The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Calorie-Based Diet Pseudo Science Proves False

Will cutting portions and increasing exercise help reduce body mass? Yes, for the short term. But there is a cost to this approach; a cost which they do not tell you about. Body Mass Index is managed by the health of the endocrine and microbiome systems, not by calories.
Something was introduced into our food starting in 1995 which is costing American health dearly. In addition, recent studies have confirmed that our food phytonutrients are being diluted by farm technologies deployed over the last 25 years. Our current national obesity and health crisis is the horrid version of the future we all hoped would not occur way back in the days of dreaming about flying cars.  Now we must fight the fight. But we will win, as it is our lives, our health and our families which are at stake – all they have at stake is money and corrupt politics.

As a science professional and enthusiast, rather than flout my memorization of pat socially correct answers, I instead choose the track of actually putting the scientific method into action inside both my personal life as well as my professions. Observe, observe observe – measure, measure, measure – log, log, log – think, think, think – test test test and test again and again. These are disciplines which are essential to my nature. There is no try at this – there is only do. Pseudoscience thrives in a culture of the ‘try’ as we will see poignantly herein this blog.

So when the appeal to authority medical wisdom was handed to me by my doctor in the 90’s – that I needed to ‘increase my workouts and cut out desserts’, I took it as an acceptable hypothesis to test. After all, my best friend from college merely has to cut out his favorite dessert, moose tracks ice cream, for a month, and he is comfortably back into his college pants again. You see, weight and body mass is simply a matter of moral discipline. Right?  Most people do not have the gumption nor the persistence to test such common wisdom, especially when doled out by doctors (and there are large industry food players who rely financially on this foible of human nature).

But unfortunately, I have this nasty habit of skeptically testing that which I am told is truth.

‘Keto Flu’, ‘Macrocytic Anemia’ and ‘Thyroid Myxedema’ are modern health phenomena – they are not natural facets of normal body weight management – and are indicative that people today are having to go to extremes in order to keep their weight in check. Extremes of caloric reductions, endocrine remediation and intense physical activity – all of which our ancestors never had to even broach, ironically to live with much leaner body structure than we now possess.

Myth as the Key to Persistent Failure

Increasingly, health advisors are beginning to agree with what we common folk have been observing for decades: Calories In Calories Out (CICO) approaches to body mass management are not effective past anything but the short term. As well, obesity and ‘being overweight’ are unrelated conditions.

“For most of the last century, our understanding of the cause of obesity has been based on immutable physical law. Specifically, it’s the first law of thermodynamics, which dictates that energy can neither be created nor destroyed. When it comes to body weight, this means that calorie intake minus calorie expenditure equals calories stored. Surrounded by tempting foods, we overeat, consuming more calories than we can burn off, and the excess is deposited as fat. The simple solution is to exert willpower and eat less.

The problem is that this advice doesn’t work…”

~ Dr. David Ludwig and Mark Freedman; New York Times, Editorial: “Always Hungry? Here’s Why” May 16, 2014

And what we are combating is the pseudoscience of averages and old common wisdom, promoted by pseudo-skeptic preachers who are incompetent at understanding statistics or the disciplines of theory, hypothesis testing and risk. For example below:

Can someone please explain to me why, if we are unquestionably eating more as a country, we need to look further for the cause of the rising obesity rates?  … Sorry, but some en masse (sic) hormonally induced horizontal growth disorder is not possible, nor is it explained by any honest accounting of all of the evidence. … Americans are eating more. We weigh more as a result.

~ “Evelyn” at “Carbsanity” Blog; Oct 16, 2015,

Ah, the ‘simplest explanation’; such a wonder that trick. I can smell the stench of lazy-agenda permeating the room. This scientifically pregnant boast concerning one poorly grasped, single summary statistic is exactly the problem: we have NOT had an “honest accounting of all the evidence” precisely because of the Evelyn’s of the world. A recent Pew Research Study 1 found that on average, adult Americans consume 2480 calories per day – yet the average man burns 3100 calories per day and the average woman burns 2400 calories. What then do we say from averages and summary data (see medium fallax error below)? A significant majority (mathematically 55-70% of us under a chi-squared distribution function depending upon degrees of freedom) of us would be also chronically starving ‘skin and bones’ by now if these statistics were causally critical in path to an outcome; employing the very same methodology by which Evelyn has amateurishly misconstrued causality above (albeit our method involving more variable input data and two more resolved equations than she possessed).

