Dean Esmay has been prodding, poking and asking (read: demanded) that I put this here! Happy now Dean? I’ve to introduce myself – My name is Isaac T. Quill, also known ironically as “ImNotMraBut…”. My motto in life is “Life is far too serious to be taken seriously.” I’ve also been told I have to play nice with the other kids. Huh! I’m persnickety, crotchety, I like digging to find the truth. Some people really don’t like that, so I’m not sure the other kids will like how I play with them. (Evil Grin)
When you have found truths (and the evidence that proves them) you need a place to keep them safe. A Wiki is a great way to do it. That’s why “I Do Wiki”, recording and storing verifiable truths. AVfM now has its own reference Wiki, a place to keep and reference truths. Over the last weeks, there have been a few teething problems, some tinkering and technical tantrums, but now the AVfM Wiki is “Cooking With Gas”. Building and maintaining a Wiki is an endless task, but all red pill munchers know you have to keep maintaining the verifiable truth anyway.
(And for those of you who are lost, you must sign up for an account here, and then, if you wish to edit pages, you must click here and say you wish to be allowed to edit pages. Yes, this is more cumbersome than Wikipedia, but that’s to help us prevent sabotage so we hope you understand why we’re requiring a two-step process. –DE.)
I’ve been working on a Wiki entry that is close to my heart: “The Woozle Effect,” and I also think it’s a technical term people really need to start using. I know that some people hear the word Woozle and think of mythical animals and Winnie-the pooh, but that says more about your bed time habits and stories.
It’s not a joke. “The Woozle Effect” is a serious scientific term that was coined in 1979 by Beverly D Houghton; a paper showing how data and information about domestic violence was being distorted – how false realities were being created. “The Woozle Effect“ was quickly picked up by other experts, but it’s usage didn’t catch on. It seems that feminist-leaning and -focused research has so many Woozles it was scientific suicide to say you had found one. Just ask Richard Gelles, Murray Straus, and Suzanne Steinmetz:
The response to our finding that the rate of female-to-male family violence was equal to the rate of male-to-female violence not only produced heated scholarly criticism, but intense and long-lasting personal attacks. All three of us received death threats. Bomb threats were phoned in to conference centers and buildings where we were scheduled to present.
The Missing Persons of Domestic Violence, by Richard J. Gelles,
The Women’s Quarterly, September 1999, pp. 18-20
There is nothing funny in finding The truth that wipes out many Woozles and then having your life threatened and your very existence attacked. You hold a Truth that others want to kill. Woozles are not just lies, they incite hatred and violence against the truth.
Many have had to deal with Backlash, Bullying and even Bombs when they have said anything that threatened feminist propaganda. Science and Social Sciences has been no different. Woozles seem to have the capacity to burrow deep into the most interesting places, including the US Congress. Finding Woozles and naming them “Woozle” are dangerous pastimes.
I’ve been asked to put some of the Wiki content here to show folks what they are missing and also what they can help create. In fact by the time you read this the Wiki content is likely to have been expanded and changed, so you will probably need to check it out over on the AVfM Wiki.
But first I’d like you to see some massive wild Woozles running amok and how they get tamed by Truths. I present to you Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia spouting Woozles. It seems that Politicians and Celebrities love spouting them – they just can’t stop themselves.
The Woozle effect, also known as evidence by citation or a Woozle, occurs when evidence from earlier sources, academic studies or publications are misused, often applying an improper weight. This misleads individuals, groups such as governments and the public in general into accepting claims made using the woozled evidence.
“Results of a weak study may be repeated so many times in different sources (e.g., professional journals) that they (undeservedly) achieve the status of a law.”.
Eileen Gambrill, Propaganda in the Helping Professions
Woozles become accepted as real often becoming “Urban Myth“ and “Factoids“. “..fiction is converted into scientific evidence that will be cited over and over.” The woozle effect has also been linked to “Confirmation Bias“, “Groupthink“, “Belief Perseverance” and “False Paradigm”.
