Sunday, June 8, 2014

Subject: What is "Evidence"?

Conspiracy theorists do not seem to understand what evidence is or how it works in court.  Instead, they seem to want to use beliefs, theories and ideas of their own as "evidence," arguing that they have a better case against their "suspect" than the FBI/DOJ had against Bruce Ivins using actual evidence.

From "The Plain-Language Law Dictionary," here are legal definitions of "evidence" and "fact": 
evidence.  Everything that is brought into court in a trial in an attempt to prove or disprove alleged facts. Evidence includes the introduction of exhibits, records, documents, objects, etcetera, plus testimony of witnesses, for the purpose of proving one's case.  The jury or judge considers the evidence and decides in favor of one party or the other.  
 fact.  Something that took place; an act; something actual and real; an incident that occurred; an event.
DISCUSSION:
In the Bruce Ivins case, the evidence showing him to be guilty of the anthrax attacks of 2001 consisted of a long list of facts, records and testimony related to the crime, which when viewed in their entirety would almost certainly have convicted him of that crime in court.

Example of one fact that is PART of the evidence against Ivins:
Dr. Ivins had no verifiable alibi for the times of the mailings.
Naysayers might argue that Ivins cannot be expected to remember what he was doing seven years before he was arrested.  That doesn't change the FACT that Ivins had no verifiable alibi.

Naysayers might argue that a lot of other people may also have had no alibi for the times of the mailings.  That also doesn't change the FACT that Ivins had no verifiable alibi.                   

The FACT that Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins had no verifiable alibi is valid "evidence" and would be used in court to help show that he was guilty of the anthrax attacks of 2001.

Some other facts which could be used as evidence in court to help prove the prosecution's case against Bruce Ivins:

The FACT that Ivins was in charge of flask RMR-1029 (the "murder weapon") would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

The FACT that Ivins worked alone and unsupervised in his lab at  the time the attack spores were presumably made would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

The FACT that Ivins could not explain why he was working extraordinary hours alone in his lab at  the time the attack spores were presumably made would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

The FACT that Ivins was a diagnosed sociopath would be used in court to help show that Ivins was guilty.

Etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

If the jury had been able to hear all these facts presented as evidence against Dr. Ivins, it seems very reasonable to conclude that he would have been found guity beyond a reasonable doubt.

"FACTS" AND "EVIDENCE" FROM CONSPIRACY THEORISTS:

Conspiracy theorists argue in favor of their own theories, using what they consider to be "facts" and "evidence."  Often their "facts" are not facts, they are only opinions.  Often their "evidence" would not be allowed in court, since doesn't help prove anything.

1. Example from "DXer" (summarized from HERE):
 It is a fact that the so-called "J-Lo" letter sent to the Sun magazine was reportedly  "a business-size sheet of stationery decorated with pink and blue clouds around the edges."

It is presumably a "fact" that "The Clouds" was code name used by al Qaeda for a Media Operations Director. 
However, it is NOT a "fact" that the J-Lo letter contained anthrax, nor is it a "fact" that the J-Lo letter had anything whatsoever to do with the anthrax attacks.  It is just an opinion that the J-Lo letter "most likely" contained anthrax.  So, we have an opinion begin put together with an irrelevant fact to create a meaningless combination of facts.  It is not "evidence," since it does not help to prove anything.

2. Example from "DXer" (summarized from HERE): 
The ink used on the pre-stamped anthrax envelopes is green and the design is an American Eagle.  In Muslim mythology, green birds take the souls of martyrs to paradise.
It is a fact that the stamp was printed in blue-green color, and that it is of a "bird."  It may be a fact that green birds figure in Muslim mythology.  But these two "facts" do NOT connect Muslims to the anthrax letters.  Since the same stamps were used on millions of other letters, neither fact directly relates to the anthrax mailings.  Both appear to be irrelevant facts which are being put together to create a meaningless combination of facts.   

3. Example from R. Rowley (summarized from HERE):


In Mr. Rowley's opinion,  the letter G in the word "GREAT" in the media anthrax letters resembles the letter "Tet" in the cursive version of the Hebrew character set.

It is not a fact, it is just Mr. Rowley's opinion.  And it would therefore not be allowed in court unless (1) the matter could be shown to help prove something in a legal case, and (2) Mr. Rowley could be certified to be an "expert witness" capable of presenting this to a jury as a factual finding.  