Perhaps even more alarming is Ms. Evelyn’s reliance upon calories consumed as representative of ‘eating’. Curiously the same scientific mistake committed by those pushing their monopoly farm technologies in order to ‘feed the world’. We do not produce food to eat simply calories. We produce food to consume essential triglycerides, 16 proteins, 70 minerals and micro-nutrients, 11 B-vitamins and a series of other phytonutrients – of which even the most jaded cynical journals, seeking to defend farm technologies under assault, admit there has been a recent generational dilution.  Astonishingly, even a March 2017 propaganda study by the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, specifically a priori commissioned so as to impugn nutrient decline research, admitted in the conclusion of the study that

Contemporaneous analyses of modern versus old crop varieties grown side-by-side, and archived samples, show lower mineral concentrations in varieties bred for higher yields where increased carbohydrate is not accompanied by proportional increases in minerals – a “dilution effect” 2

~ Journal of Food Consumption and Analysis, March 2017

In other words, the vast majority of all our caloric intake and 85% of grain based caloric intake US agriculture has undergone significant phytonutrient dilution. Please note that ‘higher yields’ is the politically correct code word for ‘plant growth hormone accelerant’ or ‘glyphosate’. Just two small bits of context framing there. No big deal. To complicate things, this decline is on top of – after the decline already documented from the period 1950 – 1999, before the really significant introduction of glyphosate to all grains (by 2004), and 85% of our caloric intake (see graph developed by above). 3

What is even worse is that you will find that most doctors (like both my allopath and integrative medicine physicians) know this already and privately caution their nutrient dilution vulnerable patients to change their diets.

But they cannot speak up, precisely because of the heavy handed bullshit and social pressure from the ‘Evelyn’s’ of this world.

Evelyn’s understanding of this issue is over 60 years aged, is failing to be successfully predictive or effective in application; and yet this pseudo-wisdom is still enforced by cadres of lazy blog-ranting researchers, just like Evelyn. Many of us, despite the data claims, are not “eating more as a country” – in fact significantly less for a large part of the population. See my stats below – which millions of Americans have replicated, albeit in not as much detail. People like Evelyn at Carbsanity count on the fact that individuals will not test their pablum with actual study and persistence.  This is a habit of social skeptics. Gargantuan proclamations based upon shallow data and common wisdom from another age of toxin-exposure altogether, along with the realization that the average citizen will never hold them to account for their claims. Thus these myths persist as a consequence of absurd levels of ego, dishonesty and no ‘skin in the game’ on the part of the claimants themselves (save for some anecdote about losing 5 lbs by cutting out sodas).

Besides, an en masse hormone disorder factor is not only possible, but scientifically compelling in this case – if it is induced by an agent which was recently added to 60%+ of our dietary caloric consumption, and into every meal of every single day of our entire lives – commensurate with a discrete change in critically risk-dependent statistics. Ockham’s Razor demands exactly an examination of just such an influence, when old predictives fail miserably, …as a first priority, and especially when this suspect new impacting risk mechanism is not tracked at all. This is how a research lab is run in the real world – it is just that with social skeptics – we effectively embargo real ethical scientific study by talking loudly about ‘science’, and a lot.

Not only does Evelyn’s diatribe suffer from a good dose of anchoring bias, but it features amateurish understandings of statistical inference, hypothesis testing and complex systems modeling as well. It ironically constitutes a scientific appeal to not conduct any science at all. Much more intelligence (not just data – a distinction which the poser does not understand) is required than this shallow statistic in order to imply sequitur causality. I don’t even have time inside this blog to go into the other errors this statement features: Filbert’s Law, ingens vanitatum, Simpson’s Paradox, fallacy of relative privation, Semmelweis Reflex, law of large numbers fallacy, and finally the coup de grâce of the statistical inference dilettante:

medium fallax error

/philosophy : pseudoscience : misrepresentation/ : the tendency to regard or promote the mean (μ) or other easily derived or comprehensive statistic as constituting an equivalent descriptive of the whole body of a set of data or a closely related issue – assuming immunity from the burden of identifying a causal critical path or developing testable mechanism to prove out the contention made (critical elements of scientific theory); or the process of misleading with statistical indications as to the makeup and nature of a body of data. I’ve got my head in the oven, and my ass in the fridge, so I’m OK.

This is why I am so adamant about incorporating at least 4 semesters of statistics, distribution arrival and simulation theory, hypothesis reduction theory and probability/confidence interval theory into the curricula of budding scientists and doctors. Otherwise they fall prey to exactly the prescriptive dosages of bullshit which ‘Evelyn’ is promoting here.

What I Learned Through Direct Observation and Testing

So, when my body mass skyrocketed starting in 1996, I was perplexed – and very concerned. You see I had already ‘cut out desserts’, ‘cut down on the pizza’, ‘ate smaller portions’, and ‘consumed a more balanced diet’. In fact, from 2001 until 2008, I cut a grand total of 2000 calories from my average daily diet and increased my average exercise by over 400 calories per day. I studied nutrition fervidly, and do still. Did my weight respond? Yes it did. But only for a while – then my BMI regressed. As well, there was a cost buried inside this response. An unavoidable (yes, mathematically deduced unavoidable) quality-of-life reducing cost in nutrition, about which the Evelyns of the world fail to inform us.

1.  Calorie intake and burn – CICO – only manages body mass over the short to (questionably) medium term. Cutting out 200 – 400 calories per day in my diet made no difference whatsoever in my body mass over the short, medium and long term. Calorie physiology does not follow a black box, salary and bank account paradigm. That model will not work when your endocrine, autoimmune and microbiome systems have been harmed.

2.  The techniques you practiced in the past to keep your body mass in line, will begin to fade in their effectiveness over time or will not work after that success and going forward. This is a progressive condition.

3.  A ‘balanced western diet’ cannot deliver the nutrient your body needs unless you consume well in excess of 3100 calories per day (see The War Against Supplements Continues to Revel in Harmful Pseudoscience).

