The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Ten Reasons People No Longer Find Skeptics Credible

Skeptics are losing the argument; losing the war for the American mind, and for good reason. Their actions appear to indicate confidence in the strategy of screaming louder, accusing everyone of being anti-science, conducting more personal attacks and pushing more idiot-but-celebrity personalities into the journalistic limelight; hoping that this approach will somehow rescue themselves in their plight.
However, in the end all this bray will prove to constitute is not a defense of science, rather simply the squeaking noise of their fingers desperately clutching at the metal surface, descending down the slide of irrelevance into posterity.

t1larg.angry.toddler.thinkstock - Copy - CopyVirtually all skeptics believe that, in order to improve the quality of life experienced by those who inhabit this world, then the scientific literacy of our leadership and that of the general population must be enriched. I agree with this sentiment. This Kantian a priori reasoning is belied however, as skeptics are frustrated by an ever increasingly difficult or opposition-minded audience with regard to the conclusions they attempt to foist under such a guise – on both the American population, as well as their elected representatives.

Scientific American published a series of articles recently by Joe Horgan, director of the Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology. The articles revolved around an original work criticizing the skeptic movement for focusing too much on soft/easy targets, and contending that ‘the skeptic movement needs shaking up’.  Coupled with a complete change of landscape towards specific issues of social conscience since the Social Skepticism movement was launched to protect corporate/social/political client interests in 1972, specific mistakes are combining to change the dynamic of how the public conscience is swayed regarding critical issues of research and epistemology. Ways which were not anticipated by the smarter-than-thou leadership the skeptic community hails; indicating an ominous foreboding for Social Skepticism. For instance, celebrity skeptic PZ Meyers has decided he is done with the ‘asshole skeptic’ movement for good. Fake skeptics, science communicators, MSNBC, CNN are all being collectively filed in the circular file of the American public mind. Heck, even celeb-wanna-be and journeyman skeptic Sharon Hill has thrown in the towel over disgust with the intransigence and fecklessness of the ‘skeptic’ community:

I am not happy with the status quo in what is termed the “skeptical community” and have removed myself from group activities. My beef has been with the lack of effectiveness of promoting a skeptical worldview. The reason for this ineffectiveness has multiple factors. I’ll leave that longer discussion for some other time (or never, since I might as well talk to a wall for all the good it does). But here, in a nutshell, is what is going on in my head right now on the topic:

The fundamental shortcoming of the various organizations and the collective network is that it is missing a thoughtful mission with coherent goals.

I’d suggest such a mission would be simply to promote skeptical evaluation of questionable claims for the benefit of society.

This mission has nothing to do with secularism, humanism or atheism at all and it’s not simply cheerleading for science and reason. If anyone thinks that progress has been made by skeptical organizations to make society better, show me the metrics. I would be so happy to see them.‡

To her credit, Sharon gets that there exists a problem in the community; however she does not yet grasp the philosophical and scientific bad habits which have served to precipitate this problem. Perhaps this failure in mission on the part of Social Skepticism (not real skepticism) is indeed not indicative so much of a decline in the rational/scientific mindset of the general population, as it is reflective of a specific set of mistakes being wrought inside the skepticism movement itself. ‘Worldview’ in their jargon has increasingly come to be associated with a specific political party, a specific paranormally-obsessed religion, specific medical diagnoses/obfuscation and specific view on failed economics; all compressed inside the circumspection and experience lacking footprint of arrogant cubicle-constrained and celebrity infatuated academia. Americans get this.

Our feckless, low value/soft target fake skeptics do not get this. As a skeptic, if you are worried about tin-foil hats, bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, brainwashing children and how stupid everyone is, you are going to lose credibility, period. Americans are smarter than this, and they demand more than rhetosophy dressed up as science.

Skeptics are Losing the Battle for the American Mind and Here are Ten Reasons Why

Why do leading periodicals such as National Geographic today decry the “War on Science?”  Perhaps this conclusion is not so much an outcome of diligent epistemology, as it is a push propaganda message on the part of social skepticism’s effort to dominate the media. An effort we have observed to be riddled with critical and harm-enabling mistakes. Through our research conducted over the past decades across a wide range of social topics, we have drawn this conclusion: Cognitive biases cause skeptics to habitually skip past critical research, fail to understand the actual scientific method, focus too much on correctness and control, instruct others as if they are idiots, try too hard to fit in with each other (ironically as if a ‘community’), chronically seek celebrity status and depend too much on experts in a single sub-field to provide a basis for opinion on broad venues of life and social discourse. All serious mistakes of non-science and Popper/Wittgenstein Error. In this article we discuss how these deeply ingrained skeptic foibles interfere with their message—through ten specific weaknesses in message and practice which have manifested over the last 20 years.

     Skyrocketing Medical Debt and an Increasingly Sick Young US Demographic

so-much-more-important-copyAside from the argument surrounding the latest “1 in 45” autism parental survey, an entire list of new diseases has not only sprung up, but have become the top ten most prescribed-for maladies; and only in the United States for the most part, and within the last 20 years.(1) (2) In their report “U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health (See more at: http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2013/US-Health-in-International-Perspective-Shorter-Lives-Poorer-Health.aspx#sthash.BMz0Py3C.dpuf) the National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine cites the condition wherein Americans are watching our selves and our children grow increasingly sick as a nation. And as we watch our loved ones suffer and die from a new class of diseases which did not exist 80 years ago, and as our family medical budgets rise by an average of $3,185 per year† and destroy our lifestyles (not to mention economy), the arrogant screams of the self-proclaimed ‘skeptics’ at Science Based Medicine begin to ring hollow and appear more and more malevolent to the average American. With autism skyrocketing in our children, IBS skyrocketing, alimentary canal cancers growing, diabetes skyrocketing much faster than calories, sugar and lethargy can explain, and our loved one’s beginning to die earlier, people are beginning to doubt what oppressive groups claiming to represent medical science in the media have to say. This is not a Baby Boomer phenomena, as these diseases are now regularly striking victims in high school and college. Being a skeptic is one thing, and most of us will afford you the leeway to play your virtue signalling game into bounds of intellectual arrogance, so long as it does not affect our families. But now it is personal, deadly and despair inducing. People are no longer tolerating the arrogance of voices of denial and correctness when it pertains to national health moving in the wrong direction.

And while parents and their children suffer, as if the ‘movement’ was rubbing salt and taunt into the public’s wounds, they insist on using their holier-than-thou science minds and superior knowledge of scientific reduction to what?  …waste copious amounts of time debunking the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, for the 400,000th time. People get the malicious insult, perhaps even more than do the social skeptics themselves. This fakery and misplaced priority set may serve to do more damage to the ‘community’ than any other single issue.

     The Social Pressure Crucible They Created Around Fringe Subjects Has Been Shattered

The internet and social media is serving to shatter the social pressure crucible that has traditionally bound us from speaking of our paranormal experiences.(3) Ghost hunting, ancient mystery and bigfoot hunting shows are the rage. Despite the fact that every single social media site which even remotely discusses fringe topics, is assigned a team of 3 to 6 token skeptics to patrol the site and ensure that secular nihilism is taught as if it were true science, people are not buying this. They are rejecting the message along with the arrogant meatpuppet patrols who act as their prison keepers. They are buying the evidence instead. Society no longer regards the 768 subjects condemned by the Skeptic’s Dictionary (with very little real research), as all invalid. I have had four close friends, friends who have died – dead – on the operating table, all of whom have come to me (because they trust my ability to be objective and not call them crazy) and shared privately the extraordinary experiences they had. Experiences during, and only during the time in which they were dead.  Four incredible, honest and information verifiable experiences. Were this thirty years ago during the golden age of methodical cynicism, they would never have come forward to anyone. How do I dismiss their observations (they are not ‘claims’)? As a skeptic I do not dismiss them. I ponder, catalog and watch for further information. These four persons are no longer afraid to come forward, much to the chagrin of the fake skeptic crowd of thugs seeking to enforce their religious choice, Secular Nihilism. Most everyone is understanding that two things now are invalid responses to such challenging observations: Knee-jerk denial, and Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence-styled oppression. Those days, along with those fake skeptics are all a thing of the past.

     Statistics Show that People are Not Buying ‘Big-A’ Atheism

Despite the fact that a recent Pew Research study elucidates that a full 50 million Americans have departed or declined traditional religion(4), fewer than 12% of those in this newly apostate population even privately profess atheism when queried. Given the enormous amount of vitriol spewed by the group claiming scientific knowledge as to the basis of their belief validity concerning religion and gods, why then the refusal by even the most open minded of the general population to accept what this group has to say? The simple fact is that ‘Big-A’ Atheism (as it is commonly called – the A standing for a variety of terms) is shallow, arrogant and every bit as dogmatic and religious as is fundamentalism.(5) It is a fundamentalist religion after all. ‘Big-A’ Atheism (Secular Nihilism) is a religion; but quietly, rational people regard ignostic atheism as not constituting a religion, rather simply a thinking disposition regarding gods only. This allows them to ponder something besides the false dilemma of Atheism and Theism. Something more intellectually challenging and stimulating; something which does not boast of knowledge one cannot possibly hold.

     Science is Being Abused to Enslave Not Free Us

The University of California Berkeley cites in its guidance on science, that “Science doesn’t tell you how to use scientific knowledge” and “Science doesn’t draw conclusions about supernatural explanations.”(6) Despite this, science under the SSkeptics’ watch since 1972, is not being employed to free us and our minds; rather is being abused to support specific oligarch businesses, an oppressive religion and to harm/economically enslave families.(7) The Social Skepticism movement manifests its goals through support of several specific special interest groups. These are interests of allegiance without exception inside the ‘community’, in which Social Skepticism seems to have an irrationally high focus, were it solely comprising an unstructured movement of individual ethic and science alone. Key among these partner special interests are the very familiar laundry list of control groups which manage our economically inflating agriculture, healthcare, health insurance, education, asset insurance, pharmaceuticals and universities. Science in the hands of, and under the watch of Social Skepticism, has played a key role in precipitating economic predation inside these seven hyper-inflating verticals, damaging Americans, their families, their nation. Most people are beginning to see this manifestly.

