The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Nature of Elegance

One should draw hint in observing that a lie is often both simple to craft and complicated to defend at the same time. One should not fear complexity, rather complicated-ness and over simplicity; as these are descriptives of systems which lack elegance. Elegance is scientific parsimony in design; often breathtaking to behold, not because of its complexity, but rather because of its reach. Its truth.
Elegance can sometimes be hard to discern if one is merely an administrator or blind recipient of its benefit. The ethical skeptic therefore always strives to determine the why, and not simply the how. To seek complexity when necessary and straightforwardness when not.

I have always been a why-man, and not a how-man. This tended to piss off my instructors in undergraduate school. But I have found the trait to be of enormous advantage ever since. Accordingly, I was examining my new espresso maker a couple months back and noticed an interesting little feature, which at first perplexed me as to why it was included in the coffee maker’s design. You see, if you press any of two buttons on the espresso maker’s unit control, then both the espresso and lungo lights flash simultaneously, until the unit has heated up, whereupon they both burn solid fluorescent green – and then the unit does absolutely nothing. Upon my first use of the maker, I paused for a moment at this inactivity, and wondered why the buttons just did not function under an ‘on’ and ‘off’ philosophy. Just press the button and as soon as the heating element heats up, the unit starts pumping water into the espresso glass. Such simplicity! Until 3 days later, when I did not have an espresso glass under the dispenser. That scramble to get a glass quickly under the spigot taught me what I needed to know. The why. What I realized through using the unit for a couple days, is that there are three steps to this particular espresso making process: 1. Heating the element, 2. Positioning the espresso glass and 3. Starting the heated water flow/pour. And since the heating of the element in step 1 took some time, what the two step button procedure afforded me was a chance to fill the unit with water, place the espresso capsule inside the machine and finally set the glass under the spigot before I then pressed the solid green button a second time, to start the aromatic flow of espresso. More complex for sure as a process, but also elegant.

The process I had gone through was what is called in industry, a ‘learning curve’. I had accomplished two goals in my learning curve. First I had discovered how to operate the machine correctly and, second and most importantly, why it was designed to operate in a particular fashion. The knowing of why, not just how, is the key which differentiates a designer from an administrator. My administrative assistant, ‘M’ as I call her, would have tackled this challenge much more quickly than did I. She, would have simply read the instructions for the maker and then just followed them. But I bear this nasty penchant for wanting to understand why the starting element for the espresso maker was designed the way it was. I wanted a period of discovery, not just instruction. I wanted to own the machine, and not have the machine own me. I was not an administrator by heart, but am an excellent researcher. M kept me out of trouble for years and years of administrative tasks which I did not accomplish with efficient skill.

Now I once used this penchant for discovery as a young officer in the Navy. Not satisfied with merely knowing how to operate my missile fire control system, I spent a night researching its configuration protocols and reviewing the algorithms used for a launch, so that I could understand the nuances of targeting and engagement. Why? I don’t know. I just felt it important that I understand more than simply the sequence of buttons one needed to push in order to get the missile to lock on, and launch. As a lark in curiosity therefore, I pulled out the engagement protocols and programmed them into my Hewlett Packard 15C programmable calculator, so that I could run through them back in my officer’s stateroom. I forgot about the program stored in my HP-15C’s memory until two days later, when we were ordered by our scene commander to simulate a missile engagement strike. Unfortunately, the missile fire control computer had malfunctioned just hours before the exercise was called – and the fire control team found that they could not calculate a solution for launch, which to successfully feed back to the scene commander. There would be hell to pay for this. So, I offered up to the senior tactical action officer “Sir, I have the launch protocols of the fire control computer programmed into my calculator.” To which he replied “Bullshit!” “No sir, I have all the input variables, output variables and protocols replicated exactly as the fire control system executes them, in my calculator. “Why the hell would you do something like that?” I shrugged and did not pretend an answer.  So we loaded the inputs into the HP-15C and plotted the telemetry and settings for a simultaneous time on top engagement solution. The scene commander replied to our launch report with the hoped-for response, “Roger, out.” Those two confirmatory words over the radio tendered permission for the entire combat team to breathe a sigh of relief. The senior tactical action officer just looked over at me and shook his head, grinned and then walked off. Two months later, I received orders to be discharged from my Persian Gulf billet and take a senior Intelligence Officer role in Washington, D.C. A place where why-men rise to the top, and how-men sit in cubicles assembling reports.

Knowing Why – What Differentiates the Straightforward from the Simple & the Complex from the Complicated

Over the years since, I have designed over 150 million square feet of industrial operating space, some of the most elegant, successful or even award-winning designs in the world. I have developed numerous information systems and novel information technology applications, and even led the crafting of entire national trading markets. This penchant for wanting to know the why – has served its purpose. Knowing why something works the way it does – or should work the way in which it will – this is essential for a systems designer. The systems designer relies upon an important early and foundational study effort, prior to designing anything, called a Requirements Definition. And whether one is designing a missile fire control system, an operational facility for a major corporation or a trade market between the nations of the planet, all such mechanisms hinge upon the important thought processes wound up inside the Requirements Definition phase. What one learns, what one gathers through the learning curve involved in applying Requirements Definitions to effect actual systems designs, is the distinction between a design which is complex, and a design which is straightforward; and hope to avoid systems feature simplicity or complicated-ness. A systems design principle known as ‘elegance’. Elegance, in science, does not mean fancy or highminded, rather it means:

Elegance

/philosophy : science : systems design/ : the expression of parsimony in design. A descriptive which identifies the inherent trait of a design or process, wherein it comprehensively and completely accomplishes all goals of its crafting in the fewest stacked set of entities possible, and not one entity less.

The two design features indicating elegance (green in the graph above):

1.  Straightforwardness

2. Complexity (plural entities) – when critically necessary

Elegant systems are often breathtaking to behold, not because of their complexity, but rather because of their reach.

The simple translation for those who are Social Skeptics:

Complex –               Good 🙂       =  The goal is understanding

Complicated –         Bad   🙁       =  The goal is rent-seeking or money

Straightforward –    Good 🙂       =  The goal is effectiveness

Simple –                   Bad   🙁       =  The goal is promoting a sales job or lie

To understand why ‘simple’ can be a misleading principle, please read here: When Simple is Just Simply Wrong.

Elegant systems are often breathtaking to behold, not because of their complexity, but rather because of their reach (in effectiveness and extent). Straightforwardness can be breathtaking in its reach just as easily as can complexity. But these types of systems sometimes can be hard to discern if one is merely an administrator or blind recipient of its output/benefit.

As an ethical skeptic, always strive to infer or determine the ‘why’ of a system, and not simply its ‘how’.

