The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Warning Indicators of Stacked Provisional Knowledge

Rather than presume as capstone upon incredibly risk-ignorant stacks of knowledge, what is true and not true, the ethical skeptic instead focuses on field observation and the suspension of doubt, belief and provisionally stacked assumption. He is not denying knowledge, rather denying the lie-spinner the raw material he so desperately needs. He is denying the tradecraft of the lie: an Omega Hypothesis. A condition wherein the conclusions themselves become more important than the process of knowledge development.

In the previous blog post we discussed the Riddle of Skepticism and a thing called the Tradecraft of the Lie. Inside this precept we are made sensitive to the role which machinated doubt, belief and ignorance of provisionally stacked risk play inside grand fantasies posed as representing (pluralistic ignorance) accepted scientific thinking. Several warning signs can be monitored to watch for such a condition wherein, social forces are seeking to promote an idea (The Omega Hypothesis) in such a fashion as to block further study and end the scientific discourse. In the process of doing so, these same forces will speak often about ‘evidence’, ‘study’ and ‘science’. Of course evidence, study and science are the foundation of our knowledge development process. But simply because one proclaims such words, does not mean therefore that their proclaimant actually understands nor represents science.

The Tower Which Cannot Be Touched – At All Costs

Below I have employed the analogy of a Jenga blocks game as illustrative of the principles comparing ideal science, the reality of fake knowledge posing as science and how its proponents undertake pseuodoscience (pretend method/action – and NOT a subject) in an effort to block competing ideas.  A shaky tower cannot be touched, at all costs. Therefore any method of obfuscating competing ideas becomes part of the ‘stack’ of provision afforded the Omega Hypothesis. The job of fake skepticism is to ensure that no competing idea nor unauthorized entity ever touches the shaky tower of blocks. As well, to ensure that the resource and obfuscation gaps inside the Embargo Hypothesis (on the right below), the Hypothesis which gets them angry – that those gaps are never addressed by science. That the question of the Embargo Hypothesis can never be raised in serious scientific discussion – at cost of severe career penalty. (Click to enlarge)

Verisimilitude Versus Field Observation

This principle is underpinned by key Karl Popper philosophy as outlined inside The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:¹

In the view of many social scientists, the more probable a theory is, the better it is, and if we have to choose between two theories which are equally strong in terms of their explanatory power, and differ only in that one is probable and the other is improbable, then we should choose the former. Popper rejects this. Science, or to be precise, the working scientist, is interested, in Popper’s view, in theories with a high informative content, because such theories possess a high predictive power and are consequently highly testable. But if this is true, Popper argues, then, paradoxical as it may sound, the more improbable a theory is the better it is scientifically, because the probability and informative content of a theory vary inversely—the higher the informative content of a theory the lower will be its probability, for the more information a statement contains, the greater will be the number of ways in which it may turn out to be false. Thus the statements which are of special interest to the scientist are those with a high informative content and (consequentially) a low probability, which nevertheless come close to the truth.¹

In contrast, you will note that it is the job of the provisional knowledge proponent, to seek out stacks of most probable conclusion. Information which

  1. Is not evaluated in terms of increasing risk-chain dependency
  2. Is not informative because it is probable; nor tolerates competing falsification work to be undertaken
  3. Cannot be assailed because of its probable superiority and critical basis for other arguments.

The key here being that as the stack of knowledge gets increasingly higher, even so more powerful become the standing 3 features above. So powerful in fact, that the conclusions themselves become more important than the process of knowledge development. This is how an Omega Hypothesis works – it must be protected at all costs, in order to not upset its multiple and tall stacks of provision. This is the job of Social Skepticism, to protect these stacks – the money, power, tenure and religious interweaving from which multiple arguments extend and thrive. This can be seen in the contrast of verisimilitude and consilience, two differing approaches to the establishment of hypothesis gravitas inside the scientific community.

A final distinguishing factor is this. While consilience is not finished science, rather an important step along the way in developing a hypothesis or understanding, sadly often verisimilitude is non-expertly regarded conveniently as finished science by fake skeptics.  This is the reason why doubt, belief and stacks of provisional knowledge are eschewed by the ethical skeptic.

Sculptured Narrative

/philosophy : pseudoscience : method/ : a social declaration which fits a predetermined agenda, purported to be of ‘weight of evidence’ and science in origin. However, in reality stems more from only the removal/ignoring of the majority or plurality of available or ascertainable evidence, in order to sculpt a conclusion which was sought before research ever began (see Wittgenstein sinnlos Skulptur Mechanism). Conducting science by dwelling only in the statistical and meta-analytical domains while excising all data which does not fit the social narrative of funding entities, large corporations or sskeptic organizations. Refusing to conduct direct studies, publishing studies which contain an inversion effect and filtering of countermanding studies out by attacking journals, authors and ignoring large bodies of evidence, consilience or falsification opportunity.

Verisimilitude (Unity of Knowledge Error)

The Omega Hypothesis:  A provisionally stacked basis supporting an apparent simple reality

/philosophy : pseudoscience : method/ : an argument establishing a screen of partially correct information employed to create an illusion of scientifically accurate conclusion. The acceptance of specific assumptions and principles, crafted in such a fashion as to lead to a therefore simple resulting explanatory conclusion.

Consilience

A dynamic enhancement of measure, observation and analysis increasingly promoting a single coherent idea

/philosophy : science : method : induction/ : is the nature or characteristic of an argument wherein its underpinning premises, data, multiple associated disciplines, avenues of research or predicates provide for independent but mutual reinforcement of its conclusion.

