The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

The Art of Knowing Nothing

There exists a difference between the number zero, a state of absence and the concepts of nothing and nothingness. It behooves one to know the difference. The nihilist is a person who claims specific revelation knowledge as to that which is comprised by all conditions of Nothing. The ethical skeptic on the other hand is a student of Nothing before he or she can ever claim to bear expertise at anything.

A friend was challenged by his son the other day, with the contention that the number zero (0) was not really a number at all, rather that it represented the concept of nothing – and that therefore, all of our numeric systems needed to be revised in order to reflect this principle of reality. This approach of course presupposes that non-zero numbers, indeed are real in themselves – a predicate contention which the philosopher cannot grant free pass (and of course the mistake which the Romans made with I II III IV, etc.). The numeral ‘zero’ bears a specific function which is mathematics related. As such, and given that maths involves the manipulation of symbols/placeholders/numbers/numeral digits – concepts or symbols thereof which serve as placeholders for series concepts – therefore, zero is indeed a series number and is not akin to ‘nothing’. Without the number 0, the series -2, -1, 0, 1, 2… would have no coherency, and advanced sets of maths/computer science would fail due to the resulting lossy glitch in that logical/computational series.

The numeral ‘1’ for instance is merely the next series symbol for the condition of a single instance of a domain, set, entity or (quality or quantity) state – all concepts which are useful in defining the conditions of Nothing, below. The numeral ‘1’ too is merely symbolic – quad erat demonstrandum the number ‘zero’ bears all the same elements of validity as a number, as does the number ‘1’ or any other numeral.1

What my friend’s son was doing, was to conflate a ‘condition of Nothing’, with the numerics of zero. While the equivocal concepts of both do indeed overlap, this overlap is much less in magnitude than the layman might first assume. It behooves the ethical skeptic to fathom and adeptly ply the difference between zero and nothing.

There is zero, and there is Nothing – wherein the two are not necessarily the same thing at all.

Zero is an issue of series. Nothing is an issue of state. Intent is sticky and robust, more so than either zero or Nothing –
and may persist well beyond the boundary conditions introduced by each of those limited concepts.

The Conditions of Nothing

But fathoming the depths of this tenet of philosophy serves to give pause in the mind of the ethical skeptic: What other concepts of Nothing exist, and how are they defined under a Wittgenstein level of clarity as well? Further then, how does this help us define the term ‘nihilism’? Below I outlay my most recent foray into defining the depths of Nothing. The list begins with the most objective and ends with the most subjective concepts. The Wittgenstein anchor terms used herein are set, entity, (quantity or quality) state, domain, known, unknown, number, transaction, condition, member and series.

Make Sure That You Know Nothing (The Conditions of Nothing)

Series/Maths

  0/Zero/Aught – a number which place-holds for termination of a quantitative series

  Nil/Zilch/Love/Zot – a state of attainment represented by no quantity of a known entity

            aleph_0/Aleph Zero – the termination (cardinality) of the series set of natural numbers

Sets & Domains

  Nought/Naught – any set or entity which produces no associated quantity or quality

  None – a known set or entity which exhibits an absence of quantity or quality

  Blank – a set which is devoid of its associated entities

  Void – a defined domain which contains no set, entity nor quantity or quality

  Nada – a void of known entities or sets inside a known domain

  Non-Existent – the state of a known set or entity in which it is absent in all known domains

  Non-Entity – a putative member of a set which does not actually belong to that set

  ∅/Empty Set – a set of a known entity, quantity or quality which does not exist in a given domain

Nothing States

  Non-Extant – a set or entity, known or unknown, which is absent in all domains

  Oblivion – a condition in which the complete set of an entity is rendered non-extant

  Absent – a set, entity or state which is prohibited detection in a domain

  Emptiness – a domain in which all sets or entities are prohibited detection

  Nihil – a state of inability to exist, regardless of domain

  Nothingness – the domain of all sets or entities which are nihil

Meta-Nothing

  NaN – not a number. A value that is undefinable or unrepresentable

  Idempotent – a transaction which contributes no change in (quantity or quality) state

  Nix/Exterminate – to render a set or entity to one of the various conditions of Nothing

  Annihilate – to render a set or entity to the sate of nihil

  Nihilism – a faith, that all Conditions of Nothing fully describe that which appears absent

As the astute observer may notice herein, nihilism, because of its desperate claim to grasp all that is Nothing, without any evidence of such knowledge, is indeed a personal choice of faith. A hunch, a metaphysical selection, just as believing in God is a metaphysical selection. Which is fine. However, when one enforces that personal choice upon others (by mandating it as an outcome of logic, rationality or science), it also becomes a religion often called Atheism (distinct from agnosticism or ignostic atheism).

