The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

The Earth-Lunar Lagrange 1 Orbital Rapid Response Array (ELORA)

Elora is a name meaning ‘The laurel of victory’. Within this paper, The Ethical Skeptic has proposed for consideration a concept for an elegant, flexible, high delivery-mass, rapid response, high kinetic-energy and low rubble-fragmentation system called ELORA. A Lagrange exploiting orbital array around the Moon, which can be rapidly deployed to interdict an approaching Earth-impactor threat, through massive, adaptable and repeated kinetic impact. It is the contention of this white paper that this concept system offers features superior in every facet of challenge, to the existing asteroid/comet deflection technologies under consideration.

Elora is a name bearing the meaning ‘the laurel of victory’. The symbol of the laurel wreath traces back to Greek mythology. Apollo, god of warfare archers and archery, was often represented wearing a laurel wreath which encircled his head, as a crown of symbolic power. Accordingly, in the Greek Olympics such laurel wreaths were crafted from a wild form of olive tree known as “kotinos” (κότινος). In the later Roman context, laurel wreaths were symbols of martial victory, crowning a successful commander for having just vanquished an enemy force with rapidity.1

Rapid is a business term, which is used to encompass both the contexts of quickness in response (Amazon) and fastness in delivery (FedEx). ELORA, is a gravity-exploiting wreath, worn around the head of the Moon, designed to mitigate large celestial future and importantly, emergent Earth-impacting orbital bodies, through a rapid, repeatable and overwhelming kinetic response. A system which solves (in the concept presented herein) many of the problems which face today’s proposed Earth-impactor mitigation ideas, and yet bears few of their disadvantages.

ELORA is an acronym for: Earth-Lunar Lagrange 1 (ELL-1) Orbital Rapid Response Array. ELORA is a proposed system to interdict and deflect Potential Hazardous Objects to Earth. It is a series of Lunar dust bags that each perform kinetically like shotgun pellets. They are bagged on the Moon and then individually launched to Earth-Lunar Lagrange point 1, in order to be assembled into massive single payloads of bound-but-separate dust bags – yielding a total of 1000 – 3000 kilotons of TNT (about 2.8 – 4.2 Petajoules) of direct kinetic energy per payload. Twelve of these 1728-bag/200,000 kilogram single payloads are to be assembled, which will station as trojan ELL-1 payloads; ready to be rapid deployed to any Lunar orbit inclination in order to interdict large (>50 meters) and short notice Near Earth or Potential Hazardous Objects (NEO/PHO) from space. The array as a concept is easy to assemble and offers redundancy, power and rapidity unparalleled by existing conceptual alternative interdiction approaches.

Of top concern among those scientists tasked to forward-think about threats to mankind, is the real possibility that the Earth will be someday threatened by a rogue asteroid, comet or other, even extra-solar space debris – which becomes a Potential Hazardous Object (PHO).2 3 Current plans to address cosmic impactor threats include nuclear warheads and various ingenious forms of imbuing physical effects to the PHO object or add or subtract momentum from its solar-orbital vector.

‘This one did sneak up on us’: Internal emails reveal how NASA almost missed Asteroid ‘2019 OK’ (a 130 meter asteroid) when it whizzed past Earth in July, within 24 hours of its detection.4

In 2011, the director of the Asteroid Deflection Research Center at Iowa State University, Professor Bong Wie began to study strategies that could deal with 50-to-500-metre-diameter (200–1,600 ft) objects when the time to Earth impact was less than one year. He concluded that to provide the required energy, a nuclear explosion or other event that could deliver the same power, are the only methods that can work against a very large asteroid within these time constraints.5 It is the contention of this author, that space deployed nuclear warheads constitute a dangerous, expensive and less effective means of mitigating such objects. A massive high-kinetic shotgun payload system such as ELORA will delivery more kinetic energy, more rapidly, and in more overwhelming fashion, than can nuclear warheads – bearing less of the downsides and costs of nuclear or other approaches.

Existing Approaches to Asteroid Deflection/Mitigation

Various PHO and emergent bolide collision avoidance techniques have different trade-offs with respect to metrics such as overall performance, cost, failure risks, redundancy, operations, and deployment readiness. There are various methods under serious consideration now, as means of changing the course of any potential Earth threat. These can be differentiated by various attributes such as the type of mitigation (deflection or fragmentation), energy source (kinetic, electromagnetic, gravitational, solar/thermal, or nuclear), and approach strategy (long term influence or immediate impact).6

Potential Hazardous Object (PHO) Problem Definition: Four Challenges Exist

1.  PHO interdiction technologies exist in a convex technology trade-off relationship of diminishing marginal returns (lower blue curve in the graphic below), in that,

a.  What can be deployed quickly or be easily maneuvered in space, is also not sufficient to do the job.

b. What can do the job, cannot be deployed quickly nor be maneuvered easily in space.

2.  Hydrogen (lithium deuteride or equivalent) core detonations are theoretically effective for low diameter bodies, yet diminish in effectiveness (upper blue curve in the graphic below) asymptotically to a maximum of a 100 – 150 meter bolide, as constituting the largest effective body which the technology can be employed to interdict.

3.  Current estimates of effectiveness are theoretical only –  a condition wherein neither their adequacy at the job, nor rapidness/maneuverability in deployment can be easily tested against mock threat conditions prior to their actual need.

4.  No System to date has offered a low-cost, rapidly deployable, scalable, flexible, testable, centuries-durable, low maintenance, all aspect angle, low fragmentation, redundant, bolide-mass altering, high-mass/kinetic potential and multiple-impactor solution – which can address the emergent or otherwise 150+ meter diameter body.

The various current approaches to deflecting a wayward celestial body fall into four approach categories (Note: These are all derived/reworded and modified/categorized into a more logical taxonomy, from Wikipedia: Asteroid Impact Avoidance): 

Fragmentation – explosive or high velocity kinetic methods which seek to pulverize the orbital body into both bolides which take non-threatening orbital tracks (achieve orbital body escape velocity) or pose less of a destructive threat when they do eventually enter the Earth’s atmosphere (hopefully less than 35 meters in average diameter). These can be executed in either an emergent or long-term strategy.

1.  Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response (HAMMER) – a spacecraft (8 tonnes) capable of detonating a nuclear bomb to deflect an asteroid through two methods of approach:

a.  Nuclear Impact Device (NID) – a direct impact by a nuclear device causes the body to be broken through concussion into smaller pieces of both escape velocity and less-damaging characteristics.

b.  Nuclear Standoff Device (NSD) – a nuclear device or series thereof, are detonated a given distance from the orbital body. The kinetic energy of thermal and fast neutrons, along with x-rays and gamma rays causes a push which changes the track of the orbital body (note, this is not the same as cometization).

2.  Dual Warhead Nozzle-Ejecta – a two stage nuclear/nuclear approach, which combines an initial nuclear blast to create a provisional deep crater, which is then followed by a second subsurface nuclear detonation within that provisional crater (the nozzle), which would generate an ejecta effect and high degree of efficiency in the conversion of the x-ray and neutron energy that is released into propulsive energy to the orbital body.

Kinetic Energy/Impact – massive and high velocity man-assembled bodies which impact the orbital body directly and impart a resulting inertial/momentum transfer change to its orbit.

3.  Asteroid Redirect – capture and employment of another asteroid body as an inertial mass which is directed to impact and fragment or alter the trajectory of the threatening orbital body.

Earth-Lunar Lagrange 1 Orbital Quick Response Array (ELORA) – a large kinetic object and quick response approach developed by The Ethical Skeptic. A series of Lunar dust bag bundles, bound together into large massive projectiles held on station at Earth-Lunar Lagrange Point 1 and subsequently placed into any needed inclination Lagrange orbit around the Moon. These would be short notice directed by thruster and/or Moon-Earth slingshot towards the approaching orbital body, exploiting the low/zero gravity of Earth-Moon Lagrange 1, and targeted for a direct high velocity/high kinetic impact. The bags can be un-bound at the last minute, in order to form a larger impact pattern (shotgun effect) in the case of a rubble pile asteroid, thereby distributing the momentum over a larger area of the orbiting body and displacing a greater amount of the rubble and reducing fragmentation.

