Update on the sentencing of male and female offenders


William Collins has published a response to my last blogpost, in which I criticised the conclusions he had drawn from analysis of sentencing statistics, and specifically his calculation that if men were sentenced to the same standards as women, there would be 68,000 fewer men in prison. I’ll make a few factual and statistical points below, but first let me express a regret, and issue an apology.

With hindsight, there was a scornful tone to my last blog. What I did not make clear enough was that my scorn is not for William Collins. I’m very pleased that any bloggers are addressing the issue of male incarceration, including gender discrimination in the system. While I maintain that William’s calculations are seriously shaky at best, at the risk of sounding patronising, I appreciate how complex such efforts are and we all get this stuff wrong from time to time, self very much included. Had this just been an exchange between William and I, my tone would have been much more like “Hi William, this is a great effort, but I think you’ve failed to account for . . .”

My scornful tone wasn’t aimed at William Collins, it was strictly aimed at Mike Buchanan, a man who spends most of his life ostentatiously issuing challenges and demanding corrections and apologies from other people whom he believes may have used statistics wrongly, but who then appears on national TV quoting “facts” which he believes for no other reason than he read it on a single amateur blogpost on the internet, so it must be true. Worse, he includes the same statistics in a general election manifesto, no less.

Now that is out of the way, let me see if I can clear up a few of the remaining points of dispute.

First, on a matter of (slightly tedious but significant) detail, let me specifically address an issue about repeat offenders. William writes:

I believe that Mr Fogg’s claim that only 14% of repeat offenders are women relates to data on being cautioned or convicted combined, since I can find that percentage in Ref.2 Table A.01 and also in the “1 in 7″ figure on page 51, both of which relate to this combined category. However, what we are interested in is, for people who are sentenced (i.e., convicted), what are the relevant proportions of repeat offending and how does this influence the likelihood of imprisonment?

Ref.2 page 53 indicates that the large majority of both sexes who were sentenced for an indictable offence in 2013 were repeat offenders, namely 86% of women and 91% of men. Moreover, whilst male offenders sentenced for an indictable offence were more likely to have 15 or more previous sanctions, the difference between men and women in this respect is slight: 37% of men and 30% of women. So Mr Fogg’s claim that chronic recidivists are overwhelmingly men is not true.

Not quite. Chronic repeat offenders are often imprisoned for summary offences as well as indictable crimes. (see here for a recent outrageous example). Someone committing an offence which might warrant a reprimand or caution on first offence might be imprisoned for the same crime on the 15th offence. So to know what proportion of all offenders are recidivists, we have to look at this table here. It shows that 76% of male offenders but only 62.6% of female offenders were repeats. Since there are more than three times as many male offenders, that scales up. Of those committing further offences, 510,974 were male and 83,308 were female. So there were 594,282 repeat offenders in total and 86% of those were male.

Beyond that point, I quite agree with William that many of the statistics he quotes are not contentious, as he says:

the issue, though, is whether this disparity between the genders is just, i.e., whether there are good reasons for men receiving harsher sentences, or whether it is simply gender bias.

Much of William’s response reiterates calculations that have been based upon the assumption that if a certain proportion of men and women have been convicted for one category of crime, such as violence against the person, it is reasonable to presume that they are committing different types and severities of violence against the person at the same rates.

He writes:

It is true that I have implicitly assumed that, on average, offences committed by the two sexes within a given category are equally serious. It is also true that I have offered no support for this. The assumption is made simply on the basis that, in the absence of contrary evidence, this is a reasonable working assumption. Mr Fogg is right that many crime categories cover an enormous range of seriousness. But, as I say in the original post, why should men’s offences for, say, “theft from a vehicle”, or “false accounting” or “fraud” or “causing death by reckless driving”, etc., be any more heinous than women’s on average? In the absence of specific data, the assumption of equity on this matter is reasonable.

This is really the key point of dispute. We do actually have some, albeit limited evidence for different offending patterns. If we take the most serious crimes, which garner the highest proportion of custodial sentences and longest terms, we do have some statistics. Every year 90% of homicides are committed by men [source]. 98% of (reported) sexual offences are committed by men. [As an aside, on sexual offenders in prison, there are around 11,000 convicted male sex offenders out of around 68,000 convicted prisoners – ie not including remand prisoners – so it is roughly one in six, not one in ten as William suggests].

There is certainly a received wisdom among criminologists around the world that (with the exception of infanticide) the more serious the offence, the more disproportionately it is perpetrated by men. Even from our own experience, if we ask ourselves for example, how often we have heard or read news reports about a petrol station being held up by two masked men with hammers or shotguns, and compare that to how often we hear of police looking for women in such cases?

Of course, expert received wisdom is not infallible and our own perceptions can be skewed, but the onus in such cases is, I think, to prove the received wisdom and our perceptions wrong, not just ignore them.

William agrees that this is

“an issue on which…..We simply do not have the data. …..and hence cannot be critically examined.”

Exactly. Exactly, exactly, exactly.

“This does not necessarily mean that it is untrue.”

Well, we know that men are vastly more likely than women to be convicted of homicide, and to be convicted of sexual offences. We know that men are much more likely to be repeat offenders. We know that women are much more likely to be living with dependent children. So we know that, at best, the analysis is ignoring some utterly critical data which are likely to significantly skew the end results, even before we get into the realms of the unknown factors. So, to be cautious, we do know that it is not entirely true.

There are limits to what an amateur blogger with access only to publicly available information can do in a few days of effort. To do justice to the topic would require a PhD level of investigation, and access to far more detailed data. The true indictment of our society is that no one seems to have done it.”

I wholeheartedly agree. My issue, as I said at the top, is not that William Collins had a stab at analysing these statistics and (to be frank) came a little bit of a cropper. My issue is that a prominent activist has picked up on the work of “an amateur blogger” with access to limited data and repeatedly broadcast it as fact to the nation.

William concludes his response like this:

the likes of the Corston Report promulgate the view that only women are deserving of such compassion – when it is so very obvious that it is specifically men who need it more.

I would say “need it too” not “need it more”, but otherwise I wholeheartedly agree. I have made that precise point many times on this blog and more prominently elsewhere, including here and here. It feels like there is only a tiny handful of us willing to take on this point, to make the case that male prisoners are a specific category also deserving concern and attention. In making any case for social justice it is important that we argue on the basis of facts, not hyperbole and misinformation.

Comments

  1. John Allman says

    I think it would be good if Mike Buchanan acknowledged the flaw in any inferred headline statistic derived from William Collins’ analysis, and changed any manifesto page that relied upon that statistic, thanking both you and William Collins.

