The New Debunker: Pseudo-Skeptic Sleuth

The teachings of fake skepticism had grown so atrocious by the end of the 1990’s that the public became fed up with debunkers, and the horrid tactics they employ thankfully fell from favor.
Their inquiry Precis, Investigation and Follow Up, all bearing the hallmarks of the former manifestation, debunkers now are re-titled as ‘investigators’ by necessity. Debunkers exploit poor definition of their habits and masquerade under such titles, which include pretenses of skepticism, doubt and open mindedness. Accordingly, a ‘debunker’ is no longer simply one who perpetrates defamation, as the social skeptic cabal would have you define it. A debunker is unequivocally – a person who fakes investigation in order to target subjects and persons for embargo from science.

They are teammates, the debunker and the pseudo-skeptic. The debunker attacks the embargoed hypothesis sponsors head on, while the pseudo-skeptic seeks to promote one idea at the expense of all others, or any plausibility at the expense of one idea they (and their sponsors) disdain. Both forms of socio-pathology stem from huge ego complexes and the foible of finding personal glee in the process of harming people through cleverly disguised deception. But society has changed with regard to what perfidious actions they deem acceptable and not acceptable. Debunking, part of the famous methodology taught in our fake-doubt-cycnical form of skepticism introduced in the early 70’s, fell from favor in the public eye. Too many debunkers meant that too many people were being harmed. A new model had to be developed – as ‘skeptics’ were beginning to get a bad rap. So the pseudo-sleuth model was born. The skeptic, repackaged as a fantasy 40’s private dick or modern form of Sherlock Holmes. The fake open-minded investigator, here to instruct us all about critical thinking and science. He is not a debunker, and will make that clear to all. But he will run back to report his successes to, and be hailed and rewarded by the very baloney-detection-kit-debunking cabal of which he claimed to not be a part. This masquerade has necessitated a shift in definition away from the idea that a debunker, is merely one who calls people liars.

A skeptic at the beginning of the scientific method says “How can I help these sponsors develop their construct into a testable hypothesis?” A debunker and fake skeptics says “How can I shoot this topic down, and ostracize its practitioners, without appearing to do so, and through a level of authoritative cleverness which they could never attain?”

If you a priori assume a MiHoDeAL claim1 regarding a given phenomena, you are a debunker.

If the science around the issue is so readily apparent and 99.97% resolved, then why do we need investigators? The sole goal which remains for the ‘investigator’ is to discredit subjects and people – and cannot possibly involve a desire ‘to learn’.

Debunking involves more than simply accusing witnesses of fraud. Anything which impugns the character or mental competence of witnesses and investigators, even by means of implication and especially by means of epistemic masquerade, is debunking.

Ethical skeptic beware, debunkers have simply polished up the old act. Greg Taylor, blogger for esteemed author Graham Hancock, opines accordingly in his article on debunking and pseudo-skepticism (a differentiation with which Graham Hancock is expertly familiar himself):

The first step in becoming a debunker is to immediately relinquish that title and establish your credentials by calling yourself either a skeptic or a scientist. Never mind that you are actually trying to impose your personal viewpoint on others, rather than following the scientific process and applying critical thinking to all sides of the argument. Actually, the best debunkers are those that don’t even know their true identity, having such poor critical thinking skills that they truly believe that that they are exhibiting all the open-mindedness and mental sharpness of the true skeptic or scientist. As such, some might reprimand me for writing this short article, seeing it as a hazard to the serious debunker’s faith in themselves – little chance of this however, as the real top-notch debunkers have a force-field of ignorance that is nigh impenetrable.2

~ Greg Taylor, Daily Grail Columnist

“I was honored to receive the Perry Critical Thunker Award at last year’s Toledo Conservatory Children’s Science Symposium. It was there in my presentation to the kids that I coined the phrase, ‘Bigfoot Boasting Bubbas’. But you know, I wanted to provide example to these budding critical thinkers by not being a debunker in my work. That is, always approaching cases with an open mind and never calling people liars.”3

~ Celebrity (Debunker/Paranormal Investigator) Research Fellow

So then, let us craft a Wittgenstein sufficient definition of debunking, and then go through the process of establishing why this definition is the only correct model fit.


/pseudo-science : subject and self misrepresentation/ : as C. S. Lewis noted, is an easy and lazy kind of ‘rationality’ that almost anyone can do and on any subject. Literally almost anything can be debunked. Debunking is a magic act whose misdirection tricks the magician instead of their audience. It is a form of bullshitting adorning the authoritative costume of denial. The debunker is spinning a facade of cherry-picked anecdotal anti-data, which is then used to linearly claim that something isn’t. This backwards method of outference runs anathema to the practices of science, evidence, and inference; a method plied by someone who will never debunk their own favored ideas and who possesses no interest in truth whatsoever.

It is a methodology passed falsely to the public as an exercise of skepticism or science, which is further then employed to brainwash one’s self into ‘doubting’ all but a single unacknowledged answer, via an inverse negation fallacy. The method involves dredging up just enough question, technique or plausible deniability such that evidence or observation may be dismissed without scientific inquiry. Further then dismissing the subject from then on, declaring it as ‘debunked’ and referring this appeal to authority for others to then cite.

A skeptic contends ‘I don’t know if this is true or not, but you are approaching this by the wrong method’ – whereas a debunker contends ‘I don’t care what method you are using, this is not true’. They may apologize for their pseudo-scientific stance by proffering ‘or most likely not true’. There is no difference between the two statements. And unless we define the term debunking in this manner, we leave ample room for gamesmanship and conveniently (akratic) unaddressed positions of manipulation.

Therefore, we observe now inside social skepticism, two forms of debunking below, klassing and nickell plating – both processes which tender glee to the faker, and afford both subject and person a resulting embargo from scientific study:

Debunking Failed Model: Cynical Debunker

Debunking is a set of perfidious activity seeking to cast aspersions on a whole subject in question and onto the people who participate in it. This a necessary collateral damage enacted so as to provide disincentive to future participants. The public will no longer allow debunkers to spin their wares as they did in the 70’s and 80’s – becoming intolerant of the blatant display of religio-nihilist imperiousness. Debunkers had to retreat into disgruntled clubs like the James Randi Foundation and hide from overt public scrutiny. A key term which encompasses the malicious activities of this group of out-of-favor fake skeptics is klassing:


/pseudoscience : debunking : malevolence/ : when one offers payment of money or threatens the well being or career of a person in order to get them to recant, deny, keep silent on, or renounce a previously stated observation or finding. The work of a malicious fake investigator who seeks to completely destroy an idea being researched and to actively cast aspersion on a specific subject as part of a broader embargo policy.  A high visibility reputation assassin hired to intimidate future witnesses or those who might consider conducting/supporting investigative work.

A nickell plater conducts their approach to a subject by the same methods of debunking, just sans the overt personal attacks. But the observant ethical skeptic will note that a nickell plater, despite what they may claim upon introduction, will eventually betray the essential glee they derive from discrediting people. Be forewarned, nickell platers do love to talk and boast, so eventually this hypocrisy will broach its ugly head. This is why the ethical skeptic must be ever vigilant to spot the merchants of doubt who practice nickell plating. It does not matter if the nickell plater is 95% correct, or possesses a likelihood of being 95% correct – they contend to be selling method, yet they are really selling negatively sculpted answers (see Inverse Negation Appeal to Skepticism). Under Corber’s Burden, when one undertakes this role, 95% is not good enough. Therefore, a debunker is unequivocally – a person who fakes investigation and implies appeal to skepticism authority in order to target subjects and persons for embargo from science.

