The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

How to Argue Like a Child

The following is the formula of discourse on the part of an arguing child. Their case is never about mere disagreement, dissent nor the material at hand. Their ‘disagreement’ is that you should not even be allowed a voice in the first place.

Those who are perpetually captive inside a child’s mind engage in debate by means of the following method; the method of the faking skeptic or immature arguer. The agency who patrols social discourse and seeks to derail any stakeholder discussion which might serve steer science or its social discourse into a direction they disfavor. This style of arguer does not discuss the material at hand; their concealed goal is habitually instead, to discuss you. Their goal is to shut you down, if you dare disagree or even ponder a different conclusion.

The following is the step by step method of an arguing child. Their case is never about mere disagreement or the material at hand. Their ‘disagreement’ is that you should not even be allowed a voice in the first place. When such is the case, their form of argument most often contains the following elements:​

      The Ten Characteristics of Arguing Like a Child

1.  nulla infantis – ‘nuh uhhh, shut up.’ Fancy ways of simply issuing a baby’s ‘no’. Usually accompanied by a code-phrased demand that their opponent be silent.​

2.  Herculean Burden of Proof – exclaiming ‘prove it! prove it! Unsubstantiated claim!’ to all manner of philosophy, personal experience and things which are metaphysical in nature, impossible or would take a 1700 page treatise to prove.​

3.  Focused on Irrelevance – fails to grasp the difference between a point which is relevant, salient or critical path, from one which is not. Doesn’t care, just needed to feign subject competence.

4.  Fail to Recognize Their Own Argument – when their argument is given back to them verbatim and by quote (without straw man), they do not recognize it, or accuse you of crafting a straw man.

5.  Canned Apothegm – lead in is often first accompanied by an authoritative claim to simplicity or other canned catch-phrase they were taught by a club inside which they are attempting to increase their rank.

6.  Lazy/Silver Platter – typically know very little about the topic and then want you to do their research for them; like a bad lab partner or project worker.​

7.  Threatened by Competence – they grow angry if their opponent incidentally cites personal professional or life experience in the subject – the inappropriate response often revealing an inner wound for which they are covering.​

8.  Insulting & Demeaning (The Actual Goal) – their cleverness is invested into a campaign of insulting or demeaning you, woven into the fabric of put-down humor or their informal argument. They will usually begin the insults on the third exchange. They will float their ‘PhD’ or other comparative appeal to authority in some manner. They think they are too smart for you to detect this.​ As they age in cynical behavior, the insults will come earlier and earlier in the discussion process.

9.  non tu es – ‘no, you are…’. Whatever you offer them in terms of critique they throw back in your face with a childish ‘No, you are…’; however often wrapped up in a pretentious pleonasm in actual personal attack form, usually non-sequitur or straw man – and not an informal critique of method.

10.  Slam Condemnation – they want to end the conversation with a coup de grâce not related to the critical path argument at hand – something to show how superior they are to you and how unacceptable you are, with your ‘opinions’.

One may notice that this process is devoid of anything which pertains to the critical path of argument at all – save for possibly step 5. However, I have found that arguers who conduct their discourse in this manner, do not grasp the critical path well enough to know whether or not their canned apothegm actually is salient in the first place. So most often not even step 5 in this arguing method applies to the subject at hand.

As an ethical skeptic, when you point out this set of methodological errors on their part, you are not committing an ad hominem informal fallacy. You are simply citing that their method of arguing has weakened the ability for anyone to conduct sufficient or scientific discourse. You are asking them to stop, and reengage under protocols of normal human respect. This is a valid topic of meta-discussion and is in no way tantamount to a critique of them personally (even though they may perceive it as such).

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November 10, 2019 Posted by | Argument Fallacies | | 2 Comments

Inflection Point Theory and the Dynamic of The Cheat

A mafia or cartel need not cheat at every level or in every facet of its play. The majority of the time such collapsed-market mechanisms operate out of necessity under the integrity of discipline. After all, without standardized praxis, we all fail.
However, in order to effect a desired outcome an intervening agency may only need exploit specific indigo point moments in certain influential yet surreptitious ways. Inflection point theory is the discipline which allows the astute value chain strategist to sense the weather of opportunity and calamity – and moreover, spot the subtle methodology of The Cheat.

Inflection Point Theory

In one of my strategy firms over the decades of conducting hundreds of trade, infrastructure and market strategies, I had the good fortune to work as colleague with one of our Executive Vice Presidents, a Harvard/MIT graduate whose specialty focused in and around inflection point theory. He adeptly grasped and instructed me as to how this species of analytical approach could be applied to develop brand, markets, infrastructure, inventories and even corporate focus or culture. Inflection point theory in a nutshell, is the sub-discipline of value chain analytics or strategy (my expertise) in which particular focus is given those nodes, transactions or constraints which cause the entire value chain to swing wildly (whipsaw) in its outcome (ergodicity). The point of inflection at which such signal is typically detected is called an indigo point.

As an example, one can observe the disastrous net impact of the Centers for Disease Control’s ignoring a very obvious indigo point regarding the dynamic between aggressive vaccine schedule escalations and changes in diagnostic protocol doctrine, in this chart data from an earlier blog post. An indigo point is that point at which one should at the very least plan to take pause and watch for any new trends in their industry/market/discipline – to make ready for a change in the wind. Even as a tactic of precaution. When one is responsible for at-risk stakeholders, stockholders, clients or employee families, to ignore such inflection points, borders on criminally stupid activity. Later in this article, we will outline three cases where such inflection point ignorance is not simply a case of epistemological stupidity, but rather planned maliciousness. In the end, when large groups of stakeholders are at risk, ignorance and maliciousness become indistinguishable traits.

Columbia Business School Strategic advisor Rita McGrath defines an inflection point as “that single point in time when everything changes irrevocably. Disruption is an outcome of an inflection point.”1 While this is not entirely incorrect, in my experience, once an inflection point has been reached, the disruption has actually already taken place (see the oil rig example offered below), and an E-ruptive period of change has just precipitated. It is one thing to be adept with the buzzwords surrounding inflection point theory, and another thing altogether to have held hands with those CEO’s and executive teams while they have ridden out its dynamic, time and time again.

The savvy quietly analyzes the hurricane before its landfall. The expert makes much noise about it thereafter.

