The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Meta-Ethical Praxis of Science

Ethical skepticism is a form of meta-ethical philosophy which serves specific benevolent/knowledge goals. The ethics of science (a fortiori of skepticism as well) relate therefore primarily to the study of meta-ethics – and have little to do with morality or virtue. They focus on specific standards of praxis within the scientific community at large.

There exist three domain-forms of ethics. The first is normative ethics, the domain of appearances and correctness from a social perspective.

Normative Ethics – objective practices of morality and social codes of conduct (virtue, religious, moral, identity, personal conduct, etc.)

However, since one of the entire purposes of this blog is to decry pretense, false virtue, concealed religion and identity warfare (the abuse of ethics), we choose to focus instead on more professionally applicable contexts of ethics. More specifically, those of meta-ethics and praxis of science and skepticism:

Meta-Ethics – the study of the disciplines and philosophical bases behind professional standards of practice (skepticism, objectivity, consequentialism, deontology)

Applied Ethics (Praxis) – the decision theory behind professional standards of practice or social codes of conduct (law, procedure, codes of conduct, standards of practice) 1

While I am an upstanding and conscientious person in my private and professional life, one should not infer from the term ‘ethical skepticism’ a personal boast of morality (normative ethics), as those who are ignorant of graduate level philosophy are prone to accuse. Rather one should comprehend ethical skepticism as an intellectual and practical allegiance to an actual long held standard of science. After all, this is what ‘ethics’ means, the decision theory behind adherence to standing professional standards of practice (meta and applied ethics or praxis ethics). Ethical skepticism therefore, is a meta-ethical philosophy which serves specific benevolent/knowledge goals and results in specific modifications to some of our applied ethics (pseudo-skepticism, institutional propaganda and cultivated ignorance). Especially applied ethics which have been in error.

The context of the moniker I use, ‘The Ethical Skeptic’ or the general practitioner descriptive in the form ‘ethical skeptic’, are set in the impersonal; as in the case of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for instance. The context of ethics employed in this blog is deontological in as far as the adherence to standards of protocol, such as the real and complete scientific method, are regarded as both sufficient and necessary to direct our knowledge development actions. An idempotent neutral practice, characterized by an aversion to tampering with observations and data in favor of one’s ontology. Yet, still consequentialist from the perspective that the outcomes of value and clarity manifest as the signature handiwork of those who practice such ethics. In my profession and research skepticism is the substrate of science, and I feel it is abused when applied in lieu of science by agenda-schooled journalists, stage magicians, propaganda bloggers, psychologists and party/social activists.

One can make the serious contention that skepticism is itself, the philosophical deliberation of the meta-ethics of science. However, skepticism must be watched and held accountable too if it errs in consequentialist outcome, attempts to manipulate the outcomes of science itself, embargoes disliked topics or begins to step in and act in lieu of science. Hence the need for ethical skepticism – to watch the watchers.

There exists a contrast of relative movement between where the skeptic movement was 40 years ago, and where it resides now – versus the relative change in practice inside of the so-called pseudosciences during that same timeframe. It is skepticism which has had to be taught how to behave over the last 40 years, and not the pseudosciences. More people believe in a litany of pseudoscience than ever have before. I believe this be be precisely because of the mistaught version of skepticism which was hatched in the 60’s and 70’s.

Skeptics have had to be taught how to behave over the last 20 years in particular.
As a result of their malpractices so-called fringe ideas, both valid and invalid, have grown dramatically in subscribership.
If such such a fringe subject bears validity, then of course its cynics were always in error.
If the fringe subject is invalid, its ensuing popularity too is the fault of the pseudo skeptic – and for the same reasons.

Fake moon landing and flat earth proponents have learned to employ the very same methods which
have been taught by fake skepticism in the targeting of disliked ideas over the last 60 years.
The chickens of failed philosophy have come home to roost.
And the blame for this resides squarely with our floundering skeptics.

These practices are not simply unethical because of the negative consequentialist outcomes in terms of subscribership to fringe topics like fake moon landing and flat Earth theories, but as well – from the history that it has indeed been skeptics who have proved to require the most re-education in this process of deliberation, and ironically not the ‘credulous’. Finally, the specific practices which have resulted in this are detailed and cataloged by The Ethical Skeptic. Skeptics have failed us both from ontological and consequentialist perspectives. What follows is the reason for all this. Fake virtue does not work. Club quality does not work. Normative ethics can serve to provide a clever disguise for agency of malice and oppression.

Exploitation of Ethics Reveals the Necessity of Meta-Ethics

This principle of a policing club such as social skepticism introduces several problems identified by ethical skepticism regarding prima facia virtue and normative ethics:

Virtue Signalling

/philosophy : pseudoscience : normative ethics/ : the ironic principle entailed in the social observation that, prima facia ethics or normative ethics, virtue, religious precepts, morality, victimhood, identity warfare, personal conduct codes, etc. can, and often do serve as a cover for unethical agency masquerading under such pretenses. An action performed in accordance with socially correct pressure, or inside a visible boundary of political correctness, which is performed by a person wishing to show that they are on the good side in a political argument. Symbolic virtuous acts or positions adopted solely to build political power or exempt one from being accused of racism, bigotry, misogyny, greed or any of the canned talking attack points currently being fad utilized by the political left.

