A wrong question under the scientific method is generally posed for one of two reasons: ignorance or the desire to cultivate ignorance. It is the latter motive for which the ethical skeptic must always be on guard. One learns early on inside the social skepticism movement, that in order to derive the right answer, all one need do is simply ask the wrong question.
Pseudoscience is a descriptive of method, and not of subject. The understanding of this is what differentiates the fake-skeptic from the real thing. One of the primary tactics of pseudoscience is a condition wherein a person tenders the appearance of asking a sciencey-sounding question (usually under the virtue identity of being a ‘skeptic’), while hoping that the victim against whom they are arguing does not comprehend the difference between pseudoscience and real science. The first tactic of pseudoscience is the asking of a biased or incoherent question, which tenders the appearance of being scientific in its crafting. You will be surprised that, even in the halls of established science – this trick is applied and passes peer review. The study claims run along the lines of ‘we are asking an incomplete and partially incoherent answer, and should understand the results for what they are inside that light’ – whereupon the answer is then extrapolated by social activists (social skeptics) into a set of ramifications and pervasive conclusions such studies never meant to impart. This type of study often constitutes a wild, disconnected shot in the dark – a hope for a compliant outcome, through the clever abrogation of real and plenary science.
Failure to follow critical path is a key sign of scientific fraud – even if the internal procedural protocols of a study itself are ethical. A grand statistical study, which does not follow an incremental and dependent pathway of query (in other words, specific outcomes established its sequential logical necessity under Ockham’s Razor) – is fraud dressed up in a science lab coat. It is out of sequence, bypassing much more deductive and direct-testing alternatives, employing science based upon an unsound and manipulated grand set of data – otherwise known as pseudoscience.
An example of such an Ockham’s Razor orphan form of pseudoscience can be found here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1124634/
The sincere skeptical researcher, will begin their research from a position of suspended judgement, and then proceed to ask a series of dependent and incremental questions, called a critical path. They are not overly retrophile on previous work/art, often working more as a critic of such approaches. They do not begin with grand statistical studies outside the question domain or focused on one small portion of the scientific or population domains. The onus is upon the ethical skeptic to understand this, and detect when a query seeks to combine or skip questions inside this critical path to force a compliant outcome; or worse, attempt to trick, impugn or twist ideas and people by means of ‘asking a question’. This is done for two reasons: ignorance, or the desire to cultivate ignorance. The two motivations help create each other in a social context, hence the origin of the apothegm of ethical skepticism:
Ignorance is contagious.
The latter, a desire to cultivate ignorance established by means of Verdrängung Mechanism, is practiced by social skeptics. One learns early on inside the social skepticism movement, that in order to derive the right answer, all one need do is first ask the wrong question. It is actually a very brilliant strategy; one can even practice it without knowing that fact. However, it takes a more committed, sincere and sharp acumen, in order to catch the trick which enables this symbiosis between ignorance and the cultivation of ignorance. A trick called interrogative biasing.
/philosophy : pseudoscience : fallacy : red herring : scientific method pretense/ : ask the wrong question and you are assured to arrive at the right answer. A method of faking science by asking an incomplete, statistical absence, non-probative, ill sequenced or straw man question, fashioned so as to achieve a result which implies a specific desired answer; yet is in no way representative of plenary or ethical science on the matter under consideration.
For example, what is often posed in the form of a rhetorical query, can end up constituting nothing more than a method of asking an ill-formed question with the goal in mind of only obtaining the answer one wants. One does not even have to possess a material argument themselves in order to argue in this dishonest manner. The stratagem simply falling along the following lines
1. The rhetorical question cannot structurally (not anything to do with verity) be answered, except with an answer which appears to favor the opponent (I say ‘opponent’, because in this circumstance often the opponent has not risked a dog-in-the-hunt argument in the first place, which their conversant could even address),2. It seeks to deflect from critical discussion at hand, and3. Often features only a goal of a stream of insult towards the person with whom the rhetoric issuer is supposedly engaged in conversation.
Ethical Skeptic’s Dictum of Rhetoric – what is posed in the rhetorical, can only be opposed with the rhetorical. One cannot answer a rhetorical question with objective reason and evidence.
Ethical Skeptic’s Dictum of Silence – silence cannot be refuted. However, ontological silence should not be confused with rhetorical silence.
One can observe interrogative biasing in a number of situations. It usually comes within a context of virtue signaling on the part of the person asking the question. The virtue can be positions of social justice, claims to represent god, or claims to represent science. Interrogative biasing is the strategy of obfuscation through posing of incorrect, impugning or badly sequenced questions of science. But the tactics it typically comprises include:
1. Querying Reliable Data and Not Probative Data
“We sought medical plan databases, and avoided cohort studies or parental reports due to the unethical or unreliable nature of such study.”
2. Querying Flawed Means of Collection for Observations of Absence (Hempel’s Paradox)
“We examined two specific public healthcare plan databases in Denmark to observe incidence of accepted claims of plan doctor diagnoses of autism in kids 6 months to 5 years in age.”
3. Asking a Surreptitiously Incoherent Question (Imposterlösung Mechanism)
“Please provide testable evidence for God.”
4. Asking an Out of Sequence Question – a question which eventually should be asked, but is dependent upon other questions needed to be answered first
“What technologies will allow us to sequester carbon into ocean water?”
5. Asking a Currently (Current Knowledge) Unaddressable Question
“If life did not originate from abiogenesis on Earth, then how did life begin?”
6. Proof Gaming – Demanding things be ‘proven’ before science can be allowed to begin
“What if any, physical proof do you have of this persistent phenomenon (observation)?”
7. Straw Man Question Framing
“We sought to test if therapeutic vitamin supplementation would have any impact on incidence of heart disease during a 5 year observation horizon of a group of persons.”
8. Question Lacking in Plenary Science, Adequate or Ethical Domain
“We sought to test if the MMR vaccine was associated with higher rates of autism in Danish children (on a much lower vaccine schedule).”
9. Trick/Ambiguous/Amphibological Question (uti dolo)
“Do you as a scientist accept the reality of climate change?”
10. Begging the Point – the framing of a question from a desired answer in such a fashion that its desired conclusion is the only viable answer
“Why if there is no God, is everything around us in perfect designed balance?”
11. Eristic Question – a question posed so as to pose the recipient in the worst light
“Wasn’t your paper rejected for fraudulent scientific procedure, if I recall correctly?” (Had to correct one assumption, which did not change outcome)
12. Convergent Semantics – a question which does not allow an answer outside a particular conclusion domain
“Have you stopped beating your wife?”
13. Red Herring – posing an irrelevant, bucket characterization, misinforming or unsound question
“Why are supplements not controlled by the FDA in ways which scheduled drugs are?”
14. ingens vanitatum – posing a rapid series of irrelevant questions, in order to tender the appearance of competency inside a subject. However none of the questions seem to bear any critical nature of understanding of the subject being discussed, or are posed in an illogical sequence or order.
“What was the court docket number? Was the case heard by a state or federal judge? In what precinct was it filed?”
Become skilled at detecting such circumstances in query, and you will be amazed at how the supposed heroes of ‘skepticism’ will in your eyes, steadily become tarnished and fall from grace.
The Ethical Skeptic, “Interrogative Biasing: Asking the Wrong Question in Order to Get the Right Answer” The Ethical Skeptic, WordPress, 14 Jul 2018; Web, https://wp.me/p17q0e-7Vo