The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

The Dual-Burden Model of Inferential Ethics

Trust everyone, but cut the deck. So goes the famous apothegm regarding accountability being a double-edged sword. There exist certain logical critical paths in which both the sponsor as well as the null hypothesis defender, each bear the burden of proof of their contention. Inside a sufficiently complex or unknown system domain, a claim to absence of intent must also be proved to a reasonable certainty.

There are certain circumstances wherein, both sides in an argument bear the burden of proof. Let’s elicit this through the game of poker. The rules of poker are formulated around a persistent and robust human foible called cheating. Cheating is the condition where an intelligent mind, chooses to intervene (intent) and insert into a model, a constraint which normally does not exist. An ace card taped under the table or a method of dumping poker chips on insignificant hands, with specific intent to force a weaker-funds player to call a bid or withdraw from the game artificially. These are just two simple examples among many more methods of cheating at card games of chance.1

In signal intelligence, a fairly common form of encryption involves the masking of a transmission, such that it cannot be distinguished from white noise or background static.2 In such instances, finding an intervention inside such stochasticity, a contribution or presence of an external constraint of intent, is the key to detecting an encrypted signal as distinct from the background noise. In such a case of intelligence prosecution – all one need do in order to prove their case, is find one single instance of contrived signal. The signal bears intelligent intent, regardless of how random or ‘intent-lacking’ the rest of the signal might appear. Intent only has to be detected once, in order to falsify its absence.

Intent (Burden of Proof)

/philosophy : science : systems engineering : modeling and simulation/ : a novel constraint which arrives into a chaotic/complex process or a domain of high unknown, which does not originate from the natural background set of constraints, and further serves to produce a consistent pattern of ergodicity – when no feedback connection between outcome and constraint is possible. An intervening constraint in which every reasonable potential cause aside from intelligent derivation has been reduced, even if such constraint is accompanied or concealed by other peer stochastic and non-intent influences.

When one makes or implies a claim to lack of intent, one has made the first scientific claim and cannot therefore be exempted from the burden of proof regarding that claim, nor reside inside the luxury of a false null hypothesis (einfach mechanism).

So, let us then outline the practical ethics (praxis) of how card games are managed in light of such a reality of intent. A praxis which involves a burden of proof that is demanded of both parties in a deliberation.

The Dual-Burden of Intent: Trust Everyone But Cut the Deck

Two distinct conditions of proof exist with regard to poker playing. These conditions involve both the burden of proof of an intent (cheating) as well as proof that the domain is devoid of intent (visibly shuffling the deck of all cards). This double-edged sword of accountability or dual-burden with respect to intent, is outlined below. Both of these claims, bear the simultaneous burden of proof.

Yes, in order to accuse someone of cheating/intent, one bears a burden of at the least inductive plurality, if not proof. However, when one sits at a table to play poker, one is also making an implicit claim to honesty/absence of intent – which also must be proved, each and every hand of cards. Both types of claim explicit and implicit, simultaneously bear the burden of proof.

Claim 1: Accusation of Intent (Detecting the Cheat) – A sponsor must eventually prove intent, this is true. However a sponsor can raise objection and ask for research, even if such proof is not readily available. This according to house rules to prove cheating; to wit:3

If something is non-provable, your best bet is to leave the game and make mention of it to the host or the poker room manager. There won’t be much they can immediately do about it, but they can keep an eye out for it and maybe do something in the future (inductive plurality). If something is provable, you should voice your opinion to the host or poker room manager as soon as possible. If it is something that they’ll need to witness to prove, mention it to them in private so they can begin keeping an eye out for it. If it is something you can immediately prove, you can mention it out loud to the dealer and the table so they can catch the perpetrator immediately (proof).

Claim 2:  Averring Absence of Intent (The Shuffle, Cut and Player Etiquette) – However, lack of intent cannot also be casually assumed – when doubt exists as to the presence of an unseen hand. Inside a sufficiently complex or unknown system, absence of intent must also be proved to a reasonable certainty. In cards, this absence of intent is fairly easy to establish via the quod erat demonstrandum experiments of the shuffle, cut and poker-player etiquette. However, in a large domain of unknown, such a logical proof (one cannot inductively prove a modus absens) is very difficult to attain, and if concluded at all, such conclusion resides at the end of the deliberative process and not its beginning. Such lack of intent cannot be casually assumed from a small set of domain sample; to wit:4

In a player-dealt game, the pack must be shuffled and cut before the cards are dealt. The recommended method to protect the integrity of the game is to have three people involved instead of only two. The dealer on the previous hand takes in the discards and squares up the deck prior to the shuffle. The player on the new dealer’s left shuffles the cards and then slides the pack to the new dealer, who gets them cut by the player on his right. The deck must be riffled a minimum of four times. The cut must leave a minimum of four cards in each portion. The bottom of the deck should be protected so nobody can see the bottom card. This is done by using a cut-card. A joker can be used as a cut-card.