     Skeptics Tend to Scream Conclusions and Not Conduct Research of Ideas

As ‘fringe’ and ‘paranormal’ researchers bring a continuous flow of higher and higher quality evidence, skeptics do absolutely nothing but scream louder and continually demonstrate that they do not possess the grasp of science nor scientific method of which they all-too-frequently boast.(8) Increasingly, the Baloney Detection Kit produced by Carl Sagan in 1995, is simply being employed to enact the squelching of thought, observations, research and ideas. Ideas which social skeptics do not favor, and seek to have blocked from access to science. Proof gaming (demand to see final proof before research ever starts) and squelching of Sponsors and Discovery Science Methodology are the chief tactics of fake skeptic. Americans get this hypocrisy intuitively, and sense a reason to distrust this group. This is one reason why skeptics are not well liked people – and not because they represent science. People grow in their insistence regarding observations under a paranormal moniker, and grow increasingly tired of being called delusional, stupid or liars by those in the arrogant Social Skeptic community. Besides the role models are often horrible persons, ones whom most Americans find shallow, attention seeking and mean.(9)  Celebrities, blogs, defamation and social exclusions are no longer enough weaponry in the Social Skeptics’ arsenal, wholly now insufficient to keep the population in line. The community is viewed as a cabal of spoiled screaming children. Sorry Social Skeptics, it’s just not working anymore.

     Employment of Trolling Punks Obsessing Over Persons & Politics and Not Science

Social Skeptics coordinate through specific social media sites such as Reddit and patrol a variety of popular fringe topic forums. According to Google Ad Planner the median Reddit user is male (59%), 18–29 years of age, and is connecting from the United States (68%). Pew Research has stated that 6% of all American adult Internet users have used Reddit and males were twice as likely to be Reddit users as females.(10) Reddit is a notorious hangout for the arrogant, inexperienced, shallow and criminally defamatory. These are persons who suffer Fanaticist’s Error. Skeptic ranks increasingly comprise inexperienced, thug minded, Reddit-styled-gang mentality, ignorant, hot-headed, overconfident punks. Most Americans either sense or see this, fully cognizant of meaning behind the Shakespearean quote “Methinks he doth protest too much.” When the number one circulated presentation at TAM2014 involved instructing Social Skeptics how to “Not be A Dick,” you know that there is a high-visibility problem in the Cabal with this.(11) Social Skeptics mistakenly think that this negativity will constitute a strategy of success. They routinely underestimate the ethical quality of Americans, presuming us all to be exactly like themselves. This approach will not succeed with Americans. The last few years have seen our first serious lawsuits requiring Social Skeptics to establish legal defense funds because of tortious interference and business tampering litigation regarding persons and businesses. People of science, like me, have already seen the political motivation, and the puppet show of fake science. We are not buying the poser posture.

     The People Impacted are the New Peer Review

The availability of information and scientific studies is allowing diligent common persons to conduct in-depth research on their own. Contentions can be readily presented and refuted. Mom’s in particular are the primary observers of their childrens’ health for example, in contrast to ‘Science Based Medicine,’ who is not. They are disagreeing and are speaking up. Fake skeptics will tell you that skepticism is about the ‘simplest explanation’ (see the fake Occam’s Razor) and then turn around and tell smart mom’s that they are too dumb to understand the science, so shut up. Let’s be ethically clear here: if  you are the victim, impacted by a new action of science – then by default – you ARE the peer. These stakeholder peers are questioning when government regulators take Vice President and higher jobs inside the corporations for which they just crafted legislation. They are elucidating the malfeasance, financing and a priori influences on authors involved in studies touted as being ‘unbiased’. They are not intimidated by extraordinary claims that others represent science, and that mom’s are stupid or delusional. Again, it is just not working. Moms are the scientists now, they are making the first hand observations and doing the testing – mostly because they have to. Social Skepticism has abandoned them, for the Potter’s Gold of celebrity and career promotion. In comparison, the fakers are simply talented at making 80 year out-of-date noise. Activist organizations such as Thinking Moms’ Revolution are making a big splash – a manifest of the increasing health and financial pressure on us which has resulted from the abuse of science by Social Skepticism since the 1970’s.

     Scientists Quietly No Longer Support Social Skepticism

Scientists do not think as does the Cabal of Social Skeptics and studies make this clear.(9) (12) Scientists after all are people. Their kids get sick, their food damages their health and they have paranormal experiences too. A recent Edge Survey of science journalists and real scientists reveal an enormous schism developing between these two groups as to what constitutes good science, and the chief concerns of scientific endeavor.(12) In fact, the number one regarded issue among real scientists expressed inside that study was concern over ‘Screening of Information/Control of What is Regarded as Acceptable Science’. This contrasts dramatically with science communicator top two concerns focusing on ‘pseudoscience/religion promotion’ and ‘conspiracy theory/anti-big institution activism’.  At a certain point to the ethical mind, tenets of philosophy must yield to sound evidence. The evidence is around us every day – we are being media manipulated by social skeptics. Scientists have strange occurrences in their houses, some have seen Sasquatch and UFO’s or have children who have had vaccine injuries or an entire neighborhood with allergies, cancer and diabetes. Does this make them immediately credulous on such issues? Does this mean they are making a claim to proof? No, of course not. They simply may desire some of the 768 forbidden subjects of skepticism be in fact, …I dunno, maybe researched? An inverse negation fallacy in contrast is a condition wherein you decry the de rigueur 768 topics, and the set left standing after all this rancor, just happens to overlap 100% with the religion you adopted at age 14. This fakery is tantamount to making a pseudoscientific claim – and dressing up as a scientist in an attempt to belie that reality. It cannot be defended by masquerading an Omega Hypothesis through a ‘Oh it’s the null hypothesis’ baloney – real scientists get this. All this does serve to give them pause, and opens the question: “Are our arrogant voices of conclusive certainty, maybe premature?”  The resounding answer to the ethical scientific mind, is Yes.

     People Now Think Outside the Box and are No Longer Intimidated by a Claim to Represent Science

Media is discovering that not only are people interested in the strange; moreover, and even more importantly, they possess an increasing thirst to know more about the world around them. They are not afraid of out of the box thinking or tough questions; a fear socially enforced through Bernaysian Engineering 150 to 50 years ago. This public sentiment makes Social Skeptics scoffing and furious – the 1972 handbook on fake science skepticism is not working! Don’t they know who we are? Why does the public not come to them, the smartest people in the room, for such information? Obviously the public is a bunch of idiots. The growth in paranormal oriented media, has not only detracted from the stream of violent soap-opera-fiction big network and fake news fare, but has spawned a whole new generation of channels dedicated solely to paranormal, science fiction and the strange.(13) The public grows ever more suspicious of people who make the extraordinary claim to represent science, yet at the same time refuse to examine the evidence on a variety of challenging issues. An interesting dichotomy in character.

     The American Public is Weary of Being Called “Anti-Science”

The American public is simply and justifiably tired of this; and they are calling out people like Steven Novella for making such grandiose and unfounded claims: “Not only do people reject the science specific to their issue, they reject science itself.”(14)  So claims Steven Novella (and yes, this is a claim and not an observation, under the scientific method). National Geographic recently produced a rather shallow and associative condemnation laden article on everyone who disagrees with five litmus scientific ideas, as all being one tin-foil-hat-wearing ‘War on Science‘ crowd. Social Skeptics everywhere giggled with joy. The simple fact is that the Anti-Science accusation crowd acts more like unto a political party and oligarchy movement, and nothing else. People sense this, and science is damaged in the process of its being used as ruse and football for these, less than scrupulous persons.(15) When one issues a MiHoDeAL Claim – people are no longer seeing such a claim as being based upon science. Religion, it is not just about a bearded grandfather in the sky anymore. We are not stupid, delusional, irrational, unscientific, anecdotal-conclusion vulnerable, not as susceptible to hoaxes nor are we liars as your ‘community’ implies. This continual insult of the American public, is nothing more than an attempt to remove constitutional rights, import votes from foreign countries and increase your client billing revenues. It is simply the squeaking noise skeptic fingers make as they desperately cling to the metal and skid down the slide of irrelevance into posterity.

Guys. You are losing the battle. Your horrid behaviors, darkened hearts, and control freak minds are sticking out like dead tree stumps in a forest. Those of us highly involved in science and the questions on the mind of the American population, are going to make sure that you do lose. Our society cannot afford your fakery any longer. In the end, Social Skepticism will prove simply to be a cautionary tale parents tell the children of the future.

TES Signature


1.  “Endocrine-Immune Disruption and the Exorbitant Cost of Social Skepticism Induced Bliss,” The Ethical Skeptic, Aug 2, 2014; https://theethicalskeptic.com/2014/08/02/the-exorbitant-cost-of-sskepticism-induced-ignorance/.

2.  “The Urgent Need to Reform the Cartel Science Around Glyphosate,” The Ethical Skeptic, Nov 19, 2014; https://theethicalskeptic.com/2014/11/19/pseudoscience-in-action-the-urgent-need-to-reform-the-science-around-glyphosate/.

3.  “Obedience, Social Pressure, and their Fatality,” Anti Essays, extracted Nov 15, 2015; http://www.antiessays.com/free-essays/Social-Pressure-425975.html.

4.  “If the New Religiously Unaffiliated are Not Atheists, Then Just Who are They?,” The Ethical Skeptic, May 15, 2015; https://theethicalskeptic.com/2015/05/15/if-the-new-religiously-unafiliated-are-not-atheists-then-just-who-are-they/.

5.  “No You are Not an Atheist, You are a Nihilist,” The Ethical Skeptic, Jan 7, 2015; https://theethicalskeptic.com/2015/01/07/no-you-are-not-an-atheist-you-are-a-nihilist/.

6.  UC Berkeley, “Understanding Science: How science really works,” extracted Nov 15, 2015; http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12.

7.  “The Corrupt Oligarchy of Social Skepticism,” The Ethical Skeptic, Apr 18, 2014; https://theethicalskeptic.com/2014/04/18/the-oligarchical-goals-of-social-skepticism/.

8.  “Survey Shows Rise in Paranormal Beliefs,” Center for Inquiry, Dec 12, 2009; http://www.centerforinquiry.net/blogs/entry/survey_shows_rise_in_paranormal_beliefs_blending_of_christian_new_age_easte/.

9.  “U.K. paranormal survey shows rise in belief,” Doubtful News, Sep 16, 2013; http://doubtflnews/2013/09/uk-paranormal-survey-shows-rise-in-belief/.

