How to Commit a Perfect Murder [research study]

April 19th, 2018

Perfect murders are more common in actual life than in crime fiction—and also more highly approved, suggests this forensic study:

How to Commit a Perfect Murder,” Mark Cooney, International Journal of Law, Crime and Justice, vol. 43, 2015, pp. 295-309. The author, at the University of Georgia, explains:

Curiously, social science has ignored the problem of the perfect murder…. Whatever the reason, the neglect is not justified as the topic harbors an important scientific question: when will people get away with murder? Moreover, the data for answering the question already exist. A large body of research conducted by criminologists, anthropologists, historians, sociologists, human rights activists and others provides a wealth of detail about the handling of real-life homicide cases across a broad range of human societies….

Fact… deviates sharply from fiction. In the real world, the perfect murder is not committed by an evil genius but by a moral agent acting in the name of the common good—fighting crime, restoring honor, eliminating enemies, protecting communities. Nor is it a mystery: the killer’s identity is publicly known, and the killing is tolerated, even applauded, by legal officials and by fellow civilians. The killer may even wear the badge of the law. In short, while the perfect murder remains a source of aesthetic fascination, it is no longer a scientific puzzle. To commit a perfect murder, the killer should:

  1.  Be of as high status as possible.
  2.  Select a low status victim who is, ideally, socially close as well.
  3.  Have extensive strong partisanship and the victim none at all.
  4.  Be significantly closer, socially, than the victim to those making the crucial decisions in the case.

Mark Cooney, the study’s author [pictured here], himself pursues the perfect analysis of the perfect crime. His web site notes: “Most of Dr. Cooney’s work employs a theoretical system known as Blackian theory or pure sociology.  Deviating from conventional conceptions of reality, pure sociology [explains] human behavior without reference to what people think, feel, or want.”

‘JoyGuzzling’ – should one refrain? (new study)

April 19th, 2018

“Our thesis is that there is no moral requirement to refrain from emitting reasonable amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs) solely in order to enjoy oneself. Joyriding in a gas guzzler (joyguzzling) provides our paradigm example”

– explain Ewan Kingston and Walter Sinnott-Armstrong of the Philosophy Department, Duke University, Durham, NC, US, in a new paper for the journal Ethical Theory and Moral Practice.

“We stress that it may well be optimal or virtuous to refrain from joyguzzling. However, the path to showing a moral requirement to refrain from joyguzzling does seem to contain very difficult hurdles. Approaches that try to show an adequate connection between single acts of emitting and the bad effects of climate change must deal with the fiendish complexity of the causal pathways connecting emissions with extreme weather events and gradual harms.”

See: What’s Wrong with Joyguzzling?Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, February 2018, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 169–186.

Note: Professor Sinnott-Armstrong is co-director of MADLAB at Duke.

Chantal Roggeman joins Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Social Scientists

April 18th, 2018

Chantal Roggeman has joined the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™ (LFHCfS). She says:

I have been told I may never cut my hair, because people would no longer recognize me. Indeed, in international gatherings, I am recognized as “the woman with the long blond hair”. Blond is my trademark, and I enjoy making “dumb blond” jokes in the first person. I have occasionally colored my hair blue, green, orange, purple, pink and fluo-yellow, which I then classify as “artificial intelligence”.

Chantal Roggeman, Ph.D., LFHCfS
Medical Advisor, Immunology
MSD Belgium

Kategoria and Apologia That Combine to Incite Journalistic Antapologia

April 17th, 2018

A rare study—though by no means the world’s first—that specifically examines the kategoria and apologia that combine to incite journalistic antapologia, is now available:

Flag on the Play—A 5-Year Analysis of the Kategoria and Apologia That Combine to Incite Journalistic Antapologia in Sports Reporting,”  Jennifer L. Harker, published online in the Journal of Communication and Sport, in 2017.

So far as we are aware, there is a dearth of studies that specifically examine the kategoria and apologia that combine to quell journalistic antapologia.

Vagina Music on Tour: “The myth of talking to the baby through the mother’s belly is history”

April 17th, 2018

The two doctors who led the vagina-music study—which demonstrated that babies respond more strongly to music played electromechanically in the mother’s vagina than to music played electromechanically on the mother’s belly—and which was honored with an Ig Nobel Prize, appeared in the recent Ig Nobel spring EuroTour. Marisa López-Teijón and Álex García-Faura, of Institut Marquès in Barcelona, spread music, information, and cheer to audiences in Sweden and Denmark. At event, they demonstrated Babypod, the vagina-music produce that was developed as part of that research project.

They subsequently produced this video, documenting some of their work and some of their appearances on stage in Scandinavia:

La Vanguardia newspaper summed it up, under the headline “El mito de hablarle al bebé a través de la barriga de la madre es historia” [“The myth of talking to the baby through the mother’s belly is history”].