Of those who practice the dark arts of klassing and nickell plating, both are debunkers.

A debunker and a klasser, while seemingly less acceptable on the surface, do not necessarily bear the celebrity conflict of interest however, to which a nickell plater falls vulnerable. This is the pseudo-sleuth’s One Ring, the dark hidden failing of an insane desire to be recognized and celebrated, at any cost.

Before we examine the specific habits of the pseudo-sleuth however, we should briefly touch on a critical aspect of this basis for their motivation. The celebrity pseudo-sleuth has caught themselves inside a prison of sorts – crafted by the very sponsors of their work. Much as in the way in which a financial gain or avoidance of loss of income (same thing) might impact the neutrality of a study author, even so celebrity and the incumbent expectations can and do impact severely, the bias habits of the pseudo-sleuth.

Celebrity Conflict of Interest

/philosophy : pseudoscience : bias/ : an extreme form of epistemic anchoring or a priori bias which is introduced through a proponent’s desire to attain or maintain their celebrity status. Celebrity skeptics, pseudo-sleuths and science communicators may not even perceive that their epistemology is being imbued with a bias which tends to produce answers which favor continuation of their acceptability, club status, notoriety or income. This is the most extreme form of self inflicted coercion, ranking even above a scientific study author’s financial conflict of interest.

This is why they must wear the accoutrements, play the game, speak the lingo, quote the one liners, condemn the same people over and over. So without further ado, and understanding the fine line which the pseudo-sleuth must walk in order to appease his sponsors but not appear to be a ‘debunker’, let’s outline the habits and tactics of the nickell plater.

Debunking New Improved Model: Pseudo-Sleuth

Pseudo-Sleuth – pretends to investigate, but games the scientific method to present all possibilities except for the one being sponsor-considered. The pseudo-skeptic conducts investigation primarily to promote himself and fund the laid-back, authority saturated lifestyle of a celebrity. He both rejects, yet is supported by, the very group of which he claims to no longer be part. This type of pretense is known as nickell plating:

Nickell Plating

/pseudoscience : debunking : pretense or masquerade/ : employing accoutrements and affectations of investigation work (field trips, cameras, notebooks, sample bags, etc.), along with an implicit appeal to authority as a skeptic (appeal to skepticism) in an attempt to sell one’s self as conducting science. A social celebrity pretense of investigation, and established authority through a track record of case studies, wherein adornment of lab coats, academic thesis books, sciencey-looking instruments and the pretense of visiting places and taking notes/pictures, etc was portrayed by a posing pseudo-skeptic. In reality the nickell plater is often compensated to ‘investigate’ and socially promote one biased explanation; dismissing the sponsored hypothesis from being considered by actual science research. This is an active part of an embargo process, and was a technique which replaced debunking after it fell from public favor.

“I am not here to accuse people of being stupid believers. I am here to learn. Learn the explanation behind those things which would tempt people become believers in things which are obviously stupid.”

The distinguishing hypocritical and narcissistic features, broken down by the three phases of an investigation, which serve as warning indicators that Nickell Plating Debunking is underway:


The Precis

I’m Not a Debunker – first big warning sign. Stresses early on and often that they are ‘not a debunker’. Virtue signals that by not attacking the direct witnesses involved as hoaxers and liars – and only the investigators, he is somehow now on moral high ground and is now deemed open minded. Even though a subject/investigator debunking is the only goal he possesses at the start of his work, and it inevitably ends up implying that the witnesses cooked things up anyway… Apparently the definition of debunker within social skeptic circles is bent wildly to now be congruent only with ‘overt witness defamation perpetrator’, and really had nothing to do with impugning investigators of subject matter at all. Just because you are feigning ethics with the witnesses/experiencers, does not mean that you are ethical with the way in which you deal with the subject researchers and materials. You are still a debunker. No, 92% of the world did not hold a straw man of that word. Conveniently twisted definitions should always be an alert for an ethical skeptic. A group is being protected by the skewing of this term.

Adorns Self with Investigator Icons – adorns their offices or field investigations with the icons of stereotypical or fanciful investigators: old typewriters, film cameras, pencil and lab books, trench coats and hats, printed media, microscopes, scientific artifacts, conspicuous absence of a computer, etc.

Shifts Focus Off Non-Qualified or Dubious Past – typically will gloss over the fact that his or her PhD is in City Planning, or that he dodged the draft by running to Canada, or was a stage magician, or was convicted of fraud crimes, or that she really has held no job of significance save for being a puppet of the social skeptic agenda cabal. May complexify their background by citing a curriculum vitae which outlines many many roles or personae.

Perpetual Celebrity Seeking – claims to be interested in solving mysteries, yet habitually promotes self. Boasts often about ‘having coined the phrase’, ‘world’s only __________’ or their being hailed with appellations such as ‘the Columbo of Cryptozoology’ or the varied experiences of jobs in their past. If you map out all their non-investigation activity, one will note that every single action is crafted under a goal of establishing this milieu of apparency and building their notoriety.

Boasts of Honors Received – speaks often about being honored for their latest award, or science symposium or group of young people to which they made a presentation.

Pretend Lone Wolf – tenders the appearance of conscientious lone wolf independent thinker/investigator.

Ginormous Concealed Ego – considers themself a polymath, but in reality have pretty much only failed at a lot of things. Uses phrases like ‘world’s only ________’ or flags their approach or method as ‘world renowned’.

Poses as if In-Demand – pretends as if they are in-demand for their opinions & investigative work, both from the media and innocent victims of paranormal hype. Appeals to skepticism as a general platform of authority on most any subject.

No Visible Means of Support – no visible means of financial or journalistic publisher support. Often the reality being that they are quietly being funded by a group with a push political or religious agenda.

Degrees Earned do not Match Expertise Claimed – a ‘no-no’ which would relegate one to the trash heap of irrelevancy were they on the other side, is treated as no big deal when you do the bidding of the cabal. A PhD in Economics by no means qualifies one to comment upon physical phenomenology or the psychology of anecdote and eyewitness testimony. But if you regurgitate the cabal narrative, you will be regarded as a ‘PhD authority’ in myriad avenues of expertise.

Science Virtue-Signals – virtue signals often about their open mind, doing science, accessing all the data and ‘believing’ the witnesses as sincere (but stupid).

Wishes it Was Real – stresses often that they would love for the sponsored idea or avenue of investigation to turn out to be real. Yet their greatest satisfaction expressions relate to events discrediting persons or in finding that ‘it was not real’.

Hails Comprehensive Case Resume – “Oh yes, I looked at that case as well and here are the particulars…” All the cases which are worth investigating, he has done it already. Everything thing else is simply anecdote from the un-illuminated.

Cherry Picks Cases/Well Known Failures – habitually cherry picks cold isolated and prominent old cases which have a high chance of being dormant or dead yet still build celebrity – like debunking psychics (yawn), Jesus on a grilled cheese sandwich, or debunking the Roswell UFO crash, or cases in which the chicanery of the participants has been well vetted prior to his selecting the case. Never stoops to go alongside any real investigators for any sustained period of time on current ongoing investigations.

Views All Others as Divided into Believers & Debunkers– employs these identifiers a lot and never self-checks in the process. Any disagreement serves to bifurcate you into the Believer/Debunker buckets. But he is not a debunker or believer himself – only others have bias. There are never any actual researchers on the other side of the issue.