In such a context, our common use of the terms ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ reveal an inadequacy at describing elements of professional systems design. Just as ‘rest’ is not synonymous with dreaded ‘idleness’; we fear complexity when we should not. What we should fear is ineffectiveness and bureaucracy. What is in slang described as being ‘complex’, is in actuality rather, complicated; and what is often described as being simple, is in actuality, straightforward. Simple and Complicated serve to damage mislead and destroy. Straightforward and Complex, are signature descriptives of designs involving elegance.

The Axis of a Lie: Simple to Issue – Complicated to Defend

The astute ethical skeptic should take note that a lie is often both simple and complicated at the same time. A lie is simple in its crafting, as the tip of an iceberg is simple, and often thrives inside an ocean of lack of information or complex understanding:

“A lie can travel half way around the world while truth is still putting its pants on.”  ~ Winston Churchill

But a lie is also complicated thereafter in terms of the level of effort needed to then protect it. Religions thrive on simple concepts of god, and thousands of years of apologetics and countless philosophers and reformations necessary in explaining why this simple model constantly fails to make any sense. A simple, yet complicated lie.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave …when first we practice to deceive.”  ~ Sir Walter Scott, Marmion

Both ‘Simple’ and ‘Complicated’ are errors in a system requirements design. Errors which must then be concealed through even more non-elegant tom foolery to in order to protect them.

In contrast to system designs which feature elegance, are those systems or ideas which have reduced entities to the point where the system no longer accomplishes its goals.  Such ‘simple’ systems may function, yet take a long time to betray their flaws to those who hold skin in the game inside their stakeholder base. They end up blowing up on their victims and causing sometimes enormous damage through being crafted in too simple a fashion.  Thereafter, since the liar is often in power and someone has benefited from this damage, the lie must be defended at all costs, and through enormous complicated-ness.

Take note, that complicated-ness often exists in the form of a woven matting of explanations, arising from the liar being in chronic reaction mode in exhaustive defense of the simple lie. Note this about the club of skepticism as well.

Some examples might include these evolutions of simpleton science, which now reside in the complicated defense stage of the lie:

Vaccine Safety Science – the ‘cost benefit analysis’ and followup protocol which served to justify a 49 event US vaccine schedule was – SIMPLE

Agricultural Technology – the impact studies on glyphosate which justified its over employment and ubiquitous presence in our food, came from studies which were – SIMPLE

CICO Weight Paradigm – the prevailing focus on calorie metrics as the sole source of obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammation are the results of dietary study which was – SIMPLE

In compliment to simplicity-lacking-elegance, is the condition of a system which is designed with too plural a set of entities, more than is required to ‘comprehensively and completely accomplish all the goals of its crafting’. This condition is known as Complicated-ness. Complicated-lacking-elegance. When a system is designed to be overly complicated, this is typically done in order to protect the parties benefiting from such complication. Banks, governments, money supplies – all complicated so that the system managers or the system itself benefits from its weakness in design. Some examples of this condition might include:

National Tax Codes/Governance – the government bureaucracies and codes managing the confiscation of assets from private citizens are purposely – COMPLICATED

Monetary Transfer and Banking System – the means of SWIFT and bank to bank transfers of large sums of money are designed to exploit the delay of fund transfers due to processes which are – COMPLICATED

Collegiate and Post Graduate Educational Systems – the paucity of lessons learned and actual knowledge imparted by colleges and universities is designed so as to extract the maximum amount of money possible from citizens, pamper academicians and create a labyrinth of activity necessary in obtaining a degree from a process which is overly – COMPLICATED

The amount of damage imparted through these six simple and complicated systems alone is immeasurable. But we as stakeholders, those who know the ‘why’ of these systems, do not hold the power to influence their design by the how-men. This is backasswards. As you can see, simple and complicated are facets of design – where the process does not involve serving the stakeholders inside a design’s impact; rather serving its operators instead. An issue of ethics.

Something in which we at The Ethical Skeptic are highly interested.

epoché vanguards gnosis

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Ignosticism

“The gentle outlasts the strong” or so it is observed in the Tao. Ignosticism – it is not a belief, rather a gentle idea and personal discipline – a refusal to act in the contrivance bullying of the nihilist atheist or fundamentalist theist. It is the only ethical pathway to a metaphysical choice. If you have made your journey through the path of ignosticism, I do not care where you land, but I will at least believe you in that quest.
When we are born, we bear no awareness of arguments around god and deities, nor do we even hold a coherent definition of such. We only learn these constructs later from agenda laden contributors. Ignosticism is an effort to reclaim that virginal status and no longer be tainted or burdened by antiquated, imperious and incoherent arguments – a position unimpressed with obsessions over proof, rational thinking and divinely revealed truths.
Ignosticism is freedom.

As an ethical skeptic and a pursuer of science, the gentle outlasts the strongignosticism is the branch of atheism to which I subscribe. Ignosticism is a discipline of thought which seeks to avoid the common social discourse pitfalls regarding the discussion of theism: specifically those of Wittgenstein (sinnlos and unsinnig) and Popper Demarcation error. I simply contend that the concept ‘god’ bears no scientific Pathway to Accepted Knowledge, and therefore I cannot conclude anything nor make further comment on the matter. Ignosticism is a personal discipline based upon the idea that most or all theological views assume baseless underpinning extraordinary claims to knowledge, as demonstrated by Wittgenstein unsinnig and/or Popper nonscience disputes, coercion, polemic and philippic discourse.  Ignosticism is silent in the face of rhetoric over undefined concepts such as divinity, god, spirituality, heaven, afterlife, null sets, damnation, salvation, alternative life forms, sin and the soul. In ignosticism, I do not run around telling everyone (on any side) how ridiculous their beliefs are. This arrogance is anathema to the character of the ignostic. In ignosticism, I do not feel compelled to mock Muhammad or Jesus, nor marginalize believers as Inquisitionists or Nazis, nor blame atheism for Bolshevik/Stalinist/Maoist purges.

Ignosticism

/ihg-ˈnäs-tih-sih-zum/ : ontological silence : a personal discipline that holds that the concept ‘god’ bears no falsifiable (Popper) definition (Wittgenstein), and therefore prohibits me from concluding or making further scientific comment on the matter. A personal freedom from antiquated, imperious and incoherent claims of traditional religion and atheism.

To the ignostic, the mere fact that we exist, and the fact that I reside in this vessel and experience this realm is orders of magnitude more fantastical and improbable than any other claim which has been submitted to me. Beyond claiming my rights as a being, I cannot make any other claim to truth. I expect to be utterly amazed as this gift unfolds.

