The Ethical Skeptic

Challenging Agency of Pseudo-Skepticism & Cultivated Ignorance

Deconstructing the Rhetoric around What Constitutes Pseudoscience

The Wikipedia definition of pseudoscience is tainted. It fawns in fallacy under the imperious watchful eyes of Social Skepticism. The stark reality is that a claim under skepticism, to have employed the tools of science, to unfairly or with prejudice, issue a probable disposition upon or filter a subject out of legitimate discourse – ironically constitutes in itself – pseudoscience.
Inside this perfidiously permissive set of definition, interpretation and practice, we are witness to the full tradecraft of fake skepticism.

to qualify as a pseudoscience - Copy - CopyWikipedia has settled in on its definition of ‘pseudoscience.’ The definition is not qualified, rather simply axiomatically presented as true, and then underwritten with lots of intimidating looking references. As of September 2015, the definition is ‘supported’ by 122 references (most do not actually qualify as recitations), many of which are specious links to whole vaults of information, surveys or treatises on science, and inside many of which the authors (eg. McNally, Gould, Laudan, etc.) do not actually agree with the Wikipedia axiomatic definition (below). The only specific supporting references are constituted in the opinion based, prejudiced and non-science de rigueur from Gardner, Sagan, Shermer, Skeptical Inquirer et al. This process of definition constitutes an Epistemological Wittgenstein Error, and would never pass peer review: ie. development of an axiom so as to be a testable element. The definition is presented as being scientific, yet lacks the recitation incumbent in the development of a scientific axiom. The sad reality is that the reference list is simply constituted by a specious, impressively long, yet even contradictory overlay, belying its real basis: a set of 45 to 50 repetitive and circular recitations between 10 specific sources, all of whom belong to the same familiar club. Scientists are a quiet bunch for the most part, and fall easy prey to the noisy brand builders who bully everyone else and force their personal religion and will into multiple topics; as is the case in this instance with Wikipedia. Scientific literacy dictates that being a skeptic does not qualify one as constituting a recitation resource for anything. Being a celebrity skeptic simply serves to amplify that lack of credential:¹

  • Celebrity: Gardner, Sagan, Shermer
  • Outlet: Skeptic’s Dictionary, Skeptical Inquirer
  • Acolyte: Derksen, Hansson, Lower, Coker, Carroll

Key lessons learned regarding being skeptical of SSkeptics: 

fortune cookie journalismSimply because a person has identified a subject or correctly stooge posed a contention or research effort as pseudoscience before, does not mean that they expertly wield its definition. Nor does it mean they have correctly applied the method of making such a determination. Such self-qualifying reach around bravado is not tantamount to being qualified to hold a skeptical license to kill.

For instance, if your ‘skeptic’ habitually cites phrenology and astrology as their examples of pseudoscience… keep your hackles up – as they may not really understand what is involved in the concept at all.

As well, science is not about who has the most powerful lobby presence or brand. If your skeptic seems to be well focused on development of their name as a celebrity, or increasing the strength of their brand – as in the case of the above listing – rest assured that science is not the first priority being served. This type of agenda-biased source (Shermer, Sagan, Gardner et al.) is not reliable as a science or philosophy recitation.

However, this unfortunate social hypoepistemology being as it may, let’s continue and examine the pop definition of pseudoscience as presented by Wikipedia.¹

I get it! - Copy

Pseudoscience is a claim, belief or practice which is incorrectly presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status. Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.¹

Recitations:  75 – 85

a. In club recitations from 8 specific people and their acolytes or replicated materials: 45 – 50 (all of which replicate or simply restate and circularly reference each other)

b. Contradicting recitations or references (instances where the author does not agree with the entirety of the above definition and is falsely touted as a supporting recitation): 30 – 45

Specious References (not specific to recitation or so general as to be useless fodder and dunnage):  35 – 45

Technically, the argument (definition) presented by Wikipedia is called a permissive argument. It is a form of persuasion which employs the subtlety of language to allow for, or encourage ideas which do not appear to be promoted at face value. It is persuasion by means of ethos sleight-of-hand. This was the persuasion means undertaken by the character Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, in his speech to the Roman Citizenry after Caesar’s assassination by Brutus and Cassius; a clever persuasion whilst caught between the sentiment of the Citizenry and the pressure from Brutus and Cassius:

The good is oft interred with their bones,
So let it be with Caesar … The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answered it …

[Julius Caesar, Shakespeare, Act III, Scene II]

Permissive Argument

/philosophy : argument : persuasion : ethos/ : an argument which is presented as neutral to falsely appearing to be in support of an idea, crafted in equivocal or ambiguous language, which can be also taken to support, permit, encourage or authorize antithetical conclusions.

dangers of opening pandoras jail - Copyeg. Criminal is a person who has been convicted of a crime or has committed theft, harm or another act in breaking of the law; or is otherwise in violation of principles of correct thinking, or is persisting in public expression or conspiring to promote thought which contributes to such violation.