So now that you the ethical skeptic have plumbed the depths of Wittgenstein’s Nothing, and have perceived just how impossible it is to know Nothing; therefore stand firm against those who purport to possess short-cut revelation knowledge as to the entirety of Nothing.

That sure would be something.

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September 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , | 4 Comments

The Scientific Method

The scientific method – a method of knowledge development bearing traits of process accountability which serve to transcend mere casual inquiry, mitigate bias and proscribe surreptitious agency masquerading as knowledge.

In my four decades of rather intense and results-oriented professional work, inside a variety of disciplines to include lab and research work, as well as technology and infrastructure rollout strategy – I have found a certain positive set of deliberations to constitute the actual scientific method. They are outlined as faithfully as I can philosophically reconstruct, below.

The key features which differentiate this method from the oft-touted and seldom challenged version of sciebam (Latin: I knew), is that it does not presuppose a hypothesis nor question, is robust to various states of pluralistic ignorance and regards the impact on stakeholders as paramount in the consideration of those things which we consider to be our conclusions of science. Moreover, it begins the process of knowledge development with the often neglected first steps of observation, intelligence and necessity – key steps without which, science’s chances of landing upon an invalid or only partially valid conclusion are precipitously high.

This scientific method serves to filter out the surreptitious hand of agency masquerading as science. Such activity can be found here: The Lyin’tific Method – The Ten Commandments of Fake Science.

Maintain a distinction in your mind between this strategic method of developing mankind’s knowledge, and the more tactical methodologies of experimental hypothesis testing and the experimental method itself. These valid expressions of professional science are often conflated with the process outlined below, much to our confusion and detriment as a species.

Finally, one should take note that the first five steps of the Method cited in the graphic above pertain to sponsorship of alternative ideas. The very heart and soul of science. It is the job of the skeptic to be an ally in this process, obtollent – and not an opponent. Watch for this key warning flag, as fake skeptics seldom ever grasp this principle of ethical science.

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear. The time of science or scientists is not wasted through
competing nor even fringe sponsored theories or observations. The ‘time’ of science is wasted
through the dogma and intransigence of those who patrol its discourse, enforcing single answers
under a pretense of ‘science communication’.

The Scientific Method

/philosophy : science : method/ : A method of knowledge development bearing traits of process accountability which serve to transcend mere casual inquiry, mitigate bias and proscribe surreptitious agency masquerading as knowledge. A strategic process, which employs direct observation, analysis, ethics, skepticism, as well as experimental methodology and hypothesis testing, as tools inside a broader more comprehensive set of diligence.

I.  Observation – Domain Observation

What prior art has been developed inside this observation domain?
What do we not know about this topic?
What do we not know that we do not know about this topic?
What is the neglected or embargoed observation set?
What observation does skepticism mandate (go and look)?
Is the body of presiding study scientific, or merely academic?

II.  Intelligence – Intelligence Gathering/Schema Construction

Is there structure and patterning to the domain observations and data?
Have key observations been dismissed as ‘claims’?
Does the presence of agency exist?
Does a state of Chekov’s gun exist?
Does a state of amplanecdote exist?
How can I creatively frame and reduce the data set into intelligence and not simply data?

III.  Necessity – Establishment of Necessity

If we were wrong on this topic, would we even know it?
If we were wrong on this topic, would this be enabling harm to stakeholders, especially those who are innocent?
Has harm or ignorance now surpassed a critical point of inflection?
Do existing explanations feature elements of pseudo-theory?

Is there another Necessary Alternative?
Is another alternative necessarily compelling?
Can ‘simplicity’ no longer be claimed to exist?
Does a state of necessary ethical action exist?