Such is not a retrospective science in the least. Nonetheless, adept understanding of business inflection point theory does in a manner allow one to ‘see around corners’, as McGrath aptly puts it.

Those who ignore inflection points, are destined to fail their clients, if not themselves; left wondering why such calamity could have happened in such short order – or even denying that it has occurred. Those who adeptly observe an indigo point signal may succeed, not through offering a better product or service, rather merely through the act of making their organization robust to concavity (Black Swans) and exposed to convexity (White Swans). Conversely under a risk strategy, a risk strategy inflection point savvy company may revise their rollout of a technology to be stakeholder-impact resistant under conditions of Risk Horizon Types I and II and rapid (speed to margin, not just speed for speed’s sake) under a confirmed absence of both risk types.2 Much of my career has been wound up in helping clients and nations address such daunting decision factors. In the end, inflection point theory allows the professional to construct effective definitions, useful in spotting cartels, cabals and mafias. Skills which have turned out to be of help in my years conducting national infrastructure strategy as well.

Inflection Point

/philosophy : science : maths/philosophy : neural or dynamic change/ : inflection points are the points along a continuous mathematical function wherein the curvature changes its sign or there is a change in the underlying differential equation or its neural constants/constraints. In a market, it is the point at which a signal is given for a potential or even likely momentum shift away from that market’s most recent trend, range or dynamic.

An inflection point is the point at which one anticipates being able to thereafter analytically observe a change which has already occurred.

Inflection Point Theory (Indigo Point Dynamics)

/philosophy : science : philosophy : value chain theory : inflection point theory/ : the value chain theory which focuses upon the ergodicity entailed from neural or dynamic constraints change, which is a critical but not sufficient condition or event; however, nonetheless serves to impart a desired shift in the underlying dynamic inside an asymmetric, price taking or competitive system. The point of inflection is often called an indigo point (I). Inside a system which they do not control (price taking), successful players will want to be exposed to convexity and robust to concavity at an inflection point. Conversely under a risk horizon, the inflection point savvy company may revise their rollout of a technology to be stakeholder-impact resistant under conditions of Risk Horizon Types I and II and rapid under a confirmed absence of both risk types.

An Example: In March of 2016, monthly high capacity crude oil extraction rig counts by oil formation, had all begun to trend in synchronous patterns (see chart below extracted from University of New Mexico research data).3 This sympathetic and stark trend suggested a neural change in the dynamic driving oil rig counts inside New Mexico oil basin operations. An external factor was imbuing a higher sensitivity contribution to rig count dynamics, than were normal market forces/chaos. This suggested that not only was a change in the math in the offing, but a substantial change in rig dynamics was underway, the numerics of which had not yet surfaced.

Indeed, subsequently Enverus DrillingInfo confirmed that New Mexico’s high capacity crude extraction rig counts increased, against the national downward trend, by a rate of 50+% per year for the ensuing years 2017 and into 2018 – thereby confirming this Indigo Point (inflection point).4

I was involved in some of this analysis for particular clients in that industry. This post-inflection increase was driven by the related-but-unseen shortfall in shallow and shale rigs, lowering production capacity out of Texas during that same time frame and increasing opportunity to produce to price for New Mexico wells – a trend which formerly had served to precipitate the fall in monthly New Mexico Rig Count to an indigo point to begin with. Yet this pre-inflection trend also had to end because the supply of rigs in Texas could not be sustained under such heavy demand for shale production.

Astute New Mexico equipment planners who used Inflection Point theory, might have been able to head this off and ensure their inventories were stocked in order to take advantage of the ‘no-discounts’ margin to be had during the incumbent rush for rigs in New Mexico. This key pattern in the New Mexico well data in particular, was what is called in the industry, an inflection point. My clients were able to increase stocks of tertiary wells, and while not flooding the market, were able to offer ‘limited discount’ sales for the period of short supply. They made good money. They were not raising prices of plywood before a hurricane mind you, rather being a bit more stingy on their negotiated discounts because they had prepared accordingly.

To place it in sailing vernacular: the wind has backed rather than veered, the humidity has changed, the barometric pressure has dropped – get ready to reef your sails and set a run course. A smart business person both becomes robust to inflection point concavity (prepares), and as well is exposed to their convexity (exploits).

The net impact to margin (not revenue) achievable through this approach to market analytics is on the order of 8 to 1 in swing. It is how the successful, make their success. It is how real business is conducted. However, there exists a difference between survival and thriving due to adept perspective-use concerning indigo points, and that activity which seeks to exploit their dynamic for market failure and consolidation (cartel-like behavior).

There exists a form of inflection point analytics and strategy which is not as en milieu knight-in-shining-armor – one more akin to gaming an industry vertical or market in order to establish enormous barriers to entry, exploit consolidation failure or defraud its participants or stakeholders. This genus of furtive activity is enacted to establish a condition wherein one controls a system, or is a price maker and no longer a price taker – no more ‘a surfer riding the wave’, rather now the creator of the wave itself. Inflection points constitute an excellent avenue through which one may establish a cheat mechanism, without tendering the appearance of doing so.

Inflection Point Exploitation (The Cheat)

/philosophy : science : philosophy : agency/ – a flaw, exploit or vulnerability inside a business vertical or white/grey market which allows that market to be converted into a mechanism exhibiting cartel, cabal or mafia-like behavior. Rather than the market becoming robust to concavity and exposed to convexity – instead, this type of consolidation-of-control market becomes exposed to excessive earnings extraction and sequestration of capital/information on the part of its cronies. Often there is one raison d’être (reason for existence) or mechanism of control which allows its operating cronies to enact the entailed cheat enabling its existence. This single mechanism will serve to convert a price taking market into a price making market and allow the cronies therein to establish behavior which serves to accrete wealth/information/influence into a few hands, and exclude erstwhile market competition from being able to function. Three flavors of entity result from such inflection point exploitation:

Cartel – an entity run by cronies which enforces closed door price-making inside an entire economic white market. Functions through exploitation of buyers (monoopoly) and/or sellers (monopsony) through manipulation of inflection points. Points where sensitivity is greatest, and as early into the value chain as possible, and finally inside a focal region where attentions are lacking. Its actions are codified as virtuous.