The Embargo Hypothesis (Hξ)

The hypothesis which must be dismissed without science because it threatens simplicity and verisimilitude

/philosophy : pseudoscience : method/ : a disfavored hypothesis which will never be afforded access to science or the scientific method no matter what level of consilience is attained. An idea which threatens to expose the risk linkages inside of or falsify a stack of protected provisional knowledge which has achieved an importance greater than science itself: an Omega Hypothesis.

Consilience is not finished science, nor does consilience stand as consensus. You will find fake skeptics conflating and twisting the two terms in order to support provisional knowledge they wish to enforce. However consilience does stand as a principal threat to those wishing to protect an agenda of verisimilitude. The Embargo Hypothesis on the other hand, is typically an elegant yet ignored robust and cogent theory. One which threatens power, tenure and money. It will never see the light of a scientific day, no matter how much consilience is developed.

Several Key Warning Signs to Look For Indicating an Omega Hypothesis at Play

A.  Mixing up the steps of or using only a portion of the scientific method

B.  Becoming irritated at calls for further competing study

C.  Over-using the term ‘settled science’ or ‘evidence’ in pluralistic debate

D.  Applying social pressure and club conclusions – feigned as ‘promoting scientific literacy’

E.  Liberal use of the prefix ‘Anti’

F.  Identifying enemies and pigeon-hole bifurcating an argument

G.  Becoming threatened by specific alternatives – calling them magic, pseudoscience, conspiracy or irrational

H.  Relying on scant, outdated or Big-Data only study

I.  Employing celebrity, journalism, funding, influence or authority (see Kilkenny’s Law) to intimidate

J.  Claiming their stack of provisional argument results from a principle of doubt and/or skepticism

K.  A complete ignorance of favored hypothesis limitations and risk.

Several Filtering Techniques Employed to Block The Embargo Hypothesis

And finally, whenever you observe the practices cited above, at play inside the methods of science employed to craft a stack of provisional knowledge and/or enforce an embargo of an eschewed but competing alternative – watch for the following filtering methods. A short definition is provided below with each.

Amplanecdote – so many observations are discarded as anecdote, that an entire science can be assembled around them

Filbert’s Law – relying solely upon single big-data, large domain or arm’s length inexpert meta-analysis to underpin a conclusion

Correlation Dismissal – assuming that all correlation is invalid and instead demanding proof as a first step in science

Effect Inversion – when the reverse question is asked inside an apparently non-significant signal data set, the opposite effect (‘curative’) shows up as a statistically significant signal

Procrustean Solution – further and further study is either modified or thrown out in order to not conflict with the current paradigm

Forward Problem Blindness – the reverse question is never asked or only predictive science is employed and falsification remains unused, despite its availability

Ignoro Eventum – failure to conduct follow-on/impact study or observe an impacted population after a major environmental change has been implemented

Ascertainment Bias – a form of inclusion or exclusion criteria error where the mechanism of sampling, specimen selection, data screening or sub-population selection is inherently flawed

MiHoDeAL Filtering – resorting too often to disposition unliked observations as Misidentification, Hoaxes, Delusions, Anecdotes and Lies

Law of Static Privation – does the provisionally stacked knowledge have a track record of improving further knowledge or alleviating suffering? – if not, it is a provisional stack

Existential Fallacy of Data – the implication or contention that there is an absence of observation or data supporting an idea, when in fact no observational study at all, or of any serious import has been conducted by science on the topic at hand

Shevel’s Inconsistency – one simultaneously contends that science has shown a research subject to be invalid, yet at the same time chooses to designate any research into that subject as constituting pseudoscience

Manipulative Rational Ignorance – an arguer contends rational ignorance applies inside an argument, or the ignoring of a pathway of science because the cost or effort entailed is too high versus the results or lack thereof to be obtained

Furtive Fallacy – undesired data and observations are asserted to have been caused by the malfeasance of researchers or laymen

Fallacy of Relative Privation – science is only the property of scientists. Dismissing an avenue of research due its waste of scientists’ time and focus

Semmelweis Reflex – the tendency to reject new evidence that contradicts one’s held paradigm

Furtive Confidence Fallacy – refusal to estimate, grasp or apply principles of statistical confidence to collected data. The act of prematurely declaring or doggedly denying a multiplicity of anecdote to be equal to data

Muta-Analysis/Studium a Studia – arm’s length, big data, studies-of-studies conducted by 3 year or less experienced analysts, presided over by money influenced directors

Dismissible Margin Fallacy – ensuring that the dissenting real experts and outlier data in a study field are of sufficiently low percentage that they can be ignored (typically cited as <5%)

Consilience Evasion – the refusal to look at a body of growing consilience in an effort to deny a disliked alternative any access to science

Hume’s Razor Error – the false presumption that a seemingly miraculous explanation is assumed to be false if any alternative explanation provided is less miraculous

Sponsorship Bias – rejection of an entire methodological basis of a scientific argument and all its underpinning data and experimental history simply because one can point to a bad personality involved in the subject

Regressive Bias – a certain state of mind wherein perceived high likelihoods are overestimated while perceived low likelihoods are underestimated

Observer Expectancy Effect – when a researcher expects a given result and therefore unconsciously manipulates an experiment or scientific method or misinterprets data in order to find that expected result

False Stickiness/Consensus – false belief that, or willingness to acceptance the claim that, scientists are all in agreement a given subject

Reactive Dissonance – when faced with a challenging observation, study or experiment outcome, to immediately set aside rational data collection, hypothesis reduction and scientific method protocols in favor of crafting a means to dismiss the observation

Unity of Knowledge Error – to conflate and promote consilience as consensus, in absence of having diligently falsified or even studied any competing hypothesis

All of these may be found in the Glossary or Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation Pages of this blog.

TES Signature


¹  Thornton, Stephen, “Karl Popper”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/popper/&gt;.

August 24, 2016 - Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Social Disdain | , , ,

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