Daily Renegade

Setting Things Straight

Posts tagged lies

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Some languages, like Matses in Peru, oblige their speakers, like the finickiest of lawyers, to specify exactly how they came to know about the facts they are reporting. You cannot simply say, as in English, “An animal passed here.” You have to specify, using a different verbal form, whether this was directly experienced (you saw the animal passing), inferred (you saw footprints), conjectured (animals generally pass there that time of day), hearsay or such. If a statement is reported with the incorrect “evidentiality,” it is considered a lie. So if, for instance, you ask a Matses man how many wives he has, unless he can actually see his wives at that very moment, he would have to answer in the past tense and would say something like “There were two last time I checked.” After all, given that the wives are not present, he cannot be absolutely certain that one of them hasn’t died or run off with another man since he last saw them, even if this was only five minutes ago. So he cannot report it as a certain fact in the present tense. Does the need to think constantly about epistemology in such a careful and sophisticated manner inform the speakers’ outlook on life or their sense of truth and causation?

That many verb forms would be harsh for people new to the language as adults, but an awesome thing to have in your language.

NYT

Via georgeolken/ultralaser

Filed under language lies words memory source

80 notes

Squashed: Rape and False Pretenses

To summarize the following: 1)If I steal with a gun it’s theft, 2) If I steal with lies it’s fraud, 3) If I commit rape by force it’s rape, 4) How is rape by a material lie not a crime?  

I also don’t think the law is racist.  Like the Arizona Immigration Law, the enforcement of it may be biased by racial motivations, but the law itself is just.

The case of the Israeli Palestinian who was convicted of rape after falsely telling a Jewish woman that he too was Jewish has raised a lot of interesting questions. Some see it as further proof that Israel is a horribly racist society. Their logic goes something like this. 1) This bad thing that happened to a Palestinian man shows that Israel is racist. 2) Okay, fine, maybe he was a bit rapey. 3) But he wouldn’t have been prosecuted if he wasn’t a Palestinian man. We know this because of how racist Israel is. 4) For proof that Israel is racist, see step one. It’s circular. I’m not saying that Israel shouldn’t be criticized. It should. But let’s stick to the logically sound criticisms.

But this conviction does raise the issue of whether consent is really consent if it’s obtained through fraud. And what constitutes fraud?

The traditional example of rape under false pretenses would be the guy who falsely claims to be the long-lost husband returned from the war. We don’t see that one much. So let’s try a different problem.

Suppose somebody says, “I’ll give you $10,000” to have sex with me.” This is, of course, soliciting prostitution. It’s probably illegal where you live. But it’s not rape illegal.

The response: “Deal.” Again, prostitution. Not legal. But the ensuing sex is consensual.

Then, “Oh. I lied about the money.” Is this rape? Without taking a stance one way or another on whether we thing prostitution is a good thing, we can agree that if consent was only given in exchange for a promise of money and that promise was a lie, the consent is also insufficient. Rape. It may not be aggrevated rape—but it is rape.

We eventually get into a grey area. If two people who are “looking fun” and both agree that their favorite band is Metallica but one of them is lying, is whatever sex ensues rape? Probably not—unless that deception was somehow a material part of the other’s consent.

But that’s not what happened in the Israel case. A man claimed to be a Jewish man looking for a serious relationship. This meshed well with the woman who was looking for a Jewish man looking for a serious relationship. And, unless we want to spend time speculating about the virtue or judgment of the woman in question, we need to take her at her word. Shared experience and beliefs are an important element of relationships.

We can use the same standards for rape through fraud as we use for normal rape. The statements must be false and known to be false by the speaker. They must be material and intented to be relied upon by the victim. And the victim must be unaware that the statements are false and reasonably rely upon the false statements.

This is the spot where people normally object. The objection is usually something like, “Hold on. Are you saying I can’t lie to women to get them to sleep with me? Not that I do that because I’m a nice guy. It’s just that some, uh, other guys do it. And I’m all in favor of not defrauding people into sex—but I’m even more into having sex. And wouldn’t this chill my ability to tell lies that aren’t all that fraudulent to people I want to sleep with?”

Yes. There’s a chance it would. And if being asked to tell the truth to people you’re sleeping with is mucking up your game, I’ve got an extra ticket to go see the world’s smallest violin played by the world’s weepiest puppy. Perhaps that will help you get over it.

Filed under rape lies force deceit racism

66 notes

Ten Myths About The Deepwater Spill, Busted By Oceana

At TedXOilSpill, a daylong event in Washington, D.C. trying to find solutions to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless took the time to answer ten questions about oil and energy usually asked by “people who don’t support policies that could create something good out of this catastrophe.” (Oceana is a nonprofit ocean conservation organization calling for an end to offshore drilling.)