“Red flags for hiding competing well-argued views include phrases such as “Every one knows …” “It is clear that …” “It is obvious that …” “It is generally agreed that …” This kind of unchallenged repetition encourages the woozle effect; if we hear something enough times we assume that it is true.”
Eileen Gambrill, Amanda Reiman 2011 “A Propaganda Index for Reviewing Problem Framing in Articles and Manuscripts”
Woozles are often created by changing language to express a level of certainty that an original source does not contain. Changing Language from “The evidence may show..” to “The evidence shows..” would result in a woozle.
Gelles has observed conflict between standard scientific methodology and advocacy; “Advocacy efforts are often governed by the ends justifying the means. Many advocates have little patience with the timetable of research or social policy – they see the harm inflicted at ground level and strongly feel the need to do something.” Gelles has linked this to the pattern of basic rules being changed and rules of the fictional game TEGWAR[a] used instead. It has also been observed “Results are routinely miscited in a direction favoring activist ideology,..”.
The terms woozle and woozle effect are most frequently found and used in the field of interpersonal violence (IPV) and domestic violence, where the term originated. Other academic papers and publications have used the woozle as a motif and to show the presence of the woozle effect in many areas, such as school management, nursing and gerentology, public sector-governmental decision making and construction industry.
1 Origin & Usage
“Tracks,” said Piglet. “Paw-marks.” he gave a little squeak of excitement. “Oh, Pooh! Do you think it’s a – a – Woozle?”
“It may be,” said Pooh “sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. You can never tell with paw-marks.”
Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet start following tracks left in snow believing they are the tracks of a Woozle. The tracks keep multiplying with Pooh and Piglet becoming more and more excited, convinced that they are now tracking many Woozles. Christopher Robin then explains that they have been following their own tracks.
“When going round a spinney of larch trees tracking something, be sure it isn’t your own footprints you are following.”
Pooh’s Little Instruction Book
In 1979 Houghton illustrated the Woozle effect showing how work by Gelles 1974, Published in the book “The violent home” had been transferred from applying to a small sample to a universal sample from a group of less than 100 couples to all US Wives.
- Gelles conducted a study using police domestic disturbance reports as the source. He explained this very specifically as a way to locate clear examples of domestic abuse. he was not looking for a national or global sample. Gelles reported that this sample showed 55% conjugal violence. The evidence is for a small group, selected only due to police reports and known incidents. The 55% also referred to both men and women as victims.
- Straus writing the forward to the book “The violent home” used the 55% figure but without qualifying it.
- Langley & levy then cited Gelles & Straus claiming “Estimates that 50 percent of all American wives are battered women are not uncommon”. Gelles & Straus made no such claim or inference in their work.
- Langley & levy then applied the Woozle to the general population arriving at the figure of 28 million American Wives being battered annually.
- The 28 Million figure, published in the book “Wife beating: the silent crisis”, then received extensive media coverage, including claims that at least 7 other studies showed the same 28 Million figure to be valid. In accounting for the lack of previous knowledge of what was called “A conspiracy of silence by men” the US Government, Congress, The American Bar Association, police and FBI, were all referred to as having “Culpable Ignorance”.
In 1982, Professor Walter R Schumm of Kansas State University School of Family Studies and Human Services, warned of the danger of the Woozle effect when he said of it that it could be used to mistakenly “set policy in the prevention and treatment of family violence”.
In 1991 Prof Murray Straus noted:
“In contemporary American society, statistics are used to inform, guide, and justify social policy. The belief in statistics is so great that when the public or a legislature wishes to act and there are no statistics, statistics must somehow be created to fill the vacuum. Unfortunately, these statistics are often biased toward supporting the proposed policy.”
In 2007, Gelles further emphasised the nature of woozles when he likened them to the fictional game TEGWAR (The Exciting Game Without Any Rules).[a] Gelles also traces the issues of woozles and TEGWAR around the field of domestic violence back in time to the 1990s and refers to “Nine Factoids and a Mantra”,showing how the woozle had taken precedence and facts were not relevant.
The compelling research evidence solidified around a series of statements that captured the problem of violence toward women. The most common, oft-spoken, and published factoids are as follows:
- According to the FBI, a woman is beaten every (fill in the blank) seconds in the United States.
