Law School Discussion

INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #330 on: October 22, 2008, 03:00:25 PM »

The belief that violence is a reasonable and often necessary route to achieving our aims goes unquestioned in most societies. Violence is thought to be the nature of things. It's what works. It seems inevitable -- the last and, often, the first resort in conflicts. This Myth of Redemptive Violence is the real myth of the modern world. It, and not Judaism or Christianity or Islam, is the dominant religion in our society today.

Walter Wink, a professor of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in N.Y.C., in an article first published by Bible Society's Spring 1999 issue of The Bible in TransMission, further expalains that our very origin is violence. Killing is in our genes. Humanity is not the originator of evil, but merely finds evil already present and perpetuates it. Human beings are thus naturally incapable of peaceful coexistence. Order must continually be imposed upon us from on high: men over women, masters over slaves, priests over laity, aristocrats over peasants, rulers over people. Unquestioning obedience is the highest virtue, and order the highest religious value.

In short, the Myth of Redemptive Violence is the ideology of conquest. Ours is neither a perfect nor perfectible world, but a theater of perpetual conflict in which the prize goes to the strong. Peace through war, security through strength: these are the core convictions that arise from this ancient historical religion. The Babylonian myth is as universally present today as at any time in its long and bloody history. It is the dominant myth in contemporary America.


In the aftermath of World War I, which some optimists were calling the war to end all wars, the philosopher George Santayana demurred, "Only the dead have seen the end of war." This sort of fatalism is still widespread today, and it cuts across political affiliations. Whether they are hawks or doves, on the left or on the right, many people have come to accept war as inevitable, even "in our genes." The obvious problem with such fatalism is that it can become self-fulfilling. Our first step toward ending war must be to believe that we can do it.

We also need to come to grips with the scale of the problem. As far back as anthropologists have peered into human history and pre-history, they have found evidence of group bloodshed. In "War Before Civilization" Lawrence Keeley estimates that as many as 95% of primitive societies engaged in at least occasional warfare, and many fought constantly. Tribal combat usually involved skirmishes and ambushes rather than pitched battles. But over time the chronic fighting could produce mortality rates as high as 50%.

This violence, some scholars argue, is an inevitable consequence of innate male ambition and agression. "Males have evolved to possess strong appetites for power," the anthropologist Richard Wrangham contends in "Demonic Males," "because with extraodrinary power comes extraordinary reproductive success." As evidence for this hypothesis, Wrangham cites studies of societies such as the Yanomamo, an Amazonian tribe. Yanomamo men from different villages often engage in lethal raids and counter-raids. Like most tribal societies, the anthropologist Napoleon Chagnon, who has observed the Yanomamo for decades, found that killers on average have twice as many wives and three times as many children as non-killers.

But Chagnon, significantly, has rejected the notion that Yanomamo warriors are compelled to fight by their aggressive instincts. Truly compulsive, out-of-control killers, Chagnon explains, quickly get killed themselves rather than living long enough to have many wives and children. Successful warriors are usually quite contolled and calculating; they fight because that is how a male advances in their society. Moreover, many Yanomamo men have confessed to Chagnon that they loathe war and wish it could be abolished from their culture -- and in fact rates of violence have recently dropped dramatically as Yanomamo villages have accepted the laws and mores of the outside world.

In his classic book "On Agression," the biologist Konrad Lorenz acknowledged that it might be possible to "breed out the aggressive drive by eugenic planning." But that would be a huge mistake, Lorenz argued, because aggression is a vital part of our humanity. It plays a role in almost all human endeavors, including science, the arts, business, politics, and sports. Aggression can serve the cause of peace. There are, for example, some extremely aggressive peace activists.

Even if warfare is at least in part biologically based -- and what human behavior isn't? -- we cannot end it by altering our biology. Modern war is primarily a social and political phenomenon, and we need social and political solutions to end it. Many such solutions have been proposed, but all are problematic. One perennial plan is for all nations to yield power to a global institution that can enforce peace. This was the vision that inspired the League of Nations and the UN. But neither the US nor any other major power is likely to entrust its national security to an international entity any time soon. And even if we did, how would we ensure that a global military force does not become repressive?

One encouraging finding to emerge from political science is that democracies rarely, if ever, fight each other. But does that mean democracies such as the US should use military means to force countries with no democratic tradition to accept this form of governance? If history teaches us something, it is that war often begets more war. Religion has been prescribed as a solution to war and aggression. After all, most religions preach love and forgiveness, and they prohibit killing, at least in principle. But in practice, of course, religion has often inspired rather than inhibited bloodshed.

We will abolish war someday. The only questions are how, and how soon.


People should not look for step-by-step plans on how to be successful or happy; for one, you shouldn't expect to see a lecturing visiting your hometown anytime soon. Such is counterproductive to all one stands for and encourages. Trust You to know what's right and best. Take what feels right from this work of human respect and love, and use to own best advantage and benefit. Ignore the rest! You don't need someone to tell you how to live a meaningful and fulfilling life, as defined and desired by you. Our goal is to cut away extraneous crap so you can see for yourself what others have seen, admired, and respected about you; things that you may not have heard before, but may benefit from knowing.

Re: Suicide, practice of medicine, drugs, sex - Outside State Jurisdiction
« Reply #331 on: October 24, 2008, 05:47:23 PM »

[...] situations where a person receives different or contradictory messages. [...]


Right on the money! Consider, for instance, this scenario: you buy a dog and name him Stay. It's kinda fun, after all, to call him ... "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He will go insane. Over time, he'll probably just ignore you and keep typing.

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #332 on: October 24, 2008, 08:31:28 PM »

[...] situations where a person receives different or contradictory messages. [...]


Right on the money! Consider, for instance, this scenario: you buy a dog and name him Stay. It's kinda fun, after all, to call him ... "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He will go insane. Over time, he'll probably just ignore you and keep typing.


Great post, gate - Steven Wright has some awesome quotes indeed!

The Rorschach
« Reply #333 on: October 27, 2008, 05:25:42 PM »

[...] situations where a person receives different or contradictory messages. [...]


Right on the money! Consider, for instance, this scenario: you buy a dog and name him Stay. It's kinda fun, after all, to call him ... "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He will go insane. Over time, he'll probably just ignore you and keep typing.


Hahaha - so funny, gate! Anyway, your example showcases how a certain message carries 2  contradictory meanings - imagine prompts (be them words, pictures, whatever) that have several meanings, (even contradictory to one another, some completely neutral) and so on. The interpretative work of the analyst becomes very difficult, with the results of the analysis being quite questionable. Take for instance, the Rorschach test. Its inkblots are purportedly ambiguous, structureless entities which are to be given a clear structure by the interpreter.



Let's say a psychologist is showing you the first of 10 cards in the Rorschach inkblot test. Perhaps you see a fox's head, a bat, or a butterfly. That's good. The more straightforward, the better. It's okay to be creative if you can justify your response. But whatever you do, don't groan, get emotional, or make irrelevant comments. Don't put your hands on the cards to block out parts. And don't say you see nothing but an inkblot. This advice on how to achieve a normal score on a Rorschach test is given by the Fathers' Rights To Custody (FRTC) organization, which assists fathers involved in court custody battles. "The FRTC's position on the use of the Rorschach test is that it is an inappropriate and unreliable test for use in the context of a child custody evaluation," the organization says on its Web site. The value of the Rorschach inkblot test, a projective personality test that has been widely used for more than 8 decades, is being questioned by more than just disenfranchised fathers. In recent years, academics also have attacked the Rorschach, saying that it lacks scientific validity.

