The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Nurturing the New Mind: The Disruptive Nature of Ethics

Everyone lies. Even so, it is the legitimate role of the New Mind to not simply detect lies, but moreover to dethrone those entities which pretend to the role of God. The Ethical Skeptic does not know what a god even is; nor does he possess all knowledge and wisdom. However, he can easily spot a monkey with a gas can. Even and especially if that gas can serves to intimidate via means of institution, socialized rationality or specious claims to science, evidence or truth. Inside this awareness, several telltale character traits, life signatures, differentiate the poser elitist from someone who can be trusted. This is his threshing floor – upon which he exercises the disruptive nature of ethics.

monkey with a gas canTo a degree, ethical skepticism can be viewed as a method of exercising a New Mind. It involves a keen survey of the landscape of animal, primate and human behavior, along with an understanding of how these roles, tactics and strategies of both survival and inhabitance, have played into our success as a species. It also involves (as does true skepticism) a keen understanding of the pitfalls of each strategy and how such pitfalls might manifest in our lives inside the societies in which we dwell. Everything of merit possesses a relevant range of application, outside of the bounds of which, even the best strategy can devolve into a practice oriented towards power; producing deception and suffering. Remember, that to a sentient intelligence species, deception-based ignorance and suffering are the same thing – one is simply the expression of the other. Lacking of knowledge is not a sin. The withholding of knowledge and denial of the right to thrive is a sin. This is a key tenet of ethical skepticism. It is not so much bunk we are fighting, as bunk will eventually falsify itself in a free information environment, rather cultivated ignorance. The ethical skeptic gets this, the small mind, no matter how rational, does not.

The Knowledge of God and Not-God

Let’s take a step back and examine the myth outlaid in the Torah, a myth which has for right or wrong, ruled much of our foundational understanding of good and evil as a western superculture. A condensed version of manuscripts taken from an older Levantine religion (I suspect from which the Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite lineage spawned) now included in what we call The Bible. In the renamed condensed later manuscript now called Genesis, we see in verses 3: 22 – 24 (NASB):

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

Now I have found manifest in my years working with nations and corporations all over the globe, that man possesses a serious dearth in ability to distinguish good from evil, nor even cozen a coherent definition of each thereof. What man understands is ‘proper’ and ‘improper’. These are simply popular constructs relating to socialized rationality. Hence the persistence of malicious religions, governments and corporations – entities which thrive on ‘rationality’ but do not serve its goals necessarily; rather ultimately their own. Were we to recognize them in the context of true good and evil, possibly we could work to mitigate their deleterious effects. But we cannot even recognize such effects, even if we did possess a knowledge of good and evil at the outset. No, we are their prey – seriously falling under the contention that we must have eaten from the Tree of Lack of Knowledge of Good and Evil, were there such a mythical flora indeed. The bottom line is that the Bible is wrong, we do not know what good and evil is. We know harm, proper and improper. That is all. Perhaps our fall after all, simply resides in our presuming of skill at good and evil discernment in the first place.

Just think to yourself, what if your family dog one day licked an electrical socket and suddenly obtained the mental clarity to ascertain your true nature and celestial position as a human being? What if in a bought of tragic rift, your beloved pet, the furry creature who used to greet you at the door with such abandon, excitement and love each day after work, became knowledgeable about just who and what you were? What if he understood that you did not really kill and prepare the food you so faithfully gave him? What if he understood that you routinely lie to your parents in order to placate them? What if he understood that you had to betray a friend and take full credit for a paper that was partly her idea, in order to make the next step in your career? What if he understood that you destroyed a friend and former lover, in order to chance a relationship with someone more attractive – and it all collapsed in a heap of angst and broken hearts? What if he knew that you habitually tolerated or promulgated lies between 10-200 times every single day – along with the rest of humanity?¹ And even lived in a state of denial of even doing so, lying even to yourself? But never mind this, what if your faithful dog – suddenly possessed even the slightest understanding of who and what you are? He would hold then the wisdom of the Knowledge of God and Not-God. He might even bite you and leave.

He would be wise to you, and no longer serve in the faithful role in which you both previously existed. Bad dog…

Everyone lies. Even so, it is the legitimate role of the New Mind to not simply detect lies, but moreover to dethrone those entities which pretend to the role of God. The Ethical Skeptic does not know what a god even is; nor does he possess all knowledge and wisdom. However, he can easily spot a monkey with a gas can. Even and especially if that gas can serves to intimidate via means of institution, socialized rationality or specious claims to science, evidence or truth. Inside this awareness, several telltale character traits, life signatures differentiate the poser from someone who can be trusted. This is his threshing floor.

