The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

What Happens After?

Who is more terrified by the possibility of disclosure of alien life? Skeptics contend that it is the public at large which ‘risks going bonkers’ under the existential tumult of such a discovery. However, increasingly it is the open-minded and curious publican who regards the fake skeptic as the agency at risk of such duress.  What will so-called skeptics do with their endless plagiarized articles and investments into denial? In what ways will they adjust their propaganda in order to preserve their power? In short, we deal inside this article with the critical question of disclosure: What happens after?

The term ‘disclosure’ is one of those rare instances wherein a single word suffices to embody an entire composite of endeavor surrounding a single idea – the validation of alien life as a fact based and accepted reality for mankind. Journey with me for a while down the path of contemplation regarding this subject of disclosure. One hinging upon speculation to be sure; but also one of actual sponsorship science method. A pathway irrationally shunned by the typical consumer of Shermer, Nickell or the Skeptical Inquirer – the comic posturing of such celebrity dispatch, standing as decisive rationale supporting the idea to undertake consideration of the very journey itself.

No other subject in the entire litany of human existence, aside from sex, elicits so much visceral reaction from various agencies of mankind. It is as if we built a gigantic box in the middle of town square, fully clad in yellow police line tape, and placed a crier with a sounding bell on top of it, exclaiming ‘Don’t look inside this box!’ Disclosure. If experts in the martial art of cynicism rank a subject as their number one target of evisceration, then you should probably look into it and find out why. How does that old adage go?

It is said that a secret not worth sharing, is a secret not worth keeping. In this same vein perhaps, a disdained topic not worth studying, is also a topic not worth embargoing.

And should you agree to partake here along my suggested per hoc aditum sojourn of reason, you may find the comforting compartments of your mind slightly broached from this point forward. This is a healthy thing. The key to intelligence resides in the ability to stay grounded, but most importantly also not be afraid of what you may find.

If skeptics have invested so much effort into mandating that a subject is not worth knowing, then perhaps it behooves the ethical skeptic to investigate that which is not worth knowing, so that he can know exactly what it is he is supposed to not-know.

And so, this is what we as ethical skeptics do. When everyone says that ‘you can research anywhere you please, but the windfall-of-truth does not reside in there’ – that ‘there’ is indeed often the first place he or she should look. In keeping with such philosophy then, consider with me for a moment the possibility that mankind will sooner or later detect and/or be forced to disclose, the existence of extraterrestrial life inside our galaxy – and very possibly even, ‘nearby’. Inside this journey we will apply our study on the existential natures of mankind, and how those might both impact, and be impacted by discovery of life in our local universe. If you are part of the Cabal of critical thinkers who now regard me as a ‘believer’, for the mere sin of undertaking such contemplation, then stop reading right now and go elsewhere. There are thousands of regurgitated echochamber ‘articles’ though which you may comfort your self (again). I am not a believer in aliens. I do not pretend to know any particular truth about either the potential nor nature of any exceptional life form. Rather, as you will find herein, I am an observer of man – his foibles, power lust, avarice and tendencies towards self-deception.

The Two Types of Disclosure

An article by Yasemin Saplakoglu, former intern for Scientific American, published in an editorial from February 2018, partitioned the topic of discovery/disclosure of alien life into two macroscopic buckets: One entitled for our purposes ‘Threatening Disclosure’, and the other entitled ‘Less-Threatening Discovery’.1 ‘Threatening to whom?’ is of course the critical question. The only parties threatened by the disclosure of alien life are larger governments and those heavily invested into an a priori conclusion on the topic; i.e. fake skeptics. The common person kinda already suspects the reality; therefore, I suppose the public at large will not be as threatened as will be those skeptics who seem to have the most emotional investment in the right answer regarding this issue. A shift of blame as to who is actually threatened most, from fake skeptic to public-at-large, is expressed no better than by Seth Shostak in that very same Scientific American article.

“There’s this feeling amongst the public—a very large fraction of the public—that the discovery of intelligent life at least would be kept secret by the government because otherwise everybody would just go bonkers,” says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who was not involved with the study. Perhaps it might make sense for our brains—tuned by millions of years of evolution to be wary of predators—to freak out over immensely powerful alien beings arriving on our cosmic doorstep from parts unknown.