Use these when arguing against your cynical uncle or Rush Limbaugh:

1) Isn’t this Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster like an airplane crash? And we don’t shut down avation when planes crash.
A) No, this is not like an airplane crash. In an airplane crash, most of the victims are those who were on the airplane. The victims here are the millions of people living in the Gulf. This is more like the guy who built a campfire in the dry season, against regulations, and burned down the national forest. That’s why we have regulations against building campfires during the dry season: Not because every camper burns down his campsite, but because all we need is one.

2) There are 3600 drilling platforms in the gulf. Are you going to shut them all down?
A) We’re not calling for a shutdown of the platforms, just of drilling. Once you’ve drilled, the risks decrease.

3) Isn’t this just a deep-water problem? Can’t we continue in the shallow water?

A) Ocean drilling in shallow water is very risky. One of the top three oil drilling disasters of all time, Ixtoc 1, was in just hundreds of feet of water. [Sharpless added that last summer, a blow-out on the Montara rig off the coast of Australia spilled millions of gallons of oil in over 10 weeks before a relief well stopped the flow. Montara was just 240 feet underwater.]

4) OK then, don’t we need to keep drilling in the ocean to keep gas affordable?
A) No. We import 60% of our oil. When BP, or any other oil company, discovers oil off the coast of America, do they sell it at a special discount or do they sell It at the price we have already shown we are willing to pay? The market price is set at the world market. Any find in American waters will be sold at the market price. So the people who chanted, “Drill, baby, drill!” two summers ago and said this was a way to solve four-dollar-a-gallon gas, they were wrong.

5) Don’t we need to drill for energy independence?
A) There is a path to energy independence, but it’s not through drilling, in sea or land. As President Obama said, we cannot drill our way to energy independence. But we can become energy independent. [Sharpless added that the United States consumes 20% of the world’s oil, but only has 2% of the world’s reserves.]

6) Don’t we need to drill for jobs?
A) This [Deepwater rig disaster] proves one thing: if you thought ocean drilling was good for jobs, you were wrong. Three hundred thousand recreational fishing jobs in the Gulf have been lost already. Clean investments provide 3 times the jobs per dollar invested.

7.) If we don’t drill, won’t we displace demand to less safe places?
A) America should lead. If our policy is, “We cannot clean up and manage our oceans until the lowest, slowest, most dirtiest, most corrupted government does it,” that is not a path we want to be part of.

8) If ocean wind power is such a good idea, why isn’t it happening?
A) Guess who has been given authority for ocean wind power in America? The MMS, the same people who approved the Deepwater rig.

9) Won’t ocean wind power hurt the oceans?

A) [Sharpless cited studies saying that ocean power can be used safely with little harm to the ecosystem.]

10) Ocean wind power is great, but I don’t use electricity in my car.

A) “Well, I think you will someday,” quipped Sharpless as he walked offstage.

Via mohandasgandhi/nationalgeographicmagazine

Source: http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2010/06/ten-myths-about-the-deepwater.html

Filed under oilspill bp clean energy technology myths lies propaganda

Notes

In the New York Times for June 13th, the Pentagon proclaimed that Afghanistan holds almost one trillion lira - no, sorry, that’s one trillion dollars - in hitherto-unknown mineral wealth.
Allow me to offer these revelations:
(1) Paris Hilton actually is Albert Einstein, with a wig. Think about it - you’ve never seen them together, have you?
(2) The Moon is made of green cheese. Specifically, a lovely Camembert, slightly fruity, that goes very well with cabernet.
(3) While you were at work today, someone broke into your house, stole everything, and replaced it with an exact duplicate (apologies to Steven Wright).
$1 trillion dollars in mineral wealth in Afghanistan. What a lame excuse for a lame excuse.
But the interesting thing is that the Pentagon felt it necessary to serve up this fevered imagining. Why? Because they say that they need another $33 billion for the war by July 4th, or, or, or, I don’t know - they just say that they need it. And for once, Congress isn’t falling all over itself to give the generals whatever they want. So get ready to hear about lithium in Afghanistan, oil in Iraq, and diamonds in your bathtub.
With 14 million Americans out of work, support for endless war is crumbling. People want an America that is #1 in health, #1 in education, #1 in quality of life, not #1 in number of foreign countries occupied.
Alan Grayson

Filed under pentagon afghanistan lies foreign occupation