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Thread: rootclaim - Estimating the Probability of Conspiracy vs. LHO Acted Alone

  1. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Dagosto View Post
    Hi Bill,

    Yes, I see where you're coming from. You might want to read this:

    https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-k...he-naa-verdict

    I understand what you're trying to do. I just don't think its useful at all. We don't have to construct elaborate mathematical proofs to understand that there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK, that LHO was set up as a patsy and scapegoated, that a massive government cover up and disinformation effort (which continues to this day) was conducted to whitewash the entire episode and that the chief suspects were elements of the CIA-mob-Cuban exile nexus (which may includes as accessories Nazis since they were in close association with the CIA ). All of this has already been established to a high degree of confidence by the available evidence. I don't see how your approach would add anything to that or somehow convince doubters or reverse the government/media coverup and disinformation efforts.

    And we certainly don't need to set up a LHO/lone-nut hypothesis even for the purposes of knocking it down as a straw man. That legend only lives on for those who refuse to take their heads out of the sand or who keep quiet because they have too much invested in it (careers, prestige, etc). Your mathematical proofs aren't going to change any of that.
    Hi Phil

    Thanks for the link.

    As I understand it, I think you're confusing the NAA test applications when you say NAA is discredited.

    In the linked article:
    • NAA determines the percent antimony in a bullet
    • The hypothesis is that that % identifies a bullet coming from a specific batch
    • The hypothesis is rejected based on the statistical analysis indicating that the variance in the % of antimony in bullets in any given batch rules out identifying a bullet as coming from a batch. In other words other batches would contain bullets that would match.
    • NAA in this case is assumed accurate and reliable but the chemical composition of a bullet can't be used to identify the bullet batch


    In the paraffin / NAA test
    • A paraffin test for nitrates is applied to LHO's cheek to assess whether or not he fired a rifle
    • The test comes back negative
    • The FBI performs a spectroscopy test on the paraffin
    • This test also comes back negative
    • The FBI then sends the paraffin to the Oak Ridge Lab for NAA
    • The NAA test results: the paraffin cheek casting could not be associated with firing a rifle
    • The FBI then had 7 agents fire the MC rifle and took paraffin castings of their cheeks and sent them to Oak Ridge for NAA
    • All 7 NAA test results come back positive indicating that the agents had fired a rifle


    As far as I know in neither case is the NAA discredited. In the first it is used to assess the chemical composition of the bullet. Unless I missed something that isn't rejected. But the batch identification hypothesis based on the variations in the concentrations of antimony in batches and individual bullets is rejected based on batch variation not on faulty NAA.

    In the second NAA indicates with a high probability that LHO did not fire a rifle on the 22nd as the cast from his cheek showed no presence of nitrates.

    That probability or not firing a gun would be 1 - probability of the NAA giving a false negative test, i.e. NAA would fail to find a chemical associated with firing a rifle in a sample. As far as I know NAA is extremely accurate.

    I haven't been able to find the false positive rate for NAA. Assuming it's as high as 1 in 1000 that would make the probability that LHO did not fire a rifle 1 - 0.001 or 99.9%.

    As for whether or not this would be useful, you're correct some but not all people look at the evidence and show that it points to LHO not having fired a rifle and a conspiracy. This group doesn't have to be convinced.

    It's the rest that need convincing to reach a critical mass, if that is possible.

    So far the evidence collected by researchers hasn't convinced everyone or those in the media that there was a conspiracy when presented in
    • books
    • articles
    • mock trials
    • conferences
    • interviews on radio, tv, the net


    I believe it would be much more difficult for journalists to ignore the probabilistic approach to the evidence as illustrated above. It would be equivalent to ignoring the DNA evidence in the OJ case or other murder cases.

    I leave open the possibility that I am wrong about this and the possibility that I am looking at the approach incorrectly, but I do think it's worth exploring.

    The item missing from the analysis so far is what you have stated -- 'established with a high degree of certainty'. If that is true, the certainty (probability) can be measured quantified objectively. So far the only assessment is the subjective 'high degree of certainty' which has failed to convince a significant portion of the population that people other than LHO were involved.

    If the false negative rate for NAA test on the paraffin for gunpowder residue is extremely low it would supply almost irrefutable evidence and it would come in the form of a probability unless it is an absolute certainty.

    Anyway, it doesn't appear anyone else is interested.

  2. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Fite View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Dagosto View Post
    Hi Bill,

    Yes, I see where you're coming from. You might want to read this:

    https://kennedysandking.com/john-f-k...he-naa-verdict

    I understand what you're trying to do. I just don't think its useful at all. We don't have to construct elaborate mathematical proofs to understand that there was a conspiracy to assassinate JFK, that LHO was set up as a patsy and scapegoated, that a massive government cover up and disinformation effort (which continues to this day) was conducted to whitewash the entire episode and that the chief suspects were elements of the CIA-mob-Cuban exile nexus (which may includes as accessories Nazis since they were in close association with the CIA ). All of this has already been established to a high degree of confidence by the available evidence. I don't see how your approach would add anything to that or somehow convince doubters or reverse the government/media coverup and disinformation efforts.

    And we certainly don't need to set up a LHO/lone-nut hypothesis even for the purposes of knocking it down as a straw man. That legend only lives on for those who refuse to take their heads out of the sand or who keep quiet because they have too much invested in it (careers, prestige, etc). Your mathematical proofs aren't going to change any of that.
    Hi Phil

    Thanks for the link.

    As I understand it, I think you're confusing the NAA test applications when you say NAA is discredited.

    In the linked article:
    • NAA determines the percent antimony in a bullet
    • The hypothesis is that that % identifies a bullet coming from a specific batch
    • The hypothesis is rejected based on the statistical analysis indicating that the variance in the % of antimony in bullets in any given batch rules out identifying a bullet as coming from a batch. In other words other batches would contain bullets that would match.
    • NAA in this case is assumed accurate and reliable but the chemical composition of a bullet can't be used to identify the bullet batch


    In the paraffin / NAA test
    • A paraffin test for nitrates is applied to LHO's cheek to assess whether or not he fired a rifle
    • The test comes back negative
    • The FBI performs a spectroscopy test on the paraffin
    • This test also comes back negative
    • The FBI then sends the paraffin to the Oak Ridge Lab for NAA
    • The NAA test results: the paraffin cheek casting could not be associated with firing a rifle
    • The FBI then had 7 agents fire the MC rifle and took paraffin castings of their cheeks and sent them to Oak Ridge for NAA
    • All 7 NAA test results come back positive indicating that the agents had fired a rifle


    As far as I know in neither case is the NAA discredited. In the first it is used to assess the chemical composition of the bullet. Unless I missed something that isn't rejected. But the batch identification hypothesis based on the variations in the concentrations of antimony in batches and individual bullets is rejected based on batch variation not on faulty NAA.

    Well, OK - I did mix up the two applications. But tell me - how often is NAA used to interpret paraffin tests (not sure if paraffin tests are still done)? I suspect not often, like probably never. So why, in this case, would it be done? Could it be that the authorities were so desperate to find even the smallest trace of nitrates in Oswald's test (despite the fact that the results from their test shooters showed that a positive result would be obvious) that they resorted to an extraordinary, exotic test method? We don't need probability analysis to show that the use of this strategy seriously undermines the case against Oswald.

    In the second NAA indicates with a high probability that LHO did not fire a rifle on the 22nd as the cast from his cheek showed no presence of nitrates.

    That probability or not firing a gun would be 1 - probability of the NAA giving a false negative test, i.e. NAA would fail to find a chemical associated with firing a rifle in a sample. As far as I know NAA is extremely accurate.

    I haven't been able to find the false positive rate for NAA. Assuming it's as high as 1 in 1000 that would make the probability that LHO did not fire a rifle 1 - 0.001 or 99.9%.

    As for whether or not this would be useful, you're correct some but not all people look at the evidence and show that it points to LHO not having fired a rifle and a conspiracy. This group doesn't have to be convinced.

    It's the rest that need convincing to reach a critical mass, if that is possible.

