The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation: Mischaracterization of Opponents

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 Opponents

Abusive ad hominem – usually involves attacking the traits of an opponent, including implying their lacking of critical thinking skills or rationality or membership in a pigeon hole of stupidity, which are irrelevant to the argument at hand, as a means to invalidate the arguments of the opponent. This includes an attack on a person when there is evidence to support it. The attack is still ad hominem if the attack had nothing to do with the preexisting discussion context. Also, when one rejects 100% of what a person has to say, in order to demean or categorize that person in some way. Given sufficient discussion domain, no one is 100% wrong, and such declarations are out of context of appropriate discussion and person focused.

ad feminam – is marked by the discrediting of an argument, data or observation by appealing to the apparent or assumed bias towards or irrelevant personal considerations concerning women, especially prejudices against them on the part of an opponent. Applies also in the cases of reference to minorities or the disadvantaged.

ad hominem Fallacy – inappropriately citing the objections of an opponent as constituting an ad hominem attack, when the personalized objections are simply made as counter evidence to the claims a proponent has made regarding themselves.  An exception occurs when the personalized objections could not have been possibly ascertained by objective research or knowledge, or are simply made for pejorative argument.

Affirmative Characterization from a Negative Premise – believers in this subject are typically credulous, and credulous people do not command science; therefore all believers in this subject are pseudo scientists.

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 Hypocrisy – the argument states that a certain position is false or wrong and/or should be disregarded because its proponent fails to act consistently in accordance with that position.

Appeal to Motive – a pattern of argument which consists in challenging a thesis or a set of data or observations by calling into question the motives of its proposer. Attacking a person who is asking questions as hiding a motive or ‘JAQing off,’ in social skeptic lingo.

Argument from Celestial Intention – an appeal which cites that a contention stems from a desire to impart intent or value to aspects of the observable universe, and therefore identifies the contender as a creationist or god believer.

Argument from Hubris – an appeal which cites that a given contention stems at least in part from arrogance, entitlement or over-confidence on the part of the party making the contention. This argument is most often flawed in that first the appeal is a projection and assumption, and second there may be a myriad of other factors which could warrant such a theory or contention.

argumentum ergo decedo – responding to criticism by attacking a person’s perceived affiliation as a shill or as a member of an activist organization as the underlying reason for criticism they have tendered; rather than addressing the criticism itself.

Autodidact Straw Man – accusing a person in ignoratio elenchi ad hominem, of being only self taught. Disparaging a person’s view as being insignificant or irrelevant since it was not developed under the guise of a directed academic influence.

Belief Accusing – the pejorative categorization of an individual expressing a contention into a stereotypical ‘true believers’ box pertaining to such contention.  The fallacy of presumption and insult which implies that the victim is neither intelligent enough, informed enough nor of sufficiently social or credible status to merit possession of an epistemologically derived conclusion; therefore they must only ‘believe.’

Box Hunting – a set of questions posed by a fake skeptic or religious person which are designed to shepherd their conversant into a predefined box of irrationality in which they wish to place them.

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.

Bundle Equivocation (Bundling) – when citing the detrimental aspects of a disliked subject, a method of deception where the cynic will list a series of likely flaws with one highly unlikely but pejorative flaw purposely intermixed in order to imply and impugn the subject targeted. Ron is slow at expression, not frugal with money or is a child molester, but we continue to evaluate Ron.

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.

celeber cavilla – a form of Truzzi Fallacy. A counter-claim which is specious in its assertion and usually ad hominem in its implication. However the counter-claim issuer employs it because they are under the false impression that since the accusation phrase is in such popular use, therefore the claim comes incumbent with immediate credibility in the offing, along with an assumed definition, evidence and acceptance. Very often employed in a ‘conspiracy theorist’ accusation.

Certitude Exploitation – a contention (such as ‘he is biased’) which is made about a person, for which evidence has a certitude of easily being found – however which also applies to everyone, or easily explains everything or nothing about that person, in reality. In similar principle to explanitude: A theory which explains everything or bears no risk in falsification, likely explains nothing.