4.  Consuming American grains over the medium term or longer will harm your health:

Endocrine Diseases, Skin Maladies, Bowel Diseases, Thyroid Disease, Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver, Mental Dysfunction & Degradation and Diabetes/Metabolic Disorders

5.  Limiting calories to lower than 2400 per day (as a response) over the medium term or longer eventually results in chronic diseases of malnutrition:

Macrocytic Anemia, Digestive and Endocrine Atrophy, Decline in Health and Wellbeing, Anxiety, Depression, Muscle Atrophy, Bowel Disorders, Kreb’s Cycle and Ketogenic Illnesses

6.  None of my great grandparents nor grandparents nor parents suffered with these challenges – regardless of their level of physical activity. And they ate a lot more (3 full meals a day and a snack).

7.  My challenge started in the Fall of 1995 and escalated rapidly during the 1995 – 2001 timeframe (when Glyphosate was introduced inside US food agriculture – 1995 – 2001: first wheat, then soy/canola, then finally corn).

8.  My kids suffered with these challenges starting in their teens, and suffered them worse than did I. And no, they did not ‘eat more’.

9.  These challenges export to nations other than the US, only when they begin to significantly import grains from the US. I have measured this in national strategies I have conducted, and advised governments quietly on this issue.

10.  Body Mass Index is managed by the health of the endocrine and microbiome systems, not by calories (within reason).

11.  In a modern toxic diet condition: Supplementation is Essential for Health & Well Being.

and finally the pièces de résistance

Something added into our food starting in 1995-2001 is harming American health severely, and the damage is showing up on our bathroom scales and in our endocrine and intestinal healthcare bills (see rise in thyroid disease and IBS).

We are saving $millions in the cost of producing food, and paying $trillions in the harm enacted from this corruption in pseudoscience.

The Polluted and Diluted Food Odyssey

Don’t ever give me a bullshit line of authority and expect it to go untested. Below, one can examine my record of testing the claim that ‘cutting portions and eating a balanced diet along with moderate exercise’ is the solution to polluted and diluted food. The result: This claim set is false. I underwent such severe anemia from malnutrition, that I was eventually forced to begin to increase my food intake – and importantly, begin methylfolate, stomach acid, humic acid, magnesium, protein and B12 supplementation along with a number of other nutrient additions. I never did get to the weight my doctor wanted. I fired that doctor, and the doctor I visited after that said ‘stop now, we have to find another approach’. Thank god for these supplements as well, they were a godsend. And where did I find all this critical (life-saving?) information on supplements? Not at ‘science based medicine’ ironically; rather through medical professional whisper, ‘quackery internet sties’ and friends. My quality of life improved dramatically. Thankfully I never got diabetes in this timeframe either. My hard work and study may have paid off there; averting a disease which has ravaged a good 25% of my family. Or perhaps I just got lucky in the genetic wheel of fortune in that regard, I do not know.

Below you will find an outline of my caloric intake mapped versus body mass index; along with the serious life and health degradation I experienced by adhering to a caloric restricted ‘balanced western diet’ and exercise. Agri-food and pharmaceutical companies depend upon the reality that most Americans will not test this for themselves.

Exhibit 1 – Over the Long Term CICO is Not Effective for Health nor Weight Management

note: workouts involved running 3 to 5 times a week, logging over 6,000 miles on treadmill and additional on asphalt, use of a weighted workout bar for 15 minutes of calisthenics and 10 minutes of lifting, pressing, rowing, situps on a Bowflex resistance machine.

What Did They Do to Us in 1995?

So this testing has led me to examine elsewhere for solutions and means by which to improve the endocrine and microbiome health of myself and my family. Thankfully, my kids are aware of the mistakes our agri-food industry has made over the last 25 years and are taking the steps to head off the resulting micro-biome destroying, nutrient dilution and toxin based maladies in their teens and early 20’s (see graphic to the right outlining recent diabetes trends in the US). 4 They too are cutting out grains and grain derivatives grown in the United States, unless organic (even then limited) – and supplementing with methylfolate, methylcobalamine, NADH, Vitamin D, collagen, pea protein and humic acid.

I should not have to be living with years of chronic macrocytic anemia and keto flu, just to keep my weight (not to mention health) in check. There is something wrong with this picture. The ‘Evelyns’ of the world cannot continue to enforce upon us the same old ‘smaller portions’ and ‘balanced western diet’ bullshit. That practice does not work and the tired old wisdom itself is failing Americans miserably …and harmfully so.

If our so-called ‘skeptics’ would get off their asses, quit armchair pontificating about bigfoot, UFO’s and homeopathy, and study the real scientific questions we face – that might, just might help.

Regardless of the denial and arm waving technicalities – Ockham’s Razor plurality has been surpassed, and mine is not the only probative case anecdote that exists. Millions exist; and like mine, under doctor advisement too. Doctors are listening to their patients and are calling for new research. We the victims are calling for ethical scientific action.