(In other words – in this permissive persuasion, anyone I do not like – can be considered a criminal)

So according to Wikipedia, here are the structural elements of philosophy which abstract the defining of what constitutes pseudoscience. Since the opening sentence is a permissive amphibology – we will presume the structure to be grammatically commutative to all three forms of contention (claim, belief and practice) equally. This is shown in the axial qualifier, lemma d, below.

Pseudoscience: Wikipedia Definition Diagram and [Critical Commentary]

a. claim [amphibology: need to clearly qualify by lemma d] [equivocal – claim can be conflated with claim-subject or observation]

i. vague, ii. contradictory, iii. exaggerated, iv. unprovable [subjective, irrelevant and superfluous hyperbole]

b. belief [amphibology: need to clearly qualify by lemma d] [equivocal – belief can be conflated with belief-domain or any act not conforming to an antithetical belief]

c. practice

d. presented as scientific (consistent with the norms of scientific research), when it

i. [objective] does not adhere to valid scientific method, or

ii. [objective and permissive ambiguity] cannot be reliably tested, or

iii. [fully permissive] otherwise lacks scientific status, or

iv. [objective ambiguity] over-relies on confirmation, and not rigorous attempts at refutation [ambiguous permissive method: falsification, replication and peer review vs plausible denial and false skepticism], or

v. [permissive ambiguity] lacks openness to evaluation by other experts, or

vi. [permissive ambiguity] characterized by a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.

Problems Caused by this Definition

misdefinition of pseudoscience - Copy

As a result, the only scientifically valuable components of the definition above (highlighted in bold above), reside principally in the lemma constraint d, and the first objective constraining condition (d, i.). Aside from these two elements of science based definition, what we have witnessed here is an interweaving of the propaganda from the 10 primary club sources cited above, with accepted axioms of scientific demarcation, in such a fashion as to allow for permissive equivocal handling in both definition of and practice of qualifying pseudoscience. Constraining elements ii. through vi. render the definition impotent, senseless and non-sense (Wittgenstein criteria) as is the case may be for each element. An interleaving crafted so as to present the appearance of scientific rigor, yet possessing in effect the keys to malpractice and rhetoric. For instance, Karl Popper, father of modern thought on the demarcation of science and non-science, cited in his paper three forms of predictive science

  1. Confirming Examination – Experimentation which supports a theory under a circumstance of innate irrefutability.
  2. Confirmation by Risk-Laden Theory Prediction – Theories which make specific risky but confirming predictions.
  3. Confirming Observations – Observations of random feedback which appear to support a theory or a pseudo-theory after its development. (sec. I)²

The first two are science, the third is not. But the crafting of wording in the above definition does not allow one to distinguish what the term ‘confirmation’ even means (see Confirmation Reliance Error below). This statement therefore can be used to enact all sorts of filtering of subjects which conform to Popper’s first two confirmatory/predictive evidence practices – and falsely relegate them to the trash heap of pseudoscience. In addition, Popper cited in his work primarily the difference between science and non-science, his purpose to not pejoratively cast aspersions on every thought that occurred outside the bounds of disciplined science. This demarcation is falsely spun as constituting a condition of pseudoscience, irrationality and non-sense by ill meaning influences, when in fact Popper meant no such thing. It incorrectly cites thought which ‘otherwise lacks scientific status’ as constituting pseudoscience. Popper vehemently disagreed with such error, as this bifurcation presents an opportunity for maliciousness, plain and simple. Any masking or downplay of the importance of the ‘presented as if it was science’ litmus, is a harmful approach in this regard. Popper expounds:

I thus felt that if a theory is found to be non-scientific, or ‘metaphysical’ (as we might say), it is not thereby found to be unimportant, or insignificant, or ‘meaningless’, or ‘nonsensical’. But it cannot claim to be backed by empirical evidence in the scientific sense–although it may easily be, in some genetic sense, the ‘result of observation’. (sec II)²

This downplay, the assumption that science and non-science possess no tolerable observation phase, which can lead to an empirical phase, of method, is one of the chief misapplications afforded by this Wikipedia definition of pseudoscience.

