Wednesday, January 24, 2007 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

Duke lacrosse scandal

I just learned about this story from Foxnews and find it rather amazing.

Crystal Gail Mangum is an attractive exotic stripper who was hired for a party of lacrosse players at Duke University in the residence of two captains of the team in spring 2006. There were actually two dancers.

Mangum later argued that she was raped by the lacrosse players. It could, in principle, happen. But there exists a wise principle of presumption of innocence. Moreover, everyone should be able to determine that such an accusation sounds very unlikely. It is simply much more likely that a person with this job invents these stories than that members of the second best team of its type in the U.S. would commit such a crime under circumstances in which it would be trivial to prove their guilt.

As the investigation continued, Mangum was changing her testimony and it was becoming increasingly more obvious that the accusation was bogus. As Wikipedia decently explains, a large number of DNA molecules of males has been found in her body but neither of them seemed to come from a lacrosse player. Moreover, the second dancer said that the accusation had to be nonsense because they were seeing each other during the whole party except for a five-minute interval.

Despite these obvious observations, an activist (white) judge has violated various rules in an attempt to speed up the punishment for the accused young men and he is now facing an ethics investigation. Equally seriously, 88 Duke professors immediately placed an ad in the newspapers arguing that all this was surely an example of the evil white males who can cover any crime. Some of these scholars were punishing the poor accused students by failing grades, in advance.

This group of 88 people included 80% of the Black Studies Department, 72% of the Feminist Department, and a large fraction of several other humanities departments. The ad was clearly an outrageous and hateful racist act that violates the very basic principles of justice - equality in front of the law and presumption of innocence being two main examples. These departments should probably be abolished because if they're overrun by this kind of professors, their influence on the students can hardly be positive.

Voices from Duke University argue that these mad extremists effectively control what's happening at that university, more or less all administrators are cowards and puppets, and I tend to believe that they are right. These stories sound entirely incredible to a Central European guy like me because almost everyone in Central Europe would always be trying to get some reasonable common sense estimates of the probability that the accusations are right.

If a gipsy woman accuses someone of being a rapist, the judges will give her as much attention and care as they would give to anyone else. But obviously, people who are outside the scandal will think that the accusation is unlikely simply because there haven't been too many cases in the past in which such an event actually occurred: a frequentist probability is the best way to estimate probabilities of things that are not yet known.

The radicals at Duke University prefer their racist dogmas over common sense: a clearly untrustworthy stripper must surely be believed more than a bunch of players from a rather prestigious lacrosse team as long as her skin color is more politically correct.

I think that the usage of the comment that someone is white (or male) and therefore the law or public opinion should be against him or her should be treated exactly as the opposite case - i.e. as racism (or sexism) and hateful crime - otherwise a similar kind of fraud and hysteria will keep on expanding.

The professors from some departments - mostly natural sciences and engineering - didn't participate. Two weeks ago, some economics professors decided to act in the opposite way than the feminist and black departments - a way that is both wise as well as economical: they showed support for the players and explained that the players are more than welcome in their courses. ;-)

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