Rabbi And Emory Law Professor Accused of Deception

b0cb5f707dEmory University law professor and Orthodox rabbi Michael Broyde is being accused of assuming a false identity and joining a rabbinic group under false pretenses. Broyde allegedly assumed the identify of a Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser, who claimed to live in Israel, and gained access for 20 years to the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an association of liberal Orthodox rabbis. Broyde is accused of then lying when confronted about the deception and denying that he was in fact Goldwasser who penned a variety of letters and directed people to Broyde’s own scholarship.

In addition to being a law professor and Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Broyde is a member of the Rabbinical Council of America and a judge Beth Din of America, the largest Jewish law court in America.

Broyde was confronted by a reporter for the Jewish Channel and denied that he was the same person. He was asked why his personal Internet Protocol addresses matched those of correspondence from Goldwasser, Broyde simply said that he didn’t know what IP addresses were. That is now obvious. When evidence was presented linking him to the deception, he later owned up to being Goldwasser.

The question is how Emory should handle such deception and denials from a law professor and ethicist. While this could be viewed as something occurring in his private life, Broyde reportedly used the false identity to push his own scholarship. However, there remains the question whether  such conduct should lead to his loss of tenure as opposed to his reparation from the Jewish court.

What do you think?

Source:

40 thoughts on “Rabbi And Emory Law Professor Accused of Deception

  1. OY! This is stupid in so many ways. Sockpuppets are a regular feature of the Internet, although I admit I have never seen it taken to this length. I don’t see this as a capital offense, he needs to be censured and there should be some repercussions but it should be well short of the ‘death penalty’. He shouldn’t be allowed to associate ‘ethicist’ with his name any more thats for sure. Probably have the title Rabbi striped too. Some sort of demotion/probation/suspension of his teaching. But if he can show that he has learned a lesson & do better it seems a waste to ax him over this

  2. Frankly: I disagree; ax him. Statistically speaking, the average new hire professor would be better than this guy, so hire new, and the department will likely be better for it, and let him go practice his unethical conduct elsewhere. THAT would teach him a lesson, teach others a lesson, and provide an opportunity for a decent human being to take his place.

  3. Throughout the history of literature, since the creation of bound texts in the forms of books and codices, various works have been published and written anonymously, often due to their political or controversial nature, or merely for the purposes of the privacy of their authors, among other reasons. This article provides a list of literary works published anonymously, either attributed to “Anonymous”, or with no specific author’s name given.” – Wikipedia “List of Anonymously published Works”

    Who is “Shakespeare” for example?

    Many people still do not know that “George Orwell” (“1984”) is a fictitious name, nor that he had good reason to use an alias (Bully Worship: The Universal Religion).

    On the Internet we know it is common to use “handles” … fictitious names.

    The test is the good or bad, on balance, which works by anonymous folks present.

    No one will like everything an anonymous writer produces, but anonymous works have a valid literary and journalistic nature and purpose.

    That would be the test to apply to Broyde a.k.a. “Goldwasser” in my opinion: are the people alleging some form of hurt because of his attempted secrecy deserving of a legal or an ethical remedy?

  4. Even money says Broyde will claim “anti-semitism” at some point.

    As for anonymity and pseudonyms (re: Dredd’s comment), there’s nothing wrong with anonymity or not using one’s real name. Some people need anonymity (e.g. online support groups, whistleblowers reporting crimes) and should not be denied it.

    The only time anonymity is a problem is when someone uses it for illegal or unethical purposes such as harassment, stalking, threats, or in Broyde’s case, dishonestly furthering his own career. To no surprise, many of those likely to seek anonymity are those most likely to engage in criminal behaviour. Remember the pi…uh, swin…uh, “cops” at UC Davis and Oakland covering their badge numbers and names and then violently assaulting people?

    Sock puppets are a true annoyance, idiots promoting themselves using phony to post “agreements” with their own words. Are people so stupid that they think they won’t get caught? Sock puppetry needs to be put on legal par with plagiarism – those who do it, like Broyde, should be stripped of their credentials and position.

  5. How can seemingly intelligent people be so stupid? I think he should remove ethicist from his titles and replace it with “Liar”.

  6. There is a difference between “anonymity” and impersonation. Broyde could not have written “anonymous” letters recommending himself, for example. I post under a pseudonym here, but nobody is going to pay any attention to a recommendation letter signed “Tony C,” or Donald Duck, or “P Smith” or “Dredd.”

