The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

It Does Not Take a Conspiracy

At some point ignorance must betray the lie which exploits it. Mass delusions are a natural outcome of a specific recipe of commonplace cultural norms. All that is required to deploy a large scale deception, is a critical mass of ignorance and chronic angst, ignited by small repetitive prodding sourced from a position of authority. One does not have to conspire – rather only understand the malleable nature of social duress.

In order to create an exothermic nuclear decay acceleration from gamma rays, fission materials, and fast and thermal neutrons, one requires several physical components to effect such a reaction. Nuclear fuel along with a reactor core, neutron moderator, neutron poison (absorber), steady source of ignition neutrons, coolant, control rods and a reactor pressure vessel.1 Save for the mitigating features of a coolant, neutron poison, control rods and a neutron moderator – the process which foments the real social vulnerability which social skeptics falsely spin as ‘conspiracy theory’, is a natural outcome stemming from exploitation of several commonplace and naturally occurring social norms. It does not take a conspiracy after all, rather merely a pinch of chronically induced social anxiety, along with some gentle prodding in the right places, and in the right direction.

In 1990 a company called LA Gear introduced a footwear line into the high school aged buyer demographic, featuring a light emitting diode which flashed each time that the footwear user stepped on the ground. Called ‘LA Gear Lights’, these sneakers propelled this little known company to over $1 billion in sales revenue in just two short years of product maturation. Every high school socialite in California, and then the broader US demographic, desired these symbols of approved conformity.2 In similar fashion (pardon the pun), Kevin Planck at Under Armour was able to build a powerhouse brand through exploiting the tribal psychology example of college and professional athletes, upon a population thirsting for social acceptance. A momentum of such magnitude that it challenged and surmounted the pinnacle of brand strength (apologies to Coca-Cola) in the consumer goods industry, Nike. Kevin had listened to a small consumer goods advisory firm who taught that value in product strengthened brand and pricing better than did a roll of the dice on style, and creation of a margin-resilient value chain was paramount over mere purchase and operating cost minimization. Under Armour’s apparel cost them more to produce, message and deliver than did Nike’s, but they were also able to value their items at a higher price point than did Nike. They had solved a problem of tribal duress.3

Fashion science as it turns out is a very informative field of study, eliciting principles which are very useful to those seeking to exploit its elements to direct and control thought.

The essence of human interaction called a fad – elicits a principal with regard to social vulnerability, which bears dynamics similar to that of an unconstrained atomic pile (reactor core). In both of the case studies cited above, the momentum of personal statement and tribal example, was a neutron ignition source into a pile of compressed and anxious young adults (the fuel), exploiting the kinetic energy of their desire to be accepted. Starlings in group flight do not have to exhibit a specific pattern desired, all they have to do is not exhibit the pattern which is forbidden. And in order to reduce their likelihood of exhibiting the embargoed hypothesis – all we have to do is keep them under constant angst. Even an image bearing truth can be quickly dissipated through chaos and duress.

This social vulnerability does not simply end at age 25 of course. It continues to ferment and mature into less obvious forms of control-ability and fanaticism, in the average adult member of society. Nazi Germany did not proliferate its message simply through means of the concerted effort of broadscale conspiracy, rather an exploiting of the common social norms fermenting in the aftermath of World War I. Germans struggled to understand their country’s uncertain future. Citizens faced poor economic conditions, skyrocketing unemployment, political instability, and profound social change. While downplaying more extreme goals, Adolf Hitler and just a few individuals inside the Nazi Party offered simple solutions to Germany’s problems, exploiting people’s fears and frustrations.4 There existed a common nutrient solution of duress upon the general population (see The Ten Pillars of Social Skepticism). A study published in June of 2017, elicits and supports this notion that populations under duress are vulnerable to being exploited by control-minded influences. Highlighting that even our official authorized stories themselves, may yet be the result of this vulnerability, moreso than either an enormous effort of influencing or a prevailing realization of the truth inside a matter.

Evidence suggests that the aversive feelings that people experience when in crisis—fear, uncertainty, and the feeling of being out of control—stimulate a motivation to make sense of the situation, increasing the likelihood of perceiving conspiracies in social situations. We then explain that after being formed, conspiracy theories can become historical narratives that may spread through cultural transmission. We conclude that conspiracy theories originate particularly in crisis situations and may form the basis for how people subsequently remember and mentally represent a historical event.

