The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Tower of Wrong: The Art of Professional Lying

James Joyce is credited with this wisdom, “A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” Indeed, I would choose rather to be informatively incorrect, over disinformatively or uselessly correct, any day. This contrast in type of ‘wrong’ illuminates the domain of Machiavellian ideas, The Tower of Wrong; ideas which are woven of fact, yet serve to constitute in the end only adornments of error.
Beyond the three proposition framings of Wittgenstein, there exist six mechanisms of social imposition and the football-like nature of how quasi-truth is handled, which serve as the linchpins inside professional lying. The Tower of Wrong depicts how partly correct, correct but useless or dis-informing evidence (Wittgenstein sinnlos) is to be clarified as distinct from deontological information – information reliable in being critically predictive or bearing falsification outcomes.

evidence-sculptingUnder a Popperian standard of scientific demarcation, if something is rendered moot through consilience of its opposing thesis, then it is not falsified necessarily, however we may select it to stand as either a null hypothesis or a provisionally accepted norm nonetheless – most philosophers grasp this.  Of key concern however inside such a process of knowledge development, is when the possibility exists that our resulting relegation of an opposing idea to the state of moot-ness (pseudoscience) might stand as simply a provisional assumption bearing a dangerous undetermined risk? In general, a provisional conclusion is regarded to possess informing ability if that provision then becomes critically predictive when posed inside its structure of consilience.  By ‘critically’ – I mean that the provisional assumption itself serves to produce the prediction, not that it simply resides as a feature inside a host of other predictive peer elements. Evolution is an example of one such reliable predictor. However, purely random allele mutation is not a critically reliable predictor inside evolutionary theory, despite evolution itself so being.

Thus I cannot simply declare falsification to be the sole threshing tool means by which one establishes knowledge/truth/accuracy/foundation philosophy. Given this playground of slack, just below the threshold of Popper falsification, it behooves the ethical skeptic to be wary of the ploys which can serve to deceive inside claims of ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’. It is not simply that our minds can deceive us into selecting for desired outcomes, this is a given. Moreover, our most risk-bearing vulnerability instead resides in the fact that stacks of unvetted, non-reliably predictive ‘evidence’ can provisionally stack (see The Warning Indicators of Stacked Provisional Knowledge) and serve to misinform and mislead us as to wrong or useless conclusions under a ‘scientific’ context as well. The following questions should be asked, when any proposition or claim to settled science has been issued as authority:

The Test of the Professional-Social Lie (Five Mechanisms)

1.  The (Wonka) Golden Ticket – Have we ever really tested the predictive strength of this idea standalone, or evaluated its antithetical ideas for falsification?

Einfach Mechanism – an explanation, theory or idea which resolves a contention under the scientific method solely by means of the strength of the idea itself. An idea which is not vetted by the rigor of falsification, predictive consilience nor mathematical derivation, rather is simply considered such a strong, or Occam’s Razor (sic) simple an idea that the issue is closed as finished science from its proposition and acceptance onward. An einfach mechanism may or may not be existentially true.

2.  Cheater’s Hypothesis – Does an argument proponent constantly insist on a ‘burden of proof’ upon any contrasting idea, a burden that they never attained for their argument in the first place? An answer they fallaciously imply is the scientific null hypothesis; ‘true’ until proved otherwise?

Imposterlösung Mechanism – the cheater’s answer. Employing the trick of pretending that an argument domain which does not bear coherency nor soundness – somehow (in violation of science and logic) falsely merits assignment of a ‘null hypothesis’. Moreover, then that null hypothesis must be assumed sans any real form or context of evidence, or Bayesian science cannot be accomplished. Finally then, that a null hypothesis is therefore regarded by the scientific community as ‘true’ until proved otherwise. A 1, 2, 3 trick of developing supposed scientifically accepted theory which in reality bears no real epistemological, logical, predicate structure nor scientific method basis whatsoever.

3.  Omega Hypothesis (HΩ) – Is the idea so important, that it now stands more important that the methods of science, or science itself. Does the idea leave a trail of dead competent professional bodies behind it?

Höchste Mechanism – when a position or practice, purported to be of scientific basis, is elevated to such importance that removing the rights of professionals and citizens to dissent, speak, organize or disagree (among other rights) is justified in order to protect the position or the practice inside society.

4.  Embargo Hypothesis (Hξ) – was the science terminated years ago, in the midst of large-impact questions of a critical nature which still remain unanswered? Is such research now considered ‘anti-science’ or ‘pseudoscience’?

Entscheiden Mechanism – the pseudoscientific or tyrannical approach of, when faced with epistemology which is heading in an undesired direction, artificially declaring under a condition of praedicate evidentia, the science as ‘settled’.

5.  Evidence Sculpting – has more evidence been culled from the field of consideration for this idea, than has been retained? Has the evidence been sculpted to fit the idea, rather than the converse?

Skulptur Mechanism – the pseudoscientific method of treating evidence as a work of sculpture. Methodical inverse negation techniques employed to dismiss data, block research, obfuscate science and constrain ideas such that what remains is the conclusion one sought in the first place. A common tactic of those who boast of all their thoughts being ‘evidence based’. The tendency to view a logical razor as a device which is employed to ‘slice off’ unwanted data (evidence sculpting tool), rather than as a cutting tool (pharmacist’s cutting and partitioning razor) which divides philosophically valid and relevant constructs from their converse.

Also, the instance common in media wherein so-called ‘fact-based’ media sites tell 100% truth about 50% the relevant story. This is the same as issuing 50% misinformation or disinformation.