10.  Duggan, Maeve, Smith, Aaron, “6% of Online Adults are Reddit Users,” Pew Research Internet Project.

11.  Phil Plait, “Don’t Be a Dick,” Discover: Bad Astronomy, Aug 17, 2010; http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/08/17/dont-be-a-dick-part-1-the-video/#.VkjIrOJOqZM.

12.  “Real Scientists Disagree with SSkeptics About World’s Top Concerns for the Future,” The Ethical Skeptic, Apr 3, 2013; https://theethicalskeptic.com/2013/04/03/real-scientists-are-not-concerned-about-the-same-things-as-are-sskeptics/.

13.  “Paranormal Media: Audiences, Spirits and Magic in Popular Culture,” Oxford Journals, vol 53, issue 4; http://screen.oxfordjournals.org/content/53/4/495.extract.

14.  “The Rising Age of the Cartel: Your Freedoms Were Simply an Experiment,” The Ethical Skeptic, Jul 7, 2015; https://theethicalskeptic.com/2015/07/07/the-rising-age-of-the-cartel-your-freedoms-were-simply-an-experiment/.

15.  “The Anti-Science Party,” MSNBC, May 15, 2014; http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-anti-science-party.

†  Bob Bryan, “Americans’ out-of-pocket healthcare costs are skyrocketing”, Business Insider, Sep 14, 2016; http://www.businessinsider.com/out-of-pocket-healthcare-payments-skyrocketing-2016-9 – 10% annual rise on individual average US cost (as identified by the Commonwealth Fund annual report) of $7,960 in 2011, for a family of four.

‡ Sharon Hill, “Teaching the kids critical thinking looks like the BEST place to focus efforts”; I Doubt It, May 24 2017; extracted same; http://sharonahill.com/teaching-the-kids-critical-thinking-looks-like-the-best-place-to-focus-efforts/.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda | , , , | Leave a comment

Poser Science: Proof Gaming

Science begins its work based upon a principle called necessity, not upon proof. Science then establishes proof, if such can be had. Popper critical rationality as it turns out, involves more than irrefutable proof, contrary to what gaming social skeptics might contend. Proof Gaming is a method of tendering an affectation of sciencey methodology, yet still effectively obfuscating research and enforcing acceptable thought.

im-a-skeptic-burden-of-proofIn order for science to begin to prove the existence of the strange animal tens of thousands of credible persons report roaming in the woods, I must first bring in its dead carcass.  But if I bring in its dead body, then I have no need for science to examine that such an animal exists in the first place; I have already done the science.  The demand that I bring in a dead body, given a sufficient level of Ockham’s Razor necessity-driving information, is a false standard threshold for science to begin its diligence, and such a demand constitutes pseudoscience.

Now of course, Karl Popper in his brief entitled Die beiden Grundprobleme der Erkenntnistheorie contended that science should be demarcated by the proper assignment of truth values to its assertions, or ‘sentences’: ergo, science is the set of sentences with justifiably assigned truth values.¹ This was called a mindset of ‘critical rationality’.¹ It was a step above simple scientific skepticism. The task of the philosophy of science is to explain suitable methods by which these assignments are then properly made.¹ However, one can extend the philosophy of science to construct elaborate methods, which prevent the assimilation of ideas or research which one disfavors, by gaming these methods such that philosophy stands and acts in lieu of science. One such trick of conducting science research by means of solely philosophy, all from the comfort of one’s arm chair, is called Proof Gaming. Popper contended later in his work, as outlined by the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy here:

As a consequence of these three difficulties [the problem or necessity of induction] Popper developed an entirely different theory of science in chapter 5, then in Logik der Forschung. In order to overcome the problems his first view faced, he adopted two central strategies. First, he reformulated the task of the philosophy of science. Rather than presenting scientific method as a tool for properly assigning truth values to sentences, he presented rules of scientific method as conducive to the growth of knowledge. Apparently he still held that only proven or refuted sentences could take truth values. But this view is incompatible with his new philosophy of science as it appears in his Logik der Forschung: there he had to presume that some non-refuted theories took truth values, that is, that they are true or false as the case may be, even though they have been neither proved nor refuted [William of Ockham’s ‘plurality’]. It is the job of scientists to discover their falsity when they can. (IEoP)¹

Social skeptics will cite the base logic of Popper’s first work, yet omit his continued work on induction (Logik der Forschung) – as a process of sleight-of-hand in argument. So, critical rationality as it turns out, involves more than irrefutable proof, contrary to what gaming social skeptics might contend. Science begins its work based upon a principle called necessity, not upon proof. Science then establishes proof, if such can be had. Sadly, much of science cannot be adjudicated on anything like what we would call iron-clad proof, and instead relies upon a combination of falsified antithetical alternatives or induction based consilience.

The gaming of this reality constitutes a process of obfuscation and deceit called Proof Gaming. Proof Gaming is the process of employing dilettante concepts of ‘proof’ as a football in order to win arguments, disfavor disliked groups or thought, or exercise fake versions or standards of science. Proof gaming presents itself in six speciations. In the presence of sufficient information or Ockham’s Razor plurality, such tactics as outlined below, constitute a game of pseudoscience. Posing the appearance of science-sounding methods, yet still enabling obfuscation and a departure from the scientific method in order to protect the religious ideas one adopted at an early age.

Let’s examine the six types of this common social skeptic bad science method, formal and informal fallacy.

Proof Gaming

/philosophy : argument : pseudoscience : false salience/ : employing dilettante concepts of ‘proof’ as a football in order to win arguments, disfavor disliked groups or thought, or exercise fake versions of science. Proof gaming presents itself in six speciations:

Catch 22 (non rectum agitur fallacy) – the pseudoscience of forcing the proponent of a construct or observation, to immediately and definitively skip to the end of the scientific method and single-handedly prove their contention, circumventing all other steps of the scientific method and any aid of science therein; this monumental achievement prerequisite before the contention would ostensibly be allowed to be considered by science in the first place. Backwards scientific method and skipping of the plurality and critical work content steps of science.

Fictitious Burden of Proof – declaring a ‘burden of proof’ to exist when such an assertion is not salient under science method at all. A burden of proof cannot possibly exist if neither the null hypothesis or alternative theories nor any proposed construct possesses a Popper sufficient testable/observable/discernible/measurable mechanism; nor moreover, if the subject in the matter of ‘proof’ bears no Wittgenstein sufficient definition in the first place (such as the terms ‘god’ or ‘nothingness’).

Herculean Burden of Proof – placing a ‘burden of proof’ upon an opponent which is either arguing from ignorance (asking to prove absence), not relevant to science or not inside the relevant range of achievable scientific endeavor in the first place. Assigning a burden of proof which cannot possibly be provided/resolved by a human being inside our current state of technology or sophistication of thought/knowledge (such as ‘prove abiogenesis’ or ‘prove that only the material exists’). Asking someone to prove an absence proposition (such as ‘prove elves do not exist’).

Fictus Scientia – assigning to disfavored ideas, a burden of proof which is far in excess of the standard regarded for acceptance or even due consideration inside science methods. Similarly, any form of denial of access to acceptance processes normally employed inside science (usually peer review both at theory formulation and at completion). Request for proof as the implied standard of science – while failing to realize or deceiving opponents into failing to realize that 90% of science is not settled by means of ‘proof’ to begin with.

Observation vs Claim Blurring – the false practice of calling an observation or data set, a ‘claim’ on the observers’ part.  This in an effort to subjugate such observations into the category of constituting scientific claims which therefore must be now ‘proved’ or dismissed (the real goal: see Transactional Occam’s Razor Fallacy).  In fact an observation is simply that, a piece of evidence or a cataloged fact. Its false dismissal under the pretense of being deemed a ‘claim’ is a practice of deception and pseudoscience.

As Science as Law Fallacy – conducting science as if it were being reduced inside a court of law or by a judge (usually the one forcing the fake science to begin with), through either declaring a precautionary principle theory to be innocent until proved guilty, or forcing standards of evidence inside a court of law onto hypothesis reduction methodology, when the two processes are conducted differently.

All of these tactics are common practices which abrogate the role and discipline of science.  Additionally, a key set of symptoms to look for, in determining that Proof Gaming is underway, are when

  1. one of these tactics is conducted inside a media spotlight,  and when
  2. every media outlet is reciting the same story, and same one liner such as ‘extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence’, verbatim.

This is an indicator that a campaign is underway to quash a subject.

The sad reality is, that on most tough issues, any one single person or small group of outsiders is poorly equipped to prove a subject beyond question. Popper recognized this later in his life work.  We simply do not have the resources and time to accomplish such a task.  SSkeptics know this and use it to their advantage.  The people who are calling for research for example on the connection between cognitive delays in children and the potential role which immunizations have had on this, are simply asking for science to do the research. The response they receive is “You can’t prove the link,” thus we are justified in waging a media campaign against you and scientifically ignoring this issue. This is Proof Gaming.  Complicating this is the fact that the issue is broader than simply MMR and Thimerosal (the majority body of current study), involving the demand for science to research the causes of valid skyrocketing levels of developmental delays, autoimmune disorders, and learning disabilities in our children. The issue bears plurality and precaution, but is answered with ignorance. The Proof Gamers who sling epithets such as “Deniers” and “Anti-vaccinationistas” and “Autistic Moms” are committing scientific treason. One should note that the handiwork of such SSkeptics is rarely characterized by outcomes of value or clarity, is typically destructive and control oriented, and is reliably made media-visible (see our next Poser Science series on the tandem symbiosis between virtue signalling and malevolence).

Hype and name calling has no place in pluralistic research, and the media pundits who commit this are practicing pseudoscience plain and simple. Once plurality has been established, the games should be over.  But not for Proof Gamers.   Attacking proponents who have done case research to call for further science (not proving the subject) for not “proving beyond a shadow of a doubt,” their contentions, is an act of pseudoscience.

This fake demand for proof before research is Proof Gaming, is an abrogation of the Scientific Method and is Pseudoscience.

TES Signature


¹  The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Karl Popper: Critical Rationalism”; http://www.iep.utm.edu/cr-ratio/#H2.