Cabal – an entity run by a club which enforces closed door price-making inside an information or influence market. Functions through exploitation of consumers and/or researchers through manipulation of the philosophy which underlies knowledge development (skepticism) or the praxis of the overall market itself. Points where they can manipulate the outcomes of information and influence, through tampering with a critical inflection point early in its development methodology. Its actions are secretive, or if visible, are externally promoted through media as virtue or for sake of intimidation.

Mafia – an entity run by cronies which enforces closed door price-making inside a business activity, region or sub-vertical. Functions through exploitation of its customers and under the table cheating in order to eliminate all competition, manipulate the success of its members and the flow of grey market money to its advantage. Points where sensitivity is greatest, and where accountability is low or subjective. Its actions are held confidential under threat of severe penalty against its organization participants. It promotes itself through intimidation, exclusive alliance and legislative power.

Three key examples of such cartel, cabal and mafia-like entities follow.

The Cartel Cheat – Exemplified by Exploitation of a Critical Value Chain Inflection Point

Our first example of The Cheat involves the long-sustained decline of US agricultural producer markets. A condition which has persisted since the 1980’s, ironically despite the ‘help’ farmers get from the agricultural technology industry itself.

Cheat where sensitivity is greatest and as early into the value chain as possible, at a point where attentions are lacking. Codify the virtue of your action.

Indigo point raison d’être: Efficiency of Mixed Bin Supply Chain

The agriculture markets in the US are driven by one raison d’être. They principally ship logistically (85%) via a method of supply chain called ‘mixed bin’ shipping. This is a practice wherein every producer of a specific product and class within a region dumps their agri-product into a common stock for delivery (which is detached from the sell, by means of a future). Under this method, purportedly in the name of ‘efficiency’, the farmer is not actually able to sell the value of her crop, rather must sell at a single speculative price (reasonable worst case discounted aggregate) to a few powerful buyers (monopsony).

Another way to describe this in value chain terms, is by characterizing the impact of this ownership of the supply chain by means of common-interdependent practice, as a ‘horizontal monopoly’. The monopoly/oligopoly powers in the presiding ABCD Cartel (as it is called), do not own the vertical supply of Ag products; instead they dominate the single method (value chain) of supply and distriubtion for all those products. This is what Walmart used in the 1970’s and 80’s to gut regional competitors. Players of lesser clout who could not compete initially inside the 2 – 8% to sales freight margin advantage; fell vulnerable finally the cost purchase discounts on volume which Walmart was eventually able to drive once a locus of purchasing power was established. Own the horizontal supply chain and you will eventually own the vertical as well. You have captured monopoly by using the Indigo Point of mandatory supply chain consolidation. Most US Courts will not catch this trick (plus much of it is practiced offshore) and will miss the incumbent violation of both the Sherman Anti-Trust Act as well as the Clayton Act. By the time the industry began to mimic in the 90’s and 00’s what Walmart had done, it was too late for a majority of the small to medium consumer goods market. They tried to intervene at the later ‘Tau Point’, when the magic had already been effected by Walmart at the lesser obvious ‘Indigo Point’ two or three decades earlier.

Moreover, with respect to agriculture’s resulting extremely powerful middle market, the farmer faces a condition wherein, the only way to improve her earnings is through a process of ‘minimizing all (cost) inputs’. In other words, using excessive growth-accelerant pesticides and the cheapest means to produce as much caloric biomass as possible – even at the cost of critical phloem fulvic human nutrition content and toxin exposure. After all, if you exceed tolerance – your product is going to be mixed with everyone else’s product, so things should be fine. Dilution is the solution to pollution. In fact, such nutrient content and growth accelerant actual ppm’s are never actually monitored at all in the cartel-like agriculture industry. This is criminal activity, because the buyer and consumer are not getting the product which they think they are buying – and they are being poisoned and nutritionally starved in the process of being defrauded.

The net result? Autoimmune diseases of malnutrition skyrocket, market prices go into decades-sustained fall, microbiome impacts from bactericidal pesticide effects plague the global consumer base, nations begin to reject US agri-products, farms trend higher in Chapter 12 bankruptcies, and finally global food security decreases overall – ironically from the very methods which purport an increase in per acre yields.

The industry consolidates and begins to effect even more cartel-like activity. A death spiral of stupidity. 

This is the net effect of cartel-like activity. Activity which is always harmful in the end to either human health, society or economy. These cartels exploit one minor but key inflection point inside the supply chain, the virtuous efficiency of shipping and freight, in order to extract a maximum of earnings from that entire economic sub-vertical, at the harm of everything else. This is the tail wagging the dog and constitutes a prime example of inflection point exploitation (The Cheat).

Such unethical activity has resulted in enormous harm to human health, along with a sustained decades-long depression in the agriculture producer industry (as exemplified in the above ‘Chapter 12 Farm Bankruptcies by Region’ graphic by Forbes)5 – but not a commensurate depression in the agriculture futures nor speculator industry.6 Very curious indeed, that the cartel members at Point Tau (see below) are not hurt by their own deleterious activity at Point Indigo. This is part of the game. This is backasswards wrong. It is corruption in every sense of the word.

In order to effect The Cheat, one does not have to be a pervasive cheater.
One only need tweak specific inputs or methods at a paucity of specific points in a system or chain of accountability.

Thereafter an embargo on speaking about the indigo point must be enforced as well,
or an apothegm/buzzword phrase must be introduced which serves to obfuscate its true nature and impact potential.

The Cabal Cheat – Exemplified by Exploitation of Point Indigo for the Scientific Method – Ockham’s Razor

Our second example of The Cheat, cites how science communicators and fake skeptics manipulate the outcomes of science, through tampering with a critical inflection point early in its methodology.

All things being equal, that which appears compatible with what I superficially think scientists believe, tends to obviate the need for any scientific investigation.

Indigo point raison d’être: ‘Occam’s Razor’ Employed in Lieu of Ockham’s Razor

Point indigo for the scientific method is Ockham’s Razor. This is the point, early in the scientific method, at which a competing theory is allowed access into the halls of science for consideration. Remember from our definition above, that cheating is best done early, so as to minimize its necessary scale. Ockham’s Razor is that early point at which both a sponsor, and his or her ideas are considered worthy members of ‘plurality’ – those things to be seriously considered by the ranks of science.7 The method by which fake skeptics (cartel members, or cabal members when not an economy) manipulate what is and what is not admissible into the ranks of scientific endeavor, is by means of a flag they title ‘pseudoscience’. By declaring any idea they dislike to be a pseudoscience, or failing ‘Occam’s Razor’ (it is not simple) – skeptics game the inflection point of the entire means of enacting science, the scientific method. They are able to declare a priori, those answers which will or will not arrive at Point Tau, for tipping into consensus at a later time.

