The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Nelsonian Inference and Cultivated Ignorance

Nelsonian knowledge is the virtual forbidden knowledge, which betrays its possession through one’s exacting efforts to avoid it in the first place. Nelsonian knowledge involves a keen prowess in knowing what to not-know, where to not-look and how not-to-look at it. As regards the poseur, intelligence cannot be derived from the ‘reliable’ sources they choose to examine. Rather it is those sources which they conspicuously choose to avoid, which tend to offer the greatest probative potential.

The Riddle of Not-Knowledge

When I was little my parents used to set up an elaborate play each Easter. My Dad would compete with my brother and I in the hunting of Easter Eggs in our backyard. Each spring we would get out our baskets after church, and set our minds ready to find as many decorated eggs or chocolates as we could muster, hidden in various places in the backyard. After all the hunting was over, Dad would without exception, come in an abysmal last place as compared to the parity in haul attained by my brother and me. It took a couple years before we finally began to wonder, since our parents had hidden all the decorated eggs and chocolates in the first place, why my Dad was so abysmally poor at then finding them. He would inevitably end up with only 1 or 2 eggs. What a terrible Easter Egg hunter my Dad was! Eventually I figured out that my Dad was avoiding all the spots where the eggs actually were hidden; in the end, only ‘finding’ those eggs we did not find. He was simply doing cleanup duty and putting on a fun charade for us kids.

One year my Dad ‘found’ an Easter Egg hidden from the previous year. Curious as to why we found 25 eggs when he had hidden only 24, its was an unforgettably entertaining moment for two little boys when he cracked open that extra egg in order to eat it.

Now the term ‘Nelsonian knowledge’ (and inference) is derived from a tale told of Admiral Horatio Nelson of the British Navy. A colorful tradition has been derived from this legend derived purportedly from the Battle of Copenhagen: wherein being informed of a command signal to cease action and retreat, holding a telescope to his blind eye, Nelson exclaimed, “I really do not see the signal!”1 Similar doctrine and result can be advanced in politics through a form of governance called Tyflocracy (blind-eye government). Either way, Nelsonian knowledge involves a keen prowess in knowing what to not-know, where to not-look and how not-to-look at it.

It is said that a secret not worth sharing, is not worth keeping. In this same vein, a forbidden topic not worth studying, is not worth squelching.

Later in life, while advising a company encountering problems with fraud-embezzlement, the company’s CFO was implicated in the embezzlement, not because she was caught with her hand in the cookie jar per se – but rather, because of her conspicuous absence at every critical meeting and detachment from every decision point in which the fraud mechanisms were approved/executed. In other words, although she did not personally reap any proceeds from the fraud, her knowledge of the fraud was betrayed by those meetings and decisions points she avoided, and not prima facia by those inside of which she was present. Hers’ was a crime of virtual knowledge; investigators amazed at her skill in avoiding such a pervasive deceptive element under her professional purview. This ‘amazing skill’ involved a knowledge called Nelsonian knowledge. One betrays their possession of Nelsonian knowledge, through their robust efforts undertaken to avoid it. And just like my father, who managed to search every single darn spot in the backyard in which an Easter Egg was not located, her exacting efforts to avoid all facets of the fraud, demonstrated her intimate knowledge of the fraud itself.

The Riddle of Nelsonian Knowledge

It behooves the holder of Nelsonian knowledge to know more about this embargoed knowledge than would be reasonably expected inside standard ignorance. The irony with Nelsonian knowledge is that it demands of its ‘ignorant party’ a detailed awareness of schema, its depth and a flawless monitoring, which is unparalleled in official knowledge.

If our desire to avoid so-called ‘baseless pseudoscience’ is as casual as we imply;
casual to such an extent so as to justify our complete disinterest in it as a species,
then why is our knowledge of specifically what is forbidden-to-study, so damned accurate and thorough?

If it is all worthless fodder, then why are its opponents so well organized, trained and armed?

Such knowledge is called ‘contrived ignorance’ or Nelsonian knowledge and inference.2 Nelsonian inference would be the treasure digs and trail in blue on the treasure map above, while the Nelsonian knowledge would be the treasure map itself. Such is the game played by our most talented ‘skeptics’. Their ability to conspicuously look only at evidence which will show them to be correct (what they call ‘reliable’ sources), betrays that they bear virtual knowledge of that which so threatens their very being (probative sources). A terror so deep, that they would willingly deceive themselves in the process of deceiving others (see The New Debunker: Pseudo-Skeptic Sleuth)

Nelsonian Knowledge (Inference)

/philosophy : pretense : knowledge obfuscation/ : both, that knowledge which is used as a placeholder for the sole purpose of displacing other critical knowledge which could ostensibly serve to alleviate ignorance (and therefore suffering) – as well as, that displaced critical knowledge itself. The latter is taken to actually be known on the part of a poseur. It is dishonest for a man deliberately to shut his eyes to principles/intelligence which he would prefer not to know. If he does so, he is taken to have actual knowledge of the facts to which he shut his eyes. Such knowledge has been described as ‘Nelsonian knowledge’, meaning knowledge which is attributed to a person as a consequence of his ‘wilful blindness’ or (as American legal analysts describe it) ‘contrived ignorance’.

Nelsonian knowledge goes a step further than does mere wilful ignorance however, in that Nelsonian knowledge is both a meticulous absence of knowledge found, as well as that knowledge or activity which is used as a substitute in its place (or to displace it to begin with). However, when the tactics of Nelsonian knowledge are deployed on a social scale, such an effort is known as cultivated ignorance. Remember that in all these contexts however, the word ignorance is a verb.

Not-Knowledge and Cultivated Ignorance

When Nelsonian knowledge becomes a goal of a cult, institution, academia or society as a whole, such activities and the resulting sets of ‘wisdom’ constitute a wholly new entity called cultivated ignorance. This form of ignorance does not constitute any kind of nescience – the accidental ignorance which is a result of inexperience or being a novel player. Rather, cultivated ignorance is a form of pluralistic ignorance which is crafted purposefully as a means of establishing control of a population. A means of influence and oppression which avoids the appearances of conspiracy theory; through tactics of false or semi-true slogans, the five mechanisms of the professional lie, fake science principles, compartmentalization, disinformation, partial information, counter-intelligence, social skeptic patrols and media control. As I mentioned above, ignorance is a verb in this context. It is cultivated when the population is trained to avoid those avenues through which they might receive contrary information to that which is being promoted by the Cabal in the first place. First mastered by Abrahamic religions, the torch of managing cultivated ignorance has been passed to academic nihilists, oligarchs and their global-socialist governance partners.

Cultivated Ignorance

/philosophy : counterintelligence : Nelsonian knowledge/ : the purposeful spread and promotion or enforcement of Nelsonian knowledge and inference. Official knowledge or Omega Hypothesis which is employed to displace/squelch both embargoed knowledge and the entities who research such topics. Often the product of a combination of pluralistic ignorance and the Lindy Effect, its purpose is to socially minimize the number of true experts within a given field of study. This in order to ensure that an embargoed topic is never seriously researched by more members of the body of science than Michael Shermer’s ‘dismissible margin’ of researchers. By acting as the Malcolm Gladwell connectors, and under the moniker of ‘skeptics’, Social Skeptics can then leverage the popular mutual ignorance of the members and begin to spin misconceptions as to what expert scientists think. Moreover, then cultivate these falsehoods among scientists and the media at large. True experts who dissent are then intimidated and must remain quiet so as not to seem anathema, nor risk possibly being declared fringe by the patrolling Cabal of fake skeptics.

Cultivated ignorance is the effort on the part of social skepticism, to promote invalid forms of inference – forms of inference which only serve to obfuscate and block knowledge, not derive it.  It is the set of inferences at the bottom of The Map of Inference. Its expressions include abductive, panductive, revelatory and critical thinking forms of inference. In other words, ‘ways to not know’.

Nelsonian Inferences – Ways to Not Know

This is only part of the reason why we as mankind, are clueless as to critical issues of our being. Who are we? Where did we come from? Why are there mysteries of which everyone is aware, yet no one seems to want to urgently solve, or even solve at all?

Not-knowledge is a peer to knowledge. And if not-knowledge is based upon risky stacks of linear induction, is employed as a political weapon, or is based upon Nelsonian inference, then it is our job to challenge not-knowledge as well.

Nelsonian knowledge. As an ethical skeptic, never allow yourself nor anyone in your organization, to work under such a principle. Ignorance causes suffering.

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The Ethical Skeptic, “Nelsonian Inference and Cultivated Ignorance”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 7 Mar 2019; Web,


March 7, 2019 Posted by | Tradecraft SSkepticism | , | 2 Comments


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