Ethics Dunce: CBS Tampa

Today’s canine bigotry, misinformation and blatantly terrible reporting prize goes to the CBS affiliate in Tampa. It reported a story involving  a man who left a 10-month old baby alone in a home to go out drinking, with only a dog in charge of the child. But the CBS headline was “Man Leaves Pit Bull To Babysit Infant Child,” and included this stock photo of a snarling pit bull:

FILES - Picture taken 24 August 2000 inThe implication of both the headline and the photo is that the child’s peril was increased by its being left alone with a vicious dog. Actually, the child was probably safer with a pit bull than any other breed: this is a breed, after all, that was known as “the nanny dog” for much of the 20th Century. If the mention of the breed had been intended as possible mitigation for the jerk that left the baby without human supervision, that might be legitimate reporting, but what CBS did was pure sensationalism and distortion based on the ignorance of the reporter and the editor. The headline invoked the irrational fear of pit bulls, based on ignorance stoked by reporting like CBS’s. The photo didn’t depict the actual dog involved, which just as easily might look like this…

smiling-pit-bull-dog

… and was intentionally chosen to create the impression that the man, in addition to deserting the baby, left it at the mercy of a dangerous beast. Would the headline have mentioned the breed of dog if it had been a Labrador or a poodle? The breed was only relevant to the story if you believe that it placed the child in more danger than just being left home alone. Journalism is supposed to make us better informed, not more ignorant than we already are. This requires, however, responsible and intelligent journalists.

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Source and Graphic: CBS

25 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: CBS Tampa

  1. It may be a good baby sitter but I’m a little skeptical of the idea of “irrational fear of pit bulls”. If you look at the fatal dog attacks it stands out as the most common killer in recent years. With such massive jaw and neck muscle it is dangerous because it can do a lot of harm, regardless of it’s temperament, (which I believe is rather average).

    And a dog comes with an owner. Who picks from over 150 breeds the one that people fear the most? Just an average guy? I got this from Wikipedia,

    “Several studies have determined that pit bull owners and owners of other “vicious” or “high risk” breeds (most commonly identified as Akita, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, and Wolf-mix) are more likely to have criminal convictions and are more likely to display antisocial behaviors. A 2006 study comparing owners of “high risk” dogs to owners of “low risk” dogs. “High risk” dogs included “vicious” dogs by breed (e.g., Pit Bulls) or “vicious” actions (e.g., any dog that had bitten, attacked or killed a person or other animal). The study determined that “high risk” dog owners had nearly 10 times as many criminal convictions then those of “low risk” dog owners.[46] A 2009[47] and a followup 2012[48] study generally supported these conclusions.”

    No doubt, these owners do not attempt to make their dogs extra friendly towards other people.

    • Don’t be skeptical; do some basic research. The topic is well covered on this blog, and covered more thoroughly elsewhere. Your post is filled with misinformation, and that’s all there is to it.
      1. “If you look at the fatal dog attacks it stands out as the most common killer in recent years.” Not a substantiatable statement. Anywhere from four to eight breeds are commonly called “pit bulls.” No one of the breeds has that many attacks attributed to it, or more than many other breeds—and we’re not talking about a large number. The stats are worthless. This is a myth.
      2. “Who picks from over 150 breeds the one that people fear the most?” What a dumb question! Who picks the breed that dog experts agree is one of the most loyal, gentlest, most protective and intelligent breeds there is? People who know their dogs.
      3. “Several studies have determined that pit bull owners and owners of other “vicious” or “high risk” breeds (most commonly identified as Akita, Chow Chow, Doberman Pinscher, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, and Wolf-mix) are more likely to have criminal convictions and are more likely to display antisocial behaviors.” So what do you think this proves about the dogs? There’s nothing in the article that shows that the idiot who abandoned the baby has a prison record or is violent, and there’s nothing other than the general breed to suggest the dog is. Do you realize what a tautology this is? The dog is vicious because people who own such dogs like to own vicious dogs. It has nothing to do with the actual story at all. This is classic bigot’s logic.
      4. No doubt, you have no idea what you are talking about. If you want to train a dog to be dangerous, a pit bull is a good, and unconscionable, a choice a s any. So are about 50 other breeds. The fact that they, or any dog, can be trained or abused to be untrustworthy does not make the breed untrustworthy. Any dog legitimate expert will tell you that a pit bull is as good a family dog as there is. You and people like you are the reason I flagged the story.

