It was in the midst of just such a pretense of sleep, that perchance I did dream in ironic authenticity.
Thoughts unrelenting – phantoms which eventually materialized into a new discipline called ethical skepticism.
Where one is corrupt in their skepticism, there also will they be corrupt in their heart.
Of Pretend Sleep and Authentic Dreams
It is the intent of this author and purpose of this blog to propose afresh from its beginning, a genuine problem in philosophy. A problem of method-induced creeping ignorance, wrought in the name of science. A Tadpole or boot trainee is never considered a fully skilled soldier, until he or she first knows how not to endanger or abuse others with their weapon. In similar critical nature, until one understands how a philosophical definition or principle can be manipulated for ill intent, one has not really learned it. Such is the nature of ethical skepticism; an applied ability to spot the condition wherein skepticism is employed with the specific goal of cultivating ignorance inside society. In order for us to hone our skills at spotting scientific deception through means of this false skepticism however, it becomes necessary that one approach afresh, many core ideas of philosophy.
Philosophy is a tar baby as well; for in the moment you eschew or jeer philosophy, unfortunately you have pretended to the role of philosopher. Given all this, for me the question arises, ‘then why not do philosophy well?’ While the philosopher runs the risk of dealing in sophistry within such a blog effort as The Ethical Skeptic, and accordingly I examine my own steps with a skeptic’s eye for this misrepresentation by means of locution; nonetheless, I feel it to be of greater importance to foster public understanding of our errant versions of skepticism than retreat into a presumed parsimony. A personal regard of such urgency that I hold this clarity as paramount over the red-herring effect that events of the day or persons seeking more than their 15 minutes of fame might serve to impart. So for myself, becoming a philosopher therefore is a must. The fundamental bad philosophies decried in this work, the habits of Bernaysian belief engineering, methodical cynicism and pseudo-skepticism, have served to underpin the origin of much conflict, ignorance and suffering on the part of greater mankind. What we do know is used to control us, while what we do not know serves to harm us. Skepticism is the process of becoming dissatisfied with this state of affairs.
Ethical skepticism in reality is nothing more than plain ol’ skepticism.
The modifier is employed as an artifice in order to highlight our current
syndicated form of pop-skepticism – abused to control the direction of science and governance.
It is not a claim to virtue, personal or otherwise, as ethics are antipodal to virtue signaling.
The serious reader should discern that I am an author and not a journalist. Please do not ask me to write at a fifth grade level. As a result, many find this site to constitute a hard read. Technical and legal writing compose a significant portion of my trade/businesses at times. I can often be found crafting agreements or specifications, documents which are by their intent precise and effective; not inane prose by any stretch. One should not attempt to casually speed-read or glean through this material and then pretend that their shortfall in mental effort now somehow translates into my responsibility. Moreover, such austerity and precision of language is purposed. The Ethical Skeptic is written so as to filter out the average low-bandwidth troll or subscriber to Skeptical Inquirer; those who fell prey to their doctrines, precisely because they could not fathom philosophical rigor in the first place. This material, while not purposefully abstruse, is also not going to be simply (read that as ‘equivocally’) worded, nor compromised in such a way as to pretense talking down to another level. If you cannot comprehend this material, then neither are you developmentally ready to receive its tenets. A skilled reading acumen however, may discern the ode concealed within its passages. One can find a cache of blithering common sense straw man one-liners some other place. On average I invest days or weeks of actual research and thought into the meta-ethics woven inside my blog posts. When you observe a social skeptic weekly rambling off the same tired list of century-old conclusions regarding an array of subjects inside of which they could not possibly hold necessary expertise – take this as an indication of the level of effort contribution as well as their being compensated in some form for their fallacy-strewn journalism.
I don’t write for other writers, develop philosophy for philosophers, nor exercise skepticism to entertain skeptics. I apply these tools as part of a satisfying life composition.
