Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Unreliability of Human Perception -- also in the Practice of Science -- as Evidenced by the Problems of Eyewitness Identification in Law Enforcement

Eyewitness Identification is to be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court for the first time in 34 years, in the case of Perry v. New Hampshire, No. 10-8974, as reported at the New York Times by Adam Liptak in 34 Years Later, Supreme Court Will Revisit Eyewitness IDs.

See Questions Presented.

I was for a short time on the staff of the Project on Law Enforcement Policy and Rulemaking (POLEPAR) at Arizona State University Law School, a joint project with the Police Foundation of the United States. See Gerald M. Caplan, The Case for Rulemaking by Law Enforcement Agencies, Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 36, No. 4, Autumn, 1971. Caplan initially headed the POLEPAR project.

Our job was to draft model rules for law enforcement, and one of those model rules was on Eyewitness Identification.

Those model rules are cited e.g. in Gary L. Wells, et seq., Eyewitness Identification Procedures: Recommendations for Lineups and Photospreads, Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 22, No. 6, 1998. Six Model Rules for Law Enforcement by POLEPAR are listed in the Library of Congress Online Catalog, including Eyewitness Identification.

The Model Rules were recently cited (2011) by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in the case of Commonweatlh vs. Gerald Eddington (and six companion cases).

I have written ever since this project about the unreliability of the manner in which evidence is viewed and interpreted, not only in the law generally, but also in diverse academic disciplines, where many scholars are not even remotely aware of how much their observation is colored by all kinds of extraneous factors.

Eyewitness and similar personal observation of "facts" can be quite faulty.

"Beauty" may be in the eye of the beholder, but the "truth" may not be.
 

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Sky Earth Native America


Sky Earth Native America 1:
American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
,
Volume 1, Edition 2, 266 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Sky Earth Native America 2:
    American Indian Rock Art Petroglyphs Pictographs
    Cave Paintings Earthworks & Mounds as Land Survey & Astronomy
    ,
    Volume 2, Edition 2, 262 pages, by Andis Kaulins.

  • Both volumes have the same cover except for the labels "Volume 1" viz. "Volume 2".
    The image on the cover was created using public domain space photos of Earth from NASA.

    -----

    Both book volumes contain the following basic book description:
    "Alice Cunningham Fletcher observed in her 1902 publication in the American Anthropologist
    that there is ample evidence that some ancient cultures in Native America, e.g. the Pawnee in Nebraska,
    geographically located their villages according to patterns seen in stars of the heavens.
    See Alice C. Fletcher, Star Cult Among the Pawnee--A Preliminary Report,
    American Anthropologist, 4, 730-736, 1902.
    Ralph N. Buckstaff wrote:
    "These Indians recognized the constellations as we do, also the important stars,
    drawing them according to their magnitude.
    The groups were placed with a great deal of thought and care and show long study.
    ... They were keen observers....
    The Pawnee Indians must have had a knowledge of astronomy comparable to that of the early white men."
    See Ralph N. Buckstaff, Stars and Constellations of a Pawnee Sky Map,
    American Anthropologist, Vol. 29, Nr. 2, April-June 1927, pp. 279-285, 1927.
    In our book, we take these observations one level further
    and show that megalithic sites and petroglyphic rock carving and pictographic rock art in Native America,
    together with mounds and earthworks, were made to represent territorial geographic landmarks
    placed according to the stars of the sky using the ready map of the starry sky
    in the hermetic tradition, "as above, so below".
    That mirror image of the heavens on terrestrial land is the "Sky Earth" of Native America,
    whose "rock stars" are the real stars of the heavens, "immortalized" by rock art petroglyphs, pictographs,
    cave paintings, earthworks and mounds of various kinds (stone, earth, shells) on our Earth.
    These landmarks were placed systematically in North America, Central America (Meso-America) and South America
    and can to a large degree be reconstructed as the Sky Earth of Native America."

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