I'm going to pipe in on the false rape claim issue. There is a small minority of claims that we can be reasonably sure are false. There is a slightly larger minority of claims that we can be reasonably sure are true. The vast majority fall into a grey area, that we do not know whether they are true or false.
In other words, it is just as false to say "Only 6% of rape claims are proven false, so the rest are true" as it is to say "Only 10-15% of rape claims are proven true and result in conviction, so the rest are false."
Um, no, but very nice try. There are a vast number of reasons a true accusation might not result in a conviction, including a victim's lack of interest in being dragged through a courtroom, police lack of interest in pursuing a case, complete failure to report, and evidence that, while clear enough to indicate that something happened, does not meet courtroom standards.
There is a small minority of claims we can be reasonably sure are false. There is a larger minority of claims we can be sure are true, were pursued by police, had victims willing to prosecute, and had evidence to courtroom standards. The vast majority don't see the inside of a courtroom but are credible enough to factor into the decisions of a reasonable person who doesn't happen to be sitting on a jury.
I don't know where this notion of "Rape claims are likely to be true" comes from. They are not any more likely to be true than any other type of accusations. They are just as likely to be false as any other type of accusation. Just because it's a horrific crime, doesn't make it more likely to have happened than any other type of crime people get falsely accused of, or framed to have done.
You're absolutely right. What's the general rate of false criminal accusations? Oh, 2%. Hmm.
I demand evidence, at least some semblance of it. Yes. I'm afraid that's how I operate. Most of the time, when someone comes to me, accusing someone else of some kind of a misdeed, they'll have some kind of evidence, whether it's someone else witnessing that something wrong at least seems to have been gone on or whatever. It might not necessarily stand in court every and each time, but there has to be some kind of grounds to it, other than "Well the person is quite trustworthy though."
Yes, evidence is important, and there should be some backing every belief you hold. But legal evidence is not the only kind of evidence.
If someone tells you in the middle of the night that the sun will come up tomorrow, do you demand a sworn affadavit and photographic evidence that the sun still exists? Or does every previous sunrise
count as evidence that this is probably true?
P(allegation is legitimate|low report rate, extreme social hostility to accusers, complete lack of benefit to the accusers in this case, low false-report rate) > P(allegation is legitimate). These factors are evidence that the allegations are unlikely to be false.
I don't know the personal relationships between every and each person, I don't know what is everyone's agenda. I don't know what are everyone's issues with each other. I simply cannot know when someone's so pissed off with something someone else has done, that they are going to throw them under the 'predator' train to get them back.
The more serious the accusation, the more it demands evidence. If I get told someone told someone else to fuck off, I might take their word for it. If someone tells me someone I trust and has a good record, is a predator, I might just want a bit more.
You realize that the false-report statistics I've been citing include the overwhelming majority of malicious reports
, right? In the absence of a detailed map of social networks, the correct default skeptical position is to fall back on the general false-report rate unless there is evidence
that these allegations are more likely to be spurious than the general case.
Also, what exactly constitutes "a good record"? None of the accused are exactly known for their stellar track record on women's issues. The best you can say is that, up until now, they did not have a bad
reputation that you were aware of. (It is profoundly untrue to say that they did not have a bad reputation at all
.) This is not evidence against the allegations, this is non-information.
Since you were using examples like "Do you demand evidence for everything" I guess extreme examples are ok. If someone you trust told you that another quite trusted person just killed someone, with no evidence whatsoever, would you just take it at face value, because that person has been trustworthy in the past?
No. No no no no no. I did not and never have questioned whether evidence is needed for every belief you hold. I questioned whether courtroom-level
evidence is needed. If someone very trustworthy, with nothing to gain from lying and an extremely valuable public and professional reputation to lose, came to me and told me that someone else who I respected had murdered someone, and then a number of other similarly trustworthy people came forth independently with more murdery incidents, and then when I investigated it turned out there had in fact been a number of well-corroborated multiply-witnessed accounts of the accused making death threats, and he was well-known for inviting people to come take a look at his knife collection and quicklime pit, and it turned out that he had a quiet but very real reputation among his potential-victim pool for murder? Then yes, I'd be more than a little suspicious of him. I sure as hell would never be alone with him, and I wouldn't want him representing me in public for any reason. I wouldn't say "He is a murderer, period." I wouldn't demand he be thrown in jail. But I'd sure as hell be disassociating from him, which is all that anybody has ever asked for
I've got to pipe up right here, and say 'No we don't.' We live in a society where snap judgements are made against anyone who's accused of a crime. Ephiral (I'm sorry but taking someone's word simply because they haven't lied before is not admissible in a court of law) is a prime example of this, and they are not the only person to do so. It happens all the time.
No need to apologize - this isn't far from what I've been saying. I'm not calling for snap judgments (which rational people shouldn't really be making on important matters), but... well, we absolutely don't demand criminal-court standards of evidence before acting on any other piece of data outside a courtroom. Why here?
Seriously guys? Are we genuinely going to allow a passing comment that insults almost a billion and a half people to go unchallenged? I get that its part of the culture of E but that went beyond the pale a little. Would you allow me calling sweeping generalisations intended to give casual offense to a fifth of the world without any sort of evidence "atheist tactics"?
You're absolutely right, and I should not have engaged on these terms. I've edited to remove that; I apologize.
(I'd like to note, however, that it's kinda hilarious for someone to accuse me of the sort of tactics known to certain skeevy evangelical/fundamentalist Christian public figures in one breath, and then say "I don't have to accept this theorem
of probability when determining what is probably true because I don't like it!" with the next.)