The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

A Statistical Profiling of Celebrity Wannabe ‘Scientific Skeptics’

Yeah yeah… We know, you are a skeptic. Yawn. But what else have you done, aside from foist your name inside a list of dead scientists, among whom you would otherwise never merit inclusion? Is your ego that fragile and desperate? A sweep through some analytics regarding social skeptics reveals some startling, yet not totally unexpected results. Psychologists who have inchoate activated the fragile and angry – a thunder chamber of sycophants dictating to everyone else what we all should think.

Remember the old game show called Hollywood Squares? The tic-tac-toe styled game set after which the show was themed, was staffed by a rotating/regular cast of celebrities who would answer questions on behalf of the game show participants. These celebrities were people who were supposedly famous, but for the life of us, no one back then who watched the show could recall why they were famous. These celebrities were famous simply for being famous. I always suspected that some of the ‘celebrity’ participants were in fact no-name citizens who had been inserted into the group of actually famous people, and were presumed to be themselves famous from then on.

Well that model bears curious utility inside the skeptic movement. Skeptics today stand upon a perch of celebrity that is derived simply from pretending to be skeptics in the first place – and a habit of promoting themselves opportunistically inside rosters of names which include personages of true brilliance, accomplishment and renown. However unlike Hollywood Squares, many of those personages are now deceased, fully unable to object over such abuse of their legacies.

Wikipedia maintains a suitably comprehensive listing of America’s most noteworthy (notorious) social skeptics (Wikipedia: List of scientific skeptics).1 Given the reality that Wikipedia allows social skeptics to run amok inside the bowels of its editing and practices of dissenting editor abuse, I feel fairly confident that all the acceptable Who’s-Who of social skepticism are therefore listed therein. Skeptics who are not listed in this tally have committed a misstep in some regard, as viewed by the Cabal – violated the Ministry of Truth’s policy on compliance in some way which has prompted their exclusion from the club. They have failed in their mandatory Schapiro Utterances. With the exception of those who earned their notoriety by actually accomplishing something of merit in their careers, something besides just declaring themselves to be a skeptic, I think we have the right listing inside the Wikipedia lineup (see footnote 1 above).

Were I a prominent physicist or mathematician, I would not want to be included within this group.

This is a cache of persons so desperate to get their names inscribed into a science hall of fame, alongside the likes of Brian Cox, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Feynman, that they would literally do and say anything, attack anyone, and push any form of half baked science – sell their very integrity – in order to be counted among such company. I never really completely grasped what was occurring in the minds of these poseurs, until this last decade of philosophical study. After decades of watching social skeptics and how they behave, I have come to the conclusion: It is all about the celebrity. Not one issue of advocacy entails an actual improvement in the lot of mankind. Feckless meaningless targets foisted to provide a theater stage, upon which they can show their wares – that seething miasma of the wont to be the smartest person in the room. They bear such a need to be right – that they must be identified with science, even if it costs every friend or ounce of self-respect they can bear forfeit.

No. It’s not by arguing with “kindness & care” that you break academic mafias, criminal organizations,
impostors (psychologists) & lobbying groups. It is by exposing them, making their lives miserable & targeting their audience. ~Nassim Taleb

So I thought I would take a quick walk through some of the statistics with regard to the profiles these pretenders have published on Wikipedia, just to see if some of my experience-based, yet nonetheless preconceived notions about the makeup of American skeptics, panned out. I was not disappointed. It was actually worse than I had thought.

Seven Inferential Breakouts Concerning Celebrity Wannabe ‘Scientific’ Skeptics

Light Representation of Relevant Degrees or Fields of Study

I am not sure whether to laugh or cry when I examine this first listing. Of the 81 celebrity wannabe and deceased skeptics inside the Wikipedia lineup, the largest contingent by far is represented by those who possess no degree, and have never served in any actual function which involves science, in their entire lives. The second largest, and first real professional group comprises psychologists, behavioral scientists and psychiatrists. This is followed by (refreshingly) physicists, philosophers and medical skeptics, tailed finally by a scant smattering of other science discipline representations.

That is a rather precipitous drop-off after ‘psychology’ and ‘none’. Should not this familiar Pareto bias concern those in the Cabal, at least a little?