To spray the field of science at night with a pre-emergent pesticide which will ensure that only the answer they desire, will come true in the growing sunlight.

Most of the stakeholder public does not grasp this gaming of inflection theory. Most skeptics do not either, they just go along with it – failing to even perceive that skeptics are to be allies at the Ockham’s Razor sponsorship point, not foes. They are there to help the competitiveness of alternatives, not to corruptly certify the field of monist conclusion. This is after all, what it means to be a skeptic – to seriously consider alternative points of view. To come alongside and help them mature into true hypothesis. They want to see the answer for themselves.

If I do not like a particular avenue of study, all one need do is throw the penalty flag regarding that item’s ‘not being simple’ (Occam’s Razor). Thereafter, by citing its researchers to be pseudo-scientists, because they are using the ‘implements and methods of science to study a pseudoscience’, one has gamed the system of science by means of its inflection exploit mechanism.

They have effectively enacted cartel-like activity around the exercise of science on the public’s behalf. This is corruption. This is why science must ever operate inside the public trust – so that it does not become the lap-dog of such agency.

Seldom seek to influence point Tau as that is difficult and typically conducted inside an arena high visibility – your work should always focus first on point Indigo – where stakeholders and monitors are rarely yet paying attention. One can control much, through the adept manipulation of inflection points.

Extreme measures taken to control Point Tau are unnecessary if one possesses the ability to manipulate Point Indigo.

The final step of the scientific method, consensus acceptance, constitutes more of a Malcolm Gladwell tipping point as opposed to an unconstrained inflection point. A tipping point is that point at which the past trend signal is now confirmed as valid or comprehensive in its momentum. An inflection point is that point at which a change in dynamic has transpired, and what has happened in the past is all but guaranteed not to happen next. Technically, a tipping point is nothing but a constrained inflection point. But for the purposes of this presentation and explanatory usefulness, the two need to be made distinct. The graphic to the right portrays these principles, in hope that one can relate the difference in ergodicity dynamic between inflection and tipping points, to their specific applications inside the scientific method. We must, as a scientific trust be extraordinarily wary of tipping points (T), as undeserved enthusiasm for a particular understanding may ironically serve to codify such notions into Omega Hypothesis – that hypothesis which has become more important to protect, than the integrity of science itself. In similar fashion, we must also protect indigo points (I) from the undue influence of agency seeking a desired outcome.

Having science communicators deem what is good and bad science, is like having a mafia set the exchange rate you get at your local bank. Everyone fails, but nobody knows why.

The art of the Indigo-Tau cheat works like this:  Game your inflection dynamics sparingly and only until such time as a tipping point has been achieved – and then game no further. Lock up your inflection mechanism and never let it be accessed nor spoken of again. Thereafter, momentum will win the day. Do all your dirty-work, or fail to do essential good-work (Indigo), when the game is in doubt, and then resume fair play and balance, after the game outcome is already fait accompli (Tau). Such activity resides at the very heart of fake skepticism and its highly ironic pretense in ‘communicating science’.

Indigo Point Man (Person) – one who conceals their cleverness or contempt.

Tau Point Man (Person) – one who makes their cleverness or contempt manifest.

Based upon the tenet of ethical skepticism which cites that a shrewdly apportioned omission at Point Indigo, an inflection point early in a system, event or process, is a much more effective and hard to detect cheat/skill, than that of more manifest commission at Point Tau, the tipping point near the end of a system, event or process. Based upon the notion ‘Watch for the gentlemanly Dr. Jekyl at Point Tau, who is also the cunning Mr. Hyde at Point Indigo’. It outlines a principle wherein those who cheat (or apply their skill in a more neutral sense) most effectively, such as in the creation of a cartel, cabal or mafia – tend do do so early in the game and while attentions are placed elsewhere. In contrast, a Tau Point man tends to make their cheat/skill more manifest, near the end of the game or at its Tau Point (tipping point).

Shrewdly apportioned omission at Point Indigo is a much more effective and hard to detect cheat,
than that of more manifest commission at Point Tau. This is the lesson of the ethical skeptic.

Watch for the gentlemanly Dr. Jekyl at Point Tau, who is also the cunning Mr. Hyde at Point Indigo.

Which serves to introduce and segue into our last and most clever form of The Cheat.

The Mafia Cheat – Exemplified by NFL’s Exploitation of Interpretive Penalty No-Call Inflection Points

Our final example of The Cheat cites a circumstance demonstrating how The Cheat itself can be hidden inside the fabric of propriety, leveraging from the subjective nature of shades-of-color interpretations and hard-to-distinguish absences which are very cleverly apportioned to effect a desired outcome.

Cheating is the spice which makes the chef d’oeuvre. Cheat by omission not commission, only marginally enough to enact the goal and then no further, and while bearing a stately manner in all other things. Intimidate or coerce participants to remain silent.

Indigo point raison d’être: Interpretive Penalty No-Calls at Critical Indigo Points and Rates which Benefit Perennially Favored Teams

I watched a National Football League (NFL) game last week where the entire outcome of the game was determined by three specific and flawed penalty calls on the part of the game referees. The calls in review, were all invalid flag tosses of an interpretive nature, which reversed twice, one team’s (Detroit Lions) stopping a come-from-behind drive by the ‘winning’ team (Green Bay Packers). Twice their opponent was given a touchdown by means of invalid violations for ‘hands-to-the-face’, on the part of a defensive lineman. Penalty flag tosses which cannot be changed by countermanding and clear evidence, as was the case in this game. The flags alone artificially turned the tide of the entire game. The ‘winning’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, a man of great talent and integrity, when interviewed afterwards humbly said “It didn’t really feel like we had won the game, until I looked up at the scoreboard at the end.” Aaron Rodgers is a Tau Point Man. Such elicits the indigo point nature and influence of penalties inside of America’s pastime of professional football. However, most of the NFL’s manner of exploitation does not present itself in such obvious Tau Point fashion, as occurred in this Lions-Packers game.

