Normal Topic Not convinced by (Read 2864 times)
Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box mike serfas
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Not convinced by
Apr 6th, 2001 at 10:08am
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The "Lie Behind The Lie Detector" suggests a simple set of counter-measures for an innocent person to possibly avoid a false positive on a lie detector test.  However, it appears to sidestep the thorny issue of what would happen if a guilty person were to attempt the same procedure.  In other words, by all accounts, the lie detector is better equipped to detect stark, staring fear than a simple attempt to lie, and so one has to consider the "OH SHIT!" factor.

The subject could be cruising along, watching his breathing, playing with his sphincter, keeping the upper hand in the situation... when suddenly the interrogator informs him that he already has the conversation with the Russians on tape, that the police already found the drugs in his house, etc.  And the question is, will this lead to perplexity, or will it lead to "OH SHIT!", and a spectacular response on the polygraph that could then end up leading to whatever searches etc. it would require to make the interrogator's bluff a reality.

True, I don't have a clue if they really do this --- I certainly have no intention of dealing with their ilk myself --- but I hate seeing such quick leaps to positions of overconfidence.  It reminds me of those idiots back in 1994 who kept saying how the Internet was resistant to a nuclear attack and the government could never possibly censor anything on it.  As the Christians would say, the serpent is subtler than all the beasts of the field... including you.

I nonetheless should say that I wholeheartedly approve of your organization's opposition to polygraphy, even if it is in my opinion overly restrained and somewhat short-sighted in its scope.  The reason to oppose polygraphy is not that it might not work, but because it might actually work!  The crude 1950's type devices they're using, barely a step up from the infamous Scientology cult lie detectors with the tin cans, are not the state of the art.  It is actually possible NOW to "see" a person in the process of understanding a word, for instance, by measuring glucose consumption in the brain.  Different words, grouped by topic, show up in different places.  While this has been a matter of pure (?) scientific research so far, the applications to figuring out whether an agent understands Russian - or whether a teenager understands countercultural lingo - should be obvious.  And use of such a scan on prisoners to try to hear their innermost thoughts might still be science fiction, but it is no longer what you would call "soft" science fiction.  Nor are the language centers the only thing in the brain worth spying on.

The sickness that you are facing is no small or limited injustice, but a forerunner of the fundamental evil of the future of this society.  The question of whether there is anything special or unique about human consciousness, or whether it is a made thing, property of the state, to be put up on a bench and subjected to poking and prodding, tests and diagnoses, enforced corrections and modifications.  Have you seen a little notice on a paycheck recently, offering you "employee assistance" should you feel worried, angry, depressed, troubled...?  Emotional states like that are luxuries, just like the foibles of the person who does not always do what he is told.  Luxuries that the would-be worker cannot afford in a highly efficient and well ordered society.  We face what the religious fanatics would call a "revelation" - we stand to find out more than a sane man ought to know about the nature of the human spirit and its place in the universe.

Thank you, for fighting back...
  
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box Nate
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Re: Not convinced by
Reply #1 - Apr 6th, 2001 at 5:38pm
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Quote:
The subject could be cruising along, watching his breathing, playing with his sphincter, keeping the upper hand in the situation... when suddenly the interrogator informs him that he already has the conversation with the Russians on tape, that the police already found the drugs in his house, etc.  And the question is, will this lead to perplexity, or will it lead to "OH SHIT!",


I've never heard of a polygraph examiner doing this and if they did, the exam would not be valid and would have to be discarded because you might be correct in your assumptions.  I've taken 3 polygraph exams by 3 different examiners and in all 3 there where no surprises in the exam....but surprises in the results. 

I couldn't help but remember a story told to me once in the legal field: " Once there was court trial for a man charged with murder of a store owner when he tried to rob the place.  It was all on videotape and audio.  The evidence was overwhelming.  The defense goal is to prove "reasonable doubt" in the jury's mind.  In them middle of the trial the defense attorney stood up and said, “In exactly 60 seconds the storeowner will walk through those doors and will be alive and well as you and I”.  The jury stared and waited but no one ever came through the doors.  The defense attorney then said, “The jury looked at the doors, thus proving they had "reasonable doubt" in the fact that he was dead”.  The jury came back with guilty verdict.  The defense attorney jumped up and said, "HOW, you showed reasonable doubt". The jury said "Yes, but your client never once looked at the door!!!"
Wink
  

“Whoever undertakes to set himself up as judge in the field of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the Gods" &&&&-Albert Einstein &&
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Paste Member Name in Quick Reply Box George W. Maschke
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Re: Not convinced by
Reply #2 - Apr 8th, 2001 at 11:33am
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Mike,

There are indeed things a polygrapher could do to manipulate the outcome of o polygraph "test," and when the procedure is not videotaped, the polygrapher is given carte blanche.

You'll note that in Chapter 4 of The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, our first recommendation to readers is to refuse to submit to polygraphic interrogation, and that under no circumstances should anyone who is suspected of a crime agree to submit.

I disagree with your contention that "[t]he reason to oppose polygraphy is not that it might not work, but because it might actually work!" I would note that with regard to polygraphy in particular, it has not been shown to work at better than chance levels of accuracy in the field. But if a technology were developed that could reliably discriminate between truth and deception, then, as a practical matter, the use of such a technology would be simply irresistable, and society would have to adapt to it.
  

George W. Maschke
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