Monday, 1 April 2013

Two Methods For Reaching Conclusions

You may have noticed that the activists are reluctant of using words like "alleged" when discussing the accusations of abuse at PBI.  Instead they repeatedly refer to the various people involved as "victims" or "abusers" without regard to the fact that an investigation has taken place through the RCMP and established that there is no evidence to support the accusations.  When questioned about this the activists will speak of the importance of
believing the "victim" and that the failure to immediately embrace the accusation with full belief causes secondary abuse against the "victim".  Thus the person who requests further evidence is only making the problem worse.  After-all, they reason, the "victim" has told their story, we now know the "abuser" is an abuser let's move on with the next steps of holding them accountable, seeking punishment and restitution/compensation.

Accusation, "We know that (A) abused (B)" or "We know that the event of abuse occurred"

How do you know this?

"Because we have the account of the victim."

You may ask "how do we know that account is reliable or accurate?" Or "how do you know they are a victim?"

To which they reply "It is abusive to not believe the victim, stop re-victimizing them."
Therefore,  "We know that the event of abuse occurred because we have the account of the victim."

This reasoning commits the obvious  fallacy of "begging the question" which is also sometimes referred to as circular reasoning, where your assuming your conclusion into the argument for the conclusion.  Remember:

When you assume that which needs to be proven you will guarantee your conclusion. 

Some have used this error in reasoning to convince their kids that the Bible is the word of God.

"How do you know the bible is the word of God?" the child may ask?

"Because the Bible says so, and it's the word of God".  comes the circular reply.

Those who have done their research however know that there is an enormous amount of evidence  which properly confirms the conclusion that the Bible is indeed the word of God.  This would be an evidential approach to the issue.  

The activists associated with organizations like a Godly  Response to Abuse in a Christian Environment or G.R.A.C.E. repeatedly choose the circular method described above for reaching their conclusions in their "investigations"  rather than a strictly evidential one.  They buy into the circular reasoning hook, line and sinker.   This is common practice for those from a therapy background.  Automatic (rather than evidence based) belief may have benefits in developing trust and communication between a therapist and their client but shows why they make poor investigators.  This also explains why the activists continue to insist on a pseudo-investigation by G.R.A.C.E. rather than accept the results of an evidential investigation by the RCMP.  The activists can have confidence in what conclusion G.R.A.C.E. will come to because their circular method guarantees it.   In the case of  the abuse accusations against people associated with Prairie the RCMP took an evidential approach, fully looking into the matter and found there was no credible evidence to pursue.  Of course as I have pointed out before a lack of evidence does not by necessity mean that an accusation is untrue rather only that the accusation is unfounded.
  un·found·ed  (n-foundd)
1. Not based on fact or sound evidence; groundless. 
2. Not yet established.

What about objections that "victims" will not lie or that an evidential method is unfair to the "victim"?  Those objections themselves assume the status of the "victim" which again is what needs to be proven, or at least evidenced.  Those used to thinking in a circle have a hard time to break out of the cycle.

If in the future someone were to make an accusation against yourself or your child would you prefer Investigators use the circular method or the evidential method?  Are you consistent when dealing with accusations against others?  

We live in a sinful world where people do abuse others and also people lie about being abused.  The evidential method will not guarantee the conclusion favored by the activists & G.R.A.C.E.  but it is more honest and reliable if the goal is a search for truth.   

Should Christians accept any less?

1 comment:

  1. Exactly, well said. Those unfamiliar with logic may have read this post a few times though.


Closed Blog