Not simply over the matter of lack of qualification, but moreover concerning the propensity for establishing conclusion through the ease of ad hoc and pseudo-theory claims based upon the notion, ‘your mind created this’. A non-testable conclusion which explains everything, anything and nothing, all at the same time. A cadre of psychologists and magicians do not make for good investigators – as they both are experts in abductive inference – which is weak in its bootstrap, methodical and probative strengths.2

What one should note with grave concern, is that those professional groups in red, those who conduct real Karl Popper science based upon authentic disciplines of deduction, probative study and hypothesis, these compose a mere 15 individuals among the 81 skeptics listed. Of even more importance, half (7) of those individuals are also dead! A single engineer and a single mathematician? – yet 35 people who have not set foot in a university or a lab? C’mon guys, you have to do better than this. Does the idea even ever cross your mind to apply skepticism to yourselves?

Notoriety Attained through Invalid Thunder Chamber Promotion

Exhibit 1 to the right, demonstrates the breakout of the celebrity wannabe skeptic lineup in terms of how they attained their current notoriety. 11% of the listed members were inserted into the tally because they actually did something with their lives, of noteworthy accomplishment besides being a skeptic. Only 11%. Let that sink in, and you begin to understand inside this first graph that this is a peer pressure club. A club which foisted its approved names upon an important Wikipedia page, and then inserted the likes of Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, without their permission, in order to assuage their enormous egos. Of this thin margin 11% however, many of the accomplished scientists who employed skepticism as a part of science (how it is supposed to be employed), are now deceased – no longer able to stand up and say ‘No, this is not what I meant by being a skeptic. We were not trying to establish another religion, nor another persecutor of science.’

The notoriety of the skeptics who have inserted themselves into this charade in reality stems merely from active promotion by their club. This club of pretenders composes 86% of the entire listing. The lineup actually includes 70 out of 81 persons who belong to science enthusiast activist congregations like The Skeptics Society, Center for Inquiry or Skeptics in the Pub. An abysmal set of surreptitious contrivances – the epitome of not simply echo chamber, rather of appeal to authority thunder chamber.

Thunder Chamber – an appeal to authority version of echo chamber, much more imperious in its insistence and intimidating in its effect. A club of science communicators – catalyseurs seeking conflict between laypersons and scientists, to enable furtherment of their power as a furtive liaison therein.

This is how they obtained the visibility implied by the Wikipedia lineup – through club authority and intimidation.  It is transparently unethical.

Little Relevant Qualification or History of Professional Accountability

Exhibit 2 outlines the portion of the members listed in the tally, who actually attained a degree or have done work inside a discipline which might even be considered as science. A mere 57% of this group of skeptics maintain a career or background which would allow them to be trained in skepticism or the scientific method in the first place.

43% of this group bears no scientific qualification other than ‘self-identified skeptic’. If you remove the deceased scientists from the qualified group, this number of non-science trained ‘scientific skeptics’ jumps to 49% of the living total roster of ‘science skeptics’. Half of those determining the scientific skeptic worldview, the most vocal half – bear no scientific credential whatsoever.

A full 35 members or 43% of the list (both living and deceased), as you can see in the ‘Relevant Field or Degree’ graphic above right, possess no degree, background nor experience in any professional or social task which would serve to hold them accountable as to their ability to apply skepticism or science. This ‘being held accountable’ in a professional context is a critical qualification when one is evaluating their candidate celebrity skeptic. People who have performed in a career wherein they are regularly held to accountability (skin in the game), tend to act in completely different fashion from people who began their career as performers or celebrities, or have rarely ever had to produce anything other than ‘critiques’ of others. In a social context, one can get away with pretty much anything; much like in high school. Perhaps then it is no coincidence that high school style bullying often becomes a praxis, best method and club milieu of science skeptics.

Hold no Peer Accountability and Tend to Think Like a Stage Performer

Eighteen members of the Exhibit 3 group, or 22% of the entire tally, were stage or even professional magicians or illusionists. Another 21 were podcast hosts or convention organizers. People who get a charge out of manipulative influence tend to nurture a deception game running as a background theme – as this is their life blood. Even if their primary act is to put on a display of magic – under the context of ‘this is an illusion’; make no mistake, a magician craves the heady rush of a deception – and this foible does not end at the stage exit. The more deep and pervasive the fake, the more satisfying the ploy. I am a fan of the ‘It takes one to know one’ method of expertise validation; however all such deliberations are executed inside the context of complete transparency/accountability. In skeptic clubs, and in situations where only unaccountable critique is exercised, these individuals can claim no such congruence with an ‘it takes one to know one’ ethic.  Yes, ‘It Takes a Thief’ – but we do not then appoint that thief, chief of police nor head of the FBI. Heck, even those roles stand under accountability as to their performance. Skeptics are never held to account.

An epistemic commitment to exposing fraud, when executed under the desire to profit, ridicule and sway public opinion by means of publicity stunts, comes commensurate with a bias for self-aggrandizement and hyperbole. Attracting attention to self is not the same thing as marketing, and plays a key role in all such pathologizing of the supposed credulous and woo believer.