The ethical skeptic knows that it is often those who adhere to the most strict appearances of honesty – who can produce the most corrupt manifestations of ignorance and suffering. They can be known by hints derived from their motivations.

Standing Up to The Monkey with the Gas Can

Ethics are therefore disruptive by this very principle alone; and in an evolutionary context actually, eruptive. And in as much as this comforting metaphor of the family dog can serve to exhibit the crucial relationship between knowledge and control, even so we as thinking and discriminating beings can fortunately now examine the playing field inside which we reside. Our task is to become more than simply the smart but formerly obedient dog.  In so far as Pamela Meyer has outlined in her work “Liespotting,” the ability to spot lies in other people;¹ even moreso, the task at hand for us the ethical skeptics, is understanding the conditions when someone is pretending to the role of God in our lives. And trust me, it is not just mainstream religion which is pretending to this role. Primates seek power, pleasure and entitlement by any means they can – and uber-correctness, fake humility and social rationality can serve as great cover for such foibles.

First however, let’s examine the transitional role which primates have played in the evolution of consciousness and conscience. The stacked hierarchy of tactic and strategy inside the reality of the need to survive or thrive within this physical realm in which we find ourselves. A New Mind may perceive itself as an unwilling participant inside the grand play in which it holds a role. And whether self-deception, illusion or none of the above, it is of no matter. The reality is that we survey this landscape nonetheless.

Perhaps two examples from the natural world, the first from the Jane Goodall Institute and the second from the work of animal psychologist Penny Patterson of The Gorilla Foundation, can suffice to elicit this graphic below. (As a note, I would ignore the abysmally incompetent, paltry and biased writeups in Wikipedia on both these matters as the authors of those entries were merely doing amateurish hackjobs, and not true research expose on each topic – so the entries are useless as information other than nominal facts and fake skeptic viewpoints on the matter):

[One Chimpanzee named Mike (1938 to 1975) began a strategy of dominance through employment of a gas can.] One day as Mike was batting a gasoline can around, the loud thuds and irritating banging noises it produced resulted in a few of his fellow chimpanzees running quickly away from the strange object and the noise it produced. Mike understood this to mean that he had found a means to intimidate his fellow chimpanzees. Mike began to practice his new brand of display with two cans bouncing off trees and earth as he went running madly down the path with hair standing erect, shoulders pushed back, and face molded into a fiercely determined look. Chimpanzees cringed in fear as they heard his noisy approach and saw him running at them. They scattered off the path and out of his way.

Large high-ranking males fled up the tree trunks when Mike began his descent down the forest path slapping, kicking, and smacking three cans in front of him! The other chimpanzees had never seen or heard anything like it. It was as if the worst thunderstorm had erupted and Mike was directing it toward them. They shrieked and tried desperately to get away from him and the terrible rattling and banging noise the cans made as they flew down the hill in their direction. Not wanting to fight with the unknown, the males of Mike’s community acquiesced. Mike became the first alpha male ever to employ his brain rather than his brawn to govern his community. One year after Mike began his unusual display, he attained the position of alpha male.²

Successively then, let us regard a tale of Koko the western lowland gorilla, the primate who has single-pawed overturned our understanding of the primate mind.

Like most people, Koko has good behaviors and bad behaviors. Like most people, she takes credit for the good behaviors and blames the bad ones on someone else. The cat [All Ball] came in handy on one particularly destructive day. When no one was around, Koko managed to rip a sink out of the wall in her habitat. When the humans returned, they asked Koko who ripped out the sink.

Koko signed, “The cat did it.”³

What this indicates is then, the death of the idea of glorified but fallen-sinful humanity, and the introduction of the idea that our vulnerabilities, our proclivities for both illicit and legitimate gain – are simply expressions of natural strategies to survive and thrive. They are natural, albeit higher DNA based manifestations of expression. We were simply blinded to this by entities pretending to the role of God in our past. Bluffing into a form of control, or what might reside inside the blue levels of the primate pyramid below. Below, I have constructed a graphic depicting the less-than-dramatic schism between humanity and the natural realm, along with the challenge resident in the mind of the ethical skeptic as to how we progress from this problem of philosophy (Social Skepticism), and onto the next step. What I call, The New Mind.

