Opinion | Hamilton: Christine Blasey Ford: Tempest in a teapot?
The recent “she-said, he-said” confirmation hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee raises two very important philosophical questions: 1. How does one prove that an event actually happened? 2. How does one prove that an event that did not happen, did not happen?
The first question is relatively easy to resolve. The person making the assertion about the existence of an event should be able to provide evidence of: who, what, where, when, and how. Whether a deeply held personal belief — standing alone — is sufficient evidence that an event actually happened we leave to readers to decide.
The second question, however, has perplexed philosophers since time immemorial. The British philosopher, Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), put the question this way: Russell wrote that if he were to assert, without offering proof, that a teapot, too small to be seen by telescopes, orbits the Sun somewhere in space between the Earth and Mars, he could not expect anyone to believe him solely because his assertion could not be proven wrong.
And that brings us to the strange case of Christine Blasey Ford, Ph.D. In her mind, she is convinced she was sexually molested by someone she says she knew in high school. By someone who spent years climbing the steps of the legal profession, someone whose personal history and background have been investigated by the FBI six or more times, and someone who might occupy a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Using Bertrand Russell’s teapot analogy, there is no way to prove that Dr. Ford does not believe what she says she believes. Professionals who administer polygraph examinations know that someone who truly believes something to be a fact, — even when that is not, in fact, true — will not show any signs of deception. That is why polygraph examinations are rarely accepted into evidence in courts of law.
Ergo: we are left with Dr. Ford believing in what she believes and there is no way to disprove it. And that bring us to the question of her motivation to disclose her belief at this point in time.
Did Dr. Ford wake up one morning and say I think I will tell members of Congress I believe when I was taking part in a teenage drinking party 36 years ago that I was sexually molested by another teenager who now might be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court? Or, did someone else launch Dr. Ford’s teapot into orbit? Actual evidence in the form of letters, telephone calls, and e-mails between Dr. Ford and persons currently unknown could answer the second question.
It stretches credulity to think the seemingly nice-as-pie (but, rather fey) Dr. Ford would be the kind of person who would — on her own without outside stimulus — set out to destroy the professional and personal reputation of someone she believes she encountered 36 years ago.
So, who is paying for Hillary Clinton’s former lawyer, Debra Katz? Who paid for the polygraph exam? Who wrote Dr. Ford’s opening statement? Who took the photo of Dr. Ford and George Soros? What is the relationship between Dr. Ford and Soros and between Dr. Ford and the Clintons? You decide.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Hamilton is the author of “The Wit and Wisdom of William Hamilton: the Sage of Sheepdog Hill.”
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