There is a list of positions however (below) which the ignostic cannot in good conscience make in statement. Instead the ignostic chooses the simple distinguishing of one’s philosophy as a gentle idea and not a religion, an aversion to citing others as being materially incorrect, the refusal to boast of knowing the right question to ask in the absence of sound falsification based science and the lack of any theological position, conclusion or commentary for which one must develop an apologetic to defend.I favor ignosticism because of its discipline in applying The First Duty of Ethical Skepticism.

The First Duty of Ethical Skepticism

/philosophy : ethical skepticism/ : In the same way that science is a method, even so ignorance is also a method. But the scope of cultivated ignorance extends further than that of science itself, in that it is also a method of conditioning and contagion. It propagates through exploiting all manner of cunning and deceit. As an ethical skeptic, your first duty of philosophical acumen is not to execute the scientific method per se, which is straightforward in comparison. You are not here to promulgate conclusions, as that is the habit of your foe. Your ethical acumen is necessary rather, in spotting the clever masquerade of science and knowledge.

As a result, under such a discipline of real skepticism, my personal discipline contrasts with the impetus behind the following list of claims made by philosophy, pseudo-science and religion (denoted by –  see What Constitutes a Religion? and The (Ethical Skeptic) Definition of God).

As an Ignostic I Do Not Make Any of the Following Claims:

= Qualifies as a Religion

ø = Qualifies as a Pseudoscience

despite all the rhetoric - CopyAgnosticism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) claims that

  • you/we have not defined god for me (this is not the same as mute ignosticism) – agnosticism (passive)
  • I do not know if god is knowable – agnosticism (strong)
  • I do not know if there is a god or not – agnosticism (weak)
  • god might exist but it does not/no longer matters to me – Extheism
  • I have no idea so god is irrelevant to me – agnostic apatheism

Nontheism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and/or nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

Personal Nontheism

  • I lack belief in god(s) – atheism (neutral)
  • I do not believe in god(s) – atheism (weak)
  • I do not believe that any god exists – atheism (strong)
  • I am mad at god or religious people so I claim to believe that god does not exist, as my revenge – extheist Atheism

Social Nontheism

  • there is no such things as a god of any kind, nor should anyone believe in them – nontheism (strong)
  • we are opposed to/seek elimination of any form of god worship – Anti-theism
  • I claim to be an atheist because it sounds better, but really am an Anti-theist and vehement Nihilist – Atheism √ ø
  • we are/I am god by implication (the functional placeholder thereof) – Social Skepticism ø
  • only the material and directly observable (approved by me or my club) exist – Material Monism ø
  • material monism is rational, proved science or scientific – Nihilism ø

Igtheism – make the nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

  • god is meaningless (this is not the same as ‘not holding falsifiable definition’) – igtheism
  • the concept of god does not make sense – theological noncognitivism
  • the senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos) concepts of god render it irrelevant to me – apatheism (weak)
  • the senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos) concepts of god render it inherently irrelevant – apatheism (strong)
  • gods exist as an advanced terrestrial, extra-terrestrial or Inter-dimensional culture – interventionism

Deism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

  • some form of god or gods might or must exist – deism
  • the elegant interleaved dependencies of nature/physics hint that a god must exist – natural theism ø
  • the god or godhead exists – theism
  • a council of gods exists – elohimism
  • god is an omni-empowered person seeking to eternally love, punish or forsake me – fundamental theism
  • I am one of god’s chosen people – electism
  • a certain person is god – hominem-theism
  • I am a god – egotheism
  • I am god’s chosen one – messiah complex
  • I am the god – ego sum deus/insanity
  • I am god’s messenger – prophet complex

Forsantheism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

  • god is indefinable and might or must exist in several disparate forms – forsantheism ø
  • god is indefinably everywhere including us – pantheism ø
  • god is indefinably in/all of us as a collective – iptheism ø

Neologism – make the senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos Error) claim that ignosticism is a neologism

The philosophical construct placeholder, as well as the scientific basis of its discipline have always existed, both distinct in approach from the above list of thinking and philosophy, ∴ ignosticism is not simply a new word, and holds specific isolate and logical critical path roles. Therefore the term fails the three tests for rejecting a neologism (novel, non-isolate, non-critical path).

For example the word ‘five,’ was never a neologism. While the word five was new at one time, it was an isolate (basic element) in the sequence of numbers, and held a preexisting critical path role in math logic. Therefore the word five failed two of the three tests to qualify as a neologism. To claim that a word is a neologism, simply because it is novel, under this circumstance where the other two tests of a neologism fail, constitutes a Wittgenstein Error (Descriptive). To claim that a word is a neologism, because it is superfluous with another term (above) which in reality does not, or only slightly overlaps it, is a fallacy by proxy equivocation. The word ignosticism only overlaps with the terms above, to the shallow and untrained mind.

Unless of course one makes the contention that ignosticism is a version of ‘science,’ a fortiori – in which case one might have a point; as the term would hold utility, but also be superfluous.

Freedom to Let the Mystery Be

Additional good news is found, in that, since ignosticism is not a form of theism-abstracted argument, I am also free to not comment or conclude upon a whole host of other ethereal/mystical/spiritual issues aside from the concept of god. No forcing any personal ontological or pseudo-epistemological contention upon others! Such a concept! Ethical Skepticism in application.

A key understanding is this – inside ignosticism, one is free to make a metaphysical selection, or not make one, or even wait until one is ready to make one. All these are possibility, provided one does not force this decision upon others, nor promote their decision as being ‘based upon truth or science’. Such imperious claims are indicative of a heart which was never ready to make its own selection in the first place. It betrays an internal spiritual dishonesty. If you have made your journey through the path of ignosticism, I do not care where you land, but I will at least believe you in that quest.

Ignosticism presents attractiveness for me as a philosopher, former arch skeptic and former studious religious youth, in that it allows the unknown to persist and does not force abject conclusions to the pro or con upon science, self or others.  I spent almost two decades in the ‘atheist/believer’ camps, and eventually began to see the philosophical folly of both as part of my formulation of thoughts around ethical skepticism.  Ignosticism’s central argument is intrinsically a discipline, and not a tenet – it does not possess something to be forced upon others. Much like the Tao is a difficult faith to force on others, because of its ethic of self discipline of thought (and the fact that once you force the philosophy, you are no longer acting in the Tao anyway (see footnote 1). The essence of ignosticism is an ethic of personal choice to disarming the consideration of absurd contentions – Their conversion to the ethical discipline of silence. Neutrally rejecting forced-religious presumptions and definitions. It is a refusal to claim that one knows the penultimate question to ask in the first place. Ignosticism is ethically skeptical.

Indeed, in many ways ignosticism is like good science and skepticism. It is honest, lacking boast, neutral, observing, data collecting, making no claim nor possessing an eagerness to do so without sound basis. It demands that the right questions be asked first, and that no presumption to personal inerrant knowledge underpin one’s search. And in absence of good data and an appropriate question, ignosticism refuses to force a conclusion.

