The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

The Peculiar Schema of DNA Codon’s Second Letter

The second letter of the three digit DNA codon bears striking schema of such extraordinary improbability, that the question arises, “How did this 1 in 2.7 sextillion occurrence happen at all, given that it could not evolve because one needs the XXX DNA codex before one can have evolution occur in the first place?” This is the egg in the proverbial ‘chicken or egg’ causality dilemma.

The protein makeup and physiology of every living organism which has lived on Earth is defined by its genome. Genes consist of long sequences of nucleic acid digits which provide the information essential in constructing these proteins and their expressed features. DNA is the information library which is employed by ribosomes and messenger RNA to craft the structure and function of the organism. Our current DNA codex has stood as the basis of life since the common ancestor of Archaea first appeared on Earth shortly after it formed, 4.5 billion years ago.

The code upon which DNA functionally depends has been around pretty much as long as has our Earth. In fact most recently, studies have placed the origin of our DNA-based life a mere 60 million years after Earth’s very formation. It took another 2.2 billion years for Earth’s life to evolve from Archaea and into our current domain, Eukaryota. Eukaryotes consist of a cell or cells in which the genetic material is DNA in the form of chromosomes contained within a distinct nucleus. Mankind is of course then, part of the domain Eukaryota (albeit post Cambrian Explosion).

This sequence of events and their timing is critical path to the argument presented inside this article. Therefore, as is my standard practice, a summary graphic is in order. Our current understanding of the age of the Moon, Earth, life on Earth, and DNA are as follows (drawn from the four sources footnoted):1 2 3 4 Bear in mind as you continue to read, the timing of the four key events depicted on the left hand side of the timeline chart below: The formation of the Earth, introduction of the Moon, and the appearance of oceans and life on Earth.

Now let’s table until the end of this discussion the obvious coincidence that Earth’s Moon and its oceans arrived an incredibly short time after the Earth’s formation – essentially at the same time. Thereafter then, nothing else of such an astronomically monumental scope occurred for one whole third of the existence of the Universe itself. I have always regarded this as being a rather odd happenstance. As if the Moon was most likely a very large Oort Cloud icy planetesimal, heavy with frozen salt water, nitrates, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, sulfur, and ammonia (and Archaea life?). An interloper which then surrendered these signature elements to accrete and compose the new surface crust of its larger companion, and sputtered the final ‘mares’ (maria) of water into space or onto Earth. All this only after the Moon’s extinct ocean tides (and not lava basalt floods) had gradually introduced entropy enough to slow its rotation into a tidal lock with its new host, Earth. Under such a construct, this would be why the Earth-facing side of the Moon appears like flat ocean bottom (pink in the graphic to the right), while the far side is craggy and uneroded. Our barren, desiccated, and now ‘same-isotope ratios’ gamete gave its very life in order to birth its offspring, a living Earth. But I digress. We will come back to this issue at the end of this article. However as well, this alternative construct on the Moon’s origin will be the subject of another article sometime in the future for The Ethical Skeptic.

A more astounding aspect of this timeline is the relative quickness by which life appeared on the newly formed Earth-Moon binary. Moreover, it is not the mere appearance of life itself which stands as the most intriguing aspect of this event for me. Not to take the emergence of life for granted, but certainly one can be forgiven for pondering an even more challenging issue: the very quick appearance of the complex code upon which all Earth life is based, the DNA Codex – or what is also called the ‘Standard Code’.5 Be forewarned however, this sudden and early introduction of a fully functional and logical Standard Code is not the only mystery encompassed therein.

Peculiar Schema Surrounding the DNA Codon Second Digit

Our genetic code consists of four types of nucleotide (A-adenine, C-cytosine, T-thymine, G-guanine) structured into triplet sequences (XXX, or for example ‘ATC’) called codons. To put it another way, this simply means that the ‘alphabet’ of DNA only contains 4 letters, and each ‘word’ in the DNA lexicon only possesses three letters. This leaves a set of 64 possible combinations, or words (called ‘codons’ or ‘slots’ in this article) in the language of DNA. More specifically, the set of all possible three-nucleotide combinations is 4 × 4 × 4 = 64, which comprises coding for 19 amino acid molecules, a sulfur/methionine-start code (ATG), and three silence-stop codes (TGA, TAG, TAA). One can observe the breakout of this codex by 32 left and right-handed protein doublets (64 ÷ 2) in the graphic I created here: Third Codon Letter Left and Right-Handed 32-Slot Apportionment.

