The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

Have You Grown Weary of This? There is a Better Path

Have you grown weary of the Disciples of Certainty? I certainly did.

He who aspires to become a skeptic must first become a skeptic of himself


did you grow weary of the fools - I didI have trudged through a life bearing 3 wars, two market crashes and inside at various times, 28 nations globally. I have witnessed our best and brightest in the financial markets abscond with our trust, pension, retirement and education funds. I bore a first row seat to the greed and incompetence of our highly educated, blessed and entitled suits. I have been chagrined by the irrational extrapolation of certainty wrought in the soul of one who has convinced them self that they are the science. I have worked with disadvantaged nations and measured the real reasons why poverty and suffering exist. I have been mentored by and observed the worst to best of humanity. I have spent time wallowing in the charade, the wishes of what others desired me to be, of both the religious theist and the arch skeptic atheist. My tier I education is the weakest of my qualification. I have begun numerous ventures and have grown to appreciate the provision of value, the keenness of understanding and the supreme nature of love.  In all this, I finally came to conclude that people like the fools of absolute certainty are not qualified to instruct from such a claimed position of authority. I am not the only one, as key members of the Skeptical Atheist Movement (‘SAM’ as some call themselves) bristle at the direction and makeup of Social Skepticism even now; this from author and former Skeptical Inquirer contributor, Massimo Pigliucci:

The Harris-Chomsky exchange (April 2015), in my mind, summarizes a lot of what I find unpleasant about SAM: a community who worships celebrities who are often intellectual dilettantes, or at the very least have a tendency to talk about things of which they manifestly know very little; an ugly undertone of in-your-face confrontation and I’m-smarter-than-you-because-I-agree-with [insert your favorite New Atheist or equivalent]; loud proclamations about following reason and evidence wherever they may lead, accompanied by a degree of groupthink and unwillingness to change one’s mind that is trumped only by religious fundamentalists; and, lately, a willingness to engage in public shaming and other vicious social networking practices any time someone says something that doesn’t fit our own opinions, all the while of course claiming to protect “free speech” at all costs.¹

Well, one thing is clear. None of these priests of pseudo-philosophy bear qualification to advise me as to the reality of being, existence and non-existence; nor the nature and ontological basis of the universe. From experience, the more insistent they grow, the less I consider them credible.


I comprehend the capacity of human nature to be corrupt to its very core. We bear the enormous skill amongst all living creatures, of deceiving self as the prerequisite to deceiving others. That capacity is of no greater strength than in those who are impressed with their own credential.


Aver to me not what to believe, rather profess the innocent acumen of the desire to proactively find.
Proclaim not the absolute god, nor the reality of his non-existence. I could care less. I thirst to witness in your life the character of one who has overcome the god of himself.
Abuse me not even one moment with that which does or does not exist in your critical fantasy. You possess not the qualification to assume such a perch of infallibility with anyone.
Adorn not your self with that which is rational, or the degrees and money you have amassed, as that is a fool’s ensemble. Rather demonstrate to me the robust ethic of epoché.
Intimidate me not with your awesome institute of fellows, and the insistent urgency to instruct me about its truth. As if you were meaningless before its charade. I will see you when your title means ‘to suffer nothing but the quest.’ Only then will I regard you as my kindred.
And I will be your ally, and will walk calmly with you along this path of reason.


¹  Massimo Pigliucci, “Reflections on the skeptic and atheist movements;” Scientia Salon, May 11, 2015.

April 21, 2015 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Misrepresented and So Called ‘War on Science’

The American People standing up against a coup d’état falsely spun in the name of science, does not constitute a ‘War on Science’.
I ended my 47 year subscription to National Geographic after this article. They seem to be shifting from science to science activism. The same bullshit being forced into STEM universities and magazines like Scientific American by progressives, global socialists, liberal arts majors and the far left. Bullshit personal extreme politics and hate of Americans being passed off as ‘science’.

war on science is spin for social agendas

“…doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts.” or so Joel Achenbach laments in this month’s issue of National Geographic. National Geographic contends there should exist shame on the public for not behaving as a herd of sheep, guided lock step by the dogs of supposed rationality. Characterizing public objection to political/social/corporate activism as a “War on Science” is maliciously incorrect. Pigeon holing those who express concerns as a group of 6,000 year Earth & faked Moon landing or set of tin foil hat conspiracy theorists, simply because they have issued words of caution around the impetuous imposition of policy and wholesale politics extrapolated from scant science, is a fallacy of characterization from a negative premise or by straw man.  Science in American constitutionally based public policy should reside in the public trust, and not be employed as the tyrannical football of private activist and socialist oligarchy interests.

The rancor over this apparent conflict originates from manipulative forces precipitating a loss of public trust around the perception of the role of science in our culture. Ironically, the article in question exhibits key factors which are the very reason for this loss of trust. To regain the trust of the public, science needs to be returned from its imprisonment by Social Skepticism and back into the role of service to the American People. Regulatory government officials in critical matters of public trust should be drawn from the public and not corporate special interests involved in profiteering from those disciplines. Scientists yes, should answer to the public trust just as do our politicians. We have not surrendered these rights as Americans, just because one groups thinks they are smarter than everyone else and therefore only they and their ‘peers’ are qualified to determine policy.  Independent of the red herring of whether atheists or religious people have caused the most suffering throughout history, one thing is for certain, we have suffered from this type of elite regime rule before, catastrophically so.  The more social agendas we spin off claims of ‘consensus’ among the unaccountable elite, the less the public is going to trust those who make such claims. The public perceives the difference between freedom and tyranny, and is correct in their mistrust of any process which promotes loss of its rights.

There exists much less a War on Science as there exists a war of despotism on the part of non-scientist social activists inside the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) against the sovereignty and rights of the American People. The avarice and misrepresentation involved in this equivocal propaganda tender clues as to why the underlying scientifically flawed Pew Research Study² has been pushed so effectively; and moreover how essentially the same plagiarized article has been replicated so far and wide in such a short time frame in the same familiar media channels.