The reality is stark: that among the three forms of logical inference, I cannot apply deductive inference to the issues of god and infinity, nor to a good degree inductive inference; nor can I ethically choose to deescalate to abductive inference. I simply must establish boundaries to the realm inside of which I allow the mystery to be. Be what it is, and not what I would make of it. This mystery, its reality and persistence, not only forces one to be humbly honest – in not knowing, but once one has settled their heart and begun to understand, reveals four of its own truths. Truths which I call the fourfold Law of Advanced Intelligence.

Letting the Mystery Be

Everybody is wondering what and where
They all came from
Everybody is worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
When the whole thing’s done
But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me
I think I’ll just let the mystery be

~ Iris Dement

The Philosophical Foundation of Ignosticism

This hypocrisy of attempting to define that which is not approachable by attribute is illustrated by the principles I call ‘Neti’s Razor’ and ‘I Am that I Am’ (or if you prefer a Sanskrit parallel, Aham Bramsmi). These are the horizontal boundaries of ethical skepticism and ignosticism, which I frame as part of four ordinates when combined with two additional corollaries, the Principle of Indistinguishability and the Non-Existence Definition. All forming a unified resulting and standing boundary of ignosticism – the letting be, of the mystery:

The Ethical Skeptic’s Law of Advanced Intelligence (Ignosticism)

I.  Principle of Indistinguishability (vertical)

/philosophy : science : boundary conditions : limits for claims/ : any sufficiently advanced act of benevolence is indistinguishable from either malevolence or chance.

The ethical heart of ignosticism (the vertical dimension of the graphic below), framed by the first two corollaries below in the horizontal, and the last corollary below in the vertical:

II.  Neti’s Razor (horizontal)

/philosophy : existentialism : boundary condition/ : one cannot produce evidence from an entity which at one point did or will not exist, to derive a conclusion that nothing aside from that entity therefore exists.

The principle which serves to cut secular nihilism as a form of belief, distinct from all other forms of atheism as either philosophy or belief. From the Sanskrit idiom, Neti Neti (not this, not that). Therefore, you are wholly unqualified to instruct me that this realm is the only realm which exists, and efforts to do so constitute a religious activity. So, nihilism falls into a lack of allow-for domain.

III.  I Am that I Am (horizontal)

/philosophy : existentialism : boundary condition/ : that which possesses the unique ability to be able to define itself, renders all other entities disqualified in such expertise. There is no such thing as an expert in god.

The principle which serves to cut theism as a form of belief, distinct from all other forms of belief as either philosophy or religion. From the Torah idiom, I Am (I Am that I Am or in Sanskrit, Aham Bramsmi).  Therefore, if god existed, you are unqualified to tell me about it. So, theism falls into a lack of allow-for domain.

IV.  Non-Existence Definition (vertical)

/philosophy : science : skepticism : elements of attributes/definition/ : six questions form the basis of a definition: What, Where, When, How, Why, Who. The answers to this set of six questions still form an expert definition of attributes, even if the answer to all six is ’empty set’.

Therefore, when one applies the ethics of skepticism – one cannot formulate a definition which is specified as ’empty set’, without due empirical underpinning, a theory possessing a testable mechanism and a consilience of supporting research.  We have none of this, and can make no claims to ‘non-existence’ expertise in god.

Violating Neti Neti is akin to having your mistress stand as an alibi witness in your adultery trial. It is a self-defeating condition of epistemological hypocrisy. In significant contrast, elucidated by means of this Razor therefore, (non-secular, non-nihilist) atheism itself is either a lack of belief, lack of conclusion or lack of allow-for concerning only deities. In parallel to this boundary is the bookend condition wherein one makes a claim that they have a definition for god, such that measurements and tests could have and can then begin to be taken.

The Secular Nihilist and the Theist are making the same premise claim “I have successfully defined god through my expertise and now the next burden step of scientific methodology is to conduct measurements based upon this definition, in order to prove his existence.”

Both the nihilist atheist and the theist are selling expertise in god. Agnosticism is expert open mindedness inside this debate. Ignosticism is in-expert open mindedness. There are no such things as ‘experts’ with god.

To the ignostic, this is an absurd claim and flawed logical process. The question asked is premature and incoherent, and suffers from a shortfall in domain intelligence and foundation philosophical work. In fact, to the ignostic, both secular nihilism and theism are pseudoscientific and absurd beliefs – ie. religions:

Atheism Spectrum

Not that I am instructing anyone to do so but, personally, I choose a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ rather than simply a ‘Lack of Belief.’ This because a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ adheres more closely to the tenets of ethical skepticism. But at the same time I do confess an affinity for both the atheist and agnostic positions. I consider those who hold to those tenets as being individuals who are sincerely deliberating the issue. I do not consider the 3 belief category proponents above to be sincerely deliberating anything – rather trying to instruct me as to what I should believe.

Of the most commonly held contentions, theism, strict atheism, Nihilism (‘Big A’ Atheism), agnosticism as well as fundamentalism are all religious philosophies to the ignostic. Faiths distinguished by holding definitions for that which bears no Wittgenstein language of definition. Distinguished by the way in which one presumes to ask questions, or for all but the agnostic, the choice one makes to subsequently cite all others as being materially incorrect. The religions of Nihilism and Fundamentalism in particular, take absurdity to the extreme of bullying. This is where the social rancor over ‘atheism’ and ‘theism’ originates. It is a fight between extreme dogmatists. Ignosticism cannot boast of material certainty, or that such questions can even be asked. Nor can it be forced as a religion; as it is simply an idea. 

In ignosticism, I do not know what a god is. I have no basis to declare others as being wrong. Therefore I have no belief which to defend. Ontological silence. This is why you do not hear much from the ignostic.

Its Contrast and Reconciliation with Atheism

I could care less therefore, what you choose to believe. Just don’t force it upon me as science, divine revelation nor righteousness. When you do that, you act under your religion. In contrast, ignosticism is simply a lens by which this issue can be viewed rationally. Choices can be made from there, if one so chooses. Ignosticism contends that there can be no proscription nor prescription with the term god or deity. Just as there can be no null hypothesis. A hypothesis requires a base of observation, intelligence and a coherent definition. We have none of this. So all the claims of belief, neutrality, lack of belief, counter-belief, science, ‘science did not observe this,’ or ‘science proves that’ are all misrepresentations of science and discussions of absurdity or reaction in anger, to the ignostic.

Indeed, ignosticism is a deliberate path of ethical exit by means of the door through which one originally and unwittingly was shoved in the first place. The 27th quatrain of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Fitzgerald’s translation) laments expertly about recovered ignosticism:

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.