      • Jack,
        The guy in the report is an idiot.
        But your ”Actually, the child was probably safer with a pit bull than any other breed: this is a breed, after all, that was known as “the nanny dog” for much of the 20th Century. is ridiculous.
        1) It was unsafe to leave the child alone, to say the dog was watching the child is absurd, it doesn’t matter the breed.
        2) To say the child was probably safer with the pit than any other breed is not supportable, it is easily arguable the reverse.
        3) There is no justifying his actions but the Pit was part of the story as HE tried to do just that by saying the dog was watching the child.
        Your response to Staffan is inaccurate despite your claims. I am a dog owner; one of mine is a “vicious” breed. I don’t support breed bans and I had the misfortune of having to sit on a panel to decide on one of these breed bans.
        1. 1. “If you look at the fatal dog attacks it stands out as the most common killer in recent years.” Not a substantiatable statement. Anywhere from four to eight breeds are commonly called “pit bulls.” No one of the breeds has that many attacks attributed to it, or more than many other breeds—and we’re not talking about a large number. The stats are worthless. This is a myth.”
        You are perpetuating the true myth; there is plenty of evidence that Pit bulls regardless of name/mix are leading the pack in fatalities, granted your chances of dying by any number of other fluke instances is far greater, the original statement is not in fact false. During the panel the experts were dueling over cause, the fact was Pits lead in deaths, not one expert presented to the panel on either side disputed this. I am convinced many of my fellow members where turned because the Pit and “vicious” breed Advocates time and time again tried to justify the dogs action and victim blame. The panel originally did not feel the numbers warranted any action, they were turned over the course of two weeks and to this day I lay it at the feet of the Pit advocates.

        As for the rest of the comment I don’t have time to reply but will try this weekend.

        • 1. “But your ”Actually, the child was probably safer with a pit bull than any other breed: this is a breed, after all, that was known as “the nanny dog” for much of the 20th Century. is ridiculous.”

          It was, in fact, the nanny dog, and was, in fact, the dog of choice for caring for children in the US. That’s not ridiculous. It’s a matter of historical fact, and thoroughly documented.

          2. “It was unsafe to leave the child alone, to say the dog was watching the child is absurd, it doesn’t matter the breed.” Which is what I wrote. CBS made the breed central to the crime. It was unrelated to the crime.

          3. “To say the child was probably safer with the pit than any other breed is not supportable, it is easily arguable the reverse.” Not according to the head of Animal Rescue in DC, as well as the hosts of “Animal House” on PBS, and many others. When asked by a caller which breed provided both protection and family-friendly qualities, these experts answered—multiple times—pit bulls.

          4. “There is no justifying his actions but the Pit was part of the story as HE tried to do just that by saying the dog was watching the child.” No, the dog was part of teh story. The fact that it was a pit bull was irrelevant to the supposed danger the child was in, and again, IF just a dog was going to be between a baby and danger, a pit bull would be a good one to have. You can’t disagree with this.

          5. “Your response to Staffan is inaccurate despite your claims. I am a dog owner; one of mine is a “vicious” breed.”
          What’s a “vicious breed”? There is no such thing, in fact. That was my point. The fact that a particular breed or group of breeds may be chosen more likely than others by irresponsible thugs and dog abusers who seek to make the dogs vicious does NOT make the breed vicious.

          6. “There is plenty of evidence that Pit bulls regardless of name/mix are leading the pack in fatalities.

          What do you mean, “regardless of name/mix”? Are you talking one breed, or ten? Why can’t I lump Rotties, Shepherds and Pinschers together, then? I’ve seen the stats. Tell me: which breed are you referring to? The lists I’ve seen, at best, combine multiple breeds into “pit bull terriers,” including Staffordshire Terriers, American Bulldogs, American pit bull terriers and more. The stats reflect 1) a larger number of dogs than most breeds, and 2) the fact that the various pit bull breeds are dogs of choice for dog-fighters and drug thugs. That’s where the bigotry comes in. It is no different from arguing that because a disproportional of African Americans commit crimes, it is rational to fear African Americans. Show me the statistic measuring single breed attack stats for household pets that aren’t abused or trained to attack, by percentage of dogs counted. There isn’t one, but that’s the only stat that is relevant to this discussion—apples and oranges. Compare poodles that live in Beverley Hills with street trained attack dogs? Yeah, I guess that would show pit bulls as “more dangerous.”

