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Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.

Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby ProfWag » 15 Aug 2009, 04:06

Eteponge wrote:So the actual police detectives giving their personal account of what happened, on video, in context, their testimonies matching information in the Scott Jacobson book among other sources, means nothing?

Yes! You finally get it!
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby Eteponge » 15 Aug 2009, 05:06

ProfWag wrote:
Eteponge wrote:So the actual police detectives giving their personal account of what happened, on video, in context, their testimonies matching information in the Scott Jacobson book among other sources, means nothing?

Yes! You finally get it!

So, mere speculation and conspiracy weaving by arm chair skeptics who weren't actually there is preferred over the official testimony of the actual Police Detectives who were actually there, who wrote down the clues as they were given, and checked them as the events unfolded, and were highly involved in the cases in question?

Anyone else see a problem with this?
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby ProfWag » 15 Aug 2009, 05:38

Eteponge wrote:
ProfWag wrote:
Eteponge wrote:So the actual police detectives giving their personal account of what happened, on video, in context, their testimonies matching information in the Scott Jacobson book among other sources, means nothing?

Yes! You finally get it!

So, mere speculation and conspiracy weaving by arm chair skeptics who weren't actually there is preferred over the official testimony of the actual Police Detectives who were actually there, who wrote down the clues as they were given, and checked them as the events unfolded, and were highly involved in the cases in question?

Anyone else see a problem with this?

Geez, you're a very difficult person to get a simple point across too. Okay, here it goes one last time. Please read carefully. UNSOLVED MYSTERIES IS NOT A VALID REFERENCE FOR THE SUPPORT OF A PARANORMAL CLAIM!!!!! Please give me court-room testimony. Please give me written police interviews at the time. Please, give me something OTHER THAN UNSOLVED FREAKIN' MYSTERIES! I am a college instructor. If you turn in a research paper with Unsolved Mysteries as your main source of reference, I will fail you faster than your eye can blink. Please see my earlier post concerning why Unsolved Freakin' Mysteries is not a valid source for any information (except when they are the ones looking for a killer.) Also note that the Scott Jacobson book you like to quote is as valid as Charles Berlitz' book The Bermuda Triangle. That is to say, it isn't... Any chance you could scan the inside back cover with Scott Jacobson's info on it and pm it or post it? I'd be interested in his level of expertise in investigating the paranormal.
Tell me, how do you know that the main police detective wasn't sleeping with her, thus helping Dorothy with her fame and him a little extra on the side? I know, far fetched, but how do you know? Unsolved Mysteries? Actually, you don't know.
How do you know that the detectives weren't using her clues as a cover up to an undercover informant? I know, far fetched, but how do you know? Unsolved Mysteries? Acutally, you don't know.
The town of Nutley NJ is rather small, thus, Dorothy could have been friends with many on the police force. It certainly isn't uncommon for a small town citizen to be friends with the police department. How do you know they didn't conspire to get Nutley on the map? Unsolved Mysteries? Actually, you don't know.
Apologize for the lack of reference for this quote. I closed down the browser after I copied it and don't feel like going to back to look, but here it is none-the-less: "Another cop considered Dorothy Allison's clues in a case to be on the money even though she predicted a missing person was dead who was not dead but was living in a religious cult community. The cop admitted he was baffled by Allison's error about the person being dead but which way was he dead? asked the cop, "Biologically? Clinically? Dead tired?" You see, the police departments are very easily fooled as well and they can be believers in something that just isn't there. But, you won't see that on UNSOLVED FREAKIN-MYSTERIES!
Have a great weekend.
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby Eteponge » 15 Aug 2009, 11:57

ProfWag wrote:Geez, you're a very difficult person to get a simple point across too. Okay, here it goes one last time. Please read carefully. UNSOLVED MYSTERIES IS NOT A VALID REFERENCE FOR THE SUPPORT OF A PARANORMAL CLAIM!!!!! Please give me court-room testimony. Please give me written police interviews at the time. Please, give me something OTHER THAN UNSOLVED FREAKIN' MYSTERIES! I am a college instructor. If you turn in a research paper with Unsolved Mysteries as your main source of reference, I will fail you faster than your eye can blink. Please see my earlier post concerning why Unsolved Freakin' Mysteries is not a valid source for any information (except when they are the ones looking for a killer.) Also note that the Scott Jacobson book you like to quote is as valid as Charles Berlitz' book The Bermuda Triangle. That is to say, it isn't... Any chance you could scan the inside back cover with Scott Jacobson's info on it and pm it or post it? I'd be interested in his level of expertise in investigating the paranormal.
Tell me, how do you know that the main police detective wasn't sleeping with her, thus helping Dorothy with her fame and him a little extra on the side? I know, far fetched, but how do you know? Unsolved Mysteries? Actually, you don't know.
How do you know that the detectives weren't using her clues as a cover up to an undercover informant? I know, far fetched, but how do you know? Unsolved Mysteries? Acutally, you don't know.
The town of Nutley NJ is rather small, thus, Dorothy could have been friends with many on the police force. It certainly isn't uncommon for a small town citizen to be friends with the police department. How do you know they didn't conspire to get Nutley on the map? Unsolved Mysteries? Actually, you don't know.
Apologize for the lack of reference for this quote. I closed down the browser after I copied it and don't feel like going to back to look, but here it is none-the-less: "Another cop considered Dorothy Allison's clues in a case to be on the money even though she predicted a missing person was dead who was not dead but was living in a religious cult community. The cop admitted he was baffled by Allison's error about the person being dead but which way was he dead? asked the cop, "Biologically? Clinically? Dead tired?" You see, the police departments are very easily fooled as well and they can be believers in something that just isn't there. But, you won't see that on UNSOLVED FREAKIN-MYSTERIES!
Have a great weekend.
Wag

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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby ProfWag » 15 Aug 2009, 22:24

I watched the Unsolved Mysteries video!!!!! I’m not sure why I took 2 hours out of my day to watch and take notes, but here is my assessment:
1st Video: She talks of her dream, but it sounds like she didn’t tell anyone until AFTER it was advertised he was missing. The police detective, Sgt Vicaro, admits he knew the family which means it was personal to him. He also admits that it was possible it was a hoax. He states he wants to interview her again to see if more info could be pulled from her.
2nd Video The number 120. That turned out to be either the time the baby was found or the time the detective was TOLD the baby was found. The statement wasn’t very clear. But then, what does it matter to the case as to what time the baby was found? Wouldn’t the road number or something like that have been more important? Obvious retrofitted clue. They thought they were looking for house numbers or dates. How does he know it was exactly 1:20 when the body was found? Could it have been 1:19 or 1:21? Either one would mean that wasn't a hit. Robert Stack said “several clues seemed to match.” How many is several? 5 out of 6? 5 out of 10? 5 out of 20? 8 out of 10, 8 out of 50? We’re not told of the misses which, by using the term “several” means there were some misses also. What were they and how significant? We’re not told. Could she have heard from somewhere what the child was wearing when he went missing? It seems that every missing child report I hear today we are told what the child was last seen wearing. Nothing substantial from the show to verify if this was an impressive hit or not.
3rd Video. The train passenger story: Sgt Lubertazzi was the officer interviewed. Told he’s in water by fire trucks (didn’t see fire trucks at the scene of the location of the body, though the Sgt said everything was exactly how she said it.) Mentioned the bow and arrow. Also, could have been impressive, but if an arrowhead was found nearby, would that have been considered a hit also? Not a long interview. Was “everything” really as she said it or did he exaggerate for the cameras? We don’t know as we weren’t provided with the specific hits and how they matched with the crime. Again, for a detective to say that "evertying she said was exactly how she said it would be," their coverage of this story was not very long or in-depth. My guess is several conflicting stories was left out, otherwise, it would have been the lead segment.
Ellen Jacobson (relative of the guy who wrote the book) May have a little too close of a connection to be considered a valid source. Stack says Dorothy knew nothing of the case. How does he know that? Dorothy sure wouldn’t say that she did.
4th Video: The Susan Jacobson story sounds impressive, admittedly. No police interviews from this story, only the parents of the child. Emotions may or may not have played a role in their memory. Was MAR the only letter she gave? Did she get anything wrong? We don’t know as they didn’t say how accurate she was, only that things she said matched. Typical of a person getting a reading that they only remember the hits and not the many, many misses. Especially when dealing with the grief of losing a daughter. Wish we could see the notes the parents took of Dorothy's initial interview with them.
5th Video: Hagerstown Md: Det Wattenscheidt (sp). The wig was an interesting hit. Dorothy stated the victim was hit on the head. Detective said her jaw was broken but was not the cause of death. She then turns to choking. After 24 hours, she gave “dozens of clues, some seem misdirected.” The choking agent was not made public, but obviously some things were. How much did she know or was able to look up prior to her arrival? We don’t know. The number 1 7 was the plot she was laid to rest in. 1 and 7 could have shown to be a number of different factors that could have been a hit. Addresses, birthdays, age, and any number of things. Not impressed with that one at all. Why hasn’t she been able to give a more direct hit with a number other than the burial plot. Again, retrofit.
6th Video: “In total, Dorothy came up with 50 different clues. Only when the crime is solved will we know how many of Dorothy’s visions were really connected with the death…” So, she didn’t help much in that case.
To summarize, there were only 3 detectives who were interviewed and one of those was still very skeptical of her. The other two were from Dorothy’s hometown. Again, we don’t know if they may have been friends of Dorothy for some time and wanted to help her fame. That fact can’t be left out or denied. Family members ONLY mentioned her hits. How many things did she tell them were NOT right? We don’t know that either. In the Hagerstown case, it says she gave 50 clues. If it turned out she got 10 out of 50, would that be impressive? No, that’s 20%. I could do that on any case simply by guessing. 30 or 40 hits would be impressive, but if that were the case, there would have been a follow-up episode. Again, we don’t know how many clues she actually gave in the child’s murder or the Jacobson murder, but if it was upwards of 50 and she got 10 of them, then like I said, 20% retrofitted to the crime is not very impressive. From this skeptic’s perspective, there is nothing psychic or paranormal about Dorothy. But again, you may see things differently than I. To you, a 20% hit rate may be worth further study. To me, a 20% hit rate means I have time to hit the golf course…
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby Eteponge » 16 Aug 2009, 08:20

ProfWag wrote:The number 120. That turned out to be either the time the baby was found or the time the detective was TOLD the baby was found. The statement wasn’t very clear.

This is cleared up in the book. He states that he got a phone call at exactly 1:30 from the man who found the body, and as soon as he was told this, he asked the man how long ago he found it, he said, "10 minutes ago". Which would be 1:20.

ProfWag wrote:Could she have heard from somewhere what the child was wearing when he went missing? It seems that every missing child report I hear today we are told what the child was last seen wearing. Nothing substantial from the show to verify if this was an impressive hit or not.

It is stated in the video that not even a picture of the child had been released to the public at the time Dorothy spoke with them. This was in the days when missing children cases were horribly handled. Long before Amber Alerts and even child's faces appearing posted on flyers everywhere and on the milk cartons. 1967. Dorothy got all three layers of clothing correct, even the religious pin on the third undershirt.

She also got a hit that NO ONE knew about until the boy was found. That when found, his under shoes would be on the wrong feet. (His shoes were on the right feet, but his under shoes were indeed on the wrong feet.)

Aside from the February 7th and 120 clue, she also got all of the buildings surrounding the body correct. Behind a school, near a lumber yard, near gold lettering on a window, near an old ITT factory, etc. All of these were within visible sight of the child's body.

You didn't comment at all on the February 7th clue given to Detectives long before the child was discovered. That's damn specific.

ProfWag wrote:3rd Video. The train passenger story: Sgt Lubertazzi was the officer interviewed. Told he’s in water by fire trucks (didn’t see fire trucks at the scene of the location of the body, though the Sgt said everything was exactly how she said it.)

It's a UM recreation, they may have left that out. I need to re-read that part of the book.

ProfWag wrote:Mentioned the bow and arrow. Also, could have been impressive, but if an arrowhead was found nearby, would that have been considered a hit also? Not a long interview.

The UM Episode left out important details here. In the book, Dorothy combined the "Bow and Arrow" clue with "Two Men" she was seeing, and then the next vision she got was of the bow and arrow shooting up in the air over a blue sky, but not seeing where the arrow landed. When asked what it meant, she said, "I don't know, that's what I see". And all were total hits to the resolution of the case.

ProfWag wrote:Ellen Jacobson (relative of the guy who wrote the book) May have a little too close of a connection to be considered a valid source.

I don't believe this is factual, I think Scott Jacobson (the guy who wrote the book) and the Jacobson Family who lost their daughter are unrelated. Why? The book NEVER mentions this, in the author's introduction to the book, or in the book's epilogue, or anything, and when it profiles the Jacobson case in the book, it doesn't profile it any different than the others, or mention a relation anywhere. You'd think he would somewhere, if he were related.

Also, I'm Travis Basinger, but I'm not at all related to Kim Basinger, the actress.

I find the book a good source because ...

"Material for this book was gathered from several sources. Dorothy's own retelling of the stories has been supported by newspaper and magazine articles and signed affidavits from many of the parties involved. In most cases, the families of the victims have cooperated fully, regardless of the fact that the interviews stirred unpleasent memories. Many of the law-enforcement officers involved have also given generously of their time in recounting their experiences with the psychic detective." - Scott Jacobson in Foreward to 'Dorothy Allison: A Psychic Story'

ProfWag wrote:4th Video: The Susan Jacobson story sounds impressive, admittedly. No police interviews from this story, only the parents of the child. Emotions may or may not have played a role in their memory. Was MAR the only letter she gave? Did she get anything wrong? We don’t know as they didn’t say how accurate she was, only that things she said matched. Typical of a person getting a reading that they only remember the hits and not the many, many misses. Especially when dealing with the grief of losing a daughter. Wish we could see the notes the parents took of Dorothy's initial interview with them.

The book goes far more indepth in this case, and gives several additional clues that the UM Episode didn't. The book was the closest source to the time of the events. Since the book was written in 1980 and the Susan Jacobson case took place in 1976. The parents were interviewed for the book. This was eight years before the UM Episode.

Here are the clues that Dorothy gave for an area she was seeing related to the daughter, directly written from the book, word for word ...

"I have a very good picture of an area related to Susan", Dorothy told Ellen. "I see twin bridges in the distance, but one of the bridges isn't used for cars. The area is like a swamp. There's an abandoned car near the place where I see 'MAR'. I also see two sets of dual church steeples and two huge smokestacks. The 'MAR' will help us pinpoint where to begin. That's what we've got to find first."

So, she connected all of these clues together as the area related to Susan, and all were within visible sight of the body, the abandoned car was near the MAR Rock, and the MAR Rock was within 100 yards of Susan's body.

I also found the 2562 clue a bit more significant than just a three digit number clue, because it was the daughter's birthday. February 5th, 1962.

ProfWag wrote:5th Video: Hagerstown Md: Det Wattenscheidt (sp). The wig was an interesting hit. Dorothy stated the victim was hit on the head. Detective said her jaw was broken but was not the cause of death. She then turns to choking. After 24 hours, she gave “dozens of clues, some seem misdirected.”

Dorothy had misdirected hits all the time.