~ Van Prooijen, Douglas; Sage – Memory Studies : “Conspiracy theories as part of history”5

Establishing Isolation and Chronic Duress is All that is Required

There is safety in the herd. One does not have to conspire – rather only understand the malleable nature of social duress and establish separations between people. The public does not only invent creative alternatives under chronic applications of such duress, but they are vulnerable to adopting an official version more easily as well. This as much as anything, may be the reason behind why all our news is negatively charged. It allows for control. Conspiracy theory accusation therefore, goes both ways. Both the dissenting minority and the conforming majority are vulnerable, and a conspiracy is not required at all.

  • fear of outsiders,
  • desire to regain power,
  • habit/history of religious-styled fervor,
  • emotional damage from traumatic past events,
  • overcompensation for secret doubts,
  • fear of the new and unknown,
  • cultural addiction to confrontation & denial,
  • emotional rush derived from control and deception,
  • cathartic joy of belittling those who are different and
  • the need to belong.

In this combination of factors, an interesting troop dynamic occurs in which humans naturally seek to reinforce, protect and promote a dogmatic message; and they will do so without much prodding. This combination of social factors causes a proliferation of dogmatic ignorance and compliance, which is similar in nature to an exothermic nuclear reaction. A principle called exoagnoia:


/philosophy : rhetoric : exploitation : fad : ignorance/ : conspiracy which is generated naturally through the accelerative interaction of several commonplace social factors. A critical mass of uninformed, misinformed, disinformed and/or compartmentalized population under chronic duress (the ignorance fuel), ignited by an input of repetitive authoritative propaganda (the ignition source). Such a phenomenon enacts falsehood through its own inertia/dynamic and does not necessarily require a continuous intervention on the part of an influencing group.

Critical Elements of a ‘Conspiracy’ (Fad)

  • a compressed and interactive population
  • a conformance compelling and persistent angst (the duress)
  • identification of the unacceptable (bad)
  • compartmentalized organizations who apparatchiks do not fully understand the big picture
  • introduction of an easily observable ‘acceptability’ influence from a tribe or very small sliver of the population
  • social celebrity backing and praise for the influence
  • media sources who will craft ingoratio elenchi, ingens vanitatum and verum mendacium filled publications (see The Art of the Professional Lie)
  • silence about or disincentive towards considering any alternatives

There exist two flavors of this mechanism:

  1. Popular confirmation (promotion of the preferred idea)
  2. Popular inverse negation (condemnation of the full set of unsanctioned ideas)

That is all it takes folks. As it turns out, it does not take a conspiracy after all, rather merely a gentle prodding in the right places, and in the right direction, at the right time.

epoché vanguards gnosis

How to MLA cite this blog post =>
The Ethical Skeptic, “It Does Not Take a Conspiracy” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 30 March 2018, Web;

March 30, 2018 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Institutional Mandates | , | Leave a comment

A Handy Checklist for Distinguishing Propaganda from Actual Science

The propaganda artist insists upon final conclusion from a smattering of facts. An ethical skeptic raises questions from disciplined, incremental and in-the-field observation.

How do we distinguish propaganda from genuine skepticism and science? How does the ethical skeptic discern who to engage with and whom to treat with a more asperous demeanor? Here is a handy checklist which I find helpful in such circumstances. Ethics never demands that you treat everyone nicely. Be gracious to all and tolerant of unintended ignorance – but never cozen a liar or insistent apparatchik. These are distinguished by their methods, and not their specific beliefs or stances on an issue. The central key is this:

A propaganda artist insists upon final conclusion from a smattering of facts. An ethical skeptic raises questions from disciplined, incremental and in-the-field observation.

A propaganda artist habitually defends the strong. An ethical skeptic defends stakeholders at risk.

A propaganda artist focuses on person, identity, motive and trivia. An ethical skeptic focuses on method and argument.

The propaganda artist may in fact, be correct – but this is simply by accident.