February 28, 2017 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Social Disdain, Tradecraft SSkepticism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Discerning Sound from Questionable Science Publication

Non-replicatable meta-analyses published in tier I journals do not constitute the preponderance of good source material available to the more-than-casual researcher. This faulty idea stems from a recently manufactured myth on the part of social skepticism. Accordingly, the life-long researcher must learn techniques beyond the standard pablum pushed by social skeptics; discerning techniques which will afford them a superior ability to tell good science from bad – through more than simply shallow cheat sheets and publication social ranking classifications.
The astute ethical skeptic is very much this life-long and in depth researcher. For him or her, ten specific questions can serve to elucidate this difference inside that highly political, complicated and unfair playing field called science.

the-ten-study-questionsRecently, a question was posed to me by a colleague concerning the ability of everyday people to be able to discern good scientific work from dubious efforts. A guide had been passed around inside her group, a guide which touted itself as a brief on 5 key steps inside a method to pin-point questionable or risky advising publications. The author cautioned appropriately that “This method is not infallible and you must remain cautious, as pseudoscience may still dodge the test.” He failed of course to mention the obvious additional risk possibility that the method could serve to screen science which either 1) is good but cannot possibly muster the credential, funding and backing to catch the attention of crowded major journals, or 2) is valid, however is also screened by power-wielding institutions which could have the resources and connections as well as possible motive to block research on targeted ideas. The article my friend’s group was circulating in consideration constituted nothing but a Pollyanna, wide-eyed and apple pie view of the scientific publication process. One bereft of the scarred knuckles and squint-eyed wisdom requisite in discriminating human motivations and foibles.

There is much more to this business of vetting ideas than simply identifying the bad people and the bad subjects. More than simply crowning the conclusions of ‘never made an observation in my life’ meta-analyses as the new infallible standard of truth.

Scientific organizations are prone to the same levels of corruption, bias, greed, desire to get something for as little input as possible, as is the rest of the population. Many, or hopefully even most, individual scientists buck this mold certainly, and are deserving of utmost respect. However, even their best altruism is checked by organizational practices which seek to ensure that those who crave power, are dealt their more-than-ample share of fortune, fame and friar-hood. They will gladly sacrifice the best of science in this endeavor. And in this context of human wisdom it is critical that we keep watch.

If you are a casual reader of science, say consuming three or four articles a month, then certainly the guidelines outlined by Ariel Poliandri below, in his blog entitled “A guide to detecting bogus scientific journals”, represent a suitable first course on the menu of publishing wisdom.¹ In fact, were I offered this as the basis of a graduate school paper, it would be appropriately and warmly received. But if this is all you had to offer the public after 20 years of hard fought science, I would aver that you had wasted your career therein.

1 – Is the journal a well-established journal such as Nature, Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, etc.?
2 – Check authors’ affiliations. Do they work in a respectable University? Or do they claim to work in University of Lala Land or no university at all?
3 – Check the Journal’s speciality and the article’s research topic. Are the people in the journal knowledgeable in the area the article deals with?
4 – Check the claims in the title and summary of the article. Are they reasonable for the journal publishing them?
5 – Do the claims at least make sense?

This list represents simply a non-tenable way to go about vetting your study and resource material so that only pluralistic ignorance influences your knowledge base. It is lazy – sure to be right and safe – useless advisement, to a true researcher. The problem with this list resides inside some very simple industry realities:

1.  ‘Well-established journal’ publication requires sponsorship from a major institution. Scientific American cites that 88% of scientists possess no such sponsorship, and this statistic has nothing to do with the scientific groups’ relative depth in subject field.² So this standard, while useful for the casual reader of science, is not suitable at all for one who spends a lifetime of depth inside a subject. This would include for instance, a person studying impacting factors on autism in their child, or persons researching the effect of various supplements on their health. Not to mention of course, the need to look beyond this small group of publications applies to scientists who spend a life committed to their subject as well.

One will never arrive at truth by tossing out 88% of scientific studies right off the bat.

2.  Most scientists do not work for major universities. Fewer than 15% of scientists ever get to participate in this sector even once in their career.² This again is a shade-of-gray replication of the overly stringent filtering bias recommended in point 1. above. I have employed over 100 scientists and engineers over the years, persons who have collectively produced groundbreaking studies. For the most part, none ever worked for a major university. Perhaps 1 or 2 spent a year inside university affiliated research institutes. Point 2 is simply a naive standard which can only result in filtering out everything with the exception of what one is looking for. One must understand that, in order to survive in academia, one must be incrementally brilliant and not what might be even remotely considered disruptively brash. Academics bask in the idea that their life’s work and prejudices have all panned out to come true. The problem with this King Wears No Clothes process is that it tends to stagnate science, and not provide the genesis of great discovery.

One will never arrive at truth by ignoring 85% of scientists, right off the bat.

3.  There are roles for both specialty journals and generalized journals. There is a reason for this, and it is not to promote pseudoscience as the blog author implies (see statement in first paragraph above). A generalized journal maintains resource peers to whom they issue subject matter for review. They are not claiming peer evaluation to be their sole task. Larger journals can afford this, but not all journals can. Chalk this point up as well up to naivete. Peer review requires field qualification; however in general, journal publication does not necessarily. Sometimes they are one in the same, sometimes not. Again, if this is applied without wisdom, such naive discrimination can result in a process of personal filtering bias, and not stand as a suitable standard identifying acceptable science.

One will never arrive at truth by viewing science as a club. Club quality does not work.

4.  Check for the parallel nature of the question addressed in the article premise, methodology, results, title and conclusion.  Article writers know all about the trick of simply reading abstracts and summaries. They know 98% of readers will only look this far, or will face the requisite $25 to gain access further than the abstract. If the question addressed is not the same throughout, then there could be an issue. As well, check the expository or disclosure section of the study or article. If it consists even in part, of a polemic focusing on the bad people, or the bad ideas, or the bad industry player – then the question addressed in the methodology may have come from bias in the first place. Note: blog writing constitutes this type of writing. A scientific study should be disciplined to the question at hand, be clear on any claims made, and as well any preliminary disclosures which help premise, frame, constrain, or improve the predictive nature of the question. Blogs and articles do not have to do this; however, neither are they scientific studies. Know the difference.

Writers know the trick – that reviewers will only read the summary or abstract. The logical calculus of a study resides below this level. So authors err toward favoring established ideas in abstracts.

5.  Claims make sense with respect to the context in which they are issued and the evidence by which they are backed. Do NOT check to see if you believe the claims or they make some kind of ‘Occam’s Razor’ sense. This is a false standard of ‘I am the science’ pretense taught by false skepticism. Instead, understand what the article is saying and what it is not saying – and avoid judging the article based on whether it says something you happen to like or dislike. We often call this ‘sense’ – and incorrectly so. It is bias.

Applying personal brilliance to filter ideas, brilliance which you learned from only 12% of publication abstracts and 15% of scientists who played the game long enough – is called: gullibility.

It is not that the body of work vetted by such criteria is invalid; rather simply that – to regard science as only this – is short sighted and bears fragility. Instead of these Pollyanna 5 guidelines, the ethical skeptic will choose to understand whether or not the study or article in question is based upon standards of what constitutes good Wittgenstein and Popper science. This type of study can be conducted by private lab or independent researchers too. One can transcend the Pollyanna 5 questions above by asking the ten simple questions regarding any material – and outlined in the graphic at the top of this article. Epoché is exercised by keeping their answers in mind, without prejudice, as onward you may choose to read. Solutions to problems come from all levels and all types of contributors. This understanding constitutes the essence of wise versus naive science.

“Popper holds that there is no unique methodology specific to science. Science, like virtually every other human, and indeed organic, activity, Popper believes, consists largely of problem-solving.”³

There are two types of people, those who wish to solve the problem at hand, and those who already had it solved, so it never was a problem for them to begin with, rather simply an avenue of club agenda expression or profit/career creation.

Let’s be clear here: If you have earned tenure as an academic or journal reviewer or a secure career position which pays you a guaranteed $112,000 a year, from age 35 until the day you retire, this is the same as holding a bank account with $2,300,000 in it at age 35† – even net of the $200,000 you might have invested in school. You are a millionaire. So please do not advertise the idea that scientists are all doing this for the subject matter.

$2.3 million (or more in sponsorship) is sitting there waiting for you to claim it – and all you have to do is say the right things, in the right venues, for long enough.

This process of depending solely on tier I journals – is an exercise in industry congratulationism. There has to be a better way to vet scientific study, …and there is. The following is all about telling which ilk of person is presenting an argument to you.

The Ten Questions Differentiating Good Science from Bad

better-science-1Aside from examining a study’s methodology and logical calculus itself, the following ten questions are what I employ to guide me as to how much agenda and pretense has been inserted into its message or methodology. There are many species of contention; eight in the least if we take the combinations of the three bisected axes in the graph to the right. Twenty four permutations if we take the sequence in which the logic is contended (using falsification to promote an idea versus promoting the idea that something ‘will be falsified under certain constraints’, etc.) In general, what I seek to examine is an assessment of how many ideas the author is seeking to refute or promote, with what type of study, and with what inductive or deductive approach. An author who attempts to dismiss too many competing ideas, via a predictive methodology supporting a surreptitiously promoted antithesis, which cannot possibly evaluate a critical theoretical mechanism – this type of study or article possesses a great likelihood of delivering bad science. Think about the celebrity skeptics you have read. How many competing ideas are they typically looking to discredit inside their material, and via one mechanism of denial (usually an apothegm and not a theoretical mechanism)? The pool comprises 768 items – many to draw from – and draw from this, they do.

Let’s be clear here – a study can pass major journal peer review and possess acceptable procedural/analytical methodology – but say or implicate absolutely nothing for the most part. Ultimately being abused (or abusing its own research in extrapolating its reach) to say things which the logical calculus involved would never support (see Dunning-Kruger Abuse). Such conditions do not mean that the study will be refused peer review. Peer reviewers rarely ever contend (if they disregard the ‘domain of application’ part of a study’s commentary):

“We reject this study because it could be abused in its interpretation by malicious stakeholders.” (See example here: http://www.medicaldaily.com/cancer-risks-eating-gmo-corn-glyphosate-vs-smoking-cigarettes-according-411617)

Just because a study is accepted for and pass peer review, does not mean that all its extrapolations, exaggerations, implications or abuses are therefore true. You, as the reader are the one who must apply the sniff test as to what the study is implying, saying or being abused to say. What helps a reader avoid this? Those same ten questions from above.

null-hypothesisThe ten questions I have found most useful in discerning good science from bad, are formulated based upon the following Popperian four-element premise.² All things being equal, better science is conducted in the case wherein

  • one idea is
  • denied through
  • falsification of its
  • critical theoretical mechanism.