    So far the evidence collected by researchers hasn't convinced everyone or those in the media that there was a conspiracy when presented in
    • books
    • articles
    • mock trials
    • conferences
    • interviews on radio, tv, the net


    Again, you're completely ignoring the reason why some people are "not convinced" by the evidence and it has nothing whatsoever to do with probabilities or math of any kind. First of all you're ignoring the fact that the WC lone nut conclusion has been disbelieved by significant majorities shortly ever since it was published. Early critics such as Mark Lane, Sylvia Meagher, Harold Weisberg, Tink Thompson, et. al. had large audiences. Publications such as the NY Times and Life Magazine and TV networks (CBS) were conducting their own investigations which were threatening to expose the WC as a fraud. So what happened? The CIA launched a counter-offensive to brand the critics as "conspiracy theorists", subversives and the like. The corporate media outlets were owned by wealthy individuals with long-established connections to the intelligence community and were infiltrated with willing collaborators (Operation Mockingbird). The end result of this is that the independent investigations were buried or killed outright and since then there has existed a line in the media that few dare cross - questioning the lone-nut theory of the JFK (or RFK or MLK) assassinations is essentially career suicide. Even in the independent, left-leaning media the line is rarely crossed. From the outset the left was afraid of being tarred with the association of the "leftist" assassin of JFK and retreated into acceptance of the WC and later into Chomsky-ite denunciations of JFK. But even then public opinion remained clearly in favor of disbelief of the WC. This accelerated after Watergate, the Church Committee hearings and the lead up to the HSCA. Of course the HSCA turned into a bit of a farce as the IC and the political ad media establishments continued to defend the WC but in the end the HSCA was forced to acknowledge a probable conspiracy. Following the success of Oliver Stone's movie JFK the IC and big media launched another counter-offensive (CIA-funded hacks: Posner and the like) which still hasn't really eroded public disbelief in the WC. So its not really the case that there is massive disbelief in the evidence. People in general question the WC lone-nut theory. Its just that they're continually bombarded by the IC-fueled media cover up which muddies the water just enough so that the average, time-pressed citizen just throws up his hands and changes the channel to the ballgame or the reality show.

    I believe it would be much more difficult for journalists to ignore the probabilistic approach to the evidence as illustrated above. It would be equivalent to ignoring the DNA evidence in the OJ case or other murder cases.

    Of course they will ignore it! See above. No journo is going to die on that hill when they can make mega bucks on the cable news circuit by just steering clear of the case and going with the IC line if it ever comes up.

    I leave open the possibility that I am wrong about this and the possibility that I am looking at the approach incorrectly, but I do think it's worth exploring.

    You are looking at it wrong - from a strictly scientific, mathematical POV and ignoring the social, political and power contexts that surround the case. Acknowledging the truth of the JFK, RFK and MLK cases would fundamentally undermine the legitimacy of the government. Why do you think it was covered up in the first place? You see, you can calculate all the probabilities you want, and I'm sure they would be scientifically and mathematically sound, but they wouldn't make a bit of difference. At best you would ignite a debate about abstruse mathematical concepts that the public and media will just tune out. There will always be another Posner to muddy the waters enough to cast doubt on anything your approach would produce.

    The item missing from the analysis so far is what you have stated -- 'established with a high degree of certainty'. If that is true, the certainty (probability) can be measured quantified objectively. So far the only assessment is the subjective 'high degree of certainty' which has failed to convince a significant portion of the population that people other than LHO were involved.

    As I mentioned above you're badly mistaken about the state of public opinion about the lone nut theory.

    If the false negative rate for NAA test on the paraffin for gunpowder residue is extremely low it would supply almost irrefutable evidence and it would come in the form of a probability unless it is an absolute certainty.

    LOL, there's lots of "irrefutable" evidence in this case: the evidence that the SBT is false (holes in JFK's clothing don't match the theory, weight of the fragments in Connally's wrist exceed the weight missing from CE399, lack of provenance of CE399, etc) is "irrefutable"". The frontal head shot is "irrefutable" (Zapruder film, ejection of mass from the rear of JFK's head striking the motorcycle cops to the rear, etc.) yet the media/IC continues to cast doubt by producing shows like "Inside the Target Car" and the like. These are the same tactics that the climate change deniers use to muddy the waters in the face of "irrefutable" evidence about global warming. Do you really think your crowd-sourcing and Bayesian statistics will be superior to the work of the IGPCC?

    Anyway, it doesn't appear anyone else is interested.
    They're not interested with good reason.
    Last edited by Phil Dagosto; 04-29-2018 at 04:46 PM.

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