To the fake skeptic, only science and pseudoscience exist in the realm of observational or empirical reduction. This is false, a misrepresentation of potentially perfidious pretense.

It is clear that Karl Popper would have disagreed with major elements of this crafting in definition. This schism between what the Wikipedia article cites as recitation, and what indeed these authorities said in their cited publications, is replete throughout the reference list, recurring over 30 times, with real scientists – (eg. Feyerabend, Laudan, McNally recitations) who possessed no agenda of ‘skepticism.’ The only real support of this definition stems from the biased sources cited above. In fact Richard McNally states:

“The term ‘pseudoscience’ has become little more than an inflammatory buzzword for quickly dismissing one’s opponents in media sound-bites” ³

Notice as well that Wikipedia has placed claims and beliefs as the most prominent features inside the abstract set comprising its definition of pseudoscience. What possibly could claims and beliefs have to do with pseudoscience? Everyone has claims and beliefs. This is not a qualification element for a contention to be deemed pseudo-scientific. The definition apologizes for this through the amphibology in the first sentence, wherein one is left unsure as to whether or not ‘claims, beliefs’ are also qualified by the modifying phrase “incorrectly presented as scientific.” The structure implies that all three elements (claims, beliefs and practices) are indeed commutative lemma modified. So from both a practical and contract law basis of this language, we must presume that the sentence is saying that claims and beliefs must also be ‘incorrectly presented as scientific,’ in order to qualify as constituting pseudoscience. This of course opens the practice of defining pseudoscience to two levels of error, those of qualifying elements of definition and the subjective or permissive nature of interpretive practice.

These methods of crooked thinking, woven into the definition and relying solely upon the 10 recitation sources cited above, and as well practiced inside the culture club of Social Skepticism, are as follows:

Pseudoscience Qualifying Element Errors

Observation vs Claim Blurring – the false practice of calling an observation of data, a ‘claim’ on the observers’ part.  This in an effort to subjugate such observations into the category of constituting scientific claims which therefore must be supported by sufficient data before they may be regarded by science.  In fact an observation is simply that, a piece of evidence or a fact, and its false dismissal under the pretense of being deemed a ‘claim’ is a practice of deception and pseudoscience.

Claim vs Claim-Subject Conflation – misinterpreting identification of a claim as being based on a method of pseudoscience, as tacit permission to declare the entire subject around the specific claim, to also constitute pseudoscience.

Idea vs Belief Blurring – the false practice of regarding an idea observed by a curious person, to constitute a ‘belief’ the observers’ part.  This in an effort to subjugate such ideas into the category of personal religion or MiHoDeAL set.  In fact an idea is simply that, a thought, and its false dismissal under the pretense of being deemed a ‘belief’ is a practice of deception and pseudoscience.

Belief vs Belief-Domain Conflation – misinterpreting identification of a belief as being based on a method of pseudoscience, as tacit permission to declare the entire belief-domain associated with the specific belief, to also constitute pseudoscience.

Sponsor Practice Hyperbole – the fallacy of regarding the process of observation by a sponsor of an idea, to constitute a presentation of ‘science’ the sponsors’ part.  This in an effort to subjugate such activity falsely into the realm of pseudoscience for the simple act of being of curious in nature around a disfavored subject.  In fact research is simply that, a set of observations, and its false dismissal under the pretense of being deemed a ‘pseudoscience’ is a practice of deception and itself, pseudoscience.

Pseudoscience Disposition Malpractice – designation of a research effort as constituting pseudoscience by means of restricting access to, or by conflating or misrepresenting the diligent steps of science.

Science-Pseudoscience Bifurcation – the mistaken belief that a non-science is the same thing as a pseudoscience, that a pseudoscience is a topic or avenue of research, and that a pseudoscience can eventually become a science. When in fact only a non-science can become a science, because pseudoscience is simply a pretense and a false method, and not a topic in the first place.

Pseudoscience Qualifying Subjective or Permissive Practice Errors

Claim or Belief as Pseudoscience Error – the incorrect assumption that a claim or belief constitutes pseudoscience, when in fact it is a claim or belief which is presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research, which is indeed the qualifier as to what is and is not pseudoscience. Everyone possesses ‘claims and beliefs,’ but this is not tantamount to pretend science being practiced on everyone’s part.

