Is it me or is this site in its death throes?

Discussion in 'Site Feedback' started by Bowser, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    To the one end: show the statistics - you made a claim, you support it.

    To the other end: how many "innocent" people is too many? When is it enough? You are contending that it is "good enough" - I (and many others now that better forensic techniques are showing just how flawed it is) are claiming that eye-witness testimony alone is not, in fact, good enough.
    Kristoffer likes this.
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  3. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    But far more often it gets criminals caught and convicted. As in cases like these:

    "My husband attacked me with a butcher knife."

    "Two heavyset men in black masks entered my jewelry store and held me up."

    "A white cargo van stopped and a large man from inside grabbed the little girl."

    "The red pickup ran the stop sign and crashed into the white Lexus."

    "The drug dealer was a short man with short red hair and a long beard."

    "The reporter asked a question and the politician grabbed him and threw him to the ground."

    "A young white male in a red hoodie thru a brick into the shop window and ran into the alley."

    "The blonde woman in the sunglasses stashed the carton of cigarettes in her green purse."

    And so on and so on. There are literally thousands of cases that are solved and criminals convicted everyday based on eyewitness accounts such as these. To claim they are unreliable is just nonsense.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2017
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  5. The God Valued Senior Member

    This is the advise you should have given when MR first highlighted the inappropriateness of your action. You attempted to defend it publically..and now asking me not to speak on this issue in public?

    By the way let me tell you with due sincerety and all fairness that your action of infracting MR was inappropriate after indulging into cross argument, the best thing you could have done was to recommend infraction to senior Mod.
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  7. Bells Staff Member

    Thank you, Yazata, for providing a perfect example of just why eyewitness testimony is often unreliable.

    Here is what I actually said about eyewitness testimony:

    Can you please explain to me, and provide links of where I, and Kitta for that matter, have argued that "eyewitness testimony is bullshit by its nature"?

    The issue with eyewitness testimony is that it is more often than not, wholly unreliable. It is also why in a police investigation, for example, they will often look at and present other evidence to support their claims. I have never said that eyewitness testimony is bullshit, nor have I argued it. What I have consistently maintained is that it is often unreliable. Why? Because people will see something and their minds will automatically fill in the blanks, attempt to justify it, attempt to identify it and that is often clouded by what they have experienced.

    And you just provided a perfect example of just why it is unreliable. You not only attributed something to me that I have never actually said, but you did so by imprinting your own emotions and interpretations and filled in the blanks to turn it into something you wanted it to be.

    It is either that, or you are lying.

    Which is it?

    You mean like the time he tried to argue that two people saw a UFO and were injured for it, but the many others who saw something in the sky that night, saw helicopters and never saw the UFO that the two experienced? Now, the interesting thing about that thread and story is that MR focuses solely on what the two saw, while ignoring what everyone else saw. Everyone else saw helicopters. But their eyewitness testimony does not count, does it, because he wants to prove UFO's are aliens or however else he wishes to interpret it now. Funny that, huh?

    The best thing about that story is that the two who allegedly suffered burns from the UFO sued the US Government, for something they think aliens did to them. But we'll get past that as well. Let's look at the eyewitness testimony and what is known. In fact, lets look at just how emotion can cloud what one sees and says..

    Anyone here remember when MR tried to argue that military helicopters did not fly around at night with lights shining down? Because he has experience with such thing, having been in the armed forces for 9 years and he had never heard of the military doing any such thing... Meanwhile, anyone who does not live in the protected tribes in the Amazon or the North Sentinel Island has seen military helicopters and aircraft, not to mention police helicopters, news helicopters, fly around with their floodlights on.

    Now, would you take MR as a reliable eyewitness if he saw helicopters flying with their floodlights on and claimed they were UFO's and aliens?

    Historically speaking, that is..
  8. Bells Staff Member

    I don't think you understand the concept of reproducing something or what it means.

    Two people seeing the same thing at the same time does not mean it has been reproduced. If two people saw the same thing at different times, say a week apart, then one could say it was reproduced.