IV.  Construct Formulation (by Sponsors)

What alternative placeholder idea (construct) can be established which could theoretically resolve this? (Apperception)
How can this idea be constructed in a Wittgenstein defined, rigorously logical form and be interrelated with prior art? (Crafting)
How can this idea be expressed in such a way that practitioners can understand and teach it, without compromise of its critical essence? (Posing)
Are sponsors being unfairly quashed or individually targeted by agency players claiming to represent science?

V.  Ockham’s Razor/Peer Support (Skeptics are allies not opponents)

Does an Omega Hypothesis state exist around an existing answer/explanation?
Are skeptics obtollent or are they anchoring-biased opponents of anything novel (faking)?
Has the formulated Construct been a priori deemed an Embargo Hypothesis?
Is plurality now necessary?
Do current understandings feature cultivated ignorance?
Does the suggested/sponsored alternative feature elegance?

VI.  Hypothesis Development

How do I mature this construct to a framing of epistemic strength; one which features the key Elements of Hypothesis?
What is the critical path necessary in evaluating and reducing this alternative and the complete alternative set?

VII.  Inductive and Statistical Study

What types and modes of inference will help address the next critical path question in the hypothesis series structure?
How do I avoid linear induction, utile absentia and other confirmation biases?
How mature is the observed domain data and can it currently and ethically be used to answer a critical path question?
Does gathering more data improve or harm the ability to address the critical path question?
Can we do more than simply analyze data? Can we get into the field and study by direct observation and experiment?

VIII.  Competitive Hypothesis Framing

How does the field of remaining explanatory hypothesis stack up?
Is there an ethical null hypothesis or does a dual-burden inferential dynamic exist?
What type and mode of inference will be necessary to resolve and reduce the hypothesis set?

IX.  Deductive Testing/Inductive Consilience

What style and approach to experimental testing is necessary to resolve the next critical path question entailed?
How do I avoid methodical deescalation – ie. favor falsification over deduction, deduction over induction, induction over abduction?
What other disciplines need to examine this hypothesis in order to bring critical path constraint?

X.  Hypothesis Modification/Reduction

How do I modify my hypothesis to address its weakness or address weakness in the process of hypothesis reduction?
Is it necessary that we return to Step VI – Hypothesis Development?

XI.  Falsification Testing/Repeatability

How do I apply falsification in order to relieve science of having to constantly keep addressing zombie alternatives?
How do I structure and express my analyses, tests and methods so that a third party can reproduce their results?

XII.  Theory Formulation/Refinement

What features of competing alternatives bear merit and/or inclusion/accommodation?
What have we learned and how must we neutralize parties desiring to codify an alternative prematurely?
What feature of the alternative can be adjusted in order to reduce entropy of understanding?
What objective next steps and replications necessary?

XIII.  Peer Review

Has the sponsor fairly addressed all of the above questions?
Is the analytical and experimental inference base sound?
Is this contention mature enough to be considered as an increment in our domain knowledge base?
Have the authors framed concerns and limitations to constrain the implications around their case?
Is it necessary that we return to readdress Steps VI – XII?

XIV.  Publication

Each conclusion of science, never being able to rest upon its laurels – as it must be brought into this set of plurality again and again. Not that we ‘question everything’ like a babbling idiot, rather that we regard the truth that there exists no theory or construct, which resides in perpetual state of non-questionability.

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September 28, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | | Leave a comment

Of Pretend Sleep and Authentic Dreams

One cannot awaken someone who is pretending to be asleep. Just as there exists a twisted cynicism which the poseur may adopt as their expression of skepticism, even so spirituality may be adorned as a kind of ornament-appointed garment. To my best perception, the purpose of our life is to disabuse our self of these false spiritual dreams – Where one is corrupt in their skepticism, there also will they be corrupt in their heart.
A life which serves to develop both, was never meant to be easy.

