The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Garbage Skepticism: The Definition

The role of those who identify as ‘skeptic’ is to act in lieu of science in tendering and rigorously and openly enforcing provisional personally preferred conclusions and beliefs. Bullshit.

The following is an amateurish and shallow attempt at defining skepticism, on the part of technician-masquerading-as-science-expert-extraordinare, the Emperor himself, Steven Novella. It is actually a concise framing of methodical cynicism all adorned in its glorified ¡fact! dress, hoping that those who are not familiar with philosophy, nor logical inference, nor possessing of a skeptical eye, nor having participated in any actual scientific discovery, will fall for its chicanery.

The following definition, is brought to you by the man who does not appear to know what a p-value is, cannot consistently define correlation and habitually mis-frames the methods of science so as to favor and dis-favor subjects according to his club’s likes and dislikes (under the guise of ‘scientific’ reason). But we take his word on skepticism, in exemplary credulousness. Yes, celebrity ‘skeptic’ Steven Novella, pretty much sums up the whole fake skepticism movement below. His preferred definition’s codification of abductive logical inference, as it contrasts with ethical (scientific) skepticism, follows thereafter.

Novellas New ClothesA skeptic is one who prefers beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid to ones that are comforting or convenient, and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason to all empirical claims, especially their own.

A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance of any claim to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence, and studies the pitfalls of human reason and the mechanisms of deception so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves.

Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion..

When Knowledge is Not Necessarily the Goal: Use Preferential Abduction

Deduction being the most robust form of inference available to the researcher, the provisional methods of inference – and the fact that inference is forced prematurely to begin with – are among the principal four errors which are plied by the fake skeptic – and inside the definition framed above by Steven Novella.

Error 1.  Force to conclusion – when one may not be warranted.

Error 2.   Skepticism is never to be employed by a casual thinker in lieu of science – it is a discipline of the mind when one prepares to conduct actual science (not pretend science).

Error 3. Deescalate a deductive or inductive challenge to abductive diagnostic inference – when this is an erroneous approach.

Error 4.  Failure to recognize the negative whipsaw effect of forced, ideologue-driven, provisional or diagnostic abduction inferences on the deontological process of knowledge development (red accrued error curve to the right).

Researcher beware, as the Novella definition above implies abduction as the method of skepticism. Choosing a lower order of logical inference such as abduction can be a method by which one avoids challenging answers, yet still tenders the appearance of conducting science. We start first with a favorite trick of social skeptics – i.e. employing abductive reason in instance where deductive discipline or inductive study are warranted (see Diagnostician’s Error). A second trick can involve the appearance of science through the intensive focus on one approach at the purposeful expense of necessary and critical alternatives (see The Omega Hypothesis). One can dress up in an abductive robe and tender an affectation of science – but an ethical skeptic is armed to know otherwise.

Methodical Deescalation

/philosophy : pseudoscience : inadequate inference method/ : employing abductive inference in lieu of inductive inference when inductive inference could have, and under the scientific method should have, been employed. In similar fashion employing inductive inference in lieu of deductive inference when deductive inference could have, and under the scientific method should have, been employed.

A skeptic

First, an authentic skeptic does not identify themselves as ‘a skeptic.’ To do so raises the specter of bias and agenda before one even begins to survey the world around us all. Skepticism, is something an active researcher employs inside the method of science, it is not something you are. Why? Because of two very important laws of human nature, which those who apply real skepticism understand, and fake skeptics do not get:

Neuhaus’s Law

/philosophy : skepticism : fallacies/ : where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed. Skepticism, as a goal in and of itself will always escalate to extremism.

Goodhart’s Law of Skepticism

/philosophy : skepticism : fallacies/ : when skepticism itself becomes the goal, it ceases to be skepticism.

doubtis one who prefers

A person who practices skepticism does not prefer anything. A person who practices skepticism defends a knowledge development process which is consistent with the ethical practices of science. He or she does not prefer:

beliefs and conclusions

A person who practices skepticism does not hold beliefs and conclusions – rather they recognize the valid outcomes which have arisen as a result of sound scientific method. Nothing else. Beliefs and conclusions are for the religious among us. Those seeking to promote a pre-cooked cosmology and block the ethical actions of science one does not like.

that are reliable and valid

Reliability inside science only applies when a set of knowledge accomplishes one or both of two things: 1) helping to underpin further knowledge development, or 2) helping alleviate suffering (which includes ignorance as suffrage). Outside of this context, to start by declaring that one supports beliefs and conclusions which are reliable and valid is the same thing as saying “I believe only truth.” This is the exact same thing that religious fundamentalists declare. So far into this diatribe, no basis for this claim to truth-of-the-‘skeptic’  has been offered inside this definition framing.

to ones that are comforting or convenient

In this statement, the one who has identified them self as a ‘skeptic’ has made the claim that any attestation outside what they personally hold to be ‘reliable and valid,’ is the result of personal emotional or easy pathways of philosophy or verity. This is both a bifurcation (my way or the highway) and a rather extraordinary claim, implicit in this poorly crafted amphibious and equivocal sentence. Everyone besides me composes an entire realm of seething, mindless, moaning, religiously orgasmic protoplasm. How wonderful I am (you will notice that the promotion of self is key – inside fake skepticism)!

and therefore rigorously and openly applies the methods of science and reason

And there you have it: The job of skepticism is to act in lieu of science to tender and enforce personal provisional conclusions. Sophomoric and incorrect philosophy. Amazing that this person ever successfully pursued a dissertation.

Moreover, implicit inside this statement is the provision, wherein, if one does not want to go through the bother of using the methods of science in order to derive a conclusion, then the magic of ¡reason! can also be used (equally valid to scientific method). Therefore, one can also sit in their university office, or basement, or celebrity convention and completely fabricate their scientific conclusions, and this all still stands as valid – beliefs and conclusions from reason, acting in lieu of science! Will wonders never cease. Our entire knowledge base as humanity, derived at my keyboard, and shoved down the throats of anyone who is comforted or convenienced by even pondering anything different.

Rigorously, as cited here can mean – that one drives home a conclusion, even in absence of sufficient evidence to do so. Openly means, to declare your results on Twitter and in ‘science’ blogs to all the world; nay promulgate this to your malevolent minions, once you have reasoned your conclusion through the insufficient but ‘rigorous‘ evidence which allowed for its adoption.

So, far 100% bullshit – a moron’s definition of skepticism – but let’s continue.

to all empirical claims, especially their own.

Now here, a slip up of sanity encroaches on this fantasy of personal power and aggrandizement. Yes, skepticism is applied to ‘claims’ and not observations, not intelligence and data, not faith, not hopes, not art, not music and drama, not subjects and not persons. It is applied to the process of vetting hypotheses, asking procedural and contextual scientific questions and undertaking the scientific method, on the part of someone qualified inside the research at hand. If this is what Novella means by ‘empirical claims,’ or more accurately, claims to empiricism, then this is correct. The purpose of skepticism is not to prove that someone is right or wrong, or to prove or disprove religions, nor act as the whip of authority proffered by external observers, nor to settle arguments. These are the abuses of skepticism by the dilettante and malevolent.

If by ‘their own‘ he means: “First and foremost finds fulfillment through disciplined pursuit of an insatiable curiosity; scrutinizing and maintaining caution around his own assumptions, regardless of where they are obtained; discriminating with discipline, ontological and religious cosmologies from actual science.” Then he is correct on this point.  If however, the contention that one examines their own claims, rises tantamount to an apologetic as to why one’s beliefs and conclusions are therefore correct through purported self-examination, then this is not what skepticism involves. Skepticism is never employed as a boast, and fake skeptics do not get this.

A skeptic provisionally proportions acceptance

A skeptic does no such thing. A skeptic is averse to any such action. A skeptic may entertain some constructs as possible or likely, but they do not call those assessments conclusions nor do they accept them as science or skepticism – even provisionally. The skeptic must recognize that any logical inference is not stand alone. Our need in science is to sequence and stack inferences so that they become useful. But in such stacking we embue risk into the equation – risk which is often times not acknowledged. Such activity inevitably leads to large ‘simplest explanation’ abductive reasoning houses of cards. These houses of cards further then becoming proscribed orthodoxy, under Neuhaus’s Law. This is the methodical process of a pretend skeptic.

to valid logic and a fair and thorough assessment of available evidence

Again, all the fake skeptic needs in his quiver under this framing, is to declare something logical, and to base a prematurely forced conclusion upon the ‘available evidence.’  This constitutes a Transactional Occam’s Razor fallacy. Its being ‘thorough‘ in no way excuses the pseudoscience entailed therein. The phrase is an amphibology crafted so as to excuse any mode of thought one or one’s club chooses (describing this as ‘fair‘), as qualifying to stand in lieu of science. This is institutionalized dishonesty plain and simple.

and studies the pitfalls of human reason

Aha! Finally some actual study!  So far the definition framer has completely ignored the ‘researching and exploring several diametrically opposed constructs’ actual research work, the hallmark of real skepticism, and placed their sole effort in actual study – into the discipline of understanding why everyone else is so stupid besides themself. This is a game of pretense and malevolence. It is the hallmark of a spoiled and arrogant person.

and the mechanisms of deception

Whoops, they missed this definition.

so as to avoid being deceived by others or themselves.

One does not avoid being deceived by ‘provisionally proportioning acceptance to beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid’ – this simply means that you are just another one of the con men yourself. Just with a different flim-flam pitch, called ‘skepticism.’ Fake skepticism: The best con job in the business. Con yourself first, con a club of con men, then con others.

The surest way to bring a con job into inception, is to begin to enforce it by means of an non-dissent-tolerant and punitive club.

In true skepticism, one avoids being deceived by holding pre-scientific dispositions in an attitude of suspended judgement, epoché. One meticulously avoids joining clubs of consensus. Hence the statement Epoché Vanguards Gnosis. Errant information will eventually step on its own dick and falsify itself, all you have to do is be patient. This is the process of skepticism, it does not involve prematurely adopting and shooting down things we choose as valid and invalid. It is not something you are, it is a discipline you practice. Its virtues are curiosity, intelligence, tolerance and patience.

Skepticism values method over any particular conclusion.

Close, but no cigar. Steven wants this to sound like he is referring to the scientific method – but he is not. This phrase, especially given context preceding it, is referential to methodical cynicism, not scientific method. True skepticism values qualified knowledge, ie. that which is effective at underpinning the further improvement of understanding or in alleviating suffering, and the scientific method. Over anything else. Even their own provisionally proportioned acceptance of beliefs and conclusions that are reliable and valid. What hogwash.

The definition framed here by Steven Novella is not what skepticism is at all. This is childishly obvious to a graduate level philosopher or anyone who has reduced a set of hypotheses to isolate an actual scientific discovery. Understandably, most people do not bear these qualifications, and fall easy prey to this errant pop-definition. But this is the fight we ethical skeptics must undertake. Changing the minds of those who have been media brainwashed. Allowing them see the farce for what it is, maybe for the first time.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes.

epoché vanguards gnosis

February 11, 2016 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda | , , , | Leave a comment

The Celeber Cavilla Fallacy

Beware of a ‘skeptic’ who frequently employs a fallacy of categorization by means of wink wink, nudge nudge clique implication. The use of lazy and over-inflated weapon words and fad pejorative categorizations is a key indicator of methodical cynicism. The employment of the celeber cavilla fallacy is a pivotal tactic of Social Skepticism; indicative of a person wishing to enforce a political or religious agenda onto persons who are objecting to that enforcement. The ‘skeptic’ who practices this fallacy is seeking to intimidate a neutral audience and neither understands philosophy, nor practices science or ethics.

celeber cavilla fallacy - CopyYou have probably been witness to this Truzzi fallacy more than any other fallacy in the entire Tree of Knowledge Obfuscation, and you may not even know it. Social Skeptics refuse to give this fallacy a definition and description, so we at The Ethical Skeptic will. Once a person has lost their ability to assert personal conviction over social conditioning, they will fall prey to this unethical act. The celeber cavilla categorization and condemnation of individuals into descriptive pigeon holes for thinking differently does not occur through simply the framing of a category, rather in the abuse of that category without evidence or appropriate context, and in an effort to condemn and intimidate a neutral-observer audience. The blanket condemnation of a person by means of a celeber cavilla fallacy combines the worst of ad hominem, Truzzi fallacy, bucket characterization from a negative premise, associate condemnation, claim to authority and fallacy of composition. It is the employment of weapon words, catch phrases, fad quips and one-liners to act as a battering ram to enforce politics and religion upon a target population.

These phrases are crafted as a method of intimidating those who sit on the fence and are witness to the social derision which will be applied to them, if they come down on the wrong side of an issue.

wink wink nudge nudge - CopyThe elements which are comprised by a celeber cavilla fallacy include the following claims to authority:

  • Assumed definition of the phrase or weapon word
  • Assumed framing of employment context
  • Assumed knowledge of your thoughts
  • Assumed evidence for characterization of those thoughts as being pseuodscience
  • Assumed Popper falsification of the ideas involved
  • Assumed acceptance of this falsification on the part of science
  • Assumed acceptance of this falsification on the part of society
  • Assumed accuracy of application of this principal to you personally
  • Assumed homogeneity of belief among those who appear to take related positions to yours.

Therefore this necessity, demands the following neologism:

Celeber Cavilla Fallacy

a fad condemnation phrase of assumed immediate definition and gravitas. Also known as the ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ fallacy.

/philosophy : fallacy : fad phrases and weapon words : latin (‘celebrated jeer’ or ‘famous quip’)/ : a form of Truzzi Fallacy. A wink wink nudge nudge categorization or condemnation. A counter-claim which is specious in its assertion and usually ad hominem in its implication. However the counter-claim issuer employs it because they are under the false impression that since the accusation phrase is in such popular use, therefore the claim comes incumbent with immediate credibility in the offing, along with an assumed definition, evidence and acceptance.

It is distinguished from a one-liner, Truzzi fallacy or MiHoDeAL claim in that the celeber cavilla fallacy seeks to inappropriately* target by pejorative categorization, and permanently neutralize without merit or effort, a specific person or group of persons.

The Three Tests*

celeber cavilla fallacy - Copy - CopyDoes The Ethical Skeptic’s framing of Social Skepticism and the identification of Social Skeptics constitute a celeber cavilla fallacy itself? In short no; as long as we apply the self-circumspect tenets of Ethical Skepticism the use of this term fails all three tests of belief enforcement through a celeber cavilla fallacy (one need only commit one, in order to be fallacious in approach):

  1. Belief Focused – The application of the celeber cavilla category typically will focus on the person’s beliefs not conforming to a prescribed set. We don’t care what a person’s beliefs are, just as long as they do not falsely advertise them as being proved by science, or make them mandatory on everyone else.
  2. Condemning – The celeber cavilla categorization is employed to establish that anything the person has to offer (action, word or belief) is regarded as comical or worthless. Social Skeptics offer sound counters to classic religious oppression and stress the importance of STEM education. In this we agree with them. Not everything they do or say is wrong.
  3.  a priori Non-science – The celeber cavilla categorization is employed to a priori falsify without science, a certain set of observations, personal beliefs, avenue of research or threatening set of scientific constructs. We hold open, scientifically, a myriad of beliefs which Social Skeptics promote, we do not declare them false a priori. We want science to continue however and for society not to assume these constructs as proved or as the null hypothesis, without merit.

Therefore, our pejorative employment of Social Skepticism categorizations fails all three tests for a celeber cavilla fallacy.

We at The Ethical Skeptic do not wink and nudge. We confront in a clear, precise and direct manner. ‘Here is what I believe you are doing wrong in your approach. Address this, and we can continue to resolve this mystery together with real science.’

Protecting the integrity of the Knowledge Development Process, agnostic as to its conclusions or the players who succeed in helping develop that knowledge set, can never constitute a fallacy of any kind. We are not deriding Social Skeptics for their beliefs, we confirm that often they are devotees to science, and consider much of what they support to indeed be science.  It is when they wish to push their religion, mock and deride those who think differently, and attempt to squelch entire avenues of research, that we must stand up and speak. Such an ethic is never a fallacy. However, the examples below are some of the key examples of the celeber cavilla fallacy in use today.

Examples

  • Pseudo Scientist
  • Anti-Science
  • Contrarian
  • Denier
  • Creationist
  • Anti-Vax
  • Truther
  • Non Critical Thinker
  • Tin Foil Hat
  • Quack
  • Believer
  • Republican
  • Sheeple
  • Conspiracy Theorist
  • Credulous
  • Bubba
  • Hoaxer
  • Magical Thinker
  • Bigfooter
  • UFO Nut
  • Drinking the Kool-Aid

November 25, 2015 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The (Ethical Skeptic) Definition of God

Granted, there does not exist an epistemological definition of god. But that does not prohibit us from crafting an effective social definition. One consistent element in enacting a god standard, is that it always involves a targeted victim. A philosophically elegant definition of god therefore, can disregard whether or not the entity standard is personified.

Previously we have sought to derive an effective and reasonably epistemological definition of religion. We settled on the definition:

Religion:  The compulsory adherence to an idea around which testing for falsification is prohibited.†

virtual entity or placeholderNow, an ignostic atheist contends that there does not exist an epistemological definition of the term, god. Therefore the ignostic, as is the case with science as well, can make no comment upon the concept. An exception occurs however, in that the ignostic contends that a personified deity is not a necessary qualifying characteristic of a religion or a god. Therefore, the ignostic is free to frame a social definition of the impact and proxy nature of how ‘god’ serves as an entity inside social philosophy – in other words the footprint of the concept’s impact upon mankind. So, without my typical loquacious ado, here is our proposed social definition of god:

God:  Ω • ⊕  Any entity which has been ceded ongoing power*, yet at the same time retains an ongoing lack of accountability. A standard employed by a proxy agent, as a virtual mass in the social leveraging of a victim.† ‡

*power – includes both explanatory power as well as human-social power.

The entity in question here can be personified or non-personified as one chooses; however, where there is a god, there is always an intended victim. To the ignostic, the choice to personify the external standard is immaterial to the nature of the religion. What is significant, is the potency and un-assailability ascribed to the entity by its proxy. The symbol I propose for this construct is a logical AND ( • ) condition conjoining the symbol for Power ( Ω ), and the symbol for Exclusion ( ⊕ ). Thus, we have social definition for the term, god. Notice the similarity in structure between the definitions of religion and god. One trait of an effective philosophy is its elegance. The two definitions are not crafted so as to be parallel and elegant alone; rather are parallel and elegant simply by the nature of their innate philosophical structure: that which is enforced (compulsory or power) – yet which is at the same time non-testable (non-falsifiable or unaccountable in nature). Both definitions, religion and god, elegantly fit their respective and parallel dichotomies like a glove. In addition both constructs link to their application via a single stakeholder entity called a proxy. A proxy in this context is any real person or organization (secular or religious) who seeks to exploit this social construct for their own power, money, notoriety or comfort:

God Proxy:  Any stakeholder which seeks to exploit the privileged existence as a god (power, money, notoriety, comfort), without appearing to pretend to the role. Also a stakeholder which serves to promote a set of mandatory beliefs and maintain the unaccountable nature of the entity they serve, justified by the entity’s un-assailability as either a personified or non-personified external standard.†

And remember, with a god, there is always an intended victim. You will notice this exhibited by many a God Proxy, through their habit of being ‘faithful in punishment, yet inconsistent in reward.’ This is a hint that punishment is therefore the goal. A Nietzsche sin, delivered by means of his quotation:

“Beware of all those in whom the urge to punish is strong.”

Therefore there is a constrained set of consequentialist choices of outcome offered the victim by each proselyte (below definition). They are ignorance, resignation and fear. Neither the SSkeptic nor the apologist requires any further enlightenment, as the incumbent charge of gaps in understanding is irrelevant to each. To a proselyte, gaps are small and easily reconcilable inside their grand cosmology.

Proxy Proselyte: A newly indoctrinated person possessing an energetic Pollyanna vulnerability (see the Ten Pillars), along with a lack of depth, experience and circumspect wisdom; who is exploited into a role of win-at-all-costs enlistment under the cause identified by a God Proxy.†

It is the emergent, Pollyanna and over-confident, compensating for a secret doubt (see Ethical Skepticism – Part VI – Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say) energy of the proselyte which the God Proxy seeks to exploit in attaining their goals.

This full mechanism, the god-proxy-proselyte-victim artifice, is a means of control, a method of abhorrence and intolerance towards individual enlightenment, knowledge and freedom.

Social Definition of God


†  religionAs a personal note, these definitions have not been arrived at lightly. As a man who started life both as a devout Christian and then a staunch skeptic, neither of those indoctrination sets qualified me to understand the nature of our grand hallucination as a culture. Only after two market crashes, having my kid’s education accounts stolen twice and rebuilt, participating directly in several wars and ‘conflicts,’ been shot at and knife attacked, having started numerous corporations and businesses, suffered and overcome enormous sickness, started humanitarian and charity businesses, been in the hovels of our planet’s most suffering, starving and sick, being damaged financially by bank theft of my major assets several times, performed in-depth strategy for over 12 developing or tier I nations, having friends and comrades die in my arms, having children who suffer enormously at the hands of an uncaring corrupt aristocracy, observing as a member and adviser the corruption which lurks inside our largest corporations, run science labs, obtained advanced STEMM degrees, run many organizations and sat on advisory boards, filed patents and made scientific discoveries, watched discoveries being stolen or blocked by oligarch corruption, observing the deception practices in our highest branches of intelligence, been both a CEO and a dish washer, lived in lavishness and starved on pork and beans and crackers, and having traveled over 3/4th of this globe extensively for over 30 years, having busted the religious, executives, governmental and military officials for corruption, and observed the full array of unauthorized thinking and amazing forbidden topics, the human blightness and brightness – , etc. Only AFTER all this, am I able to begin to craft these definitions. This is not an academic exercise by any means, and while I respect our great philosophers, I have not found a one of them who can even come close to the life I have lived and observed.

‡  Note: The logic symbol for exclusive disjunction is employed because of this dichotomous relationship: An entity in a god bifurcation either A – holds power with B – no accountability (A is true and B is false), or A – holds no power with B – full accountability (A is false and B is true). Such is the nature of a god relationship. Power goes to A and accountability falls on B (man in this case, or a victim as well). Given this A versus B choice, the logical formula for this exclusive disjunction is A B. However, when an A or B condition exists in exclusive disjunction – AND – this bifurcation excludes the possibility of any C condition existing as well, the logical formula becomes AB. Therefore, given that the god condition chooses A=true, B=false, by the symbol for power, Ω, being assumed (A=true), it ensures under AB, that B=false. So rather than use the B=false condition outcome, all that is necessary is to depict the exclusive relationship symbol ⊕.  In essence, the disjunction ⊕ dictates that, given power (given Ω, A=true), therefore absence of responsibility (∴ B=false). So ⊕ completes the sentence with Ω in the god relationship.

September 30, 2015 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , , | Leave a comment

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