    Or to put it bluntly, two people see the exact same thing at the same time and are able to describe the exact same thing does not mean the "eyewitness testimony is reproduced". What that means is that it has been corroborated. Do you understand what that word means?
    It actually is very unreliable. Multiple eyewitnesses will more often than not give completely different accounts to what they witnessed. For example, the Michael Brown shooting, which had multiple eyewitnesses. The guy on his balcony:

    “I see a guy on the side, on the driver’s side of a police vehicle. I just see something going on through the window, like a tussling going on through the window…

    “The moment they take off running, I see the officer immediately gets out of his vehicle, pull out his gun definitely in his shooting position, and let me see. Mike must have probably made it about right here in front of this driveway, as I said before, he didn’t make to there, he just when he gets out of the car he just immediately starts shoot…

    “He’s taking like large steps so I didn’t see him like run or anything, so he is just taking large steps, you know, towards him, you know, while his back is turned toward him.

    “[After grabbing my phone] …I see Mr. Brown kind of bent down a little bit with his arms tucked in like on his stomach so now I’m thinking that he’s now shot. He was going down, definitely so, and the officer just let out a few more rounds to him and he hit the ground and that’s when I see blood...

    “I didn’t see the hands go up. I didn’t see no hands go up.”

    Another eyewitness from an apartment:

    “I couldn’t really tell what was going on. It was just a lot of movement going on by the window of the car...

    "So I’m looking at the officer chase Michael down the street.”

    “And at this time, I heard another shot fired while they were running. After that, [Brown] then turns, had his hands in the air, by the time that I saw him have his hands in the air he got shot. I heard two shots like specifically in my head, I saw those two shots. And he dropped down like kinda drop hands first, then knee, then face and everything else.”

    Just from these two witnesses, can you pick out the differences in what they saw of the exact same event at the exact same time?

    The one on his balcony claims that Michael Brown took off running and the officer got out of the police car and pulls out his gun and assumes a shooter's stance, and just starts shooting. The other eyewitness claims that the officer chased Michael Brown down the street and then says that Brown turned and had his hands in the air when he was shot, two shots and he claims to have seen those two shots, and then he dropped his hands, then to his knees and then face down. The other witness from his balcony did not see Michael Brown put his hands up. Gee, two different people, saw the exact same thing and saw completely different things.

    How about the other witness who pulled up in his car when the altercation first began?

    “I seen a young man standing near the cruiser, you head two shots fired And then a police officer hopped out of his cruiser and started chasing him, the dude turned back around and started charging towards the police officer, the police officer told him to stop at least three times…

    “He was still down the street, he was running back…he put his hands up for a few seconds and then put his arms down and kind of put them close to his chest and he started running.

    “And the boy wouldn’t stop, he fired three rounds, the dude kept running, fired four more rounds, and the finished off the rounds I guess, and he fell on the ground dead.”

    Again, vastly different.

    Or the eyewitness who was walking down the street and was also an eyewitness:

    “I saw the officer back his van up and hit the two boys. Um, immediately his friend took off and…Mike he started like fighting with the officer through his window. I don’t know why they were fighting through the window but then you heard the first shot and all the cars on the street stopped. They started backing up.

    “Then he, uh, started running. He stopped halfway and turned around and that’s when you heard the rest of the shows. And I don’t have really good eyes so I couldn’t see like exactly where he got hit or anything like that. But it was about seven, eight shots that I heard…And like he did have his hands up. People wasn’t just saying that. He did turn around and put his hands up.”

    He saw a police van hit Michael Brown and his friend... And he claims that the first shot was at the car window. The other witness who claims this said two shots were fired at the window, while the other witness said the shooting started after the running chase down the road and yet another eyewitness said there was no chase and the officer got out of his car, took a shooting stance and just opened fire.

    The eyewitness who walked down the street said that Michael Brown started running, said that Brown put his hands up and simply turned around, and he heard 7 to 8 or so shots, after one shot when Brown was at the car window. A recording of the shooting said this:

    Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg says he heard six shots, a pause, and then four additional shots. Ginsberg said, "I was very concerned about that pause ... because it's not just the number of gunshots, it's how they're fired. And that has a huge relevance on how this case might finally end up." CNN's law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes noted that most accounts of the shooting say there was a single shot earlier in the incident near the vehicle that is not audible in the recording. The recording was also analyzed by SST, Inc., a company specializing in gunfire locator technology. That analysis found the sound of ten gunshots and seven gunshot echoes within seven seconds, with a three-second pause after the sixth shot. The company's analysis also said that all ten rounds were fired from within a radius of 3 feet (0.91 m), indicating that the shooter was not moving.

