Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fun with Ilana (& Bill), part B

First off, Bill O'Reilly's been bad, again. BillO did another segment about Shawn Hornbeck on "The Factor(fiction), 1-29-07. He just won't let up...

Also, I neglected to add this link, one of several posts concerning the Devlin case, and the first to discuss Bill's dubious contributions, on The True Crime Blog.

Now back to business...

When we last left Ilana Mercer's Defense of BillO, I had just received the following reply from Ilana:
[Thanks for your contribution. Indignant huffing and puffing does nothing to discredit opposing views—and almost always conceals straw arguments. I have never said children are, developmentally, miniature adults. They are not. But neither are they amebas. To follow your determinism, one might as well not impart any direction or moral instruction to a child, because he is incapable of so much as calling home if lost. My perspective arises from a non-deterministic view of human beings. You might want to read up a bit also on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder—the real deal, not the version the public has been brainwashed by. Thanks. —ILANA]


I guess before I continue, I have to rant a little more about the way Ms. Mercer chooses to run her blog.

According to the rules, she decides what comments (or portions thereof) will appear. Aside from the things I said yesterday about moderated blogs, it also creates a lag between the time one submits a comment and the time Ilana gets to her blog to moderate (& hopfully approve) the posts her readers have submitted. Once, it took a matter of minutes; usually, it takes several hours.

(For some reason, though, it LOOKS to you like your post is there immediately, as long as you're using the same browser & computer. I discovered this when I sent a friend to the site to read a post I had just submitted, and he wrote back telling me it wasn't there. He was right. On Safari (the browser I used to post the comment) it was there; on Netscape, it wasn't. I discovered later that "unposted posts" will remain there in limbo until Ilana moderates them. Approved posts show up for all to see, and rejected ones vanish...)

Also according to the rules, you're limited to 200 words. (I suppose you can guess how well I do with that!! 8>) I try my best--though I suspect I've been over the limit just about every time--but it kinda limits how much of her article one can respond to at a time.

If you've read everything up to now, you'll note that I've barely said a word about the original article, In Defense Of Bill O'Reilly, except to say that Ilana lacked compassion & heart. (As I wrote it, I had visions of the Grinch's "two sizes too small.") I'd been distracted by the comments, most of which had little to do with what O'Reilly actually said, or Ilana's defense of his comments.

That's not to say I hadn't written them; I had... But given her rules, I had to figure out how to reference the part of the original article to which I was replying without wasting any of my 200 words by quoting it, and then chop my thoughts into 175-225 word chunks.

So, rather than replying to Ms. Mercer's PTSD comment--which I figured could wait--I sent in my first chunk in disagreement with her defense of Bill... (My reply to the PTSD comments appear at the end of this post.)

My blog, my rules... I'm returning the original article quotes, but sticking with the chunks, so as to avoid misrepresenting the sequence of events over on Ilana's blog. In other words, While the relevant sections of Ilana's article are shown below, all that appeared on Ilana's blog were my "replies" (edited, in one case)

Ilana Mercer, from In Defense Of Bill O'Reilly:
Indeed, in Newsweek’s telling, “The 11-year-old boy no longer had to go to school. He could watch TV and play videogames all day. He was given an iPod, a computer, an Xbox 360 and a bike.” At 15, he had a girlfriend and a best friend, with whom he regularly rode his bike, went skateboarding, hung around the mall and played videogames.

Shawn surfed the Web. On at least four occasions he was stopped by police late at night and given a ride home. Not once did he so much as mutter under his breath, “I’m that kidnapped kid.” And get this: young Shawn even filed a police report when his brand-new bike was stolen, but failed to mention that its owner had been nicked too.

Tony Douglas, the bosom buddy, would sleep over at Shawn’s place. He attests to the chummy interactions between Shawn and his kidnapper, Michael Devlin. Shawn, in turn, spent holidays with Tony. A “neighbor, Krista Jones, observed Devlin teaching the boy to drive his pickup truck, while others saw the two pitching a tent outside the apartment.”

These are the unsettling facts in the Hornbeck case. Naturally, they make people uneasy. If not for the ersatz experts waiting in the wings to rape reality with dubious theoretical constructs, a torpid public might have grappled with some of these discomfiting realities.

My Reply:
Some of Shawn's behaviors while "away" from home are disconcerting. And questioning them is fine. Wild speculation as to the answers to those questions, whether by psychologists & social workers, or those that oppose them, is not.

