The Ethical Skeptic’s Razor – The Antiwisdom of Crowds

Among competing alternatives, all other things being equal, prefer the one for which discussion or research is embargoed.

Lying is an art form which ranks among the greatest of the humanities – bearing parity with such human affairs as mercy, semantics, history, love, literature, or war. The Paul Ekman Group, which teaches methodologies useful in spotting lies, has identified nine key reasons as to why people lie.1 Within this essay, we seek to extrapolate beyond this body of work, and identify a chain of principle regarding the lie of the syndicate in particular – a foible-in-common which further then leverages the amplification gain to be had through collective humanity: the antiwisdom of the crowd.

Specifically, people lie in order to

  • attain or preserve something precious,
  • win or preserve the admiration of others, or
  • exercise power over others by controlling the information their target can access.

When a group in authority, seeks to exercise or preserve that authority, all these ubiquitous human factors not only come into play, but moreover become part of the re-enforced culture of the club itself. It’s alright to lie a little. After all, it’s for the club, it’s for science, it’s for virtue, and besides everyone in the club is also doing it. What I have found in business, is that even an individual habitually attentive to meticulous details of accountability, will suddenly compromise or abandon such practices when it comes to personal or club gain. Everyone is honest until money is actually sitting on the table. Then things change. A syndicate will loan to you only under the auspices of a lengthy and iron-clad contract, yet then demand that a loan they take from you, be borne upon a mere handshake. They suddenly become stupid – taking one for the club.

Once an individual has attained a scarce membership, one that they regard to be precious, worthy of admiration, or which affords them heady power over the information which others are allowed to consider – thereafter, preservation of the club (or syndicate) in the best interests of the individual, becomes paramount.

The Razor – Crowds are Anti-Wise

Inside a previous article we identified the principle that partial truths constitute the most effective form of lying. But what happens when spin, disinformation, and partial lies are wholly inadequate in controlling the critical information which the target of the lie might receive? What if the topic is not vulnerable to talking points, appeal to ignorance, or misrepresentation? For example, there is no way to ‘spin’ the ramifications of putative election corruption, elite island debauchery, fraudulent FBI warrants, or anomalous creatures. There is no ad hoc method available to rescue the notion that one got blind-drunk the previous night and had sex with an animal (hence the expression ‘screwed the pooch’). Information threats of this nature must be made subject to embargo alone. Embargo of research – embargo of its very mention.

Syndicates which bear the risk of the three primary motivations to lie, inside a milieu of anomie, are more likely to lie, more likely to spin disinformation, and more likely to frame an embargo of threatening ideas.

anomie – a breakdown of ethics, circumspection, awareness, standards, or clear purpose on the part of those inside a club.

Through this process of reverse osmosis, over time a syndicate or collective party will therefore be more likely to also be inhabited by a number of accrued false paradigms. Tangled webs which themselves must also be protected by means of more lies. This is what makes the silence of embargo a much more sustainable tactic than mere lying. Individuals then are inoculated by this collective antiwisdom as one requirement of an elite membership. This is the central purpose of the university, governance board, and media systems in America. No evolution better demonstrates this anti-wise effect than the emergence of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.

A herd of quislings with scientific degrees allowed themselves to be so intimidated by the toxicity fabricated around Trump by the political, media, and academic establishment that they covered up something they believe to be true — that the [SARS-CoV-2] lab leak theory is credible enough to warrant investigation.

John Nolte & Alina Chan: Scientists Admit Covering Up Lab Leak Theory to Avoid Being ‘Associated’ with Trump

One should not misevaluate through Gaussian blindness, a crowd attempting to measure the weight of an ox, or guess the number of jelly beans in a jar, as is framed inside James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds for instance. Such non-sequiturs stand merely as exploitation of the constrained-obviousness of a tight Normal arrival distribution and the simplicity of a single variable, coupled with a Pollyanna view of the methodology by which complex issues are prosecuted.