Moreover, this blog is written for those with ‘soul in the game’; they who bear the fortitude to suffer, appreciate and comprehend the philosophical precision requisite inside comprehension. Stamina driven forth by a passion in searching for Karl Popper’s proverbial ‘treasure buried underneath philosophy’s heap of ruins’. This site contains a graduate level of philosophy and beyond; featuring an ethic which venerates heroes based on their ideas and not their antiquity nor academic repetition. It is said that knowledge may be obtained through study, yet wisdom is attained through arduous and complete life. Beware of those who suggest they obtained wisdom from study. Accordingly, you will notice herein a relative dearth of respect for ancient Greek and Christian Reformation philosophers; those attempting to prove or disprove God through means of clever casuistry. Such work is foolishness; mere abuse of antiquity and icon as surreptitious appeal to authority. If the essential depth of your philosophy is derived from academic aperçu on Seneca, Plato or Nietzsche, and not through the robust struggle of your own life – let’s be clear, you are pretending. Instead, I have crafted this site for those who have encountered the wall of dissatisfaction in their maturation as a doctor of philosophy – a dissonance which indistinctly broods inside the minds of captive, oppressed and real, scientists.
If a man’s thoughts are to have truth and life in them, they must, after all, be his own fundamental thoughts; for these are the only ones that he can fully and wholly understand. . . . a man who thinks for himself can easily be distinguished from the book-philosopher by the very way in which he talks, by his marked earnestness, and the originality, directness, and personal conviction that stamp all his thoughts and expressions. The book-philosopher, on the other hand, lets it be seen that everything he has is second-hand.~ Arthur Schopenhauer, “On Thinking for Yourself” (1851)
There are three types of person. Those who create great ideas, those who pan them, and those who take the credit for them. I strive always to be, and have always played role as, the former. Therein, I have found that the latter will most often secretly reward an ability to create value through ideas; while at the same time ignoring the midmost: the doubter, debunker and cynic. These characters reside in a perpetual state of resentment towards creatively intelligent minds, accentuated by a ripe frustration over the lack of recognition their ‘critical thinking skills’ beget. Their distress mandates the formation of skeptic clubs which offer the means of celebrity and self aggrandizement they so desperately crave. Never fathoming that their ilk come at a dime-a-dozen. Therefore, take this as a hint about skepticism as well. It is a discipline of value creation, and not one of critique.
What I have to say in this blog therefore constitutes a genuinely novel, non-obvious to the artisan, teachable and isolate problem of philosophy, developed from mankind’s prior art inside the subject. Five of the nine critical factors that make for great new philosophy. I will also strive to make this work cogent, clarifying, useful and agenda free as much as I can (the other four critical factors). Nonetheless, what I have to say in this blog is also quietly on the minds of curious citizen and scientist alike. Good minded people who grapple with an inner dissonance. A difficulty explaining just why we possess discomfort with the bien pensant who clamor to dominate and promote a specific set of grand conclusions; and while possessing scant experience or credential, claim as well to speak on behalf of science. Those pretending to be asleep – among whom we formerly numbered our membership. We who are awakened by such dreams in authenticity instinctively grasp this; however, have nonetheless found frustration in articulating its core dissonance. Until now. And in this regard, I seek to disambiguate ethical skepticism from its misrepresented skeptical straw man. In this regard as well, I am not the only ethical skeptic.
There is a quiet, educated, rational and determined movement afoot. It stems from this dissonance. It is not a movement fomented by pseudo scientists nor religious minded persons; rather, it is a movement of conscience, on the part of people just like me. Science and Engineering professionals who, while persons who apply skepticism daily in their STEM professions, are raising the warning flag of concern that some of our peers have begun to stray off course. They, along with specific groups of overzealous and immature laymen, have been misdirected by oligarch minded groups into invalid avenues of institutional, ends-driven control. At some point along the line, the sincere skepticism movement, featuring the cogent and persuasive arguments of leaders like Christopher Hitchens and Carl Sagan, was hi-jacked by the corporate socialist West, who found a new use for this pit-bull terrier group – a group which they could employ to do harm, yet impart no liability risk to their organizations in the process. A new best practice resulting from the bitter lessons they learned in the 1960’s and 70’s concerning their malicious advocacy conduct. They put ‘skepticism’ to work to shield from accountability, pharmaceutical/media/healthcare/agri/food companies, oligarch industries, political parties and academics seeking social and political power. The bandwagon was led astray by vigilante social activists, posing as science, promoting specific social epistemologies, a failed form of socio-economics, the rule of elitist neo-fascism, and a new unacknowledged religion, all falsely in the name of science. In the midst of observing this change, as a sincere skeptic I began to struggle with a creeping and irresistible discomfort with where the movement was headed.