A good example is one that happened to the wife of the director of the Unsolved Mysteries episode. When Dorothy was on set, she saw the wife of the director and said to her, "327! 327!" and that was her birthday, March 27th. The woman asked Dorothy if there was anything she needed to look out for. Dorothy gasped and said, "Your husband is going to have a heart attack!", just three hours later on the same day, her EX-Husband had a heart attack. Total misdirected hit.

ProfWag wrote:The choking agent was not made public, but obviously some things were. How much did she know or was able to look up prior to her arrival? We don’t know.

According to UM, they didn't give her ANY information prior to the case (it was selected by them without her knowledge), "not even that it was a murder case". The whole point of that segment was to follow Dorothy around on a blind case to see what she would come up with.

The choking in the throat was a big hit to me, because in MOST murder cases, it would be a choking AROUND the throat, not IN the throat, that's very rare. And that the detective stated on camera that this impressed him because this detail was not known to the public, and that they purposely were keeping that detail from the public.

ProfWag wrote:6th Video: “In total, Dorothy came up with 50 different clues. Only when the crime is solved will we know how many of Dorothy’s visions were really connected with the death…” So, she didn’t help much in that case.

Yes, and it's still unsolved to this day, sadly. I hope that when it is, we'll be able to compare what she got with what happened.

And from your previous post I want to remark ...

ProfWag wrote:Apologize for the lack of reference for this quote. I closed down the browser after I copied it and don't feel like going to back to look, but here it is none-the-less: "Another cop considered Dorothy Allison's clues in a case to be on the money even though she predicted a missing person was dead who was not dead but was living in a religious cult community. The cop admitted he was baffled by Allison's error about the person being dead but which way was he dead? asked the cop, "Biologically? Clinically? Dead tired?" You see, the police departments are very easily fooled as well and they can be believers in something that just isn't there.

My first honest reaction was, "What clues did he find significant in the case to make him still think there was something to it?", I'd like to see the level and detail of positive hits she got in that case that would make him think that way even though she was wrong (or misdirected) about the death. (Dorothy's official response was that she misinterpreted the imagery of death that she was seeing, and that the imagery must have been symbolic of his 'spiritual death' because he had forsaken his former self entirely and joined a religious cult, no more his old self, and that was the meaning of the 'death' symbology.)

But regardless, I'd like to see the clues that impressed this police officer regardless of that one clue being totally off (or misinterpreted).
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby ProfWag » 16 Aug 2009, 19:44

I'm afraid that we're just going to have to agree to disagree. I will admit that on the surface, many of the clues she gave sound like incredible hits. Unfortunately, we just don't have more specifics at this time. We don't even know if the numbers were exact, how many different sets of numbers were presented, what she could or could not have known in advance, etc. I believe that both sides have presented their debate sufficiently. It will take more evidence than a TV show and a for-profit book to convince me that what people have said about her is 100% accurate.

I will summarize my side of the debate with this thought. Though I seriously doubt the existance of psychic abilities, I have and will continue to leave the door open to the possibility. At this time in our existance, however, there are far, far, far too many misses when it comes to giving clues to the police. Every now and again, a solid hit seems to be presented, but unfortunately, it is surrounded with so many misses that the hit does not help the police. Only AFTER the fact has evidence bee identified and that could be classified as a retrofitted clue. As such, in my eyes anyway, real police work should NOT involve psychic detectives in any way. If and when someone comes along that shows a significant number of positive clues, then that person may be useful. If a psychic could grab the hand of a detective and lead them to a body or a criminal, then that would be extremely helpful,, but unfortunately, that type of psychic detective does not yet appear to exist. ("google" 'Ginette Lucas and Dominic Casey' for an example of an interesting possibility though.)

In Dorothy's case, she may have had a few solid hits in her tenure, but imagine how much wasted time and energy the Atlanta police expelled in searching for the 42 names she gave them in the search for the Atlanta Child murders. If a psychic detective does have real abilities, they are not, as yet, accurate often enough to be of legitimate assistance in an investigation and needless time and resources are used up sifting through the possibilities when they should be hitting the streets with solid police work.

Does anyone else have a psychic detective case that we could research with more current and available data?
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby Eteponge » 16 Aug 2009, 20:00

More data and research is definitely needed. I'd love to be able to interview those Police Detectives, Family Members, Relatives & Friends of Dorothy, Etc, and get more indepth information on these specific cases. And any actual physical evidence, like the actual notes written down by the Police Detectives months prior to the case being solved. Stuff like that would really be useful.

I'd even like to interview the Detectives on the cases she got wrong, to find out more info.
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby Nostradamus » 17 Aug 2009, 21:55

In the photo line up I used almost all famous people, or at least people that have had some exposure in the press. Only the photo on the left side of series is a person that is not a public figure. In order the people are: unknown, a pro golfer Swilor, drawing, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jerry Lee Lewis, Matt Damon, Karr, the Joker, and finally actor Tim Blake Nelson (clipped by my browser). To see the entire picture right click and do a copy image and then paste the picture into a drawing program like Paint or whatever.

I thought people would choose Swilor or Jerry Lee Lewis. I thought Swilor was the best match. No one but me thought that was the case. One person picked the photo of the actor who played Delmar in "O Brother Where Art Thou." The reason I chose well known, or possibly well known faces was to offset the notoriety of Karr. People recognized Karr in the line up, but did not choose him, not one.

And like I said, which you have apparently ignored, you can do the *exact* same thing to other famous police sketches of suspects drawn from the memories of victims and eyewitnesses. You can play the same game.


I beg to differ. This is not a game. This is a test. This is a test of matching. If people are asked, "Does the drawing match this face?", they might say yes. But that is not what a police detective is dealing with. A detective has a drawing and potentially hundreds or thousands of faces to choose from. Here I gave people a choose of 8 faces to choose from. I tried to get similar straight on photos. I also tried to be reasonable with my time and find photos in a short period of time.

No one chose Karr. After asking for the best match I went back and asked if Karr was a possibility. Everyone said no.

Many police sketches of suspects are usually quite a bit "off" to the degree that you could drag in many different people and they could possibly match the drawn suspect. This is ignored.


I am not ignoring the fact that drawings are a bit off. What I am doing is running a simple and limited test to see if Karr's face is matched in a line up. The answer was 100% no. When shown a range of faces, the people I used in the test were clear to strike Karr off the list of possibilities.
The point is, many famous police sketches are "off", getting stuff wrong with the mouth, the eyes, other features, etc. But the general profile resembles them to a degree.


The question is not whether there is some remote chance that a drawing resembles a person. The question is whether or not people would match a drawing to a face when searching through a population.

Here we are back to the concept of significance. I claim that a drawing is significant only if it is a clue that leads to the identification of a suspect. A drawing is not significant if after a suspect is named, that "the general profile resembles them to a degree." In the latter case the drawing is not a useful clue since it did not lead to the identification of a suspect. Furthermore, in a line up people do not think Karr is a possible match to the drawing.
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby Eteponge » 18 Aug 2009, 00:09

Nostradamus:

I guess it's like with those not-so-clear EVPs (below "Grade A" quality) that people like to showcase all the time, where if you are told beforehand what the voice is purportedly saying, you will hear exactly that when it's played. But if you're not told exactly what the voice is saying before it is played, everyone tends to hear something different.

Thus, if you show the photograph lined up with only photos of Karr, people will generally see it as resembling Karr. However, if you line it up with many other people who resemble the drawing more than Karr does, they tend to see it very differently.

I'm sure you could probably do the same with various police sketches of suspects that got features noticeably off, but really, this discussion is a bit pointless, because *even if* the drawing matched Karr, he wasn't the Jon Benet Killer, but a red herring.
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby ProfWag » 18 Aug 2009, 02:09

Eteponge wrote:
I'm sure you could probably do the same with various police sketches of suspects that got features noticeably off, but really, this discussion is a bit pointless, because *even if* the drawing matched Karr, he wasn't the Jon Benet Killer, but a red herring.