It is not a coincidence that nearly half of the celebrity wannabe skeptics in the analysis turned out also to be stage magicians and podcast hosts. This summation did not include those who merely attended or presented at skeptic media events. Take this as a curious warning. The ability to unaccountably control what large numbers of people perceive and believe, is an intoxicating and addictive opiate indeed. If your primary goal is to derive money/attention from such activity, you may make no claim to scientific or skeptical elevation over those you mock or deride.

Are Getting Old as a Group: Either Deceased or Average of 61 Years Age

21% of our tally of famous and wannabe famous skeptics are already dead – as is shown by Exhibit 4 to the right. The rest of the group of 64 are inching closer to their own Kuhn-Planck Paradigm shift event each year. Tick-tock, tick-tock. There are very few individuals in the tally, four to be exact, who are below the age of 35. Of those who are young in the tally few are individuals whom, without enormous social backing, would be desirous to carry forward the torch of the 1972 Skeptic’s Handbook. There are no new Michael Shermer’s and Carl Sagan’s budding within this group of attention-seekers. Most skeptics in the younger group tend to be angry, punk and Goth accentuated podcast hosts – devoid of any qualification; being more concerned about who it is they hate than any particular cause of suffering and enlightenment on the part of mankind.  In my best estimate, zero of these four people will continue inside the formal skeptical movement after the current Cabal dies off.

This does not bode well for social skepticism. Sixteen years left, for your critical thinking fantasy to play out. Each year you can feel your Cabal’s control on the mind of the American public slipping away from your pretend science, corporate apologizing and ignorance cultivating hands.

Few Have Been Involved in Any Actual Science

81% of the list is composed of poseurs who are called in ethical skepticism, Jamais l’a Fait. They have never done science- never been held to account regarding their dispensation of poorly crafted skepticism. This was supposed to be a ‘list of scientific skeptics’ – yet the vast majority of those in the list are not professionally skilled in such a task at all.

Jamais l’a Fait – Never been there. Never done that. Someone pretending to the role of designer, manager or policy maker – when in fact they have never actually done the thing they are pretending to legislate, decide upon or design.. A skeptic who teaches skepticism, but has never made a scientific discovery, nor produced an original thought for them self. Interest rate policy bureaucrats who have never themselves borrowed money to start a business nor been involved in anything but banks and policymaking. User manuals done by third parties, tax laws crafted by people who disfavor people unlike themselves more heavily, hotel rooms designed by people who do not travel much, cars designed by people who have never used bluetooth or a mobile device, etc.

Exhibit 5 shows this most distressing statistic in the entire analytical results set. Inside social skepticism, few of the living members have actually done any real science.

Too Heavily Represented by Psychology and Soft Sciences

Finally, Exhibit 6 shows that the majority (67%) of those in the more valid professional subset of the Wikipedia skeptic lineup, work inside the softer sciences of psychology, medicine and philosophy. If however, you add to this soft science group, those 35 individuals who bear absolutely no science experience whatsoever, you end up with 82% of the entire tally representing persons lacking in deductive and objective scientific experience.

Psychologists who have inchoate activated angry promotion-minded sycophants – bent on telling everyone what to think, under the guise of ‘critical thinking’.

Psychology functions off of inductive and subjective inference and evidence sets. It is not that these disciplines are unimportant or inappropriate, rather simply that – if a group is going to foist a claim to scientific and technological prowess – especially claims of absence, or conclusion that all observations are MiHoDeAL (Misidentifications, Hoaxes, Delusions, Anecdote and Lies) in nature – exorcised inside a context of supposed hard nosed epistemology – deduction and objective science. Then perhaps they should select a membership which is more representative of disciplines which function upon those value sets.

All this cast of Cabal characters is going to do, is to foment conflict between the public and science.
After all, this is what serves to both obscure them from being held accountable,
and as well serves to legitimize their methods and purpose in the eyes of a duped science and lay public.

Inside ethical skepticism, we believe that the appropriate discipline skills, as well as depth of experience, need be brought to bear inside any claim to represent science or the philosophy of science, skepticism. When you excise the legitimate 11% of this Wikipedia celebrity tally, those who actually made a difference in the world before they were ever considered skeptics, the remaining 89% compose a pitiful Cabal, a cast of characters which falls substantially short of what humanity demands from such an important social-scientific entity.

Skeptics, we demand better. You have 16 years left in which to ply your fake wares. You need to up your game.