Exoentropy of Normatives

/philosophy : ethics : meta-ethics/ : Moreover, systemic dynamics can serve to impart unethical consequentialist outcomes which arrive as a result solely and wholly from individual efforts to maintain normatives of propriety or the appearance of such propriety; especially when coupled with the gaming and exploitation potential therein. This is also known as exoentropy, wherein a decrease in entropy of a subsystem leads further to an even greater entropic contribution to its surroundings or surrounding systems – resulting in an overall entropy or loss to the whole. An example of this can be found in the observation known as Goodhart’s Law and Goodhart’s Law of Skepticism.

Goodhart’s Law – when a specific measure becomes the sole or primary target, it ceases to be a good measure.

Goodhart’s Law of Skepticism – when skepticism itself becomes the goal, it ceases to be skepticism.

Qualitas Clava Error

/philosophy : fallacy : demarcation of skepticism and pseudo-skepticism/ : club quality error. The presumption on the part of role-playing or celebrity-power-seeking social skeptics that their club or its power, is important in ensuring the quality of science and scientific understanding on the part of the broader population. The presumption that external club popularity and authority, lock step club allegiance and presumptive stacks of probable knowledge will serve to produce valid or quality outcomes inside scientific, rational or critical thought processes. The pretense of encouraging skepticism, while at the same time promoting conclusions. Such thought fails in light of time proven quality improvement practices.

This problem of a single standard of skepticism (Science Based Medicine, The Skeptic’s Dictionary, CSICOP, Skeptical Inquirer, etc.), becoming in itself the goal – or in a single measure (p-value) acting now in lieu of science elicits the central issue with regard to scientific ethics today. And in my estimation therefore, the central issue regarding skepticism as well. They have simply replaced the old-boys’ networks with a new club – however a club which is much more prone to witch hunting. One example of such single measure chicanery is outlined inside a very popular Aeon Essay on Science from 2016, by Siddhartha and Edwards.

Since the Second World War, scientific output as measured by cited work has doubled every nine years. How much of the growth in this knowledge industry is, in essence, illusory and a natural consequence of Goodhart’s law? It is a real question.

The increased reliance on quantitative metrics might create inequities and outcomes worse than the systems they replaced. Specifically, if rewards are disproportionally given to individuals manipulating the metrics, well-known problems of the old subjective paradigms (eg, old-boys’ networks) appear simple and solvable. Most scientists think that the damage owing to metrics is already apparent. In fact, 71 per cent of researchers believe that it is possible to ‘game’ or ‘cheat’ their way into better evaluations at their institutions.

~ Science is Broken, Siddhartha Roy, environmental engineer and PhD candidate at Virginia Tech and Marc A Edwards, Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. 2

The ethics of science (a fortiori of skepticism as well) relate therefore primarily to the study of meta-ethics – and have little to do with single indicator morality or virtue. Surface measures can be gamed by forces pretending to be or manipulate science. ‘Doubt’, ‘critical thinking’, ‘focus on the data’ – can all serve as virtue costumes which agency adorns to play the role. Moreover, even truly moral and virtuous players can indeed serve to produce highly unethical outcomes, so prima facia virtue is unreliable as a predictor for ethical outcome. 3 Meta-ethics relates to the study of decision theory and how it impacts the overall quality of science inside a hyper-growth institutionalized vertical. Accordingly, the ethics of science are defined by premier ethics philosophers, biochemist Adil Shamoo, PhD and bioethicist David Resnik, PhD as such: 4

a.  Disciplined standards of conduct
b.  Discipline of study of standards of conduct
c.  Decision science incorporating standards of conduct
d.  Resulting state of character which undertakes such disciplined decisions.

Below are several standards of scientific ethics, developed in part from leading discipline materials on the ethics of science, with my own experience inside the subject incorporated therein. These ethical norms of science are re-developed from the following resources: 5 6

Paul Humphreys, The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Science; Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2016; pp. 255-9
Resnik, David B., The Ethics of Science: An Introduction (Philosophical Issues in Science), New York: Routledge, 1998

It is the purpose of the PhD program, and the examination by review board, dissertation committee and advisor, to ensure that the PhD candidate grasps and has developed the skill in applying the following principles TO SELF FIRST and not others, before they are allowed to adorn the moniker of scientist. Skepticism has mistakenly taught the less mature among us, to only examine others under cherry picked versions of these principles.

   The Meta-Ethical Praxis of Science (and Skepticism)

Integrity – responsibility with regard to both the soundness and the critical implications of one’s scientific research. Understand what constitutes data versus information versus intelligence and its probative potential versus its eventual reliability (not simply current). Understand the differing implications of various types of inference and what to do with an outcome which may not be well accepted by the community at large.

Openness – transparency of process undertaken, sources employed, assumptions made and models utilized, along with the sharing of data, results, methods and materials with other researchers – and yes, even laymen and curious stakeholders.

Diligence – maintaining good records of data, experimental protocols, and other research documentation. Take appropriate steps to recognize and mitigate potential bias and error. Subject your own work to critical scrutiny and do not overstate the significance of your results. Disclose information sufficient to allow the critical review of your work.

Freedom – support freedom of inquiry in the laboratory, research environment and in the field. Do not obfuscate scientific arguments or data, nor prohibit scientific or layman researchers from engaging in investigation and debate.

Due Credit – identify and allocate credit for prior art, investigative and analytical work, where such credit is due.