This month’s National Geographic features an article¹ which is part of a push series currently being promoted by Social Skepticism on how purportedly the American Public is apparently at war with science. I am disappointed that National Geographic would join a push propaganda bandwagon movement over a non-scientific poll² designed specifically to promote the idea that the public has no justifiable set of rights when it comes to issues which can be attached to science.

What National Geographic and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have done, is to spin ANY equivocal concerns inside these topics into foaming at the mouth tin foil hat irrationality, antithetical to the prevailing opinion of their ‘members’ conflated as representing the entire opinion of science.  This errant approach to journalism and public policy is illustrated in a set of four major flaws or fallacies of argument:

1. The topics chosen from the poll are Stooge Posed.  That is, easily discernible and visible topics or ludicrous versions thereof are chosen; versions of position inside which every normal person will find dissent to be ludicrous. These are then further used to elicit the issue of ‘science’ and the public trust in the most biased fashion possible.

1.  Stooge Posing

/fallacy – misrepresentation of self/ : attacks on a piece of data or an easily disprovable topic of credulity used as an effort to bolster or provide evidence for an opponent’s point or falsely boost their record of debunking success and club ranking. This reputation to then further allow for irrelevant and unmerited gravitas in addressing other arguments where data and observation do not support the goals of the opponent so readily.

This discrediting of the public comes from a distortion of poll results and statistical spin, used to underpin a claim that significant portions public are at war with science, as evidenced by phone and membership surveys on this set of very visible issues. Stooge Posed issues topics/claims which are equivocated in terms of the actual question posed in the poll, implied by the National Geographic article to be publicly regarded thusly (see cover of issue above):

  • The Public Denies that Climate Change Exists
  • The Public Denies Evolution
  • The Public Denies the Moon Landing
  • The Public Desires to Stop Vaccination Programs
  • The Public Desires to Eliminate Genetic Modification Science¹

days of bullshit are doneOf course all these points of contention are ludicrous misrepresentations by National Geographic. The American Public is in no way at war with scientists, nor denying these stooge posed issues.  To the average American, Climate Change is obvious, evolution is a fact, we definitely went to the Moon, vaccines are a vital part of our National Health vanguard, and responsible and publicly approved genetic modification of yes, even our food, IS the future.  The simple fact is that, despite how the poll has been spun, none of these implied contentions bullet pointed above by National Geographic are true. At most, 18% of the public endorse 6,000 year creation.ª But truly, I have never actually met a person who has expressed to me that the world is 6,000 years old or has denied the Moon Landing, so they are getting this 18% from some strange or remote locations. The only argument inside of Anthropogenic Global Warming is the degree which man’s recent fossil fuel use has contributed to the 1.5 degree increase in the last 130 years. Most rational people aver that genetic modifications offer a potential wonderful future impact. Most people I imagine, would agree with the sentiment that a little more corporate accountability is warranted with respect to substances which impact each and every one of us so intimately. Perhaps conservatism in not rushing into modifying 90% of our food as the first foray into GM technology – especially when only for the benefit of marginally increasing logistics profits and for creating a glyphosate monopoly.  Wow, rational, level headed views held by John Q. Public which did not show up in the dissenting head count of the ‘survey.’ Views which would be spun as whack job profiles in this article and the underlying study.  The ‘survey’ purposely fabricated questions which would make the public look monolithic and irrational, and contrast easily with the lock step answers of people selected because they are activists for ‘science.’

A Flawed Study

scientific poll what you don't seeThe Pew survey sampled 2002 adults on “landline and cellular telephone”² (one should take a hint here – professional cell phone users ignore surveys‡) as well as “3,748 U.S.-based members† of AAAS”² touted as representing science.¹ ² Phone surveys are a well established and notorious method of ‘dumbing down and extremist skewing a survey result.’‡ Especially when used as a direct numerical contrast against a survey conducted inside a special interest activist group. This is a non-scientific, flawed method of drawing contrast. A member of the AAAS neither represents a typical scientist, nor does an AAAS member indeed have to even be a scientist. Science has not been completed to a Roper or Gallup industry standard, which would show the (s) to (S) population statistical significance of the phone poll or the AAAS ‘scientists’ pool selected. The integrity of both surveys, the sole empirical basis of the Pew Research Center study, is highly in question.

What they are asking you to infer is that 60+% of the public believe completely irrational and destructive things (bullet pointed above topical expressions that incorrectly cite what was actually asked in the poll) that only 5-15% of scientists hold true. This is a false representation of reality.

The simple fact is, that the public is an order of magnitude more rational as a whole than Joel Achenbach, the AAAS, Forbes Magazine (another push outlet for this article series) and their science-excused coup d’état cronies would ever admit.  But assassination of the idea that the American Public has the right to determine its own governance, even on issues of science, is the goal at hand.

This corrupt method of persuasion, an answer looking for a question, a question looking for a victim – applied inside an obdurate – is outlined in our post on Rhetoric and Propaganda, how it is structured and how to spot and disarm it.

We continue now with the next applied fallacy from the article.

2.  Those who expressed an issue of concern inside these topics are further spun by the Pew poll study and the National Geographic article into ludicrous representations of their argument, categorizing these people into the lunatic fringe through a bifurcation error in tally. All this in an effort to show why it is dangerous to have science operate in any fashion besides outside the public trust.

2.  Straw Man Conformance Fallacy

/fallacy – fictionalized mischaracterization of persons or groups/ :  an argument formulated according to the idea that since a person or group believes or considers subject A to be a potentiality, then an opponent insists that they therefore have endorsed extreme misrepresentations of subject A as well. Usually tendered at the end of a discussion or in a format where no retort is allowed.