    And do you want to read an analysis of the eyewitnesses and how said "evidence" was handled when it came to eyewitness testimony?

    Multiple witnesses saw part or all of the event and have given interviews to the media, testified to the grand jury, and were interviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice. The witness accounts were conflicting on various points. David A. Klinger, a criminologist at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, said that eyewitness testimony often differs from witness to witness, a phenomenon commonly known as the Rashomon effect.

    An Associated Press review of the grand jury found that there were numerous problems in the witness testimony, including statements that were "inconsistent, fabricated, or provably wrong". Several of the witnesses admitted changing their testimony to fit released evidence, or other witness statements. Prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch said, "I thought it was important to present anybody and everybody, and some that were, yes, clearly not telling the truth, no question about it."

    The Department of Justice investigation into the shooting determined that witnesses who corroborated Wilson's account were credible while those who contradicted his account were not. The witnesses that claimed Brown was surrendering or did not move toward Wilson were not credible; the report stated that their claims were inconsistent with the physical evidence, other witness statements, and in some cases prior statements from the same witness. No witness statements that pointed to Wilson's guilt were determined to be credible. Twenty-four statements were determined to lack any credibility, while eight which were found credible corroborated Wilson's account. Nine did not completely contradict nor corroborate Wilson's account. Several witnesses reported fear of reprisals from the community for providing evidence that corroborated Wilson's account.

    This is why eyewitness testimony is often unreliable.

    And it is a prime example of just how eyewitness testimony can sometimes be used to pervert the course of justice.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  9. Bells Staff Member

    Wait, are you suggesting that Kitta is a creationist?
  10. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    1) "Cases like these" - I can only presume you are referencing actual cases that happened, as opposed to imagining up scenarios... however, as you provided no links, no references, and no citations as to what the bleeding hell you are referencing, I can only assume one of two things. A) You are making those supposed supporting statements up, or B) You are plagiarizing a source without providing any note, reference, or citation to said source.

    2) This is a non answer - of course eye witness testimony "often gets 'criminals' caught" - much the same, even a broken clock is correct twice a day. Nobody claimed that eye witness testimony is always wrong; rather, you made the claim that wrongful conviction is not nearly as common as witnesses "being truthful and guilty people being convicted"... you are now refusing to substantiate that claim, despite a plethora of evidence showing just how unreliable eye witness testimony can be. Why is that, I wonder...
  11. Bells Staff Member

    Some facts..

    Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing, playing a role in more than 70% of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide.

    And if you think the use of cameras makes it more reliable, think again.
    You sure?

    Since the 1990s, when DNA testing was first introduced, Innocence Project researchers have reported that 73 percent of the 239 convictions overturned through DNA testing were based on eyewitness testimony. One third of these overturned cases rested on the testimony of two or more mistaken eyewitnesses. ​

    You know MR, simple stupidity is excusable.

    Willful and voluntary ignorance, on the other hand, is not excusable.

    So when I see people such as yourself make these frankly ridiculous statements in their bid to support their beliefs in UFO's, while willfully ignoring the pain and suffering that is often the result of eyewitness testimony which sees so many wrongfully imprisoned and so many executed and don't even get me started on the entrenched bias that exists within the criminal justice system that often sees minorities and members of the LGBT community wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit based on eyewitness testimony that is often tainted with personal bias, I cannot excuse your willful and voluntary ignorance. Because it is inexcusable. It is malicious.

    More than 75,000 are found guilty each year based on eyewitness testimony in the US alone. When one considers just how unreliable it is, the reality becomes absolutely terrifying. And if you want to read about just how unreliable it is, if you want to understand that its unreliability has been known and understood for decades, then perhaps you can inform yourself. Project - on ET.pdf
    sideshowbob likes this.
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That's like claiming "re-read the experimental results again; the results are therefore reproduced." Nope, sorry.
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  13. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    Irrelevant. Eyewitness testimony is unreliable because witnesses can lie. And witnesses can be honestly wrong. Did you read my example at all? Witnesses of the same event often give completely different accounts.
  14. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Your self-righteous outrage doesn't impress me. It always seems abit contrived and propped up--a convenient excuse to flame and preach ad nauseum. So you'll excuse me while I take it all with a grain of salt.