The Propaganda Artist

Seeks and targets specific groups, inserting them self into that targeted group conversations

The only ‘question’ raised is pejorative, questioning an opponent’s motive or character/person

Identifies the bad guys a priori (by means other than corrupt method)

Identifies the bad subjects a priori (by means other than actual completed science)

Groups opponents into a gigantic conspiracy-theory-believing, tin-foil hat or anti-science cult

Relies upon personal attacks based simply upon an opponent’s dissent

Comes armed with a list of disjointed facts or canned points, and calls that ‘evidence’

Issues figures and fabutistics (‘97% of scientists’, ‘less than 5% of cases’), without any qualification or understanding of them

Obtains plausible deniability stances from club doctrine and materials/sources

Uses one-liners/talking points and presumes opponent has never heard them before

An habitual attachment or reliance upon headlines

Appeals to authority or celebrity early, before an argument is established

Habitually underestimates opponents

Relies upon partial, preliminary or outdated science

Fails to demonstrate a record of producing any original thoughts

Seeks celebrity and club status

‘Wears the logo or job’ as status inside the science or industry under contention, but does not seem to carry much professional knowledge of that science or industry

Insults the innocent opponent – bears a habit of insulting

Flip-flops sides (not as an outcome of scientific persuasion)

Never applies doubt to self

Does not grasp that simply using the tools of science (eg. Bayesian analysis, meta-study, single p-values) does not mean that one has actually done science

Habitually fails to understand or acknowledge risk

Seldom distinguishes a stakeholder from casual interest – never defends a stakeholder at risk

Issues conclusions based upon mere ‘facts’ and not the critical nature of argument (soundness, logical calculus and critical path)

Never ends with a question, always a final answer

Reliance upon informal fallacy or peripheral trivia as a means to disprove an opponent

Fails to measure or be aware of the cost in a claimed cost-benefit mechanism

Forces a simplest explanation or talks about ‘Occam’s Razor’ (sic)

Possesses a final explanation claim for all inquiries

Forces an argument to final explanation

Answer are always simple and easy (which is not the real world)

Tenders an idea equal status to a scientific hypothesis

Implies at all times that the science has been completed

epoché vanguards gnosis

How to MLA cite this blog post =>
The Ethical Skeptic, “A Handy Checklist for Distinguishing Propaganda from Actual Science” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 24 March 2018, Web;

March 24, 2018 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda | , | Leave a comment

The Opposite of Skeptic: Apparatchik

Apparatchik, it is the opposite of being a skeptic. The majority of our modern so-called skeptics since 1972 have been trained as apparatchiks, not skeptics. They are not simply ignorant agents, rather agents of ignorance. A class of fake skeptic which is smart enough to follow a lesson plan, but stupid enough to be insensitive to the plight of others, and to fail to observe the game of manipulation in which they have been used as pawn.

I was working with a hospital client in Ohio in 2007, just before the first official college football BCS National Championship game ever played, January 8, 2007. A group of us working in a conference room included several justifiably proud Ohio State football fans, wherein I was plied with the question, “What’s your prediction for the upcoming BCS championship game TES?”  I stopped for just a moment and then said “A rude awakening.” Florida of course went on to thrash the heavily media-favored Ohio State in that game 41 to 7 (although a mercy touchdown at the end made the final score 41 to 14). This lack of power ranking awareness on the part of many Ohio State fans and sportswriters that year elicits a foundational term inside ethical skepticism called anosognosia. Anosognosia is a deficit of self awareness that renders a subject vulnerable to being misled by propaganda and/or into becoming an apparatus of such propaganda in the first place. The anosognosiac bears the irony that they possess a greater degree of ignorance than do the very people they accuse of residing in the same state. Therefore, anosognosia is is not congruent with simply cluelessness. Anosognosia combines cluelessness, with the desire to condemn others, along with a mind bereft of its own manipulation/vulnerability. This constitutes a class of fake skeptic which is smart enough to follow a lesson plan, but not caring enough to observe the plight of others, nor their own role in contributing to harm.  For instance:

Blathering incessantly about the dangers of ‘supplements’ despite the fact that the term bears no specific meaning; all the while ignoring a National Crisis in Opioid Abuse which has raged and caused the deaths of millions of our citizens – at the hands of the major pharmaceutical giants.