The Heirarchy of Natural Competitiveness

Traits of the New Mind

sci literacyThe decision as to whether control, coaching and conscience are sufficient to the task of fostering The New Mind, or whether or not to apply the draconian measures of culling and conversion, wholly resides inside another camp altogether. So for purposes of this blog, let’s assume that coaching and conscience are the tactics which provide for success in crafting of The New Mind. In that context, for the ethical skeptic, the matter is not simply one of determining liars and lies. Everyone lies. This is the reality of the natural realm inside which we reside. Pretending to be able to counter all the proclivities of the natural realm is a matter of magic, self aggrandizement and boast. Our task is NOT to detect every single lie which is uttered, and swell our egos in a virtual cocoon of correctness. Such a state stands itself, manifest as a sort of lie of its own crafting.  The key for the ethical skeptic is to detect when lies become institutionalized, when they begin to manifest suffering on a small or even grander scale.

The question on the mind of the ethical skeptic is “How do we get to the New Mind?” And more importantly, how do I take control of my intent and begin to serve a New Mind in myself? This is the essence of becoming an ethical skeptic. To become a skeptic of one’s self, and others – in so far as spotting the character traits of one who is – or is not – residing inside this New Mind:

  • Tenacious
  • Possessing gumption
  • Incessantly curious
  • Nurturing
  • Transparent but not full disclosure
  • Compassionate
  • Does not seek tenure nor guaranteed power and comfort
  • Willing to re-invest/risk
  • Altruistic
  • The ability to know when to not be altruistic
  • Possesses a “Value for Vision” and a “Vision for Value”
  • Hard working but not seeking entitlement
  • Balanced
  • Disruptive, firm but fair in the face of god proxies
  • Does not instinctively seek to insult
  • Examines self first
  • Does not wear fake humility as a costume
  • Does not wear social conformance as a costume

humble costumeThese are the hallmarks of the person who can be trusted, and not whether they have ever made a mistake – nor pondered pseudoscience. A person who has overcome themselves, and further then realizes that the goal of life is not simply to be happy, judgemental or controlling – and especially to not pull off primate tricks in order to amass such pleasure. Rather, possesses the quiet focus to be steadfast, faithful, compassionate, hungry and firm in the face of elite thirst for power. In a world of primate tricks, corruption, collusion and control – such traits are innately disruptive.

Epoché Vanguards Gnosis.

TES Signature


¹  Meyer, Pamela; “Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception”; July 2010; Pamela Meyer.

²  ChimpaZoo; The Goodall Institute, Chapter 21: “Mike the Alpha Male”; http://www.chimpanzoo.org/african_notecards/chapter_21.html.

³  “A Conversation with Koko”; Nature (1999) The Gorilla Institute; http://www.koko.org/dvds – as reported through Natural News; Mike Budrant; Jan 19, 2013; http://www.naturalnews.com/038743_primates_liars_gorilla.html.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Institutional Mandates, What is Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Seven Features of Great Philosophy

Within the Riddle of Skepticism is revealed the very nature and role of philosophy.

For me, seven character traits serve to formulate the basis of an important new philosophy. Much of this set of principles revolves around the same tenets which serve to identify good science, innovative ideas and serviceable patents. Philosophy, despite the problem of philosophy as identified by Karl Popper, is no different. Venerable thoughts should exhibit certain beneficial and ethical traits in service to mankind – regardless of whether the domain context is legal, governing, mathematical, scientific or philosophical in nature. In each of my blogs, I strive to meet these expectations for my own work. I don’t always hit the mark – but I will say it is very easy to find examples of philosophy which violate each of these tenets. We all have a long way to go.