Skepticism is unrelenting, disciplined, incremental, and critical path foolishness.
It is the eye of neutrality, inside the mercenary tempest of curious passion.
I did not know. I went and looked. Everything else was vanity.
The purpose of this blog is not to side with any particular argument inside a valid topic of pluralistic contention. Rather its purpose is to defend plurality when it exists, along with the integrity of the knowledge development process; to highlight preemptive efforts and methods employed in blocking science on the part of this invalid form of skepticism. The purpose of this blog is to elicit light into the unethical habits of this group of false skeptics, and to serve as a resource for its victims. Do I believe in Homeopathy, Bigfoot, UFO’s and ghosts; the ridiculous litmus tests of the Social Skepticism movement? No. I do not hold beliefs around these topics, in contrast to those who partake of fake skepticism. There exists plenty of bunk inside them, and appropriately there are plenty of people around who hold those subjects accountable. Yet who holds Social Skepticism accountable? They possess no mechanisms of peer review nor accountability, which could preclude their being abused as a tool by control-minded influences. They bully the public through media ridicule, character defamation, intimidation, social pressure and gleefully enacted ill behavior to such an extent that scientists and media will only speak against the movement in private. Even the things they are correct on, simply serve as virtue signaling opportunities. They could care less about the subjects themselves. Their target is not any quest for truth. The target is you.
Moreover, while I rely heavily within this blog upon the excellent work inside the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (http://plato.stanford.edu/) as well as foundational philosophers such as Wittgenstein and Popper, along with modern documentarians Rosen, Nozick, Shapiro, and Reese; nonetheless the super-majority of the thoughts presented herein are original thoughts and works of my own. They seek to place risk in epistemological conjecture; to challenge the status quo. These constructs constitute ideas derived over decades of hard-earned and deep philosophy-altering global life exposure. A life framed in courage. You will find that I assemble these foundational principles and life experiences, then move a step further by leveraging or developing them into maturity with regard to understanding errant versus valid skepticism. The corrupted methods of this errant version of skepticism (social skepticism) relegate its victims (all of us) to a purposeful state of ignorance on many subjects. A poverty of intelligence awash in a sea of correctness, seeking to maroon any idea which could even remotely threaten the awesome cosmology, hatred, and politics of their insistence.
While I am an upstanding and conscientious person in my private and professional life, one should not infer from the term ‘ethical skepticism’ a personal boast of morality (normative ethics), as those who are ignorant of graduate level philosophy are prone to accuse. It is the very nature of ethics to eschew the adorning of virtue and morality to begin with; as such costume is largely adopted as means of deception. Rather one should comprehend ethical skepticism as an intellectual and practical allegiance to an actual long held standard of science. It is a post-modern conscientious philosophical connecting of meta-physical arguments to their appropriately impacted epistemology (in academic-speak). After all, this is what ‘ethics’ means, the decision theory behind adherence to standing professional standards of practice. Ethical skepticism is a meta-ethical philosophy therefore, which serves specific benevolent/knowledge goals and results in specific modifications to some of our applied ethics (pseudo-skepticism, institutional propaganda and cultivated ignorance). Therefore, it will naturally oppose agency, the antithesis of this process. It is the job of philosophy therefore, to intervene and hold science accountable – not that one is usurping nor pretending to the role of science – rather re-establishing its anchor in humanity.
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 allowing it to be exploited into becoming mankind’s greatest enemy.