    I expect that Mike will do this soon. He is very intolerant of those who claim, falsely, that an average of two women a week are murdered by present or former intimate partners, but do not correct that misinformation when challenged, as you have challenged him.

    I actually see this controversy in a positive light. Mike has a good case, for his qualitative manifesto point that male offenders are sentenced more harshly than female offenders. It is a case he can make all the better if he now admits that he may well have been misled into over-stating that case quantitatively.

    The last things we need from Mike now are either stone-walling, or a bitch fight over hurt feelings. I don’t think the end result is likely to be either, because you, Mr Collins, and I, have all expressed considerable respect for Mike in the past, and he for us.

  2. says

    I was not intending to keep this exchange going, but it is incumbent upon me to reply in order to accept the gracious apology offered. I am happy to add that I would not have bothered to make my detailed response had the criticism not originated from someone for whom I have respect based on his many writings on related topics, here and elsewhere. However, since I’m here…

    Ally – Taking as read your numbers on repeat offending, 76% cf 62.6%, these don’t strike me as so very different as to explain a great proportion of the overall disparity.

    On the matter of patterns of offending, any argument based on popular perception is ruled out of court. This would be the case in any analysis, but is emphatically out of order in this case since “popular perception” is precisely what is in the dock, so to speak. I wonder what you think of my Figures 2 and 3, which appear to show remarkably similar patterns of offending. (So much so I was surprised myself).

    On the “men need it more” thing, I hesitated before writing that, knowing full well that it was a red rag. But I wrote it because “pretty much every inmate detained is a testament to multiple failures in social policy, social care, education, welfare, mental health and addiction services” and there are 20 times as many men – ergo their need (collectively) is 20 times as great. That’s what I meant, not that each man is more deserving than each woman. And the x20 thing is indisputable, whatever the issues with my analysis.

  3. says

    Having read this apology and the subsequent exchange, I cannot help but feel that Ally would have done far better to have simply issued his apology and left it at that. Instead, he sidesteps and justifies his actions by saying in effect, it was OK because his disdain was really aimed at Mike Buchanan on the grounds that he is ‘a man who spends most of his life ostentatiously issuing challenges and demanding corrections and apologies from other people whom he believes may have used statistics wrongly’. So that’s OK then? Mike Buchanan raises public awareness about what appears to be a serious and contemptible inequality (explained in his party’s manifesto in a balanced manner), and he calls out liars with absolute justification because the are liars but because he calls out liars, he is fair game? No, I don’t think so.

    Might I just gently point out that Mike Buchanan’s challenges of feminist activists are based on their naked, repeated – and knowingly repeated – lies about provable falsehoods, such as the ‘2 women a week murdered by their partners or ex-partners’ factoid that is common currency in the feminist echo-chamber. That simply is not true – the ONS figures, which are unimpeachable actual hard statistics prove that. He also challenges the 85,000 women raped each year factoid, which is also absolutely, provably untrue. In fact, it is a gross and culpable mis-use of the upper limit of a statistical inference, taken from the Crime Survey of England and Wales – and it includes attempted rape. Vera Baird, currently PCC for Northumbria was taken to task about this only last year, and referred to the ASA for advertising it widely on the public transport system in 2013-14, and they upheld the complaint on the grounds that it was not legal, decent, honest, truthful. Furthermore, Mike Buchanan always first invites those whom he accuses of spreading these false factoids to either justify their figures or retract them, and they never do. Lying is not just stating errors, it is stating errors knowingly. That is what makes these incorrigible feminist propagandists culpable liars, and, rightly and justly, they need to be called out and exposed. Lies help no one – only them and their crazy case against men.

    It seems as plain as the nose on anyone’s face that Ally is obviously looking for any which way to attack Mike Buchanan over his absolutely justified calling out of these liars, but, frankly, he has missed the mark here. His shifting of ground and his re-directing his attack to Mike Buchanan from William Collins who has explained things with I think is the most astonishing and disarming candour, shows a signal lack of integrity, and it does Ally’s reputation no good at all. In fact, I think he has caught a cold on this one and he knows it, but he doesn’t seem to have the stature to just admit it, apologise as he has done, bit unequivocally (not going on and on with the argument as though that justifies what he did really). He would have been a bigger man for that IMHO, but, obviously, he makes his own decisions.

    Whatever. What this entire exchange has done is highlight what is clearly a major issue going on in our society today, and Mike Buchanan is taking a brave stand over it, as is Phillip Davies and William Collins. Whatever the nuances of who does what, for what reason, and so on, as argued by Ally, what is undeniable is that everyone, men and women alike, must stand equal before the law, and that is demonstrably not the case. It is inconceivable by any test, including common sense, to deny that there is an obvious disparity in sentencing going on, and that demands attention and a fair and balanced investigation. If there is discrimination against men going on, and certainly if it is of the proportions indicated by any reasonable interpretation of official ONS data as William Collins has done, then all right minded peopleought to be up in arms about it. If they are not, they are apologists for inequality. If what Mike and William, and Phillip are pointing towards, with guts and erudition, all of them, is actually happening, then that cannot be right, proper, or fair – especially in an age of equality – but in any age, as Ernest Belfort Bax pointed out 100 years ago.

    Ally can be as antagonistic as he likes to Mike Buchanan and as ungracious too. The gainsayers of men’s human rights and the feminist fellow travellers can be as strident as they like. They can spread as much dis-information as they are able, but what is not in doubt is that there is a case here that needs investigating and, if necessary, exposing. Mike Buchanan is well-justified in using the political process to point it up. He is using his right to a political platform, upon which he operates with patent integrity (which is demonstrably not the case with those whom he calls out for their lies), to raise this issue, and he quoted William who is using his right to free speech, and his clearly scientific, thorough and well grounded approach to elicit the truth from the lies. Neither of these men appear to be bigoted hotheads, they come over as men who possess oodles of integrity, balance and guts. They are deeply concerned about all injustice, especially against men in what is undoubtedly an overly gynocentric culture unhealthily fixated on women and their ‘rights’.

    Whatever Mike Buchanan does in response to the calls for him to concede he was in error is entirely his business. I suggest, however, he has been entirely vindicated by the astonishingly candid, thorough, honest, and disarming response from his source, William Collins, who has turned over a lot more stones than Ally Fogg ever has in anything he has written. Whether the ratios are precise or not, one thing is sure – sentencing and incarceration are clearly heavily (and I mean heavily, not just marginally) skewed against men, and heavily in favour of women in the CJS. I think that needs to be held uppermost in everyone’s mind, and this childish tit for tat, white knighting by Ally Fogg and his acolytes stopped, now.

    Perhaps his article would have been far better titles ‘What if we sentenced female offenders to the same standards as men?’ Maybe that would be the balanced, fair, non-partisan approach?