There is no subterfuge or career risk wound up inside the anonymous guessing of the weight of an ox. Being wrong here, does not serve to embarrass you nor your fellows. Large groups of people are not ‘smarter’ than individuals, simply due to the fact that crowds bear a greater incentive to lie, to not be wise. Syndicates in particular, those who hold the power of embargo, bear an enormous incentive towards antiwisdom. They do not exist to protect truth after all, they exist to protect the club.

There exists an exculpatory gain-amplification (antiwisdom) to be realized, through having every fellow inside your syndicate also participate in the lie. An amplification effect above and beyond the mere willingness to lie, on the part of an individual.

The reality is that crowds will adopt a wrong just as often as will individuals, all things being equal. However, the likelihood of the crowd enforcing a wrong to a greater degree or frequency as compared to an individual, increases as a function of the perceived scarcity of the crowd’s (syndicate’s) membership, veneration, and power. This is the very basis as to why the fashion apparel industry exists. Fashion is a lie, which becomes truth through the Overton Window power of the club. This power serves to introduce error, more often than it does rare truth.

The humanity of collective lying is an economy after all, just as are all the other humanities – and people will do what they must in order to preserve syndicate or clique brand against an outside threat. In order to accomplish this, a crowd may choose to prevaricate, disinform …or even embargo. It is the visceral desperation of this final tactic, the embargo, which stands as a warning flag of agency to the ethical skeptic.

If a subject is of such an abject nature of threat, that no form of prevarication nor disinformation will suffice to control its dissemination – then that subject must be embargoed by the syndicate. Embargo therefore, stands most often tantamount to an admission of validity which resides somewhere inside the threatening message. Debunking as well therefore, is a pretend method of engaging that subject and a tactic of its overall embargo. Debunkers constituting the erstwhile hit men, doing the disdained and dirty work of the syndicate.

A troubling notion which is 10% correct bears more inferential gravitas than does a truism which is 90% correct.

A religion at heart is defined by its grimoire of forbidden questions and embargoed ideas.

After all, a topic not worth studying, is also not worth investing copious amounts of focus and time around crafting a web of Nelsonian obfuscation. This brings us therefore to the point of crafting a principle of ethical skepticism from these predicates. A syndicate which is burdened by the human motivations to lie, serves only as a gain amplifier of this foible of human nature.

The Ethical Skeptic’s Razor (The Antiwisdom of Crowds)

Among competing alternatives, all other things being equal, prefer the one for which discussion or research is embargoed.

[Embargo] is the keystone to all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy and censorship. When any government or church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, “This you many not read, this you must not know,” the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man who has been hoodwinked in this fashion; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, whose mind is free. No, not the rack nor the atomic bomb, not anything. You can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

~ Robert A Heinlein

Just as a false faith will costume itself in a public display of good works, even so a false truth-club will adorn itself in facts, coupled with embargo. Such exemplifies the ephemeral and mercurial nature of the complex relationship between humanity and truth. That occult reality which surrounds us merely reflects this very trickster nature back upon us – a form of pedantic and satirical mirroring. A mocking of that which we refuse to observe – very likely serving as the ironic basis behind our embargo as a species to begin with.

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Ethical Skeptic’s Razor – The Antiwisdom of Crowds”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 7 May 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=65555

Ingens Vanitatum – Possessing a Great Deal of Inconsequence or Irrelevance

Expertise is defined as the skill of being able to expediently ascertain what should be tabled or ignored. Moreover, and with all deference to Ludwig Wittgenstein, it is not merely language and nonsense which serve to bewitch and beguile the minds of men – but rather irrelevance and inconsequence.

Perhaps among the most ludicrous of warfare’s exigencies is the demand for one’s abject sacrifice of individual humanity in pursuit of its singular goal. A goal which is most often ratified by those who neither bear, nor comprehend the loss that they have incurred on others’ behalf. Not simply the great tragedy in loss of life mind you, but moreover a forfeiture of what could have been – the glutenous savoring of sacrificed human potential, expended in the ledger book of old men’s bitterness and encroaching insanity. And whether the war be cold, hot, or sociopolitical, relevance is its first and foremost casualty – a putrification which flavors in common each and every form of warfare.