An interpretive penalty is the most high sensitivity inflection point mechanism impacting the game of professional football. For some reason they are not as impactful in its analogue, the NCAA of college football. Not that referees are not frustrating in that league either, but they do not have the world-crushing and stultifying impact as do the officials inside of the NFL. NFL officials sole-handedly and often determine the outcome of games, division competitions and Super Bowl championships. They achieve this impact by means of a strategically placed set of calls and more importantly, no-calls with regard to these interpretive subjective penalties. Patterns which can be observed as consistent across decades of the NFL’s agency-infused and court-defined ‘entertainment’.

NFL Works to Disadvantage Specific Teams: Case of the Oakland Raiders

The NFL Oakland Raiders have consistently been the ‘most penalized’ team by far, over the last 60 years of NFL operations. Year after year they are flagged more than any other team. For a while, this was an amusing shtick concerning the bad-guy aura the Raiders carried 40 or 50 years ago. But when one examines the statistics, and the types of penalties involved – consistent through six decades, multiple dozens of various level coaches who were not as highly penalized elsewhere in their careers, two owners and 10 varieties of front offices – the idea that this team gets penalized, ‘because they are supposed to’ begins to fall flat under the evidence. A typical year can be observed in the chart to the right from NFLPenalties.com.8 True to form, the Raiders are being penalized again for 2019, more than any other NFL team. Of course it is also no surprise that the Raiders hold the record for the most penalties in a single game as well, 23 penalties and 200 yards penalized.9

The Oakland Raiders are far and above more penalized than any other NFL team, leading the league as the most penalized team in season-years 1963, 1966, 1968-69, 1975, 1982, 1984, 1991, 1993-96, 2003-05, 2009-11, 2016, and 2019 – further then landing in the top 3 penalized teams every year from 1982 through to 2019 with only two exceptions.10 11

This is known inside any other context as ‘cheating’ – and when members of the league are forced under financial penalty (extortion) to remain silent about this reality, when you observe coaches and players biting their tongue in the media over this issue – this becomes a form of racketeering.

In the case of the Raiders, the overcall/undercall of penalties is not a matter of coaching discipline, as one might reasonably presume at first blush – rather the vast majority of the penalty incident imbalances involve calls of merely subtle interpretation (marked in yellow in the chart below). Things which can be called on every single play, but for various reasons, are not called for certain teams, and are more heavily called on a few targeted teams – flags thrown or not thrown at critical moments in a drive, or upon a beneficial turnover or touchdown.

Calls for objective violations, such as delay of game, too many players and false starts – things which are not subject to interpretation – analyze these penalties and suddenly every NFL team groups together near the average, including extreme signals in New England and Oakland. These penalties cannot be employed in The Cheat. They cannot be used as inflection points of control, so their statistics trend toward a reasonable mean.

Accordingly, this falsifies the notion that one team is less or more penalized than others because of differences in coaching disciplines. If this were the case, there would be no differential between the objective versus interpretive penalty-type stats.

When you examine the history of such data, this pattern remains consistent, decade after decade. It is systemic. It is agency. One can find and download into a datamart or spreadsheet for intelligence derivation, the history of NFL penalties by game, type, team, etc. here: NFL Penalty Tracker. Go and look for yourself, and you will see that what I am saying is true.

NFL Works to Favor Specific Teams: Case of the New England Patriots

Let’s address an example in contrast to the Oakland Raiders (also from the NFLPenalties.com data set), the case of a perennial NFL Officials’ call-favored team, the New England Patriots. As one can see in an exemplary season for that franchise, portrayed in the chart to the right, the New England Patriots team that traveled to the 2017 Season Super Bowl, was flagged (from game 10 of the season through to the Super Bowl) at a rate which exceeded 2 standard deviations below, even the next least-flagged team inside the group of 31 other NFL teams. Two standard deviations below even the second best team in terms of penalties called against them. That is an enormous bias in signal. If one removes the flagrant, non-inflection-point-useful and very obvious penalties from the Patriots’ complete penalty log (non-highlited penalty types in the chart below), this further then means the Patriots were called for 29 interpretive penalties in these final 12 games – the average of which was not called until late in the 3rd quarter, after the game’s outcome was already determined in many cases.12

For those penalties (in yellow in the chart below) which can be called on any play, comparatively an average penalized NFL team for those same games earned 6.6 interpretive penalties per game, in those same weeks in which New England was flagged 2.4 times on average. This equates to 36% as many interpretive penalties as the average NFL team during that timeframe. As well, most teams average their interpretive penalties late in their second quarter of play (as statistically they should), while New England averaged their interpretive penalties with less than 5 minutes left in the third quarter of each game on average.

This means that New England was very seldom interpretive-penalized during any time in a game in which the outcome of that game was in doubt. This is ‘exploitation of omissions at Point Indigo’ by means of an absence of interpretive calls against them, for on average of the first three quarters of each game played in late 2017.  This factor, as much as being a good team, is what propelled them to the Super Bowl.

Exploiting the Tau Point on specific critical plays near the end of a game, constitutes ironically a less effective and more obvious mode of cheating – one which will simply serve to piss-off alert fans, as happened in the January 20th 2019 Rams-Saints ‘No Call’ game. One cannot Indigo Point cheat viscerally – the cheat must be in the form of an exploit conducted when attentions are not piqued.

Indigo Point Exploitation: The New England Patriots received their interpretive penalties at 36% the rate of the average NFL team, a full quarter later into the game than the average NFL team, most typically when the game outcome was already well in hand. This constitutes exploitation through omission at the Indigo Point.

In fact, for the entire AFC Championship and Super Bowl, New England was only flagged twice for any type of violation – a total of 15 yards. Their opponents? The Jaguars and the Eagles were flagged 10 and 7 times more yards respectively, than were the Patriots in each game. True to form for 2019, just as in the case of the Raiders, in the chart at the top of this article section one can observer that New England is back on track to be the least penalized team in the NFL once again – and on track to another probable and tedious Super Bowl appearance.