          7. “During the panel the experts were dueling over cause, the fact was Pits lead in deaths, not one expert presented to the panel on either side disputed this.” Let me be clear—the stats are flawed and they are meaningless anyway. Let’s stipulate that a lot of pit bull breeds are trained to kill, and there are a lot of more of them than most breeds. It still makes pit bulls as a breed no more dangerous than collies.

          8. “I am convinced many of my fellow members where turned because the Pit and “vicious” breed Advocates time and time again tried to justify the dogs action and victim blame.” That’s a different issue. A lot of dog attack victims are at fault, but that’s not the issue here, and that doesn’t address the “viciousness” issue. Pits are NOT vicious, unless someone sets out to make them that way. Dog experts will unanimously agree with that statement, and the CBS report perpetrated the MYTH that otherwise is the truth.

      • With such massive jaw and neck muscle it is dangerous because it can do a lot of harm, regardless of it’s temperament, (which I believe is rather average).

        How does that compare to other dogs of similar size and build?

  2. “Anywhere from four to eight breeds are commonly called “pit bulls.” No one of the breeds has that many attacks attributed to it, or more than many other breeds—and we’re not talking about a large number. The stats are worthless. This is a myth.”

    So we have a few breeds that are collectively referred to as pit bulls. Doesn’t really change anything, does it? No breed has killed a lot of people but when dogs referred to as pit bulls topping the list year after year. If that’s a myth then it is also a huge coincidence.

    “Who picks the breed that dog experts agree is one of the most loyal, gentlest, most protective and intelligent breeds there is? People who know their dogs.”

    Maybe, you have any research on that. There is research showing that owners of pit bulls and other high risk dogs have 10 times as many convictions as owners of low risk dogs.

    “So what do you think this proves about the dogs? There’s nothing in the article that shows that the idiot who abandoned the baby has a prison record or is violent, and there’s nothing other than the general breed to suggest the dog is. Do you realize what a tautology this is? The dog is vicious because people who own such dogs like to own vicious dogs. It has nothing to do with the actual story at all. This is classic bigot’s logic.”

    Note that I was objecting to the idea that a fear of pit bulls is irrational. I wasn’t commenting on this particular story. This is a straw man – not a bigot’s logic. And if people who own such dogs are vicious they will turn their dogs vicious. And that’s a rational reason to fear the dogs.

    “No doubt, you have no idea what you are talking about. If you want to train a dog to be dangerous, a pit bull is a good, and unconscionable, a choice a s any. So are about 50 other breeds. The fact that they, or any dog, can be trained or abused to be untrustworthy does not make the breed untrustworthy. Any dog legitimate expert will tell you that a pit bull is as good a family dog as there is. You and people like you are the reason I flagged the story.”

    But their anatomy, the big jaw and neck muscle means it will do more damage when aggressive than the average. Note also that I haven’t said that the breed is “untrustworthy” or aggressive or anything like that. Nor does it follow from anything I’ve said here. (In fact, I said I believed it had an rather average temperament. You on the other hand got angry pretty easily.)

    • Ugh.

      “So we have a few breeds that are collectively referred to as pit bulls. Doesn’t really change anything, does it? No breed has killed a lot of people but when dogs referred to as pit bulls topping the list year after year. If that’s a myth then it is also a huge coincidence.”

      We have breeds that are erroneously lumped together as pit-bulls. The American pit bull is a breed—it is also a great family dog. What’s the coincidence? If dog bite statistics are used for one breed, except in the case of a breed that also gets blamed for the attacks by 4-8 other breeds, how does this prove anything but ignorance by those who take and read the statistics?

      “There is research showing that owners of pit bulls and other high risk dogs have 10 times as many convictions as owners of low risk dogs.” So WHAT? If they all owned dachshunds, would that prove dachshunds are dangerous as a breed? It’s an absurd argument.