Researcher’s Conundrum – if I conduct objective research inside a subject which is a pseudoscience, then I am considered a pseudo-scientist. However, if I dismiss the subject out of hand, with no research, then I am regarded as having been scientific in my approach.

Atheist’s Conundrum – if I research evidence which backs atheism, then I am pursuing science. If however, I research any topic which relates to a context of higher order beings, then I am a theist and have conducted pseudoscience. Therefore the only way to pursue science is to be an Atheist.

Otherwise Lacks Status Error – the permissive malpractice of disqualifying a subject, study or researcher from science by ignoring it as a discipline, or blocking its access to science and researchers, and therefore citing that it lacks any status in science or inside a method of science.

Lacks Scientific Method Error – – the malpractice of disqualifying a subject, study or researcher from science by citing that it has not followed the scientific method, through blocking its access to the scientific method, refusing peer review or misrepresenting its appropriate next steps or questions, and therefore citing that it has failed the methods of science.

Cannot be Reliably Tested Error – the malpractice of disqualifying a subject, study or researcher from science by citing that it has not been or cannot be tested or reliably repeated in testing. When in fact many conclusions of accepted science fall under such a reality. This often is achieved through blocking its access to the scientific method, ignoring the topic, conflating the scientific method with the experimental method, ignoring discovery science protocols, refusing to research/test the contention, or misrepresenting its appropriate next steps or empirical questions, and further then citing that therefore the subject has failed the necessary testing methods of science.

Confirmation Reliance Error – abuse of the Popper demarcation principle, which cites that body of knowledge/finished science cannot rely upon predictive and confirming evidence alone, by then applying this principle incorrectly to the process of science – or failing to distinguish controlled predictive science from simple confirmatory observation after the fact. This in an effort to filter out selectively, those ideas and theories which are vulnerable through having to rely in part upon predictive evidence, consilience of multiple inputs, or are further denied access to peer review and replication steps of science simply because of this malpractice in application of the Popperian predictive demarcation.²

Expert Relative Privation Error – the subjective contention that an avenue of research is not transparent to accountability inside science, that scientists are restricted from or too busy to access its undisciplined body or domain of evidence, or that the sponsors are hiding/ignoring counter evidence or are not forthcoming with their analysis. When in fact, such contentions are excuses foisted to countermand a need to pursue under the scientific method, a subject which has passed an Ockham’s Razor necessity of plurality.

General Absence of Process Error – a subjective open avenue of convenience, wherein any disliked subject can be dismissed through its framing as not following, or possessing an absence of one or more steps of the scientific method. A denying of access to peer review, or ignoring of a study, which is then touted as evidence of ‘not following the scientific method.’

The material essence of the definition foisted by Wikipedia, allows for 1 permissive, 2 subjective and 3 objectively contorted avenues through which an ill-intended player can falsely accuse a person, subject, observation, idea or study of practicing or constituting pseudoscience. Rendering the charade to become an entirely ontological process, wherein basically one can declare any idea one does not like, to indeed be a belief, claim or practice of false science; and therefore, pseudoscience.

The Real Discriminating Principle: Incorrect Presentation as Scientific

So the ‘if and only if’ qualifying lemma d, the lever which enables the applicable nature of the entire axiomatic definition of ‘pseudoscience’ is therefore, the condition wherein a belief, claim or practice is

≡ incorrectly presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research

Therefore, the Wikipedia definition of pseudoscience, through an attempt to employ wording which will tickle the ears of its Social Skeptic monitors, and through employment of loopholes in equivocation, amphibology and practice, is rendered moot-to-destructive. The real definition of pseudoscience, hinges on the content provided by those authors/sources who refuted the Wikipedia full definition set, and adhered to this definition:

Pseudoscience

/philosophy : science : pseudoscience/ : Disposition of ideas as constituting science or non-science based on their subject matter alone, in lieu of employment of scientific method. A methodology or conclusion which over-relies upon predictive study, confirmation or dismissive skepticism. A claim or conclusion which is presented as current best science or as being derived from the scientific method, when in fact such contentions are false.

