The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation: Mischaracterization of Groups

The following is The Ethical Skeptic’s list, useful in spotting both formal and informal logical fallacies, cognitive biases, statistical broaches and styles of crooked thinking on the part of those in the Social Skepticism movement. It is categorized by employment groupings so that it can function as a context appropriate resource in a critical review of an essay, imperious diatribe or publication by a thought enforcing Social Skeptic. To assist this, we have comprised the list inside an intuitive taxonomy of ten contextual categories of mischaracterization/misrepresentation:

Opponents, Locution or Semantics, Evidence or Data, Bias or Method, Science, Argument, Assumption, Groups, Self and Authority


Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation The Ethical Skeptic.

Mischaracterization of Groups

Akratic Trolling – when an advocate of an agenda plays the game wherein they will troll and provoke their perceived enemy, then suddenly retreat into the pure technical of science or atheism and adopt a holy or statesman facade when the perceived enemy objects to their behavior. This presents the enemy in the worst light possible through highlighting only one type of expression.

Antagonogenic – causing benefit as a result of or while in the process of intent to cause harm. A hacker who ironically ends up improving systems security. A leftist who influences younger generations to oppose his group, because of hate filled actions in the name of thinly-veiled virtue.

Appeal to Fear – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made by increasing fear and prejudice towards the opposing side or group of people who support a disdained idea.

Appeal to Pity/Poverty/Morality (argumentum ad misericordiam) – an argument which attempts to cite the poverty level or objective refusal to seek money on the part of academics and Social Skeptics, as a way of assigning them unmerited objectivity inside a topic of pluralistic contention.

Appeal to Skepticism (Fallacy of Irrelevance)

ergo sum veritas Fallacy (of Irrelevance)

1′ (strong).  The assumption that because one or one’s organization is acting in the name of skepticism or science, that such a self claimed position affords that organization and/or its members exemption from defamation, business tampering, fraud, privacy, stalking, harassment and tortious interference laws.

1a.  The contention, implication or inference that one’s own ideas or the ideas of others hold authoritative or evidence based veracity simply because their proponent has declared themselves to be a ‘skeptic.’

1b.  The assumption, implication or inference that an organization bearing a form of title regarding skepticism immediately holds de facto unquestionable factual or ideological credibility over any other entity having conducted an equivalent level of research into a matter at hand.

1c.  The assumption, implication or inference that an organization or individual bearing a form of title regarding skepticism, adheres to a higher level of professionalism, ethics or morality than does the general population.

Appeal to Skepticism (Fallacy of Irrelevance)

2a.  The declaration, assumption or implication that a consensus skeptical position on a topic is congruent with the consensus opinion of scientists on that topic.

2b.  The argument assumption or implication that an opinion possesses authoritative veracity or a proponent possesses intellectual high ground simply through allegiance to a consensus skeptical position on a topic.

3.   The presumption or contention that taking a denial based or default dubious stance on a set of evidence or topic is somehow indicative of application of the scientific method on one’s part, or constitutes a position of superior intellect, or represents a superior critical or rational position on a topic at hand.

Inverse Negation Fallacy – The asymmetrical strategy of promoting an idea through negation of all its antithetical concepts. A method of undermining any study, proponent, media byte, article, construct, data, observation, effort or idea which does not fit one’s favored model, in a surreptitious effort to promote that favored model, along with its implicit but not acknowledged underpinning claims, without tendering the appearance of doing so; nor undertaking the risk of exposing that favored model or claims set to the scientific method or to risky critical scrutiny.

Truzzi Fallacy – The presumption that a position of skepticism or plausible conformance on a specific issue affords the skeptical apologist tacit exemption from having to provide authoritative outsider recitation or evidence to support a contended claim or counter-claim. “Pseudo-Skeptics: Critics who assert negative claims, but who mistakenly call themselves ‘skeptics,’ often act as though they have no burden of proof placed on them at all. A result of this is that many critics seem to feel it is only necessary to present a case for their counter-claims based upon plausibility rather than empirical evidence.”  – Marcello Truzzi (Founding Co-chairman of CSICOP)

Richeliean Appeal to Skepticism – an inflation of personal gravitas, celebrity or influence by means of implicit or explicit threats of coercive tactics which can harm a victim one wishes to be silenced. Coercive tactics include threats to harm family, contact employers, tamper with businesses, employment of celebrity status to conduct defamation activities or actions to defraud, or otherwise cause harm to persons, reputation or property. This includes the circumstance where a Richeliean skeptic encourages and enjoys a form of ‘social peer review,’ empowered via politics or a set of sycophants who are willing to enact harm to a level which the Richeliean power holder himself would not personally stoop.