    Let me get this straight. Out of the 75,000 convictions that occur each year based on eyewitness testimony, only 73% of 239 were overturned by DNA testing? That's not bad at all! In fact that proves that eyewitness testimony is incredibly reliable at convicting criminals. You just sort of proved my point for me. Tks.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  15. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Eyewitnesses tell the truth far more often than lying. That's how crimes get solved and criminals get convicted. It happens thousands of time everyday. If it was so unreliable, this wouldn't be happening.
  16. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    So you are accusing Bells of Flaming and Preaching?

    You will, of course, back this claim up.

    Perhaps you should try reading before you make a fool of yourself - of 239 convictions overturned by DNA testing since 1990, 73 percent of those were convicted based on eye-witness testimony. That means that 175 of 239 of those convictions, made based primarily on eye-witness testimony, were WRONG.

    Again, I ask you MR - how many innocents wrongfully convicted is too many? I guess you would have no problem going to prison for a crime you didn't commit based on falsified or inaccurate eye-witness testimony?
  17. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    Out of how many unoverturned convictions? 75,000? These stats are totally useless without knowing how many total convictions we are talking about.
  18. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Right here in the post that I'm responding to when you say --

    That's an awfully strong statement that will be very difficult to defend.

    So you are backing away from "more often than not" and "wholly" in favor of "often"?

    As MR pointed out in this now conveniently cesspooled thread (post #269, responding to Kittamaru), "since eyewitness testimony can SOMETIMES be flawed then you say eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Yet every criminal investigator and court trial says otherwise. We don't say that because SOME doctors are quacks then doctors are unreliable."

    I think that MR's point is very good. (I probably should add that I worked for years as an investigative paralegal in a California District Attorney's office and that much of my duties concerned interviewing witnesses. Witnesses are often called to testify in court. Presumably there's some evidencial value in that.)

    How can people live their everyday lives if they can't accurately tell what's in front of their car when they are driving or what they are seeing in their fridge when they are hungry? How can science proceed if scientists can't be trusted to report their own experiments and observations? Everything that human beings know and the conduct of their entire lives depends on their experiences being generally accurate.

    Just because mistakes and errors are possible and even common, doesn't mean that human experience can simply be dismissed or that all of our perceptions can be assumed to be mistakes and errors.

    If all that you and Kittamaru really want to say is that just because somebody claims to have personally witnessed something, the rest of us don't have to credulously believe it, then I'll happily agree with you.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  19. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    You can see what a foolhardy claim this is by just applying it to everyday life. Your coworker tells you about his weekend. But you say eyewitness testimony is unreliable. The weekend did not happen as he claims. Your boss tells you about his meeting. You say that's not how it went because eyewitness testimony is unreliable. Your wife calls and tells you about her visit with her sick mother. You counter that is false because eyewitness testimony is so unreliable. You go home and watch the news. But none of it is reliable because it is all based on eyewitness testimony. This shows at once the delusional consequences of denying eyewitness accounts. Our lives are saturated with this. It is the foundation of epistemic certitude. It is how we ourselves know what happened to us everyday. There is no way we can get thru our day without relying on it.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2017
  20. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Now, Yazata, I am calling you out - this is a strawman argument, intellectual dishonesty, and is disgusting, especially coming from you.

    You are attempting to say that failures in memory (which is what eye-witness testimony is based on) is somehow the same as failures in cognition and perception (the ability to see what is going on right in front of you).

    That is, simply put, disingenuous and dishonest - and I find it exceedingly hard to believe that you are not capable of recognizing the difference.

    I would go so far as to say - bullshit like this is the reason why many of our more logically and scientifically minded folks have left this forum; arguing with ones who use such intentionally dishonest and fallacious tactics is extraordinarily tiring... and to be blunt - it will not be permitted to continue.

    Back your claims with good, sound logic and evidence, as the rules dictate. End of story.
  21. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    IOW, he's trying to come up with excuses to infract you because that's the only way he can win an argument.
    dumbest man on earth likes this.
  22. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    begone foul troll... you have failed repeatedly to adhere to the mandate James gave you because of your repeated evangelizing - I doubt he will have any sympathy for you going forwards.

    Perhaps if you would bother actually supporting your claims, you would find rational folks might bother to listen to what you have to say.
  23. Magical Realist Valued Senior Member

    I'm waiting for those to show up.
    dumbest man on earth likes this.

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