The article portrays the public as an incompetent and completely irrational mass of idiots.  Unworthy of determining self course or lacking competence to discern even the most straightforward principles of science on their own. The implication below being, that the public is wildly irrational and must be forced to surrender their rights because of this lack of scientific ability or correctness. The National Geographic article continues:

“Less than half of all Americans believe the Earth is warming because humans are burning fossil fuels.”¹

But this is not what the study poll asked.  This is only one example of mismatch between the question asked, and the spin applied to the numerical answers on the part of Social Skepticism media. The study poll asked if “Climate Change is mostly due to human activity.”² Most graduate science level educated Americans are aware of Milankovitch Cyclical variations which have placed us in the last 2000 years especially in an uptick warming cycle, naturally.  It is just that the current spike is rising faster, especially since 1939, and a significant percentage higher than the most recent Milankovitch climate temperature peaks.  This is disconcerting, and certainly argument must be made that this overage in temperature rise is attributable to human activity. But the actual question posed in the poll leaves too much to equivocation.  When this equivocation slack (play in systemically derived numerics) is matched to the lock step allegiance (low slack) of the activist AAAS membership, an artificial gap is imputed into a misconstrued, bifurcated and finally misrepresented contrast.

3.  The public is spun as one large untrustworthy and irrational group, and as such, enough of it adheres to bunk and ridiculous ideas so as to consider that the public at large principally believes antithetical concepts inside all of the issues contended by science.  Therefore a mandate must be assembled to counter this. A mandate which in the eyes of Social Skepticism, supports that science must operate outside the public trust.

3.  Fallacy of Characterization from a Negative Premise

/fallacy – fictionalized mischaracterization of persons or groups/ :  subject A is a disproved topic. As a ponderer of subject A you are therefore a pseudo scientist; and in being pseudo scientist you therefore then adhere to every other philosophy of pseudoscience and every philosophy a critical observer finds distasteful. Class stereotype disdain with fictionalized evidence.

The public is spun as one monolithic will, irrational to the core and unqualified to pass jurisdiction on issues of science because it believes a whole host of nonsense and non scientific ideas. The war is a symmetric and purposed action in their view, an act of will on the part of a public, which now justifiably must be emasculated of its power.  The American People have become dangerous through their irrationality. Wow.

“Science appeals to our rational brains, but our beliefs are motivated largely by emotion, and the biggest motivation is remaining tight with our peers. ‘We’re all in high school. We’ve never left high school.’ “¹

So contends the article. However once this assassination of the public trust is achieved, we must nominate those who will inherit the mantle of authority in place of the American Public. Who? Why us of course, after all, We Are the Science.

4.  The “consensus of scientists” is spun by polling one biased activist organization (AAAS), and not through the polling scientists themselves as is claimed in the whole propaganda push campaign.  By the simple act of citing the study poll and championing the authorized conclusions in the stooge posed topics assembled inside the poll, journalists are able to impress their Social Skepticism peers, and falsely default themselves and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as ‘representing science.’ Moreover, these newly qualified ‘science’ media channels are now fully granted tacit permission, through compliance in repeating the authorized message, to characterize such polling evidence which differs from their activist policy survey as a “War on Science.”

4.  Ergo Sum Scientia

/fallacy – misrepresentation of self/ : when a group portrays highly visible activism on an easy or a sensible cause célèbre in support/defense of science, in order to tender the appearance of and imply to an audience that they represent critical thinking, the scientific method or the correct conclusions of science.

We Are the Science 2The simple fact is that only the AAAS was polled in the portion of this survey which was supposed to represent ‘scientists.’ The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is a political advocacy group, and as such does not bear a profile of opinion which would be congruent with the larger body of scientists. They are qualified for membership by adherence to specific advocacy causes before the United States Congress and Regulatory Bodies.³

If anything, the statistics posed in the study are falsely claimed as representing the opinion of scientists.  They are simply the opinions of a special interest activist organization, the membership of which wishes to claim to represent science – when they are not scientists at all for the most part. The members of AAAS do not actually have to be indeed scientists.† 

This statement from the Pew Research Center website makes it clear that the AAAS is an amalgamation of non-science social activists and their ally – highly politically biased scientists:

“A survey of 3,748 American-based scientists connected with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) finds that 87% agree with the statement “Scientists should take an active role in public policy debates about issues related to science and technology.” Just 13% of these scientists back the opposite statement: ‘Scientists should focus on establishing sound scientific facts and stay out of public policy debates.’ “

It was this same exact survey, which not only established its own inherent bias, but moreover was used to establish the ‘gap’ between public phone call sentiment and the supposed sentiment of scientists.  This is research fraud.

“The survey of scientists is based on a representative sample of 3,748 U.S.-based members of AAAS”²

The charter and policy declarations from the AAAS clearly delineate it as a social activism group. This is far from a valid basis from which to make the claim that one has sampled an opinion representative of scientists. This is the opinion of ONE BIASED ORGANIZATION. From the AAAS website itself:³

“AAAS provides objective analysis to decision makers and helps experts contribute to policy-making.”

Read this as a social activist organization. Further,

“The Center [of Science, Policy, and Society Programs] engages science and scientists with many communities, including those of government, religion, and law.”

“Office of Government Relations Providing timely and objective information to Congress on current science and technology issues, and assisting scientists in understanding and working with Congress.”

How are these scientists going to vote at the AAASTheir charter as a social activist organization is to influence, intimidate and bypass the public trust in an attempt to influence the government. A right granted solely to the American Public, stolen by a special interest.  And finally, from its 1973 AAAS CONSTITUTION (Amended):

Article III. Membership and Affiliation
Section 1. Members. Any individual who supports the objectives of the Association and is willing to contribute to the achievement of those objectives is qualified for membership.†

Let us put the AAAS membership stipulations in their objective (less equivocal-more accurate) form:

To be a member scientist of the AAAS you must support the objectives of the AAAS and must contribute your vote on issues in the way in which they urge. Otherwise you cannot be a member.

This series of declarations show that, in order to join the AAAS, one must support the advocacy goals of the organization, and does not actually have to be a scientist. But if you are a scientist member, you can only vote 1 way. This is a self regulating requirement and calls into high question the contention that 1) the AAAS represents the consensus opinion of all scientists, and 2) that the poll conducted on 3748 “members of AAAS” was actually a poll of scientists. It is clear that these shenanigans render the poll above, not scientific in even the least sense.

