The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Ethical Skepticism – Part 6 – Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Social Skeptics bear the habit of hiding what it is they are seeking to promote. They accomplish this misrepresentation through terminological equivocation and the employment of club signature intimidation words. It behooves the Ethical Skeptic to understand what a person means when they utter certain words, and ensure that the words are not being implied as club weapons to enforce specious religious doctrines. It behooves the Ethical Skeptic to understand their own employment of such words, and exercise the use of them in a context of ethical clarity; to disarm the social inference that such words mean more, than they really do. To err in either regard is the source of all fanaticism.

Say What You Mean

Social Skeptics erroneously influence their acolytes through misleading them as to the meaning behind the terms they employ, and the nature of the underlying philosophy entailed. They believe that their use of the terms evolution, atheism and science affords them immediate scientific gravitas and a perch of correctness. When a person slings around the terms evolution, atheism and science, for me this is not tantamount to an immediate free pass into the graces of trustworthiness. I regularly encourage the Social Skeptic vulnerable among us to understand what it is indeed that they mean, by the terms they employ. Clarity is one of the consequentialist goals of Ethical Skepticism. If you represent critical thinking, science and rationality, then one would be hypocritical to not employ complex terms in a frame of meaningful reference. Otherwise the terms are simply used as a weapon of pretense and intimidation. I use the words evolution, atheism and science – therefore anything I say is scientifically correct, and I have an entire cadre of bullies available to back me up if I so choose. This is not science, it is a hypo epistemological process of fraud.

As an Ethical Skeptic, if I am to continue inside a discourse of life and meaning with such a person, I need to know if they really understand what they are saying when they spout off the words so frequently uttered by their ‘mentors.’ I really need to know what they mean by

Evolution – do they mean speciated diversity of life through the generational culling of environmentally stimulated allele changes?

Or …do they mean that life sprang up on Earth through abiogenesis and random primordial ooze, therefore we are simply a one way genetic expression machine which has deterministically resulted in the fluke illusion of consciousness?  The former fact is science, the latter argument is a highly separate religion – often protected by and conflated inside the club weapon word ‘evolution.’

Atheism – do they mean a personal ethic of not commenting or concluding around this undefinable construct called ‘god?’

Or …do they mean that they hate (and habitually apologize around this) anything to do with a certain religion, its adherents and any idea that a magical bearded entity poofed the universe into existence in 6 days, 6000 years ago? Do they really mean that they choose to venerate Material Monism, and an existential lack of any innate purpose to this biosphere Earth, or any other similar events which occur in our Universe? Really, because I am not sure how one derives such a conclusion. I did not possess their enthalpy laden spaceship, that much psychic clairvoyance, nor that much time, in order to determine such an extraordinary claim myself. The former choice is an ethical action, the latter argument is a highly separate religion called Nihilism – often protected by and conflated inside the club weapon word ‘atheism.’

Science – do they mean both the body of accepted knowledge and the method by which we objectively qualify and build that knowledge?

Or …do they mean screaming about a selective set of physical measures which target confirmation and methodically avoid falsification of a specific religious understanding of the world around us? Do they mean an ontology protected through a non acknowledged Omega Hypothesis (the hypothesis which is developed to end all argument) masquerading as the ‘null hypothesis,’ through an inverse negation fallacious approach – and therefore socially enforced as truth? The former definition is science, the latter argument is a highly separate religious hypoepistemology – often protected by and conflated inside the club weapon word ‘science.’

Science is also about clarity, value, disciplined thinking and trustworthiness. When you hear me use the words above, I mean the former and not the latter in each case. If I attempted to imply the orange ontologies in the chart below, as scientific truth – I could not look at myself in the mirror in the morning – from such a display of dishonesty. Passing off one’s ontology as a science, constitutes not only pseudoscience, but is a Wittgenstein Error (Epistemological) as well. Be wary of those who can do such without conscience. Be very wary of those who can not only look at themselves in the mirror after promoting such fraud, but aspire to celebrity in the process as well. The incorrect use of these words abrogates your claim to represent scientific thinking. Say what you mean – and you will gain the respect of those who truly understand philosophy and science.

