OMG Not Another ‘Skeptic’ Book – The Shtick of Canned Conspiracy Theory Journalism

Because ‘Flat Earth conspiracy theorists’ exist, therefore you have no right to dissent. Vestiges of how Royalty views itself in the age of collapsing dogmatic science and pop-skepticism.
I worry more about garbage skepticism than I do the vagaries of Flat Earth Theory. Fake skepticism presents both a much larger movement behind it, and as well bears the greatest potential footprint in terms of societal and human harm. A hard lesson we learned in 2020 and thereafter.

The world was blessed with yet another ‘deep dive’ expose by a self-proclaimed skeptic journalist in February 2022. More than two years into the worst disaster of public health science and policy failure in history, we are obliged once again to be instructed as to how irrational we all are. However the poor timing of this book is not its only myopic feature. Kelly Weill’s treatise, Off the Edge: Flat Earthers, Conspiracy Culture, and Why People Will Believe Anything, is simply the latest in this holier-than-thou cult’s habitual foray in misplaced intent. A quintessential application in Pollyanna’s Laws.

Setting the author’s abject lack of qualification inside science and skepticism aside, one should be concerned about the mental health of a person who would go out of their way to debunk Flat Earth Theory upon a world stage – and then tagline it throughout by means of worn-out political shibboleth. For a person to bear such enmity towards their fellow man, one so deeply seated inside their Gestalt of insecurity, that it would drive them to waste copious amounts of time seeking the meager and bitter fruits of harm, notoriety, and money – one should regard this as is indicative of a psychosis at play.

To broad-brush every idea which one does not like, as both analogous of and linked to, Flat Earth Theory – is a signature trait of a malicious and immature mind – one which falls well below the Dunning Line.

Now first, let me be clear that I am no fan nor ponderer of Flat Earth Theory. The concept bears earmarks of propaganda agency – being suddenly injected into society in late 2014, but not by any form of ‘true believer’. It is a lob & slam ploy. I am a student however, of how propaganda and counter-propaganda function inside a dynamic social and political structure. I am wary of the stooge-posed farce (for instance, debunking ‘birds are not real’ claims), such as is entailed in the Flat Earth debate. I am familiar with how disinformation/misinformation agents will insincerely promote an idea, simply for the objective of disseminating Trojan Disinformation, under the goal of discrediting a targeted opposition group. The art of the lob & slam.1 2

It is never about the topic at hand. Disinformation and Misinformation, no matter how correct may be its tenets, is always about discrediting targeted groups in order to neutralize their power – and nothing more.

Most pop-skeptics are not familiar with the tactics of intelligence nor agency, rendering themselves unwitting participants in a clever game of pseudoscience football. It is exactly this Pollyanna lack of self-awareness and willingness to be utilized as a pawn, about which I am more concerned. The book cited, along with the propaganda push Science article above, do not disappoint accordingly.3

Ethical skepticism is about ceasing one’s participation in such a charade. No, the ethical skeptic does not reflexively leap onto the bandwagon of every crazy idea which is foisted before them. However, I do worry far more more about garbage skepticism than I do the vagaries of Flat Earth Theory. Fake skepticism has a much larger movement behind it, and as well bears the greatest potential for societal and human harm (see Covid-19).

   Dead Body Count

  • Flat Earth Theory: 0
  • Pop, Fake, and Social Skepticism which ignored bad Covid-19 policy alone: 749,172 (as of March 18 2022) and rising faster than Covid can explain, especially among younger persons…4 5

The Psychosis of the Skeptic-Journalist

Accordingly, the features of garbage skeptic-journalism as exemplified in the article and book cited, include:

  1. The investigator finds almost exclusively club-conforming results – perspective is rarely framed nor offered – surprises and serendipity are rare. This is not how real investigation progresses at all.
  2. They will straw man opposition held ideas and then ad hoc rescue the straw man by citing, ‘a variety of ideas are held, but…(now I bear a license to lie)’.
  3. They regard, that since they represent the ‘right and correct’, there is no need for them to provide recitation nor backing for their claims. Only the opposition need do this.
  4. If you dissent, you are automatically part of the conspiracy theory enemy. “Any disposition that identifies my condemnation of conspiracy theory as being wrong, is itself conspiracy theory.”
  5. Their treatise will often fire its wad in the first chapters and then meander thereafter, almost as if it were a journal and not a work of investigative argument – which prosecutes and builds a case.
  6. A lack of humanity pervades their monolithic message – indicating a lack of global and human experience base. What little humanity they do offer is canned, and trumpeted under a virtue flare – almost as if they learned it from watching a Hollywood production.
  7. All opponents are framed as a ‘circle’ or ‘believers’ – which implies that the author carries no belief nor irrational circle membership. This is almost unilaterally false.
  8. All opponents are framed as residing in a state of confusion and life turmoil. This of course explains why they would latch on to crazy theories. This is pseudo-theory – explaining everything, anything, and nothing, all at the same time.
  9. All believers ‘Do their own research’ – an effort which only involves unauthorized sources and methods. Why are they unauthorized? Well, when one looks most often the litmus for such categorization is merely that they dissent, and nothing more. Doubt, you will notice, is a luxury reserved for the fake skeptic alone.
  10. Social media, or the lack of censorship therein, is often framed as the problem. Oh, for the heady days of one-way-only ‘science communication’.
  11. Conspiracy theory is framed as a kind of gateway drug to even more extreme conspiracy theories or bad political stances. This claim is tendered with no supporting evidence whatsoever. Opponents are habitually framed as drooling idiots.
  12. The hyperbole of some grand research initiative on their part, is often betrayed by shallow, biased, and extremely canned results – a sincere researcher rarely finds only and exactly what they seek (‘deep dive’ is code for ‘sat in my cubicle and made stuff up’).
  13. As an overriding goal, they seek revenue, notoriety, and club acclaim for their scant effort and shtick. This contrasts starkly with the supposed lower caste they target, who for the most part are not seeking money at all – rather truth (even if misfounded).
  14. The skeptic chooses the most ludicrous-yet-visible subject they can muster, one which is subscribed to by a couple thousand people at most – and then falsely portrays this to be a foible on the part of the majority of humanity (for those insecure acolytes inside their club). This is lazy stooge-posing.
  15. It often quickly becomes clear that the skeptic bears no interest, background, nor depth in the actual subject’s broader discipline itself. ‘I have shown zero life interest in astro or geo physics, but oh yes, I am a qualified reviewer of Flat Earth theory.’ Sure you are…
  16. The skeptic often fails to cite where their targets learned their pop-skeptic habits in the first place – often the same bastions of skepticism from which the researcher themself sprang.
  17. The skeptic leads off with the pejorative framing ‘conspiracy theory’ and ‘theorists’ – from this quip one can guarantee that a lie is forthcoming – under the guise of rationality or science. The lie is not about the idea they are addressing per se, but rather the ‘conforming method of philosophy in selecting for ideas’ they are promoting. If they add in the word ‘facts’, then you can be assured that they have never prosecuted a scientific argument in their life.
  18. They immediately connect one conspiracy theory, with all conspiracy theories, and then with all forms of political opinion or persons they disfavor. Everything bad eventually connects back to the FOG (fat orange guy). Just like with ‘Six degrees from Kevin Bacon’, this is a self-deception of apophenia.
  19. They falsely regard that everyone who disagrees with them, all
    • hold to the same beliefs
    • are irrational and anti-science
    • hold to the same politics
    • entertain superficiality
    • are Flat-Earth styled theorists
  20. They fail to grasp that many times ‘true believers’ are counter-intelligence agents in the first place. They also don’t believe the shtick, but are there for the jollies or because they are paid to do it. They don’t have experience in nor do they comprehend the nature of propaganda, agencies, and populations.
  21. They habitually frame a compliant-but-unintelligent mind as one bearing ‘social intelligence’. This too, is an ad hoc rescue.
  22. They regard their work as analogous to visiting some erstwhile Amazonian tribe of lost humanity, with the skeptic-journalist performing the role as a kind of white savior, come to rescue the heathen from their backward ways – then ironically daring to accuse the tribe of ‘lacking a willingness to engage on the issue’. This is very comical.
  23. They flag a success at censorship, as a victory of science – failing to grasp the irony in such an event; having never experienced a nation or culture wherein censorship was the rule. They applaud Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter censorship.
  24. They will often desperately crave mention and pictures of themselves in the media.
  25. They fantasize the dangers of alienation, conducting dangerous experiments, and finally stereotype connections to 9/11 Truth, Nazi’s, Anti-Semitic, misogynistic, QAnon, and other conspiracy theories as the downsides of their targets’ bad belief. This is extremely bigoted shtick on the part of the skeptic-journalist.
  26. The ‘bad people’ are almost always eagerly identified as being members of the opposite sex – males in particular. The exploitation of the term ‘the patriarchy’ is particularly pandering and unscrupulous.
  27. They are celebrated as a crusading hero, a great white savior, by their club. A club with a severe case of anomie. An example can be viewed here.