In summary, the "facts" and "evidence" from conspiracy theorists are mostly just opinions.  Some are irrelevant facts that are arbitrarily put together to create an argument, but do not directly relate to the issue of who sent the anthrax letters.

The case against Bruce Ivins is a legal case that could be tried in court.  The cases argued by conspiracy theorists are opinions and beliefs that would never be allowed in court.

Ed





























16 comments:

  1. Let's try the Socratic method. But first a news item from September 2008: (NY TIMES):
    ------
    Senator Patrick J. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a target of the anthrax letters of 2001, said Wednesday that he did not believe the F.B.I.’s contention that an Army scientist conducted the attacks alone.

    At a hearing of his committee, Mr. Leahy told the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, that even if the bureau was right about the involvement of the scientist, Bruce E. Ivins, who killed himself in July before ever being charged, he thought there were accomplices.*
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/18/washington/18anthrax.html?_r=0
    -------------------------------------------
    Questions for Mister Lake:

    1) Since Leahy thought/thinks there were accomplices, isn't he, by your de facto definition, a 'conspiracy theorist'?

    2) Do you think you understand both evidence and "how circumstantial evidence works/is evaluated" better than Senator Leahy?

    (tentative question)

    3) If the answer to #2 is 'no', then how do you explain Leahy's dissatisfaction with the Task Force/DoJ's explanation for Amerithrax?

    *And we know from links/copy and pastes from the previous thread that Leahy continued to think there were accomplices even post-February 2010, and by all accounts, still thinks so today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. R. Rowley asked, 1) Since Leahy thought/thinks there were accomplices, isn't he, by your de facto definition, a 'conspiracy theorist'?"

    Answer: Yes, of course. The New York Times says Senator Leahy said, "I believe there are others involved, either as accessories before or accessories after the fact.” ... “I believe there are others who can be charged with murder.”

    Accessories after the fact would NOT be part of a conspiracy to commit the crime, but they would be part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice.

    So, yes, of course. Senator Leahy is definitely a conspiracy theorist. He has a theory about a conspiracy, with NO FACTS to support that theory. Why do you even ask such a question? The answer should be obvious.

    R. Rowley also asked, "2) Do you think you understand both evidence and "how circumstantial evidence works/is evaluated" better than Senator Leahy?"

    Answer: Your question is somewhat ambiguous, since it seems to be about evidence in general, not the Ameritrhrax case specifically. That being the case, my answer is: I don't know. Probably not, since Senator Leahy was once a prosecutor.

    R. Rowley also asked, "3) If the answer to #2 is 'no', then how do you explain Leahy's dissatisfaction with the Task Force/DoJ's explanation for Amerithrax?"

    I'd say that it's because (1) Senatory hasn't spent enough time studying the evidence against Ivins, (2) Senator Leahy was a victim and personally involved in the case and is therefore likely to be not thinking rationally, and (3) he's a politician who is constantly trying to please his constituents. If his constitutents aren't satisfied, then he won't be satisfied, either.

    Mr. Rowley, the question you should have asked but didn't is:

    4) Do you think you know more about the evidence in the Amerithrax case than Senator Leahy?

    Answer: Yes, of course. There's no reason for Senator Leahy to have studied the facts of the case as thoroughly as I have for the past 12 years. Plus, there's absolutely NO reason to think he has studied the evidence against Ivins as thoroughly as I have. He's a busy man. I doubt that he's even looked at a single document supplied in support of the Amerithrax Summary. And it wouldn't surprise me if Leahy hadn't even read the Amerithrax Summary itself.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  3. I should have added, if the answer to #2 is 'yes', then I have no further questions!

    ReplyDelete
  4. "All people will remember is that the FBI determined that Dr. Bruce Edwards Ivins was the anthrax killer, but Ivins committed suicide before he could be brought to trial."
    =============================================
    Over my dead body.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup.

      Since you've never actually explained your conspiracy theory in detail, there is no need for anyone else to forget it. It was never in anyone's memory but yours.