Appeal to Spite – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made through exploiting people’s bitterness, spite or political orientation regarding an opposing party; or implication that certain politically disdained groups adhere universally to specific set of beliefs.

Astroturfing – the attempt to create an illusion of widespread grassroots support for a policy, viewpoint, or product, where little such support in reality exists. Multiple online identities coordinate around celebrity siren calls, manufactured data, fake-hoax counter propaganda and shill pressure groups; all employed to mislead the public into believing that the position of the astroturfer is a socially acceptable, rational reality and/or a commonly held view.

Bradley Effect – the principle wherein a person being polled will, especially in the presence of trial heat or iteration-based polls, tend to answer a poll question with a response which they believe the polling organization or the prevailing social pressure, would suggest they should vote or which will not serve to identify them into the wrong camp on a given issue. The actual sentiment of the polled individual is therefore not actually captured.

Bucket Characterization from Negative Premise – subject A is a disproved topic. As a ponderer of subject A you are therefore a pseudo scientist; and in being pseudo scientist you therefore then adhere to every other philosophy of pseudoscience and every philosophy a critical observer finds distasteful. Class stereotype disdain with fictionalized evidence.

Catalyseur – a conflict exploitation specialist, or any entity which stands to gain under the outcome of a lose-lose conflict scenario which they have served to create, abet or foment. Someone who acts as a third party to two sides in an argument or conflict, who advises about the ‘truth’ of the other party involved, respectively and urges an escalation of factors which drove the conflict to begin with.

Cheerleader Effect – the exploitation of the tendency for people or ideas to appear more attractive in a proactive group than in isolation.

Compositional Exclusion – citing one’s lack of adherence to one tenet of a belief system, or a ludicrously or extremely portrayed component of belief held by a group, to stand quod erat demonstrandum that one is not a member of that group.

Covfefe Event – a meaningless event or issue which serves to displaces attention from other topical events or issues, yet ironically exposes the meaninglessness of those displaced events or issues. Roughly synonymous in politics with ‘jumping the shark’, ‘nuking the fridge’ or ‘opening the vault’.

damnatio memoriae – is a modern Latin phrase literally meaning “condemnation of memory”, advocating that a person or argument must be obliterated, erased and not remembered at all costs; regardless of its scientific merit. This is a chief function of social skepticism. It was a form of dishonor that could be passed by the Roman Senate on traitors or others who brought discredit to the Roman State. It was also employed by those who opposed Pharaoh Akhenaten, to effectively erase his reign from Egyptian history by Pharaohs and families ruling in The New Kingdom set of its Dynastic Periods.

Disinformation – when a group plants a false item of information inside the camp of thought they oppose, then alerts their allies (typically the main stream press) to highlight this falsehood as a means to discredit those groups, their movements or people disdained by the disinformation specialist and/or the condemning press channel.

Editorial Burden Error – when pushing the envelope on evidence/reason or making mistakes as to what to discredit, impugn and attack because one is under the burden of having to find some subject to discredit or eviscerate. This because they are on a regular/urgent editorial publication schedule or have some key presentation due inside a group of skepticism.

ergo sum scientia – when a group portrays highly visible activism on an easy or a sensible cause célèbre in support/defense of science, in order to tender the appearance of and imply to an audience that they represent critical thinking, the scientific method or the correct conclusions of science. Holding club meetings at prominent universities in or to imply their endorsement of your cause, or imply that your group represents science.

ergo sum veritas Fallacy – the assumption, implication or inference that an organization bearing a form of title regarding skepticism immediately holds de facto unquestionable factual or ideological credibility over any other entity having conducted an equivalent level of research into a matter at hand. The assumption, implication or inference that an organization or individual bearing a form of title regarding skepticism, adheres to a higher level of professionalism, ethics or morality than does the general population.

ergo sum veritas Fallacy (strong) – the assumption that because one’s organization is acting in the name of skepticism or science, that such a self claimed position affords the organization and its and/or members exemption from defamation, business tampering, fraud, privacy, stalking, harassment and tortious interference laws.