Finally, in the finishing paragraph of the National Geographic article you have presented the premise of the article:

“But then they should use the scientific method, or trust people using the scientific method, to decide which way they fall on those questions.”¹

The public is an irrational mechanism and as such, cannot be trusted to be empowered with decisions upon which science has a potential input or bearing.

In short, bullshit. This is promotion of a coup d’état in the name of science. You must surrender your Constitutional rights and rights to self determination, via justification spun through any tendered appearance of scientific study.  This all of course, as we have consistently observed, existing as key tenets of Nihilism, coincidentally the religion of choice of those who promote the rule of science above the public trust.

In order for the American Association for the Advancement of Science to win the trust of the American Public, they must return legislative and moral power of science back into the American public trust.


¹  Joel Achenbach, “The War on Science,” National Geographic March 2015, pp. 34 – 47.

²  Carry Funk and Lee Rainie, “Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society,” Pew Research Center; February 29, 2015, http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/29/public-and-scientists-views-on-science-and-society/

³  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website: http://www.aaas.org/

†  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 1973 AAAS CONSTITUTION (Amended)  http://www.aaas.org/aaas-constitution-bylaws

ª  Bishop, George F; Thomas, Randall K; Wood, Jason A; Gwon, Misook (2010). “Americans’ Scientific Knowledge and Beliefs about Human Evolution in the Year of Darwin”. National Center for Science Education. Retrieved September 6, 2014.

‡  FactCheck.org “Are polls skewed because many people only have cell phones?” http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/cell-phones-and-political-polls/

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates, Social Disdain | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No You are Not an Atheist, You are a Nihilist

Nihilists, no you cannot surreptitiously re-invent atheism to your liking, and pretend then to speak on behalf of the rest of us. I am an atheist, but I reject being force-fed nihilism every bit as vehemently as being force-fed theism. You are simply going to have to find some other way to finally appear acceptable to the world. Your religion has already been well defined as distinct from atheism for millennia. Embrace it, be it, live it. Don’t hide behind me by meticulously and methodically avoiding the term.
If you proselytize angrily about the non-existence of every difficult to observe or personally disdained phenomena, all that is fine and I respect your right to hold beliefs. But please do not sell that personal religion as atheism (nor science). To call this religion ‘naturalism,’ ‘secularism’ or ‘material monism’ implies that your dogma is founded upon coherent definition, measure and rigorous empirical study – Wittgenstein erroneous claims to science, about which in reality you cannot boast.
The atheist, agnostic and ignostic all allow for potentialities – the Secular Nihilist does not allow for any of this – a fundamentalist conclusive belief set about the nature of everything – and not just gods, employing ‘science’ as an apologetic. A religion in the purest definition of the word.
The faith of the ignostic is in the processes of science – not in the null hypothesis itself.

The Atheist’s ReligionThere are only three possible responses to a proposition right? The two Boolean, true and false; and the undetermined state. Right? No, this is not correct. If a question does not bear sound predicate knowledge, is not incremental, well defined, contextual and constrained as to its probative nature, and if it does not bear relevance or salience – then that question cannot possibly be answered by the false trilemma, true-false-undetermined. This is what physicist Richard Feynman (origo Wolfgang Pauli) meant by a proposition being ‘not even wrong’. Do not fall for the trick question ‘Is there a God’ which is posed by theist and atheist alike. These guys are already on the same team. Just one group has a bearded man on their jersey and the other has a bearded man with a ‘No’ symbol over it. The question already presupposes a host of answers you should not assume to be applicable, nor extant.

‘Is there a God?’ is what is called in science, an orphan question. Unsound in its posing. At best, the handiwork of the casual thinker; at worst a tool of agenda spinning agents.

I occasionally explain when someone sincerely inquires of me, just why I chose the (outside the false trilemma) path of ignostic atheism. I clarify to them that I lack an allowance for gods in my personal philosophy. There is a reason why many philosophers regard ignosticism to be the only true pathway to atheism (Vick, T.). The discipline of thinking inside ignosticism, affords one the ability to spot self-pretense – and then proceed calmly and wisely on to the next step in their chosen path of philosophy. This form of deontological skepticism does not dictate a path, only a discipline of thinking. It allows one to discern the contrast between ethical struggle and arrogant pretense.

I do not know what an intelligence based reality would even look like, nor for that matter an intent or value bereft one. Therefore, I decline to make proclamations regarding such.

Secular Nihilism, in stark contrast, is not simply a belief that life is ‘devoid of all meaning.’ This is a special exemption plead solely on an extreme framing of fundamental or existential nihilism – the notion that life possesses an empty set of factors of intrinsic meaning or value.‡ This jumbling together of several distinct philosophies under one moniker is the source for the lack of understanding of the word today.‡ Herein we recognize (as does most of philosophy) the nihilist’s innate freedom to declare the applicability and definition of ‘meaning’ for themselves. Meaning is derived through our interaction with the world around us yes, but more importantly through the influences we receive through the experiences/declarations of others. This renders all extraordinary claims to meaning, 1% research and 99% rumor. An ethical skeptic maintains this understanding in evaluating the entailed subject horizon. To promote this religion however as ‘naturalism,’ ‘physicalism’ or ‘material monism’ implies that the beliefs are based upon coherent definition, measure and rigorous empirical study – implications of which in reality it cannot boast.

So then, it does not become a question of whether or not this realm was ‘created’ – rather the salient question is, ‘Is this realm valued in some way?’ I cannot possibly constrain the ‘Yes’ to that question. To do so, is an irrational boast. One a skeptic and a scientist cannot make.

neti-netiNihilism rather, is a form of allegiance of rational solipsists. An intermingled ontology set which cannot be claimed as a science, nor as necessarily resulting from scientific thinking. It features a pathological lack of the Allow-For virtue borne by those who are scientifically and skeptically open minded. It is not based upon rigorous empirical or falsification based study. It relies upon its intimidating specter of pluralistic ignorance to underpin its boast as to what scientists collectively think and believe. It conceals its tenets behind the wrong name and hides its null hypothesis (Omega Hypothesis). These are not the practices of science in the least. The reality is that, it is only what the nihilist has intellectually chosen to regard as meaningful, which is indeed meaningful – and their framing must be required of anyone who is regarded as ‘rational’ or a ‘critical thinker.’ Sound familiar?

