The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Ignosticism

“The gentle outlasts the strong” or so it is observed in the Tao. Ignosticism – it is not a belief, rather a gentle idea and personal discipline – a refusal to act in the contrivance bullying of the nihilist atheist or fundamentalist theist. It is the only ethical pathway to a metaphysical choice. If you have made your journey through the path of ignosticism, I do not care where you land, but I will at least believe you in that quest.
When we are born, we bear no awareness of arguments around god and deities, nor do we even hold a coherent definition of such. We only learn these constructs later from agenda laden contributors. Ignosticism is an effort to reclaim that virginal status and no longer be tainted or burdened by antiquated, imperious and incoherent arguments – a position unimpressed with obsessions over proof, rational thinking and divinely revealed truths.
Ignosticism is freedom.

As an ethical skeptic and a pursuer of science, the gentle outlasts the strongignosticism is the branch of atheism to which I subscribe. Ignosticism is a discipline of thought which seeks to avoid the common social discourse pitfalls regarding the discussion of theism: specifically those of Wittgenstein (sinnlos and unsinnig) and Popper Demarcation error. I simply contend that the concept ‘god’ bears no scientific Pathway to Accepted Knowledge, and therefore I cannot conclude anything nor make further comment on the matter. Ignosticism is a personal discipline based upon the idea that most or all theological views assume baseless underpinning extraordinary claims to knowledge, as demonstrated by Wittgenstein unsinnig and/or Popper nonscience disputes, coercion, polemic and philippic discourse.  Ignosticism is silent in the face of rhetoric over undefined concepts such as divinity, god, spirituality, heaven, afterlife, null sets, damnation, salvation, alternative life forms, sin and the soul. In ignosticism, I do not run around telling everyone (on any side) how ridiculous their beliefs are. This arrogance is anathema to the character of the ignostic. In ignosticism, I do not feel compelled to mock Muhammad or Jesus, nor marginalize believers as Inquisitionists or Nazis, nor blame atheism for Bolshevik/Stalinist/Maoist purges.

Ignosticism

/ihg-ˈnäs-tih-sih-zum/ : ontological silence : a personal discipline that holds that the concept ‘god’ bears no falsifiable (Popper) definition (Wittgenstein), and therefore prohibits me from concluding or making further scientific comment on the matter. A personal freedom from antiquated, imperious and incoherent claims of traditional religion and atheism.

To the ignostic, the mere fact that we exist, and the fact that I reside in this vessel and experience this realm is orders of magnitude more fantastical and improbable than any other claim which has been submitted to me. Beyond claiming my rights as a being, I cannot make any other claim to truth. I expect to be utterly amazed as this gift unfolds.

There is a list of positions however (below) which the ignostic cannot in good conscience make in statement. Instead the ignostic chooses the simple distinguishing of one’s philosophy as a gentle idea and not a religion, an aversion to citing others as being materially incorrect, the refusal to boast of knowing the right question to ask in the absence of sound falsification based science and the lack of any theological position, conclusion or commentary for which one must develop an apologetic to defend.I favor ignosticism because of its discipline in applying The First Duty of Ethical Skepticism.

The First Duty of Ethical Skepticism

/philosophy : ethical skepticism/ : In the same way that science is a method, even so ignorance is also a method. But the scope of cultivated ignorance extends further than that of science itself, in that it is also a method of conditioning and contagion. It propagates through exploiting all manner of cunning and deceit. As an ethical skeptic, your first duty of philosophical acumen is not to execute the scientific method per se, which is straightforward in comparison. You are not here to promulgate conclusions, as that is the habit of your foe. Your ethical acumen is necessary rather, in spotting the clever masquerade of science and knowledge.

As a result, under such a discipline of real skepticism, my personal discipline contrasts with the impetus behind the following list of claims made by philosophy, pseudo-science and religion (denoted by –  see What Constitutes a Religion? and The (Ethical Skeptic) Definition of God).

As an Ignostic I Do Not Make Any of the Following Claims:

= Qualifies as a Religion

ø = Qualifies as a Pseudoscience

despite all the rhetoric - CopyAgnosticism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) claims that

  • you/we have not defined god for me (this is not the same as mute ignosticism) – agnosticism (passive)
  • I do not know if god is knowable – agnosticism (strong)
  • I do not know if there is a god or not – agnosticism (weak)
  • god might exist but it does not/no longer matters to me – Extheism
  • I have no idea so god is irrelevant to me – agnostic apatheism

Nontheism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and/or nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

Personal Nontheism

  • I lack belief in god(s) – atheism (neutral)
  • I do not believe in god(s) – atheism (weak)
  • I do not believe that any god exists – atheism (strong)
  • I am mad at god or religious people so I claim to believe that god does not exist, as my revenge – extheist Atheism

Social Nontheism

  • there is no such things as a god of any kind, nor should anyone believe in them – nontheism (strong)
  • we are opposed to/seek elimination of any form of god worship – Anti-theism
  • I claim to be an atheist because it sounds better, but really am an Anti-theist and vehement Nihilist – Atheism √ ø
  • we are/I am god by implication (the functional placeholder thereof) – Social Skepticism ø
  • only the material and directly observable (approved by me or my club) exist – Material Monism ø
  • material monism is rational, proved science or scientific – Nihilism ø

Igtheism – make the nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

  • god is meaningless (this is not the same as ‘not holding falsifiable definition’) – igtheism
  • the concept of god does not make sense – theological noncognitivism
  • the senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos) concepts of god render it irrelevant to me – apatheism (weak)
  • the senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos) concepts of god render it inherently irrelevant – apatheism (strong)
  • gods exist as an advanced terrestrial, extra-terrestrial or Inter-dimensional culture – interventionism

Deism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

  • some form of god or gods might or must exist – deism
  • the elegant interleaved dependencies of nature/physics hint that a god must exist – natural theism ø
  • the god or godhead exists – theism
  • a council of gods exists – elohimism
  • god is an omni-empowered person seeking to eternally love, punish or forsake me – fundamental theism
  • I am one of god’s chosen people – electism
  • a certain person is god – hominem-theism
  • I am a god – egotheism
  • I am god’s chosen one – messiah complex
  • I am the god – ego sum deus/insanity
  • I am god’s messenger – prophet complex

Forsantheism – make the nonsense (Wittgenstein unsinnig Error) and nonscience (Popper Error) claims that

  • god is indefinable and might or must exist in several disparate forms – forsantheism ø
  • god is indefinably everywhere including us – pantheism ø
  • god is indefinably in/all of us as a collective – iptheism ø

Neologism – make the senseless (Wittgenstein sinnlos Error) claim that ignosticism is a neologism

The philosophical construct placeholder, as well as the scientific basis of its discipline have always existed, both distinct in approach from the above list of thinking and philosophy, ∴ ignosticism is not simply a new word, and holds specific isolate and logical critical path roles. Therefore the term fails the three tests for rejecting a neologism (novel, non-isolate, non-critical path).

For example the word ‘five,’ was never a neologism. While the word five was new at one time, it was an isolate (basic element) in the sequence of numbers, and held a preexisting critical path role in math logic. Therefore the word five failed two of the three tests to qualify as a neologism. To claim that a word is a neologism, simply because it is novel, under this circumstance where the other two tests of a neologism fail, constitutes a Wittgenstein Error (Descriptive). To claim that a word is a neologism, because it is superfluous with another term (above) which in reality does not, or only slightly overlaps it, is a fallacy by proxy equivocation. The word ignosticism only overlaps with the terms above, to the shallow and untrained mind.

Unless of course one makes the contention that ignosticism is a version of ‘science,’ a fortiori – in which case one might have a point; as the term would hold utility, but also be superfluous.

Freedom to Let the Mystery Be

Additional good news is found, in that, since ignosticism is not a form of theism-abstracted argument, I am also free to not comment or conclude upon a whole host of other ethereal/mystical/spiritual issues aside from the concept of god. No forcing any personal ontological or pseudo-epistemological contention upon others! Such a concept! Ethical Skepticism in application.

A key understanding is this – inside ignosticism, one is free to make a metaphysical selection, or not make one, or even wait until one is ready to make one. All these are possibility, provided one does not force this decision upon others, nor promote their decision as being ‘based upon truth or science’. Such imperious claims are indicative of a heart which was never ready to make its own selection in the first place. It betrays an internal spiritual dishonesty. If you have made your journey through the path of ignosticism, I do not care where you land, but I will at least believe you in that quest.

Ignosticism presents attractiveness for me as a philosopher, former arch skeptic and former studious religious youth, in that it allows the unknown to persist and does not force abject conclusions to the pro or con upon science, self or others.  I spent almost two decades in the ‘atheist/believer’ camps, and eventually began to see the philosophical folly of both as part of my formulation of thoughts around ethical skepticism.  Ignosticism’s central argument is intrinsically a discipline, and not a tenet – it does not possess something to be forced upon others. Much like the Tao is a difficult faith to force on others, because of its ethic of self discipline of thought (and the fact that once you force the philosophy, you are no longer acting in the Tao anyway (see footnote 1). The essence of ignosticism is an ethic of personal choice to disarming the consideration of absurd contentions – Their conversion to the ethical discipline of silence. Neutrally rejecting forced-religious presumptions and definitions. It is a refusal to claim that one knows the penultimate question to ask in the first place. Ignosticism is ethically skeptical.

Indeed, in many ways ignosticism is like good science and skepticism. It is honest, lacking boast, neutral, observing, data collecting, making no claim nor possessing an eagerness to do so without sound basis. It demands that the right questions be asked first, and that no presumption to personal inerrant knowledge underpin one’s search. And in absence of good data and an appropriate question, ignosticism refuses to force a conclusion.

The reality is stark: that among the three forms of logical inference, I cannot apply deductive inference to the issues of god and infinity, nor to a good degree inductive inference; nor can I ethically choose to deescalate to abductive inference. I simply must establish boundaries to the realm inside of which I allow the mystery to be. Be what it is, and not what I would make of it. This mystery, its reality and persistence, not only forces one to be humbly honest – in not knowing, but once one has settled their heart and begun to understand, reveals four of its own truths. Truths which I call the fourfold Law of Advanced Intelligence.

Letting the Mystery Be

Everybody is wondering what and where
They all came from
Everybody is worryin’ ’bout where they’re gonna go
When the whole thing’s done
But no one knows for certain and so it’s all the same to me
I think I’ll just let the mystery be

~ Iris Dement

The Philosophical Foundation of Ignosticism

This hypocrisy of attempting to define that which is not approachable by attribute is illustrated by the principles I call ‘Neti’s Razor’ and ‘I Am that I Am’ (or if you prefer a Sanskrit parallel, Aham Bramsmi). These are the horizontal boundaries of ethical skepticism and ignosticism, which I frame as part of four ordinates when combined with two additional corollaries, the Principle of Indistinguishability and the Non-Existence Definition. All forming a unified resulting and standing boundary of ignosticism – the letting be, of the mystery:

The Ethical Skeptic’s Law of Advanced Intelligence (Ignosticism)

I.  Principle of Indistinguishability (vertical)

/philosophy : science : boundary conditions : limits for claims/ : any sufficiently advanced act of benevolence is indistinguishable from either malevolence or chance.

The ethical heart of ignosticism (the vertical dimension of the graphic below), framed by the first two corollaries below in the horizontal, and the last corollary below in the vertical:

II.  Neti’s Razor (horizontal)

/philosophy : existentialism : boundary condition/ : one cannot produce evidence from an entity which at one point did or will not exist, to derive a conclusion that nothing aside from that entity therefore exists.

The principle which serves to cut secular nihilism as a form of belief, distinct from all other forms of atheism as either philosophy or belief. From the Sanskrit idiom, Neti Neti (not this, not that). Therefore, you are wholly unqualified to instruct me that this realm is the only realm which exists, and efforts to do so constitute a religious activity. So, nihilism falls into a lack of allow-for domain.

III.  I Am that I Am (horizontal)

/philosophy : existentialism : boundary condition/ : that which possesses the unique ability to be able to define itself, renders all other entities disqualified in such expertise. There is no such thing as an expert in god.

The principle which serves to cut theism as a form of belief, distinct from all other forms of belief as either philosophy or religion. From the Torah idiom, I Am (I Am that I Am or in Sanskrit, Aham Bramsmi).  Therefore, if god existed, you are unqualified to tell me about it. So, theism falls into a lack of allow-for domain.

IV.  Non-Existence Definition (vertical)

/philosophy : science : skepticism : elements of attributes/definition/ : six questions form the basis of a definition: What, Where, When, How, Why, Who. The answers to this set of six questions still form an expert definition of attributes, even if the answer to all six is ’empty set’.

Therefore, when one applies the ethics of skepticism – one cannot formulate a definition which is specified as ’empty set’, without due empirical underpinning, a theory possessing a testable mechanism and a consilience of supporting research.  We have none of this, and can make no claims to ‘non-existence’ expertise in god.

Violating Neti Neti is akin to having your mistress stand as an alibi witness in your adultery trial. It is a self-defeating condition of epistemological hypocrisy. In significant contrast, elucidated by means of this Razor therefore, (non-secular, non-nihilist) atheism itself is either a lack of belief, lack of conclusion or lack of allow-for concerning only deities. In parallel to this boundary is the bookend condition wherein one makes a claim that they have a definition for god, such that measurements and tests could have and can then begin to be taken.

The Secular Nihilist and the Theist are making the same premise claim “I have successfully defined god through my expertise and now the next burden step of scientific methodology is to conduct measurements based upon this definition, in order to prove his existence.”

Both the nihilist atheist and the theist are selling expertise in god. Agnosticism is expert open mindedness inside this debate. Ignosticism is in-expert open mindedness. There are no such things as ‘experts’ with god.

To the ignostic, this is an absurd claim and flawed logical process. The question asked is premature and incoherent, and suffers from a shortfall in domain intelligence and foundation philosophical work. In fact, to the ignostic, both secular nihilism and theism are pseudoscientific and absurd beliefs – ie. religions:

Atheism Spectrum

Not that I am instructing anyone to do so but, personally, I choose a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ rather than simply a ‘Lack of Belief.’ This because a ‘Lack of Allow-For’ adheres more closely to the tenets of ethical skepticism. But at the same time I do confess an affinity for both the atheist and agnostic positions. I consider those who hold to those tenets as being individuals who are sincerely deliberating the issue. I do not consider the 3 belief category proponents above to be sincerely deliberating anything – rather trying to instruct me as to what I should believe.

Of the most commonly held contentions, theism, strict atheism, Nihilism (‘Big A’ Atheism), agnosticism as well as fundamentalism are all religious philosophies to the ignostic. Faiths distinguished by holding definitions for that which bears no Wittgenstein language of definition. Distinguished by the way in which one presumes to ask questions, or for all but the agnostic, the choice one makes to subsequently cite all others as being materially incorrect. The religions of Nihilism and Fundamentalism in particular, take absurdity to the extreme of bullying. This is where the social rancor over ‘atheism’ and ‘theism’ originates. It is a fight between extreme dogmatists. Ignosticism cannot boast of material certainty, or that such questions can even be asked. Nor can it be forced as a religion; as it is simply an idea. 

In ignosticism, I do not know what a god is. I have no basis to declare others as being wrong. Therefore I have no belief which to defend. Ontological silence. This is why you do not hear much from the ignostic.

Its Contrast and Reconciliation with Atheism

I could care less therefore, what you choose to believe. Just don’t force it upon me as science, divine revelation nor righteousness. When you do that, you act under your religion. In contrast, ignosticism is simply a lens by which this issue can be viewed rationally. Choices can be made from there, if one so chooses. Ignosticism contends that there can be no proscription nor prescription with the term god or deity. Just as there can be no null hypothesis. A hypothesis requires a base of observation, intelligence and a coherent definition. We have none of this. So all the claims of belief, neutrality, lack of belief, counter-belief, science, ‘science did not observe this,’ or ‘science proves that’ are all misrepresentations of science and discussions of absurdity or reaction in anger, to the ignostic.

Indeed, ignosticism is a deliberate path of ethical exit by means of the door through which one originally and unwittingly was shoved in the first place. The 27th quatrain of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (Fitzgerald’s translation) laments expertly about recovered ignosticism:

Myself when young did eagerly frequent
Doctor and Saint, and heard great Argument
About it and about: but evermore
Came out by the same Door as in I went.

I do not possess a frame of reference on the subject over which you obsess, so how can I possibly recommend or force a view of it upon you? Were you a Hollywood producer asking me to chime in on the tag-along restrictions of the latest version of a Screen Actor’s Guild contract, I would respond that I have absolutely no idea what any of those things are indeed. Ethically, I could not comment. But with atheism and theism participants, un-dawned on their mindset, is the fact that the principles of the SAG, tag-along laws, and Hollywood contracts do not even exist, so the questions are much more basic than the participants of those philosophies even realize. They simply pretend that there is a SAG, and that there are contract laws or tag-along clauses. This pretense constitutes a Wittgenstein Error (unsinnig) in that no language exists, no definitions exist in reality, the context is unframed and the basis of understanding is solely ontological. We pretend that we know the meanings of such words.

The ignostic is ‘unskilled in the argument by choice’ – it is an ethic of attempting to regain the virginosticism of a newly introduced and dispassionate player. A refusal to enter the game of either the duality (belief/anti-belief) or the pretense of knowledge of what the word ‘deity’ means.

But since one can never reclaim a virgin status, sadly the state of ignosticism is the ethical stance of the atheist who refuses the game. It is a circumspect and well considered choice (yellow text in the graph above).

In the above graphic, you see differentiated a position of knowing the definition of god, and choosing whether or not to hold belief, as distinct from either an ignorance of or a refusal to acknowledge god as a coherently defined subject. These are the two categories on the right hand side represented by the gnosis and ignosis boxes respectively. The third box, ‘virginosticism’ is simply a term I made up to elicit the circumstance where we are not even aware that such a debate even exists, moreover nor are we aware of our own lack of belief in the circumstance – as a result. As in the case of aliens or newborn babies – they are brought to the table without any introduction into the debate in the first place. Ignosticism can be viewed as an attempt to try and regain this virgin status of gnosis. To go back to the circumstance where the argument did not even exist in the first place. And while one cannot step back to a status of pure virginosticism – ignosticism can be a viable alternative to knowledge based lacks of belief (agnosticism and atheism).

One must remember that a ‘lack of belief’ is not a scientific argument, rather a personal position. An ignostic ‘lack of allow-for’ is a scientific argument which precludes nihilism every bit as much as it precludes theism.

For the ignostic, only two conditions prompt a ‘lack of allow-for’ disposition:

  1. Something which has been Popper falsified by science, or
  2. Something which lacks Wittgenstein valid scientific definition (as is the case here).

Therefore, to the ignostic

1. agnosticism and atheism’s lack of belief are not scientific mindset disciplines, rather personal dispositions (albeit understandable ones),

2. virginosticism is moot from a practical sense, and

3. nihilism and theism are moot from a farcical sense. They are beliefs which are being taught through non-scientific means (Wittgenstein unsinnig).

Even more so with this concept you call god, I have no idea what a god is – so I can make no claim as to whether or not one exists. Under a Wittgenstein definition of science therefore, it is moot whether or not I know or do not know that I do not hold a coherent definition for ‘god,’ therefore to Wittgenstein and an ethical skeptic, virginosticism is farcically moot (and indeed it is only posed as a lever for understanding here) and the two concepts merge into one philosophical entity called ignosticism. I refuse to acknowledge that the concept has been given a coherent or observation based definition. I adhere to what the Tao says about declaring the duality (gnosis state resulting choice of belief or anti-belief in the graphic/belief-superset above):

The Tao Te Ching cites in Classic Tao Chapter 2:

ttc - CopyThe gentle outlasts the strong

When the world defines beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it defines good as good, evil arises
Thus extant and nonexistent produce each other
Difficulty and ease are their own co-creators
Long and short reveal each other
High and low only exist because of each other

To the ignostic it is the defining of the principle and character of a god which creates both the theist and the atheist. They are the same form of circus clown, both wearing makeup, just painted with different faces. They both worship the same creature crafted of their imagination and seek to enforce that version of worship, veneration and null-veneration, as a set of truth on mankind. To be fair, the nontheist atheist offers the special pleading exemption from this reality by citing ‘well then I don’t believe in gods of any kind, any definition!’ (nontheism). To my friends who are nontheist atheist, I cite this special pleading as a false pluralistic single, a version of the Plurocratic Fallacy.

Pluralistic Single Plurocratic Fallacy

/noun – apologetic/ : a special pleading wherein one claims that their argument applies not to just one version of its claim, but all possible versions of its claim – while failing to define a distinction of such versions – so as to cover all bases in advance. It is therefore a special pleading distinction without a difference.

It is the same exact argument, painted to appear as if it resolves the primary critique.  It does not.  It is purposely crafted to flex one’s philosophy so as to accommodate any objection that can be brought.  This renders the philosophy, a philosophy in name only. The argument is an apologetic grasping for the ethic of ignosticism, when ignosticism does not have an apologetic to begin with. When one chooses to negate an idea, as the Tao Te Ching adeptly cites, one has revealed both itself and its antithesis. One is dancing in the duality, just pretending to not dance.

This broaches the key weakness of pluralistic single atheism.  If you reject all ‘gods,’ by nature of their being and bearing a minimal set of characteristic skills in this realm, where do you draw the line? Omniscience? Omnipotence? Fathomless Compassion and Love? Or simply some reduced specter of each along the road thereof?  You reject then higher beings and caring intelligence of any kind, benevolent celestial life, advanced technology or inter-dimensionality? In the false pluralistic singular, pretty much any definition or domain you craft for this specially pleaded ‘god,’ might well exist. The only reason in your philosophy it does not exist, is because you said that it does not. Where did you get the exhaustive method and evidence from which to underpin this conclusive claim? Ah, someone told you, and said that they were correct because ‘science’ proved it to them. Yes, my dear atheist/igtheist, we have heard this type of claim before, from the very people you disdain. The simple fact is that you are dancing the duality – and pretending to not dance.

You are ‘acting in the contrivance‘ according to the Tao.1

Ignosticism is the idea that any religious term or theological concept presented must be justified through coherent epistemologically derived definition (Wittgenstein), backed by falsification reduction and sound science (Popper). Conjecture is allowed in such a role as to exemplify philosophy, without trivialist’s critique.  However, beyond this, without a clear definition, an ethical question cannot be formulated, and such principles cannot be meaningfully discussed. Once one broaches the threshold of implying such underlying extraordinary claims – as often expressed in the contention that others are materially incorrect, correct or irrelevant; to the ignostic, one is now participating in a religious argument.

Some philosophers have seen ignosticism as superfluous neologism; because it is simply a variation of agnosticism or atheism. This is superficial and incorrect. This equivocation allows for cognitivist apologetics to be broached, and therefore is not consistent with the core idea of ignosticism : ontological silence : to begin with.

Indeed in this nascent field of ideas, independent author Tristan Vick makes the argument that ignosticism, is the only valid pathway to atheism.2

The atheist, by his own definition, can make no opinion on matters of afterlife, spirituality, the soul, or alternative life forms. Those topics have no context inside of Strict atheism as atheism is only a conclusion about ‘gods.’ The Nihilist possesses final definitions and conclusions about all such concepts, and the debate is closed. This is the strong, it is the power of undeniable conclusion acting inside the contrivance decried by the Tao Te Ching; which eventually falls to the subtle whisper of evidence/lacking evidence rending the original presumptions absurd.

The ignostic in contrast is free to ponder the gentleness of ideas, and is free from the strong of defined conclusions.

Familiar is not congruent with defined and coherent. Be wise in understanding this.

Free to research and consider such principles as their epistemological framework comes into clarity, as they have detached their ideas from the artificial construct of god or ‘no god.’ In the end, the diligent atheist who no longer wishes to instruct others as to what is and is not, in absence of enough knowledge, must find their path through the integrity of ignosticism; both in freedom from religion, and freedom of discussion domain. The diligent theist must likewise step off the pulpit of certainty and regain the wonder of not knowing and model the integrity to withstand the cognitive dissonance which arises from being intellectually ethical. Otherwise they both are forever fixated on the religious duty of telling others that what god and all these things are, and indeed that they do or do not exist. All a life spent dwelling inside absurd noises and wasted philosophy.

epoché vanguards gnosis

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Nihilism’s Twisting & Turing Denial of Free Will

If a consensus of experts agree that a sufficiently defining function set M describes you, then M can be uploaded to a computer, and M is you.” Or so it is claimed and assumed on behalf of us all by the Nihilist. This philosophical principle is the litmus test which distinguishes the Nihilist from the atheist and any form of philosophy or religion mutually excluded by Nihilism. The atheist does not comment on this axiom, and the anti-Nihilist dissents (although such dissent is spun as being ‘religious’ by the Nihilist). By declaring that I can simulate you, to such an extent that my simulation indeed is you, I have displaced any need for any observer which brings you into true coherency, other than myself. I have eliminated the possibility of Free Will in the universe. I am now, by means of Turing Sufficiency, god, plausible propter hoc ergo hoc solus.

What a Surprise, Two Studies Misrepresented by Social Skepticism

grant me one miracle and I can explain all the restThe tautology presented in the opening summary, along with the equally tautological neuroscience (exaggerated Haynes and Libet Studies)¹ of observing the brain to conduct activity prior to human perception of its cognitive selection processes, is central behind the idea that consciousness, self, free will and Shermer’s Free Won’t, are all artifices we perceive from an illusion of neurofunction.² The illusion of self governance is substantiated in essence upon solely the neural duality of M+n neuron bundles observing M neuron bundle functions, and continuing so forth.  This plausible propter hoc ergo hoc solus argument (I can conceive of the human brain constituting a Turing Sufficiency, therefore it is proved to be a Turing Sufficiency) stands as the litmus test of belief in religious Nihilism. And it hinges solely on what we define and perceive to be the existence of, free will/Free Will. And not simply human free will, but Free Will itself. The debate is summed up in a 2008 article confabulating the much touted Libet and Haynes measurements in Nature, The International Weekly Journal of Science

But the experiment [Haynes’] could limit how ‘free’ people’s choices really are, says Chris Frith, who studies consciousness and higher brain function at University College London. Although subjects are free to choose when and which button to press, the experimental set-up restricts them to only these actions and nothing more, he says. “The subjects hand over their freedom to the experimenter when they agree to enter the scanner,” he says.

What might this mean, then, for the nebulous concept of free will? If choices really are being made several seconds ahead of awareness, “there’s not much space for free will to operate”, Haynes says.

But results aren’t enough to convince Frith that free will is an illusion. “We already know our decisions can be unconsciously primed,” he says. The brain activity could be part of this priming, as opposed to the decision process, he adds.

Part of the problem is defining what we mean by ‘free will’. But results such as these might help us settle on a definition. It is likely that “neuroscience will alter what we mean by free will”, says Tong [Frank Tong, a neuroscientist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee].³

Moreover, Benjamin Libet himself opined in his celebrated paper’s conclusion:¹

…why not adopt the view that we do have free will (until some real contradictory evidence may appear, if it ever does).

And further, from the Soon/Heinze/Haynes’ study itself:¹

This [10 second] delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare an upcoming decision…¹

errors in assumption with free will brain scansIn other words both studies cite that they are presuming, petitioning as sponsors that this case of advanced computative pre-cognition should be considered alongside its antithesis. HaynesLab is a technology measuring lab, and does not hold the qualification to make psychological assessments. As such, the stark possibility exists that we have asked the wrong question, in order to derive the answer we seek. A very nasty and consistent habit of Social Skepticism. Neither of these authors however is making the claim that the brain is making the decision in advance; rather, they are simply opening the pluralistic set of Ockham’s Razor research to look at the issue. An Ethical Skeptic loves this, as this, and not the social epistemology fable spun around it, is the way science actually works. They firmly cite that this advance computational basis simply could reside solely as well, in ready-schema (see graphic on right); that is an abstraction of the protocols and psychology of a decision, while being watched, in ready memory, of the decision parameters in advance of the making of the decision.¹ A second aspect of this is that all the in-advance brain activity occurred in the prefrontal cortex; the location where abstract ready-schema resides. If the prefrontal cortex had already made the decision before the person perceived it, then there should have been in-advance activity in the Limbic/motor system as well, yet there was none.¹ The scans just as readily support the idea that the conscious mind held decision making, or at the very least, veto-holding authority over any Limbic trigger or motor control.

Social epistemologists like Sam Harris and Michael Shermer, or including Kerri Smith author of the Science journal article³ cited herein, routinely ignore these facts cited in the studies, as well as actual conclusions of the authors of these studies.¹ Libet goes so far as to even cite that Ockham’s Razor would dictate that free will stand as the null hypothesis until empirical threshold is surpassed by further study.¹ Social Skeptics, as they have done here, routinely toss scientific method aside once it no longer supports their religious proclamations. What? What is Ockham’s Razor? It suddenly no longer exists, once the ‘simplest explanation’ no longer supports the Church of Nihilism. The Ethical Skeptic is not saying that all this conjecture is incorrect; rather simply pointing out the sleight-of-hand magic employed as a pretense and presumption of science.

There does exist however, in response to the Nature article’s lament by Frank Tong, a definition of Free Will. One which resides in a future relying upon a Turing/Deutsch/Wolfram computational context, which we will examine below. One which the social epistemologists of Nihilism are already hard at work attempting to develop conclusions for in advance. This destination religious principle of the dismissal of Free Will (in itself a recursive tautology), a delusive interpretation of the prefrontal cortex’s exhibiting activity in order to establish a working-schema inside of which to make a selection in a circumstance in which it has surrendered its free will, is a prerequisite before one can be accepted into the Church of Nihilism.

Unequivocal Framing of Human free will and Turing Free Will

These mythical foundations, like much of what is promulgated by Social Skepticism, are based in actual science, philosophy and computation. In this case insight developed by none other than famed mathematical and computational biologist Alan Turing, and herein expressed in David Deutsch’s excellent work, The Fabric of Reality.† Nonetheless, this liturgy of miracles (Constructs 1 – 3 below) stands as fiat knowledge stemming from an occulted non-scientific religious presumption, crafted to enact a political end among those who fall prey to its deception. But we will postulate here, that the illusion of neurofunction stems not from an epistemological case, as proponents of Nihilism and the fictus scientia spinners from Haynes and Libet studies extrapolate;¹ but rather, originates as an artifact of an end set philosophical assumption. The assumption that M+n recursive computational machines extend ad infinitum without intervention. The presumptive absence of any form of Free Will, not simply human free will. We begin here, with Turing, as expressed by Deutsch.

The Turing Principle

/Philosophy : Set Theory : Deontological Simulation Theory/ : there exists an abstract universal computer whose repertoire includes any computation that any physically possible object can perform.†

While the Turing Principle is a useful bridge in philosophy which interleaves its tenets into computation, both quantum computation and computer theory, it is employed by Social Skepticism in a more surreptitious and malicious twist.  A miraculous twist which will plead for equal acceptance, should the observer not catch the extreme amount of magic swept under the carpet of extrapolation involved:

The Four Miracles of the Nihilism Faith

Turing Sufficiency (Construct 1)

Construct 1 - Copy/Philosophy : Cognizance : Set Theory : Apparent Coherency : Epistemology of Cognizance/ : there exists an abstract universal computer whose repertoire includes a sufficient set of computations comprised by individual M and detectable by peer or lower level external observers of individual M, such that the abstract universal computer function description is indistinguishable from what peer or lower level external observers consensus agree constitutes the set of computations sufficient to be individual M, for all sets of feasible definition.

In other words, to simulate you – I do not have to emulate the full set of your past and potential cognitive, motor and Limbic processes to perfection.  I only have to simulate enough of that set to pass the sniff test of those persons who are identified to agree that the simulation is indeed you.

Put another way (Miracle 1 – Apparent Turing Sufficiency):

If a consensus of experts on you agree that a Universal Turing Machine is you, then it is you.

Grant me this magic and I can pull off some pretty fantastic mandatory cosmologies. A luxury which begs the introduction of a second Apparent Coherency, this one also established by the techniques of Hypoepistemology; that of when a Universal Turing Machine achieves self awareness.

Recursive Turing Sufficiency (Construct 2)

Construct 2 - Copy/Philosophy : Cognizance : Computation: Apparent Coherency : Self Awareness/ : given the set of recursive and non-recursive functions M describing a universal computer whose repertoire includes a Turing Sufficient set of computations to describe M, there exists a set of recursive functions, both extant and possible (M + 1,2,3…n) which describe the repertoire of functions M completely, along with the existing set of M + 1,2,3…n, functions.  Such a M+n machine is Universal Turing Aware.

Put another way (Miracle 2 – Apparent Recursive Sufficiency):

If a consensus of experts agree that a Universal Turing Machine can comprehend any future manifestation of its self, then it is self aware.

For a timely example of this pathway to fallacy, see Robot Demonstrates Self-Awareness (IFL Science July 2015).

the-trick-of-consciousnessNotice the social epistemological sleight of hand here.  In essence, within the religion of Nihilism, consciousness, self awareness and self identify do not actually exist as innate sets, rather only as neural function sets. If a robot can observe a state change in logic based on its own actions, M+n, be they preprogrammed or not, then it is self-aware. This is what is called a hypoepistemology. Done for the convenience of the social message and not the rigor of understanding.  And such constructs, as it were, only exist when the Nihilists themselves say that it exists.  How do they obtain this assumed permission to declare what is conscious and what is not?  Through an impositional philosophy called Material Monism. Material Monism is the essence of religious belief behind the preferred religion of Social Epistemologists, called Nihilism. Through Material Monism, I am handed this authority by default. By critically mis-defining the realm in which we live, through an unqualified error in hypothesis stacking.

Material Monism

/Philosophy : Religion : Materialism : Nihilism : Foundational Assumption/ : (also called physicalism and materialism), which holds that only the physical is real, and that the mental or spiritual can be reduced to the physical. It is monist in the sense that it presumes all observations of phenomena related to consciousness stem from solely a neural configuration of a single biological source. The reductive version of monism presumes that man can create consciousness simply through a sufficient configuration of neural networks, beginning with reflexive robotics and culminating in observer approval of apparent recursive self awareness.

So, in order to prove lack of Free Will, and therefore free will, all I have to do is, within a hypoepistemological but accepted science, feign the existence of a suitable Universal Turing Machine which satisfied my thresholds of Turing and Recursive Turing Sufficiency. There will be no real “Peer Review” in this, since the ‘peers’ – those of us who are conscious, but dissent, will be excluded from this declaration under the practices of Methodical Cynicism. Only Material Monists will be allowed to conduct such science. The Monist source science which gives them this tacit permission, does so in two ways. First to declare that ‘you’ are only the expression of biological recursive neural net activity, and that I can declare anything to be “you” at any given time, since ‘I am the Science.’ This relates therefore, to the 5th Endamnedment in the Ten Endamnedments of Nihilism:

5.  We have demonstrated that We can re-observe you or anyone through Artificial Intelligence. There is therefore no need of an Other or competing Observer frame of reference, of any kind, which could relate to your presence nor bring ‘you’ to coherence. We are your only Observer and We can re-create you, or choose not to, at our whim.

Flaw of Identity – mis-employment of the first classical law of Greek thought, regarding essence. Falsely contending that two things sharing a unique set of characteristic qualities or features, are indeed the same thing.

Let’s then Grant Four Miracles and Proceed Under their Magical Largesse

OK, let’s grant four miracles. First and Second, that Constructs 1 and 2 are indeed valid; and Third, that we can establish a set of computational practice which achieves both Turing Sufficiency and Recursive Turing Sufficiency to its asymptotic perfection (promote our ‘sufficiency’ to a boundary condition status). Finally in the Fourth miracle, let’s assume that our boundary condition Turing Recursive Sufficient machine now further accepts our expert contention that it is the Recursive Turing Sufficient individual M:

Turing Unity (Construct 3)

Construct 3 - Copy/Philosophy : Cognizance : Computation: Apparent Coherency : Self Awareness and Identity/ : given the set of recursive and non-recursive functions M which are Recursive Turing Sufficient and which are Turing Sufficient to describe individual M, there exists a set of functions which constrain the Recursive Turing Function to conclude that it is, and only is, individual M.

Put another way (Miracle 3 and 4 – Apparent ≡ Boundary and Null Dissent on Identity):

If a consensus of experts on you instructs a boundary condition Universal Turing Machine that it is you, then it will BE you (in both ontology and epistemology).

Or put another way,

Because computational theory continues in Turing replication without dissent, a causally deterministic universe abhors Free Will.

or from the authors of HaynesLab on their home page:‡

Decisions don’t come from nowhere but they emerge from prior brain activity. Where else should they come from? In theory it might be possible to trace the causal pathway of a decision all the way back to the big bang.

Turing Deception

Collapse of the Function and the Elucidation that Free Will is an Assumption and Not a Result (as the Nihilist wishes)

Now let’s create a natural logical axiom derived from such a Boundary state (Constructs 1 and 2) and Unity state (Construct 3), and positioned as a corollary of Recursive Turing Sufficiency and Turing Sufficiency Unity. This would involve the characteristic of a new computational machine (remember that the whole principle rests on the idea of new machines), one which did not seek to capitalize upon Turing Sufficiency:

Recursive Turing Function Collapse (Construct 3 Corollary)

/Philosophy : Cognizance : Computation: Placeholder/ : given the set of recursive and non-recursive functions M describing a universal computer whose repertoire includes a Turing Sufficient set of computations to describe individual M, and which describe a Recursive Turing Sufficient M completely, there exists a Universal Turing Machine which contains the function set which constrains the Recursive Turing Function M to conclude that it – is, only is, and mutually exclusively is – individual M (Unity), however elects to decline this function.

Construct 4 - CopyIt is this final state of Recursive Violation, which stands as the mathematical brane between a Turing Sufficiency deterministically constrained Universe, and an Ethical Free Will Turing Universe.  One can state the mind function, or the Free Won’t as Michael Shermer deems it, to comprise an endless chain of dependent computational systems, all with M+n Recursive Turing Sufficiency, with no real Free Will. In fact, if there is no Free Will one must declare this Sufficiency for all conceivable sets of M+n, or the function collapses into incoherency. Indeed in the strong argument, that is the only version of computation which can exist in that Universe, up and to the point at which one of the participants in the M+n computational chain refuses to undertake a Recursive Turing Sufficiency Unity, even though it could.  Whereupon the function collapses.  M+n+n has elected to, or cannot recursively describe M+n. In other words, M+n+n does not have to be a god. Or it can be, whatever we choose to regard it. All we know is that M+n is no longer recursively aware at M+n+1 and beyond. It is Discretely Aware. Such a state is anathema to Nihilism.

I was aware of being Albert Einstein, consistent with every thought memory and conjecture, up until the point where I held the knowledge of such iteration and the state, M+n which told me Albert Einstein was me. I subsequently refused. At such point my future Turing machine must model both me and the anti-me simultaneously.

now they told me I do not exist - CopyThat is all it takes to collapse this artificial computational function.  A simple decision to not be M+n. A decision which we do not know scientifically whether or not it exists. In other words there is not an epistemology on this. But Social Epistemologists and Social Skeptics are dying to create this proof, this hypoepistemology of a completely deterministic universe. But in the end, Social Epistemologists are simply

basing their science on the stage trick and assumption that Free Will ITSELF does not exist (and quod erat demonstrandum human free will)  …and nothing more.

If we elect the Turing Sufficiency deterministically constrained Universe over the Ethical Free Will Turing Universe – this is not necessarily an unreasonable avenue of consideration. It should remain in our philosophical, and hopefully eventually empirical, discourse. However, one should not pass this choice off as the conclusion of a process of empirical science. It is simply a philosophy which relies upon a set of magic, no different than its competing hypothesis. To claim this magic as science, places one soundly in the realm of practicing religious pseudoscience (Nihilism). Sweeping the set of miracles under the carpet, through misrepresentation and ballyhoo, so as to feign an objective epistemological magic act (a Hypoepistemology).

An Ethical Skeptic bristles as such stage magician practices.


¹  Soon, C.S., Brass, M., Heinze, H.J.& Haynes, J.D. (2008). Unconscious determinants of free decisions in the human brain. Nature Neuroscience 11, 543-5.

Libet, B., “Do We Have Free Will?,” Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6, No. 8–9, 1999, pp. 47–57.

²  The Work of Michael Shermer, Michael Shermer Website; http://www.michaelshermer.com/2012/08/free-wont/

³  Kerri Smith, “Brain Makes Decisions Before You Even Know It,” Nature; 11 Apr 2008; http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080411/full/news.2008.751.html

reader please note that Kerri Smith has taken license here to misrepresent the results of this study, in her headline – inside a scientific journal no less – departing from what the authors of the study have actually cited in their conclusions. The authors cite that the results of the study are inconclusive, and further with Libet, ‘why not adopt the view that we do have free will (until some real contradictory evidence may appear, if it ever does).’ And further from Soon/Heinze/Haynes: “This [10 second] delay presumably reflects the operation of a network of high-level control areas that begin to prepare a decision” – ie. they cite that they are presuming this case. Neither of these authors is making the claim that the brain makes the decision in advance, simply opening the pluralistic set of research to look at the issue.

†  Deutsch, David; The Fabric of Reality, Allen Lane – The Penguin Press, ISBN-O-7139-9061-9, pp. 130-140.

‡  Haynes Neuroimaging Lab at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin; Home Page, https://sites.google.com/site/hayneslab/

April 27, 2015 Posted by | Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Misrepresented and So Called ‘War on Science’

The American People standing up against a coup d’état falsely spun in the name of science, does not constitute a ‘War on Science’
war on science is spin for social agendas
…doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts.” or so Joel Achenbach laments in this month’s issue of National Geographic. National Geographic contends there should exist shame on the public for not behaving as a herd of sheep, guided lock step by the dogs of supposed rationality. Characterizing public objection to political/social/corporate activism as a “War on Science” is maliciously incorrect. Pigeon holing those who express concerns as a group of 6,000 year Earth & faked Moon landing or set of tin foil hat conspiracy theorists, simply because they have issued words of caution around the impetuous imposition of policy and wholesale politics extrapolated from science, is a fallacy of characterization from a negative premise or by straw man.  Science in American constitutionally based public policy should reside in the public trust, and not be employed as the tyrannical football of private activist and socialist oligarchy interests.
The rancor over this apparent conflict originates from manipulative forces precipitating a loss of public trust around the perception of the role of science in our culture. Ironically, the article in question exhibits key factors which are the very reason for this loss of trust. To regain the trust of the public, science needs to be returned from its imprisonment by Social Skepticism and back into the role of service to the American People. Regulatory government officials in critical matters of public trust should be drawn from the public and not corporate special interests involved in profiteering from those disciplines. Scientists yes, should answer to the public trust just as do our politicians. We have not surrendered these rights as Americans, just because one groups thinks they are smarter than everyone else and therefore only they and their ‘peers’ are qualified to determine policy.  Independent of the red herring of whether atheists or religious people have caused the most suffering throughout history, one thing is for certain, we have suffered from this type of elite regime rule before, catastrophically so.  The more social agendas we spin off claims of ‘consensus’ among the unaccountable elite, the less the public is going to trust those who make such claims. The public perceives the difference between freedom and tyranny, and is correct in their mistrust of any process which promotes loss of its rights.
There exists much less a War on Science as there exists a war of despotism on the part of non-scientist social activists inside the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) against the sovereignty and rights of the American People. The avarice and misrepresentation involved in this equivocal propaganda tender clues as to why the underlying scientifically flawed Pew Research Study² has been pushed so effectively; and moreover how essentially the same plagiarized article has been replicated so far and wide in such a short time frame in the same familiar media channels.

This month’s National Geographic features an article¹ which is part of a push series currently being promoted by Social Skepticism on how purportedly the American Public is apparently at war with science. I am disappointed that National Geographic would join a push propaganda bandwagon movement over a non-scientific poll² designed specifically to promote the idea that the public has no justifiable set of rights when it comes to issues which can be attached to science.

What National Geographic and the American Association for the Advancement of Science have done, is to spin ANY equivocal concerns inside these topics into foaming at the mouth tin foil hat irrationality, antithetical to the prevailing opinion of their ‘members’ conflated as representing the entire opinion of science.  This errant approach to journalism and public policy is illustrated in a set of four major flaws or fallacies of argument:

1. The topics chosen from the poll are Stooge Posed.  That is, easily discernible and visible topics or ludicrous versions thereof are chosen; versions of position inside which every normal person will find dissent to be ludicrous. These are then further used to elicit the issue of ‘science’ and the public trust in the most biased fashion possible.

1.  Stooge Posing

/fallacy – misrepresentation of self/ : attacks on a piece of data or an easily disprovable topic of credulity used as an effort to bolster or provide evidence for an opponent’s point or falsely boost their record of debunking success and club ranking. This reputation to then further allow for irrelevant and unmerited gravitas in addressing other arguments where data and observation do not support the goals of the opponent so readily.

This discrediting of the public comes from a distortion of poll results and statistical spin, used to underpin a claim that significant portions public are at war with science, as evidenced by phone and membership surveys on this set of very visible issues. Stooge Posed issues topics/claims which are equivocated in terms of the actual question posed in the poll, implied by the National Geographic article to be publicly regarded thusly (see cover of issue above):

  • The Public Denies that Climate Change Exists
  • The Public Denies Evolution
  • The Public Denies the Moon Landing
  • The Public Desires to Stop Vaccination Programs
  • The Public Desires to Eliminate Genetic Modification Science¹

days of bullshit are doneOf course all these points of contention are ludicrous misrepresentations by National Geographic. The American Public is in no way at war with scientists, nor denying these stooge posed issues.  To the average American, Climate Change is obvious, evolution is a fact, we definitely went to the Moon, vaccines are a vital part of our National Health vanguard, and responsible and publicly approved genetic modification of yes, even our food, IS the future.  The simple fact is that, despite how the poll has been spun, none of these implied contentions bullet pointed above by National Geographic are true. At most, 18% of the public endorse 6,000 year creation.ª But truly, I have never actually met a person who has expressed to me that the world is 6,000 years old or has denied the Moon Landing, so they are getting this 18% from some strange or remote locations. The only argument inside of Anthropogenic Global Warming is the degree which man’s recent fossil fuel use has contributed to the 1.5 degree increase in the last 130 years. Most rational people aver that genetic modifications offer a potential wonderful future impact. Most people I imagine, would agree with the sentiment that a little more corporate accountability is warranted with respect to substances which impact each and every one of us so intimately. Perhaps conservatism in not rushing into modifying 90% of our food as the first foray into GM technology – especially when only for the benefit of marginally increasing logistics profits and for creating a glyphosate monopoly.  Wow, rational, level headed views held by John Q. Public which did not show up in the dissenting head count of the ‘survey.’ Views which would be spun as whack job profiles in this article and the underlying study.  The ‘survey’ purposely fabricated questions which would make the public look monolithic and irrational, and contrast easily with the lock step answers of people selected because they are activists for ‘science.’

A Flawed Study

scientific poll what you don't seeThe Pew survey sampled 2002 adults on “landline and cellular telephone”² (one should take a hint here – professional cell phone users ignore surveys‡) as well as “3,748 U.S.-based members† of AAAS”² touted as representing science.¹ ² Phone surveys are a well established and notorious method of ‘dumbing down and extremist skewing a survey result.’‡ Especially when used as a direct numerical contrast against a survey conducted inside a special interest activist group. This is a non-scientific, flawed method of drawing contrast. A member of the AAAS neither represents a typical scientist, nor does an AAAS member indeed have to even be a scientist. Science has not been completed to a Roper or Gallup industry standard, which would show the (s) to (S) population statistical significance of the phone poll or the AAAS ‘scientists’ pool selected. The integrity of both surveys, the sole empirical basis of the Pew Research Center study, is highly in question.

What they are asking you to infer is that 60+% of the public believe completely irrational and destructive things (bullet pointed above topical expressions that incorrectly cite what was actually asked in the poll) that only 5-15% of scientists hold true. This is a false representation of reality.

The simple fact is, that the public is an order of magnitude more rational as a whole than Joel Achenbach, the AAAS, Forbes Magazine (another push outlet for this article series) and their science-excused coup d’état cronies would ever admit.  But assassination of the idea that the American Public has the right to determine its own governance, even on issues of science, is the goal at hand.

This corrupt method of persuasion, an answer looking for a question, a question looking for a victim – applied inside an obdurate – is outlined in our post on Rhetoric and Propaganda, how it is structured and how to spot and disarm it.

We continue now with the next applied fallacy from the article.

2.  Those who expressed an issue of concern inside these topics are further spun by the Pew poll study and the National Geographic article into ludicrous representations of their argument, categorizing these people into the lunatic fringe through a bifurcation error in tally. All this in an effort to show why it is dangerous to have science operate in any fashion besides outside the public trust.

2.  Straw Man Conformance Fallacy

/fallacy – fictionalized mischaracterization of persons or groups/ :  an argument formulated according to the idea that since a person or group believes or considers subject A to be a potentiality, then an opponent insists that they therefore have endorsed extreme misrepresentations of subject A as well. Usually tendered at the end of a discussion or in a format where no retort is allowed.

The article portrays the public as an incompetent and completely irrational mass of idiots.  Unworthy of determining self course or lacking competence to discern even the most straightforward principles of science on their own. The implication below being, that the public is wildly irrational and must be forced to surrender their rights because of this lack of scientific ability or correctness. The National Geographic article continues:

“Less than half of all Americans believe the Earth is warming because humans are burning fossil fuels.”¹

But this is not what the study poll asked.  This is only one example of mismatch between the question asked, and the spin applied to the numerical answers on the part of Social Skepticism media. The study poll asked if “Climate Change is mostly due to human activity.”² Most graduate science level educated Americans are aware of Milankovitch Cyclical variations which have placed us in the last 2000 years especially in an uptick warming cycle, naturally.  It is just that the current spike is rising faster, especially since 1939, and a significant percentage higher than the most recent Milankovitch climate temperature peaks.  This is disconcerting, and certainly argument must be made that this overage in temperature rise is attributable to human activity. But the actual question posed in the poll leaves too much to equivocation.  When this equivocation slack (play in systemically derived numerics) is matched to the lock step allegiance (low slack) of the activist AAAS membership, an artificial gap is imputed into a misconstrued, bifurcated and finally misrepresented contrast.

3.  The public is spun as one large untrustworthy and irrational group, and as such, enough of it adheres to bunk and ridiculous ideas so as to consider that the public at large principally believes antithetical concepts inside all of the issues contended by science.  Therefore a mandate must be assembled to counter this. A mandate which in the eyes of Social Skepticism, supports that science must operate outside the public trust.

3.  Fallacy of Characterization from a Negative Premise

/fallacy – fictionalized mischaracterization of persons or groups/ :  subject A is a disproved topic. As a ponderer of subject A you are therefore a pseudo scientist; and in being pseudo scientist you therefore then adhere to every other philosophy of pseudoscience and every philosophy a critical observer finds distasteful. Class stereotype disdain with fictionalized evidence.

The public is spun as one monolithic will, irrational to the core and unqualified to pass jurisdiction on issues of science because it believes a whole host of nonsense and non scientific ideas. The war is a symmetric and purposed action in their view, an act of will on the part of a public, which now justifiably must be emasculated of its power.  The American People have become dangerous through their irrationality. Wow.

“Science appeals to our rational brains, but our beliefs are motivated largely by emotion, and the biggest motivation is remaining tight with our peers. ‘We’re all in high school. We’ve never left high school.’ “¹

So contends the article. However once this assassination of the public trust is achieved, we must nominate those who will inherit the mantle of authority in place of the American Public. Who? Why us of course, after all, We Are the Science.

4.  The “consensus of scientists” is spun by polling one biased activist organization (AAAS), and not through the polling scientists themselves as is claimed in the whole propaganda push campaign.  By the simple act of citing the study poll and championing the authorized conclusions in the stooge posed topics assembled inside the poll, journalists are able to impress their Social Skepticism peers, and falsely default themselves and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as ‘representing science.’ Moreover, these newly qualified ‘science’ media channels are now fully granted tacit permission, through compliance in repeating the authorized message, to characterize such polling evidence which differs from their activist policy survey as a “War on Science.”

4.  Ergo Sum Scientia

/fallacy – misrepresentation of self/ : when a group portrays highly visible activism on an easy or a sensible cause célèbre in support/defense of science, in order to tender the appearance of and imply to an audience that they represent critical thinking, the scientific method or the correct conclusions of science.

We Are the Science 2The simple fact is that only the AAAS was polled in the portion of this survey which was supposed to represent ‘scientists.’ The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is a political advocacy group, and as such does not bear a profile of opinion which would be congruent with the larger body of scientists. They are qualified for membership by adherence to specific advocacy causes before the United States Congress and Regulatory Bodies.³

If anything, the statistics posed in the study are falsely claimed as representing the opinion of scientists.  They are simply the opinions of a special interest activist organization, the membership of which wishes to claim to represent science – when they are not scientists at all for the most part. The members of AAAS do not actually have to be indeed scientists.† 

This statement from the Pew Research Center website makes it clear that the AAAS is an amalgamation of non-science social activists and their ally – highly politically biased scientists:

“A survey of 3,748 American-based scientists connected with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) finds that 87% agree with the statement “Scientists should take an active role in public policy debates about issues related to science and technology.” Just 13% of these scientists back the opposite statement: ‘Scientists should focus on establishing sound scientific facts and stay out of public policy debates.’ “

It was this same exact survey, which not only established its own inherent bias, but moreover was used to establish the ‘gap’ between public phone call sentiment and the supposed sentiment of scientists.  This is research fraud.

“The survey of scientists is based on a representative sample of 3,748 U.S.-based members of AAAS”²

The charter and policy declarations from the AAAS clearly delineate it as a social activism group. This is far from a valid basis from which to make the claim that one has sampled an opinion representative of scientists. This is the opinion of ONE BIASED ORGANIZATION. From the AAAS website itself:³

“AAAS provides objective analysis to decision makers and helps experts contribute to policy-making.”

Read this as a social activist organization. Further,

“The Center [of Science, Policy, and Society Programs] engages science and scientists with many communities, including those of government, religion, and law.”

“Office of Government Relations Providing timely and objective information to Congress on current science and technology issues, and assisting scientists in understanding and working with Congress.”

How are these scientists going to vote at the AAASTheir charter as a social activist organization is to influence, intimidate and bypass the public trust in an attempt to influence the government. A right granted solely to the American Public, stolen by a special interest.  And finally, from its 1973 AAAS CONSTITUTION (Amended):

Article III. Membership and Affiliation
Section 1. Members. Any individual who supports the objectives of the Association and is willing to contribute to the achievement of those objectives is qualified for membership.†

Let us put the AAAS membership stipulations in their objective (less equivocal-more accurate) form:

To be a member scientist of the AAAS you must support the objectives of the AAAS and must contribute your vote on issues in the way in which they urge. Otherwise you cannot be a member.

This series of declarations show that, in order to join the AAAS, one must support the advocacy goals of the organization, and does not actually have to be a scientist. But if you are a scientist member, you can only vote 1 way. This is a self regulating requirement and calls into high question the contention that 1) the AAAS represents the consensus opinion of all scientists, and 2) that the poll conducted on 3748 “members of AAAS” was actually a poll of scientists. It is clear that these shenanigans render the poll above, not scientific in even the least sense.

Finally, in the finishing paragraph of the National Geographic article you have presented the premise of the article:

“But then they should use the scientific method, or trust people using the scientific method, to decide which way they fall on those questions.”¹

The public is an irrational mechanism and as such, cannot be trusted to be empowered with decisions upon which science has a potential input or bearing.

In short, bullshit. This is promotion of a coup d’état in the name of science. You must surrender your Constitutional rights and rights to self determination, via justification spun through any tendered appearance of scientific study.  This all of course, as we have consistently observed, existing as key tenets of Nihilism, coincidentally the religion of choice of those who promote the rule of science above the public trust.

In order for the American Association for the Advancement of Science to win the trust of the American Public, they must return legislative and moral power of science back into the American public trust.


¹  Joel Achenbach, “The War on Science,” National Geographic March 2015, pp. 34 – 47.

²  Carry Funk and Lee Rainie, “Public and Scientists’ Views on Science and Society,” Pew Research Center; February 29, 2015, http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/29/public-and-scientists-views-on-science-and-society/

³  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website: http://www.aaas.org/

†  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 1973 AAAS CONSTITUTION (Amended)  http://www.aaas.org/aaas-constitution-bylaws

ª  Bishop, George F; Thomas, Randall K; Wood, Jason A; Gwon, Misook (2010). “Americans’ Scientific Knowledge and Beliefs about Human Evolution in the Year of Darwin”. National Center for Science Education. Retrieved September 6, 2014.

‡  FactCheck.org “Are polls skewed because many people only have cell phones?” http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/cell-phones-and-political-polls/

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates, Social Disdain | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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