However, perhaps a better way to view the assignment of codon slot to specific amino acid molecule is through examining the full 64 slot breakout by amino acid or control codon (with duplications). That breakout can be viewed in the graphic I created here: DNA Codon Slot by Nucleon Count. As a note, I like to create my own graphics from scratch. One will find that they do not truly understand a subject until they accurately describe it in detail for themself. The errors encountered along such a journey typically demonstrate that one did not possess nearly the grasp of an issue as one might have thought upon first study. One will also find that their ability to retain the material in detail is enhanced through such exercise. While similar in nature to the Feynman technique, my chosen approach differs from Feynman’s in that it does not put on the pretentious charade of packaging ideas for ‘sixth graders’, which is in reality an attempt at celebrity-building. In similar ethic one will not find me playing bongo drums for a doting media. Such buffoonery exhibits why ignorance around the DNA codon schema is ubiquitous today.

Remember the tenet of ethical skepticism: Accurate is simple, erroneous is complicated.

There is a thing called a Bridgman Point, below which, to simplify something further, is to also introduce error. Sixth-grade speak often resides below this critical threshold, and the entailed error escapes the simple minds of both the presenter and recipient. Such runs anathema to the philosophy of skepticism.

Nonetheless, the most astounding aspect of this latter breakout method (all 64 slots ranked by nucleon count) is the utter organization around which the codon-to-amino assignment is made. The DNA codon second digit schema is akin to an organized and well-kept room, wherein even the items which are out of place, are forced out of place for a specific purpose. When I assembled Graphic A below, it reminded me very much of the Resistor Color Band-Code codex we employed in Electrical Engineering classes in undergraduate school and assembly/soldering of circuit boards in Navy communications and cryptography. Bear in mind that the resistor 5-Band-Code engineer’s benchmark standard to the right (courtesy of Digi-Key Electronics Supply) bears less organization and symmetry than does the DNA codex in Graphic A below.

For this reason and many others, the Standard Code DNA Codex is sometimes referred to by a Francis Crick assigned moniker, the ‘Frozen Accident’.6 However, what we will observe later in this article is that this event was not characterized by simply one frozen accident, but rather several highly improbable ones which were concatenated into a single scope of events. Nonetheless, this organization/symmetry regarding the slot-to-nucleon-count schema, which leverages the second letter of the DNA codon, can be more easily viewed in Graphic A below.

Graphic A – DNA Codon Slot by Second Letter Matched to Assigned Amino Acid Nucleon Count

While most genetic scientists recognize the peculiarities involved in the schema surrounding the second digit of the DNA codon,7 few perhaps fully perceive its extraordinary logic along with the infinitesimally small possibility of the Standard Code having occurred (or even evolved) by accident. The reader should know that I presented this construct to a Chair in Genetics at a very famous university years ago. That discussion constituted the first he had ever heard of the idea or realized fully many of the oddities identified therein. I remain doubtful (not skeptical) that this construct has been given adequate examination and fare due inside scientific discourse.

Numerous improbable to impossible idiosyncrasies stand out inside Graphic A above, an illuminating version of how to depict the schema surrounding the second letter of the DNA codon. A critical observation to note under this method of examining the schema is that there is no ‘degeneracy’ inside the Standard Code, as many commonly hold. The symmetry simply dovetails into more specialized and partitioned schema, bearing even more symmetry (a lower entropy state, not higher). This notion that the code features degeneracy, is an idea containing an a priori Wittgenstein lexicon bias. Inference from such an assumption is unsound. Abductive thinking in this nature hounds our ability to conduct science around the issue. Why are so few geneticists truly familiar with this material and why do only a paltry number of studies exist to date on this very important and astounding construct?

This notion that the Standard Code features degeneracy, is an idea containing an
a priori Wittgenstein lexicon bias. Inference from such an assumption is unsound.