A key distinguishing feature is this. A non-science research avenue can become a discipline of science through diligent sponsorship and observation. A pseudoscience can never become a discipline of science, by definition – because it is not a topic to begin with; moreover, neither is it a discipline, because of incumbent errant practice and pretense. Thus, pseudoscience and a discipline of science are not logical antithetical counterparts to begin with. Pseudoscience is apples, science is an orange Dodge Challenger. This the primary rationale behind why a pseudoscience can never be a topic.

As well, a skeptic may consider the question ‘Is there a subject wherein, ANY and all activity, by nature of the subject, must be defined as pseudoscience (method)?’ I contend that the answer to this question is no. First, if there existed such a subject domain, then one would have to conduct science in order to determine such a final and comprehensive disposition. But how can one study a subject, which is already assumed in advance to be pseudoscience? Only by means of religious revelation can one make a disposition in absence of study. Again, this is a logical process mismatch. Second, this quandary precludes either a philosophical or scientific approach to declaring a subject a priori to be 100% a domain of useless information and effort. I contend that there exists no such domain. There may be disciplines wherein 90% of the ‘claiming to be science’ effort conducted is pseudoscience method, yes. But wholesale declaration of a subject to be pseudoscience, kills the potential beneficial 10% in advance. An act of pseudoscience in itself. If a subject is not of primary value, the Ethical Skeptic ignores it. Any other form of action is self worship. Self worship is a key warning flag of fake skepticism (eg. observe how celebrity and self worship have negatively impacted the definition of pseudoscience above).

Unfortunately, this value laden and clear (the two goals of Ethical Skepticism) philosophical construct is complicated – to rendered incoherent, by the supposition that a topic can be a pseudoscience. The coherence of the subject is shattered, by the rocks of forced religious beliefs, thrown from the hand of Social Skeptic advocacy wishing to denigrate topics before they can ever be pursued as a discipline. The stark reality is that a claim under skepticism, to have employed the tools of science, to unfairly or with prejudice, issue a probable disposition upon or filter a subject out of legitimate discourse – ironically constitutes in itself – pseudoscience.

Inside this perfidious set of definition, interpretation and practice, we are witness to the full tradecraft of fake skepticism.


¹  Wikipedia: Pseudoscience, extracted Sep 28, 2015; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudoscience

²  Karl R. Popper: Science: Conjectures and Refutations. Conjectures and Refutations (1963), p. 43–86;

³  McNally RJ, The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice: Is the pseudoscience concept useful for clinical psychology?; Vol. 2, no. 2 (2003).

September 28, 2015 Posted by | Argument Fallacies, Ethical Skepticism | , , , | Leave a comment

What is Pseudoscience?

What is Pseudoscience?  And why we live in a banana republic age of scientific consensus, ruled by SSkeptics.

In the September 2011 Scientific American Skeptic editorial, Michael Shermer tendered, in my opinion, an untenable definition of Pseudoscience.  A definition which is crafted to lend legitimacy to the unethical act of classifying subjects a priori into forbidden domains; involving power which appropriates and corrupts the use of peer review and research, making them no longer tools on the part of true experts in a field of study, rather the pretentious actions of controlling social figures and campaigns.  A definition which seeks instead to promote science as a form of democratic popularity contest adjudicated by all those appointed the right to vote by the very power wielding SSkeptics themselves. A contest of politics wherein it is the number of people in a social club who have an opinion, and not the data, research and work of the true investigators (see Discovery Science), which determines the tenets of what is considered an acceptable conclusion of science.

All this passed off under the pretense of socially responsible jargon, that somehow this broad non-expert opinion survey constitutes “egalitarian rather than elitist” principles and is “bottom up rather than top down.”  In other words “We cannot rely upon people conducting observations and doing research to guide us, we need the vote of our social order, trained through filtered channel propaganda.”

“Let science consumers in the marketplace of ideas determine (vote) what constitutes good science, starting with the scientists themselves and filtering through the editors, educators, and readers.  As for potential consumers of pseudoscience (that means everyone), that’s what skeptics are for…” (Michael Shermer, “What is Pseudoscience?”, Scientific American; Vol 305, No. 3; p. 92)

Michael Shermer is wrong here in my opinion.  He has not only crafted an non-viable definition of the term pseudoscience, but has assumed a position of power on the part of he and his Cabal, which they do not merit.  What is actually practiced is nothing akin to an egalitarian consensus, rather is a Social Technology (a forthcoming blog on why it does not take a conspiracy theory in order for good persons to produce evil outcomes) crafted by those who seek power.  SSkeptics develop an iniquitous and incompetent framing of the processes which lead to the presumption of what is and is not pseudoscience.   Below I will outline why Pseudoscience, in Ethical Skepticism is an action and a pretense on the part of those claiming to represent science, and not a disposition of a topic by controlling interests.  There are five principal fatal problems inherent in defining pseudoscience as a disposition of a topic, tendered by today’s version of democratic science.