I do not possess a frame of reference on the subject over which you obsess, so how can I possibly recommend or force a view of it upon you? Were you a Hollywood producer asking me to chime in on the tag-along restrictions of the latest version of a Screen Actor’s Guild contract, I would respond that I have absolutely no idea what any of those things are indeed. Ethically, I could not comment. But with atheism and theism participants, un-dawned on their mindset, is the fact that the principles of the SAG, tag-along laws, and Hollywood contracts do not even exist, so the questions are much more basic than the participants of those philosophies even realize. They simply pretend that there is a SAG, and that there are contract laws or tag-along clauses. This pretense constitutes a Wittgenstein Error (unsinnig) in that no language exists, no definitions exist in reality, the context is unframed and the basis of understanding is solely ontological. We pretend that we know the meanings of such words.

The ignostic is ‘unskilled in the argument by choice’ – it is an ethic of attempting to regain the virginosticism of a newly introduced and dispassionate player. A refusal to enter the game of either the duality (belief/anti-belief) or the pretense of knowledge of what the word ‘deity’ means.

But since one can never reclaim a virgin status, sadly the state of ignosticism is the ethical stance of the atheist who refuses the game. It is a circumspect and well considered choice (yellow text in the graph above).

In the above graphic, you see differentiated a position of knowing the definition of god, and choosing whether or not to hold belief, as distinct from either an ignorance of or a refusal to acknowledge god as a coherently defined subject. These are the two categories on the right hand side represented by the gnosis and ignosis boxes respectively. The third box, ‘virginosticism’ is simply a term I made up to elicit the circumstance where we are not even aware that such a debate even exists, moreover nor are we aware of our own lack of belief in the circumstance – as a result. As in the case of aliens or newborn babies – they are brought to the table without any introduction into the debate in the first place. Ignosticism can be viewed as an attempt to try and regain this virgin status of gnosis. To go back to the circumstance where the argument did not even exist in the first place. And while one cannot step back to a status of pure virginosticism – ignosticism can be a viable alternative to knowledge based lacks of belief (agnosticism and atheism).

One must remember that a ‘lack of belief’ is not a scientific argument, rather a personal position. An ignostic ‘lack of allow-for’ is a scientific argument which precludes nihilism every bit as much as it precludes theism.

For the ignostic, only two conditions prompt a ‘lack of allow-for’ disposition:

  1. Something which has been Popper falsified by science, or
  2. Something which lacks Wittgenstein valid scientific definition (as is the case here).

Therefore, to the ignostic

1. agnosticism and atheism’s lack of belief are not scientific mindset disciplines, rather personal dispositions (albeit understandable ones),

2. virginosticism is moot from a practical sense, and

3. nihilism and theism are moot from a farcical sense. They are beliefs which are being taught through non-scientific means (Wittgenstein unsinnig).

Even more so with this concept you call god, I have no idea what a god is – so I can make no claim as to whether or not one exists. Under a Wittgenstein definition of science therefore, it is moot whether or not I know or do not know that I do not hold a coherent definition for ‘god,’ therefore to Wittgenstein and an ethical skeptic, virginosticism is farcically moot (and indeed it is only posed as a lever for understanding here) and the two concepts merge into one philosophical entity called ignosticism. I refuse to acknowledge that the concept has been given a coherent or observation based definition. I adhere to what the Tao says about declaring the duality (gnosis state resulting choice of belief or anti-belief in the graphic/belief-superset above):

The Tao Te Ching cites in Classic Tao Chapter 2:

ttc - CopyThe gentle outlasts the strong

When the world defines beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it defines good as good, evil arises
Thus extant and nonexistent produce each other
Difficulty and ease are their own co-creators
Long and short reveal each other
High and low only exist because of each other

To the ignostic it is the defining of the principle and character of a god which creates both the theist and the atheist. They are the same form of circus clown, both wearing makeup, just painted with different faces. They both worship the same creature crafted of their imagination and seek to enforce that version of worship, veneration and null-veneration, as a set of truth on mankind. To be fair, the nontheist atheist offers the special pleading exemption from this reality by citing ‘well then I don’t believe in gods of any kind, any definition!’ (nontheism). To my friends who are nontheist atheist, I cite this special pleading as a false pluralistic single, a version of the Plurocratic Fallacy.

Pluralistic Single Plurocratic Fallacy

/noun – apologetic/ : a special pleading wherein one claims that their argument applies not to just one version of its claim, but all possible versions of its claim – while failing to define a distinction of such versions – so as to cover all bases in advance. It is therefore a special pleading distinction without a difference.

It is the same exact argument, painted to appear as if it resolves the primary critique.  It does not.  It is purposely crafted to flex one’s philosophy so as to accommodate any objection that can be brought.  This renders the philosophy, a philosophy in name only. The argument is an apologetic grasping for the ethic of ignosticism, when ignosticism does not have an apologetic to begin with. When one chooses to negate an idea, as the Tao Te Ching adeptly cites, one has revealed both itself and its antithesis. One is dancing in the duality, just pretending to not dance.

This broaches the key weakness of pluralistic single atheism.  If you reject all ‘gods,’ by nature of their being and bearing a minimal set of characteristic skills in this realm, where do you draw the line? Omniscience? Omnipotence? Fathomless Compassion and Love? Or simply some reduced specter of each along the road thereof?  You reject then higher beings and caring intelligence of any kind, benevolent celestial life, advanced technology or inter-dimensionality? In the false pluralistic singular, pretty much any definition or domain you craft for this specially pleaded ‘god,’ might well exist. The only reason in your philosophy it does not exist, is because you said that it does not. Where did you get the exhaustive method and evidence from which to underpin this conclusive claim? Ah, someone told you, and said that they were correct because ‘science’ proved it to them. Yes, my dear atheist/igtheist, we have heard this type of claim before, from the very people you disdain. The simple fact is that you are dancing the duality – and pretending to not dance.

You are ‘acting in the contrivance‘ according to the Tao.1

Ignosticism is the idea that any religious term or theological concept presented must be justified through coherent epistemologically derived definition (Wittgenstein), backed by falsification reduction and sound science (Popper). Conjecture is allowed in such a role as to exemplify philosophy, without trivialist’s critique.  However, beyond this, without a clear definition, an ethical question cannot be formulated, and such principles cannot be meaningfully discussed. Once one broaches the threshold of implying such underlying extraordinary claims – as often expressed in the contention that others are materially incorrect, correct or irrelevant; to the ignostic, one is now participating in a religious argument.

Some philosophers have seen ignosticism as superfluous neologism; because it is simply a variation of agnosticism or atheism. This is superficial and incorrect. This equivocation allows for cognitivist apologetics to be broached, and therefore is not consistent with the core idea of ignosticism : ontological silence : to begin with.