This is the horrid version of the future, we all hoped would not occur way back in the days of dreaming about highways filled with flying cars.  Now we must fight the fight. But we will win, as it is our lives, our health and our families which are at stake – all they have at stake is money, arrogance and aphorisms.

epoché vanguards gnosis

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August 25, 2017 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | 4 Comments

The Eagle, the Ape, the Horse and the Lion



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July 13, 2017 Posted by | What is Ethical Skepticism | | Leave a comment

Denial and Pseudo-Skepticism are Not the Same Thing

Pseudo-skepticism is the form of cynicism wherein a power holding group tampers with methods and science, media and social pressure mechanisms inside a domain of large unknown – in order to craft and enforce on the public, a null hypothesis or conclusion narrative, that might at best be accidentally correct. This is completely distinct from the process of denial. Suspension in denial may be existentially incorrect, but it at least stems in its originality from proper method and does not enforce a particular small-unknown domain conclusion narrative. The distinguishing difference is this: An ethical scientist might be a denialist at times, but an ethical scientist can never be a pseudo-skeptic.

I recently had a discussion on Twitter with a gentleman (and separately a brief dispute with a posing pseudo-intellectual who seemed more focused on me than this topic) about the distinguishing earmarks which separate stances of denial from the methods of pseudo-skepticism. The contention is often made inside social skepticism, that the denial of Anthropogenic Global Warming, constitutes ‘pseudo-skepticism’. This because those who oppose AGW claim to be using skepticism to support their uncertainty over that consensus conclusion. The purpose of this charade in tampering with otherwise well fitted definitions of pseudo-skepticism and denial, is to provide a misdirection with respect to understanding the actions of social skeptics on other issues (true pseudo-skepticism). Social Skeptics enjoy enormously the opportunity to misinform the public through the ridicule that can be generated over highly contentious and visible issues just such as climate change. Denialists may even borrow some of the errant methods taught by social skeptics in their desperation to keep an issue open. But just as vigilantes and police might appear to at times share methods, they are not the same thing at all. (Please note that I am an AGW advocate, I just maintain questions surrounding some of the consensus alternatives which were, or were not, researched in our process of deduction therein. Nor do I extrapolate the science into contentions that evil working Americans or Republicans are therefore worthy of violent opposition and disdain)

Denial is simply dogmatic allegiance to a refusal to accept a consensus based conclusion of science or groups claiming to represent science (dogmatic dissent). And while denial does involve avoiding selection of an alternative or promotion of the null hypothesis as a Verdrängung Mechanism, it really has nothing to do with one being ‘open minded’ – and may indeed be based cruxially upon a closed mindset. It does not mean that one is using skepticism incorrectly necessarily – rather that their dissent has ossified into a condition of dogmatic cynicism – and not that any particular feature of their skepticism is necessarily wrong. There is never a condition of skepticism wherein one just throws up their hands at any kind of questioning, basking in the bliss of the ‘right answer’ – as attractive a surrender as this might appear to the political agenda laden, weary or snowflake heart.

Skepticism itself does not mean that I must accept specific answers, it simply means that I defend the methods of science, even in the face of popular votes – and withhold disposition until a critical nexus is reached. A skeptic can simply be contending that this nexus has not yet been reached – and even disagree with inadequately supported claims to consensus. One can do this however, and still ossify into the cynical specter of denial.  In contrast, and as exhibited in the chart above (click to expand), pseudo-skepticism is the form of cynicism wherein a power wielding group tampers with methods and science, associations, media and social pressure mechanisms in order to create and enforce on the public, a false null hypothesis or conclusion narrative. This is completely distinct from the process of denial. Denial may be existentially wrong – yet still have stemmed from proper science methods originally. Pseudo-skepticism is agenda laden methodical doubt – used to identify the bad guys who don’t accept the right answer – and is only existentially correct in its conclusion by accident. Denial does not enforce any particular conclusion, only pseudo-skepticism does this.

A chief tactic of social skepticism is to blur the distinct integrity of words which might be useful in describing and communicating the methods of masquerade they employ.

A Contrast: Example of Pseudo-Skepticism

Of course, enormous uncertainty surrounds the fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan during the terminal leg of their journey around the world. On the team’s fateful July 2nd 1937 trip, their radio signal was picked up by a number of surrounding radio stations (Oahu, Midway, Howland and Wake islands). Despite Noonan having been trained in what is called Dead Reckoning and Radio Direction Finding navigation, they were unable to utilize the bearing of the radio direction signal from the on-station Coast Guard Cutter Itasca, in order to develop a track from their DR (navigation slang for a ‘Dead Reckoning track’ – an assumed-correct course based upon speed, bearing and time – an inductive extrapolation used frequently in navigation – I have over 7,000 practice hours in this method of navigation). A track which would lead them to a visual confirmation of Howland Island, their destination. Itasca had detected Earhart and Noonan right on the correct bearing for termination of the DR phase of their navigation plot. Yet, despite having the Itasca’s axial measurement on their RDF radio, Earhart and Noonan never showed up for the scheduled landing. A very odd occurrence given that four of five navigational variables (Howland axis, distance, speed, time) had been solved for, and only one uncertain variable remained – axial distance to Howland Island.