6.  Lindy-Ignorance Vortex – do those who enforce or imply a conforming idea or view, seem to possess a deep emotional investment in ensuring that no broach of subject is allowed regarding any thoughts or research around an opposing idea or specific ideas or avenues of research they disfavor? Do they easily and habitually imply that their favored conclusions are the prevailing opinion of scientists? Is there an urgency to reach or sustain this conclusion by means of short-cut words like ‘evidence’ and ‘fact’? If such disfavored ideas are considered for research or are broached, then extreme disdain, social and media derision are called for?

Verdrängung Mechanism – the level of control and idea displacement achieved through skillful employment of the duality between pluralistic ignorance and the Lindy Effect. The longer a control-minded group can sustain an Omega Hypothesis perception by means of the tactics and power protocols of proactive pluralistic ignorance, the greater future acceptability and lifespan that idea will possess. As well, the harder it will to be dethrone as an accepted norm or perception as a ‘proved’ null hypothesis.

If the answer to any or all six of these questions is a very likely yes, it does not mean that the defended idea is necessarily invalid; rather that the methods of socially arriving at, accepting and enforcing it are invalid. These are the litmus tests of professional lying at play. Take notice that a ‘fact’ therefore does not serve to necessarily transfer or increase knowledge. Evidence is an amorphous hard to grasp principle which can be sculpted to fit an idea through the actions of a perfidious minded party. A principle which wise philosophers understand, but pseudo-skeptics do not.

dont-farm-tumbleweedsThe danger of such unethical practice sets inside of science are two-fold. Fist, at face value, incorrect ideas and tyrannical social science or public policy can be enforced as scientifically correct paradigms by means of these four mechanisms. But even more important,

even valid science can lose its public trust credibility when enforced by unethical means such as these four mechanisms.

One cannot simply run around conducting unethical social activity in the name of science, and justify it through one’s credentials being, or pretending to be scientific. The danger in discrediting valid science is simply too high – one is ‘farming tumbleweeds’, as the adage goes.  Man-made global climate change is an example of just such a situation, wherein unethical strong-arm and pre-emptive measures were used to enforce an academic idea before it was fully vetted by science (see Carl Sagan, The Cosmic Connection, 1972).  AGW turned out after the fact to have merit, but only after further studies occurred after the social chicanery, arrogance and derision had been well underway. We made enemies, rather than science. In this regard, AGW proponents, practicing these four mechanisms, turned out to be their own worst enemy – and every bit as damaging to the climate change advocacy message as are the AGW deniers today.

Which introduces now, this broader context of just what constitutes different states of being ‘wrong’. Wittgenstein identified a tri-fold disposition framework for propositions, which help the ethical skeptic work their way through this menagerie of ‘wrong’ and sort their way to the deontological goals of value and clarity. The ability to discern much of this, the critical set of nuance inside of Popperian theory of science demarcation and Wittgenstein delineation of meaninglessness, nonsense and uselessness, resides at the heart of what I call The Tower of Wrong.

Useless (sinnlos) Correctness Resides at the Heart of the Professional Lie

confused-deluded-and-the-skilled-liarSo we have established that the value of a proposition therefore relates to its nature in being critically informative or predictive. It cannot simply hide on the team of players composing a proposition or theory, it has to be THE star player when its time has come to stand at bat. What then do we do with Snoping; a condition wherein a proposition is factually correct, but because of the non-salient or useless nature of the chosen question or quickly ascertained ¡fact! surrounding it, only serves to dis-inform? The Tower of Wrong shows us how partly correct, correct but useless or dis-informing evidence (Wittgenstein sinnlos) is to be clarified as distinct from deontological information – information reliable in being critically predictive or bearing falsification outcomes.

Recently we finished a vitriolic presidential election, inside of which a particular accusation had been made from one of the candidates towards the other. Specifically, Hillary Clinton was accused of mishandling classified material at origin, by sending it through non-secure means of communication, and handling it in a non-secured environment and by means of non-secured premises and procedure.  The accusation pertained to a batch of several thousand emails which bore classified material and classified context, but were sent over personal computers and media services in violation of the National Security Act.

Clinton’s technically correct response to the allegations was issued as follows:

I have a lot of experience dealing with classified material, starting when I was on the Senate Armed Services Committee going into the four years as secretary of state,” she said. “Classified material has a header which says ‘top secret, secret, confidential.’ Nothing, and I will repeat this, and this is verified in the report by the Department of Justice, none of the emails sent or received by me had such a header.   ~Hillary Clinton ¹

Now let’s break this set of propositions down by their logical calculus under The Tower of Wrong deontological framing:

  • First sentence – true (red herring, appeal to authority)
  • Second sentence – true (serves to dis-inform – ingens vanitatum – see below)
  • Third sentence – true (ignoratio elenchi – a misdirection in argument around threatening ‘classified material at origin’ laws under national security.)

In other words,  what Ms. Clinton did here was authoritatively lie, through facts and argument misdirection.  How do I know? I was a director level Black Top Secret intelligence officer for years. I know how classified material is to be handled at origin. Ms. Clinton conveniently misdirected the argument to a context of administrative handling conditions, wherein she either originated classified material, or re-posted or discussed such material stripped of its Controlling Authority context and marking. Nice trick. Origin classified material NEVER has ‘top secret, secret, confidential’ markings. Those dispositions are only tendered later by the Controlling Authority.² However, classified material of such nature prior to disposition is handled in the same way as is all classified material – and any recitation or discussion of such materials retains the classification of the referenced material itself (recitation: Executive Order 13526 and National Security Act procedures for handling classified material at origin).² If what Ms. Clinton claimed about having ‘a lot of experience dealing with classified material [at] the Armed Services Committee’ was true, and I think it was; then Ms. Clinton knew this to be a misdirection. She lied by means of an ignoratio elenchi fallacy called ingens vanitatum. A key element inside The Tower of Wrong.