Indeed in this nascent field of ideas, independent author Tristan Vick makes the argument that ignosticism, is the only valid pathway to atheism.2

The atheist, by his own definition, can make no opinion on matters of afterlife, spirituality, the soul, or alternative life forms. Those topics have no context inside of Strict atheism as atheism is only a conclusion about ‘gods.’ The Nihilist possesses final definitions and conclusions about all such concepts, and the debate is closed. This is the strong, it is the power of undeniable conclusion acting inside the contrivance decried by the Tao Te Ching; which eventually falls to the subtle whisper of evidence/lacking evidence rending the original presumptions absurd.

The ignostic in contrast is free to ponder the gentleness of ideas, and is free from the strong of defined conclusions.

Familiar is not congruent with defined and coherent. Be wise in understanding this.

Free to research and consider such principles as their epistemological framework comes into clarity, as they have detached their ideas from the artificial construct of god or ‘no god.’ In the end, the diligent atheist who no longer wishes to instruct others as to what is and is not, in absence of enough knowledge, must find their path through the integrity of ignosticism; both in freedom from religion, and freedom of discussion domain. The diligent theist must likewise step off the pulpit of certainty and regain the wonder of not knowing and model the integrity to withstand the cognitive dissonance which arises from being intellectually ethical. Otherwise they both are forever fixated on the religious duty of telling others that what god and all these things are, and indeed that they do or do not exist. All a life spent dwelling inside absurd noises and wasted philosophy.

epoché vanguards gnosis

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How to MLA cite this blog post =>

The Ethical Skeptic, “Ignosticism” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress,30 May 2018, Web; https://wp.me/p17q0e-3pJ

May 30, 2018 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism, What is Ethical Skepticism | , , | 12 Comments

When Simple is Just Simply Wrong

If one can easily translate the complex into the ‘simple’ – one risks reducing out the essential argument which was posed in the first place. Sometimes, simple is simply not enough, or worse is a way of faking comprehension when one does not really grasp mechanism nor seek understanding. Sometimes what is celebrated as simple, is in reality advantageously obtuse.

We have all heard the famous Richard Feynman quote “If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it.” While the principle rings with lofty enlightenment, and accordingly tugs at my heart to grant it free pass based upon its poetic conviction alone, nonetheless my mind raises an experience-based objection.  Not all things are simple of course, but more importantly, many things cannot be reduced beyond a given level of complexity, without compromising the essence of the critical path logic contained in its original form. Many principles of philosophy for instance, require the participant to up their game, and suffer (sometimes fatally) when the principle is translated into a weaker and supposedly more understandable form. It is not that the much venerated Dr. Feynman is wrong in his statement, rather that his statement can be shown to be wrong in common circumstances, without special pleading. It is a type of organic untruth called dicto simpliciter (see below). Feynman’s simplicity apothegm also is a complex fallacy called the Wonka Golden Ticket or einfach mechanism. It is pseudo-theory. It is an idea which is so strong in its simplicity, verisimilitude and perception, that it is installed as truth from the moment it is uttered; never vetted in its genesis, and is never allowed to be questioned again. Humans are ruled by this type of common fiat wisdom. This statement itself, ironically stands exemplary as to why ‘simple’ is not always the correct or clearest explanation. Sometimes, an effort to force simplicity constitutes nothing more than simpleton science itself.

Einfach Mechanism

An invalid null hypothesis or best explanation. An explanation, theory or idea which resolves a contention through bypassing the scientific method, then moreover is installed as truth solely by means of the apparent strength of the idea itself. Pseudo-theory which is not tested at its inception, nor is ever held to account thereafter.

Simple or Simpleton?

If simplicity is to be defined by functional implication as ‘that which is understandable’, then one must be aware of the pitfalls entwined inside the art of conversion of the complex into its simpler form. This process is not an idempotent process. The principle can be elicited by the philosophical tenet known as translation, as formulated by materials physicist, Percy Bridgman.1

The materials physicist Percy Bridgman, commented upon the process by which we ‘translate’ abstract theories and concepts into specific experimental contexts and protocols. Calling this work of reduction and translation ‘operationalism’ – Bridgman cautioned that experimental data production is often guided by substantial presuppositions about the subject matter which arise as a part of this translation. Often raising concern about the ways in which initial questions are formulated inside a scientific context. True science is a process which revisits its methodological constructs (modes of research method) as often as it does its epistemological (knowledge) ones. Accordingly, this principle identified by Bridgman is the foundation of the philosophy which clarifies the difference between a complex understanding and its necessary components. If presuppositions are made in this very scientific process itself, are not even more risky suppositions then made in the process of translating complexity into simplicity?

When we alter a principle for clarity’s sake, just as in the case of reducing complex scientific paradigms into simpler component tests, we translate and reduce sometimes the content of that principle. We inexorably change that principle. Especially if the principle itself was delineating a subtle aspect of philosophy to begin with. The ability to make a tenet of philosophy simpler, may stand more as an indication that the translation specialist did not get the subtle nature of its critical logic to begin with. When this is done as a matter of convenience in order to make the pseudo-principle go viral, or push selected answers, this is called being advantageously obtuse.

Advantageously Obtuse (Bridgman Reduction)

/philosophy : pseudo-philosophy/ : a principle which has been translated, reduced or dumbed-down for consumption so as to appear to be a ‘simple’ version of its source principle; however, which has been compromised through such a process. Thereby making it easy to communicate among the vulnerable who fail to grasp its critical elements, and moreover to serve as an apothegm useful in enforcing specific desired conclusions. Statements such as ‘the burden of proof lies on the claimant’ or ‘the simplest explanation tends to be correct’ – stand as twisted, viral forms of their parent principles, which contend ironically, critically or completely different standards of thought.

Simple itself, also may be less scientific. Comparatively, all things being equal, a more plural construct is more scientific precisely because it is more potentially informative than is a conforming or simple (monist) construct. It places more conjecture on the line – and takes incremental risk which a simple explanation does not.  An incrementally complex (context of plurality) construct should be studied first, under a condition of plurality, because ostensibly it is the easiest to eliminate through falsification/deduction – and therefore is more informative as compared to a ‘simple’ explanation (which is inductive/abductive inference at best).2  Fake skeptics never get this – they cling onto their one-liner’s and what is familiar (simple) – and then die, and a new generation precipitates what is known as a Kuhn-Planck paradigm shift. (see, the highly informative role of conflicting and non-corroborating evidence)

In pluralistic research, a team does not ‘test the simplest constructs first’. This is the false notion of someone who has never once assembled a reduction critical path, nor prosecuted a scientific line of inquiry. A team will test those constructs which can be potentially falsified in short order first on the critical path – which often also are complex (not complicated) in their offing. This, for three reasons: 1) falsification is a more highly informative pathway of research, 2) The added information strengthens the ability to resolve other constructs in the critical path succession, and 3) this wastes the least amount of dwell time inside a series of critical path Query Oriented Normalization question series (especially when one is under stakeholder or stockholder pressure). If your ‘skeptic’ does not know what any of these things are – tell them to shut up and sit down before they hurt themselves.

Also, please note that complex, plural and complicated (the antithesis of simple), are not the same thing. Don’t let your fake skeptic pull tricks by conflating the three or using special pleadings as to what is indeed complexity inside this context. Just because a construct adds a feature at risk under science, does not serve to make it ‘less simple’. They are not lovers of simplicity, rather they fear the inability of their mind to grasp sufficient and necessary complexity.

Let’s use a case example of ‘Occam’s Razor’ (sic). I chuckled when I first grasped the circular logic entailed in the pseudoscience version of Ockham’s Razor, ‘Occam’s Razor’, shown in the graphic to the right. Occam’s Razor, the favorite apothegm of the social skeptic, is advantageously obtuse. Not only shallow, but handy in promoting specific conclusions without merit. The principle, made famous in the movie Contact, written by Carl Sagan, offers promotion of the ‘simplest explanation’ as a pathway bearing reliable truth. Ironically Occam’s Razor itself is a flawed ‘simple’ form of Ockham’s Razor, simply because Sagan wanted a simpler version of what he failed to grasp to begin with.3 ‘Plurality should not be posited without necessity’ is not congruent in any way shape or form with ‘All things being equal, the simplest explanation tends to be the correct one’. In the latter definition, the participant is not looking for a simple way to understand Ockham’s Razor, rather they are looking for a simpler way to (not have to) do science – one which does not demand all the investigation, research, databasing, question asking, recursive work – and rather serves to make science itself fatally simple (or less effort). An armchair activity if you will. Many scientists reject Occam’s Razor for this very reason – it is shortcut, lazy and premature science.4

…well if there is sufficient evidence for both, then I believe both happily. And then wait for more… I mean if the experimental data doesn’t favour one of them, why should I believe the simpler one? […] I probably would because it’s easier to understand, easier for my brain to work on, but if they both show sufficient data, then either of them might be right or neither of them might be right, so I’m happy to believe both until one is disproven.

~ “Simple or Simplistic? Scientists’ Views on Occam’s Razor”, Hauke Riesch

Occam’s Razor is an example of simple gone wrong (see more here: Ethical Skepticism – Part 5 – The Real Ockham’s Razor). The principal flaws buried inside of this lazy, or worse obfuscative, approach to science resides inside two critical path fallacies relating to soundness:

Transactional Occam’s Razor Fallacy (Appeal to Ignorance)

The false contention that a challenging construct, observation or paradigm must immediately be ‘explained.’ Sidestepping of the data aggregation, question development, intelligence and testing/replication steps of the scientific method and forcing a skip right to its artificially conclusive end (final peer review by ‘Occam’s Razor’).

dicto simpliciter

When one presumes that what is true in general and/or under normal circumstances, is therefore true under all circumstances without exception.

Occam’s Razor is not simple, rather it is obtuse. Sometimes simple, is simply wrong. Other examples of apothegms, which are incorrectly derived from their parent philosophical principles through a Bridgman Reduction include:

Actual scientific principle: onus probandi – It is a general rule, that the party who alleges the affirmative of any proposition shall prove it. This includes the Null Hypothesis or any form of stand-in which is to serve in its place. In general, wherever science presumes the affirmative, it lies on the party who denies the fact, to prove the negative.5

Incorrect simple version: ‘The person claiming something is possible or has happened needs to produce evidence to refute the null hypothesis.’ ~ Rational Wiki6

Incorrect simple version: ‘The burden of proof resides on the claimant.’ ~ Common doctrine7

Actual philosophical principle: ‘A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.’ ~ David Hume

Incorrect simple version: ‘A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence’ ~ Steven Novella8

Actual philosophical principle: ‘For every fact F, there must be a sufficient reason why F is the case. For every x, there is a y such that y is the sufficient reason for x’ ~Gottfried Leibniz9

Incorrect simple version: ‘Everything happens for a reason.’10

Actual philosophical principle: ‘The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.’ ~ John Stuart Mill11

Incorrect simple version: ‘Non-aggression principle, aggression is inherently wrong. Do no harm.’ ~ Common doctrine12

Conflating Obtuseness with Simplicity of Expression and Reductionism

Now of course, reduced simple constructs bear enormous usefulness inside science, and in particular systems modeling. Physics itself is a form of systems modeling, involving the principle of reductionism. Reductionism has served the sciences well. In physics, where there are well defined laws, it is often possible to use a micro-scaled descriptive principle to derive a macroscopic model. Nuclear reactions were first modeled in this micro-to-macro fashion, before a physical one was ever achieved by mankind.13 Take for instance, the simple mathematical relationship which describes the mass to energy conversion occurring inside a fission or fusion nuclear reaction.

Simple, right? But if you really want to understand nuclear dynamics, as I did as a young undergraduate, the actual formula which models the dynamic reaction in a nuclear core runs down the chalkboard of an entire side and one half of a typical medium-sized college classroom. A sad realization I encountered one day when Professor Farazin spent the first 15 minutes of class writing that equation up on the chalkboard. A very complex equation in reality, featuring simpler components and substrates. The neutron transport dynamics and kinetics, the core shape, neutron sinks, reflection dynamics and material makeup – all play into one complex interleaving producing a given fast neutron density. This gives us the brisance, thermal release and control profile of the nuclear chain reaction.

Let’s make it clear here, that one’s ability to cite the simple principle E=mc² does not in any way qualify one to understand nor teach nuclear core dynamics. Sometimes, simple is simply not enough, or might even constitute a way of faking it, when one does not really understand what is going on.

Let’s take another example. Many of the celebrity science communicators who are pushed in front of us daily by the media, spout simple and clever sounding apothegms, yet fail to even understand the science behind these apothegms. The very same failure as on the part of those agenda spinners who created them in the first place. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a favorite whipping post for stupid statements in the name of science. When one takes physiology obtusely, and fails to understand the complex relationship between pesticides, livestock hormones and antibiotics, the human microbiome, endocrine system, metabolism, vitamin absorption, ketosis and mitochondrial damage/suppression, one can regard themselves as clever in whipping out simpleton science gems such as this:

“A Weight Loss book written by Physicists would be 1 sentence long: ‘Consume calories at a lower rate than your body burns them.'” ~ Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Had Neil DeGrasse Tyson actually invested any scientific experience/effort (the dreaded ‘complexity’) into this subject, he would know that calories-in calories-out dieting does not work, and inevitably leads to lower and lower consumption over time; finally resulting in the related chronic diseases from malnutrition which accompany this bad practice. It is simple, but it is also stupid. And you will find those who cannot distinguish between the two, to often be fascinated by the apparent brilliance of simpleness. But you see, actually investigating these constructs was not ‘simple’ enough for Neil. Neil, as all celebrity skeptics and science communicators are wont, was rent-seeking (see below).