Seven Features of Great Philosophy

The Seven Features of Great Philosophy

1.  Distinct – Serves in an incremental or open critical-path role

2.  Cogent – Is focused, concise, meaningful and useful

3.  Novel – Has not been fairly addressed before

4.  Non-obvious – Not really obvious to the average philosopher

5.  Adeptly Addresses Prior Art – Leverages or fairly modifies prior philosophical work

6.  Not a Rhetosophy – Not developed to feature nor protect an agenda

7.  Teachable – Can be effectively communicated and sustained

And that being said, I leave you now with Ethical Skepticism’s “The Riddle of Skepticism”

The riddle of skepticism

TES Signature

August 5, 2016 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | 3 Comments

Ethical Skepticism – Part 8 – The Watchers Must Also Be Watched

One of the tenets of Ethical Skepticism is “Monitor those who do the monitoring.” A confluence of three pitfalls derive from a monitoring process which has gone awry. In-group biases tend to reinforce in the mind of the watchers, the need for their quality entity (external entity skepticism in lieu of science) and they may fail to be able to recognize a quality outcome – becoming the source of error themselves. The net result, many times is an unbound combination of lack of accountability and coalescence of power to the authority who watches. This stands as a god-proxy. A mistake wherein the network may value itself above product or topic and become a regularly self-justifying and error stimulating/generating mechanism.
Clubs fail to ensure quality. Ethical Skepticism is the very absence of club quality.

Quality is not an Add-OnIn classic quality control theory, there exist five principal approaches to improving and sustaining quality of process and delivery. They revolve around the ethos of designing elegant procedure, being smart, and treating people in an ethical manner. Accountability imbued from outsiders is rarely effective, rather only standing as a cathartic and futile gesture on the part of someone looking to profit from the process, not share in its success. Shortfalls in this regard are what result in human and systemic error. Error does not stem primarily from an absence of monitoring errors; rather, it stems from a bad assumption, bad training, bad process …and sometimes (many times), bad monitoring itself. The key elements entailed in designing a process of quality, in order, are †

I.  Craft process(es) based upon clarity and value regarding human, training, system and their symbiosis

II.  Interweave self-checking mechanisms which highlight and correct error as an elegant aspect of each step

III.  Right-Pace productivity expectations to enhance quality, not make things produce as fast or low-cost as possible

IV.  Inform those who are stakeholders, and reward those who are critical, in achieving and sustaining quality delivery – Punishment and social derision are ineffective at producing sustained quality, or even quality at all.

V.  Monitor the mechanisms which monitor the process/quality.

Skepticism as Quality

In this same manner, (Ethical) skepticism is a quality mindset one maintains while doing actual science. It is not an add-on which decides, judges, derides, intimidates, concludes or provisionally stacks externally to or in lieu of science. This latter approach is demonstrably and timelessly ineffective.

How its not doneWhat my businesses have found over the years is that, if you do the first four things right, then the majority of error will be generated regarding pitfalls inside element V. In other words, your goal is to craft a process which is effective enough from a quality standpoint, that the monitoring process itself becomes the weakest link in the chain. As a young executive, the first time my organization achieved this state, it surprised me. From then on, I understood.

Treating people ethically is the key to quality – you do not punish quality deliverers and reward external parties – this is anathema to a sound approach in establishing quality. This however, is the practice of Social Skepticism.

In real ethical business and engineered process, you inform stakeholders (those directly impacted) and you reward those who deliver quality. Unconcerned parties do not get a voice – no matter how many buzzwords they know.

This lens into the principle of quality elicits a key tenet of Ethical Skepticism. That of watching the watchers. Systems are systems and humans are humans. Once established, they tend to erect mechanisms which serve to defend the existence of the system or human organization itself. Just as in the principle where the old bootleg networks of the prohibition era simply became drug networks after prohibition was repealed, any self-justifying network (one in which the value incorrectly resides in the network itself and not the product) will find targets which serve to reinforce justification for their existence. It was the network after all which was important and not the drug they were supplying.

With this in mind, several current pitfalls intersect to produce the current reality we observe with regard to Social Skepticism:

A.  The value, in the mind of the member is incorrectly shifted from the product or topic, and into the Organization itself.

B.  The watchers or Organization themselves may be unconnected to the issue, fail to recognize success and be where the majority of the error is then generated.

C. The Organization errantly begins to see quality as an external process of authority, derision and punishment – this always fails.

A or B or C or any intersection thereof. The watcher network may value itself above product, begin to fail to be able to imbue a quality outcome and become a regularly self-justifying and error stimulating/generating mechanism of its own.

This is the condition (A or B or C or any intersection thereof) we find ourselves in today. Fake skepticism run amok; wherein its participants reside in a state of such epistemic commitment and in-group bias, that they cannot observe the ineffective and many times destructive quality role they have played inside the public’s understanding of science and skepticism. This is the condition wherein a god proxy has arisen and is now exercising power.