Extremely important information to remember that Karr wasn't the killer so even if the drawing matched exactly, right down to a scar on his nose, he wasn't the killer so as it stands now, it's a moot point.
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby ProfWag » 19 Aug 2009, 03:30

brett wrote:i am NOT going to comment on this case as other than what i have read here i, i have no knowledge of it - but placing significance on things ,even such as physical evidence is , er tricky ,to say the best and measurable ?? - depends on the context .

for example : ( going to use some fire service analogies here ) say for instance you where called to a building that was "well alight " ( eg going well ) - there is no one trapped - and no danger to other buildings or people - and the building is isolated from others but in a residential area , so you look at the building and start looking for reasons - collecting "clues " to what had happened .

so lets take our hypothetical building - a standard 2 up 2 down brick built dwelling - with no gas ( only electric ) - unoccupied at the time of your arrival .

so initial appraisal : you have taken 3 minutes to arrive - witnesses say that the building "exploded " in to flame - significance ?? - well buildings only usually do this with the aid of an accelerant ( as far as i know there have been no cases of "spontaneous combustion " of normal houses ) so clue number one ??

the fire has spread to all floors and the roof - you know that the call and time to arrive was a total of say 5 minutes - based on your knowledge of the mechanics of "normal " fire spread you also know that this fire has developed WAY too quickly -even allowing for say 5-10 minutes for the fire to be noticed - clue number two - significance ??

during the operation to tackle the fire - one of you men reports the find of two empty petrol cans lying in the garden - significance ??

amongst the crowd of onlookers you spot a well known local arsonist ,watching proceedings - significance ??

the owner of the building turns up and seems a little too calm for someone whose house is burning down - significance ??

his children are with him and are looking frightened - significance ??

the owner is in deep financial trouble and about to go bankrupt -significance ??

the mans wife left him a few weeks ago - following a major row - significance ??

OK i wont take this any further for now - have a think about each of these things and draw a conclusion - i appreciate you may not have any knowledge of firefighting and investigation so i have made this one fairly easy for you - but what i would like you to do is rate ,from one to ten each of these and give your reasons for your marks

this is actually based on a true scenario - so i know the answer ;)

any one want to take a stab at it ??

Brett, a couple of us posted our thoughts on your scenario, but I haven't seen the correct answer yet. Could you fill us in?
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby Nostradamus » 20 Aug 2009, 11:03

My question still goes back to the idea of how we can work out a better definition of significance.

I did not try to find better matches of the drawing than Karr. I quickly looked for white guys with narrow chins. Ruled out the mullet crowd, the beardos, and photos of non-famous people (except for one).

It matters little if Karr was involved in the horrible murder of a child. What is of interest here is how do we work out a method of determining significance in these situations? How can we determine if a person supplies significant information? So many dolts in the news industry claimed that the photo was a sure hit with Karr. Does that add significance? My claim is NO. The reason is that comparing a photo to a drawing is not a proper manner to determine significance.

I think significance in the case of psychics in the criminal investigation arena need to provide information leading to the capture of a suspect. The event connecting the lines is not significant. Being able to point out a hit like a Monday morning quarterback is not a measure of significance because the actions did not lead forward in the investigation.
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby NinjaPuppy » 20 Aug 2009, 22:35

Nostradamus wrote:My question still goes back to the idea of how we can work out a better definition of significance.

I think significance in the case of psychics in the criminal investigation arena need to provide information leading to the capture of a suspect. The event connecting the lines is not significant. Being able to point out a hit like a Monday morning quarterback is not a measure of significance because the actions did not lead forward in the investigation.


Since the basic issue here is a police investigation, significance is first considered by the detective investigating the case. Certainly not, as you point out, Monday morning quarterbacks, who were not present at the murder scene or initial interviews of suspects/witnesses. The police are the trained experts who take all the data collected (viewing the crime scene and the findings/medical examiner report/witness statements/etc) and review it for significance.

Once the more obvious evidence is collected and reviewed, if there is still nothing that can lead them to a suspect, they at times will begin to use the media to put out certain information for public consumption. Many times a possible witness doesn't realize that they have witnessed a crime until they make a connection from a media source. Tip lines can sometimes prove beneficial as well as TV shows like "America's Most Wanted". The source of the information is confidential and who, what, why or how doesn't have any significance to them in how that information is obtained. It's the process of filtering through all of this obscure information that can make or break a case.

Then you need to go into what is or isn't acceptable in the due process system of the Courts. The police may have enough evidence to be satisfied with their information to know who which suspect should be held accountable but the legal system has a different set of requirements defining significance.

One case may span a detective's entire career and beyond before the suspect even sees a court room. If they are so inclined to consider using a psychic in the process, the significance of the value of that psychic's information is once again relative to the dectective's opinion.
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Re: Dorothy Allison and the COncept of Significance

Postby brett » 22 Aug 2009, 03:25

brett wrote:i am NOT going to comment on this case as other than what i have read here i, i have no knowledge of it - but placing significance on things ,even such as physical evidence is , er tricky ,to say the best and measurable ?? - depends on the context .

for example : ( going to use some fire service analogies here ) say for instance you where called to a building that was "well alight " ( eg going well ) - there is no one trapped - and no danger to other buildings or people - and the building is isolated from others but in a residential area , so you look at the building and start looking for reasons - collecting "clues " to what had happened .

so lets take our hypothetical building - a standard 2 up 2 down brick built dwelling - with no gas ( only electric ) - unoccupied at the time of your arrival .

so initial appraisal : you have taken 3 minutes to arrive - witnesses say that the building "exploded " in to flame - significance ?? - well buildings only usually do this with the aid of an accelerant ( as far as i know there have been no cases of "spontaneous combustion " of normal houses ) so clue number one ??

the fire has spread to all floors and the roof - you know that the call and time to arrive was a total of say 5 minutes - based on your knowledge of the mechanics of "normal " fire spread you also know that this fire has developed WAY too quickly -even allowing for say 5-10 minutes for the fire to be noticed - clue number two - significance ??

during the operation to tackle the fire - one of you men reports the find of two empty petrol cans lying in the garden - significance ??

amongst the crowd of onlookers you spot a well known local arsonist ,watching proceedings - significance ??

the owner of the building turns up and seems a little too calm for someone whose house is burning down - significance ??

his children are with him and are looking frightened - significance ??

the owner is in deep financial trouble and about to go bankrupt -significance ??

the mans wife left him a few weeks ago - following a major row - significance ??

OK i wont take this any further for now - have a think about each of these things and draw a conclusion - i appreciate you may not have any knowledge of firefighting and investigation so i have made this one fairly easy for you - but what i would like you to do is rate ,from one to ten each of these and give your reasons for your marks

this is actually based on a true scenario - so i know the answer ;)

any one want to take a stab at it ??



OK prof wag asked me to spill the beans on this one ( i had forgotten so thanks prof :D ) - the wife did it - apparently she torched the place with her own accelerant - so the cans found where a red herring as was the local arsonist , the financial troubles where a contributory factor of the row that caused all this in the first place and it was assumed that the mans calm demina was so as not to further distress the children ( given that HE knew he was innocent )

we where given this scenario as a "critical thinking " exercise at the fire service college ( UK ) - and all of us fell for the obvious clue of the cans :oops: :oops: - some got it nearly right - but not exactly - BUT it taught us a valuable lesson about jumping to rush conclusions when investigating fires

so i guess the lesson is that "obvious "clues are not always the answer and the "significance " of clues may be at first disproportionate to their actual importance ;)
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