- There are four million women beaten and abused each year in the United States.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States—greater than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- The March of Dimes reports that battering during pregnancy is the leading cause of birth defects and infant mortality [in the United States].
- Sixty-three percent of young men between the ages of 11 and 20, who are serving time for homicide have killed their mother’s abuser.
- Seventy-five percent of women who are killed by intimate partners are killed after they attempt to leave their batterers.
- Women who kill their batterers receive longer prison sentences than men who kill their partners.
- There are nearly three times as many animal shelters in the United States as there are shelters for battered women and their children.
- Violence toward women crosses racial and income barriers—battering knows no color other than black and blue.
Richard J. Gelles THE POLITICS OF RESEARCH: THE USE, ABUSE, AND MISUSE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE DATA—THE CASES OF INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE
Gelles analyses each factoid and shows how they are false. For example, the FBI do not collect, collate or publish statistics on battery. The number is derived by making a calculation based upon a study which does not support the claim. Whilst any claim may sound convincing, valid and authoritative it is always false.
Gelles also shows how those outside of a field of study or expertise lack the knowledge and insight to recognise woozles. The woozles simply become accepted in the general population. Until you know the rules you can only assume that the game is being played the right way.
Many have expressed concern that Woozles are not simply accidental:
Propagandists are aware that simply hearing, seeing, or thinking about a statement many times may increase belief in the statement. As Thouless (1974)[c] notes, we tend to think that what goes through our mind must be important. Simply repeating a position increases the likelihood of its acceptance, especially if the statement is offered in a conﬁdent manner by a person of prestige and has a slogan quality that plays on our emotions. Results of a weak study may be repeated so many times in different sources (eg. professional journals) that they (undeservedly) achieve the status of a law. Gelles (1982)[d] calls this the Woozle Effect.
Eileen Gambrill (2012) Propaganda in the Helping Professions
In the book “Rethinking Domestic Violence”, Donald G Dutton raises concerns as to gender bias and potential political bias. He states:
“Woozles are usually not simply a matter of authentic misreporting. They also reveal a desire to read into the data an a priori position that is really not there, what Bacon calls “idols of the theatre“. … All the data reporting mistakes I have found in the literature, without exception, were made in the direction of supporting feminist preconceptions.”
Dutton (2006) Rethinking Domestic Violence
As far back as 1995 similar concerns were being expressed by Dr Christina Hoff Sommers, when she said:
“More often than not, a closer look at the supporting evidence the studies and statistics on eating disorders, domestic battery, rape, sexual harassment, bias against girls in school, wage differentials, or the demise of the nuclear family – will raise grave questions about credibility, not to speak of objectivity.
When they engage in exaggeration, oversimplification, and obfuscation, the feminist researchers may be no different from such other advocacy groups as the National Rifle Association or the tobacco industry. But when the NRA does a “study that shows . . . ,” or the tobacco industry finds “data that suggest. . . ,” journalists are on their guard. They check sources and seek dissenting opinions.”
Christina Hoff Sommers (1995) Who Stole Feminism?
The examples section of the Wiki page is growing all the time, so If you want to check them out on the Wiki – Woozle Effect.
Some readers may have an inkling that they have come across something similar to this before. Well you have – the issue of “Evidence by Citation” and how it distorts reality keeps being raised. Here are a few of the AVfM articles that have been addressing the “Woozle Effect”, but not calling it that.
The Woozle is a Pesky Critter that hides so well people don’t even know what to call it when they see it. They recognise the footprints, but the real monster is always just out of sight.
If you spot any wild Woozles please let me know. Both my Keyboard and Quill are just waiting for the little blighters.
Big blighters are even better.
Following Julia Gillard’s amazing video performance with multiple Woozles, she has been nominated for the inaugural “Massive, Arrant & Disingenuous Citation Occasioning Woozle” Award.
Ms Gillard has yet to acknowledge her nomination for the inaugural M.A.D.C.O.W. award, but it is hoped that she can receive it soon.
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