Ingens Vanitatum

/philosophy : argument : fallacy : ignoratio elenchi/ : knowing a great deal of irrelevance. Knowledge of every facet of a subject and all the latest information therein, which bears irony however in that this supervacuous set of knowledge stands as all that composes the science, or all that is possessed by the person making the claim to knowledge. A useless set of information which serves only to displace any relevance of the actual argument, principle or question entailed.

Ingens Vanitatum Argument – citing a great deal of irrelevance. A posing of ‘fact’ or ‘evidence’ framed inside an appeal to expertise, which is correct and relevant information at face value; however which serves to dis-inform as to the nature of the argument being vetted or the critical evidence or question being asked.

Hillary Clinton’s statement was a correct lie in other words. She lied with facts. The statement does not serve to inform, rather it serves to dis-inform us all. This is what is called an Organic Untruth. It is one of the tools in the utility belt of the skilled professional liar and stands as one of the stack of key elements inside The Tower of Wrong (more specifically the ’50 Shades of Correct’ below).  So without any further ado, let us expand on this towering set of conditions of incorrectness.  In the chart below, you will observe the three Wittgenstein Proposition Framings, in burgundy (bedeutungslos, unsinnig and sinnlos) – comprising the stack elements which constitute the journey from confusion, to delusion, to lying…

…highlighting the final breakthrough in the mind of the ethical skeptic: Value and Clarity. The critical deontological nature of relevant, salient and scientific critical path information, as they are enabled by knowledge and the state of being found incorrect (has value: see blue pyramid stacks below).

The Components of the Professional Lie

At the heart of the professional lie, resides the agenda they are seeking to protect, the Omega Hypothesis. This is the agenda, conclusion or theory – which has become more important to protect, than the integrity of science itself.

Omega Hypothesis (HΩ) – the argument which is foisted to end all argument, period. A conclusion which has become more important to protect, than the integrity of science itself. An invalid null hypothesis or a preferred idea inside a social epistemology. A hypothesis which is defined to end deliberation without due scientific rigor, alternative study consensus or is afforded unmerited protection or assignment as the null. The surreptitiously held and promoted idea or the hypothesis protected by an Inverse Negation Fallacy. Often one which is promoted as true by default, with the knowledge in mind that falsification will be very hard or next to impossible to achieve.

The Omega Hypothesis is enacted and supported through the following Tower of Wrong elements (Wittgenstein sinnlos) and the four Wittgenstein sinnlos Mechanisms. As a note: The definition I have crafted here for sinnlos, develops the concept into a more clear and complete fit in terms of today’s methods of misinformation – rather than solely its classic Wittgenstein framing as ‘senseless’, which overlaps too heavily inside English as opposed to German usage lexicons with his unsinnig ‘nonsense’ class of proposition. In addition I have taken the concept of sinnlos and applied it into the following four stack elements (Ambiguity, Organic Untruth, Inadequacy and Mechanism) which function to underpin a professional lie. The final elements are four mechanisms which are exercised by the most prolific, celebrity, power holding and habitual appeal-to-authority enactors of the professional lie.

Wittgenstein Epistemological Error (Proposition Framings) – the categorization of a proposition into meaninglessness, nonsense or uselessness based upon its underlying state or lacking of definition, structure, logical calculus or usefulness in addressing a logical critical path.

bedeutungslos – meaningless. A proposition or question which resides upon a lack of definition, or which contains no meaning in and of its self.

unsinnig – nonsense. A proposition of compromised coherency. Feynman ‘not even wrong.’

sinnlos – useless. A contention which does not follow from the evidence, is correct at face value but disinformative or is otherwise useless.

Ambiguity

Equivocation – the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning, sense, or use in professional context by glossing over which meaning is intended in the instance of usage, in order to mis-define, inappropriately include or exclude data in an argument.

Proxy Equivocation – the forcing of a new or disliked concept or term, into the definition of an older context, concept or term, in order to avoid allowing discrete attention to be provided to the new concept or term. Often practiced through calling the new concept/term, falsely, a neologism or brush off with the statement ‘that idea has already been addressed.’

Ambiguity – the construction or delivery of a message in such words or fashion as to allow for several reasonable interpretations of the context, object, subject, relationship, material or backing of the intended message.

Slack Exploitation – a form of equivocation or rhetoric wherein an arguer employs a term which at face value appears to constrain the discussion or position contended to a specific definition or domain. However, a purposely chosen word or domain has been employed which allows for several different forms/domains of interpretation of the contention on the part of the arguer. Often this allows the arguer to petition the listener to infer a more acceptable version of his contention, when in fact he is asserting what he knows to be a less acceptable form of it.

Uti Dolo (trick question) – a question which is formed for the primary purpose of misleading a person into selecting (through their inference and/or questioner’s implication) the incorrect answer or answer not preferred inside a slack exploited play of ambiguity, interpretation, sequence, context or meaning. The strong version being where the wrong context is inferred by means of deceptive question delivery; the weak version being where the question is posed inside a slack domain where it can be interpreted legitimately in each of two different ways – each producing a differing answer.

Amphibology – a situation where a sentence may be interpreted in more than one way due to ambiguous sentence structure. An amphibology is permissible, but not preferable, only if all of its various interpretations are simultaneously and organically true.