I was selected for my particular career path in warfare the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in high school. Already a year ahead of my age-based class in school, I was accelerated an additional year and inserted two years early into an advanced science curriculum. My junior year physics paper on the neutrino won the state high school competition for best physics paper. At the same time, despite also being an Advanced Placement English student, I would irritate my humanities teachers for not placing the same level of effort into their classes. This instinctual habit of ‘do or do not, there is no try’ did not fit squarely within an academic environment. In academia you are to give everything the ‘good old college try’, without such prejudice.

Try as I may have, if my mind was not interested in a subject, I would place the absolute minimum effort into it. I didn’t earn ‘B’ grades, nor did I want them. A ‘C’ grade was of much greater value to me because it both afforded me life balance and allowed me to focus my effort in those specific classes wherein I wanted to attain optimal learning – grades be damned. The shorted instructors knew it too, and mistook the very apparent disinterest for insult. Looking back now, perhaps that is exactly what it was.

However as a counter to this notion, my mind bears both the advantage and misfortune of dispassionate economy. It has learned throughout life, not to invest energy into things which will return little or no value. Learning the hard way Steven Jobs’ admonition to not allow your life to be consumed by other peoples’ thinking and goals.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

~ Steven Jobs’ commencement speech to Stanford University 2005 graduating class

Thus as it transpired, because of this torrid pace of academic, warfare, and intelligence development track I missed a good bit of life’s experiences, and learned more about the Middle East and Fifth Generation Core nuclear reactors than I knew about my own home town or family history. I was not afforded sufficient time to learn relevance and salience in terms of life’s core meaning. This was purposeful. Such is the nature of tricks played by old men upon the young. I am grateful however, to have never lost a limb nor my life.

Nonetheless, wounded as it were by a career forced through the meat grinder of irrelevance, some aspect of my awareness began to comprehend its grotesque presence in my life. Constantly prepping to fight the Soviet Union and then Russia/China had turned out to be an enormous waste of a sizeable number of peoples’ time and talent. Fascist cronies took advantage of the vacuum back home, in order to create monopolies and new aristocracies to their own benefit, thereafter taxing and inflating into oblivion those who had stood in the gap for them during the day of conflict.

Expertise is defined as the skill of being able to expediently ascertain what should be tabled or ignored.

Failing to perceive this subconscious habituation for decades, eventually business and engineering colleagues began to point out the fact, that my mind bears a full-on and enormous antipathy towards wasteful, low value, or irrelevant matters. It values the critical path of an argument, and none of the trappings of impressive credential (ego) and virtue (vanity) that often serve to distract from it. Clients loved this, peers were threatened by it, and direct reports were inspired to give their all to both client and business. Moreover, and with all deference to Ludwig Wittgenstein, it is not merely language and nonsense which serve to bewitch and beguile the minds of men – but rather irrelevance and inconsequence.

Irrelevance and Inconsequence

Appointing a flaky but pathological propagandist to run a Disinformation Governance Board, is a Joseph Goebbels level of malicious state action.

The highlight image at the top of this article is a work inside the collection of Daniel Ridgway Knight, one which I call ‘Salience in a backdrop of relevance’.1 In contrast, the image to the immediate right is of an absolutely moronic, nuclear-war-risking, and terrifying statement issued over a news broadcast by a master practitioner in mis and dis-information deception.2 We in the United States, with the introduction of the new Disinformation Governance Board, are about to be subject to massive amounts of ingens vanitatum deception and propaganda. Keeping everyone confused, scared, and in the dark will be the board’s primary mission. A mission which promotes a condition allowing government to act outside the purview and accountability of its Constitutional constituency. You will not be allowed to speak objectively in dissent, as such action would be deemed ‘disinformation’, and subject one to punitive action for a ‘violent act by reason of false narrative’.3