If the author pulls this set of four things off successfully, eschews promotion of ‘the answer’ (which is the congruent context to one having disproved a set of myriad ideas), then the study stands as a challenge to the community and must be sought for replication (see question IX below). For the scientific community at large to ignore such a challenge is the genesis of (our pandemic) pluralistic ignorance.

For instance, in one of the materials research labs I managed, we were tasked by an investment fund and their presiding board to determine the compatibility of titanium to various lattice state effects analogous to iron. The problem exists however in that titanium is not like iron at all. It will not accept the same interstitial relationships with other small atomic radius class elements that iron will (boron, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen). We could not pursue the question the way the board posed it. “Can you screw with titanium in exotic ways to make it more useful to high performance aircraft?”  We first had to reduce the question into a series of salient, then sequitur Bayesian reductions. The first question to falsify was “Titanium maintains its vacancy characteristics at all boundary conditions along the gamma phase state?” Without an answer (falsification) to this single question – not one single other question related to titanium could be answered in any way shape or form. Most skeptics do not grasp this type of critical path inside streams of logical calculus. This is an enormous source of confusion and social ignorance. Even top philosophers and celebrity skeptics fail this single greatest test of skepticism. And they are not held to account because few people are the wiser, and the few who are wise to it – keep quiet to avoid the jackboot ignorance enforced by the Cabal.

Which introduces and opens up the more general question of ‘What indeed, all things being considered, makes for good effective science?” This can be lensed through ten useful questions below, applied in the same fashion as the titanium example case:

I. Has the study or article asked and addressed the 1. relevant and 2. salient and 3. critical path next question under the scientific method?

If it has accomplished this, it is already contending for teir I science, as only a minority of scientists understand how to pose reductive study in this way. If it has not done this then do not even proceed to the next questions II though VII below. Throw the study in the waste can. Snopes is notorious for this type of chicanery. The material is rhetoric, targeting a victim group, idea or person.

If the answer to this is ‘No’ – Stop here and ignore the study. Use it as an example of how not to do science.

II. Did the study or article focus on utilization of a critical theoretical mechanism which it set out to evaluate for validity?

The litmus which differentiates a construct (idea or framework of ideas) from a theory, is that a theory contains a testable and critical theoretical mechanism. ‘God’ does not possess a critical theoretical mechanism, so God is a construct which cannot be measured or tested to any Popperian standard of science. God is not a theory. Even more so, many theories do not possess a testable mechanism, and are simply defaulted to the null hypothesis instead. Be very skeptical of such ‘theories’.

If the answer to this is ‘No’ – Regard the study or article as an opinion piece and not of true scientific incremental value.

III.  Did the study or article attempt to falsify this mechanism, or employ it to make predictions? (z-axis)

Karl Popper outlined that good science involves falsification of alternative ideas or the null hypothesis. However, given that 90% of science cannot be winnowed through falsification alone, it is generally recognized that a theory’s predictive ability can act as a suitable critical theoretical mechanism via which to examine and evaluate. Evolution was accepted through just such a process. In general however, mechanisms which are falsified are regarded as stronger science over successfully predictive mechanisms.

If the study or article sought to falsify a theoretical mechanism – keep reading with maximum focus. If the study used predictive measures – catalog it and look for future publishing on the matter.

IV.  Did the study or article attempt to deny specific idea(s), or did it seek to promote specific idea(s)? (x-axis)

Denial and promotion of ideas is not a discriminating facet inside this issue stand alone. What is significant here is how it interrelates with the other questions. In general attempting to deny multiple ideas or promote a single idea are techniques regarded as less scientific than the approach of denying a single idea – especially if one is able to bring falsification evidence to bear on the critical question and theoretical mechanism.

Simply keep the idea of promotion and denial in mind while you consider all other factors.

V.  Did the study affix its contentions on a single idea, or a group of ideas? (y-axis)

In general, incremental science and most of discovery science work better when a study focuses on one idea for evaluation and not a multiplicity of ideas. This minimizes extrapolation and special pleading loopholes or ignorance. Both deleterious implications for a study. Prefer authors who study single ideas over authors who try and make evaluations upon multiple ideas at once. The latter task is not a wise undertaking even in the instance where special pleading can theoretically be minimized.

If your study author is attempting to tackle the job of denying multiple ideas all at once – then the methodical cynicism alarm should go off. Be very skeptical.

VI.  What percent of the material was allocated towards ideas versus the more agenda oriented topics of persons, events or groups?

If the article or study spends more than 10% of its Background material focused on persons, events or groups it disagrees with, throw the study in the trash. If any other section contains such material above 0%, then the study should be discarded as well. Elanor Roosevelt is credited with the apothegm “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”

Take your science only from great minds focusing on ideas and not events or persons.

As well, if the author broaches a significant amount of related but irrelevant or non-salient to the question at hand material, you may be witnessing an obdurate, polemic or ingens vanitatum argument. Do not trust a study or article where the author appears to be demonstrating how much of an expert they are in the matter (through addressing related but irrelevant and non-salient or non-sequitur material). This is irrelevant and you should be very skeptical of such publications.

VII. Did the author put an idea, prediction or construct at risk in their study?

Fake science promoters always stay inside well established lines of social safety, so that they are 1) Never found wrong, 2) Don’t bring the wrong type of attention to themselves (remember the $2.6+ million which is at stake here), and 3) Can imply their personal authority inside their club as an opponent-inferred appeal in arguing. They always repeat the correct apothegm, and always come to the correct conclusion. The will make a habit of taunting those with redaction.

Advancing science always involves some sort of risk. Do not consider those who choose paths of safety, familiarity and implied authority to possess any understanding of science.

VIII.  Was the study? (In order of increasing gravitas)

1.  increasing-gravitasPsychology or Motivation (Pseudo-Theory – Explains Everything)

2.  Meta-Data – Studies of Studies (Indirect Data Only vulnerable to Simpson’s Paradox or Filtering/Interpretive Bias)

3.  Data – Cohort and Set Measures (Direct but still Data Only)

4.  Direct Measurement Observation (Direct Confirmation)

5.  Inductive Consilience Establishment (Preponderance of Evidence from Multiple Channels/Sources)

6.  Deductive Case Falsification (Smoking Gun)

All it takes in order to have a strong study is one solid falsifying observation. This is the same principle as is embodied inside the apothegm ‘It only takes one white crow, to falsify the idea that all crows are black’.

IX.  When the only viable next salient and sequitur reductive step, post study – is to replicate the results – then you know you have a strong argument inside that work.

X.  Big data and meta-analysis studies like to intimidate participants in the scientific method with the implicit taunt “I’m too big to replicate, bring consensus now.”

These questions, more than anything else – will allow the ethical skeptic to begin to grasp what is reliable science and what is questionable science. Especially in the context where one can no longer afford to dwell inside only the lofty 5% of the highest regarded publications or can no longer stomach the shallow talking point sheets of social skepticism – all of which serve only to ignore or give short shrift to the ideas to which one has dedicated their life in study.

TES Signature


¹  Poliandri, Ariel; “A guide to detecting bogus scientific journals”; Sci – Phy, May 12, 2013; http://sci-phy.com/detecting-bogus-scientific-journals/

²  Beryl Lieff Benderly, “Does the US Produce Too Many Scientists?; Scientific American, February 22, 2010; https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-the-us-produce-too-m/

³  Thornton, Stephen, “Karl Popper”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/popper/&gt;

†  Present Value of future cash flows with zero ending balance: 456 payments of $9,333 per month at .25% interest per payment period.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Social Disdain | , , | Leave a comment

The Tower of Wrong: The Art of Professional Lying

James Joyce is credited with this wisdom, “A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” Indeed, I would choose rather to be informatively incorrect, over disinformatively or uselessly correct, any day. This contrast in type of ‘wrong’ illuminates the domain of Machiavellian ideas, The Tower of Wrong; ideas which are woven of fact, yet serve to constitute in the end only adornments of error.
Beyond the three proposition framings of Wittgenstein, there exist six mechanisms of social imposition and the football-like nature of how quasi-truth is handled, which serve as the linchpins inside professional lying. The Tower of Wrong depicts how partly correct, correct but useless or dis-informing evidence (Wittgenstein sinnlos) is to be clarified as distinct from deontological information – information reliable in being critically predictive or bearing falsification outcomes.

evidence-sculptingUnder a Popperian standard of scientific demarcation, if something is rendered moot through consilience of its opposing thesis, then it is not falsified necessarily, however we may select it to stand as either a null hypothesis or a provisionally accepted norm nonetheless – most philosophers grasp this.  Of key concern however inside such a process of knowledge development, is when the possibility exists that our resulting relegation of an opposing idea to the state of moot-ness (pseudoscience) might stand as simply a provisional assumption bearing a dangerous undetermined risk? In general, a provisional conclusion is regarded to possess informing ability if that provision then becomes critically predictive when posed inside its structure of consilience.  By ‘critically’ – I mean that the provisional assumption itself serves to produce the prediction, not that it simply resides as a feature inside a host of other predictive peer elements. Evolution is an example of one such reliable predictor. However, purely random allele mutation is not a critically reliable predictor inside evolutionary theory, despite evolution itself so being.

Thus I cannot simply declare falsification to be the sole threshing tool means by which one establishes knowledge/truth/accuracy/foundation philosophy. Given this playground of slack, just below the threshold of Popper falsification, it behooves the ethical skeptic to be wary of the ploys which can serve to deceive inside claims of ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’. It is not simply that our minds can deceive us into selecting for desired outcomes, this is a given. Moreover, our most risk-bearing vulnerability instead resides in the fact that stacks of unvetted, non-reliably predictive ‘evidence’ can provisionally stack (see The Warning Indicators of Stacked Provisional Knowledge) and serve to misinform and mislead us as to wrong or useless conclusions under a ‘scientific’ context as well. The following questions should be asked, when any proposition or claim to settled science has been issued as authority:

The Test of the Professional-Social Lie (Five Mechanisms)

1.  The (Wonka) Golden Ticket – Have we ever really tested the predictive strength of this idea standalone, or evaluated its antithetical ideas for falsification?

Einfach Mechanism – an explanation, theory or idea which resolves a contention under the scientific method solely by means of the strength of the idea itself. An idea which is not vetted by the rigor of falsification, predictive consilience nor mathematical derivation, rather is simply considered such a strong, or Occam’s Razor (sic) simple an idea that the issue is closed as finished science from its proposition and acceptance onward. An einfach mechanism may or may not be existentially true.