But let’s say the situation hasn’t gone full “alien invasion” yet and malevolent starships aren’t sailing toward Earth, but rather we have read news of a definitive discovery of extraterrestrial life. How might we react then? Psychologists at Arizona State University (A.S.U.) used language-analyzing software to gauge feelings associated with 15 news articles about past discoveries that could have potentially been attributed to extraterrestrial life—reports covering items such as newfound Earth-like planets, mysterious astrophysical phenomena and possible life found on Mars.

Any study of potential detection or disclosure of alien life, as it turns out, constitutes merely a pretext for a deeper study in the character of man. The more we look into the cosmos, the more in a sense, we see ourselves staring back. This Nitzschean insight might very well happen well before we, and especially our science communicators, are fully prepared with ready-explanations for such an event. In the celebrated 1970’s western High Plains Drifter we find a related key existential question being posed. Set upon by the burden of anticipating an upcoming deadly conflict between citizens of the mining town of Lago, and three marauding gunfighters, one of the town folk (played by Billy Curtis) inquires of the gun-slinging hero (played by director Clint Eastwood), as to what happens after the big day of the battle is over. (Photos above and to the right property of Universal Studios, Fair Use employment – 17 U.S.C. § 107)2

Mordecai:  What happens after? What do we do when it’s over?

The Stranger:  Then you live with it.

Within this article we contemplate, not simply the visceral and immediate reactions on the part of various factions inside mankind, such as were outlined in the infamous Brooking’s Institute Report,3 but rather – the long term chronic existential stress involved and how such realization will express itself inside mankind’s institutes and durable social fabric. Accordingly, the ‘Brooking’s Report’ briefly touched on the danger of just such a discovery with regard to those who ‘have their minds made up as to how thing are’, thusly.

Societies (agency) sure of their own place in the universe have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed.

How will we as a collection of societies react to various scenarios of detection or disclosure? Who will change and who will disintegrate? How will various factions live with such knowledge? How will various agency respond; and in particular, heavily invested fake skeptics – so sure of their near-total grasp of the natural realm? How will they adjust their propaganda in order to preserve power (and no doubt they will)? In short, given their past embargoes and nefarious activities, what can we anticipate to hear from social skeptics, once the reality of (nearby) alien life has irrevocably impacted our perception of our relationship to the cosmos at large?

What We Can Expect to Hear from Skeptics Threatened by Detection or Disclosure

Thus in keeping with the framework outlined by Scientific American’s Saplakoglu, we will divide the potential response by social skepticism into two groupings. First, their response talking points under a context of Post-Detection Protocol (Saplakoglu’s ‘Less Threatening’ scenario), and then secondly, their response under the more visceral condition of Post-Disclosure Protocol (Saplakoglu’s ‘Threatening’ scenario). Given the more orderly and power-preserving path of the former, one would anticipate this to constitute the pathway of choice on the part of professional skeptics. But you know, the universe, or a higher form of intelligence therein, might just have a different agenda in mind. Should the process of disclosure be forced from a government or an outside influence, expect three phases of denial to be undertaken by social skepticism:  Pseudo-Skepticism, which progresses on to Exculpatory Apologetica and/or an Appeal to their Authority as Skeptics.

A.  Fake Skeptics’ Post-Detection Protocol (Less Threatening Scenario)

Any kind of post-detection protocol will involve two categories of incremental scientific discovery, as outlined below:

Subjacent Life – technological detection of viral, microbial, plant or animated lower life forms nearby to Earth

Passive Superordinate – observation in the cosmos: intelligent signals, technological signatures, device noise, macroenergetic activity, purposeful beacons, war, transportation effects

You can expect skeptics to fight tooth and nail against any potential disclosure of life on the surface of Mars, or inside an ancient space rock for instance. Even though social skeptics posture as if they are looking for signals from space, such activity merely constitutes Nelsonian Inference and Cultivated Ignorance. It is a way of saying ‘look ma’ there’s nothing here!’. In such a circumstance, we have already seen – not a parsimonious defense of science – but rather a religious and angry reaction to any and all speculation that testing for signs of life might be warranted in the case of a planetary surface rover or inside a collected meteoroid artifact. Expect such policy to exhibit stickiness, especially as regards institutions which are most highly connected to, or influenced by, fake and celebrity skeptics.