Respect for Intellectual Property and Prior Art – do not plagiarize nor steal intellectual property. Respect data sources, copyrights and patents.

Discretion – maintain the confidentiality of materials and data sources which are entrusted under such constraints or in any case where doubt exists as to such necessity. Maintain anonymity (such as in peer review, personal data or subject identity) unless identity is specifically warranted (publication) or requested.

Stewardship – take care with data, resources, test subjects, results, databases, samples, equipment, supplies, and physical research or anthropological/paleontological sites.

Development and Competence – maintain and enhance your competence inside your discipline of study. Increase awareness of the research field and impacted stakeholders. Take appropriate steps to deal with incompetence, or premature conclusiveness inside your discipline of study. Take appropriate steps to identify and hold accountable, those who fail in their burdens of service inside the public trust.

Serves Inside the Public Trust – it is necessary that science not be viewed as an activity in lieu of governance or any form of governance proxy, and must exclusively exercise its work inside the public trust.

Respect for Stakeholders – treat collaborators, data collection specialists, student and interns, and other peer and colleagues with respect. Treat impacted stakeholders with tolerance and the respect due those who will bear the burden of your outcomes. Do not discriminate against colleagues nor exploit them or their work efforts.

Respect for Humanity/Suffering – respect the rights, welfare and dignity of human or animal impacted stakeholders, research subjects, and protect them from harm or exploitation (except where exclusively proven to be unavoidable). Communicate risk in advance, in a clear and objective fashion – allowing human stakeholders to opt out, unless final proof (not simply consensus) is determined as to their necessity to comply.

Social Responsibility – prioritize research which is likely to benefit society or reduce suffering. Avoid causing harm to animals, the economy, a nation, humans or the environment. Science and scientists should never engage in activity to bypass/usurp the governance of a nation in a desire for application of their goals.  Engage in extracurricular activities which serve to benefit society.

The Human Right to Know – humans bear the right to knowledge about their origins or concerning any threat to their safety, well being or livelihood. Public access to study artifacts serving to illuminate mankind’s social, morphological and genetic history should not be denied based upon property conventions of any haplogroup, culture, owner, propriety, government, nation, intelligence group or institution. Knowledge is a basic human right; and in particular, it is a basic human right to access freely the knowledge of where mankind came from and the pathway which brought us here as a species.

Legality – comply with international, national and local laws. Comply with regulations and institutional policies – unless they compel you to violate the above ethics.

These are the standards by which an ethical skeptic regards their science. Praxis, not virtue.

epoché vanguards gnosis

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October 25, 2018 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , | Leave a comment

Contrasting Deontological Intelligence with Cultivated Ignorance

A deontologist prefers a state of ‘unknown’ over choice of a highly probable stacked provisional knowledge or abductive reason, because of the more informative deontology of declaring a precise answer to be unknown, over ‘probably known’ inside a context of low intelligence and unevaluated risk. According to Wittgenstein, the formulation of elemental intelligence is the critical first step of science – which steers our methods away from the pitfalls of having to employ ‘skeptics’ to defend answers derived from stacks of highly probable knowledge – which bear a high risk of ultimately turning out to be wrong – a state to which we are blinded by the processes we chose to undertake and the clowns we hire to defend its answers.

Data and Deontology: A Revolution in the Making

fallacy dataAnother revolution is underway in the development of data structures employed by economic entities (corporations, funds, banks, trade partners and economies, etc.). Database normalization is the process of organizing the columns (attributes), rows (records) and tables (relations) of a relational database, along with the disciplining of the parsed data (answers) in order to reduce data redundancy and make data integrity more robust inside a high transaction environment (IT departments for banks, finance departments, consumer goods traders, brokerages, etc). First Order Logic normalization was employed since the 1970’s in both hierarchical and then further relational data base structures into the 80’s and 90’s. Third Order Logic, or ‘third normal form’ databases have performed as the standard for relational structures thereafter. Query languages such as SQL have traditionally been able to access answers from such third normalized structures in intuitive if not rules based lookup protocols such as single access protocols or intuitive query by example (QBE) user interfaces. Odds are, if you have used Microsoft’s Access or the user friendly dbms Airtable, then you already have had exposure to a query by example user interface. The companies I have owned/managed have thrived off the flexible and crucial role of the relational database in managing our customers, products, transactions, money and cash flows, along with other business information and intelligence (information and intelligence are two distinctly different things).

If all this sounds like gobbledygook, my apologies. It sounds like gobbledygook to me as well, and I have owned and managed corporations executing this type of information technology solution set for a portion of my three decades of work. My job as CEO or similar, was to translate the technical language of my senior IT Techs and System Engineers, and express it such a way as to allow client CEO’s to understand the transformative advantages of such technologies for their businesses. Normalization is akin to a very efficient set of file drawers – a method of disciplining how files are indexed, sorted, labeled, held and accessed in such as fashion as to allow the file drawer manager the ability to answer any and every question thrown at them, in as expedient a fashion as is possible. In addition, such discipline affords the file drawer manager the ability to quickly assess the level of integrity inside his or her stored data. This is a very satisfying situation to the mind of those crazy individuals who manage to keep their desks in tightly aligned and neat order.