Exploiter – an Agent of Deskeption who poses as an Anti-Institutionalist, Champion of the Credulist and representative of the Concealed Truth. The work of such individuals or groups often becomes the source material used frequently and conveniently in a Lob and Slam Ploy.

Fallacy of Composition – assuming that something true of part of a whole must also be true of the whole.

Fallacy of Exclusive Premises – there are believers and disbelievers, and some believers are gullible. Therefore no disbelievers are gullible.

Fallacy of Ludic Dismissal – the contention that the change in statistics with regard to upswing in the belief in a disdained topic can unequivocally be shown to be an effect of media, hype hysteria and promotional campaigns by pseudo scientists.

False Consensus Bias – The false belief that, or willingness to acceptance the claim that, scientists are all in agreement any given subject. In psychology mostly, but also with regard to scientific consensus and the public, the idea that everyone regards issues in the same manner as we ourselves do.

Filbert’s Law – or the law of diminishing information return. Increasing the amount of data brought into an analysis does not necessarily serve to improve salience, precision or accuracy of the analysis, yet comes at the cost of stacking risk in veracity. The further away one gets from direct observation, and the more one gets into ‘the data’ only, the higher is the stack of chairs upon which one stands. To find a result use a small sample population, to hide a result use a large one.

Frank’s Law – under fundamentalist oppression, precaution will always be spun as anti-ism.

Godwin’s Gaffe – the habit of repeatedly referring to Godwin’s Law, as a defense against methodological comparatives of fake skeptics to Lysenkoists or the Nazi or Communist Parties. While at the same time them self, subsequently bearing no compunction to not comparing anyone who disagrees with them to such oppressive institutions.

Group Attribution Error – the biased belief that the characteristics of an individual group member are reflective of the group as a whole or the tendency to assume that group decision outcomes reflect the preferences of group members, even when information is available that clearly suggests otherwise.

Hasty Generalization – basing a broad conclusion about a group on rumor, stereotype, a small sample set or scant observational experience.

Hate Rhetoric – unleashing of a sometimes rhythmic and sermon-like rambling circular logic, stringing together a series of emphatic good sounding one-liners and memes into a web of defacto hate. A surreptitiously directed hate, focused on persons who coincidentally also happen to be of a different ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic grouping than the person issuing the rhetoric.

Hindsight Bias – the inclination to see past events or actions by people or groups as being more predictable than they actually were; also called the “I-knew-it-all-along” effect.

Hoary Glory Bias – when one cites old ridiculous arguments from opposing groups from ancient times or older eras of scientific understanding, to serve as exemplary rationale as to the impeccable nature of and false incumbent merit of argument on the part of the arguer’s allegiance group. Usually employed while implying that modern opponents hold to similarly ridiculous versions of argument today.

Hoax (Strawman) – anonymous hoax perpetrated to discredit. Typically outfitted fitted with a hidden “key” – the obvious or semi-obvious flaw or Achilles Heel which reveals the event or contention to be merely a hoax; purposely set to be discovered at a later time, to discredit a specific targeted subject or persons to whom the hoax relates.

Hostile Media Channel Effect – the tendency to see a media report or specific network as being biased and purveying only pseudoscience, owing to one’s own strong partisan views.

Illicit Major Fallacy – all researchers of pseudoscience are irrational. No scientists study pseudoscience. Therefore, all the positions of scientists on pseudoscience are rational positions.

Illicit Minor Fallacy – all skeptics are rational thinkers. All scientists are rational thinkers. Therefore, all scientists are skeptics.