2.  Cheater’s Hypothesis – Does an argument proponent constantly insist on a ‘burden of proof’ upon any contrasting idea, a burden that they never attained for their argument in the first place? An answer they fallaciously imply is the scientific null hypothesis; ‘true’ until proved otherwise?

Imposterlösung Mechanism – the cheater’s answer. Employing the trick of pretending that an argument domain which does not bear coherency nor soundness – somehow (in violation of science and logic) falsely merits assignment of a ‘null hypothesis’. Moreover, then that null hypothesis must be assumed sans any real form or context of evidence, or Bayesian science cannot be accomplished. Finally then, that a null hypothesis is therefore regarded by the scientific community as ‘true’ until proved otherwise. A 1, 2, 3 trick of developing supposed scientifically accepted theory which in reality bears no real epistemological, logical, predicate structure nor scientific method basis whatsoever.

3.  Omega Hypothesis (HΩ) – Is the idea so important, that it now stands more important that the methods of science, or science itself. Does the idea leave a trail of dead competent professional bodies behind it?

Höchste Mechanism – when a position or practice, purported to be of scientific basis, is elevated to such importance that removing the rights of professionals and citizens to dissent, speak, organize or disagree (among other rights) is justified in order to protect the position or the practice inside society.

4.  Embargo Hypothesis (Hξ) – was the science terminated years ago, in the midst of large-impact questions of a critical nature which still remain unanswered? Is such research now considered ‘anti-science’ or ‘pseudoscience’?

Entscheiden Mechanism – the pseudoscientific or tyrannical approach of, when faced with epistemology which is heading in an undesired direction, artificially declaring under a condition of praedicate evidentia, the science as ‘settled’.

5.  Evidence Sculpting – has more evidence been culled from the field of consideration for this idea, than has been retained? Has the evidence been sculpted to fit the idea, rather than the converse?

Skulptur Mechanism – the pseudoscientific method of treating evidence as a work of sculpture. Methodical inverse negation techniques employed to dismiss data, block research, obfuscate science and constrain ideas such that what remains is the conclusion one sought in the first place. A common tactic of those who boast of all their thoughts being ‘evidence based’. The tendency to view a logical razor as a device which is employed to ‘slice off’ unwanted data (evidence sculpting tool), rather than as a cutting tool (pharmacist’s cutting and partitioning razor) which divides philosophically valid and relevant constructs from their converse.

6.  Lindy-Ignorance Vortex – do those who enforce or imply a conforming idea or view, seem to possess a deep emotional investment in ensuring that no broach of subject is allowed regarding any thoughts or research around an opposing idea or specific ideas or avenues of research they disfavor? Do they easily and habitually imply that their favored conclusions are the prevailing opinion of scientists? Is there an urgency to reach or sustain this conclusion by means of short-cut words like ‘evidence’ and ‘fact’? If such disfavored ideas are considered for research or are broached, then extreme disdain, social and media derision are called for?

Verdrängung Mechanism – the level of control and idea displacement achieved through skillful employment of the duality between pluralistic ignorance and the Lindy Effect. The longer a control-minded group can sustain an Omega Hypothesis perception by means of the tactics and power protocols of proactive pluralistic ignorance, the greater future acceptability and lifespan that idea will possess. As well, the harder it will to be dethrone as an accepted norm or perception as a ‘proved’ null hypothesis.

If the answer to any or all six of these questions is a very likely yes, it does not mean that the defended idea is necessarily invalid; rather that the methods of socially arriving at, accepting and enforcing it are invalid. These are the litmus tests of professional lying at play. Take notice that a ‘fact’ therefore does not serve to necessarily transfer or increase knowledge. Evidence is an amorphous hard to grasp principle which can be sculpted to fit an idea through the actions of a perfidious minded party. A principle which wise philosophers understand, but pseudo-skeptics do not.

dont-farm-tumbleweedsThe danger of such unethical practice sets inside of science are two-fold. Fist, at face value, incorrect ideas and tyrannical social science or public policy can be enforced as scientifically correct paradigms by means of these four mechanisms. But even more important,

even valid science can lose its public trust credibility when enforced by unethical means such as these four mechanisms.

One cannot simply run around conducting unethical social activity in the name of science, and justify it through one’s credentials being, or pretending to be scientific. The danger in discrediting valid science is simply too high – one is ‘farming tumbleweeds’, as the adage goes.  Man-made global climate change is an example of just such a situation, wherein unethical strong-arm and pre-emptive measures were used to enforce an academic idea before it was fully vetted by science (see Carl Sagan, The Cosmic Connection, 1972).  AGW turned out after the fact to have merit, but only after further studies occurred after the social chicanery, arrogance and derision had been well underway. We made enemies, rather than science. In this regard, AGW proponents, practicing these four mechanisms, turned out to be their own worst enemy – and every bit as damaging to the climate change advocacy message as are the AGW deniers today.

Which introduces now, this broader context of just what constitutes different states of being ‘wrong’. Wittgenstein identified a tri-fold disposition framework for propositions, which help the ethical skeptic work their way through this menagerie of ‘wrong’ and sort their way to the deontological goals of value and clarity. The ability to discern much of this, the critical set of nuance inside of Popperian theory of science demarcation and Wittgenstein delineation of meaninglessness, nonsense and uselessness, resides at the heart of what I call The Tower of Wrong.

Useless (sinnlos) Correctness Resides at the Heart of the Professional Lie

confused-deluded-and-the-skilled-liarSo we have established that the value of a proposition therefore relates to its nature in being critically informative or predictive. It cannot simply hide on the team of players composing a proposition or theory, it has to be THE star player when its time has come to stand at bat. What then do we do with Snoping; a condition wherein a proposition is factually correct, but because of the non-salient or useless nature of the chosen question or quickly ascertained ¡fact! surrounding it, only serves to dis-inform? The Tower of Wrong shows us how partly correct, correct but useless or dis-informing evidence (Wittgenstein sinnlos) is to be clarified as distinct from deontological information – information reliable in being critically predictive or bearing falsification outcomes.

Recently we finished a vitriolic presidential election, inside of which a particular accusation had been made from one of the candidates towards the other. Specifically, Hillary Clinton was accused of mishandling classified material at origin, by sending it through non-secure means of communication, and handling it in a non-secured environment and by means of non-secured premises and procedure.  The accusation pertained to a batch of several thousand emails which bore classified material and classified context, but were sent over personal computers and media services in violation of the National Security Act.

Clinton’s technically correct response to the allegations was issued as follows:

I have a lot of experience dealing with classified material, starting when I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee going into the four years as secretary of state,” she said. “Classified material has a header which says ‘top secret, secret, confidential.’ Nothing, and I will repeat this, and this is verified in the report by the Department of Justice, none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header.   ~Hillary Clinton ¹

Now let’s break this set of propositions down by their logical calculus under The Tower of Wrong deontological framing:

  • First sentence – true (red herring, appeal to authority)
  • Second sentence – true (serves to dis-inform – ingens vanitatum – see below)
  • Third sentence – true (ignoratio elenchi – a misdirection in argument around threatening ‘classified material at origin’ laws under national security.)

In other words,  what Ms. Clinton did here was authoritatively lie, through facts and argument misdirection.  How do I know? I was a director level Black Top Secret intelligence officer for years. I know how classified material is to be handled at origin. Ms. Clinton conveniently misdirected the argument to a context of administrative handling conditions, wherein she either originated classified material, or re-posted or discussed such material stripped of its Controlling Authority context and marking. Nice trick. Origin classified material NEVER has ‘top secret, secret, confidential’ markings. Those dispositions are only tendered later by the Controlling Authority.² However, classified material of such nature prior to disposition is handled in the same way as is all classified material – and any recitation or discussion of such materials retains the classification of the referenced material itself (recitation: Executive Order 13526 and National Security Act procedures for handling classified material at origin).² If what Ms. Clinton claimed about having ‘a lot of experience dealing with classified material [at] the Armed Services Committee’ was true, and I think it was; then Ms. Clinton knew this to be a misdirection. She lied by means of an ignoratio elenchi fallacy called ingens vanitatum. A key element inside The Tower of Wrong.

Ingens Vanitatum

/philosophy : argument : fallacy : ignoratio elenchi/ : knowing a great deal of irrelevance. Knowledge of every facet of a subject and all the latest information therein, which bears irony however in that this supervacuous set of knowledge stands as all that composes the science, or all that is possessed by the person making the claim to knowledge. A useless set of information which serves only to displace any relevance of the actual argument, principle or question entailed.

Ingens Vanitatum Argument – citing a great deal of irrelevance. A posing of ‘fact’ or ‘evidence’ framed inside an appeal to expertise, which is correct and relevant information at face value; however which serves to dis-inform as to the nature of the argument being vetted or the critical evidence or question being asked.

Hillary Clinton’s statement was a correct lie in other words. She lied with facts. The statement does not serve to inform, rather it serves to dis-inform us all. This is what is called an Organic Untruth. It is one of the tools in the utility belt of the skilled professional liar and stands as one of the stack of key elements inside The Tower of Wrong (more specifically the ’50 Shades of Correct’ below).  So without any further ado, let us expand on this towering set of conditions of incorrectness.  In the chart below, you will observe the three Wittgenstein Proposition Framings, in burgundy (bedeutungslos, unsinnig and sinnlos) – comprising the stack elements which constitute the journey from confusion, to delusion, to lying…

…highlighting the final breakthrough in the mind of the ethical skeptic: Value and Clarity. The critical deontological nature of relevant, salient and scientific critical path information, as they are enabled by knowledge and the state of being found incorrect (has value: see blue pyramid stacks below).

The Components of the Professional Lie

At the heart of the professional lie, resides the agenda they are seeking to protect, the Omega Hypothesis. This is the agenda, conclusion or theory – which has become more important to protect, than the integrity of science itself.

Omega Hypothesis (HΩ) – the argument which is foisted to end all argument, period. A conclusion which has become more important to protect, than the integrity of science itself. An invalid null hypothesis or a preferred idea inside a social epistemology. A hypothesis which is defined to end deliberation without due scientific rigor, alternative study consensus or is afforded unmerited protection or assignment as the null. The surreptitiously held and promoted idea or the hypothesis protected by an Inverse Negation Fallacy. Often one which is promoted as true by default, with the knowledge in mind that falsification will be very hard or next to impossible to achieve.