      “Note that I was objecting to the idea that a fear of pit bulls is irrational.”
      It is, in fact, irrational. There is nothing about the breed that makes it more dangerous than any other breed. Basing fears on rumors, ignorance of dog breeds and bad stats is, by definition, irrational.

      “I wasn’t commenting on this particular story.” Your comment on the story wasn’t a comment on the story? Silly me.

      “This is a straw man – not a bigot’s logic. And if people who own such dogs are vicious they will turn their dogs vicious. And that’s a rational reason to fear the dogs.” What’s a straw man? People who want to own vicious dogs take dogs and make them vicious. That proves nothing about the dogs themselves. Vicious people also tend to have vicious children. It is rational to be afraid of children?

      “But their anatomy, the big jaw and neck muscle means it will do more damage when aggressive than the average. Note also that I haven’t said that the breed is “untrustworthy” or aggressive or anything like that. Nor does it follow from anything I’ve said here. (In fact, I said I believed it had an rather average temperament. You on the other hand got angry pretty easily.”

      Yes, and if I’m trained by a vicious criminal, I might bite you. If pit bulls have, as you say, average temperment for dogs—they actually have better than average temperment—then enhanced fear of them is irrational, which is where we started. Your description on a dog whose bit will do more “damage than average” fits well over a hundred breeds. I owned an English Mastiff, which has jaws, a neck and size far more powerful than any pit bull that ever lived. She weighed over 160 pounds and could put her paws on my shoulders. Would fear of this mastiff be rational? It fits all your criteria, you know. Except that mastiffs are the most gentle dogs that live; except that people who are afraid of them are ignorant of the breed. Yes, if a violent person trained such a dog to be vicious, it would be unbelievably dangerous, and to you, this means that fear of my dog, which was not trained to be vicious, would be rational.

      Your whole argument is irrational, from beginning to end. Bigotry means attributing to a group undesirable features of some individuals that are members of this group. It is irrational. An that is the whole premise of your argument—people are right to fear pit bulls, because some dogs confused with pit bulls can be trained to be dangerous.

  3. “We have breeds that are erroneously lumped together as pit-bulls. The American pit bull is a breed—it is also a great family dog. What’s the coincidence? If dog bite statistics are used for one breed, except in the case of a breed that also gets blamed for the attacks by 4-8 other breeds, how does this prove anything but ignorance by those who take and read the statistics?”

    Even if this was the case – which you haven’t established – my point is that some breeds have a typical anatomy that enable them to do a lot of damage. For this reason they are selected by owners who display more criminal and antisocial behavior than owners of low risk dogs – according to research. That’s the two factors that make these dogs dangerous – anatomy and owners. Again, nothing about temperament.

    “So WHAT? If they all owned dachshunds, would that prove dachshunds are dangerous as a breed? It’s an absurd argument.”

    If they did then dachshunds would display signs of bad ownership as well but still be less dangerous than high risk dogs due to their anatomy.

    “There is nothing about the breed that makes it more dangerous than any other breed. Basing fears on rumors, ignorance of dog breeds and bad stats is, by definition, irrational.”

    Yes, there is – anatomy and the fact that many have criminal owners and behave accordingly.

    “What’s a straw man?”

    It’s when someone debates something that their opponent hasn’t said. You defend your interpretation of the story in the article as if I had commented on it – that’s the straw man in this case.

    “People who want to own vicious dogs take dogs and make them vicious. That proves nothing about the dogs themselves. Vicious people also tend to have vicious children. It is rational to be afraid of children?”

    The dog you encounter in real life usually has an owner which reflects in its behavior. If they pick some breeds over others it does tell us something about them. What you refer to as “the dogs themselves” aren’t encountered in real life, since they come with an owner.

    As for the analogy between parent/child and owner/dog it’s just flawed in so many ways I don’t know where to start.

    “Yes, and if I’m trained by a vicious criminal, I might bite you. If pit bulls have, as you say, average temperment for dogs—they actually have better than average temperment—then enhanced fear of them is irrational, which is where we started.”

    No we are not back where we started. You are stuck on the assumption that my argument rests on temperament even though I have pointed out and explained how that is not the case.

