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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their beliefs or hypotheses. People display this bias when they gather or remember information selectively, or when they interpret it in a biased way. The effect is stronger for emotionally charged issues and for deeply entrenched beliefs.

Because I believe that Carlos Coy is innocent, ignoring information that disagrees with my opinion is not really an option; people have been trying to shove it down my throat since the first time I ever let my socially-unacceptable opinion slip out. The only way I’ve found to deal with it is to try to know more about their arguments than they do, and meet them head-on with that knowledge. This involves spending hours reading opinions and arguments that differ from mine, and trying to consider each on their own merits. Obviously there’s going to be a limit to how much I can learn from what’s available from the press and the public documents, but I feel pretty good about how I’ve dealt with my own confirmation bias so far.

Those who believe he’s guilty are rarely confronted with anyone who disagrees with them; those that do argue his innocence certainly can’t prove it, and that makes them easy to dismiss. By taking a different tack and focusing on what I see as an unjust criminal trial, and backing up my beliefs with what I hope is sourced and credible information, I’ve come damn near to making a few die-hard anti-fan’s heads explode.

This is extremely apparent in my last exchange with Eric; he is flabbergasted, utterly perplexed that I do not share his interest in Coy’s civil trial. He just can’t understand why something that seems so relevant to him is unimportant to me; he cannot grasp why I don’t take up the battle on his front, and argue about things that he thinks will prove him right.

In the same way that Coy’s criminal trial was tainted by what I believe was the presumption of guilt, (remember, the complainant was called ‘the victim’ from the very beginning of the trial, before any evidence had been offered that a crime had even occurred), every action in his civil trial was carried out under the enforced assumption that his conviction was correct.

Eric, blinded by his socially-approved confirmation bias, does not seem to be able to see how this forced perspective affected the civil trial. He sees what he wants to see, which is a second jury with all the facts handing down a blistering indictment of a man whom, he believes, is guilty. Without researching it further, all I see is a case hinging on what may be a wrongful conviction, of no more use in determining Coy's guilt or innocence than anonymous internet rumors.

Eric claims that the moderate award for actual damages proves that the jury believed Coy was guilty, that the finding of malice proves the same, and that the lack of exemplary damages proves nothing, but that’s not a consistent argument. If he can draw inferences from the award of cash, he has to accept that someone else can do the same for the award of nothing.

Unless, of course, his confirmation bias is so deeply rooted that he can’t even comprehend the problems with  his own argument. I pointed Eric towards the Harris County District Clerk’s website, where at least he can read through the actual court documents instead of drawing support from random internet accusations. Initially it’ s likely that everything he reads will seem to support his opinion that Coy is guilty because of his inherent bias; that’s fine. Eventually, if he’s capable of understanding what he reads, he’s going to find out that his assumptions about the opinions of people he’s never met, drawn from actions guided by rules that he doesn’t yet understand, are much less concrete than he believes. Whether or not he will be able to admit that is going to be a true test of his character.


Anonymous said...

Wouldnt it help to try to talk with the "victim" or maybe think about if he supposably did oral on her well didnt she have pants on? If he wad to do wat hes accused of doing he has to take her clothes off and that requires time and nobody would be in shock because of that. And screaming would of waken up carley coy and gina right? Maybe a neighbor because we all know how little girls scream

Incandesio said...


Unfortunately, I don't think talking to the victim would be enough to overturn Coy's conviction; even if she came out and said it was a lie, Texas has a history of ignoring and even fighting against recantations.

Anonymous said...

well if it is true about juan gotti saying the little girl said through her facebook page that it was all a set up. did juan gotti see that for himself. do you know if that girl has a facebook page ? I would like to see this facebook page. I don't know if its a good idea for all the fans to bum rush her and talk crap. but who knows maybe she wants to talk about it and let everything out

Anonymous said...

