The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Rumors of Philosophy’s Demise are Greatly Exaggerated

I rapped upon the front door, as if a stranger – its familiar ornate knocker now cold hard liaison into my very own cherished childhood. Entering the house while my Father shut the door behind us, I felt the incumbent rush of joy as he rattled off his favorite Mark Twain quip, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” This just could not be you see, as my Father was dead.

My father was a great man. He was a lawyer by education, accountant by training and a philosopher by life experience. He grew up in a small Appalachian town – which his heart really never left. I have only partially grasped the reasons why he wanted to move his family back there. There was the presence of some extended family, and that mattered of course. But it has only dawned on me in these latest years, the full set of rationale as to why he returned to this little town. He worked for and eventually bought, the largest factory in the town – an operation employing close to 1,000 persons. He spent his life guiding both the business and ethical direction of that plant along its mission.  Not a mission to make money, and not a mission to protect the environment nor make quality its product – although it succeeded in all this. Rather a mission to serve the citizens of that town. To serve both his love for honor, and his abject love for the small community inside which he had grown up.

My father came to me in three dreams after he died suddenly of a heart attack back in the 1990’s. Evil services the aimless but good man through a slow and torturous death, but an effective good man it must kill with swift errand.

In the first dream he pulled alongside of me in our old yellow Buick Skylark as I walked along a roadside, and bade me to get into the car with him. Once inside he said “I want to thank you for helping your mother since I passed and for all the hard work you did in closing my estate.” I replied “Sure Dad.” We drove along for a few moments and he asked “Is there anything you want to ask me, or are curious about?” I thought for a moment, and replied “No, just listening to you come through here, is enough in itself.” He smiled and acknowledged the incurred wisdom.

Around the time of the second dream, my company faced the burden of the 2004 recession. We held a monthly sales backlog of $80,000 and monthly payroll liability of $380,000, about a month out. My four senior partners, who had gotten rich off decades of more heady days inside the business, decided that rough times were not part of the formula, and therefore it was time for their exit. They handed me an 80% upside-down business, along with all the employees, their families, their healthcare and college education benefits, and then bolted with the cash and past profits. To say I was terrified, both for myself and the wide-eyed employees who feared for their livelihoods, was an understatement. My father came through in a dream that month and said “TES, I know you are scared, but I want you to stick with this company. A large interest is going to come and it will turn things around.” I complied. That next few weeks, the phones started ringing, clients descended upon us in droves – and the large interest turned out to be the People’s Republic of China. We survived, we thrived.

In the third dream, I found myself walking up to our old family home in that small Appalachian town. The centerpiece of my youthful existence. I rapped upon the front door, as if a stranger – its familiar ornate knocker now cold hard liaison into my very own cherished childhood. My Dad answered the door and threw his arms into the air and exclaimed in reference to himself, “It’s Alive!!” An homage to his favorite movie of all time, Young Frankenstein. It became clear to me in that moment that it was Friday night, and we were all going to watch a movie. Entering the house while he shut the door behind, I felt the incumbent rush of joy as he rattled off his favorite Mark Twain quip, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Stephen Hawking was wrong.

Philosophy is not dead.

We may suffer from a plurality of dilettante who conflate an affinity for arguing, religious doctrines or memorization of Kant, Plato and Hume as constituting an expedient corner on wisdom. However, we cannot afford to allow the philosophy underlying science, skepticism, to be corrupted in such fashion that its wisdom is eclipsed by shallow or academic ego – adrift and impotent inside its charter of holding science accountable.

This new dawn of artificial intelligence, genetic technology, corporate power and social monitoring mandates that our philosopher be better equipped. Bearing prerequisite skills in science, business and government; experience in human nature and deception, and finally possessing an accrued and heartfelt love for humanity – traits which abet and check science along its course in serving us all, and prohibit its ethical neutrality from warping it into mankind’s greatest enemy.

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January 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | 5 Comments

Heteroduction – When Classic Inference Proves Unsound

There exists a circumstance for skepticism wherein a nagging repetitive anecdote inside the general public experience just will not go away. The impasse wherein its absence has been falsified, yet classic forms of inference fail in deriving its presence. Such instance stands as Ockham’s Razor necessity for the introduction of a new form of inference – one better suited to intelligence assimilation, than classic academic study. A disruptive and asymmetric form of inference which resides at the heart of the Kuhn-Planck Theory of Scientific Revolution.

Much to the chagrin of fake skeptics, certain phenomena and archetypes in the realm of human experience, will just not go away. Specific subjects they disdain are irritatingly bolstered by almost daily repeated observation on the part of the general public. Inside many of these topics the idea that such disdained phenomena constitute a mere figment of overzealous imaginations has been falsified over and over. But this will never satisfy the mind of a fake skeptic. They extrapolate a condition of difficulty in terms of classic inference, to therefore stand as basis for inferring the phenomenon’s absence as well (appeal to ignorance). They then invoke the name of science, as a USDA stamp of certification on such putrid products of ‘critical thinking’. To the ethical skeptic, such skeptical casuistry is folly.

