The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Pseudo-Skepticism, Institutional Propaganda and Cultivated Ignorance

Diagnostic Habituation Error and Spotting Those Who Fall Its Prey

Diagnostic methods do not lend themselves to discovery goals; only to conclusions. The wise skeptic understands the difference in mindset of either approach, its value in application, and can spot those who fall prey to diagnostic habituation; hell bent on telling the world what is and what is not true.
Linear diagnostic thinkers tend to regard that one must ‘believe’ in or have scientific proof of their idea prior to conducting any research on it in the first place. They will not state this, however – watch carefully their illustration of applied scientific methodology. A bias towards prescriptive conclusions, obsession over beliefs, enemies and wanting proof as the first step of the scientific method will eventually broach in their worn out examples of poorly researched 1972 Skeptic’s Handbook bunk exposé.
When Lab Coats Serve to Deceive Self
There's no such thing as...

Nickell plating is the method of twisted thinking wherein one adorns lab coats and the highly visible implements of science in order to personally foist a display of often questionable empirical rigor. In a similar fashion, lab coats can also be used to deceive self, if one does not “live the examined life” as cited in the Socratic Apology 38a path context. Diagnostic Habituation Error is a very common judgement error in scientific methodology, often committed by professionals who work in very closed set domains, realms which involve a high degree of linear thinking, or matching of observation (or symptom) to prescriptive conclusion. The medical field is one such discipline set inside of which many professionals become blinded by protocols to such an extent that they fail to discern the more complex and asymmetrical demands of science in other disciplines.

For instance, medical diagnosticians use a term called a SmartPhrase in order to quickly communicate and classify a patient medical record entry for action or network flagging. A SmartPhrase is an a priori diagnostic option, a selection from cladistic clinical language, used in patient Electronic Health Record (EHR) documentation. While its intent was originally to compress and denote frequently used language, it has emerged as a defacto diagnostic option set as well. Wittgenstein would be nodding his aged head to this natural evolution. The nomenclature and diagnostic option set afforded makes life immersed inside Electronic Health Records easier for physicians. It makes science easier – but comes at a cost as well. A cost which the diagnostician must constantly bear in mind.

Not all sciences are like diagnostic medicine and astronomy. Most are vastly more complex in their deontologically reductive landscape. Diagnostician’s Error – is the failure to grasp this.

It would not constitute a far stretch of the imagination to understand why a clinical neurologist might not understand the research complexity or sequencing entailed in scientifically identifying a new species, assessing the impact of commodities on economics and poverty or the discovery of a new material phase state.  Despite their scientific training, they will habitually conclude that no such new species/state exists, because the traps we set for them are empty, our observations must have come from flawed observational memory, or that the textbook doctrine on ‘supply and demand’/’elastic and inelastic’ demand curves apply to our situation. Diagnostics in the end, do not lend themselves to discovery.  This is why it is all to common to observe clinical diagnosticians in Social Skeptic roles, denying the existence of this or that or pooh-poohing the latest efforts to use integrative medicine on the part of the public. These ‘skeptics’ comprehend only an abbreviated and one dimensional, linear version of the scientific method; if they apply any at all. In diagnostics, and in particular inside of medicine, the following compromises to the scientific method exist: (diagnostic and clinical medicine and not medical research):

  • symptom eventually equals previously known resolution
  • only the ‘most likely’ or ‘most risk bearing’ alternatives need be tested
  • very little need for discovery research
  • absence of evidence always equals evidence of absence
  • only lab experimental testing is valid
  • single parameter measure judgements are employed with abandon
  • the first question asked is an experiment, little advance thought is required
  • the first question presumes an whole domain of familiar ‘known’
  • the intelligence research has already been completed by others – and is assumed comprehensive
  • necessity observation is done by the patient (but is discounted in favor of experiment)
  • Ockham’s Razor involves fixed pathways
  • the set of possible outcomes is fixed and predetermined
  • an answer must be produced at the end of the deliberative process

The key, for The Ethical Skeptic, is to be able to spot those individuals who not only suffer from forms of Diagnostic Habituation, but also have a propensity to enforce the conclusions from such errant methodology and thinking on the rest of society.  Not all subjects can be resolved by diagnostics and linear thinking. This form of thinking usually involves avoiding a rigor called a logical calculus, in favor of something called abductive (or simplest explanation) reasoning.  If one is not absolutely sure that the domain inside of which they are working is truly abductive (disease is 98% abductive – the rest of our reality is not) – then it would be an error to use this type of reasoning universally as one’s approach to broader science. One does not research anomalous phenomena by using abductive reason for instance; because abductive logical inference was what kept the world locked in religious and Dark Age understandings of our realm for so long.

Reasoning Types†

Abductive Reason (Diagnostic Inference) – a form of precedent based inference which starts with an observation then seeks to find the simplest or most likely explanation. In abductive reasoning, unlike in deductive reasoning, the premises do not guarantee the conclusion. One can understand abductive reasoning as inference to the best known explanation.

Strength – quick to the answer. Usually a clear pathway of delineation. Leverages strength of diagnostic data.

Weakness – Uses the simplest answer (ergo most likely). Does not back up its selection with many key mechanisms of the scientific method. If an abductive model is not periodically tested for its predictive power, such can result in a state of dogmatic axiom.

Inductive Reason (Logical Inference) – is reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying strong evidence for the truth of the conclusion. While the conclusion of a deductive argument is certain, the truth of the conclusion of an inductive argument may be probable, based upon the evidence given combined with its ability to predict outcomes.

Strength – flexible and tolerant in using consilience of evidence pathways and logical calculus to establish a provisional answer (different from a simplest answer, however still imbuing risk into the decision set). Able to be applied in research realms where deduction or alternative falsification pathways are difficult to impossible to develop and achieve.

Weakness – can lead research teams into avenues of provisional conclusion bias, where stacked answers begin to become almost religiously enforced until a Kiuhn Paradigm shift or death of the key researchers involved is required to shake science out of its utility blindness on one single answer approach. May not have examined all the alternatives, because of pluralistic ignorance or neglect.

Deductive Reason (Reductive Inference) – is the process of reasoning from one or more statements (premises) to reach a logically certain conclusion. This includes the instance where the elimination of alternatives (negative premises) forces one to conclude the only remaining answer.

Strength – most sound and complete form of reason, especially when reduction of the problem is developed, probative value is high and/or alternative falsification has helped select for the remaining valid understanding.

Weakness – can be applied less often than inductive reason.

Diagnostic Habituation Error

/philosophy : science : method : linear diagnostics : unconscious habituation/ : the tendency of medical professionals and some linear thinkers to habitually reduce subjects of discourse inside protocols of diagnosis and treatment, when not all, or even most fields of discourse can be approached in this manner. Diagnosis must produce an answer, is performed inside a closed set of observational data domain, constrained fields of observation (eg. 1500 most common human maladies), are convergent in model nature, tend to increasing simplicity as coherency is resolved and develop answers which typically select from a closed field of prescriptive conclusions. All of these domain traits are seldom encountered in the broader realms of scientific research.

DIAGNOSTICIANS

Detecting a Linear Diagnostic Thinker – Habituated into Selecting From a Prescriptive Answer Inventory
They tend to think that one must ‘believe’ in or have scientific proof of their idea prior to conducting any research on it in the first place. They will not state this, however – watch carefully their illustration of applied scientific method. They will rarely grasp an Ockham’s Razor threshold of plurality, nor understand its role; obsessively clinging to the null hypothesis until ‘proof’ of something else arrives. Gaming method, knowing full well that ‘proof’ seldom arrives in science.

The determination of a diagnosis of inherited static encephalopathy may be a challenging endeavor at first, and indeed stands as a process of hypothesis reduction and science.  However, this reduction methodology differs from the broader set of science and in particular, discovery science in that it features the following epignosis characteristics. The problem resides when fake skeptics emulate the former process and advertise that its method applies to their ability to prescriptively dismiss what they do not like.

your deceptive practicesA key example of applied Diagnostic Habituation Error can be found here. An elegant demonstration of how well-applied diagnostic methodology inside a clinical technical role can serve to mislead its participant when applied in the broader realms of science. This treatise exhibits a collegiate level dance through repetitious talk about method, parlaying straight into sets of very familiar, poorly researched canned conclusions, excused by high school level pop-skeptic dogma. Worn out old propaganda about about how memory is fallible if we don’t like its evidence, and if you research anything forbidden, your mind is therefore ‘believing’ and playing tricks on its host.

Diagnosis Based Science (How it differs from the broader set of science reduction and discovery)

the diagnostic habituation errorObservational Domain is Set, Experimental Only and Controlled – the human body is the domain and the set of observable parameters is well established, known and relatively easily and only measured.

Example:  Observable parametrics in the human body consist of blood measures, skin measures, neurological signals, chemical signatures and hormone levels, physical measures and those measures which can be ascertained through bacteriology and virology. In medicine, the scientific method starts there.  In discovery science, method does not start with an experiment, it starts with observation, necessity and intelligence. Despite the complexity which is inherent inside these observational domains, still the set is highly restricted and the things observed-for, well known for the most part. In contrast, examining the galaxy for evidence of advanced life will be a long, poorly understood and failure laden pathway. We cannot begin this process with simply the Drake Equation and an experiment and hope to have success.

Field of Observation is Constrained and Well Established with Gnosis Background – there are only a few subset disciplines inside which observations can be made. Each is well documented and for which is published a guiding set of protocols, advisement, and most recent knowledge base regarding that discipline.

Example:  There exist only a closed set of systems inside the human body, which are for the most part well understood in terms of dysfunction and symptom. Integumentary, skeletal, nervous, cardiovascular, endocrine and muscular systems. Compare this to the energy systems which regulate our planetary environment. Most are not well understood in terms of impact, and we are not even sure how many constitute the major contributors to climate impact, or even how to measure them. I am all behind science on Climate Change, but in no way do I regard the discipline as a diagnostic field. I am wary of those who treat it as such.  And they are many.

Fixed Ockham’s Razor Mandate, Single Hypothesis and Extreme Null Evidence Standards – The protocols of diagnosis always dictate that the most likely or danger-entailing explanation be pursued in earnest, first and only. Once this hypothesis has been eliminated, only then can the next potential explanation be pursued. Absence of evidence is always taken as evidence of absence. This is not how discovery or asymmetric science works. Very rarely is diagnostic science challenged with a new medical discovery.

Example:  When a 55 year old patient is experiencing colon pain, the first response protocol in medicine is to order a colonoscopy. But in research regarding speciation for instance, or life on our planet, one does not have to solely pursue classic morphology studies to establish a phylogeny reduction. One can as well simultaneously pursue DNA studies and chemical assay studies which take a completely different tack on the idea at hand, and can be used to challenge the notion that the first phylogeny classification was a suitable null hypothesis to begin with. Real research can begin with several pathways which are in diametric opposition.

Diagnoses are Convergent in Nature – the methods of reduction in a diagnosis consistently converges on one, or maybe two explanatory frameworks inside a well known domain of understanding. In contrast, the broader world of modeling results in convergent models very rarely; moreover, often in non-discriminating or divergent models which require subjective reasoning in order to augment in terms of a decision process (if a decision is chosen at all).

Example:  If I have a patient complaining of tinnitus, my most complex challenge exists on the first day (in most cases). I am initially faced with the possible causes of antibiotics effects, hearing loss, intestinal infection, drug use, excessive caffeine intake, ear infections, emotional stress, sleep disorder or neurological disorder. From there evidence allows our models to converge on one optimal answer in short order in most cases.  Compare in contrast an attempt to discern why the level of poverty in a mineral rich country continues to increase, running counter to the growing GDP derived through exploitation of those minerals. The science and models behind the economics which seek to ascertain the mechanisms driving this effect can become increasingly divergent and subjective as research continues.

Tendency is Towards Increasing Simplicity as Coherency is Resolved – medical diagnoses tend to reduce information sets as coherency is attained and focus on one answer.  Please note that this is not the same as reducing complexity.  The reduction of complexity is not necessarily a scientific goal – as many correct solutions are indeed also inherently complex.

Example:  As I begin to diagnose and treat a case of Guillain–Barré syndrome, despite the initial chaos which might be entailed in symptom and impact mitigation, or the identification of associated maladies – eventually the patient and doctor are left with a few reduced and very focused symptomatic challenges which must be addressed.  CNS impacts, nerve damage, allergies and any residual paralysis, eventually the set of factors reduces to a final few.  In contrast, understanding why the ecosystem of the upper Amazon is collapsing, despite the low incidence of human encroachment, is a daunting and increasingly complex challenge. Its resolution may require much out-of-the-box thinking on the part of researchers who constantly exhaust multiple explanatory pathways and cannot wait for each one-by-one, prescriptive solution or explanation or a null hypothesis to ‘work itself out’ over 25 years.

Selects from Solutions Inside a Closed Field of Prescriptive Options – Almost all medical diagnoses are simply concluded from a well or lesser, but known set of precedent solutions from which decisions can be made and determinations drawn.  This is not the case with broader scope or discovery science.

Example:  In the end, there are only a set of about 1500 primary diseases from which we (most of the time) can regularly choose to diagnose a set of symptoms, most with well established treatment protocols. Contrast this with the World Health Organization’s estimate that over 10,000 monogenic disorders potentially exist.¹ The research task entailed inside monogenic nucleotide disorders is skyrocketing and daunting.  This is discovery science. The diagnosis of the primary human 1500 diseases, is not. Different mindsets will be needed to approach these very different research methodologies.

An Answer Must be Produced or We Fail – 100% of diagnostic processes involve the outcome of a conclusion. In fake skepticism, of course the participants are rife with ‘answer which as the greatest likelihood of being true’ type baloney.  To the Diagnostic Habituated fake skeptic, an answer has to be produced – NOW. But in a discovery process, we do not necessarily have to have an answer or disposition on a subject.  Be very wary of those who seem to force answers and get angry when you do not adopt their conclusion immediately. Be wary of those who have an answer for all 768 entries in The Skeptic’s Dictionary (including those who wrote the material). They are not conducting a scientifically reliable or honest exercise, rather are simply propping up a charade which seeks to alleviate the mental dissonance stress from something larger which disturbs them greatly. See Corber’s Burden. As one claims to be an authority on all that is bunk, their credibility declines in hyperbolic inverse proportion to the number of subjects in which authority is claimed.

Example:  If one is experiencing pain, for the most part both the patient and the researcher will not stop until they have an answer.  A conclusive finish to the pain itself is the goal after all, and not some greater degree of human understanding necessarily.  Contrast this with grand mysteries of the cosmos. We do not yet have an answer to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey “Giant Blob” Quasar Cluster² observation and how it could easily exist under current understandings of classical cosmology or M-theory. We have to await more information. No one has even suggested forcing a ‘answer which has the greatest likelihood of being true.’ To do so would constitute pseudoscience.

It is from this constrained mindset which the Ethical Skeptic must extract himself/herself, in order to begin to grasp why so many subjects are not well understood, and why we must think anew in order to tackle the grander mysteries of our existence. The more we continue to pepper these subjects with prescripted habituated diagnoses, the more those who have conducted real field observation will object. We have well observed the falling back on the same old ‘conspiracy theorist’ pejorative categorization of everyone who disagrees with the diagnoses proffered by these linear thinkers. It is not that a diagnostic approach to science always produces an incorrect answer. But if we follow simply the error of diagnosis habituation, then let’s just declare that mind Ξ brain right now, and we can close up shop and all go home. And while I might not bet against the theory were it on the craps table in Vegas and I were forced to make a selection now, neither am I in an ethical context ready to reject its antithesis simply because some diagnostic linear thinkers told me to.

I am an Ethical Skeptic, I don’t reject your idea as false, but I await more information. As a discovery researcher I refuse to simply accept your diagnostically habitual ‘critical thinking;’ nor its identifying which answer the constrained set has shown ‘is most likely true.’

That is not how real skepticism and real science work.


¹  World Health Organization, “Genes and Human Disease,” Genomic Resource Center, Spring 2015; http://www.who.int/genomics/public/geneticdiseases/en/index2.html.

² The Biggest Thing in the Universe, National Geographic; January 11, 2013, National Geographic Society;  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/01/130111-quasar-biggest-thing-universe-science-space-evolution/.

† Abductive, Inductive, and Deductive Reason definitions – are modified from their approximate definitions provided by Wikipedia, in its series on reasoning and logical inference.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deductive_reasoning

May 14, 2015 Posted by | Argument Fallacies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Critical Role of Sponsors in the Scientific Method

In true research, the diligent investigator is continually bombarded by huge amounts of data, in the form of facts, observations, measures, voids, paradoxes, associations, and so on. To be able to make use of this data a researcher typically reduces it to more manageable proportions. This does not mean we need to necessarily tender a claim about that data. Instead science mandates that we apply the principles of both linear and asymmetric Intelligence as part of the early scientific method. Our goal in Sponsorship is not to force an argument or proof, rather to establish a reductionist description through which the broader observational set may be reproduced or explained, as possible. This reductionist description is called a construct. Constructs are developed by laymen, field researchers, analysts, philosophers, witnesses as well as lay experts and scientists alike. The science which ignores this process, is not science.
It is the job of the Sponsor in the scientific method, to perform these data collection, linear and asymmetric Intelligence and reductionist development steps. In absence of robust regard for Sponsorship, science is blinded, and moreover the familiar putrefied rot of false skepticism takes root and rules the day of ignorance.

Sponsor

(scientific methodology) an individual or organization gathering the resources necessary and petitioning for plurality of argument under Ockham’s Razor and the scientific method.

The Critical Role of SponsorsWhen we speak of ethics at The Ethical Skeptic, we speak less of features of personal moral character, and more of the broader application context.  A professional allegiance and adherence to a clear and valuable series of deontological protocols which produce results under a given knowledge development process. In other words, fealty to the scientific method, above specific conclusions. Ethically I defer; I surrender my religions, predispositions and dogma to the outcome of the full and competently developed knowledge set.  This is ethics.  It really has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with the character of curiosity. I do not have the universe figured out, and I would sincerely like to know some things.

Type I Sponsor: Lay Science

A key component of this ethical process are the portions of science which involve Sponsorship. Don’t be dissuaded by the title. A sponsor is a very familiar participant in the protocols of science. Sky watching lay astronomers for example are a vital part of the scientific method, depicted in the chart to the right under Type I Sponsors. These lay researchers perform key roles in monitoring, collecting and documenting of celestial events and bodies. Many new comets are named after the actual layman who spotted them and provided enough information for science then to further prove the case at hand. The Sponsor in astronomy does not prove the hypothesis per se, rather simply establishes the case for a construct: the proposed incremental addition of celestial complexity beyond the reasonableness of parsimony (see: Ethical Skepticism – Part 5). Science then further tests, reviews and proves the lay astronomer’s sponsored construct by means of a hypothesis. The layman in astronomy in essence ‘gathers the resources necessary and petitions for plurality of argument (a new celestial moving body) under Ockham’s Razor and the scientific method.’ It is this Type I Sponsor realm, inside of which Big Data will unveil its most remarkable revolution.

“In everyday life we are continually bombarded by huge amounts of data, in the form of images, sounds, and so on. To be able to make use of this data we must reduce it to more manageable proportions.”¹  This does not mean we need to make a claim about that data. It means we need to apply the principles of asymmetric intelligence.  Our goal in [Sponsorship] is not to make a claim necessarily, rather to “establish a reductionist description through which the observational set may be reproduced.”¹ – Stephen Wolfram, A New Kind of Science

Asymmetric Challenges Demand Asymmetric Intelligence Approaches

Sponsorship in the Scientific Method

In similar fashion, Sponsors function as a critical contributor group to science under a number of more complex, and less linear fields of study than astronomy. A woodsman who has hunted, fished and lived in the Three Sisters region of Oregon, can stand as both an expert in terms of resource and recitation, and moreover can become a sponsor of an idea regarding the domain in which they have spent their entire life conducting data collection. Wise local university researchers will meet locals on Cascade Ave. in order to collect observations on some of the region’s geologic history. The lay researcher him or herself can perform citizen science as well, yes. But more importantly he or she might aid science by developing an idea which has never been seriously considered before. Perhaps they have observed changes in total Whychus Head spring water volume flow prior to magnitude 3.0 and above earthquakes. Perhaps they want to formalize these observations and ask a local university to take a look at their impression (construct). This is Sponsorship. Establishing a case that science should address their own version of a comet, in the natural domain which they survey.

The role of the Sponsor is not to prove a particular case, rather to surpass Ockham’s Razor in petitioning science to develop and examine a set of hypotheses

Indeed, problems even more complex, such as the studies of patterns and habits of wildlife, rarely advance via the handiwork of one organization or individual. The task is simply too daunting. Citizens provide critical inputs as to the habits of the Red Wolf or Grizzly Bear.² In similar fashion, medical maladies and successful means of addressing them, are many times asymmetric in their challenge, involving a many faceted contribution and mitigation element series. The role of the lay researcher, moms and dads with respect to their children, is critical. To ignore this lay resource under the guise of fake skepticism and ‘anecdote’ is not only professionally unwise (unethical), but cruel as well (immoral). These stand as examples of the asymmetric challenge entailed in the majority of scientific knowledge processes we face as a society. It is this preponderance of asymmetric challenge therefore which promotes the Sponsor into the necessary roles of both inventor and discoverer, and not simply the role of science clerk.

Type II:  Tinkerer Sponsors As Lay Scientist

The second category of Sponsorship involves the work of lay tinkerers and garage inventors (Type II Sponsor in the graphic above). Arguments vary as to the magnitude of impact of this class of researcher, but no one can dispute the relatively large impact that this class of Sponsor has had on various industry verticals. A key example might be 17 year old layman Michael Callahan, who lost his voice in a skateboarding accident, and subsequently developed a device called Audeo, to aide the plight of those who have suffered a similar loss of vocal function (see: Top Ten Inventions). But lay science does not have to bear simply the consequentialist result of a technological device (Type II) or simply observation inside a well established domain of science (Type I) . A sponsor can perform the role of discovery as well.

Type III:  Sponsor As Discoverer

the-key-to-powerA more powerful and controversial role of the Sponsor, and a role which The Ethical Skeptic believes stands as the Achille’s Heel of science today, is the role of the discoverer or Type III Sponsor under the scientific method. This person performs both the inception and broad case petition roles for plurality under the scientific method. In my labs historically, we have had two significant discoveries which were sponsored by outside parties who brought their petition for hypothesis development to my labs, for both validation/application testing and funding. Were I a fake skeptic, this would have never happened. One was a method of changing a clinical compound and another a groundbreaking approach for material development. Each was not a technological development, rather a scientific breakthrough that would ultimately change technology later. These were discoveries, not inventions. This agent of science, the discoverer, exercises the Bacon-esque Novum Organum which resides at the heart of discovery science. This is the aspect of science which Social Skeptics and their crony oligarchs perform desperate gymnastics in order to deny and squelch. Pharmaceutical companies and competing labs/organizations fought us hard to deny or steal the development of technologies surrounding these discoveries. For the most part they failed, but they caused damage. Damage to society and all of us ultimately. They wanted to control and overprice the technology application and deployment.

The freedom to discover wrests control from the hands of Social Skeptic cronies and into those of ethical small enterprise and mercy based organizations.

Should their cronies in Social Skepticism gain control of science and government fully, then the Sponsor and lay researcher will become an endangered species. A compliant herd, caged in an oligopoly cubicle zoo, milked of their intellectual potential, mulling the shallow, instant-grits, Social Skepticism literature upon which they graze.  SSkeptics are professionals at socially mandating that something not exist. They are a mafia after all; if they cannot kill you or your message, then they will ensure that no intellectual trace of either exists.  Such constitutes the bright and wonderful promised future of Social Skepticism.

Nonetheless this less touted and critical part of the scientific method, the discovery contribution of the lay researcher, has contributed vastly more to our understanding of life, health and our realm than oppressive SSkepticism will ever allow to be admitted into history. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy opines thusly about the data collection, reduction, intelligence and discovery process as outlined by, lay scientist, Roger Bacon (Type III Lay Scientists):

Bacon’s account of his “new method” as it is presented in the Novum Organum is a prominent example. Bacon’s work showed how best to arrive at knowledge about “form natures” (the most general properties of matter) via a systematic investigation of phenomenal natures. Bacon described how first to collect and organize natural phenomena and experimental facts in tables, how to evaluate these lists, and how to refine the initial results with the help of further experiments. Through these steps, the investigator would arrive at conclusions about the “form nature” that produces particular phenomenal natures. The point is that for Bacon, the procedures of constructing and evaluating tables and conducting experiments according to the Novum Organum leads to secure knowledge. The procedures thus have “probative force”.†

Indeed, it is the lay researcher who may well possess the only domain access under which to make such “form natures” observations which can be crafted into “probative force,” or that of a testable Construct or Hypothesis. To ignore these inputs, to ignore the input of 10,000 lay observers who inhabit a particular domain, even in the presence of uncertainty and possible chicanery, is professionally unwise (unethical). To the Ethical Skeptic, it is unwise to set up conferences which function only in the role of teaching people how to attack these researchers, even if the conclusions on subjects these conferences regard as bunk, are 95% correct in their sponsors’ assessments.

Fake Skeptics, those who have a religion and an ontology to protect, bristle at the work and deontological impact of Type III lay researchers. Roger Bacon was a lay philosopher and researcher in his own right, and accordingly so, bore his own cadre of detractors and ‘skeptics.’ Yet his work had a most profound impact on modern discovery science thought. It is this type of researcher which challenges and changes the landscape of science (see: Discovery versus Developmental Science). It is in this domain where we first encounter the Ethical Skeptic paradoxical adage “Experts who are not scientists and scientists who are not experts.”  It is this social and methodical challenge which we as a body of knowledge developers must overcome, in order for discovery to proceed. It is our duty to resolve this paradox and move forward, not habitually attack those involved.

Social Skepticism:  Exploiting the Paradox for Ignorance

Slide8This absolutely essential element of ethics therefore, under the scientific method, is the process of Sponsorship. The Craft of Research, a common guide recommended by advisers in candidate dissertation prosecution, relates “Everything we’ve said about research reflects our belief that it is a profoundly social activity,”³ That simply means that, the majority of science, research and the knowledge development process resides outside the laboratory, in an asymmetric and highly dynamic realm. Given this abject complexity of playing field, it becomes manifest that it is our fealty to process which effectively distinguishes us from the pretender, and not how correct we are on bunk subjects. The role of the Ethical Skeptic is to defend the integrity of this knowledge development process. Which brings up the circumstance where, what if various persons and groups do not desire knowledge to improve? What then is the role of the Ethical Skeptic?

If you demand ‘bring me proof’ before you would ask ‘bring me enough intelligence to form a question or hypothesis’ – then I question your purported knowledge of science. ~TES

Part of our job as well at The Ethical Skeptic is to elicit, to shed light on circumstance wherein pretenders circumvent and abrogate this ethical process of science. Instances where false vigilante skeptics use the chaos of research, against the knowledge development process itself. Unethical actions which target elimination of Type III research and defamation/intimidation of Type III both lay and scientist researchers. Below are listed some of the tactics employed on a deleterious path of willfully and purposely vitiating the Sponsorship (in particular Type III Sponsorship) steps of the scientific method:

Tactics/Mistakes Which Social Skeptics Employ to Vitiate the Sponsorship Portion of the Scientific Method
The Critical Role of Sponsors fraud by skeptics1.  Thinking that the craft of research and science solely hinge around the principle of making final argument.³
2.  Promoting an observation to status as a claim.
3.  Thinking that a MiHoDeAL or Apophenia claim to authority can be issued without supporting evidence.
4.  Routinely accepting at face value associative, predictive or statistical proofs while eschewing and denying falsifying observations.
5.  Lack of acknowledging the full set of explanatory possibilities under the sponsorship Peer Input step.
6.  Presuming that a Sponsor is only pursuing one alternative explanation during Peer Input.
7.  The inability of SSkeptics to recognize true experts in other than academic/oligarch contexts.
8.  The errant habit of false skeptics in citing and deferring to non-experts.
9.  Vigilante thinking in mistakenly believing that the role of skepticism is to ‘evaluate claims’ and teach Sponsors about critical thinking which squelches Sponsorship in the first place.
10.  Amateur error in applying pretend Peer Review tactics in the Sponsorship stage of science.
11.  Failure to demonstrate circumspection to own contradictions or weaknesses in own Peer Input argument.
12.  Failure to define/address significance versus insignificance by observational context.
13.  Fake Skepticism: Asking “Here is what we need to prove this” rather than “Here is what we need in order to develop a hypothesis.”
14.  Committing the Vigilante Mistake: Killing just as many innocent Sponsors as one does Bad Science Sponsors.


¹  a. Stephen Wolfram, A New Kind of Science, Wolfram Media, Inc. Champaign, IL; p. 548.

¹  b. Stephen Wolfram, A New Kind of Science, Wolfram Media, Inc. Champaign, IL; pp. 557-576.

²  Defenders of Wildlife, Red Wolf Fact Sheet; professional and layperson wildlife advocates, (http://www.defenders.org/red-wolf/basic-facts)

³  a. Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, Third Edition; The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL; p 285.

³  b. Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research, Third Edition; The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL; pp 114-123.

† The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Scientific Discovery, March 6 2014, No. 2 Scientific Inquiry as Discovery, (http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/scientific-discovery/)

January 25, 2015 Posted by | Agenda Propaganda, Argument Fallacies, Institutional Mandates, Tradecraft SSkepticism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Social Skepticism Obviates the Scientific Method

Once plurality has been argued, I would rather the Scientific Method show my premise to be false, than be told in advance what ‘critical thinking’ says.

The public at large, and our leaders cannot always envision this process of corruption. SSkeptics thrive inside and promote this general ignorance. It is up to people who have actually performed real science – to possess the responsibility of courage which is incumbent with the privilege of acumen; to stand up and say “No, I am not ready to dismiss this subject, just because you tell me to.”

Abrogating the Scientific Method

October 13, 2014 Posted by | Tradecraft SSkepticism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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