When you are a skeptic, who is misapplying skepticism and fail to realize that you don’t understand critical elements of dead reckoning navigation or how radio direction finding antennas work, you might assemble grand logical conjectures which are erroneous in attempting to provide a ‘simple’ explanation to this mystery (note: this is not an instance of Dunning-Kruger Error because neither celebrity skeptic communicator, Michael Shermer nor Brian Dunning are ‘peers’ to any dead reckoning navigators as a discipline group – this is simply an instance of failed skepticism, pseudo-skepticism – and great example at that). Moreover, if the club picks up your ‘rationality’ and hails it as a championing issue, then that error becomes dogmatic – ossifying, from methodical doubt in the handling of Ockham’s Razor sufficient alternatives, into the a priori bias of pseudo-skepticism. For example, in his June 22nd blog, Brian Dunning inexpertly applies apparent common sense to the issue – a grave mistake when used in lieu of actual investigative skepticism:

Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan had followed Itasca’s radio direction finding signal to get there. The water there is very deep, and it’s unlikely that much survives of the plane to ever be found. There’s never been any mystery surrounding her loss at sea.

For some reason, [TIGHAR’s] Gillespie thinks they flew instead to an island called Nikumaroro, a full ten degrees off the course they are known to have followed, and which their fuel onboard made it physically impossible to reach.1

The astute ethical skeptic will notice primarily that Dunning here is overconfident in his promotion of the single, popular, Occam’s (sic) Razor, conforming and simple Verdrängung Mechanism solution. The argument is over and no further research needs to be done as “There’s never been any mystery surrounding [their] loss at sea.” Well, as it turns out, this entire contention set is incorrect. It is pseudo-skepticism. It may make sense for the general public (the vulnerable of pseudo-skepticism) to consume the idea that a tenacious pilot and experienced navigator just flew mindlessly until they ran out of fuel, but it does not make sense to a seasoned investigator (skeptic).

Pseudo-skeptics package material for general consumption. Their goal is not truth; rather, influence.

First, Noonan followed Itasca’s radio direction AXIS, not bearing (as Dunning implies), and there is a difference which a skilled dead reckoning and RDF navigator knows, a skeptic might ascertain, but a pseudo-skeptic will never know (and more importantly, never get the feedback that their skeptical method was wrong). The ‘Loop’ or axial antenna is shown mounted on top of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra in the photo to the right.2 What this type of direction finding device gives is a two bearing axis, not a single bearing direction.3 So the information Fred Noonan would have possessed was ‘Howland Island is either 350 degrees true from us, or 170 degrees true from us’ (see map above, upon termination of the dead reckoning phase of navigation). Their next step would be to fly one of the axis bearings to see if the signal faded or strengthened. The problem is that they were using very low HF (today’s frequency standards) frequencies, of which the signal propagation will dance around and chaotically strengthen and diminish no matter where you are. I once encountered a circumstance in my communications radio operator days where a 3MHz signal just like they used here, was totally clear from Diego Garcia, 1500 nautical miles away, yet I could not hear another transmitter on that same frequency band which was just 100 nautical miles from me.  This is the way radio frequency HF direction finding works. It bears enormous risk in its interpretation.

In addition, there was no ‘there’ to be gotten to in the first place. The navigation plot was ending its DR phase (an inductive conjecture) and transitioning to a radio directed phase (a deductive measure). This transition occurs at only a theoretical ‘there’. This is why a fix (the yellow circle with a dot inside it, on the chart above) is symbolized by a full circle, and carries more confidence than does a DR (in tomato) which is symbolized by a half circle. These symbols imply confidence on the datum.

Would not such symbology help in matters of science, to distinguish conclusions of induction and abduction pushed by pseudo-skeptics, as distinct from conclusions of deduction on a Query Oriented Normalization schema? But, we learn in pseudo-skepticism that the duty of skeptics is to defend questionable inductive answers (DR half circles) as science and never look again. The DR-science is finished. So…

Second, yes all the water was deep everywhere and no, it is not ‘unlikely’ – rather prohibitive, that any wreckage of the plane survives to this day, had they ditched in open ocean as he suggests.

Pseudo-skeptics rely upon how clever a phrase sounds, rather than its probative value. They will rarely catch a circumstance wherein we have stacked deductive methods on top of inductive conclusions. This is not a sound process – despite its looking ‘sciencey’ through its equipment and analytical tools. It is as dangerous socially for mankind every bit as much as it was navigationally for Noonan and Earhart.

Third, they did not follow a ‘known’ course as Dunning describes it, as Earhart and Noonan did not find the course confirming islands they had hoped for.4 A DR is not a ‘known’ course and speed, it is rather just as in the case of ‘there’ above, an assumption. If the prevailing winds were 10 knots south rather than the 1937 era forecast 3 knots north, then that would impart a 50 nautical mile error into the ‘known & there’. This is called a ‘tail condition’ in arrival distribution science – a less common scenario, but all too possible and real. The purpose of navigation is to use discipline methods to mitigate the risk of this assumption aspect of navigation and any tail condition circumstances.5

Pseduo-skeptics habitually fail to assess risk, tail variance and significance, as well as the impact of human behavior on social systems inside objective scenarios or their own construct analysis.