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say - Copy

Mean What You Say

The Lie of AllegianceIf you join a movement, organization or philosophical movement – do so because you really understand and really mean and believe those tenets which are promoted by that movement. Don’t do so because you desire to appear as smart and scientific, or need some kind of self affirmation and acceptance, pep rallies or the rush of shaming others whom you regard as beneath you intellectually or socially. Such dispositions render one vulnerable to being manipulated by celebrity and malevolent influences. Otherwise, you are living what is called a Lie of Allegiance. If you, quietly over a couple beers, will soften your stance and reflect on a whole series of doubts you carry – but must hold in abeyance – then you are living a Lie of Allegiance. People in churches do this to make their families happy. People in Social Skepticism do this, and worse, in order to gain acceptance to that club. This personal foible is anathema to the Ethical Skeptic.

Fanaticist’s Error

/philosophy : self understanding : cognitive dissonance : error/ : mistaking one’s fanaticism or being ‘hardcore’ as positively indicative of the level of understanding and commitment one possesses inside a philosophy or adopted belief set. The reality is that being fanatical or hardcore indicates more one’s dissonance over not fully believing, nor fully understanding the nature of the belief tenets to which they have lent fealty.

A fanaticist is different from a fanatic. A fanatic simply loves a particular subject or brand. A fanaticist on the other hand employs their outward extremism as a cover to hide an unacknowledged and suppressed inner cognitive dissonance.

A useful tool in Social Skepticism, the Lie of Allegiance, keeps the faithful unified and aligned in playing select activist roles.  A Lie of Allegiance is often promoted through one-liners, weapon words and circularly quoted propaganda, initially deployed by celebrity SSkeptics, and enforced by the faithful, looking for purpose power and reward. It relies upon the ignorance of its participants, leveraged through the application of pep rallies and the pummeling of effigies of evil opponents. This is why the acolytes and trolls of Social Skepticism often focus on politics and persons, and not science itself. They either do not fully understand, nor do they fully believe, the philosophy to which they have lent their fealty.

This inner dissonance, prompts what we observe as fanaticism.

The Lie of Allegiance

1. The origin of fanaticism. The core argument which binds together a group on one side in a false dilemma

2.  A core philosophy (such as Nihilism or Material Monism) which is masked by a differing but similar and more attractive cover philosophy (such as atheism) because of the cover philosophy’s generally more acceptable nature.

3.  A principle which is not fully regarded as truth by many or most of the members of a club of adherents, rather is adopted as a preemptive compromise in order to gain acceptance in that club. A principle employed only as the default, Omega Hypothesis, or battle cry agenda around which to combat those on the other side of the false dilemma argument.  The measure of adherence to the Lie of Allegiance principle is more a reflection of disdain towards those of antithetical positions, than it is an expression of rational conclusion on the part of the adherent.

Corollaries

i.  Many of the proponents in a Lie of Allegiance based organization, do not fully understand their Lie of Allegiance, nor perceive its contrast with the cover philosophy to which they in reality adhere.

Example:  Most self proclaimed atheists cannot coherently frame the difference between atheism, skepticism, agnosticism, naturalism, nihilism, ignosticism, monism, materialism, tolerance and apatheism.

ii.  Many members involved in a Lie of Allegiance do not in reality care about the specifics of the teaching under which they profess fealty.  Specific psychologies involving the Ten Pillars are at play inside the binding power of the Lie of Allegiance.

Example:  Many self proclaimed atheists wear the badge as a result of an emotional state, rather than a discriminating choice of conscience.  This renders them susceptible to Nihilist’s, who use rally cries and the pummeling of christian issues in effigy, as a way to enlist the emotional allegiance of those who have poorly rationalized their ontology.

Social Skeptics bear the habit of hiding what it is they are seeking to promote. They accomplish this misrepresentation through terminological equivocation and the employment of club signature weapon words. It behooves the Ethical Skeptic to understand what a person means when they utter certain words, and ensure that the words are not being implied as club weapons to enforce specious religious doctrines. It behooves the Ethical Skeptic to understand their own employment of such words, and exercise the use of them in a context of ethical clarity; to disarm the social inference that such words mean more, than they really do.

