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arthuremerson
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Los,

The Slippery Slope fallacy is a good example of the first. An argument can take the shape of a slipper slop fallacy, but the conclusion can be true. Consider a drug addict on remission perhaps, or an alcoholic: If he takes one drink or one hit then it will lead down the slippery slope of addiction.

One very common example of the second in the literature is the "two wrongs make a right" fallacy. Generally speaking, the United States civil rights movement is often invoked: "It is okay to break the law if we are breaking the law to change what has been unjustly denied us."

Both of these arguments partake of argumentative structures that are considered fallacious but they cannot be rejected merely on their fallacious structure. It is likely that the first is a slippery slope that happens to be true, and not many are likely to disagree with the second.

Regards,
ae


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arthuremerson
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"Los" wrote:
So what you're saying is that the phrase "skeptical of skepticism" might mean something like, "I question the value of employing [scientific] skepticism"?
If that's what you're saying, then that would indeed make the phrase "skeptical of skepticism" comprehensible (though I think questioning the value of employing [scientific] skepticism is incredibly stupid, in light of the evidence).

Precisely. I just imagine that your employ of the term could be confusing to some, to newcomers in particular, who haven't necessarily been present when you've defined your terms in the past. As your definition has been used elsewhere and already has a distinguishing terminology, my suggestion of a slight change was in the name of clarity only.

Best,
ae


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arthuremerson
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Los,

I would like to quickly point out a mistake in my writing earlier. I said that fallacious arguments don't necessarily entail invalid conclusions. I should have said that they don't necessarily entail false conclusions. Validity is a technical term in informal logic that speaks to the formal structure of the argument, not it's truth value; arguments can be deductively invalid,  but nevertheless true.

Best,
ae


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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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"arthuremerson" wrote:
David,

The principles of informal logic have largely been in place since the 1970s. Those principles do in no way partake of the type of skepticism you are suggesting they do here. The burden of proof lies on you to prove or determine that they should.

Well Arthur, I agree that the general conception and definition of informal logic in the 1970s was the result of efforts to move towards argumentation and away from the sort of syllogistic reasoning that I presented in that earlier post.  However we could go on and on here with me citing experts who provide definitions of informal logic that appear to involve demanding evidence of claims made and you telling me to study more.  Fact is, a true solid definition of informal logic is up for debate and has many components.    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-informal/  Check that article out if you wish to see what I mean.

Here's a pasted passage from the Falllacy Theory section

key fallacies (e.g., equivocation and false dilemma) in pedagogical and theoretical discussion, the problems with fallacy theory have convinced many that theories of informal logic should focus, not on fallacies, but on general criteria for good reasoning (premise acceptability and relevance, etc

Also in terms of proof I think I already mentioned argumentation theory and it's place in informal logic.  I have emboldened the relevant parts in this following definition.

[b]Key components of argumentation

Understanding and identifying arguments, either explicit or implied, and the goals of the participants in the different types of dialogue.
Identifying the premises from which conclusions are derived
Establishing the "burden of proof" — determining who made the initial claim and is thus responsible for providing evidence why his/her position merits acceptance.For the one carrying the "burden of proof", the advocate, to marshal evidence for his/her position in order to convince or force the opponent's acceptance. The method by which this is accomplished is producing valid, sound, and cogent arguments, devoid of weaknesses, and not easily attacked.

Overall this is proving to be unproductive at this time I agree with that. 

Regards,


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arthuremerson
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David,

Burden of proof is only a determination of who has the obligation to "marshal evidence for his/her position". In a case such as ours, in which you are attempting a revision of well understood principles, it is your obligation to marshal evidence, not mine. My stance is on the side of tradition within the discipline of informal logic and the basic principles which have been arrived at. Of course there are debates about definitions of informal logic, what should be taught, how it should be taught, etc. The same could be said of all domains, and philosophers are notoriously touchy about such things as labels, methods, classes, you name it. However, the basic principles of informal logic, many of them going back to Aristotle, are unlikely to change drastically. As such, when we discuss informal logic outside of specialist circles, we can be pretty sure we are on the same page.

More important than study, David, if you don't mind my saying, is to maintain some humility when approaching others and to maintain an honesty about what you know and what you don't; there is always more to learn.

As for argumentation theory, it's a formal name for the interdisciplinary study approaches to understanding informal reasoning. It doesn't have a place in informal logic, so to say.

Regards,
ae


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Los
 Los
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"arthuremerson" wrote:
Precisely. I just imagine that your employ of the term could be confusing to some, to newcomers in particular, who haven't necessarily been present when you've defined your terms in the past. As your definition has been used elsewhere and already has a distinguishing terminology, my suggestion of a slight change was in the name of clarity only.