Scott O. Lilienfeld, associate professor of psychology at Emory, recently co-authored articles in the American Psychological Society's journal and in Scientific American questioning the use of the Rorschach test and other projective tools in clinical and legal settings. "Someone could lose custody largely on the basis of their Rorschach responses," Lilienfeld says. "Some clinicians use the Rorschach by itself to make diagnoses. The scientific evidence does not support this." The controversy made the front page of the New York Times science section, pitting critics against supporters of the Rorschach. "What's in an Inkblot?" asked the headline. "Some Say, Not Much." These aren't simply academic skirmishes over methods of interpretation: Lilienfeld and others are genuinely concerned about how these tests are applied–or misapplied, as the case may be. "The Rorschach tends to overpathologize," he says, "meaning it is more typical for a normal person to score as pathological than vice versa."

False diagnoses can have devastating consequences. As the most popular projective test, the Rorschach is administered to hundreds of thousands of people each year. In a survey of American Psychological Association members, 82% said they used the Rorschach "occasionally" and 43 percent "frequently." Results are used as an aid in diagnosing mental illness, deciding child custody and criminal cases, and evaluating prisoners' parole status. Although he has never had a private practice, Lilienfeld administered the Rorschach numerous times while in graduate school at the University of Minnesota ("a fact about which I now have some guilt," he says), and had a full course in its scoring and interpretation. "I can't say I found it especially helpful," he says. "Administering and scoring it probably heightened my skepticism." The Rorschach inkblot test was developed in the 1920s by Hermann Rorschach, a young Swiss psychologist who got the idea from a popular European parlor game that involved making inkblots and telling stories about them.

Like all projective tests, the Rorschach presents viewers with ambiguous images and asks them to interpret the images, thereby eliciting their thoughts, fears, motives, and fantasies. The 10 symmetrical inkblots used in the test (5 contain color, 5 are black and gray) are always the same, given in a specific order, and are supposed to be kept secret from the public to ensure "spontaneous" answers that give clues to people's personalities – and personality disorders. The Rorschach originally came under fire in the 1950s and '60s because it lacked standardized procedures for its administration and scoring. In the 1970s, experts came up with the Comprehensive System, a detailed set of instructions for delivering the test and interpreting the responses. But Lilienfeld and like-minded colleagues, including James M. Wood of the University of Texas at El Paso and Howard N. Garb of the University of Pittsburgh, say that even the revised version of the Rorschach still falls short on two important criteria: reliability and validity. Reliability is a measure of a test's capacity to produce similar results no matter who interprets or "grades" the responses. Validity means the test's results would be consistent with other tests that measure the same traits.

"When it comes to projective techniques, you often can't make strong scientific or empirical claims," Lilienfeld says. "And you should either be able to show that they work, or be open with clients that you’re not using scientific methods." Irving B. Weiner, a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the University of South Florida and president of the International Rorschach Society, says the Rorschach test is widely used around the world by competent professionals to detect disorders like schizophrenia and depression and there are abundant journal articles and research supporting it. "Three or four people are churning out all these articles saying they don't think the Rorschach is any good," he says, "but they aren't giving an even-handed review of the literature." Weiner agrees the Rorschach test alone shouldn't be used to make determinations of child custody or other legal matters. "Nor should any other single test. That's not what it's for," he says. "It is intended to identify aspects of how people function. It's helpful because it can identify things people don't talk about."

Evaluators of the Rorschach score responses on more than a hundred characteristics, including whether the viewer looked at the whole blot or just parts, whether the detected images were unusual, and whether images were seen in the blot itself or in the white background. Projective tests like the Rorschach, the TAT (Thematic Apperception Test), which features cards with drawings of ambiguous situations, mostly featuring people, and the Draw-A-Person (clients are asked to draw a person of the same sex and the opposite sex) can take hours to administer and score, and rely heavily on examiner interpretation and, in some part, intuition. Lilienfeld and his colleagues say until better projective tests are constructed, clinicians would do well to stick to methods that have been proven both valid and reliable–such as self-report questionnaires like the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2) and structured psychiatric interviews. Even if the Rorschach is used solely as a therapeutic tool, there is still potential for abuse, Lilienfeld cautions. "People coming in to psychotherapy are vulnerable," he says. "They are looking for solutions, for answers to problems, and desire to believe that therapy will yield important truths." Perhaps the Rorschach test can, as claimed, provide an "X-ray of the mind." But, asks Lilienfeld, whose mind: that of the client or the examiner?

http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=k6-NvT1I278C&dq=interpretation+rorschach&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=C1-MjWeDrD&sig=ObKuYSxWJkOZxArUfRZQw_mZkLc&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result#PPP1,M1

Misuse of Psychological Tests in Forensic Settings: Some Horrible Examples
« Reply #334 on: October 27, 2008, 08:51:59 PM »
You can read about Misuse of Rorschach here:

http://www.deltabravo.net/custody/misuse.php

And for the fun of it, you can take the test here:

http://theinkblot.com/

Re: The Rorschach
« Reply #335 on: October 28, 2008, 02:46:49 PM »



[...] This advice on how to achieve a normal score on a Rorschach test is given by the Fathers' Rights To Custody (FRTC) organization, which assists fathers involved in court custody battles. "The FRTC's position on the use of the Rorschach test is that it is an inappropriate and unreliable test for use in the context of a child custody evaluation," the organization says on its Web site. The value of the Rorschach inkblot test, a projective personality test that has been widely used for more than 8 decades, is being questioned by more than just disenfranchised fathers. In recent years, academics also have attacked the Rorschach, saying that it lacks scientific validity.

[...]


In any event, I don't think courts would accept the Rorschach as the only test on which to decide as to the propriety of a parent being given the custody of the children. I mean, sometimes people exaggerate when they say they lost the custody battle "solely because of a test."

"Top Gun"
« Reply #336 on: October 28, 2008, 05:09:32 PM »

Could Tom Cruise Sue "South Park" For Suggesting He is Gay? And Even If He Could, Should He?


Here it is the entire thing

Could Tom Cruise Sue "South Park" For Suggesting He is Gay? And Even If He Could, Should He?

By JULIE HILDEN
julhil@aol.com



Tuesday, Dec. 06, 2005

A recent episode of the television animated comedy "South Park" mocked Tom Cruise -- suggesting that he is homosexual, and lying to hide that fact. Could Cruise bring a defamation suit against the show? In the past, Cruise has sued those who have made the very same claim. Indeed, when Cruise was married to Nicole Kidman, the couple made a point of doing so: In 1997, Kidman told Ladies' Home Journal that when reports claimed their marriage was a sham, "[W]e are going to sue over it. It gets to a point where you have to protect your children." Now that Cruise is set to marry Katie Holmes, who's pregnant with his child, it seems unlikely that he will take a different view. Could Cruise successfully sue "South Park"? And more broadly, should he continue his campaign of directly combating the claim that he's homosexual, or rethink the ethics of bringing such lawsuits?

The South Park Episode: Treading the Boundary of Parody and Satire

The relevant "South Park" episode -- entitled "Trapped in the Closet" -- self-consciously skirts the outermost edges of the First Amendment's protection for parody. A court would probably deem it constitutionally protected, but only barely. Defamation requires a "statement of fact" -- and for this reason, most parody, because of its fictional nature, falls outside defamation law by definition. But this is the rare parody that, fairly read, does make a statement of fact. In the episode, the animated version of Cruise literally goes into a closet, and won't come out. Other characters beg him to "come out of the closet," including the animated version of his ex-wife, Nicole Kidman. The Kidman character promises Cruise that if he comes out of the closet, neither she nor "Katie" will judge him. But the Cruise character claims he isn't "in the closet," even though he plainly is. No one could miss that the episode's creators are taking a stance and making a statement -- that the real Cruise is gay and hiding it. The use of the euphemism "in the closet" -- used to refer to someone who is homosexual but who has not admitted his or her homosexuality to friends, family, or the public -- is transparent. Interestingly, the episode itself indicates that its creators know well that they may be defaming Cruise, and they know of his litigious history. The joke disclaimer preceding the episode announces that "All characters and events on this show -- even those based on real persons -- are entirely fictional." At the end of the episode, the Cruise character threatens to bring a suit (not on the gay issue, but in defense of Scientology) "in England" -- which lacks a formal equivalent of the First Amendment. And all the credits at the end use the pseudonyms "John Smith" and "Jane Smith." Since the episode does indeed make a "statement of fact," the parody exception to defamation law won't save "South Park." Thus, the creators' only weapon against a possible suit by Cruise is a First Amendment defense. Fortunately for them, the Supreme Court has interpreted the defense very broadly.

The Broad First Amendment Protection for Parody and Satire

In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music Inc., Justice Souter, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, found that a 2 Live Crew song counted as parody. In so doing, Justice Souter quoted then-U.S. District Judge Pierre Leval as follows: "First Amendment protections do not apply only to those who speak clearly, whose jokes are funny, and whose parodies succeed." On this logic, the First Amendment gives breathing room to creative works even when they fail in their goals. Thus, here, the "South Park" episode is protected even if its literalization of the "in the closet" metaphor won't make a single viewer chuckle. The point is that it was at least trying to make people laugh. And probably, the very silliness of the literalization -- the fact that it was the least creative thing the creators possibly could have done -- did indeed amuse some viewers. "South Park's" appeal, after all, isn't its subtlety. But does it make a different that Cruise's would be a defamation case? Judge Leval originally stated this principle in the trademark context. And when Justice Souter applied this principle in the Campbell case, he did so in the copyright context.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPTk_C5wmsg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Si-Kzw_MNI&feature=related

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #337 on: October 30, 2008, 03:35:15 PM »

[...] situations where a person receives different or contradictory messages. [...]


Right on the money! Consider, for instance, this scenario: you buy a dog and name him Stay. It's kinda fun, after all, to call him ... "Come here, Stay! Come here, Stay!" He will go insane. Over time, he'll probably just ignore you and keep typing.


;)

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #338 on: November 04, 2008, 08:53:41 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPTk_C5wmsg&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Si-Kzw_MNI&feature=related


That's what I don't get, res, they go ahead and shoot the principal role in gay movies like these, and then try to have courts establish their being "straight"! Jesus M o t h e r @ # ! * i n g Christ!

did

Re: INSTITUTIONAL DENIAL ABOUT THE DARK SIDE OF LAW SCHOOL
« Reply #339 on: November 06, 2008, 11:26:16 AM »

It was Freud who first described the marriage between sensuality and organized violence -- e.g., the law school thinking way. "Libido" refers not only to the sexual drive, but to all aggressive acts. In his dual instinct theory, Freud stated that libido and aggression come under broader biological principles Eros (love) and Thanatos (death and self-destruction). More recent psychological theorists suggest that war -- including a nation's insatiable hunger for military power and the passion for armaments -- arises from a deep-seated fear of death, a fear that is, naturally, basic to the human condition. This death fear creates the paradoxical situation where institutionalized murder (war, capital punishment, "right to bear arms," mob violence, legitimized military statism) grows out of something known as "radical pain."

According to this theory, there are three types of pain:

- Physical pain (old age, sickness, and dying);
- Emotional pain (being away from a loved one, being forced to be with people one hates); and
- Radical pain (knowledge -- or fear of knowledge -- of the intransigence of life, and one's own inevitable move towards chaos and entropy).

In other words, the lunacy of a Hitler or a Pol Pot (or even America's own militarists) grows out of an unacknowledged and unrecognized terror of the inevitable, the most inevitable fact of life. Namely, death.


Combine these two things: an irrational world and a person who's looking out at it and trying to make it rational. You've experienced that kind of feeling at least once -- you're sitting at your desk and looking at the circus around you, thinking, "I'm the only sane one here." This is how human beings as a group look out onto the world. But humans don't just think that they're the sane ones; they also try to impose that sanity and order on the circus around them. The world laughs at them when they do this -- and this absurdity.