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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Calling all polygraphers (Read 19956 times)
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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #30 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 2:31pm
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Snacho wrote, "Every test has an error rate and I am not talking just about polygraph. Every test has an error rate."

If that is true then what is the error rate of written tests for say the FBI?  Name another type of test that is used by LE that has error rates.  You made the statement lets here it.  I will admit that certain written tests might have an error rate but they, just like your polygraph, are subjective.  I promise you though that when the FBI asks what 2+2 is and you say 4 that there is no error rate in those tests.  I do agree though that there is an error rate for those who read the bumps on skulls in order to predict the future.  Obviously I've over simplified things but I'm just curious what other tests have an error rate......lets hear it.
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #31 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 6:00pm
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First of all the nom de plume is Sancho NOT "Snacho" or are you name calling trying to earn yourself a nastygram from the administrator.

WJ wrote on Jan 8th, 2008 at 2:31pm:
Snacho wrote, "Every test has an error rate and I am not talking just about polygraph. Every test has an error rate."

If that is true then what is the error rate of written tests for say the FBI?  Name another type of test that is used by LE that has error rates.  You made the statement lets here it.  I will admit that certain written tests might have an error rate but they, just like your polygraph, are subjective.  I promise you though that when the FBI asks what 2+2 is and you say 4 that there is no error rate in those tests.  I do agree though that there is an error rate for those who read the bumps on skulls in order to predict the future.  Obviously I've over simplified things but I'm just curious what other tests have an error rate... ...lets hear it.


Before I respond, to what I see as your silly question "what other tests have an error rate?, let me attempt to explain to you that the error rate in pre employment written tests does not lie in whether or not 2+2 =4.

The error/accuracy rate lies in the ability of a question or question set to determine what the test is designed to resolve. Or in other words, How well ones ability to accurately answer the question,( "what is 2+2?) determines their ability to be an FBI agent. I guess one could conceivably argue that knowing the answer to "What are 2+2" doesn't have, by itself any arguable ability to determine someone’s overall qualifications as an agent. Although, if you failed that question, the FBI might justifiably determine that you lacked the necessary math skills to perform the parts of the job that required math skills.

That is why they put all those different questions on the test. It s not really to see whether or not you get the correct answer to any particular question, but whether or not you have answered a sufficient number of questions correctly to convince them that you have the ability to learn to perform the tasks required of an agent. If this test was absolutely accurate in its ability to weed those people out then no one would ever fail the academy for academic reasons.

Those academic washouts help establish that their written test does in fact have an error rate. Unless you scored 100% on your written test you encountered another error rate, your own. Perhaps the FBI will accept a 30% applicant error rate on its written test, I don’t know I’m just guessing, but for the sake of our discussion that would mean if your accuracy was 70% YOU PASSED.Does that mean that someone who scored a 60% would not make a good agent? No it just means they failed the standard and got eliminated. Somewhere during the application process you may encounter the Minnesota Multi-phasic Personality Inventory or MMPI. I really don’t have a citation but I recall reading somewhere that this test may have an error rate as high as 40% in detecting clinical depression, but it is still used by many Law Enforcement Agencies and I presume that includes Federal Agencies in determining psychological fitness for service. No one is in a better position to be aware of whatever failure rate exists in polygraph and how that rate may be quantified. Error rates are made of  false positives (honest people called deceptive) and false negatives (dishonest people called truthful) The Federal government has made a conscious informed decision that at the risk of letting a few honorable people fail the process they will continue to use the process to weed out all of the dishonorable people they can. That is their right. Your right is not to apply if you don’t like the way they exercise their rights. You do not have any right to act in a dishonorable fashion or cheat or lie during any part of the process in which they evaluate your suitability, your honesty, or your integrity, by whatever method they choose to employ that are within the law.

