The Lunacy of the Lie Detector Test Federal Case
A man named Chad Dixon, from Indiana, has just been sentenced to eight months in a federal penitentiary.
Teaching people how to beat a lie detector test.
Read the full story: CLICK HERE
This punishment was handed down yesterday in a federal court in Alexandria, VA. Let’s hope free speech advocates will recognize the serious implications of this outrageous verdict and will fight to appeal stop charges of this nature from ever being filed in the first place in future cases.
Here’s the problem.
Lie detector tests aren’t just inconclusive, they’re practically useless. A significant segment of the scientific community considers polygraphs to be pseudoscience (CLICK HERE). In fact, “polygraphy has little evidence to support its use. Despite claims of 90 percent validity by polygraph advocates, the National Research Council has found no evidence of effectiveness.” (CLICK HERE) Polygraph test results are inadmissible as evidence in most courts of law. Why? Because lie detectors are junk science. Read more: CLICK HERE
I know something about this firsthand. I’ve taken five lie detector tests in my life. Two of them included questions and answers where I flat out lied. You know what? I passed those two tests. With flying colors. Yet another time, I took a polygraph and told the truth on every single question. Yet for some baffling reason, I failed that one. [SEE FOOTNOTE]
My conclusion is this — lie detector tests are utterly worthless. Yet, because conducting background investigations on people can be both time consuming and expensive — and often subjective as to what’s found during the process of discovery — many companies rely heavily on this device. That’s their right. If private industry want to hire and fire people based on some outdated and faulty technology grounded in the 1920′s, that’s fine. Let’s start by testing everyone who handles finances. Uh, on second thought — never mind. I’d be willing to bet Bernie Madoff could pass a lie detector test and convince everyone he was innocent.
But what about government agencies? Inexplicably, many federal agencies and branches of law enforcement utilize lie detectors. Despite a mountain of evidence suggesting polygraphs pretty much belong in the same category as Ouija Boards, they continue to be widely used in criminal investigations and matters of national security. Shudder.
For those who have never been hooked up to one of these contraptions, the testing begins with fear. The subject enters a small sterile room, much like the atmosphere where police interrogations take place. The subject is hooked up to various sensors which purportedly measure breathing patterns, pulse rates, and perspiration. A serious of “control” questions are asked, supposedly to measure the subject under normal conditions (answering non-threatening questions). Breathing allegedly becomes irregular when the subject tells a lie.
These tests are also discriminatory. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest the underprivileged (especially those who have had past legal troubles) fare poorly in this environment because the surroundings mirror the police department — even when they’re telling the truth.
The problem with the Dixon verdict — criminalizing the exposure of serious holes in a flawed technology — is the intimidating impact this has on free speech and science. Dixon certainly profited from teaching people “how to lie” on a polygraph. Reportedly, between 70-100 people paid Dixon a fee for information on how to pass the test. Big deal. Shouldn’t the focus be on improving the overall process of interviewing and investigating people, rather than trying to silence those who discover defects?
Based on the judge’s decision and comments, it’s clear the court hopes to send a clear message to others. Well aware that lie detectors are simply a tool of intimidation which fail to produce any tangible demonstrable evidence, the federal government hopes this verdict will keep critics from blowing down the whole house of cards. Essentially what they’re saying is — we know lie detectors are pretty much worthless and science will gradually reduce these devices to to the same predictive value of dowsing rods. So, we must stop anyone out there from exposing its defects.
If that federal judge thinks a guilty verdict and harsh sentence will stop scientific progress, he’s hopelessly out of touch with the 21st Century. In fact, the court’s action has no chance whatsoever of serving its stated intentions, particularly in the long run. People living outside the U.S. — and therefore not subject to American jurisdiction — will continue this type of research and market ways to beat a polygraph. Maybe the judge didn’t hear the news, there’s this new thing out there called “the Internet.” People can do a web search and learn all kinds of ways to punk a polygraph. Now, they just have to check out website based in Europe, rather than Indiana.
No court will stop the advancement of science and technology nor cover up the flaws of a worthless device called the lie detector.
FOOTNOTE: I’ve taken five lie detector tests that I can recall — all conducted more than 20 years ago. Two were related to working in positions where I handled money, which I passed. Another was as a job applicant, where I was asked if I’ve ever drank alcohol on the job. I lied and said “no,” and still passed. Another involved a fight I was involved in, where I lied about my role in the altercation. Again, I passed. In 1988, I took a polygraph administered at CIA Headquarters in Langley, as part of a pre-screening process working at the NPIC at the Washington Navy Yard. I answered every question truthfully, but still failed. Go figure.