Context Dancing – the twisting of the context inside which a quotation or idea has been expressed such that it appears to support a separate argument and inappropriately promote a desired specific outcome.

Wittgenstein Error – manipulation of definitions, or the lack thereof.

Descriptive – the inability to discuss, observe or measure a proposition or contention, because of a language limitation, which has limited discourse and not in reality science’s domain of observability.

Contextual – employment of words in such as fashion as to craft rhetoric, in the form of persuasive or semantic abuse, by means of shift in word or concept definition by emphasis, modifier, employment or context.

Accent Drift – a specific type of ambiguity that arises when the meaning or level of hyperbole of a sentence is changed by placing an unusual prosodic stress (emphasis on a word), or when, in a written passage, it’s left unclear which word the emphasis was supposed to fall on.²

Subject Ambiguity – the construction or delivery of a message in such words or fashion as to allow for several reasonable interpretations of person, place or thing to which the message applies.

Organic Untruth

A constructive form of argument which uses concealed ambiguity at the core of its foundational structure. A statement which is true at face value, but was not true or was of unknown or compromised verity during the timeframe, original basis or domain of context under discussion. Ignoratio elenchi is a misdirection in argument, whereas an ingens vanitatum argument is a method of lying through this same misdrection or misleading set of ‘true facts’.

Ingens Vanitatum Argument – citing a great deal of expert irrelevance. A posing of ‘fact’ or ‘evidence’ framed inside an appeal to expertise, which is correct and relevant information at face value; however which serves to dis-inform as to the nature of the argument being vetted or the critical evidence or question being asked.

Lob & Slam Ploy – a version of good cop/bad cop wherein a virtual partnership exists between well known fake news ‘satire’ news outlets, and so called ‘fact checkers’ media patrols. The fake news is generated and posed to the web as satire, subsequently stripped of its context by a third party, and then inserted into social media as true – whereupon it is virally circulated. Subsequently, ‘fact checking’ agencies are then alerted to this set up (the Lob), and then slam home the idea of the fake nature of the ‘news’, as well as the lack of credibility and gullible nature of those who passed it around through social media. This in itself is a fake ploy, a form a Fake-Hoaxing and Hoax Baiting practiced by social agenda forces seeking to artificially enhance the credibility of a news ‘fact checker’.

Praedicate Evidentia – 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.

Inadequacy

tree-of-knowledge-obfuscation-smThe entire core of fallacy, crooked thinking and misrepresentation of Data, Method, Science, Argument and Assumption which is reflected inside the Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation as it pertains to a subject. This is paired as it pertains to persons with misrepresentation of Opponents, Semantics, Groups, Self and Authorities.

Any condition where a conclusion is chosen to be drawn from, or the science is regarded as settled under, a less than satisfactory representation, possession or understanding of the available evidence or under a condition where the available evidence does not satisfactorily provide for a basis of understanding, null hypothesis, Ockham’s Razor plurality, or alternative formulation (as in arguing M Theory).

Mechanism (of Social Lying)

Einfach Mechanism – an explanation, theory or idea which resolves a contention under the scientific method solely by means of the strength of the idea itself. An idea which is not vetted by the rigor of falsification, predictive consilience nor mathematical derivation, rather is simply considered such a strong or Occam’s Razor (sic) simple an idea that the issue is closed as finished science from its proposition and acceptance onward. An einfach mechanism may or may not be existentially true.

Imposterlösung Mechanism – the cheater’s answer. Employing the trick of pretending that an argument domain which does not bear coherency nor soundness – somehow (in violation of science and logic) falsely merits assignment of a ‘null hypothesis’. Moreover, then that null hypothesis must be assumed sans any real form or context of evidence, or Bayesian science cannot be accomplished. Finally then, that a null hypothesis is therefore regarded by the scientific community as ‘true’ until proved otherwise. A 1, 2, 3 trick of developing supposed scientifically accepted theory which in reality bears no real epistemological, logical, predicate structure nor scientific method basis whatsoever.

Höchste Mechanism – when a position or practice, purported to be of scientific basis, is elevated to such importance that removing the rights of professionals and citizens to dissent, speak, organize or disagree (among other rights) is justified in order to protect the position or the practice inside society.

Entscheiden Mechanism – the pseudoscientific or tyrannical approach of, when faced with epistemology which is heading in an undesired direction, artificially declaring under a condition of praedicate evidentia, the science as ‘settled’.

Skulptur Mechanism – the pseudoscientific method of treating evidence as a work of sculpture. Methodical inverse negation techniques employed to dismiss data, block research, obfuscate science and constrain ideas such that what remains is the conclusion one sought in the first place. A common tactic of those who boast of all their thoughts being ‘evidence based’. The tendency to view a logical razor as a device which is employed to ‘slice off’ unwanted data (evidence sculpting tool), rather than as a cutting tool (pharmacist’s cutting and partitioning razor) which divides philosophically valid and relevant constructs from their converse.

Verdrängung Mechanism – the level of control and idea displacement achieved through skillful employment of the duality between pluralistic ignorance and the Lindy Effect. The longer a control-minded group can sustain an Omega Hypothesis perception by means of the tactics and power protocols of proactive pluralistic ignorance, the greater future acceptability and lifespan that idea will possess. As well, the harder it will to be dethrone as an accepted norm or perception as a ‘proved’ null hypothesis.

This wiggle room between what is considered to be ‘correct’ and what is indeed true-informing, resides at the heart of the 50 Shades of Correct. As you make your journey past the confused, deluded and lying members of our society, this mental framework is useful in vetting those who are interested in pushing agendas, from those who are keenly and openly interested in the truth.