I look at myself in the mirror each morning, and I like and respect the guy I see there.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Popper Demarcation Practice and Malpractice

Many people presume the Popper Demarcation Principle to distinguish the boundary between science and pseudoscience. While the Popper Demarcation indeed involves this aspect, the two ideas are not congruent. The actual delineation hinges on the role of predictive and falsifying testing practiced by those entities claiming the methods of science, or science as the body of knowledge. He contrasts this claimant group with those who make no such claim to science at all. False Skepticism to Popper, was also pseudoscience, because it claims to be conducting science – but does not employ rules of evidence or falsification. This includes the practice where his definitions are abused in order to falsely condemn disliked subjects.
If your version of skepticism purports that it ’employs the tools of science to make the most probable conclusion’ on behalf of science, or calls an entire subject a ‘pseudoscience,’ …then beware.

Popper Demarcation GuidelinesKarl Popper proposed the demarcation principle, as a means to approach the problem of how we differentiate science from non-science in principle. This categorization of that which resides outside of science is a non-pejorative filtering of those mechanisms which can be relied upon to product the body of knowledge. To put it another way, the demarcation problem consists in crafting principles, constraints, reasons, or conditions to regard something like epigenetics under “science” and place a discipline (falsified, yet still pretending to represent science) such as phrenology as a pseudoscience. The two critical aspects of the Popper Demarcation Principle involve the separate issues regarded below: The issue of the Role of Predictive Study, and the claim or lack thereof, of doing or representing science. In absence of framing Popper Demarcation inside these two clarifying factors, much confusion and false condemnation can be spun by fake skeptics, through Popper Demarcation Malpractice.

The Ambidextrous Nature of Predictive Studies

Predictive study is treated differently by Popper, as distinguished by its role of employment in the methods of science as opposed to the conclusions of science (see graphic to the right). Popper, like any scientist, fully understood the critical role of predictive studies in the scientific method, as well as the critical role of prediction making ability inside a successful theory. He was not discounting these valuable components/steps out of the process of science.  What Popper was framing, is the circumstance where predictive study alone is employed to substantiate conclusions as accepted or peer-ready science. This type of science is the chief method of hypoepistemology practices by those wishing to push a social agenda. In this role, predictive studies can be employed as pseudoscience. The Ethical Skeptic must discern the circumstance where an epistemology is based only on scant statistics, studies of studies, or predictive tests – and has not fully challenged its theory with ascertainable falsification testing or past falsification achievements (Promotification or Popper Error).

However, for those who confuse or conflate the methods of science with the body of scientific knowledge – the role of predictive study is sacrificed at the alter of agenda. In such approaches, employing equivocal terms or proxy equivocation in their articulation of the issue of predictability, every proposed claim about what distinguishes science from pseudoscience can be confused with a counter-example. Karl Popper postulated that falsifiability stands as the criterion which distinguishes science from pseudoscience. If any set of claims or theory can be shown true through the disciplines of falsification, it belongs to the domain of science. Many people wrongly presume this to mean that if any set of claims or theory is innately unfalsifiable, it belongs to the domain of pseudoscience. This delineation is incoherent as some un-testable scientific claims sets, such as M-theory or multi-verse interpretations are not considered pseudoscience.

If they were enforced based on predictive study only, as a finished body of knowledge, that would indeed be hypoepistemology pseudoscience. But in science as a method, M-theory or multi-verse predictive studies are indeed considered science.

The key opportunistic play here for Social Skeptics is that both, context dancing between science as a body of knowledge and science as a method, or the equivocation involved in merging the two ideas, produces incoherence and useful confusion. A method of condemning subjects by dancing between the two contexts of the Popperian term. A simple prima facia incoherence that Karl Popper, a seasoned scientist and philosopher surely would have, and did, recognize. Did the people who presume this equivocation, think Karl Popper to be a simpleton, more stupid than are they? The reality that escapes the philosophically dilettante is that he did indeed deal with this inconsistency. The Handbook of the Philosophy of Science expounds on this:

The phrases “demarcation of science” and “demarcation of science from pseudoscience” are often used interchangeably, and many authors seem to have regarded them as equal in meaning. In their view the task of drawing the outer boundaries of science is essentially the same as that of drawing the boundary between science and pseudoscience.