Returning back to the theme of this article, both relevance and salience relate the concept of a logical object’s appropriateness inside the discussion or question at hand. Salience however, is sometimes referred to as ‘special relevance’, an increased level of applicability above and beyond mere relation to the topic. Relevance supports definition or context, while salience supports the greater efficacy of discovery or insight. In similar delineation, there exists a difference between that which is not relevant (noise and red herring) and that which is relevant but not salient (smoke & mirrors and ignoratio elenchi). Collectively, the combined set of that which is not relevant and that which is not salient, is called ingens vanitatum, or ‘a vast archive of vanities’ – the skillful exploitation of irrelevance and/or inconsequence which serves to disinform or deceive.

ingens vanitatum

(Latin: ingens ‘vast’ and vanitatum ‘archives’ or ‘vanities’) – knowing a great deal of irrelevance (noise: lack of relevance) and/or inconsequence (smoke & mirrors: lack of salience), or the citing of such disinformation. A form of rhetoric through Nelsonian knowledge of most facets of a subject and most of the latest propaganda therein. A condition which bears irony however, in that this supervacuous, irrelevant, or inconsequential set of knowledge stands as all that composes the science, or all that is possessed by the person making a claim to knowledge. A useless set of information which serves only to displace any relevance, salience, or logical calculus of the actual argument, principle or question at hand. The skillful exploitation of irrelevance and/or inconsequence which serves to disinform or deceive.

The chart above is a continuation of the chart schema outlined in a series of two articles. Part I – Disinformation vs Misinformation – Neither Can Be Defined by ‘Intent’ can be read here.

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

~ Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes in The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Now to be fair, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, through his character Sherlock Holmes also stated in A Study in Scarlet, “To a great mind, nothing is little.”4 The reader should note however, that the simple fact of a detail’s being small does not relate in any way to its nature in regard to being critical path. Those who spin deception, do so precisely with big facts and socially up-spun obviousness, conspicuously avoiding the very small details which would serve to trip them up along a critical path of inference. In similar regard, the character Sherlock Holmes’ regard for the silence of a normally noisy dog in the night-time, became a critical path element of information in The Adventure of Silver Blaze.5

“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention (make salient)?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
“The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.

~ Arthur Conan Doyle, Silver Blaze – a Sherlock Holmes Short Story

The bottom line is this: while big facts and coercive understandings often reveal themselves as completely useless information, in contrast, critical path is always relevant, always salient, and is so no matter how small its issue might appear to be.

The Critical Relationship Between Abductive Reasoning and Ingens Vanitatum

Such principle can be elucidated through considering the role of abductive reasoning contrasted with other forms of sound inference. Abductive reasoning (Occam’s Razor) appears as sound inference, precisely because it exploits the cache of obviousness or visibility, along the following lines:

  • all relevance/salience is staged for the recipient, with undesired relevance/salience pre-sorted out of consideration
  • therefore the diagnostic of abduction is both immediate, and as well appears to be result of inference itself
  • the cache of obviousness or coercive high visibility is then exploited in qualifying abduction as a decision heuristic, when it is nothing of the sort
  • this ‘decision heuristic’ is then used as methodological muscle to select for answers to more difficult questions, answers which are not valid in the least (see example below).

The reality is that abduction is not inference at all – neither is it problem solving. It is simply answer lookup and nothing more – a method no stronger in ethic than is ‘fact checking’. If one is diagnosing appendicitis, such methodology can serve a critical benefit. However, if one is determining trade policy, investigating a murder, or researching anomalous events, abduction offers nothing but ample opportunity for the deception of ingens vanitatum.

An Example of Enormous Human Harm and Suffering Through Ingens Vanitatum Argument

An example of both abduction in action, along with damaging application of ingens vanitatum can be found inside the following article by Houston Methodist Academic Medical Center in Houston, Texas.6 An image of this work in propaganda can be found by clicking here, just in case it is taken down at some point in the future.