    Broyde was NOT engaging in anonymous speech, he was using a false identity he purposely intended people to believe was a real person, and apparently one that highly recommended Broyde. Do you think there is a difference between a person highly recommending themselves, versus being highly recommended by somebody else, particularly somebody in a position of authority and trust, a judge and religious leader? The former is just braggadocio, the latter is considered a far more objective endorsement.

    Sock puppets on the Internet are just an annoyance because we know how easy it is, and pseudonyms do not come with real world credentials and positions.

    When I post anonymously here, it is because I believe debate and logic should stand on its own, win or lose. Shakespeare’s anonymity (if any) was similarly honorable; his plays did not become famous because of his social position (if any).

  7. Dredd: re the people alleging some form of hurt

    I think it is fair to presume Broyde kept up his lie for twenty years because he found it beneficial to him and caused people to do things they would not have done if they knew it was just Broyde speaking about himself.

    Would you hire a guy if you found out his “references” were all just him, using false identities to lavish praise upon himself?

  8. Tony C. 1, April 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Dredd: re the people alleging some form of hurt

    I think it is fair to presume Broyde kept up his lie for twenty years because he found it beneficial to him and caused people to do things they would not have done if they knew it was just Broyde speaking about himself.

    Would you hire a guy if you found out his “references” were all just him, using false identities to lavish praise upon himself?
    ===========================================
    That is a tad bit of a loosey goosey accusation Tony C.

    First of all, using a handle is not a lie, nor is using an alias.

    That in spite of the fact that a handle or an alias can be used for bad — because it can also be used for good — or be used for neutral (neither good not bad).

    That is why you must be specific in laying out what is unlawful or unethical in specifically what he did.

    Instead you use hypothetical anecdotes, supposition, and/or assertions of fact not in the record.

    Here is specifically what he did:

    But Broyde, a professor of law and the academic director of the Law and Religion Program at Emory, sounded more contrite in the apology that he sent to a past president of the upstart International Rabbinic Fellowship, a liberal Modern Orthodox whose listserv he joined using the name Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser. Broyde is a prominent member of the more establishment Rabbinical Council of America.

    (How sorry is Rabbi Michael Broyde about being Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser?). What he did was to join a listserv using a handle “Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser.”

    Most of us who comment here on JT’s blog, and thousands of other blogs, use handles (“contrived names”)..

    I am not named “Dredd“, nor is “Anonymously Yours” named “Anonymously Yours”, in “real life”.

    We use handles or aliases.

    That is fair.

    Is count one of your indictment against Broyde that he used the handle “Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser” on a listserv … when most folks use handles on a listserv too?

    Is count two of your indictment against Broyde that he linked to or specifically cited his own scholarship (“Broyde says this about that”) while using the handle “Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser” to make the link?

    Is count three of your indictment against Broyde that he should have not linked to his own stuff under the listserv handle?

    Should, for example “Dredd”, only use the handle “Dredd” when linking to blogs or comments by “Dredd?

    Please refer to rules of ethical internet principles in your reply, because just plain old bitc*ing is not a valid ethical foundation.

    Like some folks here who bit*h because I sometimes link to my own posts on my own blog (which has no commercial ads or any other way to commercially benefit me, since in that sense I am not Dredd).

    Just making up Internet rules because you don’t like what someone says is invalid as an ethical rule to be applied to all.

    And that is my point … if it does not apply universally, but instead discriminates, then as an alleged ethical internet premise it requires more validity that an alleged ethical premise that applies to everyone.

    For example, when Gene H or Mike S refer to and/or link to their own posts, it is in general a reference and link so they don’t have to paste the whole post over and over again ad nauseum (thankfully).

    Or when you link to previous comments you have made, so you don’t have to post them over and over ad nauseum, what is so unethical about that even if it gets some knickers in a knot?

    If the listserv or the blog has a rule that you must use your legal and real personal name — no handles — that is one thing — but that is not asserted in JT’s post.

    Nor is it required on this blog.

    Those are distinctions with a difference IMO.

  9. Dredd: Dredd referring to Dredd blogs is not deception; Gene linking to his own post (as Gene) is not being deceptive, me linking to a “Tony C” post while posting as “Tony C” is not being deceptive, either explicitly or implicitly.

    Dredd using a different pseudonym on this blog, say “AMoron,” and writing “I’m AMoron and I love Dredd’s Blog, you should read it!” would be deceptive, and morally wrong.

    If I wanted to point at research I did, I am not going to pretend it wasn’t me. Since I protect my anonymity here, I will never direct somebody to a paper or book I wrote as if I were somebody else. What I may do is, under my handle, note that I have done or have seen research and describe the results, then readers can judge for themselves whether that makes sense, or go try to find it themselves, or ignore it.