The watchers are abusing the public and are not being held to account themselves. They are only producing errant outcomes and quality somehow never seems to arrive. An excellent example may be found inside this blog by Vixen Valentino, where as an astute observer of process error, she has identified the hypocrisy of appeal to motive accusations carelessly foisted by this self-justifying watchers organization. This is not how science is done, and not how skepticism is done. This introduces another form of informal fallacy for our consideration, qualitas clava error.

Qualitas Clava Error

/philosophy : fallacy : demarcation of skepticism and pseudo-skepticism/ : club quality error. The presumption on the part of role-playing or celebrity-power-seeking social skeptics that their club or its power, is important in ensuring the quality of science and scientific understanding on the part of the broader population. The presumption that external club popularity and authority, lock step club allegiance and presumptive stacks of probable knowledge will serve to produce valid or quality outcomes inside scientific, rational or critical thought processes. The pretense of encouraging skepticism, while at the same time promoting conclusions. Such thought fails in light of time proven quality improvement practices.

Those who truly value the outcomes of science, those who truly seek to develop knowledge and alleviate suffering – must be ever vigilant to watch for those who are simply using science as a battering ram to build their ego, money, politics and celebrity. At the supposed benefit of increasing quality which never seems to come; all at the cost of understanding and the sustaining of human suffering.

There is no club inside Ethical Skepticism. There should not be a club, as Ethical Skepticism is the very absence of club. Nor does teaching people how to think ethically skeptical constitute a qualitas clava error – an ethical skeptic encourages dissent by means of originality of thought and hard field research – not simply parroting of the provisional knowledge and one-liners held by him or his cronies. Ethical Skepticism is a process of personal choice regarding knowledge. It is an allegiance to preparing the mind to conduct science; a respect for quality knowledge improvement and the subject at hand, above all else.

TES Signature


†  There are numerous references which I can cite with regard to quality and process design – however, these five principles stem from my own decades of experience. They overlap 100% with established industry wisdom, but this version is a crafting of my own, employed through 30 years of creating effective and industry leading businesses and processes. The focus of this blog is not to provide a dissertation on quality control, rather highlight this tenet of Ethical Skepticism. However, if you seek some academic backing and foundational resource on systemic quality, some excellent reading can be found here:

Oakland, John S.; Total Quality Management (Fourth Edition); Routledge, 2014; ISBN-13: 978-0415635493.

Peters, T.J., Waterman, R. H.; In Search of Excellence; Harper Business, 2006; ISBN-00-6-0548789.

Hadley, M.E., Levine, J.E.; Endocrinology; Pearson-Prentice Hall, 2007; ISBN-0-13-187606-6.

¹  Many thanks to Vixen for highlighting to me this very important aspect of Ethical Skepticism, one which I had long forgotten to address.

June 13, 2016 Posted by | What is Ethical Skepticism | , , , | Leave a comment

The Inverse Problem and False Claims to ‘Settled Science’

Science achieves its strongest theoretical basis when both the forward problem and the inverse problem agree, as to the outcomes attributed to a set of input variables inside a proposed solution. To simply craft models, parameters, constraints, arrival distributions, relationships – all of which impart risk to the model – and then presume that our current understanding of such will then guarantee a valid field result or outcome – is unfinished science at best, and pseudoscience or oligarch arrogance at worst.

Claims to consensus are invalid and claims to fished science are inaccurate, in a circumstance where the forward problem and the inverse problem of science – do not meet in agreement first. This is the circumstance we observe inside many of today’s most popular and vociferously contested scientific controversies. The public or outcome stakeholder observes one thing, and those observations stand in direct conflict with the forward model theoretical problem being pushed by conflict of interest, ‘skeptical’ agenda or profit-targeting studies.  One cannot under a claim to science, simply brush the public/victim/stakeholder’s observation off as a MiHoDeAL claims set. This constitutes a Truzzi Fallacy. It is an abrogation of scientific method committed by ignoring the testing exposure and informative advantage entailed through the inverse problem.