Epoché Vanguards Gnosis.

TES Signature


¹  Politifact, “Hillary Clinton says none of her emails had classification headers,” Lauren Carroll, ; http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/sep/07/hillary-clinton/clinton-says-none-her-emails-were-labeled-top-secr/

²  Executive Order 13526- Classified National Security Information/National Security Act

January 11, 2017 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates | , , , , | 1 Comment

Essential Eyewitness Testimony is Highly Reliable Despite What SSkeptics Claim

Social Skeptics regularly celebrate 1980’s psychology studies which they inexpertly believe afford them the luxury of dismissing eyewitness testimony as an unreliable form of evidence.  Through the equivocation of regarding all observations as equal under the moniker of ‘eyewitness testimony’ SSkeptics can manipulate the process of science observation to their liking. But not all types of eyewitness testimony are created equal; nor are they regarded as such in the cited studies. There exists a difference between circumstantial and non-critical descriptive observations, and those observations of immediate schematic essence. Through a one-liner laden misunderstanding of the oft touted Loftus study, bad science and amateur law, SSkeptics actively seek to block entire domains of observational data from being afforded entry into the body of science. 
The dismissal of data a priori for any reason of conjecture is pseudoscience. Moreover, not all types of eyewitness testimony are easily dismissible, despite the facade of authority spun through context-less snippets phrase-lifted from cool sounding psychology studies. The dismissal of Essential Eyewitness Testimony through psychological conjecture constitutes scientific fraud in the manipulation of observations which otherwise could establish analytical bases or necessity under the scientific method.

skeptics are not acceptable expert witnessesThere are several types of evidence regarded as material to an issue of fact, varying in reliability depending on the source, medium, mode and form. The Laws of Evidence govern the use of testimony, which is typically delivered in the form of direct evidence exhibits (e.g., biological, DNA, fingerprint, or other physical media), documentary material (e.g., account activity, phone calls, travel, physical media), or other demonstrative evidence, which is material to an issue of fact.  An additional rule of evidence pertains generally to Scots law,  the rule of corroboration used in criminal law, which requires that two or more pieces of evidence, stand as first basis to establish an essential fact.  Contrary to what amateurs contend, Scots law thresholds do not constitute ‘proof’ of an issue of fact; however such an attainment stands as senior evidence, until stronger evidence supplants the Scots’ basis.

One of the material evidences regarded as valid under Scots law, is Eyewitness Testimony.  In general, assembled from the Federal Rules of Evidence (Federal Rules of Evidence, 2014; Federal Evidence Review, Arlington, VA; VII. Rules Regarding Opinions and Expert Testimony), there exist six types of Eyewitness Testimony (listed below in order of increasing material relevance regarding a specific issue of fact), which may or may not qualify as material to a case of dispute:

essential eyewitness testimony is validThe Six Types of Eyewitness Testimony (Federal Rules of Evidence, 2014)

  1. Hearsay
  2. Character
  3. Circumstantial
  4. Descriptive
  5. Identifying
  6. Essential Schemata

(The woman in the photo to the right is witnessing Essential Schemata.  She may forget how much money she had in her wallet at the time, or she may forget what she had for lunch that day or what objects were in the backseat of the car.  She will not forget however, that there was a car collision, nor that the car was on fire and passengers were in the car; no matter how much time elapses, nor how many people tell her otherwise.  As well, her recall of anything relevant inside the schema of the whole event, will be crystal clear)

Social Skeptics, equivocate between types 3. Circumstantial and 4. Descriptive eyewitness testimony, which can be unreliable in certain circumstances, and apply this doubt to matters of 6. Essential Schema (see Yuille Study¹ below) testimony.  This is an invalid application of psychology and legal principle.

Recent Psychology Study Shows Essential Eyewitness Testimony as Being Highly Reliable

the-party-told-you-ignore-evidence-of-eyes-and-earsOne recent psychology study in the Journal of Applied Psychology demonstrated that immediate witnesses of a real life incident maintain remarkably accurate memories of a stressful first hand event.¹ Eyewitness recall of essential elements of data which form a schema of memory, the essence of context and fact inside a recall structure, concerning what occurred in a stressful event, whether individual or in a group, was shown by the study to be extraordinarily accurate.  In the study itself, police interviewed witnesses, all of whom were re-interviewed five months later concerning the same incident and same recall features.  The group recall was found to be schematically accurate, even after a long period of time had elapsed, and despite the introduction of two misleading questions inserted by the research team in the follow up questioning.¹

Matters of eyewitness testimony establishing essential schema are typically very reliable.  Opinions may differ as to the eye color of the assailant or even at times his identity; but the fact that a man came in and robbed a store, is typically indisputable.

In fact, a recent study by John T. Wixted (University of California, San Diego) and Gary L. Wells (Iowa State University), leading researchers in the field of eyewitness memory, cited that dismissal of eyewitness testimony has been a grave mistake in trend inside judicial practices. Ironically, the report was endorsed by none other than Elizabeth Loftus herself:

“The purpose of our article is to explain why a blanket disregard for eyewitness confidence is not only at odds with what has been learned in recent years but can also contribute to both the wrongful conviction of innocent suspects and the unwarranted removal from suspicion of a guilty suspect,” the researchers write.