Now that I have buried the lede far enough, let’s get right to the key point then. The likelihood of this schema occurring naturally, I have calculated to be 1 chance in 2.7 x 10-21 (2.7 sextillion). One can view the reference table and series probability formulas employed for the combinations in this first table, Table 1 – Probability Reference Table. These reference probabilities are then combined into a series of calculations, culminating in the remote likelihood of the codon second letter schema’s occurring naturally, based upon three factors alone (not really employing every probability factor I could have, which are listed later in this article):

1. Possibility of a combined set of two blocks of 16 contiguous second digit assignments in increasing nucleon count order, along with 7 other blocks of 4 accomplishing the same (P(x) = 7.12 x 10-17)

2. The likelihood of having such a structure result in displacing the stop codes to the end of the series (P(x) = 0.00024), and

3. The likelihood of having an entire block of second digit amino acids be composed solely of NO2 nitrites, given that there is no chemical feedback from the amino acid to the codon development/assignment, along with the fact that the Standard Code is itself a prerequisite in order to have evolution in the first place (P(x) = 0.00002).

This results in a compounded probability of 1 in 2.65 x 10-25. However, given that our Standard Code is not the ultimate code which possibly could have developed, and indeed there are 1 x 104 codes of equal or superior optimization,8 an increase in probability by a factor of 10,000 adjusts the final probability tally to 2.7 x 10-21 in likelihood (1 in 2.7 sextillion – note that one significant digit is lost in that calculation), given that we prefer to conservatively assume the best case probability (see Graphic B below).

The combined series of calculations can be viewed in this second table, Table 2 – Probability Calculation Table for 3 Factors. This still places the Standard Code 99.9% the distance from a more likely version, and on towards an ultimate ‘optimized’, but at the same time highly unlikely code. The chart to the right is extracted from the Koonin/Novozhilov study and expresses this ‘close to optimal’ concept. Click on the thumbnail in order to obtain a larger image of the chart. The Standard Code is represented conceptually by the blue dot, while the ultimate optimal code would reside at the tip of the tallest peak in the chart. Indeed the Standard Code represents almost codex perfection. Something mere chemical and metabolic affinities (even if they were plausible, which is highly doubtful) cannot come close to explaining.

Graphic B – Remote Likelihood of Standard Code Developing by Accident

Moreover, regarding this rather extraordinary schema, several additional detailed observations may be made:

A. There exists a slot-order to nucleon count linearity bearing a coefficient of determination (R2) of .971 within codon groups 1 – 48 and 49 – 64 (.5757 overall), and against the second digit blocks that are formed by this progression. It is not the linearity itself which is a tail event, as anything which is sorted by magnitude can take on linearity – but rather it is the cohesive groupings by second digit of the DNA codon which result from this linear series arrangement, which must be quantified inside a salient probability function (see at bottom right hand side of Graphic C below). Below, one can observe where I ran a Monte Carlo simulation of combined possibilities for the sequence of 60 amino acid and 4 control-code slots. The distribution function and degrees of freedom in random assignment of codon to slot, fail miserably to establish an orderly/logical relationship with amino acid nucleon count or blocks of same second digit codons.

On iteration 335 I got a coefficient of determination of R2 = .1087, which was relatively high as compared to the previous trials. It was there that I framed a rudimentary top-end and ‘degrees of freedom’ for this apparent Chi-squared arrival distribution curve. Despite the less probable nature of the Iteration 335 coefficient, it still resided a woeful 1 x 1016 in distance from a more likely code, to the existing Standard Code. Had I continued to run these iterations in the Monte Carlo simulation it would take me 2.6 billion-million years to finally hit upon a code as remote in possibility as is the DNA Standard Code. That is under a condition wherein I purposely try to encounter such a code. Think how long this endeavor would take if I was just randomly hitting keys throughout the exercise. Remember that abiogenesis only had one shot at producing the Standard Code through such randomness – as it cannot ‘evolve’.

Graphic C – Monte Carlo Simulation of 20 Amino Acids and 3 Stops into 64 Logical Slots over 335 Iterations

Continuing from this critical point, we observe even more idiosyncrasy in terms of items B through Z below.

B. All Thymine coded amino acids are grouped into one contiguous block of 16 logical assignments.

C. All Adenine coded amino acids are grouped into one contiguous block of 16 logical assignments.

D. Assignment of solely hydrophobic nitrites (NO2) to the Thymine-coded block.

E. Use of an amino acid (methionine) as sequence start code and in contrast, silence as the sequence stop code. Evolutionary changes in DNA occur through the accretion/change of information linked to function and not through the application of silence (absence of information).

F. Stop codes assigned to slots 48, 63, and 64 – primarily on multiples of 8 and standing as the finish of both the Thymine and Adenine blocks. Two stop-codes being grouped into a contiguous pair, when stop-codes bear no chemical feature from which affinity may ostensibly originate.