Characterization by the Undistributed Middle – a rhetorical blending of fallacy of composition and affirmation of the consequent, wherein traits shared between two distinct groups are used to underpin the claim that the two groups are indeed identical or falsely that a person in one group actually belongs in the other group. Usually a form of rhetosophy, used to support an agenda, in its conflation. All pseudo scientists promote un-vetted data, the proponent of this argument promoted un-vetted data, therefore the promoter of this argument is a pseudo scientist.

Click Bait (or Headline) Libel – when asking a question in a headline which falsely impugns a person’s background or character, in order to attract attention and harm that person through implication – and then to subsequently conclude in the text of the associated article that the contention is of an unknown or unproven status.

Combative Habituation – when one views every discussion with perceived opponents as an eristic argument which must be won, or is compelled to attack those they perceive to be in disagreement. To artificially force a conclusion in a valid issue of plurality, simply because one perceives they are in an argument against a member of a disdained 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’.

Credulity Accusing – accusing a person of practicing pseudoscience and credulity simply because they are regarding an outlier idea.  A credulist may be wrong, but as long as they are not pretending to represent Science or claim to be using the Scientific Method, they are not practicing pseudoscience; rather, are merely guilty of being receptive to an untested conclusion.

Credulity Fallacy – the contention or implication that an opponent or group of opponents does not practice evidence based, rational or critical thinking simply because they disagree with the proponent or can be pigeon holed into a group disdained by the proponent or the proponent’s organization.

dicto simpliciter – when you presume that what is true in general and/or under normal circumstances, is therefore true under all circumstances without exception.

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.

Dunning-Kruger Error

Dunning-Kruger Abuse – a form of ad hominem attack. Inappropriate application of the Dunning-Kruger fallacy in circumstances where it should not apply; instances where every person has a right, responsibility or qualification as a victim to make their voice heard, despite not being deemed a degree, competency or title holding expert in that field.

Non-Equivalence of Competence – I don’t have to competent on a subject, in order to ascertain that you are incompetent on that subject.

Ecological Fallacy – where inferences about the nature of individuals are deduced from inference for the group to which those individuals belong.

Epicaricacy – schadenfreude is the enjoyment of witnessing the misfortune of others through their own mistake, accident or self inflicted agony. In contrast, epicariacy is the enjoyment of witnessing the harm one individual receives at the hands of another, usually maliciously-minded party. The similar English expression would be ‘Roman holiday’, a metaphor from the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by George Gordon (Lord Byron) wherein a gladiator in ancient Rome expects to be “butchered to make a Roman holiday,” i.e. the audience would take pleasure from watching his forced suffering at another’s hands. The term suggests motives of pleasure or political expediency beyond simple schadenfreude; consisting more of debauchery and exploitation for gain in addition to sadistic enjoyment. One exception to both meanings, and common mistake in their application however, is citing schadenfreude or epicariacy in the case where one is witnessing a temper tantrum. Temper tantrums are intended forms of violence upon others, and in no way reflect a person being in a state of misfortune or harm.

Equivocation Straw Man – using opponent’s habit or ease of simplicity in communication, to compress a principle into a single name or word, to further then equivocate that word or name and afford a pathway to then straw man his position.

Extrinsic Incentives Bias – an exception to the fundamental attribution error, when people view others as having (situational) extrinsic motivations and (dispositional) intrinsic motivations for oneself.

Fallacy of Composition – the contention or implication that an opponent’s belonging to a specific group of people, inside of which are held extreme positions or actions, is indicative of their adherence to those same positions and action sets; and further then that the membership in this group invalidates their ideas, observations or data.

False Ally – citing that even the most extreme members of an opponent’s assumed group of inclusion agree with the position of the proponent’s argument.

False Privilege – privilege is the condition wherein a person perceives that someone else should be denied something in order for them to possess that same something, to which they feel they are entitled. False privilege is the condemning of someone who has something – as if they are privileged in having that something – or especially when privilege is assigned based upon that person’s skin color alone. Also known as racism.

Flattery Apology – a specific type of appeal to emotion where an argument is made condemning a group of people in which the opponent is included, while citing that the opponent is the acceptable and rational version of the member of that group (i.e. present company excepted, etc.).