Upon occasion I will recall standing in the vestry of the church in which I was married, with my father, the best man at my wedding. The music was playing and it was just about time for the groom and the groomsmen to step out into the chapel. I recall remarking to my father, that I felt like a piece of cut wood, freshly hewn, leveled, sanded and cleaned – ready to be glued to its matching piece. What was significant in this was the sense that, it was not that I was crafted into something of a higher order which was now prepared for such an event, rather that part of me was now stripped away instead. The task of preparation at hand was to strip away the darkness, not pretend to become goodness. In my journey, and to the best of my estimation, this paradox is analogous to our life’s sojourn – our reason for existing to begin with, inside this hell we call ‘reality’.

The misunderstanding of this spiritual principle has become a modern disease, a large infection of sorts inside the current culture of fakeness and pretense. What I think has become manifest in particular with President Donald Trump is a popping of this festering sore. A draining which has to do with spotlighting those pretending to the role of goodness and spirituality; the religious and non-religious alike who lord it over the rest of society, enacting harm on those they hate through seemingly virtuous activity. Antifa and Proud Boys are simply the clowns of this very large ontological circus act – as the malignancy extends much deeper than this surface display.

In my journey, I have found that true spirituality has nothing to do with houses of worship, virtue, morality, God-fearing, angels, charity, goodness, niceness nor compassion-politics. Fake enlightenment is a clever game – but a ruse nonetheless. Darkness always come dressed in a costume of authority, goodness, niceness and correctness. Darkness screams when it is spotlighted, and accordingly there is a lot of screaming going on right now in America among the enlightened elite. Beware of those who posture with their forms of skepticism or spirituality, in order to compel you to deny or believe according to their desires. This desire to control, signals other than maturity inside.

What follows is what I have learned, through this particular life suffering and burden set I have been assigned to carry. This of course is my journey, and may not necessarily be yours.

There are those who demonstrate spiritual principles, but rarely are cognizant of it, nor do they highlight it as such.
There are those who struggle earnestly in suffering to make this journey manifest in their own lives.
From each of these, we may learn.

But the character from whom one cannot learn is the spiritually enlightened and the one who points out the transgression.
Those who fail to understand that spirituality is not an instructed qualification, virtue identity, office nor acquisition.
If spirituality were so easy and could be a state of adornment as such, there would be no need to be here at all.
You are here precisely because you cannot make a claim to spirituality.

This is why the higher spirits refuse to instruct us as to what to do.
And lower spirits are full of advice, accusation and admonition.

Skepticism and spirituality are closely intertwined. After all, it is the quest for truth which leads us upon the spiritual sojourn to begin with. The philosophy which underpins our scientific integrity, part of our search for truth – is indeed skepticism. The integrity one applies inside one discipline, will spill over and influence the other.

Where one is corrupt in their skepticism, there also will they be corrupt in their heart.

Pretending to Be Asleep (The Complicated)

Spirituality is not a grandiose, far reaching, visceral, elite aspiration of the enlightened. These are the deceptions which destroy the fabric of a society. They are all forms of easy and surreptitious hate (the Costume).

Concealing intent under a cloak of niceness and social leveraging

Adopting symbolic stances of compassion & virtue

Advocating for causes in support of anyone who looks different from the one group who looks like those you dislike (Inverse Negation Fallacy)

Sitting on a mountain top in Nepal

Communing with spirits or becoming a medium

Cul de Sac – becoming poor and detached from commerce, sitting in your apartment and frothing at those who you perceived have harmed you

Cul de Sac – living off the land/hermit existence/guru existence

Cul de Sac – demonstrating how ‘God’ has blessed you with material accoutrements

Cul de Sac – becoming a starlet and appearing to support the victims and the injusticed

Preaching quick result gospels, prosperity and enlightenment techniques

Being a member of the compassionate political party

Advocating for progressive causes of virtue

Appearing to ‘not be a racist’ (you are, guaranteed)

Meditation and inner voice work

Casting spells, magic levitation and conjuring and focusing of work upon a harboring of resentment

Wanting what someone else has/Wanting something for nothing (greed)

Adopting the appearance of victim-ness, humility or quietness (especially when employed as a weapon)

Begrudgingly taking a job serving others (most every job serves others, there are just different roles)

Concealing motivating anger and resentment (everyone has anger, some pretend on top of that)