But all this is changing. A new gunslinger is in town. Query Oriented Normalization (QON) is replacing the old relational normalization structure (or more specifically 3rd normal form databases), as well as the even older hierarchical database structures of data still in use in some of the older, larger institutions of science and technology. Before we address what a QON intelligence structure is, lets take a step back and examine exactly what deontology means:

Deontology

/philosophy : science : knowledge development and integrity : ethics/ : an approach to the ethics of knowledge development that focuses on the rightness or wrongness of actions themselves, as opposed to the attractive or unattractive nature of the consequences of those actions (Consequentialism) or to the character, credentials and habits of the actor (Virtue Ethics). In science, the process of valuing the scientific method over any of its particular conclusions or the people/institutions claiming them.

A deontologist seeks to reduce the unnecessary complexity of a process of questioning and the associated answers or lack thereof. Then further by conformance to a set of accepted practices, induce or deduce answers to specific questions which collectively serve to reduce the overall level of ignorance (a priori doubt, belief and stacked provisional knowledge) featured inside a given topic. Principally this process results in what is called an epistemology. A deontologist prefers a state of ‘unknown’ over even a highly probable stacked set of provisional knowledge, because of the preferential deontological ethics of declaring a precise answer to be unknown, over ‘probably known’ inside a context of low intelligence and unevaluated risk. This because when the deontologist surveys the horizon of what is truly unknown, he is able then to reduce process and focus on the correct next question under the scientific method.

Now – let’s examine the three forms of database management approach in the context of deontological ethics and the development of knowledge.  Ideally, a structure of knowledge (intelligence) comprises five interlinking elements (nodes and spans):¹

  1.  A precise question       – – –     (‘elementary proposition’ as Wittgenstein calls it) node Q(x)
  2.  Its answer                      – – –     (‘atomic’ fact as Wittgenstein calls it) node A(x)
  3.  A logical association to predicate answers                – – –    (‘certain relation’ as Wittgenstein calls it) spanning tree
  4.  A linkage to a fortiori questions                                  – – –    (‘features’ as Wittgenstein calls them) spanning tree
  5.  A logical phylogeny introducing a posteriori questions             – – –    (‘successor’ as Wittgenstein calls it) spanning tree.¹

In the past, both hierarchical and relational data have presumed that only answers (elements 2. and 4. above) exist, and further that they exist only in the form of object data (data repositories bearing no question which frames their context of employment) – often independent of question, and even less associated with predicate answers and a posteriori questions. You have often heard scientists remark “we answered one question only to have 6 others pop up.” Oddly enough, this is the correct state of affairs inside a knowledge development structure as it relates to the process of science. This is exactly how it should be.

Data is a set of answers without context of question. Intelligence is a framework of questions which have either certain or null answers. The latter is more informative than the former.

4.2211  Even if the world is infinitely complex, so that every fact consists of an infinite number of atomic facts and every atomic fact is composed of an infinite number of objects, even then there must be objects and atomic facts.¹   ~Wittgenstein, Ludwig; Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

The Framing of Intelligence as Opposed to Diagnostic Data

An ethically answered intelligence question should result in 6 new ethical questions. An ethically answered reductive question should then reduce this set. What one typically fails to account for inside this despair inducing evaluation is the reduced set of risk produced along with the overall displacement of ignorance attained through the improvement of knowledge – two of the consequentialist objectives (expressed as value and clarity respectively in ethical skepticism) of such a process of reduction. Such is the nature of gnosis in our realm, and in absence of possessing all the answers already (a priori doubt, belief and stacked provisional knowledge) – is the very nature of deontological ethics.

Let’s examine this principle below in relation to the three database structure types we outlined above then. In the QON structure we observe all 5 interlinking elements (nodes and spans) present in true Wittgenstein based knowledge development. The QON structure not only catalogs answers in the form of data – but arranges a minimum spanning tree sequence of question as it relates to answer.

QON structures serve to establish intelligence, while the two classic datalogging structures to the left only serve to catalog data.

qon-concept-contrast

You will notice that several features serve to distinguish the QON structure from both the hierarchical and relational database structures (catalogs).

  1. The QON structure frames a record (answer) in terms of both a particular question and its particular (atomic) answer, in a constrained 1:1 relationship – the older structures only frame a repository of answers in a one-to-many relationship, with no linking to question.
  2. The QON structure first reduces the set of questions which are to be asked (reduction), as well as conducts a minimum spanning tree configuration of those questions, so that the path to answering them is pursued in the most expedient and logical framework achievable (if ascertainable).
  3. The QON structure is reflexive, i.e. allows multiple questions to evolve from one successfully answered question.
  4. The QON structure is recursive, i.e. allows multiple questions to solve or modify each other.
  5. The QON structure prefers a null answer, as opposed to a probable answer inference because:
    • a condition of ignorance of risk escalation with each successive probable answer
    • the pseudo-enhancing of answer probability solely on the basis that the answer serves to agree with the probability of other reflexive answers (see Unity of Knowledge Error)
    • the whipsaw amplification effect imbued by any error in successor relationships, or their communication or preference
    • null critical paths can be targeted for prioritization by researchers – rather than being ignored because they contain plug answers.
  6. The QON structure possesses no accommodation for a priori knowledge – a data catalog cannot indicate the difference.
  7. Successive queries inside a QON intelligence structure become more informative as each link/answer is resolved. A massing of facts in contrast is not necessarily more informative in relation to its size.

