor plurality. Plurality is both the condition where one justifiable avenue of research is no longer warranted under the current conditions of intelligence inside a discipline; and as well, the condition where no single faceted explanation is sufficient to encompass the explanatory basis of a set of observations. These conditions are termed ‘vertical’ and ‘horizontal’ plurality (or that which has departed for necessity from the singular or simple). These principles are outlined in the graphic to the right:
Observation – the first step in the scientific method is not “Ask a Question,” it is Observation. Observation is one of the central character traits and habits of an Ethical Skeptic. It is fed by an incessant curiosity and dissatisfaction with pat answers.
Intelligence – Intelligence is not personal acumen, but rather the assimilation, retention, cladistics and processing of observations such that they are transformed into useful value. Nothing is thrown away through Knowledge Filtering. Every observation offers value of some kind. In military intelligence, lies are just as important as are truths, each tells us something more and more as we begin to construct an analytical framework.
Necessity – the point at which Observation and Intelligence – or even a stand alone event, developed or observed by sponsors (and hopefully science, but sponsors when science has been misled by Social Skeptics), have provided sufficient predictive or falsifying evidence which mandates that a sole explanatory approach to a problem is no longer warranted.
The principal role of Social Skepticism is to thwart the Observation – Intelligence – Necessity process at all costs. In this fashion, any prejudicial question maybe be asked for testing – thereby emasculating the effectiveness of the scientific method. The true application of skepticism involves the principle of Parsimony as follows:
Parsimony – the resistance to expand explanatory plurality or descriptive complexity beyond what is absolutely necessary, combined with the wisdom to know when to do so.
The Valid Outcomes of Ethical Skepticism: Value and Clarity
The conclusion of these three steps, then introduces Ockham’s Razor plurality: The existence of more than one explanatory avenue of research. In absence of these three steps, the Ethical Skeptic contends that science cannot “Ask a Question.” Therefore the outcomes of Ethical Skepticism are not ‘conclusions and claims’ as the dilettante believe. The outcomes of Ethical Skepticism, are:
Value – providing
- knowledge increase or accretion
- easing suffering
- developing a business which serves, produces and/or employs
- falsifies an oppressive belief
- falsifies an oppressive movement
- improves our ecosystem and sustainability
- enables a more successful governance
- supports ethical military capability
- makes money through a provision of equal value
Clarity – exhibited by
- ability to describe an opponent’s position without mocking
- integrity and mental capacity to hold Epoché on issues of plurality
- ability to hold observations without knowledge filtering
- ability to cogently outline a problem
- ability to bring the right data and argument to bear
- the over-riding desire to apply inquiry over enforcing established answers
- the ability to outline the scientific method in straightforward and accurate fashion
- the ability to inspire through presentation, other than simply those in your club
You will notice that – in Ethical Skepticism – nowhere is the burden placed on the adherent to ‘evaluate claims’ or speak in lieu of science nor enforce correct answers or simplest explanations. These activities betray a mind which is ill prepared to handle the questions science is meant to address. Skepticism is a means of preparing the mind and data sets to perform science. That is it.
It is incumbent upon us to promote genuine skeptical thought and decry pseudo-skepticism, imperious institutional doctrines and the cultivation of ignorance.
¹ The Burden of Skepticism, Carl Sagan, Skeptical Inquirer, vol. 12, Fall 1987; “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection.”