My thoughts regarding this condition, what I have termed the contrathetic impasse, revolve are around a new approach to research and inference. One which we employed inside Intelligence, during my days therein. This is the form of research which might be performed by an investigator. This ilk of researcher does not hold an entire body of pre-knowledge (prior art), and must assemble such as part of their discovery process inside their research method. Not that this mode of inference or means of research has not existed all along; rather my point is, that this form of research is denied its own meaning and identity inside acceptable science method. Skeptics regard investigators and sponsors as lower, invalid forms of scientist. Pseudo scientists. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A Necessity for Heteroduction

The form of research and mode of inference this style of researcher employs involves a circumstance/conundrum exhibiting the following cohesive set of characteristics – ones common to all subjects which labor under this burden:

1.  Locus of study resides inside an enigma or apparent enigma which bears detection, but is denied meaning (See Descriptive Wittgenstein Error)

2.  Its logical critical path bears asymmetry or is unduly influenced by agency

3.  Its observations are ephemeral, hard to quantify and involve apparent sublime factors

4.  Observations are cherry sorted by skeptics in favor of reliability over their probative potential

5.  There exists an appeal-to-authority hostility toward the subject domain (Embargo Hypothesis – Hξ)

6.  The disciplines of lab/linear style hypothesis, deduction and induction have not proved to constitute sufficient inference methodologies to make progress inside the enigma

7.  More is unknown than is known regarding the entailed subject domain.

Solving a murder (deduction) or discovering a non-chlorine hand sanitizer for Ebola stricken areas (linear induction), or arriving at a conclusion about the character of a person (triangulating induction) – none of these constitute a sufficient method of inference under the condition outlined above. This condition demands much more, a form of Intelligence if you will, than it demands a basic form of intellectual exercise or inference. In the list to the right, you can observe the various modes of induction, ranked according to probative strength. Heteroduction (in red) is not so much strong in its relative ranking as a form of inference, as it is key in its role as possibly the only avenue of recourse once science and society have reached a contrathetic impasse. Observations have been proven to exist, but classic means of research have failed to produce critical answers.

Maybe one of the first steps inside this battle revolves around prompting philosophers of science to recognize this ‘new’ form of induction in the first place. Perhaps this is why fake skeptics patrol philosophy as well, to ensure that this form of inference is never understood nor accepted.

Heteroduction

/philosophy : inference/ : a disruptive and asymmetric form of inference necessary when classic modes of inference have served to produce or enforce incoherent and/or falsified conclusions. Heteroduction is associated less commonly with classic incremental hypothesis, and more with a process of investigation called intelligence assimilation. A novel form of inference which does not or cannot rely solely upon leveraging an incremental extrapolation of risk from that which is alike to our prior art. Rather, this method of inference must pool and draw inference from that which is unlike our prior art. It is the basis of the Kuhn-Planck Paradigm Shift understanding of scientific revolutions.

Heteroduction is strong because it leverages inconsistent observation as a form of coincident falsification and deduction.
Falsifications and deductions of high probative value which are erroneously or surreptitiously dismissed
because of their perceived lack of consistency, conformance or salience.

There are certain subjects, wherein their modus absens (absence as an object or state) has been falsified. In other words, Ockham’s Razor plurality has been surpassed and ethical research now demands their investigation. These are the domains which are best researched by the intelligence specialist; that form of investigator who knows how to assemble prior art and chase a consilience of information, all of which have proved to be unlike much of what we have seen before. But such a researcher must understand, that what is forbidden, and the puzzle piece nubs which are cut off in order to make the pieces a better ‘fit’ inside the a priori puzzle, can also often be assembled into the truth. Such is a predictable foible of mankind.

An Example of Heteroduction

For instance, dark matter is a one-idea-solves-all proposition which is raised as a result of cataloging a set of anomalous observations regarding universal/galactic motions in their relation to our understanding of gravity.  Classic linear induction would dictate that we craft dark matter as the incremental element which would function to conserve general relativity and Lambda-CDM models as the null hypothesis in the face of such a growing set conflicting observations. The reader may be forgiven for confusing such activity with ‘belief’. An ethical skeptic understands that the null hypothesis should never enjoy the luxury of becoming a belief.

Heteroduction in contrast, would coalesce all these same anomalous observations (see below) into a competing paradigm; observations which either are unlike anything we have ever seen, or even contradict our current prior art on the subject.  Heteroduction in this instance serves to develop a grounded-but-novel explanatory schema for these into a new competing construct (hopefully later hypothesis, if it can survive fake skepticism). Quantized Inertia stands as a key example of heteroduction in action.