    “Would fear of this mastiff be rational? It fits all your criteria, you know. Except that mastiffs are the most gentle dogs that live; except that people who are afraid of them are ignorant of the breed.”

    Again with the breed argument… Like I said earlier it’s the combination of anatomy and ownership that make for a high risk dog. The Mastiff has one of these, anatomy. I can’t put a number on how dangerous that would make it.

    “Bigotry means attributing to a group undesirable features of some individuals that are members of this group. It is irrational. An that is the whole premise of your argument—people are right to fear pit bulls, because some dogs confused with pit bulls can be trained to be dangerous.”

    I’ve said it is rational to fear these dogs, for statistical reasons. I have not attibuted features (other than anatomy) to the group. Not explicitly and not implicitly. I can’t logically conclude that from anything I’ve said here. The fact that some dogs are confused with pit bulls doesn’t change anything as I said earlier – it’s still a matter of dogs having a certain anatomy and attracting certain owners, and pit bulls are one of these.

    “Yes, if a violent person trained such a dog to be vicious, it would be unbelievably dangerous, and to you, this means that fear of my dog, which was not trained to be vicious, would be rational.”

    No it wouldn’t since I say it’s a combination of anatomy and bad ownership and for the sake of argument I assume you have trained your dog well. So you don’t have the combination.

    And if you want to discuss further about the breed, then you should do that with someone who talks about that topic – I never did.

    • I KNOW what a straw man is—you just haven’t identified one. When someone comments on a post, I reasonably assume that the comment is related to the post, and take the comment in that context.

      Again, arguing that a BREED is dangerous because someone can make an individual member of that breed dangerous through training is a non sequitur. Thus, in your view, large men and muscular women are inherently dangerous, as such people are often recruited and trained as bouncers, body guards, and assassins.

    • “I’ve said it is rational to fear these dogs, for statistical reasons.” If that is true, then you believe it is rational to fear blacks and Hispanics for statistical reasons. That’s bigotry, and that is indeed where we started.

    • Even if this was the case – which you haven’t established – my point is that some breeds have a typical anatomy that enable them to do a lot of damage. For this reason they are selected by owners who display more criminal and antisocial behavior than owners of low risk dogs – according to research. That’s the two factors that make these dogs dangerous – anatomy and owners. Again, nothing about temperament.

      It’s more likely that a random pit bull you meet on the street is dangerous than that a random retriever you meet on the street is dangerous. Yes. But, that isn’t relevant to the discusssion. A well cared for pitbull isn’t more dangerout than a well cared for german shepherd. If Pit bulls are banned, then people who want vicious animals will just train other dogs to be vicious. The issue is with the owner, not the breed of dog.

      Yes, there is [something about the breed that makes it more dangerous than any other breed] – anatomy and the fact that many have criminal owners and behave accordingly.

      The first is technically true, but silly. It doesn’t matter if breed x is more dangerous than breed y so long as breed x is safe on its own. The second is flat out false. If bad people own more of a specific brand of swiss army knife than good people, that doesn’t mean that that specific knife is more dangerous than other knives.

      I have not attibuted features (other than anatomy) to the group. Not explicitly and not implicitly. I can’t logically conclude that from anything I’ve said here.

      You have attributed tempermentality to the dogs. You used invalid logic to get there, but you did it. What’s worse than someone who uses invalid logic to claim X? Someone who uses invalid logic to claim X, and then pretends they didn’t claim X.

      • Addendum to the first point. If the story had been “family leaves 10 month old with random black bum to go out drinking”, there’s no question this would be racist and perpetuate an irrational stereotype that blacks are more dangerous than whites….even though black people do commit disproportionately more violent crimes than whites. There’s no reason for the “black” in my fictional story (the problem is that it was a random bum), just like there’s no reason to call out pitbulls in the real story (the problem is that it was a dog).

        If you go to a good neighborhood, the chance any specific black person is going to commit a crime against you is roughly the same as any specific white person. If you go to a really bad neighborhood, the chance any specific black person is going to commit a crime against you is roughly the same as any specific white person there. There’s no reason to fear whites over blacks in either circumstance, and the same goes for pit bulls. If you’re around vicious people and criminals, fearing dogs might make sense. If you’re not, then fearing dogs definitely doesn’t.