That's fair enough, but I'm not sure "scientific skepticism" is the term I want to use, as it tends to conjure images of people in white lab coats running formal experiments -- it might especially conjure such an erroneous image in the minds of the very "newcomers" that you're concerned about.

Frankly, I think the thing that produces the least confusion is to encourage open dialogues, where people feel free to explain what they mean by various terms. I don't think the term "skepticism" is particularly confusing to people willing to have such dialogues (and, in the course of such dialogues, simply ask what I mean). But then, that reminds us of a problem one might encounter -- that there are a number of posters on these forums who actively resist dialogue, who think that some of the subjects that they ostensibly study and take seriously either can't be discussed or shouldn't be discussed.


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Los
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"arthuremerson" wrote:
I would like to quickly point out a mistake in my writing earlier. I said that fallacious arguments don't necessarily entail invalid conclusions. I should have said that they don't necessarily entail false conclusions. Validity is a technical term in informal logic that speaks to the formal structure of the argument, not it's truth value; arguments can be deductively invalid,  but nevertheless true.

Yes, that's right. That's why I asked you for an example -- fallacious arguments are invalid by definition.

Now certainly, I'll concede that an argument can be fallacious but still, by accident, arrive at a true conclusion. But I hope you're not trying to imply that locating fallacies in arguments isn't all that useful merely because a tiny number of fallacious arguments might accidentally stumble into a true conclusion. Earlier in this thread, you said, "Fallacies are not without their problems," and I have to wonder what you might have meant by that.

As a humorous aside, I once got into a truly hilarious conversation on another forum, where a poster actually implied that avoiding logical fallacies is a superhuman feat of some kind. He then proceeded to make every elementary fallacy in the books, suggesting he was projecting a lot more than he thought he was.


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arthuremerson
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Los,

I was certainly not trying to imply that locating mistakes in reasoning is not useful. What I don't think is useful is going around, as David does, pedantically drawing attention to them. The reason that we learn the major fallacies is to identify mistakes in reasoning that are very common; there are many more invalid categorical syllogisms that we don't bother giving catchy titles to. The fallacies are really like a study in human nature, the way we naturally reason, unchecked by the rules of logic.

The problems I suggested that fallacies have is that they can have the effect, as they seem to have had on David, of engendering the naive belief that we can dismiss the entirety of someone's argument simply because we've identified a fallacy. Certainly we can reject its validity, but this seems counterproductive to everyday discourse. Just as fallacious arguments can have true conclusions, valid arguments can have false conclusions. Crafting sound arguments in everyday communication is something that is difficult (certainly not superhuman, however) to do. We strive to do so when we philosophize, and certainly we strive to do so when engaging in dialogues such as those here on Lashtal, where we can take time to craft our messages. Mistakes happen, however, and not everyone is as well versed in these subjects as others might be, which is why I made mention of the principle of charity to David. 

Regards,
ae


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Los
 Los
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"arthuremerson" wrote:
I was certainly not trying to imply that locating mistakes in reasoning is not useful. What I don't think is useful is going around, as David does, pedantically drawing attention to them.

Yes, I agree with that. I've found that it's very common for people who are just learning argumentation to fall into a pattern of insistently pointing out every logical fallacy they see -- or think they see. There's a tendency for some people to see fallacies even when they don't exist. The guy I was talking about above tried to accuse me of a number of logical fallacies, and each time he demonstrated that he didn't actually understand what the fallacy in question meant. It was like a comedy show.

The reason that we learn the major fallacies is to identify mistakes in reasoning that are very common; there are many more invalid categorical syllogisms that we don't bother giving catchy titles to. The fallacies are really like a study in human nature, the way we naturally reason, unchecked by the rules of logic.

I agree, but I would phrase it more like this: to study logical fallacies is to study the kind of sloppy thinking that all humans are prone to. We study it so as to prevent ourselves from thinking as sloppily as we are naturally inclined to do.

The problems I suggested that fallacies have is that they can have the effect, as they seem to have had on David, of engendering the naive belief that we can dismiss the entirety of someone's argument simply because we've identified a fallacy. Certainly we can reject its validity, but this seems counterproductive to everyday discourse.

I'm not sure I agree with this. While it's true that an invalid argument might occasionally stumble accidentally into a true conclusion, the point is that nobody's got any grounds for thinking that an invalid conclusion is actually true. When an error has been pointed out in somebody's thinking, that error calls a specific conclusion into question. If that specific conclusion has become the basis for other lines of reasoning in the argument, then yes -- locating a fallacy in an argument indeed calls the entire argument into question.

