The Culture of Cheating

The Fix is In – Cheating can tender the appearance of legitimacy, but not to those who know how the game is played.

Cheating is a subtle subculture methodology which thrives in the nutrient solution of rules-gaming and enforced methods.  But its end result is loss for everyone through denial of the right to succeed through hard work and creativity, and generation of economic inflation and failure through the taking of money or power in exchange for no value-add on the part of the cheater.

For the SSkeptic, the key is to keep the opposition at less than a plurality of the vote, then ignore and deride them.  That is much easier than doing the actual research or conducting that pain-in-the-ass effort called, the scientific method.

When AI = “Alternative Integrity”

AI driven HeartsMy Hearts game on my iPad cheats.  Its AI cheats bad. It drives me nuts when I spot it.  It makes me even more determined to win anyway.  I love to play the game for this very reason, and have compiled a nice set of observation statistics on it.

In the game, I either get the Queen of Spades or am handed it on the pass, 63% of the time, when statistically it should be 44% of the time (dealt 25% + passed 25% – incidence of Shooting the Moon or stacked spade hand= 44%).  It is not unheard of for me to take the Queen of Spades trick 17 times in a row; which is .25^17 – .03^17 or P(qos) = 5.82 x 10^-9 in probability or way friggin small.  I will be ‘fed’ the Queen of Spades trick 5 times in a row, an inordinate number of times, especially if I am ahead in points.  Basically, the game does not employ AI, it rather uses a simpler and easier to derive functionality called “Alternative Integrity.”  You can program Alternative Integrity on a long afternoon with your laptop at the beach.  But creating true hearts Artificial Intelligence would require a great deal more intellect, experience and work.

Cheating Requires Less Personal Acumen Experience or Chutzpah than does the Real Thing

But to the casual observer, this fabric of cheating drives a gaming process which appears very much like the frothy give and take of normal chance, barely discernible from the regular play of a human driven and self-oriented game of Hearts.  Unless you are a statistics and system function professional who can spot such foibles, you will not know that you have been gamed.

The rogue hero, who smartly skirts the system, and swashbuckles his way to a fortuitous victory over oppressive forces is often the romantic hero of the modern screenplay.  I find familiarity in this hero or heroine, harking similarity in their often comical adventures back to my days of early graduate school and professional success.  Many times, yes, one needs to be creative and resourceful in negotiating the wickets which present themselves as obstacles in the pathway to success.

But systemic cheating is not the same thing as a personal ethic of developing creative solutions to serendipitous challenging problems.  The latter being a form of intellect and a fact of life; with the former, exhibiting the greater signs of laziness and lack of integrity.  Winning by regularly gaming the rules, terminology or loopholes, rather than by the pain in the rear of hard ethical work.  Systemic cheating costs us all in college through grade inflation.  Many B – averages were had simply from access to a good Word library, and not through an ethic of study or love for the subject.  This is no different to me, from stealing tuition money on large scale which thereby drives up the price people are willing to pay for college and makes college unaffordable for the poor.  I have set up an endowment fund at my Undergraduate University to help just such disadvantaged students pay for over-inflated college costs.  Gosh please tell me that the following statistic is not true.  I was in the 2% (below) then.  But I do know that the majority of my classmates used instructor Word in undergraduate school (studied from inherited copies of previous tests, held in Word libraries with paid or privileged access rights).  I only used Word twice, when the instructor directed us to do so in both cases. I made an A in both classes.  But getting into grad school competing with an army of students who had cheated, was not fair to the lesser plurality of us who did not cheat.  This type of cheating is NOT serendipitously creative, it is systematic, inflative and corrupt.

75 to 98% of College Students have Cheated (

Many Wall Street darling ventures, and I have worked with several financiers in their founding, were less the outcome of superb business acumen, and more the credit given on the surface for a deal that was fixed for success from the very beginning. Coordinated by brokerage houses who held influence across the market verticals which could ensure the play’s dominance.  This comes at the cost of putting legitimate competition out of business and causing inflation by overcompensating individuals who really offered no economic value add in their contribution.  Cheating can be had in a football game, with 90% certainty, simply by the subtle statistical variations of when to throw and not-throw a penalty flag.  Cheating in a culture of absolute control, is actively more brazen and fearless.  If your team is the most penalized team in its football league every year for 37 straight years, well forget about their doing anything. Start questioning the system which resulted in such an outlier statistic – because the Fix is In.  Cheating by those who hold absolute power, such as in the case of SSkeptics claiming to represent science, will be developed on a very pronounced and deep scale.

Cheating Damages the Innocent and Enriches the Unjustified

From the use of old instructor tests or “word” in undergraduate studies, to the set-up deals quietly fixed between large brokerage houses and strategy consulting firms to ensure a business venture success, to sporting events which are ‘influenced’ by understanding the critical subtle nature of seemingly small events,  cheating is cheating.  Cheaters know they are riding a fixed game, and they keep quiet about it.

SSkepticism is Cheating

The rules gaming and enormous set of resources employed by SSkepticism (See The Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation) constitute Alternative Integrity; a substitute for actually doing the science and the hard work.  SSkeptics rely upon the Fix; a game indiscernible to the uninitiate, and employed to squelch subjects they wish to preclude from both scientific research and serious regard by the public at large.  The key to cheating, is that a critical percentage or less of the population, or less than Michael Shermer’s dismissible margin, should be able to actually spot the cheating. This allows plausible deniability to act in lieu of the scientific method.  As long as only a minority are suffering or dying, as long as we can publicly vilify those who dissent, as long as we can craft political campaigns to promote ignorance on a disfavored subject; further declare it a ‘pseudoscience’ after enough one-liner recitation and chest pounding by ‘experts’ – then our job is done.  The Fix is In.