The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

What Happens After?

Who is more terrified by the possibility of disclosure of alien life? Skeptics contend that it is the public at large which ‘risks going bonkers’ under the existential tumult of such a discovery. However, increasingly it is the open-minded and curious publican who regards the fake skeptic as the agency at risk of such duress.  What will so-called skeptics do with their endless plagiarized articles and investments into denial? In what ways will they adjust their propaganda in order to preserve their power? In short, we deal inside this article with the critical question of disclosure: What happens after?

The term ‘disclosure’ is one of those rare instances wherein a single word suffices to embody an entire composite of endeavor surrounding a single idea – the validation of alien life as a fact based and accepted reality for mankind. Journey with me for a while down the path of contemplation regarding this subject of disclosure. One hinging upon speculation to be sure; but also one of actual sponsorship science method. A pathway irrationally shunned by the typical consumer of Shermer, Nickell or the Skeptical Inquirer – the comic posturing of such celebrity dispatch, standing as decisive rationale supporting the idea to undertake consideration of the very journey itself.

No other subject in the entire litany of human existence, aside from sex, elicits so much visceral reaction from various agencies of mankind. It is as if we built a gigantic box in the middle of town square, fully clad in yellow police line tape, and placed a crier with a sounding bell on top of it, exclaiming ‘Don’t look inside this box!’ Disclosure. If experts in the martial art of cynicism rank a subject as their number one target of evisceration, then you should probably look into it and find out why. How does that old adage go?

It is said that a secret not worth sharing, is a secret not worth keeping. In this same vein perhaps, a disdained topic not worth studying, is also a topic not worth embargoing.

And should you agree to partake here along my suggested per hoc aditum sojourn of reason, you may find the comforting compartments of your mind slightly broached from this point forward. This is a healthy thing. The key to intelligence resides in the ability to stay grounded, but most importantly also not be afraid of what you may find.

If skeptics have invested so much effort into mandating that a subject is not worth knowing, then perhaps it behooves the ethical skeptic to investigate that which is not worth knowing, so that he can know exactly what it is he is supposed to not-know.

And so, this is what we as ethical skeptics do. When everyone says that ‘you can research anywhere you please, but the windfall-of-truth does not reside in there’ – that ‘there’ is indeed often the first place he or she should look. In keeping with such philosophy then, consider with me for a moment the possibility that mankind will sooner or later detect and/or be forced to disclose, the existence of extraterrestrial life inside our galaxy – and very possibly even, ‘nearby’. Inside this journey we will apply our study on the existential natures of mankind, and how those might both impact, and be impacted by discovery of life in our local universe. If you are part of the Cabal of critical thinkers who now regard me as a ‘believer’, for the mere sin of undertaking such contemplation, then stop reading right now and go elsewhere. There are thousands of regurgitated echochamber ‘articles’ though which you may comfort your self (again). I am not a believer in aliens. I do not pretend to know any particular truth about either the potential nor nature of any exceptional life form. Rather, as you will find herein, I am an observer of man – his foibles, power lust, avarice and tendencies towards self-deception.

The Two Types of Disclosure

An article by Yasemin Saplakoglu, former intern for Scientific American, published in an editorial from February 2018, partitioned the topic of discovery/disclosure of alien life into two macroscopic buckets: One entitled for our purposes ‘Threatening Disclosure’, and the other entitled ‘Less-Threatening Discovery’.1 ‘Threatening to whom?’ is of course the critical question. The only parties threatened by the disclosure of alien life are larger governments and those heavily invested into an a priori conclusion on the topic; i.e. fake skeptics. The common person kinda already suspects the reality; therefore, I suppose the public at large will not be as threatened as will be those skeptics who seem to have the most emotional investment in the right answer regarding this issue. A shift of blame as to who is actually threatened most, from fake skeptic to public-at-large, is expressed no better than by Seth Shostak in that very same Scientific American article.

“There’s this feeling amongst the public—a very large fraction of the public—that the discovery of intelligent life at least would be kept secret by the government because otherwise everybody would just go bonkers,” says Seth Shostak, an astronomer at the SETI Institute who was not involved with the study. Perhaps it might make sense for our brains—tuned by millions of years of evolution to be wary of predators—to freak out over immensely powerful alien beings arriving on our cosmic doorstep from parts unknown.