      Ed

      Delete
    2. Since you've never actually explained your conspiracy theory in detail, there is no need for anyone else to forget it. It was never in anyone's memory but yours.
      =============================================
      This, I've found, is typical of people who 'live on the Internet': they assume that if someone doesn't explain something, or in this case something 'in detail' ON THE INTERNET, that the person hasn't done that in any other context. Mister Lake, I've told 'people', and I've told YOU in the past that I've told people. For one thing, at my age, the reward money, still available in 2007, was going to do my 'survivors' a lot more good than it was going to do me! But clearing Ivins is, for me, as much a magnet as anything. And perhaps, as a result of clearing Ivins, the Ed Lakes of the future will be less likely to jump on the law enforcement/prosecution bandwagon. One can only hope....

      However, I'm glad to say that, this or that health limitation not withstanding, I may get another decade to two out of this carcass of mine, plenty of time to tell more 'people' but certainly not YOUR type of people, and not on the Internet......

      Delete
    3. Mr. Rowley,

      Telling someone about your theory is meaningless if you just tell people who know nothing about the case and who cannot really comment on it. You might as well be talking to the wind.

      Why do argue with people on the Internet if you are not interested in trying to determine if your logic and evidence is valid?

      There's nothing quite as absurd as someone who ---

      (1) says they know the answer but won't tell you.

      (2) says someday everybody will agree with them.

      (3) says that you are wrong because they believe they are right.

      (4) says they could get a reward for their information, but haven't done it.

      (5) says people who don't agree with them are closed-minded.

      When you tell Joe Blow on a street corner what your theory is, what do you expect to accomplish?

      Your opportunity to become a hero by solving this great mystery has long ago passed into the great land of "I could have but didn't."

      Ed

      Delete
    4. Telling someone about your theory is meaningless if you just tell people who know nothing about the case and who cannot really comment on it.
      ===========================================
      Just as in other matters, one 'tells people' for one's own purpose(s). Without reference to that purpose (those purposes) there be no talking about 'meaninglessness' or 'meaningfulness' for that matter.

      In addition to my 'survivors', I also told you in the past that I had maintained an email correspondence for some time (years) with two journalists. Journalists tend to consume news as well as report it, and in any event, journalist #2 had covered Amerithrax from either the very beginning (late 2001) or shortly thereafter (2002), and therefore had years of experience with the case.

      Though their feedback wasn't as valuable as I had hoped (one guy at least asked questions from time to time), it did give me some idea of the range of possibilities. The best (and most unexpected) feedback came from DXer, who, I'm sure, has no idea how valuable it was (since it was packed in a dismissal of my hypothesis). But since he's
      not one to keep anything under his hat, I didn't even bother to thank him,
      for, as with you, it would merely lead to more disagreement.
      ========================================
      Why do argue with people on the Internet[...]
      ------------------------------------------
      Once again: projection. I don't 'argue'. I discuss. YOU argue ('the Lunatic Fringe' was a recent imprecation from your cursor. But that's a golden oldie of yours). Your inability to 'read' me involves much more than half-reading my sentences, it involves imagining that I am some 'Ed Lake equivalent' but on the 'other side' (that would be the "Lunatic Fringe" side!). Not so. At other Internet sites I pun shamelessly and tell jokes and discuss all manner of subjects completely unrelated to Amerithrax.
      No arguing whatsoever. That's your bailiwick, and from the sound of things YOU'VE been 'arguing on the Internet' since long before the fall of 2001. And chances are you were using your oh-so-convenient typology of 'Truthers', 'Conspiracy Theorists' etc. then too.

      As nearly as I can determine, for you to live is to......argue (!!!). For me that's incomprehensible.

      Delete
  5. R. Rowley wrote: "I don't 'argue'. I discuss."

    Ah! You don't understand the difference between arguing and discussing! That's your problem! You've got things BACKWARDS.

    "A discussion is an orderly confrontation based on a mutual willingness to learn from one another. It involves the presentation of evidence by each party and then a good-faith attempt of the participants in the discussion to come to agreement.

    Discussion presupposes some degree of rational disagreement between us or at least a lack of consensus. If I agreed with you already, we would have nothing to discuss. In a discussion, I do not primarily want to disagree: I want to know the truth. If I do not think that what you say is true, then I disagree, stating my reasons as clearly as possible and without animosity. The same is true for you: you present me with your reasons. By sharing our ideas freely, we hope to arrive at a deeper truth. In a discussion, disagreement is for the sake of agreement.

    An argument (emotional, not rational) is a disorderly confrontation based on an unwillingness to learn from one another. Desire for victory takes precedence over love of truth, with the result that agreement becomes impossible.