G. Methionine start code assigned to highest Pell Prime (√2) denominator slot available. Suggests a potential silver ratio, but not certain on that yet.

H. Adenine-coded amino acid group block employs all doublet code assignments.

I. Cytosine-coded amino acid group block employs all quadlet code assignments.

J. Grouping of non-Adenine/Thymine coded amino acids into 7 coherent blocks, despite similar chemical cross-affinities with Adenine and Thymine amino acids.

K. Absolute necessity of all three codon digits for any type of basis for functional life/evolution/Archaea. There existed neither the time nor logical basis for the Standard Code to have functioned upon a two digit (XX) codon, before adding the third digit as a suffix. There are critical amino acids and controls which depend upon a specific 3-digit codex in Archaea, our oldest form of life on Earth.

L. Inability of the Standard Codex to derive from a process of evolution. Both from the argument that the code is required for evolution itself, and its cessation of adopting new protein assignments after it was completed. When if this is how the code evolved – this evolution should have continued across 4.5 billion years (after originating in its entirety in less than 30 million) – yet it did not.9

M. Sulfur suffix applied to methionine start-control codon – boosts it into a position of correct linearity by slot. Cysteine is slotted into correct order by this same tactic.

N. Quadlets follow GACT sequence pattern, while doublets follow CT-GA sequence pattern.

O. N4O2 distal amino acid codes grouped together only under Guanine block.

P. Displacement of most doublets to their own nucleon count escalation.

Q. Featuring no true grouping of odd amino acid counts (3, 5, etc) save for single substitutions.

R. The only odd molecule tryptophan (C11H12N2O2) being only one assigned to a singlet slot.

S. Guanine and Thymine groups possessing symmetrical doublet assignment patterns.

T. The assignment of all 64 logical slots when life bore a much greater probability of beginning with a less extensive codex size. Akin to evolution starting with a snail, instead of Archaea.

U. Control start and stop codes solely employ a left-handed codon suffixes.

V. The positive correlation between the number of synonymous codons for an amino acid and the frequency of the amino acid in living organism proteins.10

W. Maximization of synonymous point mutations by means of the third letter of the codon – the letter which also bears the greatest frequency of mutation.11

X. This codex was not only a ‘Frozen Accident’ – which is highly improbable as an event in and of itself. Moreover, this accident also selected for a 1 in 2.7 x 10-21 optimized configuration, on its first and only try.

Y. There were no evolutionary trials or precedents from which to strengthen the code’s logical structure as exhibited in items A through X above. Our very first version of life, Archaea depended upon this full logical structure in order to exist.

Grant Unto Me Six Miracles and I Can Explain All the Rest

Finally regarding item Z, perhaps what it most daunting is the short amount of time which was allotted for such a code to ‘freeze’ into existence in the first place, along with the immediacy in which it happened upon a hostile and 60 million year-old planet – a mere 20 million years after the Moon was ‘ejected’ (more than likely ‘arrived’ with life’s DNA Codex already intact) from Earth by a trillion-to-one collision with the hypothetical planetary body Theia.12 The astute reader should have noticed by now that science possesses multiple ‘trillion to one’ happenstance claims, all compounding inside this argument. Our reliance upon the absurd in order to cling to a religious null hypothesis is becoming almost desperate in appearance. This upside down condition of ignorance is called an Ockham’s Inversion.

Ockham’s Inversion

The condition when the ‘rational or simple explanation’ requires so many risky, stacked or outlandish assumptions in order to make it viable, that is has become even more outlandish than the complex explanation it was originally posed against and was supposed to surpass in likelihood. Similarly, a condition wherein the proposed ‘more likely or simple’ alternative is just as outlandish in reality as is a less likely or more complex one.

Now let us hearken back to those four key timeline events which we tabled at the outset of this article. Let’s consider the highly stacked set of unlikely elements and their probability, which together compose this Ockham’s Inversion in our current understanding. To wit:

The Six Miracle Theory

Moon created through Earth collision with Theia                                     1 in 1 x 1012
Moon and oceans arrive so soon after Earth formed                               1 in 1 x 103
Occurrence of Francis Crick’s DNA Codex ‘Frozen Accident’                 1 in 1 x 109
Immediate arrival of ‘Frozen Accident’ after Moon and oceans               1 in 1 x 103
Infinitesimal possibility of Standard Code DNA codon schema               1 in 2.7 x 1021
60 M year duration window for these events in sequence                       1 in 1 x 106