To put it in gambling terms, or seriously tested means of quantification upon which bookies rely – the Patriot’s opponents that year, on average for games 10 through the Super Bowl, were given 4 more penalties in each game than were the Patriots themselves (3 less awarded to them + 1 higher awarded to their opponent on average). Using the Net Drive Points for the most common interpretive penalty types (highlighted in yellow) from the chart immediately above (published at Sports Information Solutions)13, this equates to awarding 10.8 extra points to the Patriots, per game, every game, all the way from game 10 of the 2017 season, through to and including the Super Bowl. No wonder they got to the Super Bowl.

This equates to awarding the Patriots an extra 10.8 points per game in the second half of the season thru the playoffs.

Half the teams in the NFL could have gotten to the 2017 Season Super Bowl if they were given this
same dishonest two touchdown per game advantage afforded the New England Patriots by league officials that year.

Once again, as in the case of the Oakland Raiders earlier, one can make up the pseudo-theory that ‘hey they are more disciplined team, so they are penalized less’. That is, until one examines the data and observes that this condition has gone on for five decades (ostensibly since, but in reality much further back than the notorious ‘Tuck Rule’ AFC Championship Game, the video of which can no longer be found in its original form because the NFL edited out over 2 minutes in order to conceal the game’s penalty no-call Tau Point intervention fraud). The penalties which are called or not-called are of an interpretive nature – again those that occur every single play, but are called on some teams consistently, and on other teams not so much. Again here as well, the penalty classes which are not subject to interpretation, delay of game, false start, etc. – surprise, New England is just average in those ‘no doubt’ classes of penalty.14 If this were a matter of coaching discipline, New England should also therefore be two standard deviations below the mean for objective-class penalties as well. They are not. The subjective-class (yellow) penalty calls and no-calls have nothing whatsoever to do with coaching discipline, and everything to do with bias on the part of the league and its officials.

To annually bill customers who are being misled that they are watching or wagering upon unbiased games of skill, chance and coaching – $1200 to DirectTV and $400 to NFL Sunday Ticket (both purchases are required) – purchasing a product which is touted to be one thing, but is delivered as a form of dishonest charade – this constitutes consumer and gambling fraud.

The NFL has actually counter-argued this very consumer fraud accusation before the Supreme Court, as recently as 2010, contending that they are merely ‘a form of entertainment’. In 2007, a Jets season ticket holder sued the NFL for $185 million. The case reached the US Supreme Court. The Jets fan argued that, all Jets fans are entitled to refunds because they paid for a ticket to a competition of skill, coaching and chance. Further, had they been aware that the games were not real then the fans would not have bought tickets. This fan lost the case on the grounds that the fans were not buying a ticket to a ‘fair’ event, rather an entertainment event.

Accordingly the NFL contends that this Supreme Court precedent gives them contractual rights to be able to advantage or disadvantage a team without having to address their own bias or cheating. Further, that the league is legally entitled to do what is needed to entertain their audience, such as in the creation and promotion of certain ‘storylines’.15 Storylines of the evil people and the good people (sound familiar?) in order to stimulate ticket and media purchases. A farce wherein ironically, the league office actually thrives upon the brand-premise that they are administering a game of skill, chance and coaching. The reality is that NFL officials pick and choose who they want to win and who they want to lose, the same teams, decade in and decade out. None of its at-risk members (players, organizations, staff and coaches) are allowed to speak of this gaming, for threat of fines or their career. At least in professional wrestling, the league leadership and participants admit that it is all an act. In professional wrestling no one is fooled out of their money.

It took me a while in order to come to the realization that, because of this closed door oppression, monopolistic exploitation of its customers and under the table cheating in order to manipulate the success of its organizations and the flow of grey market money, the National Football League is actually not a cartel, rather they are therefore a mafia by definition.

This is a pivotal reason why I dumped NFL Sunday Ticket and DirectTV. I am not into being defrauded out of hard-earned household money by a mafia.

Update (Dec 2019): NFL is reportedly planning a “top-down review” of the league’s officiating during the 2020 offseason.

Such shenanigans as exemplified in the three case studies above represent the everpresence and impact of agency (not merely bias). Bias can be mitigated; however, agency involves the removal and/or disruption of the power structures of the cartel, cabal and mafia. These case examples in corruption demonstrate how agency can manipulate inflection dynamics to reach a desired tipping point – after which one can sit in their university office and enjoy tenure, all the way to sure victory. The only tasks which remain are to protect the indigo point secret formula by means of an appropriate catch phrase, and as well ensure that one does not have any mirrors hanging about, so that you do not have to look at yourself.

An ethical skeptic maintains a different view as to how championships, ethical markets, as well as scientific understanding, should be prosecuted and won.

   How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “Inflection Point Theory and the Dynamic of The Cheat”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 20 Oct 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-atd

October 20, 2019 Posted by | Institutional Mandates, Tradecraft SSkepticism | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Statistical Profiling of Celebrity Wannabe ‘Scientific Skeptics’

Yeah yeah… We know, you are a skeptic. Yawn. But what else have you done, aside from foist your name inside a list of dead scientists, among whom you would otherwise never merit inclusion? Is your ego that fragile and desperate? A sweep through some analytics regarding social skeptics reveals some startling, yet not totally unexpected results. Psychologists who have inchoate activated the fragile and angry – a thunder chamber of sycophants dictating to everyone else what we all should think.

Remember the old game show called Hollywood Squares? The tic-tac-toe styled game set after which the show was themed, was staffed by a rotating/regular cast of celebrities who would answer questions on behalf of the game show participants. These celebrities were people who were supposedly famous, but for the life of us, no one back then who watched the show could recall why they were famous. These celebrities were famous simply for being famous. I always suspected that some of the ‘celebrity’ participants were in fact no-name citizens who had been inserted into the group of actually famous people, and were presumed to be themselves famous from then on.

Well that model bears curious utility inside the skeptic movement. Skeptics today stand upon a perch of celebrity that is derived simply from pretending to be skeptics in the first place – and a habit of promoting themselves opportunistically inside rosters of names which include personages of true brilliance, accomplishment and renown. However unlike Hollywood Squares, many of those personages are now deceased, fully unable to object over such abuse of their legacies.