Fourth, Nikumaroro is EXACTLY ON, Noonan’s RDF search axis with Howland Island, a natural island to find once one has terminated their DR, and begun an uncertain axis search (again, something a pseudo-skeptic would never know).6

Pseudo-skeptics will tamper with terminology, using large footprint equivocal words, altering the meaning of probative terms in order to emasculate them, and switching critical words so as to reduce their expository value – like here, employing ‘bearing’ in lieu of ‘axis’. They are fully aware that 97% of the population, none of their cronies, nor scientists will catch the significance of the shell game.

Fifth, as you can see on the per hoc aditum scenario chart above, if Earhart and Noonan did not have the fuel to reach Nikumaroro, then they did not have the fuel to reach Howland Island, their destination either; unless the wind was just right (emphasis here). I seriously doubt that an experienced global pilot like Earhart would have taken off without enough fuel to cover for unexpected normal circumstance wind set and drift (such as 13 knots to the north or south).

This habit of crafting apparently solid debunkings, which rely upon clever sounding one-liners, in lieu of real understanding – this is a habit of pseudo-skepticism. Once you apply short cut one-liners in one discipline, you will do them in all (see Margold’s Law). The call here is to hold epoché, not craft appeal to authority solutions without real evidence.

Finally, their fuel would have run out EXACTLY about the time of spotting Nikumaroro island, based on the theoretical DR/RDF axis search, which is the standard practice of RDF/DR navigators. They had enough fuel to take the above track and even circle the island to see where they might land; as a reasonably conservative pilot will choose a deserted island beach over a chance of an open sea landing, any day, any time. If they are in trouble, they will land in a place where survival is enhanced and not chance a total loss in trying to find something better. Earhart did not have to be ‘ten degrees off course’ as Dunning inexpertly opines, because the “off course” variation he assumes is explained by the very RDF axis search Fred Noonan was trained to execute (in yellow in the image above).

A pseudo-skeptic will fail to see the non-linear dynamic outcomes of which a system is capable. Solutions are therefore easy, common sense founded upon induction – and become  prescriptive through Lindy Effect from that point onward – most fully unaware of the thin ice upon which their grand cosmologies stand.

Not to mention of course that the final radio direction finding fix of the aggregate of all the RDB reports from the surrounding islands (see on the chart above, the grey bearings reported by Itasca, Oahu, Midway, Howland and Wake islands – collectively support an aggregate fix at the position of the yellow circle fix), much more solidly than does ‘simplest explanation’ skepticism, places Earhart and Noonan about 50 nautical miles north of a nearest proximity island, right on the Howland search axis …Nikumaroro.

What distinguishes fake skepticism, just like fake news, from the real thing – is not the facts you bring to bear; but rather the facts you choose to leave out.

Note as well, that if I use only the radio direction bearings of the two closest radio stations (Itasca and Midway), then I get a two-shot fix right on top of Nikumaroro island. This should have been one of the first places to examine. Never underestimate the impact of the human desire to survive and skilled pilot ingenuity on ‘simplest answer’ alternative hierarchies.

The problem with social skepticism is not that individuals abuse skepticism to prematurely arrive at a personal wrong conclusion. The problem does not reside in simply being wrong. With social skepticism the entire scientific and public community at large, intimidated by simple linear approved thought, arrive at and permanently affix these errant conclusions. We take Dead Reckoning style induction or abduction – and falsely regard it as proved science. Then we stack such conclusions upon each other into grand assemblies of Dead Reckoning tracks – ignorant of the error we have imparted and multiplied (see Contrasting Deontological Intelligence with Cultivated Ignorance).

It does not matter that these individuals are rational and can eventually at a later time, be brought to understand what really happened inside such mysteries. What matters is that they over-confidently estimate their ability to spot and define ‘likelihood’ – and failing to evaluate that risk, compound it by releasing such conclusions as ‘rational’, ‘factual’ and science-based – simply because they think they used skepticism.

They would have circled and landed, only minutes after these transmission bearing measurements, as a precautionary measure. Observe the graphic I assembled above which reflects these final RDF bearings, and note where their weighted three-shot fix resides.7 A very compelling theory – and this is how science actually works. Why did Brian Dunning not do this same research? Because he was applying pseudo-skepticism (see Steven Novella’s definition). He selected for one imperious and likely correct answer, to be enforced by bad method – upon us all. My citing that his biased selection of one answer, constitutes wrong method, does not serve to make me therefore a ‘denier’ – even if 97% of his cohorts support the single answer.

Pseudo-skeptics employ derision or humor, not just to motivate deniers to accede to scientific gravitas, they mostly employ humor to block critical alternatives and prohibit deductive science, because of its distinct probative & epistemic value. They do not care what is truth – they care what you believe is truth. Often the developers of pseudo-skeptic propaganda (like the above fake science tweet from a paid hashtag stuffer – someone employed to squelch disdained ideas) are hired and compensated to play such a role. Deniers typically, not always, but typically rely upon conscience.

Knee-jerk dismissing this compelling theory as a viable and testable alternative, in favor of ceasing science and adopting a simple or socially preferred/conforming explanation, ‘they crashed into the sea’ – this is pseudo-skepticism. You will see it play over and over inside society – it is not the same as denialism.

Denialism is probably being wrong; pseudo-skepticism is being not even wrong.