Inside this propaganda article, the denial of ivermectin access to doctors and the citizens of the United States, despite its successful use across the rest of the globe, is justified by copious application of ingens vanitatum rhetoric. Specifically the following ‘facts’ about ivermectin are posited for your consumption:

  • A ‘veterinary formulation‘ and ‘dewormer in horses‘. This information is relevant, but not salient. In fact, ivermectin is used as a broadscope anti-parasitic in humans. The authors are hoping that the reader conflates the two levels of discriminating relevance as a single litmus.
  • Animal medications aren’t intended for human use‘. This is correct and relevant, however not salient to the argument they have broached. It is lying through use of a fact in the wrong context.
  • The facts‘. This is the watchword of a social liar.
  • There’s no evidence‘. This is the catch-phrase of the pharmaceutical criminal who works copiously to ensure that such evidence is never allowed to see the light of day. In philosophy this is called an ‘appeal to ignorance’. In human rights, it is called a ‘crime’.
  • So, does any data currently exist to support taking ivermectin for COVID-19?” No.‘ This is a prevarication. In fact, there have been numerous studies which demonstrate that timely and sufficient dosage/duration of ivermectin is effective and safe in inhibiting severe effects of SARS-CoV-2.7 8

    Two studies were finally conducted for publication in early 2022, woefully late, which supposedly concluded that ivermectin was not effective (as compared to 60 or so which showed efficacy – which curiously were never addressed). But neither study began treatment until day 6 of Covid symptoms and neither bore sufficient dosage, duration, nor adjunct protocol for a successful treatment of severe symptoms. One study was conducted only in a nation with high prior immunity (Malaysia) and low rates of glypohsate use/dysbiosis/metabolic disorder (necessary for the anti-parasitic mechanism to be observable). While the other study used voluntary compliance and self-reporting of only 3 days of test use in Brazil, employing inclusion criteria which focused on those most vulnerable to severe Covid.9

    These studies were smoke & mirrors – bearing deceptive inconsequence, and hoping that their nominal relevance would stand in for credibility. The references and graphic outlining this can be seen below.10 11
The hypocrisy that anti-ivermectin extremists will shoot down 60 studies through trivial critique, and then turn around and accept the above abortion in ethics, as valid science. Two studies employ the deception of inconsequence: flawed inclusion criteria, poor dosage, duration, timing, and protocol. This is a human rights crime wearing lab robes.
  • Since ivermectin is an anti-parasitic, then it should have been tested based upon a schedule which functions along its primary mode of efficacy – namely anti-parasitic action. Such an effect takes time to manifest. Testing ivermectin as if it were an erstwhile aspirin for a headache or direct chemical cure, was disingenuous and inconsequential in merit. It was Machiavellian politic and not medicine.
  • Ivermectin isn’t authorized…‘. Well of course it isn’t. The FDA did not undertake any effort to study the treatment until late 2021 and early 2022, well after the campaign for its denial was already years underway. This again is disinformation smoke & mirrors. The irresponsible delay in study, a human rights crime.
  • …adverse effects associated with ivermectin misuse and taking large doses…‘. Almost any over the counter drug is harmful when abused or taken in too large a dose. This again is relevant but not salient nor sequitur to the very question the article has raised. Water is deadly if consumed in too large a quantity and people have died doing so. Does this mean that water should be a controlled substance now as well? I bet if you gave water to 3,000 cancer patients as well, it would not be observed to act as a cure – and possibly someone in the group might have even drowned during the study window! Such exhibits the incongruous and psychopathic nature of ingens vanitatum disinformation.
  • We already have effective, safe ways (a vaccine) to stay safe from Covid-19‘ Because there is a vaccine, therefore you may justifiably be denied access to treatment. This is a human rights crime which is addressed in this article by The Ethical Skeptic.
  • Several FDA-approved and authorized treatments exist…‘ A year and a half had already transpired and 700,000 people had already died from lack of treatment in the United States alone (100 times higher rates of death than most ivermectin-using nations), before we ever got around to slowly introducing this inexcusably paltry set of ‘authorized treatments’. The fault for this resides squarely upon the shoulders of entities just like Houston Methodist Academic Medical Center.