Metaphysical Nihilism (Secular Nihilism)

2.  There exists the possibility of a complete or partial nothingness to aspects of the realms we ponder.

2ƒ.  (strong) There cannot exist any state but nothingness, outside of that which is repeatably observable and consistently measurable.²

Nihilist Romanticism (Secular Nihilism)

1´.  However, as Nietzsche cites, Fundamental Nihilism is moot.  As we not only may choose, but without exception have chosen as a mandate, to artificially and personally construct such value sets as the conscious will of our skeptical, empirical or secular thinking, or self illusion of such, might deem acceptable.

Most philosophers regard nihilism in this way; as the personal framing entailed inside Nihilist Romanticism and/or Metaphysical Nihilism, and not as constituting a personal philosophy viewing our reality as ‘devoid of all value or meaning’ (see 1′ – 3′ below). This latter definition is easy to meme (hence its iconic use as a one-liner), but is of farcical impracticality, aside from its use as a tool for personal exclusion pleading, inside philosophical discussion.¹ ‡ There exist hardly any individuals who realistically adhere to tenets of fundamental nihilism.

An excellent exegesis on Nihilist Romanticism however can be found here: Blog Post by Richard Pettigrew

The False Dilemma: Secular Nihilism is a Belief which is Parallel in Construct to Theism

must-be-observed-firstBy attempting to draw the demarcation between nihilism and atheism to be too inclusive, we have introduced a Pandora’s Box of confusion, manifested today around what it means to be an atheist. Not only that, but this over-reach in equivocal definition serves to establish Theism and Atheism as a false dilemma. We do however, have at our option an unacknowledged domain of reason which serves to outline ethical scientific tolerance, along with a realm of incredible possibility (see graphic below). Secular Nihilism is a dogmatic counter-belief about a myriad of disdained subjects. It is a waste of focus on a counter-obsession with ghosts, angels and the afterlife. Just as is the case with theism, it is an exercise in extrapolating extreme broadscope conclusions into domains where science makes no comment. Both beliefs underpin observations in the physical world by assumptions they made inside an unconstrained domain (god or infinity), and then extrapolate this conclusivity back into defining absolutely the unconstrained/unobserved domain itself.  In both cases we use an ‘infinity of the gaps’ explanation to develop an epistemology which further explains infinity itself – and in the one case we paint a bearded grandfather face on it, and in the counter we paint a bearded grandfather face with a ‘No’ symbol on it. Both are processes of magic and belief.

Atheism Spectrum

Not that I am instructing anyone to do so but, personally, I choose a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ rather than simply a ‘Lack of Belief.’ This because a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ adheres more closely to the tenets of ethical skepticism. But at the same time I do confess an affinity for both the atheist and agnostic positions. I consider those who hold to those tenets as being individuals who are sincerely deliberating the issue. I do not consider the 3 Belief category proponents above to be sincerely deliberating anything – rather trying to instruct me as to what I should believe.

least-scientific-null-hypNihilism on the other hand, is a ‘belief’ that the untestable null hypothesis is indeed true. (Actually a myriad of ‘Factually Does Not Exist’ null hypotheses – Nothing Exists outside that which we muster the desire to comprehend, describe, teach and subsequently measure)  Just because the burden of proof resides on the party proposing an alternative idea, does not mean that the null hypothesis – the placeholder which is used as our counter in Bayesian Reduction – is therefore true until this is accomplished. Such is the tyrannical foolishness of the Nihilist – and most fake skeptics as well.

In a realm of sufficient lack of observation or definition, to believe the null hypothesis is every bit as much a religious act of credulity and pretense as is belief in any other alternative. The faith of the ignostic is in the processes of science – not in the null hypothesis itself, until a sufficient level of rigor has been surpassed. I may demand proof from those who claim there is some kind of inter-dimensional or spirit realm, BUT that does not mean that the null hypothesis, that nothing exists, is therefore true and I should elect it therefore as a belief.  That is not the purpose of a null hypothesis. This is why Ethical Skepticism instead exercises its deliberation inside of the neutral suspension of disposition on such subjects, a principle called the epoché.

‘Big-A’ Atheism or Nihilist-Atheism

proscription prescriptionIf you come to me presenting a program near and dear to my heart, supporting healthcare development for women and children and mitigating teen pregnancy on the African continent, then I am going to be very interested.  But if subsequently you insist that the only way for me to do this, is to give to your foundation where ‘it’s all god’s anyway,’ and ‘god loves a cheerful giver,’ well then you are just selling your religion in the name of charitable works. I will feel I have been misled.

In the same way, if you come to me and ask me to lend support behind an atheist movement or discussion, something near and dear to my heart, then I am going to be interested. But if subsequently you insist that we are all simply fleshbots, and that ‘self’ is proved by science to be an illusion of neurofunction, and then rattle off a political bent or the long list of things you disdain because ‘there is no such thing and I am stupid if I even consider any of the ideas,’ well then you are worse than the religious peddler.  First, because science is not even close to proving or even researching any of these things, second, because you are peddling a personal conclusive cosmology in the name of atheism, third, your cosmology is at least in part based on arrogant disdain for those unlike you, and finally, you are not even honest enough to be forthright about what it is you are actually selling me. I will feel I have been misled.