Verisimilitude and RiskThis principle is codified in much of Karl Popper’s work concerning verisimiltude and the assimilation of knowledge. Popper proposed the idea that most of science cannot rest upon a stack of empirical (historicist) ‘prophecies’ alone. He contended that most of our knowledge is attained through ‘highly informative theories which have a lesser chance of being true.’¹ Most of science is not like the science involved in predicting planetary motions for instance. Such forward problem prophetic constructs as eclipses and planetary motions are a rare condition in science. Instead, he conjectured that, the more information a theory places under testable exposure, the more informative it becomes. For our purposes here, a theory only survives a Popper Verisimilude condition when it can be independently derived or confirmed from the field observations from/to which it relates. Field observation generates alternative ideas and increases the number of features of information which an explanatory theory must bear under falsification testing. In other words, field observations, feature testing, sensitivity analyses and confirmations – make a theory less probable – and therefore more highly informative.

Science, or to be precise, the working scientist, is interested, in Popper’s view, in theories with a high informative content, because such theories possess a high predictive power and are consequently highly testable. But if this is true, Popper argues, then, paradoxical as it may sound, the more improbable a theory is the better it is scientifically, because the probability and informative content of a theory vary inversely—the higher the informative content of a theory the lower will be its probability, for the more information a statement contains, the greater will be the number of ways in which it may turn out to be false.¹

In other words, we reduce the risk of our forward model being errantly assumed as correct – by increasing the number of its features which are subject to falsification. We avoid the increasing orange curve in the graphic above. All models are going to bear these assumptions and features, whether we acknowledge them or not. So it is best to acknowledge and test them. The inverse problem allows for such features to be acknowledged by necessity, and then brought into the crucible of science (falsification).

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, the outline therein by Steven Thornton continues.

Astronomy skeptics fail to grasp scienceThis, then, Popper argues, is the reason why it is a fundamental mistake for the historicist to take the unconditional scientific prophecies of eclipses as being typical and characteristic of the predictions of natural science—in fact such predictions are possible only because our solar system is a stationary and repetitive system which is isolated from other such systems by immense expanses of empty space. The solar system aside, there are very few such systems around for scientific investigation—most of the others are confined to the field of biology, where unconditional prophecies about the life-cycles of organisms are made possible by the existence of precisely the same factors. Thus one of the fallacies committed by the historicist is to take the (relatively rare) instances of unconditional prophecies in the natural science as constituting the essence of what scientific prediction is, to fail to see that such prophecies apply only to systems which are isolated, stationary, and repetitive, and to seek to apply the method of scientific prophecy to human society and human history.¹

In applying this, the ethical skeptic therefore views the role of the inverse problem as introducing stark informative advantage to the scientific process, along the following lines of Popperian logic.

  1. Model OutcomesAll predictive theories/models contain the following features (parameters):
    • Control Variables
    • Arrival Distributions
    • Parameters
    • Constraints
    • Assumptions
    • Relationships
    • Interleaving Effects
    • Neural or Feedback Mechanisms.
  2. Predictive explanatory models (forward problem) which do not require exhaustive testing of these features, are rare.
  3. When a forward problem model alone is assembled, it contains these feature elements, along with their imparted risk, whether or not we acknowledge either.
  4. To improve a match to predicted outcome in the forward model, these model features must be assumed by any study addressing the topic, whether acknowledged or not.
  5. An inverse problem process involves the assembly of field observations which serve to do the following:
    • Acknowledge the presence of and role imparted by each model feature
    • Bring each feature into coherent measurable sensitivity relationships with the real world which increase their Popper exposure and informative context
    • Reduce the risk imparted by each element by testing their impact by means of two reductive methods (forward and inverse)
    • Reduce the overall field of uncertainty inside the subject (intelligence)
    • Highlight conditions/domains where a forward problem model may be, with or without our awareness, inaccurate, divergent in solution, inconclusive or incoherent
    • Dispel false notions of simplicity which promote ignorance around a subject
    • Introduce the avenue through which
      • falsification of model or features can be attained,
      • competing theories can be developed and
      • an increase in the epistemological basis of our overall understanding can be attained.

This is the process of science. The last three bullet points in particular constituting the basis for what Popper called ‘truthlikeness’ or ‘verisimilitude.’¹

Therefore, we see that in most of science, if field observations can be readily made, and the organization making a claim to evidence has not undertaken such observations to confirm or follow-up on their conjectured theory – then they have been guilty of Forward Problem Blindness, or unfinished science. Under such a condition, one cannot make a claim to settled science or consensus.