Newsweek, Olbermann, and our execrable experts asserted that Shawn “was almost surely threatened with gruesome consequences if he said a word about his abduction to anyone else.” Based on what evidence? The freedom Shawn was given to come and go as he pleased? One Dr. Terri Weaver got carried away in trying to explain why, while on his bike rides, out with his girlfriend, at the mall, or at a slumber party, Shawn failed to dial 911 on the cellphone he owned. Devlin could have threatened to kill the boy’s family and pets, she hyperventilated. Another tele-twit asserted, sans proof, that Shawn had decided to sacrifice his needs to save his family. To date, there is no evidence that the boy was molested. Devlin is charged with “felony kidnapping and felony armed criminal action,” but not with sexual assault.

My Reply:
There is no evidence as yet that Shawn was threatened or molested. There is also no evidence as yet to suggest he was not. That is the point of my disagreement with Mr. O'Reilly and your defense of him.

While accusing these tele-twits & execrable experts of creating scenarios without proof, you & Mr. O'Reilly are doing the very same thing. They are attaching psychological motives to Shawn's actions. You are simply substituting their psychobabble motives for your own motivation of free will and personal responsibility. They claim to know that Shawn was with Devlin because he was psychologically trapped. You claim to know that he was there because he chose to be.

{Ilana edited away all but the first sentence of the preceding paragraph.}

I agree that the experts are jumping the gun, and haven't the facts to know. But I submit that you haven't the facts & don't know, either. They're coming at it from their "expertise," and you're coming at it from yours, & neither of you are wearing any clothes. There isn't enough evidence yet to understand the motivation underlying Shawn's behavior, no matter how certain you, Bill, the psychologists, or anyone else sounds whilst making their claim.

All we have are a few troubling behaviors. Many of us wonder about them. But anyone who claims to be able to explain them using the few facts we currently have, no matter what their expertise or brand of belief, is kidding themselves as well as those they're trying to convince.

Ilana attached the following to this post:
[Once again, you miss the point entirely, perhaps because you are unfamiliar with my writing–and the work of others who refute the therapeutic worldview. O’Reilly is not one such individual; he just happened to hit a home run, initially, on the issue, but was soon subdued by viewers like you, and by “the experts,” because he hasn’t a philosophy to speak of. This is not a matter of two sides of the coin. That teenagers have a modicum of free will and an ability to tell right or wrong is an immutable truth; it isn’t subject to the vagaries of this or the other expert analysis. Sure, there are mitigating factors, but teenagers are still capable of the above. Americans, prior to the advent of the Managerial State, knew this, and brought their children up in accordance with this natural, universal truth. Hayek, in The Constitution of Liberty, says that treating people as if they have these qualities is integral to liberty, even if, say, you don’t believe people have free will. The therapeutic abolition of free will has resulted in the disintegration of conventional morality–and right and wrong. The facts of the case do not change this immutably true reality.–ILANA]
By W James Casper on 01.28.07 4:29 am


It is here that some of my new submissions began vanishing. Maybe Ilana didn't approve of the content, or maybe there's some kinda glitch over at her blog that only allows you to have one submission awaiting approval at a time ('s'possible, right?), but whatever the reason, this bit, in reply to the "PTSD" comments at the top of this post, was submitted next, & never appeared.
After reading your "Sloppy Science" article, as well as an interview with Marilyn Bowman, PhD, I'm still unsure where you stand on PTSD in particular or psychology as a whole.
I believe you're saying PTSD is a legitimate psychological disorder, but is far more rare than the mainstream psychological community would have us believe. Those born with a particular personality trait (neuroticism) or who suffer from other psychiatric or personality disorders are more vulnerable to PTSD. Treatment for those who are suffering from PTSD (or simply think they are) should be individualized (not a one-size-fits-all approach), & available for those who want it. No one should be forced into treatment against his or her will, or “for their own good.”

I agree with everything in my summary, &--to the extent that I understood the articles I read--with your approach to PTSD.

On determinism, I am not suggesting a child is incapable of calling home if lost. I'm saying that this child did not, but the reason he did not can no more be explained by free will than determinism without more information.

For example: Does Shawn suffer from any underlying psychological or personality disorder that would make him more vulnerable to any peri- or post- stress disorder? Knowing that fact (among others) would help explain his behavior.

Alrighty... I guess that's enough for this entry...
(We're almost caught up, I swear, and nothing new has happened as regards this topic over at Ilana's blog--WHOOPS!!! Spoke too soon!!!--I was about say I've had a post awaiting approval there for the last 24 hours or so, but when I checked just now, it's vanished... Man, I hate that!!!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what her reaction was when she found out Devlin pled guilty to all charges and described in court how he did it, and exactly how he terrorized Shawn into not contacting the police or his parents.

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