Additionally, systems modelers recognize the critical nature of reductionism in understanding the elemental dynamics of a more complex model:

At what point does the model cease to have explanatory value having become too complex to do anything more than simulate it at a variety of parameter values and initial conditions? Often, the models that are proposed have dozens of parameters many of which may not be known for the particular system studied. Furthermore, the complexity of the models makes it difficult to study sensitivity to parameters and initial conditions even on fast computers. This difficulty is magnified when the systems that are simulated are inherently stochastic, for then, one can ask how many sample paths is enough? In addition to the computational difficulties and the incomplete knowledge of parameters, there is also the issue of the interpretation of the output of the model. Large simulations produce a tremendous amount of output and much of it is likely to be useless for the particulars of a given experiment. Finally, for many biological systems, one can only guess at the mechanism. A simulation does not tell you how dependent the behavior is on the particular instance of the mechanism that you have chosen.14

~ Bard Ermentrout, Department of Mathematics – University of Pittsburgh

But we must understand that, reduction is simply a method by which we digest necessary complexity – and is not tantamount to dismissing complexity nor making a model simple itself. Conflating these two principles can serve to be the genesis of much philosophical (and sadly, scientific) confusion.

Simplicity-Seeking is Intellectual Rent-Seeking

Simplicity-seeking, much akin to Nassim Taleb’s (as opposed to Gordon Tullock’s earlier version) principle entitled rent-seeking, is a way of profiting by means of the least-effort method ascertainable. Rent-seeking involves seeking to increase one’s share of existing wealth without creating or contributing value as a part of that process. Easy money, Easy science. Just as in economics, where the activities of cartels, bureaucracies and monopolies – seek to gain economically through no provision of value – even so, simplicity seeking is a form of intellectual and scientific laziness. Bard Ermentrout elicits this by means of a great point inside the quote above, with his statement “…for many biological systems, one can only guess at the mechanism.”.

It is precisely our inability or lack of desire to handle and grasp complex body systems, along with the desire to make them simpler than they really are, that is the genesis of much misdiagnosis and mistreatment inside modern medicine. It is our wish to make things simple, which causes interventions based upon these fallacious understandings to indeed go wrong.

Let’s examine an example of this in modern medicine; and in particular one of the primary hormone signal and control centers in the body, the thyroid gland.

“Thyroid replacement hormones are a first line of defense for many doctors, prescribed with the promise of wiping out a number of symptoms in one fell swoop. But taking that approach is turning a blind eye to what caused the thyroid to become depressed in the first place. The underlying causes can range from irregular immune function and poor blood sugar metabolism to gut infections, adrenal problems, and hormonal imbalances. Hypothyroidism is a horribly mistreated and misunderstood disease. Not only does it remain undiagnosed in scores of people (including children), but once diagnosed, the old-school treatment of a single daily synthetic hormone replacement pill is not always effective.”15

~ Endocrinologist, Datis Kharrazian, from nyparenting.com

The thyroid gland is an advanced, complex and highly interleaved system control head. Its function inside the pituitary-thyroid-adrenal axis is poorly understood. And while the thyroid releases at least 4 hormones (body control signals), T1, T2, T3 and T4 – we as a medical body have made the damaging mistake of assuming that the gland’s role inside the body is simpler than it really is. We patent and prescribe T4 – Levothyroxine, repeatedly make easy billions of dollars, and call the science finished.  Meanwhile millions of people are harmed by this form of rent-seeking: simplicity seeking.

Problems with Enforcing Simplicity as an Over-Rule

As much as I would love to express some of the findings inside my philosophy in much simpler terms, as a technical and specification writer I find that I cannot in many cases, without compromising the material I wish to relate. Understanding as it turns out, is the ability to know when not to make something simpler, as opposed to the skill in doing so. Complexity many times, is asking the neophyte to up their game, not lower the standard of the material being presented. The principles I express in this blog are, many times discriminated inside levels of complexity to begin with. Spotting the magician’s trick requires that one understand the subtle methodology being employed by the magician. ‘Simple’ in this context, of the art of the professional lie, is often simply a sales job.

1)  Simple explanations have complex underpinnings.  Our “simple” explanations are only simple, because we choose to contort reality in extremely exhaustive complexities in order to force simplicity.  You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.  But if he does drink, that is not a simple action by any means, it may appear to be simple but that is an illusion on the part of the casual observer. Simplicity, many times, is only an illusion.

2)  Beware of the tyranny of the simple.  Simplicity as a principle of discretion is best suited for the clear application of judgments and governances, and as such is usually based on sets of laws and procedure which change only slowly and under great necessity.  Laws only change as men change, and men are slow to change.  Because of this, laws of governance are always behind current understandings.  Unassailable principles of governance have little place in discovery and science.

3)  Simplicity conveys neither straightforwardness, nor elegance; which are central tenets of understanding.  “The simplest vehicle I know of is a unicycle.  I’ll be damned if after all these years of trying, I still have not managed to learn how to ride one.”

4)  Simplicity implies that enough data exists to warrant a conclusion regarding an observation, then further implies that a disposition must be tendered immediately.  Simplicity in this fashion is sold through construction of a false dilemma, a fatal logical fallacy.

5) Simplicity which does not give way to the utility of an incrementally more complex, yet better explanatory paradigm, is not simplicity, rather utility blindness or Kuhn Denialism. Science is a progression of incrementally better utility in the explanatory basis of successive models. As this process progresses, models tend to gain more accuracy or applicability at the cost of added complexity.  A focus on simplicity rather than utility can bias a person against the incremental nature of scientific explanatory progression.

6) Simple is a form of rent seeking. It is employed by a player who either does not understand the complex underlying principle or even worse desires to obfuscate that underlying principle to begin with. This usually involves a situation where the ‘simplicity-seeker’ is establishing a form of information control. An ability to derive and enforce a scientific paradigm without having to input the work, value or clarity normally incumbent with such a feat.

When rational thinking becomes nothing more than an exercise in simply dismissing observations to suit one’s inherited ontology, then the entire integral will and mind of the individual participating in such activity, has been broken.

Sometimes what is celebrated as simple, is in reality merely obtuse.

epoché vanguards gnosis

——————————————————————————————

How to MLA cite this blog post =>

The Ethical Skeptic, “When Simple is Just Simply Wrong” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress,27 May 2018, Web; https://wp.me/p17q0e-7I6

May 27, 2018 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , | Leave a comment

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