Forrest Gump Bias/Class Bias – the regard of a person’s ideas, contentions, data or observations as being unacceptable, simply because the person is genetically, economically, physically, mentally, or socially different or perceived to be of a lower class level by an observer.

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

Fundamental Attribution Bias – when one considers the traits of another to stem from situational factors that may affect a person’s behavior as opposed to dispositional factors; yet views their own behavior as stemming from chiefly dispositional factors.

Gender/Racial Bias Fallacy – attributing the decisions or status of a person to be attributable to choice stereotypes presumed about their race or gender, which when observed in other races or genders, are attributed to environmental or victimization causes.

Google Goggles – warped or blinded perception cultivated through reliance on web searches for one’s information and understanding. Vulnerability to web opinions where every street doubter pretends to be an authority on science, every Cabal member and celebrity is falsely lauded and every unapproved person is disparaged through hyperbole and misinformation.

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.

Illusion of Transparency – people overestimate others’ ability to know them, and they also overestimate their ability to know others.

Jackery – accusing a person of being a quack simply because they sell a treatment which is not billed through a big pharmaceutical chain or authorized healthcare plan channel, or is based upon a supplement or HPUS formulation.

Judgmental Language – insulting or pejorative language employed to influence the recipient’s judgment through stirring of emotion, especially anger, by intimidation or by implying the superior status or rationality of the claimant. This will many times be delivered in the form of a one liner, cliché or weapon word.

Lie Jerk Response – the psychological defense reaction a fake skeptic will employ, wherein they accuse a person who relates a challenging first hand observation or piece of evidence, of lying or exaggeration.

Loaded Language – discrediting, bias implying or pejorative language employed through leveraged equivocation and innuendo in an attempt to make self, or a topic of discourse appear superior to an opponent or opponent’s subject or contention.

Masked Man Fallacy – the contention that an opponent cannot be scientific or rational because the skeptic knows a good scientist or rational thinker when they see one; and the opponent is not one.

mea mensura – by my own measure. The false method of evaluating others by judging whether or not you did or could have also attained what they did. If you attained it or could have attained their accomplishment, then they are telling the truth. However, if you are threatened by the fact that you did or could not accomplish what they did, then of course they are lying. Because you regard self as the pinnacle of all that a talented person can accomplish or understand inside humanity. It is a form of proactive jealously, by denying credibility to persons whom we have evaluated as not being up to our social, tenure or intellectual level. This mismatch most often makes a socially intelligent (power focused) person mad, therefore they attack a logically intelligent person or accomplished STEMM professional, whom they regard as beneath them on the social ranking, by accusing them of lying or hyperbole, or treating them with disdain or mocking with regard to their accomplishments.

Negativity Effect – the tendency of people, when evaluating the causes of the behaviors of a person they dislike, to attribute their positive behaviors to the environment and their negative behaviors to the person’s inherent nature or weaknesses.

Non Sequitur Accuse – a response which does not follow the logic of a contention made, which furtively seeks to position the contention maker falsely into a prescribed camp of irrationality or non sequitur relationship to the subject being considered. This will usually be delivered in the form of a one liner, memorized talking point or weapon word.

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.

Omission Bias – the tendency to judge harmful actions of opponents as worse, or less moral, than equally harmful omissions on the part of allies.

Pejorative Appeal to Ignorance – when one raises a question in a media or social context, which by its mere asking serves to bring under suspicion or impugns the character of another person, regardless of what its ultimate determination turns out to be. A method of character assassination disguised as mere ‘fact checking’.

Procreation Deafness – also known as ‘pussy logic’. The habit of some shallow or prejudiced women in that they will only regard as significant, input from men whom they regard as attractive enough to have sex with.

Psychogenetic Fallacy – inferring why an argument is being used, associating it to some psychological reason, then assuming it is invalid as a result. It is wrong to assume that if the origin of an idea comes from a biased or credulous mind, then the idea itself must also be a false.

