Sunday, March 8, 2015

Dangerous false rumors flourish when people think if it reasonably could be true then it must be true

We have recently seen a serious of disparate events - in which serious allegations of wrong doing - including sexual abuse and murder - turn out not to be true. The latest event is the decision of the Justice Department (See Ferguson Report) - headed by a Black attorney general - not to prosecute a white policeman for killing a Black teenager in Ferguson Missouri. 

This event triggered widespread demonstrations and rioting over the apparently false claim that the teenager had surrendered with his hands up when he was shot. In fact it was common for demonstrators to hold their hands up to recall the so called facts. However the evidence doesn't support this claim - which is why the Justice Department is not filing charges. However a second report by the Justice Department indicated that the Ferguson police department does in fact discriminate against Blacks. Thus we have the dynamic -  if it reasonably could be true then it must be true.

We see this concerning child abuse - a teacher is accused by parents of abusing their child because the child has been acting strange and when they ask the child direct questions such as, "Did you teacher touch you in your private area". Does he do things to other children? Do you think he looks at you strangely?" When they won't take no for an answer but clearly are seeking responses that indicate the teacher is guilty - the child will often agree. We saw this in the Nachlaot scandal - where the charges of widespread satanic sexual abuse have not been found to be true. But since it reasonably could be true then it must be true.

We have seen the not uncommon phenomenon of false confessions - when the police and district attorney are strongly convinced that they are correct and keep battering away at a scared, sleep deprived suspect who is kept from family and lawyers for hours. People do confess to horrible murders and child abuse claims - when they are in fact innocent. Even the accused start believing the charges because since it sounds reasonable then it must be true. This apparently happened with the confession in the Jesse Friedman case. Another case is that of Melissa Calusinski  a day care worker who confessed - contrary to the physical evidence - of killing a toddler. She is now serving a long prison sentence. 

At the University of Virginia - a student told her story of being raped at a fraternity to a  Rolling Stone Magazine reporter.  She told the story on condition that the reporter not contact the person she was accusing. The story became a nationwide sensation and was widely accepted to be true. Then the Washington Post took the trouble of actually investing the facts - and the story was found not to be true. The reason that the reporter ignored elementary journalistic rules - was because it made sense and she didn't want to lose the story. Since it could have been true it must be true.

The recent incident at  U.C.L.A. where a distinguished student was seriously questioned about her being biased - solely because she is a Jew. Something that would not have happened if the she was Black, Hispanic, Gay or anyone minority group. Because these people just know that Jews are often biased so it is reasonable that this Jewess is biased. Therefore she was initially rejected for membership in the judiciary committe simply because she is Jewish and therefore biased.

Finally, in the recent seminary scandal - reported extensively on this blog -  horrible rumors were spread about the rape of 40 girls etc. When in fact there is no evidence supporting these charges. But they were spread and widely believed because of the reasoning - since the atmosphere in the seminaries would have allowed these things to happen or were conducive to these happening  and in addition Meisels had confessed to hugging a girl - then all that could be imagined must have happened. Since it was reasonably true then it must be true. Even people as intelligent and worldly as the Chicago Beis Din seemed to have accepted the conjecture as real - at least for a time.

Bottom line - imagining what might have happened is only the start - it must be supported by real evidence in order to be true. Fantasy and conjecture  does not create reality. Innocent people's lives should not be destroyed solely on the basis of rumors - nor should the guilty go free because the facts are not properly investigated - because the rumors are so reasonable. Spreading rumors about might have happened  - as if it did happen - destroys the world.


  1. Your post implicitly shouts out:
    'So since it might not be true, it CANNOT be true'.

    But your post is thereby just as negligent (possibly much worse) as those you are attacking !

    Of course, in many cases it turns out not to be true, and in many cases it turns out to be true.

    And of course, given the multiple first-hand victims reporting (if you accept vulnerable females as first-hand witnesses), then the recent seminary scandal turned out to be all too true, even though it took place amongst vulnerable, impressionable, slightly off-centre individuals - their slight differentness was used against them, and made them all the more vulnerable and susceptible to the abuse they ultimately received.

    And your attempt above to shout out that it CANNOT ever be true, is shameful.

  2. @FairTruth- your name is rather inaccurate. You obviously saw what you wanted and not waht I wrote. Please reread the concluding paragraph.

    So no my post does not imply what you claim - but rather that claims need EVIDENCE.

    The recent seminary scandal did not turn out to be true - aside from the fact that inappropriate things did occur - but that does not give carte blanche to trot out any claim that comes to mind and state it as true. There is a reason that socieites have a judicial system which requires evidence and evaluation of the evidence.

    Your comment is a perfect example of conflating real and alleged and made up charges and treating them the same.

    You are so busy shouting you have failed to notice that I was not shouting that it wasn't true - I was shouting that charges need to be supported by evidence and reasoned judgment of that evidence.

    What is shameful is that not only do you not understand my views but you don't understand them even when they are carefully explained.

  3. Re: the seminary case. The chicago bet din still insists on the 40 rape victims number.

    Its really a one man betdin that insists it never decides wrong.

    Just like its principle issued a seruv against a nonexistent person. It has still to retract it.

    But he never does wrong, so don't wait for the retraction.

  4. Again, IT was true, and was evidenced first hand by multiple victims (if you accept first-hand evidence from females as above).

    'It' was both sexual abuse (as defined by Israeli law) and inappropriate behavior by a Rosh Seminary, and enabling of his actions by his staff.

    'It' was not the rape of 40 girls, as this was never claimed by any party.

    So your charge is inaccurate, and your post shameful.

  5. Is this related in anyway to "Occam's razor"?

  6. One of the main problems of false accusations is when respectable people or people with a following believe the accusers (or they have an agenda) and support the side that is making the accusations. A very clear example of this is in what occurred in Nachlaot and is still occurring. One of the main sources of spreading of these rumors was the blog Jewish Mom. Many of the women that follow her blog still believe that 10's or 100's of children were molested by a pedophile ring that was the most evil, cruel group of people that ever existed.
    Although the people that originally made these accusations now claim that the purpose of the molestation was to convert the children to Christianity, and that there are several groups of people with various interests all working together, ie molesters recruited by the church that work with various organizations ect. etc., most people still believe the original stories of a cruel pedophile ring. This is despite the fact that this type of pedophile ring has never existed before and if proven, this would be the first one of it's kind.

  7. We saw this in the Nachlaot scandal - where the charges of widespread satanic sexual abuse have not been found to be true.

    Not found to be true by whom? Despite the fact that the objective evidence does not support the existence of Satanic Ritual Abuse either in the day care center scares during the 1980s or in the Nachlaot scandal, many people still believe that Satanic Ritual Abuse occurred in Nachlaot. For example, there was an inquiry that was conducted at the request of Rav Aurbach by one of his main students, Rav Arie Buchvald of Bnei Brak. Rav Buchvald concluded that several groups are involved in Ritual Abuse in Jerusalem. Although he bases his finding on writings about Satanic Ritual Abuse that are not accepted by the main stream, and are contrary to the findings that were conducted in the US in the 1990s, nonetheless he was convinced that indeed Ritual Abuse occurred in Nachlaot. Through his 'findings' a respected Beit Din in Jerusalem recently printed a 50 or so page Psak Din condemning various people and warning of the imminent danger of Ritual Abuse in Jerusalem.

  8. Please back your statement that "The chicago bet din still insists on the 40 rape victims number." The Chicago Beis Din has never claimed to anyone that there were 40 rape victims. That nonsense (repeated incessently on this blog and in the comments" is a conflation of two statements attributed to the CBD. 1: Meisels did "kol davar ha'assur," and 2: They spoke to 40 victims. Even if one grants that statement #1 refers to sexual intercourse, and one also grants that considering the inherent power gap between principal and student this should be considered rape, the CBD never said that all 40 victims with whom they spoke were subjected to the same type of behavior. It may very well be that the extreme "kol davar ha'assur" was with regard to one victim, and the other 39 were of varying degrees, down to inappropriate comments. This claim that the CBD has said that he raped 40 girls is put forth only to make them look ridiculous, as nobody in their right mind would believe that he could have raped 40 girls and gotten away with it.

    NOTE: I am not "defending Meisels." Even if there was one case of intercourse, and even if there were no cases of intercourse, he apparently has committed sexual crimes against his students.

  9. I hope this case will finally expose him and put an end to his shenanigans.

    One thing though. In the seminary case, he did sign a red-faced psak affirming that the seminaries are safe. It is a de facto admission that he was wrong.

  10. De facto admission that he participated in the $ettlement. (You don't really think he signed the "safe" statement / psak out of the goodness of his heart?)

    As for the forty number, he purposesly never denied it, so as to increase his personal $ettlement.

  11. When your standard for what constitutes "EVIDENCE" is, "If the IBD says it's evidence, then it's evidence, but if the CBD says it's evidence, then it's not evidence," you are in no position to lecture others about claims and the evidence behind them.

  12. @Mad - your answer indicates your inherent inability to understand the nature of truth or perhaps you are simply angry that the facts don't suppport your position. Your twisting of what happened covers up the reality that the IBD was selected by the CBD to handle the case - they handed it over to them. In addition the IBD repeated asked the IBD to share the evidence to support their claims and concerns with them. The CBD refused. It was never a case of the CBD having evidence which the IBD refused to consider. Finally when they ended up making a joint base din - the CBD did not present any evidence at all for their claims and in fact agreed with the position of the IBD that the seminaries were safe.

    So for someone who either doesn't know what happened or is deliberately concealing what happened - you are in no position to lecture others about the nature of truth.

  13. I didn't "twist what happened." I characterized your standard of "evidence," and it stinks. You have not directly refuted my characterization of your stance because you know it's true and you probably realize it stinks too.

  14. I'm lost here. He was payed to participate in the expanded Beis Din?

    What do you mean by personal settlement? Who was settling with him? Is he getting a percentage of what the young woman may get (or got)?

  15. @Mad - your understanding is even more twisted then I gave you credit for. Instead of addressing the known and established facts - you make up an imaginary scheme. Please address my points instead of repeating claiming that my standard of evidence stinks.

    You have the burden of proving that your nonsense has some basis in reality.

  16. It probably comes out of a separate pot (don't want to get the parents 'reimbursement' get involved withhis.)

  17. "and even if there were no cases of intercourse, he apparently has committed sexual crimes against his students."

    That is not apparent at all. That he did something inappropriate is without question. But if indeed all it was only a hug, that is not sexual, nor is it a crime. It's definitely sufficient reason to demand his removal, but it isn't a sexual crime. The CBD has already told a number of people that they vastly overstated the case when they put out the letter because they were upset that his staff were not cooperating to their satisfaction and only by issuing a letter would they have a chance to punish the staff. The letter of course would not hold water if it didn't sound ominous so they used a vague term about sexual violence which could mean virtually anything.


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