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July 2, 2019 Posted by | Social Disdain | , | Leave a comment

The Dual-Burden Model of Inferential Ethics

Trust everyone, but cut the deck. So goes the famous apothegm regarding accountability being a double-edged sword. There exist certain logical critical paths in which both the sponsor as well as the null hypothesis defender, each bear the burden of proof of their contention. Inside a sufficiently complex or unknown system domain, a claim to absence of intent must also be proved to a reasonable certainty.

There are certain circumstances wherein, both sides in an argument bear the burden of proof. Let’s elicit this through the game of poker. The rules of poker are formulated around a persistent and robust human foible called cheating. Cheating is the condition where an intelligent mind, chooses to intervene (intent) and insert into a model, a constraint which normally does not exist. An ace card taped under the table or a method of dumping poker chips on insignificant hands, with specific intent to force a weaker-funds player to call a bid or withdraw from the game artificially. These are just two simple examples among many more methods of cheating at card games of chance.1

In signal intelligence, a fairly common form of encryption involves the masking of a transmission, such that it cannot be distinguished from white noise or background static.2 In such instances, finding an intervention inside such stochasticity, a contribution or presence of an external constraint of intent, is the key to detecting an encrypted signal as distinct from the background noise. In such a case of intelligence prosecution – all one need do in order to prove their case, is find one single instance of contrived signal. The signal bears intelligent intent, regardless of how random or ‘intent-lacking’ the rest of the signal might appear. Intent only has to be detected once, in order to falsify its absence.

Intent (Burden of Proof)

/philosophy : science : systems engineering : modeling and simulation/ : a novel constraint which arrives into a chaotic/complex process or a domain of high unknown, which does not originate from the natural background set of constraints, and further serves to produce a consistent pattern of ergodicity – when no feedback connection between outcome and constraint is possible. An intervening constraint in which every reasonable potential cause aside from intelligent derivation has been reduced, even if such constraint is accompanied or concealed by other peer stochastic and non-intent influences.

When one makes or implies a claim to lack of intent, one has made the first scientific claim and cannot therefore be exempted from the burden of proof regarding that claim, nor reside inside the luxury of a false null hypothesis (einfach mechanism).

So, let us then outline the practical ethics (praxis) of how card games are managed in light of such a reality of intent. A praxis which involves a burden of proof that is demanded of both parties in a deliberation.

The Dual-Burden of Intent: Trust Everyone But Cut the Deck

Two distinct conditions of proof exist with regard to poker playing. These conditions involve both the burden of proof of an intent (cheating) as well as proof that the domain is devoid of intent (visibly shuffling the deck of all cards). This double-edged sword of accountability or dual-burden with respect to intent, is outlined below. Both of these claims, bear the simultaneous burden of proof.

Yes, in order to accuse someone of cheating/intent, one bears a burden of at the least inductive plurality, if not proof. However, when one sits at a table to play poker, one is also making an implicit claim to honesty/absence of intent – which also must be proved, each and every hand of cards. Both types of claim explicit and implicit, simultaneously bear the burden of proof.

Claim 1: Accusation of Intent (Detecting the Cheat) – A sponsor must eventually prove intent, this is true. However a sponsor can raise objection and ask for research, even if such proof is not readily available. This according to house rules to prove cheating; to wit:3

If something is non-provable, your best bet is to leave the game and make mention of it to the host or the poker room manager. There won’t be much they can immediately do about it, but they can keep an eye out for it and maybe do something in the future (inductive plurality). If something is provable, you should voice your opinion to the host or poker room manager as soon as possible. If it is something that they’ll need to witness to prove, mention it to them in private so they can begin keeping an eye out for it. If it is something you can immediately prove, you can mention it out loud to the dealer and the table so they can catch the perpetrator immediately (proof).

Claim 2:  Averring Absence of Intent (The Shuffle, Cut and Player Etiquette) – However, lack of intent cannot also be casually assumed – when doubt exists as to the presence of an unseen hand. Inside a sufficiently complex or unknown system, absence of intent must also be proved to a reasonable certainty. In cards, this absence of intent is fairly easy to establish via the quod erat demonstrandum experiments of the shuffle, cut and poker-player etiquette. However, in a large domain of unknown, such a logical proof (one cannot inductively prove a modus absens) is very difficult to attain, and if concluded at all, such conclusion resides at the end of the deliberative process and not its beginning. Such lack of intent cannot be casually assumed from a small set of domain sample; to wit:4

In a player-dealt game, the pack must be shuffled and cut before the cards are dealt. The recommended method to protect the integrity of the game is to have three people involved instead of only two. The dealer on the previous hand takes in the discards and squares up the deck prior to the shuffle. The player on the new dealer’s left shuffles the cards and then slides the pack to the new dealer, who gets them cut by the player on his right. The deck must be riffled a minimum of four times. The cut must leave a minimum of four cards in each portion. The bottom of the deck should be protected so nobody can see the bottom card. This is done by using a cut-card. A joker can be used as a cut-card.