Reductive Fallacy – this fallacy occurs when one attempts to downplay or pejoritavely position a complex entity through reducing it to only one of its multiple aspects. Key words which are indicative of this fallacy many time are “just”, “only”, “merely”, “simply”, “nothing but”.

Restraint Bias – the tendency to overestimate one’s ability to show restraint or demonstrate character in the face of temptation to behave badly. The overestimation of the acts of others as being beneath your level of sophisticated self control.

Richelieu’s Law – given a sufficient quantity of statements of merit on the part of an individual, a case can be made that one of those statements either serves to condemn that individual or runs anathema to the essence of all their other statements (apparent hypocrisy). An exploitative coercive argument which proceeds along the lines of the Richeliean quote: “Give me six lines written by the most honest man and I will find in them something to hang him.”

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.

Scoop Abuse – when a social skepticism media outlet inflates methodical cynicism and twists maligns or lies about the facts of an event in order to increase their media outlet notoriety at the expense of a disliked individual, who sponsors or considers ideas which they do not want communicated.

Script Delusion – a person who argues from a scripted set of talking points is under the delusion both that the recipient has never heard their information before, and that the hearer regards what they have to say as honest reflections, science or free thinking.

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.

Skeptic’s Tell – one who’s boots bear the mud of the road less traveled by, should carry also a loam of ideas less thought of.

Sophistry Fallacy – when a poorly skilled or experienced philosopher loses an argument, they will inevitably resort to an accusation of sophistry on the part of their opponent. They may not even grasp the fact that their ‘opponent’ is not even an opponent at all; rather a peer simply seeking to issue a word of caution, not disagreement. Caution which they interpret to be a threat; an advisement they possess a dearth of intellect with which to grasp.

  1. One introduces the philosophical level of discussion in the first place,
  2. One banks on the assumption that no one else is around who is sufficiently skilled to discuss the issue (an appeal to self-authority),
  3. One perceives a word of open-minded skeptical caution, incorrectly as an argument in opposition,
  4. One perceives (correctly or incorrectly) that an inner hypocrisy is now potentially exposed and they are now in danger of losing the argument which they started,
  5. The discussion resides now at a level above the original claimant’s intellectual or experiential capacity, and
  6. Its last recourse argument is foisted, after exhausting all other memorized arguing scripts (save for the sophistry claim itself).

Stereotyping – expecting a member of a group to possess certain characteristics reasonably or unreasonably assigned to that group, without having actual information about that individual.

Straw Man Conformance – the idea that since a person or group believes or considers subject A to be a potentiality, then an opponent insists that they therefore have endorsed extreme misrepresentations of subject A as well.

Straw Man Profiling – profiling of an individual based on an extreme or misrepresented version of their position. Any man can be made to appear irrational and vile, if his opponents only are allowed to speak on his behalf.

Style over Substance Fallacy – the undermining of an opponent and their argument or data by citing that it looks too pushed, packaged or promoted (for money) in order to be deemed acceptable or believable.

Taxonomy Fallacy – the illegitimate assignment or characterization of a proponent of a set of ideas, into a disfavored, extreme or fanatical group; in an effort to discredit the set of ideas without undertaking or possessing the research, evidence or qualifications necessary to justify such assignment.

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.

Thinking with the Little Head – also know as being a ‘dickhead’. The habit of some shallow or sociopath men in that every action they take is crafted inside the context of getting laid, or gaining the attention of women (or their perception of how that is attained).

tu quoque (“you too”) – an argument stating that since the opponent has conducted a fallacy, logical broach or hypocrisy then the proponent should not be held to account for violations, or stands correct in their position due to the opponent having made errors, the same or similar errors.

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 Argument – when an arguer has assembled an array of straw man or misrepresentation arguments so canned, pervasive or presumptuous that it appears that the arguer is arguing with a completely different person than the person with whom they are engaged in discussion. A penultimate, habitual or standing straw man misrepresentation of opposing thought and persons.

Wishful Accusing – accusing a person of making a decision with regard to data or observations according to what the opponent believes might be pleasing to imagine on their part, rather than according to evidence or reason. The minor implication imbedded being that the opponent exhibits no such fault.

epoché vanguards gnosis

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

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

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