The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Scientific Method and Pseudo-PseudoScience

The unbridled seeking of ‘proof’ as the first step of the scientific method, complimented by declaration of a subject to be a pseudoscience, in absence of having applied the scientific method in order to derive that conclusion, constitutes in itself, pseudoscience.

How can one derive a scientific conclusion without having to apply the Scientific Method? One can, if you are playing a political game.  One can, once the ethical boundary is broached of believing that you, rather than method, represent science.

judge vinny“Once again, the communication process has broken down between us. It appears to me that you want to skip the arraignment process, go directly to trial, skip that, and get a dismissal. Well, I’m not about to revamp the entire judicial process just because you find yourself in the unique position of defending clients who say they didn’t do it.”

  Judge Chamberlain Haller (Fred Gwynne) to Counselor Vincent Gambini (Joe Pesci) in My Cousin Vinny (1992)

“The method of science, as stodgy and grumpy as it may seem, is far more important than the findings of science.”

       – Carl Sagan, The Demon Haunted World

Proof Pollyanna

Pollyanna Skeptic bad man - Copy

The Scientific Method is all about process.  At least the ethical skeptic wishes it were that way. Process, and just as in a court of law – theories and constructs which have achieved “Plurality” under Ockham’s Razor – are due their day in the Court of Science.  Their day to compete their case against the prevailing popular or pat answer.  But this is not the case for the Cabal member; the unethical skeptic disdains process, by speaking of it often – so that it is never initiated.  The SSkeptic will produce all manner of practice to preclude the Method of Science from occurring at all.  And  just like Vincent Gambini’s request for dismissal in absence of due process, the SSkeptic’s requests for final proof before consideration and injudicious employment of the term “pseudoscience” indeed stand as an abrogation of the disciplined methods of science. This is a Deskeption.

Well, we have all heard the wink and nudge perspectives of those who sling the word ‘pseudoscience’ like a weapon.  Those who seek to protect weak and favored theories under false recitations of ‘Occam’s Razor’ or “The simplest explanation tends to be the correct one” (Deskeption 7.8.2 and 7.8.3 False Recitations of Ockham’s Razor/False implications of Simplicity) practice a solid version of pseudoscience.  Those same people will take ponderers in the domain of credulity (frustrating as they may be) and then accuse them of practicing pseudoscience for merely considering data or observations which run counter to the pat answer prevailing theory (Deskeption 2.1.3 and 2.1.4 Belittle, Vilify and Intimidate those who raise threatening ideas) .

But in reality, pseudoscience is defined by errant methods of science and NOT by the assumed veracity of the subject matter at hand.  Creationism is not pseudoscience simply because it is Creationism, it is pseudoscience because it embodies a flawed methodology in its development, hypothesis construction and testing, and therefore pretends to be science.  It is also wrong, yes – but MANY theories which are accepted today were also once wrong.

‘Wrong’ without science, is an opinion.  Science is a method.

The SSkeptics Dictionary (http://www.skepdic.com/pseudosc.html) incorrectly defines pseudoscience as “A pseudoscience is set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not scientific.”  In other words, to the Social Skeptic, it is the SUBJECT MATTER (a set of ideas) which qualifies as pseudoscience, and NOT the methodology employed (methods which are not valid under the scientific method) in the development of constructs and hypotheses inside that subject matter.  This is errant and a logical fallacy, and to those who understand this – yet commit the offense, also constitutes a practice of deception (Deskeption 7.6.10).  It is a sleight of hand process on the part of SSkepticism, which lacks peer accountability and the circumspect wisdom a court of law might afford the issue. SSkeptics say that IDEAS are pseudoscience, when ethics says that METHODOLOGIES are pseudoscience.  So, the fact that you need medicine for a particular disease CAN be declared pseudoscience based on the un-popularity of the idea inside the SSkeptic Cabal .  The idea promulgated by the appointed Deskeption Leaders, that you do not need that medicine, and NOT based on the methodology of research which went into establishing the need or lack of need of your vital medicine.  This is an insipid twist of definition which constitutes a critical difference.

The SSkeptics Dictionary incorrectly defines pseudoscience as “A pseudoscience is set of ideas” – and the only way to extract an avenue of research out of this categorization, is to finish the scientific method, without the aid of science. Bring proof as the first step.
This is errant methodology.

When in fact, pseudoscience is an ERRANT METHODOLOGY – an not a particular set of ideas.