Inchoate Action – a set of activity or a permissive argument which is enacted or proffered by a celebrity or power wielding sskeptic, which prepares, implies, excuses or incites their sycophancy to commit acts of harm against those who have been identified as the enemy, anti-science, credulous or ‘deniers’. Usually crafted is such a fashion as to provide a deniability of linkage to the celebrity or power holding sskeptic.

Inflation of Conflict – disagreement in a field of knowledge legitimizes an opponents’ assumption of the invalidity of that entire field.

Ingroup Bias – the tendency for people to give preferential treatment to others, or the ideas of others they perceive to be members of their own groups.

Ingroup Bias Projection – when citing superior morality, rationality or intellect as traits more likely characteristic of members of one’s own group.

Just World Bias – the tendency for SSkeptics to want to believe that the world is fundamentally just and rational, causing them to rationalize an otherwise unconscionable injustice as deserved by the victim(s) for their being irrational.

Latet Misandry – the deceptive employment of positions of skepticism or channels of skeptical media to promote ideas or ‘scientific’ evidence supporting the hatred of males or men. To conceal a hatred of males behind a pretense of rational thinking, social justice or science.

Lie of Allegiance – committed when a proponent of a specific side in a false dilemma argument misrepresents their membership group as holding one socially acceptable or attractive philosophy in name, yet that group in reality teaches/practices another less acceptable or extremist philosophy altogether.

Lob & Slam Ploy – a version of good cop/bad cop wherein a virtual partnership exists between well known fake news ‘satire’ news outlets, and so called ‘fact checkers’ media patrols. The fake news is generated and posed to the web as satire, subsequently stripped of its context by a third party, and then inserted into social media as true – whereupon it is virally circulated. Subsequently, ‘fact checking’ agencies are then alerted to this set up (the Lob), and then slam home the idea of the fake nature of the ‘news’, as well as the lack of credibility and gullible nature of those who passed it around through social media. This in itself is a fake ploy, a form a Fake-Hoaxing and Hoax Baiting practiced by social agenda forces seeking to artificially enhance the credibility of a news ‘fact checker’.

Meta-Awareness Deficiency – a lack of awareness of the motivation or value systems of others. The tendency to make assumptions regarding “right thinking” which fail to take into account the unique circumstances or social structure in which other people live.

Myth of the Excited Scientists – the mythical, dis-informative and/or Pollyanna contention on the part of fake skeptics wherein they will claim that if any evidence whatsoever for a disliked subject were actually found, then scientists surely would be excited about it and then dedicate their lives to study of the subject from then on.

Negativity Bias – psychological phenomenon by which humans have a greater recall of unpleasant memories associated with a disliked organization or concept, compared with positive memories of the same.

Non-merchandising Defense Error – claiming correctness on your part or incorrectness on another party’s part because merchandising or product sales have been conducted in the name of the opposing idea. Anything can be merchandised, that does not de-legitimize the underlying issue involved – but fraud is a tort, even if you do not merchandise it.

Outgroup Homogeneity Bias – individuals see members of their own group as being relatively more varied than members of other groups.

Pluralistic Ignorance – a situation in which a majority of scientists and researchers privately reject a norm, but incorrectly assume that most other scientists and researchers accept it, often because of a misleading portrayal of consensus by agenda carrying social skeptics. Therefore they choose to go along with something with which they privately dissent or are neutral.

Pseudo Scientific Naturalism – when one employs or implies furtive hyperbole as to what science has concluded, eliminated, disproved or studied, foisted to proactively preclude a group’s agenda from being qualified as a religion.

qualitas clava Error – club quality error. The presumption on the part of role-playing or celebrity-power-seeking social skeptics that their club or its power, is important in ensuring the quality of science and scientific understanding on the part of the broader population. The presumption that external club popularity and authority, lock step club allegiance and presumptive stacks of probable knowledge will serve to produce valid or quality outcomes inside scientific, rational or critical thought processes. The pretense of encouraging skepticism, while at the same time promoting conclusions. Such thought fails in light of time proven quality improvement practices.