Obsessing about Gwyneth Paltrow’s Advocacy on lipstick or defending agricultural food pesticide proliferation, all the while remaining silent on the priority fact that sperm counts continue their extinction event drop in Western men (Sperm Counts Drop 52% in 40 Years in Western Men).

A person who refuses to read the Overwhelming Science Linking Brain Injury, Early Frequent Immune Activation and Injected Contaminants – and declares anyone who does to be a ‘baby killer’ or ‘anti-vaxx’ – as opposed to the reality that they are simply asking for science and safety – not an elimination of vaccines. Instead they simply spout imperious propaganda, straw man and name calling.

These are not ignorant agents (the noun), rather agents of ignorance (the verb). It is not simply stupidity, but stupidity as contagion. These are persons who maintain an obdurate hatred of their fellow men – and cover it with deceptive personas of correctness, misleading others and themselves.


/psychology : self awareness : errors/ : a deficit of self awareness. A vulnerability to a sales pitch involving the ‘stupid’ versus us, on the part of those who see themselves as superior minded. This relates to the complex intricacies involving intelligence and rationality; a perception spun on the part of social skeptics which is wielded to seek compliance and social enforcement of their goals.

The principal actor inside a social club critical mass of anosognosia is a special form of pro-active cluelessness player, called an apparatchik. An apparatchik is a person who is smart enough to follow an instructed method and set of pre-prepared talking points, yet not smart enough to detect a condition of being manipulated, nor bearing skill in detecting any real or important alternative priorities. This is the opposite of a skeptic, and ironically constitutes the majority of people who call themselves ‘skeptics’ today.


/politics : propaganda : lackey/ : the opposite of being a skeptic. A blindly devoted official, follower, or organization member, of a corporation, club or political party. One who either ignorantly or obdurately lacks any concern or circumspection ability which might prompt them to examine the harm their position may serve to cause.

An apparatchik will almost always call themselves a ‘skeptic’.

Twenty Apparatchik Signals

1.  Possesses few or no ideas of his or her own crafting

2.  Is an expert or issues ‘Twelve Reasons Why’ styled arguments on an unreasonably large array of subjects in which they could not possibly hold expertise (or on one in which you hold extensive expertise and detect deception/laziness on their part – see Margold’s Law)

3.  Quickly or habitually slips into rhetoric in an effort to win an argument, rather than conducting further research

4.  Appeals to the authority of their club or argument ad populum

5.  Talks down to you, not with you

6.  Can relate few or no instances where they actually conducted hard or extensive investigative field work

7.  Seldom regards direct or extensive experience as sufficient qualification to argue with them

8.  Focuses first on the ‘facts’ or circumstantial aspects or informal fallacy around an argument – as opposed to its coherence, soundness and logical calculus

9.  Enjoys condemning people through ‘raising the specter of doubt’ (wink-wink, nudge-nudge)

10.  Subconsciously treats science as a social ranking and popularity endeavor

11.  Patrols social media seeking to embarrass targeted people

12.  Tends to adopt a cause célèbre or correctness personas/religious stances at a young age and with excessive vigor

13.  Resorts to familiar catch phrases in response to novel information

14.  Seeks visibility, club reinforcement and celebrity at every chance

15.  Is insensitive to risk, suffering or the plight of anyone different than themself

16.  Finds fault more easily in others than in themself

17.  Not really all that clever once you get past the tag lines

18.  Steers every line of reason into an inference which serves to insult or ‘anti______’ bucket-condemn persons they engage/argue with

19.  Will draw a conclusion based upon skepticism alone

20.  Their quality of life/success/achievement, does not seem to be compatible with the rigor by which they hold others accountable

The apparatchik is a pretender.  A child-mind, motivated by the Ten Pillars of Social Skepticism. It behooves the ethical skeptic to avoid such persons – as they only seek to engage with you as a means to continue their propaganda masquerade. Spend your quality intellectual pursuit time inside research of ideas which will reduce the risk and suffering born by your citizen peers – not in fighting useless fights with people who hold their position, precisely because they could not discern the core arguments of its issues in the first place.

epoché vanguards gnosis

How to MLA cite this blog post =>The Ethical Skeptic, “The Opposite of Skeptic: Apparatchik” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 4 March 2018, Web;

March 4, 2018 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Social Disdain, Tradecraft SSkepticism | , , | Leave a comment

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