Linear Induction

Dark Matter – a hypothetical form of matter that is thought to account for approximately 85% of the matter in the universe, and about a quarter of its total energy density. Its presence is inductively implied in a variety of astrophysical observations, including gravitational effects that cannot be explained unless more matter is present than can be seen.1

A person conducting heteroduction would sound warning on this line of reasoning – if enforced as a truth, rather than as the null hypothesis (note that I am not arguing against Dark Matter as a construct, simply using its deliberation as exemplary here).

Heteroduction

Quantized Inertia (QI) – previously known by the acronym MiHsC (Modified Inertia from a Hubble-scale Casimir effect), is the concept first proposed in 2007 by physicist Mike McCulloch, as an alternative to general relativity and the mainstream Lambda-CDM model. Quantized Inertia is posited to explain various anomalous effects such as the Pioneer and flyby anomalies, observations of galaxy rotation which forced Dark Matter’s introduction and propellantless propulsion experiments such as the EmDrive and the Woodward effect. It is a theory of inertia-like resistance arising from quantum effects, which serves to function in the place of dark matter –  as the necessary conjecture explaining ‘missing matter/gravitation’ in our cosmological models.2

For a better framing of QI Theory than I can render here, one can find a common sense summary within this video (which is also recommended by physicist Mike McCulloch):  The Fringe Theory Which Could Disprove Dark Matter

The Unruh effect, Casimir effect, information coding/compression theory and missing mass of galactic rotation, all of which provide the praedicate to QI theory, are all well established constructs inside modern science. Each subject outlines artifacts of observation unlike any we have observed before – anomalies which prompt scientists to go ‘huh?’. However it is the probative potential of such observations combined with this very nature of being unlike our standing prior art on the subject, which suggests their necessary combination into a new theoretical paradigm. This process/mode of inference is called heteroduction. It becomes necessary when classic forms of inference (the top ones in the chart above) have run their course in ability to provide explanatory or predictive power, and a critical mass of exception/falsifying observations continue to accrue.

True science challenges its null hypothesis, and this construct/hypothesis challenges the null hypothesis within a reasonable basis of soundness. This does not mean that QI therefore as an idea is correct, rather that it stands as a potential foundational stone inside a Kuhn-Planck Paradigm Shift. The mode of inference and the method of investigation remain valid, despite whether or not the QI alternative pans out to be true in the end. It is indeed science.

In contrast, there exist several darker forms of inference, a key one of which is panduction.

Panduction

/philosophy : invalid inference/ : an invalid form of inference which is spun in the form of pseudo-deductive study. Inference which seeks to falsify in one felled swoop ‘everything but what my club believes’ as constituting one group of bad people, who all believe the same wrong and correlated things – this is the warning flag of panductive pseudo-theory. No follow up series studies nor replication methodology can be derived from this type of ‘study’, which in essence serves to make it pseudoscience.  This is a common ‘study’ format which is conducted by social skeptics masquerading as scientists, to pan people and subjects they dislike.

As such an idea like QI, which hinges upon heteroduction, cannot be equated with pseudoscience, as did Brian Koberlein in a Forbes (no surprise here to followers of The Ethical Skeptic) article on 15 February 2017.3 I am not a proponent necessarily of Quantized Inertia, but this form of ‘I am God’ journalism, purposed a priori with the sole objective of harming (scienter) researchers for daring to think differently, constitutes a Richeliean appeal-to-authority on the part of Brian Koberlein. Brian exhibits here a longstanding problem in science and not any form of its valid expression. His appeal to ‘peer review’ and opponent ‘resistance to criticism (infer: invalidation)’ ring with sounds of familiarity to the experience ethical skeptic and investigator. Not that those things are wrong as aspects of science, rather they are the common last resort implements of the scoundrel, when used to counter otherwise sound evidence and scientific method. A circumstance wherein the poseur has exhausted the depths of their technical competence and now must resort to sciencey-sounding rhetoric.

One can ascertain from the Forbes article, that Brian understands fully he will be rewarded with immediate monkey-with-a-gas-can credibility (and future income) through visibly bullying a weaker target and slinging a couple familiar terms about. It is one thing to professionally disagree – another thing altogether to call something which possesses valid mechanism and observation, ‘pseudoscience’. This is not ‘scientific criticism’. This is a Wittgenstein object called evil (harm as a first priority, through misrepresentation with scienter):

Rather than addressing criticism, you start building a story where your idea is obviously right, and others are simply too closed-minded to see it. Down that path lies pseudoscience, and sometimes you can watch it happening. Take for example, Mike McCulloch’s theory of Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC), also known as quantized inertia.4

~Brian Koberlein, Astrophysicist and Forbes Contributor

It is not that Brian’s conclusion is wrong. But more importantly, his mode of inference (panduction) is unsound. His method is wrong and will only serve to propagate ignorance. It forces science advancement to rely critically upon, not discovery, rather the eventual passing of its participants.