Why Pseudoscience is an ACTION and a PRETENSE, and cannot ethically be a research subject, topic, belief or faith

Ethical Problem 1:   The Marketplace is informed of the vote results by SSkeptics

If you have ever been to a party, where a scientist will quietly speak his mind on one of the Forbidden 121 topics but mentions that he would never be able to speak in public about such things, nor heaven forbid, actually conduct observations inside the subject, much less do any science – then you know first hand the all-too-common witch hunt mentality which exists inside science today.   This witch hunt is not a conspiracy theory, rather a real and damaging zeitgeist crafted by, and painted by the SSkeptic Cabal.  The problem with Michael Shermer’s version of the Marketplace of Science , is that the results of the vote, or if you will what is the new fashion rage for this spring, or the results of this year’s Academy Awards of Authorized Science, are informed and presented to the democratic body, by the very SSkeptics themselves.  This is a stark conflict of interest. People with a singular religious view, informing people as to what to believe, is not science.  “As for potential consumers of pseudoscience (everyone), that’s what skeptics are for…”  In other words, we live in a banana republic, where one party informs the voters of the tally of the vote.

And is this party honest? No. In the coming millennium this will not even be in question.  As our minds continue to expand and be informed, today’s SSkeptic movement will be replaced by true scientific method and ethics (see The Tower of Wrong).

Ethical Problem 2:  The Science ‘Marketplace’ includes a majority of non-expert voters, who are an easy sell for SSkeptics, and who are inappropriately called the ‘scientists themselves’

Ahh, I see.  So science is a popularity contest inside a club of non-experts, non-researchers, non-interested persons who simply hold a status and title (“the scientists themselves”).  A democracy of popular vote among a constituency of persons who win the right to vote by simply being in the club; and not by having actually conducted real research into the idea in question.  Since I have a title, I am deemed able to make pronouncements on any subject I desire, and be counted in the vote.  SSkeptics ignore the fact that, in regard to those subjects deemed “pseudosciences” – very few of scientists are actually experts in the subject in question at all.

     Corollary 2a.  There are far fewer true experts than there are opinionated non-expert voters

There at least 200 sciences comprised by Natural, Social, Medical, Engineering, and Mathematical discipline groupings.  This is a very successful focus and career advancement structure. But the weakness therein is that any participant in the body of science intrinsically only holds expertise on .5% to 4% of the given knowledge base.  I have spent 30 years pursuing my career subject, replete with 8 years of undergrad and graduate work.  I am considered one of the top 3 persons in my field.  This as a result of working 6 days a week and 12 to 16 hours a day on the cutting edge of my field.  I still do not have an adequate grasp of my field after all this time.  It is still not enough for me to begin to dictate what is right inside of sister disciplines.  At most I have a 4% grasp on industry as a whole.  I am a non-expert on much of my broad science grouping.  Understanding this is a key tenet of Ethical Skepticism.

When I observe scientists or SSkeptics pretending to be experts on a broad array of subjects, I KNOW it is a load of baloney.  They have not had enough time to gain this insight.  It is a pretense and a masquerade.

So, because a group of astronomers, physicists, psychologists, nuclear technologists and mathematicians do not like the idea of a North American Primate, then the subject is given the final fatal disposition of a ‘pseudoscience’ – despite none of the ‘scientists themselves’ (or voters, in this context) in question actually having done ANY research at all into the subject.  Couple this with the fact that those who actually DO research, are declared to be not-scientists, or are relegated to and less than SSkeptics’ subjectively convenient “dismissible margin,” and one has witnessed the establishment a social construct.  There is a problem, there is a flaw in the system which creates a social order and not a science, when the following state exists in the voting input.  This state exists for much of what is deemed “Pseudoscience” by the Social Skeptics:

Sum of Expert Input   <    Dismissible Margin

    Corollary 2b.  PhD level or other technicians are often counted in the vote as ‘scientists’

A definitive weakness in the ‘count everyone’s vote’ egalitarian method of science is that we allow the definition of the term ‘scientist’ to include degreed field and research technicians, when indeed these individuals are simply there to follow the guidance, follow the rules, and make sure that everything works.  A technician, a PhD level engineer, graduate IT developer, or degreed lab tech, may be called a scientist in slang, but are not really considered expert researchers.  They may even hold several advanced degrees.  Technicians in most disciplines include psychologists, sociologists, information technologists, human factors engineers, electrical chemical or mechanical engineers, project and program managers, finance managers, lab techs, research aides, statistical analysts, methods analysts, or non-tenured research associates.  While I have immense respect for these areas of research and development, they should not typically comprise a part of the base which qualifies as ‘the scientists themselves’ – but you will find people with really 8 years in program management, or 7 years in PhD engineering project roles being called ‘scientists’ – when in fact they are not

    • Many so called ‘scientists’ really only occupy technician or teaching roles
    • Technicians beef up the non-expert vote count
    • Technicians distinguish themselves by being good at following the instructions
    • You will find more SSkeptics in the Information Technology, Psychology and Engineering realms than you will find in true Science

In reality, technicians make their merit, distinguish themselves in their careers by how well they follow the rules.  If you think outside the box, you are not going to do well in an engineering curriculum typically.  Laplacian Transformations, Golden Section Algorithms, Reactor Core Design theory development academic proficiencies are all typically programs which demand rigorous rule following, and are not typically designed to encourage the participant to develop new ‘out of context ideas”  Having hired and worked with over 400 engineers over the years in profit-based and demanding professional businesses, as well as cutting edge research environs, I have observed this to be very common.  Technicians follow the rules.  They will spout the dogma.  As they move into management they rarely promote maverick thinking, and are rather irritated by it.  They will cast their vote the way they are told to vote.  That is how they made the cut to begin with.

Ethical Problem 3:   The Club voting membership is educated, regulated and qualified solely by those who have an investment in the outcome of the vote

The “editors, educators…and skeptics” role is to filter data and acceptance of voters, so that the outcome they desire is ensured in the popular vote.  We have stacked the jury and ensured that we have an OJ Simpson verdict on subjects in which we have conducted NO research whatsoever – simply because we do not like the subject.  We have dismissed an idea by popular prejudice, method, education and media propaganda, and not by evidential merit.

I have several excellent scientists working for me.  They all maintain pre-concluded presumptions as to the validity and veracity of alternative medicine, human neolithic history, UFO’s and various forms of paranormal data collection.  They have been trained to hold these beliefs.  They are NOT experts on the subjects, they cannot cite falsification Test 1 on any topic.  But SSkeptics would have us all believe that they are fully accepted and qualified members of the voting “scientists themselves.”

Ethical Problem 4:   Status declarations imply successful falsifications by science which indeed have never actually been tested for, nor achieved

SSkeptics, often feel that the end game of their duty is to simply provide a Plausible Deniability scenario, when confronted with a challenging piece of evidence or data.  This is fake skepticism (see Pseudo-Skeptics: Marcello Truzzi, Founding Co-chairman of CSICOP).  While the simplest explanation is certainly an appropriate lead construct in a pluralistic argument, it by no means demarcates the end state of our duty, and it by no means indicates that falsification of all other compelling constructs has been achieved.

    Corollary 4a.  Seeking anecdotal evidence supporting Plausible Deniability scenarios is NOT science, it is Promotification

I watched a famed SSkeptic stand in as the ‘skeptic’ in a paranormal program the other night.  Good job on that for the courageous skeptic, but I guess it is their job to deflect this stuff from the consideration of disdainful academics.  The SSkeptic, as a representative of rational SSkepticism, only set up testing protocols to provide evidence of support for a Plausible Deniability scenario he had in mind.   This is NOT falsification, does not add value and does not offer clarity in the process.  It is not science. Simply establishing that a Plausible Deniability scenario is possible, does not add value to the argument.  We need falsification, not propaganda fuel.  The SSkeptic will simply find what he is looking for and take that back to reassure his arrogant 15 year olds that all is well.  There are no ghosts.

    Corollary 4b.  Declaring ‘falsifiability’ is not the same thing as being falsified, and only scientific study can prove falsification

But at times SSkeptics break from the Plausible Deniability approach and range back into Falsification Testing.  Well, not actually testing.  That would require that we actually DO science.  SSkeptic semantics shift back to falsification as a demarcating precept.  But they typically only choose to focus on “falsifiability” and not the actual status of being “falsified.”  A pseudoscience need only possess falsifiability and plausible deniability in order to be condemned by the SSkeptic Cabal on behalf of science.  Indeed however, it is the flippant declaration of falsifiability, the swagger of plausible alternatives, and not the actual act of falsification itself which is the tool used by SSkeptics to declare a subject a pseudoscience.  Only science can falsify, but science is forbidden access to falsify these topics (see What Constitutes a Religion?).

SSkeptics correctly cite “falsifiability” to be the ultimate criterion of demarcation of a science and non-science.  Well, all of these subjects are falsifiable, so why do we forbid their testing by scientists?  SSkeptics would dictate that falsification tests need not be conducted, since the ‘scientists themselves’ have already made a conclusion.  Because I CAN falsify this, I do not need to.  Scientists keep out of this and let the SSkeptics handle it.

This is pseudoscience.

Ethical Problem 5:   Once a SUBJECT is deemed (by popular non-expert vote) as a “Pseudoscience,” it can never again be seriously considered despite the existence or introduction of Ockham’s Razor plurality evidence

Deniers!, Pseudoscientist! Pseudoscience! Simplest Explanation!, Woo!, Bunk!, Nonsense!, Witchcraft!, Magic!  These are a part of the inventory of Weapon Words which are core to the filtering process which SSkeptics employ.  These bear the hallmark employments of thought control and social order establishment.  They are the means of control inside a large body of pretend experts on all subjects.  They are the bricks of the Kristallnacht of Science.  Please refer to the list of the 121 Forbidden Subjects.

The Principle of filtering data “through editors, educators…and skeptics” is an irresponsible configuration of activities which are not science methods, but rather a method of developing propaganda, exclusion and definition of acceptable thought.  Agenda sponsors, and those who have control of the media channels imbue their prejudices into the ideas which are then fed through the sole channels available (schools, press, media, publishing, policy, governance, enforcement) to the proletariat membership.  This is socialistic in its construction, and is nothing akin to science.  Science is not a popular vote, it is not appropriately based on agenda campaigns, nor is it a social order of entitlement, as SSkeptics would have it.

The final declaration of an IDEA as pseudoscience, rather than a set of actions, means that we can never recover from a mistake in the popular vote, contrived by those with less-than-honorable intent.  We become the victims of the surreptitious among us. It does not matter that much of The Periodic Table of Irrational Nonsense promoting rationality through ridicule (from © 2010 by Crispian Jago) depicted at the right, is correct.  The issue is the incorrect methodology employed to arrive at its conclusions, the social method employed to enforce those dispositions and the great probability that it is incorrect on some of this ridicule material. This type of gilt-edged fakery constitutes a net loss to mankind.

NONE of this is Science. It is pseudo-science in my opinion for two reasons:

a. It boasts specific claims about these subjects sans any research, evidence, or critical epistemology, and

b. It pretends to have employed science in the determination of its conclusions, and that science agrees with its conclusions.

In fact, Pseudoscience can NEVER be a subject, by the tenets of logic alone. Rather it is characterized by actions just like a. and b. above. A subject cannot be declared false by a set of outsiders.  Those who condemn a subject to be a pseudoscience, are guilty of unethical, non-scientific practices – and being eventually proved correct does not exonerate the practitioner of such deception.  It is merely a technicality.

Indeed, what follows is therefore for the Ethical Skeptic, the only viable definition of pseudoscience:

Ethical Skepticism Definition of Pseudoscience: Pseudoscience is an action, not a subject

Pseudoscience – Disposition of ideas as constituting science or non-science based on their subject matter alone, in lieu of employment of scientific method. A methodology or conclusion which over-relies upon predictive study, confirmation or dismissive skepticism. A claim or conclusion which is presented as current best science or as being derived from the scientific method, when in fact such contentions are false.

The employment of Social Technology control tactics, seeking to dictate singular thought, is Pseudoscience.  This is what Michael is proposing in his editorial.

A Scientist is someone actively engaged in research in a given subject, and NOT someone holding a degree or engaged in research in another subject.  These contributors add no more value or clarity than outside non-expert opinions; their inclusion can only be used for control.  And remember, the goals of the Ethical Skeptic, are value and clarity; not the control of ideas.

March 26, 2014 Posted by | Ethical Skepticism | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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