This picture is oversimplified. All non-science is not pseudoscience, and science has non-trivial borders to other non-scientific phenomena, such as metaphysics, religion, and various types of non-scientific systematized knowledge.¹

Claiming and Not Claiming to Do or Represent Science

science is moresoThere is a stark difference between those things which claim to be science, and those things which claim nothing of the sort. If my neighbor runs over and swears that he saw The Chupacabra running through his backyard, he is not claiming to do science, he is not practicing pseudoscience. If he goes to the city council and cites that there are hundreds of missing cats and dogs in the area, he is still not practicing pseudoscience. This set of activity simply constitutes observation and advocacy (or possibly fraud). This is a key understanding which differentiates the false skeptic from the real skeptic. It is when he makes the nonsense claim that he has done research, and by examining the poop of the supposed animal in a lab, now claims that what he saw in his backyard must be an interdimensional being, released by UFO’s, because its poop contained animal proteins not found on this Earth. That is when the person making such claims has indeed stepped into the bounds of pseudoscience. At no time is he ever a pseudo scientist simply because he made an observation of something called by fake skeptics ‘a pseudoscience.’ ¹ ²

Even if he becomes an advocate, and attempts to petition science to study the issue, he is not dabbling in pseudoscience. To kill this type of process through fake skepticism, is to kill the process of science; yes, even on a brazenly ridiculous topic like The Chupacabra. Presuming that one is doing science, by calling the gentleman a liar, or deluded, is in itself – a claim Ξ pseudoscience. Many fake and shallow skeptics fail to discern this important aspect of the Popper Demarcation principle.

Among things which are unfairly labeled as pseudoscience by ill intended fake skeptics, are:

  • Sponsorship of ideas for research
  • Subjects which are ignored through social epistemology or pressure
  • Positions which appear to oppose oligarch corporations
  • Political positions
  • Religious tenets
  • Citing of anomalous observations
  • Moral positions
  • Art, fiction, creative works
  • Advocacy for health observations and those who suffer
  • Anecdotal evidence which is ignored on a grand scale

By practicing Popper Demarcation Malpractice, Social Skeptics can manage the control of access to science, effectively screening out disliked topics, observations and ideas.

Popper Demarcation Malpractice

/philosophy : science : pseudoscience : malpractice/ : the dilettante presumption that if any set of claims or theory is innately non-falsifiable, it belongs to the domain of pseudoscience. Wrongly presuming a subject to be a pseudoscience, instead of false practices pretending to be science. Purposely or unskillfully conflating the methods of science with the body of scientific knowledge, employing amphibology or proxy equivocation in their articulation of the issue, wherein every proposed claim about what distinguishes science from pseudoscience can be confused with a counter-example. This renders the demarcation boundary of no utility, and reduces overall understanding.

Transactional Popper Demarcation Error – incorrectly citing a topic as being a pseudo science, when in fact its sponsors are seeking falsification based protocols to counter the antithetical premise to their case, or its sponsors are employing predictive studies being employed simply to establish plurality for sponsorship inside the scientific method.

Existential Popper Demarcation Error – citing something as a pseudoscience simply because one does not like the topic, or the topic has had pretend science performed in its name in the past.

The reality is that there exist three domains of idea development:  Science, Pseudoscience, Parascience/Non-science. Understanding these three domains and skillfully applying that understanding inside the discourse of ideas is the ethic of one who sincerely wants to know. It is the habit of one who practices Ethical Skepticism as opposed to the purposely smoke and mirrors, equivocation imbued, pretend science and idea assassinating fake version of skepticism.

Science (a method, a discipline and a body of knowledge)

The application of observation, thought, reason, testing, and peer input to arrive at conclusions which reliably can be added to the body of knowledge. That body of knowledge itself.

Particle Acceleration

Materials Fabrication

Epigenetics

Pseudoscience (a method and pretense only)

A process which claims to arrive at conclusions by means of science, or citing of elements it purports to exist in the body of scientific knowledge, where in fact neither adheres to nor originates from, actual methods of science.