As a note, please resist the temptation to conflate absence of intent (agency) in the methods of science, as being congruent with an absence of intent in the objective system being studied (shuffling analogy above). In all cases, an absence of agency inside the methods of science, must be presumed. In the case of card games of chance cited above, as regards intent of an unseen hand inside a study domain which is chaotic or of large uncertainty – neither intent nor its lack thereof, may be assumed. In this analogy, the game of chance is the object being studied, and the House (Casino) Surveillance is the entity employing the scientific method (ensuring veracity of the ‘studied’ game).

Let’s examine now an example of just such a domain of chaotic and large unknown – inside which we cannot yet aver an absence of intent, nor currently also claim any manifestation of a ‘tampering hand’.

Example Inside Evolutionary Genetics

We are all very familiar with the contentious arguments surrounding whether or not a ‘hand of God’ has either initiated and/or guided evolution. A series of Pew Research Polls showed that most Americans both believe in God, and believe evolutionary theory at the same time.5 Does this serve to imply that all these people are irrational? No, of course not. Sadly, arguments as to the veracity of creation or intelligent design are red herring arguments, simply posed by religious agency. While I suspect that both sides in the extremist Nihilist/Fundamentalist debate have played a role in the inappropriate escalation of these constructs, who originated this agency actually is not my concern; rather simply that these straw men concepts exist to mislead scientist and lay person alike. I do not have to show who crafted a fallacious argument, in order to shoot it down as invalid. The actual deliberation which exists inside of evolutionary genetics is the issue of whether or not intent is a contributing constraint to any one of five observed ergodicity sets (below). Creation, Nihilism, Materialism and Intelligent Design are irrelevant both as arguments and as contexts of research inside science. Intent however, is not.

Before we jump into this issue however, adjudicated in light of our understanding of the dual-burden ethical model above, let me comment that scientifically, I do not care what is determined to be its outcome. I mean I do care; but I divorce that care from my discipline of skepticism and epistemology. When I examine the five issues which are casually and incorrectly called ‘evolution’, I find that I cannot discern sufficient rationale to dismiss intent as a construct, a priori. In this article however we shall focus upon this issue of intent, solely with regard to Human Accelerated Regions (HAR Acceleration in red bold below), as depicted in the graphic to the right; sourced from the Doan-Bae study quoted below.6

Abiogenesis
Ordination
Speciation (Darwinism)
Human Acceleration
Epigentics

These are all separate sub-disciplines, often referred to incorrectly as ‘evolution’. Evolution is a fact, and an observed ergodicity (outcome) – it is not however a religion and should not be defended by hyperbole and apologetics. Evolution does not disprove God, it does not serve to even suggest Nihilism, nor does it prove materialism, does not make a case for atheism, does not disprove aliens nor angels and does not serve in any way shape or form, to comment upon abiogenesis. Be wary of people who seek to conflate one or more of these in terms of inferential outcome.

Most importantly, evolution does not prove, nor need assume, absence of intent.
‘Creation’ and ‘Intelligent Design’ are irrelevant red herring arguments – borne of agency.

Do not engage with people on either side of the argument who inexpertly wield such terminology.

Intent is the salient and sequitur critical path principle. Otherwise we might as well don a costume and start performing magician tricks with intimidating terminology. Watch for people who equivocally imply such derivative conclusions, employing evolution as a weapon word. They are not to be trusted – and you should certainly never get your science from them. I am not a bio-genetics expert, however I do possess sufficient organic chemistry background, and more importantly – decades of professional neural feedback systems modeling and simulation experience – experience directly critical path to genetics. In my layman studies on evolution, and in the few genetic projects I have commissioned or funded (you can find similar on the web, but I am drawing this from my Genes IX graduate course text by Benjamin Lewin), categorical (mutations) DNA changes comprise the following types:7

Base Substitutions:​

Silent – single nucleotide (letter) change, does not materially alter the amino acid expressed​
Missense – single nucleotide (letter) change, alters the amino acid expressed​
Nonsense – single nucleotide (letter) change, results in insertion of a codon stop or methionine start​
Jibberish – single nucleotide (letter) change, results in a chemical coupling which is not A, C, T nor G​
Base Mispairing – any form of anti-parallel base coupling which does not conform to the Watson-Crick rule (A-C, T-G)​

