The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, September 29, 2018


Now that the cesspool has receded just slightly, let's take a dispassionate look at the end result:

A significant number of progressive democrats are adamant in their belief that Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth and that she was a "credible witness." Yet, Judge Brett Kavanaugh is equally adamant in his denial that Ford's accusations are true. Is there a way that both people could be telling a truth? After considering about all of this, I think there is.

On the one hand, although there is no corroborating evidence to support Ford and people Ford placed at the party have no recollection of it, her testimony appeared to be genuine. (I suspect that the on-going FBI investigation will be inconclusive, after all, 36 years have passed since the alleged event) Yet we're told the "victim" must be believed. Okay ... let's believe that Christine Blasey Ford is accurately recalling her memory.

On the other hand, despite what #MeToo advocates suggest, Kavanaugh's denials should have equal weight and are backed by a detailed, contemporaneous diary that lists many parties and attendees, but not the one alleged. Hundreds of people have vouched for his moral character; there is absolutely no evidence of sexual wrongdoing is later years. Okay ... let's believe that Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth—that a sexual attack in high school, 36 years ago did not happen.

How can we reconcile the she said-he said aspects of this case? There is a way.

I believe that there is a high probability that Christine Blasey Ford is experiencing a psychological condition that is called "false memory syndrome (FMS)." Although I could provide more detailed scientific description, Wikipedia offers the following definition:
False memory syndrome (FMS) describes a condition in which a person's identity and relationships are affected by memories that are factually incorrect but that they strongly believe.[1] Peter J. Freyd originated the term,[2] which the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) subsequently popularized. The term is not recognized as a psychiatric illness[3] in any of the medical manuals, such as the ICD-10[4] or the DSM-5;[5] however, the principle that memories can be altered by outside influences is overwhelmingly accepted by scientists.[6][7][8][9]

False memories may be the result of recovered memory therapy, a term also defined by the FMSF in the early 1990s,[10] which describes a range of therapy methods that are prone to creating confabulations. Some of the influential figures in the genesis of the theory are forensic psychologist Ralph Underwager, psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, and sociologist Richard Ofshe.
Note that the references in brackets may be found at the original Wikipedia article.

It's important to understand this is not a pop-psychology 'syndrome' but an area of active study and research in the psychology field (ironically, Dr. Ford is a psychology researcher). In fact, a quick search of Google Scholar indicates that there have been 22,000 scholarly papers and articles (many refereed) on "false memory syndrome" in the past four years.

It's interesting to note that Christine Blasey Ford herself admitted to PTSD which she attributed to the attack of 36 years ago. In a paper by Khosropour F., et al entitled "Comparison of False Memory among Patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) based on the Received Psychological Treatment", the authors state in their abstract, "False memory is more prevalent among PTSD patients."

In a paper, "Evaluating characteristics of false memories" published in Memory and Cognition, three Princeton University researchers write:
Memory is rarely exact, but it is usually not completely wrong. When remembering a friend’s comment or a passage from a book, we are likely to remember the general ideas expressed but not the exact words used (e.g., Bransford & Franks, 1971; Sachs, 1967). To fill in the gaps, we often assume, infer, or imagine what happened. However, these internally generated events, ideas, or beliefs sometimes go beyond filling in minor gaps, creating memories for things that we never experienced (e.g., Bartlett, 1932; Bransford & Johnson, 1973). Such false memories include remembering experiencing events that we only imagined (e.g., Johnson & Raye, 1981), had suggested to us (e.g., Loftus, 1979), or inferred on the basis of our prior knowledge or schemas (e.g., for reviews, see Alba & Hasher, 1983; Ceci & Bruck, 1993; Johnson, Hashtroudi & Lindsay, 1993). In certain situations, such as when giving or hearing eyewitness testimony, it is critical to distinguish false from true memories.
Two key points should be noted. Christine Blasey Ford's memory of the alleged sexual attack is considerably less than vivid in the sense that the memory is incomplete in detail (she can remember no date, no place, no complementary memories (e.g., how she got to the party and how she left)). It is reasonable to argue that the incompleteness of the memory could be attributed to its being a false memory in the clinical sense. In addition, there was absolutely no attempt during the Senate hearings to probe Ford's memory of the event to attempt to "distinguish false from true memories." That would have been considered an "attack on Ford" by the #MeToo crowd, discouraging any questioner from going there, however gently.

As the researchers note, people do create "... memories for things that we never experienced. Such false memories include remembering experiencing events that we only imagined, had suggested to us, or inferred on the basis of our prior knowledge or schemas. I believe that Christine Blasey Ford is one of those people—steadfast in her belief that her memory is accurate, even though it isn't.

That indicates that Christine Blasey Ford is telling the truth as her memory dictates it to be. But if her memory is false, her allegations do not reflect reality, only false memory. That also makes Brett Kavanaugh innocent of the charges she has levied against him.