Archive for the 'Daubert' Category

Geert Wilders incitement Daubert junk science

January 22, 2009

Geert Wilders is charged with incitement to violence.  But no scientific proof of incitement to violence is offered.  This is junk science.  The case should be dismissed.  In the US, this can be done with a Daubert motion.

Whether statements incite is either subject to proof or it can’t be the basis of legal prosecution.  Do the statements incite is not how the judges feel subjectively.  The judge’s feelings are not proof.  Nor are insulted Muslims.

Do Wilder type statements actually incite violence? And compared to what?  TV shows?  Events in the Middle East?  A t-statistic has to be computed for the alleged incitement.

A Daubert motion is a motion, raised before or during trial, to exclude the presentation of unqualified evidence to the jury. This is a special case of motion in limine, usually used to exclude the testimony of an expert witness who has no such expertise or used questionable methods to obtain the information.

The case should be dismissed because there is no actual evidence of incitement.  Proof of incitement to meet the Daubert standard means a scientific proof of incitement.  That means real evidence.  That means the type of evidence that is valid when you try to convict someone from bloodstains.  Its not how the judges feel about the bloodstains.

Even though Daubert is a US rule of law, the equivalent should be asserted in this case. There is no scientific standard for incitement of violence by a film or TV show.  There is no expert who is qualified because there is no body of public science on that subject.

There are no scientific journals on it.  Nor has any scientific journal published a paper on scientific tests of incitement to violence.  Thus the case has to be dismissed as being junk science.

Science means it can be replicated by others.  Scientific proof involves protocols of gathering samples, tests, and analysis of data. It means protocols of statistical significance.  Science is in the form of falsifiable hypothesis.  These are then subjected to tests.  The methodology of the tests is described in writing.  Others can then try to replicate the tests.  If they can’t with the same results, then its not science.

The incitement to violence charges against Wilders are just hysterical.   They are not based on any scientific theory.  Nor is there any comparison or benchmark standard.   They are not based on science and can not be subjected to scientific standards.  Therefore there is no way to use evidence in evaluating such charges nor can it be done in a fair, independent and replicable way.

That means no fair standard to defendants.  That means its a violation of human rights and basic universal concepts of law and justice.  Law that is against or outside of science is not within the modern concepts of law and justice.

Daubert is the law in the United States.  So any US case of hate speech, hate crime, etc. is subject to it.  Because Daubert draws on general principles of fairness and science, it should apply universally.  Daubert reflects (judicial) codification of scientific learning about evidence into the law.  Daubert is not some random decision.  It reflects decades of practice in the US courts.  To the extent that the same science is used in courts in the Netherlands with the same scientific protocols, the same reasoning applies there.

This should have been applied in other cases like the Mikko Ellilä case in Finland.  There a government ombudsman on his own initiated a case.  But that was without any scientific evidence.  In fact, it was mostly against science.   Science itself is evidence against non-scientific claims brought by agitated individuals, whether in government or not.  Taking offense is not scientific evidence of incitement to violence.

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