4.  Hypervelocity Asteroid Intercept Vehicle (HAIV) – a two stage kinetic/nuclear hybrid approach, which combines a kinetic impactor to create an initial crater, which is then followed by a subsurface nuclear detonation within that initial crater, which would generate a lensing effect and high degree of efficiency in the conversion of the x-ray and neutron energy that is released into propulsive energy to the orbital body.

5.  Conventional Rocket Engine – launching and attaching any spacecraft propulsion engine to the center of mass of the orbital object, and using the engine to give a push, possibly forcing the asteroid onto a non-threatening trajectory.

Gradualization – various approaches by means of technology, engines, colors, lasers or offset thrust devices which serve to push, pull, alter the solar pressure on or cometize the orbital body.

6.  Gravity Tractor Thrust Rockets – a more massive thruster spacecraft is placed into orbit around the Earth-threatening orbital body. A slow thrust is applied from the spacecrafts engines, never exceeding escape velocity. The mutual gravitation between the two bodies begins to alter alter the trajectory of the orbital body from its original course.

7.  Ion Beam Driver – involves the use of a low-divergence ion thruster mounted on an orbiting spacecraft, which is pointed at the center of mass of the asteroid. The momentum imparted by the ions reaching the asteroid surface produces a slow-but-continuous force that can deflect the asteroid in similar fashion to a gravity tractor, but with a much lighter spacecraft.

8.  Solar Sail Push/Pull – attaching a solar sail either behind or on the surface of the orbital body, in order to use the solar wind to alter the trajectory of the orbital body.

9.  Painting – altering the color of the orbital body to the opposite end of the color band from which it naturally exists. The whiter or blacker surface alteration would then provide for a differential dynamic in the absorption and reflection of solar photons and gradually alter the body’s trajectory over time via the Yarkovsky effect.

10.  Solar Focusing – a technique using a set of refractory lenses or a large reflector lens (probably deployed foil) which focuses a relatively narrow beam of reflected sunlight onto a specific region of the orbital body, creating thrust from the resulting vaporization of material, solar wind or through amplifying the Yarkovsky effect, wherein photons emitted from the body itself serve to alter its trajectory.

11.  Nuclear Pulse Propulsion – involves the use of a nuclear pulse engine mounted on a spacecraft, which lands on the surface of the asteroid. The momentum imparted by the nuclear pulses produces a slow-but-continuous force that can deflect the asteroid in similar fashion to a thruster rocket.

12.  Cometization – heating the surface of the orbital body through a thermonuclear release of neutrons, x-rays and gamma rays so that it begins to eject heated material from cracks or vents in the surface, in similar manner to a comet – thereby causing a thrust vector nudging of the orbital body itself for a short to moderate period of time. Depending on the brisance and yield of the nuclear device, the resulting ejecta exhaust and mass loss effects, would produce enough alteration in the object’s orbit to make it miss Earth.

13.  Laser Ablation – focus sufficient laser energy from Earth or a space deployed laser or laser array, onto the surface of an asteroid to cause flash vaporization and mass ablation and create either an impulse or mass alteration which changes the momentum of the orbital body.

14.  Magnetic Flux Compression – magnetically brakes objects that contain a high percentage of iron through deploying a wide coil of wire along the sides of its orbital path. When the body moves through the coil or tunnel, inductance creates an electromagnet solenoid effect which causes EM drag on the orbital body.

Mass Alteration – various methods of digging and ejecting or addition of added mass from/to the orbital body, thereby altering its long term orbital track.

15.  Deep Impact Collision – an impactor which injects itself deep into the surface of the orbital body, thereby changing both its velocity and net mass.

16.  Mass Driver – a system landed onto the surface of an orbital body, which ejects material into space, thus giving the object a slow steady push as well as decreasing its mass.

17.  Gravity Tractor Redirect – another smaller, but still significant spacecraft or redirected body is placed into orbit around the Earth-threatening orbital body. The added binary-systemic gravitation/mass of the new body alter the trajectory of the orbital body from its original course.

18.  Tether Tractor – attaching a mass by means of a tether or netting, to the orbital body, thereby altering the net mass of the system and as well its orbital trajectory.

19.  Dust/Steam Cloud Accretion – releasing dust or water vapor from a spacecraft or from a detonated redirected comet, which would subsequently be gathered/accreted by the orbital body and serve to alter its mass/trajectory over a long period of time.

20.  Coherent Digger Array – multiple mobile or fixed flat tractors which attach to the surface of the orbital body and dig up material, ejecting it into space and thereby significantly altering the mass of the orbital body and changing its trajectory. The material could also be released from one side of the body as a coordinated fountain array with an added propulsive effect.

21.  Net Drag – a durable net material which is deployed into the path of the orbital object, which then wraps around the object. This netting addition is added several times over until the net mass/momentum of the orbital body is changed.

Carl Sagan, in his book Pale Blue Dot, expressed concern about deflection technology, noting that any method capable of deflecting impactors away from Earth could also be abused to divert non-threatening bodies toward the planet.

If you can reliably deflect a threatening worldlet so it does not collide with the Earth, you can also reliably deflect a harmless worldlet so it does collide with the Earth. Suppose you had a full inventory, with orbits, of the estimated 300,000 near-Earth asteroids larger than 100 meters—each of them large enough, on impacting the Earth, to have serious consequences. Then, it turns out, you also have a list of huge numbers of inoffensive asteroids whose orbits could be altered with nuclear warheads so they quickly collide with the Earth…

Tracking asteroids and comets is prudent, it’s good science, and it doesn’t cost much. But, knowing our weaknesses, why would we even consider now developing the technology to deflect small worlds?…

If we’re too quick in developing the technology to move worlds around, we may destroy ourselves; if we’re too slow, we will surely destroy ourselves. The reliability of world political organizations and the confidence they inspire will have to make significant strides before they can be trusted to deal with a problem of this seriousness…

Since the danger of misusing deflection technology seems so much greater than the danger of an imminent impact, we can afford to wait, take precautions, rebuild political institutions—for decades certainly, probably centuries. If we play our cards right and are not unlucky, we can pace what we do up there by what progress we’re making down here…

The asteroid hazard forces our hand. Eventually, we must establish a formidable human presence throughout the inner Solar System. On an issue of this importance I do not think we will be content with purely robotic means of mitigation. To do so safely we must make changes in our political and international systems.

   ~[p 146-150], Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan

The critical path issue elucidated through this – is that a well designed and elegant deflection technology would be employed to increase the entropy of the interdiction circumstance, whereas using a redirect technology critically depends upon decreasing the entropy of that circumstance. In other words, by choosing a non-nuclear deflection (as opposed to redirection) we are pushing the threatening orbital body into any one of a billion potential outcomes, all of which are satisfactory in nature. In order to make a non-threatening orbital body suddenly become a threat, one must alter its trajectory to one specific outcome among billions. A task of extraordinarily greater difficulty – rendering that technology also not an optimal choice as an impactor-mitigating solution. I disagree with Sagan that all mitigation technologies will/can be used as an implement of warfare, and therefore must be delayed – as one need resign self to the single answer of nuclear detonations in order to assume that such a false dilemma exists.

Indeed, that dilemma does not necessarily exist. What we have proposed below, provides for a powerful, yet neutral, non-nuclear and single purpose system – which can only be employed to deflect incoming invaders with abandon, yet cannot be used to deflect them in order to purposely place Earth into harm’s way. The concept system resolves most every shortfall characteristic in the list of mitigation approaches above (see graph and list of technologies 1 – 21), and as well resolves Sagan’s concern, through use of simple technologies and focused on-task elegance in design.

Elegant Solution Approach: ELORA – Earth-Lunar Lagrange 1 Orbital Rapid Response Array

Below are presented five slides which serve to introduce the ELORA concept approach and feature set. The first, second and third slides serve to introduce the Lagrange exploitation construct, along with the principle involving 12 x 1728 bags of Lunar dust in trojan Earth-Lunar Lagrange 1 station or targeting orbit around the Moon. The fourth slide speaks to the establishment of all-Lunar-inclination-angle target interdiction capability, while the fifth slide depicts the multiple impactor (up to 12) and shotgun (1728 ‘pellets’) approaches which achieve the enormous kinetic energy payload and low fragmentation outcome.