      • “It’s more likely that a random pit bull you meet on the street is dangerous than that a random retriever you meet on the street is dangerous. Yes. But, that isn’t relevant to the discusssion. A well cared for pitbull isn’t more dangerout than a well cared for german shepherd. If Pit bulls are banned, then people who want vicious animals will just train other dogs to be vicious. The issue is with the owner, not the breed of dog.”

        The relevance to the discussion is depending on what I said, since I don’t defend straw men. So here is what I said for the umpteenth time: it’s rational to fear pit bulls since their anatomy and bad owners increase the probability that they will attack people. It’s possible that the German Shepherd also has an anatomy that makes it more dangerous, but it seems clear that a Chihuahua will not harm or kill as easily.

        “The second is flat out false. If bad people own more of a specific brand of swiss army knife than good people, that doesn’t mean that that specific knife is more dangerous than other knives.”

        If Swiss army knives became very popular with criminals and they wore them unconcealed then I and a lot of other people would be cautious if we met someone carrying such a knife. It would be stupid to ignore such information.

        “You have attributed tempermentality to the dogs. You used invalid logic to get there, but you did it. What’s worse than someone who uses invalid logic to claim X? Someone who uses invalid logic to claim X, and then pretends they didn’t claim X.”

        Temperament is not relevant to my discussion. I merely said that it was average precisely to point out the lack of relevance. And what logic did I use to get there? I never made an argument of that – only about anatomy and ownership. What’s worse? Someone who attributes false claims to his opponent when any person can read for themselves that this is a blatant lie. That’s who.

        • What you said vs Strawman

          See my addendum for why your comment was crap. Oh wait. You did. You just ignored it.

          Knife

          Sure, but that makes the person more dangerous, not the knife.

          Temperment Argument

          Ownership isn’t actually a direct issue. You use ownership to get to temperment to make it relevent. For example: “And if people who own such dogs are vicious they will turn their dogs vicious. And that’s a rational reason to fear [all] the dogs. ”

          There you go.

  4. “I KNOW what a straw man is—you just haven’t identified one. When someone comments on a post, I reasonably assume that the comment is related to the post, and take the comment in that context.”

    Since you defend your interpretation of the article which I never commented on, it seems that defense is directed at a very typical straw man.

    “Again, arguing that a BREED is dangerous because someone can make an individual member of that breed dangerous through training is a non sequitur. Thus, in your view, large men and muscular women are inherently dangerous, as such people are often recruited and trained as bouncers, body guards, and assassins.”

    Again, I argue that the combination of anatomy – only part of the breed and not necessarily related to temperamnt – and bad owners make some dogs dangerous. So it’s a non sequitur but also a straw man. I’ve said this many times now. You simply won’t or can’t understand my argument.

    Also the analogy between dogs and humans remains seriously flawed. The basic relations between dog-human, human-human is different in so many ways.

    Me earlier,
    I’ve said it is rational to fear these dogs, for statistical reasons.

    “If that is true, then you believe it is rational to fear blacks and Hispanics for statistical reasons. That’s bigotry, and that is indeed where we started.”

    If all you know about a person is that he is a member of a group that is heavily overrepresented in violent crime, then yes, you have reason to be cautious. For this reason taxi drivers in New York avoid picking up young black men. A lot of them are themselves black and hardly any are white.

    It’s like Jesse Jackson sadly admitted, “There is nothing more painful for me at this stage in my life than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—[and] then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

    • If all you know about a person is that he is a member of a group that is heavily overrepresented in violent crime, then yes, you have reason to be cautious. For this reason taxi drivers in New York avoid picking up young black men. A lot of them are themselves black and hardly any are white.

      Even with heavily misrepresented groups, the chance of any individual acting criminally against you on any given interaction is miniscule. Standing alone, it’s rational bypass a .001% chance for a .0001% chance of bad. Decisions to avoid picking up black men or to shy away from hispanics, though, are not in a vaccuum. it doesn’t take much negative affect of bigotry to overcome the difference.