Wikipedia maintains a suitably comprehensive listing of America’s most noteworthy (notorious) social skeptics (Wikipedia: List of scientific skeptics).1 Given the reality that Wikipedia allows social skeptics to run amok inside the bowels of its editing and practices of dissenting editor abuse, I feel fairly confident that all the acceptable Who’s-Who of social skepticism are therefore listed therein. Skeptics who are not listed in this tally have committed a misstep in some regard, as viewed by the Cabal – violated the Ministry of Truth’s policy on compliance in some way which has prompted their exclusion from the club. They have failed in their mandatory Schapiro Utterances. With the exception of those who earned their notoriety by actually accomplishing something of merit in their careers, something besides just declaring themselves to be a skeptic, I think we have the right listing inside the Wikipedia lineup (see footnote 1 above).

circus partis

/philosophy : sophistry : agency/ : a false appeal to an authority who is simply ‘famous for being famous,’ or who is simply enjoying their 15 minutes of fame in the club, and do not stand as a credible authority independent of this pseudo-status. This includes personages who are simply famous for being a famous skeptic.

Were I a prominent physicist or mathematician, I would not want to be included within this group.

This is a cache of persons so desperate to get their names inscribed into a science hall of fame, alongside the likes of Brian Cox, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Feynman, that they would literally do and say anything, attack anyone, and push any form of half baked science – sell their very integrity – in order to be counted among such company. I never really completely grasped what was occurring in the minds of these poseurs, until this last decade of philosophical study. After decades of watching social skeptics and how they behave, I have come to the conclusion: It is all about the celebrity. Not one issue of advocacy entails an actual improvement in the lot of mankind. Feckless meaningless targets foisted to provide a theater stage, upon which they can show their wares – that seething miasma of the wont to be the smartest person in the room. They bear such a need to be right – that they must be identified with science, even if it costs every friend or ounce of self-respect they can bear forfeit.

No. It’s not by arguing with “kindness & care” that you break academic mafias, criminal organizations,
impostors (psychologists) & lobbying groups. It is by exposing them, making their lives miserable & targeting their audience. ~Nassim Taleb

So I thought I would take a quick walk through some of the statistics with regard to the profiles these pretenders have published on Wikipedia, just to see if some of my experience-based, yet nonetheless preconceived notions about the makeup of American skeptics, panned out. I was not disappointed. It was actually worse than I had thought.

Seven Inferential Breakouts Concerning Celebrity Wannabe ‘Scientific’ Skeptics

Light Representation of Relevant Degrees or Fields of Study

I am not sure whether to laugh or cry when I examine this first listing. Of the 81 celebrity wannabe and deceased skeptics inside the Wikipedia lineup, the largest contingent by far is represented by those who possess no degree, and have never served in any actual function which involves science, in their entire lives. The second largest, and first real professional group comprises psychologists, behavioral scientists and psychiatrists. This is followed by (refreshingly) physicists, philosophers and medical skeptics, tailed finally by a scant smattering of other science discipline representations.

That is a rather precipitous drop-off after ‘psychology’ and ‘none’. Should not this familiar Pareto bias concern those in the Cabal, at least a little?

Not simply over the matter of lack of qualification, but moreover concerning the propensity for establishing conclusion through the ease of ad hoc and pseudo-theory claims based upon the notion, ‘your mind created this’. A non-testable conclusion which explains everything, anything and nothing, all at the same time. A cadre of psychologists and magicians do not make for good investigators – as they both are experts in abductive inference – which is weak in its bootstrap, methodical and probative strengths.2

What one should note with grave concern, is that those professional groups in red, those who conduct real Karl Popper science based upon authentic disciplines of deduction, probative study and hypothesis, these compose a mere 15 individuals among the 81 skeptics listed. Of even more importance, half (7) of those individuals are also dead! A single engineer and a single mathematician? – yet 35 people who have not set foot in a university or a lab? C’mon guys, you have to do better than this. Does the idea even ever cross your mind to apply skepticism to yourselves?

Notoriety Attained through Invalid Thunder Chamber Promotion

Exhibit 1 to the right, demonstrates the breakout of the celebrity wannabe skeptic lineup in terms of how they attained their current notoriety. 11% of the listed members were inserted into the tally because they actually did something with their lives, of noteworthy accomplishment besides being a skeptic. Only 11%. Let that sink in, and you begin to understand inside this first graph that this is a peer pressure club. A club which foisted its approved names upon an important Wikipedia page, and then inserted the likes of Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov, without their permission, in order to assuage their enormous egos. Of this thin margin 11% however, many of the accomplished scientists who employed skepticism as a part of science (how it is supposed to be employed), are now deceased – no longer able to stand up and say ‘No, this is not what I meant by being a skeptic. We were not trying to establish another religion, nor another persecutor of science.’

The notoriety of the skeptics who have inserted themselves into this charade in reality stems merely from active promotion by their club. This club of pretenders composes 86% of the entire listing. The lineup actually includes 70 out of 81 persons who belong to science enthusiast activist congregations like The Skeptics Society, Center for Inquiry or Skeptics in the Pub. An abysmal set of surreptitious contrivances – the epitome of not simply echo chamber, rather of appeal to authority thunder chamber.

Thunder Chamber – an appeal to authority version of echo chamber, much more imperious in its insistence and intimidating in its effect. A club of science communicators – catalyseurs seeking conflict between laypersons and scientists, to enable furtherment of their power as a furtive liaison therein.

This is how they obtained the visibility implied by the Wikipedia lineup – through club authority and intimidation.  It is transparently unethical.

Little Relevant Qualification or History of Professional Accountability

Exhibit 2 outlines the portion of the members listed in the tally, who actually attained a degree or have done work inside a discipline which might even be considered as science. A mere 57% of this group of skeptics maintain a career or background which would allow them to be trained in skepticism or the scientific method in the first place.

43% of this group bears no scientific qualification other than ‘self-identified skeptic’. If you remove the deceased scientists from the qualified group, this number of non-science trained ‘scientific skeptics’ jumps to 49% of the living total roster of ‘science skeptics’. Half of those determining the scientific skeptic worldview, the most vocal half – bear no scientific credential whatsoever.