As a note, please resist the temptation to conflate absence of intent (agency) in the methods of science, as being congruent with an absence of intent in the objective system being studied (shuffling analogy above). In all cases, an absence of agency inside the methods of science, must be presumed. In the case of card games of chance cited above, as regards intent of an unseen hand inside a study domain which is chaotic or of large uncertainty – neither intent nor its lack thereof, may be assumed. In this analogy, the game of chance is the object being studied, and the House (Casino) Surveillance is the entity employing the scientific method (ensuring veracity of the ‘studied’ game).

Let’s examine now an example of just such a domain of chaotic and large unknown – inside which we cannot yet aver an absence of intent, nor currently also claim any manifestation of a ‘tampering hand’.

Example Inside Evolutionary Genetics

We are all very familiar with the contentious arguments surrounding whether or not a ‘hand of God’ has either initiated and/or guided evolution. A series of Pew Research Polls showed that most Americans both believe in God, and believe evolutionary theory at the same time.5 Does this serve to imply that all these people are irrational? No, of course not. Sadly, arguments as to the veracity of creation or intelligent design are red herring arguments, simply posed by religious agency. While I suspect that both sides in the extremist Nihilist/Fundamentalist debate have played a role in the inappropriate escalation of these constructs, who originated this agency actually is not my concern; rather simply that these straw men concepts exist to mislead scientist and lay person alike. I do not have to show who crafted a fallacious argument, in order to shoot it down as invalid. The actual deliberation which exists inside of evolutionary genetics is the issue of whether or not intent is a contributing constraint to any one of five observed ergodicity sets (below). Creation, Nihilism, Materialism and Intelligent Design are irrelevant both as arguments and as contexts of research inside science. Intent however, is not.

Before we jump into this issue however, adjudicated in light of our understanding of the dual-burden ethical model above, let me comment that scientifically, I do not care what is determined to be its outcome. I mean I do care; but I divorce that care from my discipline of skepticism and epistemology. When I examine the five issues which are casually and incorrectly called ‘evolution’, I find that I cannot discern sufficient rationale to dismiss intent as a construct, a priori. In this article however we shall focus upon this issue of intent, solely with regard to Human Accelerated Regions (HAR Acceleration in red bold below), as depicted in the graphic to the right; sourced from the Doan-Bae study quoted below.6

Abiogenesis
Ordination
Speciation (Darwinism)
Human Acceleration
Epigentics

These are all separate sub-disciplines, often referred to incorrectly as ‘evolution’. Evolution is a fact, and an observed ergodicity (outcome) – it is not however a religion and should not be defended by hyperbole and apologetics. Evolution does not disprove God, it does not serve to even suggest Nihilism, nor does it prove materialism, does not make a case for atheism, does not disprove aliens nor angels and does not serve in any way shape or form, to comment upon abiogenesis. Be wary of people who seek to conflate one or more of these in terms of inferential outcome.

Most importantly, evolution does not prove, nor need assume, absence of intent.
‘Creation’ and ‘Intelligent Design’ are irrelevant red herring arguments – borne of agency.

Do not engage with people on either side of the argument who inexpertly wield such terminology.