      Also, did you know that religiosity correlates with violent crime? http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/our-humanity-naturally/201103/misinformation-and-facts-about-secularism-and-religion. By your logic, it’s rational to avoid religious people.

      —-

      The information you referenced in your first post (and heretofore built off of) continues to be silly. The first study (supposedly) says “more likely.” Nothing more. That could be 1% and 90% or it could be the completely nonconsequential 12% and 13%. As it is, it means nothing.

      The second study is circular. By including dogs that have bit people along with the breeds, no useful conclusions can be made about specific breeds. We have A+B => C, and you’re using that to say A => B. That’s a true attempt at guilt by random association. When you combine atheists with criminals, I wouldn’t be surprised if the siblings of this group had 10 times as many convictions as other people. Why? Because if one family member is a criminal, it’s more likely that other family members are criminals. It has nothing to do with atheism.

  5. “Even with heavily misrepresented groups, the chance of any individual acting criminally against you on any given interaction is miniscule. Standing alone, it’s rational bypass a .001% chance for a .0001% chance of bad. Decisions to avoid picking up black men or to shy away from hispanics, though, are not in a vaccuum. it doesn’t take much negative affect of bigotry to overcome the difference.”

    Your argument rests on how accurate the probabililties are and you have no source for them. Clearly a person who dislikes black people will avoid them for that reason. That doesn’t change the fact that it can also be rational to do so.

    The article in Psychology Today correlates religiosity within states with violent crime within states. So it doesn’t establish that religious people are more violent. So your conclusion that I should fear religious people for this reason is wrong since this finding doesn’t give me accurate information to act on.

    “The information you referenced in your first post (and heretofore built off of) continues to be silly. The first study (supposedly) says “more likely.” Nothing more. That could be 1% and 90% or it could be the completely nonconsequential 12% and 13%. As it is, it means nothing.”

    If you read the entire paragraph (it’s only five lines), you find this,

    “The study determined that “high risk” dog owners had nearly 10 times as many criminal convictions then those of “low risk” dog owners.[46] A 2009[47] and a followup 2012[48] study generally supported these conclusions.”

    “The second study is circular. By including dogs that have bit people along with the breeds, no useful conclusions can be made about specific breeds. We have A+B => C, and you’re using that to say A => B. That’s a true attempt at guilt by random association. When you combine atheists with criminals, I wouldn’t be surprised if the siblings of this group had 10 times as many convictions as other people. Why? Because if one family member is a criminal, it’s more likely that other family members are criminals. It has nothing to do with atheism.”

    I’m not sure what study you are referring to. But all the sources from CDC and others have pit bulls and pit bull type dogs – American Staffordshire Terrier and the Staffordshire Terrier – at the top of the list of attacks, fatal and nonfatal. If this was guilt by association then you would have one of these dogs being the atheist and the other criminal. But you don’t so the conclusion is false.

    • rational to avoid black people based on statistics

      That my numbers were made up does not change my point. Do you deny that the chance that the chance of a person of any apparent race is going to do you harm in any given interaction isn’t incredibly small?

      You also didn’t understand my comment on bigotry. It was that treating the races differently does harm and that harm outweighs any increased odds of danger. It’s irrational to shun something that’s incredibly safe in the name of something that’s slightly more incredibly safe when there are external costs.

      Psychology Today Study

      People displaying religious signs are more likely to come from states with higher crime, so it’s more likely that they are dangerous. My logic is solid.

      First Study

      Oh, wow. I did misread it. The first is just saying that several studies have found the “more likely”. Pointing to a single study doesn’t solve the problem with the general “more likely” language.

      Your comment about being too lazy to read your comment was also uncalled for…especially since I responded directly to the rest of the comment.

      Second Study
      This is the study that you cited. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to. Did you really not see that, or did you try to change the subject?

  6. “That my numbers were made up does not change my point. Do you deny that the chance that the chance of a person of any apparent race is going to do you harm in any given interaction isn’t incredibly small?”

    You admit that you don’t know the risk and then claim it’s incredibly small. See that’s the difference between you and me. I go with what I know, (the crime stats) while you go with what you don’t know.

    “People displaying religious signs are more likely to come from states with higher crime, so it’s more likely that they are dangerous. My logic is solid.”

