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Why too much evidence can be a bad thing > JFK Facts

Why too much evidence can be a bad thing

A  counterintuitive truth from Phys.org: Why too much evidence can be a bad thing.

“If many independent witnesses unanimously testify to the identity of a suspect of a crime, we assume they cannot all be wrong,” coauthor Derek Abbott, a physicist and electronic engineer at The University of Adelaide, Australia, told Phys.org. “Unanimity is often assumed to be reliable. However, it turns out that the probability of a large number of people all agreeing is small, so our confidence in unanimity is ill-founded. This ‘paradox of unanimity’ shows that often we are far less certain than we think.”

In response, a friend observed, “A common cause of unanimity is that the prosecution only calls witnesses that help their case and defense is incompetent.  The Warren commission comes to mind … ”

Source: Why too much evidence can be a bad thing

59 thoughts on “Why too much evidence can be a bad thing”

  1. Too much evidence is not at all a problem.

    With a collective will to assess the evidence, some of which has been intentionally covered up and or compromised for over fifty years, proper, exhaustive investigation will take place.

    The only problem in this circumstance was/is the steadfast and systematic obfuscation carried out by the purveyors intent upon convincing the population that the official narrative conclusions are credible, valid and truthful (knowing full well that the WC failed to mount a credible investigation; whilst by and large the Secret
    Services/military/enforcement organisations/executive government/ and media outlets failed to adequately serve the course of investigations).

  2. Arnaldo M. Fernandez

    The primary lesson from this exact-science approach to the body of evidence would be that the JFK research community should list the irrefutable facts with material quantum of proof —no witnesses— that could be handle as pure observations favoring the hypothesis of a conspiracy against the alternative hypothesis of the lone gunman. Let’s take, for instance, the bullet holes in both JFK jacket and shirt, or the money order allegedly used by Oswald to purchase the supposed murder weapon. As David Josephs said, “the evidence is the conspiracy”.

    1. Yes, setting aside all the contradictory eye/ear-witness accounts from Dealey Plaza on 11/22/63, the Lone Nutters are still left with a ton of circumstantial conspiracy evidence which they cannot overcome on so many aspects of this case, each pointing to a conspiracy (pre-and post-assassination) and Oswald as a useful patsy with intelligence prints all over his short adult life.

  3. There was no other organization under such intense scrutiny and prosecution during the Kennedy administration. Individual politicians and bureaucrats, also connected to organized crime, were facing indictments, retirements, or public disgrace going into the 1964 election year. JFK was not necessarily a sure fire incumbent. Cuba, Castro, and Nixon would be revisited as campaign issues. Given all that the MOB lost, Nixon lost, what LBJ had to gain, what Hoover had to retain, the underworld corruption and influence (Marcellos & Trafficante) in DALLAS, as well as leadership connections to CIA (Dallas Mayor Earle Cabell, brother of fired CIA Charles Cabell), the sponsorship and use of anti-Castro Cuban personnel by the MOB, and mob connected and corrupted former Cuban officials, the nexus of the CIA, MOB, and anti-Castro Cubans (ALL having motive, means, and opportunity), clearly fits the assassination scenario. when you look at the post assassination cover-up, you see FBI/CIA/MOB connected VIP’s at the apex of the power pyramid controlling and shaping the narrative of the JFK/OSWALD/RUBY scenario. For me, the National Archive records will tell us (when we connect the data points) that CIA/MOB connected personnel and assets were involved in JFK’s assassination.
    To piggyback onto today’s (2/15/16) topic on Pope Pius XII (Church of Spies)… For [Kennedy63], the assassination plots against [Kennedy] were an admission of weakness, “because it’s saying that we can’t solve the problem by some other means.”
    How many ways, and for how long, can you call the JFK assassination conspiracy by desperate people any other thing?

  4. Bill Clarke, thank you for reading my post. Here’s what’s up and why I asked the question. The FBI and CIA continually show up in the JFK assassination connected to evidence that is both legitimate and tainted, planted, missing, or altered. Testimony from personnel of these agencies is vague, misleading, perjured, or falsified. I can understand covering up CIA/MAFIA plots against FIDEL CASTRO. What is frustrating in this case, is the refusal of US citizens to recognize a coup took place on November 22, 1963 in Dallas. To me, it is obvious the MOB took extra-political measures (due to their frustration and weakness), and publicly executed President Kennedy. There was no other “organization” under such intense scrutin

    1. kennedy63 February 15, 2016 at 11:30 am

      I appreciate your reply and I can say I absolutely agree with what you have to say here. Except for the coup and I can’t bring myself that far. At least in the broad IMC concept that most lean to. I don’t see something that big happening.

      1. Sorry, was called away and came back only to punch reply much too soon. I would have let it slide but I think this is important.

        Kennedy63 said. “I can understand covering up CIA/MAFIA plots against FIDEL CASTRO.”

        The fact that so many can NOT understand this is one more cause of the confusion I think. These folks are mostly the same bunch that think war is or should be ran like a nice game of country club tennis. That is a great idea but it ain’t never gonna happen. Not in our lifetimes anyway.

        Same for the boys in the security agencies. They work in a very dark world. Most folks can’t understand it.

        1. What I never got, though, is the CIA could rightly suspect that Castro was involved in a retaliatory (or pre-emptive) strike against JFK for their Executive Action program. Blowback, in other words.

          But other than some propaganda by assets (DRE, Cuban embassy tall tales) they appeared to have never seriously pursued this line of investigation, not even privately.

          Kinda seems like OJ never pursuing Nicole’s killers, ya know?

          It would make total sense for the CIA to suspect Castro in the JFK assassination knowing what they knew. But they never seriously considered it. Interesting.

          1. So Bogman,

            Now you are going to fall back to the original modified limited hangout that CIA had in their back pocket – that perhaps Castro had engineered the assassination of Kennedy?

            Interesting indeed.
            \\][//

          2. I’m not falling back on anything, Willy.

            I’m saying if you for a moment consider the CIA a non-player in the assassination, the likeliest behavior would be for the agency to suspect Castro, considering their program to kill him.

            Why they never seemed interested in that line of investigation speaks volumes to me.

          3. “I’m saying if you for a moment consider the CIA a non-player in the assassination…”~Bogman

            Okay, I considered it for a moment. Nope I cannot hold that thought for longer than a moment without spitting it out in disgust as counter to everything I have learned about the case in the last 50 year.

            But you go on to say:

            “Why they never seemed interested in that line of investigation speaks volumes to me.”

            So these “volumes” developed within a matter of one moment?

            I don’t want to aggravate you Bogman, nor be unduly testy, you are one of my favorite commentators on this blog. However the thought exercise that just developed seems fruitless to me.

            A Priory to my thinking on the matter of the JFK Assassination is that it was a systemic coup d’etat. All the integers summed bring that conclusion. As such, the Military Industrial Complex is the perpetrator. That would include the military/intelligence matrix as well as the Corporatist angle.

            “For the sake of argument” is a valuable exercise at the early stages of development of hypothesis; but in my view, a waste of time at the point we are at now.
            \\][//

  5. Too much evidence is bad thing. If some of it its tainted, faked, mishandled, delayed, redacted well yes. It becomes suspicions and must be investigated. Ruby’s shooting of Oswald is a classic example. It certainly looks like a MOB hit. But who ordered it?
    Campisi, Civello, through Marcello, Giancana or Trafficante/Lansky?
    It does get difficult to sort through.

      1. Perhaps statistics can be a help here too. Those who believe that Oswald acted alone can point to a lot of evidence in their favour. And it is easy to treat that evidence in Bugliosian courtroom style to make it appear damning. But the enormous oddity of the Oswald case is his assassination while in police custody by a man with dubious connections both to the criminal underworld and to anti-Castro Cubans. So the “lone-nut” theory is really a “two-lone-nuts-in-48-hours” theory. What are the chances of that?

        1. To me, the real enormous oddity of the Oswald case is that he appears to have only been involved with FBI, CIA, MI and other entities…

          In fact, given how he was surrounded by such people, he could be considered as “the Worlds most interesting Man”….

        2. Fairax:

          Exactly right. Neither of the lone nuts had any true motive to do what they did, and both had a host of connections to JFK’s enemies that made their participation far too suspicious to be a coincidence. Anything is possible, of course, but anything isn’t likely.

  6. In 1979, the HSCA “officially” reported that JFK was killed by a conspiracy. Do the “Oswald did it” crowd support or refute this finding?

    1. The HSCA’s finding of “probable conspiracy” was based on the acoustics study that has been refuted since then, IMO, so no, I don’t accept that finding. I agree with its finding that Oswald alone fired all the shots that hit anyone that day, so in that sense the HSCA was part of the “Oswald did it” crowd, too.

      1. Everything in this case has been “refuted” by one interested party or another. Refuted by whom? In what forum? Under what circumstances?

        I’ll take the conclusion of the HSCA, an official, well-funded government panel held at a time when there was a desire for an honest attempt to get to the truth of the case (relatively) over some private “investigation” or the statement of some author. I think most people would, especially considering the fact that there have been theories “proving” and “refuting” just about everything in this case.

        For you to just flat out state it’s been “refuted” shows your own biases.

        1. Well the HSCA has been refuted many times.
          Some don’t believe their conclusions that it was a Conspiracy and at least four shots were fired.

        2. Don,

          “For you to just flat out state it’s been “refuted” shows your own biases”

          Look again. I said it had been refuted “IMO” (in my opinion).

          Since you ask, “Refuted by whom?”, here are some of the rebuttals:

          http://www.jfk-online.com/nas01.html

          http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/odell/

          http://www.jfkfiles.com/jfk/html/acoustics.htm

          http://www.thekennedyhalfcentury.com/pdf/Further_research_analysis_and_commentary_on_the_Dallas_Police_Department_recordings_of_November_22_1963.pdf

      2. But professor Blakey has said, over & over again, that the findings of probable conspiracy were not ONLY based on the acoustics evidence.

          1. Well Jean, professor Blakey has seen information about the intelligence that the public has not been privy to. That’s my understanding of why Blakly feels this way. As you are most likely aware of Blakey has recently said he no longer trusts any information the CIA supplied him during the HSCA investigation.

            The fact that George Joannides found his way into the middle of the HSCA investigation seems to have been the last straw for Blakey.

        1. The problem with that argument is that the draft of the final report was complete before the “acoustic evidence” came in. It said there was no conspiracy.

          After the acoustics came in (and pretty much nothing else) the draft was changed to say conspiracy.

    2. kennedy63
      February 14, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      “In 1979, the HSCA “officially” reported that JFK was killed by a conspiracy. Do the “Oswald did it” crowd support or refute this finding?”

      I think the report is pure crap; just like so much of the other
      “reports” we find about the assassination.

      The HSCA was prepared to offer a report with results similar to the Warren Report. Then they received the flaky acoustics report and without a proper vetting they took the crap to their breast.

      So we might say that their final results and final report was based on crap.

      I read your comments. It is obvious that you are an intelligent person and some of your comments have been among the best I’ve read here. My point is that I’m sure you already knew what I just posted before I posted it. Whats up?

      1. I don’t buy the HSCA report because it, like the WR before it, was circumvented in finding the truth by the CIA.

        As examples, the CIA never told the WC about it’s attempts to use the mob to kill Castro, an obvious provocation that could’ve resulted in Castro’s retaliation or, more likely, a confluence of mobsters and intel officers turned the operation against JFK.

        The CIA was also instrumental in getting two tough, big-city prosecutors from running the HSCA investigation and ran the Joannides/DRE felonious obstruction of justice.

        Both WR lawyers as well as Sprague, Tanenbaum and Blakey maintain to this day the CIA did not cooperate or obstructed their investigations.

        The American people should be, rightfully, outraged by this continuing fraud.

        1. Yes we should Bogman. Sprague was kicked out for trying to investigate properly. Blakey was deceived by Joannidies. This is known. The files would be of public benefit.

        2. ‘In light of the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (RIP) while on a hunting trip funded by the owner of the Cibolo Ranch in Big Bend Country, West Texas, one is prompted to wonder, why hasn’t the argument of the legal rights of a US citizen to have access to 50 plus yr old documents related to the assassination of President Kennedy made it’s way to the Supreme Court? Is it a matter of funding? Is it a matter of commitment? I wonder if John B. Poindexer, an Army veteran of Vietnam might now be inspired to weigh in, financially, in honour of the memory of Scalia’s death at his West Texas resort … to take up the Jim Lesar, Jeff Morley et al case all the way to the Supreme Court in recognition of the serendipitous/coincidence that the Court – our Third Branch of Government – is now up for grabs so to speak. We all need friends at court. Mr. Poindexter had immediate access to at least one Supreme. I think it’s reasonable and rationale to ask him to honour Scalia and fund a more strident pursuit on behalf of Jim Lesar et al in pursuit of the withheld documents that may or may not be released in 2017. No, this has nothing to do with the John Poindexter Iran Contra history.

          http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/cibolo-creek-ranch-owner-recalls-scalia’s-last-hours-in-texas/ar-BBpuxoe

      2. “So we might say that their final results and final report was based on crap.”

        I guess we might call anything “crap”. We might call your opinion “crap”. But on what basis do you call the work of not one, but two panels of scientists hired by the HSCA “crap”?

        The fact is both Blakey and Cornwell still feel that the work of the acoustics scientists are valid. The NAS “refutation” of the findings (a panel which was NOT composed of acoustics experts) didn’t even address the actual findings, instead seeking simply to prove that the tapes “couldn’t have been recorded at the time”. The FBI’s findings should be called into question for the obvious reasons.

        But let’s just call things “crap” and let that pass for “argument” on JFK Facts. Why is this even allowed here?

        1. My point is that since the CIA has never given a full and honest accounting of what it knows about the assassination, the truth is not known. No matter what specific details may be correct in either report, the conclusions of the WR and HSCA are based on incomplete data.

        2. don gul
          February 14, 2016 at 9:34 pm

          Bill Clarke. “So we might say that their final results and final report was based on crap.”

          “I guess we might call anything “crap”.”

          You might.

          “We might call your opinion “crap”.”

          You wouldn’t be the first.

          “But on what basis do you call the work of not one, but two panels of scientists hired by the HSCA “crap”?”

          “The fact is both Blakey and Cornwell still feel that the work of the acoustics scientists are valid. The NAS “refutation” of the findings (a panel which was NOT composed of acoustics experts) didn’t even address the actual findings, instead seeking simply to prove that the tapes “couldn’t have been recorded at the time”. The FBI’s findings should be called into question for the obvious reasons.”

          There remains serious problems with this so called acoustic evidence. Serious enough to call it “crap” I believe. Your mileage may differ.

          “But let’s just call things “crap” and let that pass for “argument” on JFK Facts.”

          I think if one is honest with one’s self they have to admit that there is a lot of crap (on both sides)in an argument that has been going on since 1963.

          “Why is this even allowed here?”

          One of the greatest things about this group is that they will allow a person to express their opinion. Except for some minor details I’ve had no trouble getting my opinions posted here even though said opinion is usually not the favored one. I believe it is necessary for a group to be moderated to maintain some order and discipline. The moderator here does an excellent job.

          What would be your purpose of having a closed group? I don’t have time nor space to explain this in depth to you but when you close a human population or “herd” or blog, they become inbred.

          Now if this breeding system shows great results we call it “line breeding”. If it has 6 feet and 2 heads we call it “inbreeding”.

  7. Ironically, the lack of unanimity opens the door to bad theories, since anybody can latch onto the data points that differ from the consensus to argue something opposite the consensus.

    This is ironic because, in the JFK case, a lack of evidence of conspiracy would show a conspiracy.

    But the existence of evidence of conspiracy (witnesses who thought shots came from the Grassy Knoll, witnesses who saw “Oswald” in places the Warren Commission said he was not, doing things the Warren Commission said he did not do) is what we would expect if there was no conspiracy.

    1. It’s interesting to reflect on the ‘unainmous’ official conclusion of the members of the Warren Report and the ideas presented in the article. At least this site is open to conflicting views.

      “5) In many committee meetings, in today’s big organizations, there is a trend towards the idea that decisions must be unanimous. For example, a committee that ranks job applicants or evaluates key performance indicators (KPIs) often will argue until everyone in the room is in agreement. If one or two members are in disagreement, there is a tendency for the rest of the committee to win them over before moving on. A take-home message of our analysis is that the dissenting voice should be welcomed. A wise committee should accept that difference of opinion and simply record there was a disagreement. The recording of the disagreement is not a negative, but a positive that demonstrates that a systemic bias is less likely.”

      Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-01-evidence-bad.html#jCp

  8. Ironically, Abbot’s argument vindicates the need for contribuitors like Photon and Professor McAdams, both of whom’s viewpoints prevent unanimity, by their counter-arguments, amongst the total number of contribuitors to this site. This in turn may help substantiate the validity of the majority opinion. Also, too much information can distract from obtaining an understanding of the ‘big picture perspective”. Each piece of minutia can be disected ad infinitum to the point of absurdity (“not seeing the forest for the trees”). At some point, filters and intellectual discretion are required. If all the new pieces of evidence to be released help answer the question: “Why was JFK murdered?”, then, the process should continue
    whether the consenus is unanimous or not.

    1. “Also, too much information can distract from obtaining an understanding of the ‘big picture perspective”. Each piece of minutia can be disected ad infinitum to the point of absurdity (“not seeing the forest for the trees”).”~Anthony Martin

      An excellent point Anthony. This can become a quagmire that befuddles the understanding when there is no end to the points being made, without some sort of “Abstract” or a summation of what all of the points combined actually mean.
      \\][//

  9. There is nothing more persuasive and less reliable in a trial than eyewitness testimony. Unfortunately, as this article states, the witnesses often get it wrong.
    The Innocence Project, which has obtained reversals on nearly 100 false murder convictions, reports that over 70% of the defendants, later exonerated by DNA evidence, were identified at trial by independent eyewitnesses.
    JFK Facts, on 2/15/14, reported on a study of Dealey Plaza witnesses. Of 121 witnesses, 42 thought shots came from the knoll; 32 the TSBD; and the rest had no opinion. The author of the study concluded that the chance of 42 witnesses all being wrong approached zero. But then, the 40 plus women who claim Bill Cosby drugged and raped them could all be mistaken. Anything is possible.

    1. Of 121 witnesses, 42 thought shots came from the knoll; 32 the TSBD; and the rest had no opinion. The author of the study concluded that the chance of 42 witnesses all being wrong approached zero.

      I’m afraid those are bogus numbers.

      http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/shots.htm

      Charnin’s logic is also highly questionable too. A bunch of things are wrong with it, but to start with, it assumes all errors are random. But the configuration of Dealey Plaza could well lead to systematic errors.

      Put another way, we don’t know what the “expected” incidence of witnesses reporting shots from the Grassy Knoll would be if shots came only from the Depository.

      1. John McAdams
        February 14, 2016 at 3:34 pm

        I’m afraid those are bogus numbers.

        http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/shots.htm

        Charnin’s logic is also highly questionable too. A bunch of things are wrong with it, but to start with, it assumes all errors are random. But the configuration of Dealey Plaza could well lead to systematic errors.

        I apologize John but I’m not understanding this. My fault I’m sure. But trying to remember back to my Statics 601 course some 40 years ago; if your sample isn’t random then your results are not reliable. So we put in a percent (usually 5%) of error.

        So I’m thinking the higher the percent of randomness the better our results. Is this not true?

        1. I apologize John but I’m not understanding this. My fault I’m sure. But trying to remember back to my Statics 601 course some 40 years ago; if your sample isn’t random then your results are not reliable. So we put in a percent (usually 5%) of error.

          So I’m thinking the higher the percent of randomness the better our results. Is this not true?

          I’ve not done a good job of explaining this, probably because it’s taken a while for me to figure out, because this is so far from what social scientists usually do.

          Let’s say the null hypothesis is pure randomness, with a 50% chance of picking the Depository and 50% chance of picking the Knoll.

          Our alternative hypothesis is that shots came from the Knoll.

          We could calculate the standard error of a proportion thus:

          SE = sqrt(pq/N), where p is the proportion picking the Knoll, and q the proportion picking the Depository. N is the total number of observations.

          The standard error is distributed as z, and we can consult a table of the normal curve to see if the obtained proportion of Knoll witnesses is 1.96 standard errors above .50.

          Unfortunately, the logic entirely breaks down if the errors are not random.

          There might be something about the geography of Dealey Plaza that makes reports likely to seem to come from the Knoll, regardless of the actual source.

          1. There might be something about the geography of Dealey Plaza that makes reports likely to seem to come from the TBDB, regardless of the actual source.

            That could be, which is way I’ve never tried to produce any probability statements about the source of the shots.

          2. Might this have been an item on the punch list for ideal sites for the assassination. Did either Miami or Chicago offer a similar perfect kill zone: triangulated perches and a canyon composed of low-rise buildings and open spaces that would distort the sound of the shots? I hear the sound of scoffing.

      2. JFK Facts posted another article on this subject on 8/1/15, listing the opinions of 216 witnesses to the assassination. The main link, to HistoryMatters.com, is down. Dr. McAdams’ link is included.
        The article also mentions that 24 DPD officers on the scene thought one or more shots came from the knoll.
        Concerning Dr. McAdams’ tabulation of witnesses’ opinions on the number of shots (overwhelmingly three), it should be remembered that the HSCA found that the third shot (from the TSBD) and the fourth (knoll) were almost simultaneous. Given the agreed echo patterns in Dealey Plaza, it is quite understandable that these two shots would be perceived as a single report by witnesses.

        1. I’m also a veteran of many criminal trials, and it is absolutely clear that if 24 cops were to testify that something happened, then it would be a fact for that trial. Usually it only takes one cop to create an established fact in a criminal trial.

          In a hypothetical trial of Oswald for the murder of JFK, this one fact would be fatal in terms of getting a conviction. Attempted murder maybe, but if you can’t establish that someone fired the fatal bullet, then you shouldn’t be able to convict him for murder (I say “shouldn’t” since Sirhan Sirhan was apparently convicted even though it’s fairly clear now that he probably couldn’t have fired the shot that killed RFK).

          1. I’m also a veteran of many criminal trials, and it is absolutely clear that if 24 cops were to testify that something happened, then it would be a fact for that trial. Usually it only takes one cop to create an established fact in a criminal trial.

            Two problems with this:

            1. Several of Jeff’s “cops” were in front of the Criminal Courts Building on Main Street, and had no direct line of sight to the Knoll or the Depository. So their impressions don’t count.

            2. There is really no reason to think that cops are better than anybody else in determining the direction of shots, especially in an urban environment were buildings and other structures cause reverberation.

            Even soldiers in such an environment have trouble knowing the source of gunfire.

          2. Lawrence Schnapf

            Jason,

            Im working with group of lawyers who are planning on filing a petition for court of inquiry to expunge Oswald’s arrest. Would like to run some ideas by you. can you email me at: Larry@schnapflaw.com. Tx

    2. “…on 2/15/14, reported on a study of Dealey Plaza witnesses. Of 121 witnesses, 42 thought shots came from the knoll; 32 the TSBD; and the rest had no opinion. The author of the study concluded that the chance of 42 witnesses all being wrong approached zero.”

      What’s usually overlooked is that almost all the witnesses who reported sound direction thought that ALL of the shots came from either the knoll area or the TSBD. According to Josiah Thompson’s count, only 4 witnesses said shots came from two directions. Therefore, the chance that all of the witnesses in one group or the other had to be wrong is 100%.

      1. There’s an obvious logical fallacy in that argument. It’s entirely possible that the four witnesses who thought there were shots from two directions were well-positioned to perceive something that the others were missing (as Mr MacAdams points out, this was not an homogeneous space). Furthermore, it is clearly not easy to establish the direction of shots in a crowded, noisy place when working without visual clues. It would be quite natural for an observer to assume that, once they had worked out the direction of one shot, then all the other shots came from the same angle (a sort of personal “confirmation bias”).
        On a completely different tack, has anyone compiled statistics on the number of witnesses who thought that different shots sounded different from each other? I seem to recall that was the case in some witness statements, but perhaps I have been misled.

        1. Fearfaxer:

          “There’s an obvious logical fallacy in that argument. It’s entirely possible that the four witnesses who thought there were shots from two directions were well-positioned to perceive something that the others were missing…”

          Of the 190 witnesses located on Thompson’s “Six Seconds in Dallas” chart of Dealey Plaza, the four who reported two directions weren’t standing together, so far as I can find. One was on the overpass, another near the Stemmons road sign, and they didn’t even mention the same locations or same number of shots (A.J. Millican, S.M. Holland).

          Thompson’s chart shows that the ear witness reports about direction were contradictory. People standing next to each other often reported hearing the shots coming from opposite directions.

          For example, standing at their 4th floor office window, Vickie Adams thought the shots came from the knoll while her coworker Elsie Dorman believed they came from the Records Building area across the street. Standing together on the top step of the TSBB, Lovelady and Shelley said “knoll,” Sarah Stanton wasn’t sure, and Pauline Sanders said “from the building above her.”

          Mrs. Reid, standing near O.V. Campbell, testified:

          QUOTE:
          I turned to Mr. Campbell and I said, “Oh, my goodness, I am afraid those came from our building [….]
          Mr. BELIN. Before you turned and went back into the building did you—did Mr. Campbell say anything to you?
          Mrs. REID. He said, “Oh, Mrs. Reid, no, it came from the grassy area down this way…”
          UNQUOTE

          I think the fallacy is in thinking that the witness testimony about sound direction is reliable information.

          1. Jean Davison
            February 15, 2016 at 3:49 pm

            “I think the fallacy is in thinking that the witness testimony about sound direction is reliable information.”

            Bang on Jean! I’d throw the testimony out with the dish water. I’ve seen soldiers together in small groups disagree on what direction the RPG came from. I’ve seen hunters in different locations argue about where the shot occurred.

            Never have I seen everyone agree, in fact I’ve seen some heated arguments. There is, it seems, always a majority of opinion. In the case of the RPG we used the majority of opinion. It seemed to be, on average, the correct decision.

            Now I’ve seen some bullets do some strange things when they meet bone and muscle. But we’ll save that one for later.

          1. Please don’t worry about the name, I’m only interested in the structure and substance of the argument.
            I don’t think one has to discard all witness testimony in this case, but it is a bit odd to focus on a secondary element that is artificially extracted from the answers and assume that some major construction can be built upon it. To be honest, that looks like a textbook case of sophistry.
            It doesn’t matter to my counter-argument that the 4 witnesses who reported shooting from more than one direction were not standing together. In fact, if they had been, their testimony would be weaker. As I said, this was not an homogeneous acoustic space and individuals are not equally gifted in their perceptual abilities.
            My overall point is that there is no basis in the argument, as advanced by Thompson (if this is indeed his argument), for concluding 100% for “single direction” and 0% for “multiple directions”. What is involved here is a very complex event with an enormous number of variables (how the testimony was gathered, the nature of the prior discussion among witnesses, the pattern of echoes in Dealey Plaza, whether one examines individual testimonies or the evidence of groups standing in the same place etc.). It can’t legitimately be reduced to a single logical syllogism, tempting as that might be.

          2. Fairfax,

            “… it is a bit odd to focus on a secondary element that is artificially extracted from the answers and assume that some major construction can be built upon it.”

            I don’t know what you’re referring to but that sounds to me like a description of your own comment, “It’s entirely possible that the four witnesses who thought there were shots from two directions were well-positioned to perceive something that the others were missing.”

            Thompson didn’t say “0% for ‘multiple directions.'” He reported that only four out of the 64 witnesses who mentioned a direction for the shots gave more than one direction.

            The main point, though, is that the witness statements about the gunfire is too contradictory to be reliable. When numerous people standing next to each other pick opposite directions, it should be obvious there’s a big problem with the ear witness “evidence.”

      2. There’s a reason this is overlooked, Jean, and that is that many of these witnesses heard a loud sound, and only developed an impression of where it was coming from after hearing another sound or two more sounds close together. In other words, many if not most of the witnesses (it’s impossible to tell since very few if any of them were asked this question) developed their impression of the shooter’s location on but one of the sounds.

    3. Lawrence Schnapf

      Ed,
      i’m working with group of lawyers who are planning on filing a petition for court of inquiry to expunge Oswald’s arrest. Would like to run some ideas by you. can you email me at: Larry@schnapflaw.com

      tx

      Larry

  10. “If many independent witnesses unanimously testify to the identity of a suspect of a crime, we assume they cannot all be wrong. Unanimity is often assumed to be reliable. However, it turns out that the probability of a large number of people all agreeing is small, so our confidence in unanimity is ill-founded. This ‘paradox of unanimity’ shows that often we are far less certain than we think.” – Derek Abbott, University of Adelaide, Australia.

    I think of three impossible things before breakfast each day: The Warren Omission, the Magic Bullet, and Oswald killed JFK.

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