Who is The Ethical Skeptic?
The iconic image I use to the right was from a photograph I took of an ostrakon charcoal sketch of Usir (Osiris), held at Emory University’s Carlos Museum Egyptian galleries. Usir is the god of silence. Knowing when one holds sufficient basis from which to draw inference, and alternatively when to undertake Wittgenstein’s silence (epoché) – is the key to fortress wisdom. Hence the tagline of ethical skepticism, epoché vanguards gnosis. There is a very scientific and evidence-based reason I have selected this image as the symbol of ethical skepticism, but I am not going to reveal that in this blog. That will have to remain a mystery.
The context of the moniker I use or the general practitioner descriptive in the form The Ethical Skeptic, are set in the impersonal; in similar form to The American Practical Navigator or The Creative Architect for example. Ethics discipline and virtue signaling are two differing things. Ethics are a generic call back to a standard and stakeholder-beneficial praxis, while virtue is an individual claim to exceed someone else’s standard. Appealing to organized bank robbers to cease robbing banks, is not a form of virtue signaling. Such appeal is a right we have and a duty we hold.
In this same regard, the context of ethics employed in this blog is deontological in as far as the adherence to standards of protocol, such as the real and complete scientific method, are regarded as both sufficient and necessary to direct our knowledge development actions. An idempotent neutral practice, characterized by an aversion to tampering with observations and data in favor of one’s agency. Yet, still consequentialist from the perspective that the outcomes of value, clarity and the alleviation of risk and suffering manifest as the signature handiwork of those who practice such ethics. In my profession and research skepticism is the substrate of science, and I feel it is abused when applied in lieu of science by agenda-schooled journalists, stage magicians, propaganda bloggers, psychologists and party/social activists. The proverbial ‘bank robbers’.
Just to clarify my positions, I am not a 9/11 truther, flat-Earther nor Moon landing ‘skeptic’. These critical thinking clubs all resulted ironically from media celebrities teaching weaponized skepticism in the first place. I am an evolutionist and an ignostic atheist. I side with science inside the matters of climate change, speciation and the origins of the universe as we understand them. I am pro-transgenetic technology and pro-vaccine – I have recommended specific vaccine programs as a critical step in some of my national health strategies for developing nations. I have campaigned hard, and met face to face with the heads of state, in order to promote acceptance of GMO agricultural foods from our country into several G8 nations which refuse them. But this does not mean that I am therefore now bound to gullibly accept excessive and untested immune activation in infants or every single gene edit desired by corporations benefiting from cosmetics, monopoly, or convenience. Especially if we decide that diligent science and safety study are unnecessary because such caution serves to impede our virtuous and expedient profit. Inside a free nation, science must ever operate inside the public trust.
The promotion of self is pivotal inside any public false claim to represent science. I am not here to participate in such an obsession. For reasons which serve proposing a genuine problem in philosophy therefore, you will find that within this blog I remain primarily focused upon ideas, and not necessarily on the more alluring but distracting milieu around events, popular controversies or persons. That set of distracting personages includes myself; hence my choice of anonymity. Standing inside the protection of the mob and holding a whip of social excoriation is never an act of courage, rather an act of cowardice and self aggrandizement. Such is the habit of the celebrity-seeking skeptic and their sycophancy.
Moreover, while I rely heavily 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.
Who is The Ethical Skeptic? No one of consequence. I believe that a person should be engaged for the quality of their thinking, and for their positive impact upon the world that they find within their reach; not by their titles, curriculum vitae, publications, and awards. Nonetheless, for those who insist that such things embody a person’s worthiness, I work professionally in engineering and science on a daily basis. I hold graduate and undergraduate degrees in engineering, business, finance, and ethics from the number one and number four ranked universities in the US for their respective disciplines. My ethics thesis earned the only A+++ ever awarded by the Dean of my school.
I served as a top-ranked United States naval officer, selected for the top billet available for a junior officer in the United States Navy – flag aide to a warfare theater commander. This selection came through a no-politics, no-nepotism, give me the best we have, wartime preparation billeting process. I was subsequently selected for these same reasons from out of Middle East theater operations, to serve in the capacity of a Black Ops/SCI Top Secret US Naval Intelligence Officer and department head in Washington, D.C., honing skills in cryptography, intelligence, and special access programs at the Pentagon and Office of Naval Intelligence.
I then founded and led a strategy and operations firm which became one of the top three globally inside its discipline/focus. My firm conducted decades of strategy, trade operations, and engineering projects for many familiar US corporations. I supported a top growth company through four key strategies spanning fifteen years of its development – from inside a truck garage to its becoming the most powerful brand in the US. My teams also developed medical, pharmaceutical, trade, resource, energy, and famine strategies for clients which ranged from the two largest nations on the planet, to the smallest and most impoverished (pro bono strategy at times). Through these decades my firm not only executed, but more importantly was held accountable for the results of hundreds of ensuing high-visibility strategy, development, and engineering projects. One strategy I led in particular was awarded the highest global accolade achievable for such work.
Finally, I was pleased to be selected to escort a United States President and First Lady on a tour around my alma mater’s campus. Now I chair and fund an endowment at that same alma mater which pays the college tuition for disadvantaged students or kids of service members killed in action. While I was called to temporarily serve a company that was a critical component of the Covid-19 response effort in 2020, today I develop market strategy and startups for agriculture and energy businesses globally – with a principal focus on human nutrition, competitive market trade, and clean energy. I also quietly support research initiatives with a focus on investigating mankind’s cryptic history and various associated phenomenological challenges. I maintain an extreme aversion to cultivated ignorance, malicious pretense, and authoritative lies. In that regard, throughout my career I have honed a particular set of skills, and I use them well.
It is not that smart people believe weird things, but rather what I observe among scientists of the highest caliber acumen: they are wise in their application of intellectual integrity. They describe first, and refuse to explain. Beware of the ‘explainers’. At some point inside a doctrinal array of conclusive arguments, the ethical mind must eventually broach dissent, and question the nature of linear thinking certainty inside asymmetric, partially understood systems. Mindlessly falling prey to a bandwagon effect does not qualify one as rational nor as a critical thinker. You cannot justify the corruption of mind with a series of memorized one-liners. As my favorite professor in Standard Model particle physics used to say, “It is not simply the correctness of your answer I want you to express, rather demonstrate the rigor and quality of your thinking.” The rigor and quality of our thinking has been sacrificed at the alter of authorized explanations masquerading as science.
Never use skepticism as an excuse to dissuade anyone’s life from expressing its full extraordinary potential, especially your own.