The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

The Sleight-of-Hand StageCraft of the Debunker

The debunker craves science-celebrity with such a blood lust, that any form of deception will suffice, provided the great preponderance of those who witness their stage act will fail to spot the incumbent sleight-of-hand.
The debunker is spinning a facade of cherry-picked anecdotal anti-data, which is then used to linearly claim that something isn’t. This backwards method of outference runs anathema to the practices of science, evidence, and inference; a method plied by someone who possesses no interest in truth whatsoever.

Debunking is a form of social activism which seeks abuse of science through a masquerade of its underlying philosophical vulnerability, skepticism. At its heart, debunking is nothing but weaponized fake skepticism deployed by useful idiots to further the agency (not simply bias) of their sponsors. The debunker is a catalyseur who actively seeks to foment conflict between science and the lay public regarding an embargoed topic, who then exploits such conflict to bolster their celebrity and false form of go-to authority.

Inside this article we draw witness to the debunker’s alchemy, wherein they transmute their fantasy and obsession with trivia into accepted claims of science. It’s backbone serving only purposes of discrediting and ridicule, the form of oppressive dialogue outlined below ironically serves to most often disparage courage and curiosity inside the very arenas in which these virtues are most sorely needed.

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.

Economist, John Kenneth Galbraith

The process of debunking at its heart constitutes an abject mockery of science. It centers upon the fabrication of anti-data from extreme agency and anchoring bias, along with employment of this anti-data inside an argument from ignorance to prove (enforce) a fake form of null hypothesis called an Omega Hypothesis. Not even featuring the integrity of cynicism, this process is outference, an antithetical ethic to critical-path syllogism and inference. This is depicted below:

Debunking is the abuse of methodical doubt and mere plausibility to fabricate cherry-picked anti-data (?), which extrapolates into an empty-set (Ø) appeal to ignorance and supposedly proves (enforces) a fake form of null called the Omega Hypothesis. Debunking doubts and embargoes contending ideas before they can be tested for merit by science, yet never exposes its own ‘null hypothesis’ (ideam tutela) to any kind of accountability. Debunking is the antithesis of science.

Note: ‘Omega Hypothesis’ is a mandatory answer whose protection as ‘truth’ has become more important than the integrity of science itself

In contrast, science is the use of robust, corroborative, and repeating observational data to develop sound inference along a critical path of inquiry, which all serve to falsify the Null Hypothesis. Science doubts the Null Hypothesis.1

Debunking would be ‘cleverness pretending to be wise’, if it even rose to the level of being clever to begin with. (note: this is not the same as heteroduction, because as shown above heteroduction cannot be employed to prove the null hypothesis). Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen may I present the method of the debunker, The Pseudo-Scientific Method.

       Fabricate Supposed Flaw in Observation

Fallacy of Exclusion/Sowert’s Law – (Fallacy of Suppressed or Isolated Evidence) – one of the basic principles of argumentation is that a sound argument is one which presents all the relevant, and especially critical-path, evidence. A debunker will seek to isolate one single facet of an observation and then pretend that it is weak, when stripped of its corroborating observations, context, and facets of credibility. This is the warning flag that the above pseudo-scientific method is at play. Ignorance + Trivia = “Fact” in the compromised mind of a person bearing agency (Sowert’s Law).

Fallacy of Opposition/MiHoDeAL Claim – presuming that someone is wrong, including trained and qualified scientists measuring direct observation in a controlled environment, because they appear to reside in an opposing camp. Dismissing a single (or all) observation(s) as ‘Misinterpretation, Hoax, Delusion, Anecdote, and Lie (MiHoDeAL)’ – based solely upon a disdain for what was observed or who did the observing. A fallacy where an untrained, unequipped, ignorant ‘skeptic’ is suddenly instructing experts on how to correctly conduct observations in their field, on systems and in environments where the ‘skeptic’ has zero relevant experience.

       This Evidence is Disqualified

Semmelweis Reflex – the tendency to reject by informal, incomplete, or invalid basis new evidence that contradicts one’s held paradigm.

Truzzi Fallacy – when a cynic, debunker, or denialist regards that it is only necessary to present a case for their counter-claims based only upon their notion of plausibility, fictitious versions of Occam’s Razor, or probability no matter how slight it may be, rather than any actual empirical evidence.

Subception – a perceptual defense (martial art) that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering one’s personal gestalt.

       All Evidence is Disqualified

Fallacy of Composition – when one infers that something is true of the whole from the fact that it is (possibly) true of some part of the whole or anecdote thereof.