Attempting to demonstrate free energy by sleight-of-hand battery switching and amperage measurements

Attempting to show one is located on the Earth’s equator by demonstrating differing water drain patterns both south and north of a fictitiously drawn line

Pseudo-Skepticism

Parascience

Thinking disciplines of benefit to mankind, which seek to improve the human condition, or solve perplexing issues, or even assist science in its overall efficacy, but do not necessarily make the claim of employing science in order to derive such ethics.

Advocacy

Observation

Science Fiction

Non-science

Disciplines of human endeavor which do not employ, nor claim to employ science in their execution. However may involve some science in their development – or turn into a discipline of science through diligent sponsorship.

Law

Religion

Public Speaking

An Example of Popper Demarcation Malpractice:

Sometimes the term “pseudoscience” is used in a wider sense in order to pejoratively filter out ideas considered by researching sponsors, advocates, legal activists, politicians and those making disturbing observations. The abuse of the term in this fashion, as constituting that which

(2′)  it is part of a non-scientific doctrine whose major proponents try to create the impression that it is scientific.

(2″)  is part of a doctrine whose major proponents try to create the impression that it represents the most reliable knowledge on its subject matter.²

This is false, because the practice which established that ‘proponents try to create the impression that it represents science’ fails the Popper Demarcation itself. So if we are applying Popper here, we cannot create postulates which violate the very principle we are seeking to construct. Declaring a subject, in absence of evidence proving such a claim, to be constituted solely by individuals who are pretending to be science – 1. claims to hold a body of knowledge, and 2. does so without a basis of true science to derive that knowledge. Therefore, such a claim is itself, pseudoscience, according to Popper.

The SSkeptics Dictionary for example (http://www.skepdic.com/pseudosc.html) incorrectly defines pseudoscience as

“A pseudoscience is set of ideas based on theories put forth as scientific when they are not scientific.”

This definition is an incoherent one-liner – Wittgenstein unsinnig: highly convoluted and implication laden professional-sounding babble, articulated so as to tender the appearance of being simple. It is incompatible with parsimony in this regard; and as well, ironically fails the Popper Demarcation of Science itself, because

  1. It conflates ideas into ‘theories’ by default in an effort to pejoratively filter them – a practice of pseudoscience. A theory implies a set of claims under science method, which ideas may not involve. A very similar equivocation to calling an observation a ‘claim.’ So you can then dismiss it as ‘failing science.’
  2. It is NOT ideas which are pseudo-scientific – rather
    1. those things purported to already exist in the body of knowledge, when indeed such is not the case, and
    2. those things purported to be based on methods which are scientific, but in reality are not.
  3. It regards a SUBJECT MATTER (theories) rather than a contention or process, as that which qualifies something as pseudoscience. This is errant and constitutes a logical fallacy – and to those who understand this – yet commit the offense so as to screen subjects from access to science, also constitutes a practice of fraud.
  4. It may or may not imply that proponents of the ‘ideas’ try to create the impression that they represent science or the most reliable knowledge on its subject matter. Again, such a claim cannot be made outside of research and scientific practice; constituting in its implied claim, defamation and pseudoscience.
  5. It makes a final contention that certain ideas are ‘not scientific’ based on a prescribed set of conclusions or the personal level of knowledge on the part of the observer. This is not how science nor skepticism work at all.

The grasp of this differentiation is a key litmus test distinguishing a false skeptic from a true skeptic. They claim to represent science to you in this misrepresentation sleight-of-hand. The shallow and inexperienced might buy this at face value, but an Ethical Skeptic will not.

It is nothing but Popper Demarcation Malpractice… scientific quackery.


¹  Mahner, Martin, 2007. “Demarcating Science from Non-Science”, pp 515-575 in Theo Kuipers (ed.) Handbook of the Philosophy of Science: General Philosophy of Science – Focal Issues, Amsterdam: Elsevier.

²  Hansson, Sven Ove, “Science and Pseudo-Science”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2015/entries/pseudo-science/>.