Rank Assent – one employs or allows the trials and injustices faced in one’s apprenticeship inside a career or social standing, to stand as a type of barrier to entry to their field – after the trial or injustice no longer applies to them personally. I am not going to expose this immoral assault, because once I have passed and survived it, it will be a great barrier to entry for those who follow me. Very common in Hollywood and Music.

Reciprocating Effect – cause and effect are reversed, then reversed again, over and over in a chicken and egg relationship. The effector hysteria around an observation is said to be the cause of it, and then vice versa, ad infinitum. It assumes no validity to the basic genesis of the argument.

Rickrolling – a form of bait and switch or big politico advisory business wherein one sets up a fake scandal, which tantalizes the opposition, take years to prosecute and extract critical evidence – and finally where in the end, when the protected critical documents, recordings, testimony, media are exposed – it turns out to be nothing but a mocking of the whole process, exposing it as a complete and foolish waste of time. Term is derived from the internet meme of users pursuing avenues of research, being redirected as a bait and switch spoof, to videos of Rick Astley singing “Never Gonna Give You Up”.

Rosach’s Axiom – if a person chooses an invective towards another, with multiple possible definitions or high possible equivocation potential – then they wish for all to infer the most pejorative version of definition, but will imply publicly that they meant the least pejorative definition.

Scarecrow – a high visibility claim that an opposing group has proposed ideas which are of patently ludicrous viability; when in fact no such theories or ideas have been proposed by the disliked group, and moreover that the only broaching of such a construct, theory or idea originates solely from the claiming group itself. Extreme Straw Man.

Scooby-Doo Science – a mindset born by fake skeptics wherein every mystery is easily resolved by current science understanding or the pretense that science has studied a subject when it has not – a ‘science’ which also features a convenient ability to highlight the bad person in the argument – usually of a consistent gender and ethnicity.

simulans legatus – when purposely positioning one’s self inside a group of the most extreme members of an opposing group of thought, one can simply present a statesmanlike posture and akratically troll the community, thereafter highlighting only the natural absurd, abusive and fanatical extreme responses of the opposing side.  All while maintaining a calm rational composure in contrast. A passive sales technique and method of misrepresentation of both your and their groups, capitalizing on combative habituation and the fact that there is always an extreme 8% in any group.

Straw Man Conundrum – when one habitually misrepresents their opponents, the question arises: Does this stem from a shortcoming in effort, or a shortfall in acumen?

Taleb’s Law of Tolerance – a toleration of intolerance will always escalate to extremism and proscription as the standard.

The Left Pole – a political point held by fake skeptics, relative to which any differing opinion in any direction is considered therefore right wing, alt-right, anti-science, racist or phobic.

Tyflocracy – from Greek: τυφλός (tyflós: blind eye). A power wielding and expansive form of governance or administration which is willfully or maliciously blind to a suffering subject group or citizenry – often displaced in favor of groups who are not under its charge, employed as a means to increase its power. A group who strategically apportions risk, dismissing or refusing to examine its impart to a disfavored group over which they rule or have administering authority and impact – wherein a condition of negligence is indistinguishable from malevolence.

Universal Attribution Error – in this error a person is likely to make an internal attribution to an entire group instead of the individuals or disparate factions within the group.

Weapon Word – words of mass defamation. A fashion term inside SSkeptic discourse, being forced onto the public, and targeting a goal of defaming targeted individuals, observations and in the deceptive obviation of access to science by unwelcome topics. Words plied to place SSkeptic compliant peer pressure on budding scientists or persons of influence in grade school, high school and beyond.

Wicker Man Position – a position, as in the case of religion’s often being called ‘the ultimate strawman,’ where so many special exemptions are able to be pleaded or apologists habitually spin the idea that any critique offered towards their side constitutes strawman, ignorance or tu quoque errors – that the defended philosophy or position actually has no effective defining essence which can be pinned down in the first place.

epoché vanguards gnosis

How to MLA cite this blog post => 1


  1. The Ethical Skeptic, “The Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation: Mischaracterization of Groups” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 17 Feb 2018, Web;

February 24, 2015 - Posted by | Argument Fallacies, Ethical Skepticism | ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Chinese (Simplified)EnglishFrenchGermanHindiPortugueseRussianSpanish
%d bloggers like this: