How hysterical parents, incompetent therapists and malicious prosecutors destroyed the lives of seven innocent
North Carolinians – and have yet to admit they were wrong
Dec. 7, 2016
“If you do a Google search right now for ‘McMartin preschool tunnels,’ you will be inundated with ‘studies’ and ‘reports’ that ‘prove’ the tunnels did exist, and that the lurid fictions prompted out of the children by ambitious social workers were therefore true. Nothing dies on the Internet, not even the most arrant lunacy….
“One of [Donald Trump’s] primary surrogates, Scottie Nell Hughes, told an NPR panel that ‘There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts.’ But we have not ‘entered’ an age of post-truth politics. We’ve been living in it for years. The Executive Branch of the government just has been slow to catch up. Now, it’s right there with the rest of us, god help the country. We’re all just the children of McMartin now. We’ll say anything we’re told until we come to believe it ourselves.”
– From “America Was Always a Nation of Conspiracy Theorists. Now, They’re Simply More Dangerous: Lessons from Pizzagate” by Charles P. Pierce in Esquire (Dec. 5)
Dec, 4, 2016
“The testimony [in the Salem witch trials] is full of tall tales, unless you happen to believe – as one woman confessed, having vowed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – that she flew on a stick with her church deacon and two others to a satanic baptism, and that she had, the previous Monday, carried her minister’s specter through the air along with her, having earlier conferred in her orchard with a satanic cat….”
– From “The Witches: Salem, 1692” by Stacy Schiff (2015)
Nov. 21, 2016
“Transgenderism would refute the natural laws of biology and transmute human nature. The movement’s philosophical foundation qualifies it as a popular delusion similar to the multiple-personality craze, and the widespread ‘satanic ritual abuse’ and ‘recovered memory’ hysterias of the 1980s and ’90s. These last two involved bizarre accusations of child abuse and resulted in the prosecution and ruined lives of the falsely accused.
“Such popular delusions are characterized by a false belief unsupported by any scientific or empirical evidence and have a contagious quality that overrides rational thinking and even common sense. …”
– From “Psychiatry Professor: ‘Transgenderism’ Is Mass Hysteria Similar To 1980s-Era Junk Science” by Richard B. Corradi at the Federalist (Nov. 17)
Dr. Corradi is professor emeritus of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, where his opinion of transgenderism is “in no manner shared by this department or by Case Western Reserve or… the American Psychiatric Association or mainstream psychiatry.” A more widely accepted view: “You would think that a professor of psychiatry would know better” by David Cary Hart at the Slowly Boiled Frog (Nov. 18)
But what you won’t see debated among 21st Century psychiatrists and social scientists is Corradi’s characterization of “satanic ritual abuse” as “a popular delusion.” Perhaps one day the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children will decide to join them.
Nov. 17, 2016
“It’s no secret that we humans grant far too much confidence to our opinions. But when powerful people do this, the dangers compound. Zealotry replaces fair-mindedness. The worst excesses happen when prosecutors forget they’re flawed humans, like anyone else, and that as a result they’re subject to cognitive flaws like tunnel vision, racial bias, and the desire to reduce cognitive dissonance through ‘cognitive consistency’ even at the expense of complicated, nuanced, self-contradictory, paradoxical truth….
“Cognitive bias and overconfidence touch us all. Only a conscious awareness that we might be wrong can counter unthinking heuristics, biases, and schemas that lead to imperfect conclusions….
“Wisdom counsels not the confident use of power, but the wise use of power. The first step of wisdom is recognizing how little we know….”
– From “ ‘Making a Murderer’ Attorney Highlights Our Troubling Rate of Wrongful Conviction — and Suggests a Solution” by Michael Shammas in the Huffington Post (July 12)
And the latest on the still-imprisoned Brendan Dassey.
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