    I have no problem with anonymity, which is simply refusing to reveal one’s identity. I do have a problem with deceptive impersonation, which is what I think Broyde was engaged in. If he REALLY wanted to refer people to his own scholarship; he could have signed up as himself, replied to another poster as himself, and said that he wanted to refer them to his own research on the topic under discussion. As “Goldwasser” or as “Broyde” he could refrain from all sock puppetry and refrain from any comment or reply on (or to) what were really his own posts. That, in my view, would have been ethical. He was trying to have his cake (anonymity) and eat it too (by citing his own academic authority as if it were independent evidence of his claims).

    THAT is the distinction that makes a difference; what is “ethical” does not depend on what the existing rules or laws are. What is “ethical” is how we decide what the rules and laws should be.

  10. Tony C. 1, April 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Dredd: Dredd referring to Dredd blogs is not deception; Gene linking to his own post (as Gene) is not being deceptive, me linking to a “Tony C” post while posting as “Tony C” is not being deceptive, either explicitly or implicitly.

    Dredd using a different pseudonym on this blog, say “AMoron,” and writing “I’m AMoron and I love Dredd’s Blog, you should read it!” would be deceptive, and morally wrong.

    If I wanted to point at research I did, I am not going to pretend it wasn’t me. Since I protect my anonymity here, I will never direct somebody to a paper or book I wrote as if I were somebody else. What I may do is, under my handle, note that I have done or have seen research and describe the results, then readers can judge for themselves whether that makes sense, or go try to find it themselves, or ignore it.

    I have no problem with anonymity, which is simply refusing to reveal one’s identity. I do have a problem with deceptive impersonation, which is what I think Broyde was engaged in. If he REALLY wanted to refer people to his own scholarship; he could have signed up as himself, replied to another poster as himself, and said that he wanted to refer them to his own research on the topic under discussion. As “Goldwasser” or as “Broyde” he could refrain from all sock puppetry and refrain from any comment or reply on (or to) what were really his own posts. That, in my view, would have been ethical. He was trying to have his cake (anonymity) and eat it too (by citing his own academic authority as if it were independent evidence of his claims).

    THAT is the distinction that makes a difference; what is “ethical” does not depend on what the existing rules or laws are. What is “ethical” is how we decide what the rules and laws should be.
    =========================================
    That seems reasonable up to:

    THAT is the distinction that makes a difference; what is “ethical” does not depend on what the existing rules or laws are. What is “ethical” is how we decide what the rules and laws should be.”

    I would say that “ethical” is arbitrary and capricious unless it is based on well defined and sensible rules short of law in the current context.

    I say that because “deceit” is a tort while ethical violations do not, in my view constitute a tort in this context, i.e. in the sense of:

    The term “sockpuppet” was used as early as July 9, 1993 but did not become common in USENET groups until 1996. The first Oxford English Dictionary example of the term, defined as “a person whose actions are controlled by another; a minion,” is taken from U.S. News and World Report, March 27, 2000.

    The history of reviewing one’s own work under another name predates the internet. Walt Whitman and Anthony Burgess were both famous for having reviewed their books under pseudonyms. Another famous example was Benjamin Franklin.

    (Wikipedia, emphasis added). Should Broyde or Broyde’s sockpuppet “Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser” receive any worse than Walt Whitman, Anthory Burgess, or Benjamin Franklin, all of whom I dare say are venerated in your ethical literary concepts?

  11. Dredd: There is an old article by Gene in which this was discussed at length, by me, with others.

    Ultimately, like mathematics or logic itself, one must come to grips with the idea of no pre-existing rules to follow. Some people come to grips with that via supernaturalism, claiming the “laws” they believe in have existed for eternity and are handed to us by an eternal being that cannot be questioned.

    As an atheist that believes in evolution, I reject that notion. Abstract rules are made by intelligent beings, and intelligence (in my view) had a definite beginning, although I do not know precisely when I do believe there was a singular mutation, perhaps the final mutation in a long chain of them, that first gave an animal the biological ability to formulate an abstract “rule.”

    I think life began for the first time somewhere in the universe, it did not exist forever and therefore life did not precede life. Likewise, I think abstract rules began for the first time somewhere, I do not think abstract rules existed forever, and I do not think rules preceded rules. Therefore, there must be a method we can use to devise rules that does not follow any rules itself.

    To discover that method, we must consult psychology, and evolutionary psychology. The “first” rule, in my mind, is the self-evident rule, built into our brains, of understanding abstract “equivalence.” Another way of putting this is that we know, without consulting any particular rule or system, when some things are fair, or equitable.

    That doesn’t apply to everything, obviously, but when we build systems of logic and inference, we cannot do that without simplifying situations down to those things we find self-evidently fair, or equitable, or balanced (or self-evidently unfair, inequitable, and unbalanced.)

    When we talk about “ethical” or “unethical” we are talking about fair and unfair; when we talk about criminality it is the same. Crimes are typically one person acting unfairly toward another; by stealing, killing, defrauding, lying under oath, etc. “Justice” is the idea that it is “fair” to punish people for being “unfair” in order to restore “balance.”

    Ethics can be formalized and should be, for complicated situations that are not instantly analyzed, but what is or is not ethical is not encoded in that formalization, ultimately that formalization rests upon equivalences that get to a foundation of what we inherently agree is self-evidently right and wrong.

    I think Broyde’s self-promotion while pretending to be somebody besides himself is wrong, to me it is self-evidently deceptive. I don’t need rules to see that, just like I don’t think shop lifting is wrong because it is against the law, I think shop lifting is wrong, period.

  12. know se hobloh es-span-yhole in this “one”
    and some somes I reed backwords THE BIBLE will be translated into the language that it was oh-ridge-in-ally intended.
    but I don’t know how it is spelled in laat-in

    knowahs ark…
    …ar-key-all-justs say mt air-ah-rat.
    …an-are-key will take over the whirled…
    …there were floods all over the whirled and sod-em, and go more-AH.
    some times ! use try-ball sense, there were floods all over, in different tongues ect. …
    there are reasons to look at the past.
    JESUS body was taken up into the heavens!
    ..where did HIS body go?
    …Jesus said, knot to worship HIM, but to worship THE FATHER!
    “know JESUS…,
    NO HEAVEN!

    sayth mack-farland said that GOD THE FATHER could knot hold HIS leekqour and made money off from MY name…
    I can even prophesee from fish. I even made a hallowbutt for the church to carp about with know soul inTENdid.

    a is e, A is I, e is IyI, I is oh, and owe is ewe and cometimes y is ess, ass is sea ect. and then there is ISEZ too… a Goddess

    …then there is the w”s, nv m”s.

    …people would bee taught to reed the bible as GOD intended them to because they say that in the times that ewe would be better off reading a pornagraphic book. JOHN:ONE in the end a colon has an ass connected too-it:

    …I will catch a lunatic every damn time is rael. were is the promised land!

    …peephole will come to know: JESUS CHRIST! at a young age and be bourne into sin…

    …the knew poohp must teach the true baptism…

    … more men will wallow in their sins.
    JOHN: says you will see angels going up and down when ooops-see-do-dew-sea-dew on a water craft again.

    would any body decode the bible when it is also written pornagraphic?
    …you need to raise your children prop-purrr-ly always getting ready for-play…
    …it was also translated into greek, IF you plan on being with some body, they should tell them what they want?…

  13. Precisely this form of “deceit” has been engaged in by John Locke, Voltaire, Lawrence Sterne, Benjamin Franklin, Fernando Pessoa, and hundreds of other public intellectuals, including many a Jewish rabbinical figure, who have craftily concealed their identities and used pseudonyms to engage in argumentation with others.

    The books of intellectual history are in fact filled with examples of precisely this kind of conduct. The fashion of the “Chinese Garden” came to an end in England when a critic of the style published an article purportedly written by a visitor from China. I could go through one case after another. Should we rewrite history, and trash all of our cultural heroes who have used pseudonyms to debate others, to avoid retaliation, and even to accuse others of misconduct?

    Oh, but now that we have the Internet, we must suddenly acknowledge that such actions are inappropriate and, even worse, actually damaging to the career of an austere orthodox rabbi of whom we demand that he be as priggish as we are.

    In fact, for some REAL insight on how far we have strayed from the path of reason in the matter of Internet pseudonyms and deadpan, accusatory satire that’s not “just for fun,” see the Raphael Golb Trial website:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    Read the transcripts. See how a million taxpayer dollars were employed to “get” the sinister Dead Sea Scrolls provocateur. See how his dangerous sock-puppets (“he knows how to use words to stir up controversy”) were exposed by Manhattan prosecutors, acting at the behest of a small group of academics who were apparently unhappy about certain allegations being exposed on the Internet.

    How titillating! And it looks like the case is going up to the New York Court of Appeals in Albany for review. It will be interesting to see how they deal with this one.

    Incidentally, an odd detail emerges from the transcripts: the prosecution was allowed to argue that Golb used his “sock-puppets” to make “false accusations,” but Golb was blocked from introducing any evidence that his accusations were true, because “neither good faith nor truth is a defense to the crimes charged.”

    Great stuff! Will prosecutors around the country learn to employ this technique to get people like Broyde too, and every other member of an academic family out there using sock-puppets to accuse others of misbehavior?

    Furthermore, there is a Herschel Goldwasser who lives in New York, so maybe we should have Broyde arrested and charged with “identity theft”? Under the terms of the law used against Raphael Golb, Broyde also committed a crime, because he used the name of another to influence a debate, thereby obtaining a “benefit.”

    But seriously, have we all lost our minds? To “investigate,” arrest, prosecute, and imprison people who engage in sock-puppetry and satire on the Internet? This is poison for freedom, and it’s no laughing matter.

  14. Dredd: Should Broyde or Broyde’s sockpuppet “Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser” receive any worse than Walt Whitman, Anthory Burgess, or Benjamin Franklin, all of whom I dare say are venerated in your ethical literary concepts?

    Your dare is lost, I venerate no person at all. Not one. I think it is despicable of anybody to pretend to be somebody else while “reviewing” their own work, it is lying.

    You are asking the wrong question, entirely. To rephrase your question, you essentially ask that if Franklin got away with a crime against humanity, shouldn’t Broyde be entitled to get away with the same crime?

    Just because some people get away with fraud, theft or murder does not excuse other people for committing fraud, theft or murder. If Franklin reviewed his own work while pretending to be somebody else, then he committed a fraud.

    As for veneration, I am not awed by anybody; I am only awed by work that people have done. Those are separate things in my mind; a work (of art, of science, of imagination) is an entity unto itself. Newton was a total jerk, so was Euler, Einstein was an adulterer. Awesome work has been done by people I wouldn’t want in my house, and by people I think I would have really liked.

  15. Quixote: The problem isn’t pseudonyms; the problem is using them to promote one’s self by pretending to be a separate objective voice. That is the unethical component, not JUST the idea of using a pseudonym.

  16. Tony: One can “promote” oneself, or one can “promote” an idea or a cause. Lawrence Sterne is known to have written a laudatory letter about his novel Tristram Shandy. He had a woman he knew sign it. He literally used the “name of another” to promote himself. It was even more convincing that way than using a pseudonym. This kind of shenanigan has been going on for centuries, but we are suddenly making a major ethical issue out of it. And we are using this manufactured issue to destroy people’s lives.

    Incidentally, the “promotion” theme runs through the Raphael Golb trial transcripts. He did it not to expose plagiarism, but to “promote” his father. He did it not to expose misconduct, but to get a thousand dollars. And so on and so forth. You can use the same technique to take anything and make a crime of it.

  17. Tony C. 1, April 18, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Dredd: There is an old article by Gene in which this was discussed at length, by me, with others.

    As an atheist that believes in evolution …
    ========================================
    Yes, I remember, Sockpuppets evolved from Midichlorians.

    I also remember about all that rebate is that “bitc*ing” also evolved here, like Elastic Lad, morphing into “Don’t go to Dredd’s links because he is a Rabbi Rouser.”

    I guess I should have paid more attention, but Idealist707 kept me distracted.

  18. Tony C. 1, April 18, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Dredd: Should Broyde or Broyde’s sockpuppet “Rabbi Hershel Goldwasser” receive any worse than Walt Whitman, Anthory Burgess, or Benjamin Franklin, all of whom I dare say are venerated in your ethical literary concepts?

    Your dare is lost, I venerate no person at all. Not one. I think it is despicable of anybody to pretend to be somebody else while “reviewing” their own work, it is lying.

    You are asking the wrong question, entirely. To rephrase your question, you essentially ask that if Franklin got away with a crime against humanity, shouldn’t Broyde be entitled to get away with the same crime?

    Just because some people get away with fraud, theft or murder does not excuse other people for committing fraud, theft or murder. If Franklin reviewed his own work while pretending to be somebody else, then he committed a fraud.

    As for veneration, I am not awed by anybody; I am only awed by work that people have done. Those are separate things in my mind; a work (of art, of science, of imagination) is an entity unto itself. Newton was a total jerk, so was Euler, Einstein was an adulterer. Awesome work has been done by people I wouldn’t want in my house, and by people I think I would have really liked.

    You are asking the wrong question, entirely. To rephrase your question, you essentially ask that if Franklin got away with a crime against humanity, shouldn’t Broyde be entitled to get away with the same crime?

    Just because some people get away with fraud, theft or murder does not excuse other people for committing fraud, theft or murder. If Franklin reviewed his own work while pretending to be somebody else, then he committed a fraud.

    As for veneration, I am not awed by anybody; I am only awed by work that people have done. Those are separate things in my mind; a work (of art, of science, of imagination) is an entity unto itself. Newton was a total jerk, so was Euler, Einstein was an adulterer. Awesome work has been done by people I wouldn’t want in my house, and by people I think I would have really liked.
    =================================================
    I bet your mother was all “Aww look at him …” when she laid eyes on you.

    Aww hell, be awed by somebody dood. Venerate somebody dood!

    Anyway.

    Should works be banned because of the misconduct you speak of … burned … shredded … or what?

    Where there is no serious punishment there is no serious law.” – Dredd

  19. Dredd: I prefer not to simplify people to one dimension, which would be necessary to venerate them. Mathematical genius was not Einstein’s only trait, business genius is not Warren Buffett’s only trait, rhetorical performance is not Obama’s only trait, political genius was not Jefferson’s only trait.

    I am not awed by pettiness, back-stabbing, adultery, explosive anger, irrational egoism, double standard elitism or the many other failings of people that were famous. I do not give them a pass on every wrong they committed just because they happened to spend some small portion of their working life making something outstanding.

    The work is what counts, not the person.

    Nor do I consider myself any better (or worse) than any of them, unlike you, I am not in awe of myself.

  20. The first sentence of the article needs some structure.
    Goldwater in English, GoldVasser in German.
    Phony baloney on both counts.

  21. I’m not sure what to make of this story. If the gentleman was posing for the purpose of hyping his own work for personal gain, he should be asked to resign his position and move on.

  22. When I was four years old, my dad volunteered to be a camp staff member, and the camp allowed my mom, my brother, and me to be at the camp also, without any fee being charged. The camp was at Deception Pass, in Washington state.

    On the way there, the four of us had a conversation about deception, what it was, possible reasons for it, and what effects it has.

    Because I have never learned to believe that any event that actually happened, having happened, could have happened other than as it did actually happen, i have experienced almost all of a lifetime of nearly 74 years understanding that the commonplace notion that a person who actually did something could actually have done the something differently than the person did actually did it, to be a profound example of deception.

    Perhaps my inability to believe that any actually avoidable mistake or accident has ever happened is a result of the way I am autistic; perhaps I am biologically incapable of learning the social conventions of the effective telling of lies.

    Finding only one profession the Code of Ethics (see http://www.nspe.org/Ethics/CodeofEthics/index.html ) for which has what I find to be an absolute prohibition of deception in professional practice, I found it wise and proper to become a registered professional engineer, with bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in bioengineering.

    What better way to work at understanding deception as a problem of human biology?

    While I have a plausibly decent imagination, I can quite effortlessly concoct a plethora of hypothetical notions, none of which, methinks, can ever become actually tangible realities.

    That plethora includes the hypothetical, methinks-actually-impossible, notion of the legal fiction reasonable person who can foresee what no actual person ever actually foresees.

    Perhaps I can restate the above observation: The belief in a hypothetical legal-fiction person as the standard of behavior for actual living people is pure deception when actual people are held to account by a biologically impossible legal fiction.

    So, it does not surprise me to learn of a law professor who is accused of deception.

    To me, there are three core aspects of the NSPE Code of Ethics that apply to my work in professional engineering, to wit: 1) I am to hold paramount the public safety. 2) I am to work in, and only in, areas of my professional competence. 3) I am to accomplish both (1) and (2) without deception.

    From time to time, I do a little research, sometimes using the Internet, sometimes using an Internet search engine, such as Google.

    I did a Google search for the exact phrase, “deceptive practice of law” and Google came back with:
    No results found for “deceptive practice of law”

    I surmise that it is a fact of law that deceptive practice of law is, by law, impossible.

    What, if anything, have I learned about deception?

    If the practice of law is, to some extent, deceptive by its core structure, methinks that the only extant profession that has standing to question such deception would have to be professional bioengineering, and, even then, only under Daubert and not under Frye.

    Deception, as I have been able to observe it, is self-referential; any person who has been deceived is necessarily consciously oblivious to being deceived, this being the necessary consequence of the fact that being consciously aware of being deceived is indistinguishable from being not-deceived.

    Why wouldn’t a law professor be deceived if the foundational principle of the adversarial system is actually deception itself?

  23. Tony C. 1, April 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    Dredd: …

    The work is what counts, not the person.

    Nor do I consider myself any better (or worse) than any of them, unlike you, I am not in awe of myself.
    ============================================
    I am not in awe of myself except that I like myself.

    You sound like you have a findamentalist, self-righteous belief system encased in “sh*t happens” science.

    The person matters more than the work.

    Since you have it backwards, you need a joke book.

    So write one already.

    It will do you more good than work.

    I hope you end up being awesome and liking yourself more than work.

  24. J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E. 1, April 18, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    On the way there, the four of us had a conversation about deception, what it was, possible reasons for it, and what effects it has.

    Because I have never learned to believe that any event that actually happened, having happened, could have happened other than as it did actually happen, i have experienced almost all of a lifetime of nearly 74 years understanding that the commonplace notion that a person who actually did something could actually have done the something differently than the person did actually did it, to be a profound example of deception.

    Perhaps my inability to believe that any actually avoidable mistake or accident has ever happened is a result of the way I am autistic; perhaps I am biologically incapable of learning the social conventions of the effective telling of lies.

    Finding only one profession the Code of Ethics … for which has what I find to be an absolute prohibition of deception in professional practice, I found it wise and proper to become a registered professional engineer, with bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in bioengineering.
    ==========================================
    Interesting indeed.

    Deception is very ancient in the biological realm, much older than human deception:

    When a female Sacculina is implanted in a male crab it will interfere with the crab’s hormonal balance. This sterilizes it and changes the bodily layout of the crab to resemble that of a female crab … The female Sacculina has even been known to cause the male crabs to perform mating gestures typical of female crabs … The natural ability of regrowing a severed claw that is commonly used for defense purposes is lost after the infestation of Sacculina. Although all energy otherwise expended on reproduction is directed to the Sacculina, the crab develops a nurturing behavior typical of a female crab… The male Sacculina looks for a female Sacculina adult on the underside … then implants himself … and starts fertilizing … The crab … then cares for the eggs as if they were its own, having been rendered infertile by the parasite.

    If you take a lab rat who is 5,000 generations into being a lab rat, since the ancestor actually ran around in the real world, and you put some cat urine in one corner of their cage, they’re going to move to the other side. Completely innate, hard-wired reaction to the smell of cats, the cat pheromones. But take a Toxo-infected rodent, and they’re no longer afraid of the smell of cats. In fact they become attracted to it. The most damn amazing thing you can ever see, Toxo knows how to make cat urine smell attractive to rats. And rats go and check it out and that rat is now much more likely to wind up in the cat’s stomach.

    Phytopathogens can manipulate plant hormone signaling to access nutrients and counteract defense responses. Pseudomonas syringae produces coronatine, a toxin that mimics the plant hormone jasmonic acid isoleucine and promotes opening of stomata for bacterial entry, bacterial growth in the apoplast, systemic susceptibility, and disease symptoms.

    (On The Origin of Propaganda). For you and Tony C who have scientific, rather than religious training, you know that microbes originated billions of years ago.

    Your colleagues have discovered their powerful deceptive abilities, in both plants and animals.

    But those tiny ones have behavior that is no different than intentional human deception, on a massive scale:

    One of the most important comments on deceit, I think, was made by Adam Smith. He pointed out that a major goal of business is to deceive and oppress the public.

    And one of the striking features of the modern period is the institutionalization of that process, so that we now have huge industries deceiving the public — and they’re very conscious about it, the public relations industry. Interestingly, this developed in the freest countries—in Britain and the US — roughly around time of WWI, when it was recognized that enough freedom had been won that people could no longer be controlled by force. So modes of deception and manipulation had to be developed in order to keep them under control” …

    (The Deceit Business). I can’t see where Internet handles are deception per se, however, I do realize that they can be and are used in deception.

  25. I like the comment of J. Brian above. Some of us are coherent and are too explicit when trying to explain something that is complicated. I personally complain, mostly about womens’ issues here on this blog. This blog is a great place to learn things.

  26. Take an emory board to this schmuck and fire him for christ sake. Or if not Christ sake then GoldVassers. Question: In Deutsch is Goldvasser with a “v” or a “w”? Or is at a “w” that is pronounced like we pronounce a “v” in English? Things like this troubled Barry Goldwater in his lifetime. He said it was a choice his family made when they hit Ellis Island, not an echo.

  27. Dredd: You sound like you have a findamentalist, self-righteous belief system encased in “sh*t happens” science.

    What is a “findamentalist?” Somebody that finds things mentally? You are so right, I do that.

    Righteousness is being free from sin or guilt; I am neither; even if I define “sin” in my own non-supernatural way, I am not free of it, and I have certainly done and said things that I regret. Since I am not righteous, I am not self-righteous.

    I don’t know what “sh*t happens” science might be, so my belief system is not based on it. My belief system is based on naturalism. Which excludes supernaturalism.

    Dredd says: The person matters more than the work.

    While alive, sure. Once they are dead, all that is left is their work.