The Omega Hypothesis is enacted and supported through the following Tower of Wrong elements (Wittgenstein sinnlos) and the four Wittgenstein sinnlos Mechanisms. As a note: The definition I have crafted here for sinnlos, develops the concept into a more clear and complete fit in terms of today’s methods of misinformation – rather than solely its classic Wittgenstein framing as ‘senseless’, which overlaps too heavily inside English as opposed to German usage lexicons with his unsinnig ‘nonsense’ class of proposition. In addition I have taken the concept of sinnlos and applied it into the following four stack elements (Ambiguity, Organic Untruth, Inadequacy and Mechanism) which function to underpin a professional lie. The final elements are four mechanisms which are exercised by the most prolific, celebrity, power holding and habitual appeal-to-authority enactors of the professional lie.

Wittgenstein Epistemological Error (Proposition Framings) – the categorization of a proposition into meaninglessness, nonsense or uselessness based upon its underlying state or lacking of definition, structure, logical calculus or usefulness in addressing a logical critical path.

bedeutungslos – meaningless. A proposition or question which resides upon a lack of definition, or which contains no meaning in and of its self.

unsinnig – nonsense. A proposition of compromised coherency. Feynman ‘not even wrong.’

sinnlos – useless. A contention which does not follow from the evidence, is correct at face value but disinformative or is otherwise useless.

Ambiguity

Equivocation – the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning, sense, or use in professional context by glossing over which meaning is intended in the instance of usage, in order to mis-define, inappropriately include or exclude data in an argument.

Proxy Equivocation – the forcing of a new or disliked concept or term, into the definition of an older context, concept or term, in order to avoid allowing discrete attention to be provided to the new concept or term. Often practiced through calling the new concept/term, falsely, a neologism or brush off with the statement ‘that idea has already been addressed.’

Ambiguity – the construction or delivery of a message in such words or fashion as to allow for several reasonable interpretations of the context, object, subject, relationship, material or backing of the intended message.

Slack Exploitation – a form of equivocation or rhetoric wherein an arguer employs a term which at face value appears to constrain the discussion or position contended to a specific definition or domain. However, a purposely chosen word or domain has been employed which allows for several different forms/domains of interpretation of the contention on the part of the arguer. Often this allows the arguer to petition the listener to infer a more acceptable version of his contention, when in fact he is asserting what he knows to be a less acceptable form of it.

Uti Dolo (trick question) – a question which is formed for the primary purpose of misleading a person into selecting (through their inference and/or questioner’s implication) the incorrect answer or answer not preferred inside a slack exploited play of ambiguity, interpretation, sequence, context or meaning. The strong version being where the wrong context is inferred by means of deceptive question delivery; the weak version being where the question is posed inside a slack domain where it can be interpreted legitimately in each of two different ways – each producing a differing answer.

Amphibology – a situation where a sentence may be interpreted in more than one way due to ambiguous sentence structure. An amphibology is permissible, but not preferable, only if all of its various interpretations are simultaneously and organically true.

Context Dancing – the twisting of the context inside which a quotation or idea has been expressed such that it appears to support a separate argument and inappropriately promote a desired specific outcome.

Wittgenstein Error – manipulation of definitions, or the lack thereof.

Descriptive – the inability to discuss, observe or measure a proposition or contention, because of a language limitation, which has limited discourse and not in reality science’s domain of observability.

Contextual – employment of words in such as fashion as to craft rhetoric, in the form of persuasive or semantic abuse, by means of shift in word or concept definition by emphasis, modifier, employment or context.

Accent Drift – a specific type of ambiguity that arises when the meaning or level of hyperbole of a sentence is changed by placing an unusual prosodic stress (emphasis on a word), or when, in a written passage, it’s left unclear which word the emphasis was supposed to fall on.²

Subject Ambiguity – the construction or delivery of a message in such words or fashion as to allow for several reasonable interpretations of person, place or thing to which the message applies.

Organic Untruth

A constructive form of argument which uses concealed ambiguity at the core of its foundational structure. A statement which is true at face value, but was not true or was of unknown or compromised verity during the timeframe, original basis or domain of context under discussion. Ignoratio elenchi is a misdirection in argument, whereas an ingens vanitatum argument is a method of lying through this same misdrection or misleading set of ‘true facts’.

Ingens Vanitatum Argument – citing a great deal of expert irrelevance. A posing of ‘fact’ or ‘evidence’ framed inside an appeal to expertise, which is correct and relevant information at face value; however which serves to dis-inform as to the nature of the argument being vetted or the critical evidence or question being asked.

Lob & Slam Ploy – a version of good cop/bad cop wherein a virtual partnership exists between well known fake news ‘satire’ news outlets, and so called ‘fact checkers’ media patrols. The fake news is generated and posed to the web as satire, subsequently stripped of its context by a third party, and then inserted into social media as true – whereupon it is virally circulated. Subsequently, ‘fact checking’ agencies are then alerted to this set up (the Lob), and then slam home the idea of the fake nature of the ‘news’, as well as the lack of credibility and gullible nature of those who passed it around through social media. This in itself is a fake ploy, a form a Fake-Hoaxing and Hoax Baiting practiced by social agenda forces seeking to artificially enhance the credibility of a news ‘fact checker’.

Praedicate Evidentia – any of several forms of exaggeration or avoidance in qualifying a lack of evidence, logical calculus or soundness inside an argument.

Praedicate Evidentia – hyperbole in extrapolating or overestimating the gravitas of evidence supporting a specific claim, when only one examination of merit has been conducted, insufficient hypothesis reduction has been performed on the topic, a plurality of data exists but few questions have been asked, few dissenting or negative studies have been published, or few or no such studies have indeed been conducted at all.

Praedicate Evidentia Modus Ponens – any form of argument which claims a proposition consequent ‘Q’, which also features a lack of qualifying modus ponens, ‘If P then’ premise in its expression – rather, implying ‘If P then’ as its qualifying antecedent. This as a means of surreptitiously avoiding a lack of soundness or lack of logical calculus inside that argument; and moreover, enforcing only its conclusion ‘Q’ instead. A ‘There is not evidence for…’ claim made inside a condition of little study or full absence of any study whatsoever.

Inadequacy

tree-of-knowledge-obfuscation-smThe entire core of fallacy, crooked thinking and misrepresentation of Data, Method, Science, Argument and Assumption which is reflected inside the Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation as it pertains to a subject. This is paired as it pertains to persons with misrepresentation of Opponents, Semantics, Groups, Self and Authorities.

Any condition where a conclusion is chosen to be drawn from, or the science is regarded as settled under, a less than satisfactory representation, possession or understanding of the available evidence or under a condition where the available evidence does not satisfactorily provide for a basis of understanding, null hypothesis, Ockham’s Razor plurality, or alternative formulation (as in arguing M Theory).

Mechanism (of Social Lying)

Einfach Mechanism – an explanation, theory or idea which resolves a contention under the scientific method solely by means of the strength of the idea itself. An idea which is not vetted by the rigor of falsification, predictive consilience nor mathematical derivation, rather is simply considered such a strong or Occam’s Razor (sic) simple an idea that the issue is closed as finished science from its proposition and acceptance onward. An einfach mechanism may or may not be existentially true.

Imposterlösung Mechanism – the cheater’s answer. Employing the trick of pretending that an argument domain which does not bear coherency nor soundness – somehow (in violation of science and logic) falsely merits assignment of a ‘null hypothesis’. Moreover, then that null hypothesis must be assumed sans any real form or context of evidence, or Bayesian science cannot be accomplished. Finally then, that a null hypothesis is therefore regarded by the scientific community as ‘true’ until proved otherwise. A 1, 2, 3 trick of developing supposed scientifically accepted theory which in reality bears no real epistemological, logical, predicate structure nor scientific method basis whatsoever.

Höchste Mechanism – when a position or practice, purported to be of scientific basis, is elevated to such importance that removing the rights of professionals and citizens to dissent, speak, organize or disagree (among other rights) is justified in order to protect the position or the practice inside society.

Entscheiden Mechanism – the pseudoscientific or tyrannical approach of, when faced with epistemology which is heading in an undesired direction, artificially declaring under a condition of praedicate evidentia, the science as ‘settled’.

Skulptur Mechanism – the pseudoscientific method of treating evidence as a work of sculpture. Methodical inverse negation techniques employed to dismiss data, block research, obfuscate science and constrain ideas such that what remains is the conclusion one sought in the first place. A common tactic of those who boast of all their thoughts being ‘evidence based’. The tendency to view a logical razor as a device which is employed to ‘slice off’ unwanted data (evidence sculpting tool), rather than as a cutting tool (pharmacist’s cutting and partitioning razor) which divides philosophically valid and relevant constructs from their converse.

Verdrängung Mechanism – the level of control and idea displacement achieved through skillful employment of the duality between pluralistic ignorance and the Lindy Effect. The longer a control-minded group can sustain an Omega Hypothesis perception by means of the tactics and power protocols of proactive pluralistic ignorance, the greater future acceptability and lifespan that idea will possess. As well, the harder it will to be dethrone as an accepted norm or perception as a ‘proved’ null hypothesis.

This wiggle room between what is considered to be ‘correct’ and what is indeed true-informing, resides at the heart of the 50 Shades of Correct. As you make your journey past the confused, deluded and lying members of our society, this mental framework is useful in vetting those who are interested in pushing agendas, from those who are keenly and openly interested in the truth.

Epoché Vanguards Gnosis.

TES Signature


¹  Politifact, “Hillary Clinton says none of her emails had classification headers,” Lauren Carroll, ; http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/sep/07/hillary-clinton/clinton-says-none-her-emails-were-labeled-top-secr/

²  Executive Order 13526- Classified National Security Information/National Security Act

January 11, 2017 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates | , , , , | 1 Comment

Dear Journalism Schools We Deserve Better Quality Graduates as Aspiring Science Communicators

Trust is at an all time low for Science Journalism in 2017, even off an already abysmally low performance from the last time trust in influencing professions was measured and ranked in 2012/2013. I would daresay now, the data is showing that science communicators are ranked right alongside Congressmen and used car salespeople regarding their established level of public trust. They have worked hard to earn this notorious accolade. These are not the sharpest tools in the drawer. We deserve better than this.
This blog article seeks to outline some of the characteristics we deserve and should demand from our science communicating journalists. And here is a thought, it would also be nice if they actually were real scientists, technicians, engineers or medical professionals.