​Structure or Block Changes:​

Insertion – increases a contiguous number of codon bases inside a gene, at a specific edit location​
Deletion – remove a contiguous number of codon bases inside a gene, resplice the new regions on either side​
Duplication – an insertion which is an exact copy of another codon segment of DNA​
Frameshift – an insertion or deletion which does not adhere to a triplet (3 letter) codon basis, thereby changing the frame of codon reference​
Repeat Expansion – an insertion which replicates one codon which is adjacent to the insertion point, a number of times​
Direct Repeat – replication of an identical codon sequence in the same orientation (5′ to 3′), inside the same gene​
Codon Substitution – a non-frameshift segment of DNA is deleted and an insertion is placed into the splice where it resided​
Inversion – a segment of DNA is rotated from its 5′ to 3′ orientation, by 180 degrees​

Now, stepping into the functional-value (use) judgement of any of these above changes – not talking about the mechanics of the mutation, one could suppose then the following value assessment for any given allele, base pair or gene mutation:

Neutral​

Silent – expressive DNA is impacted by mutation but its function is not altered​
Benign – mutation occurs, but no expressive DNA is impacted​

Disadvantageous​

Repression – function altered by missense, (substitution protein) mutation ​
Blocked – all other forms of mutation besides missense and silent which result in loss of a function​

Advantageous​

Fortuitous Degeneration – a Repression, reactivated Benign or Silent, or Blocked which is coincidentally an advantageous adaptive​
Novel (Constructive) – any Base or Structural mutation which results in a new expression which is coincidentally an advantageous adaptive​

A question therefore arises in the genomic modeling (theory of constraints models sufficient to comprehensively and completely describe genetic ergodicity – not just throw out intimidating sounding terms and guess at it) of evolutionary processes:

To what portion does each type of mutation (red in group A above) inside evolution involve Novel Constructive (red in group B above), Fortuitous Degeneration, Neutral and Disadvantageous allele changes? The answer to this would be rather cool to observe and attempt to model. Because if we end up with an extreme representation of Advantageous Novel and Fortuitously Degenerative mutations (say in the 43+ Human Accelerated Regions of our genome for example) – then a priori non-intent evolution has a problem. Which it indeed does…

Human Accelerated Regions (HAR) – of the human genome.

HARs are short, [approximately 270 base pair] on an average, stretches of DNA, [which are] 97% non[protein]coding. They are conserved in vertebrates, including Pan troglodytes, but not in Homo sapiens, in whom the conserved sequences were subjected to significantly, in many cases dramatically, higher rates of single nucleotide substitutions.8 A number of genes, associated with these human-specific alleles, often through novel enhancer activity, were in fact shown to be implicated in human-specific development of certain brain areas, including the prefrontal cortex.9 10

A number of contiguous and single point intron regulatory sequences [2.5% protein coding exon] codon substitution and insertion allele differences, of 270 base pairs in average length, between humans and their last universal common ancestor (LUCA) with hominidae (apes, australopithecines and archaic homo). Non-precedented/de-Novo/non-GenBank, non-feedback-derived, non-stochastic, fatally improbable happenstance of novel first-time ergodicity inside an absence of genetic pressure – occurring simultaneously and all advantageously, 43+ times, all between 60k and 350k years ago (Neanderthal and Denisovan extant pre-archaic only).11 12 13

“Human accelerated regions exhibit regulatory activity during neural development.” (Doan-Bae, et. al.)14 Fourty-three percent of HARs function as neuronal enhancers. HARs are also enriched for de novo copy number variants and biallelic mutations in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.15

This is called Ordination (and of course Acceleration). Darwin did not address either of these facets of evolution. Our domain knowledge of this sub-discipline inside evolution is very scant. One can make no claim herein to a priori exclusions of intent. Given the fortuitous emergence of the 43 Human Accelerated Regions – their regulation of and association with human cerebral, neural and limb articulation expression, Ockham’s Razor plurality has been surpassed. The argument is manifest and the dual-burden proof ethic broaches.

Three rather stark implications develop from this understanding (much of which has arisen since 2018):

1. “Non-coding” regions is a misnomer, because these HAR non-coding regions are coding for morphological changes to the brain, neural development and limb articulation. This is deductive in its implication as to intent.​

2. The pace of these mutations far exceed the Roach-Glusman human mutation rate of 1 per 100,000,000 base pairs every 20 years.16 100 to 300 base pairs should have mutated on average in these regions – and maybe, maybe have served to produce one trivial novel trait of pan troglodytes speciation (a chimp with lighter skin tones, at the extreme). Instead, 12,000 base pairs mutated and every single one of them produced novel, first time, and highly advantageous traits with regard to neural and cerebral development. – In other words, Ordination.