Crafting sound arguments in everyday communication is something that is difficult (certainly not superhuman, however) to do. We strive to do so when we philosophize, and certainly we strive to do so when engaging in dialogues such as those here on Lashtal, where we can take time to craft our messages. Mistakes happen, however, and not everyone is as well versed in these subjects as others might be, which is why I made mention of the principle of charity to David.

Sure, mistakes happen, and they ought to be pointed out when they happen. And the people accused of making them should feel free to defend their arguments.

I'm all for the principle of charity, but I'm also for vigorous "mental fight." Contrary to what some people seem to think, the best points tend to emerge from passionate arguments, disagreements, and attempts to defend points of view from attacks. That's what sharpens up arguments. Some people really would prefer that "discussions" be nothing more than "I state my opinion, you state your opinion, and then we all shrug our shoulders and pat each other on the back." Perhaps not surprisingly, such people tend to be those who have weak positions that wouldn't stand up to scrutiny.


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Tao
 Tao
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Rollicking good discussion, lads! Keep up the good work.

I have no interest to intrude on the flow of ideas but, as my name was brought up a while back, I thought it only neighborly that I respond to the call.

"Los" wrote:
To be clear, in this subthread, I was objecting to the notion that is sometimes bandied about -- and that seems to have appeared in one of Tao's posts -- that skeptics ought to be "skeptical of skepticism" too.

I don't remember this being what I said at all. If it was taken that way, I sincerely apologize for clumsy wording. I would never presume to tell anyone what they "ought" to do, especially on a site devoted to the prophet of self-determination. I merely intended to show that david's analogy was not apt by virtue of a confusion of class amongst his terms. That confusion was masking the very sorts of layers of this word "scepticism" that arthuremerson better elucidated than I ever could and the layers of logic and metalogic towards which I pointed the way. That one can take a sceptical attitude towards scientific scepticism or toward Pyrrhic scepticism or toward any other specialized definition of the word that one might choose should be self-evident. That doesn't in any way make it a requirement.

"Los" wrote:
I encounter this with some regularity.

I'd expect this has a bit to do with the confusion of definition problem that arthuremerson points out. But, enough of this digression... Back to it, boys.


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Anonymous
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"arthuremerson" wrote:
David,

Burden of proof is only a determination of who has the obligation to "marshal evidence for his/her position". In a case such as ours, in which you are attempting a revision of well understood principles, it is your obligation to marshal evidence, not mine. My stance is on the side of tradition within the discipline of informal logic and the basic principles which have been arrived at. Of course there are debates about definitions of informal logic, what should be taught, how it should be taught, etc. The same could be said of all domains, and philosophers are notoriously touchy about such things as labels, methods, classes, you name it. However, the basic principles of informal logic, many of them going back to Aristotle, are unlikely to change drastically. As such, when we discuss informal logic outside of specialist circles, we can be pretty sure we are on the same page.

More important than study, David, if you don't mind my saying, is to maintain some humility when approaching others and to maintain an honesty about what you know and what you don't; there is always more to learn.

As for argumentation theory, it's a formal name for the interdisciplinary study approaches to understanding informal reasoning. It doesn't have a place in informal logic, so to say.

Regards,
ae

I agree. 

"arthuremerson" wrote:
David,

If I'm to take you correctly, you've demonstrated with logical fallacies that logic is not used to evaluate informal arguments. This in an effort to prove that (scientific) skepticism is really what's at work when we evaluate informal arguments. That's an absurd line of argument. The evidence based skepticism that you are talking about is known as scientific skepticism and the evidence in question in empirical evidence, not the nebulous evidence you try to supply here. It is absolutely unnecessary to employ scientific skepticism to informal logical analysis. To be skeptical in the general sense of the term seems rather obviously a prerequisite to any analysis, however.Regards,
ae

It's clear though that in those examples I gave that the arguments are exposed as fallacies by a plea for evidence and not just attacking flawed reasoning.  You can't deny that.  I admit that maybe this doesn't cut it for all fallacies though.

Thanks,


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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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Los and Arthur your discussion on informal logic and argumentation is too valuable to be a sub-thread in this LaVey orientated thread in my opinion.  It may be a good idea to set up a completely new thread which would benefit future lurkers who would not think to find such a discussion in a Thelema Satanism thread. 

@ Jamie

"jamie barter" wrote:
"david" wrote:
2)The higher/lower magic is explained on the COS webpage.  I don't fully understand what your query is.