Dietrologia – an insistence that the obvious or repeatedly observed explanation, cannot possibly be the truth. Invoking as a first response and without any evidence, that ‘conspiracy theory’ spinning must be the motivation behind any repeated interpretation other than a preferred conventional one.

Cherry Sorting/Data Skulpting – applying diligent doubt, investigation, and skepticism to all instances of observation one disfavors, while relaxing and offering a free pass to all observations or interpretations which fit one’s preconceived notion. Skulpting the answer one desired in advance from skillful and selective ‘doubting’ of the observation/evidence base.

       Quod Erat Demonstrandum: ‘No Evidence Exists’

praedicate evidentia – hyperbole in extrapolating or overestimating the preponderance of evidence supporting a specific claim (even to convention), when few examinations of merit have been conducted regarding a hypothesis, or few or no such studies of the subject have indeed been conducted at all.

Appeal to Ignorance – an argument for a conclusion based on a lack of evidence, or the insistence that a lack of observed evidence means there is not evidence to be observed at all.

       Subject and Researchers are Therefore Discredited (A Scientific Claim)

Appeal to Skepticism – the invalid employment of skepticism to act in lieu of science. The employment of skepticism, in absence of any form of scientific study, in order to derive a scientific conclusion. Philosophy (skepticism) cannot be used to supplant science, as that is neither its capability nor role. Also, when one does not hold a science qualification, the pretense that one’s use of skepticism implies therefore that one’s opinions still represent science or scientific consensus.

Appeal to Ridicule – an argument is made by framing the opponent or opponent’s argument in a way that makes either appear ridiculous.

One should notice that the debunker most often ends this process with two implicit (and often explicit) scientific claims, issuing such offenses inside the masquerade of a staid and erudite demeanor:

1. That the subject and the one who approaches that subject as an open-minded researcher, are both now discredited scientifically (debunked), and

2. The debunker themself bears the qualifications necessary to represent the scientific method, scientific consensus, critical thinking, skepticism, and science itself.

‘Debunking’ in this context is defined as ‘the habit of the debunker’. While there is a small context of legitimate use for the term, its equivocal and pejorative implications/connotations render it an unwise choice as a professional or philosophical term. Debunking in the manner cited above is an illicit form of martial art (see ‘subception’ above). Most often as well, it is a form of exploitation of the innocent, theft/obfuscation of common intellectual property, and lying on the part of a self-appointed authority – a fairly heinous set of actions given their casual issuance. A stage magician who has taken it upon themselves to apportion the proprietary knowledge development of mankind as they solely desire, by means of their tattered magic hat and worn-out stage act.

Wherein one is corrupt in their skepticism, there also will they be corrupt in their heart.

Most people sense the incumbent dishonesty in their gut. However, like myself years ago possess neither the philosophy nor ethics deliberation skills requisite in a Wittgenstein sufficient framing of such deceptive tactics. Hence, the reason why ethical skepticism continues to grow in popularity.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Sleight-of-Hand StageCraft of the Debunker”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 3 Jul 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=51488

  1. “Rejecting or disproving the null hypothesis—and thus concluding that there are grounds for believing that there is a relationship between two phenomena (e.g. that a potential treatment has a measurable effect)—is a central task in the modern practice of science.” (Quote from Wikipedia: Null hypothesis)

July 3, 2021 - Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , ,

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Tommy Schopenhauer

This brings a warm feeling to my heart. There has never been anything in my intellectual life that I have hated as much as the typical modus operandi of “debunking” whole fields of inquiry by doing exactly the things that are exposed in this very succinct article.
But it is quite hard to put into words what it is the “debunkers” are doing – at least in a way that is somewhat understandable for the vast majority of people …
But perhaps things are slowly changing … ?

Tommy Schopenhauer

That is good to hear. The last few years have been different, without a doubt, but I tend to be somewhat pessimistic about certain things, I guess. One specific symptom, for example, is the ever increasing usage of the term “conspiracy theory” for a myriad of things that are often only vaguely associated with something that is considered to be a forbidden topic or a discouraged way of thinking. It is like some kind of overeagerly concerted counter-reaction to the signs of the times … Recent developments in certain “fringe” areas, on the other hand, fill me with optimism. So… Read more »

Jeff Semenak

No evidence found… How many times have we heard that? The 2020 election comes to mind; along with,voter fraud allegations. Arizona, seems to be peeling back the onion though.

Paul

Reading this I thought “mmh that seems very much like the thing the so-called fact checkers do as well”.

Robert Colson

Thanks for breaking apart this frustrating practice; I hope I re-read this.

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