Monday, November 9, 2009

Its Called a Conjecture

Conjecture: a proposition which is presumed to be real, true, or genuine, mostly based on inconclusive grounds.

Two items struck me as a little bit misleading.

Police report says wrong-way driver a pot smoker
Hasan linked to 9/11 hijackers
So one would resonably conclude that:

  1. Pot was involved
  2. Hasan was involved with the 9/11 hijackers
Oh...but not so fast:

The report says Diane Schuler's husband told police his wife "smoked marijuana once in a while to relieve the stress of work and the kids."

The alleged Fort Hood shooter apparently attended the same Virginia mosque as two Sept. 11 hijackers in 2001, at a time when a radical imam preached there

What is not in the report is:

  1. Was Schuler under the influence of marijuana at the time of the accident?
  2. Did Hasan meet with the hijackers? Has anyone else who attended that mosque done anything similar?

Here's the problem. Smoking pot may or may not have anything to do with the accident. There is no evidence to report that it did. What one has done in the past has nothing to do with what one does now. These things are independent of one another. The probability may increase but the reality is that it either did or it did not contribute. Without evidence that it did, we have a paper guilty of conjecture.

The same holds true with the company one keeps or the places one attends. Didn't we learn anything from McCarthyism? The probability that his attendance at this mosque may have fueled his agression, but that was eight years ago. If the only "link" to 9/11 is attendance, then lets go after anyone that also attended that mosque at that time.

What is truth and what is hyperbole is lost when the media does not keep its self in check.

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