    It doesn’t make a connection between the group of religious people and violence; it’s just a geographical connection.

    “Oh, wow. I did misread it. The first is just saying that several studies have found the “more likely”. Pointing to a single study doesn’t solve the problem with the general “more likely” language.”

    It’s not general since they specifically state that the owners had 10 times as many convictions – that’s specific.

    “Your comment about being too lazy to read your comment was also uncalled for…especially since I responded directly to the rest of the comment.”

    No, if you can’t bother with reading a five line paragraph to the end but still have to have an opinion about it, then it’s called for.

    “This is the study that you cited. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to. Did you really not see that, or did you try to change the subject?”

    Since all statistics and studies basically say the same it doesn’t really matter. And since I went on to explain myself I don’t see how you can take that as an attempt to change the subject.

    • the risk

      Did you intentionally misrepresent my comments? I said that it is my belief the chance is small. Why? Because the crime statistics divided by an estimate of interpersonal interactions is a ridiculously small number. Do you deny this (you ignored my question about it)?

      Psychology Today study

      What was wrong with my argument? You didn’t say.

      First Study

      Please reread this thread, you are confusing the one explicit study (which I have been referencing as the second study, and just explained that I was doing so) with the “several studies” comment (which I have been referencing as the first study.

      Lazy comment

      You just accused me again of not reading the comment, when I had responded to the rest of it, and just pointed out that I had responded to the rest of it. Please reread what I wrote.

      Second Study

      So, the study says nothing. You claim that all studies say the same thing, but if your representative example doesn’t back your point, we can’t assume any of the other studies say anything at all. That you further explained yourself previously doesn’t save you, as your further explanation relies on the studies. Based on the information in this thread, there is no reason to believe that a larger percentage of pit bulls are trained to be dangerous than any other dog.

      This is pretty simple logic. When you lose a premise, a previously valid argument will become invalid. If you avoid the attack on the premise, it’s perfectly appropriate to question your motives.

  7. “Did you intentionally misrepresent my comments? I said that it is my belief the chance is small. Why? Because the crime statistics divided by an estimate of interpersonal interactions is a ridiculously small number. Do you deny this (you ignored my question about it)?”

    And I said I go on what I know, while you go on what you don’t know – that’s believing. I don’t deny or confirm it since I don’t know.

    “What was wrong with my argument? You didn’t say.”

    I did, I said,

    “It doesn’t make a connection between the group of religious people and violence; it’s just a geographical connection.” It fails to establish an overrepresentation of violence among religious people.

    “Please reread this thread, you are confusing the one explicit study (which I have been referencing as the second study, and just explained that I was doing so) with the “several studies” comment (which I have been referencing as the first study.”

    So my problem is that while one study gave specifics the others didn’t and that the others weren’t specific (10 times as many convictions)? I think I’m done wasting my time on you. Any third person reading this can just decide for themselves. If all you wanted was the last word you could have just said so, I’m glad to oblige.

    • 1) So, you dodge the question again. Do you realize you are doing that?

      My belief is based on crime statistics and the knowledge that, on average, people have hundreds of interactions per day. It’s not random crap. It’s pretty basic.

      2) I don’t see you pointing out what was wrong with my argument. I see she claiming the study says X, but I don’t see any holes in my argument that the study also says Y. What’s wrong with my 2 part determination?

      3) Your problem right now is that you are ignoring my comments on the irrelevance of the information and why it is. You are flat out lying about what I said. The study that gave specifics was invalid because it begged the question by including dogs that had bit people independent of their breed. I’ve said that multiple times. While it had specifics, the specifics showed it to be useless. The “several studies” statement, taken at it’s best didn’t say how much worse the one group of owners were than another group. As I noted when debunking it the first time, there’s no reason to believe the difference is material.

      Your argument was based on shit, and you continue to refuse to acknowledge this. Sure, it’s possible that there are validly studies that show a clear difference based on breed, but what could exist and what was part of your argument are completely different things. You chose these studies as informing your opinion, so it seems likely that you have no idea what is and is not valid.

      4) Last word/shmast word. It doesn’t matter who speaks last, it matters who speaks correctly. You are doing everything you can to avoid admitting you made mistakes. I see leaving as just another dodge.

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