The Subjacent or Passive Superordinate Response

Skeptics will fight (often right alongside Bible-thumpers) to squelch the disclosure of detection of any form of subjacent life. Post-Detection quotes, many which are also correct, but only stand as exculpatory rhetoric in the case of bullying skeptics, will include:


These fossils originated from Earth in an ancient meteor strike, casting life-containing rock into space.
These findings have not been reviewed by real scientists (antagonistic peers).
The publishers feared or refused to use the scientific method (peer review by antagonistic peers).
They published the report in a minor or questionable journal.
Experts have not certified that the signals contain any form of recognized intelligence or structure.
These findings need to undergo replication, which they have not.
The evidence was ‘contaminated’ (not understanding what that even means).
This is simply one anecdote.
The authors are believers and/or are not credible.
If anything of merit existed therein, scientists would be all over this (see Myth of the Excited Scientists)

See also:

The Lyintific Method: Ten Commandments of Fake Science
The New Debunker: Pseudo-Skeptic Sleuth
Myth of the Excited Scientists

Exculpatory Apologetica

Only conspiracy theorists or anti-science shills bring up these myths of our refusal to acknowledge this.
Where are all the old articles? We need recitation (pretending that the old wives tale paradigm never existed).
“The science arrived right on time” baloney.
Scientists always scoff at the first introduction of a new or unproven idea.
The discovery was accepted right on schedule, and only after appropriate initial skepticism.
The history of denial and pseudo-skepticism cited is mythical.
The lacking number of consensus citations did not merit the idea’s consideration at the time.
Even the discoverers had some doubts and conflicting evidence early on.
The ‘scientific method’ and standards of progression were not followed or took time to execute properly and by the right people.
It had to be replicated (ignoring the decades of refusal to do so).
Time was required to ensure that the discovery showed as reliable and repeatable.
Peer review was a necessary task which could not be rushed.
This was not a simple task.
A case for absolute proof needed to be established.

See also:

What’s the Harm: The Lifecycle of Fake Skepticism

B.  Fake Skeptics’ Post-Disclosure Protocol (Threatening Scenario)

This more visceral scenario of disclosure or even worse, forced disclosure will not only serve to destroy the 1972 fake skepticism movement, but moreover the psychologies of the individuals within those affiliated movements. Any form of Post-Disclosure scenario will involve either a disclosure on the part of a social institution of authority, or the forced disclosure by the subject entities themselves. Either evolution will shake the foundations of the smartest people in the room. This will transpire as one of the following two speciations of event.

Local Superordinate – Admission by a leader of a nation that direct contact, interplay, engagement or competition with extra-terrestrial life, present on Earth, has been, is, and/or will be ongoing.

Supernumenal or Other – A unilateral and unequivocal action on the part of some form of higher intelligence, results in purposeful disclosure of its presence to the majority of the planet.

These are the scenarios we speak of when we as ethical skeptics talk about ‘a disdained topic not worth studying, is also not worth embargoing‘. These topics are heavily embargoed, and an enormous amount of resource is input into their suppression. Yet, the curious and non-threatening existential nature of the actual topic exposes the ludicrous psychology wound up therein. In that light, let’s take a look at a magazine article in a key science and skepticism publication of a future in which a Local Superordinate event has transpired.

The Local Superordinate or Supernumenal Response

Fake skeptics, feel free to copy and paste as you need – and advertise as if this were your own original thinking. You guys are really good at that. The following is extracted from Skeptic Eurmerican magazine, March 2033. Celebrity editorialist Seth Shermer has returned from retirement, inspired by his disgust over announcements of ‘alien contact’ and the like – in order to strike some sense into wayward and credulous voters and their equally credulous elected anti-science officials.

Appeal to Skepticism (Authority)

Bottom Line: The battle against cultivated ignorance will not end, with Disclosure. Skeptics will apply their appeal to authority under 95% of its scenarios. What follows, is an example of the cheap pulp editorial one should anticipate; the shallow Appeal to Skepticism (Authority) drivel which will follow such an Event. This is what happens after.

Does the article above look familiar? It should, its ilk is lazily promulgated daily in compliance enforcing tabloids worldwide. The articles target 756 subjects, many linking back to a common theme – which threatens their religion, sol-nihilism. What the ethical skeptic should infer from this process outlined under the two forms of threat-disclosure above, is that the progression from 1. Pseudo-Skepticism, to 2. Exculpatory Apologetica and finally to 3. Appeal to Skepticism (Authority) – when purposed to squelch, obfuscate and stall – are indeed hints that the ‘skeptic’ is not a skeptic at all. Our prior engagement with Abrahamism proved to mankind that such a process of activity, stems from existential terror alone. We crafted gods from our terror of being alone, and now we are terrified of not being alone? …or maybe, someone is terrified of the plans those agencies have in mind?

