Cultivation of Ignorance
How we effectively and selectively emasculate the scientific method through the social fabric which executes it
You have heard the old adage, “They must think I am a mushroom because all they do is keep me in the dark and feed me bullshit.” Such is the method employed by SSkeptics to ensure that Science, is at any given time and on specific given subjects, in effect a blind and pampered parliament, wholly ignorant of the issues on which they must vote to pass final popular and unassailable conclusive judgment. It is hard to believe that a well trained and rigorously rational group of experts could ever produce an errant conclusion. One of the mysteries of the dynamics of human nature and understanding is that large groups of experts very often produce inaccurate outcomes, especially when those errant outcomes are the goal to begin with.
“Let science consumers in the marketplace of ideas determine what constitutes good science, starting with the scientists themselves and filtering through the editors, educators, and readers. As for potential consumers of pseudoscience, that’s what skeptics are for…” (Michael Shermer, “What is Pseudoscience?”, Scientific American; Vol 305, No. 3; p. 92)
Michael Shermer is incorrect here. It is not the job or definition of skepticism to tender conclusions, only science can do that. I do not find Michael Shermer anywhere near qualified to tell me what science thinks, nor to represent its conclusions to the media. It is not the job or definition of skepticism to ‘represent science’ to the consumer. Not only is this practice affording a pathway for chicanery and control which belies the discipline of science, but it is just flat incorrect. Skepticism is a discipline of preparing the mind and observation sets in order to perform science; it is not an artifice to be used as a substitution acting in lieu of science. Nor does skepticism serve as a justification of one’s promoting their personal ontological beliefs and politics. It does not afford the practitioner a claim of representing science or the opinion of scientists.
Six key steps, stemming from this corrupted version of skepticism, are involved in the process of Cultivating Ignorance, which relate to the old “They Must Think I am a Mushroom” adage:
Cultivation of Ignorance: Establish a Pampered Blind Parliament in Seven Steps
1. Construct a pampered and all powerful parliament, taught via one learning style, who live in lifelong academic praise and elite self assessment of their personal level of acumen.
2. Ensure that the parliament voting membership is educated, regulated and qualified solely by those who possess an investment in the outcome of the vote, even if that ‘investment’ is the jeopardy of their careers. Exclude experts who sponsor or research disallowed subjects.
3. Ensure that all channels of knowledge exposed to the parliament are filtered by Social Skeptics who pretend to represent the thoughts of scientists in other disciplines, and who possess an investment in a particular outcome of the vote.
4. Ensure that there are far fewer true experts on any given subject, for all subjects, than there are non-expert voters inside the parliament.
5. Establish a method crafted and statistically manipulated ‘scientific consensus’ among members of the AAAS (who are not scientists at all) and tout that sentiment as the ‘consensus opinion of scientists.’
6. Establish a Social Skepticism identified ‘dismissible margin’ inside the parliament which is larger than the mathematically plausible number of true expert voters on any singular topic.
7. Perform public demonstrations of punishment for members (or preferably outsiders) who break ranks.
There exist at least 200 sciences comprised by Natural, Social, Medical, Engineering, and Mathematical discipline groupings. This is a very lucrative set of career advancement structures and pathways. But the weakness residing therein is that any participant in the body of science intrinsically only holds expertise on .5% to 4% of the given knowledge base. I have spent 30 years pursuing my career subject, replete with 8 years of undergrad and graduate work. I am considered one of the top 3 persons in my field. This as a result of working 6 days a week and 12 to 16 hours a day on the cutting edge of my field. I still do not have an adequate grasp of my field after all this time. It is still not enough for me to begin to dictate what is right inside of sister disciplines. At most I have a 4% grasp on industry as a whole. I am a non-expert on much of my broad science grouping. Understanding this is a key tenet of Ethical Skepticism.
When I observe scientists or SSkeptics pretending to be experts on a broad array of subjects, I KNOW it is a load of baloney. They have not had enough time to gain this insight. It is a pretense and a masquerade.
So, because a group of astronomers, physicists, psychologists, nuclear technologists and mathematicians do not like the idea of a North American Primate, then the subject is given the final fatal disposition of a ‘pseudoscience’ – despite none of the ‘scientists themselves’ (or voters, in this context) in question actually having done ANY research at all into the subject. Couple this with the fact that those who actually DO research, are declared to be not-scientists, or are relegated to and less than SSkeptics’ subjectively convenient “dismissible margin,” and one has witnessed the establishment a social construct. There is a problem, there is a flaw in the system which creates a social order and not a science, when the following state exists in the voting input. This state exists for much of what is deemed “Pseudoscience” by the Social Skeptics:
Sum of Expert Input < Dismissible Margin
Ballot Box Stuffing: Including PhD level or other technicians in the vote count of ‘scientists’
A definitive weakness in the ‘count everyone’s vote’ egalitarian method of science is that we allow the definition of the term ‘scientist’ to include degreed field and research technicians, when indeed these individuals are simply there to follow the guidance, follow the rules, and make sure that everything works. A technician, a PhD level engineer, graduate IT developer, or degreed lab tech, may be called a scientist in slang, but are not really considered expert researchers. They may even hold several advanced degrees. Technicians in most disciplines include psychologists, sociologists, information technology or human factors PhD experts, electrical chemical or mechanical PhD engineers, project and research program managers, lab techs, research aides, statistical analysts, methods analysts, or non-tenured research associates. While I have immense respect for these areas of research and development, they should not typically comprise a part of the base which qualifies as ‘the scientists themselves’ – but you will find people with really 8 years in program management, or 7 years in PhD teaching or project roles being called ‘scientists’ – when in fact they are not
- Many so called ‘scientists’ really only occupy technician or teaching roles
- Technicians beef up the non-expert vote count
- Technicians distinguish themselves by being good at following the instructions
- You will find more SSkeptics in the Technology, Psychology and Engineering realms than you will find in true Science
- Finally, the source of much of the ‘scientific consensus’ boasts come from polls withing the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Most of its members are not scientists.
In reality, technicians make their merit, distinguish themselves in their careers by how well they follow the rules. If you think outside the box, you are not going to do well in an engineering curriculum typically. Laplacian Transformations, Golden Section Algorithms, Reactor Core Design theory development academic proficiencies are all typically programs which demand rigorous rule following, and are not typically designed to encourage the participant to develop new ‘out of context ideas” Having hired and worked with over 400 engineers over the years in profit-based and demanding professional businesses, as well as cutting edge research environs, I have observed this to be very common. Technicians follow the rules. They will spout the dogma. As they move into management they rarely promote maverick thinking, and are rather irritated by it. They will cast their vote the way they are told to vote. That is how they made the cut to begin with. In the end, a Scientist is someone professionally trained for and actively engaged in research in a given subject, and NOT someone holding a degree or engaged in research in another subject. These contributors add no more value or clarity than outside non-expert opinions; their inclusion can only be used for control.
Via these steps, yes a large group of rational people can indeed craft conclusions which are highly errant. Not all conclusions mind you, nor even most. Just enough, and only specific conclusions – which also mysteriously happen to be those that were declared pseudoscience a priori. To improve the veracity of a conclusion, one simply need to remove one of the above elements. This allows for the steering of the blind parliament back on track, when ignorance is not the goal involved. The end result is crafting control and power.
The Art of Crafting Power through Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Doctrine and Cultivated Ignorance.
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