Inverse Problem

/philosophy : science : epistemology : observation : prediction theory/ : to predict the result of a measurement requires (1) a model of the system under investigation, and (2) a physical theory linking the parameters of the model to the parameters being measured. This prediction of observations, given the values of the parameters defining the model constitutes the “normal problem,” or, in the jargon of inverse problem theory, the forward problem. The “inverse problem” consists in using the results of actual observations to infer the values of the parameters characterizing the system under investigation.² ~Wolfram Media

It is not enough to theorize and predict, a scientist must also (if feasible) neutrally observe, confirm, follow-up and craft imputed theory from outcome intelligence as well.

The Inverse Problem and Skepticism 1

Solution (Theory)

/philosophy : science : epistemology : explanatory model or construct/ : a theoretical relationship or algorithm which is conjectured to comprise input variables, arrival distributions, controls and measures, parameters, constraints, assumptions, dependencies and interleaved feedback networks – all resulting in a given set of observable outcome measures. A completed solution is the condition where both the forward problem and the inverse problem agree in support of the proposed theoretical relationship.

A theory derives verity in both successfully predicting outcomes as well as being independently predictable from its observed impacts.

The Inverse Problem and Skepticism 2

Therefore, as we step from the realm of model development and into the domain of scientific study (which is simply an empirical form of model development) we carry with us the following observed risk:

Forward Problem Blindness (Unfinished Science)

/philosophy : science : epistemology : observation : prediction theory : pseudoscience/ : the “inverse problem” consists in using the results of actual observations to infer the values of the input parameters characterizing a system under investigation. Science which presupposes a forward problem solution, or employs big data/large S population measures only inside, a model and the physical theory linking input parameters forward to that model’s predicted outcome – without conducting direct outcome observation confirmation or field measure follow-up to such proposed values and linkages – stands as unfinished science, and cannot ethically justify a claim to consensus or finished science.

The four types of Forward Problem Blindness Errors:

Type ICohort/Subset Ignorance – wherein special populations or peripheral groups consisting of different inherent profiles are not studied because the survey undertaken was inclusive but too large, or the peripheral groups themselves, while readily observable, were ignored or screened out altogether.

Type II – Parameter Ignorance – wherein a model or study disregards an important parameter – which is tendered an assumption basis which is not acknowledged by the study developer nor peer review, and is then lost as to its potential contribution to increased understanding, or even potential model or study error.

Type IIILack of Field Confirmation or Follow-Up – wherein a theoretical forward problem model is established and presumed accurate, yet despite the ready availability of a field confirming basis of observation – no effort was ever placed into such observation, confirmation of measures and relationships, or observations were not undertaken to determine long term/unanticipated outcomes.

Type IV – Field of Significant Unknown – wherein established ideas of science are applied to develop a theoretical forward problem model – and because of the familiarity on the part of science with some of the elements of the solution proposed – the solution is imputed tacit verity despite being applied inside a new field for the first time, or inside a field which bears a significant unknown.

Each of these Forward Problem Blindness error types will results in some kind of disposition other than accuracy – unless one is really lucky. And no, the process of peer review will not necessarily catch this. A model presumed accurate can still be inaccurate, divergent in solution, inconclusive or incoherent as the case may be, undetected – that is unless one undertakes the necessary follow-up and field sensitivity measures incumbent in the inverse problem.

 Common Examples of Application

Earthquake Predictive Model Confirmation

Vaccine Impact Follow-up by Genetic Subgroup and Malady

Field Validation of Public Consistently Contested Observations

Impacts of Pesticides Employed in Food on Human Health

Economic Control Measures and Their Impacts

In each of these examples, were a scientist to make a claim based upon a forward problem prediction alone, which is then just assumed to be correct without field follow-up, this would constitute an instance of unfinished science. Sadly, much of our conflict of interest and profit-driven science today, exists in this state of incompleteness.

Forward Problem Blindness in such cases constitutes a willful error of pseudoscience.

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¹  Thornton, Stephen, “Karl Popper”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2015/entries/popper/&gt;.

²  Tarantola, Albert. “Inverse Problem.” From MathWorld–A Wolfram Web Resource, created by Eric W. Weisstein. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/InverseProblem.html.