Sam Harris on Atheism - CopyYes Virginia, you are a Nihilist. You are cryptically selling me Nihilism, not atheism. No manner of compositional exclusion, special pleading nor Lie of Allegiance obsession over ancient history, inquisitions, holy wars or fundamentalist theism is going to belie this fact. You may fool those who have not been trained in graduate level philosophy, however you betray your dishonesty or lack of training therein, by means of your denial, to those who have been trained (See Margold’s Law). If you don’t believe in bigfoot, ghosts, fantasms, aliens, interdimensionality, mediumship, sensitivity, clairvoyance, claraudience, twin connections, mind over matter, DNA analyses you do not like, eyewitness observations, near death experiences, OBE’s, UFO’s, spirituality, advanced forms of life, the afterlife and all that list of things which violate your ‘critical thinking skills’ – all that is fine and I respect that; but please do not sell that personal religion as atheism (nor science). These things have nothing whatsoever to do with atheism (see Sam Harris Twitter quote to right, extracted 10/2/2015, public domain).

If you cannot resist an urgent desire to oppress, denigrate, mock or attack people who believe, observe or consider things you do not like, please do us all a favor and do not call yourself an atheist. This grand denial set is your personal religious belief, and as an atheist, I would rather you sell that oppressive religious doctrine under some different moniker.

Dubbing this Form of Oppression – Atheism or Scientism – is Incorrect

lie of allegiance2When an atheist shoots up a school and puts a round into the head of everyone who identifies as Christian, yet spares the life of everyone who identifies as ‘atheist,’ I would rather we call the religion of the gunman something else, other than atheism. Atheism is nothing but a personal choice as to how one regards stories of gods. It is not a religion, nor is it the ontology of the socially oppressive and violent. Let’s leave that characterization to the Nihilist, where it has consistently proven out in socialist uprisings. Only violent religions implicitly encourage oppression as a means of fulfilling their belief set. Atheism is not a religion, nor does it bear a tenet set (at least ignostic atheism does not) which could be construed as requiring violence to enforce.

Islam, Christianity, Socialism and Nihilism do produce (and promote) violence and oppression. This is the consistent lesson of history. They are all religions, and as such yes, they can be held to account for the violence and oppression they demonstrably promote.

Therefore knowing this, a dishonest Nihilist will claim that they are not a Nihilist, and moreover will hide under a shroud of philosophical atheism in order to protect and obscure their promotion of a religion. Fundamentalists attempted to hide under the moniker ‘pro-family’ in order to enact politics in the 1980’s. This ruse was religious-political sleight-of-hand. In similar fashion, Nihilists are habitually biased to one political party, fractious and immune to dialectic.

Fundamentalist Christians mistakenly sometimes attack this religion as “Scientism.” There is nothing at all wrong, of course, with possessing a body of accepted knowledge, and promoting the method by which we improve that body of knowledge. Therefore science is not a religion, rather Nihilists will again sometimes abuse the robes of science as a ruse to obscure and surreptitiously practice their version of religious belief and party fanaticism.

Nihilism (or Sol-Nihilism)

(/ˈn.ɨlɪzəm/ or /ˈn.ɨlɪzəm/; from the Latin nihil, nothing) is a philosophical doctrine that suggests the negation of one or more of the reputedly meaningful or non-material aspects of life. Socially enforced metaphysical or pseudo scientific naturalism. The religious belief that only such physical life on Earth is relevant, and that the conscious, spiritual, values or intent sets all reduce solely to the material.†

The Nihilists’ claim that ‘god and extra-dimensional realms/entities (or really anything they do not like) have all been addressed by science’, ranks as one of the most ridiculous contentions ever made. It is ‘not even wrong’ in the Feynman sense. Even more so with this concept you call god, I have no idea what a god is – so I can make no claim as to whether or not one exists. Under a Wittgenstein definition of science therefore, it is moot whether or not I know or do not know that I do not hold a coherent definition for ‘god,’ therefore to Wittgenstein and an ethical skeptic, virginosticism is moot from a practical sense (and indeed it is only posed as a lever for understanding here) and the two concepts merge into one philosophical entity called ignosticism. I refuse to acknowledge that the concept has been given a coherent or observation based definition.

Secular Humanism: Often Portrayed as a Distinction Without a Difference

One can be secular, and be a humanist, without having to be a Nihilist. Unfortunately much of the secular world does not grasp this, and conflates the two. Take Wikipedia for example. In consistent fashion, Wikipedia fails to employ real philosophers to craft their material on religion, and instead relies upon social skeptics and those with an agenda to portray. Wikipedia defines secular humanism as

The philosophy or life stance of secular humanism embraces human reason, ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and superstition as the bases of morality and decision making.

As we examine the facets of what secular humanism comprises, we find the keywords reason, ethics, dogma, pseudoscience and superstition. I have spent a great many years on this Earth and I have yet to find even one person who said that they hold fast to dogma, pseudoscience and superstition, and yet reject ethics and reason. Not one person.

lack of belief and allow forThis leaves the distinctive aspects of secular humanism as – philosophical naturalism contrasted with that which one defines as the subsets of pseudoscience. Since I have yet to meet a single person who says they participate in pseudoscience, I find that the only way to detect the pseudoscientsts is to ask someone who recognizes these people and makes such an accusation. Professional pseudoscience identifiers.  Within the above definition, we are left with the philosophical naturalist as the only one who is qualified to make such an accusation. Remember that everyone claims allegiance to reason, ethics, morality etc. No one claims to be an irrational pseudoscience, dogmatist.

Again Wikipedia outlines philosophical naturalism as

In philosophy, naturalism is the “idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world.” Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.

Naturalism can intuitively be separated into an ontological and a methodological component. “Ontological” refers to the philosophical study of the nature of reality. Some philosophers equate naturalism with materialism. For example, philosopher Paul Kurtz argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include mass, energy, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community. Further, this sense of naturalism holds that spirits, deities, and ghosts are not real and that there is no “purpose” in nature. Such an absolute belief in naturalism is commonly referred to as metaphysical naturalism.

So – since lovers of pseudoscience appear to be an aspect of what the eye of the beholder regards, and no one admits to such a terrible belief, we are left with the boiled down residue of this distinction, net of all the self congratulation, shuffle dance and social pigeon-holing bullshit:

All that is significant, all being, is accounted for by the mass, energy and other physical properties accepted by the scientific community (or at least as this additional claim, the boast of consensus is crafted). Purpose, innate creativity, faith, love, malevolence, hope, charity, goodness, ethics, sacrifice, growth, spirituality, either are facets of the illusion of free will or can be reduced to the physical alone. There is no allowance for any potentiality outside this. It is a forbiddance, a zero tolerance of such a realm of consideration, employing ‘science’ as an excuse. A strict denial, without evidence backing such, other than the entailed argument from ignorance.