Praying and doing Holy Writ study/memorization

Fascinating one’s self with ‘being stoic’

Speaking in undisciplined logic and definition, ambiguity, prevaricating, context shuffling, confusing, clouding and obfuscating (and then pretending to have not lied)

Attending regular services in a religious uniform or costume

Allocating OPM to the poor – or advocating for taxes which will never touch you personally

Socialism, globalism, ‘without borders’, fake unity and equality of outcome

Being brainlessly anti-conflict and despising those who serve in conflict

A peace which causes more suffering than its antithetical war ever could

Attacking those who do not appear to champion the downtrodden ornaments you have pinned to your costume

Advocating for social justice (especially as a weapon of hate)

Examining others as to how compliant their visceral appearances are to all the above – establishing buckets for them accordingly

Being constantly on the run from personal accountability

Trying to ‘save the world’

Blaming the sins of the world on money or capitalism (not even knowing what either is)

Specialize and wallow in guilt, blame and resentment

Fleeing from self, one’s entire life (through mysticism, correctness, appearance, busyness, possessions, substances and pretense)

Authentic Dreams (The Straightforward)

Spirituality (skepticism), from the hard lessons I have been given, is actually very straightforward and very local.

Being straightforward, but not under the self aggrandizement of ‘I tell it like it is’

Your life is your meditation

Going to look for one’s self – epoché

Scepter means in Latin, to ‘palm’, hold, touch or examine – one who focuses upon methods and fruits​
Cynic means in Latin, ‘dogged’, doglike in denial, doubting, scoffing – one who focuses on identity, correctness and the good and bad people ​

Hold those who have plotted harm, accountable

Serving those on journey with you, and within your reach

Enduring and/or overcoming as applicable – the unfairness and suffering you have been assigned – with faithfulness/perseverance

Examining your own evil, facing and acknowledging it, and taking redemptive action

Forgiving self and others

Stepping in to help and serve with the skills you have – inside that which is presented before you

Disciplining your mind, words, clarity, logic and delivery

Understanding value versus that which is worthless

Understanding that capital earned, is capital to be reinvested – and that capital is not just money

Encouraging the man standing next to you

Learning the methodology of darkness and being able to spot its disguise, before the training wheels are stripped off and you are thrust into The All That Is

There is never a perfect altruism – there is never a perfect scenario of advancement where no one gets hurt

Accept responsibility – even if you can devise a way in which to make it ‘not your fault’

Never deal in the currency of guilt, blame, offenses or resentment (GBOR). Because if this is the capital you carry into your next sojourn, this will be the currency you must spend there

Working, resting, playing, consuming – all in integrity of service to the above

These are the uncomplicated truths which link spirituality and skepticism. A central tenet set of ethical skepticism. Spiritual development is a praxis which we apply to self, and not one well exercised by being instructed or enforced upon others. We learn from witnessing its application, and from those (including one’s self) who struggle to develop it. We learn from suffering and over time.

Moreover, we do not mature spiritually from being told how to be good, nor by being coerced into its compliance through threat of penalty or compulsion to correct appearances. Such activity only inflates the ego of the ‘teacher/authority’. This is the essence of what is religion. Higher spirits are experienced enough to fully grasp this formal logic principle of spiritual development. Hence, their reluctance to give us advice. Dark spirits in contrast, are full of advice, accusation and admonition. I hold this idea that we can admonish-to-spirituality as incorrect. In this mistake we conflate morality-virtue-ethics, which can be taught, with wisdom-integrity-spirituality, which cannot. Not that the elements of morality-virtue-ethics are incorrect in and of themselves. It is like driving at night with your headlamps on (the correct thing to do) but not realizing that one’s windscreen is opaque. One has only tendered the appearance of being a safe motorist, and is even more dangerous than someone driving with no headlamps at all.

In the day that we define that which is goodness, darkness will skin it and wear it as a costume.

We are not here to learn to be good. We are here to learn the hard lesson praxis of darkness – and to spot its trackways within ourselves.

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All photographs are property of Warner Bros. – Legendary Entertainment. They are modified for use under Title 17 U.S.C. § 107 “Fair Use” Act.

September 22, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , | Leave a comment

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