One of the fascinating claims I’ve heard lobbed around political debates on social media is this: “women never lie about rape/sexual assault.” This is sometimes qualified or modified to be “women rarely lie about rape/sexual assault.” That happens most often when someone brings up something like the Duke Lacrosse case, or something like this. If challenged, the Leftist (this is claim is most common among them) will attempt to back up the statement with statistics like this bit of research conducted by Stanford. The meat of the study is that only 2% of rape accusations are proven to be false.

At first glance, this would appear to support the Leftist assertion. But it really doesn’t. First off, while I cannot verify Stanford’s claims, let’s operate under the assumption that the stats are true. Here’s another statistic you may or may be aware of. According to RAINN, out of 310 reports made to the police (i.e. accusations), only 11 cases are referred to prosecutors, and only 7 result in felony convictions. This means that only about 2% of rape/sexual assault accusations are proven true.

What does this mean, if all these stats are true? It means that 96% of rape cases are indeterminate. We don’t know if the accuser is lying, or if the accused is guilty. Neither is proven true.  Furthermore, given the fact that human memory is not infallible, and that human interpretation/perception can result in one participant believing it is a rape and the other believing it is not, there are permutations where both are speaking truthfully. There was some speculation to this effect with Kavanaugh, especially given that the alleged incident was both 36 years old, and involved copious amounts of alcohol.

In other words, the Leftists are either lying or are ignorant of the facts. Fact is, rape accusations are proven to be lies at roughly the same rate as they are proven to be true, but the vast majority are unproven either way.

That puts a different spin on the notion, doesn’t it? That means, if there is no supporting evidence, you may as well flip a coin as to whether or not the accusation is bullshit, and whether or not the accused is actually a rapist. A coin flip doesn’t support destroying a man’s reputation.

And that’s what all this is about. By claiming that rape accusations are rarely falsified, the Leftist is implying this is itself a form of evidence. The Leftist is saying, without having to actually back up the claim, that the accusation means there is now a 98% chance of the accused being a rapist. It is a tacit method of getting around the presumption of innocence.

The whole thing is flimsy rhetoric. It’s a bald-faced fallacy. The accusation doesn’t change the actual odds. Either the rape happened, or it did not. Consider also that, even if the Leftists were right about a 2% lie rate, it doesn’t take into account that humans cannot be governed by anything like the Kinetic Theory of Gasses. Asimov was wont to speculate on the possibility that such analysis was possible, that a psychohistory could be made to work. It cannot. Think about it very carefully. If you’re a woman who hates a particular man, for whatever reason, and you know that people will say only 2% of rape accusations are lies, you can intentionally and cynically use this to make the man look guilty. People are willful, and can defy the statistics whenever they choose to do so. Statistics do not govern individual actions. And even Asimov said in Foundation that psychohistory could only work if people were unaware of its application, and so could not willfully sabotage it (that happened anyway in Foundation & Empire).

Using statistics on the accuracy of accusations to determine probability of individual guilt is thus a category error to begin with. I’ve been very confused with people treating it as if this had any meaning whatsoever. Guilt or innocence is independent of accusation. People aren’t molecules in a cloud of gas. Probability and statistics has some utility with large human groups as a whole, but psychohistory does not exist, and the accuracy of the generalization does not apply to the individual in any case. These things are not hard to understand, and yet everywhere I look, people are thinking about this thing backwards.

 

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