Is Evidence Still Important?

One of the things I  have noticed about Christine Blasey Ford allegations against Judge Kavanaugh is the response from the atheist activist community.  As far as i can tell, there is a unanimous consensus of belief.  That is, the atheist activist community (ranging from Coyne to Myers to Mehta to Harris, along with various organizations) embraces her allegations as truth.  This is worth noting in that the same atheist activist community postures as the champions of reason and evidence.  Many of their leaders have science degrees and are portrayed as experts when it comes to the handling of evidence.  We are then told that it is this mastery of reason and evidence, along with a powerful commitment to reason and evidence, that led them to their atheism.  Which leaves me wondering… their consensus of belief (regarding Ford’s allegations) derived from the evidence itself?  Or is the belief more akin to faith?  The only way to answer this question is with a detailed consideration of the evidence.

What’s more, the social justice advocates have been working overtime to frame the Kavanaugh confirmation in dark and sinister terms.

For example, Sophia Nelson wrote an article insisting “Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation is the ultimate affirmation of the patriarchy” and arguing “the vote on Saturday was about preserving the status quo. It was about keeping women in our place.”

The Huffpost declares ” With Kavanaugh Confirmation, GOP Commits Again To Patriarchy, Misogyny.”

And, of course, we have already seen that Chuck Wendig has threatened, “Winter is coming, you callous fucknecks, you prolapsed assholes, you grotesque monsters, you racists and rapists and wretched abusers, you vengeful petty horrors.”

Yet those of us who both understand and value critical thinking will quickly recognize there is no need to impart such dark and sinister motives to those who did not oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation on the basis of these allegations.  Instead, large numbers of those people simply valued the cherished social principle of the presumption of innocence unless there is compelling evidence to think otherwise.  This presumption derives from the key philosophical principle known as the burden of proof, which, according to Wikipedia states that “When two parties are in a discussion and one makes a claim that the other disputes, the one who makes the claim typically has a burden of proof to justify or substantiate that claim.”  Thus, it would not be a defense of patriarchy and sexism at work.

So a consideration of the evidence is merited.  When it comes to Ford’s allegations, is there sufficient evidence to a) justify the consensus belief of atheist activists and b) justify imparting such sinister motivations to those who did not oppose the confirmation?

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8 Responses to Is Evidence Still Important?

  1. Dhay says:

    > … the same atheist activist community postures as the champions of reason and evidence.

    This brings to mind a 2015 quote from a Buddhist blog; the blogger is intelligently dry and ascerbic about all things Buddhist and especially all things Tibetan Buddhist — Sam Harris’ bedrock is in Dzogchen, so I peer with interest; in the “Signaling tribal commitment” section of the ““Ethics” is advertising” post it says:

    The Baby Boomer countercultures split the American middle class into two hostile tribes. Members of both considered anyone in the other tribe inherently immoral. With us, or against us! To be minimally acceptable as a human being, you had to demonstrate commitment to the correct side.

    To count as a member in good standing of the monist (“left”) tribe, you needed to have the correct opinion about hundreds of issues. You had to like tofu, Bob Dylan, Cesar Chavez, and Tom Robbins, and to hate nuclear power, Dolly Parton, Ronald Reagan, and the Moral Majority.

    Checking to see whether someone had all the right opinions would be hugely time-consuming. This is what “badges” are for.5 A badge is a low cost, easily communicated signal that stands for a group of valued traits. In the ’60s and ’70s, hair length was a reliable badge. If you were a guy with long hair, you definitely liked tofu (or pretended to), and if you had a crew cut, you hated it (or were careful never to try it because that’s sissy food). This was highly efficient and a Good Thing. Then, in the ’80s, rural working-class heavy metal fans grew long hair, and that screwed everything up for everyone else.

    “I’m a Buddhist” was widely adopted as a replacement badge. If you “were a Buddhist,” you definitely liked Bob Dylan and hated Dolly Parton, and so on for everything on the list. You didn’t necessarily know or care much about Buddhism, but that wasn’t the point.

    The importance of a badge is not that you are what it says you are, but that you wear it to identify yourself as a member of the in-group.

    Tweak the irrelevancies in the quote — I do wonder how many Social Justice Warriors remember the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s — and replace “I’m a Buddhist” in that last paragraph with “I’m for Science and Reason”, or with its variant “Science and Evidence”, “Evidence and Reason” or “Reason and Evidence” forms **. The core idea that members and hangers-on of an atheist activist community that postures as the champions of reason and evidence are publicly displaying a low-cost ‘badge’ signifying commitment looks about right.


    ** Add “I’m an atheist”, “I’m an atheist+”, “I’m secular”, “I’m a Bright”, “I’m Woke” and [insert others here] to that little list.

  2. SteveK says:

    Evidence is still important but when your objective is to obtain more power and control, evidence is irrelevant.

  3. Dhay says:

    > This is worth noting in that the same atheist activist community postures as the champions of reason and evidence.

    Not all:

    Peter Boghossian: I think the whole way we’ve taught critical thinking is wrong from day one. We’ve taught, “Formulate your beliefs on the basis of evidence.”