This article is nothing short of dishonesty, pretense, and criminal activity in terms of human rights. It employs all the foibles of ingens vanitatum:

  • Exploits the noise of irrelevance
  • Deceives the layman or outsider
  • Conflates holding of knowledge with competence
  • Deceives its user-psychopath
  • Promotes authority and accolade rather than argument and inference
  • Exploits the smoke & mirrors of inconsequence
  • Obfuscates the salient and critical path
  • Pretends to present plenary argument
  • Used to substantiate an Omega Hypothesis
  • Foments mistakes and suffering on a grand scale.

The simple fact is this, that ingens vanitatum is a pathological mental disorder which serves to confuse both the promoter of its argument, and hopefully (on the part of the promoter) as well, its intended victim (you). Don’t fall for it ethical skeptic. Keep your guard up for such logical chicanery at all times.

The Ethical Skeptic, “Ingens Vanitatum – Possessing a Great Deal of Inconsequence or Irrelevance”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 24 Apr 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=65125

Mere Facts & Data Do Not Constitute Knowledge

Why those who boast of holding the ‘data’ and ‘facts’ are also those likely to be the most clueless.

Years ago I was asked to develop and lead a plan targeting acquisition of a marine and boating consumer products company. During the discovery process I flew to Manhattan in order to interview the senior executives about the overall business state and direction. Being an avid sloop sailor, I was rather excited about the chance to speak with the developers of some of the key equipment I employed on my boat.

When I arrived at the intended conference room and began to speak with the C-level executives prior to the meeting start, it became clear that none of them bore experience in boating, nor afloat work or recreation at all. Upon asking if any of them were boaters, the CEO replied, “I think Earl in Product Development owns a boat.” To which the rest of the team acknowledged, “Yes, Earl owns one, I’ve been on it with him.” or responses of such nature. These were all Harvard Finance MBA trained suit and tie wearers – nothing but undertakers there to embalm and prepare the body for value-extraction and burial. They were perdocent, taught to be more-than-eager to follow the instructions exactly as prescribed and without question. They were quickly-promoted operatives whose mission was to funnel formerly productive asset value to predatory offshore elite stockholders – a whole set of clowns of whom none bore an interest in, nor knew anything about boating. Portraits of fashion models, celebrities, and dead Presidents debarked in various vessels, adorned their conference room walls – mocking them for the betrayal of trust in their name.

The single most toxic thing you can do to a business is appoint its own accountants or information technologists to run it. The perdocent mistakenly conflates a state of holding the data and facts, and following the instructions, with competence in the art of its delivery. Very often, the opposite is true.

The worst thing a university can do is teach confidence interval and p-value skills to candidates who have no idea what inference is, nor how to prosecute an argument. This is like handing binoculars to the driver of a car, so that they can ‘see better’.

The most clueless person in a business is typically the controller or Vice President of Finance. Ironically, despite the fact that this is also the person who holds and knows the most facts and data about the business itself. When I conduct a strategy, the team is required to work very closely with such entities early on, simply because they possess all the data the team initially needs. We will often get along well, because I hold an MBA in Finance from a tier I B-school as well. This reality forces a business’ accountants to also be represented on the strategy team.

But once the data is collected and accounts have been defined, the process of strategy is exposed to devolving into teaching those representatives why Enterprise Resource Planning financial profit & loss pro forma are not sufficient tools to determine the state of a market nor the viable direction of a business. I have found myself at times pointing out that the scope of the project did not include teaching accountants how to be strategists and business leaders. As well, I have had to often find ways to insulate the strategy team from being forced to use their methods – techniques which will merely serve to show that driving in-context sales, capturing low-hanging fruit, and cost-cutting are the appropriate next steps.