Response to “Name another type of test that is used by LE that has error rates.”
Polygraph
DNA
Hair Analysis
Latent Fingerprint comparison
Blood Alcohol Analysis (Breath)
Blood Alcohol Analysis (Blood)
Handwriting Comparison
Statement Analysis
Determination of speed from skid marks
Determination of speed from yaw marks
Determination of speed from deformation of metal
Presence of blood
Presence of human blood
Marijuana field test
Marijuana Lab test
Heroin Field test
Heroin Lab Test
as a matter of fact to save time all presumptive tests for drugs whether in the field or lab
Urinalysis
Ink analysis
Identification of trace evidence
Foot Print Comparison
Puzzle fit analysis
Ballistics
NEED I GO ON???  Didn’t you talk about error rates in college? Chemistry?,  Physics?, Biology? Any science at all?

BTW  You said that you used to be a military officer. What is the error rate of the impact location of a 105mm howitzer? If there were not error rate, all of the shells would hit the exact same spot unless the settings were changed.

I realize this answer is probably too long because I don’t think you are looking for answers. I think you are looking for argument
Sancho Panza
« Last Edit: Jan 8th, 2008 at 6:41pm by SanchoPanza »  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #32 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 7:47pm
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WJ

To be clear, 2+2=4 is an equation, not a test.

One could use the equation (2+2=?) as a test, of perhaps the math skills of FBI applicants, but it might be what we call excessively "blunt" or just plain uninformative. It would make about as much sense as administering the Vineland tests for adaptive functioning to FBI applicants.  Sure they'd get a perfect score, because the Vinland is intended to assist, along with IQ scores, in the assessment of mental retardation.

Now if one takes the very blunt equation/test (2+2=?) and gives it to a cohort of primary students in early grades, one might see a proportion of students provide the correct answer and pass, with some other students unable to provide the correct answer (and fail?). One might anticipate observing more "failures" among students in earlier grades, along with more "passing" scores/answer among students in progressively older grades. Now if we do that enough, we begin to understand that we can predict a certain percentage range of students in each grade will produce correct/passing or incorrect/failing answers to the 2+2=? equation/test.

So yes, 2+2=?, when used as a test of math skills, and not a simple equation, will have a range of correct and erroneous answers - an error rate, which may vary somewhat predictably with age, grade, and other factors. It is even likely that some of the students in younger grades might provide an incorrect answer to the test/equation (2+2=?) while possessing or expressing no great deficiency in mathematical abilities. That is because the construct of math abilities will not be perfectly represented by a single equation (more error, you see), and it is impossible to eliminate all confounding variables such as fatigue, hunger, abuse, attentional difficulties, or perhaps the student was sick and absent on the previous day when the class was introduced to the concept of addition. In general though, we can reasonable anticipate that while providing the correct answer is minimally informative, an incorrect answer might be a signal to a teacher or school professional that something is amiss with a particular student.

Try again?


r







« Last Edit: Jan 8th, 2008 at 8:36pm by raymond.nelson »  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #33 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:12pm
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Regarding the 2+2=4 test.  The problem would occur with the graders themselves.  If the graders were so stupid or negligent so as not to score this as a correct answer, then their would be a very easy appeal process.  Such is not the case with a "failed" polygraph based on examiner (grader) error.  The fault isn't with the question, (for example, have you ever stolen from an employer?) but instead, how the answer, (squiggly lines on a chart) are graded.
  

"Although the degree of reliability of polygraph evidence may depend upon a variety of identifiable factors, there is simply no way to know in a particular case whether a polygraph examiner's Conclusion is accurate, because certain doubts and uncertainties plague even the best polygraph exams."  (Justice Clarence Thomas writing in United States v. Scheffer, 523 U.S. 303, 118 S.Ct. 1261, 140 L.Ed.2d 413, 1998.)
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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #34 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:22pm
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raymond.nelson wrote on Jan 8th, 2008 at 7:47pm:
WJ

To be clear, 2+2=4 is an equation, not a test.