    Although they may have rational grounds for disagreement in the first place, all arguments include an element of bad faith — we are not, with all honesty, pursuing the truth together. Rather, in an argument I simply want my position to be the right one and you to agree with me. I am, indeed, looking for agreement, but on my terms, not in terms of objective truth. Instead of my following reason and leaving passion aside, passion is primary, and reason (if it has a role) works in the service of passion. Quite often, in order to end an argument, we agree to disagree.


    Click HERE for the source of that quote.

    Here's another quote on the difference between arguing and discussing:

    "When you argue over something, it does not naturally follow that you will arrive at a satisfactory conclusion. When you discuss a particular topic, you will arrive at a conclusion. This is the major difference between discussing and arguing.

    Click HERE for the source of that quote.

    I present the evidence so that it can be discussed. You ARGUE that it is NOT evidence and refuse to discuss it.

    You ARGUE that you know who the anthrax killer is, but you refuse to present any meaningful evidence to show your theory is better than the FBI's findings. You say you have such evidence but you're NOT WILLING TO DISCUSS IT.

    Instead, you COMPLAIN that I use terms to refer to conspiracy theorists as a group, which has NOTHING to do with who sent the anthrax letters. Complaining is just a way to ARGUE instead of discuss.

    I enjoy DISCUSSING the anthrax attacks in order to learn new things. All you do is ARGUE because you have NOTHING TO DISCUSS.

    You say you CANNOT discuss your "evidence" because you cannot lower yourself to do so. If you cannot discuss your evidence, all you CAN do is argue. You cannot even discuss the evidence against Bruce Ivins because you ARGUE that it isn't evidence according to your standards.

    I'm ready willing and able to discuss the Amerithrax evidence at any time in hopes of coming to a mutual understanding AND/OR in hopes of learning something new.

    You are only willing to ARGUE that the evidence is NOT evidence.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  6. R. Rowley wrote: "At other Internet sites I pun shamelessly and tell jokes and discuss all manner of subjects completely unrelated to Amerithrax.
    No arguing whatsoever."


    What is your point? You tell jokes and no one discusses them or argues with you? So what? Who argues or discusses jokes?

    The purpose of his blog is stated at the top. If you haven't read it, here it is again:

    "The Purpose of this blog is to allow people to intelligently debate the comments I make on my web site at www.anthraxinvestigation.com."

    This is not a blog for telling jokes or "discussing all manner of subjects completely unrelated to Amerithrax." It's a blog for discussing Amerithrax.

    If you post nonsense here about Amerithrax, you should expect the have your nonsense challenged. The debate doesn't begin when someone challenges your nonsense. The debate begins when you post nonsense.

    On other blogs and via emails, people may not be willing to debate with you. But, if you post nonsense here, chances are your nonsense will be pointed out as nonsense. You then have a chance to leave or to discuss and defend the nonsense you posted to start a discussion.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  7. From Mister Lake's comment:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    This is not a blog for telling jokes or "discussing all manner of subjects completely unrelated to Amerithrax." It's a blog for discussing Amerithrax.
    ========================================
    And "snow on Pyramids photographs" (Friday, January 3, 2014) AND the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner (Thursday, April 10, 2014) And Mister Lake's collection of slides from the 1950s to 1980s (Sunday, December 23, 2012) etc.
    Things completely unrelated to Amerithrax. Or biological agents. Or criminal investigations. Or due process. Or the cost of tea in China.

    And those topics------by no means a comprehensive list-------are just the stuff Lake HEADED new blog threads with.
    His primary means of going off-topic is: hijacking threads.

    Your website, Mister Lake, your blog. You can (and will) do as you like. But when you shamelessly misrepresent, both your obvious-as-all-get-out pugnacity (incompatible with true discussion), AND the fact that you far more than I have gone off-topic in the blog itself, you are only degrading your own credibility.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    People (ie readers) can and will judge for themselves based on what they read here, ie the back and forth of the blog, NOT based on some definition or definitions that Mister Lake finds, then copy and pastes from a reference source, in the naive belief that the definition or definitions themselves will somehow absolve him. I don't disagree with any definition presented, I merely disagree that Lake fits the bill as a (calm and rational) discussant. Something tells me that, maybe it's the capitalizations, and/or bold face and/or italics which are gratuitous and gratuitously extended; maybe it's the constant carping about 'truthers', 'conspiracy theorists'*, 'lunatic fringe' etc, essentially ranting, and ranting over the course of years(!!); maybe it's his across-the-boards anathematization of persons related to Amerithrax merely because they were critical of the Task Force/FBI(ie Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, Nicholas Kristof, Don Foster etc.), maybe it's the decade-long running feud he has with DXer (begun, needless to say, 7 years or so before I began discussing Amerithrax on the Internet); maybe it's the posting 'style' that got him into persona-non-grata status at Lew Weinstein's blog etc. It's all of a piece. But not peaceful. Not calm and detached. Not with a mindset likely to be intellectually productive.