Litmus: The atheist, agnostic and ignostic allow for potentialities of anything holding a coherent definition and observation base (not a conclusion or belief) – the Nihilist (Atheist) does not. The Nihilist then tries to employ the atheist defense, that Nihilist Atheism is a also lack of belief (so therefore it is not a religion). All of this is a sleight-of-hand deception,

…as Nihilist Atheism is an extreme fundamentalist belief set.

However, we as beings are always free to choose morality and decisions as we may find meaning.

Nihilist Romanticism. No, not Fundamentalist Nihilism – a ridiculous theoretical minority crafted to make Atheists feel better about themselves – but Nihilism nonetheless. Lots of fancy window dressing to make it all acceptable to both the observer and the wearer, but Nihilism still.

Nihilism as a Philosophy

The following constitutes a practical application proof of why this definition of the term is correct, and why there exist many, who claim to be atheists, yet in fact are Nihilists. This begins with three foundational epistemological bases for nihilism as a philosophy which result in only one practical application of the philosophy, followed by its practiced result in terms of the specific tenets of Nihilism which are sold today as a religion.

Fundamental or Existential Nihilism

1. There exist no theoretical domain sets regarded as a value – or ‘ought to’ statement family; neither dependent to a culture, man or entity of reference, nor independent of them.

1ƒ.  (strong) There cannot exist such a value or values.¹‡

This is the nihilism which Nietzsche laments as not a practical art, in his comment:

“A nihilist is a man who judges that the real world ought not to be, and that the world as it ought to be does not exist. According to this view, our existence (action, suffering, willing, feeling) has no meaning: this ‘in vain’ is the nihilists’ pathos—an inconsistency on the part of the nihilists.”

~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, KSA 12:9 [60], The Will to Power, section 585, Walter Kaufmann trans ed.

Metaphysical Nihilism

2.  There exists the possibility of a complete or partial nothingness to aspects of the realms we ponder.

2ƒ.  (strong) There cannot exist any state but nothingness, outside of that which is repeatably observable and consistently measurable.²

Nihilist Romanticism

1´.  However, as Nietzsche cites, Fundamental Nihilism is moot. As we not only may choose, but without exception have chosen as a mandate, to artificially and personally construct such value sets as the conscious will of our skeptical, empirical or secular thinking, or self illusion of such, might deem acceptable.

1ƒ´.  The strong question of whether such values can exist or not is moot.¹

2´.  However, the applicability of the validity of nothingness as a basis of verity for our metaphysical or ontological reality, is moot in a social discourse because the social discourse already assumes the impotence of such an argument.

2ƒ´.  The mandatory state of nothingness for that which is not under a consensus of repeatability and measurability, is an a priori decision which may be adopted as per 1′.

3.  Immaterial to 1´, there can exist a personal ontological principle of Existential Nihilism as an optional subset of Nihilist Romanticism. The personal regard that life has no inherent meaning must be adjudicated in terms of objective application of its tenets in social discourse.  The term ‘meaning’ must be defined in a context before applicability can be determined.²

3′. Therefore the argument reverts back to the definition of the term ‘meaning’ (and this then merges Existential Nihilism back into the primary thematic definition being supported. The domain sets are chosen, and almost all relate to meaning – regardless of objective or subjective context.

∴  Nihilism is defined as Romanticist (1′) in basis in that we choose those sets of domain to value, and strong Metaphysical (2ƒ’) as we choose those sets of domain to exclude as non-existent. Finally these domain sets are often then based on Existential meaning (3′).

Therefore, the practical social application of Nihilism, resides solely inside the context of Nihilist Romanticism with an accommodation for strong Metaphysical Nihilism – as Fundamental, Existential and weak Metaphysical Nihilism cannot deliver components of value or clarity in a social functioning or epistemological context.

Axiom 1:  All Nihilists are Nihilist Romanticists and strong Metaphysical Nihilists, by practical default.

Axiom 2:  Whether or not one is an Existential Nihilist is irrelevant except in terms of the adjudication of meaning (pseudo scientific decision process).

Axiom 3:  The claim that Nihilism consists exclusively of Fundamental, Existential and/or weak Metaphysical Nihilism, is a strawman fallacy and fallacy of composition.

Axiom 4:  To claim personal exemption from Nihilism through the rejection of simply one or a few of its tenets, constitutes special pleading and/or a fallacy of compositional exclusion.

In other words, were I a practitioner and member of the Muslim faith, yet I made the personal claim to not be a Muslim, and justified this by citing that I did not support Shia Islam, or I did not adhere to one of the Five Pillars of the Faith (The testimony of the faith, fervent prayer, giving of the zakat (support of the needy), fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Makkah once in a lifetime), I would be making several errors.  First, I would commit a fallacious claim of special pleading in order to leverage my preference in tenets to stand as self representation in denial of being a Muslim. Were I to claim that all Muslims must only be Shia, in order to exclude myself from its broader categorization, I have made a fallacy of compositional exclusion.

Most honest religious Abrahamists will not undertake such a deception on their part.  However, a dishonest Nihilist will claim when challenged that they are not a Nihilist, and moreover will conceal this reality under a shroud of philosophical atheism as both a protection and promotion vehicle for their religion.

Therefore the primary definition of Nihilism is correct, and is the only practical, definition of Nihilism.

…negation of one or more of the reputedly meaningful or non-material aspects of life. Socially enforced metaphysical or pseudo scientific naturalism.†³

Nihilism as a Religion

Two features convert this philosophical nihilism into the more commonly plied religion of Nihilism:

A. I choose to reject categorically one or more concepts of ontological or existential meaning, which are generally recognized as cultural, ephemeral, difficult to observe, occulted or of possible enlightenment upon Mankind.