And one is being gracious here by affording these changes 290,000 years inside of which to occur. The vast likelihood is that they all occurred in a shorter time span than even this.

Therefore, materialists are incorrect.

3. One must prove that intent is absent here. Such an input to evolutionary constructs and theory cannot be assumed a priori, nor as the null hypothesis (einfach mechanism).

Science has produced no evidence which rules out intent in the origin nor ascendancy of life on this planet.
However, because of the dual-burden regarding the role of intent in chaotic or large unknown domains –
it does bear the burden of proving that intent is absent (modus absens).

Previously we have even considered within this blog (see Embargo of The Necessary Alternative is Not Science), a deliberate codex which related the second digit of the DNA codon to its linear protein assignment molecule complexity. A codex which could not have evolved, since the codex was required in order to have evolution happen in the first place. Unprecedentable organization, which is arguably deduced to intent. Yet intent is embargoed from science by material nihilists who apply their religious beliefs therein. And as we have observed with regard to other embargoed subjects before:

Intent as a construct, is the necessary alternative.

This is not a case of ‘being smart enough to justify irrational things’ as fake skeptics have begun to issue as a memorized tag-line. If one is unable to discern these things, inferences which are both sound and critical path to the argument, then one has no business telling everyone what science thinks nor what evolution is or is not.

Genomic Intent

Given all this then, dismissing a priori, intent as a part or small contributor inside the ascendancy of life on this planet, is tantamount to a personal religious choice. As an atheist, I respect and understand that personal choice of faith – but I bristle when it is advertised as a conclusion of science. Such is not the case. Science makes no comment upon intent, to the positive or negative. In contrast however, sponsoring intent for Ockham’s Razor consideration, is not a religious choice, rather part of the scientific method. Modus praesens and modus absens are two completely different ethical standards of scientific inference.17 Those who insist that modus absens (intent is comprehensively absent) has been proved, are simply wrong. The standard to prove modus absens is very high – and most science communicators and enthusiasts do not understand this. So employing one’s personal religious choice that intent cannot exist, in order to squelch the scientific method – is disingenuous. A scientist ethically should say ‘Not so fast’.

Neither is intent then pareidolia nor apophenia. Intent can be established by both science and a court of law, without knowing who bore the intention – and by means of only examining the patterns of inferential suggestion therein. Presence of intent can be inferred inductively – absence of intent cannot. Such deliberation is a must in information technology, hacking and murder prosecutions. I do not have to say where the intent came from, and indeed should not conjecture such – until I have a scientific mechanism and hypothesis which is mature and can be pursued by research. I do not have to prove intent from the beginning of space or time, nor where it originated. I only have to spot it once. In order to prove that an encrypted signal of noise bears intelligence (as an intelligence officer), I only need demonstrate one translated segment. I do not need to prove who sent it, nor that the rest of the transmission was or was not intelligence. I only have to provide veracity for that one segment.

Intent is a white crow standard of inference.

Intent is also not a means to fill a gap in scientific understanding with a ‘God of the Gaps’ argument. Such contentions are dilettante and shallow; often constituting propaganda speak on the part of amateur science enthusiasts. The 43 human accelerated regions (HAR) for instance are critical path to this argument regarding intent. The ‘gap’ in the case of HARs is 95% of the knowledge domain; so this in no way constitutes a small shortfall in understanding. No one is pretending to fill that gaping absence of domain knowledge with an intelligent designer; as that is the habit of two opposing agencies who control argument around this issue. They are both wrong in such religious pandering. In science we are trying to extricate ourselves from religion, not jump from one religion into another.

Yes, eventually we would prefer to identify the intender – maybe even one which is dead and gone now, or perhaps left us all alone. However we have to accept the reality that we may never actually resolve such understanding. We may be stuck inside ‘intent without identified intender’ for centuries. Nonetheless, science does not answer every question all at once. Such amateur insistences constitute a non rectum agitur fallacy – forcing every question to be answered before any question can be answered. Science does not work in this manner. Questions are answered incrementally – along a critical path of inference. Understanding this is critical to any claim or implication to be scientifically literate. I am an atheist; however, I cannot ethically throw out the construct of intent, just because my socially-primed buddies and I are emotionally upset about the idea of an ‘Intender’ – that is not fair to science, not fair to humanity – to force one church’s doctrinal anger upon everyone around us. Just because a few peoples’ terror-filled urges scream “There is no Intender!”, does not mean that science and humanity must thereafter cower in the shadow of that imperious religious insistence. We learned this lesson when Christianity controlled science. I do not want another religion sneaking in and doing this to us again.

If intent is here, even if tucked away and hard to find, I want it found. As an ethical skeptic, I will stand up for that human right: The Right to Know.