Rather than go through CoS propaganda which anybody can regurgitate, I was hoping you would give an answer in your own words as to what you understood by the phrases.  Since you were trying to make comparisons between Stan and Thelma – I mean, Satanism and Thelema – or at least probing as to how much the former may be a subset of the latter – for my part I cannot see what a greater magic could consist of which would ignore what is understood under the blanket term of “The Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel”. This was what Germer and Crowley understood by the term ‘higher magick’ – in fact to A.C. “all else” would be ‘sorcery’ i.e., black, as he put it, let alone the lower magic.  The argument might then open up as to whether he might have then considered Satanism, or at least the sort of Satanism peddled by the CoS, to be black magic through and through (the lesser and the greater.) 

Well there's no HGA concept or TOL grade initiation ladder in Satanism is there?  As Crowley says on black magick," Only the Master of the Temple can say whether any given act is a crime. "Slay that innocent child?" (I hear the ignorant say) "What a horror!" "Ah!" replies the Knower, with foresight of history, "but that child will become Nero. Hasten to strangle him!"

There is a third, above these, who understands that Nero was as necessary as Julius Caesar.

The Master of the Temple accordingly interferes not with the scheme of things except just so far as he is doing the Work which he is sent to do. Why should he struggle against imprisonment, banishment, death? It is all part of the game in which he is a pawn. "It was necessary for the Son of Man to suffer these things, and to enter into His glory."

Is there a  Master of the Temple concept in Satanism?  Is there an aspiration to, "annihilate the ego?"  Well no there doesn't seem to be.  Here is where it gets a bit complicated though.  Crowley said that people may attain to becoming a Master of the Temple without any magickal training.  In fact he said that , "the universe is busy with nothing else" and Frank Bennett is a good example of someone outside of the occulture who attained, apparently. 

For me though I'd have to ask whether an adult who lives a life of hexing every single person who p1sses them off can lead to any kind of attainment?  I think that is the question.  On an sidenote for entertainment purposes here is a related story.  Last week some guy was annoying me.  I contemplated how I wouldn't mind hexing him so someone gives him a black eye.  I swear, the very next morning he came into work with a full on black eye.  He said it was caused by pulling an object which had jammed in his wardrobe. 


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Los
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"Tao" wrote:
That one can take a sceptical attitude towards scientific skepticism

So by this, you mean that one can question the value of waiting for sufficient evidence before accepting a claim as true? (which is what I call "skepticism" and what some people would prefer I labeled "scientific skepticism")

I agree that someone is able to do this, but I also think that questioning the value of this thing that I call "skepticism" is pretty stupid, in light of the evidence.

Would you call yourself "skeptical of skepticism" in this sense? I would be interested in hearing someone explain why "being skeptical of skepticism" is not dumber than a sack of rocks.


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Tao
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"Los" wrote:
I agree that someone is able to do this, but I also think that questioning the value of this thing that I call "skepticism" is pretty stupid, in light of the evidence.

As mentioned earlier (on another thread? It's difficult to keep track at this point) this shows a lack of understanding of the philosophic method. Whether you find something to be "stupid" or not (and it seems of late that applies to pretty much anything that doesn't flow from your own pen) does not negate its usefulness as a tool. By attempting to deflect this back by asking whether I consider myself to be sceptical of scepticism, you miss that point entirely. I use tools in situations where they are useful, just as anyone actually interested in broadening their understanding does.


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jamie barter
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"david" wrote:
On an sidenote for entertainment purposes here is a related story.  Last week some guy was annoying me.  I contemplated how I wouldn't mind hexing him so someone gives him a black eye.  I swear, the very next morning he came into work with a full on black eye.  He said it was caused by pulling an object which had jammed in his wardrobe.

- "A likely story"!!  😉

N Joy


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Anonymous
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I assume you mean his and not mine lol?


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jamie barter
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Ah now david, that's for me to know and you to guess!  Maybe even both ?!  ;D

N Joy


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jamie barter
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"Los" wrote:
[...] I also think that questioning the value of this thing that I call "skepticism" is pretty stupid, in light of the evidence.

Would you call yourself "skeptical of skepticism" in this sense? I would be interested in hearing someone explain why "being skeptical of skepticism" is not dumber than a sack of rocks.

Skeptical of skepticism (or sceptical of scepticism)?

What does it mean and why is it causing such a problem?

It is quite a straightforward question as it stands, but posters of late have maybe unintentionally complicated the basic simplicity of it by bringing in (in)formal logic and ‘scientific’ scepticism – all very well and making for a most interesting exchange of views, but with it comes the danger that this original simplicity of the question becomes lost to sight; and also of not being able to see the wood for the trees (to use that well-used simile yet again). 