Compounds up to 1 chance in 1 x 1054
Planets in Milky Way ~4.0 x 1011 stars x 5 planets = 2.0 x 1012

A difference in magnitude of 10-42 in possibility, in one galaxy alone…

In other words, there are not enough stars in the entire Milky Way to pull off this incredibly-remote in possibility six-miracle event. This does not necessarily suggest the intervention of aliens or Gods (each fallaciously ad hoc), however it does imply that something exceptional and beyond our current frame of understanding has occurred behind the appearance and ascendancy of life on Earth. I do not have to declare a murder or accident when I find a dead body. All I have to know, is that I have a dead body and that something extraordinary has transpired. This is science. Plugging one’s ears and refusing to examine the corpse, is not science. I have no doubt that whatever the mechanism is that precipitated this codex, it is a natural feature of our realm. I simply regard it to likely be one we don’t yet know about or understand.

By the same token, it is one thing to claim a single grand accident under the idea, ‘Grant me one miracle and I can explain all the rest’. We stomach such miracles of science all the time, at the very least to serve as placeholders until we attain better information. However it is another thing entirely to demand six miracles inside a tight sequence, in order to hold fast to one’s religious beliefs. That is where I draw the line.

It is not that which you parrot, but rather that which you forbid examination, which defines what you believe.

What is it the skeptics always say about ‘Occam’s Razor’, ‘The least feature-stacked possibility tends to be the correct one’? Well this is one hell of a stacked set of features which support our current null hypothesis around the appearance of life on Earth (abiogenesis). In any genuine scientific context the hypothesis that the Moon brought us our crust elements and life itself, making Earth what it is today, would be foremost in our theory. Instead, we have chosen the Six Miracle Theory. However, why such a fortuitous event occurred in the first place, is a matter of another critical path of inquiry altogether.

It is clear that our Wittgenstein definitions, and religious assumptions regarding the appearance of life on Earth, are serving to bias us into an extreme corner of statistically remote plausibility, from which we staunchly refuse to budge.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Peculiar Schema of DNA Codon’s Second Letter”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 24 Feb 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=48816

February 24, 2021 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , | 2 Comments

The Five Species of Syndicate and Their Dissent

I am an Infidel
I am a Blockade Runner
I am a Stakeholder
I am a Heretic
I am a Dissident
I may indeed agree with the goal of the syndicate. But as an ethical skeptic I may also be compelled to oppose the tactics used in attaining that goal. It is the journey and not the destination which flags corruption.

What is a syndicate? Who are these entities that regard the lavishness and control which can be garnered during a short 78 years of life, of such importance that abusing their fellow man is justified in its quest? The syndicate player is a pretender to the role of God. They a form of Royalty which seeks to exploit the control, class conflict, and stratification of their fellow citizens in order to improve their wealth, celebrity, and power. An irony exists as well in that many of the below players identify themselves as part of the dissent or heresy, contrasted under the reality that they are indeed the oppressor.

Remember, that a God play typically involves three parties. First a symbol of victim-hood, second the party who is targeted for harm/extinction, and third, the virtuous party (God-proxy) who harms the second in order to ‘help’ the cause of the first. Such is a common ploy of the syndicate. So what is a syndicate and what are the most common forms thereof? Of course one can find a differing set of definitions in a graduate-level Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE) textbook; however, during my decades of work – I have found that these are the definitions which provide a best Wittgenstein fit in terms of ethical skepticism.

Syndicate

/philosophy : misrepresentation : coercion : organization/ : an organization or group which is crafted to enforce a common interest in terms of agency, coercion, or purging of any form of dissent. Any of five species of human oppression in the name of some higher cause (science, religion, economics, justice, equality, God, virtue, club, self, etc.) A group attempting to act in the role of a God-entity.

The various species of syndicate along with their dissenting entity include:

Cabal – unofficial organizations which control access to the realm of authorized ideas.

   Purpose:  Social Coercion/Intimidation
   Examples:  Antifa/Social Skepticism/Science Communicators
   Opposition:  Infidel

Cartel/Trust (Clayton or Sherman) – controls access to a market vertical or horizontal, sets its pricing and rules, and qualifies which transactions are permitted.

   Purpose:  Economic or Social Exclusion/Domination
   Example: US Grain ABCD’s/OPEC/Technology Social Media
   Opposition:  Free Trader/Pirate

Mafia – controls a product, its distribution channels, and/or the region in which such product is allowed to be sold.