Dismissal of a very compelling alternative theory – one which is supported to a great degree by the intelligence, one which is rational, one which is highly plausible by expert method, one which bears mechanism and can be tested (not that an ethical skeptic assumes it as a priori correct); dismissing this in advance of sufficient knowledge horizon development or testing is …pseudo-skepticism. It is pseudo-science. More specifically, what have Shermer and Dunning done here? In specific regard to pseudo-skepticism their contentions feature a degree of Methodical Pathology combined with a knee-jerk compulsion to enforce conformity. That is, they have ossified from dissent to cynicism. Specifically many pseudo-skeptics practice the following:

Hints that one might be a pseudo-skeptic (wrong methods and only accidentally correct)

  • A pseudo-skeptic rarely understands an opposing alternative, they socially – just don’t care about soundness or logical calculus
  • Has bought into one single answer
  • Promotes conjecture and conformance inside a subject with a large horizon of unknown
  • Chooses a ceremonial issue
  • Focuses on issues which bear no productive achievement potential with respect to love, an increase in usable knowledge, or the alleviation of suffering
  • Uses non-expert skeptics, as communicators – instead of investigative reporters
  • Decides the likelihood of ideas before the preponderance of compelling theory has been researched
  • Targets groups or legitimate researchers bearing ideas they do not like, as the bad guys (TIGHAR in this case) – polarizing and corrupting the issue a priori
  • Employs hearsay, common and ‘friendly sounding’ information as the principal elements to communicate
  • Enforces a popular standing belief as the ‘simplest explanation’
  • Chooses an issue which will incite their faithful with interest
  • Selects a position which can be perceived as being the ‘rational’ approach
  • Selects a position or issue which will tender them attention
  • Chooses a topic which contains enough unknown such that bias is hard to discern or be held to account for
  • Selects an issue where Nickell Plating (doing sciencey-looking things to appear skepticky) is practicable
  • Chooses an issue where to conform to the standing explanation can be used to show why those who oppose you are ‘irrational’
  • Stands in a position to block the investigation of compelling alternatives or intelligence
  • Assigns a null hypothesis which has been assigned without merit (See The Five Types of Null Hypothesis Error)
  • Never held epoché to begin with
  • Accepts entire bundles of scientific ideas based upon what political side they appear to reinforce
  • Employs false methods of science (often with real true facts) in order to petition for cessation of further investigative activity
  • A pseudo-skeptic considers violence or legal action as a possibility at hand in the enforcement of their conclusions
  • Can never be an ethical scientist
  • Employs false science method – pseudoscience

A Contrast: Example of Denial

AGW opponents, contrary to the shtick of social skeptics who promote anthropogenic global warming social agendas, might actually use skepticism.  They might be wrong, they might reside in a state of dogged denial – but those existential circumstances do not serve to relegate their skepticism to status as pseudo-skepticism, simply because they disagree. A denialist just simply might not be willing to accept the consensus alternative. An ethical scientist might be a denialist, but an ethical scientist can never be a psuedo-skeptic. More specifically for this example, a denialist ‘denies’ that the null below has been correctly assigned; and denies further that all of the alternatives below have been falsified through ample research and processes of deductive consilience:

Null – Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, introduced by human activity and increasing from from 280 parts per million in the 19th century to more than 400 today, much more than any other greenhouse gas or factor, is the primary contributor to climate change since 18508

Alternatives –

1.  Cyclical changes in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), on increase since 1850, is the major contributor

2.  A cyclical shift in Solar Spectral Index (SSI), towards more release of water-vapor-absorptive infrared irradiance by the sun, has occurred since 1850 and is the major contributor

3.  Primary Earth orbital dynamics (obliquity, eccentricity and axis precession), as recorded in the Milankovitch Cycles, are at least partial and not fully understood contributors

4.  Cyclical changes to the Earth’s core nuclear reactor and structural/mantle dynamics (as measurable by geoneutrinos and as observed historically in the Schumann Resonance/Earth temperature record) have served to heat the oceans from the bottom up in the Pacific Rim of Fire and equatorial thermal regions (El Niño and La Niña), and consequently the pole ice from the bottom up, and atmosphere since 18509 10 11 12 13

5.  Deforestation and/or loss of reflectiveness/ocean/ice absorption has been the primary contributor to climate change since 1850

6.  Natural processes of water vapor, carbon and methane atmospheric release, in combination with and as precipitated resulting from the Null, or 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5 or any combination thereof, explain the majority of temp increases since 1850

7.  Carbon, methane and water vapor are all released as a natural sympathetic outcome of climate change, and are not primarily contributed by man – nor the principal cause, rather only a correlation with some other causal condition

Note of Clarity – A denialist denies that the Null has been chosen by valid rational or empirical processes nor that it should be rationally selected for consensus. A pseudo-skeptic denies that the alternatives are even science, or insists that they should never have been seriously investigated to begin with, or merit zero investigation now.