This (1 thru 7) is called a Q(x) to A(x) sequence of structured intelligence – and it is highly informative in its own essence (deconvolutional in neural network terms). So highly informative that it reduces the need to rely upon ‘Occam’s’ Razor mandates, likely guesses and unwise inferences on data. Even if you call all this nonsense ‘evidence’.

5.133  All inference takes place a priori.

5.1363  If from the fact that a proposition is obvious to us it does not follow that it is true, then obviousness is no justification for our belief in its truth.

5.14  If a proposition follows from another, then the latter says more than the former, the former less than the latter.¹

~Wittgenstein, Ludwig; Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

In short, the QON model of data development more closely reflects the reality which we face in the prosecution of science. A diagnostician in contrast, will typically only demand a measuring machine and a hierarchical or relational database to address his or her abductive scientific challenges. He or she will ‘doubt’ any catalog proposition which runs counter to their prescribed notions. This is pseudoscience as the majority of scientific endeavor does not function in this fashion.

Doubt, belief and provisional knowledge are all in reality the same exact thing. All a form of succumbing to the short cut temptation to establish ‘likely’ guesses on specific answers; guesses which conform with our other ‘likely’ (or preferred) guesses. This in lieu of doing the field work necessary in reducing the Q(x) to A(x) sequence of structured intelligence requisite under the scientific method.

The diagnostician (see Diagnostician’s Error) therefore thrives off provisional knowledge and doubt (which along with belief, comprise the fabric of the lie):

There are two forms of ‘doubt’

Methodical Doubt – doubt employed as a skulptur mechanism, to slice away disliked observations until one is left with the data set they favored before coming to an argument. The first is the questionable method of denying that something exists or is true simply because it defies a certain a priori stacked provisional knowledge. This is nothing but a belief expressed in the negative, packaged in such a fashion as to exploit the knowledge that claims to denial are afforded immediate acceptance over claims to the affirmative. This is a religious game of manipulating the process of knowledge development into a whipsaw effect supporting a given conclusion set.

Deontological Doubt (epoché) – if however one defines ‘doubt’ – as the refusal to assign an answer (no matter how probable) for a specific question – in absence of assessing question sequence, risk and dependency (reduction), preferring instead the value of leaving the question unanswered (null) over a state of being ‘sorta answered inside a mutually reinforcing set of sorta answereds’ (provisional knowledge) – then this is the superior nature of deontological ethics.

Most fake skeptics define ‘doubt’ as the former and not the latter – and often fail to understand the difference.

The Whipsaw Effect of Probable Stacked Knowledge and Perception

5.5262 The truth or falsehood of every proposition alters something in the general structure of the world. ~Wittgenstein, Ludwig; Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Now all of this is not to contend that the realm of information technology is ready to tackle the challenge of datalogging the entire catalog of current knowledge and next appropriate scientific question. The purpose of this contrast in data structures is to elucidate the superior nature of deontological data structures to those which serve probable elements of knowledge. Why they are superior, and why the raw materials of a priori doubt, belief and stacks of provisional knowledge serve only the tradecraft of the lie. Science is developed along the lines of the QON ethic of intelligence development. Science is the process of asking and answering the right questions at the right time, and converting those binary relationships into usable minimum spanning tree pathways to knowledge.

In short, under a deontological context, two knowns and four nulls inside a Q(x) to A(x) intelligence structure – is considered more informative and superior to 6 probables in a normal structure of data.

canonization-rate-versus-neg-publicCarl Bergstrom of the University of Washington and Kevin Gross of North Carolina State University and their team of researchers, recently published a paper entitled ‘Publication bias and the canonization of false facts‘.² Nothing elicits the whipsaw effect of tampering with the processes of intelligence crafting, by means of provisional knowledge, more than the expose elicited inside this paper. The graphic to the right is extracted from the publication for reporting purposes only. It depicts the volatile effect which suppressing publication of negative outcome studies has upon consensus and canonization of scientific ideas. An important principle to observe here (and indeed a contention made by Gross-Bergstrom et. al.) is that the tightening of p-value measures is not a panacea in mitigation of canonizing false facts by means of false sequential method. Despite our precision of measure and tolerance, there exists a point at which, our suppression of negative outcome studies only serves to whip our consensus as a body scientific into unrealistic ranges of conclusivity. What is shown here of importance is that – the structure of intelligence afforded by inclusion of negative studies far outweighs the impact of precision increases of any particular answer contained in a positive-study-only publication approach.

In science, Q(x) to A(x) QON intelligence structures and deontological discipline are vastly more important than just making more likely p-value guesses which support our other likely guesses.

But this error in the form of publishing bias is not the only pitfall which can be encountered in mishandled science. What the deontological intelligence philosopher would note is that a series of mistakes and missteps can serve to impact or amplify this effect before negative and positive outcome publication biases are even introduced. All of them involve premature questions, and a complete ignorance of the intelligence surrounding a subject, in favor of the ‘data’ involved in the subject. Specifically they are (white numbered on the chart below as well):

  1. Questions may be asked in the wrong order – and serve to mislead – when assumed answered by a probable answer.
  2. Questions may be framed in the wrong context and seek to answer too many things at once – a condition which can be masked by a probable answer.
  3. Answers may be developed for the wrong question – and serve to confuse.
  4. a fortiori and a posteriori relationships may be assumed as a result of a probable answer being issued.
  5. Risk has not been evaluated in relationship to stacking of successive probable answers. Risk multiplied by the impacted a fortiori and a posteriori linkages.