Why Those Who Boast of Holding the ‘Data’ and ‘Facts’ are Also Likely to Be the Most Clueless

Among my Folleagues I have been known from time to time, to issue the following apothegm.

Data must be denatured into information.
Information must be transmuted into intelligence.
Intelligence is the first sound basis from which to plan or take action.

In order to comprehend what these tenets mean let’s then delve more into the philosophies behind this, shall we?

I. Data must be denatured into information.

Taking data to 3rd normal and relative-to-context form is taught in database development courses no doubt.1 However, denaturation of data requires expertise in the dynamics of the data structures themselves. A faithfulness in observing them over time, a knowledge of human nature, or having observed such structures under similar business dynamics. Denaturation is the process of removing the natural background noise, influences, and confounding factors from the raw data itself.

Resource Example: Powell, Gavin; Database Modeling Step by Step (1st Edition); Auerbach Publications, 18 Dec 2019; ISBN-13: 978-0367422172

Example: In the below example, the graph publisher has depicted the flow of death records through a medical death classification category called R00-R99 ‘Symptoms, Signs, and Abnormal Clinical and Laboratory Findings, Not Elsewhere Classified’. What the graph creator failed to do however, is take the data to a normal form, or to ‘denature’ it. Denaturation (biochemistry, not alcohol) is the process of removing invalid primary, secondary, or tertiary structure so that data may be parsed into its native state.2 This is also often called a process of ‘normalization’. However, since normalization relates to the elemental structure of a relational database as well, I use the term ‘denature’, in order to distinguish that this step constitutes more than simple assembly of a 3rd Normal Form (3NF) database table structure.3

A ‘graph’ is a visual depiction of raw data. A ‘chart’ communicates a concept for comprehension, which transcends or belies the mere ‘data’ behind it.

The example Exhibit 1 graph below is compromised by two dynamic secondary structures: First, the dynamic lag in the rate of its arrival (the dip in each sub-line at the right end), and second the dynamic rate of clearing of the data to other underlying cause of death codes (the relative gaps between the sub-lines). These two secondary structures must be removed from the data (denatured) in order to make it usable for model development or inference.

Denature – to remove the secondary, tertiary, agency-driven, confounding, or misleading concatenation structures from extracted data, no matter its purported ‘reliability’, in order to derive its base state – a state which is then more likely to inform.

As such, while the table below indeed portrays fact, it does not therefore also constitute information. It is disinformation technically, sans intent. It is equivalent to an accountant’s ledger entry and nothing more. The ‘accountant’ here (the CDC) is missing (most of) an alarming rise in this category of deaths, because they are deluding themselves through a conflation of the data and its secondary dynamic structures. An inability to see the forest for the ‘facts’. The fact that the data is reliable, has nothing to do with whether or not it is also therefore useful. It must be denatured before it can become informative.

Exhibit 1 – US Centers for Disease Control data which looks normal and informative – however, whose dynamic secondary structures obfuscate an underlying critical trend in deaths.

II. Information must be transmuted into intelligence.

Transmutating information into intelligence typically involves two steps:

a. Assembly of the denatured elemental data structures produced in Step I above, into a model outlining a chain of mechanism and feedback (a dynamic or ‘neural’ model) which represents the system in question (most all things involve systems), and

b. Filtering out imbalances and dis-economies of scale. That is to say – modeling the true value, magnitude, risk ,or cost of each element or node in a system, and not its fiat or nominal estimate of same.

The holding of a reasonably accurate model, which can describe contribution points, contributors, current or future activity, is called holding ‘intelligence’. Counter-intelligence is the process of obfuscating these elements so that the enemy or competitor is not able to produce an accurate model. This failure to develop dynamic or neural systems, along with modeling by means of nominal (not normalized) node costs (values), almost always lead to the conclusion that the current approach or understanding is the correct answer. Sound familiar? For readers of The Ethical Skeptic, this should.