    Nor is it just me: let DXer appear here and it's all mutual needling and insult-swapping. And Mister Lake's 'relationship' (obviously very toxic) with DXer apparently will NEVER end, it will merely subside into a weird Internet guerilla-style propaganda war, in which each party makes snide remarks about the other blog-to-blog. I'm not taking sides in THAT war (as opposed to taking sides on the question of Bruce Ivins), but I can't help but think that two all-too-similar souls have found each other, an individual version of Hatfields and McCoys...........

    ReplyDelete
  8. R. Rowley wrote: "And "snow on Pyramids photographs" (Friday, January 3, 2014) AND the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner (Thursday, April 10, 2014)"

    Well, believe it or not, those things ARE indirectly related to discussions about the anthrax attacks of 2001. Conspiracy theorists are ranting about Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, too. The patterns are identical.

    The discussion I had about snow on the pyramids was a perfect example of A DISCUSSION where everyone was looking for the truth. People were either expecting the pictures of snow on the pyramids to be "fake," or they were expecting the pictures to be real (me for example). As it turned out, the "truth" was what no one expected. The pictures were ART WORK created long ago. So, they were "photo-realistic" art that were not created to fool anyone. They were neither "fake" nor "real."

    That was a perfect example of a DISCUSSION that everyone entered with an open mind, and we all reached a mutual agreement in the end. My hypothesis was wrong, but my reasoning was correct. I just didn't realize there was a third possibility. That was why I discussed the subject.

    I'm not critical of Dr. Rosenberg because she was "critical of the Task Force/FBI)" I'm critical of Dr. Rosenberg because SHE'S A CONSPIRACY THEORIST who uses beliefs instead of facts and refuses to believe facts when they are presented to her. Her beliefs about the attacks spores being weaponized are DEMONSTRABLY FALSE. But, she just believes what she wants to believe.

    My "posting style" had nothing to do with me getting banned from Lew Weinstein's blog. It was 100% the result of me presenting facts that they did not want to discuss. If you disagree, look at my posts to Lew's site.

    I like using bold face and capitalization to emphasize and clarify things.

    I use the terms "truthers" and "conspiracy theorists" because those terms fit people (1) who cannot intelligently discuss the facts, (2) who only want to argue wild beliefs they cannot prove, (3) who personally attack their opponent when they have no counterargument, (4) who change the subject or disappear when they are shown to be wrong, and (5) who ignore the fact that they have been proven wrong and just return at some later date to argue the same WRONG argument over again.

    All you have to do to prove you are not a "truther" or a "conspiracy theorist" is to NOT ACT LIKE ONE.

    I've demonstrated with the "snow on the pyramids" discussion that I'm open to facts which prove me wrong. Unfortunately, in that instance I had to find my own facts to prove I was wrong, instead of someone else doing the work. But, there were very interesting discussions along the way.

    The same with discussions about flight MH370. The only people who disagree are those who have unshakable beliefs in conspiracy theories.

    Likewise with my discussions about time and space on WorldScienceU.org. Just nice discussions without any animosity whatsoever.

    If you only want to argue, then just continue to state your opinions like these:

    "I merely disagree that Lake fits the bill as a (calm and rational) discussant."

    "when you shamelessly misrepresent, both your obvious-as-all-get-out pugnacity (incompatible with true discussion), AND the fact that you far more than I have gone off-topic in the blog itself, you are only degrading your own credibility."


    Those are just your OPINIONS, which you make to start arguments. I'm not willing to ARGUE OPINIONS. It's pointless.

    If you want to discuss something, then do not act like a conspiracy theorist who knows the "truth." Act like someone who is interested in learning and discussing both sides of an issue.

    Ed

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had no intention of writing anything today but the contents of the comments force my hand.