September 20, 2015 Posted by | Argument Fallacies | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How You Persuade Makes All the Difference

It’s not just what you say, but how you present your position. I believe that merit resides in adding to our Misrepresentation by Argument subset, in the Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation, a brief listing of persuasive tacks which can be abused to constitute crooked social reasoning, or ones which by their nature of construction, are innately crooked. When an entire social club aggregates together for the sole purpose of rhetorical persuasion by polemic, philippic and obdurate arguments, – it does not matter whether they are right or wrong. They are not even wrong.
Rhetoric: An opportunistic extreme commitment to an Answer. An Answer looking for a question. A question seeking a victim.

Poetry, The Only Valid Pathos

Three persuasion type domains - Copy (2) - CopyAristotle comments on the defining of the ethos of rhetoric,

“rhetoric is the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion.”¹

As such, while rhetoric is not a means of persuasion in itself, rather residing outside such a concept; moreover neither does it fit into our domains of logic, emotions and ethics. Rhetoric seeking instead, the means by which to best persuade, the best domain through which to enforce an answer. Plato contended that the antithetical approach to such a calculating assessment as embodied in Aristotle’s rhetoric is the pathos of poetry.² In poetry one neither observes nor adopts means of persuasion, choosing instead to first express an integral honest passion and emotion unfiltered by the calculating mind. In this way he saw the two persuasion pathways, rhetoric and poetry, as constituting opposites.² The honest expression of the passion which drives the search for scientific development is ethical, sincere and persuasive in its very essence. But the remaining elements of persuasion which stem from the heart which seeks other forms of emotion or passion, are not so pure in essence.

My personal preference for discovery and persuasion is an ethical dialectic. Devil’s Advocacy is sometimes a pretense laden and academic exercise when practiced outside its disciplined application. Poetry on the other hand, stimulates an elegant nexus of ethos and logos inside a dialectic. Through easing the heart of the participants by means other than flattery, poetry (the broad discipline of the best of philosophy) reassures both parties that the best of human nature, the value of knowledge and the supreme nature of love, are the intended outcomes in any discussion. Therefore, no conclusion will be unjustifiably driven home, and the right questions can be asked. This is the trustworthiness of Ethical Skepticism.

Poetry unifies the best elements of passion and ethics; wherein, outside a context of rhetoric, it prepares the heart and mind to enter the realm of reason – outfitted with honesty and integrity.  Ethical Skepticism.  Hence the definition of skepticism: a means of preparing the mind and data sets to perform the method of science.

Rhetoric is an opportunist, desperate for an avenue of entry through any means of persuasion – a form of extreme commitment to a conclusion which bears not the ethics and honesty of poetry. An answer seeking a question through which to justify itself. A question seeking further a victim (topic or person).

In contrast, Social Skeptics (and Religions in the chart above – as in reality the persuasion means IS the chief distinguishing litmus of a religion) are trained to avoid dialect at all costs. They are taught disdain and final authority (God or Science), so as to not allow the potential for a threatening subject to even be objectively discussed. They only know intellectual violence. When an entire social club aggregates together for the sole purpose of media persuasion by polemic, philippic and obdurate arguments, – it does not matter whether they are right or wrong. They are not even wrong. They are operating inside the worst of human behaviors. Fear, control, disdain, arrogance and mock-mindedness.

The pathways to value and clarity – the two consequentialist goals of Ethical Skepticism take particular routes through the field of persuasion techniques. The pathway of the Ethical Skeptic tends to err away from the arrogant persuasion approach of the polemic, philippic or obdurate – realizing that everyone claims their argument to stem from reason. Instead the Ethical Skeptic opts for the elegant combination of ethos with logos; the positivist blending of logic, dispassionate clarity and the ability to put one’s self inside another person’s shoes. The Ethical Skeptic does not always have to win an argument. Many times, inside a topic of pluralistic debate, there is not enough known indeed to even converge on the possible outcome of a winner. Instead he or she focuses on the value and clarity derived in the benefit from dialectically stating the perspective. Several times I have ‘lost’ arguments because I refused to drive a conclusion home. I put my ego in check and listened to the opponent’s contention, then stated my caution around such abject certainty. Nonetheless, in many of these situations I permanently impacted the thoughts and long term contemplation of those who participated. My goal in discourse is not to ‘win,’ or tender final conclusions about a topic. That is child’s folly. Be warned about ‘skeptics’ who seek the greatest probability, conclusive rationality or simplest explanation. They are gaming the rules in order to win. Rather the goal of The Ethical Skeptic is to change the basis from which we habitually think. To de-persuade as it pertains to the ideas which harm and squelch our wellbeing. To appeal for more study, more science; accrued verity in lieu of more ‘truth.’ To shift emotion from the passion of protecting and winning, and begin to stir a new mindset; a passion for disciplined wonder from which to develop further thought. In this regard, for the Ethical Skeptic many times, the wrong pathos can be the enemy to sound consequentialism. He opts instead for the poetry of life, love, the universe and the discovering mind. This is his pathos.