Science Communicators are Ranked Alongside Used Car Salespeople in Terms of Trustworthiness

Now I do not pretend in the least that the solution to this is anything close to being easy to devise; as I advise my alma mater from time to time regarding what industry needs most from its science and engineering graduates. In my labs, advisory and operating companies, I grew frustrated at having to retrain every STEM graduate over their first three years of work, in order to unlearn them the quasi-baloney they were taught in undergraduate school. This was becoming very costly in terms of time and useless salary burden. Instead, I shifted to a program of hiring interns as soon as they had passed their Freshman year at three particular universities, and systematically training them alongside their college education – ending up hiring 100% of the interns which I had used in this fashion inside a variety of STEM analytical, design and research job functions.

I found it interesting to note how much a person can accomplish, if you do not tell them beforehand that they don’t know how to do it.

Interns served to provide creative new approaches to industry practices which were long tried, true and worn out. This was refreshing and surprising, and in small ways reflected a mutual positional symbiosis between the intern and the company.

My interns did not spend the summers partying in Europe and learning how wonderful a snowflake they were. They learned the hard lessons of client demands, complicated design challenges and demanding bosses.

trust-in-science-journalistsShifting the advance and transfer in the course of these schools’ rather large ship, in order to keep up with the pace of changing technology and economic understanding is monumental in the least; only accomplished through the work of literally hundreds of advisors, instructors and textbook authors for each university school alone.  Developing professionals prepared to deal with modern science, engineering and business challenges is a daunting task, no doubt. So when it comes to extrapolating this process into changing the course of the ship of journalism, I can understand that this is no simple matter. Yet it still needs to be done. In his Westview Press opinion piece, “Good News Bad News: Journalism Ethics and the Public Interest”, philosopher Jeremy Iggers laments about the role of journalism being ethically more suited to the measuring and exposition of public sentiment and not as a mouthpiece for corporate indoctrination interests.

“Although journalism’s ethics rest on the idea of journalism as a profession, the rise of market-driven journalism has undermined journalists’ professional status. Ultimately journalism is impossible without a public that cares about the common life. A more meaningful approach to journalism ethics must begin with a consideration of the role of the news media in a democratic society and proceed to look for practical ways in which journalism can contribute to the vitality of public life.” (Iggers, J.)†

We believe that science journalism’s betrayal of this ethic is the primary contributor to its decline in perception. Indeed, trust is at an all time low for Science Journalism in 2017, even off an already abysmally low performance from the last time trust in influencing professions was measured and ranked in 2012/2013 (depicted to the right, from two polls).¹ ² I would daresay now, after the horridly bad year of political advocacy masquerading as science, that science communicators are ranked right alongside the Congressmen and Car Salespeople chart data in their level of public trust. They have worked hard to earn this notorious accolade.

And Here are Some Examples Why

As an example, some summaries below come from the bio’s of Tier I Science Communicating journalists. I am not really wishing to focus on the persons, rather the ideas entailed here, so these are posed anonymously. The persons involved are high quality individuals in matters other than their claim to represent science. I am critiquing practices of an industry, not the people themselves. However, that being said, none of these people are even remotely qualified to comment or communicate the topics about which they boast as authorities – and worse than that, boast as spokespersons for an entire super-discipline called science itself.

…career working in government relations and public policy, ended up as an entrepreneur before landing at NASA where fell in love with its openness and limitless ability to inspire. Dedicated the last few years of life to extending that openness to space fans and journalists everywhere, using social media and a warm “class clown” persona to connect with the people who most want to hear the message. Holds no STEM education or employment background.

…received master’s in journalism at the University of ______________ (also my undergrad alma mater), and teach journalism at _______University in _______. I previously taught high school and often think of my journalism as a form of teaching, by helping others understand science and medical research and by debunking (despite holding absolutely no skills or quals whatsoever) misinformation about vaccines, chemicals and other misunderstood topics. Biggest life qualifications were hiking and diving in Europe, getting married and having a child within the last two years.

…an inquisitive (non-degree holding) agnostic born in _____________ and living in _____________, with her nerdy husband, curious toddler daughter, infant son, and needy dog. Her interests and pastimes fluctuate wildly, but always consist of family, reading and writing, cheese, and the world of genetics/bioinformatics. Most significant publication is a polemic attacking a person they did not like.

…has been an adjunct professor (largest accomplishment) in the graduate Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program at _________ University for the past few years. A frequent lecturer and has appeared at the 92nd Street Y in New York, Yale University and New York University among many others. Was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (a non-expert volunteer organization of non-scientist political activists) for the Section on General Interest in Science and Engineering. Holds no science nor engineering employment or degree history.

…previously, spent nearly 14 years at ________ in positions culminating as executive editor. Work in writing and overseeing articles about space topics helped garner that magazine the Space Foundation’s Public Outreach Award (Appeal to Authority Reach Around). Was Science Writer in Residence at the ___________. Chapter on science editing appears in A Field Guide for Science Writers. Former chair of Science Writers in New York and a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Society of Environmental Journalists. Mostly ceremonial, low activity and high visibility accolade-infusing positions. Holds no science, engineering, environmental science, astrophysics positions, experience nor degrees.

folta-said-it-firstIn the end, there exists a distinct difference between a mom advocating on behalf of finding out why her children are chronically sick, and seeking to establish as sponsor, plurality under Ockham’s Razor – and an unqualified mom who pretends to represent broad sets of scientific knowledge, final conclusions and attempts to squelch and bully the voices of those who have been, by a sufficient threshold of Ockham’s Razor evidence, arguably harmed. Science communication habitually evades ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ in favor of social psychological manipulation specifically because of an inability on the part of the participants therein, to recognize what indeed is fact and evidence to begin with.

If, in similar shortfall to Kevin Folta, you cannot understand the difference between a sponsor seeking necessity research based upon direct observation science, and a pretender enforcing ‘correct’ ‘settled’ science through journalism, who is not even qualified to make such a determination – then you don’t understand the first thing about ethics, morality, logic, argument, skepticism and most especially the scientific method or science. You are ignorantly celebrating and enabling a cabal of writing, speaking malevolent idiots.

These people are not journalists, they are hired guns of propaganda. They are stupid, insensitive bullies, except where their progressive agenda tells them to feign compassion. Their inability to spot their role inside the game being played, constitutes a key feature of what Nassim Taleb calls the Intellectual Yet Idiot class of science communicator. They have not been educated, they have been trained to do a job and perform a crony role. Which introduces the issue, of what needs to change inside this training pipeline, in order to correct this enormous pathway of social damage.

What We Need and Deserve

trust-in-science-journalists-by-satThese are abysmally poor, unqualified and telltale propaganda-laden and indoctrinated biographies. Common themes promoted by these authors include: identifying the bad guys first, identifying ‘pseudoscience’ immediately, identifying the ‘anti-GMO-science-technology’ among us, associative condemnation and strawman as ‘tin-foil hat’ types, plagiarizing pre-written propaganda, targeting working Americans, misandry and class hatred, liberal socialist politics and hatred of working moms & the middle class. Often crafting articles which leverage all this condemnation through employment of explanitude based disciplines such as psychology, in pretense of being and doing science (there is a notorious #1 ranked social skeptic who is both a psychology Ph.D. and science communicating journalist, examine the chart to the right and take a hint here).³

These are not the sharpest tools in the drawer. What is being exploited is the relative lack of aptitude (see SAT by Selected Major chart to the right) and experience on the part of these celebrities; a gap of competence which affords crony entities the ability to craft, pass without scientist or peer input, and promulgate straight to truth, specific unchallenged agendas. The individuals sacrifice their integrity by taking celebrity and book deals as payment for their unethical service role. They become giddy as to how many people they can impart harm, and yet at the same time deceive as many people as possible into thinking that they represent science. It is the joy of magicianship and sleight-of-hand for the intelligent ones, and the heady rush of sudden fame for the not-so-bright ones. All payment for surrendering the will and the critical mind, and regurgitating the correct things which they are handed.

We deserve better than this. Our journalism schools are key in this formula of weakness.

In particular, our journalism schools (to be fair, some of these science communicators above did not even attend journalism school) should prepare to deliver:

  1.  Better logic mastery, science & analytical aptitude
  2.  A keener understanding of the Scientific Method
  3.  A modern understanding of the Public Trust and accountability inside the context of a constitutional-rights driven free nation
  4.  A keener ability to discern between actual skepticism versus corporate or social doubt-ism/cynicism/profiteering/bullying
  5.  Ethical integrity to avoid groups who tout fostering their careers through compliant reporting & plagiarized regurgitation
  6.  Exposure to a major portion of the US Demographic, not simply their liberal arts college, fraternity/sorority and 4 months of partying in Europe and having babies.
  7.  Understanding that republishing prepacked material/phrase-lifts/propaganda without recitation (from any source) is plagiarism. Even if they perceive it to be OK because the sources wants the material spread widely. Sometimes we cite sources because the information is wrong too, and we need to know who is crafting/spreading it.
  8.  Understanding The Art of Scientific Research
  9. Spending significant time (2-4 years) serving in impoverished nations or in a mission-oriented field such as the military or an objective charity in a tough environment.
  10.  A background in diverse sets of interests other than homemaker puffery and liberal think-tank cocoons.
  11.  Two to four years of experience actually doing something other than being a celebrated journalist or academic journalist.

And here is a thought, it would also be nice if they actually were scientists or even STEM graduates. This is what we deserve and should demand from our science communicating journalists.

TES Signature


†  (Iggers, J.)  Iggers, Jeremy; “Good News Bad News: Journalism Ethics and the Public Interest; Westviewpress (1998); abstract summary, PN4756.I34 1998.

¹  Gallup Survey: The Least-Trusted Jobs in America; Nov 26 – 29, 2012; http://www.gallup.com/poll/159035/congress-retains-low-honesty-rating.aspx

²  YouGov Survey: Trust in Journalists to Accurately Report Science; Dec 6 – 7, 2013; http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/tabs_HP_science_20131209.pdf

³  Chariot Learning, Average SAT Score By Intended College Major; Mike Bergin; Nov 03, 2014; http://chariotlearning.com/average-sat-score-by-intended-college-major/

January 9, 2017 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Institutional Mandates | , , , | Leave a comment

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