   Purpose:  Economic Oppression/Domination
   Example:  National Football League/AFL-CIO
   Opposition:  Stakeholder

Cathedral – official organizations which administer religious doctrines, the necessity of thought, instruction and cultivation of ignorance toward opposing ideas.

   Purpose:  Social and Religious Doctrine/Enforcement
   Example:  American University System/Atheism/Science Based Medicine/Catholic Church
   Opposition:  Heretic

Party – a group which seeks domination of a government and its Overton Window of acceptable policy, through social purging in the forms of violence, propaganda, intimidation, and fraud in governance.

   Purpose:  Social Purge/Oppression/Genocide
   Example:  US Progressive Socialist Party (formerly ‘Democrats’)/National Socialists/Marxism
   Opposition:  Dissident

One of the purposes of ethical skepticism is to hone an ability to spot a syndicate and its agency when at play. It is not that neutrality itself is actually a form of dissent; however, in the presence of a syndicate it must be exercised as such, as the ethical skeptic is often not given the choice. I might for instance agree with what a mafia does, but still oppose the mafia itself. I might agree with the conclusions of an organization of fake skeptics, but still oppose their methods of pretend science and social coercion. I support addressing the needs of the disadvantaged, but that does not mean that I need put you in power to enact such things.

I may indeed agree with the goal of the syndicate, but as an ethical skeptic I may also be compelled to oppose the tactics employed in arriving at that goal. It is the journey and not the destination which flags corruption.

The purge and coercion tactics in and of themselves force the neutral voice to defacto become one in opposition. Such is the fruit of a syndicate; you are either with us, or against us.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Five Species of Syndicate and Their Dissent”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 17 Feb 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=48654

February 17, 2021 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | 5 Comments

The Fatuous Errand of the Fact Checker

What you are seeing in the media is not news. The function of media is to craft the direction and range of tolerance of an Overton Window. Paltering is the method by which one may lie through the delivery of facts. It is the chisel wielded by the ‘fact checker’, employed to shape and direct the Overton Window.

Gone are the days in which one could sit down in front of the TV, and trust the information given by a Walter Cronkite or Peter Jennings. The function of media under the rule of The Party is to deliver neither salient information nor logical truth. While the media does tender updates on cherry sorted social situations, do not be deceived into thinking that therefore the media is a source of news. Most of the articles passed by the media for public consumption constitute means of ingens vanitatum persuasion or public witch-hunt coercion, and not modes of informing. The purpose of a media inside a socio-fascist oligarchy is in fact to enable establishment of an Overton Window regarding that policy discourse which is deemed to be acceptable.1 This Window is then reinforced by astroturfed social pressure inside Clayton Trust collusion on the part of social media tech firms.

Overton Window

/philosophy : misrepresentation : coercion/ : the range of opinion positions which are acceptable to the mainstream population at a given time. It is also known as the acceptable window of discourse. The term is named after Joseph P. Overton, who stated that an idea’s political viability depends mainly on whether it falls within this range. False skeptics purposely pathologize subjects and individuals in order to artificially truncate or manipulate where this window falls in media, along with what is deemed acceptable for scientific study.

At the frontiers of such a Window, reside the ‘fact checkers’. Like Marines in a military theater of engagement they are the most skilled in conducting the frontline warfare of propaganda, through means of a specialized form of lying-through-facts called ‘paltering’.

Paltering

/philosophy : misrepresentation : Wittgenstein sinnlos/ : lying through facts. Paltering is the deceptive use of truthful statements to convey a misleading impression or inference. It is the devious art of lying by telling unqualified truths. It usually involves equivocation and/or prevarication as the basis of its management of constraint, context or ignoratio elenchi – however often can also come in the form of a semantic truth as opposed to a logical one.

Paltering is the method by which the right end of the Overton Window is sculpted in a given direction. The left end of the Overton Window is directed by universities and colleges in their role as up-front-dues unions for white collar labor. In this regard, not only does one pay/borrow the present value (PV) of an entire career’s union dues all at once, but often one must also compromise their integrity in order to be deemed acceptable to The Party. Especially if one is to be inducted into that cathedral called science, and thereafter held also as authority. Paltering in contrast, is used to herd the non-conforming right end of the Overton Window towards a progressive or even extremist viewpoint. It is also a form of confirmation anchoring for the already-compliant left.