pathos – passion/emotion

ethos – ethics/character

logos – logic/reason

When Pathos Pangs Hunger for Victory!!!

skepsoc IISuch stands in high contrast to the pathway chosen by the Social Skeptic. Debate is the withered olive branch of Social Skepticism; its symbolic foray into logos, furtively foisted at the full cost of ethos. Debate is about as good as it gets with Social Skeptics. Their pathos is often hidden, politically and control motivated. This is called the krymméno akrasia, or hidden pathos of the Social Skeptic. The Social Skeptic sees his goals as correctness and victory. Persuasion is obtained by force, any means necessary to achieve dominance of thinking. The passion driven in both correctness and victory indicative of a high commitment to, and genesis inside the pathos of belief. The Social Skeptic has something to protect. Ego, power, identity, control, image, reputation, funding, club status, track record, perception, publications, politcal and religious dogma. But most of all, pathos indicates a protection of one’s self from fear. When one wins in such a way, it is not uncommon to have found, that at the end of the pathway of a continuous series of victorious battles, that one has ironically lost the war.

In this same way, Social Skeptics are losing the battle for the media, our collective conscience, and the hearts and minds of the American People.

They do not exhibit the character traits which instill trust. The ethos and logos of those who have earned wisdom. The calm poetry in the heart of one who outlasts through gentleness. The statistics on how everyday Americans regard controversial subjects such as healthcare, food and disease, pesticides/hormones, autoimmunity, oligarchy, politics, atheism, supplements, cryptids, and alternative forms of life continue to shift each year to the disfavor of the Social Skeptic. And each year, Social Skeptics become more and more shrill in their desperation to win the argument at all costs.

Pathos, in essence can be summed up in the Ten Pillars: the foundational motivations of those who choose emotion and the rule of self over the alternatives, as their basis for reason.

Pathos to Victory: The Ten Pillars of Social Skepticism – when arguments must be won at all costs

I.             Social Category and Non-Club Hatred
II.           Narcissism and Personal Power
III.          Promotion of Personal Religious Agenda
IV.          Emotional Psychological Damage/Anger
V.           Overcompensation for a Secret Doubt
VI.          Fear of the Unknown
VII.        Effortless Argument Addiction
VIII.       Magician’s Deception Rush
IX.         Need to Belittle Others
X.          Need to Belong/Fear of Club Perception

Poetry and Rhetoric - CopyIn general, there are three domains of persuasive tactics according to Aristotle, pathos, ethos and logos

A more difficult question for informal logic is the relationship between argument and persuasion. In his discussion, Hitchcock cites Aristotle’s account of persuasion in the Rhetoric. It distinguishes three aspects of persuasion: character, emotion, and argument (ethos, pathos, and logos).³

Poetry is employed to stir the emotion to seek out character (ethos) first, and then approach the data and logic with a clean heart. Those persuading arguments which begin inside pathos from motivations besides the ethic of knowing and improving the lot of mankind, bear the greatest likelihood of being arguments which constitute invalid forms of persuasion/reason. This renders the potential of a dramatic mistake in scientific judgement much higher than persuasion/reason which originates inside either logos or ethos first.  The Social Skeptic therefore, in an effort to conceal such passion as is wound up inside of non-poetic pathology, seeks to legitimize and practice magician’s sleight-of-hand – to distract attention from their concealed pathos. They focus instead on the tactics of social persuasion, methodical cynicism and the art of being right at all costs. This is the insincere application of the opposite. The misapplied rhetoric of the fallow heart.