The techniques which serve to break these habits are typically taught in systems and value chain engineering curricula, but not in most of academic science.

Resource Example: West, Page; Strategic Management: Value Creation, Sustainability, and Performance (6th Edition); Riderwood Publishing, 19 Nov 2019; ISBN-13: 978-1733174404

Example: At one fashion designer for whom I did strategy, the question was raised as to whether or not a shift in sourcing out of South Korea was in order. South Korea had been where the main competitor was conducting its sourcing – a sourcing strength which proved to be a disadvantage to my client in terms of both factory clout and landed cost. I proposed that we take an opposite approach and develop sourcing out of Jordan, Mexico, and Pakistan instead. The finance team retorted that per-unit first costs out of those nations were prohibitively high, product was slow to arrive, and costly to ship.

My team responded that those figures cited by accounting constituted ‘nominal loaded figures’ – in other words, they did not reflect economies of scale, maturation, and clout. They were simply output data from an ERP report, and not the result of a dynamic and normalized node structure. I contended that, once those resources were fully loaded and managed, not only would their per-unit costs then fall in line, but the speed by which they could swiftly outpace South Korean factories, would enable a speed-to-margin strategy win which would surpass the client’s major competitor in terms of fashion-based push sell-through.

The CEO comprehended what I was saying and elected to implement our strategy. Three years later, I was invited to speak before executives at this major competitor (a prominent national brand) – and without divulging proprietary information, present how this client had beaten them over the last three years through smart strategic changes. Although my team contributed a minor role at the very beginning of its process, this business case constituted one of the most monumental ‘David and Goliath’ upsets in US business history.

III. Intelligence is the first sound basis from which to plan or take action.

Intelligence is a process of eliminating the irrelevant, as much as it is a process of identifying the truth. Often, it is not a lack of truth which prevents the making of a sound decision, but rather a lack of clarity – a distraction with the chronically ill-defined, trivial, and menial. Humanity labors as if an unfortunate animal, trapped in a tar pit of irrelevancy, regarding that its desperate bellows will somehow serve to bring it to the salvation of truth.

Assembly and testing of conjecture scenarios through a systemic model, the measure of soundness, logical calculus, deduction, critical path, and inferential strength I have only found (to sufficiency – and not even complete given that) on my website. I am sure all of this is comprised through a number of separate publications – however, there exist few individuals if any, who can match my experiential depth in data analysis, business operations, military intelligence, philosophy, science, decades of applied systems and value chain engineering projects, knowledge of the nature of deception, along with hundreds of successful business and national strategies to boot.

This leveraging of intelligence into sound planning, is roughly outlined in the chart below. It involves the process of extracting thinking from the mire of irrelevance and into the ‘shining pathway of success’. The critical path.

There are many people who write books about this topic, but very few who have actually done it. You will note that these Type II or Semantic Experts employ intimidating-in-appearance heuristic and second-hand accounts, as a substitute for actual personal experience and competence. So I consider this, fortunately or unfortunately, to constitute my horizon of expertise.

Resource and Four Application Examples:

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Strategic Mindset”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 27 Jan 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=61452

The Ethical Skeptic, “Inflection Point Theory and the Dynamic of The Cheat”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 20 Oct 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-atd

The Ethical Skeptic, “The Map of Inference”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 4 Mar 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-9r6

Intelligence after all, constitutes far more than the mere holding of facts and data. Those who boast of such, only serve to discredit themselves in the eyes of an ethical skeptic. Just smile and quietly move on when you encounter these types. Refuse to join them as they wallow, blissful and intoxicated inside the warm yellowing pool of fact-fueled ignorance.

The Ethical Skeptic, “Mere Facts & Data Do Not Constitute Knowledge”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 9 Apr 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=64843