Why a QON Driven Scientific Method Based Upon Intelligence and Not Simply Curiosity/Prejudice – Will Change Everything

time-is-coming-for-intelligenceThis is why a null answer is preferable over a probable answer inside a structure of intelligence. Below we see an depiction wherein – tampering with probabilities and dependencies in an intelligence structure (technically a deconvolutional Restricted Boltzmann Machine progression) can serve to produce dramatically differing outcomes of conclusion from that of a more classic Wittgenstein deontological reduction/deduction. Notice that all the atomic answers in the stacked provisional knowledge were the most probable answers (abductive reason) available inside the QON sequence chosen blindly (sans intelligence). But the conslusions were wrong. Today we non-skeptically rest upon foundations of knowledge in many arenas, developed from the method of stacked provisional knowledge depicted below. We fail to acknowledge the questions we have mishandled or skipped, and the incumbent risk we have introduced to the process, by not appropriately using intelligence as the formulative part of the scientific method – and rather ‘asking a question’ as the first step in the scientific method.

query-2

beware-data-versus-questionExacerbating this is the specter of publication. Assume that the above deontology reflects the reality on a critical social issue such as food contamination or the discovery of a new species. The abysmal depiction above becomes even more dire when one introduces the impact of publication bias into this process. Not only is the conclusion set wrong, but moreover we endure the danger of publication bias further then skewing the perceptions of science, and finally – per the conclusions of the Bergstrom-Gross study – canonize a completely incorrect scientific consensus, fully unable to overturn it from that point on – because no successive questions remain. This is the sixth vulnerability in terms of mistakes and missteps inside the scientific method, followed by the seventh vulnerability, the role of social skepticism.

6.  Publication and Acceptance of specific answers can serve to whipsaw the consensus conclusions or perceptions thereof, of science.

7.  Introduce false skepticism, people so energized through the heady role of ‘representing science’ – that critical questions which normally should be introduced to challenge the nature of stacked provisional knowledge – can never be asked. Opponents are framed under Frank’s Law as ‘anti-_________’ and the provisional knowledge achieves the status of a fervently protected religion all on its own.

Praedicate Evidentia

/philosophy : argument : organic untruth/ : any of several forms of exaggeration or avoidance in qualifying a lack of evidence, logical calculus or soundness inside an argument.

Praedicate Evidentia – hyperbole in extrapolating or overestimating the gravitas of evidence supporting a specific claim, when only one examination of merit has been conducted, insufficient hypothesis reduction has been performed on the topic, a plurality of data exists but few questions have been asked, few dissenting or negative studies have been published, or few or no such studies have indeed been conducted at all.

Praedicate Evidentia Modus Ponens – any form of argument which claims a proposition consequent ‘Q’, which also features a lack of qualifying modus ponens, ‘If P then’ premise in its expression – rather, implying ‘If P then’ as its qualifying antecedent. This as a means of surreptitiously avoiding a lack of soundness or lack of logical calculus inside that argument; and moreover, enforcing only its conclusion ‘Q’ instead. A ‘There is not evidence for…’ claim made inside a condition of little study or full absence of any study whatsoever.

This is called in fake skepticism: ‘the evidence’. No question has really been answered in a QON reduction sequence – but we have studies, we do have studies. We therefore, are the science. A perch of power which is now necessary in defending against those who know that foundational questions have been ignored. Who needs intelligence when you have the ‘evidence’?

This is the origin of social skepticism. It is the process of cultivating ignorance.

epoché vanguards gnosis


¹  Wittgenstein, Ludwig; Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus; London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd.; New York: Harcourt, Brace & Company, Inc., 1922.

²  Gross, K., Bergstrom, Carl T., et. al.; Publication bias and the canonization of false facts; Cornell University Library; arXiv:1609.00494 [physics.soc-ph]; Sept 5, 2016.

September 10, 2016 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda | , , , , | Leave a comment

Nurturing the New Mind: The Disruptive Nature of Ethics

Everyone lies. Even so, it is the legitimate role of the New Mind to not simply detect lies, but moreover to dethrone those entities which pretend to the role of God. The Ethical Skeptic does not know what a god even is; nor does he possess all knowledge and wisdom. However, he can easily spot a monkey with a gas can. Even and especially if that gas can serves to intimidate via means of institution, socialized rationality or specious claims to science, evidence or truth. Inside this awareness, several telltale character traits, life signatures, differentiate the poser elitist from someone who can be trusted. This is his threshing floor – upon which he exercises the disruptive nature of ethics.

monkey with a gas canTo a degree, ethical skepticism can be viewed as a method of exercising a New Mind. It involves a keen survey of the landscape of animal, primate and human behavior, along with an understanding of how these roles, tactics and strategies of both survival and inhabitance, have played into our success as a species. It also involves (as does true skepticism) a keen understanding of the pitfalls of each strategy and how such pitfalls might manifest in our lives inside the societies in which we dwell. Everything of merit possesses a relevant range of application, outside of the bounds of which, even the best strategy can devolve into a practice oriented towards power; producing deception and suffering. Remember, that to a sentient intelligence species, deception-based ignorance and suffering are the same thing – one is simply the expression of the other. Lacking of knowledge is not a sin. The withholding of knowledge and denial of the right to thrive is a sin. This is a key tenet of ethical skepticism. It is not so much bunk we are fighting, as bunk will eventually falsify itself in a free information environment, rather cultivated ignorance. The ethical skeptic gets this, the small mind, no matter how rational, does not.

