The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Interrogative Biasing: Asking the Wrong Question in Order to Get the Right Answer

A wrong question under the scientific method is generally posed for one of two reasons: ignorance or the desire to cultivate ignorance. It is the latter motive for which the ethical skeptic must always be on guard. One learns early on inside the social skepticism movement, that in order to derive the right answer, all one need do is simply ask the wrong question.

Pseudoscience is a descriptive of method, and not of subject. The understanding of this is what differentiates the fake-skeptic from the real thing. One of the primary tactics of pseudoscience is a condition wherein a person tenders the appearance of asking a sciencey-sounding question (usually under the virtue identity of being a ‘skeptic’), while hoping that the victim against whom they are arguing does not comprehend the difference between pseudoscience and real science. The first tactic of pseudoscience is the asking of a biased or incoherent question, which tenders the appearance of being scientific in its crafting. You will be surprised that, even in the halls of established science – this trick is applied and passes peer review. The study claims run along the lines of ‘we are asking an incomplete and partially incoherent answer, and should understand the results for what they are inside that light’ – whereupon the answer is then extrapolated by social activists (social skeptics) into a set of ramifications and pervasive conclusions such studies never meant to impart. This type of study often constitutes a wild, disconnected shot in the dark – a hope for a compliant outcome, through the clever abrogation of real and plenary science.

Failure to follow critical path is a key sign of scientific fraud – even if the internal procedural protocols of a study itself are ethical. A grand statistical study, which does not follow an incremental and dependent pathway of query (in other words, specific outcomes established its sequential logical necessity under Ockham’s Razor) – is fraud dressed up in a science lab coat. It is out of sequence, bypassing much more deductive and direct-testing alternatives, employing science based upon an unsound and manipulated grand set of data – otherwise known as pseudoscience.

An example of such an Ockham’s Razor orphan form of pseudoscience can be found here:

The sincere skeptical researcher, will begin their research from a position of suspended judgement, and then proceed to ask a series of dependent and incremental questions, called a critical path. They are not overly retrophile on previous work/art, often working more as a critic of such approaches. They do not begin with grand statistical studies outside the question domain or focused on one small portion of the scientific or population domains. The onus is upon the ethical skeptic to understand this, and detect when a query seeks to combine or skip questions inside this critical path to force a compliant outcome; or worse, attempt to trick, impugn or twist ideas and people by means of ‘asking a question’. This is done for two reasons: ignorance, or the desire to cultivate ignorance. The two motivations help create each other in a social context, hence the origin of the apothegm of ethical skepticism:

Ignorance is contagious.

The latter, a desire to cultivate ignorance established by means of Verdrängung Mechanism, is practiced by social skeptics. One learns early on inside the social skepticism movement, that in order to derive the right answer, all one need do is first ask the wrong question. It is actually a very brilliant strategy; one can even practice it without knowing that fact. However, it takes a more committed, sincere and sharp acumen, in order to catch the trick which enables this symbiosis between ignorance and the cultivation of ignorance. A trick called interrogative biasing.

Interrogative Biasing

/philosophy : pseudoscience : fallacy : red herring : scientific method pretense/ : ask the wrong question and you are assured to arrive at the right answer. A method of faking science by asking an incomplete, statistical absence, non-probative, ill sequenced or straw man question, fashioned so as to achieve a result which implies a specific desired answer; yet is in no way representative of plenary or ethical science on the matter under consideration.

One can observe interrogative biasing in a number of situations. It usually comes within a context of virtue signaling on the part of the person asking the question. The virtue can be positions of social justice, claims to represent god, or claims to represent science. Interrogative biasing is the strategy of obfuscation through posing of incorrect, impugning or badly sequenced questions of science. But the tactics it typically comprises include:

1.  Querying Reliable Data and Not Probative Data

“We sought medical plan databases, and avoided cohort studies or parental reports due to the unethical or unreliable nature of such study.”

2.  Querying Flawed Means of Collection for Observations of Absence (Hempel’s Paradox)

“We examined two specific public healthcare plan databases in Denmark to observe incidence of accepted claims of plan doctor diagnoses of autism in kids 6 months to 5 years in age.”

3.  Asking a Surreptitiously Incoherent Question (Imposterlösung Mechanism)

“Please provide testable evidence for God.”

4.  Asking an Out of Sequence Question – a question which eventually should be asked, but is dependent upon other questions needed to be answered first

“What technologies will allow us to sequester carbon into ocean water?”

5.  Asking a Currently (Current Knowledge) Unaddressable Question

“If life did not originate from abiogenesis on Earth, then how did life begin?”

6.  Proof Gaming – Demanding things be ‘proven’ before science can be allowed to begin

“What if any, physical proof do you have of this persistent phenomenon (observation)?”

7.  Straw Man Question Framing

“We sought to test if therapeutic vitamin supplementation would have any impact on incidence of heart disease during a 5 year observation horizon of a group of persons.”

8.  Question Lacking in Plenary Science, Adequate or Ethical Domain

“We sought to test if the MMR vaccine was associated with higher rates of autism in Danish children (on a much lower vaccine schedule).”

9.  Trick/Ambiguous/Amphibological Question (uti dolo)

“Do you as a scientist accept the reality of climate change?”

10.  Begging the Point – the framing of a question from a desired answer in such a fashion that its desired conclusion is the only viable answer

“Why if there is no God, is everything around us in perfect designed balance?”

11.  Eristic Question – a question posed so as to pose the recipient in the worst light

“Wasn’t your paper rejected for fraudulent scientific procedure, if I recall correctly?” (Had to correct one assumption, which did not change outcome)

12.  Convergent Semantics – a question which does not allow an answer outside a particular conclusion domain

“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

13.  Red Herring – posing an irrelevant, bucket characterization, misinforming or unsound question

“Why are supplements not controlled by the FDA in ways which scheduled drugs are?”

14.  ingens vanitatum – posing a rapid series of irrelevant questions, in order to tender the appearance of competency inside a subject. However none of the questions seem to bear any critical nature of understanding of the subject being discussed, or are posed in an illogical sequence or order.

“What was the court docket number?  Was the case heard by a state or federal judge? In what precinct was it filed?”

Become skilled at detecting such circumstances in query, and you will be amazed at how the supposed heroes of ‘skepticism’ will in your eyes, steadily become tarnished and fall from grace.

epoché vanguards gnosis


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July 14, 2018 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies | , , | 9 Comments

Parents’ Basement Skepticism

Six questions which to ask your skeptic, all revolve around their ability to demonstrate inside their lives, the very mettle about which they so often preach. Thinking disciplines, hard work and open mindedness are positive traits which result in particular quality of life flags. The skeptic which lacks these signature life results, most likely also lacks the meritorious qualities which serve to produce them.

Parents’ Basement Skepticism has taken over from armchair skepticism. Armchair skepticism was a form of quasi-academic, cynical denial; a redeployment of the fear which religion created, inside a person who had rejected religion, but not its motivations of dogmatic denial. These were the people who insisted for instance, that the the gestures of Koko the gorilla, were mere imitations of her trainers, and not indeed a ‘vocabulary’.1 The religion was gone, but the fear based denial still resided in their core. These individuals were typically lazy, prone to pontification, angry and stuck in some form of academic cul-de-sac.

The new form of armchair skepticism, Parents’ Basement Skepticism, consists of social media fueled angry trolls; some of whom are compensated by industry front groups. Political and social activists who knew everything they needed to know, at age 17 – and may or may not have added a PhD in order to place an exclamation point behind it. They are often filled with hate (albeit demonstrated through virtue signaling), lacking adeptness at science and maths, struggling with their relationship or role inside academia, or pretty much failed at everything, seeking to punish those who they blame for their predicament.2 3

The Six Questions to Ask Your Internet Skeptic

There are six questions to ask this type of ‘skeptic’, when encountered inside issue advocacy or over social media. Some of these do indeed constitute pretty tough standards; but remember, you are challenging the credential of a person who is implying that they hold science-proved truth, have ascertained it themselves through ‘critical thinking’, that you are irrational and are a member of some pejoratively named group they despise, and that they represent science in all this. Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. Ask for the evidence inside these questions:

1.  First question to ask a social skeptic:

Have you moved out of your parents’ basement yet?

2.  Second question to ask a social skeptic:

Does your quality of life reflect the results incumbent with allegiance to the critical thought, order, hard research work and discipline which you implicitly enforce upon others?

(having made some money, does not count – your household, love, career, children and charitable works should all exhibit a quality of leadership, goal focus, discipline and character)

3.  Third question to ask a social skeptic:

How many trips into the field or direct studies have you personally funded or provided the work content for? Have you filed a patent/discovery/study and do you know the difference between a claim, framing, observation, prior art and disclosure?

(arm’s length statistical studies or ‘research articles’ do not count – funding a study indicates that you really wanted an answer)

4.  Fourth question to ask a social skeptic:

What objective and visible dissent from your club’s talking doctrine have you ever offered up to them for their consideration?

(‘dissenting’ but keeping quiet about it, does not count)

5.  Fifth question to ask a social skeptic:

What major contribution, groundbreaking original idea, or change to the world have you ever personally crafted or helped to deploy? And what did you do in response to the nay-sayers?

(deploying skepticism or critical thinking itself does not count. Having published an article or book does not count – in fact if one has more articles or books, than funded studies or trips into the field – that is a warning flag that they are a glorified Parents’ Basement Skeptic. And if you did not have any nay-sayers, ‘cuz everything you did was correct’, then you have not done anything)

6.  Sixth question to ask a social skeptic”

Have you ever changed your adult or professional point of view, based upon novel evidence?

(having ‘discovered science’ which changed your childhood indoctrinated mind about God, critical thinking or pseudo-science, and then never having had it changed thereafter, does not count. Minor shit does not count either – as there are literally hundreds of subjects your club decries, which are of major import – these count)

For example, if one were in a discussion with Dr. Michael Shermer – one would find that he is a well regarded professional, with a disciplined lifestyle academically and personally, has made numerous trips to investigate anomalous activity, has chastised his skeptic cabal at times for their proclivities, and has made some major contributions to skepticism and philosophy. Finally, he has begun to change his mind on the methods of skepticism in recent years; ‘softening a bit’ as he puts it. All laudable characteristics and positive personal history flags. He has earned the right to stand on the stage of skepticism.

I disagree with his conclusions, and am wont to point out that he sometimes lets the indicators of a priori club bias and conclusion-mindedness slip through the smokescreen of sophistry, which belie his claims to suspension of judgement and desire to see the evidence first. But I now listen to Michael with an open mind because he has passed my question qualifications.

But there are several social skeptics, money-minded authors who churn out books with regularity, bearing titles like ‘Conspiracy Theory Refutations’ and ‘Critical Review of The Paranormal and Pseudoscience’ on hundreds of topics inside which they could not possibly have developed any expertise, nor to which they have contributed any actual field work. These fakers I count as Parents’ Basement Skeptics too.

The gist of these questions (discounting the first one of course) is – don’t talk to me a lot about skepticism and science.  Show me where you have really applied it in your life.

epoché vanguards gnosis


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June 21, 2018 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda | , | 1 Comment

No You Are Not a Scientist

Society struggles today with a problem of people pretending to be scientists. A PhD is not a holier-than-thou instrument through which one can claim authority inside every subject one desires. Such an appeal to authority outside one’s body of current and active professional research – is bullying, no matter how politely it is posed. This type of activity is now pandemic: authority-baiting risky science in order to protect profits, at the ignored peril of American citizens.

I do not claim to be a scientist. I would not claim the moniker of skeptic either, were it not for the necessity of how ethical skepticism is presented inside this blog. As a strategy advisor to trade groups, nations and companies I have a deep and varied experience base, ranging from being president of a research lab making groundbreaking discovery, to a director in intelligence, to designing some of the most complex operations on the planet, all the way to helping determine brand strategy for several familiar corporations. All things which demand intense research development and novel conjecture at risk, and under accountability. No, the average professional does not typically gain exposure to such a variety of expertise sets, but once a company finds a good strategic resource with a long successful track record – they will ask them to step in and address a variety of challenges. My client tenures are long, and my business repeat rate is one of the highest in the industry. These are things called ‘accountability measures’ – something with which typical PhD’s, with possible exception of the need to publish, are wholly unfamiliar.

Today social media struggles under not only the burden of fake news and fake skeptics, but also under a throng of apparatchiks posing as scientists. Those catalyseurs whose artifice is to foment conflict between actual science and the public. Those who wish to categorize 97% of society as doltish and ignorant, for observing that their families are suffering, considering forbidden ideas or witnessing forbidden things, and not bowing down to their insistent social doctrines – those who abuse ‘science’ as their civilian and innocent shield inside their illegitimate war on the American public.

A preemptive attack on the only entity with the authority to hold their cronies accountable. Create conflict between the public and science – declare the public anti-science and irrational – proceed with the corporate profit plan which places them and their families at high risk.

The Science Council defines a scientist in this manner:1

A scientist is someone who systematically gathers and uses research and evidence, making a hypothesis and testing it, to gain and share understanding and knowledge.

A scientist can be further defined by:

  • how they go about this, for instance by use of statistics (Statisticians) or data (Data scientists)
  • what they’re seeking understanding of, for instance the elements in the universe (Chemists, Geologists etc), or the stars in the sky (Astronomers)
  • where they apply their science, for instance in the food industry (Food Scientist)

However all scientists are united by their relentless curiosity and systematic approach to assuaging it.

Even though I might fall under the definition of scientist, by means of the Science Council framework, there are specific reasons why I would seldom if ever claim such a role. I might be a scientist inside certain issues of trade and operations, but I do not hold a PhD – as that tends to pigeon-hole professionals in my industry. I have hired many scientists and bear a great deal of respect for them, and what they have taught me over the decades. However, as you will notice in the definition above, neither is a PhD the qualification of what makes a scientist. Instead, there are several elements which are requisite before one can claim to be a scientist under a specific topic. These include:

    Who IS a Scientist

  • Current primary paid employment inside the sub-category of research, under independent registration or charter, or
  • A background of having studied a significant percentage of the body of research material covering the sub-category of research under discussion, and
  • A set of recent publications or a postdoctoral fellowship specifically focused upon incremental testing-based conjecture inside the sub-category of research under discussion, and
  • A body of research data which your team/lab/self has developed from direct study, and not science journalism sources, or
  • A well experienced PhD who has undertaken solely a teaching role or professorship in their area of discipline, or
  • A society or journal recognized role active in peer review inside the sub-category of research under discussion, and
  • A professional meeting the above criteria who has taken sabbatical, time to write a book, family leave or recent retirement.

However, over the years I have witnessed agenda heavy science conclusions published by the following cast of nefarious characters, who typically do not understand the related evidence, exaggerate scant statistical studies tallying absences of observation into proof of an absence, nor grasp the critical path of logic required to assemble a conjecture. Those who conflate possession of an intimidating word or phrase, with adeptness inside great ideas:

    What IS NOT a Scientist

  • Anyone who lacks curiosity or regards an issue of Ockham’s Razor plurality as ‘settled science’
  • A PhD, especially if in a semi or non-related field
  • A person who knows a great deal of irrelevancy (ingens vanitatum) and likes to demonstrate this as a method of intimidation
  • A person who uses forms of semi-truth or one of the six mechanisms of professional lying (see: The Tower of Wrong: The Art of the Professional Lie)
  • Someone who establishes a research corporation only to conduct one study for its funding corporation, and then retires
  • Someone who used to work in science and is still touting their PhD or history while now pursuing a new home/career activity
  • Anyone who beats you over the head with the ‘scientific method’ and subsequently violates it in the very next utterance
  • Anyone who (outside classroom or professional context) insists on being called ‘Doctor’
  • A member of the Association for the Advancement of Science
  • A fellow at CSICOP or JREF or…
  • Someone who has read The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
  • Anyone whose ass sits in a pub, never goes into the field, and chronically pontificates about critical thinking
  • One who abuses their status as scientist to underpin their political or social advocacy
  • Someone who declares them self to be a ‘skeptic’
  • Anyone who displays a lack of integrity or exploits convenient ambiguity to push final conclusions
  • A science enthusiast
  • A critical thinker
  • Anyone who has never authored a single patent application nor research study
  • A science journalist or communicator, even with a PhD
  • A science journalist summarizing other studies by means of a ‘research article’
  • Anyone who counts a journalistic summary article as one of a body of ‘studies’
  • A corporate technology social media or media apologist
  • A lab technician conducting tests and filing testing assays/reports
  • A clinical technician or diagnostician
  • Someone who possesses a list of studies
  • A person fresh out of dissertation, or who has not worked professionally in that field since degree was conferred
  • Anyone who regurgitates a social apothegm, cannot identify the critical logic of their claim and how it is supported by the salient field research, or falsely appeals to their own authority (outside of philosophy)
  • One who feigns politeness in an effort to create and demean opponents by means of a well advertised status or history in science (not only a bully, but dishonest as well)
  • Anyone who bullies others by means of implied qualifications (including if they met the qualification of scientist above) – as this betrays an extreme bias of disqualification.

Society struggles, especially in these most recent decades of imperious oligarch technology profit, with people pretending to be scientists. This body of pretenders includes scientists themselves at times. A PhD is not a holier-than-thou instrument through which one can claim authority. An appeal to authority is nothing but that, an informal fallacy which brings one’s objectivity and integrity into question. But an appeal to authority outside one’s body of current and active expertise – is bullying, no matter how politely it is posed. This type of activity, pushing risky science in order to protect oligarch profits at the peril of American citizens, is pandemic.  It is an extreme mental pathology called Dunning-Kruger Projection:

Dunning-Kruger Projection (aka Plaiting)

/philosophy : bias : methodology/ : the condition in which an expert, scientist or PhD in one discipline over-confidently or ignorantly fails to realize that they are not competent to speak in another discipline, or attempts to pass authority ‘as a scientist’ inside an expertise set to which they are only mildly competent at best. Any attempt to use the identity of ‘scientist’ to underpin authority, bully, seek worship or conduct self-deception regarding an array of subjects inside of which they in actuality know very little.

This is a type of psychological vulnerability. A severe inferiority cover on the part of a person who must demean others in order to survive. And just as with fake skepticism, the ethical skeptic must constantly be on the alert for such catalyseurs, who seek to promote conflict between the public and what they interpret to be ‘the science’.

epoché vanguards gnosis


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The Ethical Skeptic, “No You Are Not a Scientist” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 15 Jun 2018; Web,

June 15, 2018 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies | , , | 3 Comments

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