The development process consists of simply harvesting dust from the surface of the Moon, so that large particles are not created from spills in orbit around the Moon or after impact with the targeted bolide. This dust is bagged and launched into space in quantities of 12 bags. After 144 launches (much more cheaply executed from the surface of the Moon and its low gravity than from Earth), these 1728 bags of Lunar dust are bound together as a single 200,000 kg ‘payload’ – one single impactor designed to mitigate an Earth endangering NEO/PHO. Each payload is then affixed with a rocket and attitude control system, and then parked at Lagrange 1 (or ready-placed into Lagrange elliptical orbit around the Moon, in a variety of orbit inclinations so as to maximize celestial omnidirectional coverage). The payload is preset with small deployment charges which allow the bags of dust to be burst apart slightly, and to separate during the last 5 minutes of terminal approach, so that they act as a kind of shotgun effect on the targeted bolide.

This is all accomplished at a space work-station called ELL-1 Payload Assembly, in trojan orbit at Earth-Lunar Lagrange point 1. The Earth-Lunar Lagrange 1 Payload Assembly station would be used to conduct monitoring, maintenance and upgrades of the system from then on. This would be absolutely essential due to the structure fatiguing and propellant degradation which each payload and its control system would experience, due to age or the constant repetitive changes in the Moon’s tidal gravity over each orbit. Alternatively, all 12 payloads may be kept on station as ready-station trojan bodies at ELL-1. The Moon orbital phase for payloads under this approach would only be initiated when the actual deployment of the system was needed. This would delay the rapidness of response only by a couple of days. Of course a hybrid system thereof may also be deployed, with a portion of the payloads in orbit and the remainder in trojan station-keeping reserve so as to minimize maintenance demand.

The result is a single payload impactor (200,000 kg) with the force of 1000 – 3000 kilotons of TNT (about 2.8 – 4.2 Petajoules); in the range of 60 to 90 times as much energy as that released from the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima.

However, unlike a nuclear fusion core detonation (used by the most effective alternative approaches in the chart above) – ALL of an ELORA payload’s kinetic potential is transferred into momentum imparted to the orbital body.

Alternative approaches above would require 672 static load launches or 50 to 85 – B83 hydrogen nuclear core detonations in order to achieve the same inertial effect as 12 single payloads from an ELORA intervention – all static assets needing to be maintained by an international body for centuries, and then without warning be required within a matter of days.

And of course, ELORA could be tested on 150+ meter asteroids and NEO’s, at low cost, whereas the Delta IV static load and B83 hydrogen warhead detonation approaches could not.

Now, it should be noted that the orbit paths of the payloads do not have to conform to the specific polar orbit depicted in the slides below. Alternative Lunar retrograde orbits and other oblique/equatorial/inclination offset orbits can be established to enhance the ability to deliver payloads to an impactor body approaching from a variety of aspect angles, and in the most rapid and low-energy-input to high kinetic payload ratio means as possible. The illustrations below depict only one type of potential prograde polar orbit, for conceptual simplicity.

notes: While the Lunar orbit is depicted as somewhat circular, the actual orbit would be elliptical. As well the relative sizes of the Moon and Earth bias towards presenting the Moon as larger and closer relative to the Earth than it really is, and both bodies larger to scale than reality. All of these are done for sake of presentation only.

Critical Advantages of ELORA over Other Interdiction Concepts/Approaches

The ELORA concept solution presents a number of advantages over currently proposed approaches:

1.  Low construction cost (Provided we are working on the Moon already)

2.  Repeated impacts and multiple attempts possible in quick response context (tolerates single failures)

3.  No fragmentation of threat – Impactor is fine dust and spreads over an area most of the size of the bolide immediately prior to impact so that it bears less likelihood of splitting it

4.  Low cost to maintain/launch/station-keep

5.  Very quick deployment – System can be deployed within hours after a five sigma track is established for the target object

6.  Extremely high velocities and impact reach possible – Superior kinetic energy potential – Superior inertia imparted as compared to hydrogen core detonation

7.  Modular/Scalable/’Magazine’ is cheaply and easily reload-able – the advantageous bag-by-bag method as to how it is assembled, becomes also a key strength in how it impacts the orbital body (like shotgun pellets) and reduces overall threat of fragmentation

8.  Can address multiple objects at once or persistent fragments which remain after first impact, with a second fusillade

9.  Can still be used with superior effectiveness for longer term intervention scenarios

10.  ‘Paints’ an asteroid white (for long term intervention scenario) – Increases Yarkovsky effect – Induces cometization on impact side

11.  Adds superior amount of mass to the target orbital body

12.  Spread pattern (shotgun blast) or single bullet projectile and variable velocities possible – tailored to orbital body challenge. Not vulnerable to the tumbling of the target bolide (roll, pitch, yaw) as are all other technologies

13.  Deflects very large orbital body mass threats compared to current conceptual approaches

14.  Remaining straggler threat fragments can be independently targeted and impacted separately

15.  Uses Lunar orbit angular momentum and/or Lunar/Earth slingshot effect for added kinetic energy at launch

16.  Vastly superior single impactor total mass (56 x) – equivalent to 1000 – 3000 kilotons of TNT (about 2.8 – 4.2 Petajoules), in the range of 60 to 90 times as much energy as that released from the atomic bomb detonated at Hiroshima. However, unlike a nuclear warhead blast – ALL of this kinetic potential is transferred into momentum imparted to the orbital body.

17.  Rapid intervention arrival time onto targeted threat

18.  Potential for deployment to not be controlled by a single nation nor launch station

19.  Lower chance of technology chain risk-failures/straightforward mechanisms

20.  Thrusters are only directional do not have to lift anything into space, nor expend regular fuel in order to keep dynamic orbit – Less fuel vulnerable/Lower fuel requirement

21.  Each impactor unit arrival provides ranging/correction for more accurate successive impacts – (shoot shoot look shoot)

22.  Employs the kinetic energy of the Moon’s orbit around the Earth like a pitcher’s throw in baseball

24.  Uses stationary Lagrange point 1 assembly – low G and low cost to assemble/handle impactor payloads

25.  Can be recaptured by Lagrange 1 assembly station and repair/maintenance done as needed

26.  Low cost of assembly/launch from low G of Moon surface

27.  System can be upgraded with better trajectory rockets, without having to change out the actual payload

28.  System can be tested repeatedly and at a low cost. Is easy to replace the expended round.

29.  Can deflect an irregular shape, long and tumbling bolide (such as 2017 Oumuamua)

30.  Trojan payloads in static orbit at Earth-Lunar Lagrange 1, can be launched/slingshot by the Moon and Earth along any selected initial Lunar orbit inclination vector desired (as well as corresponding Earth slingshot inclination), to interdict objects approaching from any direction inside the celestial grid.

31.  Assembly and trojan stationing at Earth-Lunar Lagrange Point 1 allows for a very large payload to be assembled in space, yet not have to carry the rockets and large fuel required to keep orbit station around the Moon, or even worse, Earth during its assembly – wherein one would constantly have to add energy, adjusting the orbit of the payload as bag mass is added to its structure over time.

Assembly and trojan stationing at Earth-Lunar Lagrange Point 1 allows for a very
large payload to be assembled in space, yet not have to carry the rockets and large
fuel required to keep orbit station around the Moon, or even worse, Earth during its assembly –
wherein one would constantly have to add energy, adjusting the orbit of the payload as bag mass is added to its structure over time.

Development and Phasing

While much work remains to be completed on the development phase obviously, and accordingly demands that a Moon base of operations be established (becoming only one of the reasons to mandate such a thing – so this project cannot be burdened with the full cost of establishing operations on the Moon itself), the deployment is conducted in relatively straightforward fashion, through beta testing and four deployment phases below.