For me personally, I hold the Precautionary Principle as one contributor to the reason I favor taking action based upon the Null Hypothesis in the matter of climate change – and complimentarily because I have read all the material I could find on alternatives 1 – 7, and found nothing compelling enough to be considered as a falsification of the Null. Alternative 4 is interesting, but only interesting so far. I wish we had more study on it. In so far as our temperature models are now outrunning our carbon curves (see graphic I assembled at right which includes the 2017 Mauna Loa data), then we need to keep a skeptical eye on our own conclusions, in order to avoid falling into pseudo-skepticism. Denial in contrast involves ignoring climate change warnings: greenhouse gasses, and carbon dioxide in particular, are not simply a ‘correlation’ with global temperature increases, rather a fingerprint signal. A distinction point which not only denialists, but fake skeptics as well tend to misunderstand (as in the case of autism contributors for example).

I maintain skepticism around the issue and bear some concern that we have not fully investigated the contribution from all alternatives 1 – 7. But like most scientists, hold the need for precaution and the current inductive data – as bearing more concerning gravitas. Should I encounter data which develops a compelling case for Alternative 4 and 6 for instance – that does not immediately serve to make me a denialist.  If however I am protecting the null hypothesis and begin to wage a campaign to have science ignore Alternative 4, then I am indeed a pseudo-skeptic. Do you see the game they are playing with our language in order to obscure this clarification on behalf of the general public (see Wittgenstein Error and Its Faithful Participants)?

These are the kind of games for which an ethical skeptic must be ever vigilant.

Take a hint folks, fake skeptics do not hold the reasoned position I just outlined above. They are correct – but only by accident. Moreover, they employ such correctness to enact goals which have nothing really to do with the science – rather someone they hate. I respect a researching denier much more, for this simple reason. But Let’s be clear here too folks – each of these alternatives listed above are actual scientific alternatives and their investigation is done with actual science methods. In contrast, pseudo-skepticism relies upon false methods. This makes it not science. The rightness or wrongness of the conclusion has nothing to do with it. A denialist, in contrast may practice the following:

Hints that one might be a denialist (right original methods yet may be doggedly incorrect)

  • A denialist understands the alternative they are denying, as well or better than do its proponents – they disagree on its soundness
  • Has not bought into one single answer
  • Withholds conjecture and consent inside an issue of a small horizon unknown
  • Does not choose an issue, but may have it thrust upon them
  • Focuses on issues of productive achievement potential with respect to love, an increase in usable knowledge, or the alleviation of suffering
  • Uses experts who focus on the salient evidence, eschewing ‘communicators’
  • Resists a priori definitions of likelihood
  • Doesn’t target anyone – just simply disagree with either soundness or logical calculus
  • Sometimes employs hearsay, common and ‘friendly sounding’ information as the principal elements of support only
  • Does not choose a ‘simplest explanation’ – cognizant that things may be more complex than we understand
  • Does not have a faithful following
  • Does not conflate rationality with conformance
  • Does not seek attention
  • Cites and alerts the community to bias – not a specific conclusion
  • Never pretends to be or represent science, just simply skepticism
  • Does not argue ‘rationality’ and ‘irrationality’ – rather corruption and conclusiveness
  • Does not block research of any alternatives – even the one they question
  • Dissents as to the null hypothesis assigned, but may refuse to assign one as well
  • Has held epoché past its utility
  • May resist a whole set of scientific ideas they perceive to be politically motivated
  • Employs real methods of science (sometimes with errant data or assumptions) to encourage more scientific research
  • A denialist rarely or ever considers violence or legal action as an at-hand solution to their debate
  • Might be simply a mistaken ethical scientist
  • Employs science – just errs in conclusion, soundness or logical calculus

Behind the Conflation of the Two Terms

Pseudo-skepticism is an entirely distinct malicious and errant method and is not a set of errant conclusions, per se. False skeptics do not get this. They believe the notion that

The ends justifies the means, the answer justifies the methodology of arriving at the answer.

Vigilantes and Police Forces both take people into custody at gunpoint, and sometimes kill people. They both have headquarter offices, but this does not make them the same thing at all. In similar fashion, just because a denialist might use some of the tactics of social skeptics and pseudo-skeptics at times (after all this is what celebrity skeptics have been teaching the public since 1972), does not serve as a basis to identify them as pseudo-skeptics. Social skeptics will employ the use of traits common to both terminology domains, those traits in the undistributed middle, to provide a basis for conflating and confusing the terms ‘denial’ and ‘pseudo-skepticism’.  They do so, for reasoned purpose: to blur the distinct integrity of words which might be useful in describing and communicating the methods of masquerade they employ.

Characterization by the Undistributed Middle

/philosophy : formal fallacy : fallacy of composition/ : a rhetorical blending of fallacy of composition and affirmation of the consequent, wherein traits shared between two distinct groups are used to underpin the claim that the two groups are indeed identical or falsely that a person in one group actually belongs in the other group. Usually a form of rhetosophy, used to support an agenda, in its conflation. All pseudo scientists promote un-vetted data, the proponent of this argument promoted un-vetted data, therefore the promoter of this argument is a pseudo scientist.

Being right all the time, is not the goal of an ethical skeptic. Investment in such ego and fear assets – introduces bias into the deliberative processes we undertake. I would rather be a mistaken denialist, who pressed their epoché just a little bit more than they should – than a mindless, bad methods, unethical pseudo-skeptic any day.

epoché vanguards gnosis

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July 9, 2017 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Ethical Skepticism, Institutional Mandates | , , , , | Leave a comment

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