B. I contend without merit, that our broader culture should also reject these concepts – based on an external standard reference of rationality, evidence, higher acumen, sanity or science.

I'm a Skeptic - religion unmeasurableOnce one has made the decision to reject the meaningful aspects of life which others hold dear, in absence of an empirical backing and basis to this decision, one has become a Nihilist.  Now I may not choose to venerate Gautama Buddha or the Tao (there are no gods in the Tao), but that does not make me a Nihilist; as this may simply constitute a religious preference.  However, if I reject the notion of any form of higher spiritual plane or existence or the possibility of enlightenment expanding beyond that which the corporeal mind can measurably elicit, then I have adopted a non-preferential exclusion of an aspect of meaning.  I have adopted a tenet of Nihilism.

Most Nihilists are reluctant to acknowledge that science remains mute on avenues of research inside or around which very little measurement can be affected/effected. This does not mean that science has categorically rejected any idea which it cannot measure or influence, it simply has maintained the discipline of the Epoche´ – a mute disposition. It has nothing to say on the matter. Science is Ethically Skeptical. Nihilists are not.

religionA Nihilist enacts a religious practice once he or she has implied, stated or sought to have others infer, as compulsory, that science has vetted their personal choice to reject a categorical concept of meaning, through rigorous empirical bases.

If I personally lack a belief in any such a thing as god(s) – in any form of definition – that is a personal philosophy of atheism.

If I personally have no idea as to whether or not god(s) exist – in any form of definition – that is a personal philosophy of agnosticism.

If I personally contend that science has no definition for god – and find it irrelevant whether or not anyone rejects any or all chosen ‘definitions’ of such – then that is a personal philosophy of ignosticism.

If I tell people they are stupid if they believe in anything which I do not agree has been physically verified or measured, and attack and ridicule them. If I insist that only the measurable exists, that is Nihilism. This is a religion. It contains processes of control by dictation of authorized thinking, and the desire to intimidate persons and constrain science as to what is appropriate to be ‘measured.’ It is a grand folly. Don’t listen to what a Nihilist says in their propaganda, watch how they apply it in their philosophy. The veneer is about 1 mm deep.

Therefore, the three personal philosophies of atheism, agnosticism and ignosticism are generally not regarded to constitute religions. They are personal philosophical choices. A faking Nihilist will also cite this logic and apply the martial art of the akratic dance, hide inside the terminology above, hoping to enjoy the luxury of protection afforded a personal ethic. But in reality a faking Nihilist cannot resist the temptation to then sell the religion they are dying to intimidate you into accepting. One which is concealed behind the innocent term above, as they will immediately and always step into the perfidious activity below.

The Tenets of Religious Nihilism (Any or All of the Following)

A. If however, I personally reject the notion that there is such a thing as god(s) – in any definition – and imperiously contend that rationality, science, sanity, evidence or higher acumen has proved this out – I have exaggerated the claims of science in order to intimidate you into accepting my position.  This is a practice of religious Nihilism.

In similar fashion, and as is very commonly the case with postmodern nihilism, this includes as well such dictates as:

B. Imperious rejection of the existence of any alternative dimensionality to our metaphysical naturalist existence

C. Imperious rejection of an increase in total information held within the measurable/observable universe

D. Imperious rejection of any alternative life forms aside from those which hold an exclusive common ancestry with our phylogeny

E. Imperious rejection of any form or survival of consciousness aside from neurofunction or after physical death of the brain

F. Imperious rejection of any form of knowledge aside from that which the physical brain can store, categorize and comprehend

G. Imperious rejection of any extant life forms of any kind which have or are currently visiting planet Earth from any other locality

H. Imperious rejection of the idea that Mankind’s impact on the universe has been detected by external observers of any kind

I. Imperious rejection of any repeatedly observed species which has not been recognized by academic skepticism

J. Imperious rejection of any exchange of information which does not pass via an acknowledged metaphysical naturalist form of medium

K. Imperious rejection of ethical or moral standards independent of those selected/adopted by our culture

L. Imperious rejection (with some exceptions) of the observations, ideas, contributions or constructs of those outside of skepticism and science

M. Imperious rejection of ideas on health which have been purported by laymen, however which have not been studied by recognized science

N. Imperious rejection of the idea that substantive reality, aside from a biochemical basis, surrounds love or any form of human interpersonal values

O. Imperious rejection of the idea of access to any form of higher spiritual or technological being on the part of humans or humanity

P. Imperious rejection of the ideal of spiritualism in any form (save for a pseudo-mystical form of moralism)

Q. Imperious insistence that my consciousness and self awareness is an illusion of neurofunction, and that all this stems from my being a meat robot

R. Imperious a priori denial of any and all bodies of evidence, independent of actual merit of such study, which could potentially falsify a tenet of Nihilism (above).

Practice of any or all of the above non-scientific means of controlling/influencing others, or establishing a culture of hate around people who do not adhere to this, is a religion plain and simple. This religion is just as deadly and murderous as the Abrahamic religions after which it modeled itself.  No wonder Nihilists deny that they are Nihilists.  Sorry Virginia, yes, you are indeed a Nihilist.


¹  Nozick, Robert; Philosophical Explanations, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1981, ISBN 0-674-66448-5; pp. 552-558.

²  Rosen, Stanley, Editor; The Philosopher’s Handbook: A User’s Guide to Western Philosophy, Random House, Inc., New York, NY, 2000; ISBN 978-0-375-72011-6; pp. 120, 179-180.

³ The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is copyright © 2014 by The Metaphysics Research Lab, Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), Stanford University, Library of Congress Catalog Data: ISSN 1095-5054

†  Re-adapted to a socially applicable principle definition from Nihilism (article under a series on Certainty), Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nihilism

‡  Nihilism, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy; http://www.iep.utm.edu/nihilism/

(Vick, T.)  Vick, Tristan; Ignosticism – A philosophical Justification for Atheism, CreateSpace Independent Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-1490961828, pp. 23 – 46.

January 7, 2015 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates | , , , , , | 5 Comments

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