Gives Anyone Who Disagrees a Comprehensive Pejorative Moniker – in advance of any study, context, question or evidence – enemies of the pseudo-investigator are all given a bucket characterization and broad-sweeping name in advance. ‘Pseudo-archaeologist’ or ‘pseudo-scientist’ titles are ascribed to the bad thinkers (a gigantic grouping of varied thoughts, expertise levels and neutral-to-opposing opinions – very much in contrast to the specific context of one-idea investigator we target here ourselves) before we even know what they are thinking at all. This allows the fake investigator to leverage bifurcation potential energy to boost their celebrity and perceived credibility. Nothing boosts notoriety as much as agreeing with a fanatic gang.

Pollyanna Belief that Teaching Critical Thinking Will Make It All Go Away – teach the scientific method, and critical thinking to those who experience and observe things you do not like – their observations will not go away. Sorry Virginia. Besides, you are not there teaching them science and critical thinking, you are there providing a smoke screen for those who did not observe the phenomena.

Exploits General Public Ignorance of Skepticism – some know genuine skepticism, some debunkers do not. Either way – they spin false, but good sounding one-liners which justify why they should be heralded as authority and their inverse negation assertions be accepted immediately as ‘science’.

1.  Holds Six Canned Solutions in Advance – comes in with a preconceived standard inventory of six canned solutions to any case (Misidentification, Hoax/Being Hoaxed, Delusion, Lie, Accident, Anecdote), often bearing a slogan or phrase for each canned solution, which he claims credit in coining – but remember, he is open-minded and ‘believes’ the witnesses (big eyes roll here). This is much like how a stand up comic performs their act. Always resolves a case as a MiHoDeAL outcome.

2.  Speaks Often of Doubt – never aware that skepticism involves an open mind and bias free investigative work – where, most now understand that ‘doubt’ is a game one plays with one’s self. Doubt is a carrot on a stick which the doubter doubts is there.

3.  Is Able to Explain Everything – a ‘theory’ which explains everything probably explains nothing. Develops the habit of never saying ‘I don’t know’ regarding the critical question at hand. Often quips “I want to learn. Learn exactly what are the explanations for the alleged occurrences that have prompted some obviously irrational belief.” Key note – not learn about the subject, just learn why people were prompted to ‘believe’ despite his preconceived ‘explanations’.

4.  Answer is Always Simple – ‘Occam’s’ Razor and the pencil are the two most pretend used items (aside from the brain). Still recites old Sagan 1970’s versions of Occam’s Razor and cannot seem to fathom the actual scientific version.

5.  Never Fails to Produce the ‘Answer’ – most of science does not immediately produce an answer. But debunker investigations always result in a conclusion (even if they have to force it, Transactional Occam’s Razor Error) – when this habit is a key indicator of bias in science. Eager to infer and mark ‘finished’. Justifies this with the one-liner: “Mysteries are meant to be solved”. Look for a case wherein the sleuth says “I am still working on that one, there are some things which I cannot resolve.” A faker will not have such a circumstance in their inventory.

6.  They Are There ‘to Learn’ – If the science around the issue is so readily apparent and 99.97% resolved, then why do we need investigators? Such investigation cannot possibly involve a legitimate goal entitled: ‘to learn’. Since 4.5 of the 6 canned solution buckets in # 1 above are pejorative towards the experiencers, the only goal which remains involves public humiliation of people, disparagement of the subject and intimidation of new experiencers, researchers or young people observing this ‘skeptic’ charade. The only reason you slip by as not a debunker, is because of sleight-of-hand exploitation of people’s general ignorance about skepticism.


The Investigation

Implies Having Been Invited – implies that the paranormal victim was so perplexed that they did not know where to turn, and invited the nickell plater to come and help them sort things out. The reality is that these guys are seldom invited, and rather get a ‘ehhh… come on in if you want to’ after their insistence on shoving their way into the case as a science-validating or even subject-friendly ‘skeptic’ expert.

Biggest Thrill is in Discrediting People – ‘I love discrediting psychics’ declares a self-titled ‘not a debunker’ fake investigator. Despite claims that they are motivated by curiosity, they seem to get their best jollies when discrediting others – rather than in learning new things. Blind spot in observing this hypocrisy in contention versus action.

Exploits General Public Ignorance of Methods of Science – some know science, some debunkers do not. Either way – they spin non rectum agitur error and praedicate evidentia fallacies on a regular basis, knowing that few can catch them at their game. This is part of the rush of joy which a deceiving debunker obtains from this process.

1.  A Client’s Failure to Describe a Phenomenon to Scientific Standard is Evidence of its Absence – this is a form of Wittgenstein Error which fake investigators exploit. They rely upon the reality that the observer will typically not be versed in the disciplines of scientific observation. This leaves a ready playground of slack inside which the ‘investigator’ can propose all sorts of plausible counter to his advantage. This thrives as well if the investigator fails to assimilate intelligence from such observation sets. Operates under the guise of ‘What is proposed without science, can be dismissed without science.” A statement which is not true, because the qualification which earmarks a study as ‘not science’ can be minor and circumstantial in nature – only affording an excuse for pseudo-scientific activity.

2.  Introduces an Unqualified Conclusion Based Merely upon Plausibility – provides a plausible solution but never outlines any case material, testing mechanism, objective measures nor critical features and how they resolved to support the likelihood of the proposed solution, other than handy statements by witnesses or convenient similarity between feature items.

3.  Considers a Plausible Conclusion to be Scientifically Congruent with a Researched Alternative – most debunkers rarely get this. Their contentions are brought without study, induction or consilience – and they consider this platform to be equal in scientific treatment to a process which is using all these features (although still in process of research). This all changes if the denier is part of the opposition.

4.  Straw Mans or Cherry Picks Incomplete Versions to Debunk – misrepresents what the sponsored alternative is saying. Chooses the easiest version to debunk, most extreme version or variant of sponsor (simulans legatus) and leaves out the version which is most commonly encountered or more reasonable sponsors.

5.  Conflates Observations (Data) as Constituting ‘Claims’ – habitually takes a personal observation, and rather than treating it as data – converts it into a ‘claim’ which must be immediately explained, stand alone and without comprehensive research or intelligence.

6. Fails to Assemble Intelligence nor Observes Necessity – Implies that the case he is working on is the only instance which exists of the phenomena under investigation, which allows for the introduction of the ‘appeal to ignorance’ argument – since inductive science and consilience cannot logically apply to a stand-alone case anecdote. Fails to understand when Ockham’s Razor has been surpassed and a full array of deductive study is warranted, not inductive or abductive.

7.  ‘Claims’ (Data) are Then Resolved as MiHoDeAL – Code phrases often involve ‘They cannot prove that this was not a hoax they fell victim to’ convenience and ‘Seems interested in being a story teller’. Implicit disparagement of witnesses as being liars, delusional, mistaken, hoaxed, when the ‘investigator’ contends that they don’t practice such defamatory activity.

8.  Fails to Distinguish Between a Story and a Probative Anecdote – if I hear a story about a man who did not brush his teeth, and never got any cavities – that is a story-anecdote. If however, I test this principle by avoiding brushing one of the four bridges of my own teeth for a period of 12 years, and that neglected bridge does not exhibit any more cavities than do the other three bridges, then that is a probative-anecdote.  Despite its state of being anecdote, it is of scientific value in establishing plurality, but not proof. Fakers will exploit the convenience of conflating the two epistemic flavors in order to dismiss data they do not like, contending that it does not ‘prove’ the point (proof gaming).

9.  Fails to Structure Actual Theory – a theory  1. bears Wittgenstein definition, 2. is based upon intelligence, not simply data or anecdote, 3. possesses comprehensive historical explanatory strength 4. bears a critical element of measurability, 5. undertakes risk in incremental conjecture, 6. features a testable (or vulnerable to falsification) mechanism, 7. bears predictive power and 8. offers an advisory protocol for replication. Debunkers love to promote ‘theories’ which feature none or few of these traits. Especially theories which present no avenue of falsification. That way, one can ‘investigate’ but never actually research anything, because there is no standard against which measures can be made as to suitability of their conclusions. They can never be held to account, yet are celebrated as ‘scientists’. 

10.  Avoids Multiple Witnesses or Evidence Corroboration – always implies there was only one unqualified witness and stresses their lack of credibility or the unreliability of eyewitness observation.

11.  Goes Only Deep Enough to Confirm – ventures far enough into the material to find ‘facts’ which appear to corroborate one of their six a priori disposition buckets. Avoids any more depth than this exclusively.

12.  Never Encounters a Serendipitous Discovery – the nature of investigative work, and one of its hallmarks when done ethically, is that it produces surprises. For the fake sleuth, there is never a surprise – and if there does exist one, the surprise is only circumstantial and ceremonial in nature. Reality is always complex and full of surprises – never trust anyone who never finds a surprise.

13.  Meticulously Avoids Inductive or Deductive Methodology – the reality is that the pseudo-skeptic always uses abduction to arrive at their conclusions. After all, it is a lot less work to issue prescribed answers – and pseudo-sleuths are usually old tired curmudgeons anyway.  And the work they do perform, can be invested into building valuable celebrity status instead. Notice that they never aggregate for consilience under inductive methodology (never build an analytical database), nor will they go through a process of deduction (never use falsification because plausibility is rendered vulnerable by falsification). Key hints into their scientific ability.

14.  Reduces Neither Data nor Hypothesis – data always remains in the raw, single instance, non-intelligence form. It is never assimilated or reviewed en masse. Conclusions often hinge on one item, or one phrase which conveniently opens the door for their pre-favored and remotely plausible explanation. Throws around terms like “a preponderance of the evidence” or “clear and compelling evidence” without qualification; when no hypothesis set was ever identified in the first place, or very little or a biased set of evidence has been gathered in reality.

15.  Makes the False Claim that Science Holds an Opinion on the ‘Paranormal’ – makes the claim that science has studied a whole host of phenomena (which they call psuedoscience), and has come to a specific conclusion on those subjects, upon which the pseudo-skeptic sleuth is here to enlighten all. Never grasps that – tendering conclusions inside of a topic not studied by science, is – a religious practice. Science has not studied God, the Afterlife, Ghosts, Bigfoot, UFO’s for the most part – so a conclusion to the pro nor con can be tendered about such things. Beware of those who pretense objectivity, yet consistently condemn anyone who considers or researches fringe subjects.

16. Doubtcasting – a form of rhetorical critique in which a person casts inexpert doubt upon every facet of an opponent’s argument, while adding no value themself in the process – nor offering up their own ideas to the risk of critique. Raising doubt to perpetuate ignorance. A combative method of arguing without tendering the appearance of doing so, in the case where an agent is not interested in anything other than maligning their opponent or appearing to win an argument.

17. Goal is Social Praise and Not Understanding – their ultimate objective is to force a mysterious circumstance to fit their religious compliance model. The view of the world which they were handed during a period of psychological damage. All people now must conform to this obsession they adopted at a tender age. This leaves them a sucker for praise, so much so that it occludes their desire to know the truth.

Implies Researchers Never Self-Critique – implies that researchers are typically credulous bumpkins who fail to examine their own processes, disciplines and assumptions. Pretends that sponsoring researchers are all ‘believers’ and have never heard of skepticism, much less applied it. Only the debunker is the hero arriving on the scene caped in science, method and truth.

Listens Only for What They Want to Hear – only listens in order to pick up evidence for their pre-formed conclusion, and hype-lines which might work well as a sound byte. Waits for one key phrase like “I wasn’t sure what I saw at first”; as if a Rubik’s Cube pattern solver, and retorts, “Now see, there you go…”. Whereupon he rambles into a canned solution – the observer is never heard from again in order to disagree.

Collects Mostly Semi-relevant Data – as a busy-work appearance and under the chance that he might find something useful for a sound bite, collects a wealth of data which does not pertain to the critical question at hand; preferring to focus instead inside the circumstantial realm.

Eschews Internet – prejudice against the free flow of information as being damaging to ideas which need to be preserved. Likes to disparage individual research as ‘Google University’, as if the public having access to information undermines their ability to be authority on a subject or the smartest person in the room.

Lie Detector Test Hypocricy – accepts the results of a lie detector test if it supports their idea, or flags the instance where a person declines a lie detector test. Then calls it an unreliable form of evidence if such does not fit their narrative. Habitually forgets that they assumed the former when concluding the latter.

Declares ‘Unlikely’ While Lacking Statistics to Establish Any Probability Basis – ‘this is very very unlikely’ when they do not have a clue as to what the probability distribution for the event is in the first place. This is tantamount to ‘I don’t like this answer’ in epistemological credence terms.

Sculpts the Data – fails to mention data which supports the sponsored theory. Ignores data which falsifies the solution they had canned from the start.

Completely Truthful on Incomplete Version of Truth – presents only the portions of facts he was able to collect which support the narrative favored by his sponsors. Never once addresses counter-explanations.


The Follow Up

Immediately Takes to Air Waves – immediately promotes in push media, talks shows, publications and the web, the solution he found. A campaign which dwarfs the original news about the subject in the first place.

Up-Titles Their Work – calls their hack job article an ‘investigation’ or ‘investigative brief’, when such obdurate and polemic junk constitutes nothing but opinion blog articles, executed in 15 minutes on a basement computer before heading up for dinner.

Times Case Flurries with New Book Releases – suddenly appears to have resolved longstanding (like Jack the Ripper) or highly visible (Roswell UFO debunking) cases of ‘skepticism’ just in time for a new book which is about to be published. Books are usually very lightweight and propagandish in nature. A songsheet for the choir, so that they can pocket some coin off the paranormal as needed.

“Inconclusive” is a Conclusion – the fake sleuth is desperate to issue a conclusion and obtain club credit for having reached it. Their goal is to stamp the observation (what they incorrectly call a ‘claim’) with the word ‘Debunked’. However, they also know that most neutral parties have this trick figured out now. So they prematurely reach a conclusion which appears to be skeptically neutral, but tenders the same desired result: Inconclusive. It is like declaring two opponents in a field game to be of equal team strength through a tie, 0 to 0 – by means of simply turning on the scoreboard and walking off the field after 15 seconds of play. By means of an inconclusive status, the observation can be neutralized and tossed upon a ‘never have to examine this again’ heap. Defacto, this is the same as ‘debunked’. It is a trick, wherein, the fake skeptics takes on the appearance of true skeptical epoché, while still condemning an observation or subject, wherein it is nothing of the sort.

Cites Sponsor Researchers Did Not Use Science – habitually cites that the sponsoring researchers did not follow the scientific method, but can never seem to explain what it was that they erred in, nor help the sponsors with a recommendation of benefit, nor spend any time alongside researchers helping them craft theory or develop sound methodology. All this running in extreme contrast with their expressed ethic of ‘I really want this to be true’.

Feigns Objectivity/Tenders False Praise – knowing that they must appear to be objective and not appear to be a debunker, they will couch their insults inside praise statements, such as ‘They had a really cool setup, detectors and machines everywhere, gadgets and the like. The problem was it was all pseudoscience’ or ‘I really liked her sincerity, she could spin a really entertaining yarn. And you know, I think she really believed that this happened’.

Over Reliance on Mocking and Cajoling – a sincere scientist or researcher does not apply such bias imbuing sales techniques. Humor is acceptable, but these types of con artists use the reward of flattery and the specter being regarded as delusional, as manipulation tactics.

Focuses on the Young – under the false assumption that people only see weird things because they are ‘trained’ to see them – this type of investigator sincerely believes that you can train people to not see things they do not want to have seen.

Never Follows Up – Job done, he never returns to the site to hear ‘client’, witness or other investigator objections or counter-evidence. Issues the correct solution and walks away, washing hands.

Eschews Dialectic & Peer Review – fails to obtain peer review from other or competing researchers or persons holding actual knowledge of the case. Relies upon the probability that most people will not be able to catch what he has done.

Obsesses Over Critics and Criticism – mentions any noteworthy critics over and over and over and how they pose them in the wrong light or don’t understand/straw man.

Implies Client Acquiescence – implies that the simpleton and credulous witnesses were overpowered by his critical thinking and begrudgingly accepted it as probable. Job done, he returned to his lab with conclusive samples in hand.

Is Always Wearing the Persona/Never Genuine or Reflective – always seems to be wearing the veneer of a skeptic, or some other costume which hides who they genuinely are. Lacks any sense of wonder, except for feigned wonder because they know that they should bear a sense of wonder ethically.

Anyone Who Disagrees is a Screaming Believer – of course. They have to be right? What happened to the objective open mindedness?

Anyone Who Disagrees is the Real Debunker – suddenly, to disagree with a claim means you are accusing someone of lying. Applies here, but not in the fake skeptic’s case. ‘Trick of the mind’ is not debunking when they use it, but IS debunking when the opposition uses it. Hypocrisy.

Sleuth-Fantasizes/Poses – speaks often of Sherlock Holmes quotes, or likes to surround himself with the clutter reminiscent of a Hollywood portrayal of a 30’s private eye.

Utilizes ‘Peer Review’ Only from Debunker Clubs – the very debunkers he disassociated himself with, he immediately targets for peer evaluation, publication and accolades. Epistemic and personal scientific fraud. Never asks for contrasting input from a seasoned expert or lifelong researcher who is highly regarded, to assist with peer review. Only seeks reviewers who will immediately agree without examination, to the conclusion he has foisted. This is scientific fraud.

Believes in the Effectiveness of Club Quality – falls for the pseudoscientific perception that clubs can delivery quality in scientific methods.

Receives Debunker Accolades/Compensation – the very groups he decries in Precis step 1. are the very ones to hail and craft his celebrity & most importantly, pay his paycheck.


The cycle being complete, the very people he denies being part of, end up compensating him. The sponsors are now happy. These are the hallmarks of the person who has been hired to take the reigns of work which used to be filled by the malicious debunker. Ethical skeptic, don’t fall for it. Not in the least. Keep your ears, eyes, awareness and mind truly open. This world is a lot stranger than our control freaks will allow us to understand. But just as happened in the days of the debunkers, the public mind is changing fast. Social Skeptics are losing the battle for the American mind.

The Ethical Skeptic, “Pseudo-Skepticism: The New Debunker” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 31 Jul 2017, Web;

Denial and Pseudo-Skepticism are Not the Same Thing

Pseudo-skepticism is the form of cynicism wherein a power holding group tampers with methods and science, media and social pressure mechanisms inside a domain of large unknown – in order to craft and enforce on the public, a null hypothesis or conclusion narrative, that might at best be accidentally correct. This is completely distinct from the process of denial. Suspension in denial may be existentially incorrect, but it at least stems in its originality from proper method and does not enforce a particular small-unknown domain conclusion narrative. The distinguishing difference is this: An ethical scientist might be a denialist at times, but an ethical scientist can never be a pseudo-skeptic.

I recently had a discussion on Twitter with a gentleman (and separately a brief dispute with a posing pseudo-intellectual who seemed more focused on me than this topic) about the distinguishing earmarks which separate stances of denial from the methods of pseudo-skepticism. The contention is often made inside social skepticism, that the denial of Anthropogenic Global Warming, constitutes ‘pseudo-skepticism’. This because those who oppose AGW claim to be using skepticism to support their uncertainty over that consensus conclusion. The purpose of this charade in tampering with otherwise well fitted definitions of pseudo-skepticism and denial, is to provide a misdirection with respect to understanding the actions of social skeptics on other issues (true pseudo-skepticism). Social Skeptics enjoy enormously the opportunity to misinform the public through the ridicule that can be generated over highly contentious and visible issues just such as climate change. Denialists may even borrow some of the errant methods taught by social skeptics in their desperation to keep an issue open. But just as vigilantes and police might appear to at times share methods, they are not the same thing at all. (Please note that I am an AGW advocate, I just maintain questions surrounding some of the consensus alternatives which were, or were not, researched in our process of deduction therein. Nor do I extrapolate the science into contentions that evil working Americans or Republicans are therefore worthy of violent opposition and disdain)

Denial is simply dogmatic allegiance to a refusal to accept a consensus based conclusion of science or groups claiming to represent science (dogmatic dissent). And while denial does involve avoiding selection of an alternative or promotion of the null hypothesis as a Verdrängung Mechanism, it really has nothing to do with one being ‘open minded’ – and may indeed be based cruxially upon a closed mindset. It does not mean that one is using skepticism incorrectly necessarily – rather that their dissent has ossified into a condition of dogmatic cynicism – and not that any particular feature of their skepticism is necessarily wrong. There is never a condition of skepticism wherein one just throws up their hands at any kind of questioning, basking in the bliss of the ‘right answer’ – as attractive a surrender as this might appear to the political agenda laden, weary or snowflake heart.

Skepticism itself does not mean that I must accept specific answers, it simply means that I defend the methods of science, even in the face of popular votes – and withhold disposition until a critical nexus is reached. A skeptic can simply be contending that this nexus has not yet been reached – and even disagree with inadequately supported claims to consensus. One can do this however, and still ossify into the cynical specter of denial.  In contrast, and as exhibited in the chart above (click to expand), pseudo-skepticism is the form of cynicism wherein a power wielding group tampers with methods and science, associations, media and social pressure mechanisms in order to create and enforce on the public, a false null hypothesis or conclusion narrative. This is completely distinct from the process of denial. Denial may be existentially wrong – yet still have stemmed from proper science methods originally. Pseudo-skepticism is agenda laden methodical doubt – used to identify the bad guys who don’t accept the right answer – and is only existentially correct in its conclusion by accident. Denial does not enforce any particular conclusion, only pseudo-skepticism does this.

A chief tactic of social skepticism is to blur the distinct integrity of words which might be useful in describing and communicating the methods of masquerade they employ.

A Contrast: Example of Pseudo-Skepticism

Of course, enormous uncertainty surrounds the fate of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan during the terminal leg of their journey around the world. On the team’s fateful July 2nd 1937 trip, their radio signal was picked up by a number of surrounding radio stations (Oahu, Midway, Howland and Wake islands). Despite Noonan having been trained in what is called Dead Reckoning and Radio Direction Finding navigation, they were unable to utilize the bearing of the radio direction signal from the on-station Coast Guard Cutter Itasca, in order to develop a track from their DR (navigation slang for a ‘Dead Reckoning track’ – an assumed-correct course based upon speed, bearing and time – an inductive extrapolation used frequently in navigation – I have over 7,000 practice hours in this method of navigation). A track which would lead them to a visual confirmation of Howland Island, their destination. Itasca had detected Earhart and Noonan right on the correct bearing for termination of the DR phase of their navigation plot. Yet, despite having the Itasca’s axial measurement on their RDF radio, Earhart and Noonan never showed up for the scheduled landing. A very odd occurrence given that four of five navigational variables (Howland axis, distance, speed, time) had been solved for, and only one uncertain variable remained – axial distance to Howland Island.

When you are a skeptic, who is misapplying skepticism and fail to realize that you don’t understand critical elements of dead reckoning navigation or how radio direction finding antennas work, you might assemble grand logical conjectures which are erroneous in attempting to provide a ‘simple’ explanation to this mystery (note: this is not an instance of Dunning-Kruger Error because neither celebrity skeptic communicator, Michael Shermer nor Brian Dunning are ‘peers’ to any dead reckoning navigators as a discipline group – this is simply an instance of failed skepticism, pseudo-skepticism – and great example at that). Moreover, if the club picks up your ‘rationality’ and hails it as a championing issue, then that error becomes dogmatic – ossifying, from methodical doubt in the handling of Ockham’s Razor sufficient alternatives, into the a priori bias of pseudo-skepticism. For example, in his June 22nd blog, Brian Dunning inexpertly applies apparent common sense to the issue – a grave mistake when used in lieu of actual investigative skepticism:

Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan had followed Itasca’s radio direction finding signal to get there. The water there is very deep, and it’s unlikely that much survives of the plane to ever be found. There’s never been any mystery surrounding her loss at sea.

For some reason, [TIGHAR’s] Gillespie thinks they flew instead to an island called Nikumaroro, a full ten degrees off the course they are known to have followed, and which their fuel onboard made it physically impossible to reach.1

The astute ethical skeptic will notice primarily that Dunning here is overconfident in his promotion of the single, popular, Occam’s (sic) Razor, conforming and simple Verdrängung Mechanism solution. The argument is over and no further research needs to be done as “There’s never been any mystery surrounding [their] loss at sea.” Well, as it turns out, this entire contention set is incorrect. It is pseudo-skepticism. It may make sense for the general public (the vulnerable of pseudo-skepticism) to consume the idea that a tenacious pilot and experienced navigator just flew mindlessly until they ran out of fuel, but it does not make sense to a seasoned investigator (skeptic).

Pseudo-skeptics package material for general consumption. Their goal is not truth; rather, influence.

First, Noonan followed Itasca’s radio direction AXIS, not bearing (as Dunning implies), and there is a difference which a skilled dead reckoning and RDF navigator knows, a skeptic might ascertain, but a pseudo-skeptic will never know (and more importantly, never get the feedback that their skeptical method was wrong). The ‘Loop’ or axial antenna is shown mounted on top of Earhart’s Lockheed Electra in the photo to the right.2 What this type of direction finding device gives is a two-bearing axis, not a single bearing direction.3 So the information Fred Noonan would have possessed was ‘Howland Island is either 350 degrees true from us, or 170 degrees true from us’ (see map above, upon termination of the dead reckoning phase of navigation). Their next step would be to fly one of the axis bearings to see if the signal faded or strengthened. The problem is that they were using very low HF (today’s frequency standards) frequencies, of which the signal propagation will dance around and chaotically strengthen and diminish no matter where you are. I once encountered a circumstance in my communications radio operator days where a 3MHz signal just like they used here, was totally clear from Diego Garcia, 1500 nautical miles away, yet I could not hear another transmitter on that same frequency band which was just 100 nautical miles from me.  This is the way radio frequency HF direction finding works. It bears enormous risk in its interpretation.

In addition, there was no ‘there’ to be gotten to in the first place. The navigation plot was ending its DR phase (an inductive conjecture) and transitioning to a radio directed phase (a deductive measure). This transition occurs at only a theoretical ‘there’. This is why a fix (the yellow circle with a dot inside it, on the chart above) is symbolized by a full circle, and carries more confidence than does a DR (in tomato) which is symbolized by a half circle. These symbols imply confidence on the datum.

Would not such symbology help in matters of science, to distinguish conclusions of induction and abduction pushed by pseudo-skeptics, as distinct from conclusions of deduction on a Query Oriented Normalization schema? But, we learn in pseudo-skepticism that the duty of skeptics is to defend questionable inductive answers (DR half circles) as science and never look again. The DR-science is finished. So…

Second, yes all the water was deep everywhere and no, it is not ‘unlikely’ – rather prohibitive, that any wreckage of the plane survives to this day, had they ditched in open ocean as he suggests.

Pseudo-skeptics rely upon how clever a phrase sounds, rather than its probative value. They will rarely catch a circumstance wherein we have stacked deductive methods on top of inductive conclusions. This is not a sound process – despite its looking ‘sciencey’ through its equipment and analytical tools. It is as dangerous socially for mankind every bit as much as it was navigationally for Noonan and Earhart.

Third, they did not follow a ‘known’ course as Dunning describes it, as Earhart and Noonan did not find the course confirming islands they had hoped for.4 A DR is not a ‘known’ course and speed, it is rather just as in the case of ‘there’ above, an assumption. If the prevailing winds were 10 knots south rather than the 1937 era forecast 3 knots north, then that would impart a 50 nautical mile error into the ‘known & there’. This is called a ‘tail condition’ in arrival distribution science – a less common scenario, but all too possible and real. The purpose of navigation is to use discipline methods to mitigate the risk of this assumption aspect of navigation and any tail condition circumstances.5

Pseduo-skeptics habitually fail to assess risk, tail variance and significance, as well as the impact of human behavior on social systems inside objective scenarios or their own construct analysis.

Fourth, Nikumaroro is EXACTLY ON, Noonan’s RDF search axis with Howland Island, a natural island to find once one has terminated their DR, and begun an uncertain axis search (again, something a pseudo-skeptic would never know).6

Pseudo-skeptics will tamper with terminology, using large footprint equivocal words, altering the meaning of probative terms in order to emasculate them, and switching critical words so as to reduce their expository value – like here, employing ‘bearing’ in lieu of ‘axis’. They are fully aware that 97% of the population, none of their cronies, nor scientists will catch the significance of the shell game.

Fifth, as you can see on the per hoc aditum scenario chart above, if Earhart and Noonan did not have the fuel to reach Nikumaroro, then they did not have the fuel to reach Howland Island, their destination either; unless the wind was just right (emphasis here). I seriously doubt that an experienced global pilot like Earhart would have taken off without enough fuel to cover for unexpected normal circumstance wind set and drift (such as 13 knots to the north or south).

This habit of crafting apparently solid debunkings, which rely upon clever sounding one-liners, in lieu of real understanding – this is a habit of pseudo-skepticism. Once you apply short cut one-liners in one discipline, you will do them in all (see Margold’s Law). The call here is to hold epoché, not craft appeal to authority solutions without real evidence.

Finally, their fuel would have run out EXACTLY about the time of spotting Nikumaroro island, based on the theoretical DR/RDF axis search, which is the standard practice of RDF/DR navigators. They had enough fuel to take the above track and even circle the island to see where they might land; as a reasonably conservative pilot will choose a deserted island beach over a chance of an open sea landing, any day, any time. If they are in trouble, they will land in a place where survival is enhanced and not chance a total loss in trying to find something better. Earhart did not have to be ‘ten degrees off course’ as Dunning inexpertly opines, because the “off course” variation he assumes is explained by the very RDF axis search Fred Noonan was trained to execute (in yellow in the image above).

A pseudo-skeptic will fail to see the non-linear dynamic outcomes of which a system is capable. Solutions are therefore easy, common sense founded upon induction – and become  prescriptive through Lindy Effect from that point onward – most fully unaware of the thin ice upon which their grand cosmologies stand.

Not to mention of course that the final radio direction finding fix of the aggregate of all the RDB reports from the surrounding islands (see on the chart above, the grey bearings reported by Itasca, Oahu, Midway, Howland and Wake islands – collectively support an aggregate fix at the position of the yellow circle fix), much more solidly than does ‘simplest explanation’ skepticism, places Earhart and Noonan about 50 nautical miles north of a nearest proximity island, right on the Howland search axis …Nikumaroro.

What distinguishes fake skepticism, just like fake news, from the real thing – is not the facts you bring to bear; but rather the facts you choose to leave out.

Note as well, that if I use only the radio direction bearings of the two closest radio stations (Itasca and Midway), then I get a two-shot fix right on top of Nikumaroro island. This should have been one of the first places to examine. Never underestimate the impact of the human desire to survive and skilled pilot ingenuity on ‘simplest answer’ alternative hierarchies.

The problem with social skepticism is not that individuals abuse skepticism to prematurely arrive at a personal wrong conclusion. The problem does not reside in simply being wrong. With social skepticism the entire scientific and public community at large, intimidated by simple linear approved thought, arrive at and permanently affix these errant conclusions. We take Dead Reckoning style induction or abduction – and falsely regard it as proved science. Then we stack such conclusions upon each other into grand assemblies of Dead Reckoning tracks – ignorant of the error we have imparted and multiplied (see Contrasting Deontological Intelligence with Cultivated Ignorance).

It does not matter that these individuals are rational and can eventually at a later time, be brought to understand what really happened inside such mysteries. What matters is that they over-confidently estimate their ability to spot and define ‘likelihood’ – and failing to evaluate that risk, compound it by releasing such conclusions as ‘rational’, ‘factual’ and science-based – simply because they think they used skepticism.

Update 7 March 2018:  Scientists 99% sure that remains found on Nikumaroro Island are those of Amelia Earhart 

They would have circled and landed, only minutes after these transmission bearing measurements, as a precautionary measure. Observe the graphic I assembled above which reflects these final RDF bearings, and note where their weighted three-shot fix resides.7 A very compelling theory – and this is how science actually works. Why did Brian Dunning not do this same research? Because he was applying pseudo-skepticism (see Steven Novella’s definition). He selected for one imperious and what he thought to be, likely correct answer, to be enforced by bad method – upon us all. My citing that his biased selection of one answer, constitutes wrong method, does not serve to make me therefore a ‘denier’ – even if 97% of his cohorts support the single answer. [Note: Brian Dunning appears to be a pretty cool and smart dude, so nothing in this example is intended to amount to any personal disparagement in any way. That includes Michael Shermer as well. I actually really do like these guys.]

Pseudo-skeptics employ derision or humor, not just to motivate deniers to accede to scientific gravitas, they mostly employ humor to block critical alternatives and prohibit deductive science, because of its distinct probative & epistemic value. They do not care what is truth – they care what you believe is truth. Often the developers of pseudo-skeptic propaganda (like the above fake science tweet from a paid hashtag stuffer – someone employed to squelch disdained ideas) are hired and compensated to play such a role. Deniers typically, not always, but typically rely upon conscience.

Knee-jerk dismissing this compelling theory as a viable and testable alternative, in favor of ceasing science and adopting a simple or socially preferred/conforming explanation, ‘they crashed into the sea’ – this is pseudo-skepticism. You will see it play over and over inside society – it is not the same as denialism.

Denialism is probably being wrong; pseudo-skepticism is being not even wrong.

Dismissal of a very compelling alternative theory – one which is supported to a great degree by the intelligence, one which is rational, one which is highly plausible by expert method, one which bears mechanism and can be tested (not that an ethical skeptic assumes it as a priori correct); dismissing this in advance of sufficient knowledge horizon development or testing is …pseudo-skepticism. It is pseudo-science. More specifically, what have Shermer and Dunning done here? In specific regard to pseudo-skepticism their contentions feature a degree of Methodical Pathology combined with a knee-jerk compulsion to enforce conformity. That is, they have ossified from dissent to cynicism. Specifically many pseudo-skeptics practice the following:

Hints that one might be a pseudo-skeptic (wrong methods and only accidentally correct)

  • A pseudo-skeptic rarely understands an opposing alternative, they socially – just don’t care about soundness or logical calculus
  • Has bought into one single answer
  • Promotes conjecture and conformance inside a subject with a large horizon of unknown
  • Chooses a ceremonial issue
  • Focuses on issues which bear no productive achievement potential with respect to love, an increase in usable knowledge, or the alleviation of suffering
  • Uses non-expert skeptics, as communicators – instead of investigative reporters
  • Decides the likelihood of ideas before the preponderance of compelling theory has been researched
  • Targets groups or legitimate researchers bearing ideas they do not like, as the bad guys (TIGHAR in this case) – polarizing and corrupting the issue a priori
  • Employs hearsay, common and ‘friendly sounding’ information as the principal elements to communicate
  • Enforces a popular standing belief as the ‘simplest explanation’
  • Chooses an issue which will incite their faithful with interest
  • Selects a position which can be perceived as being the ‘rational’ approach
  • Selects a position or issue which will tender them attention
  • Chooses a topic which contains enough unknown such that bias is hard to discern or be held to account for
  • Selects an issue where Nickell Plating (doing sciencey-looking things to appear skepticky) is practicable
  • Chooses an issue where to conform to the standing explanation can be used to show why those who oppose you are ‘irrational’
  • Stands in a position to block the investigation of compelling alternatives or intelligence
  • Assigns a null hypothesis which has been assigned without merit (See The Five Types of Null Hypothesis Error)
  • Never held epoché to begin with
  • Accepts entire bundles of scientific ideas based upon what political side they appear to reinforce
  • Employs false methods of science (often with real true facts) in order to petition for cessation of further investigative activity
  • A pseudo-skeptic considers violence or legal action as a possibility at hand in the enforcement of their conclusions
  • Can never be an ethical scientist
  • Employs false science method – pseudoscience

A Contrast: Example of Denial

AGW opponents, contrary to the shtick of social skeptics who promote anthropogenic global warming social agendas, might actually use skepticism.  They might be wrong, they might reside in a state of dogged denial – but those existential circumstances do not serve to relegate their skepticism to status as pseudo-skepticism, simply because they disagree. A denialist just simply might not be willing to accept the consensus alternative. An ethical scientist might be a denialist, but an ethical scientist can never be a psuedo-skeptic. More specifically for this example, a denialist ‘denies’ that the null below has been correctly assigned; and denies further that all of the alternatives below have been falsified through ample research and processes of deductive consilience:

Null – Carbon dioxide (and methane in ‘carbon equivalents’) in the atmosphere, introduced by human activity and increasing from from 280 parts per million in the 19th century to more than 400 today, much more than any other greenhouse or warming factor, is the primary contributor to climate change since 18508

Alternatives –

1.  Cyclical changes in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), on increase since 1850, is the major contributor

2.  A cyclical shift in Solar Spectral Index (SSI), towards more release of water-vapor-absorptive infrared irradiance by the sun, has occurred since 1850 and is the major contributor

3.  Primary Earth orbital dynamics (obliquity, eccentricity and axis precession), as recorded in the Milankovitch Cycles, are at least partial and not fully understood contributors

4.  Cyclical changes to the Earth’s core nuclear reactor and structural/mantle dynamics (as measurable by geoneutrinos and as observed historically in the Schumann Resonance/Earth temperature record) have served to heat the oceans from the bottom up in the Pacific Rim of Fire and equatorial thermal regions (El Niño and La Niña), and consequently the pole ice from the bottom up, and atmosphere since 18509 10 11 12 13

5.  Deforestation and/or loss of reflectiveness/ocean/ice absorption has been the primary contributor to climate change since 1850

6.  Natural processes of water vapor, carbon and methane atmospheric release, in combination with and as precipitated resulting from the Null, or 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5 or any combination thereof, explain the majority of temp increases since 1850

7.  Carbon, methane and water vapor are all released as a natural sympathetic outcome of climate change, and are not primarily contributed by man – nor the principal cause, rather only a correlation with some other causal condition

Note of Clarity – A denialist denies that the Null has been chosen by valid rational or empirical processes nor that it should be rationally selected for consensus. A pseudo-skeptic denies that the alternatives are even science, or insists that they should never have been seriously investigated to begin with, or merit zero investigation now.

For me personally, I hold the Precautionary Principle as one contributor to the reason I favor taking action based upon the Null Hypothesis in the matter of climate change – and complimentarily because I have read all the material I could find on alternatives 1 – 7, and found nothing compelling enough to be considered as a falsification of the Null. Alternative 4 is interesting, but only interesting so far. I wish we had more study on it. In so far as our temperature models are now outrunning our carbon curves (see graphic I assembled at right which includes the 2017 Mauna Loa data), then we need to keep a skeptical eye on our own conclusions, in order to avoid falling into pseudo-skepticism. Denial in contrast involves ignoring climate change warnings: greenhouse gasses, and carbon dioxide in particular, are not simply a ‘correlation’ with global temperature increases, rather a fingerprint signal. A distinction point which not only denialists, but fake skeptics as well tend to misunderstand (as in the case of autism contributors for example).

I maintain skepticism around the issue and bear some concern that we have not fully investigated the contribution from all alternatives 1 – 7. But like most scientists, hold the need for precaution and the current inductive data – as bearing more concerning gravitas. Should I encounter data which develops a compelling case for Alternative 4 and 6 for instance – that does not immediately serve to make me a denialist.  If however I am protecting the null hypothesis and begin to wage a campaign to have science ignore Alternative 4, then I am indeed a pseudo-skeptic. Do you see the game they are playing with our language in order to obscure this clarification on behalf of the general public (see Wittgenstein Error and Its Faithful Participants)?

These are the kind of games for which an ethical skeptic must be ever vigilant.

Take a hint folks, fake skeptics do not hold the reasoned position I just outlined above. They are correct – but only by accident. Moreover, they employ such correctness to enact goals which have nothing really to do with the science – rather someone they hate. I respect a researching denier much more, for this simple reason. But Let’s be clear here too folks – each of these alternatives listed above are actual scientific alternatives and their investigation is done with actual science methods. In contrast, pseudo-skepticism relies upon false methods. This makes it not science. The rightness or wrongness of the conclusion has nothing to do with it. A denialist, in contrast may practice the following:

Hints that one might be a denialist (right original methods yet may be doggedly incorrect)

  • A denialist understands the alternative they are denying, as well or better than do its proponents – they disagree on its soundness
  • Has not bought into one single answer
  • Withholds conjecture and consent inside an issue of a small horizon unknown
  • Does not choose an issue, but may have it thrust upon them
  • Focuses on issues of productive achievement potential with respect to love, an increase in usable knowledge, or the alleviation of suffering
  • Uses experts who focus on the salient evidence, eschewing ‘communicators’
  • Resists a priori definitions of likelihood
  • Doesn’t target anyone – just simply disagree with either soundness or logical calculus
  • Sometimes employs hearsay, common and ‘friendly sounding’ information as the principal elements of support only
  • Does not choose a ‘simplest explanation’ – cognizant that things may be more complex than we understand
  • Does not have a faithful following
  • Does not conflate rationality with conformance
  • Does not seek attention
  • Cites and alerts the community to bias – not a specific conclusion
  • Never pretends to be or represent science, just simply skepticism
  • Does not argue ‘rationality’ and ‘irrationality’ – rather corruption and conclusiveness
  • Does not block research of any alternatives – even the one they question
  • Dissents as to the null hypothesis assigned, but may refuse to assign one as well
  • Has held epoché past its utility
  • May resist a whole set of scientific ideas they perceive to be politically motivated
  • Employs real methods of science (sometimes with errant data or assumptions) to encourage more scientific research
  • A denialist rarely or ever considers violence or legal action as an at-hand solution to their debate
  • Might be simply a mistaken ethical scientist
  • Employs science – just errs in conclusion, soundness or logical calculus

Behind the Conflation of the Two Terms

Pseudo-skepticism is an entirely distinct malicious and errant method and is not a set of errant conclusions, per se. False skeptics do not get this. They believe the notion that

The ends justifies the means, the answer justifies the methodology of arriving at the answer.

Vigilantes and Police Forces both take people into custody at gunpoint, and sometimes kill people. They both have headquarter offices, but this does not make them the same thing at all. In similar fashion, just because a denialist might use some of the tactics of social skeptics and pseudo-skeptics at times (after all this is what celebrity skeptics have been teaching the public since 1972), does not serve as a basis to identify them as pseudo-skeptics. Social skeptics will employ the use of traits common to both terminology domains, those traits in the undistributed middle, to provide a basis for conflating and confusing the terms ‘denial’ and ‘pseudo-skepticism’.  They do so, for reasoned purpose: to blur the distinct integrity of words which might be useful in describing and communicating the methods of masquerade they employ.

Characterization by the Undistributed Middle

/philosophy : formal fallacy : fallacy of composition/ : a rhetorical blending of fallacy of composition and affirmation of the consequent, wherein traits shared between two distinct groups are used to underpin the claim that the two groups are indeed identical or falsely that a person in one group actually belongs in the other group. Usually a form of rhetosophy, used to support an agenda, in its conflation. All pseudo scientists promote un-vetted data, the proponent of this argument promoted un-vetted data, therefore the promoter of this argument is a pseudo scientist.

Being right all the time, is not the goal of an ethical skeptic. Investment in such ego and fear assets – introduces bias into the deliberative processes we undertake. I would rather be a mistaken denialist, who pressed their epoché just a little bit more than they should – than a mindless, bad methods, unethical pseudo-skeptic any day.

The Ethical Skeptic, “Denial and Pseudo-Skepticism are Not the Same Thing” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 9 Jul 2017, Web;