The report is accompanied by commentaries from several notable experts, including Senior Circuit Judge Andre M. Davis of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and renowned memory researcher Elizabeth F. Loftus of the University of California, Irvine. The report and commentaries are published together in Psychological Science in the Public Interest (PSPI), a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.” †

By regarding, through a priori conjecture and misapplied psychology, the whole incident of a store robbery in the above example, to constitute fiction through unreliable testimony, SSkeptics commit the pseudo-scientific fraud of observational data dismissal. This is a destructive trend, which even former supporters have begun to rethink in our most recent science on the issue.

Essential Schema – an organized structure of thought and perception that interleaves information frameworks by the relationships among key data. A mental framework of epistemological or preconceived ideas, representing some aspect of the world, concept of learning, system or event. It can be utilized as a system of organizing, perceiving and retaining new information. Schemata influence attention and the efficacy of absorption/retention of new knowledge. People are more likely to notice and retain data which fit into their schema. Essential Schemata have a tendency to remain unchanged, even in the face of contradictory information and the passage of time.

A Misapplied Study

eyewitness testimony is reliableMuch ado is made of a series of studies from 1978 through 1989 in which Elizabeth Loftus cited the unreliability of eyewitness memories in situations where time has elapsed or bias inducing information has been introduced to the witness in the meantime.  In the study which stemmed from a 1978 previous basis, a danger of what is called a Misinformation Effect on the part of eyewitnesses was delineated.² Participants in the original study were shown a series of slides, only one of which featured a car stopping in front of a yield sign (see right).² ³ After viewing the slides, participants were then given to read an outside opinion description of what they saw in one of the slides. Some of the participants were given descriptions that contained misinformation about the one slide with the car and yield sign, which stated that the car stopped instead at a stop sign.  Now remember that this type of testimony is not based on memory of 6. Essential Schemata.  It is based upon 3. Circumstantial and 4. Descriptive memory. As well, it positions the memory, not only outside a framework of a retention schema, but inside a reality of being disassociated trivia.  These are the pertinent factors regarding this memory effect cited in the study, not the fact that the Essential Schemata was remembered incorrectly.  “Following the slides and the reading of the description, participants were tested on what they saw. The results revealed that participants who were exposed to such misinformation were more likely to report seeing a stop sign than participants who were not misinformed.“³

Essential Schema Filtering Error

/philosophy : pseudoscience : biases : data filtering/ : when one uses pop psychology studies such as the 1980’s Loftus Study to dismiss memories and observations which they do not like. By citing that memories and eyewitness testimony are unreliable forms of evidence, pretend skeptics present an illusion of confidence on dismissing disliked eyewitness essential schema data, when neither the Federal Rules of Evidence, science nor even the cited studies make such a claim which allows the dismissal of eyewitness testimony at all.

The problem with this study is that it is measuring the accuracy of the long term, bias influenced mind on trivial matters, with no supportive memory schema, relating to

  • Hearsay
  • Character
  • Circumstantial
  • Descriptive

evidence bases. These are memory bases which can easily be altered by the passage of time or the influence of outside contrasting testimony which can impart a memory bias. The study shows this, but more importantly, it also shows that matters of memory in terms of 6. Essential Schemata, are very accurate.³

The witnesses, 100% recalled that a car was stopped at a sign.  This is Essential Schemata, and it was demonstrated to be 100% accurate.

In other words, the witnesses may have doubt introduced in their mind as to whether a car in one slide in many, was stopped at a yield sign or a stop sign, but they did not have any doubt about the essential schema of a car stopped at a sign.  A Social Skeptic would contend here that there was no such thing as a car stopped at a sign, or a collision and a car fire (in the further above example).  It is a contrivance and manipulation to apply these study principles in this fashion.

Social Skeptics employ this twist of equivocation, a misapplication of this study and others like it, to principal memories of Essential Schema. Structures which retain Essential Schemata which otherwise could act as an evidential basis supporting an ethical employment of the scientific method.  In this fashion, they obfuscate targeted sets of research and analysis from becoming the observational base for necessity made available to science.

This activity is fraud, and pseudoscience.

 

TES Signature


¹Yuille, J.C., & Cutshall, J.L. (1986). A case study of eyewitness memory of a crime. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71, 291-301.

²Elizabeth F. Loftus, Hunter G. Hoffman, University of Washington; “Misinformation and Memory: The Creation of New Memories;” Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1989, Vol. 118, No. 1, pp. 100- 104.

³Lee, Kerry (2004). “Age, Neuropsychological, and Social Cognitive Measures as Predictors of Individual Differences in Susceptibility to the Misinformation Effect”. Applied Cognitive Psychology 18 (8): 997–1019. Quote and diagram 3 via Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misinformation_effect#cite_note-Lee-5 ; captured 29 April 2014).

†  “Eyewitness confidence can predict accuracy of identifications, researchers find”; Science Magazine: Science Policy & Ethics; April 11, 2017; https://scienmag.com/eyewitness-confidence-can-predict-accuracy-of-identifications-researchers-find/

April 29, 2014 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skeptical Thinking does not Constitute Expert Opinion

Social Skeptics do not meet the standards of credibility incumbent in pronouncing the judgements they pretend to be qualified to make.

skeptics are not acceptable expert witnessesThe qualifications which merit categorization of an opinion as that constituting expert opinion are clearly delineated by professionals who deal in matters of material fact, in the Federal Rules of Evidence.¹ Social Skeptics position themselves towards the media as the go-to resource for expert opinion on a panoply of topics on behalf of which they seek to block access to science.  Nothing could be further from the reality of the nature of material evidence and issues of fact.  The opinions of skeptics in general, not to mention Social Skeptics in particular, do not qualify as expert opinion under Federal Rule VII. 702.  And in the event that they do qualify, under the strictures of Federal Rule VII. 703, general prejudicial opinions of skeptics constitute the least reliable testimony, meriting a clear ranking of last behind the four recognized types of testimony; which are by rank of strength, Eyewitness, Expert, Defendant and Character testimony.