I was a bit shocked when i heard Gotti say that, not because i think Coy is guilty ( I think he's innocent) but it's just crazy. More then likely, Gotti knows a bit more a bout the girl and her family than we do, so he prob wouldn't say something like that without being sure. I don't think it's a good idea for the fans to know who she is, because there's some crazy fans out there. They might just scare her away from speaking out. A viewer posted her name on the Gotti video and some were already talking crazy. But, if she comes clean it has to garner some kind of attention.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn rod aka medicine girl night nurse was pist off cause they dint but her name on the snippet that was release I saw on her Twitter saying to that guy who's ft. on angels sayning that she's on half the album and they dint put her name on snippet or something but ,I'm sure they will put her on the cd say that she doing hooks and its spm ft Carolyn we know carolyn rodriguez u want to get more expose but right know its time for my boy mista spmer to shine so we thank u for your hard work u done for spm projects but please don't hate remember that u are were u are cause of Carlos so don't be hating on this mutha fucka like spm quoted rappers be thinking silently dam he is the king I don't wanna rub it in ... free spm

Anonymous said...

me personally I wouldn't talk shit to that little girl who is grown up by now, I don't even think bad of her because it wasnt her fault, she was only 9 and if your that young its easy to do what your mother tells you to do. if she is wanting to talk about this to somebody other than the authorities I think incandesio would be the best person to talk to. she knows how to have an intellectual conversation without attacking someone. maybe incandesio can do some snooping around and find out if she can get in contact with her

Anonymous said...

What's the next spm son of Norma song going to be released if album not released in 45 days ? My vote is the 1St track on snippet or 8the track !

Eric said...

No, just no. Inherent bias? Incandesio, the jury was presented with clear-cut "Yes" or "No" questions. They answered "Yes" to questions that clearly asked if they believed Carlos was responsible for what he was accused of. Do you understand that the jury could have answered "No" to those questions? You still haven't answered that, most likely due to your own bias.

Incandesio said...

Eric, I understand that the jury could have answered 'no'.

Are you surprised by that? Does it shock you that someone other than yourself can comprehend how a 'yes' or 'no' question works?

Now, let me ask you a question; if you are told that a child has been molested, and you are ordered to accept that assault unquestioningly, is there any circumstance in which you could then say that the assault was not malicious, or that no harm had been done?

Anonymous said...

To that ano. Writer stop hating on Carolyn she didnt talk shit she made one comment to a fan shit last thing she would do is hate on SPM oR on anyone from dopehouse she has no reason to hate on dem but nothing wrong with wanting recognition for ur hard work she earned and deserves it a mentioned wouldnt have hurt either artists are artists if an album comes out it dnt matter whose it is u always give credit where credit is due just saying mad love and respect for Medicine Girl

Eric said...

Wrong. They were not "ordered to accept the assault unquestionably". A presumption of guilt does NOT mean they were forced to accept his guilt as fact. They had every right reject it, especially if the defense was able to prove his innocence. The presumption of guilt was a code of conduct for the court procedures. It means the plaintiffs did not have the burden of proving guilt, however, they presented the same evidence as they did in the criminal trial anyway. I think the presumption of guilt DOES mean that the defense has to try a little harder to prove innocence though. They obviously failed to do that since the jury unanimously answered "Yes" to those key questions.

Eric said...

"This is extremely apparent in my last exchange with Eric; he is flabbergasted, utterly perplexed that I do not share his interest in Coy’s civil trial."

About this, I was more flabbergasted about your unwillingness to obtain the transcripts from both the criminal and civil trial. I still can't wrap my head around that. As a crusader of justice, shouldn't that be one of your primary duties? That seems so negligent and lazy on your part. I think you're scared of what you might find, or you're just a Dopehouse puppet.

Incandesio said...

"Wrong. They were not "ordered to accept the assault unquestionably". A presumption of guilt does NOT mean they were forced to accept his guilt as fact. "

So, basically you're saying you didn't read the 'Charge Of The Court'. You know, the one that states, "In arriving at your answers, consider only the evidence introduced here and such exhibits as have been introduced for your consideration," etc.

Also "You must not decide who you think should win, and then try to answer the questions accordingly."

And finally, "Mr. Coy has been previously convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault on (Jane Doe), and the conviction is now final. As a result, the plaintiff is not required to produce any evidence of Mr. Coy's liability for actual damages," etc.

Eric, you're flailing here, and it's getting really boring. I *know* you're flabbergasted. I *know* you don't understand my motivations. I'm cool with it.