Intent is the salient and sequitur critical path principle. Otherwise we might as well don a costume and start performing magician tricks with intimidating terminology. Watch for people who equivocally imply such derivative conclusions, employing evolution as a weapon word. They are not to be trusted – and you should certainly never get your science from them. I am not a bio-genetics expert, however I do possess sufficient organic chemistry background, and more importantly – decades of professional neural feedback systems modeling and simulation experience – experience directly critical path to genetics. In my layman studies on evolution, and in the few genetic projects I have commissioned or funded (you can find similar on the web, but I am drawing this from my Genes IX graduate course text by Benjamin Lewin), categorical (mutations) DNA changes comprise the following types:7

Base Substitutions:​

Silent – single nucleotide (letter) change, does not materially alter the amino acid expressed​
Missense – single nucleotide (letter) change, alters the amino acid expressed​
Nonsense – single nucleotide (letter) change, results in insertion of a codon stop or methionine start​
Jibberish – single nucleotide (letter) change, results in a chemical coupling which is not A, C, T nor G​
Base Mispairing – any form of anti-parallel base coupling which does not conform to the Watson-Crick rule (A-C, T-G)​

​Structure or Block Changes:​

Insertion – increases a contiguous number of codon bases inside a gene, at a specific edit location​
Deletion – remove a contiguous number of codon bases inside a gene, resplice the new regions on either side​
Duplication – an insertion which is an exact copy of another codon segment of DNA​
Frameshift – an insertion or deletion which does not adhere to a triplet (3 letter) codon basis, thereby changing the frame of codon reference​
Repeat Expansion – an insertion which replicates one codon which is adjacent to the insertion point, a number of times​
Direct Repeat – replication of an identical codon sequence in the same orientation (5′ to 3′), inside the same gene​
Codon Substitution – a non-frameshift segment of DNA is deleted and an insertion is placed into the splice where it resided​
Inversion – a segment of DNA is rotated from its 5′ to 3′ orientation, by 180 degrees​

Now, stepping into the functional-value (use) judgement of any of these above changes – not talking about the mechanics of the mutation, one could suppose then the following value assessment for any given allele, base pair or gene mutation:

Neutral​

Silent – expressive DNA is impacted by mutation but its function is not altered​
Benign – mutation occurs, but no expressive DNA is impacted​

Disadvantageous​

Repression – function altered by missense, (substitution protein) mutation ​
Blocked – all other forms of mutation besides missense and silent which result in loss of a function​

Advantageous​

Fortuitous Degeneration – a Repression, reactivated Benign or Silent, or Blocked which is coincidentally an advantageous adaptive​
Novel (Constructive) – any Base or Structural mutation which results in a new expression which is coincidentally an advantageous adaptive​

A question therefore arises in the genomic modeling (theory of constraints models sufficient to comprehensively and completely describe genetic ergodicity – not just throw out intimidating sounding terms and guess at it) of evolutionary processes:

To what portion does each type of mutation (red in group A above) inside evolution involve Novel Constructive (red in group B above), Fortuitous Degeneration, Neutral and Disadvantageous allele changes? The answer to this would be rather cool to observe and attempt to model. Because if we end up with an extreme representation of Advantageous Novel and Fortuitously Degenerative mutations (say in the 43+ Human Accelerated Regions of our genome for example) – then a priori non-intent evolution has a problem. Which it indeed does…

Human Accelerated Regions (HAR) – of the human genome.

HARs are short, [approximately 270 base pair] on an average, stretches of DNA, [which are] 97% non[protein]coding. They are conserved in vertebrates, including Pan troglodytes, but not in Homo sapiens, in whom the conserved sequences were subjected to significantly, in many cases dramatically, higher rates of single nucleotide substitutions.8 A number of genes, associated with these human-specific alleles, often through novel enhancer activity, were in fact shown to be implicated in human-specific development of certain brain areas, including the prefrontal cortex.9 10

A number of contiguous and single point intron regulatory sequences [2.5% protein coding exon] codon substitution and insertion allele differences, of 270 base pairs in average length, between humans and their last universal common ancestor (LUCA) with hominidae (apes, australopithecines and archaic homo). Non-precedented/de-Novo/non-GenBank, non-feedback-derived, non-stochastic, fatally improbable happenstance of novel first-time ergodicity inside an absence of genetic pressure – occurring simultaneously and all advantageously, 43+ times, all between 60k and 350k years ago (Neanderthal and Denisovan extant pre-archaic only).11 12 13

“Human accelerated regions exhibit regulatory activity during neural development.” (Doan-Bae, et. al.)14 Fourty-three percent of HARs function as neuronal enhancers. HARs are also enriched for de novo copy number variants and biallelic mutations in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.15

This is called Ordination (and of course Acceleration). Darwin did not address either of these facets of evolution. Our domain knowledge of this sub-discipline inside evolution is very scant. One can make no claim herein to a priori exclusions of intent. Given the fortuitous emergence of the 43 Human Accelerated Regions – their regulation of and association with human cerebral, neural and limb articulation expression, Ockham’s Razor plurality has been surpassed. The argument is manifest and the dual-burden proof ethic broaches.

Three rather stark implications develop from this understanding (much of which has arisen since 2018):

1. “Non-coding” regions is a misnomer, because these HAR non-coding regions are coding for morphological changes to the brain, neural development and limb articulation. This is deductive in its implication as to intent.​

2. The pace of these mutations far exceed the Roach-Glusman human mutation rate of 1 per 100,000,000 base pairs every 20 years.16 100 to 300 base pairs should have mutated on average in these regions – and maybe, maybe have served to produce one trivial novel trait of pan troglodytes speciation (a chimp with lighter skin tones, at the extreme). Instead, 12,000 base pairs mutated and every single one of them produced novel, first time, and highly advantageous traits with regard to neural and cerebral development. – In other words, Ordination.

And one is being gracious here by affording these changes 290,000 years inside of which to occur. The vast likelihood is that they all occurred in a shorter time span than even this.

Therefore, materialists are incorrect.

3. One must prove that intent is absent here. Such an input to evolutionary constructs and theory cannot be assumed a priori, nor as the null hypothesis (einfach mechanism).

Science has produced no evidence which rules out intent in the origin nor ascendancy of life on this planet.
However, because of the dual-burden regarding the role of intent in chaotic or large unknown domains –
it does bear the burden of proving that intent is absent (modus absens).

Previously we have even considered within this blog (see Embargo of The Necessary Alternative is Not Science), a deliberate codex which related the second digit of the DNA codon to its linear protein assignment molecule complexity. A codex which could not have evolved, since the codex was required in order to have evolution happen in the first place. Unprecedentable organization, which is arguably deduced to intent. Yet intent is embargoed from science by material nihilists who apply their religious beliefs therein. And as we have observed with regard to other embargoed subjects before:

Intent as a construct, is the necessary alternative.

This is not a case of ‘being smart enough to justify irrational things’ as fake skeptics have begun to issue as a memorized tag-line. If one is unable to discern these things, inferences which are both sound and critical path to the argument, then one has no business telling everyone what science thinks nor what evolution is or is not.

Genomic Intent

Given all this then, dismissing a priori, intent as a part or small contributor inside the ascendancy of life on this planet, is tantamount to a personal religious choice. As an atheist, I respect and understand that personal choice of faith – but I bristle when it is advertised as a conclusion of science. Such is not the case. Science makes no comment upon intent, to the positive or negative. In contrast however, sponsoring intent for Ockham’s Razor consideration, is not a religious choice, rather part of the scientific method. Modus praesens and modus absens are two completely different ethical standards of scientific inference.17 Those who insist that modus absens (intent is comprehensively absent) has been proved, are simply wrong. The standard to prove modus absens is very high – and most science communicators and enthusiasts do not understand this. So employing one’s personal religious choice that intent cannot exist, in order to squelch the scientific method – is disingenuous. A scientist ethically should say ‘Not so fast’.

Neither is intent then pareidolia nor apophenia. Intent can be established by both science and a court of law, without knowing who bore the intention – and by means of only examining the patterns of inferential suggestion therein. Presence of intent can be inferred inductively – absence of intent cannot. Such deliberation is a must in information technology, hacking and murder prosecutions. I do not have to say where the intent came from, and indeed should not conjecture such – until I have a scientific mechanism and hypothesis which is mature and can be pursued by research. I do not have to prove intent from the beginning of space or time, nor where it originated. I only have to spot it once. In order to prove that an encrypted signal of noise bears intelligence (as an intelligence officer), I only need demonstrate one translated segment. I do not need to prove who sent it, nor that the rest of the transmission was or was not intelligence. I only have to provide veracity for that one segment.

Intent is a white crow standard of inference.

Intent is also not a means to fill a gap in scientific understanding with a ‘God of the Gaps’ argument. Such contentions are dilettante and shallow; often constituting propaganda speak on the part of amateur science enthusiasts. The 43 human accelerated regions (HAR) for instance are critical path to this argument regarding intent. The ‘gap’ in the case of HARs is 95% of the knowledge domain; so this in no way constitutes a small shortfall in understanding. No one is pretending to fill that gaping absence of domain knowledge with an intelligent designer; as that is the habit of two opposing agencies who control argument around this issue. They are both wrong in such religious pandering. In science we are trying to extricate ourselves from religion, not jump from one religion into another.

Yes, eventually we would prefer to identify the intender – maybe even one which is dead and gone now, or perhaps left us all alone. However we have to accept the reality that we may never actually resolve such understanding. We may be stuck inside ‘intent without identified intender’ for centuries. Nonetheless, science does not answer every question all at once. Such amateur insistences constitute a non rectum agitur fallacy – forcing every question to be answered before any question can be answered. Science does not work in this manner. Questions are answered incrementally – along a critical path of inference. Understanding this is critical to any claim or implication to be scientifically literate. I am an atheist; however, I cannot ethically throw out the construct of intent, just because my socially-primed buddies and I are emotionally upset about the idea of an ‘Intender’ – that is not fair to science, not fair to humanity – to force one church’s doctrinal anger upon everyone around us. Just because a few peoples’ terror-filled urges scream “There is no Intender!”, does not mean that science and humanity must thereafter cower in the shadow of that imperious religious insistence. We learned this lesson when Christianity controlled science. I do not want another religion sneaking in and doing this to us again.

If intent is here, even if tucked away and hard to find, I want it found. As an ethical skeptic, I will stand up for that human right: The Right to Know.

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June 30, 2019 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , | Leave a comment

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

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

Say What You Mean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say - Copy

Mean What You Say

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

Fanaticist’s Error

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

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

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

This inner dissonance, prompts what we observe as fanaticism.

The Lie of Allegiance

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

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

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

Corollaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Futility of the Bill Nye-Ken Ham Debate on Creationism

The illustrious debate between Bill Nye and Creationist Ken Ham occurred on February 4, 2014 at the Creation Museum in Kentucky and was streamed over the internet.  Why?  Because apparently there is this large contingent of people who hold scientifically, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old.  Where is this supposed widespread guild of irrationality and why are they even important?  Apparently they are all hidden by the evil people at Fox News. I have personally never met anyone who has expressed this belief to me, in my entire life.  Why do we persist in these types of useless and misleading dyadic debates, and why do we spin these debates between the religions of Nihilism and Bible-ism as contentions of ‘science?’


Ken HamPrologue:  I grew up in a household and youth where god was shoved down my throat daily.  I understand the temptation to anger. I am NOT a creationist by any means, I contend for science based evolution. However I do not subscribe to Bill Nye’s self admitted Humanist Nihilism as my religion of choosing. Nor will I stoop to public charades to promote conflation of the science of evolution with my religious beliefs, as has been done with this debate; lest anyone spin this article else-wise.  I am an ignostic, and a true skeptic.  Social popularity and intimidation are insufficient basis from which to accept Bill Nye’s premise (much less Ken Ham’s).

Pseudoscience – The deceptive or deluded act of claiming to use or represent the scientific method or science in attaining conclusions, when in fact such contentions are false.

The wealth of ridiculous propaganda which pumps out of the Social Skepticism machine is endless.  I am absolutely swamped with drivel and doctrine of such a ludicrous and manipulatively transparent nature that I seldom can even put a scratch in my candidate worklist for posts. Today, I simply loved the Skeptical Inquirer’s spin on the infamous Nye-Ham debate on ‘Science versus Creationism’ (Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 38.3, May/June 2014, “Bill Nye’s Take on the Nye-Ham Debate”, http://www.csicop.org/si/show/bill_nyes_take_on_the_nye-ham_debate/).  Some of the gems promulgated in this all-to-common propaganda spectacle include:

  • scientists are generally advised not to debate creationists” – We begin with the mandatory manipulation through fallacy of bifurcation, implying that there exist only two arguments, “science” and creationism.
  • “…just such a debate about origins” – This is not a debate about origins it is a debate between two competing religions.  One which cites an Ark, the Bible and faith, and one which says that only the ‘material’ realm exists, and boasts through implication that science has proven this. Two religions, nothing more nothing less.  If we were discussing origins then we should be discussing the three nucleotide codon basis of the first protein (Glutamic/Aspartic Acids) expressed by mRNA, or the frequency distributions of alleles common to former cladistically bound phyla.
  • The debate …was streamed live worldwide.” – It was live on the internet.  Yawn.
  • “…if you, as an adult, want to hold on to a completely unreasonable explanation of the Earth’s natural history…” – Again equivocating between this large group of people out there who hold that the Earth is 6000 years old, and the broad footprint of ‘creationism’ which are two entirely different things.  But hoping that you infer that anything besides Nihilism, is irrational nonsense.
  • [Ken Ham is] head of a congregation in Kentucky that holds doggedly to the idea that the world is somehow merely 6,000 years old” – There you have it, Tradecraft in action. The lead-in strawman characterization by the extreme, via hasty generalization from a formal Fallacy of Composition.  They are hoping you take the bait and bite.  If you are not a Nihilist, you are a part of this crazy crowd.

Creationism     ≡      6,000 Year Earth      ≡      Anything Besides Nihilism                            OK Got it 😉

  • Bill Nye framed the debate context: “I was willing to come to his facility if the topic was: “Is creation a viable model of origins in the modern scientific era?”  Wait, what happened to the 6000 year old Earth argument?  So now we have shifted to the idea that the entire cosmos, our solar system and man, were all a crafting of some undefined being.  This is a totally different context than the 6000 year old variant of the same; one which is, contrary to Bill Nye’s context of “viable scientific model,” wholly unapproachable by science with empirical study, unlike the 6000 year old Earth argument. Why this change, from something that is wholly measurable and falsifiable in nature by science, into a broader context of something that cannot be approached by science at all?  Was this a sleight of hand to frame the debate as ‘science’ and then context shift so as to conduct it inside an argument realm which was solely religion?

Both men are asking the wrong question.  The next question in a ‘hypothesis’ reduction hierarchy is “Can I detect a single case violation of allele common descent which falsifies our current understanding of the mechanisms underpinning evolution?’  The reason evolution is science, is because it is standing in that crucible of falsification and enduring the test.  Everything else is predictive/anecdotal at best, and at worst, argumentative and religious.

  • evidence for nihilismAs you may know, once in a while I am invited to offer my thoughts on Fox News. And I love it—I love being in the studio right there with those reporters with the opportunity to look them in the eyes (or lens). As you may infer, I’m not much for their style, and I usually disagree with just about everything a Fox commentator has to say, but I relish the confrontation.”  What the fuck?  What does Fox News have to do with a 6000 year old Earth or the wholly unapproachable argument that an undefined being who zapped the cosmos into order?  I don’t know the personal beliefs of the producers, writers, on screen personalities and operations at Fox News.  Does Bill Nye have some kind of advanced intel which he is not sharing with us?  I think this is a de rigueur expression, one which is mandatory to certify to the powers that be, that Bill Nye is in the acceptable club.

So, thus far we have established that we are arguing two religions, before a worldwide audience, between a member of a socially acceptable religion and one which is not socially acceptable.  We have established the players with the propaganda strawman, fallacy of composition, improper scientific method and earmarks of a pep rally.

Now we have contended, falsely, that all this is based upon “science.”  That job done, let us continue reading this hilariousness:

  • I wanted to be in the belly of the beast. I drove by there when I was on other business in Cincinnati a few years ago. The building was closed, but driving around the grounds I saw numerous depictions of ancient dinosaurs. One infamous sculpture featured humans of apparent European descent astride a triceratops-style ancient animal adorned with Christmas lights. I wanted to see the inside someday.” – Oh my gosh, this is not science, this is rallying the troops. This is the speech you give before a basketball game, or when forcing your military billet holders and contractors to work all weekend. Yes, I fully understand how evil the competing religion is.  The competing religion is always evil. I get it.
  • I do about a dozen college appearances every year. It’s a privilege that I enjoy immensely. At first, I figured this appearance and this encounter would get about the same amount of notice as a nice college gig. There’d be a buzz on Twitter and Facebook, but the world would go on spinning without much notice on the outside.” – No, the latter belies the former; that along with the appearances on The Big Bang Theory, your “agents and publicist” as you put it, and the “worldwide audience” spin. You were looking for explosive celebrity publicity, as always, in order to promote your professional status and beliefs.  This is no different than any preacher, replete with the implications of grandeur, high regard and false humility.  At least preachers admit they are acting on faith; you on the other hand are promoting a religious choice, and falsely advertising that it is somehow ‘science.’ Are we writing for a skeptical audience here, or a credulous one?
  • Not here: the creationists promoted it like crazy, and soon it seemed like everyone I met was talking about it” – Oh I see, it was the bad guys who did it. You are intelligent enough to be circumspect as to how this might appear.  I got it.
  • Many of you, by that I mean many of my skeptic and humanist colleagues…” – OK, so we have conflated a personal religion with a principle of scientific thinking. This is a core Tradecraft of Social Skepticism.  Try and get people to consider the two, one in the same, and representative of science.
  • “…my skeptic and humanist colleagues, expressed deep concern and anger that I would be so foolish as to accept a debate with a creationist, as this would promote him and them more than it would promote me and us.” – You known, the real way to discredit this movement is to actually execute the scientific method, not to disallow sponsors of a concept access to it, nor usher the debate surreptitiously into a context of religion each time the topic comes up.  If it is all bullshit, let them publish papers and receive critical review.  Squelching only produces artificial polarization and serves to martyr the cause of the other side.
  • But, I held strongly to the view that it was an opportunity to expose the well-intending Ken Ham and the support he receives from his followers as being bad for Kentucky, bad for science education…” – Now I do agree with this.  The problem is, that this does not exonerate your position.  Pious fraud and a formal fallacy of argument from opponent error.
  • [In my strategy preparations I employed/visited] with …Genie Scott, …Josh Roseneau, …the staff at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), …Don Prothero, …Michael Shermer, …Richard Dawkins, …Carl Sagan, …[and] Neil deGrasse Tyson [all noted celebrity skeptics] …that’s what gave me confidence.” – So not once did you study the underpinning evidence bases, such as they are, which are contemplated researched by the other side.  Nor did you visit in a neutral context any of these opponents in order to gain a clarity on the details of their epistemological structure (there is not simply ONE idea here).  You did not seek to educate, only spin a spectacle and employ spectacle-oriented resources in the process. This is a self-aggrandizing characteristic of a crucifixion, a crusade and a campaign, not an action of science.  It is not a feature of Ethical Skepticism, which demands Value and Clarity from its adherents.

This is the best which “Genie Scott, Josh Roseneau, the staff at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), Don Prothero, Michael Shermer, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, your agents and publicist, and Neil deGrasse Tyson” had to offer?  Noah’s Ark, …6,000 year Earth?

  • Those of you familiar with creationism and its followers are familiar with the remarkable Duane Gish …He was infamous for jumping from one topic to another, introducing one spurious or specious fact or line of reasoning after another. A scientist debating Gish often got bogged down in details and, by all accounts, came across looking like the loser. It quickly occurred to me that I could do the same thing.” – This is not something which ‘quickly occurs’ to a scientist.  It is rather, something one does their entire life.  It is an ethical problem.  Once done, always done.
  • [On my drive to the debate] I easily picked up three nice specimens of rock revealing several fossilized small shelly ancient sea creatures. I held one up during my opening remarks. There’s an irony that the Creation Museum literally sits atop overwhelming evidence of the true age of our planet.“- Fine, so now we have switched back to the discussion of a young 6000 year old Earth construct.  Why?  I guess we need to spin the perception that we are discussing science, so this is the token science principle.  One cannot consider this a critical path argument, because most of the creationist argument does not hinge on a 6000 year old Earth.  Nor do most creationists believe this contention in the first place.  So this is trivia employed to spin the perception that one is conducting science.  In other words, it is pseudoscience.
  • To a man and woman, all of my advisors, NCSE staff and skeptics alike, strongly felt that the desirable position in a situation like this is to go first. This, many of you believe, puts the onus on the other guy or gal to refute your points.” – This is unmitigated bullshit. Not one person, politician, scientist, beta club member, beer drinking pontificate, or even man on the street wants to go first in a debate. You wanted to go last, so you went last, just like everyone else. Again, we are not addressing a skeptical audience in this drivel.
  • Tom Foreman, by long debate tradition, tossed a coin backstage. Ken Ham won the toss, and probably taking advice from his people, who were thinking a lot like my people, chose to go first. I was delighted.” – This makes no sense.  You previously touted the debate as “[questioning] creation as a viable scientific model for the modern era.” How were you going to accomplish this without presenting the model first? Again this is absolute twaddle meant for an audience of the faithful.
  • creationismI pointed out that not a single fossil form had tried to swim from one rock layer to another during his purported worldwide flood, only 4,000 years ago. …I did a bit of engineering, pointing out that no wooden boat has ever been built as big as Ham’s imagined ark.” – This is an argument set against the veracity of the Bible. Yawn. What does this have to do with creation as a construct?  Nothing, unless you are comparing/contrasting religions.  Again here we are slamming a religion, in order to promote one’s own religion.  This has nothing to do with the science of evolution as a refutation of the idea of creation. This is the best which your stellar strategy team of advisers could offer?

So this is all that Creationism is…, is a 6000 year old Earth and an Ark. Well shoot, sign me up for Humanist Nihilism right away.  Golly gee…

  • In keeping with the idea of getting the audience to like me, I spent my first minute and a half on a joke about bow ties. I’m not sure how many of my academic colleagues would have made that choice, but I stand by it.“- Well done.  Part of the goals of Ethical Skepticism: Clarity is to find “common ground with opponents as possible.”  Your colleagues give themselves away as religious proselytizers, by opposing this.
  • Yes, I said, “Sex—sex, sex, sex” to the auditorium audience. Many seemed to have their heads tossed back the way our heads move when we encounter an oncoming two-by-four.” – This is a clueless mis-characterization of Christian or religious people, and shows that you really do not comprehend where your opponents stand or what they think.
  • I was and am respectful of Ken Ham’s passion. At a cognitive level, he believes what he says. He really means it, when he says that he has “a book” that supersedes everything you and I and his parishioners can observe everywhere in nature…” – OK, so this “creationism” we are refuting is really “bible-ism,” and not the idea that potentially DNA stands as a technology or a stratagem, or something testable like that. Ideas which are currently and deceptively conflated inside this bible-ism condemned super-set of evil constructs.

So we have established clearly that this was a publicity stunt, an argument between the religions of the Bible and Bill Nye’s Humanist Nihilism, and that the employment of the word “Creationism” is a purposeful equivocation to target myriad ideas which might serve as a pathway through which to falsify the religion of Nihilism.  Let us continue:

  • After the debate, my agent and I were driven back to our hotel. We were, by agreement, accompanied by two of Ham’s security people. They were absolutely grim. I admit it made me feel good. They had the countenance of a team that had been beaten—beaten badly in their own stadium. Incidentally, if the situation were reversed, I am pretty sure they are trained to feel bad about feeling good.” – Another religious pep talk, and victory lap. A clueless framing of the opponent to make the faithful feel good.
  • They would manage to feel bad either way, which is consistent with Mr. Ham’s insistence on The Fall, when humankind took its first turn for the worse.” – A sound point; nonetheless still a theological argument.  As an ignostic, I find this to be useless argument between religions.  Just because it fits my beliefs, does not make this a scientific process.
  • I very much hope this whole business galvanizes the people in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and in neighboring states to take the time to think critically about creationism and to vote to remove it from science classrooms and texts. I frankly hope that in the coming few years not a single student in Kentucky is indoctrinated by the Answers in Genesis facilities and staff. In this debate, we’ve already traveled a long way, but with projects like the Ark Park still in play, there is quite a journey yet ahead.” – It is illegal to promote a religion in a classroom.  The Ark is not an aspect of science, but rather a religion. You are arguing religion, not science.

I would hate to have Nihilism promoted in our classrooms, now that we have successfully eliminated the competing religion, simply because we have won and conflated our preferred religion with “science” through pseudo-scientific publicity charades such as this debate.  There exists a serious set of predictive science which hints that Nihilism may indeed be false. That body of science continues to grow. We do not know where it will head next.

The issue is – not that there is anything wrong with Nihilism and Earth only Primordial Ooze, as philosophies and ideas to test.  The pseudoscience resides in advertising the pretense that these ideas have been vetted and accepted by scientific method and science.  They have not. It should be understood, after misleading debates of this ilk that to force education to teach these two contentions of faith, is just as wrong as teaching Bibles and Arks.

Tally:

Attacks on the religion of Bible-ism:                                                        4

Actual points of Science/Engineering:                                                     1/1

Actual science which opposed the idea of a creative construct            0

Actual Social Enlightenment Achieved                                                     An Undefined Negative Set/Promotion of Humanist Nihilism

An Exercise in Futility of Grand Celebrated Proportions

April 19, 2014 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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