A New Ethic
When philosophers speak of skepticism being the foundation of science, they are not referring to the inept spewing of methodical cynicism, prejudicial doubt and stacks of provisional knowledge of unacknowledged risk, which is practiced by those who today pretend to be, or pose as if representing, science. Skepticism possesses no ax to grind, save for the idempotent ethic of defending the knowledge development process. It challenges manipulation of opponents, semantics, data, method, science, argument, assumption, groups, authorities and perception of self on the part of agenda carrying agents. These agents enforce a fiat knowledge agenda through intimidation, defamation, ridicule, surreptitious malevolent activity, social control, ethnic disdain, tortious interference, business tampering, murder, targeting of ideas, observations or persons, media domination, propaganda, mafia and elite corporate power. This all oriented towards the desired set of social goals enacted under a particular cultivated ignorance.
Philosophy is the moral conscience of science; yet in this role it cannot pretend to step in and act on behalf of science. Skepticism therefore, as philosophy, is the complement of sound science method, not the privilege sword of a few pretenders culling and provisionally promoting in lieu of science. Skepticism is the hallmark of those who possess the grace, integrity and acumen requisite in the wielding of great ideas.
Of course the ethics (practice methods) of Ethical Skepticism are not really new. However, to most people, because of the false form of skepticism thrust upon them daily by agenda driven forces, Ethical Skepticism does appear to be novel and heretical thinking. The modern pop/lay definitions outlining the mindset of persons who identify themselves as skeptics often include some version of the task of ‘carefully scrutinizing claim validity,’ ‘doubting’ and ‘demanding proof’ as a response to novel intelligence. Skepticism, as philosophy, cannot make the boast of replacing science, as this is not the purpose of philosophy. Those that substitute skepticism in lieu of science hunger for premature conclusiveness and exploit convenient ambiguity in science method; a tacit permission which justifies just about any oppressive action of denial one chooses. It affords any jerk, know-it-all or activist the ability to promote their religious or political ideas under the luxury of cozenage as a scientist – all through the simple act of declaring themselves to be a skeptic. It revolves around a false practice set implying that you personally must derive a conclusion on every mystery in the here and now, with only the information you have been given. This is a pressure sales pitch – usually involving identifying the bad people. This is dishonesty. This is pseudoscience. It is skepticism derived for the sole sake of being identified as a skeptic. It is a pretense, purposed for power.
Ethical Skepticism in contrast, focuses on application of the scientific method to produce a consequentialist duality of clarity – regardless of whether or not the insights are liked or disliked, probable or improbable, favored or disfavored, and value – as measured by three goals: love, understanding and the alleviation of suffering.
Skepticism is a practice discipline of the ethical scientist. However, being skeptical does not therefore make one a scientist. Indeed rather, such self-regard without circumspection can serve to mislead one into obsessing about skepticism itself; to stand in lieu of actual understanding or qualification history. This is the cause of much extremism in our society today, falsely in the name of science. Therefore, Ethical Skepticism can be viewed as a personal practice set which seeks to avoid the pitfalls portrayed inside application variants of Neuhaus’ and Goodhart’s Laws:
/philosophy : skepticism : fallacies/ : where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.
Therefore, by this principle, we see how skepticism, as a goal in and of itself will always escalate to extremism. Because anything which can be encompassed inside a halo of ‘doubt’ will eventually be ‘debunked’ by default, whether or not research is done inside the subject at all. All it takes is a bit of club self-delusion and a little shove of doubt. This is encompassed then as an outcome of Goodhart’s Law:
Goodhart’s Law (of Skepticism)
/philosophy : skepticism : fallacies/ : when skepticism itself becomes the goal, it ceases to be skepticism.
Both of these principles become favorable leverage angles for the adept forces seeking to conduct Bernaysian social engineering. The social skeptics they target to participate in this ploy are smart enough to support the agenda, but not smart enough to spot the methods of counter-intelligence and the role they play therein. Nassim Taleb’s ‘Intellectual Yet Idiot‘ class of smartest people in the room.
Moreover, with regard to even the valid aspects of pop-skepticism, there exists a problem in that a sufficiently detrimental portion of those who identify themselves as ‘skeptics’ teach and purposely practice agenda driven methodical cynicism and promotion of their personal religion, Nihilism. The flaw in this process is embodied in The Riddle of Skepticism:
The Riddle of Skepticism
The question one must ask them self, before venturing into this hall of mirrors called skepticism, is this: It is not whether or not I can establish a likelihood of being right or wrong on a matter; the question in the mind of the ethical skeptic is ‘If you were wrong, would you even know?” This is the focus of the philosophy of skepticism and not this business of pretending to act in lieu of science.
By proclaiming skepticism, one has already struck the tar baby and can no longer plead denial of their action in contending philosophy. The discipline of philosophy, even an examination as to how we go about developing knowledge, cannot be employed as a means to bypass science and pretend to act in its place, as this is not the purpose of philosophy.
Doubt, belief and social pressure to accede to provisional knowledge therefore are the raw materials which compose the fabric of the lie. This is why the ethical skeptic relies upon the suspension of these things – embodied in the philosophy of the epoché. Rather than decide for himself what is true and untrue, instead he robs the lie spinner (even if himself) of the raw material he desperately needs. He is not denying knowledge, rather denying the tradecraft of the lie.