     How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Dual-Burden Model of Inferential Ethics”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 30 June 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9XK

June 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , | Leave a comment

The Demarcation of Skepticism

A competent understanding of the demarcation of what constitutes skepticism, is absolutely essential to the ethical skeptic’s ability to spot agency and agency’s poseur. I don’t know exactly how to define skepticism, but I know it when I am in it. This is the purpose of the four demarcation boundaries of skepticism.

While significant debate exists as to what indeed constitutes a suitable definition of skepticism, meantime this does not prevent flurries of false definitions to be bandied about by social skeptics, featuring intimidating equivocal concepts such as ‘doubt’, ‘scrutinizing claims’ or ‘applying the methods of science’. While such constructs involve failed attempts to define skepticism on the part of agenda-laden amateurs, these are not concepts which actually pertain to, nor more importantly serve to demark what is indeed skepticism.

Skepticism is not ‘doubt’ as doubt is a destination and attitude toward a construct, observation or idea; skepticism is not a destination nor attitude toward anything (except agency) – rather it is the journey.

Skepticism is not ‘scrutiny’ as scrutiny is applying one’s existing knowledge in attempt to force inference. Such is foolishness. Skepticism is going and looking; an innate dissatisfaction with existing knowledge and breached critical inference.

Nor is skepticism ‘applying the methods of science’. Skepticism is philosophy, whereas it is science which ‘applies of the methods of science’ and not skepticism. Philosophy cannot step in and pretend to act in lieu of science.

Thus the ethical skeptic faces the realization that most of the skeptic world is composed of fakers, amateurs, agenda pushers and poseurs. A sad matter of affairs. However, perhaps we can outline certain precepts which serve to demark true skepticism, rather than define it per se. This according to the Popper principle that a demarcation can be identified, even in absence of a suitable definition to which all agree, about that which resides on either extreme of the demarcation itself.1

I may not be able to define love, but I know when I am in it.

This familiar quip concerning love, is a great example of the principle of a demarcation (albeit a personal observer-effected version of one). Of such fabric of quandary is the nature of skepticism as well. Moreover, this visceral boundary is laid to threshold by means four key indicators (below). Flags which serve to elicit whether the arguer is operating inside of, or outside of, skepticism. Although I am of the opinion that skepticism can be objectively defined, sometimes a demarcation guideline is much more effective in highlighting the chicanery those who have mis-defined it, for sordid purposes – warning flags for the ethical skeptic.

The Demarcation of Skepticism

I.  Once plurality is necessary under Ockham’s Razor, it cannot be dismissed by means of skepticism alone.

II.  Casual Inference and Risk – once plurality of risk is necessary under Ockham’s Razor, he who aspires to dismiss it must be 100% rigorous on the strength of the critical logic, supporting study as well as probative strength of the mode and form of inference draw.

a.  There is no such thing as casual or ad hoc plausible denial under Ockham’s Razor plurality.

b.  There is no such thing as casual, ad hoc nor virtuous dismissal of precaution under Ockham’s Razor plurality. When an innocent stakeholder is placed at risk, this must be done under a condition of 100% knowledge of such risks, combined with the vigilance to recognize and measure the impact of hazard outcomes.

c.  Virtue and the presence of other theoretical counter-risks, are not sufficient rationale to abandon a. and b. under a condition of Ockham’s Razor plurality.

III.  Corber’s Burden – the mantle of ethics undertaken when one claims the role of representing conclusive scientific truth, ascertained by means other than science, such as ‘rational thinking,’ ‘critical thinking,’ ‘common sense,’ or skeptical doubt. An authoritative claim or implication as to possessing knowledge of a complete set of that which is incorrect. The nature of such a claim to authority on one’s part demands that the skeptic who assumes such a role be 100% correct. If however, one cannot be assured of being 100% correct, then the poseur must tender a similitude of such.

a.  When one tenders an authoritative claim as to what is incorrect – one must be perfectly correct.

b.  When a person or organization claims to be an authority on all that is bunk, their credibility decays in inverse exponential proportion to the number of subjects in which authority is claimed.

c.  A sufficiently large or comprehensive set of claims to conclusive evidence in denial, is indistinguishable from an appeal to authority.

IV.  If one exclusively fails to police one’s own groupthink, one is not a skeptic.

For the ethical skeptic, these are the indicators of true skepticism. Clumsy doubters who regularly stumble across these demarcation lines, are not skeptics – rather most often, clowns and celebrities, pushing agency and targeting those they hate.

     How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Demarcation of Skepticism”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 22 June 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9WC

June 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | Leave a comment

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