Examples of Paltering the Overton Window

The following constitutes a short listing of various species of paltering. An article’s inclusion as an example of each is purposed simply to elicit that principle in use, and not to make commentary upon the claim being made nor falsified. In many cases here I agree with the fact checker’s conclusion; however, I do not agree with the method by which they arrived at their ‘fact’. One cannot arrive at truth standing upon a foundation which lacks integrity in the first place.

Once the blinders have been removed, it becomes nearly impossible to watch the ‘news’. ~Twitter: @baseballmama34

The various species of paltering include:

Prevarication – to lie through manipulating in advance of a point, its basis of definition, observation or data, or by means of persuasion, locution and/or tactic of argument.

Example: AFP Fact Check – Quotes from US Democrats falsely characterized as calls for violence

Hyperbolic – an exaggeration, or as well a form of special pleading wherein a ludicrous or cherry picked statistical constraint upon a set of data is used to lens that data in such a way as to make it appear to be more favorable or unfavorable per one’s a priori position.

Example: Based Upon Science Claim Check – Vaccines are Safe: Vaccines go through a lot of testing

Eqivocation – 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 misdefine, inappropriately include or exclude data in an argument.

Example: USA Today Fact Check: Joe Biden has condemned protest-related violence from the left and the right

Lob & Slam – a stooge-posed incident or even one fabricated by allies, often cherry picked from a vast array of such incidents for its ridiculousness or vulnerability in being easily debunked, both as an example of how irrational the other side indeed is, or how easy the subject is to dismiss.

Example: CheckYourFact – Fact Check: Did The International Space Station Film A UFO For 22 Minutes?

ignoratio elenchi – a misdirection in argumentation rather than a weak inference. A misrepresentation of the question being addressed, logical calculus or evidence for an opponent’s claim, so as to frame the opponent’s contention in the poorest light.

Example: AFP Fact Check – Police did not assist Antifa during US Capitol assault

Amphibology – a situation where a contention may be interpreted in more than one way for a variety of deceptive reasons, due to ambiguous sentence structure.

Example: AFP Fact Check – Fact check: Joe Biden has condemned protest-related violence from the left and the right

Semantic versus Logical Truth – a logical truth is a statement which is true, and remains true under all reinterpretations of its components or in all contexts aside from simply that of its apperception and crafting. A semantic truth is only true in certain given circumstances.

Example: Misbar – GMOs Aren’t Inherently Unhealthy

Appeal – a variety of appeals to an external reference as support for one’s claim or position. Appeal to popularity, ignorance, authority, hoax, virtue, bucket classification, race, motive, etc.

Example: PolitiFact – Seniors around the world who died from COVID vaccine are being improperly listed as “natural causes.”

Weapon Word – a familiar and often overused term of condemnation and bucket categorization, which is employed towards a person or idea in advance of any state of knowledge or investigation. A pejorative which is used to condemn from an a priori perspective, in an effort to end an argument without due rigor.

Example: Snopes – Did a Scientific Study Prove That “Conspiracy Theorists” Are “The Most Sane of All?”

Straw Man – misrepresentation of either an ally or opponent’s position, argument or fabrication of a ridiculous version of such, often in absence of any stated opinion.

Example: CheckYourFact – Fact Check: Were These 9 Democratic Politicians Born 9 Months After The 1947 Roswell UFO Incident?

Wicker Man – called ‘the ultimate straw man’. Employing a Daedalean identity where so many special exemptions are able to be pleaded or apologists habitually spin the idea that any critique offered towards their side constitutes straw man, ignorance or tu quoque errors – that the defended philosophy or position actually has no effective defining essence which can be pinned down in the first place.

Example: FactCheck.org – Missing Context on Claim About ‘Antifa.com’

Special Pleading Misdirection – a misdirection in denial by means of a specific or cherry picked anecdote, so highly constrained that it most likely has to be false to begin with, to serve as a red herring distraction from a similar but more valid version of the same contention.

Example: Snopes – Is Rep. Debbie Dingell Introducing a ‘Gun Confiscation’ Bill?

One of the purposes of ethical skepticism is to hone an ability to spot paltering when it is passed by a fact checker as ‘correct information or inference’ or for basis thereof.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Fatuous Errand of the Fact Checker”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 6 Feb 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=48336

February 6, 2021 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | 7 Comments

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