–   This is a key false teaching of Social Skepticism

See the graphics below.  But when a set of ideas compose a domain of extreme plurality and are put forth without any discipline, based on the flights of fancy of a group of sponsors seeking money, fame or fun, then, yes while this CAN also be pseudoscience, it is more a question of “Credulity” in the immortal words of Carl Sagan.  First lets take a look at the Scientific Method.  Note this is NOT the Experimental Method, which is a valid form of research but is often touted as the Scientific Method in junior level academia, when indeed it is not.  The Scientific Method in professional circles comprises three general logic groupings, partitioned first by an Ockham’s Razor screening for plurality, and secondarily, if we are fortunate, a definite proof of prevailing theory through testing and repeatability. The Ethical Skeptic here should note that promoting theories into the “proof” spot solely because they are ‘simple’ or cannot be falsified, is an ERRANT METHODOLOGY and is pseudoscience (Deskeption 5.6.7 and 5.6.8).  In addition many theories which are falsifiable, reside in the proof category because SSkeptic doctrine forbids their testing – because they are “already proved.”  This is also pseudoscience.

Pseudoscience

/philosophy : science : pseudoscience/ : disposition of ideas as constituting science or non-science based on their subject matter alone, in lieu of employment of scientific method. A methodology or conclusion which over-relies upon predictive study, confirmation or dismissive skepticism. A claim or conclusion which is presented as current best science or as being derived from the scientific method, when in fact such contentions are false.
Credulity – Receptiveness to ideas as bearing merit or lack of merit based on their subject matter alone, in lieu of employment of Ockham’s Razor.

The Bookends of Deskeption:

Pseudoscience #1 – Skip falsification testing and declare a subject matter as ‘scientifically accepted’ based on predictive estimates alone.

Pseudoscience #2 – Deny access to falsification testing, and declare the denied subject matter as ‘pseudoscience.’

Note as well, that a “proved” construct can be faced again with plurality, given sufficient evidence associated with a competing construct brought back to be matched against it.  It is the job of the Deskeption Cabal to ensure that “proved” constructs are never met with a challenge of plurality.  They accomplish this obfuscation by demanding immediate proof, when indeed that is not the next step in the Scientific Method. (Deskeption  5.6.3.1: Demand of Proof Agenda – prior to Plurality). Also note that “Plurality is not Proof” – it is simply a scientific hypothesis status which now demands of science – predictive testing, development, falsification testing and comparison to the prevailing construct.  Proof is still a long way away.  But not for the Deskeption Artist.

Now, note that in Credulity, while it can be also pseudoscience, is more a question of unbridled Plurality without the discipline of Ockham’s Razor or complete sets of observation and hypothesis development – often skipping right from formulation to an attempt at claiming or assuming ‘proof’ based on scant data, faith and lack of discipline.  But this practice, on the part of Peddlers of the Paranormal is NOT pseudoscience as long as they are not advertising their stories as an attempt at science.  It may simply be a form of entertainment.

But the SSkeptic will use the term ‘pseudoscience’ in place of ‘credulity’ as an intimidation and Deskeption Method (5.6.3.1 A Forced Agenda of Immediate Proof skipping Ockham’s Razor and Plurality steps)

Credulity is not the same as Pseudoscience.  It is more akin to unbridled plurality and story telling.

Pseudoscience is an errant methodology on the other hand where one assumes that there is not a need for process and that the prevailing theory is “Proven until another theory is proven”  Pseudoscience (Graphic 3) is any process which skips major steps in the scientific method in an attempt to shore up a “proven” or popular or pat answer construct – without having to actually do the work and adhere to the discipline.

Deskeption, by squelching ideas based on their subject matter alone or by restricting their ability to formulate or be communicated, utilizes a non-scientific methodology and constitutes the heart of pseudoscience today.

So, it is indeed the practitioners of Deskeption, in efforts to control and constrain competing ideas, based on their content and NOT methodology, based on their un-popularity and based on the club’s opinion of those data sets and ideas, which constitute Pseudoscience.  Indeed, by blocking the application of the scientific method into subject sets because they constitute “a set of ideas” which Cabal members find distasteful, is Deskeption.

Pseudoscience is an errant methodology.  Social Skepticism is Pseudoscience.

November 3, 2010 - Posted by | Argument Fallacies | , , ,

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