    I wrote previously that I had no intention of taking sides in what I called the "weird Internet guerilla-style propaganda war" between DXer and Mister Lake. I STILL have
    no such intention. But I think it a mistake to delete at Lew Weinstein's blog-----and
    CERTAINLY a mistake to do so in an across-the-boards manner------the past posts of Mister Lake. Blogs, like people, eventually have histories. Those histories may not always be pretty, but they inform the present, just like the histories of nations, empires etc., despite their sometimes ugly natures, inform the present of those entities.

    Naturally, I don't expect this will cut any ice with Lew Weinstein (And I imagine it's impossible to restore those posts/threads in any event): he, like Mister Lake, like any blog 'owner', will do as he sees fit, sometimes, as in the present instance, without telling anyone.

    One last note: this incident merely confirms my overall picture of Amerithrax Internet discussants(and, to some extent, Internet discussants in general), which is that they are not unlike the internationalist Trotskyists of the 20th Century: a small self-selected group to start with, subject to extreme fractiousness, mutual anathematizations etc.

    As a result each blog (this one and Lew Weinstein's) has had a developmental trope: toward (but so far never quite reaching) a monologist platform: there the platform is DXer's, here Mister Lake's. If you were to remove my posts and DXer's posts of the past year from this blog, you would be left with: Mister Lake and someone named Max with twenty three thoughtful posts on two threads in January (here: http://anthraxdebate.blogspot.com/2014/01/subject-facts-versus-facts.html
    Call it 'the pyramid thread') and (Here: http://anthraxdebate.blogspot.com/2014/01/subject-truthers.html#comment-form ); a VERY occasional post by Joseph of Spain; a German-speaker using a handle of (?)V(?) with an even more meager output; a stray 'anonymous' here and there (tough to calculate this category, since DXer has, at times, used that anonymous option). And little else. Lew Weinstein's blog is, if anything, even more of a one-man show.

    Meaning (for me): just when Amerithrax might get interesting (that GAO report, still in the wings, perhaps to come out in the fall), true Internet discussion of the Case has just about petered out. Just like the Trotskyist movement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Rowley,

      As far as I'm concerned, the Amerithrax case is over and done with. The only subjects for discussion that are left are the claims of the Anthrax Truthers/Conspiracy Theorists who have other ideas about who sent the anthrax letters.

      So, if you look through what I've been posting for the past couple years, you'll see it's all about trying to DEFINE issues and types of arguments from Truthers:

      What is Evidence?
      Conspiracy Theorist Psychology
      Belief Based Arguments
      Facts versus Facts
      Reading versus Understanding
      Illogical Logic
      Deductions versus Theories
      Claims, Arguments and Evidence
      Facts versus Evidence
      Facts versus Opinions
      Facts versus Interpretations
      Rationalizing
      Etc.

      I'm thinking about creating a new thread to be called "Discussions versus Arguments," since that seems to be another area where people disagree on what is what.

      These issues pertain to other "conspiracies" as well. The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 conspiracies being the most recent example.

      It would be nice if there were more people here discussing things, but there's not much I can do about that.

      There are people who email me with comments nearly every day. But they're not going to get involved in blog discussions. That takes a different kind of person. Mostly bloggers are people who have strong opinions and want everyone to know what their opinions are. It's very rare to see someone post a blog message because they want to discuss some troubling issue. Mostly, like you, they just want to argue their point of view.

      You indicate that the discussion has "just about petered out." From my point of view, discussions haven't really started yet. Mostly what we've had so far is arguments, FEW IF ANY discussions.

      I would like to discuss the evidence that shows a child wrote the anthrax documents. If I'm wrong, show me were I'm wrong.

      But you have a different belief and REFUSE to discuss anything.

      If you ever decide you want to discuss something instead of arguing, just pick a subject. I'm here waiting.

      Ed

      Delete
  10. "If you want to discuss something, then do not act like a conspiracy theorist who knows the "truth.""
    ===========================================
    That is EXACTLY what you do, Mister Lake:

    you 'know' that each and every one of your interlocutors is a 'truther' and/or a 'conspiracy theorist', and you know it BECAUSE they disagree with you:
    you regard yourself as the world's arbiter in such matters based on........really nothing at all. Except an intellectual narcissism.