  4. says

    …I cannot help but feel that Ally would have done far better to have simply issued his apology and left it at that.

    I disagree. He was right to continue discussing the issues.

  5. WorksFromHome says

    Ally,

    I fed the numbers on recidivism you provided into a model of prison populations and William is right: they actually change the prison sex ratio by only a small percentage. The rate at which crimes were committed (I used a value of 3.5 based on your “more than three…”) is much more important. Even assuming men and women committed identical crimes and had identical histories (i.e. recidivism) this is discrepancy in rate would make the prison population 78% male. If you add in that men are even more likely to commit crimes that are more likely to result in a prison sentence and a much longer prison sentence at that (e.g., homicide, which you quote as 90% male) you very readily get a prison population ~95% male.

    I don’t doubt that recidivism does have an effect (ditto for a gender bias), but this does make me think that the overall rate of committing crimes coupled with what crimes are being committed are probably more important than recidivism.

    caveat: I assumed male and female recidivism was going to result in similarly increased sentencing. Obviously a limitation, but I still suspect the nature of the crime is a more important driver of the prison population sex ratio because the extreme male bias in the rate of committing more serious crimes (like homicide) is unlikely to be manifest in recidivism as people convicted of murder don’t get much opportunity to commit more crimes because they go to jail for so long.

  6. David S says

    @John Allman(2)

    He is very intolerant of those who claim, falsely, that an average of two women a week are murdered by present or former intimate partners,

    I always feel that people criticise that statistic for the wrong reason. It is slightly false nowadays, but that is not the main thing that is wrong with it. The real problem is that quoting mortality statistics in this way – as an absolute number of deaths per unit time – is at best meaningless, and probably actively misleading. When we are told that 2 women per week are murdered by partners, or that 5 people per week drown, or that 7 people per week die as a result of accidental strangulation, it seems like a lot of deaths because we visualise those people being murdered, drowned, or strangled in front of our eyes. What we don’t visualise is the population of 60 million within which those deaths occur.

    Some 10,000 of us die every week, so if only 2 of those deaths can be attributed to some particular cause, then we are looking at a tragic, but extremely rare, cause of mortality. Expressing the figure as an absolute number is a classic example of what statisticians call the “broad base fallacy”.

    To demonstrate how misleading the statistic is, we only need to look at how people have been misled by it. Way back in 2007 our dear friend Julie Bindel wrote this, in the Guardian:

    One in four women are affected by domestic violence (DV) at some point in their lives, with two murders and up to 10 suicides attributed to it each week. For women under 44, it is the most common cause of death – above both cancer and road accidents.

    This is one of my very favourite pieces of statistical nonsense, because it neatly illustrates the broad base fallacy in only two sentences. The claim, in the first sentence, that two murders can be attributed to DV per week was more or less true at the time Julie wrote it. The claim, in the second sentence, that this is the most common cause of death for women under 44, is just plain nonsense. The neat thing is that, if Julie had expressed those 2 murders in a more meaningful way – as a fraction of population, or as a fraction of all deaths in the specified age group – then it would have been obvious that something that is responsible for such a small number of fatalities just cannot be the greatest cause of death, even in a relatively healthy group such as young women.

    The Guardian did correct Julie’s claim, but, as is the way with zombie statistics, it refuses to die and was last seen stalking the pages of the Guardian in an article written by Mariella Frostrup.

    Incidentally, some bloke called Ally Fogg has given a rather more detailed analysis of the way that this zombie statistic was first raised from the grave.

    And if you want to know how murder actually compares with cancer, or road accidents, as a cause of death for different sections of the population, I can recommend the very wonderful NHS Atlas of Risk, within which I can easily lose myself for a whole afternoon (I know how to party, me)

  7. Ally Fogg says

    WorksFromHome

    this does make me think that the overall rate of committing crimes coupled with what crimes are being committed are probably more important than recidivism.

    Oh I do not doubt that, but this does not make WIlliam right.

    William’s point was that the reason why men are 95% of the prison population is because they are more commonly sentenced to custody and for longer than women who commit the same offences. In other words he is saying it is unfair discrimination.

    I said in the first post that I thought the most significant factor was that men very probably commit the most serious crimes more commonly. That is probably most of the explanation as to why men are 95% of the prison population despite representing <75% of arrests. Other factors will be recidivism and, yes, some unfair discrimination.

  8. Ally Fogg says

    Sorry, just realised your comment about William being right refers to his post [3] specifically.

    William:

    Taking as read your numbers on repeat offending, 76% cf 62.6%, these don’t strike me as so very different as to explain a great proportion of the overall disparity.

    As I said above, I doubt it explains most of the effect, but bear in mind that only about 8% of all offences result in a prison sentence, so it will be a much bigger effect at the margin than a 14 point difference might look.

  9. WorksFromHome says

    Ally,
    Yes, my bad, I did mean in reference to comment [3], thanks for figuring it out.
    Sorry to bang on about this, but being near the margin doesn’t inflate the effect much. For example, (lets assume the court system is so harsh to recidivists that they, on average, receive a sentence 10 times as long as the average non-recidivist) with a low rate of jail sentencing (3.5% for non recidivists, 11.5% for recidivists, giving ~8% overall) the fact that men are more likely to be recidivists only changes the prison sex ratio by about 4.5% (not nothing, but not much). If we make jail terms more common (35% for non-recidivists, 43% for recidivists), the sex difference in recidivism changes the prison sex ratio by 3% (so a little less).
    Happy to post the code/maths for you to have a look if you are so inclined, but can’t blame you if you are not!

  10. AJ says

    Ally is definitely on the wrong side of this.

    The analysis can be criticised in the sense that defiencies in the available data mean there is uncertainty in the results but all of the assumptions are natural and not chosen to bias the results.

    Two things are important even if you accept all of Ally’s criticisms. It is clear there is a strong discrimination against men which goes unremarked. This is shocking in a justice system with a principle of equality of treatment. There is everyt reason to think thatthe estimate that Ally criticises is an underestimation of the impact on men because it only considers discrimination after sentencing. It is much harder to analyse any discriminatory affect in the numbers convicted but given societies different attitude towards violence by men and women and the bias clearly identified post conviction it is very likely that crimes by men and women are disproportionately, reported and investigated, that the number of men and women charged and the offences they are charged with will differ and that the probability of conviction will also be affected. I suspect but cannot back it up with any numbers that the effect of this will be of a similar magnitude to that post conviction.

    The underlying issue is common to a range of areas where serious discrimination agaonst men is evident: education, health, violence, paticularily domestic violence. This is apparent in almost every aspect of society and the media. It is so deeply engrained that I have no suggestion about how to a address it in a meaningful way but it makes the ubiquitous claims abouts societies misogynistic bias more than a little annoying.

    Criticising Mike Buchan in thsi way seems a little disingenuous. I find him annoyingly and self defeatingly strident. I think is lying and whinging feminist of the month awards to be rude and self defeating. He has a strangelt self obsessed mannoer of quoting hos own statemenst and awards as evidence. Having said all of that the numbers quoted by Mike are base don a reasonable and open analysis of available data. This is better than the vast majority of statistics quote dby politicians and much better than endless misleading and innacurate statistics about the rape and violence against women. Ally is in the strange position of criticising something approaching best practice.

  11. says

    @AJ

    all of the assumptions are natural and not chosen to bias the results

    So far as I can make out the critical assumption is that for crimes falling into a particular category (Theft for example) men will, on average, commit crimes of equal seriousness to women. There is nothing remotely “natural” about this assumption. In fact it flies in the face of common sense. If you accept that, when you lump all crime together, men commit more serious crimes, then the logical thing would be to expect this pattern to be replicated within individual categories of offence (which usually cover a wide range of seriousness). It seems likely that criminals gravitate from less serious offences to more serious ones as their criminal career progresses, but Collins assumption would require this to take place in quantum leaps, so that men were more likely than women to gravitate from, say, theft to robbery, without being any more likely to gravitate from petty theft to more serious theft.

    Either way, the assumption would be relatively easy to test. All you would have to do is to pick a random sample of offences within a particular category, and analyse which points in sentencing guidelines had been met by male and female offenders (perhaps avoiding any that were overly subjective). Collins has wisely refused to die in a ditch to defend his figures. I’m not sure I would go as far as dieing in a ditch either, but if it were to be proved that men commit more serious crimes as a whole, but that this disparity miraculously disappears for individual categories of offence, then I think I probably would be prepared to eat my own underpants.

  12. Croi says

    Once again, Buchanan’s defenders are missing the point. While Buchanan runs after feminists for trivial statistical errors, he’s quite content to use dubious statistics when it comes to pushing his own agenda.

  13. mildlymagnificent says

    Lawks. Looks like you Brits are doing far better on domestic violence than we are in Australia.

    We have less than half of your population, but in the first 7 weeks of this year we’ve had 14 women (and some children, not sure of the number) murdered by current and former partners/family members. (The most recent incident – not counted in those numbers – was a bloke known to have mental health problems murdering his pregnant daughter and his grandson, and then himself.)

    The usual way to talk about it is to say “at least one woman” is killed per week. Even if that number was always accurate, it’s still far worse than Britain.

  14. David S says

    @Mildly

    I think you have just put your finger on the reason why it is silly to express mortality statistics as an absolute number of people killed in some specified time. Expressing statistics this way takes no account of the size of the population within which such deaths occur. It you divide by population, or by total numbers of deaths per unit time, then you can make meaningful comparisons between, say, Australia and the UK. However expressing the statistics that way would make it clear just how uncommon murder is as a way of ending your days. The UK’s 1.5 female deaths per week at the hands of partners amounts to about 1 death per year per 20,000 adult women, if you want to express it per capita or, if you prefer to express it as a fraction of all deaths, then it is one death per 4,000 female deaths (0.025%) of all deaths. In other words, whether you are in the UK or Australia, it is a tragic, but extremely rare cause of death.

    Of course we should never forget that tragic and rare deaths are tragic. However we should not forget that they are rare either, not least because if we do then we are likely to suggest completely ineffective ways of preventing them. For example sometimes, after a death has occurred, people ask why police or social workers failed to spot the warning signs. Once you have a meaningful way of expressing the frequency of such deaths it becomes more explicable because they are so rare that it is difficult for anyone to build up any experience of them. There are, in the UK, around 120,000 police officers, so the 85 (approx.) women who die at the hands of partners can be expressed as 1 death per officer per 1,400 years. This doesn’t quite mean that the average officer would have to serve for 1,400 years in order to see such a death, because more than one officer is likely to have some contact with the offence, but it does mean that it is very unlikely that any officer will develop sufficient experience to have any useful intuition about when such deaths are likely.

    When my benevolent dictatorship seizes power, expressing statistics only as absolute numbers will be an offence punishable by death. I am also going to institute the death penalty for anyone who doesn’t give absolute numbers at all, so it is going to be a bit of a blood bath at first, but those journalists who survive the initial terror will be better and stronger, so you will all thank me for it in the end.

  15. John Allman says

    I don’t think that Mike having relied upon William Collins’ inferences amounts to nominating himself for a Lying Masculist of the Month award, or presents any credibility problem for him at all. I am slightly more worried over the sparse extent to which Mike has acknowledged the value of Ally Fogg’s critique of William’s reasoning. He is inviting from feminists the sort of demand that he often makes of feminists that they correct questionable or misleading headline statistics that they use. He could easily avoid falling into that pit, but seems not to want to.

  16. mildlymagnificent says

    This doesn’t quite mean that the average officer would have to serve for 1,400 years in order to see such a death, because more than one officer is likely to have some contact with the offence, but it does mean that it is very unlikely that any officer will develop sufficient experience to have any useful intuition about when such deaths are likely.

    However, a lot of officers attend a lot of incidents that could have resulted in death or serious injury if no one had called the cops. In NSW, the current statistics are 370 incidents attended per day. 2590 per week. That adds up to a lot of cops, if you take a minimum of two per call out, say 2.2 average, we get 5698 per week.

    Of course what that really means is that a lot of cops have a lot of repeated experience … every week … of DV and IPV. And that’s just our largest state. For ambulance officers and emergency departments Australia wide, there’s one woman admitted to hospital every 3 hours for injuries sustained at the hands of an ex or current partner, that’s nearly 60 per week. And all of them would involve extensive police work (and probably fewer successful prosecutions than they would like).

    In most areas, police chiefs estimate that DV accounts for about a third of their total workload. I’d say most cops have a great deal of experience relevant to such murders.

  17. Lucy says

    Damn it, I’ve had an idea! We could devise some kind of fair and unbiased system to decide if the jailing of more men than women for their crimes is necessary and fair.

    We could train people to understand the law and be really good at judging situations.

    We could make it independent and accountable and stuff.

    And how about this – make sure that the judges represent men to at least the tune of, well let’s say 90% to be on the safe side.

    Let’s get them from conservative places so they don’t accidentally channel feminism.

    We could call the system…, bourts, dourts, fourts. Well we can think of a name later.

    Or supposition and having a bit of a think is good too.

  18. David S says

    @Lucy

    In most areas, police chiefs estimate that DV accounts for about a third of their total workload.

    Yes but if you are interested in having police spot situations that are likely to result in death, then this actually makes things worse. What happens is that police officers see DV on an almost daily basis, but would probably have to wait decades, or even centuries, before they actually attended a situation where DV had resulted in murder. It would be natural for them to treat each instance of DV as something that is nasty but highly unlikely to be fatal. If they served for hundreds of years then that assumption would be right 99.9% of the time. Since they don’t, they have a reasonable chance of being right 100% of the time.

    Police officers are, to that extent, in a rather similar situation to GPs looking out for warning signs of the rarer cancers. For example, a GP will probably fairly often see patients with symptoms that could be indicative of liver cancer. I would imagine that those patients might often turn out to have some unpleasant disease (I am not a doctor). However there are “only” 4,000 odd new cases of liver cancer per year in the UK, and we have over 40,000 GPs, so each GP will encounter a new case of liver cancer every ten years or so. It is hardly surprising that GPs often miss cases of rarer cancers.

    In other words the rarity of such cases is part of the reason why they are not spotted, and if we express the statistics for them in ways that conceal their rarity (those 4,000 new cases sound quite a lot if you quote them as an absolute number) then it is likely that we will fail to put in place the systems necessary to identify them.

  19. David S says

    OK, I’ll admit I’m just taking my own personal hobby horse for a canter round Ally’s paddock now, but if you want another example of the sheer folly of quoting statistics in the form of an absolute number of events in a specific time, take a look at the claim – bouncing around the internet as we speak – that one woman in India is raped every 20 minutes. Those who repeat this claim evidently think that it is a big number, and when expressed as an absolute number per 20 minutes, it certainly sounds big. However, as soon as you convert it to a meaningful form, it becomes obvious that it is ridiculously small. In fact it is so small that it cannot possibly be true.

    If there really was one rape every 20 minutes, then that would mean that there were about 26,000 per year. In the UK, with a population around 20 times smaller than India’s, there are around 26,000 rapes reported to the police every year. The number that actually happen in the UK is probably 3 or 4 times larger than this. To put it another way, India has a population of 1.25 billion. So there are probably around half a billion women. If 26,000 get raped every year, that is only one rape per 50,000 women per year.

    In short, if the 1 per 20 minute statistic were true, India would be one of the safest places on the globe to be a woman – orders of magnitude safer than the UK. I suspect, sadly, that it is not true.

  20. Ally Fogg says

    DavidS

    That figure of one rape every 8 minutes refers to rapes reported to police, which are around 26,000 per year in India.

    We can only speculate what proportion of rapes that happen in India are reported to police.

    Interestingly, the number of reported rapes in England and Wales is also around 26,000 per year, despite the population of India being about 25x greater.

    So in fact when people use that stat they are saying that there is only one rape in India for every 25 rapes in UK per head of pop.

    I don’t know if anyone has attempted to estimate what proportion of rapes in India are reported to the police. I’d be surprised if it topped 1%.

  21. David S says

    I don’t know if anyone has attempted to estimate what proportion of rapes in India are reported to the police. I’d be surprised if it topped 1%.

    Me too. Just in case it wasn’t clear in my post, I’m not saying that I think that India really is as woman-friendly as the statistic implies. My point was that once you start quoting statistics as absolute numbers, all your intuitions about what would count as a “big” or a “small” number fly out of the window. Hence my harsh, but necessary, suggestion that journalists who quote statistics that way should be put to the sword.

  22. John Allman says

    Building on David S’ statistics, in the UK, if there are roughly 100,000 rapes a year, and a female population of about 30 million, a woman can expect to be raped about once every three hundred years, and about a quarter of the female population will be raped at some stage of their lives. That is simply appalling.

    The probability of a woman being raped twice in a single evening, in two entirely unrelated incidents, would appear to be very low indeed. And yet that is what a jury believed had happened to one woman recently, convicting both accused men of rape. The two men did not know one another, or even meet one another. They were convicted of raping the same woman, the two rapes taking place a couple of hours and a mile or so apart. Some people have all the luck.

    Anyway, forgive me if I’ve plugged this before, but I’ve worked out that in the UK, we can safely abolish the criminal offence of rape. I explained how I came to realise this in my “Abolish rape!” blog post, and suggested why we should do so.

    https://johnallmanuk.wordpress.com/2015/03/07/abolish-rape/

  23. says

    The probability of a woman being raped twice in a single evening, in two entirely unrelated incidents, would appear to be very low indeed. And yet that is what a jury believed had happened to one woman recently, convicting both accused men of rape.

    If courts determined guilt or innocence by reference to probabilities, then no one would ever be convicted of anything at all. You could say almost exactly the same thing about robbery, murder, or terrorism. So why do you only say it about rape?

    Anyway, forgive me if I’ve plugged this before, but I’ve worked out that in the UK, we can safely abolish the criminal offence of rape. I explained how I came to realise this in my “Abolish rape!” blog post, and suggested why we should do so.

    Sorry, but your proposal to “abolish rape” (without really abolishing it) is so fucking ignorant as to be unforgiveable. If you want to be forgiven, then stay out of important adult conversations of which you clearly know nothing. (And the rest of your blog is even more ignorant. Since when to same-sex adoptive parents “rip away” children from their natural parents? Can you really not tell the difference between same-sex adoption and kidnapping?)

  24. John Allman says

    @ Raging Bee

    I mentioned that case, because I remembered it, when I commented when pondering about the probability of being raped twice in an entire lifetime.

    Of what do you consider that I am “ignorant”, in proposing the abolition of the offence “rape”? I.e., what factor am I overlooking?

    My objections to adoption by “same sex couples” are separate from my objections to the adoption of children whose parents do not consent to their children being adopted by strangers. (Perhaps you do not know as much about the wickedness of some social workers and the abuses perpetrated by the family courts as I do, which is indeed akin to kidnapping.) The word “they” in quotes in that sentence did not refer to the adopters, but to the powers that be.

    I am sorry if you misunderstood my argument, becoming angry. I suggest you read the two posts you mentioned again.

  25. says

    I mentioned that case, because I remembered it, when I commented when pondering about the probability of being raped twice in an entire lifetime.

    And that validates your argument about determining guilt by probability…how?

    My objections to adoption by “same sex couples” are separate from my objections to the adoption of children whose parents do not consent to their children being adopted by strangers.

    Then why did you link those two separate issues together in one sentence?

    I did not misunderstand your argument; you made a poor (and blatantly homophobic) argument by conflating same-sex adoption and adoption without consent. Any “misunderstanding” is your fault.