Los’s idea of skepticism is to doubt every statement unless or until there is sufficient evidence to back up the idea or theory being put forward in it.  (I will doubtless be corrected if I am wrong here).  But the ‘problem’ of subjectivity, or lack of true objectivity, cannot be removed from the argument.  Skepticism in itself, does not hold any of the, let alone the answer(s) to anything.  In fact if anything it attempts to crap on any and all possible answers and is under no obligation to replace what it has destroyed by argument.  In terms of the Soldier and the Hunchback, it tends to follow up its original ? with another hunchback, and so on ad infinitum (which was one of the reasons I brought this question in, to turn it back around on itself.)

By being skeptical of skepticism, I meant to yank skepticism down from the lofty pedestal upon which it has been placed.  But since even the answer to that would not provide any definitive results beyond the possibility of doubt, I invoked a further possible level of skepticism to analyse that; and if (or as) necessary, a skepticism beyond that… and so on, unto the infinite regress.  And since even the procedure of skepticism itself does not know how to apply the brakes there never will be a final answer which is free from any hint of doubt.

What Los would like to do to do though is to apply the scepticism just the once – maybe to an aspect of the supernatural, the oogity-boogity – find it lacking, but then leave it there.  In so doing he may refuse to look at the actual mechanism itself by which he arrives at his answer.  He would rather state that’s how it is, full stop, which is fair enough speaking for himself, but he will then get carried away in a sort of crusading zeal in which he wants to convert everyone around to his way of thinking.  Which is the only proper and valid way, of course.  And which ain’t going to happen.  (Quite apart from anything else rationally, there will always be a small percentage of people who, being told that x=y is for sure, will state “no, x=z” just to be curmudgeonly and contrary.  This is called the “rebel response” by some new-agey psychologists, but it strill holds a certain validity nonetheless.)

Left to its own devices, skepticism doesn’t build anything, its nature is to destroy.  If one wanted to be charitable, one could say skepticism equates to the Apophis principle of destruction, except for the fact that there is no guarantee there will be a succeeding ‘Osiris’ phase (in terms of the IAO/ FIAOF formula) to the operation which will build something fresh from the wreckage; under skepticism, one is left with the wreckage but without any obligation to craft anything new from it.  Anything resembling the Phœnix is left out.

- Being pretty stupid & dumber than a sack of rocks (!? !!??),
N Joy


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Shiva
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"jamie barter" wrote:
Skeptical of skepticism (or sceptical of scepticism)?
What does it mean and why is it causing such a problem?

Well, you see, it's this "c" & "k" thing. A "k" is always pronounced as a "k" as in King. But a "c" can be pronounced as a "k" as in sceptic, or as an "s" as in century. It's a problem because it's such a confusing letter. In fact, "c" has no pure "c" sound. It should probably be deleted and replaced with "s" or "k" as the pronunciation indicates. It used to be alpha (a), beta (b), gamma (g), but now it's a-b-c (or abc's), and "c" no longer has a "g" sound. English is the second-hardest language to learn (Chinese is first), and that's due to stuff like this c-k-s confusion.


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jamie barter
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I take it you have no disagreement with the contents of the remainder of my post there, Shiva, otherwise I’m sure you would have drawn attention to it. ??? 😀

"Shiva" wrote:
"jamie barter" wrote:
Skeptical of skepticism (or sceptical of scepticism)?
What does it mean and why is it causing such a problem?

Well, you see, it's this "c" & "k" thing. A "k" is always pronounced as a "k" as in King. But a "c" can be pronounced as a "k" as in sceptic, or as an "s" as in century. It's a problem because it's such a confusing letter. In fact, "c" has no pure "c" sound. It should probably be deleted and replaced with "s" or "k" as the pronunciation indicates. It used to be alpha (a), beta (b), gamma (g), but now it's a-b-c (or abc's), and "c" no longer has a "g" sound. English is the second-hardest language to learn (Chinese is first), and that's due to stuff like this c-k-s confusion.

You would seem to have solved this whole dilemma at a stroke.  “Give this man a gold star!”  Now we can all fold our tents and go home and bask in peace everlasting & the eternal rapture.  Allelujah!  Allelujah!  Brotherhood and sisterhood among all races and all peoples will now break through & blossom forth, amen and amen, yea, verily unto the end.  Hearken I say again: unto the end.
 
The very end?

♪ Alpha, beta, gamma, hubba dubba ♫ “
N Joy


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