Eyewitness Testimony: The Foundation and Basis of Reality

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According to Wikipedia “Eyewitness testimony is the account a bystander gives in the courtroom, describing what they perceived happened during the specific incident under investigation. Ideally this recollection of events is detailed, however this is not always the case. This recollection is used as evidence to show what happened from a witness’ point of view. Memory recall has been considered a credible source in the past, but has recently come under attack as forensics can now support psychologists in their claim that memories and individual perceptions are unreliable; being easily manipulated, altered, and biased.”
“The reliability of eyewitness testimony has been questioned by psychologists since the beginning of the 20th century.

This is an accurate description of what Psychology teaches about eyewitness testimony. It is also an accurate description of the attitude of eyewitness testimony in basic law enforcement/military training. This Wikipedia article defining eyewitness testimony is a version of “Newspeak.” They seem to be devotees to Ingsoc (George Orwell, 1984). This blog, on the other hand, is written in “Oldspeak” by a Prole from Oceania.

The Free Online Dictionary defines eyewitness as, “A person who has seen someone or something and can bear witness to the fact.” Nothing about “individual perceptions are unreliable; being easily-manipulated, altered, and biased.”

Why? Because an unreliable, easily-manipulated and biased eyewitness can be rejected, or at least discounted, and replaced by a properly indoctrinated professional. The important part of the definition of eyewitness is someone who has “seen someone or something and can bear witness to the fact.”

Just like there are good and bad cooks, drivers, artists, or anything else, there are good and bad eyewitnesses. Yes, individual perceptions can be unreliable, easily manipulated, altered and biased.” That is known as a poor witness. There are also good witnesses, which is totally ignored in the Wikipedia generalization.

Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) are good eyewitnesses in court. So are police officers, military personal, most professional civilians and many untrained people who have enough time to examine the evidence thoroughly and properly record what they witnessed.

The reason this seems odd to us is that we are indoctrinated (Newspeak) to only recognize bad eyewitness testimony as legitimate eyewitness testimony. The reason for this indoctrination is the thesis at the conclusion of this blog.

A bad eyewitness is someone who viewed an event under stress, usually for under 30 seconds, in a very confused situation such as the commission of a crime, often with poor lighting and many distractions. Often these eyewitnesses are pressured to testify against their wills. All of the points in the Wikipedia definition at the beginning of this blog apply to these witnesses.

A good eyewitness has enough time to examine the evidence, enough training to understand what he is witnessing, and is someone who makes a proper record of the event. A police officer filing an accident report is a good eyewitness. A CSI has time pressure, but takes the time to examine the evidence thoroughly. The police officer is an eyewitness to the accident scene, not the actual accident. However, the evidence such as skid marks, position of the vehicles and examination of eyewitnesses of the actual accident make the officer’s report the most reliable eyewitness report available. While some might object, when a report includes the examination of physical evidence, that is an eyewitness report. It is an eyewitness of the evidence the trained witness examined, not of the accident itself. However, the good eyewitness report of the scene and the evidence by a trained professional is more valuable than a bad eyewitness of the actual accident.

The same is true of a trained professional CSI testifying in court. The eyewitness of the crime being committed is often a very poor eyewitness. The CSI investigates the evidence at the scene and files a report, which he testifies to as an eyewitness. The CSI is not an eyewitness of the commission of the crime. The CSI is an eyewitness of the crime scene and the evidence after the fact. But the good eyewitness testimony of the CSI is usually more valuable than the poor eyewitness testimony of the commission of the crime.

While this is contrary to Ingsoc training, it is intuitive. This concept of eyewitness testimony applies to every aspect of life. A scientist performs an experiment. During the experiment he performs tests, records the reading of instruments and records the results, including his observations. At some point this information is made available to others, perhaps as a published article. At this point, the scientist becomes an eyewitness. The people listening to his testimony or reading his report(s) did not perform the tests. They are relying on the author to be a good eyewitness. Good includes honest, accurate, thorough, knowledgeable, complete, and understanding what is significant.
When scientists are confronted with the reality that scientific publishing is entirely based on eyewitness testimony, there is usually an angry denial. These angry denials demonstrate how complete and thorough Ingsoc indoctrination is with these people. This eyewitness testimony in no way denies the proper use of the scientific method, tools, techniques, or conclusions. It simply points out that the method of transmitting information accurately is called eyewitness testimony.

Few people have thought through the reason for rejecting all eyewitness testimony as bad, or at least very weak. The real reason is religious. The Bible must be rejected at all costs and its authority is founded on eyewitness testimony.

Keep in mind today that I am not speaking to your children, who neither were aware of nor did they witness the discipline of the LORD your God, that is, his great and far-reaching power. Deuteronomy 11:2

“Take the book of this Law and set it beside the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD your God. Let it remain there with you as witness against you.” Deuteronomy 31:26

Go now, and write it down on a tablet in their presence, inscribing it in a book, so that for times to come it may be an everlasting witness. Isaiah 30:8

Truly, I tell you with certainty, we know what we’re talking about, and we testify about what we’ve seen. Yet you people do not accept our testimony. John 3:11

So the crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to testify to what they had seen. John 12:17

Paul said The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear his own voice, because you will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. Acts 22:14, 15 ISV

But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for the very purpose of appointing you to be my servant and witness of what you have seen and of what I will show you. Acts 26:16 ISV

Therefore, as a fellow elder, a witness of the Messiah’s sufferings, and one who shares in the glory to be revealed, I appeal to the elders among you: 1 Peter 5:1

What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we observed and touched with our own hands—this is the Word of life! 1 John 1:1

If reliable eyewitness testimony is not valid, then the Bible is not true. This is real reason for the “Newspeak” revision of eyewitness testimony.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; I John 1:9 KJV

All scriptures from ISV unless otherwise noted.

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