The entire realm of ethical skepticism is occulted through the sleight-of-hand trick wherein Pyrrhonistic Epoché is strawman defined as a ‘denial of knowledge’. This is philosophical ineptness – and creates the false dilemma that methodical cynicism is therefore the only bifurcated alternative inside the process of seeking truth..
~ The Ethical Skeptic
With the exception of inalienable natural rights, philosophy, despite standing as the foundation of science, cannot be abused to supplant or act in lieu of the methods of science. Skepticism too is bound by this construct. Much of our false skepticism and scientific pretense today stems from a misunderstanding of or ignorance around this key principle. Therefore, in order to clarify the difference between false and valid skepticism based on this understanding, I have introduced a more rigorous professional definition of the mindset; one more clearly and effectively focused on application of the scientific method. One which I call Ethical Skepticism. A personal choice of scientific professional character which is expounded upon in the series parts below:
/ Epoché Vanguards Gnosis / : a means of disciplining one’s mind, practices and data sets in order to maintain objectivity in methods of science. The positive technique of developing a neutral phylogeny, cataloging existing and new data without prejudice. An aversion to obsessing over proof or the disposing of subjects, people and claims; while instead, focusing on accruing field observations and asking the critical reduction path, value and clarity enhancing, next question under the scientific method. Defense of the Knowledge Development Process through application of Ockham’s Razor and full scientific methodology. Opposition to all thinking which seeks to surreptitiously establish power through errant science or method, religion, institution, cabal, oligarchy, intimidation or ignorance – regardless of how ‘critical’ or ‘rational’ it purports to be.
So let’s revise the pop misunderstandings of skepticism and the “scrutinizing validity/proof” boasts above, into the true definition; in a way that transforms it from a shill pretense, acting in lieu of science – and into real professional skepticism:
Skeptic – One who practices the method of suspended judgment, engages in dispassionate evidence gathering and objective unbiased reasoning in execution of the scientific method, shows willingness to consider opposing explanations without prejudice based on prior beliefs, and who pursues goals of clarity and value in support of our knowledge development.
Ethical Skepticism – The Seven Tropes
Explained how skepticism is a thirst to know and authentically investigate. An extreme distaste for man’s propensity for self deception, social power, posing and contrivance. Not solely for the sake of simply knowing; but moreover to in small part, help in easing the pain of mankind’s suffering and lack of knowledge about the realm in which he finds himself unwilling participant.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 1 – The Octavus Thesauri and What it Means to Be an Ethical Skeptic
Explained how skepticism is a method of preparing the mind and data sets to conduct the Knowledge Development Process. That it has nothing to do with simplest explanations or defending why the right answer is correct. It is a form of disciplined receptive thought; a way of handling new data without resorting to the errant method of deniability or defending pat/institutional answers.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 2 – The Riddle of Skepticism
Explained how Ethical Skepticism is a clarity and value oriented assemblage of the best of Philosophical, Empirical and Cartesian Skepticism developed in side a Kuhn Theory of Revolution context, focused on employment of the entire scientific method, not simply the experimental method.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 3 – Ethical Skepticism Detailed Through the Knowledge Development Process
The purpose of skepticism is not to defend the correct answer; rather to defend the integrity of the Knowledge Development Process, and to challenge the imposition of ignorance. The Ethical Skeptic must ever be vigilant for abrogation of the scientific method and surreptitiously promoted religion.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 4 – Ethical Skepticism and How it Relates to Religion and Belief
Explained how Ethical Skepticism’s being defined philosophically as Defense of the Knowledge Development Process, only affords room for definition of belief and religion in one way. A way in which those who pretend to represent science are correctly framed in the light of the same religious mindset as the theist religious minded opponents.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 5 – Ethical Skepticism and The Real Ockham’s Razor
The actual role of Ockham’s Razor, the real scientific principle, is to begin the scientific method, not complete it in one felled swoop. Rational thinking under Ockham’s Razor (ie. Parsimony) is the demonstrated ability to handle plurality of argument with integrity. The ability to wield great ideas and not drop them through incompetence.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 6 – Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
It behooves the Ethical Skeptic to ensure that people’s words are not implied as club weapons to enforce specious religious doctrines. It behooves the Ethical Skeptic to understand their own employment of such words inside a context of ethical clarity; to disarm the social inference that such words mean more, than they really do. To err either way, is the source of fanaticism.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 7 – The Unexpected Virtue of Allow-For Thinking
The practice of Allow-For thinking is not tantamount to a confirming belief nor a denial belief on the part of the ethical skeptic. It is not a belief at all. Rather, a practical allegiance to science, a pledge to allow a matter of coherently observed plurality its day in the court of science, no matter what methods our personal prejudices, provisional knowledge, bunk intolerance, and social pressures might tempt us to bias.
Ethical Skepticism – Part 8 – The Watchers Must Also Be Watched
One of the tenets of Ethical Skepticism is “Monitor those who do the monitoring.” Two pitfalls derive from a monitoring process which has gone out of control. In-group biases tend to reinforce in the mind of the watchers, the need for their quality entity (external skepticism in lieu of science) and they may fail to be able to recognize a quality outcome – becoming the source of error themselves..