    But as I commented there, what he apparently wants to substitute is incoherent, or insofar as it is coherent is nonsensical.

    But he’s gone quiet about “defeaters”, so perhaps someone has criticised him out of the idea.

  4. Michael says:

    Let’s think this through.

    She never told her close friend from high school, Leland Keyser, even though this friend was supposed to have been at the same party. What’s very significant is that Keyser strongly deniesever having been at such a party and claims she never knew Kavanaugh. Either Keyser is confused/lying or Ford is confused/lying. She does well in high school, goes off to college, has some trouble adjusting, and becomes close friends with Catherine Ricks Piwowarski. They become roommates and Piwarski would eventually be her matron of honor. Ford doesn’t say anything about this to Piwowarski. She never told her boyfriend from 1992-1998. In 2002, she got married and told her husband she was “physically abused” years earlier. Ten years later, she goes to therapy and tells the therapist she was attacked by four boys who went on to become important and respected members of Washington. A year later, she tells her therapist there was a rape attempt when she as in her late teens. And she now begins telling people. Sometime that same year, she tells a realtor friend that she was almost raped by someone who is now a federal judge. In 2016, she tells a lawyer friend she was assaulted by someone who is now a federal judge. In 2017, she tells a neighbor walking her dog that she was sexually assaulted by someone who is now a federal judge. It’s not until June 29, 2018, two days after Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his resignation from the Supreme Court that Ford finally tells someone it was supposed to be Kavanaugh:

    On that day, Koegler said Ford revealed to him in an email that the person who had assaulted her in high school was President Donald Trump’s “favorite for SCOTUS.”

    In his response email, Koegler wrote, “I remember you telling me about him, but I don’t remember his name. Do you mind telling me so I can read about him?”
    Ford’s emailed response: “Brett Kavanaugh.”

    So she tells none of her close friends for 30 years. In therapy, she tells a story very different from her testimony – 4 boys attacked her in her late teens and they all went on to become important players in Washington DC. No mention of Kavanaugh, no mention of anyone being a judge, and I’m not sure anyone would have described Mark Judge as an important player. It’s only after talking to her friends from far-left Palo Alto that the four boys become a federal judge. And only after Kennedy’s resignation that the judge becomes Trump’s nominee.

    It looks like a recovered memory. The memory comes out in therapy. The story evolves over time. And her best friend being “blind sided” by this story is explained.

  5. Michael says:

    I think we needed a LOT more information about Blasey Ford. Her lie detector report says she met Kavanaugh “at previous parties.” How many parties did she attend that summer? Who typically drove her to and from the parties? In fact, at 15, who were the people that drove her around? Also, we need a lot more information about that therapy session where she first talked about the memory. Who was the therapist? Was hypnosis involved? We need to rule out that this was a recovered memory. Also, just how politically active was she and/or her husband? They could also talk to her ex-boyfriend, who submitted the letter about her giving advice to a friend about how to take a lie detector test.

  6. Michael says:

    “It’s a science party!” said biostatistician Christine Blasey, of Palo Alto, who will wear an elaborately knitted cap of the human brain — yarn turned into a supersized cerebral cortex — inspired by the “pussy hats” donned during the Women’s Marches.
    Pleasanton knitter Eilene Cross made ‘brain caps’ for the upcoming March for Science, to be worn by friend Christine Blasey of Palo Alto

    Well, well. This raises another possible explanation – Blasey Ford was lying when it came to fingering Kavanaugh. For it seems pretty clear she’s cut from the activist cloth (and always remember that activists use the ends to justify the means). Not in the professional sense, but kinda like a PZ Myers. Which would explain why she scrubbed her social media accounts before going public. After all, having grown up where/when she did, she was in a very opportunistic position. Add in the Mark Judge book, and you have a resource to spin a believalble lie.

  7. Michael says:

    One of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s accusers admitted this week that she made up her lurid tale of a backseat car rape, saying it “was a tactic” to try to derail the judge’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.
    Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee revealed the fraud in a letter to the FBI and Justice Department Friday, asking them to prosecute Judy Munro-Leighton for lying to and obstructing Congress.
    Mr. Grassley said Ms. Munro-Leighton is a left-wing activist who hijacked another “Jane Doe” anonymous report about a backseat rape and claimed it as her own story, calling it a “vicious assault.”

    A demonstration that people with political motives are capable of making up rape allegations.

  8. Dhay says:

    > … always remember that activists use the ends to justify the means.
    > “… it “was a tactic” to try to derail the judge’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.”

    Consider this: All the drama involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh took place because a united front of Democrats needed to peel off two Republicans in rejecting him.

    All the drama was evidently necessary (“needed”), necessary for partisan political ends rather than for the ends of truth, honesty and justice, and with the ends — “peel[ing] off two Republicans” — justifying the means — “all the drama” — in Mehta’s eyes.

    All the drama “took place because” of those partisan ends; evidently they would not have taken place otherwise. They wouldn’t have been “needed” otherwise.

    “Needed”! I am minded of the classic cry of the abuser: “I had no choice, you made me do it.”

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