But let’s say the situation hasn’t gone full “alien invasion” yet and malevolent starships aren’t sailing toward Earth, but rather we have read news of a definitive discovery of extraterrestrial life. How might we react then? Psychologists at Arizona State University (A.S.U.) used language-analyzing software to gauge feelings associated with 15 news articles about past discoveries that could have potentially been attributed to extraterrestrial life—reports covering items such as newfound Earth-like planets, mysterious astrophysical phenomena and possible life found on Mars.

Any study of potential detection or disclosure of alien life, as it turns out, constitutes merely a pretext for a deeper study in the character of man. The more we look into the cosmos, the more in a sense, we see ourselves staring back. This Nitzschean insight might very well happen well before we, and especially our science communicators, are fully prepared with ready-explanations for such an event. In the celebrated 1970’s western High Plains Drifter we find a related key existential question being posed. Set upon by the burden of anticipating an upcoming deadly conflict between citizens of the mining town of Lago, and three marauding gunfighters, one of the town folk (played by Billy Curtis) inquires of the gun-slinging hero (played by director Clint Eastwood), as to what happens after the big day of the battle is over. (Photos above and to the right property of Universal Studios, Fair Use employment – 17 U.S.C. § 107)2

Mordecai:  What happens after? What do we do when it’s over?

The Stranger:  Then you live with it.

Within this article we contemplate, not simply the visceral and immediate reactions on the part of various factions inside mankind, such as were outlined in the infamous Brooking’s Institute Report,3 but rather – the long term chronic existential stress involved and how such realization will express itself inside mankind’s institutes and durable social fabric. Accordingly, the ‘Brooking’s Report’ briefly touched on the danger of just such a discovery with regard to those who ‘have their minds made up as to how things are’, thusly.

Societies (agency) sure of their own place in the universe have disintegrated when confronted by a superior society, and others have survived even though changed.

How will we as a collection of societies react to various scenarios of detection or disclosure? Who will change and who will disintegrate? How will various factions live with such knowledge? How will various agency respond; and in particular, heavily invested fake skeptics – so sure of their near-total grasp of the natural realm? How will they adjust their propaganda in order to preserve power (and no doubt they will)? In short, given their past embargoes and nefarious activities, what can we anticipate to hear from social skeptics, once the reality of (nearby) alien life has irrevocably impacted our perception of our relationship to the cosmos at large?

My fear is that, once disclosure occurs, people will react so viscerally to mainstream skeptics – that actual skepticism may be tossed to the wind. I almost fear the opposite therefore – that we may enter a conspiracy-laden dark age wherein every event or thought will be suspected as being of alien in origin. We will need real open minded skeptics and scientists – and not this cabal which has misled us for decades.

What We Can Expect to Hear from Skeptics Threatened by Detection or Disclosure

Thus in keeping with the framework outlined by Scientific American’s Saplakoglu, we will divide the potential response by social skepticism into two groupings. First, their response talking points under a context of Post-Detection Protocol (Saplakoglu’s ‘Less Threatening’ scenario), and then secondly, their response under the more visceral condition of Post-Disclosure Protocol (Saplakoglu’s ‘Threatening’ scenario). Given the more orderly and power-preserving path of the former, one would anticipate this to constitute the pathway of choice on the part of professional skeptics. But you know, the universe, or a higher form of intelligence therein, might just have a different agenda in mind. Should the process of disclosure be forced from a government or an outside influence, expect three phases of denial to be undertaken by social skepticism:  Pseudo-Skepticism, which progresses on to Exculpatory Apologetica and/or an Appeal to their Authority as Skeptics.

A.  Fake Skeptics’ Post-Detection Protocol (Less Threatening Scenario)

Any kind of post-detection protocol will involve two categories of incremental scientific discovery, as outlined below:

Subjacent Life – technological detection of viral, microbial, plant or animated lower life forms nearby to Earth

Passive Superordinate – observation in the cosmos: intelligent signals, technological signatures, device noise, macroenergetic activity, purposeful beacons, war, transportation effects

You can expect skeptics to fight tooth and nail against any potential disclosure of life on the surface of Mars, or inside an ancient space rock for instance. Even though social skeptics posture as if they are looking for signals from space, such activity merely constitutes Nelsonian Inference and Cultivated Ignorance. It is a way of saying ‘look ma’ there’s nothing here!’. In such a circumstance, we have already seen – not a parsimonious defense of science – but rather a religious and angry reaction to any and all speculation that testing for signs of life might be warranted in the case of a planetary surface sampler or inside a collected meteoroid artifact. Expect such policy to exhibit stickiness, especially as regards institutions which are most highly connected to, or influenced by, fake and celebrity skeptics.

The Subjacent or Passive Superordinate Response

Skeptics will fight (often right alongside Bible-thumpers) to squelch the disclosure of detection of any form of subjacent life. Post-Detection quotes, many which are also correct, but only stand as exculpatory rhetoric in the case of bullying skeptics, will include:


These fossils originated from Earth in an ancient meteor strike, casting life-containing rock into space.
These findings have not been reviewed by real scientists (antagonistic peers).
The publishers feared or refused to use the scientific method (peer review by antagonistic peers).
They published the report in a minor or questionable journal.
Experts have not certified that the signals contain any form of recognized intelligence or structure.
These findings need to undergo replication, which they have not.
The evidence was ‘contaminated’ (not understanding what that even means).
This is simply one anecdote.
The authors are believers and/or are not credible.
If anything of merit existed therein, scientists would be all over this (see Myth of the Excited Scientists)

See also:

The Lyintific Method: Ten Commandments of Fake Science
The New Debunker: Pseudo-Skeptic Sleuth
Myth of the Excited Scientists

Exculpatory Apologetica

Only conspiracy theorists or anti-science shills bring up these myths of our refusal to acknowledge this.
Where are all the old articles? We need recitation (pretending that the old wives tale paradigm never existed).
“The science arrived right on time” baloney.
Scientists always scoff at the first introduction of a new or unproven idea.
The discovery was accepted right on schedule, and only after appropriate initial skepticism.
The history of denial and pseudo-skepticism cited is mythical.
The lacking number of consensus citations did not merit the idea’s consideration at the time.
Even the discoverers had some doubts and conflicting evidence early on.
The ‘scientific method’ and standards of progression were not followed or took time to execute properly and by the right people.
It had to be replicated (ignoring the decades of refusal to do so).
Time was required to ensure that the discovery showed as reliable and repeatable.
Peer review was a necessary task which could not be rushed.
This was not a simple task.
A case for absolute proof needed to be established.

See also:

What’s the Harm: The Lifecycle of Fake Skepticism

B.  Fake Skeptics’ Post-Disclosure Protocol (Threatening Scenario)

This more visceral scenario of disclosure or even worse, forced disclosure will not only serve to destroy the 1972 fake skepticism movement, but moreover the psychologies of the individuals within those affiliated movements. Any form of Post-Disclosure scenario will involve either a disclosure on the part of a social institution of authority, or the forced disclosure by the subject entities themselves. Either evolution will shake the foundations of the smartest people in the room. This will transpire as one of the following two speciations of event.

Local Superordinate – Admission by a leader of a nation that direct contact, interplay, engagement or competition with extra-terrestrial life, present on Earth, has been, is, and/or will be ongoing.

Supernumenal or Other – A unilateral and unequivocal action on the part of some form of higher intelligence, results in purposeful disclosure of its presence to the majority of the planet.

These are the scenarios we speak of when we as ethical skeptics talk about ‘a disdained topic not worth studying, is also not worth embargoing‘. These topics are heavily embargoed, and an enormous amount of resource is input into their suppression. Yet, the curious and non-threatening existential nature of the actual topic exposes the ludicrous psychology wound up therein. In that light, let’s take a look at a magazine article in a key science and skepticism publication of a future in which a Local Superordinate event has transpired.

The Local Superordinate or Supernumenal Response

Fake skeptics, feel free to copy and paste as you need – and advertise as if this were your own original thinking. You guys are really good at that. The following is extracted from Skeptic Eurmerican magazine, March 2033. Celebrity editorialist Seth Shermer has returned from retirement, inspired by his disgust over announcements of ‘alien contact’ and the like – in order to strike some sense into wayward and credulous voters and their equally credulous elected anti-science officials.

Appeal to Skepticism (Authority)

Bottom Line: The battle against cultivated ignorance will not end, with Disclosure. Skeptics will apply their appeal to authority under 95% of its scenarios. What follows, is an example of the cheap pulp editorial one should anticipate; the shallow Appeal to Skepticism (Authority) drivel which will follow such an Event. This is what happens after.

Does the article above look familiar? It should, its ilk is lazily promulgated daily in compliance enforcing tabloids worldwide. The articles target 756 subjects, many linking back to a common theme – which threatens their religion, sol-nihilism. What the ethical skeptic should infer from this process outlined under the two forms of threat-disclosure above, is that the progression from 1. Pseudo-Skepticism, to 2. Exculpatory Apologetica and finally to 3. Appeal to Skepticism (Authority) – when purposed to squelch, obfuscate and stall – are indeed hints that the ‘skeptic’ is not a skeptic at all. Our prior engagement with Abrahamism proved to mankind that such a process of activity, stems from existential terror alone. We crafted gods from our terror of being alone, and now we are terrified of not being alone? …or maybe, someone is terrified of the plans those agencies have in mind?

They are employing techniques of methodical cynicism in order to screen specifics from their reality; specific Nelsonian knowledge of which someone is enormously terrified.

Such Existential Skeptical Terror Begs the Question: Is Mankind Then Ready or Perhaps Even Sustainable?

So, given our well-evidenced and abject resistance to this subject, the inability of our smartest people in the room to ‘live with it’? – Regardless of the evidence to the pro or contrary (I am not rating the quality of such evidence here in this article), what does this portend for us as a species and what does this communicate to any erstwhile aliens who might be monitoring us from nearby?

1.  Visceral reaction versus chronic existential stress

Mankind is ready to handle the visceral reaction of a Supernumenal Disclosure event; however socially we are not yet mature enough to handle the chronic existential stress which might result. In other words, we won’t destruct a mere week after such an announcement – rather we would implode from psychotic denial and crises of competence, a couple decades or even a century after the disclosure event. We would lose our unique soul as a species.

The fear exhibited by our arch skeptics, very visibly inside the media, should make any erstwhile species out there who is pondering an involuntary disclosure, think twice or three times before considering such an event.

2.  We are a religious people

We tend to adopt gods like a cat lady adopts cats. We thirst for gods. Even in the circumstance where we pat ourselves on the back for having only one of them. They do not even have to be personified – we adopt them. We appoint them. We crave them. Any ethical civilization knows that – to pretend inside a role as god, to a lesser being – is probably one of the most heinous acts which can be committed by a creature or society. For this reason at the very least, they must refuse to interact with us.

3.  Grief does not fade, only our perception of it

We know ourselves much less accurately and deeply than we believe. Grief never fades, it simply grows less intense in comparison to what has transpired since. Just like the days seem shorter and shorter as we age, yet they are not – so too, permanent is our grief. Grief over our dethroning as the Apple of God’s eye. Grief as to our apparent non-parity in the universe. Grief over our having to depend upon another race, in order to propel ourselves to the stars. Grief over the inevitable loss of our genetic identity in the ensuing eons. Grief over the loss of primacy of our Tolstoy, Joyce, Pauli, Dostoevsky and Einstein – and most of all the celebrity of being the smartest person in the room.

No, the aliens (per hoc aditum) are a full two orders of magnitude smarter than are you, and they could care less about you ‘skeptic’. What a sound dethroning that will be.

Perhaps a grief they know well from experience, experience derived from a hundred civilizations who have come this pathway before (including their own). You see it is a formula after all.

Perhaps a grief of which we are already subconsciously aware inside ourselves. Perhaps a grief, long ago a memory of an edifice building mankind.

“It’s what people know about themselves inside that makes them afraid.” ~The Stranger, High Plains Drifter

Ethical Skepticism, it is all about courage. Courage of method. Courage of existential need, of which one may not even be fully conscious.

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March 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | 2 Comments

The Map of Inference

Submitted for your consideration, The Ethical Skeptic’s Map of Inference. Not all modes of inference are alike in merit. It behooves an ethical skeptic to study and understand the difference between strong and weak versions of science, and further then recognize invalid forms of inference masquerading as science.

The methods of inference are listed by strength of inferential merit, as outlined in the successive columns to the right of each mode. The table begins with the essential nature of modus ponens and tollens (pink orange background), the syllogism to the affirmation or negation which is being tested by the means of inference cited. To the left of the syllogism is its appropriateness for declaring a state/object of neutrality, presence or absence. As you may note, you cannot prove an absence, so that column (modus absens) is flagged with either red X’s or a caution warning, even in the case of the most robust form of induction, consilient induction. The ethic of the null hypothesis, resides in the first two boxes under modus absens above the Popper Demarcation. You will notice that ‘skin in the game’ gets more diluted as one moves downward on the chart. Methodical Deescalation is the process of using a lower form of inference (towards the bottom of the chart) as preferential, when a higher rigor of inference was demanded or available to use. Such a tactic is a common trick of agency employing science as a costume. (Click on the image to obtain a white background savable/clearer image)

One may notice that fake skeptics tend to dwell at the very bottom of this chart – where inference comes from basically ‘what one desires to be true’ – subsequently blaming their ex ante and a priori risks upon a thing they call ‘science’ or ‘facts’. In reality, such inference dwells with its twin, (divine) revelation. Critical thinking is nothing more than divine revelation, sans the divinity.

Linear induction is the weakest form of scientific inference, the last stop before venturing into Nelsonian inference (or pseudoscience). A meta-study, comprising 400 linear inductive studies, is still a weak form of inference regardless of what anyone tells you. The key to a meta-study’s reputed strength, resides inside its ability to amass studies all up and down the inference ranking below – and not simply aggregate inside one mode of inference (usually the lowest: ex ante statistical linear induction). Beware of ‘meta-studies’ which do not actually do this – they are no more strong than is abductive inference. Beware of anyone calling this ‘verisimilitude’; a priori verisimilitude is only valid when one draws from all or most of the forms of inference listed.

Agency and Percent of Domain Known

Please note that the above modes of inference vary in their strength depending upon two more subjective situational factors (difficult to express in the above Map). First the known portion of the domain under consideration is a critical influence upon the effectiveness of most form of inference.  Linear induction can be self deceiving if mankind has only delved about 1% into an entailed information horizon. Take the notorious case of Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction for instance. This instance of erroneous inductive inference even involved some consilience. But the domain was large, and our foray into its knowledge base was very paltry. In the case of a large domain, with little known of it, one should stay toward the top of this chart and not venture towards the bottom (save for a healthy dose of modus indifferens).

A second subjective factor which comes into play is the role and impact of agency. Agency is not conspiracy, as conspiracy is hidden and agency is manifest. It is simply that the individual hides their commitment to agency. So, in a way, agency is a ‘conspiracy of one’ if you will. When a person is surreptitiously defending agency, they will tend to hover around the bottom of this Map of Inference. Watch for, and be wary of such individuals and their habits, as they have something else in mind besides knowledge. A key example follows.

Schemers, Agency and A Conspiracy of One

For instance, most paranormal researchers dwell in the riskier realms of scientific inference, only producing a strength in draw which is modus indifferens or inductively suggestive at best. Such topics may indeed be fun (wonder instilling) and many times actually surpass Ockham’s Razor, but until science actually gets involved, these subjects will not begin to strengthen their rigor in inference. They will dwell in perpetual prison of ignorance (the verb). Fake skeptics know this well. One can see the ranges of inference used by paranormal investigators on the left below. In contrast, on the right one can see the poor quality science which is handed to us all by fake skeptics.

You will notice that the ethical skeptic is an obtollent. Latin ob – against, plus tollens – denial. Fake skeptics love to play and ply their wares in column 3 of the Map – applying science to deny that things exist (prove the null, or prove absence) – when such activity is unethical, infeasible or even unnecessary. They seek to remove any question of modus indifferens at all costs. An ethical researcher stays out of column 3 (Hempel’s Paradox) – whereas a fake researcher dwells in it most of the time.

Obtollence (The Principle of Ethical Skepticism)

/philosophy : skepticism : opposition to cyncism/ : Latin ob – against, plus tollens – denial. Fake skeptics love to ply their wares in proving an absence (Hempel’s Paradox) – applying science to deny that things exist (prove the null, or prove absence); when such activity is unethical, impossible or even unnecessary. They seek to remove any question of modus indifferens (the neutrality of skepticism) at all costs. An ethical researcher avoids any form of Hempel’s Paradox – whereas a fake researcher dwells in it most of the time.

Fake skeptics as well, tend to dwell at the bottom of the Map of Inference, inside a realm of fake knowledge (demarcated on the map above ‘Nelsonian Inference’). Such fake skeptics actually know the knowledge they are attempting to obfuscate – in the ‘you can’t awaken a person who is pretending to be asleep’ sense. Nelsonian knowledge will be the subject of my next blog article. How it works and how its tricks are plied.

Nelsonian Knowledge (Inference)

/philosophy : pretense : knowledge obfuscation/ : both, that knowledge which is used as a placeholder for the sole purpose of displacing other critical knowledge which could ostensibly serve to alleviate ignorance (and therefore suffering) – as well as, that displaced critical knowledge itself. The latter is taken to actually be known on the part of a poseur. It is dishonest for a man deliberately to shut his eyes to principles/intelligence which he would prefer not to know. If he does so, he is taken to have actual knowledge of the facts to which he shut his eyes. Such knowledge has been described as ‘Nelsonian knowledge’, meaning knowledge which is attributed to a person as a consequence of his ‘wilful blindness’ or (as American legal analysts describe it) ‘contrived ignorance’.

Again, be armed and skilled in your battle with pretend skepticism. This chart is not an easy study – nor should it be. It is the result of decades of thought, work and proving out. Use it wisely.

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March 4, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | Leave a comment

Rumors of Philosophy’s Demise are Greatly Exaggerated

I rapped upon the front door, as if a stranger – its familiar ornate knocker now cold hard liaison into my very own cherished childhood. Entering the house while my Father shut the door behind us, I felt the incumbent rush of joy as he rattled off his favorite Mark Twain quip, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” This just could not be you see, as my Father was dead.

My father was a great man. He was a lawyer by education, accountant by training and a philosopher by life experience. He grew up in a small Appalachian town – which his heart really never left. I have only partially grasped the reasons why he wanted to move his family back there. There was the presence of some extended family, and that mattered of course. But it has only dawned on me in these latest years, the full set of rationale as to why he returned to this little town. He worked for and eventually bought, the largest factory in the town – an operation employing close to 1,000 persons. He spent his life guiding both the business and ethical direction of that plant along its mission.  Not a mission to make money, and not a mission to protect the environment nor make quality its product – although it succeeded in all this. Rather a mission to serve the citizens of that town. To serve both his love for honor, and his abject love for the small community inside which he had grown up.

My father came to me in three dreams after he died suddenly of a heart attack back in the 1990’s. Evil services the aimless but good man through a slow and torturous death, but an effective good man it must kill with swift errand.

In the first dream he pulled alongside of me in our old yellow Buick Skylark as I walked along a roadside, and bade me to get into the car with him. Once inside he said “I want to thank you for helping your mother since I passed and for all the hard work you did in closing my estate.” I replied “Sure Dad.” We drove along for a few moments and he asked “Is there anything you want to ask me, or are curious about?” I thought for a moment, and replied “No, just listening to you come through here, is enough in itself.” He smiled and acknowledged the incurred wisdom.

Around the time of the second dream, my company faced the burden of the 2004 recession. We held a monthly sales backlog of $80,000 and monthly payroll liability of $380,000, about a month out. My four senior partners, who had gotten rich off decades of more heady days inside the business, decided that rough times were not part of the formula, and therefore it was time for their exit. They handed me an 80% upside-down business, along with all the employees, their families, their healthcare and college education benefits, and then bolted with the cash and past profits. To say I was terrified, both for myself and the wide-eyed employees who feared for their livelihoods, was an understatement. My father came through in a dream that month and said “TES, I know you are scared, but I want you to stick with this company. A large interest is going to come and it will turn things around.” I complied. That next few weeks, the phones started ringing, clients descended upon us in droves – and the large interest turned out to be the People’s Republic of China. We survived, we thrived.

In the third dream, I found myself walking up to our old family home in that small Appalachian town. The centerpiece of my youthful existence. I rapped upon the front door, as if a stranger – its familiar ornate knocker now cold hard liaison into my very own cherished childhood. My Dad answered the door and threw his arms into the air and exclaimed in reference to himself, “It’s Alive!!” An homage to his favorite movie of all time, Young Frankenstein. It became clear to me in that moment that it was Friday night, and we were all going to watch a movie. Entering the house while he shut the door behind, I felt the incumbent rush of joy as he rattled off his favorite Mark Twain quip, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Stephen Hawking was wrong.

Philosophy is not dead.

We may suffer from a plurality of dilettante who conflate an affinity for arguing, religious doctrines or memorization of Kant, Plato and Hume as constituting an expedient corner on wisdom. However, we cannot afford to allow the philosophy underlying science, skepticism, to be corrupted in such fashion that its wisdom is eclipsed by shallow or academic ego – adrift and impotent inside its charter of holding science accountable.

This new dawn of artificial intelligence, genetic technology, corporate power and social monitoring mandates that our philosopher be better equipped. Bearing prerequisite skills in science, business and government; experience in human nature and deception, and finally possessing an accrued and heartfelt love for humanity – traits which abet and check science along its course in serving us all, and prohibit its ethical neutrality from warping it into mankind’s greatest enemy.

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January 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | 5 Comments

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