The Knowledge of God and Not-God

Let’s take a step back and examine the myth outlaid in the Torah, a myth which has for right or wrong, ruled much of our foundational understanding of good and evil as a western superculture. A condensed version of manuscripts taken from an older Levantine religion (I suspect from which the Sumerian, Akkadian, Hittite lineage spawned) now included in what we call The Bible. In the renamed condensed later manuscript now called Genesis, we see in verses 3: 22 – 24 (NASB):

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the Tree of Life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

Now I have found manifest in my years working with nations and corporations all over the globe, that man possesses a serious dearth in ability to distinguish good from evil, nor even cozen a coherent definition of each thereof. What man understands is ‘proper’ and ‘improper’. These are simply popular constructs relating to socialized rationality. Hence the persistence of malicious religions, governments and corporations – entities which thrive on ‘rationality’ but do not serve its goals necessarily; rather ultimately their own. Were we to recognize them in the context of true good and evil, possibly we could work to mitigate their deleterious effects. But we cannot even recognize such effects, even if we did possess a knowledge of good and evil at the outset. No, we are their prey – seriously falling under the contention that we must have eaten from the Tree of Lack of Knowledge of Good and Evil, were there such a mythical flora indeed. The bottom line is that the Bible is wrong, we do not know what good and evil is. We know harm, proper and improper. That is all. Perhaps our fall after all, simply resides in our presuming of skill at good and evil discernment in the first place.

Just think to yourself, what if your family dog one day licked an electrical socket and suddenly obtained the mental clarity to ascertain your true nature and celestial position as a human being? What if in a bought of tragic rift, your beloved pet, the furry creature who used to greet you at the door with such abandon, excitement and love each day after work, became knowledgeable about just who and what you were? What if he understood that you did not really kill and prepare the food you so faithfully gave him? What if he understood that you routinely lie to your parents in order to placate them? What if he understood that you had to betray a friend and take full credit for a paper that was partly her idea, in order to make the next step in your career? What if he understood that you destroyed a friend and former lover, in order to chance a relationship with someone more attractive – and it all collapsed in a heap of angst and broken hearts? What if he knew that you habitually tolerated or promulgated lies between 10-200 times every single day – along with the rest of humanity?¹ And even lived in a state of denial of even doing so, lying even to yourself? But never mind this, what if your faithful dog – suddenly possessed even the slightest understanding of who and what you are? He would hold then the wisdom of the Knowledge of God and Not-God. He might even bite you and leave.

He would be wise to you, and no longer serve in the faithful role in which you both previously existed. Bad dog…

Everyone lies. Even so, it is the legitimate role of the New Mind to not simply detect lies, but moreover to dethrone those entities which pretend to the role of God. The Ethical Skeptic does not know what a god even is; nor does he possess all knowledge and wisdom. However, he can easily spot a monkey with a gas can. Even and especially if that gas can serves to intimidate via means of institution, socialized rationality or specious claims to science, evidence or truth. Inside this awareness, several telltale character traits, life signatures differentiate the poser from someone who can be trusted. This is his threshing floor.

The ethical skeptic knows that it is often those who adhere to the most strict appearances of honesty – who can produce the most corrupt manifestations of ignorance and suffering. They can be known by hints derived from their motivations.

Standing Up to The Monkey with the Gas Can

Ethics are therefore disruptive by this very principle alone; and in an evolutionary context actually, eruptive. And in as much as this comforting metaphor of the family dog can serve to exhibit the crucial relationship between knowledge and control, even so we as thinking and discriminating beings can fortunately now examine the playing field inside which we reside. Our task is to become more than simply the smart but formerly obedient dog.  In so far as Pamela Meyer has outlined in her work “Liespotting,” the ability to spot lies in other people;¹ even moreso, the task at hand for us the ethical skeptics, is understanding the conditions when someone is pretending to the role of God in our lives. And trust me, it is not just mainstream religion which is pretending to this role. Primates seek power, pleasure and entitlement by any means they can – and uber-correctness, fake humility and social rationality can serve as great cover for such foibles.

First however, let’s examine the transitional role which primates have played in the evolution of consciousness and conscience. The stacked hierarchy of tactic and strategy inside the reality of the need to survive or thrive within this physical realm in which we find ourselves. A New Mind may perceive itself as an unwilling participant inside the grand play in which it holds a role. And whether self-deception, illusion or none of the above, it is of no matter. The reality is that we survey this landscape nonetheless.