One could use the equation (2+2=?) as a test, of perhaps the math skills of FBI applicants, but it might be what we call excessively "blunt" or just plain uninformative. It would make about as much sense as administering the Vineland tests for adaptive functioning to FBI applicants.  Sure they'd get a perfect score, because the Vinland is intended to assist, along with IQ scores, in the assessment of mental retardation.

Now if one takes the very blunt equation/test (2+2=?) and gives it to a cohort of primary students in early grades, one might see a proportion of students provide the correct answer and pass, with some other students unable to provide the correct answer (and fail?). One might anticipate observing more "failures" among students in earlier grades, along with more "passing" scores/answer among students in progressively older grades. Now if we do that enough, we begin to understand that we can predict a certain percentage range of students in each grade will produce correct/passing or incorrect/failing answers to the 2+2=? equation/test.

So yes, 2+2=?, when used as a test of math skills, and not a simple equation, will have a range of correct and erroneous answers - an error rate, which may vary somewhat predictably with age, grade, and other factors. It is even likely that some of the students in younger grades might provide an incorrect answer to the test/equation (2+2=?) while possessing or expressing no great deficiency in mathematical abilities. That is because the construct of math abilities will not be perfectly represented by a single equation (more error, you see), and it is impossible to eliminate all confounding variables such as fatigue, hunger, abuse, attentional difficulties, or perhaps the student was sick and absent on the previous day when the class was introduced to the concept of addition. In general though, we can reasonable anticipate that while providing the correct answer is minimally informative, an incorrect answer might be a signal to a teacher or school professional that something is amiss with a particular student.

Try again?


r








I used that math equation which when combined with multiple questions make up a test.  Did you actually expect me to write a test in here?
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #35 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 10:42pm
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Sancho,
You are trying to put the subjective "test" of a polygraph in the same column as DNA testing and many other tests which you wrote (more smoke and mirrors).  Polygraph accuracy does not even compare to the accuracy of a sold scientifically proven test like DNA and genetic testing.  For example, DNA testing is 99.999% accurate or it is correct, at a minimum of 99,999 times out of 100,000.  The POLYGRAPH DOES NOT COME ANYWHERE NEAR THIS WITH REGARDS TO ACCURACY.  You should be embarrassed when trying to compare your little 10 week course to the education and skill these medical professionals need to understand and administer genetic or DNA testing. 

Also, you are trying to Divert, Distort and Distract from my intent with regards to my original question.  What other type of tests, that have the lack of accuracy like the polygraph, do LEO use to select new members of LE?
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #36 - Jan 8th, 2008 at 11:58pm
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Gee WJ, I thought you meant what you said. My mistake. I guess. Roll Eyes
Didn't you say "Name another type of test that is used by LE that has error rates"?

I didn't see anything in your challenge that said only to name tests that had a similar quantifiable error rate to polygraph. Regarding DNA error rates in order to achieve a 99.999% PROBABILITY of correct results, please try to use correct terminology if you want to communicate. I would refer you to the OJ trial remember Barry Scheck “How about that MS Mazoler" what he was doing there was punching holes in her evidence handling protocol that might alter the probability of the correctness of her results. Lawyers evidently know what you do not. adding variables to the testing process such as, failure to follow strict collection protocol to guard against contamination increases the probable error rate in the sample. While some DNA testimony might reflect a match probability of 1 chance  1 trillion that 2 different people would exhibit the same DNA profile, many testimonies also indicate much lower probabilities like 3 chances in a million which would place a probability of 2 dozen or so possible matches in New York City.

One of the questions I have always had about forensic DNA is  would a cross contaminated sample of blood which included blood from both a mother and father who both had Type A blood, possibly falsely implicate a child of the couple who provided the samples? That, in my humble opinion, is how you write a clear question, even though the answer is not a matter for this forum.

While a perfectly collected sample may be 99.999% accurate (even though you will have to show me a study that DNA testing has such a small error rate to get me to believe it) if the sample is not perfectly collected the accuracy rate drops and the error rate climbs. Does polygraph need to strive to reduce it's error rate Yes the NAS review criticized this aspect of polygraph research and I would agree that part of the job of ongoing research into any testing process should be to reduce error rate.  Does having an error rate mean a process is worthless NO.

If you want to change your challenge after you have submitted it, (although it isn't appropriate argument), to “What other type of tests, that have the lack of accuracy like the polygraph, do LEO use to select new members of LE?” Regardless of your unfounded presumption implied by that backhanded statement that the error rate in polygraph is somehow unacceptably large, my previous post already addressed the written suitability exam and the MMPI. Plus, how subjective was the oral review board?? There are three.  How many tests did you take? How objective is a BI when you provide all of the references.

You made a mistake WJ you climbed out on a limb with your challenge then started sawing between yourself and the trunk.

How dare you accuse me of trying to divert, distort and distract from your intent , when the only evidence that I had of your intent was "Name another type of test that is used by LE that has error rates" If anyone distorted your intent it was you because you evidently lack the ability to convey your intent.

All that being said quantification of Law Enforcement suitability test error rates DOESN”T MATTER because as I said earlier, "The Federal government has made a conscious informed decision that at the risk of letting a few honorable people fail the process they will continue to use the process to weed out all of the dishonorable people they can. That is their right. Your right is not to apply if you don’t like the way they exercise their rights. You do not have any right to act in a dishonorable fashion or cheat or lie during any part of the process in which they evaluate your suitability, your honesty, or your integrity, by whatever method they choose to employ that are within the law." This statement applies to all of the suitability tests they choose to use, not just polygraph.

Sancho Panza
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #37 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 8:18am
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SanchoPanza wrote on Jan 8th, 2008 at 12:05pm:
Sergeant you wrote "  I don’t see how a person doing such a thing is behaving the least bit unethically"  

That's an issue. You don't see manufacturing false responses as unethical.         I do.


How is a person who answers each question truthfully and without withholding any information manufacturing false responses?

There is no verifiable way of determining what someone was thinking, and it is ridiculous to administer a test that includes instruction on what you are and are not allowed to think of after answering each question.

If a test subject answers all questions honestly, and does not withhold any information, how is he behaving unethically if he does long division or recites poetry in his head?
« Last Edit: Jan 9th, 2008 at 9:40am by Sergeant1107 »  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #38 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:36am
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I have referred you to the context of that statement in a previous post.

Please answer my question regarding CMcphee based on his description of what he says he has read, what he has practiced, and what he has said he is trying to conceal.

How do you think he should respond if he is asked if he intends to try to control, alter or interfere the results of his test? Or if he is asked if he intends to tamper with testing process in any way?

Sancho Panza

PS I sincerely hope that the recent news about some Connecticut officer’s behavior is a significant distance from your agency. A couple of bad apples can tar and feather a whole PD in the eyes of the public.

sp
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #39 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 11:33am
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SanchoPanza wrote on Jan 9th, 2008 at 10:36am:
I have referred you to the context of that statement in a previous post.

Please answer my question regarding CMcphee based on his description of what he says he has read, what he has practiced, and what he has said he is trying to conceal.

How do you think he should respond if he is asked if he intends to try to control, alter or interfere the results of his test? Or if he is asked if he intends to tamper with testing process in any way?

Sancho Panza

PS I sincerely hope that the recent news about some Connecticut officer’s behavior is a significant distance from your agency. A couple of bad apples can tar and feather a whole PD in the eyes of the public.

sp


I am curious as to why you feel you can expect an answer from me when you refuse to answer my reasonable and straightforward question.  In the interests of discussion, though, I will attempt to do so.

The question I will attempt to answer is the bold print in the above quote.  I am not inclined to go through all of CMcPhee’s prior posts to determine exactly what is “his description of what he says he has read, what he has practiced, and what he has said he is trying to conceal.”

If he plans on answering all questions truthfully, and does not withhold any information, I don’t know what else can be ethically, reasonably, or logically required of him.  If that is his intent then he should of course answer the examiner by truthfully saying that he is not going to try to control, alter, or interfere with the results.  I don’t even know how you could claim he is tampering with the testing process if he answers all the questions truthfully and does not withhold any information.  He is doing everything that is ethically and reasonably required of a person who is taking a test that is purportedly able to detect deception.

If, on the other hand, he intends to lie on his answers and then use mental or physical countermeasures in order to attempt to pass, then I would certainly agree that he is attempting to interfere with the test and should tell the examiner what he intends.  Of course, I think if he is planning to lie he should simply decline to take the polygraph altogether and look for another line of work.
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #40 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:29pm
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If you had bothered to read my post from 7:05 am yesterday, (I presumed you had read it because you cut a quote from it,)  you would have the context of ChrisMcphees activities in practicing physical countermeasures using a BP/Pulsemonitor in an effort to conceal embarrassing sexual activity and that he described himself as an exhibitionist/voyeur.

In response to your question. If you engage in any thoughts that you think might alter your genuine physiological reactions to questions asked on a polygraph examination, you are attempting to alter the results of the examination. Attempting to purposely alter the results of the examination is dishonest and unethical. I realize that this may be a different moral standard than you are willing to ascribe to but that is the source of my comment
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Sergeant you wrote "  I don’t see how a person doing such a thing is behaving the least bit unethically"  

That's an issue. You don't see manufacturing false responses as unethical.         I do.


You seem to have a common theme to some of your posts that makes it appear to me that you are searching for an ethical loohole that would allow one to escape moral responsibility for dishonest behavior. In my world ethics do not have loopholes.

You are more than welcome to disagree with me if you choose, but it isn't likely that I would ever compromise my ethics and assume yours because I see your position as absolutely unethical.  

Sancho Panza

  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #41 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:41pm
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To set the record straight, the minor things I discussed..I plan on disclosing. At first I said something general about voyeurism...then later explained it once the angel polygraphers started calling me the devil. At this point we should assume we are talking about telling the truth and using countermeasures.
  
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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #42 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 1:18pm
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SanchoPanza wrote on Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:29pm:
You seem to have a common theme to some of your posts that makes it appear to me that you are searching for an ethical loohole that would allow one to escape moral responsibility for dishonest behavior. In my world ethics do not have loopholes.


But you hold a double standard. You aver that it is unethical for those whose honesty and integrity is going to be judged by the pseudoscientific procedure we know as polygraph screening to use polygraph countermeasures to protect against the risk of a false positive outcome. Yet you condone the many deceptions practiced by polygraph examiners that are an integral part of the polygraph process.
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #43 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 2:41pm
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SanchoPanza wrote on Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:29pm:
 In response to your question. If you engage in any thoughts that you think might alter your genuine physiological reactions to questions asked on a polygraph examination, you are attempting to alter the results of the examination. Attempting to purposely alter the results of the examination is dishonest and unethical. I realize that this may be a different moral standard than you are willing to ascribe to but that is the source of my comment

The bold text above strikes me as utterly ridiculous.  My thoughts are my own.  What other people are thinking is completely unverifiable, yet you obviously believe that the thoughts of test subjects are an aspect of the polygraph exam that can and should be controlled by a polygraph examiner.  There is simply no verifiable way of doing that, as you well know.


SanchoPanza wrote on Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:29pm:
 You seem to have a common theme to some of your posts that makes it appear to me that you are searching for an ethical loohole that would allow one to escape moral responsibility for dishonest behavior. In my world ethics do not have loopholes.

You are more than welcome to disagree with me if you choose, but it isn't likely that I would ever compromise my ethics and assume yours because I see your position as absolutely unethical.  

Sancho Panza



I’m not searching for a “loohole" or a “loophole.”

If I take a polygraph test and the examiner tells me to be honest, and not to clench muscles or breathe incorrectly or step on a tack or bite my tongue, I’ll gladly do all those things.  However, there is simply no logical pathway to thought control and it is completely untenable in practice.