A skeptic’s expert opinion is immaterial to the issue of fact in a disputed case, if any one or more of the following apply:

a.  There exists direct evidence as to the issue of fact, or

b.  There exist one or more Eyewitnesses to the issue of fact, or

c.  The skeptic is not employed in the particular field in question, or

d.  The skeptic offers only “critical thinking skills” or “the scientific method” as their sole skill basis regarding the issue of fact, or

e.  The skeptic cites hearsay or anecdote as their only knowledge regarding the issue of fact, consisting of

i.  contending that their opinion is held by one or more other experts in the field, or

ii.  citing that an opinion is based upon previous anecdotal or hearsay similar cases, which could serve to shed prejudicial light on the issue of fact.

f.  The skeptic cannot be reasonably certified by counsel in his role on behalf of the court, to serve a Duty of Candor.

From the Federal Rules of Evidence (2014):

ARTICLE VII. OPINIONS AND EXPERT TESTIMONY, Rule 702. Testimony by Expert Witnesses

A witness who is qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education may testify in the form of an opinion or otherwise if:
(a) the expert’s scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will help the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue;
(b) the testimony is based on sufficient facts or data;
(c) the testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods; and
(d) the expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case.¹

Skeptics and SSkeptics:

702. (a)

  • possess neither scientific, technical nor specialized knowledge – other than, at times, a self qualified general familiarity with the scientific method,
  • possess no knowledge which will aid a trier of fact (the layperson audience), other than hearsay anecdotes concerning hearsay similar cases
  • possess no material or skill which will aid in determining a fact of issue.

702. (b)

  • possess insufficient knowledge or data regarding the fact of issue.

702. (c)

  • may self qualify as possessing a reliable principle with respect to the scientific method; however
  • typically fail as a qualified expert with respect to a history of professional application of the scientific method, and
  • critical thinking skills, and rational thinking do not count as expert skills, experience or knowledge.

702. (d)

  • has no track record of reliably applying the scientific method to the facts of the case category or case itself, to assist in determination of a fact of issue.

Therefore, skeptics do not in general qualify as ‘experts’ under the rules of evidence.  If however, they do qualify under Rule 702, then Rule 703 applies to the utility of such expert opinion:

ARTICLE VII. OPINIONS AND EXPERT TESTIMONY, Rule 703. Bases of an Expert’s Opinion Testimony

An expert may base an opinion on facts or data in the case that the expert has been made aware of or personally observed. If experts in the particular field would reasonably rely on those kinds of facts or data in forming an opinion on the subject, they need not be admissible for the opinion to be admitted. But if the facts or data would otherwise be inadmissible, the proponent of the opinion may disclose them to the jury only if their probative value in helping the jury evaluate the opinion substantially outweighs their prejudicial effect.¹

In other words, if we do not have an Eyewitness or direct evidence to a fact of issue, then a true skeptic who works by application of similar material facts or the scientific method, in their profession in the field in question, can be relied upon for expert testimony, provided that it is not overly prejudicial beyond its probative value.

If however, a skeptic tenders an opinion, such opinion only counts as evidence of issue of fact if they are indeed “in the particular field” in question. If a skeptic tenders expert opinion, which relies on prior prejudices or anecdotes from a standpoint of hearsay, this evidence is typically immaterial regarding an issue of fact. The only instance in which prejudiced testimony based on inadmissible hearsay and anecdote is regarded as material to the issue of fact, is when it constitutes the best testimony available (probative) and would therefore merit inclusion regardless of its prejudicial effect. Even in this circumstance, there exists a burden on an eyewitness or expert called the Duty of Candor. This not only requires that a counsel calling on an expert be transparent in relating his expertise with regard to a topic at hand, but also requires that counsel demand from an expert that they dispense with credenda which might be seen as prejudicing their testimony. No person in this world carries a larger agenda than a SSkeptic. Such a credenda places a counsel at risk of misleading the court – “either through direct representations or through silence.”  Well maybe a Jehovah’s Witnesses at your door carries more of an agenda, but SSkepticism comes in a close second, risking placing the SSkeptic witness into a box of non-credibility and bias based on past politics and advocacy.

Sorry SSkeptics, you are only impressing yourselves and the misinformed with the sciencey-sounding media rhetoric.

 

TES Signature


¹Federal Rules of Evidence, 2014; Federal Evidence Review, Arlington, VA; VII. Opinions and Expert Testimony, Rules 702 – 703, (http://federalevidence.com/rules-of-evidence).

April 28, 2014 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Observation vs Claim Blurring

Claims and Observations are not the same thing.  When one develops a patent or a scientific report, the discipline between what constitutes an observation and what is declared to be a claim are manifest. But fake researchers and false SSkeptics over-use the term ‘claim’ for a reason. One which circumvents science and ensures that data is dismissed in the collection stage, through protocol sleight-of-hand.

“I refuse to hear your claims as this has all been disproved already.”  The term claim, is misappropriated by SSkeptics through invalid expansion of its logical and context footprint beyond what rationality would bear in the mind of the educated listener. SSkeptics feel they are tendered license to circumvent the diligence and standards of science, since after all their goals are one in the same with science and all of their practices and rationale are sciencey. Right? …Wrong. Observation versus Claim Blurring stands as one of the quintessential examples as to why it is science which much tender dispositions on challenging data, and not the Cabal of Social Skepticism. They have demonstrated throughout history that they cannot be trusted with this process.

