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Eliezer_Yudkowsky 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

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 14 December 2009 09:16:51PM 2 points [-]

Huh. I wondered if something like this might be the case, but then wondered if I was being selectively skeptical of the prosecution and trying to dismiss all of their evidence. Next time I'll remember to (a) trust myself a little more, and (b) remember that reality itself is consistent rather than fair, i.e., Knox obviously didn't do it, thus if the coroner says it's more than one perpetrator, I should (b1) construct a model in which the coroner is pressured (or fired and redealt) and (b2) penalize the probability of that model because (hopefully) most coroners aren't pressured.

Comment author: MichaelVassar 15 December 2009 10:05:56AM 2 points [-]

I'm not sure how much hope fits into the Bayesian analysis. My impression is that doing things like pressuring coroners is routine in the US and probably in Italy as well. Of course, pressuring coroners is a special case of "doing things like pressuring coroners" and thus unlikely a-priori, but its not very unlikely a-priori and once the possibility is raised it doesn't call for much penalty.

Comment author: AnnaGilmour 15 December 2009 04:25:41PM 1 point [-]

The significant factor though is not that the coroner was fired and replaced by someone who would report multiple perpetrators. The significant factor is that the original, unprompted, unbiased, objective analysis was that it was a single perpetrator.

Comment author: pete22 15 December 2009 06:01:22PM 0 points [-]

Anna, I'd be curious to see the link on this when you get a chance.

Comment author: AnnaGilmour 15 December 2009 06:08:18PM 1 point [-]

If you type "Mignini fired coroner" into Google, a list of articles comes up. There were too many from which to choose.

Additionally, a great specific, scientific explanation and analysis on the LCN DNA gathering and testing can be found at ScienceSpheres by Mark Waterbury. He starts the blog that way. He has a PhD in materials science.

Comment author: pete22 15 December 2009 07:36:58PM 1 point [-]

I tried a Google search -- I get a few mentions of Mignini firing his coroner, but they either don't mention a reason or they say it was punishment for leaks to the press. None seem to be from impartial sources, i.e. one is from that truejustice site, another is an article in the Stranger (seattle weekly) by a friend of Amanda's ...the closest thing to a real news site was a Vanity Fair article, and like the others it doesn't mention the first coroner saying there was one assailant.

This is the problem I mentioned in another comment -- all of our info is second- or third-hand. I'm surprised at how comfortable people are citing this stuff. If this was a comparably public case in the US, there's a good chance the entire reports from both the old and new coroner would be on the Smoking Gun and we could be linking to them directly...

Comment author: AnnaGilmour 15 December 2009 09:25:32PM 0 points [-]

It was part of the trial, however, which is why people cite it.

Comment author: pete22 16 December 2009 12:20:54AM 2 points [-]

One thing to remember is that Mignini fired the coroner doing autopsy investigation when that person said it was the injuries of a single perpetrator. He then hired someone who said it was more than one perpetrator. If you would like, I can find a link to back it up. So the original report said one person caused the injuries.

Again, can you give us your source for this? I'm not doubting you, I just want to get an idea of where it comes from.

Comment author: AnnaGilmour 16 December 2009 01:03:36AM 2 points [-]

The following is from a recap of the defense's arguments on closing day. The recap was written by Kelly Brodbeck who was summarizing Ghirga's arguments. I think he got the rundown from a person present at the trial. This is the first thing I can cite. Will continue to look for more.

"He talked about how Mignini stated that the position and condition of Meredith showed that there was more than one person involved in the murder, but when the coroner Dr. Lali said that the body did not show that more than one person was involved, Mignini fired him and replaced him with someone who agreed with his assertions. He said “I wonder why he was really fired??” "

Comment author: AnnaGilmour 16 December 2009 01:19:38AM 1 point [-]

The lack of DNA evidence of a additional perpetrators corroborates the single suspect coroner's result.

Comment author: AnnaGilmour 16 December 2009 12:56:21AM 0 points [-]

No problem... I think even Mignini doesn't dispute it. But I'll seek it out.