This elitist form of propaganda and shtick is replete through such works of garbage skeptic-journalism. We in ethical skepticism dissent of such self-serving hypocrisy.

The Ethical Skeptic, “OMG Not Another ‘Skeptic’ Book: The Shtick of Canned Conspiracy Theory Journalism”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 28 Mar 2022; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=64548

What Constitutes Belief?

A believer is not one who ponders, considers, or investigates. The believer is one who mocks the investigator, refuses to reveal the reasons why they would demean the curious and their ideas, and meticulously avoids acknowledging their own protected notion or exposing it to risky critical scrutiny.
The skeptic in contrast honors the ethic of the investigation, and chooses to remain neutral until they know more.

In an ancient mythology a certain man befriended a horse who happened to graze in the same valley as the one in which the man lived. One day the man decided to impress his friend the horse with his ability to create and maintain fire for his purposes. So he did just this, creating fire from a stone flint and some dry leaves he had gathered beforehand. But he did not show the horse this process, rather merely brought the horse to witness the fire once it was well ablaze. The horse’s reaction was so immediate, fearful, and visceral that the man was slightly taken aback. It was at this point that the man hatched a plot in his mind.

A potential difference is always useful, not simply between energy states, but between entities as well. The man therefore insisted to the horse that, unless the horse could also create and control fire, the horse could never be the man’s real equal as a friend. The horse’s lack of articulating fingers and abject ignorance at creating and exploiting fire was a shortfall or miss (sin) on the horse’s part. Thus their friendship must now be modified to that state of skilled-master and servant as well. The man reassured the horse that he was a degreed, qualified, just, forgiving, and loving master – so not to worry. If the horse would obey the man, there would be no trouble at all. After a couple almost guaranteed instances of ‘disobedience’, and seeing that he had no option at hand in that the valley was critical to his food supply, the horse therefore accepted its slavery role as something it deserved. The horse had undertaken the working burden of a premature conclusion of science, called a ‘belief’.

For the (ancient) Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:16, Bible – New Living Translation (added context)

In this mythology, the horse had been coerced by a magician’s stage act into adopting what is called a belief. The horse was burdened by the ‘offended’ man into becoming his lesser being and servant. The man did so knowing that it will take hell and high water to remove this entrenched notion from the collective mind of horses thereafter. The horse will now defend this notion at all costs – the man really need do nothing further. The goal has been accomplished. The horse and his progeny will obediently plow his fields and offer a life of ease for the man, for the remainder of time.1 Such is the power of belief.2

It is never what a person says, but rather –
It is what you forbid which defines your belief.
It is what you tolerate which defines your allegiance.

The Litmus Characteristics of Belief

Now a belief is differentiated from other ideas which might be entertained in the mind of man by several distinguishing characteristics. It is critical that the ethical skeptic understand these characteristics so as to defend those researchers who are accused of being motivated by a ‘belief’, as distinct from the accuser or finger-pointer who is ironically indeed exercising a belief themself. These litmus characteristics include the following:

  • A belief is the solely tolerated alternative, so important that it sustains itself in the mind of the believer at the expense of all other ideas, science, and forms of inquiry (see: Omega Hypothesis).
  • The belief-holder seeks to debunk initial inquiry which would consider/research any alternative idea – at its very inception (see: Inverse Negation Fallacy and Debunking).
  • The belief-holder assigns labels of condemnation (woo, pseudoscience, bunk, etc.) to any competing idea and those who investigate such ideas.
  • The belief-holder implies that enormous effort went into validation of their belief sometime in the past, but somehow cannot ever provide/recite that effort.
  • The belief-holder applies this constraint to other persons aside from self, rendering their defacto conclusion an enforcement upon others and not merely a personal opinion (a debunker operates upon their belief in this manner).
  • The belief-holder enforces this by citing or implying an appeal to authority which substantiates the belief itself (even if an unacknowledged one) and justifies their actions in its enforcement upon others.
  • The belief-holder will often enforce their belief surreptitiously (not acknowledge it, rather simply enforce it as default truth or the null-hypothesis-as-truth).
  • The belief-holder constrains or undertakes actions or adopts other beliefs based upon the belief (or can be coerced into doing so).
  • The belief-holder coerces others to undertake actions or to adopt other beliefs based upon the belief – through building celebrity and an implicit threat towards others’ professional or social acceptability.
  • Belief is cultured in a petri dish called syndicate.
  • A belief always confers a burden or dissonance upon its holder, whether acknowledged or not.
  • Onerous belief is less burdensome inside a scripted life or syndicate role. An unscripted life will suffer under the imbalance of top-heavy belief.

In essence, the believer can only function under the ‘truth’ of one notion at a time. Such notion bears a hook and barb; its extraction is painful, and therefore threatening to the person contemplating departure from under its intoxication. The actual validity of that notion is indeed irrelevant, as a belief can in fact be either true or untrue. A null or even scientific hypothesis can also constitute a belief as well. Moreover, it is what belief does to the believer, and what the believer does to others, which actually serve to betray the pathos of belief itself.

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Belief’s Contrast with Faith

One is free to ponder the realm of ideas, unshackled of oppression from those who promote their belief through an inverse negation stage act or pretense of ‘science enthusiasm’. As the ethical skeptic might notice within this Wittgenstein framing of definition, belief has nothing whatsoever to do with hunch, guess, fleeting notion, theory, hypothesis, sponsorship, investigation, consideration, research, conspiracy theory, nor even more importantly, faith.

Faith is a personally cherished idea one holds for self, despite a substantive lack of evidence for its veracity. The difference however, is that faith is not enforced upon others, because its adopter understands or acknowledges its incumbent epistemic weakness and personal context. Faith is very similar in its fabric to love, something which may be shared mutually – however, ultimately is held by only one participant alone, may stand as fully irrational, and cannot be enforced nor coerced upon others.

Whether or not such a habit as faith constitutes indeed a virtue remains a matter under heavy debate. But no one can deny that our relationship with the universe implicitly encourages the existence of faith. Willfully so? Well, that remains a matter of faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1, Bible – New King James Version

Faith – the personal choice to cherish an unproven construct as inspiring hope. Faith is the portrait one paints inside the frame of reason, a canvass upon which we are free to aspire, and hopefully also therein have the portrait come into consistency with one’s life (integrity). Faith has little to do with belief, mythology, or religion – as such things merely serve as distractions/obstacles to its incumbent work to begin with.

The Ethical Skeptic

If a person is out in the field researching an idea which you find distasteful, and your innate reaction is to attempt to debunk all that he has observed, then that person is not the believer …you are. You are the tricked, mythological horse who carries the unacknowledged burden – the exploitation and enslavement of belief.

The Ethical Skeptic, “What Constitutes Belief”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 23 Jul 2021; Web, https://theethicalskeptic.com/?p=51810

Of Pretend Sleep and Authentic Dreams

One cannot awaken someone who is pretending to be asleep. Just as there exists a twisted cynicism which the poseur may adopt as their expression of skepticism, even so spirituality may be adorned as a kind of ornament-appointed garment. To my best perception, the purpose of our life is to disabuse our self of these false spiritual dreams – Where one is corrupt in their skepticism, there also will they be corrupt in their heart.
A life which serves to develop both, was never meant to be easy.

Upon occasion I will recall standing in the vestry of the church in which I was married, with my father, the best man at my wedding. The music was playing and it was just about time for the groom and the groomsmen to step out into the chapel. I recall remarking to my father, that I felt like a piece of cut wood, freshly hewn, leveled, sanded and cleaned – ready to be glued to its matching piece. What was significant in this was the sense that, it was not that I was crafted into something of a higher order which was now prepared for such an event, rather that part of me was now stripped away instead. The task of preparation at hand was to strip away the darkness, not pretend to become goodness. In my journey, and to the best of my estimation, this paradox is analogous to our life’s sojourn – our reason for existing to begin with, inside this hell we call ‘reality’.

The misunderstanding of this spiritual principle has become a modern disease, a large infection of sorts inside the current culture of fakeness and pretense. What I think has become manifest in particular with President Donald Trump is a popping of this festering sore. A draining which has to do with spotlighting those pretending to the role of goodness and spirituality; the religious and non-religious alike who lord it over the rest of society, enacting harm on those they hate through seemingly virtuous activity. Antifa and Proud Boys are simply the clowns of this very large ontological circus act – as the malignancy extends much deeper than this surface display.

In my journey, I have found that true spirituality has nothing to do with houses of worship, virtue, morality, God-fearing, angels, charity, goodness, niceness nor compassion-politics. Fake enlightenment is a clever game – but a ruse nonetheless. Darkness always come dressed in a costume of authority, goodness, niceness and correctness. Darkness screams when it is spotlighted, and accordingly there is a lot of screaming going on right now in America among the enlightened elite. Beware of those who posture with their forms of skepticism or spirituality, in order to compel you to deny or believe according to their desires. This desire to control, signals other than maturity inside.

What follows is what I have learned, through this particular life suffering and burden set I have been assigned to carry. This of course is my journey, and may not necessarily be yours.

There are those who demonstrate spiritual principles, but rarely are cognizant of it, nor do they highlight it as such.
There are those who struggle earnestly in suffering to make this journey manifest in their own lives.
From each of these, we may learn.

But the character from whom one cannot learn is the spiritually enlightened and the one who points out the transgression.
Those who fail to understand that spirituality is not an instructed qualification, virtue identity, office nor acquisition.
If spirituality were so easy and could be a state of adornment as such, there would be no need to be here at all.
You are here precisely because you cannot make a claim to spirituality.

This is why the higher spirits refuse to instruct us as to what to do.
And lower spirits are full of advice, accusation and admonition.

Skepticism and spirituality are closely intertwined. After all, it is the quest for truth which leads us upon the spiritual sojourn to begin with. The philosophy which underpins our scientific integrity, part of our search for truth – is indeed skepticism. The integrity one applies inside one discipline, will spill over and influence the other.

Where one is corrupt in their skepticism, there also will they be corrupt in their heart.

Pretending to Be Asleep (The Complicated)

Spirituality is not a grandiose, far reaching, visceral, elite aspiration of the enlightened. These are the deceptions which destroy the fabric of a society. They are all forms of easy and surreptitious hate (the Costume).

Concealing intent under a cloak of niceness and social leveraging

Adopting symbolic stances of compassion & virtue

Advocating for causes in support of anyone who looks different from the one group who looks like those you dislike (Inverse Negation Fallacy)

Sitting on a mountain top in Nepal

Communing with spirits or becoming a medium

Cul de Sac – becoming poor and detached from commerce, sitting in your apartment and frothing at those who you perceived have harmed you

Cul de Sac – living off the land/hermit existence/guru existence

Cul de Sac – demonstrating how ‘God’ has blessed you with material accoutrements

Cul de Sac – becoming a starlet and appearing to support the victims and the injusticed

Preaching quick result gospels, prosperity and enlightenment techniques

Being a member of the compassionate political party

Advocating for progressive causes of virtue

Appearing to ‘not be a racist’ (you are, guaranteed)

Meditation and inner voice work

Casting spells, magic levitation and conjuring and focusing of work upon a harboring of resentment

Wanting what someone else has/Wanting something for nothing (greed)

Adopting the appearance of victim-ness, humility or quietness (especially when employed as a weapon)

Begrudgingly taking a job serving others (most every job serves others, there are just different roles)

Concealing motivating anger and resentment (everyone has anger, some pretend on top of that)

Praying and doing Holy Writ study/memorization

Fascinating one’s self with ‘being stoic’

Speaking in undisciplined logic and definition, ambiguity, prevaricating, context shuffling, confusing, clouding and obfuscating (and then pretending to have not lied)

Attending regular services in a religious uniform or costume

Allocating OPM to the poor – or advocating for taxes which will never touch you personally

Socialism, globalism, ‘without borders’, fake unity and equality of outcome

Being brainlessly anti-conflict and despising those who serve in conflict

A peace which causes more suffering than its antithetical war ever could

Attacking those who do not appear to champion the downtrodden ornaments you have pinned to your costume

Advocating for social justice (especially as a weapon of hate)

Examining others as to how compliant their visceral appearances are to all the above – establishing buckets for them accordingly

Being constantly on the run from personal accountability

Trying to ‘save the world’

Blaming the sins of the world on money or capitalism (not even knowing what either is)

Specialize and wallow in guilt, blame and resentment

Fleeing from self, one’s entire life (through mysticism, correctness, appearance, busyness, possessions, substances and pretense)

Authentic Dreams (The Straightforward)

Spirituality (skepticism), from the hard lessons I have been given, is actually very straightforward and very local.

Being straightforward, but not under the self aggrandizement of ‘I tell it like it is’

Your life is your meditation

Going to look for one’s self – epoché

Scepter means in Latin, to ‘palm’, hold, touch or examine – one who focuses upon methods and fruits​
Cynic means in Latin, ‘dogged’, doglike in denial, doubting, scoffing – one who focuses on identity, correctness and the good and bad people ​

Hold those who have plotted harm, accountable

Serving those on journey with you, and within your reach

Enduring and/or overcoming as applicable – the unfairness and suffering you have been assigned – with faithfulness/perseverance

Examining your own evil, facing and acknowledging it, and taking redemptive action

Forgiving self and others

Stepping in to help and serve with the skills you have – inside that which is presented before you

Disciplining your mind, words, clarity, logic and delivery

Understanding value versus that which is worthless

Understanding that capital earned, is capital to be reinvested – and that capital is not just money

Encouraging the man standing next to you

Learning the methodology of darkness and being able to spot its disguise, before the training wheels are stripped off and you are thrust into The All That Is

There is never a perfect altruism – there is never a perfect scenario of advancement where no one gets hurt

Accept responsibility – even if you can devise a way in which to make it ‘not your fault’

Never deal in the currency of guilt, blame, offenses or resentment (GBOR). Because if this is the capital you carry into your next sojourn, this will be the currency you must spend there

Working, resting, playing, consuming – all in integrity of service to the above

These are the uncomplicated truths which link spirituality and skepticism. A central tenet set of ethical skepticism. Spiritual development is a praxis which we apply to self, and not one well exercised by being instructed or enforced upon others. We learn from witnessing its application, and from those (including one’s self) who struggle to develop it. We learn from suffering and over time.

Moreover, we do not mature spiritually from being told how to be good, nor by being coerced into its compliance through threat of penalty or compulsion to correct appearances. Such activity only inflates the ego of the ‘teacher/authority’. This is the essence of what is religion. Higher spirits are experienced enough to fully grasp this formal logic principle of spiritual development. Hence, their reluctance to give us advice. Dark spirits in contrast, are full of advice, accusation and admonition. I hold this idea that we can admonish-to-spirituality as incorrect. In this mistake we conflate morality-virtue-ethics, which can be taught, with wisdom-integrity-spirituality, which cannot. Not that the elements of morality-virtue-ethics are incorrect in and of themselves. It is like driving at night with your headlamps on (the correct thing to do) but not realizing that one’s windscreen is opaque. One has only tendered the appearance of being a safe motorist, and is even more dangerous than someone driving with no headlamps at all.

In the day that we define that which is goodness, darkness will skin it and wear it as a costume.

We are not here to learn to be good. We are here to learn the hard lesson praxis of darkness – and to spot its trackways within ourselves.

The Ethical Skeptic, “Of Pretend Sleep and Authentic Dreams”; The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 22 Sep 2019; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-ak4

All photographs are property of Warner Bros. – Legendary Entertainment. They are modified for use under Title 17 U.S.C. § 107 “Fair Use” Act.