They are employing techniques of methodical cynicism in order to screen specifics from their reality; specific Nelsonian knowledge of which someone is enormously terrified.

Such Existential Skeptical Terror Begs the Question: Is Mankind Then Ready or Perhaps Even Sustainable?

So, given our well-evidenced and abject resistance to this subject, the inability of our smartest people in the room to ‘live with it’? – Regardless of the evidence to the pro or contrary (I am not rating the quality of such evidence here in this article), what does this portend for us as a species and what does this communicate to any erstwhile aliens who might be monitoring us from nearby?

1.  Visceral reaction versus chronic existential stress

Mankind is ready to handle the visceral reaction of a Supernumenal Disclosure event; however socially we are not yet mature enough to handle the chronic existential stress which might result. In other words, we won’t destruct a mere week after such an announcement – rather we would implode from psychotic denial and crises of competence, a couple decades or even a century after the disclosure event. We would lose our unique soul as a species.

The fear exhibited by our arch skeptics, very visibly inside the media, should make any erstwhile species out there who is pondering an involuntary disclosure, think twice or three times before considering such an event.

2.  We are a religious people

We tend to adopt gods like a cat lady adopts cats. We thirst for gods. Even in the circumstance where we pat ourselves on the back for having only one of them. They do not even have to be personified – we adopt them. We appoint them. We crave them. Any ethical civilization knows that – to pretend inside a role as god, to a lesser being – is probably one of the most heinous acts which can be committed by a creature or society. For this reason at the very least, they must refuse to interact with us.

3.  Grief does not fade, only our perception of it

We know ourselves much less accurately and deeply than we believe. Grief never fades, it simply grows less intense in comparison to what has transpired since. Just like the days seem shorter and shorter as we age, yet they are not – so too, permanent is our grief. Grief over our dethroning as the Apple of God’s eye. Grief as to our apparent non-parity in the universe. Grief over our having to depend upon another race, in order to propel ourselves to the stars. Grief over the inevitable loss of our genetic identity in the ensuing eons. Grief over the loss of primacy of our Tolstoy, Joyce, Pauli, Dostoevsky and Einstein – and most of all the celebrity of being the smartest person in the room.

No, the aliens (per hoc aditum) are a full two orders of magnitude smarter than are you, and they could care less about you ‘skeptic’. What a sound dethroning that will be.

Perhaps a grief they know well from experience, experience derived from a hundred civilizations who have come this pathway before. You see it is a formula after all.

Perhaps a grief of which we are already subconsciously aware inside ourselves. Perhaps a grief, long ago a memory of an edifice building mankind.

“It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid.” ~The Stranger, High Plains Drifter

Ethical Skepticism, it is all about courage. Courage of method. Courage of existential need, of which one may not even be fully conscious.

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

Nelsonian Inference and Cultivated Ignorance

Nelsonian knowledge is the virtual forbidden knowledge, which betrays its possession through one’s exacting efforts to avoid it in the first place. Nelsonian knowledge involves a keen prowess in knowing what to not-know, where to not-look and how not-to-look at it. As regards the poseur, intelligence cannot be derived from the ‘reliable’ sources they choose to examine. Rather it is those sources which they conspicuously choose to avoid, which tend to offer the greatest probative potential.

The Riddle of Not-Knowledge

When I was little my parents used to set up an elaborate play each Easter. My Dad would compete with my brother and I in the hunting of Easter Eggs in our backyard. Each spring we would get out our baskets after church, and set our minds ready to find as many decorated eggs or chocolates as we could muster, hidden in various places in the backyard. After all the hunting was over, Dad would without exception, come in an abysmal last place as compared to the parity in haul attained by my brother and me. It took a couple years before we finally began to wonder, since our parents had hidden all the decorated eggs and chocolates in the first place, why my Dad was so abysmally poor at then finding them. He would inevitably end up with only 1 or 2 eggs. What a terrible Easter Egg hunter my Dad was! Eventually I figured out that my Dad was avoiding all the spots where the eggs actually were hidden; in the end, only ‘finding’ those eggs we did not find. He was simply doing cleanup duty and putting on a fun charade for us kids.

One year my Dad ‘found’ an Easter Egg hidden from the previous year. Curious as to why we found 25 eggs when he had hidden only 24, its was an unforgettably entertaining moment for two little boys when he cracked open that extra egg in order to eat it.