The Persuasion Types

Rhetoric – a critique which focuses on an arguer’s ability, technique or capability to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. An answer looking for a question, looking for a victim. Persuasion and Locution crafted in such a fashion as to be the reverse of science. A method of fooling the educated and scientifically trained, into adopting shaky positions of consensus.

Angel Questions – a form of rhetoric or propaganda wherein easy lob questions are only offered to a person or organization who otherwise should be held to account. Prefabricated FAQ’s which fall in line with a prescripted set of propaganda or politically correct thinking. Questions which appear to come from a curious third party, however are scripted to hijack a discussion down an easy path of justifying the message of the person being questioned.

Persuasion stemming from pathos – arguments which stir from passion, allegiance, opposition or hatred which may or may not interfere with the objectivity of the participant.

Polemic – negative attempt to an affirm a specific understanding via attacks on a contrary position.

Apologetic – neutral, often scripted defense or vindication of a favored viewpoint as a defense against all forms of attack.

Criticism – negative attack on a specific position, often implying personal competence and/or surreptitiously promoting an antithetical position.

Philippic (Tirade) – a negative, condemning or dismissively neutral attack on a position via appeals to common sense, stupidity, rationality or specific set of assumptions.

Coercion – an argument which is decided through the power or control held by one side over the other, often in a disputation.

Obdurate – an argument which favors an intellectual or unaffected party seeking ego or power over an injured, at risk or highly involved party, often in a disputation.

Poetry – an argument which seeks first to sway the heart of the listener and soften resistance to a point or position before its presentation.

Persuasion stemming from ethos – arguments which stir from what ought to be, from a moral, enlightening, advancing, risk averse or harm minimization standpoint.

Social Gadfly – an argument which is made through an appeal to practices, risk, impacts, standards or morals as underpinning the validity of the argument.

Sophistry – an argument which is contended though a side’s claim to virtuous features characterizing their substantiation, approach or position.

Rhetoric – a critique which focuses on an arguer’s ability, technique or capability to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations.

Devil’s Advocate – neutral role play in which the favored position is probed for weakness and/or is refuted.

Permissive – an argument which is presented as neutral to falsely appearing to be in support of an idea, crafted in equivocal or ambiguous language, which can be also taken to support, permit, encourage or authorize antithetical conclusions.

Persuasion stemming from logos – arguments which employ the order of logic, reason or goal attainment in assembling a solution.

Dialectic – a positive and mutual reductive or deductive attempt to assemble a newly crafted common position.

Debate – neutral or negative bifurcated criticisms and defenses between two opposing viewpoints.

Disputation – a negative or neutral defense against an attack, in support of an attacked position or person.

Refutation – a negative or neutral criticism against an attack or position.

Rhetosophy – Rhetoric disguised as philosophy; wherein the arguer conceals his subject of contention and crafts the philosophy to appear as a stand alone ethic, independent of the point he is surreptitiously attempting to persuade.

Remember, it is not the number of people who hold something as true, which determines whether it is correct or incorrect. Rather it is the integrity through which the contention was vetted. In the end, the measure of pathos involved in a skeptic’s argument, is a measure of whether or not that person can be trusted to seek the truth with integrity. Are they passionately seeking in a wondrous universe; fascinated with each new discovery – the poetry? Or do they habitually seek to condemn new or challenging ideas or observations which should have not threatened them in the least – the obdurate. Do they seek the satisfaction of the new idea – the dialectic? Or do they feast only on the satisfaction of the win – the philippic.

Is their every pathos simply a bully displacement of the integral heart of poetry? Such are the telltale distinctions between those you can and cannot trust.


¹  “… rhetoric is a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical branch of politics …” Aristotle. Rhetoric. (trans. W. Rhys Roberts). I:4:1359.; Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.2.1,

²  Griswold, Charles L., “Plato on Rhetoric and Poetry”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2014/entries/plato-rhetoric/>.

³  Groarke, Leo, “Informal Logic”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2015 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2015/entries/logic-informal/>

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Deskeption | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chinese (Simplified)EnglishFrenchGermanHindiPortugueseRussianSpanish
%d bloggers like this: