Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This is tragic. But it shows how powerful stories can be when our priors are weak, even for rational, objective people.

Colleges have a lot of programs that try to inculcate a very expansive definition of rape to students because, lets face it, rape and bike theft are part of college life. I always thought those programs were a waste. If you get raped you'd know it, but you could easily be traumatized and in denial. In that case, I don't think the programs would help. If you're a friend she confides in though, it should be easy to reassure her she's right, right?

Wrong. A true story someone posted on a forum:

My friend went over this guy's house just to see him. She knew him all through high school and she was just going to visit just to see him. So she gets to his house and they are the only two there. She just wants to chill downstairs and talk but he clearly wants to take things up to his bedroom. She suggests that they stay downstairs and just watch T.V. So, after awhile of going back and forth about this, he pulls her off the couch and forces her go upstairs. He tries to get her to have sex but she keeps saying no and trying to get back downstairs. Then at one point and he leaves the room and shuts the door and tell her when he gets back, she should have her clothes off. When he comes back, she still has her clothes on and she didn't undress. So he takes them off of her and then it happens. She got him off her and got dressed and started crying. Was that date rape?

Now just one moron wrote that--that is as small of a sample size as it gets. But in this case my prior was so weak that the story completely changed my mind about those freshmen orientation programs.

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