Now the term ‘Nelsonian knowledge’ (and inference) is derived from a tale told of Admiral Horatio Nelson of the British Navy. A colorful tradition has been derived from this legend derived purportedly from the Battle of Copenhagen: wherein being informed of a command signal to cease action and retreat, holding a telescope to his blind eye, Nelson exclaimed, “I really do not see the signal!”1 Similar doctrine and result can be advanced in politics through a form of governance called Tyflocracy (blind-eye government). Either way, Nelsonian knowledge involves a keen prowess in knowing what to not-know, where to not-look and how not-to-look at it.

It is said that a secret not worth sharing, is not worth keeping. In this same vein, a forbidden topic not worth studying, is not worth squelching.

Later in life, while advising a company encountering problems with fraud-embezzlement, the company’s CFO was implicated in the embezzlement, not because she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar per se – but rather, because of her conspicuous absence at every critical meeting and detachment from every decision point in which the fraud mechanisms were approved/executed. In other words, although she did not personally reap any proceeds from the fraud, her knowledge of the fraud was betrayed by those meetings and decisions points she avoided, and not prima facia by those inside of which she was present. Hers’ was a crime of virtual knowledge; investigators amazed at her skill in avoiding such a pervasive deceptive element under her professional purview. This ‘amazing skill’ involved a knowledge called Nelsonian knowledge. One betrays their possession of Nelsonian knowledge, through their robust efforts undertaken to avoid it. And just like my father, who managed to search every single darn spot in the backyard in which an Easter Egg was not located, her exacting efforts to avoid all facets of the fraud, demonstrated her intimate knowledge of the fraud itself.

The Riddle of Nelsonian Knowledge

It behooves the holder of Nelsonian knowledge to know more about this embargoed knowledge than would be reasonably expected inside standard ignorance. The irony with Nelsonian knowledge is that it demands of its ‘ignorant party’ a detailed awareness of schema, its depth and a flawless monitoring, which is unparalleled in official knowledge.

If our desire to avoid so-called ‘baseless pseudoscience’ is as casual as we imply;
casual to such an extent so as to justify our complete disinterest in it as a species,
then why is our knowledge of specifically what is forbidden-to-study, so damned accurate and thorough?

If it is all worthless fodder, then why are its opponents so well organized, trained and armed?

Such knowledge is called ‘contrived ignorance’ or Nelsonian knowledge and inference.2 Nelsonian inference would be the treasure digs and trail in blue on the treasure map above, while the Nelsonian knowledge would be the treasure map itself. Such is the game played by our most talented ‘skeptics’. Their ability to conspicuously look only at evidence which will show them to be correct (what they call ‘reliable’ sources), betrays that they bear virtual knowledge of that which so threatens their very being (probative sources). A terror so deep, that they would willingly deceive themselves in the process of deceiving others (see The New Debunker: Pseudo-Skeptic Sleuth)

Nelsonian Knowledge (Inference)

/philosophy : pretense : knowledge obfuscation/ : both, that knowledge which is used as a placeholder for the sole purpose of displacing other critical knowledge which could ostensibly serve to alleviate ignorance (and therefore suffering) – as well as, that displaced critical knowledge itself. The latter is taken to actually be known on the part of a poseur. It is dishonest for a man deliberately to shut his eyes to principles/intelligence which he would prefer not to know. If he does so, he is taken to have actual knowledge of the facts to which he shut his eyes. Such knowledge has been described as ‘Nelsonian knowledge’, meaning knowledge which is attributed to a person as a consequence of his ‘wilful blindness’ or (as American legal analysts describe it) ‘contrived ignorance’.

Nelsonian knowledge goes a step further than does mere wilful ignorance however, in that Nelsonian knowledge is both a meticulous absence of knowledge found, as well as that knowledge or activity which is used as a substitute in its place (or to displace it to begin with). However, when the tactics of Nelsonian knowledge are deployed on a social scale, such an effort is known as cultivated ignorance. Remember that in all these contexts however, the word ignorance is a verb.

