Pseudo “discrediting”

December 1st, 2007 by Llort

“This evidence is, on its own merits, enough to discredit anything Rind et al actually concluded”.

(cut/paste http://absolutezerounited.blogspot.com/2006/09/rind-introduction.html)

The original paper can be found here.

I cited this blogging post because it encapsulates quite well, one of the basic methods of upholding sacred consensus dogmas; the false claim of active discrediting, where in fact the real reasons for the popular rejection of non-consensus theories, were far less logically grounded. The author in question is claiming that she has presented evidence that totally discredits any conclusion of an academic paper. Her evidence is as follows:

1. It has supposedly been claimed in error that Rind et al was unique, in that it used meta-analysis to assess the assumed properties of child sexual abuse contacts. Whilst this is strictly correct, no number of incorrect (or indeed, misinterpreted!) claims in “support” of one position, invalidates or even weakens the real logical basis for that position. This is all the more obvious, when it applies to peripheral and frankly unimportant issues such as the exclusivity of a study method.

2. Some people have supposedly claimed that Rind et al was censored by congress. In this case, the lack of evidence that anyone has actually made this claim, is even more striking that the points mentioned under (1), which continue to apply.

3. Despite their claims to objectivity, at least one author (Tromovitch) has published in Paidika. This association is strengthened by all three authors’ participation as speakers at a “pro pedophile activism” conference.

Ignoring the likely, yet unverifiable straw man argument here, the final piece of “all discrediting evidence” appears to be just as invalid as the last. Firstly, it is a reality of academic work, that unpopular findings are unpopular among the elite. Researchers must take whatever exposure they are offered, correctly assuming that simply being given a platform by someone, does not automatically put their beliefs into direct concordance with their host’s.

Secondly, there is nothing inherently wrong with being a biased researcher, or even one with an agenda. Critics must respect the important distinction between the author and what he writes on paper. They must also realise that all researchers have an opinion on the matters they are investigating, and that “moderate” opinions should not trigger suspicions of biased research, any less than the most zealously radical of positions. Many research publications have been ludicrously biased in ways that act to maintain the status quo. They should gain no pardons for their popularity or supposed pragmatism.

Strictly, arguments such as (3) should be avoided altogether in academic discourse. They hold no weight, especially when the subject matter itself is before the author. If something “smells bad”, then the only logically valid way of “discrediting” even the smallest argument of another writer, is acting upon that suspicion and demonstrating actual, verifiable flaws or omissions in their work.

This is not to say that one may not be lead to believe that the more savvy among Rind’s critics know fully of the holes in their arguments. In fact, some critics of supposedly “pro pedophile” academic work take a more direct approach to allegations of bias, totally ignoring implied threats to objectivity and suggesting that the mere presence of an agenda and potential for change-inducing philosophy may be wrong or sinful in itself. A couple of concluding examples come from the case of Richard Yuill, who was effectively chased out of a sanitised professional discourse after peer neglect and months of pressure from a hostile and libellous media:

“Whatever his intention, one of the things we know about sexual offenders is that they seize on this kind of thing and use it to support their position”

(http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2004/dec/04120306.html)

“Conservatives generally recognize all this and stand on guard against attempts to excuse and downplay pelvic sins precisely because they know where those sins lead. For this reason, few conservatives would fall for something like this imaginary editorial”.

(http://www.crisismagazine.com/march2005/feature2.htm)

Of course, the most that can be said for these comments, is that they are at least honest. The real motivations for arguments based on the perceived “agenda” of an opponent are of course rooted in man’s timeless fear of change; and the gut feeling that something “just isn’t right”. What does logic really have to do with “common sense”?

7 Responses to “Pseudo “discrediting””

  1. Strato Says:

    Excellent post, Dan. (Even with the scary new background – haven’t seen anything this trippy in years!).

    There are few things more tiresome than people who – whether they be religious fanatics or ‘save the children’ crusaders – need not apply logic or rationality, simply because they speak The Truth. Their views are so obvious that they need no supporting evidence, and any argument contrary to their opinions must ipso facto be disingenuous.

    The 1980s have a lot to answer for – in many respects. But in particular, the growth of anti-intellectualism. Prompted in large part by social conservatives’ reaction to 60s and early 70s liberalism, the trend became one whereby ‘good old-fashioned common sense’ could override logic and rationality. Intellectuals were allied (publicly) with ‘soft liberals’ – understanding, tolerance and insight gave way to Middle Age-style punishment and retribution. Academic thought was marginalized and despised.

    This remains a significant issue for MAAs today (if less blatant than it was in the 80s) – and particularly post 9/11, whereby the War on Terror demands that every sacrifice be made at the altar of State Power. It is incumbent upon us to be vociferous and unrelenting in shaming those who employ the argument of Truth.

  2. Steve Diamond Says:

    That picture…is that Laura?…[she never looked better, if it is.]

    Congress did not censor the study…They created a useless, three ring circus of a spectacle, by way of a “resolution” condemning the research.

    Basically, they became a bunch of self righteous blowhards, who brought great shame to America, with their dog and pony show.

    It was a cheap display, which would have been meaningless, if it were not for the stigmatic aura it created, surrounding Rind and his partners…and this greatly needed study.

    Their bully tactic, was nothing more than an outright move to paralyze the research, and make people keep their distance from it…or, at least the people who could actually promote it on a wide scale…those people who already have deeply established good will and trust with the public.

    The first argument makes me wonder what all the fuss is about (or how under educated the people lodging the complaint are). It is one of those “so what?”, kinds of moments.

    A meta analysis, though not the most common type of research, is a common practice…once you have a large number of studies, on the same subject.

    In laymen terms, it is just taking a lot of studies on the same issue, observing them, their methods, their data and their findings…and compiling an overview…an account of over all findings.

    Rind and company, identified something which was bound to come to the surface…something which many, many people (including some MAA’s who were aware of it for years) have been talking about for years…the overbearing prejudice in this specific type of research, which has turned it into a type of “agenda science”…(a combination of junk science, and propaganda).

    Heck, even I had become educated and informed enough on this very critical problem with CSA studies, to have started discussing and bringing the issue up, well before the Rind report ever made the newspapers and television screens…before it even existed…

    It has been an underlying problem, “nobody” will talk about, and the crusading “protection mafia” threatens people to stay quiet about…They want nobody talking about it, because it brings up many obvious shortcomings, intolerable abuses and critical flaws, which need to be addressed…but they don’t want addressed.

    Rind and his companions pointed out that the emperor has no clothes on…when so many of us knew this all along, but few dared to say so.

    Now that the silence is broken, it opens the door to deeper discussion, and action…and change…

    The “protection mafia” is threatened by change.

    There is a very deep seeded, self interest in keeping the talk to a minimum, if not all out silenced.

    As to the third…This strikes a cord with my post below…Yeah, “everything you say is disqualified, because you’re not disinterested”…or “you’re to suspicious [by their ridiculous standards]“…

    I should hope that they did interact with MAAs to some degree…they need the REAL exposure, in order to truthfully understand this subculture…people who (it is my understanding) have been connected to their fields of research, much if not all of their careers.

    The three men chosen for this meta analysis, were chosen very carefully, for their established careers and expertise, in this very area. The APA knew very well who they were choosing, and why they made them as a choice…because they were amongst the most solid and integral authorities, in the field.

    Because they have the integrity to present substantiated, actual findings…seemingly, just about everything they said there after, was twisted and taken out of context…or out right lied about. The APA pulled the rug out from underneath them, as well…and abandoned them to the wolves.

    Long standing, respected careers were damaged (destroyed?), because the conservative christian cult was allowed to destroy them, and nobody was brave enough to challenge or stop it…because they did not want to incur the wrath, themselves.

    The mess in all of this, is not that those three men have an opinion (and how could they not, after years of research?)…The mess is that…

    …just like they are trying to force “intelligent design” into public school SCIENCE classes, in the U.S…they are trying to force their own bigotry into the field of research, where it absolutely does not belong…in order to trump any findings they don’t like, and make control of the masses easier.

    Actually, they are not so much trying to force it anymore…they are now trying to maintain their stronghold, which has kept “child sex abuse” research hostage, and under an iron fist.

    They don’t want it liberated from their absolute control…It is their weapon…without it, they are far more impotent, in “this” war that they wage.

  3. Daniel Lièvre Says:

    There are few things more tiresome than people who – whether they be religious fanatics or ’save the children’ crusaders – need not apply logic or rationality, simply because they speak The Truth. Their views are so obvious that they need no supporting evidence, and any argument contrary to their opinions must ipso facto be disingenuous.

    And of them all, I probably admire Dr Laura more than pseuds like Stephanie Dallam; simply for her honest prejudice. You know where you are when Laura claims that she holds NARTH in high regard. I suppose it also takes guts for an “expert” so affiliated, with a non-transferable doctorate and obvious religiofascist agenda to use the term “pseudoscientific study” three words into an article of hers.

    Steve – That picture…is that Laura?…[she never looked better, if it is.]

    Dr Laura… I can only assume as imagined by David Icke.

    Your post reminded me of the flat out contradiction in the politics of academic commentary and research, whereby the personal can become political, for all but a few.

    “As feminists, in this paper we will argue that cyberstalking deserves special recognition as a woman’s issue”.

    “As boy-attracted adult males, in this paper we will argue that sexual relationships between adolescent and older males are not necessarily abusive”.

    At the moment, the potentially corrupting self-interest of boylovers is despised. But the potentially corrupting self interest of some feminists who may seek to turn almost anything into “their” issue, is seen as an honest virtue.

    The infection of otherwise rational debates by this kind of subjectivity is an inherently reactionary ill, as the self interest of minorities or the otherwise oppressed is always interpreted as the most confounding, for no other reason than the anti-consensual :. “wrong” nature of minority viewpoints.

  4. Steve Diamond Says:

    In all fairness, there can also be a very real element, where in the minority group is thought to be over reactionary…because they are to emotionally involved.

    This opens the door to some interesting questions…Like how can balance exist, where self identified survivors of child sex abuse, find their way into careers which are political, involved with law enforcement, social services…or even just founders of organizations, which attack many (or all) forms of early life, sexual experience.

    This is an important, root issue…and I may come back to comment more on this…The issue of feminism usurping and exploiting various issues, taking control and calling them “their own”, has become a very serious problem.

    I’ve been very troubled by that specific phenomena over the past years, but I’ve written little about it.

  5. Rez Says:

    [Apparently, I'm a zoophile... and available - Dan]

  6. Strato Says:

    Dan – good to hear, on both counts.

  7. Raven Says:

    Yo, D, the new wallpaper is making me trip!

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