  28. Tony C.,

    Self righteousness: A good book to read would be one written by the pseudo name (handle) “Rita” entitled “Good Mrs. Hypocrite: A Study in Self-Righteousness” (1899). Dr. Dawkins is an example of a self-righteous individual.

    Study the history of science just in the past 150 years and note that it has changed so radically that it boils down to “sh*t happens science.” (e.g. read a science textbook of 1963 — 50 years ago, one from 1913 — 100 years ago — then read one from 1863 –150 years ago).

    It would be laughable, yet everything around us is fundamentally the same (planets, Sun, Earth), except the environmental system with its climate system.

    What has changed radically is the science textbooks and the civilization produced by technology.

    Not for the better in some serious ways.

    Religion has been much more consistent over that 150 years (people believe 4,000 different doctrines that conflict radically).

    That science has provided the devices that endanger all life (The Most Dangerous Moment in Recorded History) as it has radically changed is an interesting phenomenon.

    The consistency of religion over that time is also strangely interesting.

    The Rabbi in question in JT’s post is part of the religious consistency, as opposed to the scientific inconsistency.

    Neither one has prevented the increasing likelihood of the catastrophe civilization faces, and in fact some argue that those two (science, religion) have made civilization more insecure.

    It is time to realize that people and other living things are more important than anything else you would call “their work.”

    “The common good” trumps works of science and religion.

  29. Dredd: It is time to realize that people and other living things are more important than anything else you would call “their work.”

    LIVING people. Not people that have been dead so long nobody alive can remember them alive. In a hundred and fifty years, you and I will not be remembered as alive by any living person, we will be history, and then the only thing that will matter is what we accomplished and left behind to posterity. Our feelings won’t matter, we won’t have any. The feelings of those that knew us won’t matter, they won’t be alive and won’t have any feelings either. For things to “matter” they have to matter to the living, and the only thing that will matter to those living 150 years from now is how what we did is affecting them, positively or negatively.

    Perhaps it is time for you to realize that. If you did, you would actually do what I do, which is to explicitly work for the common good, because science delivers the most reliable understanding of future consequences, which is far and away the number one ingredient in any action that actually results in improving the common good.

    Instead of doing what you do, which is apparently seeking some sort of self-centered fame or ego-boost as a pundit or blogger.

  30. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Dredd: It is time to realize that people and other living things are more important than anything else you would call “their work.”

    LIVING people. Not people that have been dead so long nobody alive can remember them alive …
    ==================================
    I understand that sentiment, but that is not the way it is working.

    The best way to think of “people” is “the common good” …

    Focusing on “things” named “work” or named anything else puts non-life above life.

    The nuclear bombs that threaten life exist because we allow things to live on rather than people.

    The humanity of people is the common good, and is all we should allow “to live on or continue in our minds.”

    So we all continue to live on … not just a set of footprints in the dust of time.

  31. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Dredd:
    Perhaps it is time for you to realize that. If you did, you would actually do what I do, which is to explicitly work for the common good, because science delivers the most reliable understanding of future consequences, which is far and away the number one ingredient in any action that actually results in improving the common good.
    ================================================
    WMD is science at its most powerful, the only way humanity can destroy itself … except perhaps by fossil fuel techonogy … the slow form.

    Establishment science is at war with the common good.

  32. Tony C 1, April 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Dredd:

    Instead of doing what you do, which is apparently seeking some sort of self-centered fame or ego-boost as a pundit or blogger.
    ===============================================
    Yep, every one knows who the handle Dredd is.

    You are quite lame, envious, arrogant, petulant, and utterly wrong.

    Stop fighting your imagination … it is weak so that makes you a bully.

    Pick on something your own size, like your ego and Id.

    Then you may be able to stick to the subject and explain why the Rabbi should have his circumcision revoked.

  33. Dredd: WMD is not science at its most powerful at all; there are many ways to kill people. Hitler managed to kill millions without using WMD.

    The power of science is feeding the world, preventing disease, increasing lifespans, increasing life quality, educating the world, entertaining the world, and preventing lethal disasters every day.

    If you want mass death, deprivation, slavery, and absolutely nothing to relieve the anguish of disease and injury except wishing it weren’t so, turn to religion and politics.

  34. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Dredd: So now a little anti-semitism? I guess I am not surprised at that in the least.
    ========================================
    Ah ha!

    The great scientist Tony C does not understand Jewish jokes.

    It figures.

  35. Tony C. 1, April 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Dredd: WMD is not science at its most powerful at all; there are many ways to kill people …
    =====================================
    He says in the third inning.

    Horny for war?

Comments are closed.