Perhaps two examples from the natural world, the first from the Jane Goodall Institute and the second from the work of animal psychologist Penny Patterson of The Gorilla Foundation, can suffice to elicit this graphic below. (As a note, I would ignore the abysmally incompetent, paltry and biased writeups in Wikipedia on both these matters as the authors of those entries were merely doing amateurish hackjobs, and not true research expose on each topic – so the entries are useless as information other than nominal facts and fake skeptic viewpoints on the matter):

[One Chimpanzee named Mike (1938 to 1975) began a strategy of dominance through employment of a gas can.] One day as Mike was batting a gasoline can around, the loud thuds and irritating banging noises it produced resulted in a few of his fellow chimpanzees running quickly away from the strange object and the noise it produced. Mike understood this to mean that he had found a means to intimidate his fellow chimpanzees. Mike began to practice his new brand of display with two cans bouncing off trees and earth as he went running madly down the path with hair standing erect, shoulders pushed back, and face molded into a fiercely determined look. Chimpanzees cringed in fear as they heard his noisy approach and saw him running at them. They scattered off the path and out of his way.

Large high-ranking males fled up the tree trunks when Mike began his descent down the forest path slapping, kicking, and smacking three cans in front of him! The other chimpanzees had never seen or heard anything like it. It was as if the worst thunderstorm had erupted and Mike was directing it toward them. They shrieked and tried desperately to get away from him and the terrible rattling and banging noise the cans made as they flew down the hill in their direction. Not wanting to fight with the unknown, the males of Mike’s community acquiesced. Mike became the first alpha male ever to employ his brain rather than his brawn to govern his community. One year after Mike began his unusual display, he attained the position of alpha male.²

Successively then, let us regard a tale of Koko the western lowland gorilla, the primate who has single-pawed overturned our understanding of the primate mind.

Like most people, Koko has good behaviors and bad behaviors. Like most people, she takes credit for the good behaviors and blames the bad ones on someone else. The cat [All Ball] came in handy on one particularly destructive day. When no one was around, Koko managed to rip a sink out of the wall in her habitat. When the humans returned, they asked Koko who ripped out the sink.

Koko signed, “The cat did it.”³

What this indicates is then, the death of the idea of glorified but fallen-sinful humanity, and the introduction of the idea that our vulnerabilities, our proclivities for both illicit and legitimate gain – are simply expressions of natural strategies to survive and thrive. They are natural, albeit higher DNA based manifestations of expression. We were simply blinded to this by entities pretending to the role of God in our past. Bluffing into a form of control, or what might reside inside the blue levels of the primate pyramid below. Below, I have constructed a graphic depicting the less-than-dramatic schism between humanity and the natural realm, along with the challenge resident in the mind of the ethical skeptic as to how we progress from this problem of philosophy (Social Skepticism), and onto the next step. What I call, The New Mind.

The Heirarchy of Natural Competitiveness

Traits of the New Mind

sci literacyThe decision as to whether control, coaching and conscience are sufficient to the task of fostering The New Mind, or whether or not to apply the draconian measures of culling and conversion, wholly resides inside another camp altogether. So for purposes of this blog, let’s assume that coaching and conscience are the tactics which provide for success in crafting of The New Mind. In that context, for the ethical skeptic, the matter is not simply one of determining liars and lies. Everyone lies. This is the reality of the natural realm inside which we reside. Pretending to be able to counter all the proclivities of the natural realm is a matter of magic, self aggrandizement and boast. Our task is NOT to detect every single lie which is uttered, and swell our egos in a virtual cocoon of correctness. Such a state stands itself, manifest as a sort of lie of its own crafting.  The key for the ethical skeptic is to detect when lies become institutionalized, when they begin to manifest suffering on a small or even grander scale.

The question on the mind of the ethical skeptic is “How do we get to the New Mind?” And more importantly, how do I take control of my intent and begin to serve a New Mind in myself? This is the essence of becoming an ethical skeptic. To become a skeptic of one’s self, and others – in so far as spotting the character traits of one who is – or is not – residing inside this New Mind:

  • Tenacious
  • Possessing gumption
  • Incessantly curious
  • Nurturing
  • Transparent but not full disclosure
  • Compassionate
  • Does not seek tenure nor guaranteed power and comfort
  • Willing to re-invest/risk
  • Altruistic
  • The ability to know when to not be altruistic
  • Possesses a “Value for Vision” and a “Vision for Value”
  • Hard working but not seeking entitlement
  • Balanced
  • Disruptive, firm but fair in the face of god proxies
  • Does not instinctively seek to insult
  • Examines self first
  • Does not wear fake humility as a costume
  • Does not wear social conformance as a costume

humble costumeThese are the hallmarks of the person who can be trusted, and not whether they have ever made a mistake – nor pondered pseudoscience. A person who has overcome themselves, and further then realizes that the goal of life is not simply to be happy, judgemental or controlling – and especially to not pull off primate tricks in order to amass such pleasure. Rather, possesses the quiet focus to be steadfast, faithful, compassionate, hungry and firm in the face of elite thirst for power. In a world of primate tricks, corruption, collusion and control – such traits are innately disruptive.

Epoché Vanguards Gnosis.

epoché vanguards gnosis


¹  Meyer, Pamela; “Liespotting: Proven Techniques to Detect Deception”; July 2010; Pamela Meyer.

²  ChimpaZoo; The Goodall Institute, Chapter 21: “Mike the Alpha Male”; http://www.chimpanzoo.org/african_notecards/chapter_21.html.

³  “A Conversation with Koko”; Nature (1999) The Gorilla Institute; http://www.koko.org/dvds – as reported through Natural News; Mike Budrant; Jan 19, 2013; http://www.naturalnews.com/038743_primates_liars_gorilla.html.

August 31, 2016 Posted by | Institutional Mandates, What is Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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