2038  Beta 0 Testing – Earth based test of smaller trojan payload station-keeping at ELL-1

2040  Beta 1 Testing – ELL-1 in situ testing of larger payload assembly/station-keeping

2043  Beta 2 Testing – Trojan to Moon orbit transition test and asteroid test interdiction

2050  Phase I – Establish Moon surface station infrastructure

2055  Phase II – Lunar launch station assembly/operation/test bagging & launch

2058 – 2068  Phase III – Earth-Lunar L1 trojan impactor amassing (creating payloads)

2070 – 2075  Phase IV – Lunar Lagrange orbital array stationing/acceptance testing series

Thus we are probably at least 40 years from being able to begin to accomplish such a feat at face value as presented herein. However, it is the opinion of this author, that eventually the best minds in this discipline will conclude that this solution is the only real way in which an emergent, 150+ meter bolide interdiction could be achieved by mankind. In the meantime, the nuclear option (distasteful as that may be) appears to be the best stop-gap measure for Earth defense with respect to smaller, more likely, PHO bolides, while we obtain the political and social will to create the elegant and ethical ELORA architecture in our binary space.

However, there is nothing to say that we cannot in the meantime, create a couple of these payloads with conventional Delta IV launches over the next two decades, place a similar smaller sized payload at Lagrange 1, and then test the concept first. In fact, we should do this. But the question will remain, will we be this bold? Or are PHO/Earth-impactors just another myth to the assuredly skeptical mind?

In the meantime, respectfully submitted for your consideration.

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Latest Trends in Acceptance of UFO’s – Not Good News for Fake Skeptics

Sixty percent of the informed and critical thinking American public believe that UFO’s constitute something other than conventional, natural or man-made phenomena. Much to the disdain of fake skeptics, the phenomenon will not go away – no matter how many celebrities they foist into the spotlight, nor how many verbatim podcasts they produce, and no matter how many times they scream ‘woo!’.

Robust Intelligence Data Portends a Persistent Experiential Base

The latest numbers released by Gallup News Service and its contracted Princeton Survey Research Center do not portend good news for fake skeptics with respect to trends inside public consideration of the UFO subject.1 2 3 A September 6th 2019 Gallup article by Lydia Saad, which highlighted release of the June 2019 (Poll 1) and August 2019 (Poll 2) data by Gallup News Services and was entitled Americans Skeptical of UFOs, but Say Government Knows More, offers a quasi-pessimistic framing of sentiment around the UFO subject on the part of the American public. However, once one looks inside the Gallup data, one finds that Americans are not buying classic failed fake ‘skepticism’ (which is the normal meaning of the word when employed by the media) surrounding UFO’s as much as the article might imply. Indeed, 88% of the informed, non-religious public hold that UFO’s are a real phenomenon, and are not imagined nor halucinated. A mere 33% of that same public segment (not religious nor ignorant) still hold fast to the notion that 100% of UFO sightings are either man-made or can be explained by conventional phenomena. This percentage of holdouts continues to shrink each decade. Much to their disdain, the phenomenon will not go away – no matter how many celebrities they foist into the media spotlight, nor how many verbatim podcasts they produce, and no matter how many times they scream ‘woo!’. Not particularly heady days right now for UFO fake skeptics.

The purpose of this blog article is not to lend credence or denial support around any particular sentiment inside the UFO debate, rather to outline errant method and irrational behavior among those who are faking at their skepticism. There is an extraordinary amount of bunk inside the UFO topic – nearly everyone inside the rational and informed public debate on the topic agrees on this. However, this issue does not constitute the critical path question at hand.

The critical path question entailed is this:

Are a subset of these observations sufficient to establish necessity under Ockham’s Razor? Is official investigation and public oversight warranted?

If the answer to these two questions is ‘yes’, then we can no longer dismiss the UFO matter through a simple wave of the skeptical ‘simplest explanation’ hand.

Demarcation of Skepticism

Once plurality is necessary under Ockham’s Razor, it cannot be dismissed by means of skepticism alone.

In the instance outlined in the two points above, the Demarcation of Skepticism has been called into play. Addressing this demarcation and ethical method of science, is the purpose of this blog article; not any form of attempt to prove UFO’s through an ad populum fallacy. Nor is the purpose of this article to review the confidence interval calculations on the adequacy of the Princeton s-sample base, as that would distract from the critical path argument laid out herein. So, now that we have made all that clear, let’s take a look at the raw results from the Gallup poll summarized by the Saad article. The following is an illustrative graphic we developed depicting the data results in a way in which they can be better understood and analyzed.

Idiosyncrasies Inside the Polling Data

One should take notice of several alert flags inside the data. They are outlined by the following five assertions which signal where oversampling adjustment was needed in the polling regression work:

1.  14% of the respondents had never heard of nor read about UFO’s before. These respondents should have been removed from the study immediately, but were not. Moreover, these respondents were artificially added into the ‘disagree’ responses. This is a professional error in poll work. The respondents should have been excluded from the data. Below, we have done that.

2.  16% of the population has actually seen what they consider to be a UFO. That actually surprised me. This signal group must be counted because there exists an epistemic difference between an informed bias to a modus praesens and an ignorance bias to a modus absens. The latter group is not a valid signal group. This poll did not address that.

3.  The most important warning flag inside the data, was the 22% of the respondents who believe that life only exists on Earth alone, in the entire cosmos. This sol-nihilist sentiment is the dictatum of a specific religious order. This data group should have been removed from the study under the same rationale regarding ignorance, as was used to exclude the group in assertion 1. above. Below we address this adjustment which should have been compensated for through oversampling.

4.  Moreover, if we assume that 5 points of the ignorance group in assertion 1. above responded with ‘No Answer’ (as they ethically should have, but apparently most did not), and if we assume that 4 points of this group are one-in-common (overlap) with the sol-nihilist group identified in assertion 3. above – we are left with 5 percentage points of the respondents who answered the questions, but did so from a standpoint of ignorance under pretense. It is important to note that, of those who had never heard the term ‘UFO’ before – 65% (9 of 14 percentage points) were dishonest in their responses to the successive question series, making specific claims to expertise about something they had admittedly never even heard of. This is called a ‘telltale signal’ in polling research.

The dishonesty quotient grows unduly high as one moves to the right hand side (denial & fake skepticism) of the above graph. This is clearly evident in the response data. This shortfall in human integrity is solely the handiwork of the social skepticism cabal. We address this agency in the polling data below.

5.  Therefore, if we combine the 5 percentage points for exclusion from assertion 4. above, with the 22 percentage points of exclusion from the sol-nihilist religious group in assertion 3. above, we end up with a total of 27 percentage points who should not have been included inside the respondent groups. Both these respondent classes are no different in principle than a Crate-Bradley effect signal grouping – and ethically should have been excluded from the regression data. Below, we have rectified this error.

Up to 53 points of the 60% ‘disagree that UFOs are real’ response group in Poll 2,
hold their positions precisely from ignorance of even the term UFO itself (14%)
or further from being religiously trained that intelligent life only exists on Earth in the entire cosmos (48%).

This is a very big problem socially – and is the direct fault of social skepticism and the embargo influence it imparts upon the media and science.
This is called agency, and is not a valid signal in polling results.

Crate-Bradley Effect Adjustments to Eliminate Embargo-Agency Bias

Three Crate-Bradley sampling bias errors were included inside these poll results.  First including sentiment of those who had never heard of the topic. Second, including responses from those who knew nothing about the topic, but were instructed to throw the poll results. Finally, treating both of these groups as valid ‘Disagree’ sentiment signal data. While we recognize that dogmatism and social conditioning exist on both sides of this issue and as well are concerned about the small numbers of ‘I don’t know’ responses in the poll data, there exists an ethical difference between an informed-yet-mistaken hunch, versus making a circular-club-recitation claim to authority based upon a complete absence of exposure (ignorance) to a topic at all (green eggs and ham error). In reality, the former is participating in the study, the latter is not. The latter ends up constituting only a purely artificial agency-bias, which requires an oversampling or exclusion adjustment (see A Word About Polls).

One cannot capture a sentiment assay about the taste of tiramisu, among people who either don’t even know what tiramisu is, or have never even once tasted tiramisu because they were told it was made of cow manure.

Such an action would be dimwitted and unprofessional (I am not sure how the Princeton Survey Research Center even allowed this to slip by its quality control red team in the first place). This type of data respondent is typically and ethically removed from most polling data marts. We remove some (not all) of this artificial gain-boost of the latter group, from the data, below. Indeed, the Gallup Poll is called ‘How Skeptical Are Americans of UFO’s?’ – and not ‘How Many Americans are Ignorant of What the Universe or a UFO Even Is?’

One cannot answer a question about evidence for/against UFO’s if one believes that both life, and especially intelligent life, do not exist in the Universe to begin with. This is tantamount to refusal to participate in the poll. One cannot be ‘skeptical’ if one knows absolutely nothing about the topic, or already has been instructed under an agency which does not allow a respondent to answer the poll question in the first place. Would you want a poll which asked “Is Jim a good guy?’ to be responded 48% by Jim’s ex wife’s family with whom he is in a child custody battle? Of course not, as such a poll would be invalid. What if we threw in another 15 percentage point respondent group who had no idea who Jim even was at all? Moreover, what if we then counted that 15% as ‘No, Jim is not a good guy’ respondents, simply by account of their lack in knowing who Jim was to begin with (utile absentia fallacy)?  This would result in a poll in which suggests that almost two-thirds of the people who know Jim, hate Jim. This is pollster Tom Foolery and is exactly what was done inside this Gallup poll. It constitutes a common form of academic pseudoscience.

Were my catalog retailer to employ such clueless customer sentiment analytical error in its distribution list and A/B testing, we would go out of business for misinforming ourselves about our customer’s true needs and likes/dislikes. Mitigation of this species in polling bias is usually taught in undergraduate A/B analytics, polling regression and signal group analysis courses (see Stanford University course in Polling, Data and Decision Theory).4 

But in this instance, apparently because UFO’s constitute one of their pet socially primed issues, immunity from professional standards is permitted, answers have to be introduced in compliant code, and inference be drawn only slowly – all so as to avoid offending fake skeptics and to assuage their tender tantrum-throwing egos.

After all, we are looking to see what rational and informed people have to say about this subject, not the random null-informed nor children/invalids who have no idea what the Universe or a UFO even is, but just happened to answer the phone. Bodies would count, informed opinions would count less. In professional contrast, the method we employ below is not formulated under any interest in measuring an affect as to how well a particular message has been embargoed by the media. Our method only concerns the full spectrum of informed choice. We cannot afford to have people who have never tasted tiramisu, show up as part of a signal group which ‘does not like tiramisu’.

The approach adopted here nonetheless does still leave us a representative group of 33% of the rational population who believe that UFO’s are comprehensively explainable as conventional natural or man-made phenomena. A reasoned position from at least a small basis of information. One might call this a position of ignorance as well (the idea that all UFO’s are man-made or natural objects has been falsified at least 1,000 times over), however for purposes of this study, we shall only deem ignorance to constitute an individual who has never heard of nor read about the topic of UFO’s at all (assertion 1. above) or has no idea what the universe even is (assertion 3. above) – and not an opinion which is merely casually informed.

This being said, let us now consider how sentiment ranks inside the informed and rational segment of the US population.

The Real Breakout of Public Sentiment Surrounding UFO’s

Below we have redeveloped the raw poll data from Poll 1 and used it to adjust the results in order to remove Crate-Bradley effect media imbued ignorance from both Polls 1 and 2. The graphic below shows the data correctly adjusted for that static bias, by means of the removal of the 27% (ignorance and sol-nihilism bias) or 18% (sol-nihilist bias only, after overlap with the ignorance group has been removed) as applicable based upon the domain logic of the question asked.

What is demonstrably clear inside this data is the fact that:

1.  60% of the rational and informed US population believe that UFO’s are something other than a natural or man-made phenomenon.

2.  25% of the rational and informed US populace have observed something they consider to be a UFO. This is rather remarkable.

3.  A supermajority, 88% of US citizens believe that UFO’s are not imaginary nor hysteria. They believe there is something that people are seeing flying around in the skies. 28 percentage points of that 88% believe that the things flying around in our skies are man-made exclusively.

4.  93% of the US population considers it valid to hold that there exists life on other planets in the Universe – while 67 percentage points of that group believe that some of that life could also be intelligent. I remain amazed that these percentages are still this low.

5.  76% of the US population thinks that its government knows something about these phenomena, and for good or for bad, is withholding that knowledge from the American public.

6.  Moreover, I find alarm in that the ‘No/Disagree’ group inside these queries should ethically respond with anything besides ‘I do not know’ (the truth). This incumbent dishonesty stems precisely from having been taught a false form of skepticism. The social conditioning around this issue has reduced the set of ‘I do not know’ responses to a level well below what they ethically should be for these questions (from both sides). However, in the case of the modus absens claims in particular (claiming that something is not, without evidence), these are unseemly and grandiose claims to knowledge of an absence, which the claimants could not possibly have derived objectively. They have been socially primed in this response. This species of claim is wholly different than a mistaken claim from a set of positives (modus praesens).

Emotional Priming – a process of pseudo-education wherein a popular controversial issue such as Creation-Evolution, or Monsim-Dualism is framed as a whipping horse, posed in a false dilemma, so as to polarize the general public into ‘science’ and ‘woo’ camps of belief. The visceral reaction to the woo camp of belief inside academia imbues a type of anchoring bias and emotional agency on the part of those who self appoint or are tasked to ‘represent science’ – thereafter influencing their objectivity just as severely as would a religion. ​

Curiously 48 points of the 60% of the respondent group who did not believe that UFO’s were real, also did not believe there was any intelligence life in the cosmos at all, besides us.  This leaves only 12% of the population who competently live in today’s reality, and still think that UFO’s are not valid.

Skeptics claim that their thinking is representative of 60% of the American population. This is an error on their part, as the people in this signal group are not skeptics at all. Skeptics are simply taking advantage of their ignorance. They are useful idiots.

Summarizing These Results into Coherent Intelligence

Therefore, to summarize the Gallup Research Poll in terms of a single spectrum, a little bit of domain theory, some math and critical path deduction leads the honest researcher to the following conclusions about sentiment toward UFO’s on the part of the American public:

In the above gross summary, one will notice that fake skeptics and the religiously brain dead (who believe that Earth-mankind is the only intelligent life in the Universe) compose the largest component of those holding final conclusions (extraordinary claims made without a shred of evidence at all) – comprising 60% of the population. This is the irrational segment of the population: those who obsessively cling to a modus absens without any form of valid basis for such inference.

In other words, stupidity passed off as skepticism fell in at around 60% of the population.
This group was followed by the more rational ‘I do not know’ group at 7%.
Finally followed by both those who consider the subject to be real, and a fortiori those who have seen a UFO in their lifetime, at 33%.

However, if we remove those who in actuality refused to take the poll – but their numbers were mistakenly counted as having a modus absens UFO-related conclusion (the poll error called utile absentia) – in other words, exclude the brain dead 48% above, a whole new set of numbers come into light as follows:

As one can see above, a full 64% of the rational and thinking population regard the UFO subject as having validity. A mere 23% of the adult rational population regard the UFO subject to be comprehensively delusion, man made or natural phenomena. Less than a quarter of the population, assumes that ‘skepticism’ affords them permission to hide their heads in the sand.

This is great news for UFO researching skeptics, bad news for fake skeptics.

Such is the state of knowledge regarding UFO’s on the part of the American public (as represented by an adjusted Gallup scientific sampling by means of cell phone and land line). It is the mission of ethical skepticism, not to promote ideas regarding UFO’s necessarily, but rather to ensure that the dogmatic forces which seek to squelch knowledge, ironically in the name of science, are not able to play their sordid game of obfuscation. Let the chips fall where they may. We are all grown-ups (save for 48 to 60% of us).

Sixty percent of the informed and critical thinking American public believe that UFO’s constitute something other than conventional, natural or man-made phenomena. Such sentiment continues to rise, much to the chagrin of those inside the fake skepticism cabal. Does such sentiment then warrant Ockham’s Razor plurality? Are official public investigation and oversight now justified? The American public’s answer to both these questions is a resounding, ‘Yes!’. They preside as proprietary rights-holder over all the information inside this topic. Indeed, even if the issue involves matters of national security. This knowledge should not be unduly restricted from their purview, nor embargoed by forces of religion nor ignorance.

Accordingly, this is part and parcel to the fabric of our mission as ethical skeptics.

   How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “Latest Trends in Acceptance of UFO’s Not Good News for Fake Skeptics”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 9 Sep 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-aan

September 9, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Dual-Burden Model of Inferential Ethics

Trust everyone, but cut the deck. So goes the famous apothegm regarding accountability being a double-edged sword. There exist certain inferential critical paths in which both the alternative sponsor as well as the null hypothesis defender, each bear the burden of proof of their contention. Conditions wherein the evidence is forcing the null sponsor to contend something other than simply ‘nuh-uh’. But beware, your discipline in contention better be just as solide-en-preuve as that discipline set you previously demanded of alternative explanation sponsors.

The Necessity of Plurality

There are certain circumstances wherein, both sides in an argument bear the burden of proof. These would be instances wherein one construct cannot claim the luxury of being the null or null hypothesis. Instances where more than one idea is necessary to research, and the actual null hypothesis is 𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑐ℎ𝑒́  itself. If two persons are caught in a room where a murder just occurred, then both are suspects. There is no null hypothesis which states that the prettier or richer of the two persons is not the guilty party. The actual null hypothesis is 𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑐ℎ𝑒́ , and both parties in a way, bear the burden of proof.

The ‘burden of proof’ of course is not a scientific principle, but rather a social idiom in most contexts. The concept of ‘proof’ is for maths and alcohol, not most science. Science hinges upon falsification, if such can be attained, not proof. However we will tolerate the term here, so as not to complicate the critical path of explanation which follows.

The condition which is called ‘plurality’ by Ockham’s Razor exists once the sponsors of an alternative (to the null) idea or construct (does not have to be fully mature as a hypothesis) have achieved any one of the following necessity thresholds:

‣  a nexus of a persistent and robust alternative construct observation base
‣  potential falsification of the ‘null’ exists (and certainly if that null is not really a hypothesis itself)
‣  the intent contribution of agency has been detected
‣  the critical issue involved is a matter of public trust
‣  the contention involves placing involuntary or large counts of stakeholders at risk
‣  there exists a critical immaturity of the entailed observation domain.

In these instances, all parties must therefore now bring ‘proof’ of their contention. The deontological burden no longer falls singly upon the alternative idea sponsor. If I introduce a new food, I must prove a negative – that it is not harmful. And if I establish that the food I have introduced is not harmful, beyond a reasoned doubt – then claims to the alternative must also be substantiated. But if such claims are inductively substantiated, then I must also respond with salient and novel investigation/proof to such claims-to-safety about my new food, and not rest on the luxury as the ‘null hypothesis’.

Proving the null is no longer a matter of ‘proving a negative’ (another incorrect idiom, as properly expressed one cannot ‘inductively infer a modus absens‘ or a ‘not p‘. One can easily prove a negative.). Rather, the proponent of the null must now mature it into a specific hypothesis, and can no longer rest on the luxuries of residing in a state as the default explanation, or continue to endure without a testable hypothesis structure (see The Elements of Hypothesis).

This principle of the dual burden model of inferential ethics is called ‘plurality’, and is the essence of principle framed in the statement attributed to William of Ockham:

Ockham’s Razor

Plurality should not be posited without necessity.

Once necessity has been achieved (persistent and robust data set, falsification of the null has been suggested, etc.) – even though a single explanatory approach has not been fully demonstrated as true, and even though the sponsor of a competing alternative might not have testable hypothesis nor mechanism of accountability full established – the construct itself becomes part of the Ockham’s Razor plurality set. We cannot afford to eliminate future scientific alternatives through protocol alone, as this is dishonesty. Bureaucracy is not part of the scientific method.

As it relates to alternatives which bear the potential of human intent (agency) for instance and in particular, the state of plurality is a given (except in a tort claim against an individual in a court of law). Intent is a game changer in hypothesis reduction theory. For instance, it is no longer permissible for skeptics to enforce the idea that the proponents of UFO/UAP study alone must ‘bring proof’. UFOs/UAPs surpass all six tests above for plurality now. One can no longer state ‘there is nothing to UFO’s’ or ‘bring me proof of UFO’s’. The evidence base is too robust and pervasive.

Such an instance where the onus falls now upon two parties represents the dual-burden model of inferential ethics.

The Dual-Burden Model of Inferential Ethics

The hypothesis reduction circumstance wherein an actual null hypothesis must be developed, and further be shown to have comprehensive explanatory potential to justify its contention – it can no longer reside as simply the lazy ‘null’ argument.

Conditions wherein the evidence is forcing the null sponsor to contend something other than simply ‘nuh-uh’ (nulla infantis). However, beware, your discipline in contention better be just as solide-en-preuve as that discipline set you previously demanded of alternative explanation sponsors.

One must, under that particular state of plurality, bring proof of a mature hypothesis which represents the null position now. The null can no longer hide and play King of the Hill science. It must step into the light of accountability as well. Plurality is now necessary under Ockham’s Razor.

This serves to introduce the principle called the Demarcation of Skepticism:

The Demarcation of Skepticism

Once plurality has been introduced under Ockham’s Razor, it cannot be dismissed by means of skepticism alone.

Ockham’s Razor, rather than being the convenient artifice of the faking skeptic, actually serves to put the skeptic out of power under this condition of inferential ethics. Celebrity skeptics of course bristle at this notion that skepticism can be disarmed and no longer act in lieu of science. You will not see them ‘comprehending’ this avenue of the philosophy underpinning science. Their income, celebrity and influence upon thought depend precisely upon such axioms not being widely understood. Simultaneously a matter of conflict of interest, convenience and ignorance on their part. We are all the lesser for such intransigence.

An Example in Poker

Let’s elicit this through the example of intent, as deployed inside the game of poker. The rules of poker are formulated around a persistent and robust human foible called cheating. Cheating is the condition where an intelligent mind, chooses to intervene (intent) and insert into a model, a constraint which normally does not exist. An ace card taped under the table or a method of dumping poker chips on insignificant hands, with specific intent to force a weaker-funds player to call a bid or withdraw from the game artificially. These are just two simple examples among many more methods of cheating at card games of chance.1

In signal intelligence, a fairly common form of encryption involves the masking of a transmission, such that it cannot be distinguished from white noise or background static.2 In such instances, finding an intervention inside such stochasticity, a contribution or presence of an external constraint of intent, is the key to detecting an encrypted signal as distinct from the background noise. In such a case of intelligence prosecution – all one need do in order to prove their case, is find one single instance of contrived signal. The signal bears intelligent intent, regardless of how random or ‘intent-lacking’ the rest of the signal might appear. Intent only has to be detected once, in order to falsify its absence.

Intent (Burden of Proof)

/philosophy : science : systems engineering : modeling and simulation/ : a novel constraint which arrives into a chaotic/complex process or a domain of high unknown, which does not originate from the natural background set of constraints, and further serves to produce a consistent pattern of ergodicity – when no feedback connection between outcome and constraint is possible. An intervening constraint in which every reasonable potential cause aside from intelligent derivation has been reduced, even if such constraint is accompanied or concealed by other peer stochastic and non-intent influences.

When one makes or implies a claim to lack of intent, one has made the first scientific claim and cannot therefore be exempted from the burden of proof regarding that claim, nor reside inside the luxury of a false null hypothesis (einfach mechanism).

So, let us then outline the practical ethics (praxis) of how card games are managed in light of such a reality of intent. A praxis which involves a burden of proof that is demanded of both parties in a deliberation.

The Dual-Burden of Intent: Trust Everyone But Cut the Deck

Two distinct conditions of proof exist with regard to poker playing. These conditions involve both the burden of proof of an intent (cheating) as well as proof that the domain is devoid of intent (visibly shuffling the deck of all cards). This double-edged sword of accountability or dual-burden with respect to intent, is outlined below. Both of these claims, bear the simultaneous burden of proof.

Yes, in order to accuse someone of cheating/intent, one bears a burden of at the least inductive plurality, if not proof. However, when one sits at a table to play poker, one is also making an implicit claim to honesty/absence of intent – which also must be proved, each and every hand of cards. Both types of claim explicit and implicit, simultaneously bear the burden of proof.

Claim 1: Accusation of Intent (Detecting the Cheat) – A sponsor must eventually prove intent, this is true. However a sponsor can raise objection and ask for research, even if such proof is not readily available. This according to house rules to prove cheating; to wit:3

If something is non-provable, your best bet is to leave the game and make mention of it to the host or the poker room manager. There won’t be much they can immediately do about it, but they can keep an eye out for it and maybe do something in the future (inductive plurality). If something is provable, you should voice your opinion to the host or poker room manager as soon as possible. If it is something that they’ll need to witness to prove, mention it to them in private so they can begin keeping an eye out for it. If it is something you can immediately prove, you can mention it out loud to the dealer and the table so they can catch the perpetrator immediately (proof).

Claim 2:  Averring Absence of Intent (The Shuffle, Cut and Player Etiquette) – However, lack of intent cannot also be casually assumed – when doubt exists as to the presence of an unseen hand. Inside a sufficiently complex or unknown system, absence of intent must also be proved to a reasonable certainty. In cards, this absence of intent is fairly easy to establish via the quod erat demonstrandum experiments of the shuffle, cut and poker-player etiquette. However, in a large domain of unknown, such a logical proof (one cannot inductively prove a modus absens) is very difficult to attain, and if concluded at all, such conclusion resides at the end of the deliberative process and not its beginning. Such lack of intent cannot be casually assumed from a small set of domain sample; to wit:4

In a player-dealt game, the pack must be shuffled and cut before the cards are dealt. The recommended method to protect the integrity of the game is to have three people involved instead of only two. The dealer on the previous hand takes in the discards and squares up the deck prior to the shuffle. The player on the new dealer’s left shuffles the cards and then slides the pack to the new dealer, who gets them cut by the player on his right. The deck must be riffled a minimum of four times. The cut must leave a minimum of four cards in each portion. The bottom of the deck should be protected so nobody can see the bottom card. This is done by using a cut-card. A joker can be used as a cut-card.

As a note, please resist the temptation to conflate absence of intent (agency) in the methods of science, as being congruent with an absence of intent in the objective system being studied (shuffling analogy above). In all cases, an absence of agency inside the methods of science, must be presumed. In the case of card games of chance cited above, as regards intent of an unseen hand inside a study domain which is chaotic or of large uncertainty – neither intent nor its lack thereof, may be assumed. In this analogy, the game of chance is the object being studied, and the House (Casino) Surveillance is the entity employing the scientific method (ensuring veracity of the ‘studied’ game).

Let’s examine now an example of just such a domain of chaotic and large unknown – inside which we cannot yet aver an absence of intent, nor currently also claim any manifestation of a ‘tampering hand’.

If something exists, one cannot say that it necessarily exists devoid of intent.
Intent is the necessary alternative to non-intent.
One cannot null hypothesis a lack of intent. The actual null is 𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑐ℎ𝑒́.

An Example Inside Evolutionary Genetics

We are all very familiar with the contentious arguments surrounding whether or not a ‘hand of God’ has either initiated and/or guided evolution. A series of Pew Research Polls showed that most Americans both believe in God, and believe evolutionary theory at the same time.5 Does this serve to imply that all these people are irrational? No, of course not. Sadly, arguments as to the veracity of creation or intelligent design are red herring arguments, simply posed by religious agency. While I suspect that both sides in the extremist Nihilist/Fundamentalist debate have played a role in the inappropriate escalation of these constructs, who originated this agency actually is not my concern; rather simply that these straw men concepts exist to mislead scientist and lay person alike. I do not have to show who crafted a fallacious argument, in order to shoot it down as invalid. The actual deliberation which exists inside of evolutionary genetics is the issue of whether or not intent is a contributing constraint to any one of five observed ergodicity sets (below). Creation, Nihilism, Materialism and Intelligent Design are irrelevant both as arguments and as contexts of research inside science. Intent however, is not.

Before we jump into this issue however, adjudicated in light of our understanding of the dual-burden ethical model above, let me comment that scientifically, I do not care what is determined to be its outcome. I mean I do care; but I divorce that care from my discipline of skepticism and epistemology. When I examine the five issues which are casually and incorrectly called ‘evolution’, I find that I cannot discern sufficient rationale to dismiss intent as a construct, a priori. In this article however we shall focus upon this issue of intent, solely with regard to Human Accelerated Regions (HAR Acceleration in red bold below), as depicted in the graphic to the right; sourced from the Doan-Bae study quoted below.6

Abiogenesis
Ordination
Speciation (Darwinism)
Human Acceleration
Epigentics

These are all separate sub-disciplines, often referred to incorrectly as ‘evolution’. Evolution is a fact, and an observed ergodicity (outcome) – it is not however a religion and should not be defended by hyperbole and apologetics. Evolution does not disprove God, it does not serve to even suggest Nihilism, nor does it prove materialism, does not make a case for atheism, does not disprove aliens nor angels and does not serve in any way shape or form, to comment upon abiogenesis. Be wary of people who seek to conflate one or more of these in terms of inferential outcome.

Most importantly, evolution does not prove, nor need assume, absence of intent.
‘Creation’ and ‘Intelligent Design’ are irrelevant red herring arguments – borne of agency.

Do not engage with people on either side of the argument who inexpertly wield such terminology.

Intent is the salient and sequitur critical path principle. Otherwise we might as well don a costume and start performing magician tricks with intimidating terminology. Watch for people who equivocally imply such derivative conclusions, employing evolution as a weapon word. They are not to be trusted – and you should certainly never get your science from them. I am not a bio-genetics expert, however I do possess sufficient organic chemistry background, and more importantly – decades of professional neural feedback systems modeling and simulation experience – experience directly critical path to genetics. In my layman studies on evolution, and in the few genetic projects I have commissioned or funded (you can find similar on the web, but I am drawing this from my Genes IX graduate course text by Benjamin Lewin), categorical (mutations) DNA changes comprise the following types:7

Base Substitutions:​

Silent – single nucleotide (letter) change, does not materially alter the amino acid expressed​
Missense – single nucleotide (letter) change, alters the amino acid expressed​
Nonsense – single nucleotide (letter) change, results in insertion of a codon stop or methionine start​
Jibberish – single nucleotide (letter) change, results in a chemical coupling which is not A, C, T nor G​
Base Mispairing – any form of anti-parallel base coupling which does not conform to the Watson-Crick rule (A-C, T-G)​

​Structure or Block Changes:​

Insertion – increases a contiguous number of codon bases inside a gene, at a specific edit location​
Deletion – remove a contiguous number of codon bases inside a gene, resplice the new regions on either side​
Duplication – an insertion which is an exact copy of another codon segment of DNA​
Frameshift – an insertion or deletion which does not adhere to a triplet (3 letter) codon basis, thereby changing the frame of codon reference​
Repeat Expansion – an insertion which replicates one codon which is adjacent to the insertion point, a number of times​
Direct Repeat – replication of an identical codon sequence in the same orientation (5′ to 3′), inside the same gene​
Codon Substitution – a non-frameshift segment of DNA is deleted and an insertion is placed into the splice where it resided​
Inversion – a segment of DNA is rotated from its 5′ to 3′ orientation, by 180 degrees​

Now, stepping into the functional-value (use) judgement of any of these above changes – not talking about the mechanics of the mutation, one could suppose then the following value assessment for any given allele, base pair or gene mutation:

Neutral​

Silent – expressive DNA is impacted by mutation but its function is not altered​
Benign – mutation occurs, but no expressive DNA is impacted​

Disadvantageous​

Repression – function altered by missense, (substitution protein) mutation ​
Blocked – all other forms of mutation besides missense and silent which result in loss of a function​

Advantageous​

Fortuitous Degeneration – a Repression, reactivated Benign or Silent, or Blocked which is coincidentally an advantageous adaptive​
Novel (Constructive) – any Base or Structural mutation which results in a new expression which is coincidentally an advantageous adaptive​

A question therefore arises in the genomic modeling (theory of constraints models sufficient to comprehensively and completely describe genetic ergodicity – not just throw out intimidating sounding terms and guess at it) of evolutionary processes:

To what portion does each type of mutation (red in group A above) inside evolution involve Novel Constructive (red in group B above), Fortuitous Degeneration, Neutral and Disadvantageous allele changes? The answer to this would be rather cool to observe and attempt to model. Because if we end up with an extreme representation of Advantageous Novel and Fortuitously Degenerative mutations (say in the 43+ Human Accelerated Regions of our genome for example) – then a priori non-intent evolution has a problem. Which it indeed does…

Human Accelerated Regions (HAR) – of the human genome.

HARs are short, [approximately 270 base pair] on an average, stretches of DNA, [which are] 97% non[protein]coding. They are conserved in vertebrates, including Pan troglodytes, but not in Homo sapiens, in whom the conserved sequences were subjected to significantly, in many cases dramatically, higher rates of single nucleotide substitutions.8 A number of genes, associated with these human-specific alleles, often through novel enhancer activity, were in fact shown to be implicated in human-specific development of certain brain areas, including the prefrontal cortex.9 10

A number of contiguous and single point intron regulatory sequences [2.5% protein coding exon] codon substitution and insertion allele differences, of 270 base pairs in average length, between humans and their last universal common ancestor (LUCA) with hominidae (apes, australopithecines and archaic homo). Non-precedented/de-Novo/non-GenBank, non-feedback-derived, non-stochastic, fatally improbable happenstance of novel first-time ergodicity inside an absence of genetic pressure – occurring simultaneously and all advantageously, 43+ times, all between 60k and 350k years ago (Neanderthal and Denisovan extant pre-archaic only).11 12 13

“Human accelerated regions exhibit regulatory activity during neural development.” (Doan-Bae, et. al.)14 Fourty-three percent of HARs function as neuronal enhancers. HARs are also enriched for de novo copy number variants and biallelic mutations in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.15

This is called Ordination (and of course Acceleration). Darwin did not address either of these facets of evolution. Our domain knowledge of this sub-discipline inside evolution is very scant. One can make no claim herein to a priori exclusions of intent. Given the fortuitous emergence of the 43 Human Accelerated Regions – their regulation of and association with human cerebral, neural and limb articulation expression, Ockham’s Razor plurality has been surpassed. The argument is manifest and the dual-burden proof ethic broaches.

Three rather stark implications develop from this understanding (much of which has arisen since 2018):

1. “Non-coding” regions is a misnomer, because these HAR non-coding regions are coding for morphological changes to the brain, neural development and limb articulation. This is deductive in its implication as to intent.​

2. The pace of these mutations far exceed the Roach-Glusman human mutation rate of 1 per 100,000,000 base pairs every 20 years.16 100 to 300 base pairs should have mutated on average in these regions – and maybe, maybe have served to produce one trivial novel trait of pan troglodytes speciation (a chimp with lighter skin tones, at the extreme). Instead, 12,000 base pairs mutated and every single one of them produced novel, first time, and highly advantageous traits with regard to neural and cerebral development. – In other words, Ordination.

And one is being gracious here by affording these changes 290,000 years inside of which to occur. The vast likelihood is that they all occurred in a shorter time span than even this.

Therefore, materialists are incorrect.

3. One must prove that intent is absent here. Such an input to evolutionary constructs and theory cannot be assumed a priori, nor as the null hypothesis (einfach mechanism).

Science has produced no evidence which rules out intent in the origin nor ascendancy of life on this planet.
However, because of the dual-burden regarding the role of intent in chaotic or large unknown domains –
it does bear the burden of proving that intent is absent (modus absens).

Previously we have even considered within this blog (see Embargo of The Necessary Alternative is Not Science), a deliberate codex which related the second digit of the DNA codon to its linear protein assignment molecule complexity. A codex which could not have evolved, since the codex was required in order to have evolution happen in the first place. Unprecedentable organization, which is arguably deduced to intent. Yet intent is embargoed from science by material nihilists who apply their religious beliefs therein. And as we have observed with regard to other embargoed subjects before:

Intent as a construct, is the necessary alternative.

This is not a case of ‘being smart enough to justify irrational things’ as fake skeptics have begun to issue as a memorized tag-line. If one is unable to discern these things, inferences which are both sound and critical path to the argument, then one has no business telling everyone what science thinks nor what evolution is or is not.

Genomic Intent

Given all this then, dismissing a priori, intent as a part or small contributor inside the ascendancy of life on this planet, is tantamount to a personal religious choice. As an atheist, I respect and understand that personal choice of faith – but I bristle when it is advertised as a conclusion of science. Such is not the case. Science makes no comment upon intent, to the positive or negative. In contrast however, sponsoring intent for Ockham’s Razor consideration, is not a religious choice, rather part of the scientific method. Modus praesens and modus absens are two completely different ethical standards of scientific inference.17 Those who insist that modus absens (intent is comprehensively absent) has been proved, are simply wrong. The standard to prove modus absens is very high – and most science communicators and enthusiasts do not understand this. So employing one’s personal religious choice that intent cannot exist, in order to squelch the scientific method – is disingenuous. A scientist ethically should say ‘Not so fast’.

Neither is intent then pareidolia, patternicity nor apophenia. Intent can be established by both science and a court of law, without knowing who bore the intention – and by means of only examining the patterns of inferential suggestion therein. Presence of intent can be inferred inductively – absence of intent cannot. Such deliberation is a must in information technology, hacking and murder prosecutions. I do not have to say where the intent came from, and indeed should not conjecture such – until I have a scientific mechanism and hypothesis which is mature and can be pursued by research. I do not have to prove intent from the beginning of space or time, nor where it originated. I only have to spot it once. In order to prove that an encrypted signal of noise bears intelligence (as an intelligence officer), I only need demonstrate one translated segment. I do not need to prove who sent it, nor that the rest of the transmission was or was not intelligence. I only have to provide veracity for that one segment.

Intent is a white crow standard of inference.

Intent is also not a means to fill a gap in scientific understanding with a ‘God of the Gaps’ argument. Such contentions are dilettante and shallow; often constituting propaganda speak on the part of amateur science enthusiasts. The 43 human accelerated regions (HAR) for instance are critical path to this argument regarding intent. The ‘gap’ in the case of HARs is 95% of the knowledge domain; so this in no way constitutes a small shortfall in understanding. No one is pretending to fill that gaping absence of domain knowledge with an intelligent designer; as that is the habit of two opposing agencies who control argument around this issue. They are both wrong in such religious pandering. In science we are trying to extricate ourselves from religion, not jump from one religion into another.

Yes, eventually we would prefer to identify the intender – maybe even one which is dead and gone now, or perhaps left us all alone. However we have to accept the reality that we may never actually resolve such understanding. We may be stuck inside ‘intent without identified intender’ for centuries. Nonetheless, science does not answer every question all at once. Such amateur insistences constitute a non rectum agitur fallacy – forcing every question to be answered before any question can be answered. Science does not work in this manner. Questions are answered incrementally – along a critical path of inference. Understanding this is critical to any claim or implication to be scientifically literate. I am an atheist; however, I cannot ethically throw out the construct of intent, just because my socially-primed buddies and I are emotionally upset about the idea of an ‘Intender’ – that is not fair to science, not fair to humanity – to force one church’s doctrinal anger upon everyone around us. Just because a few peoples’ terror-filled urges scream “There is no Intender!”, does not mean that science and humanity must thereafter cower in the shadow of that imperious religious insistence. We learned this lesson when Christianity controlled science. I do not want another religion sneaking in and doing this to us again.

If intent is here, even if tucked away and hard to find, I want it found. As an ethical skeptic, I will stand up for that human right: The Right to Know.

   How to MLA cite this article:

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Dual-Burden Model of Inferential Ethics”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 30 June 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9XK

June 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , | Leave a comment

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