If the examiner tells me what to think about, i.e., to think about the question and the answer I just gave, isn’t that essentially telling me to produce an artificial reaction?  If you ask me if I am 100 years old and I truthfully tell you that I’m not, why on earth would I continue to think about my answer?  If I am asked about stealing or drug use or driving drunk and I answer honestly, why should I continue to think about my answer?  Because my answers are truthful it’s as uncomplicated as answering any other objective question.  If I’m asked what state I live in and I answer, “Connecticut”, why would I continue to ponder the question or the answer?  If I am told that to do anything else is somehow unethical that is absolutely ridiculous.  I’ve answered honestly and there’s no need to give it another thought, so why would I?  Yet according to your stated logic, I’d be behaving unethically by thinking about something else.  That makes no sense whatsoever.


I am fairly confident that neither you nor any other polygraph supporters truly have a problem with a truthful person’s thoughts, for exactly the reason I just stated.  A truthful person will answer and that will be it – there will be little reason for them to dwell on their answer or replay the question in their head because once they answered truthfully they are done.  I don’t see how anyone could disagree with that.

I believe that you, justifiably so, have a problem with someone who lies on the polygraph and then tries to calm themselves by thinking of other things.  The real problem, ironically, is that neither the examiners nor the polygraph are able to determine who the truthful subjects are and who the liars are.
  

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Re: Calling all polygraphers
Reply #44 - Jan 9th, 2008 at 3:12pm
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George W. Maschke wrote on Jan 9th, 2008 at 1:18pm:
SanchoPanza wrote on Jan 9th, 2008 at 12:29pm:
You seem to have a common theme to some of your posts that makes it appear to me that you are searching for an ethical loophole that would allow one to escape moral responsibility for dishonest behavior. In my world ethics do not have loopholes.


But you hold a double standard. You aver that it is unethical for those whose honesty and integrity is going to be judged by the pseudoscientific procedure we know as polygraph screening to use polygraph countermeasures to protect against the risk of a false positive outcome. Yet you condone the many deceptions practiced by polygraph examiners that are an integral part of the polygraph process.


I'm sorry Mr. Maschke but your comment about a double standard is based solely on your inference an not one tiny bit on my statements or implications contained in my comments. Your opinion is based on an assumption that all polygraphers are practicing deception and that in order for polygraph to work all polygraphers must lie, which are assumptions you can't prove. Your reference to polygraph as "pseudoscience" is simply your parroting of someone elses unproven opinion.

I have never said that I condone deception practiced by anyone concerning polygraph. If you think I am misrepresenting this statement, each and every one of my posts is available for your review. As the person who literally wrote the book condoning deception, I'm surprised that you don't see the difference.

As I have said repeatedly, If you don't believe that polygraph is a fair process, REFUSE TO TAKE THE TEST and go find a job elsewhere.

If you don't think that polygraph should be used by agencies to help them determine whether or not a person is a suitable employee, WORK TO CHANGE THE LAWS THAT ALLOW THEM TO DO SO.

Either or both of those activities are both ethical and moral and they evidence the dedication to values that indicate the presence of integrity.

Conversely, if one  engages in purposeful physical countermeasures .If one engages in any thoughts that they think might alter their genuine physiological reactions to questions asked on a polygraph examination, they are attempting to alter the results of the examination. Attempting to purposely alter the results of the examination is dishonest and unethical. Encouraging others to attempt these countermeasure is unethical and evidences negative integrity issues. These actions would also prove beyond doubt. a lack of honesty and integrity that Law Enforcement appears to want to exclude from its ranks.

On another note, back before the holidays just about the time that you got real busy I asked you a quesion I wonder if you have time to address it now:   I notice that in your personal statement about polygraph you are very careful not to talk about certain issues surrounding the nature of your employment with the government. How can  they control what you talk about after you no longer work for them?


Sancho Panza
  

Quand vous citez des langues que vous ne parlez pas afin de sembler intellegent, vous vous avérez seulement que votre tête est gonflée mais videz.
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Calling all polygraphers

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