Apr. 3rd, 2012

max_boma: (Rainbow)
Snopes today published an article about a two-month-old girl allegedly burned by a hospital in California. The family has retained a lawyer who has advised them not to talk to the press, but this was after their story went viral. Apparently the family then put up a Facebook page to state their case.

Predictably, responses on the Facebook page are widely split between "OMG! That poor baby! I hope you make the hospital pay!" and "I don't believe it." There is, of course, a backlash to the latter: "I can't believe anyone would doubt this! It's true!" or "I'm sorry some people doubt your story."

Without any notion of the plausibility of the story or knowing any of the alleged participants in the events described, I understand perfectly well the skepticism, and I'm almost amused by the defenses against the skeptics.

I just read a new article saying this page is fake/scam which it's NOT. I know you can't believe everything you read online but this page is not fake.

Well, OK! They say they're not a fake, but others might be! That should settle it! Not! I can't even prove to myself that the author of the page is "a friend of the family." And if they are a friend of the family, does that give them any standing to judge the veracity of the family's story? "They're good people." "They're quiet and keep to themselves." Oh, wait, that's what they say about the quiet person who goes on a murderous rampage. "None of us ever believed he was capable of this." But he was. As are the mothers who harm their children, out of post-partum depression, frustration, or incompetence. I'm not saying that this child was hurt by her mother; I have no way of knowing. But I've heard too many stories about implausible things happening to take things at face value. I've also heard of too many hoaxes or mangled stories or urban legends to take things at face value. Even when there's a brand new Facebook page to plead the case.

As for those who think it's cruel to express skepticism, get over it. If it's true, the truth will come out, and the skeptics presumably will express their sympathies, without apologizing for their skepticism. If it's false, the skeptics probably will be sorry to be right, especially if there is an injured infant who was injured some other way. But if it's false, I hope the skeptics have deterred some of the gullible from going "all in" with their sympathies and with their material charity.


max_boma: (Default)

February 2013


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