    But prove me wrong Mister Lake: it's as simple as pie: merely list the people you've 'discussed' Amerithrax with on the open Internet in the past, oh, 4-6 years whom you HAVEN'T called a 'truther'/'conspiracy theorist'/'member of the Lunatic Fringe'. I'm guessing that such a list would be exceedingly short and would mostly consist of the seldom-posting types like Joseph of Spain; everyone else with whom you've had extensive exchanges-------Meryl Nass, Lew Weinstein, DXer, Kenneth Dillon etc,----
    you've given one or more of those labels (weirdly, Lake was calling ME a 'truther' for about 3-4 years running, then, apropos nothing, more or less switched, in the spring of this year to 'conspiracy theorist' though my theory (hypothesis) hadn't changed in the slightest in that timeframe; this is a good example of how arbitrary his labeling 'system' is! ).

    NONE of your definitions of what discussions consist of mention giving pejorative labels to people (on account of that being incompatible with true discussion). But that's such a perennial part of your 'schtick', your version of 'discussion', that your prose style would be half-unrecognizable without it. Nor do any of those definitions cite "ridiculing" (the word is Lake's) other people ideas as being compatible with discussion. So how do you explain that you have openly boasted in the past that heaping ridicule is your function here? (And usually that ridicule precedes any understanding on your part). Again, the definitions you've supplied here point to you as an anti-discussant, rather than a discussant.
    ===================================================
    Those are just your OPINIONS, which you make to start arguments. I'm not willing to ARGUE OPINIONS. It's pointless.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    If person X says Ivins did Amerithrax, that's just an opinion; if person Y says Ivins didn't do Amerithrax, that's just an opinion. What you are really admitting (without being consciously aware of it) is: this blog is just some intellectual snare or trap: discussing Amerithrax is merely the bait: for it lures the unwary here, here to be subjected to your pejorative labeling, your misrepresentations in the comments sections (something I've called you on numerous times), your ridicule: ALL elements incompatible with the (even perfunctory) mutual respect that produces true discussion.
    It's not a discussion blog at all. It's a scam.

    ReplyDelete
  11. R. Rowley wrote: "you 'know' that each and every one of your interlocutors is a 'truther' and/or a 'conspiracy theorist', and you know it BECAUSE they disagree with you"

    NO, I know that because:

    1. They have no meaningful evidence to support their arguments
    2. They claim that the evidence against Ivins is NOT evidence.
    3. They personally attack people who disagree with them.
    4. When shown to be wrong, they change the subject or disappear.
    5. When they reappear, they argue the same thing over again.

    "Truthers" and "conspiracy theorists" are a type of blogger or person. It has NOTHING to do with whether they agree with me or not.

    I'd like to discuss subjects, but they CANNOT DISCUSS SUBJECTS. They can only argue.

    R. Rowley also wrote: "If person X says Ivins did Amerithrax, that's just an opinion; if person Y says Ivins didn't do Amerithrax, that's just an opinion."

    True. But that's NOT what you argue. You argue that there is NO EVIDENCE against Ivins. I try to DISCUSS the evidence or the subject of "what is evidence?" but you just want to argue your beliefs. Or you want to argue about labels. You just want to argue. YOU REFUSE TO DISCUSS ANYTHING.

    In today's comment I pointed out that you cannot discuss anything. I USED EXAMPLES, such as:

    "Said another (high falutin’) way: the pragmatics of the social situation make using a child a high-risk stratagem. And an unnecessary one: short term one can fake certain elements of one’s printing/handwriting."

    My response:

    "We have a different point of view about how to look at evidence. From my point of view, the FACTS say that a child wrote the letters. From your point of view, that’s not the way an intelligent adult would PLAN things.

    I’m talking about what the facts say in an actual crime.
    You’re talking about the planning of a theoretical crime."


    I want to talk about the evidence, you want to talk about YOUR BELIEF as to how someone would commit such a crime. In your OPINION, no one would do things the way the evidence says they were done.

    I'm not going to argue opinion versus opinion. That's stupid. And you won't discuss the evidence.

    Pick any of the other arguments you made about the handwriting. They are statements of opinion. No room for discussion.

    I try to present my view of things, but you aren't interested in any discussion. You just change the subject and ARGUE something else.

    And you claim I'm the one who is arguing because I don't agree with your OPINIONS.

    You should try DISCUSSING SOMETHING sometime. It might be educational.

    The first step would be to focus on one subject instead of writing a lengthy diatribe where you argue 15 different topics at once.

    Ed

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