A full 35 members or 43% of the list (both living and deceased), as you can see in the ‘Relevant Field or Degree’ graphic above right, possess no degree, background nor experience in any professional or social task which would serve to hold them accountable as to their ability to apply skepticism or science. This ‘being held accountable’ in a professional context is a critical qualification when one is evaluating their candidate celebrity skeptic. People who have performed in a career wherein they are regularly held to accountability (skin in the game), tend to act in completely different fashion from people who began their career as performers or celebrities, or have rarely ever had to produce anything other than ‘critiques’ of others. In a social context, one can get away with pretty much anything; much like in high school. Perhaps then it is no coincidence that high school style bullying often becomes a praxis, best method and club milieu of science skeptics.

Hold no Peer Accountability and Tend to Think Like a Stage Performer

Eighteen members of the Exhibit 3 group, or 22% of the entire tally, were stage or even professional magicians or illusionists. Another 21 were podcast hosts or convention organizers. People who get a charge out of manipulative influence tend to nurture a deception game running as a background theme – as this is their life blood. Even if their primary act is to put on a display of magic – under the context of ‘this is an illusion’; make no mistake, a magician craves the heady rush of a deception – and this foible does not end at the stage exit. The more deep and pervasive the fake, the more satisfying the ploy. I am a fan of the ‘It takes one to know one’ method of expertise validation; however all such deliberations are executed inside the context of complete transparency/accountability. In skeptic clubs, and in situations where only unaccountable critique is exercised, these individuals can claim no such congruence with an ‘it takes one to know one’ ethic.  Yes, ‘It Takes a Thief’ – but we do not then appoint that thief, chief of police nor head of the FBI. Heck, even those roles stand under accountability as to their performance. Skeptics are never held to account.

An epistemic commitment to exposing fraud, when executed under the desire to profit, ridicule and sway public opinion by means of publicity stunts, comes commensurate with a bias for self-aggrandizement and hyperbole. Attracting attention to self is not the same thing as marketing, and plays a key role in all such pathologizing of the supposed credulous and woo believer.

It is not a coincidence that nearly half of the celebrity wannabe skeptics in the analysis turned out also to be stage magicians and podcast hosts. This summation did not include those who merely attended or presented at skeptic media events. Take this as a curious warning. The ability to unaccountably control what large numbers of people perceive and believe, is an intoxicating and addictive opiate indeed. If your primary goal is to derive money/attention from such activity, you may make no claim to scientific or skeptical elevation over those you mock or deride.

Are Getting Old as a Group: Either Deceased or Average of 61 Years Age

21% of our tally of famous and wannabe famous skeptics are already dead – as is shown by Exhibit 4 to the right. The rest of the group of 64 are inching closer to their own Kuhn-Planck Paradigm shift event each year. Tick-tock, tick-tock. There are very few individuals in the tally, four to be exact, who are below the age of 35. Of those who are young in the tally few are individuals whom, without enormous social backing, would be desirous to carry forward the torch of the 1972 Skeptic’s Handbook. There are no new Michael Shermer’s and Carl Sagan’s budding within this group of attention-seekers. Most skeptics in the younger group tend to be angry, punk and Goth accentuated podcast hosts – devoid of any qualification; being more concerned about who it is they hate than any particular cause of suffering and enlightenment on the part of mankind.  In my best estimate, zero of these four people will continue inside the formal skeptical movement after the current Cabal dies off.

This does not bode well for social skepticism. Sixteen years left, for your critical thinking fantasy to play out. Each year you can feel your Cabal’s control on the mind of the American public slipping away from your pretend science, corporate apologizing and ignorance cultivating hands.

Few Have Been Involved in Any Actual Science

81% of the list is composed of poseurs who are called in ethical skepticism, Jamais l’a Fait. They have never done science- never been held to account regarding their dispensation of poorly crafted skepticism. This was supposed to be a ‘list of scientific skeptics’ – yet the vast majority of those in the list are not professionally skilled in such a task at all.

Jamais l’a Fait – Never been there. Never done that. Someone pretending to the role of designer, manager or policy maker – when in fact they have never actually done the thing they are pretending to legislate, decide upon or design.. A skeptic who teaches skepticism, but has never made a scientific discovery, nor produced an original thought for them self. Interest rate policy bureaucrats who have never themselves borrowed money to start a business nor been involved in anything but banks and policymaking. User manuals done by third parties, tax laws crafted by people who disfavor people unlike themselves more heavily, hotel rooms designed by people who do not travel much, cars designed by people who have never used bluetooth or a mobile device, etc.

Exhibit 5 shows this most distressing statistic in the entire analytical results set. Inside social skepticism, few of the living members have actually done any real science.

Too Heavily Represented by Psychology and Soft Sciences

Finally, Exhibit 6 shows that the majority (67%) of those in the more valid professional subset of the Wikipedia skeptic lineup, work inside the softer sciences of psychology, medicine and philosophy. If however, you add to this soft science group, those 35 individuals who bear absolutely no science experience whatsoever, you end up with 82% of the entire tally representing persons lacking in deductive and objective scientific experience.

Psychologists who have inchoate activated angry promotion-minded sycophants – bent on telling everyone what to think, under the guise of ‘critical thinking’.

Psychology functions off of inductive and subjective inference and evidence sets. It is not that these disciplines are unimportant or inappropriate, rather simply that – if a group is going to foist a claim to scientific and technological prowess – especially claims of absence, or conclusion that all observations are MiHoDeAL (Misidentifications, Hoaxes, Delusions, Anecdote and Lies) in nature – exorcised inside a context of supposed hard nosed epistemology – deduction and objective science. Then perhaps they should select a membership which is more representative of disciplines which function upon those value sets.

All this cast of Cabal characters is going to do, is to foment conflict between the public and science.
After all, this is what serves to both obscure them from being held accountable,
and as well serves to legitimize their methods and purpose in the eyes of a duped science and lay public.

Inside ethical skepticism, we believe that the appropriate discipline skills, as well as depth of experience, need be brought to bear inside any claim to represent science or the philosophy of science, skepticism. When you excise the legitimate 11% of this Wikipedia celebrity tally, those who actually made a difference in the world before they were ever considered skeptics, the remaining 89% compose a pitiful Cabal, a cast of characters which falls substantially short of what humanity demands from such an important social-scientific entity.

Skeptics, we demand better. You have 16 years left in which to ply your fake wares. You need to up your game.

   How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “A Statistical Profiling of Celebrity Wannabe ‘Scientific Skeptics’”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 2 July 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-a12

July 2, 2019 Posted by | Social Disdain | , | Leave a comment

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