Science advances through disruptive shifts based upon heteroduction, and only after the posing skeptics of conformance all die.
The intrinsically deductive nature of death therefore, may stand as mankind’s most profound form of scientific inference.

Brian starts by assuming the proposition to be wrong (an amazing feat of panductive critical thinking – see chart above), and then straw man frames the thought behind its competing idea as originating from ‘building a story’ (infer ‘lie’ dear reader). This constitutes an overreach in skepticism, as this circumstance may constitute simply a matter of a necessary competing construct (see Embargo of the Necessary Alternative is Not Science).

Under Brian’s method outlined here, we are done with science as a key bulwark to the future of humanity – as no new idea can ever be developed again. Nothing but academic journalism from here on out folks – get on the bus or be pseudoscience. We are the science, you are not. Papers published will be constrained to only those which serve to stroke the egos of those who achieved journalistic tenure, and can only serve to propose hypotheses which conjecture additional novel tidbits outlining how brilliant and correct we have always been. This is nonscientific propaganda, a form of bullshit common with Forbes and its contributors.

It is not that dark matter is invalid as a construct or theory; rather, the challenge resides in exposing this fake form of its enforcement. A philosophical experiment which will serve to benefit future generations in combating methodical cynicism and ignorance.

 It is this very process of

  • denying a whole method of inference its own meaning and role
  • invalidating (not ‘criticizing’) a scientific enigma because of its asymmetrical challenge and sublime observation base
  • obsessing over reliability to the sacrifice of understanding, and
  • Richeliean appeal to authority

which stand as the conditions which make heteroduction necessary as now an accepted mode of inference. A mode of inquiry which resides at the heart of the ethical talented intelligence specialist. It is up to the ethical skeptic to ensure that such researchers and avenues of research are shielded from the nefarious forces which would see to their premature demise.

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January 27, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , | Leave a comment

Distinguishing Scientific from Academic Study

Scientific and academic study are two different things. Two different standards of hypothesis development and method of reduction/inference. Academic study bears more in common with pseudoscience than it does science. Particularly in a circumstance of stakeholder risk – always know the difference – always demand the real thing.

What qualifies as a real scientific study? What do we call the circumstance wherein a study is produced which only meets part of that necessary set of requirements, or perhaps few or none of them? How do we flag the circumstance for instance, wherein a large population is placed at risk, and diligent precaution is established by means of simply a few incomplete statistical inductions falling far short of any standard of consilience? Below we have developed a checklist, which highlights the difference between academic study, and the real thing, scientific study. The checklist centers around the development of real professional hypothesis and the standards employed to accomplish testing and hypothesis reduction/inference.

An academic study, while it may employ some of the heuristics of statistical or other science – is not a scientific study if it does not get its boots muddy. That is to say, if it

Academic Study Pseudoscience

It does not matter whether or not such a study passed social peer review or not. These are the ethical standards which distinguish real science from its authorized poseur.

If it sits in its cubicle and merely employs analysts or interns to run some ‘reliable’ (key word for lazy) databases and spin some heuristics on a one-and-done a priori question (orphan question) – then this is not science, rather social activity. Anyone can do that shit.

For instance, if you are tasked with protecting the American public on a matter of health risk (see Example C here), and you direct a ‘one-and-done’ statistical study in another country, which counts absences of danger flag data as if they were confirmed observations of negatives – and you place such analyses into the hands of interns running academic exercises – you should not get peer review, rather you should get prison time. As this is not real scientific study, no matter how correctly it might employ regression heuristics and p-values – and even if it passes peer review.

A meta-study of 1000 academic studies, is still an academic study – and not the pinnacle of scientific rigor.
Especially if the meta-study is then employed as excuse to avoid having to conduct real scientific study.

The below checklist is handy in differentiating real science, from its light and easy academic poseur. It is not that academic science does not serve an important role in both the development of intelligence and training of new scientists. The shortfall occurs when media pundits, conflict of interest policy-makers, fake skeptics and social wannabe’s fail to distinguish academic science from the real thing. This checklist is crafted to show, that academic science, despite its legitimacy in certain contexts and even in the case of having passed peer review, bears more in common with pseudoscience than it does real science. Particularly in the circumstance of precaution – always know the difference – always demand the real thing.

This standard is a tough standard. It should be tough – as that is the job of skepticism: ensuring rigor inside science.

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December 30, 2018 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | 5 Comments

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