Not-Knowledge and Cultivated Ignorance

When Nelsonian knowledge becomes a goal of a cult, institution, academia or society as a whole, such activities and the resulting sets of ‘wisdom’ constitute a wholly new entity called cultivated ignorance. This form of ignorance does not constitute any kind of nescience – the accidental ignorance which is a result of inexperience or being a novel player. Rather, cultivated ignorance is a form of pluralistic ignorance which is crafted purposefully as a means of establishing control of a population. A means of influence and oppression which avoids the appearances of conspiracy theory; through tactics of false or semi-true slogans, the five mechanisms of the professional lie, fake science principles, compartmentalization, disinformation, partial information, counter-intelligence, social skeptic patrols and media control. As I mentioned above, ignorance is a verb in this context. It is cultivated when the population is trained to avoid those avenues through which they might receive contrary information to that which is being promoted by the Cabal in the first place. First mastered by Abrahamic religions, the torch of managing cultivated ignorance has been passed to academic nihilists, oligarchs and their global-socialist governance partners.

Cultivated Ignorance

/philosophy : counterintelligence : Nelsonian knowledge/ : the purposeful spread and promotion or enforcement of Nelsonian knowledge and inference. Official knowledge or Omega Hypothesis which is employed to displace/squelch both embargoed knowledge and the entities who research such topics. Often the product of a combination of pluralistic ignorance and the Lindy Effect, its purpose is to socially minimize the number of true experts within a given field of study. This in order to ensure that an embargoed topic is never seriously researched by more members of the body of science than Michael Shermer’s ‘dismissible margin’ of researchers. By acting as the Malcolm Gladwell connectors, and under the moniker of ‘skeptics’, Social Skeptics can then leverage the popular mutual ignorance of the members and begin to spin misconceptions as to what expert scientists think. Moreover, then cultivate these falsehoods among scientists and the media at large. True experts who dissent are then intimidated and must remain quiet so as not to seem anathema, nor risk possibly being declared fringe by the patrolling Cabal of fake skeptics.

Cultivated ignorance is the effort on the part of social skepticism, to promote invalid forms of inference – forms of inference which only serve to obfuscate and block knowledge, not derive it.  It is the set of inferences at the bottom of The Map of Inference. Its expressions include abductive, panductive, revelatory and critical thinking forms of inference. In other words, ‘ways to not know’.

Nelsonian Inferences – Ways to Not Know

This is only part of the reason why we as mankind, are clueless as to critical issues of our being. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are there mysteries of which everyone is aware, yet no one seems to want to urgently solve, or even solve at all?

Not-knowledge is a peer to knowledge. And if not-knowledge is based upon risky stacks of linear induction, is employed as a political weapon, or is based upon Nelsonian inference, then it is our job to challenge not-knowledge as well.

Nelsonian knowledge. As an ethical skeptic, never allow yourself nor anyone in your organization, to work under such a principle. Ignorance causes suffering.

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March 7, 2019 Posted by | Tradecraft SSkepticism | , | 2 Comments

The Map of Inference

Submitted for your consideration, The Ethical Skeptic’s Map of Inference. Not all modes of inference are alike in merit. It behooves an ethical skeptic to study and understand the difference between strong and weak versions of science, and further then recognize invalid forms of inference masquerading as science.

The methods of inference are listed by strength of inferential merit, as outlined in the successive columns to the right of each mode. The table begins with the essential nature of modus ponens and tollens (pink orange background), the syllogism to the affirmation or negation which is being tested by the means of inference cited. To the left of the syllogism is its appropriateness for declaring a state/object of neutrality, presence or absence. As you may note, you cannot prove an absence, so that column (modus absens) is flagged with either red X’s or a caution warning, even in the case of the most robust form of induction, consilient induction. The ethic of the null hypothesis, resides in the first two boxes under modus absens above the Popper Demarcation. You will notice that ‘skin in the game’ gets more diluted as one moves downward on the chart. Methodical Deescalation is the process of using a lower form of inference (towards the bottom of the chart) as preferential, when a higher rigor of inference was demanded or available to use. Such a tactic is a common trick of agency employing science as a costume. (Click on the image to obtain a white background savable/clearer image)

One may notice that fake skeptics tend to dwell at the very bottom of this chart – where inference comes from basically ‘what one desires to be true’ – subsequently blaming their ex ante and a priori risks upon a thing they call ‘science’ or ‘facts’. In reality, such inference dwells with its twin, (divine) revelation. Critical thinking is nothing more than divine revelation, sans the divinity.