  26. David S says

    @John Allman (24)

    The probability of a woman being raped twice in a single evening, in two entirely unrelated incidents, would appear to be very low indeed. And yet that is what a jury believed had happened to one woman recently, convicting both accused men of rape.

    You haven’t given a source for this event, but you seem to edging towards the same statistical fallacies that resulted in the wrongful conviction of Sally Clark for the supposed murder of her two children. In that case, an “expert” witness Professor Roy Meadow argued that the probability of two natural infant deaths occurring in the same family was very low (1 in 73 million if I remember correctly). The jury was invited to believe that the probability of natural deaths was, in fact, so low that it could be discounted entirely, and found Clark guilty.

    As the Royal Statistical Society pointed out, there were two fundamental flaws in Meadow’s argument:

    1) He had assumed that the two events could be considered as independent when calculating probabilities. This was the flaw that most of the press reporting of the case dwelt upon, and it was genuinely a mistake on his part, but it wasn’t the most significant error in the calculation. That was that …

    2) The 1 in 73 million figure that he had calculated was the probability that a woman, chosen randomly from the population, would experience two natural infant deaths. The snag with this is that people don’t end up on the witness stand because they have been chosen at random from the population. They are there because something out of the ordinary has happened to them. If it is something very out of the ordinary then its explanation is bound to involve something extremely unlikely occurring, whether that explanation implies guilt or innocence. Even if the probability of two deaths really was 1 in 73 million, we live in a country of 60 million people so events with a probability of 1 in 73 million are going to happen to someone from time to time.

    Exactly the same observations can be applied to your little story. Firstly, and least importantly, the probability of the two events that you describe are not independent, even if the two perpetrators are unkown to each other. There are all sorts of factors that increase the probability of someone being a victim of rape (youth and drunkenness are two of them). If those factors had applied at the time of the first offence then they would probably also apply at the time of the second.

    Secondly, and more importantly, even if it is true (as it obviously is) that the probability of the two events occurring in the same night is very low, that does not mean that we should be particularly surprised that they have happened to someone. As you pointed out, there are about 30 million women to whom such an unlikely event could have occurred, so the event would have to be quite astronomically unlikely before we could discount the chance that it would eventually happen to one of those 30 million.

  27. says

    David S: there’s also the question of the victim’s particular life circumstances: if luck or economic forces put a woman in a place where she’s more likely to get raped once (i.e., she’s stuck in a bad neighborhood with persons of low scruples), then that makes it a good bit more likely that the same thing will happen again. (And, as I noted earlier, the same is true of other crimes, such as robbery or burglary — but John only mentioned rape.)

  28. John Allman says

    @ Raging Bee

    “your argument about determining guilt by probability”

    I make no such argument.

    “Then why did you link those two separate issues together in one sentence? [new paragraph]) I did not misunderstand your argument; you made a poor (and blatantly homophobic) argument by conflating same-sex adoption and adoption without consent. Any “misunderstanding” is your fault.”

    In my blog post “Abolish rape!”, I argued. In the the post “Gay dad’s mum births son and egg donor’s son as surrogate”, I didn’t attempt to make any sort of argument. I wrote a sort-of poem, in the style of Martin Niemoller’s poem, “First they came for the Jews …” I juxtaposed two separate issues. I plead poetic licence.

    Nevertheless, I willingly admit to homophobia, which is “blatant”. Let me clarify: I don’t hate people who self-identify as “homosexual” people. I merely have learnt to hate homosexuality, the behaviour, into which I was recruited fifty years ago, when I was eleven years old. Do you hate homophobic people like me? If so, then shame on you, you hater!

  29. John Allman says

    @ David S

    “you seem to edging towards the same statistical fallacies that resulted in the wrongful conviction of Sally Clark for the supposed murder of her two children”

    I remember the Sally Clark case. I was on her side at the time. I promise you that I am not “edging towards” any “statistical fallacy”, however it might have “seemed” to you, for the sake of argument . I am sorry you wasted so much of your time, criticising an opinion that I most certainly do not hold. I hope you manage to recycle the straw, from the ruins of your straw man argument, purporting to refute a position I do not hold.

    I hope this dialogue won’t turn into a flame war, off topic to boot.

  30. David S says

    @John Allman (31)

    I am sorry you wasted so much of your time, criticising an opinion that I most certainly do not hold.

    In your earlier post (24) you wrote:

    The probability of a woman being raped twice in a single evening, in two entirely unrelated incidents, would appear to be very low indeed. And yet that is what a jury believed had happened to one woman recently, convicting both accused men of rape.

    Unless you use the English language in a very strange way, you are suggesting that the jury’s decision was unreasonable because the events they assume to have occurred are too improbable. My contention is that you are wrong about that (and furthermore that the reasons why you are wrong about it are the same as the reasons why you are right about Sally Clark). I am not criticising you for holding an opinion that you do not hold. I am criticising you for holding an opinion that you quite plainly do hold, because you have just told us that you hold it.

    I am sure that this discussion will not descend into a flame war, because we are both too polite and reasonable for that. However if you wish to continue the discussion then I will be more than happy to set out the statistics in a little more detail, to write down a few quick calculations, and to demonstrate that a jury, faced with the circumstances you describe, could perfectly reasonably reach the verdict you describe.

    I’d be quite interested in seeing a link to this case though. I am not saying that because I think it didn’t happen btw. As I said, it is the sort of thing that, statistically I would expect to happen from time to time, and I would certainly expect it to get some media coverage when it did happen. It would be interesting to read the details though.

  31. says

    Let me clarify: I don’t hate people who self-identify as “homosexual” people. I merely have learnt to hate homosexuality, the behaviour, into which I was recruited fifty years ago, when I was eleven years old.

    Okay, I think I see your problem here: you were sexually abused as a child, not “recruited into homosexuality;” and now you’re blaming “homosexuality” for what happened to you, instead of the people who actually mistreated you, and the specific institutions that either failed to support you or enabled or covered up the abuse. I do sympathize with you, because you were subject to something no child should be subjected to — but your response to that injustice is just plain wrong, and has clearly led you to hate and attack people who have done no wrong, instead of attacking the people and institution(s) who were actually responsible for your mistreatment.

    (Oh, and let’s cut the “love the sinner but hate the sin” crap. It’s what bigots always say, and they always end up directing their hate at the “sinners,” for the simple reason that the “sin” is an abstract thing and abstract things make lousy targets. That’s exactly what you’ve done here — demonizing same-sex couples who want to adopt — despite your claims not to hate the persons committing the “sin” you hate.)

  32. says

    Also, John, child sexual abuse and homosexuality are not the same thing! There are plenty of homosexuals who would never touch a child, and plenty of child-molesters who are not homosexual. Also, the desire to have sex with a child is vastly different in nature and origin from a same-sex attraction between adults. All of this has been extensively documented for decades now; and, at the risk of sounding unsympathetic, you really have no excuse for confusing or conflating these two obviously different things.

  33. John Allman says

    @ David S

    The imaginary opponent whose argument you are longing to defeat, and I, are not one and the same. Please stop telling what I am *really* saying. I’m not going to argue for a proposition I didn’t advance, however many lines you write, asserting that that proposition was implicit in something I actually did say, which was short, and not important to the context.

  34. says

    John: David S responded to what you said. If what you said is not what you meant, then you shouldn’t have said it. (I also notice you never tried to clarify what your position really is, or what, exactly, we got wrong about it.) Your attempts to pretend we’re not addressing the “real” you, or the positions you “really” advocate, are just plain transparently dishonest, not to mention childish. Either you’re a bigoted liar, or you have some sort of serious cognitive problem that needs addressing, preferably by a professional.

  35. StillGjenganger says

    @John Allman 35
    David S clearly cannot start telling you what opinions you hold – only you can know that. But I, too, think that the words you wrote mean more or less what David S says they mean – and that is a matter for public discussion. So, if that is not what you meant to say, could you explain what you meant to say instead? It may or may not be a crucial point – but seeing that we have started this …

  36. StillGjenganger says

    @Raging 36
    To avoid any misunderstandings (seeing as we are making a couple of similar points) let me say that I totally disassociate myself from your post 36.

  37. John Allman says

    @ Raging Bee

    You don’t know me. You have certainly proved that.

    Even if you did know me, I would still take a dim view of your presumption that you know enough about my adolescence to write several pages about it.

    How DARE gaysplain my own life experiences to me? How arrogant of you to offer to teach me how to understand better my own life experiences!

    How dare you demand that I learn how to testify about my own life experiences using the language of which *you* approve?

    It took me forty years to pluck up the courage to discuss mention publicly my lived experience. I will not be bullied into rewording my testimony into the sort of deceptive language that *you* would prefer me to use, in order for you to place upon my authentic voice of a survivor, the political spin that *you* want to place on my life’s story.

    Please, never again be so insensitive as to disrespect the authentic voice of a survivor, about his own abuse, in this manner.

    Survivors of homosexuality who speak out are used to the sort of abuse that you have heaped upon me. You probably cannot even begin to recognise what is abusive about the way in which you have written to me, about me.

    Survivors of homosexuality have the perfect right to tell their stories, as they happened. They don’t deserve to be disrespected, for telling the truth about what happened to them. They were there. Those who try to gaysplain their testimonies away weren’t there. The survivors are witnesses. Those who try to silence or to re-educate them are merely trying to limit the damage that the testimony of the survivors of homosexuality, liberated from that vice, might inflict own their own pet cause, the cause of the normalisation of gross perversion.

    I know what I know. I cannot and will not wipe my memory clean, and redefine what I know in gayspeak, just to please hostile strangers who do not want voices like ours to be heard and heeded.

    Are you going to apologise to me?

  38. David S says

    Please stop telling what I am *really* saying. I’m not going to argue for a proposition I didn’t advance

    Well this is the third time I have quoted your words from post 24, but here we go again.

    John Alllman said, and I am not paraphrasing…

    The probability of a woman being raped twice in a single evening, in two entirely unrelated incidents, would appear to be very low indeed. And yet that is what a jury believed had happened to one woman recently, convicting both accused men of rape.

    I am telling you that you really said that because, um, you really said it. And it’s wrong.

  39. StillGjenganger says

    @John Allman 40
    Do not take it too hard. That is just Raging being his usual, charming self. Anyone disagreeing with his beliefs is a moron, a liar, dishonest, or insane. He is not really answering you, he is just venting.

  40. says

    Good Gods, John, do you really think your righteous indignation is at all convincing?

    First, you CHOSE to talk about your personal experiences here, so you really don’t get to complain when others “dare” to respond to what you said.

    Second, no, none of us really “know” you — we just know what you said here, and we’re responding to that. If you don’t like the response you get, perhaps you should stop talking and inviting us to respond. (Oh, and you really don’t know us either.)

    Third, the difference between homosexuality and child sexual abuse is an objective and documented fact that has been widely discussed in numerous forums. According to YOUR OWN WORDS, what you are a victim of was child sexual abuse, not sexual attraction between two adult males. The fact that you were a victim of sexual abuse does NOT give you any superior right to engage in the homophobes’ standard practice of knowingly conflating those two very different things. This is something that is routinely done to demonize gay people who have done no wrong to anyone, adult or child. It is a falsehood, and your personal experiences do not make it less false.

  41. says

    Oh, and do you know who else tends to deliberately confuse homosexuality with child sexual abuse? The kind of right-wing authoritarians who enable child sexual abuse by right-wing religious authorities such as Muslim imams and Catholic priests and bishops. You may not care about this fact, John, but most of the people who equate homosexuality with child sexual abuse, are doing more to enable the latter than the actual homosexuals. Where are we seeing the worst instances of child sexual abuse? In the most ANTI-GAY institutions.

    You really need to step back and take a good look at which side you’re really on.

  42. John Allman says

    @ Raging Bee

    I have not, in my “OWN WORDS” (as you claim) said here that I am a “victim” of “child sex abuse”. I steadfastly refuse to self-identify as the “victim” of “child sex abuse”, no matter how much you bully, insult and patronise me. You are not going to get your own way on this. It’s my story. I tell it.

    I told a small part of my own life story, in my own words. You can tell your own story, in your own words. I won’t try to tell you that your story isn’t true, or that, silly you, you are using the wrong language to express the idea’s that I imagine are really what you are trying to get across. I haven’t called you a “liar”, or insinuated that you need your head tested. Whence you sense of entitlement to address me in such manner?

    Please stop trying to rewrite my story, in your words. Please also desist from the other socially unacceptable behaviours that you have inflicted upon me these past days. I am your equal, not inferior to you, Raging Bee. My point of view is as important as yours.

  43. David S says

    RB, you are indeed a bit out of order here. Like StillG, I agree about some of the points you have made, but you are posting with a lack of tact that is taking even me a little bit aback (and no one has ever given me any awards for tact and sensitivity in online discussions).

  44. says

    I have not, in my “OWN WORDS” (as you claim) said here that I am a “victim” of “child sex abuse”.

    Yes, you did — you referred to being “recruited” at the age of 11. By any sane definition, that’s “child sexual abuse,” and you went on to say you were a “victim” and a “survivor” of it. What else should we call it?

    It’s my story. I tell it.

    When you tell it in a way that involves defamatory propaganda, it’s not just “your story” anymore, it’s a defamatory falsehood that is known to harm innocent people, and that’s OUR issue to deal with, not just yours.

    And David S: Tact is a good thing, but I see no need to be tactful in the face of ignorant hateful homophobic rhetoric (especially since I was responding to such rhetoric in the first place). If someone else can more tactfully explain to this guy why he’s wrong to conflate homosexuality with child sexual abuse, then more power to them (or to you, if you’re willing to give it a try).

  45. John Allman says

    @ Raging Bee at 47

    “ignorant hateful homophobic rhetoric”

    I am getting fed up of this!

    I have checked. I have not described myself in this thread as a “victim” of anything. I have not mentioned my childhood, or claimed to have been sexually abused during it. (I have, however, mentioned one fact about my adolescence, that I was recruited in homosexuality at the age of eleven.)

    Whether my “homophobic” writing is “rhetoric” is neither here nor there. Your calling my words “rhetoric” , is rhetoric itself. What’s wrong with rhetoric?

    I have defamed nobody. I speak not from ignorance, but from knowledge. I have expressed hatred of nobody. I have not uttered a single “falsehood” that you can prove.

    Yet I have endured from you a barrage of everything Compuserve used to discourage its customers to indulge in, when I first started using online opportunities to comment: straw man argumentation against what I have never asserted in the first place, misquoting what I have said, making up quotes, and personal, ad hominem animosity.

    I am homophobic. I told everybody that ages ago. I made a conscientious and exceedingly well-informed decision to become homophobic when I was seventeen years old, years before that stupid put-down word had even been made up. I even told you why, and why mine wasn’t ignorant homophobia, but rather homophobia that was exceedingly well-informed. Exceedingly. If you have a problem with that, then that is YOUR problem, not mine.

    You seems to hate homophobic people. Do you? If so, then why is that any more acceptable a hatred to have filling your heart than (say) hating men, or women, or black people, or white people, or Christians, or Moslems, or any other group of people on the face of the earth?

    I have seen through your campaign against me. I have called you on your behaviour, Raging Bee. If you don’t want everybody reading this to think of you as a bad-tempered bigot, who hates homophobic people like me, or at least who certainly does not regard us as your equals, then you had better start apologising to me fast.

    I’ve been discussing issues online for twenty years. I know an artificial flame war when I see one. My motto is, ” Cet animal est très méchant: Quand on l’attaque, il se défend.” (This animal is very wicked. When attacked, it defends itself.) I would not have said anything against you as an individual, if you had not pushed me so far. You have posted message, after message, after message, aimed at me personally, containing made-up quotes, misrepresentations, insults etc etc. You appear to see nothing wrong with such behaviour, queen bee. You come across as having a massive sense of *entitlement*.

  46. says

    I have not described myself in this thread as a “victim” of anything.

    You described yourself as a “survivor of homosexuality,” implying that “homosexuality” is something you were a victim of, and managed to survive when you might otherwise have been killed. That’s describing yourself as a victim in pretty stark and unequivocal terms.

    I have not mentioned my childhood, or claimed to have been sexually abused during it. (I have, however, mentioned one fact about my adolescence, that I was recruited in homosexuality at the age of eleven.)

    Dude, you just contradicted yourself in one paragraph! Age 11 is “childhood,” and being “recruited in homosexuality” at that age sounds like either someone induced you into sex, or the phrase has no meaning at all. Seriously, if that wasn’t an act of what people nowadays call “grooming,” then what, exactly, was it?

    There are now THREE commenters on this thread (including StillG, who is clearly no friend or supporter of mine), who have noted your habit of saying something, then denying having said it when we respond to it — without making any attempt to clarify what you “really” said, or specify what we got wrong. This consistent dishonesty leads me to question whether ANYTHING you say can be taken at face value — including the story you insist on telling your way, while denying your own words at the same time.

    …straw man argumentation against what I have never asserted in the first place, misquoting what I have said, making up quotes, and personal, ad hominem animosity.

    Look up the meaning of those words: I did none of those things. You chose to identify yourself as a bigot (a homophobe to be exact), and then, to excuse your bigotry, chose to tell this vague story of something that sounded an awful lot like child sexual abuse, but then you deny it was abuse without clarifying what it was; and all I (and others) did was dispute your assertions.

    You seems to hate homophobic people. Do you? If so, then why is that any more acceptable a hatred to have filling your heart than (say) hating men, or women, or black people, or white people, or Christians, or Moslems, or any other group of people on the face of the earth?

    Seriously? Are you really trotting out that old BS about how people who oppose bigots are just as bad as the bigots? I hear this nearly every day from bigots of all stripes (racial, religious, sexual, ethnic, etc.), and it’s clearly nothing but crap. “People who oppose racism are the real racists,” and all that. Do you really think you’re fooling anyone here?

  47. StillGjenganger says

    @Raging 50

    There are now THREE commenters on this thread (including StillG, who is clearly no friend or supporter of mine), who have noted your habit of saying something, then denying having said it when we respond to it

    I have noted no such thing. I have one, specific query with John Allman, where we seem to disagree on the meaning of a specific, none-too-central phrase he wrote. And if you had kept out of it, we might even have that cleared up by now.

    I refuse on principle to discuss who I think is ‘consistently dishonest’. Just kindly stop claiming me in support of opinions I do not share.

  48. David S says

    @Raging and StillG

    I have noted no such thing. I have one, specific query with John Allman, where we seem to disagree on the meaning of a specific, none-too-central phrase he wrote.

    I have noted no such thing either. I had the same specific query as StillG. Even if I thought that John was being evasive on that topic, it would hardly amount to a habit. I suspect that if you (RB) were to stop ranting, then John would be able tell us how he actually did want that particular phrase to be interpreted and get back to the rather interesting and counter-intuitive statistics that are involved.

  49. says

    I have noted no such thing.

    Yes, you did, @37. Here’s what you said:

    But I, too, think that the words you wrote mean more or less what David S says they mean – and that is a matter for public discussion. So, if that is not what you meant to say, could you explain what you meant to say instead?

  50. says

    I suspect that if you (RB) were to stop ranting, then John would be able tell us how he actually did want that particular phrase to be interpreted…

    Oh please. Nothing I’m doing can stop him from clarifying his story, if he ever chooses to do so. He knows that, and so do we.

  51. says

    And yes, David S, you did note such a thing, @41, which ends with these words of yours:

    I am telling you that you really said that because, um, you really said it. And it’s wrong.

    Not sure why you’re suddenly trying to run away from your own words when they’re dead right.

  52. StillGjenganger says

    @Raging
    So now you are telling both David S and me that you know better than us what we are thinking???

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