May 22, 2016 Posted by | Institutional Mandates, What is Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Foundation Works on Ethical Skepticism

A life spent in insatiable active curiosity concerning our realm and origins; one immersed in examination of mankind, the whole 7.4 billion of us and not just one’s home country, familiar fellows and occupation of choosing – this is the authentic journey of the skeptic. An extreme distaste for social power, posing and pretense. Not solely for the sake of simply knowing; but moreover to in small part, help ease the severity of mankind’s suffering and lack of knowledge about the realm in which he finds himself unwilling participant.

what is ethical skepticismEthical Skepticism is the movement which seeks legitimacy in displacing the pretentious nature of social skepticism, to join the ranks of scientific and academic skepticism in completing man’s philosophical triad. It is a construct of my creating amidst a hard-fought, paradigm shattering and globally-exposed life; however is crafted in part from the works of a variety of philosophers and resources. Yet, Ethical Skepticism distinguishes its tenets by their keenness in alerting to the methodical cynicism, abuse through provisional knowledge, and action of ignorance practiced inside modern social skepticism.

The Seven Tropes

The Ethical Skeptic is as much a student of human nature, as he is a student of science and philosophy. While he first seeks to suspend his natural biases inside the objectivity of epoché and ataraxia, he rather refocuses this Pyrrhonian virtue set into a passionate advocacy on behalf of mankind. A thirst to know and authentically investigate. An extreme distaste for social power, posing and pretense. Not solely for the sake of simply knowing; but moreover to in small part, help ease the severity of mankind’s suffering and lack of knowledge about the realm in which he finds himself unwilling participant. He contends the following Seven Tropes:

I.    There is critically more we do not know, than we do know.

II.   We do not know, what we do not know. Only a sub-critical component of mankind effectively grasps this.

III.  Much of what we do know, is founded upon a pretense of possessing accurate and salient defining elements of the observed realm in which we reside.

IV.  Even what we do know is filtered through the lens of Machiavellian desires for supreme power, unless we take action to prevent such.

V.   The corrupt nature of human social intelligence is to construct elaborate contrivances of (self) deception; to constrain and expire itself inside the actions of methodical cynicism, provisional knowledge and ignorance, if left unchecked.

Methodical Cynicism – a method of cultivating ignorance through corruption of the process which regulates our social and scientific understanding. The exploitation of denial mandating a personal belief set while at the same time tendering an affectation of science.

Provisional Knowledge – the contrivance of a series of purposed provisional arguments, into a stack of probable explanations wherein we ignore the increasing unlikelihood of our conclusions and simply consider the stack of plurality to be plausible; and eventually by Neuhaus’s Law, rendering any other idea proscribed.

Ignorance – the action of blinding one’s self to an eschewed reality through a satiating and insulating culture and lexicon.

VI.  Only we, along with our love and care for each other, are real.

VII.  Knowledge vetted by this understanding can be held inside a standard of acceptance.

Social intelligence and deception contrivancesThe following ABA citations serve as a start for foundational reading on ethical skepticism. Keep in mind however that you will not find the term ethical skepticism anywhere in these works. That while these serve as foundation reading, no one resource alone will outline the purpose and true nature of Ethical Skepticism. It will take me the rest of my life just to put a scratch into the discipline at a pace of 5 blogs a month. A life spent in insatiable active curiosity concerning our realm and origins; one immersed in examination of mankind, the whole 7.4 billion of us and not just one’s home country, familiar fellows and occupation of choosing – this is the authentic journey of the skeptic.

Sextus, and Mates, Benson. The Skeptic Way: Sextus Empiricus’s Outlines of Pyrrhonism. New York: Oxford UP, 1996. Print.

Ebel, H.F., et. al. The Art of Scientific Writing, Second, Revised and Corrected Edition. Weinheim: Wiley-VCH, 2005. Print.

Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass: Complete Poetry and Collected Prose, ed. Justin Kaplan. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1982. Whitman Archive ID: ppp.00707

Friedman, Thomas L. The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century. Release 3.0. New York: Picador, 2007. Print.

Schragis, Steven and Frishman, Rick. 10 Clowns Don’t Make a Circus. Avon, Massachusetts: Adams Media, 2006. Print.

Taleb, Nassim, N. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. New York: Random House, 2010, Print.

Tzu, Sun. The Art of War.

Wolfram, Steven. A New Kind of Science. Wolfram Media, Inc., 2002. Print.

Hayes, Kevin J. The Road to Monticello: The Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson. New York: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.

Larson, Gary. The Complete Farside. Kansas City: Andrews McMeel. 2003. Print. Box Set.

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April 5, 2016 Posted by | What is Ethical Skepticism | | 1 Comment

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