Linear induction is the weakest form of scientific inference, the last stop before venturing into Nelsonian inference (or pseudoscience). A meta-study, comprising 400 linear inductive studies, is still a weak form of inference regardless of what anyone tells you. The key to a meta-study’s reputed strength, resides inside its ability to amass studies all up and down the inference ranking below – and not simply aggregate inside one mode of inference (usually the lowest: ex ante statistical linear induction). Beware of ‘meta-studies’ which do not actually do this – they are no more strong than is abductive inference. Beware of anyone calling this ‘verisimilitude’; a priori verisimilitude is only valid when one draws from all or most of the forms of inference listed.

Agency and Percent of Domain Known

Please note that the above modes of inference vary in their strength depending upon two more subjective situational factors (difficult to express in the above Map). First the known portion of the domain under consideration is a critical influence upon the effectiveness of most form of inference.  Linear induction can be self deceiving if mankind has only delved about 1% into an entailed information horizon. Take the notorious case of Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction for instance. This instance of erroneous inductive inference even involved some consilience. But the domain was large, and our foray into its knowledge base was very paltry. In the case of a large domain, with little known of it, one should stay toward the top of this chart and not venture towards the bottom (save for a healthy dose of modus indifferens).

A second subjective factor which comes into play is the role and impact of agency. Agency is not conspiracy, as conspiracy is hidden and agency is manifest. It is simply that the individual hides their commitment to agency. So, in a way, agency is a ‘conspiracy of one’ if you will. When a person is surreptitiously defending agency, they will tend to hover around the bottom of this Map of Inference. Watch for, and be wary of such individuals and their habits, as they have something else in mind besides knowledge. A key example follows.

Schemers, Agency and A Conspiracy of One

For instance, most paranormal researchers dwell in the riskier realms of scientific inference, only producing a strength in draw which is modus indifferens or inductively suggestive at best. Such topics may indeed be fun (wonder instilling) and many times actually surpass Ockham’s Razor, but until science actually gets involved, these subjects will not begin to strengthen their rigor in inference. They will dwell in perpetual prison of ignorance (the verb). Fake skeptics know this well. One can see the ranges of inference used by paranormal investigators on the left below. In contrast, on the right one can see the poor quality science which is handed to us all by fake skeptics.

You will notice that the ethical skeptic is an obtollent. Latin ob – against, plus tollens – denial. Fake skeptics love to play and ply their wares in column 3 of the Map – applying science to deny that things exist (prove the null, or prove absence) – when such activity is unethical, infeasible or even unnecessary. They seek to remove any question of modus indifferens at all costs. An ethical researcher stays out of column 3 (Hempel’s Paradox) – whereas a fake researcher dwells in it most of the time.

Obtollence (The Principle of Ethical Skepticism)

/philosophy : skepticism : opposition to cyncism/ : Latin ob – against, plus tollens – denial. Fake skeptics love to ply their wares in proving an absence (Hempel’s Paradox) – applying science to deny that things exist (prove the null, or prove absence); when such activity is unethical, impossible or even unnecessary. They seek to remove any question of modus indifferens (the neutrality of skepticism) at all costs. An ethical researcher avoids any form of Hempel’s Paradox – whereas a fake researcher dwells in it most of the time.

Fake skeptics as well, tend to dwell at the bottom of the Map of Inference, inside a realm of fake knowledge (demarcated on the map above ‘Nelsonian Inference’). Such fake skeptics actually know the knowledge they are attempting to obfuscate – in the ‘you can’t awaken a person who is pretending to be asleep’ sense. Nelsonian knowledge will be the subject of my next blog article. How it works and how its tricks are plied.

Nelsonian Knowledge (Inference)

/philosophy : pretense : knowledge obfuscation/ : both, that knowledge which is used as a placeholder for the sole purpose of displacing other critical knowledge which could ostensibly serve to alleviate ignorance (and therefore suffering) – as well as, that displaced critical knowledge itself. The latter is taken to actually be known on the part of a poseur. It is dishonest for a man deliberately to shut his eyes to principles/intelligence which he would prefer not to know. If he does so, he is taken to have actual knowledge of the facts to which he shut his eyes. Such knowledge has been described as ‘Nelsonian knowledge’, meaning knowledge which is attributed to a person as a consequence of his ‘wilful blindness’ or (as American legal analysts describe it) ‘contrived ignorance’.

Again, be armed and skilled in your battle with pretend skepticism. This chart is not an easy study – nor should it be. It is the result of decades of thought, work and proving out. Use it wisely.

     How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Map of Inference”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 4 Mar 2019; Web,


March 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | Leave a comment

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