Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

LauraABJ comments on The Amanda Knox Test: How an Hour on the Internet Beats a Year in the Courtroom - Less Wrong

42 Post author: komponisto 13 December 2009 04:16AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (632)

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: LauraABJ 13 December 2009 09:41:26PM 2 points [-]

Ok- many people have already pointed out that the prior should be probability of having committed murder if you live in the same house as someone murdered. Now, I would like to add that the psychological evidence shouldn't be completely and utterly discounted.

1) Knox knew Guede and Kercher, the murderer and the murdered, and is thus not random. This alone is reason for suspicion (though certainly not indictment).

2) Knox wrote a story about the drugging and rape of a young woman. Anyone have statistics on how many murderers have written such rape- fantasies or how many fantasy writers are violent offenders?

3) Knox really wasn't able to give a consistent story about her whereabouts. (I discount this a lot more now knowing her testimony was given under duress, but can't dismiss it entirely.)

Now, this doesn't add up to all that much, but certainly more than the p = 0.001 you are claiming. I think the odds are higher that she talked with Guede i n passing before he raped and murdered kercher than that she was there when it happened (due to absence of evidence and failure of guede to implicate her).

Comment author: Blueberry 13 December 2009 09:45:08PM 2 points [-]

Knox wrote a story about the drugging and rape of a young woman.

Did she really? Link/cite please? Is the story available anywhere?

I realize it may affect probability calculations, but it just doesn't seem fair to use someone's fiction against him.

Comment author: Psychohistorian 23 December 2009 07:37:42PM 3 points [-]

It's doubly unfair in the context of an assignment. I wrote an incredibly gory horror story when I was in elementary school; I would probably have been sent to see the principle if it had happened today. It had nothing to do with me being a violent person and everything to do with me thinking that it was how one wrote an effective horror story.

More generally, deviant writing and fantasies tend to be way, way more common than you'd think (simply since people do a decent job of concealing them), so just because someone writes something unusual or has unusual fantasies, that does not strongly suggest that they actually engage in such behaviour.

As a simple example, people who run over hookers and take their money in Grand Theft Auto are probably much more likely to do so in real life than those who do not. However, the number of them who actually do so is so small that even this significant increase in probability is not very useful. Even if they are a hundred times as likely to do this, going from .0001% to .01% is not as big of an increase as, "They're a hundred times more likely!" sounds.

Comment author: LauraABJ 13 December 2009 09:56:29PM 2 points [-]

I can't find it- though the excerpts given in the NYTimes do sound more like a soap-opera than a rape-fantasy.

Comment author: Kevin 14 December 2009 04:29:51AM 3 points [-]

No link handy, but it was for a class assignment and Knox's story was by far not the most violent out of the stories written by her peers.

Comment author: wedrifid 14 December 2009 05:42:51AM 3 points [-]

No link handy, but it was for a class assignment and Knox's story was by far not the most violent out of the stories written by her peers.

"I can't do the assignment miss, because I don't want to be imprisoned for murder!" I'm going to have children just so I can recommend that excuse to them.