Observation vs Claim Blurring

: the false practice of calling an observation of data, a ‘claim’ on the observers’ part.  This in an effort to subjugate such observations into the category of constituting scientific claims which therefore must be evaluated by science at face value before mature in the scientific method. Subsequently such data can be dismissed in the data collection stage, without fact or rationale, simply by equivocation with the protocol involved.  In fact an observation is simply that, a piece of evidence or a fact, and its false dismissal under the pretense of being deemed a ‘claim’ is a practice of deception and pseudoscience.

woman skepticsOne of the most commonly practiced sleight-of-hand techniques employed by SSkeptics, is the practice of hi-jacking Carl Sagan quotes, and enforcing compliant arguments by twisting them around in misapplied contexts and at inappropriate stages of the Scientific Method.  In doing so, they tender the appearance that science supports their beliefs 100%.  In fact, to a scientist, such equivocation is never employed inside true lab disciplines or in the development of a patent. Were we to apply Social Skeptic ‘science’ to the lab or patenting process, very few cutting edge technologies would have ever been patented or discovered.  In fact, one of the most oft touted quotes by SSkeptics, “Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence” is more accurately a threat to common SSkeptic propaganda, than it is a logically effective counter against challenging observations which SSkeptics do not find compatible with Nihilist religious tenets.  SSkeptics are quick to whip out the ‘Extraordinary Claims’ quote taught them in the early days of Junior SSkeptic catechism. To a SSkeptic, this quip stands like a Bible Verse or Van Helsing Crucifix to be employed against the evil they have been taught to hate.  But most often, this quote of wisdom is abused by SSkeptics, who do not understand what Carl Sagan was attempting to communicate across a series of books from The Cosmic Connection through to The Dragons of Eden. SSkeptics lazily rest on the assured platform that sounding ‘sciencey,’ through utterance of this famous quote, will somehow tender them gravitas equal to that of a scientist. However, to a person who truly understands and works with the scientific method, one who daily prosecutes contentions which lever on their understanding of the differential between an observation and a claim, this statement does not sound as clever as SSkeptics regard it to be.

Laboratory and Patent Science

Claim and Observation BlurringPatents, and for that matter experimental studies, are filed with several basic elements, the principal two of which are considered by the patent examiner or superintendent, Disclosures and Claims.  Disclosures are evidences, precedents, background, data and observations which the patent applicant desires for the patent examiner to understand prior to adjudicating the status of their proposed patent claims set.  A disclosure is simply the delivery of a fact or observation.  It is NOT a claim.  In fact, should a researcher desire simply to disclose research, background, precedent and observations – they typically do so in the form of a Provisional Patent Application, which is not submitted in an effort to be reviewed for acceptance, rather simply a registry of data. If a researcher intermixes the two, his or her patent or report will be rejected. A claim on the other hand is an extrapolation, contrivance or conjecture bearing an element of risk in its offing. It is something which has not been contended before, which must be supported by a sufficiently justifying set of corroborating information.

Observation

A facet of data, noted by a qualified eyewitness observer or reporting system/measurement mechanism.

Three Distinguishing Features of a Claim

a.  Leverages a non-observed extrapolation from one or more observations and their relationship(s).

b.  Avers an objective contention which has not been cited before in a methodical context of analytical support.

c.  Bears an element of acceptance risk.

Examples

Observation:  I distilled the liquid for 3 hours, observing mass loss of 44.3%, yet the chemical concentrations by weight at the end of distillation remained the same for both the ethanol and water in the mixture.

Claim:  Water and ethanol in solution execute dynamic evaporation phase states which can be modified through the application of direct electric current, and can achieve the same results which would appear azeotropic in nature, however are not concentrated at the 95.63% ethanol and 4.37% water (by weight) mixture required for azeotropic distillation.

Observation:  I saw a 2 foot tall, odd looking man in a green suit and with a green derby run across my lawn.

Claim:  Leprechauns comprise an entire civilization living under the ground, hidden from us all.

Claims are CLEARLY delineated in a patent application and in most of disciplined science – and are not simply observations.  Everything aside from a claim is an observation, fact or an enabling disclosure.  In other words, a patent examiner or lab superintendent is determining the validity of the claims made in the patent filing and not deciding whether or not to approve disclosures.  In true science, claims are not the same thing as observations.

SSkeptics Conduct Knowledge Filtering through Equivocation with Observations and Claims

SSkpetics eschew disciplines such as those that are applied in the patent prosecution process, as these disciplines hold THEM accountable.  Blurring the difference between what constitutes a claim and what constitutes an observation is a common tactic of deceit on their part.  In this way SSkeptics can categorize even reported observations as requiring extraordinary evidence (which they know cannot possibly be provided on demand).  This is a method of Knowledge Filtering and is Deskeption.

  • Observations are NOT Claims
  • SSkeptics fail to distinguish when their grand dismissive conclusions are themselves, extraordinary claims – which require extraordinary evidence

Critics who assert negative claims, but who mistakenly call themselves ‘skeptics,’ often act as though they have no burden of proof placed on them at all. A result of this is that many critics seem to feel it is only necessary to present a case for their counter-claims based upon plausibility rather than empirical evidence.”  – Marcello Truzzi (Founding Co-chairman of CSICOP (Claims of the Paranormal))

Perhaps Carl Sagan was less of a SSketpic, than control freaks think him to have been.  Maybe he was leaving a hint which has completely escaped SSkeptics all these years.

Observation Claim Blurring

 TES Signature

March 18, 2012 Posted by | Argument Fallacies | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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